Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dream: A Journal Page

For this page I decided to do a tryptich. I like the idea of little surprises throughout the journal. (I want to do another version of a window soon, too.) The verse says: Even amidst the chaos of life, dreams are born and begin to take flight. It's a little verse I made up to go along with the theme. Here is the page with the extra flap closed:

One thing I keep forgetting to do is date my pages. Doh! The little charm under the girl says Beautiful Dreamer. I liked the aged look of it. I ran into trouble painting her. For some reason I couldn't get the pencils to blend the way I wanted and I wasn't happy with the way it was looking. I added some titan buff paint to smooth it all out and that seemed to at least hide the problems. Here is a closeup of her face:

I had a chance to try out some new watercolors called Twinkling H2O's. Ooh, I like those. I'm not one for watercolors since I prefer bold colors but I wanted a more shimmery, transparent look here and those worked really well. I used them in her eyes and her hair. I also added the Golden's Interference Gold color for the hair. I painted right over top of the watercolor and it made a perfect shimmer!

Here's a closeup of the verse page:

Those little iridescent chips are so cool! They are by Stewart Gill. I can't quite figure out what they are made from but you can adhere them pretty well with gel medium. I have these in purple and teal and I love them. The butterflies are rub-ons, of all things. Suzi Blu used those in class and they really pop when you add them to your page. If you don't like the shiny effect you just cover with matte medium and they blend into the page even better.

I'm practicing the next lesson in Monica Zuniga's drawing class. This week we are doing noses. She makes it look so simple! I find I need lots and lots of practice with the shading. It's coming along, though. I sketched a face using what I've learned so far with the eyes and nose. Hair is still very rough, but I'm sure we'll get to that eventually. I'm putting the sketch into a digital collage and will post something soon.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Soul Searching

I entered this digital collage in this month's Artella Studio Kit contest. It's called, "Soul Searching". You use any part of the monthly digital kit in your art and enter it in the contest. Part of the background paper is from the kit; I've changed it a lot. One of the additions is a photo of a hallway in a castle. It was perfect for this paper! It looks like it goes on forever.

The girl is a new face I'm working on in my journal. I scanned the sketch before I started coloring her with the pencils so I'll have a "clean" copy of her in my files. I'm not very good at "painting" in Photoshop but I did give her some color in her eyes and lips. That's another element of Photoshop I want to learn more about.

I'm taking my time with the journal page so it will be a while before it's finished. I can't seem to settle on the background. I've got a whole table full of different themed elements but nothing has really spoken to me yet. I have colored and painted her. Now she needs a background!

Oh, check out the video in my sidebar. It describes Monica Zuniga's awesome workshops she teaches at her Hands and Heart ning site (link also on the sidebar). She gives you a background on each workshop and shows you her gorgeous artwork that she will teach you to make in each class. She's a fantastic teacher! I am enrolled in her pencil drawing class right now. We are learning how to draw realistic faces. I'm doing the exercises from the first class: drawing eyes. I practiced with the girl in this journal page. You can't really see the detail here because of the digital manipulation. After I finish the page I will post her again. So check out the video. It's worth it!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Circle of Life: Journal Page

Here is another page from my goddess journal and Suzi Blu's class. I covered the girl with Clear Gesso before shading. I like the rough, gritty texture it gives.

I thought I would do a little stitching on these pages. They seemed to call for that. The verse is from an Elton John song, Circle of Life. If you click on the photo you can probably read it better. I couldn't get the theme of circles out of my head. I saw them everywhere: TV, doodles, etc. I'm doing more poetry writing now and am working on a poem about stages of life. So, the two ideas came together: circles and of life, the song, etc.

I was also able to use another of my toys: a dip pen with Dr. Ph. Martin's Gold Ink. I first heard about the dip pen from Beryl Taylor in one of her books I was going through (great for inspiration!). I made a mental note that if I ever saw one I would try it. Michael's (of all places) had one so I picked it up. It takes a little getting used to but I liked the effect. I used it on the swirls in the girl's "hair". On the opposite page I used Stickle's gold paint for those swirls.

I wanted to make her a little more abstract with the hair to give me more room to play. For the stamp I used an old metal door pull shaped like a swirl. I stamped it into a thick layer of clear gesso. After it dried I then painted over the raised areas with the ink and dip pen.

I have a ton of little fabric fat quarters that I really don't feel like making into quilts right now so I may start to incorporate more fabric in my journal pages. We'll just see where my Muse takes me. :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Stairway To Heaven

Here is the finished painting. After several stops and starts I think it is now finished for good. I decided to make it in memory of my Mom, who I know would have liked it. Hopefully she can look down from Heaven every now and then and know I'm always thinking about her. :)

There is a lot of texture to this one! Suzi Blu had us piling on the media in this lesson. Let's see, there's a bunch of modeling paste, some water soluble oil pastels, three different colors of Liquitex inks, colored pencils and lots of paints (these are just the things I can remember). I didn't have the Light Modeling Paste that Suzi called for, so I had to go with the regular. It's not too bad. I like the way it took to the inks, oil pastels and paints.

Here are a couple of closeups to get a better view of all that texture:

It was my first time working with the Portfolio water-soluble oil pastels. They take a while to cure (I found out the hard way). But any "mistake" only lends itself to the aged look of the piece, I think. The intent was to give her an aged, fresco-like appearance. I put some modeling paste on her face in certain spots and all over her "hair". This was definitely an experiment in how to work with the media. I have to say I LOVE working on the wood again. Good thing hubby has cut up a bunch of different sizes for me. ;)

Overall, I like the way she turned out. I used my standby favorite colors again: blues, purples and some pinks. Ooh, plus the Golden's Interference colors in Violet and Blue. I want to take a bath in that stuff. LOVE it!!

I'm working on a couple of different journals right now: the Goddess Journal plus a new book and theme that really has me excited. Will post images from both books soon.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Another Realm: Journal Page

While working in my Goddess Journal I've concluded that, try as I might, I probably will not draw a face for every journal page. I'm not that good at it and I want to try other techniques, but the pages will still tie in to the overall theme.

This two-page spread was an experiment in two things: 1) working in a different color scheme (for me) and 2) using windows on a page. First, I love this window technique. I learned about this one in a wonderful workshop I'm taking on altered books. The teacher is Monica Zuniga and she's absolutely amazing. You can find her website at . I'm enrolled in a portrait drawing class that will be starting Aug. 20. Check out her beautiful site. This altered book workshop is free and you can see all of her cool techniques she shows in her gorgeous books!

Here is a closeup of the two pages individually:

The verse is from a poem I'm writing. It's not finished yet but this is my favorite verse so far. I'm trying to keep with the idea of including some form of poetry in each spread. After adjusting the size of the verse in Photoshop, I printed it out onto matte brochure paper and then inked around the edges. It is adhered to an envelope I made, painted and inked up. Then I stitched it with embroidery thread onto the dyed cheesecloth underneath. The little verse fits perfectly inside the envelope.

I like the aged look of the pages; that the black paint rubbed around the edges makes the page look and feel like old, worn leather. The page with the eye reminds me of an ancient page that has burn marks around the edges. Monica's technique is super easy. For the "eye" windows I used 6 pages from an old book on oil painting (how appropriate!) that I got from the library in their discard box. When I finished with the technique I glued all six pages together and then adhered them to the Moleskine page. I used the criss-cross staples for more texture and then repeated that motif in the stitches on the envelope.

I've been surprised at the feedback on this spread from some of my friends and other galleries I've posted it in. Hubby said it was creepy and made him nervous. (He says that about a lot of my "dark" art; although I didn't think this was dark!) In one of my galleries two people said pretty much the same thing. One was from a man (said it gave him the heeby jeebies -- I would expect as much) and in another comment the lady said it creeped her out. Hmmm. I find it interesting, though, to hear that. I didn't intend for it to be creepy or to make anyone nervous. In looking at it again I guess it could be because of the dark colors, the oranges, reds, etc. Maybe reminds people of Halloween. Oh well, it's a good thing I create for me and not other people. ;)

I don't use a whole lot of reds and oranges in my art but I am trying to branch out and use other colors besides my faves of blues, violets and pinks. The fun thing about trying some of these new techniques is I never know where it will take me once I start! Hope this doesn't creep you out!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cherish: Art Journal Page

I've been in the mood to work more in my art journal(s) lately. This is another page from my Goddess journal. I wanted to incorporate the word Cherish in this two-page spread. I listed three of the most important things that I cherish: the precious people in my life, magic moments I've experienced; and, finally, my sacred self.

My 70-year-old dad recently had a motorcycle accident. His bike was totaled but miraculously he escaped with no broken bones or internal injuries. He is severely bruised, though, over his entire body and is very sore. He came to visit last weekend and it was heartbreaking to see the bruising all over his arms and legs.

After he left I thought about the different aspects of my life that I do cherish and how I need to make more of an effort to acknowledge those people, places or things that mean the most to me. So I made this page to remind myself to do just that. Once again, I played with the lettering in Photoshop before actually inking the words onto the page.

It's been very relaxing and insightful to work on these two pages. I have fun playing with the inks, paints, techniques and embellishments. It's like an exercise in meditation; just keeping mindful of what I'm trying to convey on the page.

On another note, I thought I'd post a photo of the "before" portrait on wood that I'll be working on over the next couple of weeks. It will take awhile before it's finished and I'll be working on journal pages, new projects, etc. in between time.

Speaking of new projects, I'm learning to make and bind my own handmade "dream book" journal. I'll show you a few steps along the way for that, as well. I still have to pick out the fabric for the cover. I can't seem to decide on the right one! Anyway, here's what's on the agenda for this week:

It didn't photograph so well. For some reason there is a shadow going across the front that is NOT on the board! This is just a page torn from the sketchbook and adhered to a 6" x 12" plywood panel. The only thing I've done to it is cover it in Clear Gesso to give it that great, gritty texture. Yes, I ripped it adhering it to the wood. No worries. This will never show once all of the media get applied. I think I've written the perfect verse to go with the mood I want to bring to this piece. Now if I can bring it all to fruition, I'll have succeeded!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sisters: A Sneak Peek at Faux Encaustics

The background in this piece is my first attempt at trying the"faux encaustic" technique from the workshop I'm taking. I decided to enhance it with some digital imagery from a Degas painting and the word "love".

My sister had to put her 16-year-old cat to sleep Thursday. I was so sad after talking with her; I know what she's going through. I had to do the same for my little guy when he was 20 1/2 years old. After we talked, I got to thinking about when we were growing up and how she would follow me around trying to do whatever I was doing. All of these emotions were going through my head when I finished this canvas today. I was looking for something to enhance it and when I looked in my files I came across this Degas painting that brought those memories back. So I took the image of the two girls and put them in my background.

Here is the canvas alone:

The technique is really cool. I didn't have the correct gel medium for one of the steps and had to use a soft gel gloss (it called for semi-gloss). This little town doesn't have much in the way of art supplies so I'll have to stock up from Dick Blick. I went ahead and used the gloss on all of the canvasses since these are only 5" x 5" samples used just to try the technique. I'll definitely do bigger canvasses when I get the correct supplies. I get the cheapie canvasses that they sell at JoAnn that have simple pictures printed on them. They are with the art supplies for kids. I just Gesso over that and use them for my samples. These were 2 for $1 so it's a good way to try a technique without having to use your good canvas.

This is a great workshop and can be found at Creative Workshops (see side link). The teacher is Jodi Ohl and she's really thorough and fun to watch. I'm loving the possibilities with this technique!

I'll post the rest of the canvasses after I do the final step on those. I decided to jump in and finish one today. I wanted to make a little something for my sis, hoping it would at least make her feel loved. :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sweetness: A Mixed Media Journal Page

This is the first double-page spread in my Goddess and Poet Moleskine journal. The idea is to shabbify (is that a word?) the background with layers of mixed media while still enhancing your goddess. Then you write a little poetry to accompany the mood of the piece.

I started out with a color palette of lime and raspberry, taken from the rub-on on the goddess' neck. Then it varied between pinks and greens and golds. I ended up having to paint her hair with Dr. Ph. Martin's Bombay White India Ink (love that stuff!). It started out a pale lime green which was cool at first but then it blended too much into the background. Then I added heavy layers of Clear Gesso to give a lot of texture to the hair (and the background, too, while I was at it). Next I tried painting the hair with Silver Lumiere paint and a fine brush. I didn't like that so I just painted over it all with the India Ink. I did like this. Ooh, I have a whole set of these inks... must do more painting with these!

Next, I wanted her eyes to be luminescent. I used Golden's Fluid Acrylics in the color Interference Violet. I am sold on the Interference colors by Golden; I'm getting them all. This photo below was taken at an angle to try and capture the iridescence of her eyes and the texture in the two pages from the Clear Gesso. You can click on the photo to get a better view of these effects:

So I'm playing in Photoshop to figure out where to place the poetry on the page. When I decide on a final verse I'll write that in with something, either a gel pen or one of the inks. I WISH I knew how to do Calligraphy! I have a how-to book and a beginner's set but have never really sat down with it and applied myself.

This workshop of Suzi Blu's is so much fun! All of the experimentation with the layers and layers and more layers of paint, papers, inks, ribbons, etc. really motivates me to start more pages and drawings and expand the journal even further. So I'll be working on these for awhile. I won't post all of them all of the time but wanted to give you a peek at the journal work from the class. Today's lesson, when posted, will cover working on the graphite drawing that we adhered to a birch plywood base. I'm really looking forward to this one. I want to start working more with wood. I talked hubby into buying a 36" x 36" piece of birch plywood and he's been cutting it up into 6" x 12", 9"x 12" and 12" x 12" pieces for all of the art I've yet to make. ;)

Now I've really got to get serious about the faux encaustic workshop canvasses I've started. The process looks so cool! I haven't forgotten about it... just been giving all of my time to these little goddesses! I hope to have something to post by the weekend.