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Friday, May 19, 2017

Harbor Town




The title of this new collage is Harbor Town. It was inspired by another artist's work actually. I came across a collage while surfing on the 'net' that was full of rectangles and triangles and lots of red, white and blue. I immediately thought of the harbor in my own home town. Charlevoix is a popular summer tourist destination and is loved by natives and tourists alike who own boats because of it's beautiful natural harbor which can be accessed via a short channel and a trip under a draw bridge.

This collage is more representational that my others although I tried to make sure there was just enough wabi sabi to keep it interesting. Yes I learned a new phrase...wabi sabi. 

Ummm...looks like I need to touch those wave crests with some white paint. They look a little yellow on screen.


Monday, May 15, 2017

One Moon / Two Flowers


I don't think this one is complete. It needs something more. I'm just not sure what yet.
A funky little piece.When I added the crystalline paper onto a black background it looked quite dramatic. Btw, the colors are off in this image. It couldn't be helped.

Yes, two new collages. One a concept piece, the other about color. The concept was hatched during a recent cold snap in the area. Someone predicted it would end when the cold Moon had passed. If you live in a northern region you know what that means. Those hard moons and clear night skies that herald a frost. The second collage was about color and letting go. Let the piece drive itself. I gathered bits and scraps of harmonious colored papers and started gluing them down with no plan of action beforehand. When completed it made me think of two flowers in a vase.

Abstract is an interesting way to approach art. On one hand it's freeing because nothing has to look like anything if you don't wish it. No details to fuss over unless you wish it. Sometimes I'm finding too much freedom can be quite scary.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

A Walk in the Woods ~ feathers & bones


This collage features my distressed leather paper.

This collage was inspired by fellow artist and blogger Cecile Gravens' configuration box . I used bits and pieces of various papers to add suggestions of feathers and little bones, pebbles...things one might find and pick up while strolling through the woods. This reminded me of a cigar box I had at one time that I kept my forest 'treasures' in for safe keeping. Funny what will catch an artist's eye. One of my artist FB friends asked the question, "what weird little things do others collect?" She admitted she had an interesting collection of her own. When I took inventory I had a dead bumble bee, a knot of cat hair and an entire bag(or two) of feathers. Ha! 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Giving it another Go



My PC and my camera are now back on speaking terms so here's the new collage in it's entirety.  This one is my favorite so far.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Still on the Spring Theme



Spring continues to be my inspiration. The temps have finally begun to climb in northern Michigan. Today and yesterday we've seen 70°F and my windows have been open to let the breeze in through the window screens. Little green sprouts are appearing from the moist earth and my weeping cherry tree is budding. We're all praying to God we don't have a freeze and ruin everything.

I'm having issues with my PC and it's not recognizing my camera at the moment so I tried to scan this latest collage. Of course it was a little too large to completely fit on the scanner bed so this is the best I could do. You should still get the general idea. I've used homemade crystalline paper, painted brown wrapping paper, purchased papers, charcoal and this strange heavy duty paper I picked up somewhere. I can't for the life of me remember where, though. It's like really heavy interfacing. I've had to dye it, that is soak it in a colored solution overnite but I love the texture it adds. I've also added gestural marks with a water soluble crayon this time. The piece just called for it.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Birthing an Abstract Collage



I'm not quite ready to deliver yet but it won't be much longer. This is basically my process...try this one, try that one...no try another NO! NOT THAT! Ah, that works better. Yes, yes...okay.

There is method to my craziness. The rules of composition still apply and thankfully can guide me until I feel more confident to try something more daring. Know the rules before you break the rules. I love a good mix of texture, form and color and one of the things I'm enjoying most working on these collages is how easy it is to experiment with color, always something I can improve upon.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A Walk in the Wood ~ Springtime


homemade and purchased collage papers, charcoal, cut photographs

I just called this one done one last night and wanted to share. I can't seem to get my mind out of the woods. I can't walk in the wood IRL anymore but I can go in my mind's eye. I spent many hours growing up playing there. I especially loved it down by the creek. So many cool bugs and neat toadstools and the various types of moss that reminded me of tiny little forests of their own. One would expect fairies to come flying out at any moment.

This particular collage celebrates the time of year when the redwing black birds return. Also morel mushrooms and the wild leeks appear, always a welcome time. Just bring a good steak, some bleu cheese dressing and your fork and let the feast begin!

p.s. See if you can spot the morel mushrooms. As always they can be hard to find.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Distressed Leather Paper ~ demo

I've crumpled the wrapping paper and am preparing to apply two coats of walnut ink. I'm assuming any brown ink will work as well. Apply your ink to only one side. This is important.

Here the paper has dried after both coats of ink. IRL this side looks more flat brown than it appears in this image.

This is the flip side and the side you want to use. It looks a little batik-y.
This is the appearance after a coat of acrylic medium is applied. I've taken a crop off an earlier collage to show you the effect.
I was going to combine this demo with my last post but thought better of it. I dislike (usually) overly long blog posts and am guessing I may not be alone in this particular dislike.

Always on a quest for interesting and/or unique collage papers I'm finding brown wrapping paper excellent for various treatments. I've put together a short photo demo of my take on 'faux' distressed leather.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Crocus Collage





I just put the finishing touches on my latest collage and managed to take some decent photos even though it's so gloomy here. This one was an experiment. I got an idea in my head and decided to give it a whirl. I wanted the crocus to look delicate so I made some crystalline paper without color. This time I coated both sides of the tissue paper with gloss medium and it made it much sturdier. When the paper was completely dry I used a couple of stencils to add the poke-a-dots. I had started out by rolling on black acrylic paint over the entire surface of my paper aka substrate. Then I created my background with torn paper collage. For the blooms I painted each petal with white acrylic paint and gave them all a coat of gloss medium so I could add color with alcohol ink. I wanted the color layer underneath the surface. The crystalline paper was added after color was applied petal by petal and when that was dry I used sepia fluid acrylic to outline everything. I will say it looks great at a distance but appears kind of dirty up close due to the addition of the sepia acrylic. I do love the outlined look, though.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Greeting Cards



Two of my latest greeting cards for personal use. I love being able to do this for friends and family. This style is something I've seen and admired on Facebook and Pinterest and it's fairly easy to do. In this case I used Yupo rather than paper so there would be no buckling. I laid down a layer of indigo fluid acrylic with a sponge roller. When it was dry several small stencils and a few homemade stamps were used to cover the entire surface with patterns using 3-4 harmonious colors of fluid acrylic. I used white chalk to outline my subjects and filled in the surrounding areas with more acrylic, this time in a solid color. After the basic designs were in place I went back in to tweak and clean up. Voila!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

About Titles



It's one thing to successfully create a piece of artwork, yet another to find an appropriate title for it. So many artists struggle with this, myself included and titles are so important. They can often mean the difference between selling a painting and not. For instance, several years ago I painted a series of humorous cats called Catitudes. One painting depicted a cat mouth wide open looking as if he was singing loudly into a flower blossom and I titled it 'Caterwauling'. I thought it was a perfect title. When the painting didn't sell I was confused. Finally I asked a good friend what she thought when she looked at it. She told me she didn't know what to think. She wasn't familiar with the term caterwauling and wasn't clear what the cat was doing. I changed it to 'Karaoke Cat Style' and someone snapped it right up. The quest for a good title never ends. I often see artists on social media asking friends to come up with titles for them and in return they will receive a free print or some such. Not a bad ploy(!)and some folks have the knack for titles. Recently I read an excellent blog post by Deborah Moss full of tips for coming up with great titles. It's well worth a read.

This collage is titled 'Signs of Life'. I wanted to include feathers in this collage which then gave it a Native American vibe. With March the harbinger of Spring I thought of the icy creeks thawing and beginning to run again and the bears waking from hibernation. The bear is the Native American heartline symbol which is the breath of life. The three feathers in the circle is my own symbol for family as are the three turquoise circles. This is what it means to me. However someone else could see something entirely different and that's fine. It's wonderful actually.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Origami Butterflies




While I've been working on my latest collage another idea popped into my head for the next and I want it to involve butterflies. I found the best video on Youtube demoing origami butterflies so thought I'd share.

I didn't have any origami paper so I used a sheet of Canson drawing paper. It seemed to be the closest in weight to what was used in the video. I tried making 3-4 different sized butterflies and was surprised that the larger b-flies didn't want to stay folded as well as the smaller versions. I resorted to using bulldog clips in hopes they can be persuaded to comply. I'll let you know how that turns out.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

New Collage & Crystalline Paper



May I present 'A Walk in the Woods', my latest collage. This was created with homemade collage papers, found objects, various inks, acrylic paint and charcoal pencil. Really, I'm having way too much fun with collages. Why didn't I explore this sooner. Ah well, no regrets. I've found that things  come to us when we are ready and not before. At this point I've got knowledge of several mediums to bring to the party so it's a distinct advantage. For all the collage artists I follow no one seems familiar with alcohol ink. I'm truly surprised at this.

Referring to my last post, I did go looking for the video demo showing how to stain tissue paper but still could not find it. However I did find videos showing how to create crystalline paper. Lo and behold it's the same thing. There are a few differences. I used gloss medium, not gel gloss which is much thicker and I only coated one side. I also applied my acrylic paint right along with the gloss medium. I used garbage bags rather than freezer paper to work on and let the tissue dry. It's really worth the effort. The result is much like stained glass.

Here's a sample of my results so you can see the effect.
 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Collage ~ Vertical Landscapes




The past several weeks I've been following two artists I discovered on Pinterest. One artist works in collage and she has inspired me to create these two landscapes. I love the look of long narrow paintings, either horizontal or vertical but the idea of a narrow vertical landscape is so intriguing to me. It gives me the chance to practice combining different papers, colors and textures without using up too much material.

My new quest this month was learning to stain tissue paper. It's tricky because tissue paper disintegrates when it gets wet. I found a video showing the entire process but I can't find it anywhere at the moment. If I can't locate the video at some point I'll try to explain the technique in a later post. It's really worth the effort. I used some in both of these collages. I think you'll be able to spot it.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Abstract Collage ~ one pass/one fail


And after aging. I love this effect when done right. It can go 'dirty' real fast. A gentle hand is required.
Before aging
This failed when I was far too aggressive with the black acrylic painting when I began toning/aging this one. I am still a little confused by the areas that seemed to grab that paint, though. I had a few coats of gel gloss medium down to protect but it wasn't entirely successful. I 'll be more cautious next time.

In the spirit of keeping myself honest I'm posting one collage I like and another which I do not. Sadly, one failed miserably. Of course every fail must be seen as a learning opportunity.

I'm realizing that there is much to learn about creating abstract art. Abstracts are from the artists' imagination for the most part. They can be informed(inspired) by something in the real world, though. Personally I need a jumping off point to get me started so this is good news. However I'm not at that point yet. I'm still trying to conquer composition. Another goal of mine is to become a better colorist, or any kind of colorist at all. I carry around Quillers' color wheel like my favorite blanket. But I digress....

Monday, February 06, 2017

Good Boys ~ mixed media



This is my latest contribution to the art world and much fun was had during the process. Inspired by one of Christine C's photos on PMP, I began by making a continuous line drawing of three of the dogs in the photo. I traced them separately onto tracing paper so I could play with the composition. I then prepped watercolor paper by gluing down a few layers of stamped tissue paper. I wanted a vibrant orange background but the paint had to be transparent. I accomplished that by laying down a coat of gel gloss medium. When it was dry I painted the entire surface with orange alcohol ink. The center dog is a dalmatian and I wanted his spots to have lovely soft edges, just like watercolor applied wet into wet. I solved that issue by gluing more tissue paper down on the fur areas, then dropping in some black watercolor while the glue was still quite wet. Tada! 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Little Flower ~ mixed media & collage



And another. I added a little water soluble crayon to this one. I tried some gestural marks but settled on a few do-dads to carry some blue throughout the collage. Last night I stumbled onto a few Youtube videos with more good ideas for collage papers so I may give them a go next. In the meantime I'm thoroughly enjoying myself working on these little collages. This one and the last are both approx 8" x 8".

Thursday, January 19, 2017

January ~ mixed media & collage



I've titled this one 'January' because it was inspired by the view outside my living room window this month. Icy, drippy, chilly and truly 50 shades of grey. It's a combo of homemade and purchased decorative papers, silver leaf and acrylic on HP watercolor paper. I used a mixture of tissue paper and gesso for texture. It didn't scan well but it's impossible to get a good photo because the days are so dark and silver leaf is tricky. I've already got a start on my next collage and this one will be 'warmer'.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Mixed Media (new series)~ 1st update



I did something I've never done before. I worked on four paintings simultaneously and this is the result. I cut four pieces of HP watercolor paper and simply started in tearing and gluing papers at random, adding paint and gesture marks...whatever each piece seemed to need...and I don't know when I've had so much fun. Pure enjoyment. This is the feeling I want when I create. This is what I've been searching for. I may have found my new direction. I did catch myself early on starting to judge and become overly critical but I quickly put the kibosh on it. It surprised me how easily I was able to shut down those negative thoughts.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Making Collage Material



This has been my ongoing project this past week. I've discovered a love for inexpensive brown kraft paper, the kind you usually find with the mailing supplies in dollar stores. It's the perfect weight and I like the texture it can give me. When I painted it with heavy body yellow oxide acrylic I got something akin to ultra suede. Nice! I've tea stained crumpled tracing paper and even used pickled beet juice here and there. I was surprised the beet juice didn't turn that funky brown shade when dry. Maybe the vinegar was the hero. Either way it stayed a lovely shade of pink.

I rummaged through a desk drawer and found an old box of white thumb tacks which gave me the idea to gild them. I wound up using both copper and silver composite leaf . I also embellished a few with alcohol ink.

I gathered a huge stack of old artist magazines and chose lots of yummy artwork to add to my collection. I also went through my purchased art papers and cut samples of each. I now have a palette  of papers to begin my collages and of course I can always add as I go along.