Friday, January 28, 2011

Idea Books

In reorganizing my studio, I wanted to find a shelf for all of the idea books I've kept the past ten years. Inside, I write class notes, project ideas, information on favorite artists, inspiration, quotes and sketches for future projects. For example, I came across on old Somerset Studios magazine article by Gina Armfield on "Finding Your Voice". She says it's all a process of acquiring skills, being apart of an art community and developing your own voice by finding out what you like and prefer. I cut out and put that article in my idea book. I'm always striving to find my artistic voice.

Below are pages from some of my idea books. It's great to have them all organized chronologically and tagged. Now, I can easily find what I want to reread and remember.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Smiling Face Collages Go to Nigeria

Last week in our Portland Artist Group meeting, we created smiling collaged faces to send to women in Nigeria through the Women for Women International Program. This organization helps women survivors of war to rebuild their lives. Whitney Ferré at Creatively Fit organized the project. Check out her blog post. There is still time to make your face collages and mail them to her.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sketch Exercise

This week, we sketched at our favorite winter hang out- Monte's Cafe at Monticello Antiques. Robin Olsen found this drawing exercise on the Urban Sketcher's blog. We each selected an item to sketch, and drew it on both sides of our sketchbook spread. Then we passed our sketchbook to the next person and she painted it.

Robin used a dry brush technique to paint the doll on the left.

I used a wetter brush to paint the doll on the right. We decided to work with new exercises each week. It's fun to mix it up a little and try something different.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Encaustic Playtime- Painting with Wax

Last weekend while it poured down rain outside, four of us spent two wonderful days with Judy Wise in her studio learning hot plate encuastic painting. We used her studio setup and got to try out many different techniques. The Picasso-like face painting above was created on a black background with layers of wax painted on the board.

We created sample boards with a variety of encaustic painting techniques...

Added texture, transfers, collage items and the encaustic paint.

Judy covered the basics of encaustic painting so that each of us can now set up her own wax studio. The two day intensive workshop allowed us to experiment with the wax and become familiar with the tools used- the propane torch, hot plate, making the wax and mixing colors. I can see why Judy loves this medium. Thank you Judy for two days of great art making.

Monday, January 17, 2011

January Portland Art Collective Giveaway

Cynthia Mooney is giving away one of her fabric journals this month. Comment Here to win this beautiful journal.
As a bonus, she's including a mini-watercolor paint palette. Cynthia teaches journal making and journaling techniques classes. Check out her blog Here for more information. You can see photos of her travel journals.

Good luck and hope you win this journal that makes me long for springtime.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dealing with a Messy, Unorganized Studio

How did it get this way? Four years ago, I moved into my studio. It looked pretty clean then. My interests and artistic pursuits have changed and accumulated in that time. Every surface is covered with piles of papers, books, mail, postcards and/or projects.

In one corner, piles of magazines, boxes and rolls of paper await some form of order.

The other end of the desk...

The work table top...

My plan is to work a few hours a day so it's not so overwhelming to deal with the piles. Decisions need to be made on what to purge so room can be made for new interests and art supplies. This whole process is making me rethink my artwork priorities- what is really important and what
can I let go. Does anyone else have this problem? How do you deal with it?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Sketchbook Challenge

With the New Year, I decided to make a new sketchbook. I like this size 8x6 inches. The book is made with two canvas boards. The cover is one of Robin Olsen's fabric experiments that I purchase from her.

First, I free motion stitched the word sketchbook onto interfacing-backed muslin. I ran it through my Xyron machine and ended up with the adhesive on the right side. Oops! What to do? I covered it with sheer fabric and love how the stitched and ragged edges became contained yet transparent. I then adhered it to another piece of fabric and stretched it over the canvas board.

For the back cover, I adhered with the Xyron machine an old, French book page that I'd made into resin paper. Then I stitched it onto decorative paper and adhered both to the canvas board. The book binding is black Ultrasuede. I covered the inside covers with decorative paper and sewed in watercolor paper signatures. It's already to fill with drawings, paint and writing.

To get new inspiration and ideas for sketching, I encourage you to join the Sketchbook Challenge. It starts today. The theme for January is "Highly Prized". This theme comes from Sister Corita Kent. She was one of my favorite 60's artists and activists. I'd forgotten about her. It's amazing how sharing brings back certain memories.

When you upload one of your pages or spreads for each monthly theme to the group Flickr account, you're eligible to win a prize from several different sponsors. I'm planning on taking the challenge and will share my pages each month. Join in the fun.