Friday, December 6, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

Feast or Famine - and a review of Suzi Blu's Mixed Media Girls.

There's a trick some people who do creative commercial work AND creative personal work figure out.  This trick allows them to do both at the same time, in a fluid integrated way.

I've yet to figure out what this trick is. :(

Anyhow, some new personal work, finally.  Sort of personal not-so-personal.

The first one I did

You can tell I'm completely uncomfortable with intentionally non-proportionate bodies! Life drawing FTW.

SO cute! The formula has a point....

A bit more "My own" - face is integrated into painting, eyes are less Bill Keane, and she's awfully tired looking.

Yes, I've been playing with the Suzi Blu girls, like the rest of the internet, and so these are derivative and NOT for sale and all that.  I have no idea why I felt drawn to doing these - go ahead. It's all there to criticize, everything about the Mixed Media art scene and look, and yet, I felt like doing it. Maybe it's a "get it out of my system" but more like a "get it into my system."

I have to say, even for an old dog like I am, there are some really nice new tricks in her courses, and I like the book! I like the book quite a lot! It's not about creative fluff, it's some boilerplate ideas for making things look a certain way.  If you can't stand the idea of having to come up with an idea, it will get you working anyway.

 It also gave me some new technical ideas (beeswax, always hated prismacolors till


Said book

 A lot of people come after Suzi for coming after people who use THE TEMPLATE without altering it. One can get into an argument about the origins of the big eyed girl, whether Suzi is wrong in protecting secret sauce that's not hers to start with and blah, but mainly, I got the book to get out of a rut. It's good for that.

A lot of others complain that you're encouraged to just make someone else's art. Well, this is kind of the point. It's about running something through your own filters enough times so that your own filters start to change it.  This is a subconscious process - you're not going to get that done in time for the next craft show.

It's geared toward non-artists, but instead of pep talks, you've given some actual time making a structured project, not just "feeling" paint at the canvas, as with some of the books I can't stand.

A lot of mixed media books lately are really REALLY content poor and they're just outlets to showcase the artist's work. Some people feel that way about this book, but seriously, have you SEEN some of the others on market? (There's nothing "workshop" whatsoever about Creative Illustration Workshop)  I'm very frustrated with this trend, and I always get annoyed when these books get a huge fanbase.  There's so little technical or useful information in some of them beyond "be brave enough to make a mess!"

Well, some of us don't have the Martha Stewart home with no paint on our pink and white gingham universe or a rigidly neat upbringing to overcome. Making a mess isn't the issue, it's a question of having no idea what mess to make on a given day.

Overall: Book, good, art, OK, making art again? GRAND.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

New Print: Great Escape

New Shop Stuff:  Print!

Last night was one of those strange nights of total artistic failure and then a modicum of success when you remember to take a deep breath and switch directions.  I was working on something very intuitive, loose and messy, watching this image parade through variation after variation, none of them exactly what I wanted.

I wound up covering everything with gesso and paper. Working time: 9 hours.  

Sometimes them's just the breaks as they say.

So - long after I probably should have gone to sleep - I popped open one of my myriad 9x9 journals, and started drawing. 

It's everything the other isn't. Tight, straightforward, bright, flat, logical.  And it came on quickly and happily. Working time, about 2 or 3 hours. I didn't count too carefully.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Another Hawk Image Transfer Project

My favorite bird, actually, the pint-sized, brightly colored, female Kestrel, a tiny falcon, an outstanding avian Mom, and a killer of moths. Her mate is superdad, and even brighter blue on his wings.

This version uses the gel medium transfer method.

I'm in favor of less sparrow, more sparrowhawk.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Image Transfer - Hawk Image Transfers

I decided to play with some image transfer possibilities. I recently came across this magnificent page from a 1914 book on birds - my favorite raptors all on two sides, under no copyright (I researched.)  Natrually, I had to scan.

it's about to get messy

I covered some wood rounds in some decorative paper,  and augmented with pen, gesso, paint and distress inks. 

Then I used the wax paper method of transfer with my printer. Many many failures, one just about perfect, distressed but still legible. Boy that's not as easy as people make it look in the tutorials.  You really have to experiment with wetting and not wetting your surface, and different settings for the inking. I think I like the gel medium method better - it's still plenty unpredictable but legible more often.

Any tips for a better wax paper (label sheet with labels peeled off) inkjet transfer experience?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cliff Roberts Via Pinterest

Source: via Girl on Pinterest

Bon Appetit : Digital Collage

Quick and dirty digital collage for the Collage Circus group on Flickr.  The size is smallish, as the images were for online resolutions.

Click and visit my photostream

Collage Circus posts a collage sheet for the group on a weekly basis, and everyone can submit a digital or analog version of what they choose to do with the elements.  Digital collage for me, is a good playtime, just a low-key visual push-up.  Experienced designers will probably find my Pshop skills really poor, but I'm really a rank amateur at this part of things.

 I loved the perversity of the crowned pig right next to the ham loaf recipe in this case.

Pig in crown - kellyKautz
Mushrooms - art-e-ology
Background - magpiearts
Hamloaf recipe - sassyarts
Background - magpiearts
Wild roses- t42goller
Rosewood font
Open Source brushes and Custom shapes

More Hybrid art blocks - analog and digital collage

If this snow doesn't quit I may lose it. They're threatening us with more of it at the end of the week. Sometimes I think the Minnesota art scene is a result of cabin fever. People tend to have one of two relationships with nature here - we're in the land of 10,000 contemplative landscape painters, and 10,000 quirky introverted screenprinters who never leave the studio. And one and only one Scott Seekins, goes without saying.

I've been meaning to get into some camera walks, but sadly my body is not being very helpful lately, and the only visually interesting views I've been getting are doctor's offices. Blah.  I'm not one of those people who's going to blog illness a lot, and no, I'm not going to keel over imminently, but I'll summarize it all with a hearty this sucks and get on to the art. 

Yes, it's my Calgon, my shrink, my transportational key outta here when things are dark.  I do see the work taking a more serious look on, but I'm trying to stay upbeat more often than not.  I'm also wondering how many people would be interested in possibly a course, or a swap or a blog hop or a challenge or some kind of social coming-together around what I'm choosing to call Hybrids (though my sweetie likes "digilog" or "origlicates")


More fun still with the hybrid technique.

This one is a work in progress, though almost done, I think.
Recognize her?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Unique Editions: Paperyum @

I found some wooden shapes with some dimension, and started playing with decorative papers.

Then I started thinking about treating my own art as a collage sheet, using the epson to output different sizes of images from my work and my journals, and treating these as underpaintings.  Wow! This has really had some great results. Deco papers and hand stamping and embellishment, acrylic surface treatment and careful hand alteration and hand painting!

The best part, is that the result is a low cost way for my fine friends and fans to own UNIQUE art that is handmade! Fun!


Let's have a look at what's been added:

includes 7gypsies papers, my own art, acrylic, TPC studio stamps.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Are you entered to get GOLDEN paints free?

I'm a sucker for a good giveaway, and I'll make no bones about it: GOLDEN acrylics blow everything else out of the water.

So are YOU entered in the drawing that Cloth Paper Scissors is running?

Win this GOLDEN acrylics bundle @ Cloth Paper Scissors

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Added to the Shop - "Heart Girl" 8x8 print

Click for the latest shop addition: a print of "Heart Girl"  - 8x8 Epson Ultrachrome inks on Somerset Velvet Paper.

Work In progress

A fast look at one of my canvases in progress.

We had some nice weather. I've been trying to get a good hawk in silhouette photo.  This should be easy, because they're typically everwhere. There's almost a one-hawk-to-a-lightpole population density! Of course the days I actually HAVE the camera and go out with a purpose, there are no birds anywhere, practically.  This was the only good photo op I got in two days!


Monday, April 1, 2013

Illustration Feature - Found on the Web

I love when illustrators can get this succinct and this effective. This is a great little piece.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Cut and paste - when bad things happen to good drawings

So I had this rather good drawing that got completely overdone. This happens. I'm very bad at knowing when to stop sometimes. 

This collage, too, is overdone, but I think that works out more OK than not in this case. Overall I think it's a nice artistic save. I want to push my color palette a little bit into less comfortable territory.  I'm enjoying working with decorative papers, also, and I'm thinking about other approaches to patterns.

So, what do you do when you botch it? I also digitized the figure before I glued her in, so I may work with her again in the future. I'm beginning to truly love my printer!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Journal page - The Garden of the World

Some stamping and stenciling with abandon, and a quote. And --- green. Finally broke 40 degrees here!

Simon Says Stamp and Show : Quotable Challenge

Monday, March 25, 2013

...And the original image - mixed media painting @ paperyum

Here is the original image. I worked back into it and you'll see some subtle differences.  It's great fun layering all the papers and seeing what emerges in the end - while a lot of the first layer gets covered, bits of it come through.

6x12, acrylic, inktense pencils, decorative papers, stenciling, vintage book pages, stamping.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Color this Quote Challenge

The fine folks at Artists in Blogland featured my work as part of show off saturdays! Check them out.

This is a paper collage, featuring multiple  hand alterations to a print of one of my paintings, some collage with decorative papers, some stenciling, some lace, some vintage book pages,  and some hand stamping. The wings are from The Graphics Fairy.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Postcard Art - Now He Knew What Shalimar Knew

“For now he knew what Shalimar knew: If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.”

― Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon 

Over at Collage Obsession, the theme this week is "I can Fly."  I was doing some online digging and this young man's image really grabbed my attention, suggesting a less whimsical interpretation of the theme. I don't remember exactly how Song of Solomon bubbled up through my consciousness, but I'm glad it did - it puts everything here into the perfect context. If you haven't read it yet, do so, certainly.

Images and patterns are from The Graphics Fairy and Vintage Printable.
My own collection of vintage millinery flowers.
Decorative papers, walnut ink, distress stain, white posca, doily.


Collage Obsession I can FlySo Artful Shades of Brown

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Try it on Tuesday

Top 5 winners please grab our blinkie
So I like, won top 5!
This week they have a bonnet challenge, and I'll probably get something together again.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Shabby Chic Hedgehog ACEO cards

So, in the interest of getting over my stamping weirdness, I entered a Shabby Chic challenge over at Simon Says Stamp and Show

Some fast fun - these shabby chic hedgehog cards are digitally collaged (vintage nature illustration and papers from The Graphics Fairy) , hand embellished with inks and with a vintage millinery flower.

I'm leaving them blank mostly - but I added an example of how they can be made more awesome.

and yes, these are available at the paperyum shop.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Found via Illustration Friday

Here are some illustrations found while surfing illustration friday  - this is work by Ewa O'Neill based on songs by Jeremi Przybora.
See all three of these beautiful illustrations here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Print and Process - using the epson for hand-altered art variations

Here's one of my first prints - a mini print on a four inch MDF panel with rounded corners and hand-aged edges. Sweet huh?

Even sweeter is the way she came to be.  In this case, the evolution is right to left.

On the right, my original. Gouache and collage on a canvas, 6x8.  I know I want "more" in this image, it's not a finished piece, but if I had a dime for every time I added "more" to something I like and killed it, I would be a rich lady.  Now, with the epson and my stash of Somerset Velvet papers, I can experiment with much less potential artistic fallout. Whee!

In the middle: a hand altered print. This is a test print that misfired actually, cutting off part of the image. Waste not want not. I went back into her with more collage, more acrylics, intensifying and brightening -  and some stamping, even.

 (I'm such a hypocrite, the wide world of stamps opens before me, yay.)

Last, to the left is the mini print you see above.  The color fidelity is pretty good - I'm actually not a huge stickler for that, as long as it looks good and consistent among the final print outputs.  The only alteration here is a little distress ink aging and some light sealing. My original lives on to play another day and another way - let's see where else she goes!  

 Anyone else use their printer this way, not quite digital art and not purely analog art either? Comments are always welcome below!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Supply Side Fridays: The Epson R2000

I'll have a more unboxing-like feature on my printer at a later point.

Let's look at this quickly in overview.

I had some scratch, dedicated purely to a new printer. I knew I was going to get an Epson.  I went back and forth over which one, the 3800 or the 2000?

I realized that the 3800, while it is the better machine in terms of specs, is really just MORE machine than I need. My work - is generally small. If someone needs a large print, that's where I can enlist one of the outsourcing houses - I will probably never want to get into >22 inches for reproduction on an Etsy scale.

The footprint of my printer is pretty massive, and it has to live in my bedroom.  I can't imagine inviting the EVEN BIGGER 3800 in to stay.  The 2000 is a rollicking beast that vibrates like a washing machine, is picky about paper loading somerset velvet till you want to shout, and makes simply GORGEOUS archival prints that make you forget the pain immediately.

A printer is a tool, a medium, like any other, with a learning curve. I'm just getting started. However, one thing that also sold me on the 2000, is that a full set of ink can be obtained on Amazon for 30 some-odd-dollars.  That's the real Epson pigment inks - less than a refill on my crappy old HP all-in-one.  Wow!

One area of concern, is that the feeding process is kind of like hitting your head on the wall over and over. The art papers have to be fed through the back and the printer rarely wants to grab hold and play nice on the first try. I've heard that the feed issues are better in the 3800, but I'm fairly confident that this is NEVER a fun smooth process until you've lived with the machine a while.

As for inks? Man, they're beautiful.  And the detail that shows with a simple 600 dpi file is amazing. I think this machine is an incredible acquisition for any semi-pro or small scale pro and I am really glad I have it.  There is so much that an artist can do with this tool.  I'm going to be playing with the scrapbooking paper (acid free 2 side print capable) as a way to use my own works in mashups and collages and re-scaled formats, then reprinting them as ATC's and other works.

Here's to the beginning of a beautiful relationship.  The damage isn't too bad with the Epson rebate, either, keep an eye peeled for those.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dolls and Tales - Art Journal and Flat Art Doll

Cat Flat Art Doll

Another one of my flat art dolls. This one was tough, because of the edge. They're too thick to leave raw or blanket stitch, and they're too fussy to bead around if I cut the limbs separately. However, as I stitch down like this the backing likes to travel out of line with the top layer. I need to find the right fix for this issue!

Anyhow, I may leave miss kitty well enough alone, or I may do an owl companion.  Not sure.

It's inktense, beading, embroidery, and it's backed with cotton duck - showroom sample scrap I purchased at SE Harris warehouse.

While we're on the subject of children's stories (maybe)

Queen Of Hearts Art Journal Page

I've started a small journal (5x7) and I'm not sure if it's going to be themed (I keep trying to do this) or just random. 

I think an "antagonists" gallery would be kind of neat and unusual. I could also write into the theme a lot - thinking about different obstacles.

Should I go for "antagonists" or stick to something more open, like faces or fiction or nothing in particular?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Miriam Makeba Google image

Just 'cause.

IF is "talent" this week, and this Piaf is worth a peek also.

Art and Fear and Tam Laporte's class

Art and Healing Class @

So, here's the thing. The art I'm making now is happy art. It is hopeful art. It is beautiful art.

This scares the living crap out of me!

Everything I did in the past was about investigating problems, creating problems, confronting problems, exposing the dark and discordant problems of how our culture constantly messes up. It wasn't necessarily dark art - it still had its playful, cool, irony. Oh how cool. How comfortable, how hip.

I remember being thrown off in college by the classic assignment "whatever you are doing do the opposite." i couldn't embrace my opposite.  I remember the exhortation to give up control. I didn't want to be sentimental, naive, craft-centered, visually "safe" - God forbid - decorative and "safe" and craft were fine - for OTHER people, that was clear.

What a difference some growing up makes.

The old opposite becomes the new me. And that's an intense thing to actually accept.

So - actually clicking on this, for me, feels like sneaking out of the house and meeting up with a secret rendevous. Naughty and wonderful.

I don't know where I saw the "life book" classes being discussed initially, and I admit I wrote them off a bit. How to make large eyed girls, pretty, cool, I felt kind of "whatevs" because there are SO MANY online art courses lately, a lot of them with overlapping aesthetics.  There's something about Tam's girls that comes across as a little deeper though, there's something that I felt connected to or drawn to in some way, I realize now in retrospect.

Heart, healing? HIGHLY suspect stuff for someone as bottled up as I am.

However, I've got an autoimmune disease so "healing" is something I reluctantly look for sometimes, I had a free Sunday and I figured as they say "what they hey." It's free, right. I realize that free is a sales tool, I'm a pro also, so it would have to be something extraordinary to really reel me in for another round.

I was skeptical. It serves me well.  And now I am fairly certain that I'll be joining up for Life Book.

The first installment did more for me than many rounds of therapy. (Art Therapy, words that send me screaming into the night normally!)  Who knew?  Tam has Hypnosis and NLP certification, and even though I recognized the strategies of NLP in the writing part of the assignment, I'd never looked at the issue of negative self-talk with QUITE the same lens. It was one of those rare, unexpected TRULY transformative moments I've ever had in a class, and I'm not going to give away any more.  Everyone who can pick up a pencil or crayon should consider this assignment. Everyone who wants to improve their outlook and "get their head right" should consider this assignment. It's just that simple and perfect, as metaphors and gestures really are when you let them in.

This is one of those few free things that really IS a gift, I can't stress it enough.  Thanks Tam, for offering up the opportunity for everyone who wants it. It's time well spent.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Rustle of Spring

 That's the theme for this week's challenge at Three Muses.

I'm in favor of spring. 'Nuff said!  Miss Bunny is over the wait, too.

Here's a 6x6, acrylic, collage, vintage papers, stamps, inktense, vintage ad.

Supply Side Friday: Kickin' It Old School: Manto Fev

Hey lovely people.

New Feature - Supply Side Friday!

Look for the tag when you want to read them all - and I'm going to dedicate Fridays to a shop, source, tool, or material.

Today: Manto Fev.
Have you been to Manto Fev?

Maybe you're saying "duh." Then you know.

Maybe you're saying "what?"  Then you should hasten on over to this charmingly minimalistic an un-gussied up shop which is all about the stuff.  You'll find an amazing mix of charms and materials, some of the designer items, but where Manto Fev really outshines a lot of the competition is in its offerings of inexpensive, often bundled - ACTUAL FACTUAL old stuff.

This is the stuff that the collage-sheetists digitize.  Handwritten notes, odd tickets and ledger papers, weird tokens, vintage cards and greeting cards, and all that old old acidic yellowing patina!  I can scarcely contain myself.

Here's some awesome, subject to availability:

Vintage Paper Ephemera at Manto Fev

Labels! Nice ones.


 matchbook mania.

I love Sarah's sense of humor too, and the personality of the shop really shines without having to "look crafty".  Visit. Really.

Oh and the prices are pretty special - actual vintage from Manto Fev  is often less expensive than popular reproductions.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mixed Media goodies before and after

Here's someone new.
I missed the deadline for a time related challenge ---  only to find she's relevant for this one:
 For the Try it Tuesday challenge: "Time Flies"

Recognize her from this post about Fantastix sponge sticks?

Haven't done a canvas in a bit. This one is 6x8, and features vintage feedsack fabric, inktense, vintage book papers, decorative paper, alphabetical stamping.

It reads "Tempus Fugit" - Latin for "Time Flies!"

I may coat her with resin when my new round of ICE resin arrives. The old one hardned during my long hiatus.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

From my surface journal and about stamps in mixed media

All the pages in this journal start with surface treatment. I'm trying to do things I normally don't - in this case really vibrant color and stamps, which I'm generally opposed to. They're great for applying text - my own lettering capabilities are awful - I'm left handed and it shows. So stamped in are some letters.  the rest is watercolor, acrylic resist, Distress Ink, a cut up moment of artistic FAIL in inktense and artbar and acrylic, some inktense pencils, blickcrylic gel (it is a journal page after all.)

Ok, I'm about to drop a snob bomb. Please don't be hurt - if you create with stamps, designer paper, inkjet printouts - more power to your badtastic artistic self - but it's hard for me Momma. HARD. I have hangups.

I know this will sound snobbish in the extreme, but there's something I don't like about using the same imagery as other people, readily available, just ink and press.  I don't like it. I love other people's work that uses stamps sometimes - like any medium, some is great, some is good, some is less so but as long as people are creating, yay.  I don't generally like mine. I've never felt enough connection to the imagery.

Buying a lot of the repro "ephemera" and designer papers feels to me like solving a visual problem by throwing money at it.  It's not that I don't spend money on vintage papers and books that I'm willing to give the chop - and I'm lucky to be near the ULTIMATE source (more on that later) - I find that I think harder and more about what I'm buying.Limiting myself to really having to hunt though things and decide which old things are right for repurposing - which feel "too good" for being remade into art, which have an interesting backstory - this is part of my art process.  I can't get that from a digital collage sheet.

I've even been resistant to using the distress inks - it's not a dis on Tim Holz, whose work is great, I just don't like the whole thing of "and now I shall make a Tim Holz project" that follows from grabbing up the whole line of offerings.   There's a ton of distress ink in this though, the greens and some tea stain tones.  Yes, they're fantastic to use!

Overall, this is probably something I should get over, but it's definitely something I find I think about a lot.

So for me I guess a good challenge piece would be to use only materials from designer lines or something.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dimensional beaded russian doll softies

So I had so much fun making the flat dolls that I decided it was time to go 3D! How I got through life without embroidery hoops I'll never know.

My first attempts at dimensional dolls - these are backed with vintage feedsack fabrics, hand sewn, hand painted and embellished.