Sunday, September 18, 2016

QK Puppy Mural: The Reconnaissance Phase

This process was handled very well by my project-management-scientist brain. We traveled to the kennel so I could measure and take photos of the room so I could plan my attack. 

The first strategic error my creative brain made was expecting to have long sections of uninterrupted wall for my compositions. 

I was rudely surprised when I discovered the only wall meeting that description was reserved for a row of dog crates. Oops. 
What I had to work with were walls with big windows; one wall had a door that opened into the room. Uh-oh. 

I decided that this challenge was just part of the process. 

Art needs to be flexible. I had to think like Michelangelo when he worked on the Sistine Chapel ceiling.  :)

In hindsight, I am grateful I had this challenge. It dared me to be much more creative with the puppy poses. I created art that I would never have dreamed of without facing these difficulties.


Monday, September 12, 2016

QK Puppy Mural: It all Starts in my Head

For me, the loveliest stage of creating always begins after the initial panic of “how am I going to do this?!?” Once I embraced this project, I allowed my mind to float about randomly, letting visions of puppies frolicking on the walls of the room swirl about in my head. I love this part of the process – so much hope and promise of what the final product will evolve to be. The sad part about this stage is that the art in my head is often more beautiful, more creative, and more full of life than the version that ends up in my journal or painting, or in this case, on the walls.

Until this project, the dogs I drew were mostly my own – standard poodles. I needed to learn to draw the different breed characteristics. I keep different sized journals, depending on what I feel like carrying; however, a small one is ALWAYS with me. I also place journals in the different places I spend time so I have no excuse not  to grab one to draw an idea. I worked primarily in four journals on this project. Everything relating to the mural was captured: sketches, ideas, dimensions, paint colors, supply lists and to do lists.

My drawing references started with Google images and various books. I found images that were similar to the ones I had in my head. I watched videos of puppies to see how they interacted – the visions in my head wanted very much to capture the frolicking shenanigans that made puppies so appealing. I watched cartoons. I went to pet stores. Whenever I’d find someone with a puppy, I sat and watched the puppy play. I pulled out all our puppy photos and videos. I twisted my own dogs’ limbs into various poses to see what their anatomy would allow. My dogs are saints!

This process started before I traveled the four hours to see the room for the first time. While envisioning, I placed no practical restrictions regarding the physical space or the time required. Of course, the practical part of my brain was very concerned about these factors.  Would the puppies I envision work on the walls? Would I get the mural done in a timely fashion, preferably before the walls needed to be repainted or the owners retired?  All these things were set aside, however, while I let the ideas percolate in my brain, unfiltered and joyful.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

2016/2017 Project: Creation of the QK Puppy Mural

--> Over the next few weeks I will document my largest and most challenging art project to date. Our friend of Quinebaug Kennels (QK) expressed the desire for me to design and paint a mural for the puppy room of their brand new facility. For some odd reason, Jenny thought just because I painted a cartoon sun on the side of a friend's garage that I was qualified for this task. I wasn't qualified but that didn't stop me.
The end result was something I was indeed proud of despite all the anxiety I went through knowing full well I had to develop the skills I would require for successful execution.

I learned so much from this project and I love learning. I also love to share what I learn and may some of what I did help another with their own project.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Equine "Evil" Trio

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. These are three 24"x12" canvases that I painted this year and gave to a dear friend. The purpose was two fold. First, to learn how to use acrylic paint in preparation for painting a puppy mural for our friends new training & boarding facility. Acrylics and I aren't the best of friends. I like working in markers, color pencil, and watercolor. I really need to take some lessons from a live teacher lol. I did view a couple on-line tutorials. The second purpose was to figure out how to paint a black animal. I wanted to do a black Lab pup and was having no end of trouble.

I don't remember how many times I painted and repainted Janus (the black horse) because of his color and Baby (brown horse) because I couldn't get the angle of the hooves covering the ears the way I liked. In retrospect, it was fun. When I was doing it - it was frustrating torture :). I need to find a good teacher if I want to keep in this medium.

Mac Loves Jennie

A Christmas present I wanted to do for a while for a friend and again having to wait until I could draw properly again. My horse totally loves her. I did a rough sketch years ago and put the cartoon on Mac's stall door. I finally redid it "formally". She loved it.

Colt Caricature

End of last year I was catching up after not being able to paint properly for a couple years. I had such bad pain in my hands I didn't have good enough control to do this type of work. This was a caricature I finally completed for the winner of a charity raffle: her prize Australian Shepard. Better late than never. This is in watercolor, pen and a bit of color pencil.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Double Holy Cow!! Where Did 2015 Go?!?!

Life happens - death, sickness and continual changes. Boring stuff that can stay in 2015.

The great news is that I continued my drawing, continued taking online courses, and started to dabble in acrylic paint. I had so little time or physically ability I could either do it - or blog about it. I voted to Do Art!

I note in my last post of 2014, I was going to post some of my journal pages. I could tell you that the internet ate them, but that would be a lie. I won't make another commitment to once again not follow through. No posts of what I've done over the last year. We will march through 2016 and hope that I won't have a "triple holy cow where did 2017 go?" post next January. What I WILL do is share my "Big Project" and a couple projects leading up to that project with you. I want to document my process which I'm making up by the seat of my pants. Of course I will be throwing in drawings, class projects here and

In keeping with "Insanity is a Terrible Thing to Waste" in 2015, I volunteered to do projects that I absolutely had no experience nor talent with the medium I needed to use. WHAT FUN!!! Obviously I'm not afraid to fall flat on my face. The "Big Project" is to do a mural for a puppy room of a friend's new dog kennel. I was asked to do the puppy mural because I posted a photo of a mural I painted on my dear friend Kim's garage. She had a lovely sun airbrushed onto the garage but she had to repaint the garage. I cheerfully told her I could paint her a sun, but it would be a cartoon sun (I can't do realistic art). The rest is history.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Holy Cow! Where DID 2014 Go?!?!?!

Ok, at least this time I know what we did for a year - lots to show for it on the personal side taking a huge leap and transitioning to make another huge leap forward. That doesn't mean I haven't done art. On the contrary.

All my art work has been in my journals. I am loving (for a change) where I am in my art. My journals make me very happy. I have very little time to devote to them thus making the time spent very precious.

I'll be doing some catch up posts from my journals over  the next few weeks. I'll start in chronological order which means you will be seeing more mermaids. Hopefully you are not sick of them yet ;) This one is from my 8"x6" Moleskine journal titled "Joyful Practice". Unfortunately, the scan does not do her justice - I used metallic paint on the tail which doesn't show up in the scan. Perhaps I should take a photo instead. I don't think I will add lettering or journal on this page. I like it as is for now.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Seal & Seahorse

 This was my first "original" page in my mermaid shaped book, the rest were based on pages done either Jane or Teesha or a guest artist.

I started sketching seahorses and seals in my main working journal. I guess they are easy for me because I can draw horses and my seahorse is based on a horse.

I found drawing seals was easy because they are essentially dogs without ears!
This is a sketch I drew in September while traveling. It is inspired by my seal/seahorse page above. I also have a seahorse page in the same travel journal but haven't scanned it. I will post both when I complete them!
The photo shows my little compact drawing set that I take whenever I travel and space is an issue.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dolphin Ride!

This mermaid was inspired by a mermaid drawn by Jane Davenport in the Mermaid Circus online workshop.

It was my "quickest" creation drawn in mostly color pencil and a bit of paint pen. I really enjoyed doing this mermaid in that it was pretty much instant gratification.

I started drawing her waiting for Len to get  back from fixing a massive water leak over at the farm. He was suppose to be only 45 minutes. He was more like 4 hours. I did this mermaid while preparing dinner and waiting for him. A very productive use of time!

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Trio of Mermies

The three mermies in this post were based on Teesha (and Tracy) pages in the Mermaid Circus class book. 
This Mermie is a collage piece. The body, tail and headdress uses Teesha's collage sheet elements. I printed out many sheets so I could use a few elements multiple times.  

You can see the inspiration for this piece from Teesha's original.

 I put this collage on one of my crazy bright pages.

I started with the tail - where I got a bit crazy  using numerous collage pieces to built the upper part of the tail.

I used a color copy of a face I painted in a previous post.

The bodice was composed of a lot of small pieces from Teesha's collage sheets as well.

I painted the neck and arms in last.

The above photo is the piece prior to my adding shading. I will be adding lettering on it later when the "mood" strikes me. I find that the words pop in my head when I'm not trying to think of what to write. 

This  is my psychedelic mermaid that I executed on another of my fluorescent pages - this time a yellow one. 
I don't know what possessed me to paint so many of my pages in fluorescent colors LOL. 

The photo at the left is Teesha's inspiration.

I modeled my page after this sketch that I did in my main working art journal that is full of all sorts of art info. Not my favorite page - I like the one in my main working journal. But I still had fun making it!!

And another "bubble head" girl. I did another one in my travel Moleskine journal. They are just fun to draw!

These girls are based on another Teesha inspired page. I tried a number of variations that just didn't work the way I wanted.

Originally I tried to use Teesha's collage element (the face/helmet was in one of Teesha's collage handouts) that is shown is the inspiration page.

My work just went in a different direction. I did a bunch of these little guys in my general art journal.

Here is the first one I based the page above on.  I am still working on this mermaid shaped page. I will be putting in finishing touches (needs some black (value as Teesha would say). And of course - some lettering!!

Friday, February 07, 2014

Never Give Up! Never Surrender!

This page is a perfect example of not giving up on your art when it starts going terribly wrong. Jane Davenport says over and over in her workshops - "it's only paint - if you don't like it, you can always cover it up!" Both her and Teesha Moore insists that you can always save a page. Dion Dior points out that every art piece goes through an "ugly phase" before it becomes wonderful. Of course when I hear/read this I say "yeah, right, ah-huh, you guys are professionals so you can always fix things!"

I definitely would have thrown this page out, but couldn't because I had art I liked on the back of one of the pages. Working in journals has definitely been a plus for me. I have a tendency to rip up and throw away most of what I make. I'm not now. This is a very good thing.

Also, if I hadn't had an issue with things going so wrong with this page, I would have never of ended up with the final page. I couldn't reproduce this thing if I my life depended on it! Let me start at the beginning.
Teesha had made this delightful little mermaid in her and Jane's Mermaid Circus book for the class. She did this mermaid while in a coffee shop with markers and pens and pencils. These are screen captures so I don't have a good shot of the entire mermaid.

I naturally wanted to do one like Teesha's in my book. It should be a quick one because there was no paint involved. Whoo-hooo!!!

I started out quite happily. I drew in my figure using color pencil. But when I used my white acrylic paint pen, that particular color pencil bled like a son of a gun! I tried to paint over it. Bled through. I tried to gel medium and gesso. A no-go. As you can see with this photo, I just couldn't fix it with paint of any type.

I was really annoyed and discouraged. I tried to determine if I could somehow tear the page out. Nope - I had work on the other side.

Luckily I was taking Jane's "Supplies Me!" workshop which had a lesson on Shiva oil pastels. They are an oil pastel that will actually set after a few days so they will not smudge later.

I really hate them, partly because mine are very old and they just didn't work nicely. I had deemed them as an art supply that I would never use. However, I decided that they might go over my mess when nothing else would. So I gave them a try.
Luckily they worked. I redid the body using the Shivas. I believe that I did some shading with some chalk. It was a very unforgiving medium and I had to be careful. It could not be overworked without ruining it. I realized that I could not draw the face in.

Luckily, I had cut out this Minnie Mouse "fashionista" from a Vogue magazine because I liked it. I though I would never use her. She was in a red dress in a very striking fashion pose. Her face was a perfect size for the page. I used one of her hands. I let the coloring in her face guide the color scheme in the rest of the page.

On her chest you see part of her advertisement: "Kisses, $5" The page was never in my head, but come out as a result of a huge mess I would have loved to have buried. Now, I have a page that I am very happy with. Minnie would have probably of languished in a stack of never-to-be-used collage pieces. Now she is in a journal I'll be looking at.

As an added bonus, my page now has a woman with a "story". Why is she selling Kisses for $5? What does she does with the money? ;)

Jane and Teesha are correct - making art is all about the process. I have always been so orientated on the end result. And the end result typically would not please me because I could see the flaws and felt anyone else could do it so much better than me. I have really changed that thinking and I am loving to do art: what comes out, comes out. Yes, there are still flaws, but I don't feel the need to trash my art because of it. Because it is in my journal, it is my practice. I am not creating something to sell. And yes, there are lots of people who could do better than me, but then, what is the fun in that way of thinking. I am now in a place where I am just happy to make art and much less critical of what comes out. And because of that, I can see I am doing better because I am drawing more - because I'm not focused on the end product, just the process! Which means I'm totally having a great time!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Tiphoni Style Mermaid

 Oops !! I found that I never posted this one!! But notice how the pages behind this one is all blank. It is because this was one of the first pages I made. My other posts show photos of each page after I finished the entire book.
My next mermaid that I made in my mermaid shaped book was this mermaid following a video by Teesha Moore's oldest daughter Tiphoni. Tiphoni is a very talented artist and she did this lovely mermie that I "copied" the best I could.

Tiphoni mostly used copic markers with I struggled with on the type of acrylic paint I used to paint the pages. I think I ended up having to use acrylic paint here and there. I also used paint pens and prismacolors. Again, waiting too long to post so I've forgotten what I did ;).

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Jane-Style Mermaid

For this Mermie, I used Jane Davenport's Mermaid Circus lesson on doing collage "Jane style." Jane uses color copies of her own faces and reuses them in collages to save time in drawing the face. The arm is from a magazine which is cut at the elbow and wrist so it could be placed in the proper position for the composition. I painted the body with acrylics, pasted the face and arm down, then painted the rest over the top with acrylics. I did the tattoo with markers. The fish was cut out from wrapping paper that I brightened it up with Prisma color pencils.

Notice the above photo was taken without the white paper backing. You can see the other pages behind. The solid blue is the inside of the cover. The little piece peeking from the left side is the tail of the Teesha collaged mermaid tail. The mermaid peeking over this Mermaid's tail is from another page I'll be showing you later.

I don't have a good color copier, but it actually worked OK. I used Golden matte medium over the face to "fix" the ink since my copier is an inkjet. The copy smeared a bit, but that doesn't matter because you paint over it. I was able to fix the eyes from this early on face I drew. Do you recognize her? She is my Journey Woman done back in June! See how she changed:
This is a neat method because you have the chance to fix some things and the face won't look the same way twice. Fun!
I haven't put lettering on any of my pages yet. I will get there. But I want to get all the mermaids done first!!!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

My First Mermie in the Mermaid Shaped Book

My first mermaid was one that Teesha Moore showed us how to do in the Mermaid Circus class. I actually redid her face from when I first made her as you will see in my progress photos shown below. I used a method Jane Davenport taught us later in the class where you use color copies of your own work and then "redo" it. You may recognize this face from my journal in an earlier post. The neat thing about using your own work is that you can "correct" what you didn't like or what was wrong. The eyes were fairly "off" so I was able to correct them. Not perfect, but I'm getting use to the technique.

Just a note on how I present the pages. When you look at a page in the mermaid shaped book, you will see parts of  pages behind it.

This photo shows how the book folds together.

In some of my photos, I will place two sheets of white paper behind the page to concentrate on the page I've made. I do this especially when I have other pages in progress behind the page I was photographing and didn't want the page behind to distract.

Now for Teesha's technique. I can detail her methods since she gives permission to do so.

First I drew an outline of my mermaid on the page. Then I cut out scales to do the tail. You then put the scales down so they overlap. Teesha uses a Tombow double sided tape dispenser to glue everything down. I've had problems with using double sided tape. I've lost scales off of this page so it doesn't work well for me. Perhaps my tape was too old LOL.

FYI I'm using collage pieces from one of Anahata Katkin collage books and cutting pieces from magazine pages I saved for their color or patterns. I painted the arms and hair with acrylic paint and used paint pens over the top of everything.

Here is the finished product. Before I changed it ;).

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mermaid Circus!!

Finally. I'm catching up to more "recent" work and one of my FAVORITE online workshops: Mermaid Circus.  Please note that this photo is the book that Teesha and Jane made NOT mine (don't I wish!!).

It is a joint workshop by Jane Davenport and Teesha Moore - both artists who I admire greatly! The two did a fabulous job on this workshop. It is great because they have totally different yet complimentary styles. I am learning so much from this course. The site closes on January 26th, so I am scrabbling to catch up before the materials are no longer available. I've printed a bunch of lessons out and am taking notes. Jane's videos aren't downloadable so I'm watching them like crazy!! Unfortunately, this incredible workshop is not available at the moment. I'm hoping that they will run it a 3rd time. It started back in September and there were so many lessons loaded each of the 8 weeks of the course. It also had a Facebook group and it's own blog. Fabulous!

Over the next few weeks I'll be uploading the work I did for one of the journals for Mermaid Circus. It is a handmade book shaped like a Mermaid. Those who know of my book making passion and past work will understand how this was so up my artistic alley!! I'm almost done with the book. I am determined to finish it - I have a nasty habit of starting a project and never finishing. Not this time!! These are the pages before I assembled the book. Teesha has you paint the pages before assembly which makes painting the backgrounds far easier. I of course picked bright colors which I partially regretted later LOL. I had trouble paging the pages because of my reduced dexterity. I want to airbrush them next time!

FYI Teesha has an entire series on making a 16-page journal from a single piece of watercolor paper. She also shows how she paints the pages, collages, and does the pen work. It is a great series on YouTube - it is on Tracy (her husband's) Moore's channel. I'd put the link but they tend to "break" so it is easier to search for it on the YouTube site.

A note on the following posts regarding Mermaid Circus. Jane requests that her techniques are not discussed outside of the class so I won't be detailing how I do her methods. Her classes are reasonably priced and she has lots of free videos on her site. I can go into how Teesha does her work since her philosophy is that there is only one of her and that we should "go forth and share her techniques." The only wrinkle is that she is more about collage than painting and I tend to paint more than I collage. I don't have collage elements I love yet. I need to collect some I love and I'll work on it in the future. I think collage will be in my future since I will eventually have problems drawing due to my physical issues. So there are ALWAYS options! Yay!!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Altered Book: Joynal Class

This is my last "old"post so I'll finally be all caught up! These were done starting in August.

This is a spread from my "Joynal" altered book from Jane Davenport's class called "Joynal". Joynal is a fabulous class specializing in drawing faeries, elves, unicorns and other magical creatures. She also teaches you how to tell a story through a wonderful series of creative prompts. It is a wonderful class indeed and I highly recommend it!

The prompt asked what accent did my faery have and is she based on traditional stories or does she live by her own rules. My faery of course has a Scottish accent! She is both based on traditional stories and, being a Scottish lass, she also lives by her own rules! She followed me home the first time we went to Scotland. I love stone circles so in my story she found me at one of the stone circles we visited in Scotland. I used a reference picture from the Celtic Lenormand deck that is being developed. It is their "Path" card. This deck will be available later this year and looks to be a wonderful one.

This is the first exercise I did in my altered journal for Jane's class following her video. This 2-page layout is a drawing done on top of a page where a piece of tissue paper was gel medium-ed down.

The technique is to put down the background first and then lay down your drawing over the top. When you have the drawing the way you want, you then "push" the background back by painting or gesso-ing over it. I had problems with getting bubbles in the tissue paper when I was trying to glue it done. I learned I had to rub off the acrylic paint quickly before it dried. Distress markers on tissue paper won't "blend" with water. They absorb too quickly. I definitely need practice with this technique - learning what works with various tissue papers (also paper napkins work).

I've worked a lot with altered books before I took Jane's class. I've had a class on altered books, watched videos, read books. However, I realized I never truly understood how to pick them out or do them. What I realized watching Jane's videos was that I was choosing my books all wrong. I picked books I loved which meant I was reluctant to do anything to them. They also did not have the right type of pages and/or binding. And I didn't remove pages.

So now I realize I need to look at the size and condition of the book and not what is in it. Glossy pages are not easy to work on - go for matte finished pages. The binding needs to be a sewn one because it is essential to take a lot of pages out. And I mean A LOT of pages! a fourth to a third. If you put in a lot of collage, you may need to take out 50% of the pages.

I found this Mother Goose bookat our local library sale racks. It is in excellent shape, has a good binding, and sturdy, matte pages. I don't care for the artwork, but the colors are good. Jane recommends to pick books with lots of text rather than a picture book. This one has lots of text. This book is large: 9" x 12". I am now on the lookout for more like it. I like the size and the thickness. I took about 25% of the pages out. I may need to remove more. I plan to do the cover near the end since I am a messy painter and don't want to mess up the cover.;)

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Mixed Media Three-Quarter Turned Face Practice

This is my finished mixed media project for a three-quarter turned face for "Express Yourself" - another Jane Davenport class. She gives a lot of examples of how to make changes in the face to go from a neutral face to smiling, frowning, etc. This exercise was designed to show how subtle changes around the edges of the the mouth and eyes and eyebrows can totally change the expression. You can use tracing paper or a transparency to draw different type of eyebrows and then try them out by placing the paper where the eyebrows will go. This is a great exercise and I highly recommend it. I typically just draw erase, draw erase. Which can make a mess!!

This mixed media drawing was done on in a 9 x 12" spiral Strathmore mixed media journal. The surface was gessoed. My notes say at the top "Boy -this was a BEAR!" Doing watercolor and color pencil over textured gesso is very difficult.  Jane makes doing this very easy. She later painted over most of the face to smooth out the dark lines and also used gesso. I need to do this one again (and again).

I drew this face twice in my sketch book before I did this one. There was an improvement in each attempt, unlike my Peerless water color exercise where my efforts seemed to produce work I liked less and less. Three-quarter faces are tough for me so practice is essential!!

             My first one                                                          My second one

There were different problems which each one, I learned something from each. These sketches were done in a 9" x 12"  blank book I got years ago when Borders went out of business. I bought 6 of them (they were $5 a piece) and gave 3 as gifts. But I never used them because they are like writing in a big text book and at the time I only had time to write/draw in a travel journal. This journal was just too big to travel with.

I tend to like spiral notebooks better because I can flip them over and the page lies flat. Jane has gotten me to play with spreading art over two pages in a bound journal. So I pulled this one out. The paper is too thin to do anything but pencil on it, but the paper is nice to draw on. This is my journal of choice at home. I use it to work along with my on-line video classes the first time through. I make lots of notes as I go. I then will repeat the exercise using the supplies used in the class video.  It is funny how we change how we work through the years!   

You can see how long ago I did these. The sketches were done in July and I did the mixed media project at the end of August.