Sunday, July 31, 2011

another nest

this is the other part of the citrasolv experiment- doing a transfer to plaster. above are the plaster surfaces that i poured on leftover fence ends that were lying about.

the transfer method involves a toner copy (i used a laser print, which should be the same) and applying citrasolv to the back with a cotton ball then burnishing, repeating until the image is transferred.

the plaster studio (stephanie lee and judy wise) says: " You should get a sharp, dark transfer".

here is the image face down on the plaster. as the citrasolv is added the image shows through the paper. i should have taped this on one or 2 sides to prevent slippage. image on the right is transferred, i am just starting on the left.

checking the progress.

i didn't feel like this was an especially dark, detailed transfer. could be b/c i used a print not a copy (tho if both toner based that shouldn't matter), could be i wasn't patient enough and should have kept dabbing on citrasolv & burnishing, could be that i selected a bad sort of image for this method. this looks better in the photo than it did in reality.

i was happier with the nest image- it seems more suited to the softer nature of the transfer.

so i sanded down the hawk. this is after sanding- you can see how the transfer sinks into the plaster, which is pretty cool and will most likely be useful in a future project.

beginning the process of layering paint. i love the way plaster takes paint. it soaks in and creates beautiful shades and variations.

i added a few swipes of drywall compound for more texture and more layers of color until i got a look and feel i like. drilled through the piece of wood so i can wire on the twig. couldn't get the holes to quite meet in the middle so i kept using bigger bits until they did :)

picture not so good- will have to take a less glare-y one, but i am happy with the results and looking forward to more experimentation.

there is a third nest in the works (i can really get a lot of use out of an image!) that incorporates some of the nat geo pages made a few days ago.

hope everyone had a good weekend!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

beginning woodworking (aka getting comfy with power tools) class

took a great workshop today at the sculpture studio. billed as an intro to woodworking class, it was all about tools. i don't really have any interest in building things per se, but i do want to be able to make panels or stands or whatever else may pop into my little brain for a piece of art, and to know what tools i can use for making marks in my mixed media.

i love hardware stores and it was cool to find out what some of those things that you look at and go "hmmmmmm" are used for. the class was taught by sue latta, a very talented artist who uses a wide variety of media in her work. this is where i took the resin class a few months ago.

we started with the safety talk, then moved to hand tools- some of which don't have power tool equivalents and are therefore necessary.

this is sue explaining why, if you have only one power tool, it should be a cordless drill.

we got onto a great discussion about different sorts of bits and what they are used for. how to drill BIG holes, how to hide nails & screws. got me thinking about mixed media pieces on wood with holes in it and plaster or different types of gel medium in those holes.....

after a lunch break, we moved on to saws. this is me doing a horrible job of following the lines with the router. i look like i'm concentrating, though. (first and main safety rule- focus only on the task at hand, be in the moment, don't let your mind wander. zen power tool usage)

next up was the jigsaw (i checked with my husband and we have one- this seems a handy tool for many things if i can get the hang of making it go where i want it to).

then the sawsall- less finesse, more power

next was the basic skill saw- that wasn't too hard. after that, the one that had us all scared- the table saw. sue demonstrating. the first time was kind of scary- i was so careful to keep my fingers away from the blade that i was on the outside of the left rather than on top pushing down. second time was easier, though. just about paying attention.

next a miter saw- this one adjusts all sorts of ways- which felt very easy and safe after the table saw.

and lastly a band saw, which can be used for finer, more intricate detail. well, by most people. my cut wasn't so good ( i didn't have my cheaters on- that's my story!)

great class, can't wait to get out the dremel and attachments (among other things) and start playing! loved the smell of sawdust- reminded me of my dad making things when i was a kid, and i look forward to being able to build more of my surfaces & substrates as ideas occur to me.

every class is a good class for feeding the imagination, even if i don't go right home and, oh, buy resin for instance. i like having the knowledge so that if i do want to use the material at some point i know that i can. most of the women in the class build things and wanted to know more about (or get more comfortable with) tools for doing that. i took the class so that some day when i go "how would i....." i can come up with an answer.

and now- to the studio!

Friday, July 29, 2011


here's the continuation of the project started here

when last we saw the work in progress the image had warped b/c i put it on card stock that wasn't thick enough. i discovered that a 3x3 canvas fit perfectly in the center, so i glued the image to one and then poured self leveling gel on it. the first layer was a bit uneven, so i added more, but it was cloudy ( below), not the look i want.

plan c- an image transfer, but what type? i decided on a laser print transfer to blended fiber medium, hoping for an organic finish and a clean transfer.

spreading the fiber medium on the image which is then left to dry on non-stick plastic (trash can liner over an old cookie sheet in this case)

and viola! the beginnings of a beautiful transfer-

i do usually have good luck with laser print (or copier) image transfers and since i found the color printer on sale so cheap at office depot i use them more. the image looks great and the fiber gel dries almost like a paper-

the only downfall to this method is all of the rubbing required- i gave myself blisters! (that's a first)

of course, after all of that the self leveling gel cured and cleared up. here's the piece in its current state. i think i like it, but have until tomorrow night to decide for sure.

taking a beginning woodworking class tomorrow- learning to use saws, yay! that will undoubtedly come in handy, and it's better to learn in a class than from a loved one :)

pics from that tomorrow, and i have plaster fun to share as well- woo hoo!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

citrasolv diversion

great trip to arizona, even if it was 107.... got some good things accomplished work- wise and was traveling with one of my co-workers, so that was fun too. we had to drive up to prescott to see a store, which was great because i had never been there. after work was done, we went downtown and parked- lo and behold- right in front of the local artist's coop, Arts Prescott Gallery . i got to talk to one of the artists about how their coop works, which is always fun and discovered a new artist to be inspired by, raina gentry .

home late last night, but got some studio time in tonight.

one of the techniques in the plaster book is using a citrasolv (an organic cleaning product found in health food stores and now in art stores too) transfer. i had been talking to another artist about the national geographic citrasolv technique a few weeks ago, so i thought i'd give both a try. i'll share the transfer results later.

something about national geographic magazines produced in the last 10 years and citrasolv makes magic. you brush the concentrate on pages with photos, close the book, mush it together

wiping away the oozy black ink as needed. and yes it's messy and do it outside (or in a well ventilated area). i thought "this isn't so bad, what are they talking about?" until i took the pages into my studio to dry and was overwhelmed by orange scent.

here's a page in progress.

several hanging to dry (on the open door!)

and some of the final product as scanned in

love the way that the bear is still visible in this one-

how cool are these? i am going to scan all in for future use as backgrounds or just to print out again and use the originals in my mixed media. sort of reminds me of the effect you get when dipping a photo in bleach. i ended up with a lot of images from the original pages- you can see letters in some of these and of course the bear, so will experiment with leaving it longer, mooshing it together more and using more citrasolv even tho i am really happy with the bits left in on these.

work tomorrow, power tools class on saturday (what fun!) and hanging day on sunday- which means i must finish at least one more piece to swap out. more on that later too.

happy end of the week all!

Monday, July 25, 2011

back in the studio

in march, i played a bit with plaster and wallboard compound and other texture stuff. (blog post here) i loved much about the plaster, but wasn't sure how to use it to get the most out of it and moved on. then came Plaster Studio: Mixed-Media Techniques for Painting, Casting and Carving by Stephanie Lee and Judy Wise. and i am all set to play again.

like encaustic, plaster likes porous surfaces. luckily, i just bought some panels from blick and my husband just repaired a fence, creating lovely short pieces of wood perfect for practice- or maybe icons or goddesses. (he doesn't even look at me oddly any more when i ask if he has plans for the odds & ends generated by projects.)

i am headed to cool and refreshing phoenix tomorrow, so i thought i'd pour some forms to cure while i'm gone. this will keep me from messing with them too soon. i'm not patient, so it's good to know the work around :)

i didn't have enough plaster for this on either try and it ended up lumpy so i doodled into it as it was drying with a skewer. fun to see how easy it is to make marks at this stage- will see how different it is when i get back.

that's it for now. off to bed- the 7 am flight requires a 5 am alarm. can't wait to get back & play with this! stay tuned......

Sunday, July 24, 2011

more idaho scenery

we had another lovely day in idaho's backcountry

back to town and amber waves of grain 

 and a lovely sunset

Saturday, July 23, 2011

butterfly hike

yipee! we went for a hike today!

and we walked through fields of butterflies and wildflowers

can't wait for tomorrow's adventure!