Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mixed Emotions

After finishing a project I always have a mix of emotions: relief! sadness, happiness, disappointment, excitement...pretty much all of the above. So, now that Lavinia is finished I am looking on to the next couple of projects. Another doll (polymer clay) and a mixed media canvas using some of the Digital Grounds images I've made recently. Now, back to work...

Meet Lavinia The Gypsy

Here she is: my first cloth and clay doll! She is a little rough but not bad for a first effort at everything. I've never sewn and stuffed a doll before, I've never sculpted a face with Paperclay over cloth before, I've never made a doll skirt before and I've never made a wig before. So, all of these things are now behind me. It's a huge learning curve working with the Paperclay. It's not as smooth as polymer clay and it's messier to work with.

So she's a PRIMITIVE doll, ok? She's not supposed to be beautiful or perfect. I wish I'd given her some more color in her face but the photo turned out paler than she really is. She still has that alien look to her but I'm learning how to add "bulk" to a face.

One thing I have to do is let it go! She's finished and I'm proud that I completed her. The photo below is the best of the worst photos I took of a closeup of her face. I wish I was a photographer but I can't stop the shaking lens (even with the feature that is supposed to do it for you!). But for what it's worth here is a closeup:

Yes, she does have a surprised look about her. Need to work on making the eyes a little smaller. But no more picking at the poor thing. She has enough to worry about just being a gypsy. Now on to the next challenge...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New Worlds

I put this little piece together to celebrate all of the new worlds I'm discovering in my art! And chief among these new worlds is the doll world. I have my primitive doll about 3/4 of the way completed. If you look on the right sidebar, the ad for Cloth-Clay Doll Workshop has a photo of a primitive doll. This is the style of the doll I am making. It is a cloth doll that has the face sculpted out of Paperclay.

I have the doll sewn together, stuffed, covered with first layer of Paperclay, face sculpted, skirt made (my first gathered skirt!) and I just finished giving her the first coat of paint. Tomorrow I will detail her, make her a wig and fit her skirt. It's really kind of scary. After all of the work done on her so far, the first layer of paint on the doll is black. The entire doll is painted black! Aaahhh...!! But I saw how Jane did it and that's the look I want to go for. Remember...vintage! So, she's a little doll painted all black sitting on my sewing table right now.

Yes, the sculpting of the face is definitely a primitive look. I fiddled and fussed with it for two days. Finally you have to let it go and figure you'll get better with each face you sculpt. So, she's no ravishing beauty but she will pass for the vintage doll I'm aiming for. I have plans for her outfit and hair which will help give her more personality.

Anyway, that's what I'm celebrating today. You see me up in the attic of the little house in the picture? I'm feeling pretty good about right now...Hope you have a safe Holiday weekend. More to come later...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Grunge With A Twist

I got a little distracted on the way down to the doll workshop! Yesterday I received my "pixel packet" from As part of my membership in the Digital Art club I receive a monthly digital kit based on a theme: this month, it was grunge. I love grunge art! But I like to put my own twist on it: add just a bit of pretty color (I know, then it's not grunge!). But the grunge is still there...cracks, smudges, blotches, etc.

Anyway, once I made one piece I couldn't stop and I ended up making a few pieces. These were my three favorites (in this order!). The first one I call, "Beauties in Grunge". These women were so beautiful nothing could make them ugly. The top one is Sophia Loren and the bottom, of course, Marilyn Monroe.

This next one came with the word "THINK" spray painted onto a white, paint-chipped background. I gave it lots of color but kept the spray painting, of course. I hunted for some kind of image that would physically fit under the words AND apply somewhat to their meaning. I found this image in my Dover Designs file. Every week I get clip art from them that I save to use in my art. I'm getting a pretty good stash. This is from their "Erte's Coloring Book" and it's Erte's Sleeping Beauty. I call it, "Erte's SleepingBeauty Grunge".

And, of course, I had to throw some Zetti art into the bunch. This was a jumble of grunge backgrounds merged together, a little color thrown in and a few Zetti images. This one is called, "Extreme Grunge: Zetti Style".

Now I really am going to work in my doll workshop today. I have a nice big work bench down there and all of my doll/jewelry supplies, along with my Dremel drill, clay oven and tons of clay. So, off I go!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


This is part of a journal page I made for yesterday. This is just the image part; the rest of the page is shown below. I didn't include the writing that I did because it was too personal but the image says a lot of what the writing expounded upon. I am trying to keep the promise I made to myself to journal more and visual journalling really is a healing process!

I have my art table completely covered up right now working on my doll. I didn't want to remove all of the material to make a journal page so I compromise and have a digital journal going for days like yesterday when it's just not feasible to drag all of the art supplies out onto the table. I like to keep both types of journals (digital and traditional) and am finding these work well for me.

Here is the entire journal page (minus the writing):

Other news: the doll. Well, I ran into a snag yesterday when I went to give her the first coat of Paperclay. It just wasn't going well! I forgot to mention that before I can sculpt her face she needs a base coat of Paperclay. So that was the plan for yesterday: get the base coat on and then today start sculpting the face (my favorite part). But the clay, or more accurately, MY APPLICATION of the clay, didn't work. It ended up being gooey and sticky and completely NOT what was supposed to happen! Aaargghhhh....! So before it could dry like that I wiped it all off and set her under a fan to dry.

I had a feeling I was using too much water to blend the clay. Every time I've tried to use Paperclay I just have not had good luck. Other doll artists love it and I'm determined to get this right. So I contacted Jane, the workshop instructor, and described to her what happened. She said it sounded like I was definitely using too much water and that with a new package of clay I shouldn't need much at all to blend it! Note to self: today EASY ON THE WATER!!! So, while I was at it, I gave the doll another coat of Gesso so she would be good and sturdy for the clay. Today she should be dry enough to start again. Hopefully this time the first layer of Paperclay will stick!

Monday, May 18, 2009


I found another wonderful art community at a website called Digital Whisper (see sidebar for the link). It's a site devoted mainly to artists working with digital art. This is right up my alley! While I'm really starting to experiment in the more traditional art forms I will always love my digital art. And, as you can see from the last couple of posts, digital art can very easily be incorporated into your 3-D art thanks to all of the image transfer techniques that are available.

I made this piece in response to the weekly challenge at Digital Whisper. All we were given was an image of a red chair and asked to see where that took us. I loved the vibrant red color! It immediately made me think of roses so I added roses to the background of the chair to make it look like the fabric was a rose print. The rest is all layers and layers of Photoshop work. At last count I think there were about 20 layers. I'm not sure if it's entirely finished yet. I'll live with it for another day or so and then submit it to the challenge.

I'm also printing images onto new Digital Grounds materials and will have more of those to show soon. And today I begin to sculpt the cloth doll a face made out of paperclay. It's going to get very messy so I have to find an old shirt and lots of baby wipes!! I'll post results soon.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Digital Grounds: Part 2

I did some more experimenting today with the digital grounds products. The images above were all printed out onto Iridescent Medium. I love that stuff! If you add it to your acrylic paints it gives them a soft shimmer. So I thought a shimmery base would be pretty on these images. Click on the images to get a better look. The shimmer shows through better on the larger version.

It took a few trials and errors but I figured out that I need at least three coats of the Iridescent Medium to make it thick enough to peel off of the plastic sheet. Previous trials I used two coats plus the two coats of the Digital Grounds for Non-Porous Surfaces and it was still too thin to peel off of the plastic. Three coats made it thick enough to handle. One image did end up with a couple of "wrinkles" due to my error in placing it on the carrier sheet. I'll still be able to use it, though.

Then I had some stamped images and decided to print those out onto tulle treated with two layers of digital grounds for non-porous surfaces. I know tulle is "porous" but this stuff is matte finish and the other grounds give either a white background or a gloss finish; not what I want. These worked out cool! I printed them onto white tulle and placed the tulle over gold organza so you could make out the images better.

The scan really picked up the image above. I think I cropped it too close. It turned out really nice, though. My favorite is this next one:

She printed out just light enough where you can layer the tulle on any fabric and she really pops! These next two images were printed out onto clear plastic shelf liner. The first one didn't scan so well because it's a transparent image. Anything you lay it up against shows through very nicely.

Here it is placed over white silk. The colors in the image didn't scan very well but it did turn out beautifully.

I made up a new batch of experiments for tomorrow. They are drying right now and I'll let them get good and dry overnight before trying to print anything out on them. They are soft gel (gloss), Acrylic Grounds for Pastels and more molding paste with pearl mica flakes. I found out a painful lesson when I tried to topcoat the original molding paste sample. Lesson learned: DON'T gel topcoat the molding paste. I'll show you my sad result next time. :( SO, I had to make some more molding paste samples because I love the look!

Also, I don't know if you noticed the new sidebar additions. I'm taking another doll class. This one is more of a folk doll. It's a cloth doll that you then add clay to and sculpt the face over the muslin. I've made the muslin doll, stuffed her and gave her a coat of gesso. Tomorrow the sculpting begins. She's also drying overnight. So I've been busy today! I also managed to help hubby do a little yard work. Now I'm going to take it easy. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Digital Grounds: Let The Games Begin!!

I have discovered Digital Grounds! Yay!! Actually, I have known about them for awhile but have never really understood how they work or what to use them for. Thanks to Gail Schmidt at Creative Workshops (see sidebar), now I'm beginning to see the light!

Guess what the images above are printed on? Don't know? It's a layer of molding paste topped with a layer of silver mica flakes. That's it! No paper underneath, no backing, ... just the molding paste and mica flakes. Cool, huh? This is all possible because of the Digital Grounds. If you click on each image you'll get a better view of it. In the top image the small flecks are silver mica flakes. They really add a lot to the overall look of the images.

So what are Digital Grounds? They are products made by Golden that enable you to print onto surfaces you'd normally never be able to such as... molding paste! Who would have thought you'd ever be able to print onto that? Other surfaces I'm experimenting with (still in the drying stage): gel medium, matte medium, peel 'n stick laminate, iridescent medium, tar gel... oh, so many experiments!

The sample below is printed onto two layers of Golden fluid acrylic paint (in copper). That's it! Just paint layers. These are called "skins" because they are literally like a fine layer of skin that peels right off of the paper with no problem.

The sample below is printed onto aluminum foil. It wouldn't photograph very well because of the glare and the scanner didn't really do it justice either. But it turned out beautifully!

I haven't added the top-coat to the images yet. Golden includes two top-coats in their kit: a glossy and a semi-gloss. These are meant to protect your images and you add the top coat after they have fully dried. I just had to show the first of the experiments right off of the computer. I'm loving this stuff! It makes the tedious process of other image transfer techniques seem so labor intensive!

Anyway, I'm experimenting with the gel medium and the matte medium tonight. I need to get two coats of each down onto plastic and then add two coats of the digital grounds. After all of that dries, then you peel the medium off of the plastic sheets and tape them onto copy paper to run through your printer. How cool is that?

Gail is a wonderful teacher and takes you step by step through the entire process. I highly recommend her workshop (see sidebar for Creative Workshops link). I'll post the results of the next phase of experiments when they are finished. Stay tuned...

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I've been having computer problems lately and decided to try a new internet browser. Hopefully that will take care of the "freezing up" of the computer; it was happening way too often and seemed to be an Internet Explorer issue. So now I'm trying Firefox. So far, so good. It's a little different and I'm still trying to figure out how things work but so far no freezing up!

I have been experimenting with Photoshop options again. This piece started out as a vintage room with a gauzy overlay. After adding many, many layers of color, texture, etc. I had the look of the room I wanted but I couldn't find a subject! Then I ran across this little one in my vintage photos file. She just looks like a little flower. Voila! I had my subject. She was a black/white image so I had to give her some color to make her blend into the room better. By the way, she's holding one of the irises from my flower garden! They've all started to bloom and that gave me the idea for the title...Little Miss is in full bloom!

I am also learning how to make my own digital brushes AND how to make a video (thanks to my sister Sherry who visited last weekend). These are both in the works and hopefully I'll have something to show soon.

Also still working on art behind the scenes and keeping very busy with all of that. I've had to take a short break from everything not computer related and am in the midst of reorganizing the art room. It's so out of control I can't find anything. I am slowly making progress and running across things I'd "lost" ages ago! Maybe someday I'll get organized and stay that way. But, considering my history, it's doubtful. ;)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Yes, today is my 49th birthday! I decided to give myself a little gift: a virtual trip to Paris (my dream; except in my dream it's a REAL trip!). I see the Eiffel Tower is all lit up in glorious splendor for the celebration AND I picked out this party dress to wear to the festivities! The crystal chandeliers are lit in the background so the stage is all set! Ahhh.... one can dream, can't they? ;)

I fell in love with this dress! I don't know why; I've never worn anything so elegant in my whole life (except my wedding gown). I'm working on a series of fashion-themed pieces and plan to incorporate images of vintage party dresses. They are my current obsession. Anyway, this one is DIVINE! So, while I'm dreaming I thought I'd put on this little number to celebrate the BIG number. Not so big, really. I'm finding that out, too: the 50's and 60's don't really seem so old to me now... ;)

Anyway, I'm off to celebrate today!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I think I mentioned previously that I'm taking an online course from SARK on Healing and Transformation. It has been wonderful! She covers a wide range of topics and I'm loving every minute of it. Every day she sends you an email filled with goodies. Some of the topics that she's covered so far have been healing and transforming your relationship with: family and loved ones, yourself, food, body image, money, etc. Included in each lesson is an "awesome audio" where she just talks frankly about her experiences with the topic. She also includes additional resources for reading, websites to visit, a mini e-book about that particular topic, and even her own artwork to download.

There are a lot of areas in my life that I need to bring healing and transformation to. I'm starting to be more aware of them and am trying to begin that process. I made this piece last night because I was really excited about the topics she's discussed so far and how the course has already "transformed" how I view certain issues now. This is just a little celebration piece to commemorate my journey.