Friday, May 31, 2013

Another List and a Change in Posting Frequency

Here's another page from my List journal...sometimes, it takes a little bit of thought to come up with unique visual ways to present a list of information...

Today's my last day of art teaching for the 2012-2013 school year...WhooHoo!  Next week, I'm putting my blog on what I'll call "the summer schedule" as I drop to publishing just three days a week.  Sometimes, if I have enough material and time, I'll do more than that but for now, I'm going to commit to posts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  I need a little break from the self-imposed relentless (but prolific) publishing schedule so I can dream up new things to blog about and so I can just enjoy my summer break.

I will be continuing the Watercolor Wednesday series as soon as I can think up new topics (suggestions are always welcome) and I'll be posting throughout the summer about my participation in this year's Index-Card-a-Day challenge as well as my 365 Characters in 2013 project (which is currently experiencing a bit of a lull.)  As always, if you, my lovely and faithful audience, have any thoughts on future blog topics, please let me know in the comments. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

List-making Once Again

I'm beginning to move away from journaling tomes, those with a seemingly endless sea of blank pages demanding attention.  Instead, I am turning towards shorter term, limited focus journals and artist books.  After 13 years of journaling, I often feel like I am just tilling the same field and yielding similiar results.  I want to be challenged and I want to explore new territory a little bit at a time.  And, perhaps more importantly, I want to finish off some small projects that have fallen by the wayside. 

One such unfinished project is my List journal, inspired a while back by a joint venture between ihanna and Tammy of Daisy Yellow.  Here's a couple more pages from my particular list journal, detailing "Odd Things I Collect" and "Jobs I've Had."  

To see previous pages posted from this mini-journal, click here and here as well as here and here.  Now you're caught up too!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Driven to Abstraction

I think my recent Gelli printmaking frenzy has put me in an abstract state of mind.  After months of churning out characters for my 365 in 2013 project, I feel myself needing a little break, even at the risk of falling terminally behind.  There is something intriguing yet restful about working in abstraction; the wabi-sabi approach provides a much-needed counterbalance to my usually detail-oriented work.

There's no theme or "point" to this journal page other than to fulfill a need to simply play with color, line, pattern, and texture.  There were several moments in the creation of this page that I thought "Well, that ruined it" but I kept going until I reached a natural stopping point.  I loved making this page so much that I am considering doing more pages like this (a lot more) or devoting this year's Index-Card-a-Day (ICAD) challenge to just making abstract cards.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Gelli Prints: Set 1/Side 2

Here are the flipside prints of the Gelli print set I showed you yesterday.  This is actually the side I did first and although I didn't love these initially, I have grown to like them.  They'll be great "environmental" backgrounds for imaginary critters and creatures.

For the curious: I am using heavy body Liquitex and Art Advantage acrylics on 140-pound hot-press watercolor paper.  You also might be able to tell that I don't clean my Gelli plate very well in between colors.  I personally love the multi-colored, grungy results.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Gelli Prints: Set 1/Side1

I'm currently at play in Carla Sonheim's Gelli Plate Printmaking class and what you see here is side 1 of my first set of Gelli prints (8 pages to a set).  I've printed these doubled-sided because I intend to bind these pages into mini books and journals.  Tomorrow I'll reveal side 2.

I've kept these prints pretty simple because I'm probably going to use them as backgrounds for creatures and I don't want too much background busy-ness to clash with my subsequent paintings and drawings. 

These are incredibly fun and simple to do.  (Hint: The faster you work, the better the results; don't overthink!) These prints are useful for a wide variety of art projects.  I am very excited to see where I can take these next! 

If you have a Gelli plate (or make your own from unflavored gelatin), I highly recommend this mini class!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

ICAD Inspired New Work

Typically, I create very complex journal pages, filled with layers of pattern, texture, color.  I enjoy the process of journaling and use it as a meditative practice.  Traditionally, I then cover up most of that background work with a focal image and text as as I try to bring a page to competition.  

However, sometimes (and more often now than in the past) I want that background work to remain visible and for the focal images to be simple and bold.  These journal pages were inspired by cards I created for last year's ICAD challenge.  In fact, the quotes are on index cards I cut up and glued to the journal page.  I recycle almost everything I make and 61 pieces of index card art is a lot of fodder for fresh work.  I may mutter and moan my way through the challenge at times but in the end, I am deeply appreciative of the work I generate by sticking with it.  Later, when feeling stuck, I can thumb through those cards and recreate techniques I loved or use the cards themselves in new work.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Watercolor Wednesday: Spin Me Round

Yesterday, whilst I sat in the studio wondering what the topic of today's Watercolor Wednesday would be, I remembered the spin art machine that I found in a thrift store many years ago.  This toy is probably one of the best things I've ever found in a thrift store: $4.00 for a brand new gizmo that allows me to apply paint to spinning paper.  Simple, silly fun.

I've used this machine with tempera and acrylics paints and while spinning, the colors don't mix much as they are too busy drying.  Watercolors on the other hand, stay nice and wet, allowing the colors to blend and push into one another, creating energetic lines that spin out from the center as if electrified.  I can't wait to use these pieces in my journals!  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Glue It Tuesday: Scrap Paper City

Hello Tuesday and welcome to another edition of Glue-It-Tuesday!  Well, first it was robots, then a trio of owls and now, a cityscape.  I'm in cut & paste heaven!  (This might be more accurately described as "cut and/or punch, paste and doodle" but let's not split hairs.)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Seven Years Slowly but Surely

Today I am celebrating seven years blogging here at Lost Coast Post.  You've heard of slow food?  Well, I'm a slow blogger.  It has taken me seven years to generate 533 posts.  For those of you who need additional figures, that averages about 76 posts a year.  My blogging habit is highly influenced by my many health and life challenges but lately, I've been posting 5 days a week rather faithfully.  That could change at a moment's notice but for now, I am in a groove.

In blogging and really, in all things in life, this Chinese proverb is one of those guiding philosophies that appear repeatedly in my journals.  I wholeheartedly believe that slow & steady wins the race.

Thank you to everyone who spends time here with me, whether it's a little or a lot.  Thank you to everyone who drops a comment my way.  Those little nuggets of encouragement and praise make me smile from ear to ear and help keep me going no matter the obstacle.  I hope that this space provides smiles and inspiration in return.  Here's to seven years and however many more are meant to be!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Lovin' Those Links

It's finally Friday and that means, that in April and now May, it's Link Love Friday!  Here's where I'm sending you all this week:

Free downloads of art instruction books from Andrew Loomis, courtesy of Illustration Age.  The books are in the public domain; just click on the book covers and download the complete book in PDF format!

Mary Ann Moss of Dispatch from LA has been sharing her Spoleto/Umbria sketchbook page by page.  Just go to her home page, scroll down, and be amazed!

It's that time of year again!  The Index-Card-a-Day challenge (lovingly known as ICAD), is going into its third year.  It begins on June 1st so click here for in depth information on this fabulous challenge.  To see all of my ICADs from last year, visit this Flickr set.

Alisa Burke's husband, Andrew Gunthardt, is a fantastic artist, especially with a ball point pen in hand.  Check out his post on Alisa's blog on how to use a ball point pen and then check out Andy's own blog for more amazing pen work.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Gleaming Taper's Light

Owls are the critter of the week for me it seems.  I am getting close to finishing my "Unexpected Convergences" journal (for shots of all the pages in this journal, go to this set in my Flickr portfolio.)  While I've loved working on this journal, I'll be thrilled when it is finished as I've had about all I can take of journal projects that seem to go on forever.  I like that sense of accomplishment when a journal is complete and I am tired of all the journals on my shelves that are only three-quarters of the way done.  I have half a mind to rip out all the remaining blank pages and call it good.  I won't do that, of course, but the idea is tempting. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Watercolor Wednesday: Art Supply Sketching Continues

I'm still getting my feet wet in watercolor sketching by painting my art supplies.  I really recommend starting with simple, everyday objects as the familiarity with the subject helps smooth the process.  I'm not really ready to go out on the town and begin painting my world in earnest so for now, I am using my studio as source material.  I have done the "urban sketching" thing but I've never felt really comfortable with it so I am going back to the beginning and working my way back to painting outside.

I paint each item into my journal in advance and leave space to journal later.  (In general that's the way I work in my "daily diary" journal whether I painting, drawing, or collaging.) I like journaling around my paintings so I do choose my objects and layout based on that fact.

I'm glad everyone seems to be enjoying the Watercolor Wednesday post series.  Don't forget that for links to all the posts I've done about watercolor, you can visit this page on my blog...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Glue It Tuesday: Scrap Paper Owls

Last week's paper robot play led, naturally, to more scrap paper critters.  I'm not sure how I will use these little owlets quite yet but they were fun (and a tad tedious) to make.  Anyhoo, these paper cuties are my entry for this week's Glue It Tuesday. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

How To Recycle Your Art

As I continue to work towards my goal of generating all of my own focal imagery in my journals, I find that it is extremely important to lean on old work to create new work.  In this post, I'll outline some of my techniques for recycling art.

1) Get Really Friendly with Your Neighborhood Copy Center:  
Color copies of old journal pages can be cut into strips to make borders on new pages.  Color copy bits and pieces make excellent backgrounds for small art such as ATCs, inchies, and postcards.  You get the look of complex layering without doing all the work twice.  Have a painted canvas that didn't quite work?  Cut that canvas off the frame and get thee to the nearest copier to recycle that painting into cool background material. 


2) Get a New Perspective Through Your Camera's Viewfinder:
I take pictures all the time of my work, not only to build my portfolio, but to see that work in new ways.  Take close-ups of small doodles, important focal images, or interesting background bits and use those detail photos to make new art.

3) Dance Between Mediums:
Look at symbols that repeatedly occur in your work.  Let those lexicon images become inspiration for hand-carved stamps and use those stamps in your backgrounds or as focal images in new projects.  For example, I recently painted a fox image on a journal page that I loved so I drew that image again on a smaller scale and created a stamp.  I plan on making a series of greeting cards with my new fox stamp.

Recycling your art is a great way to get more mileage out of all your hard work and as long as your work doesn't contain copyrighted material in the first place, it is a fantastic technique for building a library of collage fodder that is uniquely your own.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

144 Characters Under My Belt, 221 to Go!

In January I decided to undertake a mammoth art challenge:  Create 365 drawn, painted, sculpted, and/or sewn characters throughout the course of 2013.  With this journal page, I have created 144 characters so far this year.  To see pictures of all the characters, check out this Flickr set.

I'm not quite halfway through the challenge and I am starting to feel fatigued.  I've been ahead of the game right from the beginning but I'm not generating pieces at the pace I was when I began so I anticipate falling behind if I don't catch my second wind.  It is certainly not for lack of imagination or interest, but rather time and energy; everyday life has sort of asserted itself over my art life in recent weeks.

Summer break from teaching will hit at the end of May so I am hoping the sudden gift of free time will breathe new life into this challenge for me. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Watercolor Wednesday: Blending Practice

Today's Watercolor Wednesday features a super simple activity that yields a lot of information.  You'll learn how to move color across the page in a smooth, flat manner (otherwise known as a flat wash.)  You'll also see how two colors can make a third and thus, extend your color palette with only a few basic colors.  

Step 1:  Draw a longish rectangle on paper in pencil.

Step 2:   Add a dab of one color to one end of the rectangle and a dab of another color to the other end.

Step 3:  Using a clean wet brush each time you move back and forth between colors, pull the colors in towards the center to create a blend of the two colors in the middle of the rectangle.  Your goal is to get as smooth a transition as possible.

Note the neutrals that are created when you blend two colors that lay opposite one another on the color wheel, such as red and green or blue and orange.

I did this activity with my art students when I taught watercolor.  When the blends were completely dry, we cut the rectangles of color out and used them to create bookmarks...just an idea!  

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Glue It Tuesday: Scrap Paper Robots

I think that many of my regular readers know by now that I love, love, love robots!  And if you are new to Lost Coast Post...well, I'll say it again: I love robots!  I love drawing them and sculpting them and drawing them some more.  And now, I love collaging them.  I get a big kick out of seeing their little personalities emerge as I layer shapes and patterns.
The process is super simple.  Take geometric punches and scraps of paper, push around on paper until a little mechanical man appears, add doodled details with a marker.  I did this project last week with my art students and they constructed an entire army of artificial life forms.
This is my entry for this week's Glue-It-Tuesday, a wonderful wee challenge thought up by the artful Aimee of Artsyville.  Check out Aimee's blog on Tuesdays for the week's Linky List of participants. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Anatomy of a Page: Courage of the Fox

I don't do this very often because loading multiple photos in order in a Blogger post can be difficult at best but I thought I'd westle the program for today to give you a glimpse at how I develop a journal page from start to finish.

Step 1:  Collage some pieces of vintage ledger paper onto a page that has been lightly painted with turquoise craft paint.

Step 2:  Add some stamping (both bold and subtle) as well as some doodling in Neocolor II water-soluble wax pastels.  I use my non-dominant hand so the doodles are loose and playful.

Step 3:  Using a palette knife, scrape on some white paint with a couple drops of neon pink and neon yellow.

Step 4:  Reintroduce the doodling in Neocolors that got covered up in Step 3.  Scrape on more paint.  Add some strips of coordinating washi tape.  This is the push/pull part of the process that continues until I get a background that pleases me.

Step 5:  After some consideration about subject matter, prepaint a fox shape.  (The fox is my totem animal so it often appears in my work.)

Step 6:  Refine and sharpen the fox's colors and details.  Add some more doodling in paint pen and Neocolors.  Reintroduce stamping that got covered up.  I want the fox to feel anchored in the background, not floating above it.

Step 7:  Add some strips of scrapbook paper and a cookie fortune that reads:  "Courage is not the absence of fear.  It is the conquest of it."  (I didn't know the theme/meaning/point of this page until now.)  Finish off with some stamped paint rings in the same turquoise I began with in Step 1. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Fishing for Content

By necessity, art-making here on the Lost Coast has consisted of soothing, meditative, and open-ended activities like working in my private journal and painting lots of serendipity papers.  As a result, I don't have much in the way of finished pieces to show right now.  I expect I'll pick up steam again in the next week or so as I get my feet back under me and my head back in the game.

You, dear readers, can help.  In the comments, please leave suggestions about things you'd like to see here at Lost Coast Post.  Maybe more of something I already highlight or ideas for topics I haven't touched upon.  Tell me what part of the blog you like best.  Feedback is a welcome (and necessary) component of any blog and a little input might help me come up with new posts while my mind is distracted with other issues.  Many thanks in advance.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Peek into My Sketchbooks

I work in journals and I work in sketchbooks.  For me, those are two very different things.  I work on each journal page from start to finish, one by one.  In my sketchbooks, I bounce from page to page, sometimes adding to a single page for months at a time.  My journals are a mixed media paradise whereas my sketchbooks are strictly pen and water media.  I share virtually all of my journal pages.  My sketchbooks are more intimate and personal and I hold their contents very close to my heart.  I hope you enjoy this rare glimpse into my sketchy world. 
I love to practice drawing faces but I am trying to force myself to draw bodies as well.  So far, my characters don't do much with those little bodies except stand still and pose for me.  I aim to get these characters "up" and moving around so I can expand my illustration skills.

I am much more comfortable drawing creatures and Og is my newest character.  I've been working on drawing dear, sweet Og in various positions and situations because, ultimately, I'd like to have him star in his own comic strip.
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