Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Imitation is its own reward

     While taking several  online classes this year I was still disappointed with my portraits.   I loved Misty Mawn's  "Full Circle" class.  She brought so much to the class in the way of different mediums,  going from paint to clay and wall hangings.  I've even been asked to give a workshop at Sachem Library making a "mixed-media mobile" next month.

     In Jeanne Oliver's "Studying under the Masters" many talented artists selected their favorite masters to copy.  One of my favorites was given by Kate Thompson.  She introduced me to the soft delicate style of Francoise deFelice, who I continue to be awed by.

     I then took Kate Thompson's "Fractured Angelics" class, continuing to try and improve my faces.
By September I was taking Gillian Cox's "Unearth, Gather, Create".   I truly enjoyed her class also,  but I still wasn't thrilled with how my own portraits were turning out.

     I came across a quote by Picasso, "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child".  As  I had already been painting for many more than four years,  I thought painting like a child was the easier route.

    I had been drawing since I was very young, but it remained a hobby.  Something I always found time to do.   Art in some form.  When I went away to nursing school I brought my acrylics.

   When I started reading "Flow" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, I felt the connection between happiness and art.  When I can lose myself in painting a canvas or in an art journal, or even making a paper house.   I am truly happy to have completed the piece.   Being able to do something I loved as a child,  making covers for book reports was something I looked forward to doing.

     I had made a journal with Fabriano Artistico hot pressed watercolor paper and decided to work on copying a few of my new favorite artists.

    Getting ready to start next class, Lifebook 2015.

             Joan Dumouchel

     Francoise de Felice

      Maria Pace Wynters

                                                 HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Summer of Teaching Art Journaling classes to teens

I had a wonderful time teaching art journaling this summer at the Sachem Library in Holbrook.   Over 8 weeks I learned a lot about how I wanted to teach art classes.   I also learned that although I had spent many weeks getting supplies ready, I had to be more flexible.  School was out!  It's summer after all and it had to be fun.  One student did Anime drawing in a nature journaling class and another student saw nothing wrong with using watercolors as if they were oils, in thick goopy layers.

The teen librarian and I had worked together to meet their requests, affirmation journals followed by nature and steampunk.  Three two hour weekly classes. For the first session,  I also wanted to show them the different types of themed journals they could make and some that I've made.   I used Violette Clark's Teen Dream Journal as I guide, as well as the art work of Teesha Moore.  I couldn't leave out travel, junk, composition and steampunk journals.

I brought I Bristol board and card stock to make a ring binder journal, and for the 3 week classes each student had a folder to save their work.  I supplied all materials for 20 students, sketch paper and card stock, pencils, and markers.  I also brought in stamps, paper punches and printed card stock pads.  To encourage writing affirmations, I brought in lists of journaling prompts and inspirational quotes to get them engaged.  

One thing didn't mix, paper punches and Elmer's glue.  One group went overboard with the punches and began gluing tiny papers on the journal pages and all over themselves and the tables.
The next two classes went fairly smoothly.  The kids preferred to just cut and paste the quotes on their pages.  I had accumulated a good assortment of printed and colorful paper tape that was popular.
I did bring in several different stamps, but permanent ink pads were not a good idea.  During the class I made several 3D butterflies and seriously encouraged them to make some of their own art.
The third week I brought in Prang watercolor sets,  water brushes and watercolor paper.  I made a big mistake not giving a separate watercolor class first.  Also,  some students did not take all 3 weeks, and just showed up for the last class.

For the 3 weeks of nature journaling we had access to the library's beautifully landscaped garden.  Each week I started the classes with a brief drawing lesson before bringing our sketch paper and clipboards outside.  I included several of Claire Walker Leslie's books as references, as well as Cathy Johnson and Irene Brady.    We also took several nature guides out to the  garden and identified some of their plants and trees.   Hopefully, they will continue to use their garden.

The second week I brought in colored pencils and the watercolors for the third.  We were so lucky to have beautiful weather for all three weeks.  After being out in the garden sketching there wasn't enough time to teach watercolor.  While we were out there I tried to encourage them to write notes about color and light on their pages, stressing observation.  

One of the few flowers in bloom was the Black Eyed Susan,  I did two watercolors for them, one with my watercolors and another with the Prangs.   I gave the one with the Prangs to one of the kids who wanted to learn watercolor.  Again, I was sorry I hadn't offered a beginner watercolor class first.  I gave them a very brief lesson on washes and color mixing.

For both the affirmation and nature journaling, all 20 spots were taken.  However, the average class size was about 10.

The last two Steampunk classes were on the same day, afternoon and evening.
I had been busy making my own steampunk journals and collecting books about steampunk.  As much as I wanted to bring in the stamps I had made, I knew the ink would be a problem.  

To save time I gave each student two 9x12 bristol board covers, 3 sheets of white card stock, one black, pencil, pen, black and white markers.   I punched out 3 holes for each and gave them the rings.  The first class was 15 girls.  They also used preprinted victorian paper pads, regular markers and washi tape. Most of my supplies I found at Michaels.   I gave them printed images of steampunk robots, bugs, people and the ones I had made.

With an hour in between classes,  I readied for the last group, which turned out to be only 5 boys.   They worked quietly drawing robots and writing in their journals.  As with the first class I talked a lot about the  books of Jules Verne, HG Wells, Mary Shelley and Edgar Allen Poe, hoping to pique their interest.  For most of them, "Torchwood", "Hugo"  and "Dr. Who" were their modern steampunk images.

After 8 weeks my summer of teaching was over, I learned so much from these classes.   Each class gave me ideas for new ways of doing things, new classes to teach, new media to use!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

More from Misty Mawn's "Full Circle" class

 I printed out Misty's lesson and worked from the portraits by Modigliani.  I painted the background on illustration board.

 Sorting my colors from cut up magazines and painted papers and used matte medium to collage.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Upcoming Library Art Journaling classes for teens.

I'm extremely excited and  happy to be working with the Sachem Public Library again to offer art classes for teens in nature, themed, and steampunk.  In preparing for the classes I got together some of the journals I've done in the last five years. I can't pinpoint when I started art journaling.  I guess I started slowly, doodling in the margins of written journals, and occasionally adding color.
 I had taken classes in watercolor and collage and afterwards began to do more and more collage.  I found artists on flicker, in magazines and books like Teesha Moore, Violette Clark and Pam Carriker, as well as many others.  My first online class was with Cathy Johnson whose work I first saw years ago in Country Living magazine,  and am still in awe of.

Some of my nature journals.

Themed.   Dream, Affirmation, Junk- you name it!


I love carving my own stamps and I've tried sketching some steampunk characters and put them in a story.  

Paintings from Kate Thompson's Fractured Angelics e course

It wasn't long after taking Misty Mawn's class that I needed to jump into another online art class.  Fortunately I found Kate Thompson's Fractured Angelics.

I've always loved the Michaelangelo,  Raphael and DaVinci's painting of angels.  Besides in this course I'm also using the modeling paste I bought for Michael DeMeng's class to cover the wood panels. After the first coat of modeling paste (or next time I might buy the joint compound instead) dried, collage papers and stamping can be applied.  Kate's videos are well done and I watch them repeatedly.  I hadn't painted with re-inkers before!

This is the first angel, I used a painting by Abbott Henderson Thayer for a reference.  I'm just starting to use Pinterest  and found so many beautiful paintings.

This was done on a 12 x 12 panel I already had.  When I got the 16 x 16 I added more and more.

Here's the sketch for the last angel using "Psyche" by Nikolas Gyzis for reference and a cherub by Francois Boucher.
I don't know why I just didn't stay with the photo, the profile gave me enough trouble.  I'd lose the hair and flowers, and definitely I need to sketch more.   Hoping to go see the Pre-Raphaelites exhibit in NY at the Met soon.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

More art projects from "Full Circle"

Twelve weeks of inspiration and bliss!  I especially miss the Monday morning videos, but Misty Mawn's class will be available for quite some time.
I finally finished my puppet!  She grew to almost 4 feet tall.  It was a rainy day.   If she were heavier cardboard I could hang a sweater on her.  With paper fasteners holding her together, she can easily be repositioned!

I always intended to make another wall hanging so here it is.   This time I used 12 inch dowels.   Easy to find in a craft store.   I had been cutting out and painting circles and piled up a few.  Some I stamped, collaged and Zentangled.   But I love the bright colors of the acrylic ink I dropped onto wet paper and let it run.

Steampunk Art Journal

Somewhere in time, or just this year,  I discovered steampunk.  From surfing the internet,  looking at paintings, art journals and handmade dolls.  Now I realize it was really far from new,  it could be traced back to Victorian writers like Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.  The other night on an episode of "Warehouse 13,  steampunk was mentioned.   I had a journal with coarse heavy paper that I wasn't using,  so I painted and collaged, building up the background.   Then I went back and started writing,  the robot girl inspired me to tell a story.  I wrote quickly, enjoying it as it became sillier as I went along.   
These are some of the pages!  

I made the man with the hat stamp.  I cut up a bird pix from a magazine, and printed out pictures of clocks and compasses.  The man on the right was from a value study of a painting by Van Gogh.  

I made more stamps, and distressed the paper.  It had a happy ending.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Becoming a Naturalist

     Spring has finally come to Long Island, New York, and we're very grateful!  It may have been a snowy winter, but I kept busy taking online art classes.  Sadly this was the end of Misty Mawn's 12 week Full Circle Class.  Wow, did she teach!   I had such a great time, looking forward to at least three videos a week of wonderfully detailed and patiently taught painting, journaling, photography, clay classes and more!
      This wall hanging is my favorite thing.

But then again, the box of inspiration is another

Next time, I have to remember not to write anything until it's finished.   The box is bottom side up.  And I haven't even done all the lessons yet!   They're still available for many months.

     I'm so happy that I have already scheduled journaling classes with a few libraries.   I'll be doing nature, themed art journals and Steampunk!
     For Wertheim Wildlife refuge,  I gave a nature journaling classes for children on Saturday.  I thought with Earth Day coming up,  recycled cereal boxes would be a good idea.  Happily I was right, eight preteen girls worked together to cut, punch holes, and decorate a journal before we went outside for a walk.   I explained that this class wasn't about creating beautiful artwork or journals, but about learning to observe, and really seeing nature.  From my volunteering with Audubon's For The Birds! Program,  I was able to tell them about identifying birds by their field marks and using field books.

     I thought this was the best class I'd had at the refuge,  everyone was enthusiastic making their journals.  The best part for me may have been when I pointed out the osprey on the other side of the river, and one of the students quickly turned and asked how did I know from so far away?

    Last year, while taking Quality Parks Master Naturalist Class, I learned about Dennis Puleston's work to save the osprey.  Since then,  I'm always thrilled to see the growing numbers flying over the waters.    So I excitedly told the student some of what I knew about osprey,  I felt for the first time that I was really becoming a naturalist.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Paperclay sculpted book cover

I made this is for Michael DeMeng's Punkfiction class.  His videos are fantastic.  It's a fun class but I didn't have a lot of the metal objects or the tools to use them, so I worked with what I had.   The book is a moleskine.

The DecoArt website suggested using the metallic paint over a dark background.
After the gold background was dry I went over it with the green paint.  It dries quickly.

I started out with the red hair and then decided to mix it with the violet oxide, giving her red highlights.  The lips are questionable.
The face was very dull next to the metallic paint so I went over it with clear mat medium.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Gouache over acrylic.

Another homage to Van Gogh.  sketching "Boy with a Sickle".  The proportions still off,  I'm not a portrait painter, just a fan.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Inspired by Van Gogh

I was wondering what to paint when I saw my friend, Betty's Facebook post about a Van Gogh exhibit.   I have a large paperback book, "Vincent Van Gogh The Drawings" that I hadn't looked through in some time.  In looking through the book again,  I fell in love with his work all over again.
Everytime I see the movie, "Lust for Life", I'm amazed at the number of  paintings that were brought to life in the movie.  
I sketched from "Old Man with a Top Hat" and painted him in gouache,  then I covered the rest of the two pages in black acrylic.
I love the lines in the face of his "Head of a Woman".   I  started sketching with white pencil and wound up painting her with gouache too.   I highlighted with a white gel pen and stamped around the background.   I liked how the second painting came out better,  gouache over acrylic background.   I won't be putting this book back on the shelf for awhile now.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Steampunk Girls

I drew and painted these girls then printed them out.  I liked how the opened zipper shows she's not  empty headed!
 But I really like carving my own stamps! I used Dick Blick ready-cut plates.  The small one is from Teesha Moore, I highlighted it a bit.  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Making an Art Journal from cardboard packing materials

I'm not going to say this spoke to me, because it goes without saying.  Opening a box can be very inspirational, like when I found this gem.   A book cover, already folded for me.

I wasn't sure where to start, so I started gessoing both sides, one at a time.  I knew I wanted to have a hook and closure of some sort.   As I've become a fan of  Steampunk art,  I've been making my own stamps.   I drew a template and cut out a design for the cover.   I found a metal button on Ebay and poked a hole through the front to secure it.  I used a cord for the back cover, braiding it and using a glue gun on the back.

I used Fabriano Artistico hot pressed watercolor paper .

I found some old map pictures and sketched a Compass Rose.  The clock face is from Ebay.  I had the skull sketch laying around and I went over it with some acrylic.  The binding is duck tape painted with Lumiere Metallic bronze.   I sealed it all with Dorland's Wax medium, I only let it sit for about 4 days before buffing it.  

The inside cover wasn't smooth so I built up a light layer with a collage of tissue papers using gel mat medium.  In hindsight I could have used a black and white theme, or even brown tinted newspapers for the inside cover.     The tissue paper was a quick fix.

The book closed.   I like it better open.   A clip and chain from Tim Holtz and a key and clock face from Ebay.

Inside the front cover,  showing where I sewed the button.
The back cover where I used the glue gun to secure the loop,  it could have had a better fit.