Sunday, June 27, 2010

"Make A Wish"

 Summer months are busy for us.  My husband and I have birthdays 5 days apart in June.  We have my mother-in-law, 3 nieces, 2 nephews, my brother, and my brother-in-law's birthdays in the summer.  If you add in our anniversary, my parents' anniversary and Father's Day, we've got a lot of special occasions all within 3 months.  It's NUTS!!  With all of these special things going on, I guess I had candles and cake on my brain.

    I'm always thinking of new things or new ways to re-invent these characters.  I try to stay with my core elements -- the things I love like brilliant color, lots of textural layers, blending and shading, and a childlike quality in the overall feel.  I try not to overthink the outlining and I do it quickly the way a child would.  I'm still having such a great time creating these "people".  I may do more dogs (I have several sketches that I haven't used yet and some new ones I just finished) but I still love doing faces.  Kids appeal to me because they have such a wonderful way of looking at the world.  My own kids inspire me daily (hourly!!) and they never cease to amaze me with their simple yet profound thoughts on so many subjects. 

So, enjoy this little piece...especially if it's your birthday!!  And even if it's not your birthday, you can make a wish just the same.  Maybe it will come true!!!

Smiles as always!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Artists pay it forward...for charity

Just an update on the artist project I contributed to recently. The book is completed and is now up for bidding on here to see it.  The current bid is up to $510.  It's very exciting and it was a great feeling knowing I donated something for a great cause. "A Place to Bark" will benefit from the proceeds, and someone will have an amazing collection of art from many artists on the topic of "heart".  I'm posting the painting I donated just for those new to my blog. Here ya' go:

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Word is Art: Slide Show A Place to Bark Fundraiser Book

This is worth a look.  I feel lucky to have been asked to participate and to be part of a group of amazing artists.  I wish I'd had more time to donate a few more paintings.  Check it out!!

The Word is Art: Slide Show A Place to Bark Fundraiser Book

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bad blogger, bad blogger!

I realize that I had promised to share the texture secret from the post before last and forgot to share!!  So, here it is. 

As many of you know, I adore texture and I'll take it any way I can get it.  The best way for me to build up texture is simply by slathering paint on, little by little.  (The way a pallette might look if you don't peel off the dried puddles of acrylic paint).  A little like this:

Scraping, stamping, smooshing, drybrushing, splattering, dripping, dropping and a whole host of other ways of applying paint can be used.  If you apply each layer and allow it to dry before applying the next layer, you will have a lovely, multicolored background with lots of little surprises peeking through (impressions made by stamps with various colors, found object impressions, scraping, dripping -- whatever you did to make the layer).  I love how the background can almost have an aged, shabby look, like years of various colors trying to show themselves.  HOWEVER, this process can take some time, especially if you don't like using a heat gun (because you might wake up the sleeping toddler in the next room).  If you rush, you will make mud.  I mean MUD ...brownish, grayish, yuckishness.  Yucky.  Yuck. 
Don't do that.  It's just altogether yucky.

So to cheat Father Time, I like to collage bits of various thicknesses of paper.  Paper weight paper is great because it requires less gel medium or a lighter weight gel medium.  (Like scrapbook paper, one sided).  Sometimes I tear up old paintings I didn't like that were done on heavy watercolor paper.  That way, I already have painted pieces with lots of variety.  I've also been known
 to paint whole sheets of watercolor paper to tear up for my characters facial features.  Paper is a great way to add texture and variety to your backgrounds.

Knowing this, I became very excited when I came across some old dry wall tape.  DRY WALLTAPE??  Yes, you heard me (read me).  Dry wall, joint tape.  It is glueless, comes on a roll, and is available at any hardware store.  It can be painted, gel mediumed if you will, cut up, laid down in strips, whatever.  It is very absorbent and it is MEANT to be painted or had joint compound spread over it, so it will hold up to whatever you want to do with it.

So, there you have it.  Some of you are sitting there going, "Duh, I so already knew that."  But it was new for me and I always want to share my excitement over new things.  Here's one of my a journal.  I left the edges uncut -- kind like it that way.  So, new for you or not, give it a try.  Let me know what you think! 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

inside my new project

Fun with recycled board books....these are the first 2 pages.  I'll fill each page with a funky portrait.  Should be fun!  The book is only like 3 and half inches square, so it'll go fast.  Painting small helps me feel like I'm getting things done.  It's also a mindless, worryless project because it's something I think I'll just keep for ourselves.  We'll see, eh?

Monday, June 07, 2010

Newest paintings

I've been working lately on these three paintings (in addition to the portait of my daughter from my last post).  I promised to share the texture secret (it may not be so secret but it's new to me).  I'll do that in my next post.  Here are the paintings...almost done but still have some details to add to all of them:

Feels great to be painting again!!! 

Friday, June 04, 2010

Portrait painting in progress...maybe I'll try me next!

This is my daughter Ellie.  I'm trying to do a portrait of her.  I made it easier on myself by blowing up a decent photo and turning it into a black and white.  Then I used vellum to trace some of the basic structures of her face and made a "carbon" for myself by rubbing blue watercolor pencil on the back of the vellum.  I should've reversed the photo and then when I traced, I could've had pencil marks ready to transfer.  Live and learn!

The blue watercolor pencil did not transfer well but left enough of a mark for me to lift up the vellum, look, lay down my tracing, and then sketch over my blue marks with pencil.  (I had taped my image onto my canvas).  As much as I might feel like a purist at times, wanting to sketch just by looking instead of tracing a black and white copy, I just don't have the luxury of time to sketch these days.  I "cheated" with the sketch if you will, so I could just get to the painting!  Anyhoo, here's a shot of the vellum.  You'll see blue, read and graphite.  The blue is on the back (my carbon attempt) and the red was traced over to transfer the image and to let me know where I had already traced.  If I had used pencil over pencil, I'd be lost as far as what I needed to trace...make sense? 

Here's where I am now with the color photo to reference hair and shadows, etc.  I am still working on this and hope to finish this weekend.  I'll post more images as I go along.  It's a stretch for me since my portraits lately have crazy features!!  At some point in my artistic journey, I could sketch realistic faces easily and it felt very natural.  BUT if you don't sketch daily, portraiture is tedious.  If you LOVE painting realistic faces, sketch, sketch, sketch and paint, paint, paint!!!  It is extremely helpful in my view!

I've taken artistic liberty and prettied up the can't really tell but the canvas has a lot of texture.  I'll tell you more about that later.  It's something I've been experimenting with and you can get it at any hardware store!!!  Stay tuned for more info.

Happy painting ya'll!
miles of smiles from Texas to you!


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