Mixed Media Art. Photography. Inspiration.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Art Journal : Coffee Shop Challenge

I really wanted to post some art today and have several paintings in the works, but since none are ready to be shown, I decided to dig up some older work.  These two pages were done in my art journal several years ago as part of a fun little self-challenge

 I took my journal and a few favorite supplies ; gel medium, an old brush, scissors, and pens to Starbucks and challenged myself to make a spread using only these supplies and whatever I could find in the coffee shop.  I tore up some of their pamphlets and glued them as the backgrounds then collaged over them with their napkins to soften it. I also cut up a paper coffee cup, coffee sleeve, stirrer, straw and a gift card to create both collages, along with the straw wrapper and tea tag for the second page. 

Most of my time was spent on the bird page and I never really liked this second page.  It just seemed incomplete, with too much going on and like things were just floating around, disconnected.  I loved the simplicity of the bird page but didn't know how to fix this page.  I didn't touch it once home, because my challenge was to finish it at the coffee shop using only those supplies. 

 Finally when I looked at it again last week, I decided heck with my challenge, I wanted to fix it so I liked both pages in the spread.  

I needed to simplify the page so I got out my gesso and lightly covered most of the background, to get rid of unnecessary elements.  I then grabbed a pen and scratched lines all over to unify it even more, and added a few more doodles.

 There.  That's better. 

 Now I can finally look at this spread without feeling torn for loving one side and hating the other.  But now I look at the bird page and think...hmmm...just a touch of paint would really make this even better...

  No, no, no...not part of the plan!  Walk away!  It's done!

I remember having a blast working on it in the coffee shop.  It can be very freeing to use limited supplies... and fun!  And I'm not sorry for "cheating" a bit on my little challenge.  I learned a lot from it then, and now, and I think it might be time for another little challenge soon.

Have you done anything fun lately to challenge yourself?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Just a quick post to let you know that I'm not going to be around for a few days, but I'll be back Sunday or Monday.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I'll see you when I get back!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday : Window Shopping

Here's a fun photo for all the ladies out there.
 I'm embarrassed to say that I don't know what store this is...wait...no I'm not ; )

 I'm not big on designer brands, but I thought this was a great shadow shot.

 If you look closely you can see my reflection on the glass...I'm the girl with the stained, hand-sewn,
 non matching bag.

For more shadowy goodness, pop on over to Hey Harriet's for Shadow Shot Sunday.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mixed Media : Wish

So Tuesday I went to take some photos of this little piece, thinking it was done, but when I looked at it, 
it just didn't seem finished.  I already kind of knew this, but hoped it would magically appear finished the next time I looked at it...without actually doing any more work on it.  Talk about the piece being aptly titled "Wish"...well, no... I should add one more word so it would be "You Wish"!

It's done on a little block of wood that I painted, stamped, and collaged with a few bits of torn paper.  I then drew the dandelion with water-color crayons, and wet some areas to smear it and make it run a little.  It needed a bit more pizazz so I painted a little crocheted flower and nailed it on with a copper tack.  I wire-wrapped a few beads on copper wire to nail towards the bottom.

So that is where it stood when I hoped it was done.
  It wasn't done. 
 I painted three more crocheted flowers and nailed them to the top.

There.  That's what it needed. 
 Now it's done and I can get back to my unfinished projects for the fabulous Texture Town class I'm taking.
Can't wait to show you what else I've learned in the class so far, but that means I actually have to finish them first!  Hmm...an artist's work is never done...YAY!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday : Dandelion Lights

A few weeks back, I was driving around Pasadena, when I suddenly HAD to pull over, park my car (illegally of course), grab my camera and run to take a few photos.  The sun was hitting this building beautifully, creating some very cool shadows inside, that I could see all the way from the street.  I'm always on the lookout for great shadows to post for Shadow Shot Sunday, so I couldn't pass this up.

I love the chandeliers, they remind me of dandelions, and they create such great shadows on the walls.  And I love how their flowery, messiness contrasts with the perfect grid of straight lines from the windows

This (below) is what I saw from the street that made me pull over...a building with a wall of windows, and the sunlight hitting it just right!

If you want to see more great shadows, or join in with our shadowy fun, go to Hey Harriet's for Shadow Shot Sunday.

Since the lights above reminded me of dandelions, I wanted to share a fun little piece of art that I just finished that happens to have a dandelion on it, but ....well....you're just going to have to wait a couple of days till I can get proper photos.  But here is a little detail of it to hold you over!  

I hope you're having a great weekend...see you soon...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Little Art Exchange

Gorgeous, huh?  I think so too!  This was made by the wonderful Bev over at My Awakened Heart.  She wanted my painting "Don't Lose Heart" which I posted here,  and I love her art, so we did a little art exchange.  I love this piece... the colors, the bird, the message, the way she paints on and in between the papers so they look like tiles.  It's wonderful.

It's going to hang in my studio to inspire me and remind me to remember to slow down, be still, and listen...something I am not that good at, especially lately.

Thank you Bev, I LOVE IT!!!

This is what I sent off the her....Here's a little refresher of what "Don't Lose Heart" looks like (the red heart is not as bright in person...sorry, not that important, but it bugs me...perfectionist, remember).

I made a coordinating card (below) for Bev...

 painted a bit on the box...

and wrote a little message that came to me, before sending the art off to it's happy new home.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Finished Texture Painting and SSS : Double Vision

This painting was done for one of our lessons in the Texture Town class I'm taking.  It was done using Golden's Heavy Matte Gel which was then scraped, stenciled, stamped into with random things ....some which are meant to be used for art...others ...not so much.  It was fun searching the house for things that would add a cool texture.  So much fun to do!  Then it was painted and glazed MANY times until I was finally happy with it.  I wanted it to almost look like rusted metal here and there (I love rusty things).  I think my favorite part is the top left side (1st photo below).

Don't you just love all the texture?  And the rich, earthy colors...yum.  We have a limited palette for the class, but the colors are amazing and everyone's work looks so different depending on which colors they use more of, and how they mix them, etc...  It's wonderful.  

Below are my shadow shots for this week.  It's the shadow of a plant being cast on our basement window.  I love how it's a double shadow...one on the screen, one on the window.

To see more shadows go check out Shadow Shot Sunday over at Hey Harriet's here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Do YOUR Thing (Raven Piece)

OK, so here's the art piece I teased you with a few days ago.  I made this a few years ago for my husband, David, who likes crows and ravens.  I found a wood plank and painted and glazed over it until it had the look I wanted.  I collaged on torn bits of dictionary pages and other scraps, along with some cheesecloth, then lightly painted over them.

On a Home Depot trip I had bought a few metal brackets that I called "label holders".  My husband laughed and told me what they really were, but I forgot what their "real" name and purpose is...and I really don't care ; )  To me they are perfect to pound into wood, then slather with paint, to become a nice base for a pretty label with a handwritten message on it....don't you agree? (below)

My husband is a writer (and High School English teacher), so I wrote "Write that which ONLY YOU can write".  I also wrote "The Raven" lightly on the background above the label, because David loves that poem by Edgar Allen Poe, so I wanted him to think of it for inspiration...only Poe could write The Raven as he did.  I really believe that we are ALL unique and have a "special something" that only we can do, in our own little way.  We just need to find it and refine it, whether it be art, writing, dancing, teaching, etc..  Martha Graham said it wonderfully.......

"You are unique, and if that is not fulfilled, then something has been lost." 
 Martha Graham

I drew out the bird onto black construction paper with a white charcoal pencil, and cut it out and glued it on.  The eye is a small rusty washer.  I drew swirls and other doodles all over the background with both white and black charcoal pencils then sprayed it with a sealer.

I found a small twig and I wrapped the ends with little strips of dictionary pages to create little "buds of inspiration", just waiting to bloom (and I thought the dictionary pages were perfect for this since David loves words ...and dictionaries).   I wrapped the base with a bit of cheesecloth and copper wire.

I pounded in three copper tacks and used the top on to hang the "quill", which is just a crow feather wrapped with a bit of cheesecloth and copper wire.

So just a reminder...don't forget to water YOUR inspiration buds, and watch them grow and bloom!