Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rose-Colored Glasses

This is the latest face I've been practicing on. I scanned the sketch into Photoshop and started "painting" with the mouse again. I'm getting the hang of it better, but still not where I want to be. Once I get the opacity down, I hope to be able to blend better.

In Monica Zuniga's drawing class we are working on noses this week. This is a rough one but I have all week to practice them. Then we are to try to sketch what we've learned so far combining the eyes and noses. I did this sketch and filled in the mouth and hair from what I've learned in Suzi's class. Monica is such a fabulous teacher. Both she and Suzi are number one with me. :)

I know she doesn't exactly have glasses, but I couldn't figure out another title. I thought about "Gypsy Spirit" but I'm working on something else that will probably have that title, so I went with "Rose Colored Glasses". That rose is a temporary tattoo! Suzi showed us how to add those to our art. So cool!!

Until I can do something with the actual sketch I thought I would show what I did digitally with her. I think she's pretty cool. :) I'm thinking about adhering this sketch to wood and seeing where that takes me. Now back to the sketchpad.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dream: A Journal Page

For this page I decided to do a tryptich. I like the idea of little surprises throughout the journal. I want to do another version of a window at some point, too. The verse says: "Even amidst the chaos of life, dreams are born and begin to take flight." It's a little verse I made up to go along with the theme.

Here is the page with the extra flap closed:

One thing I keep forgetting to do is date my pages. Doh! The little charm under the girl says: Beautiful Dreamer. I liked the aged look of it so I thought it would look good there. I ran into trouble painting the girl. Didn't like the way some of the pencils were not blending so I added Titan Buff to smooth it out. Here is a closeup of her face:

I had a chance to try out some new watercolors called Twinkling H2O's. Ooh, I like those! I used those in her eyes and hair. They are shimmery and you can vary the shade with just adding water to what's already on the page. I also added more of the Golden's Interference Gold color over top of the Twinkling H2O in her hair. Made for a nice shimmer, I thought. Here's a closeup of the verse page:

Those little iridescent chips are so cool! They are made by Stewart Gill. I can't quite figure out what they are made from but you can adhere them pretty well with gel medium. I have these in purple and teal. I like their shimmer. ;) The butterflies are rub-ons, of all things. Suzi Blu used those in class and they really pop when added to the page. If you don't like the shiny look, you just go over them with some matte medium and they blend in even better.

I'm expecting the next lesson of Monica Zuniga's pencil drawing class today. Can't wait to see what part of the face we'll concentrate on next. I've got pages and pages of eyes sketched. Hubby says it creeps him out, all of these eyes staring at him. :) Anyway, time to get back to the sketchpad. More to come...

Monday, August 24, 2009

My Sacred Self

I put together this digital collage using some of the elements from this month's Artella studio kit. It's a gorgeous kit about architecture. Part of the background paper is from the kit; I've changed a lot of it. The girl is a new face I'm working on in my journal. I haven't colored her in with the pencils yet, so I thought I would scan her and have a "clean" version of her to use in my digital art. I am not very good at "painting" in Photoshop so I just gave her a little color here.

I just loved the different imagery I pulled together in making this piece. It's fun being able to incorporate my little drawings in my art now. :) Hopefully, when I get better, I'll be able to paint them for real (not just in Photoshop!). I'm taking my time with the journal page trying to really work on my shading so it will be awhile before she's finished. I wanted to show you a glimpse of her now.

And Check out the video on my sidebar! It describes Monica Zuniga's workshops that she offers at her Hands and Heart ning site (link also on my sidebar). She gives you a background on each workhsop and shows you her gorgeous artwork that she will teach you to make in each one. She's an awesome teacher! I'm enrolled in her pencil drawing class now. We are learning how to draw realistic faces. I've just started the first lesson: drawing eyes. I practiced the eyes with the girl in this piece. With all of the digital manipulation it's not easy to see the detail. After I finish her in the journal I will post her again. So check out the video. It's worth it!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Shabby Princess: An Alter(ed) Ego

And now for something totally new: another journal! I like to work in different journals because they are not all about the same thing. I have my goddess journal for my sketches from Suzi's classes, I have a technique journal for trying out new products and now I have this one.

I love fashion and fashion magazines; I always have. No, I don't dress like it. I'd rather spend my money on art supplies! But I love to LOOK at fashion magazines. I've been working on little fashion sketchy pieces but I'm not crazy about them. They weren't exactly what I wanted to do. Maybe it's the fact that Project Runway starts tonight, but I've been obsessed with these magazines for a little while (much to hubby's chagrin). ;)

Also, poetry writing and all of that internal searching has me thinking about my childhood and my adulthood...all of this sort of came together the other night. I have had this big blank book that I bought a while back thinking it would be a perfect art journal. But after I bought it I didn't want to "mess it up" because the pages are all cotton and very nice. So it sat in my closet glaring at me.

Then it hit me. I would like to use some of these models (altered) and put them in my book. Some of the photo shoots are a work of art in themselves. I wanted a place where I could put my favorite ones in a world that I create. So I picked some models that spoke to me (or, more precisely, different parts of me). These are my little alter-egos; different sides of my personality that, for good or bad, are still there.

This first one drew me in immediately. I think it was that another life I own this dress (and fit into it, too!). Anyway, the pout was what did it. I have a lot of memories of pouting and sulking as a child because I couldn't have exactly what I wanted. (Maybe it was because I'm the oldest...who knows, but that's another story). So I call her the little Shabby Princess, pouting because things just aren't quite right. Here's the other side of the page and the story to go with it. If you can't read the story, click on the closeup under this photo and it will be easier:

She's all alone in her shabby little world. She realizes things haven't quite turned out like she thought they would. And, although at first everything looks glamorous, upon closer inspection the flowers are a little dirty, the fabrics a little rusted. She's not quite sure why things are tarnished and shabby, she just knows she's not happy with it.

Here's a closeup of the journal. It doesn't look like it but it's over 15 1/2" long. So a good space to work in.

So from time to time I'll add to this book as well. I haven't decorated the cover yet but as a working title I put a little one together in Photoshop:

These are just little glimpses of the parts of myself I'm working on. The Shabby Princess likes to come out a little too often. She needs to learn to be satisfied with all that she has and to quit comparing herself to other people. She'll find that the sparkle will return to her life if she would learn to be grateful for what is already in it!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Circle of Life: Journal Page

I worked on these pages this weekend, shading the girl with Prisma colored pencils last night. Ever since Suzi Blu introduced me to Clear Gesso I use it as a base for my shading all the time. I do like the rough, gritty texture it gives. Lime green is my current obsession; don't know why. It pops out at me everywhere. Looking through my stash of fabrics and papers, it seems I have a lot of it!

Thought I'd do a little stitching on these pages. They seemed to want that. The verse is from an Elton John song, Circle of Life. If you click on the photo you can probably read it better. Another serendipitous event: I couldn't get circles out of my mind. I noticed them in everything: magazines, on TV, doodles, etc. So I started thinking about them. I'm doing more poetry writing and am working on a poem now about stages of life. So, the two came together: circles and of life, the song, etc.

I was able to use a few of my new toys: a dip pen and Dr. Ph. Martin's Gold ink. I first heard about the dip pen from Beryl Taylor in one of her books I was going through. I made a mental note that if I ever saw one I would like to try it. Well, Michael's (of all places) had one. So I picked it up. It takes a little getting used to but I may get the hang of it yet. I used the dip pen on the swirls in the girl's "hair". On the opposite page I used Stickles gold paint for the couple of swirls there.

I had this Batik fabric (with the perfect colors) that I've been wanting to incorporate into something so I thought I'd use it. And, not intentionally, I had just picked up some embroidery floss in a bunch of colors and among those were lime and raspberry. Hmm...must have been meant to be. :) Ooh, and I did get to use my Interference Green paint in her eyes. They are very shimmery even though it doesn't show up very well in the photo.

I found the metal button at JoAnn Fabrics. I loved the bronze girl and thought I'd be able to use her in something. When I clipped off the shank (which took some real effort!) it went sailing through the room. I still haven't found that little piece. But I was glad to finally get the smooth surface to adhere her better to the page.

I wanted to make her a little more abstract, with the hair and all. It gives more room to play. I used an old metal door handle in the shape of a swirl for a stamp and stamped that into a thick application of clear gesso. After it dried I then painted over the raised areas with the ink and the dip pen. I liked using the ink. It's really yummy...

So today I come full circle! Hopefully I can move on to some other fixation for my next page. And maybe the poem will come together now that I can concentrate on that without the circles distracting me. ;)

Friday, August 14, 2009

For Mom

Here's what I've been working on this week. I posted the "before" photo a few posts back. I'm not sure if it's finished. There is another thing I want to do to it but I'm testing the technique on a spare piece of wood first to see what it will look like. You can click on each photo to get a larger view of the texture.

And there is a LOT of texture to this! Suzi Blu had us piling on the media for this lesson. This has a bunch of modeling paste, some oil pastels, Liquitex inks, colored pencil, and paints (that's just the things I can remember). I didn't have the Light Modeling Paste and had to go with the regular. It's not too bad. I have since made a trip out to get the Light Paste and will use that on my next one.

I dedicate this to my Mom, who I know would have liked it. Hopefully she can look down from Heaven every now and then and see I'm always thinking of her.

Here is a closeup view of the face, showing a little better view of the texture:

It was my first time working with the water-soluble oil pastels. They take a while to cure (I found out the hard way). But any "mistake" only lends itself to the aged look of the piece, I think. The intent was to give her an aged, fresco look. I put modeling paste on her face in certain spots and all over her hair. This was definitely an experiment in how to work with the media. I have to say I LOVE working on the wood panel again. Good thing hubby has cut up a bunch of different sizes for me.

I like the way it turned out and I used my favorite colors: blues, purples and a little pink. Plus Golden's Interference Violet and Interference Blue. I want to take a bath in that stuff; I LOVE it! If I decide to add the one final thing, I'll show a photo with that. I'm still undecided on that one.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Another Realm: Journal Page

In working with my Goddess Journal I decided that, try as I might, I probably will NOT draw a face for every journal page. I'm not that good and I want to try other techniques. But the pages will still tie in to the theme.

This two page spread was an experiment in two things: 1) a different color scheme (for me) and 2) using windows on the page. First, I love this window technique.

I came across this particular window in a wonderful workshop I'm taking on altered books. The teacher is Monica Zuniga and she's absolutely amazing. You can find her website at Hands and Heart, another ning site (see side link). I'm enrolled in a portrait drawing class that she'll be teaching starting Aug. 20. Check out her beautiful site. This altered book workshop is free and you can see all of her cool techniques in her beautiful books!

Here is a closeup of the two pages individually. You can click on each page to get larger views:

The verse is from a poem I'm writing. It's not finished yet but this is my favorite verse so far. I'm trying to keep with the idea of including some form of poetry in each spread. After adjusting the size of the verse in Photoshop, I printed it out onto matte brochure paper and then inked around the edges. It is adhered to an envelope I made, painted and inked up. Then I stitched it with embroidery thread onto the dyed cheesecloth underneath. The little page fits perfectly inside the envelope.

I like the aged look of the pages. The page with the eye reminds me of an old, weathered page that has burn marks on the edges. Monica's technique is super easy. For the "eye" window I used 6 pages from an old book on oil painting that I had. When I finished with the technique I glued all of them together and then adhered them to the Moleskine page. I used the criss-cross staples for more texture and then repeated that theme in the stitches on the envelope.

I don't use a whole lot of oranges and reds in my work but I am trying to branch out and use other colors besides my faves of pinks, blues and violets. The fun thing about trying some of these new techniques is I never know where it will take me once I start!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cherish: A Journal Page

I've been in the mood to work more in my art journal(s) lately. This is another page from my goddess journal. I wanted to incorporate the word cherish in this two-page spread. I listed three of the most important things that I cherish: the precious people in my life; magic moments that I've experienced; and, finally, my sacred self.

My 70-year old dad recently had a motorcycle accident. His bike was totaled but miraculously he escaped with no broken bones or internal injuries. He is severely bruised, though, over his entire body and very sore. He came to visit last weekend and it was heartbreaking to see the bruising all over his legs and arms.

After he left I thought a lot about the different aspects of my life that I do cherish and how I need to make more of an effort to acknowledge those people, places or things that mean the most to me. So I made this page to remind myself to do just that. Once again, I played with the lettering in Photoshop before actually inking the words onto the page.

It's been very relaxing and insightful to work on these two pages. I have fun playing with the inks, paints, techniques and embellishments. It's like an exercise in meditation; just keeping mindful of what I'm trying to convey on the page.

On another note, I thought I'd post a photo of the "before" portrait on wood that I'll be working on over the next week or so. It will take awhile before it's finished and I'll be working on journal pages, new projects, etc. in between time. Speaking of new projects, I'm learning to make and bind my own handmade "dream book" journal. I'll show you a few steps along the way for that, as well. For now, here's what's on the agenda to begin today:

It didn't photograph so well. For some reason there is a shadow going across the front. No worries, though. This is just a page from my sketchbook adhered to a 6" x 12" plywood panel. The only thing I've done to it is cover it in clear Gesso to give it that great, gritty texture. Yes, I ripped it adhering it to the page. This will never show once all of the media get applied. I think I've written the perfect verse to go with the mood I want to bring to this piece. Now if I can bring all of that to fruition, I'll have succeeded!

I also want to thank Grayangi and Taluula for their wonderful comments on my pages! Thank you ladies. I really appreciate your taking the time to comment!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sisters: A Peek At Faux Encaustics

The background in this piece is my first attempt at trying the "faux encaustic" technique from the workshop I'm taking. I decided to enhance it with some digital imagery from a Degas painting and the word love.

My sister had to put her 16 year old cat to sleep today. I was so sad after talking with her. I know what she's going through; I had to do the same for my little guy just after he turned 20 yrs old. After we talked, I got to thinking about when we were growing up and how she would follow me around trying to do whatever I was doing. All of these emotions were going through my head when I finished this first canvas today. I was looking for something to enhance it and when I looked in my files I came across the Degas painting that brought those memories back. So I took the image of the two girls and put them into my background.

Here is the canvas alone:

The technique is really cool. I didn't have the correct gel medium for one of the steps and had to use a soft gel gloss (instead of semi-gloss). This little town doesn't have much in way of art supplies so I'll have to stock up from Dick Blick. I went ahead and used the gloss on the other four canvasses, too, since these are only 5" x 5" samples used just to try the technique. I'll definitely do bigger canvasses when I get the correct supplies.

I did vary my technique just a little bit. The teacher used charcoal and graphite pencils to doodle on one layer. I tried that with some of the canvasses but wasn't thrilled with my results. No problem; you just cover them up in the next layer if you don't like them. I didn't repeat that step later in the process and just kept with what I had already done.

This is a great workshop and can be found at Creative Workshops (see side link). The teacher is Jodi Ohl and she's really thorough and fun to watch. I'm loving the possibilities with this technique!

I'll post the rest of the canvasses after I do the final step on them. I decided to jump in and finish one today. I wanted to make a little something for my sis, hoping it would at least make her feel loved. :)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sweetness: A Mixed Media Journal Page

This is the first double-page spread in my Goddess and Poet Moleskine journal. The idea is to shabbify (is that a word?) the background with layers of mixed media while still enhancing your goddess. Then you write a little poetry to accompany the mood of the piece.

I started out with a color palette of lime and raspberry, taken from the rub-on on the goddess' neck. Then it varied between pinks and greens and golds. I ended up having to paint her hair with Dr. Ph. Martin's Bombay White India Ink. It started out a pale lime green paint which was cool at first but then blended too much into the background. Then I added heavy layers of clear Gesso to give a lot of texture to the hair (and the background, too, while I was at it). Next I tried painting the hair with Silver Lumiere paint and a small brush. I didn't like that so I just painted over it all with the India Ink. I did like this. Ooh, I have a whole set of these...must paint with more of them!

Next, I wanted her eyes to be luminescent. I used Golden's Fluid Acrylic in the color Interference Violet. I am sold on the Interference colors; I'm getting them all. This photo below was taken at an angle so I could try and capture the iridescence of her eyes and the texture in the two pages from the Clear Gesso. You can click on the photo and get a better look at these:

So I'm playing around with the poetry in Photoshop first. When I decide on the final poem (or verse) I'll write that in with something, either a gel pen or one of the inks. I WISH I knew how to do Calligraphy. I have a how-to book and a beginner's set but have never really sat down with it and applied myself.

This workshop of Suzi Blu's is so much fun! All of the experimentation with the layers and layers and layers of paint, papers, inks, etc. really motivates me to start more pages and expand the journal even further! So I'll be working on these for awhile. I won't post all of them all of the time, but wanted to give you a peek at the journal work from the workshop. Tomorrow's lesson, when posted, will be the first of a two part series on working on the graphite portrait that's been applied to a wood support. I'm really looking forward to this one. I want to start working more with wood. I talked hubby into buying the 36" x 36" piece of birch plywood and he's been cutting it up into 6" x 12", 9" x 12" and 12" x 12" pieces for all of the art I've yet to make. :)

Now I've really got to get serious about the faux encaustic workshop canvasses I've started. The process looks to be so cool! I haven't forgotten about it...just been giving all of my time to these little goddesses! I hope to have something to show by the end of the week.