Saturday, February 25, 2012

Angela goes 3 dimensional!

Today's art prompt is to work the opposite of what you normally do.  If you are a 2-D artist, then work in 3-D, and vice versa.  I almost never work in 3 dimensions and had one disastrous clay sculpture experience in high school about 25 years ago. But I have had a 3-D project idea in mind for about three years now.  If you know me, you know that I never procrastinate and I that I'm a classic over achiever.  So when I DO decide to procrastinate... well I over achieve on procrastinating!  I really had no idea how to begin this project.  I was really glad for this art prompt because I needed more than just a friendly nudge in the right direction: Project "Seaweed Maiden".

Although I've got a long way to go, I can appreciate that I've started.  Finally! The above picture shows the base layers of felted wool in a sea foam green.  I'll continue building up the layers in all the colors of seaweed. Then I'll add some hand felted embellishments, including an octopus.

This project started to take shape for me when I friend gifted a bag of yarn to me, with the challenge that I use the yarns together in one project.

The next step was to hand dye a huge lot of wool batting (still in the shape of the sheep).

Once the wool was rinsed and dry I started to pat it into the basic shape around a form.

Next, I began wet felting the wool batting into a more specific shape.

There she is!  I'll spend the next few weeks building up layers of green, aqua and brown roving.  I'll use a combination of wet felting and needle felting. Once the shape is complete I'll begin adding other elements.  Stay tuned. Perhaps the Seaweed Maiden will show up again in another art prompt blog in the near future. I'm quite excited about getting to work on this and the danger of further procrastination has safely passed.

Roving that has been hand dyed by Ryan at Knotty by Nature.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

One Medium: 6 Techniques

Art prompt for the day: take any medium and use it as many different ways as possible. Lucky for me, I was teaching an encaustic art class today at a friend's studio: Rainbowheart Studio.  Wax + 8 artists x 7 techniques = 56 different ways of looking at encaustic art.

Here's my quick little demo piece, onto which I inlayed cheese cloth, embedded the filter from my broken french press and coffee beans, inlayed words from a newspaper, built up texture using cheesecloth and added squiggles with carbon paper.  And that was just a start.  Wait to you see what we all got up to!

Incising lines: drawing in wax with sharp tools is enhanced when black oilstick is forced into the lines.

Art by Alora

Painting: wax is a wonderful medium to paint with.

Art by Margo

Stencilling: you can use stencils with wax just as you would for paint.

Art by Catriona

Inlaying papers and embedding objects: encasing objects in between layers of wax is one of the claims to fame of using wax.  Today we inlayed or embedded everything from beads, beans, feathers, papers, jewelry, scrabble tiles, puzzle pieces and fabrics.  If you can dream it up, you can encase it in wax.

Art Mirror by Layla

Photo transfers: all it takes is water and a little embossing to transfer photocopies onto your wax.

Here, Zoe and Layla remove the paper from their transfers.

 Shellac and Lacquer Burns: And if all of the above isn't exciting enough for you, you can always light stuff on fire.  Spraying your work with lacquer or shellac and then lighting it on fire leads to some pretty exciting results.

Alora is burning both shellac and lacquer.

And last but not least, have a look at our artist gallery. These are just some of the wonderful pieces created today.

Art by Caroline
featuring: incising, inlaying papers, embedding beads
and silver transfer paper.

Art by Catriona
featuring: painting, stencilling and shellac burn

Art by Layla
featuring: paper inlay and lacquer burn

Art by Margartetta
featuring: incising lines and painting

Art by Margo
featuring: painting, incising lines inlaying paper

Art by Zoe
featuring: painting, transfer paper,
photo transfer, incising, embedded
ostrich feather.

Art by Alora
featuring: incising, paper inlay, painting and embedded coin,
and shellac and lacquer burn
Unfortunately I never got a finished photo of Alora's piece. She continued to fearlessly add elements and burn her piece until it was past time to go.  You'll have to take my word for it but it was truly inspired.

And I was truly inspired by this group of artists today.  Thank you all for coming to my class.  As always, I learned as much from you as you did from me.  Until next time...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Color Junkie Gets Clean

If you're at all familiar with my artwork, you know I love color! I'm addicted to color.  My studio is painted lemongrass green and my kitchen is painted mango yellow.  My art goes big with pinks, yellows, greens and reds.  Imagine how I felt this morning when I randomly chose my next art prompt: paint using only black and white. Luckily I already had a drawing on a canvas with no specific plan in mind for it. So, using only black and white I have begun this painting (still a work in progress).

So far so good.  Although you caught me cheating.  Caught me red handed.  Caught me red penned. Like all junkies I returned to my habit; luscious color.  In this case I added a few restrained strokes of lipstick red.

Actually, I'm no stranger to painting in grey scale.  All of my paintings start out this way; as a grisaille underpainting. Here's a perfect example of how I usually use black and white.

If I had decided to paint this week's painting in color, I would have started adding color at this point:

Believe it or not, a painting that starts out as a grey scale underpainting can turn out very colorful.  I use grisaille to create a foundation of depth and lighting.

I'll continue working on this week's painting and I promise to try hard to keep it black and white (with a dash of red). Ooh color, I miss you already!

And while I'm slaving away, my favorite fuzzy model will be keeping me good company on her day off.

A model's life is a hard life.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Art Prompt 5: Just One More Thing. A Lesson in Knowing When To Quit.

Today's art prompt: take a piece of artwork off your wall and do just one more thing to it. This was a relatively easy one for me this week because I had just the painting in mind. It's a painting I have never been happy with and had put aside some time ago. Sadly, I had given up and quit.

 I did one new thing to the painting, and then another, and then another.  Hours ticked by in the studio and still, I couldn't resolve this painting. It was now 4am. and I was out of chocolate almonds!Perhaps it was time to quit trying.  But before I did that, I tried one more desperate thing: cropping.  I grabbed my Xacto knife and starting slicing the canvas off it's stretcher.  No guts, no glory. It was either going to be genius or garbage (or more realistically, something in between).

I was finally happy. This painting has been a long time in the making.  The final key for me was knowing when to quit. Quitting on an "unfinished" piece can be liberating.  You don't have to treat the work like it's a masterpiece. You can be free to vandalize your own process; to take it in another direction entirely.

Here's what I started with:

The composition here is too tight. The colors are too bright. And I've told too much of the story for you.  The first thing I did after reading my daily prompt was to slash paint across the mask.  Unsatisfied, I began to wash browns and grays over the entire piece, I sanded back areas, splattered red paint, dripped black paint and colored with oil pastels.  Lastly, I lined the piece with pen and ink to get this:

But alas, bad composition is just bad composition. So I re-composed this piece with some extreme cropping.  I love the intimacy of this new peice.  There is room for you, the viewer, to tell your own story.

Today's art prompt of doing just one more thing to a piece led to a bigger lesson for me.  Know when to quite! Artists often talk about going to far with a piece until it is overworked and ruined. But don't quite too soon either.  Try doing just one more thing to it.