Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pacific Northwest fall...

I Love the way...
Sun streams through my window at a horizontal angle
Leaves look hand-dipped in color washes of reds, oranges and greens
Starfish on my windowsill remind me of summer fun with family
Air is warm enough in October to still have the window open
There is music to fit any time, any place and any mood. 
I now have time to enjoy it.  

Friday, September 28, 2012

A busy week

I have to say that retirement for me has not been a time for slacking.  Admittedly, my days are very different than when I was teaching.  I especially love not waking to an alarm clock.  And the glorious September weather we have been experiencing in the Pacific Northwest  for the past 8 weeks is, in itself, a reason to get up singing every morning.  But I have other things to sing about.  Since August, I have signed up for three e-courses all about art.  The first one was a 5 week course (mostly videos, with some written interaction) about using different types of mediums in art.  It was called Supplies Me, by Jane Davenport, a mixed media artist in Australia.   Right up my alley, since I have this huge learning curve going taking in all the new mediums there are to use... like dabbers, spray inks, distressed inks, and who knew that Sharpie has an amazing "Paint" marker?  I love it in white.  You will find Sharpie White Paint marker on everything I do probably (at least in the eyeball area).

The second class is just about to start it's third week.  This is Kelly Rae Roberts Flying Lessons class that will also last about 5 weeks.  In this class she talks about the path she took to becoming a successful artist by using the internet to promote/showcase her work.   Her class in itself has opened doors for me to a HOST of amazing artists from all over the world.  I am now following  artists from Australia, France, Burma!, England, Canada and the US.  Amazingly this e-course has attracted over 650 people.  It doesn't take a genius to do the math.  Could a retired teacher of 30 years find a niche on the internet with e-courses?  Ahhhh!  The opportunities are limitless.
NOT that that is my niche.

In my thirst for knowledge to know everything everyone else knows about mixed media, I have come across a few artists that I particularly like.  One of these is Misty Mawn who happens to also have an e-course called Art Journey.  OK... it's my LAST one for awhile, but I had to sign up.  I haven't had time to do anything except peek, but ooolala... it looks fantastic.  All of these courses are self-paced and though the lessons would take 5 weeks to get through if you worked at it every day, one could take time to get through them.  Which I will do for this class.  I think I may want to BE her.  In fact why don't you take a peek at her website and let me know what you think.    And while you are looking at those links, my other favorite artist is  at PBs Art Studio.  I just bought two of her pieces.  This one called "They all thought she was scandalous" I bought in a print:

And the other one, called Dare to Dream,  I couldn't seem to get a copy of but this is the link to it:
I bought the original of that.  They are IN THE MAIL to me.  So excited!
Cute cute art... perfect for the whimsy of my studio life.

UPDATE:   Just got them in the mail and they are cuter than the pix online.  Thank you Patti Ballard at PBs Art Studio.  Here's the Dare to Dream one.  It is done on a piece of wood.. 4" X 12".

So there you have it... I am very busy with a brand new passion.  Life is good, lovely and mostly kind.

I have been so busy reading posts, blogs, e-course materials and getting my new Facebook "business" page up, that I have not finished a lot of work this week.  But I did finish this one entitled:  Dreaming Exceptionally Large:

Thank you all for your encouragement and wonderful comments.  I appreciate them all!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Feeling Bravely

When I started this blog the first part of September, (3 weeks ago)  I plunged in (with an audience of one)  just to keep track of all the painting I've been doing.  I knew it would be fun to see how my art progressed.  Since then, I've been taking an e-course for creative souls that is very encouraging in putting yourself "out there".  It really is an act of courage to say, "Hey, look at my blog and my paintings".  Who do I think I am saying, "I am an artist"?  But.... that is exactly what I am now.  If I don't believe it, I won't be it.

Because of this class, I am taking steps  to establish an online presence,  like starting this blog,  a pinterest account,  a Facebook account for my "business"  (I have the account, just nothing on there yet,) and an Etsy shop, (have that too, with nothing posted as yet).  I would like to have a website within the year, hopefully.  ( I REALLY love and admire my son-in-law who is an amazing website designer! )

Today, I finished a canvas that started as a sketch in my sketch book.  I thought she had potential so I used her as a model for my canvas drawing.

Prepping the canvas.  I used some floral paper collaged with acrylics added.

I am still trying to figure out what to seal the finished paintings with.  Since I use acrylics and pencils, paper, and sometimes markers and sprays, I am not sure what the best sealant would be.  I have a BUNCH to take care of!

This one is 7 1/2" x 9 1/2" by 1 1/2".

I painted with full-bodied acylics today rather than fluid acrylics and I think that made a huge difference in blending paint for the skin tones.  Thinking I need to fix that arm.  It looks kind of hinged instead of an integral part of the body.  Hmm.

These paints are "da bomb"!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Today was a Good Day

This was the FIRST day in many that I had no appointments or places I had to be.  It was a p'jammie kind of day and also the first in many that had no sunshine.  It was all OK.
This is the canvas I had prepared a few days ago.  As usual, I did not know where I was going with it.

It seems that every canvas I work on lately, I NEED to use modeling paste to add texture.  I am looking to learn different ways to use this cool medium.

Always a lady seems to emerge.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Spreading the Joy

Anyone who messes with art or in any creative endeavor, knows how it is so satisfying to the soul.  One day I had my grandson and granddaughter over for a couple of hours in the afternoon. My grandson was out of sorts.  Very irritable and verbally cranky.  His stream of crankiness continued as I set up an art experience for them on the back deck.  BUT... the minute he picked up the paint brush and put it to paper his demeanor changed, the tension went out of him and his heart became playful.  It was an A-Mazing transformation and a good reminder to me how much we NEED creative outlets.


Makes my heart sing.   And remember.... when I am cranky, send me to my art room.

Here's another session with my 3 year old granddaughter.  She was very busy using glue and sequins.  

I love her intensity.

I love her intensely.
Beauty in my Art room.

Diamond Girl

Here I was just playing with color again.  I seem to gravitate to pinks and blue-greens.  For this I did not use underlying collage items but added texture with sculpting paste to the background. After I took this picture I added some outlining with charcoal pencil and gave her a nose diamond.

Since it is nighttime in this next shot,  the coloring is different.  The above picture is more true to color, but this picture shows the changes I made.

I think she needs her flower too.  I have not glued her diamonds down yet.  To keep or not to keep?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Time for Color

For this next piece I was in the mood for colorful so I started off by slapping a bunch of odds and ends on my canvas.  This is what it looked like at that stage:

Just random stuff.  Tissue paper, patterned paper, stickers, scrap of writing, stamps, stuff.   I am gaining confidence that the finished product will look NOTHING like this stage, but if you look hard you will see evidence of this peeking through.  
I wish I'd remember to take more pictures along the way because it is quite a jump to the next picture.  It involved layers of paint, red ink, dot stencils, white marker.  

I made little paper clay disks to add to the flowers.  They are about 1/4" thick.  I dropped one on the floor and can't find it so there is one more in the making.  (My floor is NOT cluttery.  It's like the floor opened up and swallowed it. GONE!)   More paint, and details with marker and paint.  Finished.
I like it.

What should I name this one?
Right now all I can think of is Girl with a Bird.   So Imaginative. 

As suggested in the comments, I will name this "A Little Birdy Told Me"  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


This next painting was inspired by my favorite photo of I. and D.  This is the photo:

Soooo Sweet.  Had to try.  
Here's my rendition.  

Self Portrait #2 in Acrylic

I am always challenged to paint a "likeness".  Self is the easiest to access and the easiest to judge.  
Stage One:

September 10, 2012
I was using a photograph to work from.   Final, Maybe.  Sometimes, you just have to stop even if it isn't quite what you want it to look like.   

Many at Once

I have discovered, as any mixed media artist does, that you HAVE to work on more than one canvas at a time.  I have yet to buy a heat gun to speed up the drying process between layers so I have to put one aside after just a little bit of work.   Sometimes this is only after just a few minutes of work, so it is good to have something else to work on while I'm waiting for one to dry.  (I have tried to go with my impatience and push the drying process, but I have ended up with a mess, so I am trying to resist.)

Yesterday I found myself with a bunch of time and had five prepped canvases at varying stages of beginning.  The first one may be my favorite so far, maybe because it is so colorful and because it was such fun to do.  Here is the early stage with just some collage and paint added.

 As   you can see, this is the "ugly stage" and one has to proceed in faith that it will get better and something good will emerge.  I think it was Modigliani who said, "Art is never finished, just abandoned".  While that could be true, I think there is something to be said for knowing when to quit.

 Ain't she pretty?  I like the map in her face.

Here's another background that I was kind of happy with.  So far I've used acrylics, stamps, ink, a patterned tape and modeling paste.  I read about using this paste over stencils to create texture in your work.  Fun!

I'm not sure I am done with this one, but here is what evolved.

Weird thing.  When I uploaded these photos, the texture from the modeling paste is reversed.   The indentations are really poking out in the real painting.  Weird thing.  

More later.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Special Order

A commission (free) by my daughter to make some small canvases for her daughter's room.  My mind was a-twirl thinking about what I'd do and then she told me that B was crazy about Hello, Kitty.  Well, hmm.  Not a complicated task.  Here are the final products:

Hope she likes them.  What's not to love?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A gift for a friend

OK, so I have a friend who covets an original  oil pastel painting I have on my wall.  It was made by an artist friend of mine, Trudy Jane Patricio Pullen, and I love it too so I won't give it to her.  But, today was her birthday so I tried to replicate the picture for her.  Though it does not look quite like the original, I rather like it.  Here's the reproduction.

  Here's the original by T.J.

She's amazing.  More talent in her big toe than in .... well, in anyone I know.  (except my big brother)
Always fun to learn from the masters.  

Monday, September 3, 2012

Getting Up to Date

I had a largish canvas looking at me.  What I seem to be doing a lot now  is playing first with color and background ideas, incorporating collage.  I started with some red patterned papers and some tissue patterns and then painted and textured over them.  The girls emerge after the background is done and often the background shows through their skin and clothes.  Sometimes I use the background as part of their clothes as in the case of the lady on the right.  I think of these two ladies as sisters.  In small letters it says "Sisters of Life".  I'm not saying my work is nearing perfection, but these dollies are on my studio wall and they make me smile whenever I look at them.  My friends.  

1st picture.  This is the "ugly stage".  


Two more that I finished recently.
The first one caused me trouble.  I had quite a DARK background going... really dark.  So I started stamping textured things on it with cardboard honeycomb stuff that came in packing material.  That lightened it up a bit.  But it was still very dark to put a lady on.  So she really has a lot of the background showing through her skin.  Her dress is part of the background too,  just lightened up with some see-through sparkly blue paint.  I'd like to put a top coat of gel gloss on it but I'm afraid to because I used some ink sprays in the background and I'm afraid they will bleed.

This one was influenced by the class I am taking.  Everyone seems to like pink and lavendar or blue or neon hair.  They also like to draw fairies.  But I like her anyway.  In this one I was learning to shade lips.  Still a challenge for me.  I need to observe lips more often and how the light hits them.  No offense if I stare at you.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Taking a class!

How fun is that?  An online class for drawing.  Found this person, Jane Davenport from Australia, through KRR's blog and decided to take her Supplies Me class.  Though this gal is not my muse, she takes her e-students through a series of videos demonstrating the use of different art supplies.  She is in keeping with my wish to use different art media in the same painting and I've been learning about supplies I never heard of.  Like for instance, Inktense pencils, for example.  These little beauties are rich colored pencils that turn into vibrant water colors when a wet brush is put to them.  

I also had never heard of pastel pencils.  Always have used the crayons and find them SO MESSY and really hard to blend without having balls of crayon goo left on the page.  But the pencils!  I just got a small set and can already see some fun times ahead.

My favorite must-have new supplies are:

*  white Sharpie Paint marker
*  Gesso
*  Adirondack Color Washes
*  Adirondack Paint Dabbers
*  Ranger Distress Stains

First time using these supplies... never heard of some of them and they are out there making painting so much fun!

So, the class is meant to be about a 6 week deal, but she leaves the lessons up for use for a 12 month period.  I am taking my sweet time and am on week 3 now.  I get side-tracked with other things I want to do but I have been trying to do all of the "homework" she requests at the end of each video series.

This little lady was one of the first assignments... using a variety of media in the painting.  I am supposed to be keeping a journal, but I keep ripping the pages out of the book so I can see them better, so I abandoned the book idea.

I like her white hair and her lips.

My next assignment I used colored pencils to make faces... all kinds of faces.  I was practicing the "turned face"  too which takes some practice getting the chin, lips and nose lined up parallel-like.

My third assignment was to do a piece with back and bottom included.  Huh?  Never did this but using a little wooden doll like this:  

I think I figured it out.  

We were also to incorporate shading.  A little too rosy for cheeks but the sun was out.  

Happy Trails.  

A couple more portraits

The first one is my daughter-in-law and my granddaughter.  A pencil drawing.  I was kind of happy with the likeness.

I have some work to do on proportion and shading.

The next one is my daughter, Sarah.  Since I was just practicing with different mediums, I used colored pencils and then went over it with pastels for the second one. It looks like her but she is way prettier than this.  I need to get a more current picture of her to work from.