Saturday, December 26, 2009

Playing with Oil Pastels

In July of this year, I participated in Pam Carriker's Pursue Portrait class.
Well, participate is a broad term. What I did was make several pencil drawings.
At that time, I just could not bring myself to add color to any portrait work at all.
So, for most of the class I monitored and observed what my class mates were doing and I guess I stored it away for future use.

As I was attempting to put some order in my garage/studio yesterday, I came across the sketch book with the portraits I had drawn.

And, having just gotten some Sennelier Oil Pastels over the past few weeks from Dick Blick on-line art supplies, I stopped cleaning and just sat down with this.

I soon had a sore index finger. These things are crayons. Very soft. Buttery, in fact. Nice to apply, easy to smoosh around, but doing an entire 9 in. by 12 in. area is too hard to do with one's finger!

I took up a couple of stencil brushes and used them instead of my finger and blending the oil pastel colors was a lot easier. I used the very edge for detail work around the eyelids and for coloring the iris.

The whole process was a lot easier than I anticipated. However, next time I'm going to use them on studier paper. The sketch pad paper was only 65 lbs and it didn't take long to fill up the surface and it felt as if the colors were sliding around on top of each other.

Not that it really mattered. This was an experiment and it went well.

This is what it looked like as a pencil sketch. Pam Carriker gives you a basic face to try out at the beginning of her course, so it's good for all us beginners.

I see improvements in my sketches now and thanks to Mystele's Gut Art class, I finally, finally got the courage to work with color.

So, now I have a small amount of experience with graphite pencil, colored pencils, acrylic paint, water soluble oil pastel, PanPastel and now, oil pastel.

It's no wonder my garage looks like an art supply store.

Monday, December 21, 2009

PanPastel play

This is a small, about 5" X 4" size, and I'm not used to working small, angel done on a piece of office depot paper I took from my printer.
My computer had been working even slower than usual, so while cleaning up and moving files on Saturday, I made five small sketches for fun.
With a 4B pencil and the PanPastels from the 10 piece Painting Set, I smudged my way to this little angel.
These pastels are amazing! Not dusty, very intense colors and so smooth.
I'm used to working on larger spaces which gives me room to play with coloring the eyes, so this small format was - different. Just the lightest touch of the side of the Sofft tool was all that was needed to put a blend of color on the iris. The wings were fun, though.

This was a small, torn piece of watercolor paper that had a text stamp on it. I was just practicing making a face, not using anything as a reference, and before I was done, the halo appeared. sigh.
I guess all the Christmases of my childhood are seeping in because this doesn't look like just a girl to me, it looks like all the pictures of Jesus that were hung on the walls of the Presbyterian church I attended as a kid.
Of course, if Jesus was born in the middle east, he would not have looked like this, but this does look like the white Anglo-Saxon version printed in all my Bible study books.
Childhood experience really is imprinted strongly in brain and body memory.
After completing nursing school, I began studying Judaism and found its' teachings of personal responsibility for personal actions more consistent, so I converted. Now I was a stranger in a strange land. I didn't have the same background as the Jews I was meeting, but the warmness they extended to me more than made up for it. It took years for me to not want to put up a Christmas tree, though. And, memories of singing Silent Night in the church choir still peal loudly in my head this time of year.

This is the practice paper. All the stuff I've been reading about using the right kind of paper for the particular art media was suspended. Like a kid with crayons, I remembered that if you have a white piece of paper, you can color it!
Why are there so many rules? Why does everything have to be perfect? Why do I listen to everybody else?
And what's so important about being perfect, anyway?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chanukah and PanPastels

Friday night was the last night of Chanukah and so the last candle was added and what a nice space of light it makes.

This is a photo taken with no flash.

My favorite.

And, this one was taken with the auto flash. I am always amazed at the pictures this Canon Digital Elph SD800IS takes.

I've had the camera for about 2 years now and I like it because it has a function that stabilizes the image in spite of any shake your hand might do.

Sometimes however, you want a blur and boy do I have to swing my arm to get it!

This week when I came home for lunch I found some PanPastels waiting for me. Oh, do I love the mail lady!

This is a quick play with a Love stamp on watercolor paper. Wow! do these colors blend!!!

I bought some bright colors and pastels to try on some portraits.

We'll see what happens.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Glass Art Pendant

A great way to use your own art is to make a pendant!
I got the inspiration from Willowing on youtube -

She uses a wonderful little kit put out by Annie Howes -

It comes with some pretty papers, pendant glass, glues, bails to hang it with and some black cord to tie around your neck to wear it right away.

It also comes with complete instructions and lots of good tips.

I used some 7 mm silk ribbon and a plain hook and eye to fasten it.

Since the back was plain white paper, I added color with some ink pads and a small word stamp.

I am lazy and didn't want to go out to the copy store for prints of my art, so I used my ink jet printer and sprayed the images with fixative.

When that was dry I gently brushed on Golden's UV gel to seal the image and protect the colors from fading.

Surprisingly, when glued to the glass with diamond glue, non of the image ink ran. Whew!

I resized the photos of my artwork down to
7/8 inches and copied and pasted them in my Microsoft digital imaging software.

To print this out, I used Great White Imaging Photo Paper which is heavy and smooth, and not as thick as regular photo paper.

This was fun and easy to do. What else can I do with my art work?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sondra - a portrait

This portrait is now my favorite.

The colors are blue,purple, yellow and orange and work together nicely.

When the painting was completed and I asked, "What is your name?" It took a moment for me to hear, "Sondra".

The meaning from Greek is, "defender of mankind." I guess that explains the angel wings that came about when I didn't know what to do with the background.

The background and pencil drawing shown here is acrylic paint on cardboard with some paper towel collage and sand for texture.

I like to use water soluble graphite to do the drawing and then go over the lines with a clear glaze medium to set the lines and blur them a bit.

Doing that keeps the drawing from getting lost with the application of paints. Something that I need to do at this stage of my experimenting.

And, I still like to use gesso for the skin tones.
Mixing it with glaze, I build up the face a little at a time.

Learning about the planes of a face is fascinating. I use magazine photographs to analyze lighting and how it makes the structures of the face appear.

Adding shadows with more graphite, which blends so easily, helps me define inward spaces. Color,which still scares me, is added only a little at a time with oil pastels.

When I have feeling for the facial colors, I like to work on the eyes. I use acrylic paints and graphite to make soft, expressive eyes. And, it's fun to add color from around the whole portrait into the eyes.

A close up of the face shows some of the texture on the base of the cardboard.
I'm wondering if I will continue with this strategy.
Maybe a smooth base will be better with the kind of faces I seem to paint.
My original intent was to create folk art pieces, but I don't seem to have that in me.
Or, maybe this is just me at my beginner stage, still trying things out. Folk art may not be my style.
Mixed media is a huge and confusing art style.

Too many choices can be its' own nightmare.

However, when I see what can come to life with gesso, oil pastel and my index finger, I want to create more...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Beauty" - a portrait

This is another experiment in drawing and painting.
I still like to use white gesso for all of the white work.
I like the dull appearance , the fact that it can be watered down making light applications a nice way to build up the highlights and mostly, I like the way it feels when I rub the oil pastel into the paper

Working on a pink background helped me make color choices that were very soft and feminine. In fact, every experiment I've tried so far has been based on the colors of the base of the paper.
At this stage of learning, I do not like to fool with the background at all. Once I get some color, collage, and stamping done, I look for a way to put a face on the flat plain.

This is going to be a page in my gut art journal. It is a piece of 90 lb. drawing paper, folded in half and punched with holes ready to insert into the covers I've made. The other thing I am having fun with is the water-soluble graphite.
Oh, how it darkens when water is added. And the line softens so beautifully.
One cool thing to do is to go over the lines with glaze media. When it dries, which is almost right away, the lines don't change and I can paint over or around them without them disappearing forever.
An important thing to a newbie sketcher.

Working on this background will direct all my color choices, so I will end up with a "series".

I'm still totally enchanted with coloring eyes.
I want dreamy eyes.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Moriah - Gut Art Portrait

This portrait was done in October while taking Mystele's Gut Art class. We were making covers for a journal that is to hold our thoughts and works of new art made during this on-line class.
I got so enamored by working on cardboard, I never did finish making the journal. Now I have several pieces of play on cardboard that I will probably just hang up somewhere in my home. The freedom I feel while playing on this humble substrate is just what I need right now. Too much structure on stretched canvas or even wood cut for me at Home Depot scars the play right out of me.
Am still too fragile in this art making thing. Will just move forward in quiet hesitation and hope confidence will grow with practice.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Puritan Girl portrait

This little piece of artwork, and for me this IS little, measuring 5 inches by 7 inches, was done on a torn left over piece of watercolor paper that had a blend of yellows, orange, metallic gold and a few red dots stamped on it.
It just came to be. I didn't plan it. I didn't use any photos for shading reference. I didn't copy it from other work I have tried. And, I chose not to obsess about it. A first!
Sheesh, this isn't rocket science. No lives are hanging in the balance while I figure out what to do. It's just paint on paper.
Why does it always feel so momentous to do any little project? I guess it's really about being new at it. I am comfortable with fabric. Paints are an unknown to me.
And, still, I quiver in hesitation to begin a new project. I am off today. No work to go to. No shopping to be done. No laundry to catch up on. Nothing but freedom, and still I hesitate.

Oh, get over yourself! It's only paper, pencil and paint!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gut Art - continuing

This is the 9th portrait I've done while taking Mystele's Gut Art Class. Using a piece of cardboard, I applied black gesso and then added paper towels and torn book pages, plus sand for texture. Next came lots of acrylic paint. Some of it was craft paint which I like because it is so easy to apply, but I also used some heavy body paint that would add to the overall texture with brush marks and palette knife markings.

I just could not decide on a color scheme! The more I added and dried and added, the more I was unsure of the direction I wanted to go. So, at one point, I looked at the paints on my disposable palette and just sprayed water onto it. Picking up the cardboard piece, I then just smashed it down onto the paints and smushed on it with my hand.

A monoprint! Now the colors were soft and like a watercolor painting. I finally felt I was ready to begin.

Staring at the thing didn't bring up any obvious lines or areas that wanted to be developed, so I took off my glasses and suddenly the blur coalesced into a form that I was able to define with a watersoluble graphite pencil.

From then on, the painting just formed itself. The word, "diffident" drifted to mind and stayed, so I wrote it down and waited to see if something else would present itself. Nada. Okay, so this was it. The definition includes: shy, modest, irresolute and doubt. A fine description of my process for this painting.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gut Art with Mystele -

Part of the fun of taking Mystele's Gut Art class is viewing all the videos on her techniques for making all kinds of fun things. Last weekend I spent my time putting together a fun acrylic painted fabric wall hanging. Starting with some colorful cotton, I free quilted a bunch of cotton scraps and ran my sewing machine stitches round and round to make a textured surface of cotton.
Next was free application of craft paints using a palette knife. Letting each layer of color dry before adding more, kept it from becoming muddy in appearance and the colors stayed true. Once that was done, I had a very busy background, so I softened it with some gesso, and highlighted it with Liquitex Basics gold. Using a palette knife allowed the gold to ride the bumps made by my sewing and it was just the highlight I wanted.
Gazing at this background, I "saw" a face and "pulled it out" Mystele style with a water soluble graphite pencil. All that was needed after that was some softening with a black Portfolio water soluble oil pastel crayon to define the features of her face. A little lime green and purple finished the most important features and I made the skin of her face glow with a glaze of the gold acrylic.
This video shows "Maya" in her completed state. I also had a small adventure upon completion and just had to add some embroidered elements to the final piece.
This was so much fun to do! And, for once in my life I didn't worry about the "hand" of the fabric being stiff.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Gut Art Work

It's about time I wrote a note to myself about my newest passion. I have finally crossed over from doing a few pencil sketches to using acrylic paint on something besides messy backgrounds.
This painting is the first one I made while doing Mystele's Gut Art Class which started at the beginning of October. She is an inspired artist and a selfless teacher. While watching the video she made of using paper bags as a substrate for art, I remembered several backgrounds I had made a year or so ago. Putting all fear aside, I gazed into the background of this painting and suddenly "saw" this face. I immediately grabbed black acrylic and a round brush and painted the outline of her face. Once that was done, I added a little green to define her nose, and there she was.
How happy am I!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lesson 67 - A Course In Miracles Card

Front of watercolor paper card-

Inspired by lesson 67 of the workbook in "A Course In Miracles", this quote is an easy one to meditate on.

"Love created me like Itself."

1. "Today's idea is a complete and accurate statement of what you are."

This is the first line of the lesson and really completes the thought, don't you think? In reforming my ideas about myself, I can remember it, ponder it, look at myself anew and more forward more peacefully.

This is the first weekend in a long time where I didn't do one single creative thing - until 9:30 P.M. Sunday night when I made this card.

I did laundry. I watched art making videos and took notes. I walked 40 minutes and had a nice swim afterwards in our deliciously warm pool on Saturday and Sunday.

I did more laundry and thought about all the things I could/should be doing. I napped. I started reading a new historical novel, a five pounder on the life of Cleopatra.

I did more laundry. Napped again and put together really simple dinners for us.

Back of card -

Spray watercolor - turquoise. A heart outlined with water soluble oil pastel and finger smudged.

Some weekends are just meant to be restful and this was one of them.

I used a calligraphy pen to write the quote, its' source and my name.

Inside of card -

I did some sewing around the letters with gold metallic thread and it shows up on the inside. I leave long tails of thread hanging.

I like the messy look. Something alien to a seamstress such as me. My Jr High School sewing teacher would not give me an "A" for this, but she might like the colors!

This is the front of the envelope.

I left some paper bare for the address, but really like the way the watercolor dots and drips all over.

The back of the envelope-

Here is the turquoise in all its sprayed and drippy glory with the stamped letters on a old book page.

I have several copies of Reader's Digest in my garage/studio that I have used for many years to lift up from the table, the silk stretching frames I used when I hand painted silk for the prayer shawls I used to make and sell. The pages are nice and yellow now and make a great background for stamping.

It's been hard for me to switch from my sewing machine and fabric paints to paper and crayons, but I am beginning to like what I am doing. And, now, as I post this, I can go into the coming week not feeling as if I wasted two whole days.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Pink-Orange-Green Heart Card

Front of Card -
A happy combination of colors went into this card; pink, orange and green! 140 lb watercolor paper card set was sprayed with pink watercolor paint. See the drips! Don't you just love the drips?
Next, a swath of orange acrylic paint, followed by stamping a green heart with a hand made stamp. Hearts are easy, peasy to carve and I never get tired of making new sizes and shapes.
On top of the green is a heart I cut out of hand colored, stamped, and journaled paper that I sewed on with black thread. See all the loose thread hanging down? Oh, but my 7 th grade sewing teacher would have a fit to see such a mess!
I balanced the collage with more paper scraps and a deeply purple jewel. Sigh.
The last step was to sew a zigzag stitch using my favorite gold metallic thread. More loose threads all over the place.
Being messy is so SatiSfyinG!
This is the envelope.
I used the negative from cutting out the heart and glued it over another handmade green colored paper so I could write a legible address.

This time I had to be careful about sewing because I wanted the card to be able to go inside, so I just added gold metallic to the upper edge and did a couple of start/stop/pull threads out and cut so I would have lots of thread hanging around.

This will require "hand stamp" by the U.S Post Office, for sure!

This is a scan of the back of the card, signed by the artist, (Me!) and the back of the envelope, too.

Lots of pretty pink and orange and green to go around. And, the inside is just as pretty, too.

I am going to enter this in the color challenge at -

I sure do hope they like it as much as I do.
Now, I wonder who I will send this beauty to. Hopefully it will brighten up their day as much as it has mine.

Don't you just love it when art makes you smile?

p.s. Does anybody know how to make photos pop up on a separate page to show the art close up? I couldn't find instructions on blogger.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

More Handmade Cards

Card front -
I'm using 140 lb. watercolor card sets to practice all kinds of techniques and materials. The front of this card has a layer of gesso that I made marks in before it dried, making the card rather heavy to hold. I then sprayed watercolors and after that blend of yellow, orange and red dried, I used oil pastels to draw the hearts.

This is the front of the envelope. I got carried away with smudging the crayons, but it sure was fun to do.

I used the same techniques for the inside of the card leaving room to do some writing when I send the card to someone, someday.

This is really fun!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

A handmade card.

The front of a new handmade card.

Sometimes it's fun to just forget how much you are trying to learn a new skill (drawing portraits) and just play around with color again.

I had some watercolor card sets sitting around in my garage/studio that were so old the paper was getting a yellow tinge.

That happens to me a lot. I buy supplies and then put them up on a shelf because I don't know what to do with them. Yet.

I rediscovered a bunch of liquid watercolor bottles I had gotten from Crayola and decided to put some in spray bottles and play around with them for awhile. What fun it is to spray color all over paper!!!

I had a lot of background papers made just for practice and started to cut them up and use them as stencils to spray over and through. It's really fun to use the negative paper you get from cutting out simple shapes.

After using lime watercolor sprayed and dripped on the card, I added some blue acrylic paint. A quick swath of color was just enough, but I made sure to do the envelope and inside of the card all at the same time. The more drips and splashes, the better. I need to do this kind of stuff to loosen up! I am so new at making paint related art, I tend to over think every decision.

This is the envelope. I used the negative shape for the address box and really looked forward to writing a real address inside it.

I even uncovered the sewing machine that has been sitting on my table in the garage and sewed a metallic gold thread border on the heart papers.

For someone who has sewed on fabric for 50 years or so, this was a happy, happy work.

This is the inside of the card, opened out so you can see the stitches made by the sewing machine. I was amazed at how easily the thread laid on the paper. Not one episode of thread breakage or shredding. Amazing!! This stuff is usually so picky and even using a large eyed needle and all the silicone lubricant I can slid over the spool, there is usually a time or two of threads shredding and such.

This watercolor paper was a dream to work on. I am going to make lots and lot of cards. What a wonderful way to practice collage techniques and come out with something useful, too!

This card is going to Karen. Happy Birthday!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

SuziBlu - portrait #1and #2

It was late. I was tired. My brain was scrambled from a day in front of my computer doing billing and insurance work.

There was no way I could contemplate making art.

So, what's the best way to spend an evening if the TV is just too, too silly to stare at?

Why, find some "how to make art" videos and plant your tired eyes in front of your PC.
I am taking (silly me) another course in drawing portraits, and this one is from my favorite, fabulous, forty year old fighter-for-all-who-hanker-to-create-art; Miss SuziBlu.

I'm sure you know her, she is all over the web and is truly one of a kind. An enthusiastic cheerleader who unstintingly shares her art making experience and love of all things pigment related. Oh, can she make you laugh out loud! At home. By yourself. At your computer.

I found her on You Tube last year and have been addicted ever since. She is so gracious that when you take one of her courses, she lets you download the videos, and there are a lot of them, so you can watch them anytime, anywhere. No wireless needed. No time limits. No trouble at all.

So, here I was, as I said, tired, red eyed, stiff necked and sore bottomed staring at Miss SuziBlu tell me to pick up a pencil and just draw. I had a dull #2 with no eraser left on the bitten end and my wide ruled tablet of note paper.

And, much to my surprise, instead of taking notes like I always do, I put down my ball point and picked up that ratty pencil and did a drawing while Suzi demonstrated how to make a charming, young, beautiful artful face on the video.

Before I knew it, the video was over and I had a drawing laid on top of those blue lines. How wonderful is that?

Now Suzi is in the second week of The Goddess & The Poet class and has started in on colored pencil.

I watched video #2A and got out the Moleskine purple label she recommended for the class and did another portrait today.

This is another face based on a model advertising eye shadow. It's a shame they all wear false eyelashes. It's hard to see the real shape of the eye, but oh, they are such pretty girls. I forgive Maybelline and Cover Girl and all the rest. It's wonderful to have such a plethora of pretty faces to learn on.

On of these days I am going to graduate to color. I have been stuck in graphite on the Pursue Portrait course because (a) my faces are too realistic in an awful way and (b) the last time I tried color, I got an awful mess to show for it.

This art making stuff takes years and years and I've been told it takes 10,000 hours to get good at anything.

That part's OK, but do I have 10,000 hours of play time left to work it out?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pursue Portrait # 7 and #8

The Pursue Portrait on-line class with Pam Carriker is a really nice class for me. It is really a challenge to draw a face and put some of your own into it.

I have been looking around at old photos and am not finding many with me in them at all. That's because I am always the one behind the camera.

Even when I was young, my sister, Gloria, always said, "Your turn! Get in the picture!"

Guess I didn't listen to her very often.

I took this photo with my digital camera last week and was trying to find a nice head tilt image. I'm happier with the lips and eyes and even the nose has the somewhat square shape I see in the mirror.

I got tired of looking at my face, so I ripped apart a few magazines. Photographs of women in purple eye shadow are really fun to draw!

One of these days I will get up the courage to add some color to the sketches I am making.

Now who wouldn't love to have a face like this to draw everyday?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Portrait Class continues

The work continues. Looking at one's own face is such a challenge. It's difficult to be involved without being critical. This was done from a photo taken when I had my adult Bat Mitzvah in 1985. Of course, while I worked on the drawing, I was filled with conflicting memories of that day. Glad I had completed another goal, happy to be with family, but concerned about where I would be going goal-wise from here.

I shouldn't have worried. God always makes sure you have lots to learn.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A Portrait Class

(Diffuse Glow)

I am taking a portrait drawing and painting class with Pam Carriker at and after practicing on a "generic face" that Pam created for us, I moved onto the next lesson where she encourages you to draw your own face. sigh.
This is not so much fun.
I do not have a 30 year old face. Or even a 40 year old face. 50 is just a memory and now I'm in the middle of my 60th decade and let me tell you, the invention of digital camera is fun for computer use, but not so much fun when you need a blurry version of yourself.

I remember, fondly, my first Kodak Instamatic. Point, shoot, instant flash if needed and then you send the roll away and you get 24 or 36 softly blurred images as memory keepers. Those were the good old days and I didn't even need it then. I was young. My face was unlined and thin and my skin glowed with youth!

Now, however, I have an amazing digital camera that is brilliant at capturing tons of photos one after the other and not one costs me a penny. I can shoot hundreds and still not fill up my 2 Gigabite SD card. If I want a copy of any photo, I print it out at home or have them uploaded at Snapfish and get prints for .09 cents each - a special deal...

But try, just TRY to get a soft focus shot of an old face. Grrrrr. I finally resorted to using the "diffuse glow" option on my photo editing software and after playing with it for 90 minutes, I got about 12 photos that I wasn't afraid to look at. Sheesh.
This first photo is diffused and glowing, but softly. I had to jiggle it so my face wouldn't disappear altogether.

(Digital image)

After lunch I got out my Polaroid camera and took about 10 photos of my face an arms length away. I was on the porch and it was a sunny day, so the photos were not flashed, but boy oh boy were they blurry! My arms are just not long enough for the 3 foot focus of that camera.
Having lunch settled me.
I decided to try to do a portrait, so I printed out a few of the photos that I had fooled around with and sat down with my pencil and paper.
Guess what. There was just not enough detail to get a fix on my chin.
So, I went back to my computer and took another look at all the photos I had taken earlier in the day. I had shots coming from all kinds of angles. Up close, 3/4, full front, left side, right side, smiling, teeth, no teeth, frowns, surprise!, dreamy and whatever mood I could think of to describe what was happening on my face.
How and when did my nose get so Big!?
What I realized right then was, I had some really good photos of a face. Just a face. OK, so for now it is my face, but so what? It's something to draw and someone I know. I was suddenly glad for all those pictures. I was happy with them. I felt good inside. And, I don't know why. Something inside me had changed from before lunch to after lunch. I was OKAY with these pictures and I was going to use them as is.
I printed out a bunch, thank goodness I had figured out how to set my digital camera to black and white setting, and I sat down again at my drawing pad.

(First Self Portrait)

This is what happened.
It's a near likeness. Maybe only I can see it, but it is my first self portrait. I am going to trust that it is OK. I am going to be happy with it just as it is and I am finding out that "diffuse glow" comes from within.
Who knew?

Saturday, May 30, 2009


I've been taking an on-line class, Layer Love, with Julie Prichard, who can be found at:
She teaches how to make interesting backgrounds for art work, journaling and so on.
This is project number three. The base coat was yellow, next was lots of transparent washes with anything leaning toward brown. There are a few pieces of collaged elements added when the colors were just getting more aged. The final layer is made by making the paint drip down the page.
This was fun to do. It reminded me of all the color washing I did on the walls of my office at home.

This is what my walls look like. Two walls are painted in layers of blue and dioxizine purple. I started with a sky blue base coat, then with a sponge and the mixture of dark blue and purple with lots of glaze, I did lots of spongy circles all over the two walls. Three layers! For the fourth, I sponged paint here and there and sprayed water for drips.

It is dark, beautiful and restful. The other two walls are white. One wall has a bifold door closet. The other is a wall of dark wood book cases.
Funny how I never thought of it as artwork, but it is!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

First Finished Mixed Media Project.

This is from the class I took with Willowing. She has a wonderful workshop that shows lots of ways to paint, make backgrounds and also talks a lot about facing fears of making art. She showed how to create this image through her videos and though this painting isn't an original, she is the first I ever completed from start to finish.
Art is taught by copying. This is a copy and it was fun.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A colored pencil face -

Taking a course with SuziBlu, Petite Dolls, got me to playing with colored pencils. This is the first face I colored.

Amazing how scary it is to actually color in a drawing. I had tried watercolor pencils - what a disaster! Everything has to be wet at the same time in order to have smooth transitions of color. NOT an easy thing for a novice. And, using student grade watercolor paint doesn't work well either. There really is too much filler for the color to lay down smoothly. Professional grade is a must!

I wouldn't even try acrylic at this point. The paints dry so fast, you are often chasing color after color and soon end up in a mud hole. I know using an extender is supposed to help, but I haven't yet found the correct proportions for mixing it with the paint. Another task to master.

Colored pencil, however, is a great tool for a beginner. It goes on in layers that just sit where you put them. Once a color or two is laid in, you gently burnish it to blend and soften the waxy application. If you are careful and go gently without crushing the paper, you can get a nice natural shading going. I was pleased and surprised with my first attempt. If not for this first face, I might still be cringing at the thought of applying color to anything I draw.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Art trials-

I am changing my idea about myself.

For the past several months, I have been monitoring/taking mixed media classes online. Being very timid about drawing and totally afraid of what I might create, I have not been fanatically creating stuff. The fear has been getting in the way. A lot.

Slowly, however, with pencil and watersoluble oil pastels in hand, I have been splashing paint on watercolor paper. Most of the time I want to rip the page out and never see it again. Lately, though, I have just been accepting my first efforts as, just that. First efforts. Not really important in the scheme of my daily life. No one sees them. No one can make hurtful, wise-ass comments. No one can ask, "Why bother? What are you doing this for?" Enough of that goes around and around in my own head to keep me cringing at the sight of all my new art supplies. Little is made, but that's where I am, for now.

I haven't even turned on my sewing machine since March! Unheard of in this house! What? No new skirts? No new tees? No multicolored nine patch quilts? Nothing at all for my two granddaughters? sigh.

I have found this about myself. I am solo-focused. Is that even a word? I cannot switch from sewing to drawing easily. For now, if I want to learn how to draw and color, I have to just draw and color. It's bad enough trying to turn off my work brain to switch to play brain without also trying to do sew brain.

Now I know why people say childhood is a fun time. All you are expected to do as a child is learn stuff. Words, numbers, manners, concepts, ideas, new foods, walk, run, rollerskate, ride a bike. No body cares if you misspell, add it up incorrectly, or burp out loud - at first. Imperfect behavior is the natural domain of a child and if you are lucky, the adults around you gradually and patiently show you how to do all of it better. If you do fall off your bike, most likely your mom or dad or auntie will bandage you up and put you right back on the seat of that bike to see that you keep going. How nice is that!

All of that is harder as an adult. Things have become hardwired. Beliefs about limitations have settled in. New activities with body or brain come slower. I have forgotten how to be patient with myself. Now, when I was a kid, my parents often fast forwarded me to act more grown up. I was the firstborn of four and did everything first, fast and perfect. This is not easy to change, but I am trying. I don't want to get older and not have explored my abilities for fear of failure. When I am 90 (G-d willing) I want to be busy. I want to indulge my curiousity without all of this fear hounding me. And, I don't want to apologise for being born anymore.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lomography - Holga 135

I saw a small paragraph in the Sun Sentinel newspaper last December about the new popularity of plastic cameras. After seeing some of the photos taken by these low tech devices, I HAD to have one! I am SO TIRED OF PERFECT DIGITAL PIX! These photos were taken with a Holga 135. It's a plastic camera with a plastic lens and no flash. This style is cool because you can use ordinary 35 mm film and have it developed at any local store AND you can have your pix put on a CD.
This shot was taken early one sunny morning with a 400 speed film and I just love the dreamy quality of this view. Beautiful, soft, south Florida sky with green, green trees. The sun hitting the plastic lens makes the light scatter all over the place and I would have a hard time creating that effect in any of my photo altering programs.

This is a view of our pool and plastic chairs. Look how lush and dense the folliage presents itself as it pushes through several of the now absent screens of the pool enclosure. Surprisingly, most people in our neighborhood have fixed the hurricane damage that was left in October of 2005, but we kind of like to see Mother Nature pushing her way into previously forbidden spaces.
(And besides, I can swim quite naked without fear of nosy neighbors wondering what all the splashing is all about.)

This is a shot of the gable above the master bath. Look at the incredibly intense color of the sky! This camera is amazing! I just love the soft edges that blur parts of the photo. That vine attracts Zebra wing butterflies and I can't begin to tell you the joy I feel as I see them reeling about those big juicy leaves looking for the flowers to drink sweet nectar and lay dozens of eggs for future generations of little transformers.

I got this photo just while taking my morning walk down our sweetly shaded street. Look at the misty effect created, once again, by the plastic lens.
Plastic. Irregular. Imperfect.
Creating softness, reflecting the mystery that is everpresent in each newly created moment of this most beautiful day.