Saturday, February 27, 2010

Encaustic: My New Adventure!

After much anticipation, I finally received my encaustic kit! Yay!! However, there were a couple of things missing. :( The kit is shipped directly from the manufacturer so sometimes that will happen. Happy to say that DickBlick made it all okay and is sending the missing parts: the encaustic medium and one more paint color. But in the meantime, I can still play.

Here is the basic setup that you receive (minus the brushes). You also receive the book, "The Art of Encaustic Painting" by Joanne Mattera. That will be a big help. This morning I stopped by the library and picked up a couple of other books on encaustic techniques so I'll have lots of things to try; at least those that don't require the encaustic medium, anyway.

On another note, here are a couple of the latest digital pieces I made using more CitraSolv backgrounds merged together in Photoshop. I am wanting to incorporate these backgrounds into my encaustic pieces as collage material. I know I'll need the encaustic medium for that, so that experiment will have to wait until the medium arrives in the mail.

This first piece is called, "The Road Home". I am wanting to make a similar piece in encaustic:

This next one is called "Tunnel Vision". You may remember the man from one of my very first CitraSolv papers. I told you I'd be using him in my art! ;)

So I'm off to play. I'll check back in a few days with my progress. I've also ordered more colors of the encaustic paint. They have some yummy colors out there! I'll experiment with mixing what I have here and see what I can come up with.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Blue Marilyn

I must still be in my Blue mood. I seem to be using a lot of it lately. This is "Blue Marilyn". It's another torn-paper collage portrait done in the Warhol style. I added a few things to this one, though. I still used all CitraSolv background papers torn into different shapes.

When it was "finished" I stood back and thought there were just too many competing colors and patterns in the background. So I took out my Shiva paintstiks and blended out the background just leaving the image of Marilyn. I like this much better. I wasn't sure how the Shiva's would do over CitraSolv paper and I had to fight the fear of ruining it. I just plunged in and did it. Then I added some pink Shiva's here and there along the border to give it a little more contrast.

Here is the Andy Warhol portrait that I used as my model:

I didn't stick to the colors that he used but I did sketch her onto the canvas pretty much the way she looks here. The challenge was tearing strips to fit into the sketched shape. I did end up just painting her teeth. I thought about using the papers but couldn't get a good color to look right.

I've been working on this non-stop for a couple of days. It's 12" x 12" canvas panel that is 1 1/2" deep. Now, on to the next project!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Moody Blue

So I was playing in Photoshop again and wondered what would happen if I ... merged some of my CitraSolv backgrounds together to create new ones? I don't know why I hadn't thought of that before. I love the results!

Miss Moody her hair! That vibrant blue is what comes from using different blending modes, hues, saturation levels on the merged backgrounds. It's almost iridescent-looking. I have a special background that I'm using to merge a lot of these with. Here is a subtler version of the blue merged with two other backgrounds:

I call this one, "Threshold". So now I have even more versions to play with!

Lots of things going on behind the scenes here. I'm working on another torn-paper collage, Warhol-style, but that's all I'm going to say about it for now. You'll have to wait until it's finished. ;) Hopefully, that will be in the next day or two. I was asked to enter the first Warhol collage in an Andy Warhol contest. How cool is that? There are some awesome entries so far but it was nice to be included!

That's all for now. Just wanted to share these new finds. More to come shortly.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Soul Searching 2: Minor Adjustment

I kept looking at this thinking that the bottom area needed I added the definition of "Soul" that I tore from an old dictionary. Now I think it's finished! ;)

Soul Searching: Citra Encaustic?

This is my latest discovery: CitraSolv backgrounds plus beeswax mounted onto 6" x 12" plywood. I love encaustic art. Someday I want to try my hand at it. Right now the cost of the materials needed is too prohibitive for me. So I started thinking about what I like about encaustics: the wax layers and the cloudy look on parts of the paintings.

Thanks to Suzi Blu and her Petite Dolls Class I had worked with melting beeswax onto paintings that were mounted on plywood. I thought I would try that with the backgrounds just to see what effect I would get.

The page I chose to work with wasn't quite 12" long to accommodate the length of the plywood. So I cut a strip from another similar background and mounted both to the plywood. Then I just melted the wax over the piece. Some places I had more wax buildup than others to give a more opaque look to the finished piece.

I had this charm that I ordered from Judy Wilkenfeld's wonderful Etsy shop. I knew I would use it in something special one day. So I dug it out and she fit perfectly in the little area near the top. I even used the beeswax to attach her. After she was attached, I figured out the title for the piece: "Soul Searching".

I really like the look of this. I'm not sure the photos really do it justice. Here are a few closeup shots that I took with the light hitting it at different angles so you can see the wax on the piece:

The cloudy areas are where the wax built up.

Here is the original CitraSolv paper cropped to the area in the photo above. You can see how adding the wax changes the look of the paper.

I love working with the beeswax and until I can do the authentic version of encaustics, I think I'll stick with experimenting this way!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Andy Warhol: Torn-Paper Collage

And now, something totally different! This is a torn-paper collage of one of my all-time favorite artists, Andy Warhol. As an added twist, I only used torn pieces of my CitraSolv background pages. It is a little abstract (ok, a lot) but I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.

This is the final week of class in Misty Mawn's Portrait Workshop. I hate to see it end :( The lesson this week is on self-portraits. I have managed to dig up an old photo of myself and will make a sketch based on that. I certainly don't want to sketch how I look now (maybe when I'm braver). ;)

Before tackling that assignment I thought I would complete another one I hadn't gotten to yet: collaged portraits. Andy Warhol painted a lot of I thought it only fitting to make one of him. Here is the original sketch I used as a model for the collage:

I had a lot of fun doing this one. I wanted to keep the color palette pretty narrow; mainly lights and darks. The example that Misty made was just black and white, using only text from magazines. The highlights used the white background, black text and the shadows used black background, white text pieces. I would like to try something like that next time. And then maybe something using more color. I like the way the CitraSolv papers tear into strips. It's very easy to work with.

There is still the lesson using the black pencil/white paint on a portrait that I haven't gotten to work for me yet. I'm determined to get something decent from that technique. It will just take me a while to get the right combination of paint/water to mix with the pencil.

And I'm working on my second page for the digital altered book. I already like the "canvas" I have to work with: the top of the page has the heading: artist's studio. Sounds like a good starting point!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Another Digital Altered Book

It's been awhile since I've done one of these. For those of you who don't know, Artella offers what is known as "digital altered books". Here's how it works: there are 10 pages from an old book (including the covers) that have been put into digital form. You buy the packet and then alter each page as you would a traditional altered book; only you do it digitally. When you have finished altering your pages and covers, you send your files back to Artella. They, in turn, will convert your digital files into a finished digital book that you can enjoy. There is a feature that lets you turn each page with your mouse, and you can even hear the pages as they turn!

This is where all of the digital elements I like to use come in handy. You can alter the pages to your heart's content! You don't have to keep any of the book text at all. Just "paint" over the whole thing if you like.

I've done three of these so far and had forgotten to put the links to them in my sidebar. They are there now under "My Digital Altered Books". Click on the link and it will take you to the Artella site where the books have been converted. My user name on the Artella site is "Isabella" so that's why the author of all my books has that name. ;)

So today I'm starting another one. The book is called, "A Romance of Two Worlds" and I have just finished page one. I always save the covers for last. I did keep a few snippets of text from the original page and then digitally altered the rest of it. So, every now and then I'll show a page from this project. It's been fun paging through the books again. I can see such a difference in my digital style now versus then. I've had another year of experience working in Photoshop but it's fun to re-visit older pieces.

Artella is hosting a digital altered book contest and the entries have to be completed by March 1. Digital art is something I really enjoy and can do pretty quickly so I should have no problem completing the 10 pages. The other three books I've done have been a lot of fun. Check them out!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

More Shiva Painting

I think I'll never put my Shiva Paintstiks away. I love them. This is my latest painting placed into a digital background with lots of layers and added textures. Here is the original painting:

After much adjusting and fussing, I finally had to stop. I want to learn more about how to blend the colors better; especially skin tones. First, I need to get more colors in the paintstiks. I'm pretty limited right now in my selection. Then, I just need to practice.

I am making progress in Misty Mawn's Portrait Class but there is one lesson that I just can not get and I really want to do it. We are to use only a black pencil and white acrylic paint on a portrait. I've thrown away about four or five attempts now. For the life of me, I can't get the paint and the pencil to blend right. I always end up with something right out of Night of the Living Dead when I'm finished. Yuk! Why is it that when instructors do something, it looks so natural and easy? ;)

So it's back to the drawing board or, in this case, the sketch book. We will have a new lesson up this week: self-portraits. Uh...hmmm. I may have to dig in my dusty archives for a decent photo of me. But that's a few days away. In the meantime, practice, practice, practice...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

From One Comes Many

Yes, I'm still painting portraits in Misty Mawn's class. This first photo shows a painting where I combined three media: a base layer of Dr. Ph. Martin's inks, followed by a layer of acrylics and then finished off with Shiva Paintstiks. Who knew you could use all three together? Misty has some awesome results in her class. I am loving it more and more as I just dive in and play!

All of the different pieces I have on today's post came from this original graphite sketch:

After I finished that sketch, I loved it. I'll admit it. There was just something about this girl that I had to explore further. I wanted to put her in different colors and backgrounds and moods. I'm still not finished with her.

So, I started by painting her (top photo). Then I scanned her into Photoshop and decided to put her in some digital pieces. Here I scanned the painting and placed it onto a CitraSolv background. I call this one, "Sad Eyes". The CitraSolv background had a little area on it that looked like a tear when I placed the image onto it:

On this next piece I scanned the graphite sketch and placed it onto another CitraSolv background. This time, there was a faint face that remained on the paper after the CitraSolv treatment. I thought it looked like a spirit; maybe an angel. Then I started to think about the song, "She Talks To Angels" by The Black Crowes. It's a sad song but that's how I've been feeling lately while dealing with Isabella's sickness. So I muted the colors in the background, colored her eyes and lips very faintly and came up with my version of, "She Talks To Angels".

And for a completely different mood I used the same scan of the sketch and just placed it onto another CitraSolv background. This time with a more upbeat message. I call this one, "Dreamer of Dreams".

So out of one sketch, there came many different pieces. I love that! And I love all of the techniques I'm learning from Misty in her class.

And I want to thank all of you who have offered your well wishes for Isabella! She is improving every day. We are hopeful that she'll make a full recovery. She's home now and I think that my little talk with a few angels may have helped. ;)