Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Once again it's been quite a while since I've updated my blog. :( Seems I need to learn a little more about how to balance things in my life better. Things are a little hectic right now but nothing that can't be managed. A few health issues have come up. I'm going to need surgery in December, right before Christmas! Nothing life threatening, just something that has to be tended to.

I'm taking a wonderful painting class that has me very excited. It's called Paint Free (referring to the way you should approach your painting...free of any preconceived notions) and it's taught by the awesome artist Wyanne. Learn more about her and her wonderful art and classes here. I absolutely love this class. It has really been a great experience and I highly recommend it.

Other things going on: I'm stocked up on encaustic supplies and plan to really dig in this Winter and do some serious work with those. So, lots of things in the works.

The piece at the top of this post is a digital one I put together using various elements from Scrapbook Graphics. Tangie Baxter, I believe, supplied most of these elements in one of her art journal kits. This is exactly how I feel lately: trying to balance all of the different things going on lately. Hopefully I'll do a better job of it in the coming weeks!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Love Song

This is a digital piece I did in response to a challenge at Digital Whisper. We were to take an image of smoke and add something to it. I thought this image of smoke looked like a spirit. So I had him meeting this lady in a secluded spot in a pond...

After I made this I realized the challenge was to add the smoke to an existing photo. Oops, I need to read those challenges more carefully. So I thought I would just post it here to my blog. I'm trying to learn some techniques for photomanipulation. I love some of the results you get with that technique.

Here is a journal page I did for my online journaling group:

This is in response to the prompt for a favorite musical instrument. I don't play any instruments but I have always loved the saxophone. And I love jazz music. So, I sketched this little guy playing the sax.

October 13 my hubby and I celebrated our 20 year wedding anniversary! Yay! So I dedicated this page to that event. We were both kind of in shock that it had been that long. A lot has happened over the years. We've lost some family members and have held together strong through many tough times.

I had many good memories making this page. Here's to many, many more to come!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


This is another digital art journal page. I was going through my digital files and had forgotten about these silhouette shapes. I love them. Their mysteriousness draws me to them. They remind me of ghosts; ghosts of our past selves, maybe.

The text is from a wonderful poem by Frank Bidart called The Old Man at the Wheel. The first part of the poem starts out like this: "Measured against the immeasurable/universe, no word you have spoken/brought light. Brought/light to what, as a child, you thought/too dark to be survived./By exorcism/you survived. By submission, then making./...

Then later in the poem are the two lines I use in this piece: "As you grip the things that were young when/you were young, they crumble in your hands./" The more I read the entire poem, the more I love it.

I receive the journal POETRY every month and it has been a great inspiration in my art lately. Not to mention a big boost to my poetry collection. There is a little paragraph about each poet in the back of the journal that lists their publishing credits. I have been adding some awesome books to my collection through this resource. Yay! ;)

I go back and forth between digital and physical journaling. I am feeling the pull to get back into the studio now. I've finished a page recently where I painted the page only with my fingers; it felt great! I like the freedom of smearing the paint over the page with my hand.

Today the studio calls again. It is supposed to be much cooler this weekend so I can open the windows and set up the exhaust fan. That means I am going to play with my encaustics for the first time in a long while. We shall see what that produces. I have had a few ideas in my head for a while now and I'm not sure how they will translate with the wax. The best way to find out is to experiment!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Everyone Is A Moon

I love the two digital kits called Stark and Void that I found at Deviant Scrap. They are full of inspiration! I used these elements from both kits to create this digital journal page. I loved this quote! It just knocked my Muse off her chair when she saw that! We are so in tune right now with the dark side and all things along those lines. ;)

Another thing I've been thinking about: Jamie Ridler has a wonderful feature at her website called Wishcasting Wednesday. You can sign up to receive an email from her every Wednesday which asks you a question that really gets you thinking. I love those and look forward to every Wednesday's question. You can read more about how it works on her site. It's a great idea! Every week I look at the questions and think about them and always say yeah, I should write about that one.

The question last week was What do you wish for less of? I think she meant maybe in a material sense, but maybe not. She leaves the questions pretty open. This question has been staying with me all week. I wish I could have less FEAR. I wish I could just create what I really feel and put out there without having to worry about what people would think and all of the baggage that goes along with that.

Usually I go ahead and do what I want but not always. Lately, I have really hesitated before starting some projects, afraid what people would think, and that has resulted in my not starting any of them. I hate where that is taking me. So that leads me back to Jamie's question and seeing the great timing for that!

And that brings me to this journal page. "Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anyone." Okay. But I'm not afraid to show just a little of mine now. ;)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Altered Heart

Yes, it's been WAY too long since I've updated my blog. I've been taking some down time and doing a lot of reading: lots of poetry and some fiction. The poetry has really been calling to me, helping to feed my starving Muse.

I've discovered many new (to me) poets that have really spoken to me. Among my favorites right now are Matthew Zapruder, Alice Fulton and Andrew Hudgins. I've bought their latest books and have been poring over their words just breathing in the inspiration through their imagery. It's been wonderful! So,that's where I've been.

I put together this digital piece this morning while listening to some music. I love the idea of using ink blots as images. Tangie Baxter at Scrapbook Graphics had a really cool new digital kit out that did just that and I had to grab it up and play with it. I also had this verse of a poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti in my head called, "The World is a Beautiful Place" and thought I'd put it with this piece. Here's the complete verse:

"The world is a beautiful place
to be born into
if you don't mind happiness
not always being
so very much fun
if you don't mind a touch of hell
now and then
just when everything is fine
because even in heaven
they don't sing
all the time..."

And now that Fall is finally coming and the oppressive heat and humidity is starting to go away maybe I'll be a bit more motivated to make some more art! I do know that words and images are bombarding me and I'm excited about where the direction they are taking me. And hopefully I will be checking in here a little more regularly!

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I can't keep up with posting to this blog! I seem to be behind in everything. This is the latest entry in my art journal. I belong to an art journal group called the Journal Journey at the Roses on My Table Ning site and it helps that we are given prompts to motivate us every two weeks. The last prompt was to journal about a favorite quote. I've always loved this one by Camus.

I am loving this over sized journal I picked up. I took a handful of my favorite Golden heavy bodied acrylics, a palette knife, cranked up my IPod and went to work just spreading paint. I may just paint a ton of pages this way. I love the look of the colors blending together; so vibrant!

I've been really inspired by poetry lately. We subscribe to The New Yorker and the first place I always turn to and read is the poetry. I have discovered some great poets in the last couple of issues and am anxiously awaiting their books from Amazon. Sometimes I'll read a poem and it just punches me in the chest: BAM! That's how these last few poets I've discovered have been. Their words have really spoken to me and given me some deep insight. And there is this continuing theme that they have all had that is running parallel with my own theme that I'm grappling with how to explore in my art. So it's all very exciting and serendipitous.

Plus I really want to explore all of this more using my encaustics. The first day it gets below 90 degrees I will head up to the hot plate. It's been unbearably hot here...not something I deal with very well. It affects my mood...I am a cool weather person. I just tolerate summer (barely) until it goes away. I am so ready for it to be over. Yesterday the heat index here was 104. Blah...

So that's a little of what is going on here. I will try to keep up better with posting! Hope to have more to show soon.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Little Escape

It's been a while since I've posted! Many things are going on right now and I'm also taking advantage of some down time just to refill my artistic well. One way I do that is to read fiction. I used to read a LOT but in the last few years my art has taken over and I've all but quit. I have missed it, though.

Hubby surprised me one day and came home with a Nook. I never thought I would warm up to an electronic book reader. I'm one who loves to hold a book in my hand, feel the pages, etc. But I'm also one who has boxes of books that are still unpacked from the last move and sitting in the basement right now. There are no more book shelves to put them in. We both keep all of our books and have built up quite the stash. So storage has become a problem. And I hate to part with them so I pack my books in boxes.

So I gave the Nook a try. This way I can buy new books (plus get a lot of classics for free) and not have to worry about a place to put them. I'm hooked. I can't believe how much I love this little thing. The only drawback...it's too easy to hit the shop button and buy a book, download it and start reading. I must control myself....

And since I was escaping into the world of fiction, I decided to really escape and see what all the fuss was about with the Twilight madness. So the first ebook I bought was Twilight. Then I had to get all of the rest of them. Now I'm hopeless. Even before the current wave of vampire madness, I was a fan of Anne Rice and all of her novels. So that made me go hunting through the taped up boxes in the basement looking for those.

Needless to say, not much art is getting done. But I'm enjoying my little escape into fantasy, I'm filling my well, and I'm getting some ideas for some darker art. And it just so happens that my friend Kimmie decided to open a group for "dark art" at her Digital Whisper site. So, I'm feeling right at home there!

This was a digital piece I did for Kimmie's moon challenge. She supplied the moon and some clouds, we were to fill in the rest. I had the girl in my files. I didn't keep track of where she came from so I can't give the proper credit. The sinister eyes belong to...who do you think? The piece is called, "Darkness Beckons". Hmmm...I think I'd follow him anywhere. ;)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Big Three: Journal Page

I just bought a BIG sketchbook that I love. It's 11" x 14" with nice, thick pages that are great to work on. I've been a little behind in the Journal Journey group I belong to and really wanted to get a page done for the latest prompt. Plus, I wanted to try out all of my new Golden paints that just came in. ;)

The current prompt is: Name three things that you like about yourself. *groan* Why was that so hard! I decided to have some fun with it and sketched this crazy face to get me started. I've been practicing my Zentangles and thought they would make a lovely jester-style hat for my girl. I LOVE those Zentangles! Check out their newsletter. They will often include new tangles with each issue. These are so fun to doodle, color and even incorporate into your own drawings.

So my three things were: creative (duh!), a big heart, and a sense of humor. These are what I call my big three. I collaged some papers from old textbooks onto the page before starting in with the paints. Oh, these are some yummy colors. More on that in a minute. I love this big surface to work in. Lots of room to play!

I sketched the face on some drawing paper and then scanned it. After printing it out onto copy paper I colored it in and then cut it out and adhered it onto the journal page. I'm doing more with that sketch in another piece. And I've just started another class called Technicolor Faces, taught by Sharon Tomlinson. This is where those luscious colors of Golden paints come in. We are learning to paint faces in technicolor! I'm already loving this! I'm starting to paint my first canvas today. I just reviewed the videos again to make sure I have an idea of what I'm supposed to do. I'll post my results soon. Stay tuned...

I've had four straight days of migraines and have not been able to do much of anything. This is the first day that I've started without pain. I want to paint and play art as long as I can today! :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Looking In

I admit it: I'm a lurker. I love to join social websites. I love to read the posts, enjoy the art, the tutorials, the conversations, etc. But I rarely join in. I don't really know why. I will occasionally chime in if there's a topic I feel strongly about or have something to contribute that I think will help someone. But I usually just follow the conversations and stay silent.

That's how I go about my art: silently working away in the studio. Sometimes I'll have music on but usually it's just the sound of my paintbrush or whatever medium I'm working on that day. I guess I just realized all of this while taking Kelly Rae Roberts' ecourse, Flying Lessons. We're talking a lot about social networking, especially Facebook, blogging, Twitter, Yahoo groups, etc. and I started thinking about how much I enjoy the Ning sites I belong to.

If you look at my sidebar you'll see a few of the sites listed. I haven't updated these lately so there are quite a few more that I've joined. I like checking in with them everyday to see what's going on; they really are little communities, buzzing away. It's nice to check in on the artists' work and what motivated them to create it. Now I'm not a complete recluse. I DO post my work on some of these sites. And I interact with the folks on these pretty often.

I guess I'm really talking about the Facebook, Yahoo groups and Twitter sites. I really don't do much at all with those. I just lurk. I'll read the posts and then check in later and read some more. At first I didn't understand Twitter at all. Now, it's pretty entertaining. I have my favorite people that I love to follow; not all of them are artists (most are). I've gotten used to how it works now and I suppose I'll eventually have some things to add. Every once in a while I'll "tweet" when I put a new work up on my Flickr or post to my blog. But I'm getting the hang of it.

Facebook, I still don't understand. I'll have to look at it some more to figure it all out. But I don't mind reading everyone else's little snippets. And I receive Daily Digests for the Yahoo groups I belong to. That helps cut down on tons of emails. These groups are very helpful in terms of techniques, new products, etc. So I like to check in with those and skim the messages for news that way.

So thinking about all of these different sites and my interaction (or not) with them, put me in a quiet, contemplative mood. I ended up making this digital piece called, "The Outsider". The tornado siren rang three different times here tonight! Luckily nothing major touched down. I guess that's where the lightning in this piece came from. ;)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Flying Lessons

Yes, I am nervous if I get in a place that's a little too high and I am DEFINITELY afraid of water: I can't swim! So why did I create such a disturbing piece? Well, first of all, I made some CitraSolv pages today and one of my favorite pages left this guy hanging in the sky. Everything else on the page got melted away but he remained. So I had to use him in a piece of art. What's really cool is he came along at just the right time.

I'm taking Kelly Rae Roberts' e-course: Flying Lessons (see button on sidebar). It is fantastic! And it's all about taking the leap in starting your own creative business. I've had this desire in the back of my head for a while but I've never really pursued it seriously. Right now I'm gathering information. That was just one of the things that kept me from really going any further: I didn't even know where to begin. So now I'm getting some answers.

As I learn new things from Kelly, I'll be making changes (to the blog and in other areas). So don't be surprised to see me tweaking things periodically. I'm experimenting with what feels right and trying to find my way in all of this.
I hope to have some news to announce in the coming months. I'm working very hard behind the scenes and I will let you know when I'm getting closer to my goal. Right now, I feel a little like the fellow in the photo: trying to balance all of the different ideas, information and possibilities. It's scary, it's exciting and and I'm entirely out of my element. But I've got to give it a try. And you'll be right along on the journey with me! So periodically I'll update you on how I'm doing in the course.

I've been experimenting with some new art forms and I'll be showing some of those to you next time. The thing I don't like about them: they take so darn long to dry... stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Arguing With My Muse

I'm having a hard time getting things completed. The project I was so excited about got put on the back burner for just a minute. I kept sitting down to work on it and the minute I was ready to begin, nothing would happen. The Muse would shut down and refuse to cooperate. She even threw a little tantrum. No, she wanted to work on something else...something I hadn't even planned on tackling right now.

So I tried to reason with her...all it got me was a big mess. I put the pet project away; not out of sight, just to the side. I really want to work on that project. But right now there is this other thing that is screaming to come forth. *sigh*

This is just a check-in to say that it is in progress and I'm not sure what will come of it but the Muse is happy and at least we're on speaking terms now. I have no idea where this came from but it's ... interesting. This one, I HOPE, to have ready by the weekend.

Then, back on track with the other project. At least, that's the deal we made. ;) Stay tuned.

Monday, May 17, 2010


I've been busy re-filling my artistic well. Life gets in the way sometimes and you have to tend to things, despite what you may have planned. But that's not always a bad thing. A little down time gives new perspective and a chance to experiment.

The top piece is a canvas I just finished called, "Life". This was a total experimental piece. I started with the graphite and colored pencil sketch I had in my sketchbook. I adhered that to the canvas and then slathered the entire background with light molding paste. Then I just decided to see where it took me.

I ran into some problems after adhering the image and trying to paint over the molding paste. But I've learned that this is where things can get interesting. Solving the problems that arise can take you in a new direction with your piece; one you might never have thought to go otherwise.

The coloring in her face got all blotchy because I had inadvertently dragged something over the image while painting the background. At first I was horrified. All of the hard work coloring that face wasted! I knew I should have sprayed it with fixative! Ugh! But it only happened to one side...so I plugged in the hot plate and smoothed encaustic medium over the face. It helped a little, giving it a cloudy look. But then it turned some of the colors above one eye a bruised yellow color. That was different.

I sat for awhile thinking. This face is not going to be pretty. So I started to give her a story. OK, she's having a rough time. Just like in life: she's scarred by the things she's experienced. I decided to age her a little more and paint the one "damaged" side of her face with crackle paint. When it dried I liked the aged look. I even liked the bruised look above the eye. Life has started to take a toll on her looks but she's moving on. I put a steel cage around her neck to symbolize the different pressures that have been choking her. Yet she's determined to go forward. The quote is from Dante and I thought it added just the right touch to describe her Life at this point in time.

What could have ended up as a piece to be painted over with Gesso turned out to be a pretty cool mixed media painting! And I learned some lessons along the way. :)

I've been sketching faces every night just to stay in practice. Some are a lot better than others and I won't use all of them in my art. Here's one I scanned into Photoshop after coloring with different brands of colored pencils. I call this one "Dreamer"

I'm working on a really fun project right now that will be ongoing. But it is time consuming. It can be completed in stages and I hope to have the first stage finished by the end of the week. Stay tuned! This one has me pretty excited! Even hubby doesn't know about it! ;)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Dreams and Songs

The arrival of Spring and all of the vivid colors outside my studio window have inspired me to change my blog background. I've been wanting to do this for a long time but never knew how. Thanks to my friend, Kimmie, I tried it out and will be experimenting with different backgrounds as I go along. The current one is a CitraSolv page I had scanned and then digitally added lime green paint splats. Vibrant colors, indeed!

All of this energy from Spring's stimuli has renewed my interest in drawing. I've been diligently practicing every night in my sketchbook. Monica Zuniga's classes have been such an inspiration to me. I've learned so much from her! I want to incorporate my drawings into my art more and not just digitally. I'm learning how to paint these faces on a canvas (way outside my comfort zone!) and that's exciting.

Here are a few of my latest drawings that I've put into digital layouts. They have been colored with pencils and then scanned into Photoshop. Oh, I found some awesome colored graphite pencils that I'm loving. Soft pastel graphite! So I've used those, some charcoal pencils, some colored pencils and some ink pencils. I love the softness that they give to the drawings.

The first photo is called "Muse Song". She inspires me by chanting the word "Believe" over and over as I sit down to create. ;)

I call the second photo, "Dream Weaver". She's bringing me such vivid and inspiring dreams lately that it's hard to keep track of them all. I write them down as they come to me. I think of these two as "the sisters" since they look so much alike. The Midsummer Night's Dream elements came from Tangi Baxter's Midsummer Night's Dream kit at Scrapbook Graphics. She does some amazing works and has beautiful digital kits.

I also like to draw more whimsical faces and this next one is an example of that. This is called, "Je t'aime". She's a curious one. I wasn't quite sure what kind of surrounding to put her into. I started experimenting with different colors and themes and this emerged. After I colored her, I named her "attitude girl" in my files. She may show up in some other art down the road.

I'm trying to figure out how to incorporate some of these into an encaustic piece. Still working out the bugs but I'm getting closer. It's always interesting to see what happens when you experiment. What doesn't work can just be painted over. Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

My Fifteen Minutes of Fame

Exciting news to report! First, here is the CitraSolv brochure, hot off the press, advertising the use of their product in art. Look who made it onto the brochure: my Warhol collage! Woot! Woot!

And to make it even more exciting...guess who won the "collage" entry in the CitraSolv Artist Contest? Moi, for the same collage! Woot! Woot! Here is the announcement on their artist website. Today I received my prize in the mail: a very generous gift card from Cheap Joe's Art Supply! I think I'll be able to think of something to order... ;)

All of this has been such a welcome surprise these last couple of weeks. Lots of drama going on behind the scenes here but this more than makes up for it. Andy Warhol's classic line: "Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes" comes to mind. Well, here is my fifteen minutes and I think it only fitting that Mr. Warhol himself was the inspiration for this piece. And I also think Andy would get a kick out of it!

I have been working on some other projects but nothing that I can show just yet. I found this awesome book in Border's yesterday and couldn't resist getting it:
Oh, my! Lots of ideas and inspiration pouring out of this...stay tuned for some results to be posted soon.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Shattered Heart

I've been busy trying some new encaustic techniques and playing a bit more with watercolors. The first photo is my latest encaustic painting called, "Shattered Heart". I wanted to experiment with adding some glass to the wax. I had envisioned a piece with shattered glass and some screen wire.

This is close to what I had in my head when I started the painting. I also wanted to add more texture to my next piece. I like the deep scratches that I see in a lot of encaustic artists' work so I wanted to add more of those. If you click on the photo you get a larger view. I also used a wire brush for the pitted look you see in different areas. I then experimented with using a metal charm as a "stamp" in the wax. That is what you see in the four rectangles at the bottom of the painting. Once I had the scratches in and the "stamp" done, I then filled them in with oil paint.

The glass didn't want to stay in once I had finished the painting. The next day, I found the whole thing laying on the floor with the glass underneath it on the carpet! :( So I had to reinforce it with some E-6000. That stuff holds anything!

Then I did two more watercolor paintings for Monica's class. This first one was inspired by a photo I saw in an old photography book I got for free in the library discard bin. I loved the image of the little girl surrounded with the birds. I call this one, "For The Birds".

I have this rough, cream colored watercolor paper that I ordered by mistake and thought I would never use. I should have sent it back but I didn't want to bother with the hassle. I only have about five sheets of the stuff, so I figured I'd use it for a collage base, if nothing else. That's what I've been using for these watercolor paintings. It's nice that you start out with a little bit of color to the face (the cream paper).

This next one was inspired by a photo of a girl I saw in an old National Geographic magazine. I added different facial features, hair and background. I love the purple background. How I did it, I don't know! ;) I call this one, "Secrets" because after finishing the painting, she just looked like she had some secrets she was hiding.

I have a new appreciation for watercolor painters! I think it's a very challenging medium, but beautiful when you get the results you want. However, I think I'll stick to my other media: acrylics, oils and encaustic. But the experiments have been fun.

I saw a gorgeous encaustic painting from another artist in one of the online encaustic groups I belong to. She achieved the most beautiful effects using an iron. That's got me thinking...I have this little travel iron (never used) that is a perfect size for these canvasses...Stay tuned!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Heavenly Whispers

This is my finished painting. I wanted to have it completed by April 2. My Mom would have turned 70 on that day and I try to make one piece of art dedicated especially to her each year since she passed away. I can't believe it's been six years...still feels so recent.

This painting was yet another stretch for me in the watercolor medium. I used both watercolor paints and pencils for her. I like the blending that you can get with the pencils but I find the paints to still be a challenge. I wanted her to have a stylized look; not so much a "realistic" color to her face.

For finishing touches, I added some tulips from some decorative napkins and then used a palette knife to lay down a heavy layer of acrylic paint. Finally, I sprinkled on some mica flakes to give it an ethereal feel.

This painting is dedicated to my Mom who passed away much too early at the age of 64 on April 4, 2004. I love you, Mom, and this is how I feel everyday...wondering about how it must be for you in Heaven right now. :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Work In Progress

I've been busy trying to learn how to use my watercolors. Let's just say I'm finding there's a huge learning curve. I have a couple of paintings going right now and I thought I'd show you a sneak peek at a work in progress. Watercolors are very cool when you can get them to do what you want. I'm just not there yet...

This is a painting on half a sheet of watercolor paper. It's for Monica Zuniga's Inspire Me Workshop. We were supposed to make a whimsical figure but I'm not quite there yet. I thought I'd do another lifelike (or at least at attempt at it) painting before tackling the next lesson.

One thing I'm sure of: as with any other medium, only with practice, practice, practice will you make any progress! So, that's just a peek at what's going on behind the scenes. I've also started another encaustic piece but am still waiting for inspiration on where to go with it next.

I hope to have some kind of finished piece to show soon!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Different Moods, Different Media

What I love about art: all the different media! You can choose to work with whichever one you feel like using on any given piece. Such freedom! :) I've included a few examples to show you what I mean.

The top piece is called, "Roses For A Blue Lady". It's 14" x 19" painting on watercolor paper. This was my first foray into watercolors. I've been flirting with them but just never got it. I've always thought of them as too washed out. But I've been studying different watercolor artists that have produced the most amazing results. Pair that with Monica Zuniga's current workshop called Inspire Me (how appropriate!) and I was ready to wade into the world of watercolor.

This is a drawing I sketched onto a background collaged with music sheets. Then I started the experiment. The secret was the combination of watercolor paint, watercolor pencils and white acrylic paint. Voila! Perfect blending/shading of the watercolors. Her entire face is done with just those three items (plus a decoupaged piece of napkin on her forehead). I also added some foil strips to her hair. The background is a mix of acrylic paints and more decoupaged napkins.

I love the look of the watercolors when the white paint blends them out. Monica is an awesome teacher and the face she produced on her painting was exquisite! I wanted to try immediately. I'm pretty happy with this one. ;)

Next is a piece I painted onto Plexiglas (inspired by Gary's workshop). I drew the image onto the Plexiglas and then painted it with acrylic paint and opaque markers. That's it. The watercolor effect you see on the sky background is a CitraSolv page collaged onto a wood panel. When the Plexi piece was placed over that background, it gave the cool watercolor look. All that needs to be done now is to drill holes in the Plexi and attach it to the board. Voila! Cool Plexi art! I call it "Sideshow".

Now onto more encaustics. This first piece is called "Fly". It's just encaustic paint in multiple layers with encaustic medium. That's it. Then I incised some lines with a cutting tool and filled those in with oil paint. After rubbing away the excess oil paint, Voila! Cool encaustic art!!

And even with encaustic art, there are still options. Here is another wet shellac burn. I call this "Grounded". While you can Fly with the freedom of the pure encaustics on the first piece, this one is more earthy and keeps you Grounded. I loved the colors in the shell bead that I had and wanted to incorporate those into the piece. Then I added some polished stones at the bottom.

So that's a little of what I've been dabbling with this week. Lots more on the way using different media. Tonight: I'm experimenting with encaustic plus Pan Pastels. I saw this technique on the web and have to give it a try. Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Feeling The (Shellac) Burn

I finally did it. I got up the nerve to try the wet shellac burn technique! I think what was holding me back was the whole idea of flames shooting up. That conjured up all sorts of fears of a fire out of control, house burning down, etc. Those are valid fears, but not so much with this technique. You just have to use your head.

So, these two pieces are done with the wet shellac burn. There is also a technique called the dry shellac burn which I will try next. Basically, all you do is lay down a layer of encaustic medium, paint over it with shellac (I used amber shellac) and while it's still wet, take your torch to it. Immediately the flames will shoot up. They aren't massive, just hovering over the board. You can blow them out when you're happy with the burn or you can let them burn themselves out.

The top piece is called "I Stand Alone". I did a few more steps with this one. It is my second attempt at the wet shellac burn. I first primed the board with encaustic gesso. I love that there is a gesso made specifically for encaustic. Then I painted a layer of white encaustic paint. Next I added a layer of encaustic medium, added the image, then two more layers of encaustic medium. When that was all cooled, I painted the outer edges with the shellac and then took the torch to it. I let it burn out and wasn't happy with it so I painted some more shellac and did it again. I liked that much better.

The image was printed onto rice paper. It just sinks into the warm wax when you lay it on. I also added Bronze mica powder. I put on more than I intended but then just went with it; next time I'll add smaller amounts. The mica gives a nice organic feel to the piece.

This next piece was my first attempt with the technique. I call it "Excavation". Here you can see more of the amber shellac (the yellow color). I only did one burn and I used blue-green mica for the color. If you click on the image you can see more the metallic properties of the mica, especially around the edges. I also added a little bronze charm:

I'm getting the hang of it now and plan to try the dry shellac burn in my next piece. The only difference with that technique is you let the shellac dry, then you take your torch to it. It won't shoot up with flames like with the wet burn and you control where you want the burn to go. You just place your torch on the area you want burned, then move on to the next area.

I love the bubbles and craters that form while it's burning. When the flames hit the mica they make a hissing, crackling sound. But it's all controlled. You can blow it out at any time. I do this in the garage with both doors open, away from anything that could be considered flammable. No problems. ;) Now off to try some more...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Stylized Warhol: Playing With Plexiglass

Yes, my obsession with all things Warhol is still going strong. Just for fun, I made a stylized drawing of Andy Warhol from a photo I had in my archive with the Warhol quote at the bottom: "Think rich, look poor." This top photo is the painting I did, scanned into Photoshop and put onto a Citrasolv background that I've manipulated with different filters and blending modes. I call it "Cosmic Warhol" because the background just reminds me of outer space.

On Gary Reef's Ning site he is teaching small workshops on how to incorporate plexiglass into your art. Great ideas! So that was the impetus for the Warhol drawing. Here is the original painting done on plexiglass and then adhered to a wooden support that was collaged with a Citrasolv background painted with encaustic medium:

Holes were drilled into the four corners of the plexiglass and eyelets were inserted. Those were then adhered to the wooden support. The encaustic medium doesn't really show up through the glare of the plexiglass but it is there with the cloudy look I love.

Speaking of encaustics, I had the hot plate turned on all day yesterday, just playing with different techniques. Here is a piece I had started and then collaged a face from a magazine onto. The quote stuck with me so I adhered that with encaustic medium. This is called, "Beauty":

I was experimenting with incising into the layers of wax. The circle around the girl's face is done with a cookie cutter. You press it into the warm wax then fill the circle with encaustic paint. After it cools completely, you incise away the excess paint and are left with just the circle shape filled with your color. Then you fuse it once you are happy with the result.

What I'm wanting to experiment with now is working with shellac and burning it onto the surface of an encaustic painting. You use a butane torch for this. Stay tuned...this should be interesting.

Monday, March 8, 2010

This 'N That: Experimenting With It All

I've been busy experimenting with more Photoshop techniques and also with the encaustics. I thought I'd show you a few of my latest pieces. The top photo is called, "The Road Home". It's more of merging the CitraSolv backgrounds and then amping up the Saturation levels and other blending modes to get bold colors. I think there are about 5 different backgrounds merged into this one. I like how the CitraSolv "bubbles" show up in the final version.

This next one is called, "Sisters". I wanted to obscure the vintage photo of the faces and just do some color play. Again, more merging of the backgrounds for a softer backdrop. I then played with blending modes for the sisters to get the bold color and distorted look.

Then I went into an ethereal mode. I wanted to get a misty, ghostly effect into some of the digital pieces. This one is called, "Out of the Mist". There are still several backgrounds that have been merged in this one but very subtle colors and textures were added.

Back to the bold colors and still sticking with the ghostly images, this one is called, "Serenity". You can really see the CitraSolv effects in the backgrounds of this one.

And finally, a new encaustic. This one is called, "Hiding in the Shadows". I started with a canvas panel and covered it with black cardstock. I originally planned on doing something else but that image didn't work out. So I added a portion of a CitraSolv background. There appears to be a person, partly obscured, standing behind a veil or a curtain. I liked the ghostly effects of this. I then added the clear encaustic medium to get the cloudy layers and then splattered on encaustic paints in neon colors. Finally I added a little flowing strip of encaustic paint to the bottom, sort of like a river flowing. Pretty cool effects and a lot of fun learning how to work with the encaustic paints. This piece was made in response to a challenge on the Art From The Heart.ning site. The theme was "In Darkness" and you could use any medium you chose.

So that's what's been going on behind the scenes. I'm expecting some new encaustic paint colors this week so I can expand my color palette.

I'm excited that my brother and sister will be visiting this coming weekend! Now I need to clear a path to the spare room so one of them can sleep there! This will make me put away all of the art supplies and papers that have been migrating to the spare room. ;)

I hope to have some more new pieces to show soon. I've finally de-cluttered the studio space (again) and am happy to say I have a clean work table! I don't know how long that will last, though...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Day Into Night

More experimenting with the encaustics. The top painting is called, "Day Into Night". I'm learning to lay the color down, blend it and incorporate texture in the painting. I've got a long way to go. But this was a great exercise. I used another of the images I transferred onto muslin.

This next painting is a photo that I adhered to the wood and then layered with encaustic medium. It's called, "Sunday Morning Mist".

I've been reading a book that is nothing but techniques to try with encaustics. I hope to experiment with those in the next few days and really show some of the different looks you can get with this medium.

Just wanted to show what I've done so far. Definitely has the look of a beginner to it but, hey, I'm a beginner! ;) More to follow.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Experiments In Encaustic

I've been having a lot of fun playing with my encaustics. I have to wait until the encaustic medium arrives in the mail before I can try what I really want to do: add collage papers and photos. You need the clear medium for that and that's one thing the mfr. forgot to include in my shipment. So hopefully that will be arriving early next week.

But I was able to play around with blending color and painting in different styles with different tools. The top photo is my favorite way to paint. Normally when you see encaustic paintings they are a little abstract or have the cloudy layers showing through. I was excited to see that there were some artists who had great success painting more realistic images with encaustics. The secret is in the tool you use.

For the top painting, "Wild", I used a woodburning pen tool with a very fine calligraphic point. You have to dip your point into the wax to do your painting, just like a brush. The pen doesn't fill up like a traditional calligraphy pen. It's more a dipping process: dip and paint. But you are able to get the fine lines, blend nicely (I'm still learning how to to do that) and have a smooth finish (I'm not there yet). The pen is already very hot so there's no need to do the fusing you have to do when painting with a brush.

Next, I experimented with the coarse brush strokes. I used a chip brush and scrubbed the wax on, blending as I went. Finally I just splattered white wax on the top layer. I had an image that I transferred onto muslin a while back. I adhered the edges of it with the white wax. As soon as I get the encaustic medium I'll go over that again and make sure she's adhered properly. Plus I'll get that cloudy, layered look I like so much. But here is "Attitude" minus the encaustic medium:

Along the same lines here is another one: "Bleeding Heart". The image is a very faint transfer onto muslin. I used more of the white wax to adhere it.

So I'm impatiently waiting for the rest of my shipment. When I get the last two items then I can really begin to experiment with the different methods. By the way, I've only burned myself once! ;)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Break On Through

It's funny how the Muse works. I find myself wanting to continue with the "celebrity" theme in my art. I think it's a result of all those hours working on the torn-paper collages. Plus the fact that I've been poring over the book of Andy Warhol's portraits.

In one of the free image sites that I haunt, I found the photo of an old dilapidated building with the words "the Doors" spray-painted on it's door. I loved that and knew I had to use it. Then I cut out the archway and steps from another freebie photo and merged the two. The background is a merging of about four different CitraSolv backgrounds that I made. I thought when the backgrounds were merged that they looked like a stone wall...then it all came together. The Jim Morrison image is from a Photoshop tutorial on how to make your image look like a watercolor. By the way, I'm using that portrait of Morrison (only much larger) as the base for my current torn-paper collage.

Speaking of collages, here is my "Blue Marilyn". I used Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe portraits as the model for this one. At first I had all of the torn-papers showing in the background. But it became too distracting, so I covered most of them up with Shiva Paintstiks. I like this version much better:

And since he started the whole thing, I included another Andy Warhol piece. This is from the weekly challenge at Digital Whisper. We were to use the image of a ghostly swirl in our piece. Also, as part of the challenge, we were to include a watermark with our name. I did a lot of manipulation with the swirl image...I like the darker look. ;) The Warhol image is one of his many self-portraits; I just tweaked it a little to add to the ghostly theme. This is called "Warhol Ghost".

What's on the horizon: working on more collaged portraits. And something new: hubby gave me an early birthday present: the encaustic starter kit! Yay!! It should be arriving by the end of the week. DickBlick has an awesome starter kit that I've been drooling over for years. I've been itching to work with encaustic painting since I first saw Bridgette Guerzon Mills' work. My birthday isn't until May but my honey knows how to make me happy...buy me art supplies! ;)

As soon as I receive the package I'll be diving into the world of encaustics. I know from others that there's a big learning curve, but I'm ready! In between learning that art form, I'll still be dabbling in whatever else my Muse throws at me...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wabi Sabi Paintings

Wabi Sabi? What is that?! I had heard the term before and remembered that it meant something like things not lasting...of the earth...something like that. If you Google it you'll get all of the definitions. Then I saw this post. Ooh, I loved those paintings and had to try one right away.

I liked her idea of starting with small canvases. These are 5" x 5"; perfect size for experiments. The first tries didn't turn out so well. I figured out that you add acrylic paint first (at least I did) then add the alcohol inks plus the glazing medium.

I was limited on my stash of alcohol inks but I was glad to finally see a use for them! I've never had much luck using them in anything but they do like this medium. Now I need more colors. ;)

Here are the closeups. The first one is called, "Summer Sunset".

This next one is called, "Kiss The Sky". I call these two my Sky Duo.

I decided to do some experimenting with one of those that didn't turn out so well. So I covered the whole thing with acrylic paint and added more tissue paper. Then added some molding paste and this stencil (which I love). Then added the paint and alcohol inks. I call this, "Waiting".

Pretty cool technique! Easy, fun and with a little trial and error could turn out very nice. I will be experimenting more with this one.