Saturday, March 31, 2012

Teeny Tiny Collage

This week's art prompt is to take small scraps of paper and create a small paper collage with it.

Step 1: Gather your papers. I've already admitted to having a horde of stash yarns and fabric scraps.  So I'll go there with you. Yes, I also have a stash of paper scraps. Surprise surprise. More specifically, I have a stash of maps.  I pick up old street maps and atlases at garage sales and swap meets whenever I can. I love painting on maps and incorporating maps into mixed media collages.

Step 2: Locate your muse. Mine goes two speeds: "couch potato" and "fully bully". There isn't much in between.

Step 3: Start collaging. Using a gel medium, glue small torn pieces of the maps down. For this piece I used blue ocean maps and green park maps.  Add any painted details and found objects on top of the map collage. I used scrabble tiles and adhered them to the painting with gel medium.

Step 4: Now that your background is done, you can add your foreground image. I cut out a drawing of Frankie from an atlas glossary page.  After I painted most of it white, I went over the cut out with a sculpting medium to give the dog a 3-D effect. When the dog was dry I used gel medium to adhere the dog to the collage painting. Small whimsical bones were added later with sculpting medium.

I measure studio time in cups of tea. This small piece took only two cups of tea to complete. A small collage like this is a quick and satisfying way to kick start a weekend of working in your studio. 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Patchwork Prompt

I loved this week's prompt: to sew strips of fabric together and make something out of it.

 I loved it because I have an entire cabinet full of fabric scraps.  It's not called hoarding when you're an artist; it's gathering.  Fabric prints are the gathering of color and inspiration. I use fabric prints in my paintings, fabric scraps in my mixed media works and fabric scraps for sewing little things.  I used to sew baby clothes when my guys were little, but now I sew laptop bags and cell phone cases; pajamas for Christmas morning.

This morning I went to my fabric cabinet, pulled out a random sampling of blue batiks, and began to sew strips of fabric together.

By the end of the day I had a funky messenger bag assembled, complete with a felted wool flap that I decorated with needle felting.

Lots of pockets inside and out hold all of your nerdy girl essentials.

My 11 year old son loves to sew alongside me. He's been sewing things since he was about 4 years old and my sewing machine was the first piece of machinery he ever used. Here is a little mouse he recently made by sewing fabric strips together to make stripey legs.

"Edward" by Mason Menzies

Making things from strips of scrap fabric is a great stash busting exercise! With any luck, this could lead to a quilting obsession.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Carve a Little Stamp

This week's art prompt: carve a stamp. Okay, check. Now what?

Lately, I've been wanting to paint some Artist Trading Cards. I thought my newly carved stamp might be perfect for this.  I began by stamping out 10 cards.

 Artist trading cards are miniature pieces af art (2.5" x 3.5") that can be traded with other artists. You can also buy ATC's online at places like Etsy or EBay. I've been painting all day and I've managed to create 5 hand painted cards so far. I'm calling this set " Take Up Space and Live Out Loud!"

Oh, cheeky me!  This one's my favorite!

I had a lot of fun carving a stamp and I can see that I'll be doing more of this. Stamps for gift bags, stamps for studio bags and tags, Christmas cards....

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Friday, March 9, 2012

A Red Poem Doodle

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to have an artistic friend visit for the afternoon.  Between cups of coffee, funny kids at our elbows, playing with pussycats and rubbing dog bellies, we did manage to get a little art accomplished. Both my friend and I are working on art journals, so I thought an appropriate prompt for the day would be to pick a word(s) and color and then create an art piece using them. I love quotes and I always have one on me, be it crumpled up in a pocket or tucked into my bra.  The words that make it most often onto my person for the day are from one of my favorite poems by Stanley Kunitz, and it goes like this:

The heart breaks and breaks
and lives by breaking.
It is necessary to go through dark
and deeper dark
and not to turn.

It might just be a small, scribbly, doodle, but don't be surprised it it gets tucked into my pocket, next to my heart one day.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Painting with Yarn and Roving: an art prompt.

Do you exclusively use one medium to paint with?  I do.  Or at least I thought I did.  Todays's art prompt is to paint using a medium you don't usually use. So I guess that would mean oils or watercolors.  Which I don't even own. Nor can I afford another trip to OPUS, where I overspend... often.  What I do own though are huge stash baskets of beautiful hand painted yarns and roving. And yes, I overspend at the yarn store too... often. 

I'm still slaving away on my Seaweed Maiden and I recently turned to some hand painted roving. It is called "hand painted" because fibre artists take the bare wool roving and carefully paint dyes onto the fibres, or hand dip the roving into dye baths. The roving I bought was meant to be spun into yarn, but I had other plans for it.

I teased my hank apart so that I could pick and choose the colors I wanted to blend and "paint" with.

Knitters know the joy of knitting with hand painted yarns. Colors shift and blend right before your very eyes. Hand dyers create these amazing yarns by either spinning the hand dyed roving or by kettle dying hanks of spun yarn.  Here is Ryan from Knotty by Nature spinning some of his beautiful hand dyed roving into an artful yarn.

Ahhh! So gorgeous.  This makes me want to go shopping right now.

The other technique is to dip dye bare yarns in kettles of hot dye. This image from Lorna's Laces shows just how colorful and painterly this process can be.

This is definately something I want to try for myself one day!