Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Scary Pop-Ins...

Recently, I had a really bad day. So that evening, I took some time to just relax... clear my mind... and meditate for a bit. When I did, this gothic-steampunk-style Mary Poppins character came into my mind. Now, this type of thing doesn't usually happen to me while meditating (I usually don't see a darn thing!), so I figured... I'd better put her on paper!

I was amazed at how quickly I was able to sketch her out (still being a little timid in the drawing department!), and how she actually resembled the figure I saw in my head!

I was never trained in drawing, so I just kind of made marks and started shading willy-nilly until I felt like there was some depth. It may not be technically correct... but who cares! As long as I'm happy with it.

I added details in the dress, using all the pencils in my arsenal... H's.... B's.... HB's. I have a little chart I made of the different darkness and smudgy-ness of each one, that I keep in my pencil case. It definitely comes in handy!

I was going to just shade the umbrella, but decided to try a pattern as well. I think that's my favorite part of being creative in the moment... when I think of something new to try and I'm not afraid to try it!

And then there she was. Just as I saw her in my mind. A huge breakthrough for me meditatively and artistically. I can't wait to see who pops in next!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Braaaaain Freeeeeze!

There once was a girl who wandered through the ice cream forest... but all she came back with was brain freeze!

For my most recent jaunt into journaling... I sprayed inks, made marks, pasted ephemera, painted swatches of color, and stamped 'til my heart's content. The pink overpainted map and placement of the ice cream cone got me thinking.

I'll make that her nose and she can really be a brain freeze girl! Can't you just feel the ice cream headache? Owwwww.

The page and the girl evolved as I went along, evening out the color scheme and blending elements together, while adding new ones to the page as well.

I figured I'd give her some pistachio hair to match the ice cream.

And then I added some funky Brain Freeze text. Although, I must have had brain freeze when I wrote it... because I spelled it wrong!! Oh well. I'll just pretend I was doing what the quilters do and putting one mistake in my piece "on purpose". Hee-hee!

I had a lot of fun with this piece and instinctively knew when to stop messing with it. I also used a color palette that was out of my comfort zone and I'm actually happy with the way it turned out. On to the next project... hmmmmm, what's next?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fat Tuesday... Facebook Style!

A couple years ago I took a magnificent trip to New Orleans, Louisiana for the week prior to Mardi Gras. While there I got to experience so many amazing things! Good food. Foot-tapping music. Gorgeous antiques. Booze. Beads. Colorful parades. Wonderful architecture. Cool shops... and spectacular art!

There was one artist who's circus-themed dolls caught my eye, and I took her card with me. Amber Leilani Middleton. After returning home, I found her on Etsy. Then I found her on Facebook. And then we formed this real and true friendship. It is uncanny how many things we have in common: rubber stamping, collage, art dolls, folk style painting, circus themed art... we're even almost the same age! Pretty cool.

Even cooler? I just acquired a piece of her art! This pink party girl was one of my faves with her glittery hat and a bosom of golden framed clouds. All-at-once she reminds me to have fun and be calm and floaty like a white billowy cloud. I'm so delighted to have a handmade doll from an artist I admire. But even better? I'm thrilled to have this new kindred friendship with an art maker like myself.

For more about Amber Leilani Middleton, check out her blog and this awesome interview she recently did. I bet you'll have a lot in common too!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Brown Baggin' It!

Over the past few years, I've been learning to paint faces. There is so much inspiration out there in the way of online classes and a whole lot of artists that provide additional inspirational styles... and that's where my problem lies! I love them all. I've tried on a few styles by taking workshops with Suzi Blu and Mindy Lacefield, and I've been very happy with the results. But it's not me... totally. When I try to paint faces, sometimes I don't like the eyes, or the nose, or the lips, or the shape of the face. I get frustrated with the shading, the hair, hands, clothes.... and well.... just most of it! So I had an idea.

Sometimes I'll sketch something out on a piece of copy paper and I'll love it. Perhaps it was the feeling that I wasn't ruining my journal or a good piece of canvas with a painting I didn't like. Hmmmm.... what's something cheap I can paint on? Hey! How about brown paper lunch bags!!! Yesssssssss! That's it! I'll practice my faces on lunch bags. Perfect!

And what started as a side project when I had the time, has turned into an all-out obsession! I absolutely love painting on these lunch bags. The ease of the paint onto the surface. The base of kraft brown beneath my art. The crinkly look and feel of the paper. It's just begging to be messed with! And I've got a pack of 40! Can you tell I'm excited?

These bags handle layers and layers of paint and washes. I really don't feel bad about messing up anymore. Okay, so... maybe I do. A little.

In fact, I loved where this face was going so much that I was afraid to add hair for fear of messing it up. But alas... I turned to another one of my brilliant ideas and made photocopies of it... and then painted on those first!

But when I added it to the original it was even more exciting because I have gotten to the point in my sketching and painting where I can duplicate something I've already done! And the most important part... I'm not afraid to try! Practice really does help. Who knew (maybe someone at Carnegie Hall)?

I even had this idea to paint a portrait inspired by Charlie the Clown — a modern vintage rag doll I recently made. I applied the same rules of layering and shading that I had learned for people faces and it came out great! Just like I had pictured it in my mind. This is way too much fun!

So... what started as an exercise in practice painting, became a lesson in fearlessness. I have learned so much about how I approach art and what I do once I get there. I've learned to stop, look, and spend time in the details. And then stop again. I've learned to step back... and wait. Not to rush. To take my time. To make deliberate marks. And then do it all over again.... on the next one! I can't wait.