If you’ve been following the last couple of posts then you know I spent some time doing a series of colorful/fun portraits of my seven grandkids this spring. Today I’m sharing the last of those, my twin granddaughters. I worked on these at the same time, adding to one as the other dried. The process began with a sketch and proceeded from there with black & white underpainting, backgrounds and the final layer of color.
The image I was work from had Miss A’s hair pulled back in a tight ponytail. She did NOT care for the look, feeling it wasn’t “girlie” enough so during a visit I sat with her and changed it to her natural, gorgeous, head of curls. I have to say, it captures her much better! Below are the two final images of these beauties:
I still haven’t figured out where I’ll hang all these fun pieces together, right now they are placed across the side of my desk and I’m enjoying seeing them each day. Next up? Well, firstly I decided to go “old school” artist and do a self portrait, which was an interesting experience. I also received a commission to do two more adorable “Grands” which will be fun too!
Hope you are enjoying the onset of summer and keeping yourself safe, healthy and well. Love to you from your randomly creative friend,
As I’ve navigated these odd times, with no art events on the horizon yet, I’ve spent more & more time working on personal art project. Last post I shared about an online portraiture course I’ve been working through, which inspired me to attempt some portraits on my own – starting with my fur babies! They all turned out a bit different that each other, I can’t say I’ve settled on a “style” just yet but they all make me happy anyhow! My first attempt was to create an image of my sweet old gal, Emmy. She recently turned nine, we rescued her over two years ago and she has stolen our heart, and we have hers – although she’s not a lovey/friendly gal with just everyone. 😉 The best guess is that she is black lab and perhaps a bit of Rotwieller. Here are the images of the painting process:
I had so much fun I immediately jumped in and started working on my second image – this time of our not-quite-as-old guy (he just turned eight), Carl. Carl joined us a little over a year ago and kind of turned our world upside down – in a good way! He is smart, curious, full of energy and LOTS of fun. The calm and quiet is gone by the happiness has increased for sure! Carl is several inches and a few pounds bigger than Miss Em, he’s a mix of black lab and possibly Great Dane. He has these eyes that are so bright and direct and seem to look right through you!
Well now I just HAD to try my hand at my oldest pet, Miss Amy, the tuxedo cat! We adopted her about ten years ago and guess she is about twelve. She was a feral/outdoor cat that we adopted to be a mouser in our garage. She wouldn’t come near the door, let alone in the house for the first year we had her. That slowly changed and when we moved several years ago she decided being a house cat was a pretty good life! The last five years she has been my “studio cat” and has the run of the studio.
Last, but certainly not least, I created a painting of my good friend, Corey! His momma and I have been friends for years and he’s been a frequent visitor here at our house (although not so much now that Carl joined the pack). He is part Corgi and part Beagle and just as sweet as he looks. This was a gift for his mom, who really enjoyed it – even if Corey wasn’t all that impressed!
Next up? Both my grandson’s have their own pups so they’ll be on the easel soon!
Earlier in the year I created some of my favorite recent batik artwork, using verses from the Psalms as my inspiration. I had been working my way through the Psalms and writing scripture that spoke to me in my journal along the way, making the selection process easy!
Each piece began by writing the verse in some sort of circular form on Unryu paper that had pieces of gold thread imbedded in it. As always I used my trusty Sharpie for that, knowing it can withstand the rest of the batik process without fading.
I took a wide brush and dipped it into melted wax and blocked off streaks of the pieces so they would remain white and then added light strokes of color with a feathery brush and India inks. Next all the pieces were entirely covered with the wax, crumpled to create cracks for more color to seep in randomly and then sprayed with liquid watercolors.
After that application the pieces dried and then the wax was removed to reveal the final outcome of each. All four have been framed in 12×12″ barn wood frames. Here they are:
I wanted to share some changes I’ve implemented regarding class offerings. I’m not going to re-invent the wheel here so this is an excerpt from a newsletter that goes out to those interested in my classes and workshops:
I’ve been, especially this year, less than successful with the class offerings I’ve promoted. I’ve spoken with other teaching artists and know that I am not the only one struggling in this area. Trying to discover the right combination of topic, date and location is frequently like pulling the handle on a slot machine…. …NOT a winner!
Although I adore sharing my love of art and techniques with others, I have reached a point where my outlook has shifted. Instead of putting things out there and hoping for the best and I am going to rely more on you, and others like you, to determine the dates, topics & locations! As I make this shift you will see changes to my website making it easier for you to do the choosing. You can visit THIS PAGE to see how the new system looks and works. (You’ll notice one scheduled event listed too…that’s because someone has already taken advantage of both the new system and the discount offered below!)
Another change you will see is that for classes here at my home studio there will be NO minimum attendance required. If you are the only one that registers, congratulations – you’ll get one-on-one instruction! Want to have a special date night with a family member or friend? Here’s the perfect opportunity. If you’d like me to bring a project to you for a gathering, party or shower – can do! You’ll find all the offerings listed HERE.
If you’ve been thinking you’d like to take a class, now might just be the perfect time! As an incentive to try out this new approach, I’m including a coupon code for $10 off any(all) class(es) you register for during the months of October or November. You are welcome to share this code “NEWshift” (with no quote marks) with those you feel might be interested. I’d also love some feedback on the changes, I’d appreciate it if you’d share your thoughts!
So, many people have expressed an interest in learning more about how I do Batik painting on paper. Well, your chance to learn that is coming SOON! Here are all the details, I hope you can join in the fun:
Registration deadline is Tuesday, August 20th at noon!
As I continue randomly exploring different forms of art I branched out a bit into musical instruments! Not hand-built or fancy but an easy kit and lots of creativity. 😉 I purchased three of these kits and have had them in the studio for quite some time. I’m not sure what happened but last month it was finally TIME. So I pulled out the first one and got busy.
After a bit of sanding the painting commenced! Layers of acrylic ink in randomly colorful streaks were the first order of business. A great base to add to, with lots of designs, doodles, more ink, paint pens and fun.
It took several sessions to complete all the details, then it was time for assembling the pieces. No instructions included but a couple of YouTube videos spelled it out pretty clearly. The waiting time for the glue to dry as pieces were added seemed like it took forever but, finally, it was all put together.
I found a handy app for tuning eukeles and had it strumming at last! The included strings were not inclined to keep a tune so I have a new set that arrived the other day that I’ll be switching too. This one was for fun, for practice and just for ME. I’ve got it hanging on the wall in my studio.
The next two? Well, I’ve had a request or two already so we’ll see what happens. The possibilities are endless for design, the hard part will be making up my mind!
I love to include words, quotes and text in my art but, despite some instruction and practice, I’m not always thrilled with the way my hand drawn letters turn out. This little hack is a favorite of mine and I thought you might find it useful as well! This was just an impromptu, messy fingers project that popped into my head one day. The first step was to add acrylic paint to the board I was painting. Somedays my favorite paint tools are my fingers, and this was no exception.
I have accumulated a large selection of fonts on my computer (there are many resources for free downloadable fonts available online) and have fun using different ones in digital creations, advertising and such. They are especially handy when lettering on artwork! Some of my batik work is done on Unryu paper which is transparent enough you can actually just trace the letters onto the paper as they are visible when placed underneath.
If I’m working on wood or canvas I have a way of getting the letters on my art that works very well. First I measure the space where I want the words placed and create a blank file in Photoshop Elements that is the same size. Then, using the type function I type, resize and arrange the letters to suit my project. This is what the file looked like for the project I am showing you:
I printed it the exact size as the file (which meant it had to be printed in two sections) and then taped together the pieces. The next step was to turn it over and take either pencil or charcoal and cover the back of the paper where the letters were printed.
You want to cover it fully, the pencil or charcoal is going to be used like copy paper to make outlines of your letters onto your art. Turn it over and position it where you want the letters to be on your art and then take a ball point pen and trace the outlines of each letter. I get excited and always want to rush things so come to find out my paint wasn’t as dry as usual, I ended up lifting some of it from the wood when I applied the marks. It still worked!
Now that I had the outline on the artwork I could use markers, paint pens or a really steady brush to add the colors and outline for the lettering and any details I decided to include. I decided to just handwrite the “hello” portion of the lettering and kind of wish I’d have traced that too. Oh well! Here is the final piece.
Let me know if you try this technique for adding letters, I hope it’s inspired you to get creative!
As I mentioned in my last post, today’s blog features some new batik artwork. It seems as if I haven’t exhausted all the ways I can play and explore with this medium…as I learn new styles and techniques in other media they often translate into some fun batik pieces!
The piece above (and the three below) I used the wax to “paint” abstract marks and shapes onto the paper before adding the background colors. The final coloring on these pieces seeps in between the cracks in a final layer of wax. I like the earthy way these feel. Incorporating the spirit-led, random mark making with the wax painting brings in some of the new style I’ve been using with acrylic paints.
Another new type of batik I’ve been exploring is using India Ink to paint onto the paper prior to waxing and adding the final layer of color. Very free strokes, flow-oriented and fun!
Obviously I was having a LOT of fun with the piece above! Testing how the inks interacted with the paper, how the brush moved and the colors could blend. The ones below were a little more thoughtful as far as the colors selected, but still full of freedom and expression.
I did one other very special set of batik art but I can’t reveal them just yet…I need to deliver them first! Look for them soon.
Late last year I was invited to give the first presentation for the 2019 season of “The Lounge Series” in Jasper, Indiana! How could I refuse when it’s one of my favorite topics – mandalas! I’m underway with preparing slides and images to share the history of this amazing art form, after which we will all create our own mandala artwork. All the details about the event are shown in the flyer below, if you live in the area it would be amazing to meet you!
Last year, as I was preparing for a show of my mixed media batik art, I was also spending lots of time with my grandkids. Trying to mix the two I did many of the drawing layers of the art while they were busy coloring and drawing at the kitchen table with me. As often happens I got requests – “Gramsy, can you draw a fish? Gramsy, what about a bird? Maybe some flowers?” as those drawings began to unfold I unintentionally created a trove of tiny art pieces inspired by the requests! The original pieces were all small – mounted on 4×4″ wood panels when completed. Some just seemed to need a bit more space so 6×6, 6×12 and 8×8″ pieces were added to the mixture over the months.
As I continued to create these whimsical pieces I also began adding text and quotes to them. The ones shown below are all 6×6″ pieces on wood panels.
These creations fell right into my art motto of “Happy Art for Happy People”! Many of the pieces that feature flowers, nature, gardens, etc. are now available at Queen Anne’s Farmhouse & Flower Shoppe located in Greenwood, Indiana. You can also find a few of my handmade journals there too! Hmmmm….journals. I’m not sure I’ve blogged about those yet. Perhaps next post?