Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Koala Chillin' on a Branch - Painted Paper Painting

'Ello Mates :)

I want to share my newest painted paper painting. Koala Chillin on a Branch :)

This piece is a commission brought in by a relative who happens to have a wall of my art in his apartment. He shows it off to his visitors... and has now decided he wants me to make a ton of art and then he will sell if for me for a commission. Only 5% he says...which of course is a extremely fair deal! I really want to do art for money? To be at the mercy of a client? I am sure I am not the only person here who struggles with combining art and money. Whenever I am doing a requested piece...I have a hard time finding motivation t6 get in the studio. My muse runs for the hills as I start blankly at the substrate. I wonder if any of my ideas are good enough. I second guess every mark I make. It is so stressful! It does work better if I have a piece I already completed and someone wishes to buy it...but even then I sweat over what price to ask. I have no formula to calculate a monetary value for something that came from my heart and soul. Am I alone in this? I doubt it. In fact when a couple of my artist friends visited last weekend to do some collaborative mixed media art..we discussed this issue. Of course.none of us came up with the perfect answers for how to fix the problem. We did have a TON OF FUN doing art though. We each started with a blank canvas and then rotated canvases each layer we put on. Here are the resulting pieces. I got to keep the one with the flowers :)

Well..I suppose I better quit going on and on and start the step out of my project :) I imagine that is what everyone comes here for! This time I started with a standard gesso coated white 12" X 12" canvas. I sketched on it using a graphite pencil. I was asked if I use a photo when I draw. Yes. I usually can't produce something like a koala out of my imagination, so I look for a few photos on the Internet and use them to look at as I sketch.

Next comes the underpainting. Why do I do this step? Many reasons. I like to try out colors as I paint. Also, if I were to miss a spot as I am doing the collage won't show up as a white spot. This is real issue in my last couple pieces as I have been using gelli printed deli paper which is by nature translucent. In addition, having the colors and shading there on the canvas helps with placement as I put the paper over it. 

So, as I am painting my underpainting, I also paint or print the papers I plan to use for the collage step later. This time I used my 5" X 7" Gelli plate and some stencils to create textured papers. This has a huge benefit of using up extra paint I may have left on my palette after my painting is done. That is the main reason I do my paper painting/printing after each later of painting.

Once I am all finished with the under painting and the printing of my papers, then comes the collage part. I cover every inch of the canvas in painted papers...even the edges. I tear or cut papers depending on the need. I layer them to create rough shading, highlights...and textures. I attach it all with matte gel medium. It is a involved process and I usually become totally engrossed to the exclusion of everything else until it is finished. or someone interrupts me

For this piece I added an additional layer of shading using a water soluble pencil stabilo pencil and blending with a waterbrush. That is what gives it a more illustration feel. I hope my client likes my piece.... of course I am nervous as usual about selling it! I hope all of you like it anyway :) Leave me a comment and I will be sure to respond!
<3 Shel

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Patriotic Tag It Tuesday :)

Hello Friends :)

I know I said I would try to update my blog more often...but I guess the operative word so far was TRY. But here begins my new effort! Summer is winding down and all the travel and guests are mostly done...time to get caught up with all the artsy ideas I have floating around in my head :) As those of you know who follow along here...I love to participate in linky parties that my blogging friends host, and today is no exception. It is 'Tag it Tuesday' over at Cards and More by Sheri.!  Each month Sheri announces a theme for the month and then hosts a linky party on her blog on the 3rd Tuesday. For those who enjoy swapping what they have made she also has a G+ community called Altered Tag Swap. It is good fun and I suggest everyone join right in :) The theme for July is 'Patriotic' and as I am American (or as my kid says 'Murican') that means Red White and Blue, stars and stripes, and Miss Liberty standing tall for freedom. So here is my tag...

Most everyone who does altered tags starts with common shipping tags from the office store. They come in several sizes and are made from 'manila' heavy weight stock. Well I just never have gotten around to buying any of I use my stack of manila folders that were being thrown away. I cut them into the most commonly used size which is 3" X 7" and go from there. This time I didn't want my tag to be that yellowy 'manila' I started out by covering it with white gesso. You can see the difference!

Next I wanted to preserve some white stripes on my tag so I used a fat stripe stencil and some 3D Gloss Gel by Prima. I applied the gel with a palette knife and then removed the stencil and let it dry. You can see the stripes are the shiny bits and the dull bits are where just the gesso was left.

Now for some red stripes. I used some Gelatos by Faber Castell and applied the darkest color on the left and moved to the lightest on the right. Then I blended the colors using my finger. I touched my finger to a baby wipe to make it slightly damp for blending. Then I used the baby wipe to remove excess color from the white stripe area.

Because Gelatos are water reactive and never dry water can do a ghost stencil effect with them. I used a punchinella type stencil by Crafters Workshop. It has a strip of star shaped holes. I laid that over my tag and then used my trusty baby wipe to remove some of the Gelato color. This leaves some white stars on my red stripes.

For my next layer I added some lovely drippage. I love to do this to add more color and texture. I used 3 colors of Liquitex Acrylic Ink. These inks are nice to use for dripping because they have droppers inside the lid. I started at the top left corner and dropped a bit of color on..then tapped the tag on my desk to make the drips run down. This is so much fun..if a bit messy. Don't forget to shake up the bottles real well as the pigment settles to the bottom and you just get clear drips if you don't. 

When my drippage was all nice and dry...I brought back out my star punchinella stencil and some light modeling paste. I applied the paste with a palette knife over the drippy area to add more white stars.

Now for my main image...Miss Liberty. I used a graphite pencil to draw her on a scrap of mixed media paper. This paper is lighter then a cardstock but still holds up fairly well to wet media.

Next I colored her using my Caran d'Ache Neocolor II water soluble crayons.I didn't have the perfect greenish patina I scribbled a light teal and a olive color together on some scrap deli paper and then mixed them with my waterbrush. I then used the waterbrush to paint on my color.

Next I cut out my girl and applied her to my tag using liquid matte medium. What I did not know was that Liquitex Acrylic Inks are water reactive, I assumed (assume makes a ass of u and me) that because they are 'acrylic' that they would dry permanent. As you can see in my photo..that is a big NOPE. But, never panic...just keep on going! I was able to fix up my color by using a big of white acrylic paint mixed in with my two crayon colors. Then I went over the lines using my black Posca paint pen for more definition.

I really wanted Miss Liberty to have some shine so went over her with a clear Wink of Stella brush pen by ZIG for some sparkle and shimmer. I LOVE this pen!

My final touches were to add three gold star brads on the left edge of my tag. Then I matterd it with some blue cardstock. I added some ribbons to the top. Then I tied on some little dangley tags in red and blue that say 'stars' and 'stripes' just for fun.

I hope you enjoyed my Patriotic Tag project. Please leave me a comment if you did :)
Head on over to Cards and More by Sheri to check out other blogger's patriotic altered tags. Or better yet..join the linky party with YOUR tag :)
<3 Shel

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Ocotillo Artist Trading Card

Hello :)

I am trying to update my blog more frequently then I have been... but soon I will be traveling and having guests and just crazy busy .. so bear with me through the summer! Today I was working on my artist trading cards for a four month long swap I have joined over at 'Sisterhood of the Traveling Canvases' G+ Community. The first project we did in this community was a round robin canvas swap wherein 8" X 10" canvases went traveling around the country getting worked on by different mixed media artists. At the end we each received a finished canvas to keep that we had not worked on. It was very fun! Now the same community is doing 4 ATCs over the summer months to trade with 9 other artists. Here is my second month ATC... the theme is flowers in your area. Of course, my favorite 'flower' is the Ocotillo. WHAT? you say. It is pronounced ah-kah-tee-yo. An upside down funnel shaped desert plant that is made up of several woody, spiny, straight branches angling outward from the base. It can reach 20 feet tall. It has 2 inch oval shaped leaves that spring up in clusters above the spines when it rains. In the Spring it has red blooms made up of 5 petal flowers that cluster into 10 inch clusters at the end of the branches. I find this plant fascinating and have since I first saw Tucson flying in for a friends wedding long before I moved here. It is just so cool! I even named my blog after it :)

This ATC is not very complicated...but it does show why I love mixed media. NO RULES. I can combine watercolor with acrylic with ink with whatever I want. No media police here! So, I started out with watercolor. I did not wet my paper (140 pound watercolor paper cut into 2 1/2" X 3 1/2" rectangles) I used a medium wet brush and dipped it into my color then painted it on. Rinsed and added a color in a different area. I did not want a bunch of mixing of the layers that wet paper would have created.

Once my watercolor was dry I wanted to seal it so it would not be effected by any layers I may put on after. For this I used clear gesso. I dropped a few dots on the paper and then went over it with my 2" soft rubber brayer. It looks slightly milky when wet..but dries nice and clear and adds some 'tooth' to the paper as well.

My next layer was to add the plant using acrylic paint. I started with the darkest green and painted in the branches. Then I went to the next darker and using a up and down motion ..dotted on some leaves. Then I used 2 more lighter colors with the same effect..making them lighter and lighter towards the top of the plant. This created a more depth on the plant.

Now I added my flowers. Instead of using red..then orange for highlight. I did both colors at the same time using the same uncleaned brush. I wanted the colors to blend some so that it appears like the sun is hitting the edge of the petals inside the clusters of flowers.

Once that was all dry I added the word 'Ocotillo' at the bottom of each card using a glaze pen.

Some of you may have noticed I don't like unfinished edges. I often put a solid color paper around my small projects to frame them. This time I just used ink for the same effect. I used a finger dauber to apply dark brown ink to the edges of all the cards to finish them off.

My final touch was to print some info about the Ocotillo plant and glue it to the backs of the cards.

I hope you enjoyed my project :) Give me feedback if you wish...I always read and respond!
<3 Shel