Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday:: Journal

Do you have an art journal? Or a journal of any kind that keeps your thoughts? I did the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron about a year ago-ish. One of the things she has you commit to is Morning Pages. Well, I've been pretty good over time with those and have been pretty diligent in keeping up with them. However, lately I've slacked a bit. Yet, for some reason I have replaced writing my Morning Pages with doodling my Morning Pages. I don't finish these pages in one sitting.. they take a couple three days to build upon themselves.   I'm trying to get myself to draw more - draw again. 
I started coloring this one.  However, I think I like the black and white better.
Page TWO

The Newest page - starting to take shape
Linking up with Paint Party Friday today.  Two blog posts today - wowie.  Last month I combined my self portrait journey with a painted self portrait.  This month - yeah, no ... didn't get to that.  But if you are interested in April's self portrait journey - click here.

In the Picture:: April

I've been reading Christy's blog over at {In the Picture}.  I'm finding the interviews she has monthly with veteran self portraiture photographers to be really inspiring.  It gives me a boost to try some new things and stretch a little more.  Her latest post interview with Vivienne McMaster was great.  Hop over HERE to read it.  April was better for me because I could get outside (YAY!)

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Spring Stroll

Feeling a Bit Sketchy Today

Its a wrap for April.  Still keeping pace on the road to 52 self portraits.
Last month, I combined a painted self portrait in this group for my other Friday fun - Paint Party Friday.  This month - time.  But, if you are interested in what I posted for PPF- click here.

In The Picture

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Wednesday Experiment :: Ink transfer to encaustic wax

I'm coming to realize that I don't think outside of my parameters as much as I should.  I tend to poop along in my studio and work on what I know.  I've talked some about stretching and pushing creativity (here), to try some new things and see where they lead.  It seems to be kind of a mission for me here in the moment.  So, here's what I found::
Yesterday, I stumbled upon the youtube video by Randy Purcell on transferring ink onto wax.  Its a process that I know, however haven't visited for a while.  I've added the video at the bottom of the post if you are interested in watching it.

 I decided to give it a try.  Randy's concept of this procedure is more than I have seen.  He uses magazine pages for his ink source.  As a wax artist, I know that magazine pages and wax don't really mesh due to the slick nature of the paper.  Wax doesn't really bond with it unless you sand it, which will then distort the image.  But.... I have never thought of using the pages for the ink and creating mosaic paintings with strips of paper.

The process is pretty simple. 
  1. First, cut your shapes from magazine pages and place the paper on your wax background.  Be sure the side that has the colors you want is the side next to the wax (face down). 
  2. Second, burnish the paper to the wax. I used the back side of a spoon. 
  3. Carefully sand the top ink off the paper, being sure to not go through.  This removes the slickness from the page and leaves the raw paper exposed.  In the photo above you can see the two to the left are sanded and the one on the right is just through steps one and two.
  4. Take a carving tool and carefully clean up the dust around the edges of the paper.  It is showing as gray in the photo above.
  5. Once you have cleaned up around the edges of your paper, use a heat gun to warm the paper and the wax to help transfer the ink.  I did try using a flame and it worked too, but you have to be careful not to heat it so much that the wax comes through the paper and sets it into the painting.

The final step is to wet the paper with water and rub the paper off leaving the ink which has transferred to the wax.  There is a point at which you can rub too hard and start damaging the ink transfer.  I went ahead and used my flame torch to set the painting after I removed the paper, but you can see in the first photo that it caused the ink to crack and move a bit even though I was careful.  So, a heat gun may work a little better. 
Its important to remember that the ink is just sitting on top of the wax which means that it is a little delicate.  It comes off with linseed oil and it scratches easily.  You can put a thin layer of medium on top to protect it. However, that will dull the colors a bit.  There is a wax sealer(here) that can be used.  I have never used this product but it looks interesting.

Above is Randy's video.  This is a great example of the importance of sharing what we do.  Some artists are worried that if they give up their procedures that they will be copied.  I really believe that since art comes from within each of us with its own unique voice, there is no reason to be worried about being copied because it just really can't happen.  However, by sharing techniques, we all benefit and can take it in a direction that suits our needs.  Thank you Randy for sharing!  

Monday, April 23, 2012

FILM26:: I is for....

On to the 9th letter.
We are a little more than 1/3 of the way through our journey from
A to Z
My goal with FILM26 is to learn more about film photography, more about being more cognizant of the photos I take and to make each one more meaningful.
I can say over the past 4 months that I am getting better at it.  The photos are improving and its fun.  I love the anticipation, the careful framing, the little extra time, the holding of my breath when I go to take the shot, and the little exhale when the shutter clicks. 
This is letter I
I is for...

Me and I


Its not too late to join in on this film journey.  Check out the new blog and the photo loupe posts to see what the other film fans in the group are doing.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Inspiration Today::Blue Trees

There is a place in Seattle with blue trees.  Its Westlake Park in downtown Seattle.
An Australian artist, Konstantin Dimopoulos is coloring some of Seattle's trees with a water soluble ultramarine blue.  It is part of his international art installation The Blue Trees.  A week or so ago, I talked about pushing our creativity.  If you missed this post, I would at least urge you to go and watch the OKGO video there.  I could really see this concept of pushing creativity in Kon's Blue Tree Project.  He had an issue that he felt needed to be raised - but how do you do that in an Ultra - creative way? 

Well, you paint trees Ultra Marine Blue. 
His idea is to bring attention to the deforestation of millions of acres of forests on our planet.  About 32 million acres of forests were converted to other uses or lost to natural causes each year between 2000 and 2010.  This is a big loss of our green nation.
The color itself is made of azurite which is a vibrant blue rock that is ground and mixed with water. It does not harm the tress and will fade away with the rain.  Its an unexpected color to associate with trees, thus bringing our attention to notice them. 
The artist believes that deforestation is a topic that is out of sight.  Its not one that many people stop to think about.  His idea is that with this odd color for trees that people would take pause and learn what the project is and what it represents.  
This is an interesting example of pushed creativity. Point taken. 
"I don't have the answers but I can raise the issue" Dimopoulos said.  
I've been thinking a lot about voice in art.  Its more than just a painting or a photo.  Its what it has to say.  I know I'm trying to find the voice in my art.  How do I make what I do speak of something?  How do I give a voice to a subject or to something that can not speak?  And how do I do this in a two dimensional way?  Its an interesting thing to think about.  I found the Blue Tree project inspiring in the regard that it gives a voice to something that can not speak on its own.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Inspiration Today & Monday Shout Out

We all need to find what makes our heart sin, what moves us.  What is it that makes you feel that flickering instant of joy - when all we do is look at something?  Sometimes there is just that *click* that brings something out from the background.  Ever had words in a book or on a blog post almost jump off the page at you?  What makes that happen?  The right words, the right photo, the right moment for it to really mean something to you - right then at that very moment.  Another day, you would never take notice.. it wouldn't *click*.  It happens in life, it happens in art and it happens in photography. 
I came across an amazing website of a collaborative photography project.  Its beautiful stuff and I hope that you take some time to look at what these people are doing, are photoing - the things that make their hearts sing.. the things that *click*.

Today, start taking notice of the things in your day that *click*.  Also, give a shout out to someone on this Pay it Forward Monday.

Friday, April 13, 2012

For the Love of Creating

As a kid, I used to draw a lot.  My Dad was an Artist, a painter.  I would keep him company in his studio while he painted and I would draw.  Drawing left me for some reason.  It went away and I grew older and it totally left when I went to college.  Sure, I draw a little for my paintings but I don't sketch, I don't just sit and draw.  I was talking to my Mom about this a few weeks ago - that I don't draw anymore.  She was surprised because of the countless drawings I had done growing up.  The great ones hung on the fridge - the others were in stacks until there was enough to bind in a notebook.  I had books of drawings.  I had drawings on my bedroom walls.   My Dad would buy a ream of paper just for drawing.  It sat in his studio next to a jar full of pens, a box of charcoal and sharpened pencils.  As a kid, I wasn't allowed to have coloring books - I was to draw my own.  So that's what I did.
My Mom came up with the great idea - "why don't you challenge yourself to draw everyday for a month and then reward yourself with a prize - but only if you have a drawing for each day".  Isn't Motherly wisdom wonderful?  Well, great idea, but I fell flat after three days and put the sketch book back on the shelf to sit again. No prize.

Last night I was tinting some pages in my travel journal.  I like to keep a travel journal and I like to write on water colored pages.  They are simple - just tinted with color a few random shapes.. nothing, really.   I painted this tree.. why?  No clue.  It was just put in loosely with water color and really didn't look like much.  Then I grabbed my favorite ink pen and the magic started.

My Dad and I used to draw in this kind of style.  We would put in loose watercolor shapes and then spend time outlining with a pen the shapes and creating textures with line - creating the drawing and the detail as how we felt in the moment.  It was like he was sitting there with me - like old times, just the two of us, drawing.  I haven't done a drawing like this in years (a really very long time).  When the drawing was complete, I just sat there and stared at it.  It was like - wow, I remember - but what really got me was - wow, how did I forget?  Its like something shifted, something happened. It was magic.  It was the joy of creating.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday Exchange #5 :: Something New

Four weeks exploring the sea was wonderful for me.  I loved having a focus and a theme.  Four weeks is a good amount of time to dig in a little deeper.  I enjoyed that aspect of the IM Project, a lot.
My partner in this project, Ingrid, is going to take a break for a while.  Her break is indefinite at this point, but she will be back.  But, I decided I will carry on.  The reason to go the road alone is that its good for me to keep exploring, to look at things a little differently, to take time with a theme and topic and really get into it. 
The other day, I went on a photo walk.  It was a very typical spring day - rain, hail, rain, sunbreaks and full out blue sky and sunshine.  Sometimes, we just have to go - go anyway... rain or shine.   Here are some of my favorites of the day.

 I love Magnolias. 
 These are the famous Yashino Cherry Trees on the Quad at the University of Washington campus.  They were the reason for my photo jaunt.  I go every year to see them. 

 Things are waking up in the wetlands.  Its time for new.  Yet, the old is still standing guard over the new shoots and seedlings that are just starting.
 It really did rain on me.  Hard at times.  Yet that didn't deter my photo jaunt. 
With all that said..... I will be on to a new topic of inspiration for another four weeks. However, I'm going to take a break from the studio for a couple of weeks first. It will give me some time to think about what it is I really want to explore for the next inspiration. I have some really exciting ideas rolling around in my head. I'll just have to wait and see which one comes to the surface.  Happy Tuesday everyone. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Friday, April 6, 2012

Inspiration Today::Are you pushing your Creativity?

under the sea

This is the last of the series of sea paintings.  Its been wonderful exploring the sea and its underwater beauty.  Next week, I will start on a new inspiration and see what that brings to my art.
encaustic and paper on birch panel 5x5

I've been thinking a lot about creativity, lately.  Seems like its in the front part of my mind these days.  The big questions I have been pondering is do I push my creativity enough?  Does my art have a voice?
I came across this video by OKGO - it made me realize that there are no boundaries, no limits to what we can do as artists.  You think you are pretty creative?  Check out this video - Creative Genius is even an understatement here::

Have you ever played the observation game?  What do you see?  You will usually always state the obvious things.  Then you ask again - What do you see?  We can usually come up with a few more things.. but by the third time - What do you see? Many of us get stumped.  Yet, if we allow ourselves to really see - to see the multidimensional layers of what's around us - then maybe we do start to see.  So, what if we adopt this in our art?  photography?  music?  OKGO obviously could get past all the boundaries that we set for ourselves.  I mean, REALLY, who comes up with stuff like this and then how in the world do you pull something like this video off?!!  REALLY! 
Its time to push a little or push a lot.  Its time to re-think and re-frame.  Its time to get a little more creative in what we do.  So, here's a proposal:: What if every time we do our art, we set aside a little time at the end to really try some new stuff, to push ourselves to dig in a little deeper.  You may be happy with what you do now, but maybe you will find something beyond what you do now that is even more exciting.  Start today really looking at the inspiring things around you and see what it can bring for you.  How can you push your photography? your painting? your music? your whatever it is that you do?  I'm going to try it and I'm kinda excited about it.  Think about it and you'll feel that little bubble of excitment grow from inside. 

I'm linking up with Paint Party Friday today.  I'm sorry to say that I will be out of the studio for the next couple of PPF weeks.  I will miss all of you. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday Exchange #4

This is the last week for the SEA theme with my friend Ingrid. Hard to believe that these four weeks have gone by so quickly.  Something new next week - but you have to wait because we are still exploring the sea.  
Charts + Aquarium = some pretty fun stuff  
 Remember the charts I found at the Antique store?  And remember my trip to the Seattle Aquarium?   This is how things in the studio have come together. 

encaustic and paper on birch panel 5x5
I find when I paint - just for me or for someone I love, that my paintings turn out pretty well.  I find that when I paint for some other reason - like to sell, or it has to be done by a certain date, or its for a project that I am feeling pressed about, or ________ (you fill in the blank), the paintings are a struggle.  They don't really come together and they are challenging.
Holy Mackeral x2
encaustic and paper on birch panel 5x5
 These paintings were all done for me, just for fun.  I loved doing them and they make me smile.
encasutic and paper on birch panel 5x5
Now I have come to understand that when a painting is giving me trouble, I can ask myself "Am I painting for the right reasons?" 
Oh - and there is one more of this Sweet Suite - I've saved the best one for last.  Come back on Friday to see the last of the SEA paintings. 
And... those charts I bought.. I'm not the only one thinking they are cool.  More here.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Photo Heart Connection - March

Mukilteo Beach
This photo is taken with Ilford Super 400 film and my old Nikon 401.  I've been playing around with film this year.  I wanted to better my eye and be more cognizant of framing my photos and really paying attention to what I'm doing.  Film does that for me.  I have 24 frames and each one needs to be thoughtfully taken.  Out of habit, I take a photo and immediately look at the back of the camera to see my shot.  However, there is no feedback with film - no way to make adjustments.  Its all guesswork for me.  I have to wait until the entire roll is taken and then developed.    I always "go for it" - I get the entire roll printed 4x6.  I want to see them all - good or bad. 
I can't tell you how I feel when I open the photo envelope after picking up the prints.  The anticipation of seeing how I did.  The excitement of looking through them as I sit in the car.  Then I think about them on the way home.  I lay them out on the dining room table when I get home.  I pick my favorites, I put the worse ones in a pile to the side.  Each one is special - each one holds meaning for me.  Maybe its a little nostalgia, or maybe its the way that film in its grainy goodness just makes photos a little different for me.
This photo is my photo-heart connection pick this month.  It was a cool day, not windy and not really sunny either.  I was perfect in its own way.  This photo speaks to me like a whisper of days gone by.  When I was a kid and we would spend endless hours like this at the beach.  No agenda - just fun.  Our imaginations would run wild with mermaids, sandcastles and whatever else we could dream up.  I watched these kids for a while before taking this photo.  Any one of them, was just like I had been. 

And today is Pay It Forward Monday - where you give a shout out and a *clap*clap* to someone for the great things they are doing.  Last week I gave a shout out to Justine who came up with this great idea.  This week - a shout out to Kat of Kat Eye Studio.  She runs this photo-heart connection and inspires us all with her photo love blog, e-courses, post card exchanges and all the other amazing things that she brings to us from her studio.  Next Monday and all the rest, I urge you to climb on board with Pay It Forward Monday and spread some love out there in blog land.
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