Friday, March 30, 2012

miniature collage

I made more artistic trading cards. This time, I decided that sacrificing less-than-perfect paintings to the cause was probably not a plan. So I didn't chop up any paintings. Instead, I decided to make use of the wonders of modern technology in creating my artistic trading cards.
Artistic trading cards are modeled on baseball cards. The person who is credited with making artistic trading cards popular is M. Vänçi Stirnemann. In 1996, he began holding trading sessions in Zurich, Switzerland.
There are a number of sites on the internet, as well as groups, where people who like to draw and paint or do stamping and other types of crafts can exchange artistic trading cards. Just put "artistic trading cards" in your web browser, and you'll be surprised by how many people are exchanging artistic trading cards (also known as ATCs).
So, back to the technology. I had three paintings that I wanted to use for my artistic trading card. I had color copies made of those paintings, and I dramatically reduced the size of the images. Then I cut and pasted the images onto blue card stock. I used glittery collage pauge to get the effect that I desired. Then I added the word "love" at the top to make my artistic trading card into a miniature visual journal page. The images are a display of my love of vivid color and boundless life.
So here it is: my ATC.
My representation of a world full of bright colors and intense flavor.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Alice's tea party (without the mad hatter, march hare, and dormouse)

I had fun with mixed media as I made this tea party still life. I had made a similar one in colored pencil last summer when I was doing a month-long drawing project that I called the "teacup project." I drew the same teacup every day for 30 days. I had to place the teacup in all sorts of different settings so that I would not grow bored with that bone china tea cup.
This time, I used water color paint, water color pencils, calligraphy ink, and marker to make this tea set.
Mmmm. Earl Gray, hot.
Captain Picard had good taste.
It's tea time!!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Here are some houses that I painted for Cathy Johnson's online watercolor sketching workshop. I am working to incorporate her techniques into my watercolor painting and, so far, am enjoying the results.
I frequently take walks along the river, and I see a lot of interesting things, such as birds and boat docks. This is one of the houses that I really like. I have photographed it and have done pencil sketches. This is my first painting of the house.
Here is another house that I enjoyed. No, I haven't seen it on my walks, but I like the shape of the house and the steps and the lamp posts.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

drawing practice

This evening, I was at Riverside-Salem United Church of Christ's environmental chapel to hear a speaker talk about hydrofracking and to see a video about Resurrection Lutheran Church on the east side of Buffalo. Both were interesting. Since I am not good at sitting still and listening, I decided to do a little perspective practice. Nothing technical, no rulers. Just freehand sketching.
So I drew this chair:
I think that I could actually sit on this chair!
I drew the picture with a number two pencil, and drew over it with a Sharpie when I returned home.
I always keep little art supplies in my purse: a small wire-bound sketchbook, a number two pencil, an eraser, and a pencil sharpener.
That's all that you need to keep practicing your drawing each day. You don't need anything more than those few supplies that I just enumerated. They are inexpensive and very portable. As for your pictures, they do not have to be perfect. I have plenty of unsuccessful attempts in my sketchbook.
Just go for it and enjoy the experience.
More later.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

learning to do washes

Two weeks ago, in a painting class that I take, Virginia Kelley, the instructor, told us all about how to do different types of washes. Washes are what make watercolor unique. To make a wash, you need to use lots and lots of water. As I like to play with water, that was OK with me. There are flat washes, graded washes, and variegated washes. The flat washes are just one solid color. The graded washes are also one color but they don't look as flat. The painter uses one color but then adds more and more water until the color seems to fade away. It is a nice effect. Variegated washes are cool because they are done in a variety of colors. So we practiced our washes several times and then added some pictures to go on top of the wash, which then became the sky and the ground.
Well, I thought, this is challenging. Shortly after that class, I started taking an online workshop on watercolor sketching through the Strathmore website. I watched the first video. What was the first thing that Cathy (Kate) Johnson talk about? What else? Washes. So I did washes, repeatedly. I've posted some of those paintings.
Here are my earlier paintings:
This is one tree, with a colorful background, mostly a pink and yellow sky.

Here is my fun little house. It is meant to be a bit primitive. It is under a happy blue sky (a flat wash)

A clump of trees in front of an early evening sky.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

my hat

In the mixed media online workshop with Strathmore and Traci Bautista, I learned about doodling and about playing with a variety of media. At the same time, I was looking at a plain black hat that a friend had given me. I had wanted to decorate that hat for some time. So I decided to draw on the hat and to play! This time, I used fabric paint, permanent markers, embroidery floss, buttons, and beads as my toys... um... tools. I had great fun with this hat and it was a good way for me to use up some of that button collection that I have made (I love buttons). I thought that the beads would add some brightness and texture to the hat so I added those, too. I might go into the hat design business!
Here is the hat:
Alice's fun art hat. I almost lost it in the wind today but, fortunately, was able to catch it.


Have some tea!!!!! Fun with watercolors, although the cup was not quite the right size. It's a watercolor journal... so practice time!
the tea page

Monday, March 5, 2012

monday's rose

It's bright and sunny, but very cold today. I've been keeping a bouquet of roses, pink carnations, and baby's breath out on the patio. Unfortunately, the water froze in the vase. But the yellow rose still looked lively, and I wanted to practice my water color techniques, so I painted the rose. I also practiced doing a wash, with blues and greens, as well as the splatter technique. I tried various tools for splattering the paint, including a fan paintbrush, a regular paintbrush, and an old toothbrush. I found that the old toothbrush was the most effective for making the splatter.
Here is my rose:
Oddly enough, this rose had no thorns...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

visual journaling

I have just started a new workshop at the Strathmore website. It's called "Sketching with Watercolor," and the instructor is Cathy Johnson She is a writer, artist, naturalist, and teacher.
It's fun to work with watercolor. It is delightfully wet and a little messy. But that's OK. The results are so interesting that the cleanup time is well worth it. My first assignment was to create a page with a watercolor painting and some words. I am still very much enamored with those fall leaves that I had collected back in October. I had preserved some of them in various books. Of course, I managed to forget where the leaves were stored. Wasn't I surprised when I opened up a book to read and a batch of leaves poured out. Some were old and merely crumbled, while others maintained their shapes nicely.
So I had fun with paint and with words. I was happy to combine a transparent watercolor painting with a haiku. What I like about a haiku is that, because it can be no longer than 17 syllables, it is necessary to use words sparingly. Use only the words that paint the best picture and get the best effect.
Well, here it is:
A few leaves from my collection, combined with a haiku, for a visual journal page.