Tuesday, June 30, 2009


I've been made painfully aware that some people close to me have suffered or are suffering from domestic violence. I made this piece for them in hopes that they will eventually have the strength and courage to get out of the dangerous situations that have been occurring. Enough said.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Little MissUnderstood

For the first time EVER, I can say that I'm finally able to use a little bit of MY original artwork in a piece! Yay!! The face in this piece is my little suspender girl (see last post). The rest of the artwork is from digital files I already had but the face is mine!! :)

I'm on the hunt for the birch plywood I'll need to mount my doll onto. Suzi uses 6" x 12" but we can use any size we like. I'm painting the body of my girl today. The face is to be drawn and colored with color pencils (done) and the body is to be lightly painted with acrylic paint. All of this is done on our sketchbook paper. Then we cut them out and separate the head (off with the head!). That way we can place the head at an angle if we like when we collage it onto the wood. So, lots to do today.

I was looking at her face and thought how she kind of looks sad (not intentional) and decided to make a little digital collage with her in it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

First Attempts At Shading

So we've moved on to Lesson 2: Shading the face with colored pencils. I never really understood the whole color pencil thing. Now I get it! You BLEND them! Duh!! Anyway, these are my first attempts at trying to give the face some depth. This first girl is the one I'll probably use for my project (the suspenders girl). I'll probably do another face or two of hers before I get it exactly like I like it. I kept the original in the sketchbook and just hold it up to a window and trace the face onto a new page of sketch paper to practice my shading. That way you always have your original intact.

This next one was just a practice face I made up. She was actually the first one I tried. Not bad but need to watch the videos again to see how Suzi did the hair.

These will be adhered to a wood support and then painted on here and there to jazz them up a little. I'll definitely use paint to bring out the first girl's blonde hair. Plus the wood support will already be collaged by the time we adhere the doll. So, still a lot to learn before we get to that point.

That's all for today. Just wanted to show first attempts. :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

BOO! Just For Fun

Here's my creepy, sad-eyes girl. She's a little on the ghoulish side but would be great for Halloween. I like the Tim Burton style of art and this is sort of along those lines. She's sad, yes, but she has her dolly to keep her company. Hr dolly is pretty happy, though! Hubby said she's too sad. I said, Duh! That's the point!! Anyway, thought I'd put her up today. She's one of my favorites and I'm going to use her in the class, too. I'll have a pretty doll and a ... uh, her. ;)
Loving the class. One thing I learned: the lessons run two weeks at a time. That's good! I have a whole week to work on more faces and settle on what doll I'll use in the workshop. She is putting up a critique video sometime today. That's all for today. Back to sketching...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Les Petit Doll: Suspender Style!!

OK, this is the last one I'm posting tonight. I've been drawing all night while the TV has been on. I like her a lot but I also like the one I just posted before. Not sure which one I'll submit for tomorrow. Anyway, can you tell I'm loving this class? ;)

One More Les Petit Doll

Here is another doll I just finished. I really like her. Her shoes don't show up completely but she's all there. We have to have an outline to submit by tomorrow. If I don't come up with anything else I like as well as this one, I'll submit her.

Drawing Les Petit Dolls

OK, here's what I've been up to. I found out about this awesome drawing class being taught by one of my favorite artists: SuziBlu (see side panel). It's teaching you how to draw dolls. You all know I LOVE anything to do with dolls and I've been wanting to figure out a way to paint them...well, here it is. She teaches you to draw her kind of dolls: Les Petit Dolls. They are kind of whimsical, kind of primitive, big eyes, exaggerated features, just what I love!

I just found out about the class Wednesday. It started Monday so I was only a few days behind. The first lesson is drawing, drawing, drawing, practicing, practicing, practicing, faces and bodies. By Saturday we have to have a sketch of our doll posted for the critique. Right now I've been drawing like crazy trying to come up with something I want to use as my doll for the remainder of the course. I've got three sketch books going and have posted some of my favorite pages. I love the little girl at the top. The paper she's drawn on is kind of a funky texture so I had to increase the contrast so it would show up. Same as with the second photo. These are my two favorites so far. I've got to settle on a face soon because I have to give her a body and clothes and post her by tomorrow. So the first two are my favorites and then they are listed in random order:

One of the things Suzi emphasizes is DO NOT DRAW THE SAME FACE over and over. She wants to see different faces on each doll sketch. She shows you how to vary your faces so there's no excuse for the same face each time.

Some of her dolls have completely round faces, some have more angular faces. I'm trying to mix it up and see which I like the best. I have a ton of ideas for body poses and clothes so I'm narrowing the faces down this afternoon. I'll sketch the body and her outfit tonight.

This last one is an example of what she calls a more stylized face. It has exaggerated lines for the nose and usually is used with more elaborate costuming.

So I've been a busy little sketch artist. Have I ever drawn in my life? NO! I usually just doodle. But I love faces and dolls so I think I can do this. I just draw page after page of eyes and then start to add the rest of the features. When I have my finished sketch, I'll post it.

Eventually, after you've got a workable draft, then you begin the process of painting a background onto a wood support. Then you add your doll, paint her and add some 3-D embellishments. It's a five week course that seems to move pretty fast. So, off I go.

This is all tying in to my series I'm working on but I'm not going to tell you any more than that for right now! Also, I'm sewing down the finishing touches on the woven collage and will post that soon as well.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


This is a mixed media collage on canvas that I made using more of the monoprints I talked about in my last post. I call this one, "Submerged" because after I finished it I noticed it looked like the little girl was submerged in water.

The story behind this one: The image of the girl in the center is from my work with the Digital Grounds that I talked about a while back. This particular image was printed out onto two layers of molding paste and a layer of pearl mica flake. I loved how it looked when it was finished and was very happy with all of the images on that particular piece of molding paste.

I don't know if you remember but I mentioned later that I had tried to "seal" those with the recommended sealer that came with the Digital Grounds kit. It was a satin finish, I think. After I applied it to the whole sheet of molding paste images, they all started to get this green tint! I was horrified! All of my beautiful images were now green-y. Big Disappointment. But I kept them anyway, thinking I'd be able to do something with them. I'd worked so hard to make those. But I did end up making a lot more of the molding paste/mica flake images and they are all safe and just as nice as the first ones! Lesson learned: do NOT seal the molding paste! ;)

Anyway, back to this image. I mentioned before that I'm working on a series around the theme, "Finding My Way Home". This all centers around the death of my mom and my still trying to come to terms with my grief. The first canvas had the title, "No Tears In Heaven". After finishing this one, I just saw water images... the greens, the blues, even the mica flakes looked like air bubbles under water. Then I thought about how I felt when I learned of Mom's death: like I was drowning... with grief, loss, anger, all of it. So, without even planning it the little girl and her green image fit perfectly in this piece. Here is a closeup of that image:

After looking at it for awhile I noticed what look like tears coming out of her eyes in a little trail. I don't know when that happened; probably when I was adhering the image to the canvas. It even adds more to the piece! Just another "accident" that brings more meaning to it for me. If you look real closely you'll see part of a very thin mica tile over her eyes. There's another little piece of mica in the bottom right part of her photo which you can't see at all. After placing those down it really looked like a shattered window. I like that effect a lot.

And here's another view taken from a different angle. It was hard to get the little girl to show up in the photos due to the glare coming off of the mica.

This photo was taken BEFORE I added the numbers and finishing touches that you see in the first photo. The "5" is in reference to five years since she died and the "April" and "94" are in reference to when she died. I am just now able to start looking at all of this material without completely shutting down. It's my way of working through it all and FINDING MY WAY HOME.

Monday, June 8, 2009

No Tears In Heaven

So while I was tinkering with my woven-fabric collage I started playing with monoprints. This is a mixed media collage on canvas (5" x 5"). Other media used besides my own monoprints were copper mesh, plastic mesh, tulle, tissue paper, fluid acrylics and a metal charm. The title for this one is "No Tears In Heaven". It's part of a series I'm working on with the theme Finding My Way Home.

A few sets of the monoprints I made are posted below in order of my preference. I spent the better part of yesterday just cranking them out. I used the artist Paula Grasdal's technique as described in the book, Mixed Media Collage by Holly Harrison. Ooh, I love this book! In Paula's technique you don't need a printing press (something I don't have) to make your monoprints but you still get decent results.

You just need a sheet of plexiglass to use as your printing plate, some rice paper (or other translucent papers), water soluble oil paints (gouache), newsprint and a brayer. These papers are all about 6" x 6". They will be torn later and used in larger works.

I like the colors in the first two sets the most:

The blues and the peachy reds turned out much better than the photos (as usual). I used a bird stencil for one of the prints just to see how it would translate. I did like the result with that one.

And in these last two sets I just mixed colors that were left over on the printing plate, placed moistened rice paper over top of it and burnished with a brayer. The shapes are made by tearing newsprint into whatever shape you want and laying it over the wet paint before you lay down your rice paper. This was the set I used for the collage I just finished:

Paula suggested making small art studies with the torn papers to play with the composition before trying a large canvas. That's what I did with this first canvas. I have a bunch of small 5"x5" canvasses that I got on sale a long time ago and those will work perfectly.

I still need to work on mixing colors but for a first try working with the gouache I'm pretty happy with the results. I have a lot of other sets that I didn't photograph. Once I got on a roll yesterday I made sure to make a big stash to be able to choose from when I sit down to do another canvas. I also included one of the Digital Grounds images that I printed onto tulle a while back. It's the face in the lower left corner.

I keep adding to and taking items from the woven-fabric collage. It's about 75 percent finished; still looking for one more piece. I'll know it when I find it! ;)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fabric Weaving: A Work In Progress

I have been intrigued by a piece of work I saw recently in the online Quilting Arts Newsletter called, Embellishments. It showcased a collage that was done on a fabric-woven background. It was really cool! I've been thinking about that piece ever since, mulling over how I could do something similar. Their weaving was done loosely and tied off at the ends. It was intended to be kind of haphazard; definitely NOT a perfect, finished square. That is one of the reasons I was so drawn to the piece in the first place! ;)

In my piece I've incorporated two of the Digital Grounds images that I've made. The first is the image of a door that has been printed out onto two layers of molding paste with silver mica flakes embedded in it. The second is an image of me as a little girl printed onto three layers of Golden's Soft Gel Medium. The shiny areas of the image are the overhead light's reflection off of the gel medium. The image itself is totally transparent. Clicking on the photos gives a much larger view.

So I've got this started. Nothing is sewn down or glued into place yet. The only "finished" part is the fabric weaving that will be the background. This first photo is the overall view and the bottom photo is a closer view.

Right now I have it backed with white felt and laying on a stretched canvas. I'm still thinking about how to mount it when it's finished. But it's a long way from being finished. I'm planning on adding more fibers and weaving those through the cloth plus adding some other embellishments.

I have a working title of "Finding My Way Home". This is just the rough beginning. I'm going to think about it for awhile.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Asian Themed ATC

This is an Asian-themed ATC that I made for the winner of a lottery in one of my Yahoo groups. There were actually two lotteries: you signed up if you were interested in receiving a kit of Asian themed ephemera. This was a huge kit with tons of really cool stuff! The group owner made up 20 kits and would use a random generator to pick 20 people for the win. The group has over 100 members and at least half of them signed up for the lottery. I was one of the lucky winners. You paid a small fee for the kit but the amount of stuff you received was valued way above what you had to pay.

Then she decided to do another lottery with the winners of the kits. One name would be picked from everyone who won a kit and that person would receive an ATC from everyone using the elements from the kit. I was not the lucky winner of that drawing so here is my contribution for her.

One of the things included in the kit were some actual bamboo leaves. I cut two of those up into strips and then made a bamboo weave for the background. Then I cut up some chopsticks that were included and used those as side borders. The gold joss paper was used on the top the rest of the paper items were used as decoration. The final bit was a jade Buddha that I used epoxy to affix to the card. I have no idea what the little strip of writing says at the top; I assume it's not offensive. ;)

Now I'm off to the post office to make the deadline for getting these in. The card was fun to make and I still have a ton of things left in the kit that will come in handy for future collages. Stay tuned.