Sunday, July 12, 2015

Family Circus - A Birthday Book

I've been working on this book for six months at least (in between painting faces and a few other projects). I almost always have three or four things going for when I hit a wall with one project or another. A few of things going on here are the wire spine, the spray stenciled backgrounds and the cut and paste pages. I extracted and/or colored a few of the images from old sources but many were purchased as sets from Mischief Circus (previously called Deviant Scrap). I've used pieces from Itkupilli, TumbleFishStudio, MartaVanEck and MrWhiskers to name a few.

The cover of the book, as well as all of the pages, are tied onto a 1/4 mesh wire. I wrapped its edges with super suede to avoid cut fingers!

Pages 00 and 01 - the family tree and Grandpa Eddie, the ringmaster and co-owner of the circus.

Pages 02 and 03 - Grandma Ellie and Clem and Clyde, all images so far from Mischief Circus.

Pages 04 - 07 - The narrator's aunts and uncles. I started the book with the strong man, Francis, and an embellished story of an incident from my son Kevin's childhood. That's why the book became a gift for him! I extracted and colored and put together from pieces both of the characters on that spread.

Pages 08 - 11 - The narrator (with the fish), his other grandparents and his parents. The tall man with his head in the clouds was the most interesting Photoshop challenge of the book.

Pages 12 - 13 - The narrator's bothers and sister's (plus a little glimpse of him) and the Bird Lady, Lillian. I think I showed her in another post as I was learning to color old black and white images.

Pages 14 - 18 plus back cover inside - Various relatives and friends of relatives who joined the circus in their respective times. These pages were all a "circus" to create, all technical issues (glues, finishes, etc.) aside and I love every one of them but my absolute favorite is the bright pink and red one in this set of pictures showing the New Orleans jazz band and the Hoochie Koochie Kittens. If you click on any picture you can read the stories.                         

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Radiant Faces Clss - My Biggest Mess

I love Dina Wakley's art, both in her Radiant Faces class and in her book, Art Journal Freedom. I don't have Art Journal Courage yet but it's on my short list. However this attempt at her very free techniques produced the only journal spread that I felt I needed to alter to be able to view without wanting to cover it with black gesso. In addition to that hideous face, I hated the big purple blotch in the upper left corner. I had cut a stencil for the smaller face and it was OK in the first version but a little dark for the new face on the right side. The class was called "The Stranger", and I felt "strange, stranger, strangest" was a good description for this work. Here are the after and before scans:

After I was done with Part One of the Radiant Faces Classes, I did a couple more Dina inspired pages in my faces journal. I did the collaged one playing with my Derwent Inktense pencils and a StabiloAll black pencil on a bit of watercolor paper. The one on the aqua background was done following an online tutorial by Dina on painting a face. I really like both of them!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

More Radiant Faces Output

Here are a few more of the things I produced in the "Radiant Faces" classes.

This was Kylie Fowler"s lesson and I think that she is a portrait artist. She was a real wiz with the Neocolor II crayons and although she ran into several stumbling blocks, she persevered to show us it could work out in the end. Most everyone expressed discomfort working on their own image but we all just had to get over it! My bird, eggs, and butterfly were just pasted on with no further work on them.

This is the only one I didn't do in my Strathmore watercolor journal. Jamie Dougherty asked us to work on wood so I did using a cigar box. The piece of wood she was demo-ing on was much lighter so my results weren't typical. Also lots of other students just worked on paper. The media here was waxy colored pencils which I've never liked compared to watercolor colored pencils, but I would have to say I learned a little about working with them. 
This is the lesson that Effy Wild taught using a range of acrylics, mostly Golden, but other brands as well. She seems to prefer working with artist quality paints that have some sheen to them. I had a few heavy body acrylic paints including very few Golden and struggled with them to the point of feeling that I had not begun to master the techniques she was presenting. I will definitely redo this lesson with one of my own drawings. It was very interesting!

This doodling lesson was given by Joanne Sharpe. I have her book on lettering. I am a total klutz when it comes to Zentangles and doodling but managed to fill in the spaces and get it colored - I think maybe watercolor paints or watercolor pencils, don't really recall. As usual, I couldn't manage to make myself write some sappy, happy words and just turned it into a little joke! 
The next post, I'll show the really awful painting I did that I couldn't even look at and what I did to alter it so that I didn't have to cover it with black paint to leave the page in my journal! Looking back on this work, I can see that I never managed to get a smooth, creamy  look on the skin. Bummer!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Radiant Faces Work

In October 2014, I did a workshop called Radiant Faces with Effy Wild and her guest teachers. I posted my work in the classroom gallery but since that was a private gallery I'm posting some of it here.

This was the first lesson and Jane Davenport was the instructor. Our assignment was to work with inspiration from one of the pre Raphaelite painters to create "The Nymph". I chose Waterhouse's Lady Clare (the inset).

Lesson Two was presented by Tamara LaPorte and the subject was "The Inner Child". Going for a Dick Tracy look, I messed this one up pretty convincingly. However the lesson was really well presented and fun.

Christy Tomlinson presented Lesson Three, "Girly Girl". These started with pasting pieces of napkins, tissues and scrapbook paper into my journal which I has a wonderful time messing with. I wasn't crazy about trying to paint over the resulting very rough surface. The one thing I loved was adhering cut out flowers to their hair and then overpainting them with acrylics.

This was Lesson Four, "The Inner Goddess", with the very entertaining Julie Gibbons. My inspiration was from a painting by Susan Siddons as I wanted to use two faces and didn't quite know how to accomplish that. The coloring was done with alcohol markers. Well, since Blogger has decided to center my musings, I'll call it quits for this evening.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

And Some Brand New Goslings

Our pond is approximately 1/2 acre and although we have seen up to seven or eight geese on it at a time, there is a breeding pair who try their very best to keep the pond to themselves by honking, attacking and generally being territorial. In the six years we've been here, they've learned to nest more discreetly and managed to produce offspring in 2012. Last night while we were taking pictures of the birdfeeders, Ken got out the bigger lenses and was getting the shots from the last post when he noticed that the geese had brought out five little goslings. We walked out to the pond and got these shots - the best we've ever gotten.

We don't know what relation the extra goose is, only that it seems to want to be part of the family. Papa goose was busy trying to chase it away, but it seems to be fairly thick-skinned and stayed around keeping its distance.

It's For The Birds

Last week we set up the arbor we had gotten to hang some birdfeeders on. In addition to the ones hanging on the arbor, there is another multipurpose feeder and a thistle sock in nearby trees and a birdhouse we've had for years, also in a tree. Most of these are quite visible from the deck but the sock feeder will probably get moved as it hides some of the others from several viewing spots.

The top shot shows a goldfinch on the long feeder and what we think is a white breasted nuthatch on the house-like one. That's the same bird as in the third shot, just below here. The goldfinches showed up as soon as the first feeder was out and only moved when we got too close. The other bird has been flitting by for two days but only stopped long enough to be photographed last night.

In the leaves of the maple which is right beside the deck is a house wren singing away to his partner who found the bird house right away and gave us quite a show stuffing it full of twigs. She could only sit on the edge of the hole but managed to twist the twigs that were longer than the hole so that they went in one end at a time. If we're wrong in assuming that the female builds the nest, I'm sure we'll hear about it.

Although male and female downy woodpeckers have been showing up regularly, last night was the first time we saw this red-bellied woodpecker at our feeders. It is a fairly frequent visitor at our neighbor's feeders.

We have been on several bird walks and seen birds we never knew existed, but these feeders are just plain fun and we're so inexperienced that they are teaching us lots about the birds who visit them.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Coloring Vintage Images, pt 2 and Some Digital Collage

A while ago I posted a little boy dressed as a clown from a vintage image. I had a link in that post to the tutorial I used to color him. And I discovered today that link doesn't work - could not find that tutorial again. It's OK - I managed to  figure out how it worked as well as learning an entirely new method from a different tutorial. I will be using the best features of two entirely different methods until I come across a better way.

In this digital collage, I've colored the main figure and put the rest of it together using three purchased digital sets, Variete and Variete Papers from Itkupilli at Deviant Scrap and Turning Leaf Apothecary from Lorie Davison at Scrapbook Graphics. I'm pleased that I finally quite griping about digital sets and gave them a try. I adore the imagination and skill of these two designers and I'm very happy to be learning how to participate in the process as well.

It took me several days to color Lillian and unfortunately I managed to flatten her without a backward glance. So I probably won't be doing it again in order to be able to change her various colors. I have quite a few circus-y type images I'm anxious to try out my new skills on - onward and upward - hopefully!

Thanks for visiting!!