Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mr. Peacock is Complete

OK, the picture is a little dark around the edges and the iridescent paint caught and held the light from the flash but this is as good as I could get...this is a rather large painting for me - 2 feet by 3 feet - but yay! I managed to finish it! It features a popular quote from Rumi - "Let the beauty you love be what you do." I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it other than adorn my walls. Most pieces need to live with me for a bit anyway before I can send them out into the world. I've been doing quite a few bird paintings (see my Etsy shop) and I'm tossing around a show concept called "Souls in Flight." My show venue in October is large enough to accomodate two separate shows should I choose to go that route but oy! The canvas! I need to buy stock in a stretched canvas company, I swear. Guess I'd better decide soon as the fall seems to be coming up fast!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Journal CPR

This page is a great example of how to rescue a page if things go terribly wrong. However, before I reveal the big oops!, let me preface this blog blather by saying that if you don't point out the mistake, chances are very, very good that no one will ever know that your art was on the verge of a meltdown.

That said, I realize that it can be useful to other journalers to see how journal CPR is performed. It's "C" for cover up (and calm down), "P" for plan again and "R" for redo. In this case, the tan paint underneath the words is covering up my first (and failed) attempt to write out the quote...in Sharpie no less. I simply ran out of space and it wasn't a quote that I could shorten or edit (I've done that before as well). So, I covered up my flopped handwriting, planned to rewrite the quote on paper I could layer in and redid the writing. Viola! A little CPR and a page successfully rescued!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Little Ladies, Big Thoughts

Those Suzi Blu inspired doll faces that I posted about yesterday have transformed into a new art series I'm calling "Little Ladies, Big Thoughts." I decided to channel my inner girly girl for a spell and as I worked, these bitty babies were born. After finishing drawing and coloring the heads, I started digging through my paper collection to find just the right outfit for each gal. Once the dresses and bodies were complete, these ladies spoke right up and let me know what was on their minds. I have faithfully recorded these pithy ponderings next to each girl on a 6 by 12-inch canvas board. Ready to lean up on a shelf or picture easel, these works are now available at my Etsy shop, with more to follow.

Etsy Egret

New to my Etsy shop is this original mixed media piece on a 6 by 12-inch canvas board. I've had this painting for a while now and am finally deciding that I can part with it. Does that ever happen to you? You make something and then can't let it go? Well, this little egret has declared that she is ready to leave the nest and that I must let her fly off into the world if it is destined to be. This is one of my first experiments with molding paste and I used it to create the texture for her body. Also one of my first experiments with Golden's fluid acrylics...I think I fell in love here with the colors and consistency of those paints!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hello Dollies!


I'm taking another online class and this one is pure fun! The lovely wild child artist Suzi Blu has her very own online school called Les Petit Academy where she teaches some fabulous, glittery art classes. I love Suzi's unabashed enthusiasm for life and art and I have discovered she is an incredible teacher as well. In the class I'm taking, "Les Petit Dolls," I am learning how to draw, shade and construct a pretty, pretty face and figure...sigh! Finally! Faces I can love! In between all my other busy-ness, I am trying to get back into creative writing. I used to love to create altered storybooks and write children's stories but it all fell by the wayside as other stuff crowded into my artistic life. Now, I think I'm ready to reaquaint myself with my old work and come up with some fresh illustrations for it all.

These faces are my first shaded faces for class. I am no stranger to colored pencil work as I used to do a ton of scientific illustration but I've never known how to shade a face...ummm...never even drew faces with any measure of contentment. Under Suzi's detailed and patient tutelage, I've learned all sorts of little tips and techniques for drawing and shading a pretty girl face. I've forgotten how meditative colored pencil work can be...I could draw and shade faces all day! As far as the figure is concerned, I plan to cut these out of my sketchbook and attach them to canvas board along with collaged bodies. I'm going to stray from Suzi's particular techniques just a little because I want to make these dollies my own and that's what's so fab about this class...Suzi provides the springboard and the encouragement to leap! The possiblities are endless...
Don't forget to enter my 100th Post Giveaway! See the "Happy 100!" post below and leave a comment...a winner will be randomly selected on July 1st!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Let the Party Commence! Happy 100!

Hip, hip hooray! Lost Coast Post hits her 100th post today! It has been three years in coming but it is here now and I am so excited! To celebrate, I am having a GIVEAWAY! I'm giving away this original mixed media piece and it is easy peasy to enter: just leave a comment on this post in the next week and on July 1st, I'll pop all the comments into a random number generator and out will pop a winner! Please make sure you check back next Wednesday to see if you've won and so you can provide me with your snail mail address.
Thank you to everyone who has followed me all along and hung in there when the posting became necessarily lean due to health challenges. And thank you to all of you relatively new to the Post who read and encourage and compliment. I love, love, love to receive your comments. They have kept this little blogger in the game! Here's to 100 more!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Through the Door

No butterflies in sight on this journal page...this is my entry for this week's theme over at the new Three Muses challenge blog. At Three Muses, they're exploring the theme "doors" and so I chose and slightly altered a quote from Christopher Morley. The actual quote reads "The courage of the poet is to keep ajar the door that leads into madness." However, I felt the sentiment was applicable to artists as well (poets are essentially word artists.) I know that I do this dance on a daily basis, trying to harness the fiery emotions and thoughts crowding my brain in any given moment. There's some potent, mad wild stuff going on upstairs, wonderful, inspirational, imaginative stuff if used right...powerful, move mountains kind of stuff if managed with a healthy dose of caution. The trick is determining how far open the door can swing before one has gone from crazy productive to just plain crazy. It is a constant struggle, full of letdowns and rewards, sorrows and joys, failures and triumphs. It can mean the difference between artistic fuel and a house in flames. Personally, if I can manage a bonfire of activity at the easel and in the same moment, a house that's only smoldering, well, that's as successful (and courageous) as it gets.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Marvelous Error

I think another bright, warm blog entry is in order to chase away the greys. It is so important to hold onto and treasure the sunshine we carry around in our hearts so that no matter the weather (literal and figurative), we can remember what brightness looks like and use that memory as a beacon through the fog. That's my little warm fuzzy cliche for the day.

Lots of collage going on in this page as I got overly enthusiastic with the layering. 26 individual pieces make up this piece; when I have so many things going on, I lay everything in place without gluing down, determine the exact look of the page and then work backwards, gluing down the first layer first and so on. In this journal, I start with a background of Basic Gray scrapbook paper that I will further embellish with simple stamping and painting. Typically, when I journal, I create the background entirely from scratch but in this book, I use the scrapbook paper to give myself a colorful headstart. I've cut and mounted several pages worth of backgrounds so as I finish one page, I can move onto the next. And because the final compositions are so complex, I keep those backgrounds super simple so they don't overwhelm my chosen imagery. Just a few journaling tips for this marvelous Monday...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Facades

Here's a sneak peek at one of my fall shows entitled "Facades," featuring a series of mixed media house 'scapes in a variety of themes and color schemes. So far, I've created this town scene, a farm 'scape and a night scene. Only 27 more to go! They are a lot of fun to do though so I am hoping that once I get on a roll, my studio will become a literal construction zone and the mixed media housing market will rebound here on the Pacific Coast. It was hard to get a decent picture as June gloom continues unabated. I'm beginning to feel the grey cut deep into my soul. I sincerely hope the sun starts to peek though...it's almost July for goodness sake!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Counting Up to 100

Just five more entries and I will have reached my 100th post here at Lost Coast Post. Some of you may have noticed that I have picked up the posting pace as I made a personal committment to myself to write a little blog-something EVERY weekday in June...so far, so good! My 100th post has been a while in coming as life seems to intervene frequently and my hands are not always lovin' the keyboard. However, the 100th is coming and celebrations, public and private, will commence! I'm thinkin' a giveaway is in order...hmmm...stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Believe in Magic























This is one of my favorite pages in my quote journal quite simply because I love dressing up animals and creating the unexpected image. The lettering for this page was tedious at best (painful at worst) but the result works perfectly in the rest of the composition. I love this quote from Roald Dahl whose classics, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach, still delight me. As far as I'm concerned, Mr. Dahl is definitely someone who knew more than a little bit about magic.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Queen Speaks

Another page from my commonplace journal that draws heavily on the collage sheets created by Nancy Baumiller...more wings and pointy hats, folks! Butterflies have become significant for me in the past year as this post-wrist fusion time has truly been one of metamorphosis: trying to rediscover or, in many cases, reinvent my artistic abilities and style as I learn how to do things with a wrist that will never bend again. I've been using butterflies a lot in my work as a reminder of my past and my goals for the future, as a symbol of all I should appreciate in the present. Sometimes, what looks like the blatant co-opting of the trendy is instead a sincere expression of the artist's personal belief system through an archetypal image. Now, I can't explain the pointy hat obsession except to say that I like them. And what the Queen likes, the Queen gets.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Paintings & Ponderings













In the past couple of days, I've been on a serendipity rampage here at Hand & Soul Studios, painting a boatload of canvas for possible art quiltie mania. I have settled on themes for two of my five fall art shows and trying desperately to come up with at least one show theme that doesn't involve the purchase of stretched canvas by the ton. I figured that I'd better get a bunch of pieces painted in a variety of color schemes so if I decide to go this route, I'll have a stash to work with when the inspiration finally arrives. Frankly, I've been tossing around any number of show ideas in the past year and just when I think I've settled on something, one of two things happen: first and foremost, those sneaky, whining, combative, and tiresome inner critics set about chattering in my ear and I start to second guess myself. Or I get what I suddenly declare to be a "better" idea and I promptly go skipping off in pursuit of that idea that dances along ahead of me like a piece of paper caught up in little flurries of breeze. A "better" idea in this case is more specifically defined as "something that will sell." I'm really very torn right now between creating with blind passion and creating with a practical eye towards paying the bills. Those two goals are not mutually exclusive but it can mean the difference between making art just for me and making art for an audience with pocketbooks. Luckily, in the past, those two have been one and the same. Somehow though, I am having trouble this time around trusting my instincts and so, instead, I've been bouncing from idea to idea and back again. After selling 37 of 39 paintings in my first three shows, the pressure for a repeat performance is enormous...pressure of my own making for the most part but still, there it is. People familiar with the first wave of my work to see the outside of my studio keep asking about the "old" stuff and upon explanation of the "new" stuff, their eyes glaze over and they get that "why mess with a good thing" look in their eyes. This is really an age-old dilemma for artists, one that seems to go with the territory. It would all be so easy if I could just throw caution to the wind, say "the hell with finances" and go paint my brains out. Then again, I'd probably be painting by candlelight and eating Top Ramen every day. Hmmmm...so much to ponder...I'll let you know how it all turns out.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Just Curious...

Tossing this idea out into the blogverse and those people that follow Lost Coast Post and my work: Any interest out there in an online art journaling class?? I don't have a video camera so there'd be no videos involved but rather lots of PDFs and personal, on-demand tutorial, assistance, and encouragement via a Yahoo group specifically created for such an endeavor. Given my current schedule, if I did decide to do this, it would happen this fall so I would have time to complete my show obligations and to prepare class documents. If you think you might be intrigued by this idea, shout out in the comments section...

Friday, June 12, 2009

Poor Sweet Mona























Do you hear that noise? Sort of like tree branches scratching a window? That's actually da Vinci rolling over in his grave after my rather irreverant altering of his quintessential masterpiece. Sorry Leo, but I couldn't help it. This idea grabbed me and wouldn't let go. Surely you know what that's like. Had to see it through to the end. I know pointy hats are all the rage, maybe even overdone, but sometimes an artist has to do what an artist has to do. Yet another page from my ongoing commonplace project. I actually haven't worked on it in a while; I tend to work in fevered fits and starts with plenty of cooling off periods in between. Hopefully, I'll find my passion for this journal again as my list of favorite quotes to illustrate isn't getting any shorter.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Bicycle Built for One


Another entry in my looseleaf journal that I began in the stencil class...simple and to the point. I, personally, like these short and sweet entries. As it is a popular trend in art journaling, there are some who tire of the single-word exhortations to action: dream, laugh, believe, play and so on. People love to chafe against the trendy (and that's a good thing.) But I have plenty of journal space devoted to my deeper inner ramblings and many times I need just an ever so brief reminder of the important things in life. I remind myself often because, well, I need a lot of reminders. And when I'm feeling verbose, there's a place for that too. Perhaps people forget that art journaling can be more about the art than the journaling and to each his own and all that jazz. Here's my mission for the day, summed up in a single sylable and spoken with a single breath - PLAY! Not a bad idea, if I do say so myself...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bloom, Bold Palette, Bloom!


Here's a little something to brighten your day...I'm working on a series of "inspirational abstracts" for a show entitled Soul Terrain. (Thank you, Kelly for the idea!) This piece is on an 8 by 24 inch stretched canvas and is full of the juicy colors I hold so dear to my heart nowadays. Someone asked me how I get my journals so colorful and my answer applies to my paintings as well: it's all about the palette, baby! Back in the nineties, I was a pastel girl all the way; cornflower blue, nursery pink, pale yellow. My work back then was soft, subtle, quiet. And then, around 2003, I gradually started experimenting with color...real color...not some watered down, tint of a color but pure, screamin' in your face color! Quite simply, as my art and art life began to bloom, I decided "enough with subtle;" I want to be, live bold. Soft tones still appear every so often in my work as my emotions dictate (case in point, the art in my last two blog entries) but generally speaking, I work in hot pink, sunflower yellow, tangerine orange with splashes of turquoise and purple. And I gather supplies in those colors: papers, fibers, ribbons, paints, pencils, inks. That way when I'm working, I can stay in the same palette no matter the medium. All in all, the result is one of warmth, hope, and pure, unadulterated joy. Perfect.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Grey, Grey, Go Away























"Stop looking for something out there
And begin seeing within;
Open your arms if you want an embrace;
Break the earthen idols
And release the radiance."
-Rumi
As I write this, the swallows are out on the balcony trying to sing out the sun with their distinctive set of warbles and whistles. June gloom has settled in over the Pacific coast; everything is seemingly draped in an oppressive grey blanket. I'll be glad when summer begins to shine in its full glory but in the meantime, I'll draw on my stores of inner sunshine and break out a palette full of bright pinks, yellows and oranges....maybe a dash or two of turquoise for good measure...ahhh...things are feeling warmer already....

Monday, June 8, 2009

Learning to Find My Way

Here I am, way back when, transposed onto a wintery landscape of indecision and uncertainity. The little one steps hestitantly but hopefully, ready to face and embrace whatever the world may throw across her path. Fast forward nearly 40 years (yes, the big 4-0 is coming) and some days, maybe many more than I would like, I've lost that little girl, so bold in her red smock, so focused on the next step, so delighted by the smallest detail beneath her feet. And some days...oh, how I treasure those days...I am that child again, confident no matter how big the life around her but still exploring, still wondering and wandering, one step at a time. My art life is in flux right now as I try desperately to settle on five separate themes for my upcoming shows beginning in September. After the last wrist surgery, I dabbled in a little bit of everything, testing out my new anatomy, retraining it to help me do what I love. Now, over 14 months later, I'm finding it hard to focus on any one thing for any length of time. I discovered...*gasp!*...that I love playing, taste-testing, wandering in and out of materials and methods. The real world needs me to find my focus, to have unifying ideas and uniform execution, to already know the path, rather than looking completely lost. I feel the pressure of time in the studio slipping away as spring slides into summer. Fall will be here I before I know it. I do, indeed, have miles to go before I sleep.

Friday, June 5, 2009

From the Wall of the Bates Motel























This particular page from my commonplace journal began all pink and sweet and frilly but somewhere along the way, my senses returned and a wicked sort of humor crept in, inflitrating my work like an insidious vine. When I began, I really wasn't sure which quote I was going to be illustrating (something equally sweet, I'm sure) but then...well, what you see before you is the result: a nod to what might be Alfred Hitchcock's best movie and the role that made Anthony Perkins a household name. Oh, dear sweet Mama Bates...you never looked better!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Negotiating the Wilderness























This is another page from the commonplace journal that I am creating; if the spiral binding holds, I'll end up with a fully illustrated book of 50 of my favorite inspirational and humorous quotes. I have so many journals in rotation that I haven't worked in this one for a while but just looking back through the pages, deciding which ones to show here, make me want to play again. I have boxes full of clipped images waiting to land permanently on just the right page and if I'm not careful, the boxes will multiply faster than my art. I'm sure you all know how that works as our stash stuff, fabulous as it is, tends to creep and encroach upon our studio and living spaces. Stop saving and start using!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Fa La La, La Ti Da

Thanks to the stenciling class I took online
with Mary Ann Moss of Dispatch from L.A., I am now totally and irreversibly in love with paint drips, messy stamped circles (who knew one could do so much with a paper towel tube?), and scraped on lines. I think these "deliberate serendipity" elements add so much to a piece. I'm sure everyone and their sister has been doing this in their journals, but I've just discovered the charm of such elements. This journal page has a touch of all of the above and the resulting playfulness does indeed make me sing!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Not a Moment Too Soon

I'm usually fairly critical of my own work (aren't we all?) but this is one of those journal pages that came together in a way that made even my normally chatty inner critic fall silent. Love when that happens! The figure is from a painting called Sapphires (c. 1877) by Albert Joseph Moore. I, of course, added the swallowtail wings and the lotus, which was clipped from the cover of a Coldwater Creek catalog. The journaling drifting around the woman's figure reads: "...not a moment too soon I stop to breathe, to take in the sights, to appreciate the world, glorious both above my head and beneath my feet...not a moment too soon I pause living to enjoy life, to discover wonders..."

Monday, June 1, 2009

A Love Letter

Dear Sweet Tuscany Jane,
You've been with us seven months now and oh, how you have changed our lives. Prescribed by my physician as a companion animal, you have been the very best medicine for a broad variety of hurts. And while there are some side effects (cat hair everywhere), I have found that your soft love soothes my soul like nothing else. This is my love letter to you in honor of your first birthday:

I love how you sleep all night (!!), snuggled under the covers and curled up against my chest or in my arms. You can be a bit of a bed piggie but your contented, rumbling purr chases away all the spooks lurking in the dark. I love how you join me at the computer while I type, raising your head every so often for a lingering scratch under the chin. I love that you love the most inexpensive toys: a crumpled piece of paper, a pompom, a toilet paper roll. I love how you wait curiously as I get on my hands and knees with a flashlight to dig your playthings out from underneath the couch. I love that every morning, after you have stretched out the night's snooze, you hunt me, wiggling your butt before striking sans claws, just a little love tap to let me know breakfast should be served. I love that your meows are infrequent but purposeful, as if you only speak when you have something very important to say. I promise to listen. And most of all, I love that you love me, that you seem to know when I am down, that you lend your warmth, softness, and silliness to my recovery without asking for anything in return except good food, a clean litter box, and a perfectly shaped lap.

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