Friday, September 30, 2011

Canvas Phobia

Canvas makes me anxious.  It feels so permanent.  It feels so expensive.  
It feels so REAL.  
If I commit something to canvas and hate it, I've wasted the canvas.
But if I put it on canvas and love it - then what?  Heaven knows I'm not going to sell it.  And there's only so much room on my walls (and in my closets).  Perhaps the real fear is that by committing to canvas I'm  making a statement that I value my work and think it's good.  And we all know what a horrible thing THAT would be to believe about ourselves.  

I know this is just Phyllis talking.  Have you met Phyllis yet?  She lives in my head.  She is the insecure, critical tormenter of my soul, and the seamstress of my crazy pants.  She says the most absurd things.  Things I know are false.  Still, I've been listening to her for about 44 years now and she's very persuasive.

I've been slowly putting down layers on a new canvas board and here's what's going on so far:
I wanted lots of texture.  It's got layers of tissue paper at the base level, and some circles carved into modeling paste, and this honeycomb texture on top.  (I found this home decor paint called "texture magic" at job lots for about a buck a tube)
I'm not sure where it's going, but I'm taking it slow.  One layer at a time.  Trying to stay focused and keep Phyllis out of the room.

So then, to quell my canvas anxiety and just have lots of good messy fun, I cranked out a stack of index cards.  It's a good, safe, cheap, comfortable way to play around with ideas and materials.

These all use tissue paper for texture, and a mix of acrylics and oil pastels.  One uses string, though I think I'd classify that as "embellishment" rather than texture.  Another has pieces of the paint-soaked baby wipe I was using to clean my hands and brushes.




I like the way they are turning out.  And I'm not as plagued by the "now what" question because heck, they're just index cards!  stick them in a box, turn them into a post card.  recycle them.  whatever.  Phyllis and I don't care.

I almost didn't link up to Paint Party Friday this week because I feel so guilty when I can't visit all the other great artists who are playing along.  It's like a full time job! (which would be great if I didn't already have a full time job).    I've been chugging along on last week's link and managed to visit and comment on about 60 of the 80 participants.  I'd like to think I'll get to the rest, but by posting this I've just committed myself to the next 80 links of loveliness from this amazing talent pool.

But I'm linking after all, because this is such a great group  I'm a comments junkie.   I read and treasure each and every one of your comments.  I learn so much from visiting your sites and following the discussions.  Knowing the time commitment it takes to sift through all the posts makes me appreciate your comments even more.    Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, and Happy Paint Party Friday to you all!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Index cards Sept 20-25

I started last week highly motivated to use the new bunch of ICAD prompts.  My favorite of the bunch was Art Deco so after googling for inspiration, I settled on this:

I painted an index card with gold paint and then cut out all the little holes  with an x-acto knife and placed it on top of a painted background.  (should have switched to a new blade - the edges are a little ragged, but by the time I noticed I didn't feel like starting over)

The next prompt was Television and I worked really hard on this and then totally hated the way it came out and I almost threw it away.  I was deep into my funk at this point (wearing the crazy pants for a few days).  When I emerged from the dark side a few days later I could see what I needed to do to salvage this.  I don't have a picture of the old version, but trust me when I tell you this is much improved.  
(the card is cut into the shape of the TV but after scanning it I could only crop it into a rectangle so this picture makes it look like a TV on a white index card)

 So while I was in the aforementioned funk I was having NO index card love, so I found a half-finished card from a series I did over the summer and scribbled on the white ink and called it a day.


 At this point I've abandoned all hope of following the prompts, but had a very good time using up the paper scraps that have been piling up in my scrap basket.  Haven't done an ICAD collage in a long time.  It was so much fun, I did two in a row.

Finally, more experimenting with my luscious water soluble oil pastels and a random scrap of text that I hadn't used in a different project.

As always, head back over to Daisy Yellow to see what my fellow ICAD-ers have been doing this week and to show Tammy some love!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Radio PPF

I had a strange week.  I was feeling out of sorts and disconnected.  I was mired in old anxieties and making lists of my inadequacies .  In the words of the great writer Anne Lamott, I was listening to the radio station KFKD (K-fucked).  It wasn't pretty.

Prompts and challenges floated around me, creating more anxiety than inspiration.  Mythical creature theme at the Butterfly Effect this week?  I'm SO not a unicorn/pegasus kind of gal.  Paint Party Friday was rapidly approaching and I laid down a few half-hearted layers on canvas hoping to be inspired, but I wasn't feeling it.  Maybe I'd be sitting this one out.  Even my beloved index cards were coming up short.  (Television?  Manila Folders?  I don't know....)

The only good part about my week was starting Jane Davenport's "Supplies Me" class.  I was almost 2 weeks late to the party and I'm still scrambling to catch up, but so far I'm loving it.  After the first series of videos I was drawing faces.  Faces!  I don't draw faces.  But here I am, drawing faces and not hating them.  

In spite of this, the funk continued.  Was I in a bad mood because my art wasn't working?  Or was my art not working because I was in a bad mood?  I kept plugging away, trying to have faith that my good mood and inspiration would be back at any moment.

 The shift away from the dark side started with this textured background in my journal: masking tape, dryer sheets, tissue paper circles, gesso, water color crayons, stencils and spray ink.

I decide to try coloring that face and adding it as a focal image because I think it might count as "homework" for my class:

Suddenly it dawns on me:  SHE is my mythical creature.  The ridiculous standard I hold myself to. The one that makes me feel like a failure when I can't live up to her expectations.  She's the master DJ on KFKD and I need to give her a name so I can tell her to shut up once in a while.  

And with this flood of inspiration, (and 90 minutes of long-distance BFF therapy) I was out of the funk and back in the groove.

So here you go, my mythical creature journal spread, just in time for paint party Friday, with some manila folders thrown in for good measure.
The text reads "Perfect Woman:  Helps Everyone.  Needs no one.  Never gets angry.  Never makes mistakes."

Now turn off that radio and go enjoy all the great art going on at this week's party!

(and take a look at the upper left corner of the blog - I've linked the people who played with my brown/turquoise background challenge.  Make sure you leave me a comment if you played along so I can put your link up there too!)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Paper Stacks

I'll admit it, I'm a piler.
My standard housekeeping procedure involves gathering all loose items into a pile and then moving the piles from place to place.

That's why I was so excited to read about Seth Apter's  online "Paper Stacks" collaboration over on his blog The Altered Page.  Here's a challenge I can really warm up to!  All over the web today, artists are posting pictures of their stacks.   Here are a few of mine.  Pardon me while I slip into the fantasy world in which all of my piles are as beautiful as these.

Just one of my baskets of painted papers

Side view of the marbled paper stack

The ever growing stack of index cards

Various half-filled art journals

Close up of pages in my favorite journal

Monday, September 19, 2011

Index card catch up

Another week of the index-card-a-day challenge has flown by.  I started the week following the prompt list from Daisy Yellow since I had so much fun with it last week.

The prompt was masking tape, which was perfect since I've been obsessed with my faux washi tape experiment

The prompt was "favorite earrings".  I already had a painted background using my favorite spiral stamp, (which, not coincidentally, is the same shape as my favorite earrings)  so I traced over a few of those background spirals with silver gel pen.

The prompt was Taxi, and I'd just read a piece about torn paper collage and decided to try it.  I painted a bunch of sheets of paper in yellow paint, cut them up, collaged the little bits together, and cut out the taxi.  We had a few cold, dark, dreary days in a row which inspired the bleak background.

Prompt was Turquoise.  I dug through my basket of my painted papers and tore off strips of anything turquoise and just glued them down onto my card.

After this I got stuck on the prompts.  Nothing else on the list was speaking to me.  Last week Tammy pointed out that two of my cards referred to things I don't do.  I decided I didn't want to make a habit out of that, so I didn't make the "I hate football" card in response to the football prompt.  I also got really focused on other projects and my index cards were feeling more like an assignment.  Rather than treating them as an obligation I decided to use them as brainstorming sessions for my next painting.

I'm still not sure I like the results of my first attempt to paint on canvas but instead of painting over it I think I will use the same materials to create variations on the technique. Here are some index cards explorations of colors and layers. 

The backgrounds are different shades of acrylic paint.  I stamped over them with a homemade stamp (that rubbery stuff you put under throw rugs to keep them from slipping) and stamped some more with bubble wrap.  I painted circles with white gesso and then colored in the circles with water soluble oil pastels (two or more colors blended together)

I like the way they look all together, arranged in a grid:

New prompts are up for next week, and I admit, I am very intrigued.  Art deco? heck ya!  Catastrophe? so much potential....

Friday, September 16, 2011

Paint Party Friday

It's Paint Party Friday again and this week I went craaaazy.  Totally, out-on-a-limb, wild.  Are you ready? I didn't paint on paper.  (GASP!)  This little fledgling has decided she's ready to paint on something more substantial and bought some cheap canvas boards.  And to be even more daring and reckless, I actually took my time with this one, adding one layer at a time and completely waiting for the paint to dry in between.  Told you it was a crazy week.

I had to keep reminding myself as I went along that if this next layer totally sucked, I could cover the whole thing in gesso and start again.  I took pictures along the way in case I wanted to go back and recreate a certain stage.

Last night I was loving and thought it was done. This morning I'm not so sure.  I'm thinking I went too far with it and I like some of the earlier layers better.  Here's what it looks like right now:
It's about 9"x12"

Here are the pictures I took along the way:
Gesso, then tissue paper, then more gesso.  A few shades of orange paint.  Stamped with dark orange , stamped again with white paint and large bubble wrap.

I used jar lids to stamp some circles and then filled them in with gesso

I colored on top of the gesso circles with water soluble oil pastels in two shades of orange and then blended them together.

I painted some newspaper with gesso and orange paint and cut out some circles.  I also added a torn piece of hand-painted tissue paper near the bottom.

I gessoed over the newspaper circles, leaving an orange border.
I added more newspaper circles and printed tissue paper, and colored those newspaper circles with oil pastels.

The final stage was to fling dark orange paint all over it.  (go back and look at that first picture).  I think I like it better without the painted tissue paper layer and without the paint spatters on top.  Still, there's a lot I like about this and it was very satisfying to work on the board.  I'm going to sit with it for a while before I do anything rash.

And speaking of rash....remember last week's "final" version of that big brown and aqua painting?  If you left the party to go the bathroom or were too busy picking the hazelnuts out of the bridge mix, you can see it again here:

It didn't even make it through the day.  By the time I got home from work Friday night I was SO over it.  I got out the paper cutter and hacked it into 4"x6" postcards.  I've been adding more paint and layers to enhance them.  I like them so much more than the big painting.  Here are a few:

This one's my favorite

Crazy color discrepancy between the big picture and the little picture.  It really is greenish aqua rather than bluish turquoise.  The picture of the big painting was taken with my camera whereas the postcard images are from my scanner and show a truer version of the paint.  

Now I'm wondering if anyone chose to accept my background challenge.  What?  You were in the kitchen rummaging around for more wine and you missed my background challenge???   Last week I encouraged you to print out my background and do something with it.  Go back here to download it if you still want to play, and put a link to your completed work in the comments if you already did.  

Happy Paint Party Friday one and all!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Okay, you're a cab

One of the index card prompts for this week is "Taxi" and over at the Butterfly Effect, the theme is "street art".  Two great tastes that go great together.  How delightfully convenient!

Here's my index card of a flying taxi:
To make the body of the taxi I painted a bunch of different paper with various shades of yellow, and then snipped little tiny random squares from each page and collaged them together, cutting out the shape of the taxi when it was dry.

Then, since I've been hanging out in the Wild Precious sketchbook group, and Effie's challenge for this week is to make a coloring book style sketch, I drew and colored this little picture

Effie strongly encouraged us to use crayons, and I have the most pathetic, rag-tag bunch of crayons that are all half-melted from my hot-rock project over the summer, but I used them anyway.  But just in case the crayon version totally sucked, I scanned the drawing before I colored it so that I could play around with different supplies. That graffiti was totally fun; I want to make some more and use ink and paint and watercolor crayon.  I might make a whole coloring book of this picture.  Or maybe I'll just start using taxis in every project.

I've got cityscapes on my mind.

(Would somebody please call me a cab?)

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday

Fellow art journaler Marissa suggested taking a picture of the same thing every day for the month of September.  I decided it would be fun to take a picture of my art table every day before I head off to bed.  (I have a terrible habit of working until I drop, and then just leaving the mess where it is.)

I forgot to take pictures on the 7th, but here are the other 12 days so far.  It's a pretty small table (4 feet long and only 20 inches deep) Even when it's neat, it's covered in stuff, and as you can see below, it's rarely neat.  That center picture in the bottom row is my favorite because there was barely a clear inch left to work.  You can I did a little bit of organizing before I got down to work the next day.
(used the Mosaic Maker from Big Huge Labs)

I also decided to take a close-up of my blotter paper every day since it's my favorite part of my work space.  I use a roll of cheap kids easel paper and roll one big sheet over the top of the table.    I paint all over it until it's so lumpy-bumpy I have to take it off and start over.   I often end up using bits of old blotter in collages. I like seeing the evolution of the paint layers - I can see the clues to what I was working on each day.

What's on YOUR work desk today?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

virtually published

Cloth, Paper, Scissors just released their debut issue of the eMag "Collage in Color"

They did an amazing job with it.  I borrowed my mom's iPad to read it, and not only is it full of great articles, gorgeous photographs, tons of video, and fully interactive material, it features THIS gorgeous work of art:

MY collage!

It's part of the gallery that goes along with the article about complementary colors.
Since I'm not able to make this blog as fully awesomely interactive as their magazine (which allows you to zoom and pan all around each work of art) I will include a few close-up shots of the details.