Thursday, July 29, 2010

Coffee Filters Anyone?

I am going to "mentor" a workshop on paper painting (ala Elizabeth Nelson style) on September 15. This is somewhat presumptuous being a complete newbie myself...but it's fun and you learn a lot when you try out stuff and then teach it to others!

I thought I'd shamelessly plagiarize Elizabeth's famous cow painting as subject matter that is not too difficult to draw.

I want to make the paper we paint on for the project as economical as possible for a short workshop I am trying out the possibility of using coffee filters as the painted paper. They seem to take the acrylic paint very much like the more expensive rice papers...not quite as nice a texture and of course being so small a little fussier to work with. I laid them down in an enameled pan (or an acrylic sheet) and painted at least 4 at time and then put them out on the clothes line.

So now I have the paper ready and I need to move on. More later.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Rainy Day ATCs

I've promised to do an "Intro to ATCs" when I get back to Hawthorne Park in Florida (November 19). Even though that sounds ages away...I know better. Time gets so full.

So while I have a rainy day in the north woods I am browsing among my notes about ATCs and books about them and trying some different ways of doing them.

You will see some Christmas ones in there because I think by Nov 19, people will actually be planning for the holidays and will be thinking of doing some with that theme. Luckily have have found some Christmas books and magazines at garage sales to inspire me and to give me some collage materials.

One thing I have not done and wish I knew how to do is to make "transfers" where you can "lift" images off of magazines and then position and re-glue them to collages and acrylics. If anyone know a good online source for information about that, let me know. I believe that you coat the image with something. There was a workshop that Dianna Barringer did a few years ago in Mt. Dora, FL and I wanted so much to go. Somewhere I read that you can use Crayola products to do this too. Hmmm? I am even sure I am using the correct word when I say "transfer". But I'll bet some of you know what I mean.

As I look these over and think which of these would I want to "trade" for? I think the hand painted watercolors, pens, acrylics are more desirable than collage. But then, perhaps a more combined method would be best...some hand painted, some collage. For instance I like the little wheel barrow watercolor better than a cut out Santa from a magazine..although he is colorful and fun placed on a piece of old map! to display traded ones? I am thinking of an altered journal for that maybe? I do know that when people trade them, they put information on the back. Somehow that info would need to be transferred off and into the journal before you would consider glueing an ATC down into a book. But it would be nice to be able to turn the pages and see the images. I know some people use those plastic baseball card folders because then you can see the backs. But that seems so boring. I could group and frame them...but frankly I have so much art framed I do not have room for anything else on the wall! I think you want to get up close and personal with these little things too.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Summer in the North Woods

Watercolor and gouache.
11 x 15" Arches hotpress paper.

I worked from a photo on this one and had no color reference...well I did somewhere but I didn't know where it was. It was a quick "sketchy" little thing...once a preliminary drawing of the wheelbarrow was done...probably two hours to paint. I like the contrast of a few transparent washes against the gouache.

Mid summer here is like late summer elsewhere. Our season is SO short. Summer is pretty much July. That's it.

The golden grasses make it look a little later in the summer than it actually is right now. but somehow the color seemed right. We have way too much GREEN around here sometimes. I needed a break from it. I took the reference photo last summer while we at a garage sale. I liked the use of old wheelbarrow. Like watering cans and rustic pots, wheelbarrows are sort of icons of the garden.

Monday, July 19, 2010


I think it the ultimate "pat on the back" when you sell a painting at a show to no one you know or are related to! :-)

I really liked this was kind of hard to see it go. But having said that, I did do a watercolor of the same subject matter before I did this gouache one. So I do have another one in a slightly different medium and palette.

I want to thank Karen Kappell for giving me the courage to play around with watercolor and gouache which I have found very satisfactory.

As an addendum to the sock monkey story I posted yesterday. I had an email from someone who follows my blog (she's a friend of a friend but I've never met her) who wrote to tell me that her father in law bought that sock company in Rockford, IL from the original owners!!! I LOVE that stuff! Serendipity. One thing leads to another. So much fun. Thanks for writing Mary Gayle!!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Paper Painting Demo at Art Show

Here I am today in Manitowish Waters doing a Paper Painting Demo from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 pm. I am finishing up the "Sock Monkey" painting. My "Bucket of Sunshine" flowers if at the right.

I had several others there for people to see. I had my business cards and flyers for the class I am teaching in September. Mornings are not as heavily attended at afternoons and evenings. But I had a lot of interesting folks stop by to visit.

One lady informed me that Rockford, Illinois gave sock monkeys their birth. And I discovered she is absolutely right!

John Nelson, a Swedish immigrant to the United States, patented the sock-knitting machine in 1869, and began manufacturing work socks in Rockford, Illinois in 1890. The iconic sock monkeys made from red-heeled socks emerged at the earliest in 1932, the year the Nelson Knitting Company added the trademarked red heel to its product. In the early years, the red-heeled sock was marketed as "De-Tec-Tip". Nelson Knitting was an innovator in the mass market work sock field, creating a loom that enabled socks to be manufactured without seams in the heel. These seamless work socks were so popular that the market was soon flooded with imitators, and socks of this type were known under the generic term "Rockfords". Nelson Knitting added the red heel "de-tec-tip" to assure its customers that they were buying "original Rockfords". This red heel gave the monkeys their distinctive mouth. During the Great Depression, American mothers first made sock monkeys out of worn-out Rockford Red Heel Socks. (from Wikipedia)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Manitowish Waters Wisconsin Art League Show

What a lovely show!
The reception was this evening and it was catered with delightful food and drink and a harpist!

The art was very lovely and I'll post a few of my favorites in the days to come.

There was a lovely crowd!
This is the kick off for a 4 day event.
I'll be doing my demo there on Friday.

Quick sketch

I did a quick 30 minute watercolor sketch in my moleskin while the grandkids were all out tubing yesterday afternoon about 4:30 pm.

This morning it is DARK and thunder is rumbling north of us...sure smells like a big storm coming in. The grandkids are watching a movie while I make up the lasagna for dinner tonight.

Greg and I are headed off to the artist's reception for the Manitowish Water's show this evening. I hear from my artist friend, Barb Schneider, that this is a very posh event with live music and hot and cold appetizers and drawings for a raffle and the sponsors are all invited. I am impressed!!!! Should be fun!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fun in Prepping for Altered Journals

On Friday we went to the garage sales. Always a delight of sounds, textures, and a mish-mosh of thoughts, plans, and ideas. WHAT will I discover that I can wear, read, watch, listen to or make into something? It never fails that I find SOMETHING.

This Friday all 5 of our grandsons (8-14) went with us plus my husband and daughter from Madison, Wisconsin. What an excursion!

Besides a LOVELY blue sweater and a fantastic 16 x 20 frame with re-useable canvas I found some old hard-page children's books. Right away I thought of that book (a few blogs ago) called Collaborative Art Journals. A fast and furious way to start one is to gesso or otherwise change the pages in these books to make them your own. No worry about binding or making your own paper or anything. 25 cents! It's worth a try!

I started by using Cheap Joe's Black Gesso and just covering the dries to a mat finish. Then for a few pages I tried some sort of "abstract" changes to the background that might be fun as a background. The first one at the top is wet black gesso and I laid 3 cotton strings over the wet pages, closed the pages and drew the string out one at a time. This revealed some of the bright color below the gesso. I also dropped a few drops of alcohol onto the book pages to make the circles.

Then I tried adding color over dry gesso with liquid acrylic paint (yellow) and then closing the pages to make identical opposing imprints. The tiny "vein like" texture was so much fun and a surprise.

The gesso takes longer to "cure" than I expected and so I am just doing a few pages at a time and letting them air dry over night or even for a few days. I am thinking I'd like a theme for the book...that's a traditional way to start. I might devote one page to each grandchild putting photos and collaged items on that remind me of that child. Another might be "impressions" of our north woods cabin...a "cabin journal". So much fun to think about.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Peaceful Afternoon on Lake Tippecanoe

A one hour sketch watercolor on canvas done yesterday. The grandsons were out tubing with grampy. My daughter, Julie, and I were doing a little sketching.

The little "deck" with garage sale umbrella has turned out to be a pleasant spot for reading, napping, and general quiet time. A favorite spot of Julie's for sure.

Hope to do some watercolor (on paper) yet maybe later this afternoon although we may decide to do some arts and crafts with the younger boys while the oldest watches the World Cup Soccer match this afternoon. Field trip to the Native American Village nearby tomorrow (Ojibwa tribe).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Congratulations Wisconsin!

As of July 5, the state of Wisconsin is now smoke free in all public places!

My family (including 4 of the grandsons) attended a big party in celebration of this event!!!

Since one of my daughters worked on the task force to get this legislation passed we were more emotionally involved than some people!

We drove to Rhinelander in a huge rain storm Monday to join others in this big party. What a wonderful accomplishment and congratulations to all who worked so hard to get this passed. (Florida where we winter has been smoke free for a long time!) So this is just GREAT.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Collaborative Art

A few weeks back (in June) I was part of Karen Kappell's collaborative art project at the Manito Art League meeting. We used pastel and had a theme (trees). Anyone really interested can go back to the June posts and find it there.

Anyway when my daughter came to visit me this week she brought this book from the library. You all have probably SEEN this book! But it was new for me. The pictures are so lovely and the writing is wonderful and you read it and want to start making something RIGHT away! I am sure Nancy Standlee (TX) has this book as she teaches classes in "altered journals". (see her link off to the right.)

There is a section on ATCs which particularly interested me. But there is EVERYTHING from puppets to working with children collaboratively to folding book instructions..well you name it. I do think I am going to order this book to have. It's great. I have one other similar book as well.
Very fun.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Playing With An Image

This is a little bit of a twist...using the black and white image of the church that I just watercolored and putting into Print Shop 2. I kind of like the effect and thought I'd probably send this one to the church committee for their approval for the cover of the directory.

Naturally, a color version would be the most handsome version but who can afford to print off color copies these days! Yikes. So this might be a nice option instead.

The Watercolor of the Community Church

I did get to move along a little on this. Half the grandsons went sailing and half were immersed in World Cup Soccer.

Putting it into black and white version was sure a help. I did it partly because it is going to be reprinted in black and white and I needed to see how that would look. The other is that it sure gives you a quick and dirty look at the values!

I certainly want to rewash the lawn...darkening it at the right lower edge and grading it lighter at the driveway to give it a little curve down the hill and make the contrast a little better against the driveway. And I think I'll try to make the sign out front show up a little more with contrast by putting more dark behind that area. I think.

I did scrub out the light clouds which are not very visible in black and white but I've decided that is okay. I used a "fabric dye" brush by Loew Cornell which is what Ann Abgott recommended last April in her watercolor class. She likes them better than Fitch scrubbers...more gentle on the paper. I agree.

Community Presbyterian Church of Lac du Flambeau, WI. 9 x 12 140 lb. Arches cold press.

Friday, July 2, 2010

First Glazes on Watercolor

You can see below in the 3 previous pictures of the little church watercolor that the roof line is nice and pristine after the wash of the sky.

Now I am proceeding with some yellow and gray washes on the building and on the roof. I am not going for as much "detail" as I sometimes do on an architectural piece. In actuality the "commission" is for a black and white image to put on the cover of a church directory. So at first I was going to do a ink drawing. But there is already an ink sketch of the church done by someone else and so I thought this might be more fun. I'll have to try to run off black and white copies when I am done with it to see how the value contrast is coming along. Another few hours should complete this.

Right now it's just "floating" and when I start putting in the trees and lawn and the cute little sign out to the right side the painting will begin to take "root". I will also scrub out and soften up the clouds that I lifted slightly while the sky wash was wet and give them a little depth as well.

I haven't really done a watercolor architectural piece since I did that gift for my friend Mary last winter. So this is such a treat! This one is smaller (to fit on an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of copy paper). It's on Arches cold press watercolor paper. My all-time favorite.

Watercolor Art Tip

I learned this tip a long time ago from artist Gordon McKenzie. If you haven't seen his books, but sure to take a look. I took a class from him a long time ago up here in the north woods of WI at Dillman's. He was a great teacher!

If you have a long roof line you'd like to keep pristine in a watercolor...usually an architectural feature but it could be a mountain line or water, you can use regular packing tape (I like Ace brand) to mask it off. Since doing straight lines with mask is rather difficult...this is a honey of an idea that I've used many times. The tape is translucent and you can see your drawing lines lightly through it. Using a straight edge and a very sharp craft knife, you lightly and gently cut through the tape (not cutting paper is trick) and then pull off as you see above. Then I snug it down with my thumbs a little to make sure it's adhering properly. It is absolutely the best mask for a straight edge I've ever found. Generally, it works best on absolutely dry unpainted paper. I've tried it over painted and it's not so good and you risk loss of some color when it pulls up. But you could experiment on a scrap paper and see.

This is a drawing of our little church up here in Lac du Flambeau, WI. It is the Community Presbyterian church.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Moving Ahead One Step More

The red previously at the bottom of this paper painting had to go. Nope. I didn't like it.

I think I am at a spot now where I can stop for awhile. I would like to put the handle on the bucket too. Will be a challenge to do.

I have done 3 of the sunflowers but all rest need paper painting yet. That will be fun to do at the demo on July 16. I also have that "sock monkey" to work on. So plenty to accomplish in the 10:30-1 pm slot!!! There are folks doing demo's all day Thurs, Friday, Sat (15,16,17) at the Manitowish Water's Art show on Highway 51. The show is open Sunday too but I don't remember if there is a demo that day. (see hours off to the right under "events".)

Stop by if you are in the area.

I have a few sketches to do of our church here in the north woods...a gift to them for the cover of the new membership directory.

The grandsons arrive tomorrow evening to say for 8 days. So there won't be a lot of art work accomplished during that time. I hope to do some sketching which I haven't done for awhile.