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,
Something I’ve long wanted to do, this year brought a fun project to fruition! I’ve always admired the illustrations in children’s books and thought it would be so much fun to create one but, as I’ve always got more ideas than time, I had never attempted it. Until a visit with my granddaughter, who lives four hours away. She is one of the most amazing little ladies that I know and has a passion for drawing and painting. She paints almost daily as the piles of creations make evident. As I was flipping through the pages of colorful creations it finally came to me that she & I could make a fun collage book using her artwork. Being on the autism spectrum, and non-verbal at 4 years old, she continues to improve her communication skills with the help of her parents, therapists, family & friends. It’s so amazing to watch her progress in communication, along with seeing what things interest her the most. So this book was custom made, just for her!
I purchased a blank 8.5 x 11″ white board book, brought dozens of her paintings home and then…nothing. Fear of failure can certainly stop creativity in it’s track and I was hesitant to begin. I ended up bringing all the supplies with me when I took a short vacation. As the days passed and I relaxed and enjoyed a break from the routine, the creativity burst forth. I’d made a list of notes, things she was interested in, things she did, how she acted, what she loved and what we loved about her. I had to narrow it down to fit on the available pages. In hind site I would have, perhaps, ordered them differently but honestly I just started the cutting and pasting process randomly so things landed where they landed. And that’s okay! By the time I returned home I had all the collage elements finished. Then on to the next hurdle…lettering.
Although I’ve practiced lettering I’m just not always pleased with my own. I decided to take the route of using stickers, which I wasn’t 100% sure of but felt like I’d like it better than my own handwriting. Plus stickers could be removed…lettering, not so much! Is it all as neat and well spaced as I’d have liked? Perhaps not. But the imperfection brings some personality to the pages, and that I like! Here are the pages as they read in the book:
This was a fun, love-filled project! I have a few more blank books! Perhaps there will be sequels, or stories from my other grands. Who knows where it will lead!
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!
I recapped the online sale from December a few months ago and, now, it’s time for the Spring version! Think Mother’s Day, Graduation, Weddings, Birthday gifts….or just because you are looking for art and gifts at a great price.
I’m still creating the listings and trivia questions for the contests but the image above gives you a little peek at some items that will be available to claim throughout the hour-long event. I’m even going to include an exclusive class that can only be purchased during the sale:
The items that are listed begin with a 20% discount and the discount will increase as people make purchases, so be sure to share this event with your friends and family to boost the savings for everyone!
Six months ago I travelled west and spent two weeks driving across, around and through Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota. It’s probably my favorite destination, this was my fourth trip to that area of the States. I took a TON of photos as we drove and have been ever-so-slowly getting around to sorting through and editing them. I thought as I get batches of them done I will share them here.
During the two weeks we visited Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, The Grand Tetons, Rocky Mountain National Park, Custer State Park and Mount Rushmore. To say it was a whirlwind would be an understatement – even after eliminating a few destinations from the itinerary! The landscapes were amazing, although all the wildfires did make for hazy skies. I think next time I’d like to visit in May, three of my four trips have been in the fall and one in the winter so Spring would be a nice change!
The last photo was repeated almost daily – we explored until there was no more light to explore in before calling it a night. I think this particular image was from a late evening in Yellowstone.
One media I explored last year was resin! Initially it was to use the resin as a protective, shiny coating over my mixed media batik artwork. Of course mixing up the exact amount of resin is pretty rare and I tend to err on the side of excess. The excess became a playground for me to experiment & manipulate – with some successes and, of course, some “learning opportunities” as well.
Eventually I was mixing and blending inks, pigments and other materials in, on & around clear resin and manipulating it to form organic designs. Some of the creations are on a wood surface, some on acrylic pieces. The ones shared here are all on flat 10″ round wood panels, which I added wood pieces to the back for hanging making them appear to “float” on the wall. They are currently for sale at B3 Gallery in Nashville, Indiana.
Although there is much exploring left to do I’ve not created any new resin art pieces lately…I am sure at some point in my random creativity I will return to it! Below is a close up detail of another resin piece…I love looking into them, it’s almost like looking into another universe!
After neglecting my blog for the better part of a year it’s more than a bit intimidating trying to figure out what to jump back in with! I’m fairly prolific so the choices are numerous and with several shows and exhibits last year that is probably an understatement. I finally decided to just start writing about what is currently dear to my heart, a series I titled “Intuitive Abandon”. Then, within that body of work, I found these pieces, aptly titled and begging to be shared. Perfect!
Something that’s been on my heart for several years is the desire to merge both my art and my faith, to feel like my work is more inspired and led than just merely decorative. I can kind of put it in “auto-drive” and make art that is pleasing to look at but when asked what it means, well, nothing really. I tried just referring to it as “Happy Art” (which it is) because so many people commented on the colorful and happy content. That, in and of itself, isn’t a terrible thing – I am a fan of happiness and if I can give others joy with my art that’s pretty darn cool. But I wasn’t satisfied with just that anymore.
Enter my favorite, most “mountain top” experience each year called “Gathering of Artisans“. 2018 was my third year in a row to attend/participate in this event and I cannot recommend it highly enough! And, yes, although I’d classify it as a mountain-top experience no matter where it is held, it happens to actually be held in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Each year I’ve attended I’ve grown and deepened my life in ways I couldn’t imagine. In addition to the most powerful worship I have ever experienced, 2018 led me to classes by two different instructors, Aeron Brown & Amy Smith, both of whom had an amazing influence on my artistic and spiritual path. I finally feel like I am stepping into my desire of combining my faith with my artistic expression.
These newest explorations are full of freedom, mark making and lively conversation. After some prayerful quiet & meditation these pieces start with mark making – my thoughts, prayers, song lyrics, text randomly scribbled with charcoal/pencil/graphite on the canvas/paper/wood substrate. In the case of these pieces, 12×12″ canvas. From that place I try to listen quietly until I get a feel for the initial colors. Once the painting, scraping, stamping and marking begins I try to not think at all! Often I get so lost in the process that, unless I stop to take progress pictures, I have no idea how I got from point A to point B. The freedom to create this way is so very freeing.
Currently I have close to 40 pieces created in this manner – on canvas, wood and paper. They even inspired another artistic endeavor! I’ll be sharing more as I continue to blog but if you just can’t wait to see them you can CLICK HERE to visit the web page where they are featured.
This year I am doing something a little different! Instead of scheduling formal classes I am going to open my studio for a “play date” every few months (sessions will normally be on the third Thursday of the month, followed by a session the next Saturday for those that need a weekend option). Topics will change each month and all will be fun & easy and each only $10 per person to cover the material and supplies.
For September the studio is open for play on Thursday, September 8th from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. as well as Saturday, September 10th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. I’ll be working on preparing some new pieces for the show that opens later that month so materials will be out to paint rocks, create pieces on wood or sticks or just paint – whatever sounds like fun to you! Please reserve your 2-3 hour times slot as your schedule allows, I’ve got room for 3 or 4 people to work comfortably at the same time. The cost is $10. Visit the Online Reservation Form to sign up.
Your entire $10 fee will be donated to the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) to promote education about, and research for, Huntington’s Disease. Many describe the symptoms of HD as having ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s – simultaneously. There is no cure. We have two family members currently battling this deadly disease. I will be participating in walks in Indiana this September (for our son) and Knoxville, Tennessee in October (for our grandson).
I hope you are able to come out and play on one of these dates and help me raise money for HD at the same time!
Here are the details about a new class I’m going to present here in the studio. Both sessions are the same, just giving people more options to fit in their schedule. I’ve been exploring this technique for several months now and feel like I am prepared to help YOU explore it as well! I hope you can join me.