Friday, September 18, 2009

Be REALLY Brave - Day 5

Today was the day that all my progress so far (and I really like what I've done so far) got covered up with tar. Yep, you read right: tar. The next step for this piece is to use a concoction of asphalt crack filler and mineral spirits to cover up the whole darn thing. The usual, paralyzing thoughts came into play: don't mess up, you like what you've got, don't mess up, DON'T MESS UP! I had to take a deep breath to put that first brush load of black on my beautiful clean colors! I was able to shove the defeatist thoughts aside only because I'm on a deadline, and frankly I had no choice. I plowed ahead and let the tar fly.

I did, however, have a big frustration with my supplies. The tar is supposed to thin down with the mineral spirits. I've done it before and it worked fine. The viscosity of the mixture is supposed to go from goo to the consistency of glue. It wouldn't thin down. In fact, the tar and the mineral spirits wouldn't even mix (think oil and vinegar). The result was that I had to use the very, very thin mineral spirits with only a bit of the color provided by the tar. Not quite the effect I was looking for. I hope it still works.

Step 9: Cover the whole thing with tar. You can see in this photo how thin the tar was. The whole piece, at this point in the process, should be totally black with no/little color showing through. Since the mixture was so thinned down, I did it twice.

Even the side view looks pretty cool!

Close-up. And below, a super close close-up.

I'm off to a soccer tournament in Lansing for the weekend so now it sits until Monday. Wow, I'm really cutting this one close (too close!) as it is due at the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre for our show on Wednesday.

Have a good weekend.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Being Brave - Days 3 and 4

So far so good, but the time it takes to dry in between layers of paint/spackle/glue gets frustrating. When I take the time to work, I like to get to it, not be interrupted with waiting.

Here are pictures from Days 3 and 4...

Step 5: Paint the spackle with house paint, again. Let dry thoroughly. I'm not sure I need all these layers of paint, but I'd rather have too many layers than too few. Some of it may end up showing up again as an underlayer. If I do more work in this style I'll get a better feel for what must be done and what short cuts I can take. At this point, I really feel like I'm constructing a piece of art rather than painting it.

Step 6: Spray paint certain areas. Dry.

Step 7: Use heat gun to bring up bubbles. Don't burn down house. When the canvas starts smoking it's time to take a break! Lots of fumes so I work outside. The use of spray paint and the heat gun is bit tricky because I want more control than these tools allow. I find myself using scraps of wood to block out certain areas to keep paint/bubbles away. It works but is awkward. Day 3 ends with not much visible progress but the efforts will show up as I continue.

Step 8: Paint, paint, paint. Dry. Spray with a fixative. My neck hurts from bending over the table all day. Wow, looks a lot different by the end of day 4! Now I feel like I'm creating instead of constructing.

Here's a close up so you can see the texture a bit better. I really like what I've got so far. Tomorrow is the Be Really Brave day. Stay tuned as I continue with this adventure...


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Being Brave - Days 1 and 2

I tend to overthink things both in life and in my art. Sometimes its a good thing. I usually make good life decisions. Sometimes its a bad thing. I'm not as spontaneous as I'd like to be with my art. Well, I now have a situation artistically that requires some fast process-oriented thinking and actual doing.

Next week the annual Handmade Paper Guild show of Southwest Michigan will hang. I have one piece done. The other, much larger piece, has been done in my mind for months (that whole overthinking thing again) but is certainly not done so that others can actually see it. I've never be brave enough to post my in progress work because I always want to make sure what I'm working on turns out before showing anyone. Well, because of this show deadline, and because I need entertaining fodder for the blog, and because I'm going to be brave this week, I'm going to show you how it goes along the way.

I can only hope it turns out as good as what's in my brain!

Here we go: I'm using new techniques for me. In May I took an online course with a guy named Gary Reef. (Notice I didn't show you any of that WIP but I will as some of them are finished now and I had some decent results.) Anyway, I love his abstracts and was thrilled to be able to get a glimpse of the techniques he uses. I'm using some of his techniques and added what I love: handmade paper.

Step 1: The canvas is 2' x 4'. Draw out where I want the handmade paper to go. Can you see the forms of houses?

Step 2: Cut highly textured handmade paper to fit the sketch. Glue down paper. Dry. Ignore the colors on the HMP as it will all be painted over.

Step 3: Paint the whole thing with housepaint. Two coats on the HMP as it is very absorbant. Thus ends day 1.

Step 4: Cover the background with a texturing medium (spackle/glue) and put string in the spackle. Let dry. Remove string. Day 2 ends.

More as I go. Encouragement, tips, criticism is all welcome...


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New Year - New Goal

Here it is September 9 and I've just remembered that September 4 was the day that I started this blog. One year has passed by already! As everyone knows, time flies, and this is true whether you're having fun or not. Thankfully, this past year has been fun.

My goals when I started the blog were to create (check, did that), tell you about some of it (check, did that), and make some cool new friends/reconnect with old friends (check, did that) along the way. My goals for the upcoming year remain the same but I'm adding a new one: sell more work. Don't worry, you don't need to stop reading in fear that I'm going to be hitting you up for your money. (Although I certainly won't discourage you from parting with some of it!) When I say "sell more work" it means that I aim to use the internet better to get my work out there via etsy, cafepress, facebook, etc. I hope that this blog can help too.

It's said that part of the success of achieving any goal depends on telling others about that goal.

You never know when someone might be able to provide a great contact at a gallery, a gift shop, an ad agency, a licensing company, an interior design firm, a ???.

Or, give you a super how-to computer tip.

Or, tell you something you might not want to hear but need to know anyway.

Or, just smile a big smile just when you need it.

So, I hereby proclaim that I will be working hard on my artwork and on selling it too. Now, it's out there. It's floating about. It's partly under my control but partly out of my control. Yikes, this is scary but exciting too. What happens from here? Guess I'd better get busy!

All the best,


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