June 29, 2012

Another Re-Do

I feel like I'm always have to re-do work.  On the mom front, there is the re-do of dishes or vacuuming or whatever other chore my charming son insists he did well.  This is what the kitchen looked like after he said he did the dishes.  You can only see a peek of the very tall cups in the sink.  How does one overlook that (among other things)?

On the artist front, a complete re-do was in order for the current project.  So many details made me unhappy with it.  I think I over-did the beadwork, the size and scale was wrong, the posterization of the photo created a muddy-coloured image with skin too dark and ugly rusty brown.  My latest printer acquisition has proven to be quite the bear for me to manage.  It drinks ink like nothing I've ever witnessed in my life.  I think I can count on fingers and not have to move to toes the number of images I've printed since making the purchase, yet it required three new and separate coloured ink cartridges to keep working.  Then I had to spend an hour with Google trying to find someone, anyone, other than the goobers at Epson that could help with a printer selection issue.  After I got it to understand I wanted to print on a single canvas (by telling it I was printing on a roll of velvet art paper, go figure), it ate a canvas.  The beast sucked it in, sounded like it was printing, then mooshed it back and forth inside and stopped.  The entire canvas was inside the printer with no escape hatch.  A few choice words and whack later, I retrieved the almost usable canvas.  Almost.  I only had to print three to get what I wanted.

Again, I am not a good photographer and have a mediocre camera (I'd like to blame the camera more than the photographer, but I think I'd be lying), but here it is so far.  This is not assembled, just resting loosely together in the sun for the photo op.  I should note that I was inspired to stitch on the photo after seeing the work of artist Hagar Van Heummen (not sure I've spelled that correctly) whom I discovered on Pinterest.  Neat stuff.


Tomorrow I get a break from the heat and the studio, joining my charming husband for a day of art in Laguna Beach.  It's that time of year!  I hope to revisit some of my favourite local artists and maybe pick up a new little something for the house, along with some inspiration and motivation.

June 28, 2012

It's a Winnie the Pooh Kind of Day

I keep saying to myself, "Think! Think! Think!" while trying to come up with a method of concluding my current art project.  The problem with having such a scrambled day-to-day life - running errands, driving kids, trying to be creative, running to the dry cleaners - is that I don't have enough time at one sitting to think things through.  I think I've made a half-muck (if there is such a thing) of this current project.  What was I thinking when I created the image to print out 8-1/2 x 11 inches?  It's canvas, not copier paper!  But it's been stitched, painted and beaded and I'm running out of time, while my mind has half-baked ideas flipping around like a deck of cards being shuffled. 

I spent three hours on the road yesterday driving my son back and forth for his first meeting as an intern for a university professor.  Today I'll spend an least an hour and a half with him at the eye doctor (he's a minor still, so I can't ditch him) with a sketch book in my hands.  I am desperate for some good juju, a muse, anything to work through this dilemma.  Think, think, think some more.

June 24, 2012

Paint, Poke and Bandage

That's what I did today.  I painted, poked myself repeatedly, and applied one Mickey Mouse bandage, followed by a Sponge Bob Square Pants bandage.  Better yet, I got something done.

I can't believe that I actually made progress and like the project so far.  There is always that moment when I'm about to poke a needle through the canvas and make a hole I can't un-poke, or apply paint that dries so fast I can't wipe it off, but I move ahead and think I can always just print another canvas.  Not that THAT was easy to accomplish.  But having survived the printer challenges, I decided to ditch the family today so that they could go to the movies (one of those horrible science fiction movies that keeps you on the verge of a coronary arrest - no thank you!) so that I could work in the studio, not knowing how long this would take.  I managed to do all of tiny stitching and only poke myself about seven times (the needle was super sharp and tiny, so I didn't bleed or curse too much under my breath).  Digging through my art supplies, I found the perfect glass beads to stitch onto the sandy beach to reflect light like little bits of shells.  One of my favorite things in the studio is my Daler Rowney water colours that can be painted on absolutely anything - metal, leather, etc. - and is permanent.  The ones I love most are the pearlescent paints which I used in the surf, a bit of the sky and a few flecks on the sand.  To give the sunglasses a little more texture, I coated the lenses with a glue that dries clear and with a high gloss so they aren't so flat and actually look like glass.  It's not bad!  Now I just have to figure out how to frame or mount it.

Clearly, I also have to get my act together and figure out to take better photographs of my artwork.  I have a lot to learn from my friends who do such a great job.  I did, at least, take this one in natural outdoor light and manage that one baby step.

Today I was reminded how gratifying it is to spend time being creative.  Being inspired by one artist's work helps me with starter ideas, but I can move ahead on my own with one idea leading to another.  Before I know it, I may be doing more art than just talking about doing it.  Better yet, today I did it without apologizing for wanting to work on art instead of go to a movie I didn't want to see.  So there!

June 22, 2012

Finally, On a Roll! Sort Of.

It's been a hard week to make any progress in the studio.  Now that the weather is warmer, I have the back walk-through door to the garage open, and the front roll up door open about halfway, with a fan blasting cooler outside air into the too-warm garage space.  Alas, having a studio kitty and open doors means having studio bugs, the most annoying of which are the stupid flies.  Insects in a house are fairly rare here, something I've jokingly chalked up to the smog killing them.  Last night there was a June bug zooming around.  I consider June bugs to be flying kitty croutons.  If one sneaks into the house, I can toss a cat in the general direction of said flying crouton shrieking, "Get it!  Get the kitty courton!" and eventually it is consumed.  Shudder.  Alas, that doesn't work with a blind studio cat.

The flies (this is disgusting, so avert your eyes if you have a queesy tummy) must be in the midst of a frantic breeding season.  They light on Tabitha's "squishy food" (the canned nastiness) and start laying eggs like a caboose with a machine gun.  Disgusting!  So I curse, smack at them, and fan the bowl while Tabitha gets her fill.  I feel a bit like a cabana boy, missing only the large palm frond for waving.  My sister suggested one of those fly traps that comes in the form of a plastic bag and bait to which you add warm water and, supposedly, wait for the creepy crawlers to slip in and meet their maker.  Alas, the stupid flies continue zooming in figure eights, mocking me and dive bombing for cat food.  Worse, that stupid bait thing smelled like a freaking cadaver.  UGH!  It's now hanging from my steel easel in the back yard and the stench is finally gone from the studio.  I hesitate to put it in the trash container because our neighbor's bedroom is on the side of her house facing our trash bins.  I think that would go badly for all involved.  We'll wait for trash pick up day on Monday morning.

On to the project!  After several failed attempts at versions of an art project using a photo of my sister-in-law, I settled on something I thought I could pull off in this limited time I have until her party.  I tweaked a photo taken of her at the beach when she was young so that it's posterized, then attempted to print it on gessoed (sp?) canvas for further tweaking with thread and maybe some other embellishments.  If only the person who wrote the manual for the printer 1) spoke English as at least a third or fourth language and 2) had someone try to follow the lame directions and steps to make sure they worked.  They didn't.  They were wrong.  Steps were missing, settings were missing, screen shots in the user's guide were NOTHING like the actual screens that appeared.  After many choice words, a few whacks to the printer and a glass of wine, I finally managed to make progress and have printed the photo.  Of course, the borderless photo has borders on two sides, but where there are scissors, there is a way!  Wine first, scissors tomorrow.  A girl has to have some rules!

Here is step one.

June 21, 2012

Amazing video of painting in progress

I absolutely love the site thisiscolossal.com with the many types of artwork that I'd otherwise never have known existed.  This stuff is amazing!  Today I stumbled on this time-lapse video of a self-taught Italian painter Silvia Pelissero creating the most wonderful watercolour.  Love it!

June 20, 2012

Not Much to Show

I've been working, but don't have much to show for it.  With my sister-in-law's milestone birthday celebration looming, I have precious little time to make something for her and I'm determined to make something for her.  Deadlines and a little pressure always get me rolling.  This time around, I was inspired by a few pieces of art I found on Pinterest.  I love the work of Abigail Reynolds, who creates sculptural collages from photographs, one laying atop the other, with cuts and folds in the topmost image revealing the one below.  What a great idea!  Hagar van Heummen uses needle, thread and ink to make what appears to be a photo printed on canvas with the background removed, and stitches added to the canvas as embellishment, providing another great inspiration for play time in the studio.  

So for now, I'm trying to learn how to do some things in Photoshop Elements I should have learned a long time ago.  There's not much to show but a lot of versions of a photo in various stages of change.  Boring to look at, but it's fun to play.  Maybe this weekend I'll have something finished to post.