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.