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)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Inspiration behind Pop's Quilter Fish

A Bit About the Inspiration Behind my Quilter Fish Collage:
My Dad loved to fish when I was growing up and often we would walk across the street to our neighbor's pond and spend time together fishing. Even though I would typically end up letting mine go (I couldn't bring myself to kill them) these family times hold very dear memories.
Then as an adult, I learned to scuba dive and wow -the underwater world is amazing. Floating among the colorful surreal surroundings is at once deeply peaceful and yet completely exhilarating. I am so at home under the sea. I am blessed to live near Mobile Bay and only 30 minutes from the Gulf of Mexico so I can indulge my need for the salt water life fairly often.
Well, this collage is an homage to those two things - My Dad and Scuba Diving with a folksy craftsy little twist. I tried to stylize it in a way reminiscent of a quilt (another thing I just adore) 
You see, one day, I am going to create art quilts. Yet another item I have in the ever-growing when I retire list. (ha-ha) I have  books on them, scraps of fabric waiting, and even bought an amazing art quilt from an art center exhibit by Suzanne Wray called "Aren't the Weeds Beautiful" which now proudly hangs in the passage to my bedroom. I think that's part of why I enjoy collage so much. It is a little like quilting without the sewing know how needed. Of course with great quilting there is also that wonderful dual story of color then the layer of stitching. Kind of picks up the whole mixed media thing. I knew there had to be a connection  -everything inter-woven eventually.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Rainy Day Drive

I had quite a busy day today.  I was trying to get an architectural project completed and ready for patient move-in Monday and of course nothing goes as expected.  One pleasant aside was that my Dad came with me as I ran from place to place pretty much the whole day.  My Mom and I often spend the day together but not so frequently is it just me and my Dad.  He got to see the building I designed, the 3-D printer and CNC Router working at the shop with Pete, and then we had a "cheat" meal of BBQ across the bay in Mobile.
On our way back to Fairhope, it rained intermittently. I just love how everything looks through the windshield with the droplets blurring and morphing the scenery.  I imagine it is a bit like what you might see while on a sixty's acid trip - Just needed a little Doors to be playing in the background.
I was inspired to try to capture the moment with my phone.  It was rather tricky trying to take a photo - as it seemed like just when I thought I could catch a perfect shot, the rain would stop or a truck would pull in front of us. Urg! I did get a few though. I'm including two of them with this post. I added a slightly grundgy sepia border on the top photo and enhanced the grain on the other one. I think they could possibly influence a future piece of art. Hummm... the wheel are already turning in my head.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Making Like Mindy

I'm trying to spend a little time looking at other blogs -see what works and what doesn't. I'm sure it'll take some time to figure out what I want my blog to say, how I want it to look, what i want to focus on, how much other than art to include here but I'll get there.

It the meantime, Oh boy can the computer suck up time. Popping from one site to the next. Really cool stuff but quite intimidating. It is so tempting to compare myself with other artists. So not a good idea. It can bring out all my insecurities and self-doubt. On the other hand, seeing what others are doing is also very inspiring.

One site I happened upon this evening is Mindy Lacefeld's blog
I love her spontaneity and the child-like quality to her paintings. I clicked on her youtube tutorial "Release" and even though it is on fast-forward. I tried to paint along at the speed of the video -not the same exact picture but one inspired by hers. I had to pause once to catch up but it was fun... & a bit crazy trying to paint so fast. I can tend to get a little tight when I paint and I like doing exercises to loosen me up. (Another method I sometimes use is to not wear my glasses until I m almost done -just so I don't stay in the lines) Anyways, here's how my painting turned out as well as the video I followed (assuming I can figure out how to embed it) Good Night for now :)

Literary Ladies

Tonight I painted three new "literary ladies" I hadn't planned on creating any more but strange as this sounds, painting them is calming and oddly peaceful. It reminds me of playing with paper dolls as a child. I go in to my own little world. Two are in the style of my more whimsical pretty girls but the third is a little different and almost zombie like. I kind of like it. I think I'll name her Zombina.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


I guess I'll start my blogging adventure with a little about myself and why I'm here wanting to share my artful journey with the the world. (Scary as it seems right now)

Growing up, I could spend hours creating imaginary worlds. I would go through reams of paper illustrating the images in my mind. One picture would always lead to another and another and another...

In college, I channeled this need to create to the field of architecture. Whether designing a simple residence or an entire community, I love the process of taking people’s stories, dreams, desires, and blending them with my own to create something wholly unique. So for twenty years and counting, I’ve designed buildings as my way of storytelling.

Through the years, art became secondary. In my head, it morphed into this deep esoteric concept, completely divorced from the fantasies that I still drew in private as cards and paper-crafts.

Then something REBLOOMED. I found myself filling countless sketchbooks at a remarkable rate. I wanted to surround myself with simple joys. I was drawn to whimsical quirky characters. Art fills my mind and heart and spills unexpectedly on to whatever I have at hand.

So after the insightful nudgings of family and friends, here I am, ready to play, learn, teach, explore, flourish, and occasionally fail, essentially following my heart in to ARTFUL BLISS. I am still an architect during the workweek but I am also an artist and this is my path. I have set up an Etsy shop and am slowly beginning the process of sharing my passion with the world. Please feel free to join me on this journey :)

Here is a Sampling of My More Whimsical Current Artwork.
(As You can see I am Fascinated by the Female Face)