Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Getting In Touch With My Rebel Side

I'm having a blast working on these altered book shrines in Monica Zuniga's "Inspire Me Workshop". This is my latest one: Fortune Teller. So what does this have to do with my rebel side? My internal censor kicked in big time when I started on this one. It kept saying things like, "you don't want to put your Tarot cards on there for people to see! What will they think?" Or, "Now don't you look silly playing with such ideas! Really, a fortune teller! Make something pretty and pleasant!" blah, blah, blah.

But I wanted to do the fortune teller. I sketched this face a while back and even then I thought she looked like a fortune teller or someone mysterious. I left her in my sketch book and went on. But I kept coming back to her.

I'm working on a series of altered art with the Circus theme. I have a book ready to alter and I have a few small canvases prepared. This theme has been in the back of my mind for awhile and I really want to explore it in different media. I made a small set of encaustic pieces with creepy clowns on them and put one on the cover of the "Circus Book". I'm not finished with the cover but I'll post it when I am. And talk about serendipity, the theme for this month's Studio Kit at Artella: Circus D'Artella. ;)

I have found that when I start a project that I'm really passionate about, the time flies and I put all of my heart into it. When I am not so into it, I usually don't finish it or it turns out flat. Most of the time I follow my heart and go with it. But lately I've had this struggle with the inner critic trying to censor my ideas.

Today I was reading Lani Gerity's wonderful blog and she posted this very cool Rebel's Manifesto that she came across on Keri Smith's blog. (Isn't blog hopping wonderful?) ;)

I could really identify with this today! So I posted it in my studio right above my art table where I'll see it every time I sit down.

So, yes, I have Tarot cards (actually, a few decks!). I love the art on them and I think they are pretty cool. I love the darker things: Gothic art, the darker side of the circus, creepy scarey looking dolls, and even...ghosts! Maybe it's from when my brother and sister visited, but they both got me hooked on these ghost shows: Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters. Hubby rolls his eyes but I LOVE that stuff! ;)

So the rebel in me is stepping out today. What a breath of fresh air! I can't wait to get into the studio to see what transpires...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dream, Grow, Fly: Altered Book Shrine

I've been dabbling in the altered books class that Monica Zuniga is teaching. This lesson was on how to make altered book shrines. The shrine in this example doesn't have anything to do with religion or sacred objects. It's more like a fancy group of niches.

Anyway, it's very time consuming! The hardest part is carving up the book. That took me a couple of days. This wasn't a thick book. It's a very old arithmetic book that I found in the library discard bin. The pages were brown and brittle. The great part about making these is you glue all of the pages together in two blocks. After the glue dries, then you mark out where you want to cut it. That's when it gets messy and tedious.

I have tons of little beads, charms and miscellaneous ephemera sitting in plastic bins just waiting for a project like this. I even found a use here for an old Zetti rubber stamp image that I made into a shrinky-dink a long time ago for another project (the little girl on the right hand page at bottom left). It didn't turn out like I wanted and I almost pitched it but I thought maybe someday I'd find a use for it. Ha! You never know. Now I know I'll never throw anything away! It could get even more cluttered in here. :( I love the altered book ideas Monica's giving us. I've got two more in the works. I won't tell anymore than that. But I'm having a blast working on them.

Other news: I'm featured on the CitraSolv brochure advertising for their CitraArt! My Warhol collage (the favorite thing I've done so far) is on the brochure! I'm in the company of some very talented artists whose work just blows me away. They are: Robert Burridge (I love all of his art), Mary Thomas, Cathy Taylor and Lyric Kincaid. Awesome!! Here is the brochure. You can click on it and get a better look:

Needless to say, it made my day when I received a bunch of these in the mail. Thanks to Melissa Zeitler of CitraSolv for all of her support and hard work! Check out their artist site (and my page)! There are so many great ideas on there for experimenting with the CitraSolv. I just need time to try them all. :)

That's it for today. Allergy season has really taken a toll on me these last couple of weeks. Hopefully I'll be able to get back to normal very soon and start more experimenting.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Shattered Heart

Here is my latest encaustic painting that I mentioned in my last post. I call this, "Shattered Heart". It actually turned out pretty much as I had envisioned when I started the piece.

I knew I wanted to do a few new things with this painting: add more texture and experiment with adding some bits of glass. I just had this image in my head of shattered glass embedded in the wax. I thought that would be a cool effect. So I looked through some of my mosaic glass bits and found these perfect shapes.

Next, I wondered what would happen if I took a metal charm and laid it into the hot wax as a "stamp". I liked the effect. It was a bit challenging trying to lift the metal back out of the wax once I set it in, but after some fiddling with it, I managed to remove it. ;)

Then I used a wire brush in different spots to get the pitted look I see in some of my favorite encaustic artists' work. I also used different sizes of needle tools to inscribe the scratches and outlines around the hearts. When I was satisfied with the texture, I filled in the gouges with oil paint stiks. Finally, I added small bits of screen mesh inside the hearts.

I did have to reinforce the glass with E-6000 but now I know it's not going anywhere. That stuff holds everything! I'm pretty happy with this one. Hubby really liked it and it's now residing in our living room. :)

Today I happened upon an encaustic artist in one of the online encaustic groups I belong to. She achieved the most beautiful effects in her painting by using an iron to paint with! Hmmm....that's got me thinking. I have this unused small travel iron that would be a perfect size for painting these panels. Now, where did I put it?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

For The Birds

These are my latest two experiments with watercolors. I have to say that I find them very challenging and probably won't do much more with them but I'm glad I made myself try this lesson. Monica's "Inspire Me" Workshop at Hands and Heart has definitely taken me out of my comfort zone more than once!

This second painting is called "Secrets". I thought after painting her that she just looked like someone with a story; a secret story. So, I gave it that title. What I DID like: the effects of thinning out the watercolor and getting the dreamy purple background. I wish I could remember how I did it! :)

Now on to Monica's next lesson: image transfers. Now that is something I'm very comfortable with. We are supposed to make a spread in an altered book using some form of image transfers. I just have to find some inspirational images!

I also finished another encaustic painting but it is being repaired right now. I used bits of shattered glass in it and the glass was evidently heavier than I thought. When I sat the painting on my bookshelf I found it the next morning on the floor with the glass pieces laying underneath. :( The wax evidently couldn't hold the glass in, so I'm now using epoxy to glue the glass in place. I will have a photo of that within the next day or two, once I know the glass will stay put!

That's it for today. Hope you are all having a great week!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Heavenly Whispers

This is my finished painting. I wanted to have it completed by April 2. My Mom would have turned 70 on that day and I try to make one piece of art dedicated especially to her each year since she passed away. I can't believe it's been six years...still seems so recent.

This painting was yet another stretch for me in the watercolor medium. I used both watercolor paints and pencils for her. I like the blending that you can get with the pencils and I find the paints to still be a challenge. I wanted her to have a stylized look; not so much a "realistic" color to her face.

The surprising thing was a note that was left on the painting yesterday morning. Hubby wrote such a sweet, encouraging note to me. It just made my day and made the painting that much more special.

For finishing touches, I added some tulips from some decorative napkins and then used a palette knife to lay down a heavy layer of acrylic paint. Finally, I sprinkled on some mica flakes to give it an ethereal feel.

This painting is dedicated to my Mom, Phyllis Carolyn Storer, who passed away much too early at the age of 64 in 2004. I love you, Mom and this is how I feel everyday...wondering about how it must be for you in Heaven right now! :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Work In Progress

This week I've been working more with watercolors. They are cool when they do what you want, but I'm finding there's a huge learning curve! I normally like bold colors and prefer acrylics when I paint, but I'm determined to try every lesson in Monica Zuniga's latest workshop. It is really stretching my comfort zone on a few things but that's good.

I thought I'd show you a sneak peek at a work in progress. I've been working on this painting for days now. I have to let it sit for awhile and then I go back to it. There are some areas of the face that need a lot of work but this little bit looked okay to show. I have another watercolor painting going right now, too, but the light was too bad tonight to get a good shot of it. I can't decide whether I like it or not. I'll have to look at it again tomorrow in the daylight.

I've also started another encaustic painting. I've got about four layers on it but it's all just white encaustic paint and medium. I can't decide what I want to do with it. There are a lot of techniques I still want to try; I just need to decide which one I'll use for this painting. ;)

So, that's what's going on behind the scenes. Slowly making some progress and then just waiting to see what comes next. I hope to have some sort of finished piece to show soon!