Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Making of Friendship

Hello My Little Art Blog :)

Today I am describing the process I used to put together my newest Mixed Media painting "Friendship" & sending out lots of love to all my wonderful girl friends and my two amazing daughters!

First a bit of context: Other than printer woes, my life is swimming along quite nicely. As usual, too much to do and not enough time to play in my studio (which of course is what I really want to be doing) Laundry, grocery shopping, buying eyeglasses, paying bills, finishing up work projects, the list goes on and on and on. Partly because I have been sneaking in a little extra time "arting" about & Yes that is arting (not farting -gross) as I never know what exactly to call what I most like to do. It is a little drawing, a little collaging, a little painting, a little stamping, and a little of whatever else catches my fancy at the moment. Mixed Media seems so off putting and do you say I'm mixed media-ing, just doesn't sound right. But I guess that's what it is. So there you go.

Ya'll, I am really excited to show off my latest creation. I've wanting to do something that represents the special connection between girl friends, but hadn't had the right inspiration until the other day while perusing pinterest and this cool advertisement caught my eye. I know the three women in it are models posing and probably not close friends but something about it hooked me (probably the pretty colors -I am sucker for pretty colors) and I knew I had to put it into a sketch. So I did.

As you can see from the image below, I take lots of liberties while translating inspiration to art idea. But that's the fun -distilling what's personal and making it my own. The next evening I went about taking it from a sketch to the beginnings of an actual piece of art. I used the sketch from my notebook/ sketchbook (I adore them & have dozens; lined, gridded, plain, fancy, all with bits of art ideas, recipes, prayers, travel journaling, etc all thrown together) and drew the three girls in my Strathmore mixed media journal (I like the way its paper takes acrylic and it tends to hold up well with lots of glueing) then I cut the ladies out so I could add them to my background.

On the photo above -top right and bottom left, you'll see that I gather up favorite bits of decorative papers, napkins (love how they turn translucent when applied with matte medium) old book text, letter stamps, and craft paints (folkart, less than $1) then started applying them to an old board I had laying around. Once the papers were arranged to my liking, glued down and dried, I cut the board into segments. I added more collage bits to the cut edges then used a credit card and dotted brayer to grunge up the board. I then stamped in some butterflies and flowers rather randomly and added the words: LAUGHTER and JOY. Some of the napkins and collage bits bleed over the girls to give texture and settle them in to the piece. This is seriously loosey goosey fun time.

Now to give my ladies some love. I start with white heavy body acrylics and watercolor crayons (love them!) Scribble... I mean it, I scribble bit of watercolor crayon then go over with a light mix of water and white. It just blends beautifully and you can still see the pencil through the paints much like watercolor. I try not to be too perfect or get caught up in fine detail at this point. I figure out what colors I want where and add a messy outline around the women with a sketch & wash pencil and fluid acrylics. Four fluid acrylic colors that I used a lot in this painting are quinacridane magenta, phthalo green-blue shade, yellow ochre, and raw umber. Actually, these are probably the four colors I use most (along with white) in many of my paintings.

I keep blending and adding color until I am happy with the composition then I start on the detail. I really like this part. I probably use at least four or five layers on each girl's eyes. I add subtle polka dots on the dress, then add the flowers and finally white highlights on lips, cheeks, dresses, and eyes. Last step is a bit more grunge -red paint with a palette knife and a few more yellow and blue smears with my fingers. I typically paint equal parts brush to fingers -not kidding. (You can't say I don't get into my art - LOL)

Friendship Artwork

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. That love is stronger than death. And that there is nothing on this earth more prized than true friendship.
(A bastardized and blended quote adapted from Robert Fulghum and Thomas Aquinas)


  1. I love this! It's so neat to see where you're inspiration came from and then how you made it your own.

  2. Turned out so beautiful! Love the faces, the colors, the way you made it all your own. Thanks for lifting my depression today. ♥ So sweet.

  3. I love this! It's so awesome that you now have the time to play and create and it looks like you enjoy it immensely! Thank you for sharing the process, very inspiring.