I’ve had the pleasure of being able to spend a few days in the studio this week! As of yesterday I completed five “in progress” batik pieces that I have been working on for the last few weeks and also completed painting 12 stones that will be incorporated into new mixed media art pieces for an upcoming show. Here is an image of one series of stones as they progressed throughout the day:
A different set:
If you are interested in creating some painted rocks, or just playing in the paints I’ll be having open studio play dates next week! The cost is only $10 for a 2-3 hour session and this month all the fees are going to be donated to HDSA. You can read the details in THIS POST.
Here is one of the batik pieces, almost finished:
I tried my first stop-action film while working on the finishing details on this piece but it turned out slightly blurry and a bit too fast. It was a good learning experience none the less. My second attempt was in focus but my camera battery died mid-recording. Now I’m out of works in progress to film! I’ll get it done eventually though, it’s one of those things I’ve wanted to do/learn. There are so many!
Now I’m off for a few more hours in the studio…I wonder what will be created today!
You often see artists portrayed in their studios, slaving over their masterpieces in solitude, which can be the case I suppose. But having a home studio kind of changes that concept! When I am available by simply opening a door the solitude isn’t usually permanent. 🙂 I thought I’d share a few images of my companions in the blog today!
This is our recently adopted cat, Amy. She came to live with us last fall and settled in, quite happily, as soon as she arrived. Although we adopted her as a “working cat” to catch the mice and critters that like to invade our garage and surrounding areas she’s become quite a well-loved member of the family. You only need to be in her vicinity for the purring to start and it goes into over-drive with just a few strokes of her fur. When she knows I am working in the studio she hangs around outside the french doors so she can peek in and check on me (or meow loudly for attention if she hasn’t had enough). If she’s not on the porch looking in she hops in the back of the truck that’s parked in front of the studio and watches me from there, as in the photo above. When I work outside on sunny days she’s right there with me, sometimes a bit too much “right there” as she’s been seen walking around on pieces of art drying in the sunshine!
Another companion, especially when I am working outdoors, is my grandson. He likes to have his own projects to work on right along side of me when we are outside. If I am working on a piece using the spray bottle to make drips & runs he’s my official squirter for the project! Indoors he likes to explore all the drawers of art supplies, piling up paintbrushes into interesting constructions or sorting and playing with my cans full of rocks and other “treasures” keeps him occupied.
Of course there are days that we just “play art” together and let him have fun. He’s building up quite a wall of art in his bedroom! He also has his own small “art station” with a huge drawing pad and washable markers, along with a small pair of safety scissors he likes to cut the paper into small pieces with. It’s usually pretty evident when he’s been in the studio keeping me company!
Although not as interactive as my first two companions I also recently added a new friend to the studio, aptly named “Spike”! He was on a clearance shelf and just seemed to want to come home and join the plant I brought home last year, Claude. I need to get him settled into a more permanent pot but so far he seems to be happy with his new surroundings. Both the plants sit next to the iPod dock so if I’m not talking to them enough they are at least taking in lots of good music!
So that’s a little peek into life in my studio. Now it’s time for me to get out there and get busy on some pending projects! Until next time just think of me happily working, in semi-solitude!
I had a fairly productive day again today, even with a bit of a late start. Word of advice: Snooze alarms don’t work when you press the off button instead! I tested the paint on the three-piece mixed media art that I worked on yesterday and it seemed fairly dry but I was still a bit leery since it was so thick so I put it aside for another day of drying. No sense in messing it up because I’m in a big hurry. And, to be honest, I’m suddenly a bit intimidated by all the open space that needs work.
I know once I start laying down color that feeling will disappear, so my plan is to MAKE myself do something to the piece tomorrow, no matter what! Since I didn’t work on that today I went back to working on the two pieces I started yesterday on illustration board.I think I mentioned yesterday that I planned to add copper paint to the pieces and so that was my first step.
I painted in random areas around each piece until I was pleased with the amount of copper color.
It still needed a little something else but I really didn’t want to add any other colors to the pieces so I went back in with black acrylic and filled in more “selectively random” areas on each piece until I was happy with the way they looked.
The final step was to peel off the masking tape that I had used to block out a border around each piece. Unfortunately some of the illustration board peeled up with the tape in a few areas, and there was one spot where some paint seeped under the tape and into the white space. Poop. Oh well, they can be matted, I was just trying to save that step (and expense) when I was ready to frame them. It’s possible I could try painting the border, I’m still debating on that. Anyhow, the first piece is at the top of the blog and here is the second.
Once those were finished I started a couple of new pieces. I like having several works going in different stages so I don’t have any down time when I finally have the time & inspiration to work. These are smaller pieces on 6 x 12″ cradled art boards. I rarely sketch before I paint so this was a bit different for me, I’m rather curious to see if I like working this way or not. I’ve been reading (again, some more!) several art books lately and am inspired to try lots of different things. This project was to go through old magazines and look at the photos upside down to find some interesting abstract compositions to jump start a project. I found a few different ones but these two seemed to be the ones I was drawn to the most. The end result may or may not look like the original sketch, it’s more for inspiration than it is to be copied exactly – unless that’s what I really want to do! Here are a few of the steps during the sketching of the first piece:
This is the end result of the second sketch, as well as the end result of my hand after I smudged and smeared the charcoal around until I was happy with it.
I tried different ways of applying the color to the canvases. The first piece I used a brush, spray bottle of water and lots of blending to start off.
After it had sat for a bit I went back in with a paper towel and blotted/blended the colors again.
For the second piece I used a palette knife and applied the paint with the side of the blade as well as the flat backside of the knife.
The final step for both these pieces was a layer of clear acrylic gel to add different amounts of texture to the pieces.
They are both waiting on my work table to continue adding colors and layers. The forecast is still including snow & cold for tomorrow and I decided it sounded like an excellent day to just stay in, stay warm & work in the studio. I re-scheduled a few of my errands and went out a took care of some others this evening. It wasn’t such a hard decision really, anytime I can stay in and make art that’s going to be my choice!
Well Tuesday we woke up to snow falling, which continued for most of the day. What a perfect day to start a crackling fire in the fireplace and settle into the studio! It was a day of progress but not completion…some days are just like that. Although I am please with the progress I also enjoy having finished images to share with you, those will have to wait a day or two! I worked on the tree piece that I started last Tuesday – the crackle paste had done it’s thing and was just waiting for some color to be added. Here’s a close up image of the crackle after I’d added washes of color to it:
I had to seal the painted paste with a couple of a layers of clear, hard, acrylic so that’s where I left off. So far the tree portion is looking great, which makes me a little intimidated to start working on the background colors! I am keeping the rest of the work in progress images to myself for a while, I’ll save them to post with the finished image. 🙂
I also started two more pieces similar to “Free to Be” that was featured in yesterday’s post. They started as a large image but I wasn’t happy with the black design so I folded it in two and squished the paint around, rather like a Rorschach test. Eventually I just split into two different pieces then added a black stenciled area and lines of white paint to both pieces.
One I am painting in yellow/orange/red hues and the other in teal/blue/grey. I should have them finished and photographed for tomorrow blog post, look for them then!
Another project I hope to make some progress with is a new mixed media wall sculpture. I went out to the workshop over the weekend with a nice 2 x 4 foot sheet of wood and cut it to pieces with the scroll saw. Previous wood cutting has been just geometric shapes or curvy organic pieces but I really played with it this time making a lot more intricately cut pieces than I had previously.
For some reason it seemed like every other piece I cut ended up looking like a bird! I’ve had birds on my mind lately, I can’t tell you why or what it means but I keep coming up with ideas for artwork that has birds in it. I’m sure there is some deep meaning in it all but for now I just recognize that it’s happening and go with it. Anyhow, I ended up with a large selection of pieces ranging from less than an inch up to a big “base” piece that is probably a foot wide and two feet tall.
Add that to the random pieces I already had in my collection I am ready to start constructing! One of the last things that I “intricately cut” was my thumb. It wasn’t a terrible wound and after a little first aid and a Sponge Bob band-aid I was good to go.
Although it was entirely my own fault I’ve been trying to blame my husband who, after I’d been cutting for a couple of hours, had to mention he was waiting to leave the house “just in case you cut your finger off and need help”. Less than five minutes later I was bleeding! Some things shouldn’t be given voice to! 🙂
As you read this I will very likely be back out in the studio working on these projects today, or others – you never know about me! Just picture me sitting in my cozy studio looking out this window at the winter beauty.