Monday, April 7, 2014

Learning and Creating

I managed to be pretty productive this weekend.  I finished another article for Mixed Media Art (It should post on April 9... let me know what you think!), I found some places that will frame my encaustic pieces, and I finished quite an assortment of mini's.  
It's interesting- you'd think that most acrylic paints would behave in the same way, but it's simply not true.  In my paint collection I have around 4 different brands of acrylic paint, all of which I used this weekend working on some more mini canvases, and it really highlighted how different each brand was.  The Basic brand I have resists the canvases, especially when I use water with it.  Some of the craft brands I use sometimes have better coverage and react well with water, but they can sometimes crack after they dry.  Each one is good in it's own way, I just have to use them in the right way, and I'm a few steps closer to being able to do that every time.

The Modeling Paste I use seems to have a mind of its' own as well, but just like all the rest of my tools, the more I use it the more familiar its' quirks become. If I use too much, it too will crack as it dries.  So I have to be careful not to use too much and to add the right amount of elements to it.

All in all, it was a great weekend. It's great when I can learn and create worthwhile pieces at the same time.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Fiber Encaustic

If you spend any amount of time creating art, you'll know that art supplies are not cheap.  The expense depends on your style, the amount of supplies you need, and the medium you are working in.  Some mediums are more expensive than others.  Of course, if you're anything like me and you a) want to learn and practice as many different art mediums as you can, and b) don't have a ton of money to spend all the time, then you get creative with the ways in which you achieve your visions.  

I absolutely love working with encaustics, but it is one the most expensive art forms I have found so far.  The price of wax can be astronomical, and if you like working in different colors, you can quickly spend a fortune on multiple blocks of different colored waxes.  One way I have found to get around that is to stick to three main colors of wax- clear, white and black.  When I want to add a little color, I won't use wax.  I may paint my wood base a certain color before I begin, or I'll use colored and patterned paper within my piece.  For this piece, I used colored wool fibers and embedded them in layers of clear and white wax.  Adding the waves of texture was fun- I've been experimenting doing that in my most recent encaustic pieces.  When I first started, I would try to get the surface of the wax as smooth as possible, but I have to say that adding this kind of texture is pretty fun.  :)  

And just for kicks, here's a piece I reworked.  The Tim Holtz metal corners give it just the right touch.  :)

Now I just need to get them framed.  Hopefully by next week they'll be ready, so check my website then to see how they turned out!  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Out of Hybernation

I feel the need to apologize for being so out of the loop these past few weeks.  Well, really the past couple months.  This year has been a doozie so far!  I feel I've been knocked a ways off course, but the good news is that this past weekend I felt like I made some real progress getting myself back on track.  I suppose it happens sometimes- everyone goes through periods of struggle and lack of focus, but I have to say, it feels soooo good to have it back.  :)

This piece, despite it's small size (4*4) had been sitting on my craft table since before Christmas.  I had the pieces, I had the paint and the tools, but I didn't have the right frame of mind, so there it sat until this past weekend when I spent all day Friday and Saturday cleaning and organizing my craft area and supplies.  I spent last week learning some new techniques and I ordered supplies for some art mediums I've never worked with before that ended up coming days earlier than I thought they would.  As a consequence of all these things together, my excitement level has risen and I feel creative again.  Yay!!  So lesson learned- I'm not a machine that can continually run without stopping.  Art is a way for me to unwind, it's a way for me to learn and reevaluate, but there are also times when I need rest and a recharge.  I don't have to feel guilty for those times, but it's also important to keep working through them and find ways to reconnect and reinvigorate my ideas and commitments.  One of the things that has really helped me is seeing all the posts and pins from fellow artists and friends.  Your projects, videos, and techniques were wonderful to see and really helped me over this hump.  Thank you!!

One other thing I need to mention- I spent the past couple days creating not only art journal pages and canvas pieces, but my website, as well.  I'd love to get your feedback on how it looks and feels, so check it out and leave me a message in the guest book- The Far Pavilion

Saturday, March 15, 2014

My First Article

I was recently accepted to be an article writer for the online art magazine, Mixed Media Art.  I struggle to find words to describe this new opportunity- excitement, elation, fear, determination.  They all fit.  Of course, becoming an art writer comes with new responsibilities and challenges.  Creating diverse, informative, inspiring posts is quite a daunting task, more so than sharing my ideas and projects on my blog.  I found myself over the last few weeks wondering what kinds of things I could write about that would help and inspire other artists.  I'm still working on this, and will until I stop writing these articles, which hopefully won't be for awhile.  But it's ok!  I can handle another level of stress.  :)  

 This is the mobile I made for my first article.  If you'd like to read about the process, head on over to Mixed Media Art, and check out my first article.  Don't forget to leave a comment with questions and thoughts, even here on my blog if you have some suggestions on how I can become better in my future articles. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Hot Spots

I'm back to the black and gold for the moment.  This piece was interesting to work on.  It was the first time I'd used paper clay and then painted over it to make the whole blend in with the background.  I wanted my elements to look as though they were seamless a part of the background- growths on the canvas.  

I really wanted the "pods" or "craters" to look as if they had exploded with gold.  Of course creating the shape in the clay was important, but splashing the gold paint on as a final touch brings to mind lava flows and volcanic explosions.  In that sense, this piece has the appearance of a chain of islands that are quite volcanically active.  On the other hand, they could also be microscopic spores that have settled and popped, spreading their seeds.  

I'm sure there is more to see to this one, as with all my pieces.  I'll have to leave it on my wall for a while and let it sink in...

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Make your Mark

"Adding text to any piece always brings a human element.  Language is how we communicate ideas, and leave those ideas behind for others to learn from and experience.  This piece is the profile, the silhouette of someone’s, anyone’s soul.  What does the text say?  What elements make up our individual "silhouette"?What are we leaving behind?  That’s a choice we all must make."
The above text is the write up I created for this piece for the month it will be hanging in Blake Street Studios in Raleigh, NC.  Trying to convey the feeling and purpose of this piece is a short paragraph was hard, but I think I managed to do alright.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on this piece- it's just so interesting to me that I see new things every time I look, despite it's relative simplicity.  


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Rusted Gears

I mentioned to a few people the last time I posted that I was going to do a series of encaustic paintings like the Rusted Circles piece I posted last time.  Once I had the technique down, I was able to finish these other two pretty fast, though I do still need some practice with the rust.  I used the same steel wool I had used for the other pieces, and since the rust had already developed the residue that accumulated on the wax surface of my pieces was much more powdery than the first one I had done.  I had to rub the powder rust around a bit to make sure it would stay permanent and not fall off gradually.  It ended up looking quite different- I'm actually tempted to try it again and see what another layer would do...

I did add another element this time around- some watch gears that are embedded at different depths in the wax.  Pretty awesome.  :)