Monday, February 27, 2012

Handmade books.

I went to a workshop yesterday given by a friend (wonderful artist, check out her website wherein we made handmade hardcover books.  I used some of the fabric that I had prepared in the workshop with Kerr Grabowski last fall.  This is the third workshop I have attended, given by Laine, and each time I have been impressed with how organized and how generous she is.  In earlier workshops we've made a softcover book using painted canvas and another using fabric with stamping and sewing, all aspects prepared during the class.  This is the first time I have used a previously prepared piece of fabric   Here's a look at yesterday's book.

And here is a shot of the inside front cover.

A fun workshop.  A fun day.
And today, the sun is shining and the birds are singing, so far so good!!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Paints and pastels. Shapes and shadows.

I am starting work on a couple more pages and am trying out various layouts.  Many years ago my sister gave me some soft pastels so I have painted and pastelled (verb: to pastel, is there such a thing??) a picture of a ginger jar.  They aren't properly placed just yet....simply side by side for comparison. 
Still trying to find a method and a medium that I truly enjoy.  I am leaning more and more towards a pen outline and then paint.  I like the way it is loose and not, all at the same time.  And the pastels are lovely, but quite messy.  But hey, lots more playing to do!! And therein lies the fun! 
So I am also playing with various layouts and took a number of photos, because the old brain keeps misplacing the images I try and hold on to.  So much easier to print out a few ideas and use the brain for the important where I put my coffee!
More on all of this later.  I  have to finish my coffee. I'm pretty sure it's around  here somewhere!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The bottom of the garden.

Ok, I realize this is a pretty sad little effort and if you are a watercolourist do look away, but I can't tell you what a thrill I get from this medium.  I find the sort of atmospheric look (that some artists seem to achieve so effortlessly) quite divine and the wet-in-wet techniques so beautiful, but I find them so very very difficult. Nonetheless, I am determined to keep trying.  And trying.  And trying. Which I guess is what it's all about.  In the meantime, bear with me through the first can only get better, right???!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Squash. Such colours!!

I was looking through some of my pictures of vegetables the other day and couldn't resist sharing these ones.  Oh, the colours!!!  Too beautiful.
Aren't they amazing!! Isn't nature grand!!
Nonetheless, with all this gorgeousness I am once again stuck for inspiration.  I have fallen on my creative 'but'....but I can't think of anything to do, but what if it doesn't turn out, but what am I going to do next..... Oh well, maybe if I go and read for a while, perhaps a nap would help, a cup of tea...we'll see.  I'll be back...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Kerr Grabowski

I attended a workshop last fall  in Coupeville, WA with Kerr Grabowski.  It was such a lot of fun and she is a wonderful teacher.  Here are a few pics of some of the work I did there.  These were done using Cretacolour Aquastix, pastels and charcoal and were set with a transparent base for fabric (from Prochem, although at home here I can more easily get one made by Speedball).  This was applied through a silkscreen in order to permanently set what would otherwise be a fugitive element (they do need to be heatset, however).  The process does change the hand of the fabric somewhat but at the same time it opens up the possibilities of what elements can be applied to fabric.  I'm still working with ideas for monoprinting onto fabric and the application of colour afterward.  So many possibilities.....
This one is a charcoal rubbing.  Still more ideas swirling.....

Ok, now to get at SOMETHING.....

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saint Malo monoprint.

This is the monoprint of the earlier watercolour that I did.  I prepared the monoprint on ordinary copy paper and then applied it to the page with matte medium, being careful to not get any of the medium on the monoprint.  I painted it with watercolours, the same mixture as previously, cadmium yellow pale, french ultramarine and alizarin crimson.  This paper behaves differently than the watercolour paper (!!) but was nonetheless still cooperative!  I made a stamp of a lemon out of sponge and printed it down the left-hand page and then put another one of my stamps down as a sort of border.  It was too dark initially so I knocked it back somewhat since it was screaming for a lot of attention before.  I really really want to try this out on fabric so hope to get at that in the next while.  In my spare time.  Which I seem to have mislaid somewhere!  Back soon.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

More lemons.

I've played around with this one for a bit.  I've used just french ultramarine, cadmium yellow pale and alizarin crimson.  Still working on those neutrals!  And still lots of work to do.  But such a lovely medium!  And so nice of you not to mention how they look like oranges!!
Ok, now for the monoprint.  Here's hoping I can get a lemon, but not, if you see what I mean.....


Another monoprint, tulips this time.  I applied the monoprints with matte medium and then went over the open part on the left hand page with clear gesso.  There is no medium at all on top of the monoprinted paper as I was careful to avoid getting any on the paper....just copy paper, nothing special.  Then I used watercolours over top of that:... french ultramarine, alizarin crimson and cadmium yellow pale.  More experimenting here: I'm trying to mix greens and neutrals from the pure pigments.  Still not thrilled about the watercolours on top of the clear gesso, but it is so much better than anything else I've tried. And admittedly they were more of a wash here than anything else so they really don't have the oomph they might need to stand up to the gesso. I'll keep experimenting.
Here are the separate pages:

So today I am going to try some more lemons.  We'll see.....  well, and then you'll see!!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

When someone gives you lemons....

So here is the first lemon offering.  I painted the lemons directly onto the gesso...I don't think I've done that before.  Not so that it mattered anyway.  And I'm still fumbling my way through the watercolour thing.  Painting on gesso is so much different than painting on watercolour paper. 
I've prepared a monoprint of the next one but I think I'll try it on watercolour paper as well, just to see.  I really like the learning part, even if I'm not always thrilled with the results!  So, I'll keep pushing.....

And here's what I was enjoying yesterday....

Masses of lovely!!  See you soon. 

These ones. I'm playing with these ones.

I have a little point and shoot camera.  It's all I'm taking with me when we go on our trip but I think it'll be all right.  The nice thing is that it fits in, and stays in, my bag all the time.  So I always have it with me when I see something I want to point it at.  I pointed it at these lemons the other day and so these are the two shots I'm going to play with today.  And if you never see another reference to them ever again, I know you'll be too polite to ask!!  What's the point!!??
Oh, that is such a funny little word if you say it really often!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Once again, with stamping!!

So, I sat with the previous piece for a bit and decided that it did indeed need some stamps.  I think that the stamp balances the two vertical elements on the left-hand page and also tends to cozy up the piece a bit.  (I'm pretty sure that I saw that as a design element:...."make sure your piece is cozy".)  In addition, the stamp sort of prevents the cup on the right-hand side from sliding off the page which it seemed in danger of doing before.  I'll put it at the bottom of this post so you can see the two together.  What do you think???
A  friend gave me a bag of lemons the other day.  And I'm pretty sure I can do something with those.  Besides pie.  So I'll just grab a coffee and have a think!  Thinking is good.  As opposed to housework!  Back soon.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Can't stop!! Maybe it's the coffee!!!

Here is another one.  This one is a monoprint cut in half and each half painted and elaborated upon. I may do some stamping on it as well, can't quite decide.  I feel as if I'm getting a bit manic about all of this!!!  As if I should maybe stop and breathe a little bit!!  But I'm sort of pushing to get some work done because we're leaving in a couple of months and then I'm signed up for Gail Harker's Level Three Stitch class starting in August and I know there will be a research and work project that will be assigned, to be completed before classes begin.  So here I am, pushing away!!

I think some stamping might be in order in which case I'll show you later.  But for now, I have to digest what is going on here..... Back soon.  I'm going to try and breathe a bit.  Maybe try tea...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Revisiting favourites

I am having fun thinking up new uses for stamps I made a long time ago.  And I'm having fun playing with the watercolours.  Such a beautiful medium.  So here is the latest offering....
I am also LOVING the whole monoprint thing and am thinking about thickened dyes on fabric.  I'll give this a try before too long I suspect.  I gessoed this page, collaged with matte medium and then went over that with clear gesso so I could use the watercolours on top of that.  I didn't find they went down quite so easily as before, but I was trying out a different brush, that doesn't seem to carry quite so much paint.  For the little green bottle I just painted on tissue paper and collaged it down afterwards.  I'm pleased with that as a technique but I don't really like the way the bottle seems to stand out from the piece now.  I lilked the optical exchange between the bottle and the wine glasses that was happening before.
See what I mean?  Anyway, it's on there now!!! Something to think of for later though.  Here's a closeup of the bottle...
So that's it for today.  I have a few more ideas percolating but today I'm babysitting so THAT little mouse will be my focus for the day.  Followed by the resting part.  I'm really good at that part! Back soon!!