Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunset at Tybee Beach

We went for a little stroll on the beach the other night right at dusk.
So peaceful
and inspiring.
Wishing you a peaceful day filled with much inspiration and a good dose of fun!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Painting Progress

This is where I had left off last time and I spent two days just looking at the background to see what was next. I turned it every which way and finally, when I turned it upside down once more, I saw her. Just the outline of the right side of her face and everything flowed from there.
I added just a little bit of color and then sketched her in a little bit more before letting it sit again to know how to proceed. I am in new waters here - I am working much more transparently than I ever have. I loved this background to much that I want it to be visible through her.
So far so good, don't you think?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Some Little Things...

...that make me happy these days.

In our garden, not much is happening, but I can still find some beautiful color in our kumquat tree (delicious little fruit!),
our ornamental cabbage,

and little pansies.

In our kitchen, I love my fun little handmade tags to help me remember what's in all my jars,

my favorite little bowl from the south of France...
...filled with cashews,
A freshly baked loaf of no-knead bread (click here for link to recipe - I use half whole wheat flour and make 1 1/2 recipes for a larger loaf),

and delicious garlic and kale soup to go with the bread.
And on my and Winslow's walk this morning, taking this one-handed snapshot of an egret.
On the Internet, I have fallen in love with Lily, the black bear, whom you can watch through a web cam that's been installed outside her den. Click here and it will take you to the North American Bear Center and the web cam. Lily gave birth to one cub a few days ago -- it's all very exciting!

Something else that makes me happy: your comments, your visits, your friendship, and your blogs!!

And -- drum roll please - that my little blog has over 200 followers! I am dumbstruck!! I remember when I had the first three followers and I thought I had arrived, that I had made it big! Three people who thought I had something to offer. Now more than 200! How is that possible?!? Well, that definitely calls for a giveaway in the very near future!! In the meantime, a heartfelt thank you!! That makes me happy!

What are the little things that make you happy?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Adding Color - Painting Background continued

Well, I started adding the first layer of color, which I did in one afternoon. I looked at the colors of the paper collage and decided to add a very light wash of pink and blue acrylic paint and see what that looked like.
Not bad, but...... I decided to spray the painting with water from a spray bottle and blot off some of the color, simply because I like to work that way. That's when I ended up with this. Pretty good, but... still needed something, and I decided to add a little gold in spots. I know many shy away from metallics, but I like them in moderation. And this needed a little sparkle.
That looked and felt good and finished to me (for now) and created some really pretty areas.

Now, what to do next? I don't have any idea. So, in the meantime, I go and stare at it and turn it upside down and sideways and even touch it - the texture is great! I'm not sure if should apply more color, this time more opaquely, or if I sketch in my subject. I don't know how you work, but when I'm not sure, I wait until I have a thought as to what's next. I hope it comes soon...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Preparing a Painting Background

I've had a few questions about the painting backgrounds I prepare, so I thought I'd take some step-by-step photos as I play with a new one here. At first, I cut out papers I like (these are from scrapbook pads, but you can use anything you like) and sort of arrange them on the page.

Because I don't sketch out my image before I start, I don't plan where I adhere the paper. I just sort of arrange it as I like it. I took the picture above and then decided to add another couple of pieces.
Then, I put a large piece of cardboard over top of my watercolor block and flipped the papers over. That gives me an idea of how I had them arranged. The flip side looks interesting, too...
I then take the Golden Soft Gel (Matte) medium and cover the watercolor paper and start gluing on the different pieces of paper (watch out for air bubbles), making sure I also go over them with the glue so that everything is completely covered by the end. That gives this layer a nice protective cover and won't allow the paints to seep into the paper. That will help to preserve the color if I decide to let it come through later on.
When I had it all done, I added yet two more pieces of paper and then it looked balanced to me. I was thinking how funny it is that I take such joy in selecting and arranging the paper even though when the painting is all done, you may not see any of it anymore. But I guess I still know it's there...
After I let that dry thoroughly, I crumpled up tissue paper and applied a layer of that over the pretty papers. I love the muted look and also the texture I get from the tissue paper. This time, I had used up all my gel medium, so I used Matte Modge Podge, which is a sealant and glue and works quite well for this. It's a little more liquid and sometimes easier to handle, especially with delicate papers.
As I keep taking pictures, you'll see that I work additive as well as subtractive. Here, I decided to take a few corners of the tissue paper and tear it away to allow a nice contrast between the muted, covered papers and the brightly colored ones. I like that - it'll make for a nice effect and great texture when I start adding paint.
That's how far I got today. I hope you find this interesting. I should say that I don't have anything in mind for this painting, I'm simply going with the flow and doing what I feel inspired to do. Next, I'll apply some color. Stay tuned...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Unfinished Business

In our dining room is this beautiful African basket I bought at the flea market in Albuquerque.
In the basket is this gorgeous old laundry bag from my family.
And this lovely hand-embroidered bag contains my unfinished business: a stunning sweater/coat I've been knitting for myself for many years.
I finished the back and one half of the front and have been sort of at a standstill because I don't think I have enough yarn for all the leaves for the second half of the front.
And the yarn has been discontinued some years see my dilemma. But now I've decided to try to finish the other half of the front and keep my fingers crossed that I have enough yarn. I'll never know if I don't try. And then I'll decide on the sleeves. I may just keep it a long vest (it goes down to my knees!) and not add sleeves if I don't have enough yarn. Or I may get matching yarn for the sleeves.

We'll see! But this blog has been so good at keeping me accountable and busy with my other creative endeavors, I thought it might help me in getting this done! Wish me luck!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Finished! I think...

(Painted on 15 x 22 inch, 140 lb cold press rough watercolor paper.)

Well, this is what my busy background (click here to view) and my image transfers (click here to see) turned into. It was a long process and so delicious - for the most part!

Every step along the way, I just stare at what I have without a clue as to what to do next. And then, suddenly inspiration hits, I have a thought and off I go to apply another layer. At the end, Daniel had some suggestions, which made me grumble at first (I thought I was done), but then when I worked them into the painting, it looked so much better! After all, unlike me, he's been doing this such a long time... Thank you, Daniel!

P.S. Speaking of Daniel, he's got a new post up on his blog ... don't miss it - it made me laugh!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Commissioned Portrait

Here it is, my commissioned portrait for the lovely Theresa of Faerie Moon Creations. It's the first time (except for painting Daniel and me once) that I tried to paint a likeness of someone. Even for my previous commission for Joanne, I only had a photo of her cat, Zigsa, but painted the woman from my imagination. It's also only the second time I've painted a woman with a big smile.

So, I am very proud that this turned out so well and that Theresa loves it. It's going to be a gift for her husband, so, shhhhhhh, don't mention it in comments on her blog...

I've been painting and painting this week and have all but finished the large piece I was working on. I'll be posting that tomorrow!!

I hope to make the rounds to all your blogs this weekend. I've missed seeing what you all have been up to!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Image Transfers

I've been having lots of fun with image transfers on the larger painting I am working on. I hadn't played with image transfers in a while and really missed it. The process is fairly simple. You apply gel medium (I use Golden soft gel medium - matte) to both the surface you want the image transferred to and the image itself. Then you position the image on the surface, use your brayer to get it really glued on. When it's all dry, spray a little water on the paper and start rubbing off the layer of paper. What you are left with is the image transferred to the gel medium.
Click on images to see them larger.

Now, this works best with an image on regular paper rather than a photo on photo paper. I think there are different techniques for that. Here I used some pretty scrap book papers. If you transfer an image to a smooth and solid-colored background, it's easy to know what you'll end up with. In this case, however, all bets were off. My background was multi-colored and very textured. But it turned out really well!
If you click on the images you can see the faint picture of an old postcard on the first one, an old map on the second one, and a border of a pretty vine and flowers on the this image. It's all coming together nicely!
On another note, yesterday Daniel called me outside because we had a whole flock of cedar waxwing birds in our ornamental pear tree eating the tiny fruit. They migrate through here and it was so much fun watching them through our binoculars (the neighbors probably thought we were spying on them...). What gorgeous birds!
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Wishing you all a most wonderful Tuesday! I'll be by your blogs later on!