Thursday, August 30, 2018

Watercolor Play!

Wow! I can't believe it's been over a month since my last post. Time flies! As teachers, my husband and I have been busy with the start of a new school year. We've also been spending time learning whatever we can about autoimmune disorders, the best methods for treatments, trying anti-inflammatory diets, researching functional doctors versus traditional doctors, looking into allergy testing and so much more. My husband was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, possibly RA, earlier this summer and it has been a struggle these past months to try and determine the best treatments. The RA has caused heart and lung problems, as well as fatigue and pain throughout the body. It's been tough as a couple that's been active all our lives and eaten fairly well to wrap our brains around this diagnosis. We are still in the beginning stages of learning things, but have lately tried hard to get enough sleep each night, eat more whole foods and make time for relaxation. As I type this he is currently watching football and I am getting ready to relax and read a book. :) I think many of us rush around all the time and forget that we need moments for complete relaxation. Anyways, we are hopeful that as we continue to work on things, we can put this disorder into remission and help him feel better soon.

Last weekend, while relaxing and enjoying a quiet hour, I put the finishing touches on a few watercolor practice pieces.  As you know from the last post, I've been reading some amazing art books. The last several weeks, I've been playing with watercolors and completing practice pages from Danielle Donaldson's book, The Art of Creative Watercolor.  Not only is Danielle's work absolutely beautiful, her book is full of excellent tips and practice opportunities. I've been using a library copy, but think I'm going to be treating myself to my own copy very soon!

I'm sharing a few photos below, but have realized as my phone is getting older, the photo quality isn't as good as it used to be. I tried various times to retake photos and even work on them in photo apps and they still seem lackluster in color and clarity. Hopefully, there will be an update soon! In the meantime, I'm happy to be able to share something on the blog! Hope each of you are doing well and wish you all an excellent weekend.

Watercolor practice pieces from Danielle's book.

Quirky Green Bear

Flowers practice with salt

Butterflies practice with Posca Pen doodles

Friday, July 13, 2018

Painting Notes, Cool Art Books and Daisy Journal Page

While I've been away from the blog awhile, I've tried to keep art as a little part of my days. Recently, I checked out three amazing books from our local library. These titles include: The Joy of Acrylic Painting by Annie O'Brien Gonzales, The Art of Creative Watercolor by Danielle Donaldson and Fabulous Figures by Jane Davenport. The library did not even have in their collection the last two, but after I submitted a request, they purchased them! Now, there may have been other requests too, but I was amazed at how quickly the books arrived. 

Awesome Art Books...

The Joy of Acrylic Painting is the title I started reading while waiting for the other two to arrive at the library. There is great information in this title! I've read the first several chapters, and absolutely love the idea of using Painting Notes to record my journey. Inside I brainstorm ideas, make notes from my art reading and sketch. Of course, there is so much more you can do within the pages of your notes. The goal is to write something every day, which so far has been a challenge for me. If I can do several days a week, it is a win! I also really liked the idea of looking at our art ancestors and their works. I've always thought about this, but not actually gone and looked up various artists and several of their works. It's interesting how some remind me of even current day artists. For example, when I was looking at Paul Klee's Landscape with Yellow Birds, it reminded me of Flora Bowley's artwork using birds and flowers. Both artists are very inspiring!

I feel like this book has been helpful at just kickstarting some ideas and getting back into the groove of creation. Below are a few of the pages that I created in my Painting Notes book. It's a bit hard to see the work/notes created using pencil, but you can get the idea of what Painting Notes looks like. It's not really a journal to create artwork inside, but rather something to use to note things you would like to remember or things to try. I tried adding some color, just because I love color!

Introductory page with ideas from the book. 

More ideas and a few sketches.

A page of sketches inspired by various artists: Jennifer Seely, Paul Klee and Flora Bowley. 

I have also started two mini paintings that I hope to share soon! 

I've thumbed through the other two books, which also look amazing, but haven't started any projects or done any work from them. Hopefully that will be coming soon! I highly recommend checking out these titles. :)

Finally, because this post is lacking in color, I've adding a quick journal page of a daisy. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

A Little of This and That

Life has been busy these past couple months! When is it not, right?  I've been working a bit here and there in the art space, but have been pulled many directions and am just now getting back to the blog. I have several project ideas I hope to share soon, but for now, a  little of this and that.

Journal page:

The butterfly below was started in March and I finally finished it! You can see how it looked before on my "Works in Progress" post. I created a similar butterfly in my "Mixed Media Madness" project. I love the stencil from Donna Downey studios!

Butterly Journal page: Molding paste + stencil, acrylic paints, inks, embossing powder....lots of supplies
to provide much texture.
Card front/booklet:

I haven't quite decided what to do with this...use it as a card or a small booklet. My cousin and I share snail mail often, so it could make a nice booklet to write a letter inside.

Created using stamps, acrylic paint and washi tape. I love the black paper with white stamping!
That's it for now, but I hope to be back soon sharing more! I hope everyone has an amazing week of creating!

Happy Paint Party Friday!!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Summer Cottage with Nature Quotes

This month's theme over at Mixed Media Monthly Challenge is colors! The goal was to create a piece of art using complimentary or split complimentary colors. Sounds fun, right?! 

This project began with a sheet of watercolor paper that had been used for leftover paints and testing Neocolor II crayon colors. I liked the color scheme and thought it would be a good place to start something new. 

The beginnings of a project...

Several of my latest projects have involved little houses, so I kept with the flow and designed a little Summer Cottage filled with nature quotes.   

Sketching an outline of a house and adding torn papers to the background.

Somewhere along the way, I was absorbed in the creation and didn't take additional photos until the house was completed.

A close up photo of the front doors on the Summer Cottage. Burlap string is used to tie
the doors closed with lock and key charms. 

Upon opening the Summer Cottage there are multiple nature quotes. The quote cards are printed in color
with washi tape strips along the top.

A mini pocket stores the quote cards neatly inside. 

The Summer Cottage and nature quotes are hanging in my art space to provide inspiration for future projects. A few of the quotes include:

Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,

There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more.
George Gordon Byron

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous.

I hope you enjoy the quotes and are able to get out and enjoy something in nature this week! 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Using My Memories Suite

Last week, I was playing in the program, My Memories Suite. It's been awhile since I've made the time to go and explore/design anything in the program. Exploring their social media options for design I created a Facebook header (shown above), Pinterest profile pic and Instagram photo (both shown below) using a painting I created last year. 

The social media option is a very nice added feature to MMS! It was very user friendly and only took a few minutes to upload, edit and complete the final products. 

Pinterest Profile Pic

Instagram photo with scrapbook page design. The papers and embellishments were part of a freebie pack for this week!

I'm also finishing up a project that I've been working on the last couple weeks. Hopefully it will be ready this weekend. Hope everyone has a wonderful Friday!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A Day of Doodles

We've all experienced those days that it seems like a challenge to get in the groove. This past weekend, while trying to get started, I just couldn't. I was stuck.  I spent time looking at half finished projects and had no inspiration to do anything to them. ;P Looking for direction and inspiration, I pulled out several of my art books and looked through them, as well as looking at projects online.

I finally decided that maybe I just needed a doodling day. I had been reading If You Can Doodle, You Can Paint: Transforming Simple Drawings into Works of Art by Diane Culhane, so I grabbed my pencil and just started doodling. I tried not to think about what to draw next or where to place things, but just sketched whatever came to me in the moment. I definitely need to do this more often! It was relaxing and so enjoyable! I love adding quotes, especially nature quotes, to my doodles.

This is the doodle that I worked on most recently. 

Below are a couple of my favorite doodles from the past. One day I'd like to give each one of them a bit of color. 
A past in progress. 

Another sketch...practicing faces.

All this doodling led the way to actually getting started on another project! I'm looking forward to sharing it soon.

What do you do to kick start your creativity? I'd love to hear what inspires you to get back into the creativity groove. 

Have a great week!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Mixed Media Madness....March!

I've been busy working on a project for the last several weeks...squeezing in time here and there when I had a moment to create. I'm excited to be participating in the Mixed Media Monthly Challenge for March. I'm getting really good about making submissions on the very last day of the month...LOL.

This month's challenge required the use of a stencil and three mediums. It was perfect as I have a new butterfly stencil that I've been wanting to use from the Donna Downey store!

Butterfly stencil from Downa Downey, acrylic paints, molding paste, gesso,
matte gel, Neocolor II crayons, embossing powders...YES, I got carried away!

Version One of Layout...see below post for version two...which one do you prefer??

Close up view...

I actually remembered to take pictures along the way!

Using watercolor paper, I adhered various collage elements with matte gel. When it was dry, I covered the collage with a light layer of white gesso. Next, using Faber Castill pens, I wrote nature quotes to cover the page. There were so many wonderful quotes to choose from online!

The beginnings of my background for the project.
On a separate sheet of paper, I used molding paste and the butterfly stencil. Working alternately on both sheets, I added color using Golden acrylics and Neocolor II watercolor crayons. I learned something new in this process that I hadn't known before. Matte gel can be diluted with water and painted over watercolor to prevent it from bleeding/smudging/mixing with other colors. I may be late in learning this, but I thought that was awesome!

Adding color to each page...I love this color scheme!
I kept looking at the butterfly with color and thinking it needed something else. I looked around to see what I had in my stash of art supplies and wondered what I could do with embossing powder. This was one happy experiment because it added a lot of shimmer and vibrancy to the butterfly. I used red, blue and silver powder to bring liven up the original colors. The butterfly also had a bit of stamping, details with Posca Pens and a few gems added here and there.

Completed butterfly.
It's a bit hard to see the details and texture, so I took a close up photo of the butterfly. I'm very happy with how it turned out and look forward to making more to use on cards or other projects. 

Close up of the details and molding paste texture. 

The background was created using a flower stencil, flower cutouts, stamping, acrylic paints, Neocolor II watercolor crayons, a Ranger distress ink pad and a bit of Bombay ink and Ranger Distress Spray Stain. Eventually I'd like to make some color copies of this background and use it for cards and/or bookmarks.

Completed background page.
Once I had both pieces finished, I didn't really know what I wanted to do with them together. I hesitated to cover up all the flowers by placing the butterfly in the middle of the page. The butterfly was also so similar in colors, that it just didn't stand out on top of the page with nothing behind it. To be honest, I'm still not really sure that I like them in the final arrangement together.  Above the post, I've included the first layout and below the second layout. They are similar except for the backing of the butterfly. Anyway, I'll probably play around with the layout more this week and post the final version later! In the meantime...enjoy!

Layout option two....larger background for butterfly with mini clips.
Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend and a fantastic week ahead!

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