Sunday, January 29, 2017

Mixed Media Monthly Challenge- January

When I saw that this month's challenge was titled, "Put a Stencil on It," I was excited! In fact, I was so excited that I got started on this challenge and didn't even take photos of the process along the way. Oops. 

This project started with a random piece of wood I had available, 11.5 x 24. First, I layered the entire background with torn pieces of decorative papers adhered with matte gel. Once that layer was dry, I took it outside and lightly sprayed each stencil design onto the wood. I used Rust-oleum Painter's Touch in white, gloss key lime, satin magenta and satin lagoon. The colors are amazing and this spray paint is around $4 a can at Lowe's or Walmart. For the next layer, I used acrylic paints with the stencils to provide additional designs. The background of papers provided texture, but I wanted more, so I used spackling compound over several stencils. The texture is similar to molding paste and it's very inexpensive. The final touches included using Posca and gel pens to bring out more details. I love this piece and am excited to find a place to display it in my home.

Since this year is all about learning new things, I used my Cannon Rebel DSLR (older model) to photograph the artwork. There were some great tips on what settings to use at The University of Boulder, Colorado's Department of Art and Art History web page. While I didn't have a lighting kit, I followed directions for photographing artwork indoors and outdoors. I ended up with several different photos using various settings. While still trying to figure out Light Room, I imported my photo and basically played around with different modes of lighting, balance, hues, etc. I'm still working on learning the program, but am happy with this photograph. I'm looking forward with playing with another piece of finished artwork soon!

Mosaic Dreams Artwork: January Challenge

*I also uploaded a larger version to my Behance account. If you'd like to see it there with other pieces of work, its located in My Portfolio and on Behance. (Two additional new things I'm "playing" with in 2017!)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

2017: Learning New Things

Learning new things always takes awhile for me, it has always been that way, even back in school. I like to take my time with new technologies, programs, texts, etc. For awhile now, I've wanted to learn Photoshop, Illustrator, and different techniques in design. I've talked about it a lot, but never put any action behind my words. In November, I signed up for a year in the Creative Cloud, which includes Photoshop and Lightroom (details here). I've been learning new things about these programs over the last few weeks. Also, several weeks ago, I signed up for a Graphic Design course (totally FREE) at Coursera*. I've completed the first two weeks, and have started working on week three assignments.  While working on the first assignment, I downloaded a free trial of Illustrator (which I LOVE), but it is only good for seven days. :( After I learn PS and LR, I will definitely think about a subscription. I think 2017 is going to be the year to learn new technologies and programs and I'm excited about that.

I wanted to share what I've created so far using the new tools. I'm a rookie, so keep that in mind!

This badge was created using Illustrator. I followed the awesome prompts in the program.
It was fairly easy to create, but took me longer than the time suggested, which was ten minutes!

In the Coursera Graphic Design course, the assignment was to take a normal household object and create images using a variety of techniques (watercolor, paint, stencils, stamps, clay, computer design, etc). After completion, ten of the images were submitted for a peer review. I selected a tea cup and had a lot of fun creating multiple designs.

Zentangle tea cup with Dylusions Ink Sprays
Tea cup created using a letter "t" stamp.

Doodle tea cup using Sharpie markers.
Other designs not pictured, included tea cups created with push pins, marker dotting, ribbon, foil, ink pads, Prisma color pencils, and scribbles. 

I feel like I've already learned a lot in this course. I love that Coursera offers some courses at no charge. It's a great place to learn!

I hope that whatever it is that you want to learn, that instead of just talking about it, you'll dive right in! It's hard at first, but a lot of fun along the way.

*Coursera offers many online courses, some for free and others that are fee based.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Monthly Mixed Media Challenge: December

December came and went in the blink of an eye! I started the Monthly Mixed Media Challenge and had plenty of time to complete it, but was side tracked so many days that I just put the finishing touches on this morning. While I know the challenge for last month is over, I still wanted to share it! The theme for the month was "Merry and Bright." I decided to depict that with a mixed media Christmas tree. There are quite a few similar ideas of this online, but the one I really liked was at Christy Tomlinson's site. She completed her tree as part of a kit and used a canvas. There's even a video showing the various steps on making your own. I loved the idea and used some of the techniques to create my own. Originally, I had planned on adding the phrase for this month's theme, but decided to leave wording off. Even though it is past the holidays, I plan on storing this and using it for decor next Christmas!

It looks so much better in person than via picture. I've played around with various settings, but still can't get it quite right.
I'll keep practicing though! (Notice the Stampotique flower stamp?)

It looks like January's theme is STENCILS! I"m excited to start working on that today.