Friday, April 30, 2010

Another Experiment

Because I knew from the beginning that this would not be a finished piece, I felt free to throw everything I had into the collage background - papers from dark to light, more photos in black and white and color, and also leaving parts of the background canvas exposed. The photo overlay is printed on a piece of art tissue cut to a size to fit my inkjet printer and sprayed with a fixative when the ink was dry.  The piece is built on an 8"x8" canvas.

I had to be very careful when applying the tissue paper to the canvas as it is quite fragile when wet, but the tissue paper worked very well!  I learned that I need to be much more careful with the placement of the parts of the collage as they relate to the photo - anything under a white part of the photo will show through almost too well, and papers that are too dark will blur details.  Next time I will cut my collage pieces to exact size so that I don't get a ridge where the papers overlap, and also not leave any of the canvas exposed as it stands out like a sore thumb.  Or a mistake, LOL.

My next experiment will be with tiling an image - I want to work larger than the 8"x10" size that my printer limits to.  Getting closer...!

Monday, April 26, 2010


I have absolutely fallen in love with the work of Michelle Caplan.  I couldn't find any tutorials to duplicate her techcnique, but it didn't look so hard so I thought I'd give it a shot. So far I haven't managed it.   I have to say that experimenting is not really my thing - I am lazy enough to prefer to work from a materials list and a set of instructions.  Sigh...

This piece was my first try.  I didn't want to mess with an image transfer, so I used a transparency sheet and just glued it to the canvas.  It didn't adhere very well - the white stuff around the main image is crackle paste to seal down the edges - and the surface is unpleasantly shiny.  I am actually surprised that I was able to get a photograph without any glare.

For my second attempt I printed my main photo on a Jacquard product called Extrav Organza. The results are closer to what I want, but still not quite right, which is too bad because I absolutely adore the under collage on this one, even though I didn't add as much color as I thought. (If you click on the image to enlarge it, you can see some of the fun things I found to use.) I knew I was in trouble when I saw how much ink seeped through the fabric onto the backing paper. It just isn't dark enough to show as much as I wanted it to do. 

So far I have learned that I need to use a canvas no larger than my image, and also that I don't like round canvases. If only I knew what she uses to print her main images on! Back to the drawing board...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Up, up, and Away

I don't know how common it is to see hot air balloons in other parts of the world, but they aren't unusual here. It's early in the season, so this morning there were only these three.

This one drifted close enough for me to hear the roar of the heat jet and to exchange waves with the pilot.  I've never seen another hot air balloon with quite this shape before.  Isn't it odd?

Unfortunately, it was early and cold and I was bare footed or I would have taken the time to check the auto focus on this shot. Oops... On the other hand, see how close we are to getting real green around here again! Yay!!

I wonder if I would ever be brave enough to take a ride in one.

Over the past two days I have finally had time to really focus on making some art, and oh my, that feels so good.  I finished my challenge piece and got it photographed and entered - I won't know for a few days how it does, but I will put up photos when I am allowed. I also finished sculpting the last face on my sea spirits shell and have been experimenting with some collage techniques. It's been kind of a creative thrill ride for me this weekend - I'll put up some more photos once my camera battery is recharged.

Friday, April 23, 2010

No photos this week

This week's theme for the Photo-A-Week challenge was "Something Funny or Surprising" -- I have been haunting the farm with my camera waiting for *someone* to do something funny, but it isn't happening.  Maybe next week, LOL.

On the other hand, I have been very busy in the studio, but unfortunately I can't post photos yet as this piece is for an anonymous challenge.  I am pretty happy with it so far, and so I look forward to being able to share pictures.

Have a great weekend everybody.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Learning Experiences

What do you know... I did another little watercolor sketch this week and I don't hate this one! It still turned out a little muddy and too heavy-handed, but definitely an improvement over earlier efforts. I *am* a better painter today, and maybe tomorrow I will be better yet. 

Because I needed to reassure myself that I could still paint something reasonably decent, I picked up this little 4"x4" canvas I did last fall in Jean Bernard's  online painting techniques class.  The blues looked like water to me, so I did this fancy little gold fish and added some silk seaweed for a little texture.  I think the little seahorse charm is the perfect finishing touch.  Just a little something simple to soothe a bruised ego, LOL.

Remember this shell project? It makes a nice in-hand project for watching TV with the family at night. Only one more face to go, and now that I have the eyes to finish it, it shouldn't be too long now before I can start embellishing.

I can't wait for the weekend.  It is just too hard to go to work when I feel like being creative.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Photo of the Week - "Reflections"

Today's theme had me sweating there for a while.  I have no idea what I was going to shoot...  until the sun came out this morning and the puddles left by our never-ending spring rains were all reflecting a kaleidoscope of images. Ah, I love the sunshine...

This birdbath needs a cleaning desperately, but the green water made a perfect reflecting surface for the honeysuckle vine behind it.   It is marvelous to feel that spring is here at last and that yes, summer IS coming.  Oh, I can almost smell the honeysuckle now!

This photo was a bonus for today - I wanted to play with a backlit image in RAW format in Photoshop Elements, and I didn't even notice my kitty's reflection in the window until after I uploaded the image from my camera. I sometimes wish I were one of my cats... spoiled things, LOL.  This is Mocha, my dainty lady cat.  She is the sweetest thing, and very affectionate.

I have been happily making mud with my watercolors all this week.  I haven't created anything worth photographing, but at least I have learned a lot about what *not* to do.  Lesson #1 - LET THE PAPER DRY BETWEEN LAYERS.  Lesson #2 - do NOT forget Lesson #1.  You would think it would be easy, but it isn't. 

I found a quote I like that keeps me going:  "I am happy to know that I will be a better painter tomorrow for having been an awful painter today."  (Jeanne Carbonetti)   I LOVE it.   In spite of that encouragement however, I picked up some acrylics this morning, just to give my battered self-esteem a boost.  I'll try and post some pics tomorrow.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

New Toy! and updates

Who doesn't love a new toy?  Mine is a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II lens for my camera.  I have been wanting one for ages and finally managed to save up enough to buy one.  (They aren't expensive as far as lenses go, but still not part of the daily budget.  Dreaming of macros here, LOL!)  Check out these 2 quick snaps...

This first one is of a doorknob in my house.  Ah, they don't make them like these any more.  Isn't it pretty?  But check out that laser sharp focus!

This little crystal hangs in my kitchen window. I had to touch up this photo just a little to correct the backlighting, but I had no idea how much of a difference different lenses can make - I could never get that soft focus background with my normal lens. Not without Photoshop anyway. Oh, I'm starting to feel like a photographer now!

I have reached a stopping place with my hummingbird. I literally cannot touch it again with a brush. At least, not until I have a few more successes under my belt. I have wanted to learn to paint for so long - perhaps the day will come when I will look back at this little sketch and laugh, but for today I am kind of proud of him.

And finally, thank you to all who sent us well wishes over the loss of our pet AND to Jake for healing for his hand. It is hard on a man like him to have the limits put on the use of his dominant hand, and Lydia and I have had to supervise him pretty closely - "clean" and "dry" are 2 words he has a hard time with, LOL - but the cuts are closing nicely now and he should be back to normal soon.

Is it spring where you are yet? (Or, if you are in the southern hemisphere, can you feel the end of summer coming?)

Monday, April 05, 2010

Photo of the Week - "Something Easter-y"

I have to be honest... my intentions were good, but I forgot to take my camera with me to church, which is too bad, because there was no shortage of "Easter-y" stuff to shoot yesterday. I really wanted to get some portraits of little girls in their new dresses. I MISS dressing little girls, LOL!

Forgetting my camera was the first and least of our problems for the day however. Church ran long, and we came home to discover that our little alpaca had died. He was old and had a good long life, but still...

Later in the day we got a phone call from our outside hand that something was wrong with the feed wagon, so Jake headed out into the rain to deal with it. It was only a thrown drive chain, which was pretty easily fixed, but somehow some rocks had gotten inside and starting it up would only have made the chain fall off again, so... the whole thing had to be emptied by hand with a pitchfork. Jake got his workout in for the day for sure! Unfortunately, he also managed to slice up his hand pretty good. He was all for just slapping a band-aid on it, but I made him go into town to get some stitches.

We still managed to have a nice time at dinner though, so it was a happy holiday after all. It could have been worse!

I actually finished this canvas last week, but it took me this long to get it hung up and photographed. I really do need to work on my focus. Anyway, it looks great in my bathroom.

I started a small watercolor sketch of a photograph I took last spring, and so far I like it - no "mud" yet at any rate. Perhaps I am finally getting the hang of this stuff? I include a photo today because if I ruin it, this is the last you will ever see of it.

So far, so good.  Next time though, I will begin with a plant a little less inricate than rosemary.  Argh...