Sunday, May 11, 2014

Art Journaling Progress & A Quick Hello

I thought I'd drop in with a quick hello, a few thoughts and some progress. First things first, Happy Mother's Day to all you mommas, aunties, pet owners, crafty people, etc. I think this day is a meaningful one for a great deal of women - ranging from utter and complete bliss to heartbreaking despair and grief. It always shocks me how people say "Happy Mother's Day" to all women of a certain age - as if it's a given that you have a child. Mother's Day has become somewhat like Valentine's Day in my eyes - despite the fact that I celebrate the many women in my life that are mothers - it is one more reminder of what my life lacks and most likely will always lack.

Which got me thinking (always a dangerous endeavor)...I do have a cat - and I am her momma though I think she might argue that I am, in fact, a member of her staff. If I take the time to go a little deeper, I can give a list of things I've "given birth" to (in a much less painful way); crafting projects, art girls, words strung into sentences, jokes, etc. It's a joyful moment to realize I am a mother of sorts. For me, it makes this day sting just a little bit less. However, I know that it will not bring solace to all - so I believe there should be a ban on giving random happy sentiments to people you don't know.

Anyhoo...I didn't plan to ramble on nearly as much about that subject. Sorry. I want to give a quick update of my artsy pursuits. I've got a few projects in progress right now. I will share two today and one fiasco on Friday. The first page was an early attempt at spray misting, stenciling, and general artsy messiness. The background was done months (maybe even a year ago). I added the circles and girl in the past few weeks. She's taking a rest right now as I decide on my next step.

I love so many things about this girl. I love that I drew her - head to shoulders. She is definitely heavily influenced by Tamara Laporte and Andrea Gomoll. I love the wind-swept hair. I love the transparency of her skin tone. I love her. I think that's why I'm stuck. I'm terrified to eff her up.

The second project comes from an assignment in my Lifebook 2014 class called "Tree of Life." It's also not done. It needs a quote badly. I'm trying to find the "perfect" one - there that word is again...perfect. I tried to change my color palette but have come to the realization that coral seems to be my fall back palette lately. I will most likely be adding some teal and navy at some point.

I'm a little irritated with that doily. I think it splits focus and is reflective of poor planning and composition. Mind you - I know very little about proper composition and focal points - but still it seems to be a major issue. Another thing to work on...

So that's it for now. I have a short list of things I'd like to work on in the upcoming months. I am determined to learn how to draw/paint natural hair. There are some really great examples out there but not a lot of information on how to do it. I can't wait to have pages and pages of horrid Just when I'm starting to be slightly impressed by my ability to accept imperfection - a new thing to learn comes round the bend sure to ignite great turmoil and gnashing of teeth in my household. I'm sure the walls of the house will turn blue with the color of my language on those "practice" days. I CAN--NOT wait. Moving on...I hope everyone's had a lovely day. I'm working on a surprise project and think I might have overdone it a bit...but that's life and art. I hope you've had a chance to express yourself today in whatever pursuit you enjoy. Happy Sunday! Until then...

BTW: For those of you wondering when I starting using words like "igniting" and "endeavor"...don't worry - I just have Pride and Prejudice (2005) on in the background.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Artful Beginnings - Wrap Up

Yesterday was the final day of my 40 day creative project - Artful Beginnings. It was heavily inspired by the work I've done in the last several months through my online classes. Both teachers, Tamara Laporte and Andrea Gomoll, are an inspiration and I feel blessed to have found each one. I did a similar project last year with a focus on scrapbooking - it completely jump started my mojo and I had a really productive year on the memory keeping front. I'm happy with the idea of this project (that coincides with Lent) and will do it again next year.

I thought I'd take this opportunity to share my last project and some of the things I've learned in the last forty days. I'll start with the picture I shared in Saturday's post.

I really loved the doily in her hair - but didn't particularly like the loss of definition between the yellow portion of the page and her hair. So I added a line.

This is the final piece (with the line added to her hair) - I'm still not sure about it...but that's okay. The words are the first paragraph of the poem "Caged Bird" by Dr. Maya Angelou. It's my favorite.

So here's a quick round-up of my project.

11 Artful Girls
4 Two Page Spreads
9 Art Journal Projects
8 Art Mediums Used (Gesso, Ink, Gelatos, Big Brush Markers, Paint, Watercolor Crayons, Inktense Pencils, Modeling Paste)

I'd also like to share a few things I've learned.

  • Modeling paste does not adhere to gelatos. I peeled it completely off the dress of one of my art girls.

  • Take your time - originally I had planned on doing 40 girls which was totally nuts and impractical. Sticking to the rule of working on one project a day was a revelation for me.

  • I prefer a mix of Inktense Pencils, Watercolor Crayons, and Gelatos to create my skin tones. I'm still in the world of trial and error - but I prefer those products.

  • Use everything in your arsenal - I've used stamps for facial features and I've drawn my own and that's okay. I don't beat myself up about it.

  • Be careful with paint pens - they will burp (letting out too much paint) and alter your project.

  • I prefer working in an art journal. Separate watercolor pages don't really work as well for me.

  • Large binder clips are a must when using an art journal. I couldn't work without them.

  • Be easy on yourself - this is a process. Have fun.

So that's it for now - my wrap-up of the last forty days. I plan on extending my project through the end of the school year and then evaluating my progress. I think this project will be ongoing as long as it's fun and playful. I love where I'm at now in my artful journey. I look forward to my next project. It's a good feeling. Anyhoo...that's it for today. I hope everyone is having a great Monday filled with crafting and fun. Until then...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Two Weeks Gone...

I'm so sorry. I have fallen quite short of my goal of posting weekly about my face painting progress. I was going to call it portraiture but who the eff am I kidding. I've made some progress in the last two weeks. As time has went on, I have learned that making one face a day is not really for me. I need time to think, layer, and erase mistakes - specifically with gesso which takes some time to dry. I also need a lot of practice attempts to get the skin tone right. I've learned a lot and am pretty happy with my later pieces. I PLAN on doing a post about the things I've learned during this challenge later on this week - since it actually ends tomorrow. Nevertheless - I thought I'd publish a quick post of what I've been doing over the last two weeks. I even have some process pictures for the more curious. So without further ado...first up is my tree of life project from Lifebook 2014.

She took a lot of tries. I had a lot of stops, starts, and restarts. I think it's because I overthought it and let some of the elements of the assignment overwhelm me - like the swing. The swing was definitely my nemesis. I learned one major thing - I love scrubbing paint into paper. There's something cathartic and haphazard about it that meets my need for chaos with the utmost respect for order - does that even make sense?

On to the next girl...I've been working on her for more than a week.

I was definitely inspired by the work of Tamara Laporte. I loved the idea of wind in the hair.

I call this the crazy muppet stage. I hate this stage.

She's definitely starting to take shape. I love her hair and dress. My plan was to put a stanza of one of my favorite poems in the open yellow portion of the page spread.

Started to add some texture to the background with some stencils and paint.

Had to redo the middle after a disastrous attempt to use my own handwriting. I really ended up liking the marble effect created with distress paints. Also - notice I got rid of the bird. I've started to work on the poem stanza and painstakingly added every letter of the stanza in tiny letters. It was a good lesson though. I'm not reading to try hand lettering on my pages - I know I'll get there...just not yet.

So that's it for now. I hope everyone is having a lovely Saturday. I plan on doing a round up post on Monday and finishing up this girl in the next 24 hours. I'm hopeful. Hope you're spending the day doing something you love. Until then...

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fear and Loathing in My Craft Space

Happy Sunday! I wanted to do a quick update on my progress on the painting/art journal/mixed-media front. It definitely has not been an easy week on the crafty front. I got one piece done that I'm fairly happy with.

I drew this girl from start to finish. I think that this is the thing that held me back the most. I did not want to mess up the eyes or make her look like a rabid Muppet. I find that it's much harder to finish a piece when I'm responsible for the facial features. It seems to be the most scary part of the process for me. It's something that I'll be working hard to push through in the next few months. I plan on practicing in a sketchbook so that I improve on my facial features, and more confidence. Speaking of scary, I tried to do two different assignments from Lifebook 2014 and this is my progress…

In all fairness, there were problems from start to finish. The clear gesso did not react well to my graphite pencil. I was totally mystified by making a 3-D swing. And I'm having the hardest time with proportion. It was definitely a "draining my will to live" kind of situation. I don't know if I'll be going back to these assignments anytime soon - but I hope that I'll be courageous enough to revisit them before the class ends in December.

Anyhoo… That's it for now. I hope everyone has had a really great weekend. I also hope that everyone has a really great week full of creativity, crafts, and fun. Until then…

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sloppy Beginnings - Learning to Paint

I've never heard a single solitary soul utter or even insinuate the ease of beginnings.  I don't believe anyone has uttered the word easy in reference to beginning something new in the history of the entire world.  I know it's a bold claim, but anyone who even breathed the word easy in regards to beginnings must have been high.  I have to say I'm experiencing that times three months right now.  I'm loving the process and my classes - but somehow these fingers and brain cannot output what I want or need right now.  There is nothing I can do to change this - no easy fix.  However, I also know wholeheartedly things get better.  I've seen myself get better - just not good.  My progress for this week has been slow coming.  I've started to take my time and do very small increments of creative work when I notice my frustration mounting to unmanageable peaks.  I remind myself that this is supposed to be fun - to feel the brush in my hand and the sensation of the paint meeting the paper and sometimes, when I'm focused...I remember.  So not a lot of pics for this week.  Just know that I've worked each day to create something new and better.  This girl was a happy part of my week (for the most part).

In other news...I'm still battling with this abomination. I have loved her then made mistake after mistake in the finishing touches stage.  I cannot stand her in this moment - in most moments.  I keep plugging away remembering this fun - even when it blows.  I think I'll name her False Starts - she fits that name perfectly!

This is the best picture I got of this hag.  Pardon my anger towards her.  You can't look directly at her or she doesn't look right and frankly I'm fed up.  She's like Medusa.  Don't look her dead on or it's a little like dying...just kidding (a little). That's why her eyes or closed - no need to risk eternity as a statue  for this sad girl.  So that's it for today.  I hope you had a nice Sunday.  I had a minor thing happen - I turned 37.  I spent the day doing my favorite things - visiting the bookstore, Target, Michaels, and Chili's.  I spent it as most solitary creatures do...alone.  And it was perfect.  There are celebration plans in the works for this upcoming weekend.  A quick picture of my swag...

My plan is to make 37 figures or whimsical portraits this year.  I had planned on coming up with 37 things or goals for this year, but who am I kidding?  So excited about my haul.  Just in case you were wondering, the book is Figure it Out by Chris Hart.  I hope to get this book soon as well.  The author has a whole series on drawing and I'm pretty excited about learning more.  Right now my goal seems like a little thing, but it makes me happy.  I could make a goal to read 37 classics or listen to 37 audiobooks but those goals don't reflect where I'm at right now.  Not to mention, they're things I already incorporate into my daily life, albeit I wish I did more.  I'm going to take this first week to think about it further...but I'm happy with my one goal.  Again, hoping your day was great.  Until then...

P.S. I used my Andrea Gomoll's stamps on my first girl's facial features.  I freehanded the second girl using the stamps as a guide.  The stamps come with her Facecinating girls classes - I highly recommend volumes one and two.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Art Girl Project: Lent 2014 - Progress Update

So I'm not going to lie - this process has not been easy at all.  After my last post, I almost gave up.  I thought to myself that it was okay to give up...I'm not up for this.  But then I remembered why I was doing this...and what Lent represents...and I decided to go for it.  These were just growing pains.  I decided to take baby steps and make sure I worked on one girl a day.  Sometimes that meant five minutes - other days it meant five hours.  I have to admit I've had my doubts over the last two weeks.  However, this girl is one of the reason's I've kept pushing...

I was really happy with this girl.  She looks a little different now due to paint dripping on the page from other projects - but I'm still totally happy with her.  I used the stamp set from Andrea Gomoll.  I can't say enough good things about her stamps and the beauty of NOT having to draw the details.  It makes life so much easier.

Next up...I tried my hand at drawing the details...

For this girlie, I was inspired by the wonderfully talented Kristin Van Valkenburgh.  She's a really talented artist and my attempt really pales in comparison.  I really love her blog and she shares her mixed media work on Pinterest.  The most important thing is using the inspiration and doing the best job you can.  This represents my best work in that particular moment and time.  I hope someday to get better.  I could go on and on about the problems.  The scale of her face is all wrong.  Her eyes are too far apart.  I really wish I would have done a two page spread.  Her chin and cheek bones are a minor disaster.  However, I love the colors.  I think I did pretty well on the lips and her hair isn't a total loss.

My next art girlie got a two page layout and was inspired by this painting by Paulette Insall.  There are a few photos to show you some of my process.  I made a few mistakes so this girl took me about a week.

If you look at the first picture - I wanted my girl to have a word.  I love the word soulful.  I thought it was perfect for her (at first) then I thought about changing it to soar and adding a bird; as you can see, none of that happened.  When I added the word on the bottom I went to work on another part of the project.  My arm ran through the black paint and I pretty much lost my mind.  I then went to my modeling paste and got to work.  I painted it all over her dress and then colored it with gelatos.  I am so satisfied with the result.  I would love to leave you with this - because I truly love this girl.  However, I thought I'd give you a quick glimpse of my new nemesis.

I have painted this piece of paper more times than I can count.  The sun started out as radiating circles with a melon background.  Then I tried my hand at a sunset (so not there yet) - and finally changed the circles into one smaller sun.  I wish I would have taken pictures.  I've just gessoed her face again and am waiting for it to dry.  Then I am turning the page and doing something new.  I need a break from this girl.  She's driving me nuts.  We are definitely on a break.

So there it is...two weeks of progress.  One somewhat happy "artsy" girl.  I'm not even close to ready to call myself artsy in any kind of real sense.  The important thing is I'm having fun and plugging away.  It's making me happy and that means so much.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful Sunday.  I will keep you updated on my progress.  Until then...

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Artful Beginnings: A Tale of Me and the Girls

As part of my challenge for Lent in 2013 - I chose to do something creative everyday. Specifically I worked on creating scrapbook pages. On some days, I cranked out multiple layouts. And then, on other days I worked slowly - placing a card or choosing a picture. The really beautiful thing about that journey was that it reignited my love for scrapping and being creative. I found that I enjoyed the creative process more and wasn't addicted to the need for lots of words. It was an epiphany and a pleasure. I think that was due in large part to the fact that I had been scrapping for six years at that time and I was trying to get the spark back - that little thing that keeps you going and moving towards being a creative being.

Cut to 2014...I had taken a few classes and started drawing faces aided by the lovely and talented Andrea Gomoll. Her online Facecinating Girls class comes with a stamp set that includes eyes, noses, and lips. It made things so much easier and I really felt successful. I decided to take the Lifebook 2014 class sponsored by Tamara LaPorte at Willowing Arts. I've been doing one or two projects a month since the year started and am really focused on faces.

So I decided that I would do a face a day for Lent this year - I've already changed this. Last year I made the goal to be creative each day in my scrapbooking. I realized a girl a day was a little too much. I'm going back to my previous model...I will be working on one mixed media girl each day with a focus on learning to shade darker skin tones. Tutorials for shading people of color are in short supply pretty much everywhere - so I'm really winging it. This is my fourth day - and truly this is a frustrating task. I realized this morning that it's because I'm a beginner. I know what I like and I can't produce it yet. And it drives me nuts. So instead of waiting to show my great work...I decided to show you my progress so far. Prepare to be underwhelmed and in one case horrified.   

I want to be totally honest...I had a guide for the shading on this one. I will not be sharing that guide because it is truly unfair to the artist that worked so hard to put her class together. I'm a beginner and it shows. I used the stamps from Andrea Gomoll's Facecinating Girls Vol. 2 class and did the rest by myself. I've made a few changes since then - but this was the basic look. I made more hair scribbles in multiple colors. I wanted to throw up after this first try - so horrified.

On the second day - I decided to try distress markers and inks. I was really motivated and inspired by the work of Brett Weldele. I used the stamps from Andrea Gomoll's Volume 1 class and got to work. I actually think this went well. There were only a few major problems. I used very cheap watercolor paper and it started to break down pretty quickly causing some color discoloration and curse words from yours truly. I was pissed at the time but actually like her a lot now. There's a lot to be said for taking a step back and chilling out.

So for those of you thinking - holy shit what did this girl do this time. I'll explain how this poor, sad, hideous girl came to be. My intentions were great. I wanted to use the same materials from my previous girl without the wear and tear on the paper. So I tried gesso and went to work again. I feel sorry for this girl. She's a disaster. She's an 'F." She's a failure - or should I say...the project was a failure. Remember this is just gesso and the EXACT SAME markers and ink. I could go on but there's no need...I decided to do a comparison photo. other thing...I drew this girl. I got overconfident and drew the face in ink before I stamped the eyes. I will not be repeating that mistake anytime soon. I just can't handle mastering two skills (sketching and painting) at one time. The difference is huge and makes me love the other girl so much more. At this point I wanted to give up...but I decided to push forward.

This is my latest catastrophe. I used acrylics and a recipe of sorts. I completed this part of the piece yesterday and finished her up today.  This is a really great way for me to work.  It takes the pressure off.  I was really shocked by how she looked last night - I was calling her the ugly creature from Fraggle Rock.  But I'm so much happier with her now...

I'm having trouble with proportions - admittedly.  And her lips are an abomination.  I kept on screwing them up and making them bigger and bigger.  Don't even get me started on the friggin' eyebrows.  However, she's SO much better than the eery muppet from before.  She's a reminder that things DO get better.

So why this long diatribe...I just think it's important to document the beginnings. Beginnings can really suck. In my case it includes cursing, crying, and gnashing of teeth. I often lose the will to live. I often lose the will to make art ever again. I think my supplies should be given to someone else with just a little tiny amount of talent. Then I come to my senses and remember beginnings suck and this is just the growing pains of creating something better. I'll get there. I have the scrapbook pages to prove it.

So here are my new guidelines...
  • I will use Andrea Gomoll's stamps - I'm not spending energy on drawing AND shading. It's too much right now.

  • I will work on a mixed media girl each day. This can range from painting and stamping an entire girl or just painting an iris.

  • I will share my work here weekly.

  • I will share the materials I use when the shading and coloring is successful (by my standards).

  • I will keep my girls in one place as a chronicle of my journey.

  • I will use high quality watercolor paper when using uber-wet mediums.

  • I will be easy on myself. I will relax. I will try to have fun.

Here's hoping it gets better. I hope everyone is having a lovely Saturday! Until then...

BTW: The pictures with additional art was edited using A Beautiful Mess' photo app.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Comparisons: Distress vs......Distress?

Hi all!  I decided to do a little comparison today with a lovely stamp that found it's way into my stash yesterday.  It's one of Rubbernecker's watercolor stamps and it's whole purpose is  to create beautiful imperfection.  Since this post will be image heavy - I'll try to keep the chatter to a minimum.  Let's start with the image from Rubbernecker.

Original Source: Watercolor Poppies
If you click on the link, there's a pretty great demo video available.  I personally love this set and was super excited to work with it!  While the demo tape uses distress inks and markers to color the images, I thought I'd give distress paints a try as well.  In each picture, the distress paint image is on the left and the distress ink/marker image is on the right.  The final image is colored with distress ink and markers.

A few notes - I really prefer the distress inks and markers for this image with one exception.  I really liked the vibrancy of the first image on the left.  I think the pinks are much more vibrant.  The blue image on the right is my hands down favorite of them all.  I think I might have enjoyed the painted version more if I could have done a better job of lining up the second stamp and would have had the exact same colors.  Sadly, distress paint is not available in tumbled glass or peacock feathers so I was working with a pretty different color palette.  I might give white a try as the base on my next run.  If you want a better look at each sample, click on the picture.

I absolutely can't wait to do more with these sets and play around with a few more solid/brush stroke stamps I have in my stash.  I also have a great idea for some existing flower stamps I have that are outlines.  I'll keep you posted on how things progress.  I'll also start providing full supply information when I've got a better handle on things.  I hope everyone's been doing really well.  Until then...
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