Friday, July 31, 2009

Magenta Muse

Still experimenting with the faces I'm drawing in Suzi Blu's Goddess and Poet workshop. I really liked this face but I couldn't draw any suitable hair for her. So I didn't give her any. She's been sitting in the sketchbook for awhile waiting for something to happen.

I just began another experiment in Photoshop: painting my sketches! Duh! The paint brushes are called that for a reason! You paint with them! I've never used them to paint my own art; only to "color" in images that I would use in a layer mask. I was in Barnes & Noble the other day browsing the digital art magazines and kept reading how the artists would scan in their art and paint it. It's not so easy with the mouse but I gave it a try.

This is why I love Photoshop: The photo below is what I started with (scanned from my sketchbook with a few adjustments so you can see it better).

The result at the top of the page is just my playing with painting her face, lips, etc. All of the elements in the finished product, except for the font, the face and the hair, come from the Somewhere Beyond collection at Scrap Love them for their cool elements!

I had this photo of these gorgeous flowers called love lies bleeding in my files. I thought how cool they would be as hair! Voila! Now I'm thinking I need one of those Wacom tablets to help me paint better (no pesky mouse to try to maneuver!). Hubby will have to be convinced first, though. He's already promised to get me the new version of Photoshop. A Wacom may be pushing it... ;)

As for the actual sketch, I think I'll adhere her to wood and work on her along with the other graphite face in next week's lesson, "The Portrait on Wood". Right now she's still in the sketchbook. And I'll always have her in the computer if I ever want to give her a new look. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Companion pieces to the one I posted earlier. Had to add some words to these journal pages...


What to do if you spend hours shading your goddess with colored pencils and still don't like the result? Scan her into Photoshop, put her into a cool background, embellish a little and then you won't have to throw her away! Plus, you really don't want to start ripping pages out of your new Moleskine do you?

Ugh! I worked on this one for a long time trying to get the shading just right. I'm okay with most of the colors even though I have a LONG way to go before I will get the result I want. But when I finished, I stepped back and looked at her. I'm just not that into her. ;) Her proportions are all wrong, her face is too long, I should make this a song... blah, blah, blah. So I put her into a digital world and now she's much more goddess-like placed there in the heavens.

I scanned her into the computer, made her a PNG file and used the Hard Light blending mode to give her the look I wanted on that background. Much better. And what a cool background! It's from the Gloaming collection at Scrap Love it!! Then I added a few embellishments from some other digital files and now she can shine!

Here she is in the bare Moleskine state:

Not too hot. I learned a lot from the mistakes of this one. So I'll keep practicing...drawing and shading until I get it right. Hopefully by the end of the workshop I'll have created something I love. The next lesson goes up tomorrow. We will be embellishing our journal backgrounds. Then in the final two weeks we will work with the goddesses that we did only in graphite. Mine was posted a few postings back. I really like her and hope I don't mess her up. She's now covered in a layer of clear gesso and mounted to wood ready for ... whatever the lesson will have us do!

Now, back to the sketchbook. I did draw a goddess last night that I'm kind of liking...we'll see where this one takes me. :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Portraits and Goddesses

We are only on Lesson 2 of the Goddess and Poet workshop but I wanted to show what I've been working on. These portraits are done in a Moleskine sketchbook. I LOVE the soft paper and the buff color. First we were to sketch a goddess and use minimal shading with the graphite pencil. Then we were to lightly color over the graphite using only creams and browns for the face/hair and reds for the lips. We will add more to these pages later. We were just to sketch and color.

For this next goddess we were to sketch her in and do only a few lines of graphite shading. Then we were to color her with the pencils gradually building up the layers. I'm not too crazy about this one but it's all part of the practice. Then we were to color in her hair a base color. I'm in love with Golden's Iridescent Bronze Fluid Acrylic so I colored her hair in that. I need a lot more practice on the building up around the eyes and the cheek area.

The next lesson will be posted Wednesday and we will be adding more to the backgrounds of these pages. For the final two lessons we will work with the first portrait that I posted a while back (the goddess done only in graphite) that is mounted onto wood.

I've also done some work in an art journal that I'm having a little success at maintaining! Still pulling together images for the faux encaustic collages and will post those when I have something to show. That's it for today.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chunky Book Love

I love chunky books! It's been awhile since I had participated in a chunky book swap so I signed up for this one with the theme: Home Sweet Home. These photos are listed in order of my favorites. You can click on each photo to get a larger view. The first house is called, "Home of the Muse". I used my own handmade fabric paper as the background and embellished it with napkins, chipboard, mica (for the window) and a white picket fence! I really had a good time with these. I love house images and seem to use them a lot in my art.

This second house is called, "Paris is Home". I used two of the Digital Grounds images that I printed onto soft gel medium and layered them over each other. The bottom image is a map of France and the image of the woman is overlapped onto that. The Digital Grounds makes the images transparent and gives them a mysterious effect, I think. The background is this really cool wrapping paper with a French theme that I toned down with some Titan Buff paint. I also collaged a sheet of French Textbook paper onto the background and covered that with a little of the paint. I really like the softness of the image and the muted colors.

This next house is called, "House of Memories". It has more of a vintage theme. I used mainly scrapbook papers and assorted collage papers for the background. I found these cool things called Fragments by Tim Holtz. I used one as the "window" that I placed over the image of the little boys. These fragments come in a big package with assorted sizes. I'll definitely use those again in my collages.

This last house is called, "Childhood Home". I wanted to give it a playful feeling so I used a lot of vintage images of children, some rubber stamps, a transparency of some dolls, a ribbon and a little heart patch I had in my stash.

I've been doing a lot of work in my art journal and my sketches for the Goddess and the Poet class are coming along. I'll post more of these soon. That's it for now.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Venetian Mask Swap

Faced with the final days to complete my masks for the Venetian Mask Swap at The Sum of All ATC's Group, I did spend most of the day Sunday working on these masks. This first one is modeled after a gorgeous porcelain mask that my dear, dear sorority sis, Joanne, sent me. (I heart Joanne!) Of course, the one she sent me is much more colorful and ... I can't say enough about how gorgeous it is. Why didn't I include a photo of it? Doh!

Anyway, I tried to draw similar shapes and designs onto this one. I started with a heavy watercolor backing and I used my favorite Golden product, the Pearl Mica Flakes, as the background. I painted the gold and silver with Lumiere metallic paints and then added small glass beads over the silver layer and covered those with Diamond Glaze. I covered the ATC with a pretty metallic paper that I had, and adhered the mask with large glue dots so that it would stand out from the card a little bit. Hopefully, the person who gets this will like it!

This next one I used a product from Stewart Gill, which I'm LOVING, called Byzantia. This is the Jewel Bright Texture Media and I got it in two colors: Phoenecia and Labrynth. This particular color is the Labrynth. It is the turquoise colored metallic flake around the border. The interior of the mask is the Golden Mica Flake in Gold and the border around the eyes is the Golden Pearl Mica Flake. Then I added my favorite fiber called Trellis.

So now I'm off to get these in the mail. I have been keeping an eye on the swaps I'm signed up for: up next is the chunky book house swap. So cool! These are chipboard house shapes that we embellish however we want.

The next lesson in the Goddess workshop is due tomorrow and I'm going to cover my girl in clear Gesso and get her onto the wood. And, the little canvasses for the Faux Encaustics workshop are patiently waiting for me to add their collage papers! More to come...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Goddess Sketching

Yes, I've been busy with the workshops! I've been sketching and erasing for two days now but I think this is the face I'll use for the Goddess and Poet workshop. I am still working on the shading and have a few more things to do before I put this onto the wood panel. It's coming along and I've made progress since my first sketch.

We had to start out making a gray scale (8 boxes that go progressively from white to black), a sphere (with 4 shades in it plus a shadow) and crosshatching. So I did that for a couple of days. Then we were to try a face. I really liked the first one I did until I watched her videos again. Then I decided to forget that one and try again. It's all practice, practice, practice but I'm getting the hang of it.

I loved the faux encaustics workshop, too! I watched all of the videos and have four canvasses gessoed and ready for collage. Hope to have something to show in the next few days. That's it for now. I wanted to post this while I still had the courage. ;)

Monday, July 13, 2009


Kimmie, the wonderful host at Digital Whisper.ning, posted a really nice piece of art featuring a haunted house for a group called "The Darker Side". It was so intriguing...I just couldn't forget it. I checked out the group and it's like a Gothic art site. I find myself really intrigued by the vampire trends in today's fiction. I am tempted to read the Twilight series of books but I haven't done so yet.

Anyway, I wanted to create a "darker" image of my own and came up with this little montage of images. I think it's funny how I gravitate to different subject matter. But when I see something that grabs me I want to explore it further. I'm mulling all of this around in my head while anticipating the next couple of workshops I'm taking. Wednesday will be the first day for two new ones: Suzi Blu's "The Goddess and The Poet" and over at Creative Workshops "Faux Encaustics". Both of these look to be fantastic workshops and I'm making notes of all of these ideas I have swirling in my head right now.

"The Goddess and The Poet" will be cool because not only are we drawing more lifelike portraits but we are adding our own poetry. What a great combination for art! And the "Faux Encaustics" looks to be really inspiring. I love encaustic work but after investigating the cost of the equipment I decided to hold off on that for awhile. From the sample artwork that Jodi Ohl (the teacher) put in the promo, it looks like the next best thing. So, we'll see!

Just thought I'd put this piece up today. Lots of images coming to mind for future work. Stay tuned...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Two Journal Pages

I've been a little behind in some of the projects I committed to doing and thought I would take a deep breath. I've been so excited about the Petite Dolls painting that I let other things kind of slide. So, I started to catch up today. I like to keep up with the digital art journal that I have going at Digital Whisper.ning and I've missed the last two prompts.

The first photo is from the prompt that showed a stone wall. The prompt was something like "you've been told that you CAN'T do something. What is your response?" I changed the wall a little bit and added other things that brought out what I was thinking when I made this piece.

The second prompt said to think of a word that applies to how you felt this week. Well, I had two words: hurried and under pressure (ok, three words). That's why I'm so tired! So, this page just kind of came together pretty quickly with that prompt!

Now I can re-group and start these other little projects that I've been putting off. AFTER I take a nap!! ;)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Jazz Baby Finished

I just finished applying the beeswax to my painting and I LOVE the effect! It adds a dreamy, gauzy look to the piece and definitely gives it more depth. I admit I was afraid to work with the wax, thinking it would mess up all the hard work but I'll definitely be using it in more of my art. If you click on each photo, you'll get a better look at the texture.

In Suzi's technique you don't need a small crock pot to melt your wax in. You just take the bar of wax and a small quilting iron, hold the iron to the wax right over where you want to drip it, and then smooth the drips out with the iron. That way, you control where the wax goes and how much of it you want to add. So easy!

I especially like how it made her face look so soft and dreamy. Beautiful effect. That was one benefit of really applying a thick coat of colored pencils. That wax base blended perfectly with the hot wax when added! Here is another view that shows more of the texture and detail with the wax:

Just for comparison, I put up this "before" photo that I posted yesterday. If you compare the two, you'll be able to see the difference. So fun!

Now I'm gearing up to do more of these with some faces I've got prepared. I'm also looking forward to Suzi's new class called, "The Goddess and the Poet" which starts July 15. This class teaches more lifelike portrait drawing. We will add a little poetry to the mix and see what happens. Stay tuned...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Jazz Baby

Here is my first Petite Dolls painting from Suzi Blu's class. She's all finished except for the beeswax. I wanted to get a photo of her before and after beeswax. I'm a little nervous about doing the wax; I've never used it before. But I'll give it a whirl tonight. You can click on each photo to get a larger view.

Here is a close-up of the painting before I added the pearl mica flakes to her hair. All of the closeups with the mica flakes in the hair make it look like glitter and it's not. Anyway, this was the best photo of the background detail.

Here is a closeup (sorry about the blur) of the mica flakes and more of the background. The music note to the right of her doesn't show up very well on the camera but it is raised above the wood. I used molding paste and then painted over it. Looks a lot better in person. I also wanted to show the irridescence of her pants. That doesn't show up too well in most of the photos either, but it does in this last photo:

After I get the beeswax on, I'll post one more photo of the complete look.

The idea behind the Petite Dolls paintings is they are supposed to be your dolls that have been placed onto a "shabby" background. That means lots of layers, lots of paint, collage, etc. Then you add some BOOM (gold leaf, glitter, mica flakes, etc.) all of which I've added here. That's a Petite Doll painting -- Suzi Blu style. I think I captured the look pretty well.

Since this was a Bluesy, jazzy style of doll I wanted the colors to be darker and deeper. I mentioned before that I had chosen the colors scheme of: olive, purple, gold, black and white. The olive doesn't show up in this final version but it is subtle in the background. There are a lot of layers to this piece and every once in a while you get a hint of the olive color.

Wish me luck with the beeswax. You are just supposed to drip it here and there. I won't cover her hair because of the mica flakes but most of the rest of it will at least receive a drip or two.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dancin' Dottie

Today I feel just like Dancin' Dottie up there. Cha-cha-cha, Ooh-la-la! ;) Hubby cut some plywood for me last night and today I'm laying down the first layers of collage for my Petite Dolls paintings. I have about three dolls I'm working with right now but I've only settled on a color palette for one of them so far.

The jazz girl doll (see previous posts) is the first one I'll be working on today. I settled on the palette of black/cream, purple, olive and gold. I have this awesome book called, The New Big Book of Color, by David Carter. It is mainly for graphic designers and is full of examples of different color palettes and how they work in different layouts. He even breaks it out into "moods" that you want to create. For this painting I wanted a more sophisticated color scheme just because of the jazzy style. The perfect palette was the one I just described.

I think I can intuitively put colors together okay but this book is a great help. I was stumped on color choices for the paintings but now I'll be able to browse through the book and see if my ideas will work. Yay!

Also new: have discovered a cool new artist: Kat MacLeod (awesome figure/fashion drawing with a mod twist). She is definitely an inspiration and I hope to get more ideas by studying her work.

I think it's funny how you can come across something you see on a website and then be so inspired by it that you just keep searching, searching, searching and narrowing your search until you end up with all the info you need to take off from there. I'm talking specifically about the little girl in this collage. She was from a piece of French wrapping paper that was put up on Helga Strauss' blog at Artchix Studio. I loved her face and the little outfit (I changed the colors for this piece). I just had to make a little collage with her in it! She reminded me of the little Japanese girl that Suzi Blu had on a piece of wrapping paper she used in her collage.

So I Googled (is that a verb now?) "Japanese wrapping paper" and "Japanese dolls" and "Japanese dolls on paper", etc. I got such a wealth of images and info! These little cuties will definitely be showing up in my art soon, along with my own little twist of course. Those little faces are perfect inspiration for petite dolls and other works that can blossom from there.

They also remind me of the Kawaii style of art which is kind of funky, cute art that incorporates characters like these along with other elements. I remember when I first saw Kawaii art I didn't really get it. Funny how all of a sudden your tastes or likes can change! Now I totally get it and I think I can twist it into something more to my liking.

Anyway, that's what's going on today. Hopefully the Gesso is dry on the wood by now and I can start the painting, inking and layering. Stay tuned for results...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Tiny Dancer: Part 2

Couldn't stop fiddling with this one (see previous photo). I like this version better. ;)

Tiny Dancer

One of my all-time favorite songs is, "Tiny Dancer" by Elton John. It brings back bittersweet memories of growing up. Every time I hear it, it takes me back to another time. I was putting together this collage and kept thinking about the song. I was THRILLED to find a downloadable music sheet for it! I'll be using this in more of my art.

Anyway, I just felt like making something pretty today. Now, back to works in progress.