Tuesday, December 27, 2011

what i love about mixed media

studio night! just pam, nancy & me tonight. here's nancy working on an intricate design (which nancy specializes in) for an altoids tin :)

i was stuck. again. one of the things i love about studio night is that i am in the studio to make art but i can distract myself from that fact if i need to. so i can drink wine and laugh and not worry about what i'm doing. which works out great if i can't think of what to do.

so i pulled out some canvasses and the scraps

and started making backgrounds

i have no idea where the green is coming from. not my fave color unless it's b/c of chlorophyll. will have to look up associations, tho i would suspect they have to do with growth, rebirth, etc. maybe that means i am about to break thru my block, which would be excellent!

and what i love about mixed media collage is that when i am stuck i can just throw stuff together that can be painted over later, but makes a great textural background. sometimes when i go back to the canvas there is a direction that i didn't see when i put it together. it's great to be free of the (self imposed) pressure to draw or paint and give myself permission to play.
here's the latest hodge podge of work. i am going to apply for a city art project that requests 10 pieces of recent work. i'm kinda worried about finding 10 pieces that look the same (besides being mixed media). but it isn't due til february, so who knows what will happen?

it was good to be in the studio tonight and just make stuff. that's a good first step. i also quite like the two bare trees pieces (i guess that there are 3 if you count the goddess). so things are moving, they're just not smoothly rolling along. be interesting to see what comes next.

happy wednesday!

Monday, December 26, 2011

bare trees

fleetwood mac's bare trees has been running through my head lately because we have cold weather but no snow.

here are a couple of photos that i took the other day walking around my in law's farm-

here's what's been going on in the studio:

this is a photo that i coated with glass bead gel and then realized i wasn't going to peel off the paper to make a transfer. i played around with different ideas, then opted for the simple presentation below- what do you think?

and another bare trees- notice the images in the very background- trees with their leaves in a row-

bare trees added with a sharpie (it is mixed media after all)

a layer of matte gel medium. note the texture added over the circle in the sky

i liked the effect of the distressed bronze on the orb, but it was much lighter than anything else & didn't tie well. i tried putting the oxidizer on the bronze dots (made with the same paint) but no dice.

i added lines of bronze in the tree trunks and then tried to age those as well, but that didn't work either. must need more paint. i gave up & painted over the orb to make it tie better. unfortunately all of the additional layers have pretty much obscured the trees in the background, but they're still there informing the outcome. added the red spatters for some spice & i think done.

we'll see what other bare trees show up in the next few days.

studio night tomorrow- yay! hope everyone had a wonderful christmas!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

holiday cheer

it's been a very social week- hence the lack of posts. i had friday off, but didn't make it into the studio. this project is a result of a friend telling me that her tree stand broke, and her tree was leaning in the corner & she thought she might just decorate it that way (b/c she could still water it in the broken stand), but wasn't sure how to decorate it.

i thought that empty wine bottles would be just the thing. then had the brainstorm below.

bought 2 mini bottles and laid them down on card stock to make wing shapes. the card stock curled, so i ended up using canvas paper, which worked great. i painted both sides gold, then found decorative paper to adhere to one side. if you look closely below you can see the wing shapes.

for the heads, i used beer bottle tops. i used these cogs (from a tim holtz set i picked up a while ago) and placed the gems on them. i would have used glass bead gel or modeling paste to fill but this was a 1 hour project, so i used heavy duty glue instead.

heads being glued to the bodies.

with the wings adhered-

with copper wire wrapped around the necks to hang them from the tree-

and lastly, in their new home. i have been warned that they may be emptied out before they're put away for next year :)

merry christmas to all! hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful day! i'm looking forward to more studio time tomorrow- stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


back to tuesday nights- yay! pam, lynn & nancy in attendance. i have missed them!

got help with this- this is one thing that is so valuable for me about getting together to paint with other artists (my blog friends also serve the same purpose on many occasions). i had decided that the vase was too much for the rest of the piece- it overpowered everything. so i washed on some thinned fluid titan buff, and painted the flower centers (aka buttons) red. then i added red back into the body, still not quite there.

when i asked for help i said "since i don't do collage" and pam said "what is it you do when you layer all of that stuff in your mixed media work then?" (another thing that's valuable about getting together w/ friends and painting.....) anyway, the consensus was tie it together more, so i painted the outside red rather than blue, stamped red via a wine cork (seemed appropriate) into the heart & painted in the edges.

now i have red tying together and circles and the gold dot at the bottom bouncing back to the flower colors at top. way better.

then there's this- i have been tinkering with it for a while. like the colors in the background & the tree images, but stuck. i have the same images ready to transfer, only bigger, but couldn't get it quite right.

then i decided that it must be OK to use markers, because this is mixed media after all and i knew i could never control a brush well enough to get what i wanted. my original thought was to use these trees as an interim layer, do a wash or two and then another transfer of the images in back. only larger, over it. but i kind of like what i have here so far. my friends helped me on this too- lynn called me out on my oft repeated comment that i can't draw. but these trees don't really count as DRAWING, do they?

a wonderful evening! looking forward to studio time friday & monday too- i have both days off and am feeling like playing!

Monday, December 19, 2011

a little r&r

we made one of my favorite annual trips last weekend. sun valley lodge has an early season ski & stay deal. the stay is my favorite part- the heated outdoor pools, photos of celebs lining the lodge walls (from 1936 to present), sun valley serenade on continuous play on the tv. (note to barb: the south hillsides are bare, tho they were bragging about having the best snow in the west right now- because of the resort's major snow making capabilities. it's pretty sad).

for an added bonus this year we discovered the santarchy pub crawl (facebook can be a beautiful thing!), so we dressed up appropriately (santa is in his dress suit), had the concierge take a blurry photo & headed out. it was a blast! lots of people wanted to talk to santa. some folks at dinner looked at us oddly, but who cares? it was most amusing to look around the bar & see 50-60 santas of various types.

when we got back on sunday i went to lynn's for more altoids tin play- she & barry generously providing resin. below are some of my & lisa's tins in progress.

tonight, back in the studio. i finally ordered some books from amazon, which is usually helpful in getting me unstuck. one is new creative collage techniques by nita leland. i had all of this paper out from playing with the tins and realized that part of what bothers me about this is that it's so flat.

so i started cutting & placing paper

and here's where we are now. better, though the flowers aren't strong enough for the vase, i don't think. so i may put a layer of pink or even white paper over all, or a wash of titan buff. it's progress, tho, and was fun to play with.

back in the studio tomorrow night- yay! and i have friday & monday off & no obligations, so i should be able to get lots of studio time in this weekend.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

messing around...

finally felt decent enough to get back to the studio this evening. finishing up some altoids tins-

this one cracked oddly- must be because i left a transparency in the self leveing gel. it works for me, always happy to have texture add interest 

trying to decide what i could do with this, came up with the idea of using an upside down canvas as a frame. i may use needlepoint yarn thru the corners to fix in on the canvas.... maybe a dark background- could be fun to play with.

this i started for a fundraiser that is happening tonight. small child with cancer, which is cureable but bankrupting his parents. criminal. i don't know the family, but a friend does & asked me to contribute. anyway, didn't get it done & contributed something else, but got going on it tonight. the heart as vase is an image that i have used several times.

not crazy about the bright green stems & think i need a triangle at the base of the heart for it to stand on. maybe sand the background back some too. but it's a start and it was great to put paint on a canvas again!

off to sun valley this weekend for the annual early season maybe we can ski but for sure we can hang at the lodge & enjoy the pool trip. found a santa pub crawl on facebook- they are hoping to have 100 people in santa suits! how fun is that! hoping we feel good enough to go- if so, you can count on photos :)


Monday, December 12, 2011

4 down....

Altoids mania continues! i have 4 to the completion point. 5 to go.

These are for a show at the gallery in January, selling for $20 ea as a fundraiser. Those sold for the gallery will go to retire our sign debt; those sold for open studios to pay for programs there; those sold for trica (treasure valley institute for children's arts) ditto.

i need some for art source & some for bosco.

first is a day at the beach

next: dancing queen

get lucky:

still working on a title (ideas welcome!)

and lakshmi- nearly finished, need to work on the outside lid-

so far the biggest takeaway is that if you want the lid to close you can't paint on the inside lip. painting that and the bottom makes it too tight to easily open & close. jic this looks like so much fun you can't wait to try it at home (which it is!)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

nearing completion!

saw this this morning when we went to get our christmas tree- title: <3 coffee (if that <3 would just turn into a heart.....)

the tree is up, the house smells great and i got to see my favorite ornaments. it's like seeing old friends every year- the ruby slipper, t rex, santa troll :)

watched the bronco game, walked the dogs, to the studio for more altoids tin fun. i had two female figures show up. this one is dancing queen. the inside of the lid facing this figure is black with silver stars and rhinestones. i think it will be cute when done.

i think that this is lakshmi, goddess of abundance. she needs a little more work.

here is the outside of the ocean themed box at the end of yesterday's post. nearly finished. the gel holding the shells will dry clear. this is beach in a box or a day at the beach or something.

and one that illustrates what i'm trying to do in terms of tying it all together- this is the outside lid (still waiting for the gel to dry- i turned up the space heater in the studio).

side says "do you believe in love? do you?" (i was listening to ryan adams). the forever came about because for some reason an f rubbed off and it worked with the rest.

and the interior. not crazy about the wrinkles in the lid, so i may redo that, but otherwise it's pretty good.

maybe more crafty that arty but oh so much fun!

have a great week!