Friday, June 23, 2017

Good Reads

I am on my second Amazon Kindle. I have purchased the Kindle Fire both times, because I like to stream movies and old television shows that are available on Amazon Prime. For example, after I went through Firefly, the Joss Whedon scifi/western 13 episode tv show, I went into Prime and watched all 7 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, also Joss Whedon. It's me. I turned into a nerd in my 60's, and it is all Nathan Fillion's fault for being on Castle.

I digress.

I buy all novels I want to read in Kindle format, but when it comes to art books or anything to do with instructions, I want a real book in my hand. I like to flip pages, go back and forth. That is not always easy to do with the Kindle, so yeah. Give me the paper paged book every time. The two most recent purchases are above.

Jane Davies is an artist living in Vermont who does collage and abstracts. I adore her work. If I could afford it, it would be hanging all over my house. I took one of her online classes and learned a great deal. When Jane announced her book was published, I ordered it immediately. It is not disappointing me. Dang, this woman challenges you from the start. The first project in the book is mark making. So here is the thing, because there is always a thing:

Dina Wakley had us make marks in her latest online class.

Jodi Ohl has us making marks in her new online class, which I downloaded yesterday, entitled The Zen of Abstract Painting. And now Jane wants us to fill sheets with marks.

There must be something to this, right? Today I am pulling out sheets of paper to do nothing more than make marks. I am going to try every type of pencil and pen I have, and different brushes. Except these sheets are not going to be pitched. I've decided to organize this by labeling each line or area of marks with the implement I am using. Did I mention I bought a package of bamboo skewers on sale at Walmart for $.99? Mark makers. I have a few Catalyst tools in my stash. Yep, mark makers.

Reading these books has helped me realize I am still too tight, too anal with my work. I must loosen my grip and let the medium fly. To a certain extent, that has happened with water colors. But not yet with acrylic paint.

Stay tuned. This could get interesting, or this could be the Prednisone talking that I am now on for sciatica. Ya gotta laugh.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sometimes this helps

Not sure what I have done to myself, but my back is completely out. Whatever it is, the problem is progressing. Calling a doctor today. Yesterday was a very bad pain day. So I ended up taking something for pain and a nap around 4. Woke up and decided I needed to get my mind off my body. Sat down in the studio and did this in a journal. She is far from perfect, but I like her. I don't like what I do, remember?

This is a pencil sketch with water color. I also used heavy body white acrylic paint, some pink heavy body, and a few Neopastel II crayons. The more I use the Neopastel II's, the more I like them. The color is vivid, and they will easily blend with a wet brush.

Going to try another girl today. We shall see.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Setting a goal

Art journal spread

Pastels on water color paper
We all have read the articles that say to become proficient at art, you must practice it every day. I do agree with that, and lately I have not been art journaling. Back at it now. Doesn't matter what it is, if it is a face or abstract or doodles, I am making the small chunk of time available to put something on paper.

One of the Design Team members from Donna Downey, Nika Rousa, does some great tutorials on YouTube. She just did half a face with leaves and flowers, so that is where the idea for the spread came from. I don't like it, not at all, but the fact remains that I did it, thereby learning something . That I don't like it. At all. Laugh, and the world laughs with you.

I had purchased an abstract composition video with Deborah Stewart from Interweave. This was a download, and was on sale. Really good information, but Deborah is a pastel artist. Never used regular soft pastels, which are kind of like chalk, so bought a cheap set at Hobby Lobby with a coupon. That probably was a mistake, because now I want a good set. Just wanted to see if I would like the feel of pastels, and how they respond. Oh, yeah. Blending is wonderful. The next really good sale at, I am ordering a set, but need to research them first. I did receive 2 free Neopastels in a previous Blick order. The color is brilliant, but they have a waxy texture, and took a lot of effort to blend.  Just what I need: another avenue of obsession. Sigh.

Go do some Art. Today!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday, Humid Sunday

Mixed Media on a wood panel

The left mixed media on a wood panel

gardens in front of Touch of Class florist in Crete, IL.

I really like this idea. Took this for Cathy to see

I had a quick trip up to see the kids and grand kids this weekend for high school graduations. During my stay, I received a hair color treatment from my stepdaughter as my Mother's Day present. The front of the building where Tammie has her business is full of flowers, color, and art. The building houses 3 businesses: Touch of Class florist, Becoming You Salon, and Teresa Fe-Fe Art Studio and Clothing design. In case you are ever in Crete, Illinois, this is on Main Street, north side of the road, just west of the famous "yes, we have 1,000 trains a day" railroad crossing.

The gardens are beautiful, but what really caught my eye were the 2 large canvases framing the picture window of the artist studio. What a great idea! They appear to be canvas or wood,  done in house paint. Or perhaps she sealed them with something. Her studio wasn't open or I would have gone in and asked.

I have been slowly adding more art items to the Etsy shop. Take a look if you are so inclined. Adding listings to Etsy is not fast, so I do it when I can.
Have a relaxing Sunday.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Faces yet again

There is a young artist in Georgia who is exceptional. Her website is here. I have paid for and downloaded 3 of her online classes, and they are all excellent quality. Can I paint like Ashli? No. Will I ever be able to? I sincerely doubt it, but that doesn't stop me from trying.

She now has a new class called 5 minutes. It is about grabbing 5 minutes within your day to do something in your art journal. Or make a card. Or draw. But it's about the daily habit of setting aside just 5 minutes. Well worth the price of, are you ready, $5. Yes. 5 bucks for an online class. Go now, please.

This is the double page spread I did after watching the videos. It is water color, some acrylic white paint, and a little Faber Castell gelato. So it put me back in the mood for more faces.

More to come.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Summer Flowers

Clematis in Melissa's backyard


No idea what these are called, but love that color


My legs and feet, Dega washing them

Love this

Make a great abstract painting

Dega on top of the patio table. His favorite spot
Melissa needed someone to let the boy out yesterday, so of course I said yes. We had several moments together, just us. He kissed me a lot, and proceeded to "clean" my shoes with his tongue, then continue up both legs. Not satisfied that he had done a good job cleaning, he repeated the process. That boy has a BIG tongue.

Her backyard is so peaceful with shade and color, and privacy. I am jealous. I love where I live except for the backyard and the fact that it is open to 4 neighboring houses. No privacy. I have considered a privacy fence, except my land slopes down so if I was sitting on the deck, the neighbors could still see me. The chain link fence is here to stay until it falls apart. Or rusts. Then I might just leave it as an artistic statement....

Stay cool. The summer heat is here in full force.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Chaos, or not

Dylusions large journal spread

Dylusions small journal spread

Homemade journal spread

18x24 water color paper

The above, reduced

Close-up of the drips that formed a grid that is just wonderful. To me!

18x24 water color paper, turned to portrait format
This is the reduced water color paper finished. My favorite so far

18x24 water color paper
Months ago I received an email from Jeanne Oliver, an artist that mostly teaches on the internet, about a new class that would start in April from Dina Wakley. I was being offered an early bird discount, and I love Dina and her work anyway, so here is my PayPal and sign me up. Done. Then the Jane Davies class started in real time, meaning for six weeks we did our assignments and had access to Jane, but that all ends this week. Back to Dina.

She started with basic mark making, which if you are going to do mixed media or abstract art, you need to know about mark making. We also started on smaller pieces of water color paper and our journals. I have a few journals (joke, people. MORE than a few). We then moved to laying a base coat of gesso in the journals, making random swipes of paint with our hands, fingers, a brush, the dog's tail, whatever you wanted to use. Creating chaos, not thinking about composition, just get some color down but try to leave some white space. The one rule was you should connect edges. Either side to side, or top to bottom, or both. The white space and connections will help you to control the chaos and pull the piece together in the end steps.

First of all, this is slightly addictive. It is free movement, not quite mindless at the beginning, just play. I'm sure I am not the only one who doesn't always turn the canvas/paper around. You will after this exercise. ALL of mine started in landscape position, and very few have stayed there.

Would I frame any of this and hang it on my wall? The favorite above with the teal circles coming from the right, you betcha! The last one will probably be cut up into 6 pieces for something we are doing at the end of class. That's alright. It is a learning experience.

If you are interested, go to Dina's blog (link on right side bar) and look for her Ordered Chaos class. I think the current price is $45or $48. But I have watched at least 10 videos and am no where near the end. Lots of information for that amount of money, and she truly is a wonderful teacher. Enjoy!