Tuesday, August 4, 2015

PAINTING MY STORY...

(Baby Moonbeam)

Every artist has a story of how and why and where and when they create.  My story started with paint.  Miss Polly, my preschool teacher, introduced me to primary colored tempera paints, a big fat wooden handled black bristled brush, and a large sheet of newsprint clipped to a child sized easel.

(my preschool painting)

She buttoned my 4 year old self up in a smock and asked me to imagine something and then paint what I see.  I painted a blue stick man in a red hat, a tree with a brown trunk, green top, and red cherries on the tree, two purple and yellow daisy flowers and a brown car with orange headlights, all done in outline style.  I remember that painting vividly, the magic feel of dipping a dry brush in the paint and making a colorful swath mark on the paper.  It might have been then that I wanted to be an artist.
(Finger painting of Baby Moonbeam Work in Progress)

My mother was a super sentimental saver and I looked in my little suitcase of life souvenirs but sadly that particular painting is not in there but I found several others from that same year, bold swishy outlines of color, a house, a  blue smiling bear, an angel with a blue wing waving a red hand.  And, I have fondly played with paint ever since then.
(Watercolor Whimsical Faces)

If I were to look at my story in paint today I think it still has a child like innocence and storybook quality.  I still get the same thrill of picking up a brush and dipping in a color and putting it to paper.  I am amazed at the magic it makes.  I am not a professionally trained painter although painting was my means of making a living for many years.  
(Work in Progress)
Today I paint more for personal pleasure than anything else.  I love learning new techniques and ways to use paint and art journaling has become a favorite pastime.  Recently I decided to take an online class Paint Your Story by Mindy Lacefield (this class will be retiring soon).  I adore Mindy's primitive colorful soulful figures and faces.  Although I have totally been unable to master her particular style of painting I have been able to incorporate her techniques into my own softer storybook style.  

(1 2 3 HOP Complete!)

What do I love best about this class?
Most of the painting is done with your fingers!
Talk about childhood revisited.  
(Work in Progress)

I paint because Miss Polly encouraged me to imagine and to try.
I paint because I love seeing the colors form a picture or an image on paper.
I paint because it is like play for me.
I paint my way, 
my style, 
my story.

What is your artful story?

blessings,
Sandy

P.S.  Coming soon to Quill Cottage Etsy shop, Giclee fine art prints of some of my newest paintings

Monday, July 27, 2015

THE WRITING COTTAGE...

In a recent post I shared with you my studio where I create most of my artwork but this is not my only creative space, I also have a little writing cottage tucked in the corner of my small garden, where I weave words... 
Its a tiny little hideaway with a sea themed decor where treasures from my travels to the shore, special trinkets, and snapshots live.  
Welcome...
To the right of the door is a cozy seating area with an awesome vintage sofa from the 60's in mint condition (it sat in a formal living room where it was rarely used) that I got for a song at a flea market.  A cozy throw made by my daughter and cushy bed sized pillows make for great snuggling, napping, and reading...
 A quirky little shelf made out of old chair parts hangs on the wall above the sofa and holds trinkets and treasures.  Who doesn't need a pink sequined mermaid?
 A painting by a wonderful artist, Helen Read (Brushstrokes, Etc.), beach finds, and the first mini scrap album I ever made...
To round out the seating area there is a wee blue chair, lamp, and tray table.  This was my great aunts chair with the legs cut down so her feet would reach the floor.  She was only 4' 9" tall and we lovingly called her "Baby Ruth" as her name was Ruth.   It was rescued from a shed, repainted, and recovered and we call it "the wedding chair" as my daughter used it as a prop for her bridal photos...
The tray table is another flea market find.   I have filled it with beach finds...
 A closer peek...
To the left of the door is my writing desk, another flea market find.  The chair is a cool folding chair that belonged to my husbands grandmother...
A sliver shell shaped pen holder holds my hand full of found treasures from our 25th wedding anniversary trip...
Even the drawer got a little sea themed collage makeover...
To the right of the desk is a tall glass fronted cabinet the Handy Man built from two old cabinets salvaged from a historic home some friends of ours were renovating.  The top is filled with little mementos while the bottom remains empty until I cull my huge shell collection down to manageable and make memory jars of our trips...
Two of my favorite things, a shell drawing and a hand painted box.  These were gifts from our children when they were younger.  My son gave me the drawing and my daughter gave her dad the box one year for Christmas... 
To the left of the desk is a sliver of wall with framed photos from various beach excursions and an old rope handled wooden box with some of my writing references tucked inside...  
 In the corner is an old column, from the same friends as the cabinet, that the Handy Man cut down so I could use it for display.  A glass vase filled with beach sand, driftwood, and a another glass vase on the inside holds a candle.  A couple of iron shell hooks hold my favorite shell gathering bag and my newest art quilt...




These are my woodland views from my desk where I have feeders stationed so I can watch the birds and squirrels or the water splash and sparkle in our garden pond...

 Sometimes I like to bring a few supplies out here and work on my beach vacation scrapbook...
 I made this binder several years ago and am slowly filling it page by page as time allows...

And there you have it, all 8' by 16' of it, the writing cottage...
I hope you enjoyed the tour!

blessings,
Sandy

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

ART JOURNAL PLAY TUTORIAL...


 I don't often share my play time in my art journal, mostly because it contains experimental techniques, testing of supplies, etc. and its not my normal form of artwork just something I enjoy.  I thought I would share a walk through of supplies and steps I used to create one of my play pages that will go in my recently created loose leaf cereal box journal.



None of the techniques on this page are new or particularly exciting, in fact I call this lazy art journaling.  I only used what was within reach of where I was perched on my stool and I used printed papers and images giving them a painterly look by enhancing them with layers of colors from various supplies, a little shortcut to a quicker page if you don't want to do all the drawing yourself.
SUPPLIES:

Strathmore Smooth Bristol Paper 9x12 100lb - 2 sheets
Scrapbook Paper in 3 coordinating patterns - I used some old K&Co. papers from my scraps
2 Old Book Pages
Paper Matte Mod Podge - acid free and great for all paper projects
Rubber Stamps: French Script and Fern Leaf
Foam Alphabet Stamps: letters PLAY
Clear Cling Stamp: Leaf Branch
Delta Ceramcoat Paint: Black, White, Sea Foam, and Watermelon
Folk Art Paint: Sawgrass
(paints available at Hobby Lobby, JoAnn's, Michael's, and Wal-Mart stores or can find online)
Faber Castell Gelatos: Yellow, Pink, Red, Blue, Green, Orange, Coral, and White
Reeves Watercolor Crayons: White, Light Green, Vandyke Brown
Black Ultra Fine Point Sharpie Permanent Marker
6B Graphite Pencil
Chalk Pastels: Gold and Brown
Scrap Pieces of Mesh
Paper Spine or Stencil of your choice - this was off a piece of paper I tore out of a pad
Makeup Sponge
Fine liner Brush
Water
Tracing Wheel - as used for Sewing
Bottle Dauber or round piece of sponge or your finger (makes great circles!) - mine is one you get at office supply store for dampening stamps
Scissors
Heat Gun or Hair Dryer
Print out of a Bird (about 4x6) - can be an outline like mine or a colored version of a realistic bird

LET'S PLAY!
NOTE:  I did not go into detail of the use of Watercolor Crayons or Gelatos as that information is provided on the packaging, just follow manufacturers instructions for use.

*Tear up your scrapbook papers and book pages laying them dry in a pleasing composition on one piece of your Bristol Paper.  You want to keep the papers rather large as this will be blocks of color and pattern that will show through as part of your over all design.
 *Using the Paper Matte Mod Podge begin gluing the papers to your second sheet of paper by removing the back most papers and gluing them first, smoothing out all the wrinkles.  Continue in this fashion working from the back most papers on your design page until you have all the papers transferred and glued down, this method helps you to keep the papers in the place and order you want them.
*Brush Mod Podge on top of all papers and dry with heat tool or hair dryer.

*Use Gelatos to color small areas then rub them with your finger tip to soften and spread.
*Use white craft paint to create a dry rubbed areas across the paper surface.  Dip the tip of your finger in a little water and pick up a little white paint on same finger.  Rub and spread paint across the surface to create some highlighted areas.
Dry with heat tool or hair dryer.
*Use Bamboo Ink Pad and leaf stamp to stamp three sets of leaves across top of page.

*Use Brown Ink Pad and same leaf stamp and over stamp a couple of sets of leaves over the green ones. 
*Repeat the above process first using the bamboo ink then the brown ink with the fern stamp across the bottom of the page.
Dry with heat tool or hair dryer.
*Use paper spine or stencil of your choice to add another layer of interest by using a makeup sponge to lightly daub paint (Watermelon) through the spine or stencil, an odd number of these is pleasing to the eye.
Dry with heat tool or hair dryer.
*Use Tracing wheel and paint (Sea Foam) to create more page interest by rolling wheel through the paint then roll it across your page, it leaves a little dotted design. (I made big "X" shapes on my paper)
Dry with heat tool or hair dryer.

*Use a piece of mesh, makeup sponge, and paint (Sawgrass) to create more random patterns and layers to your page.
Dry with heat tool or hair dryer.

*Use French Script rubber stamp and brown ink pad and random stamp page.
Dry with heat tool or hair dryer.
*I used Gelatos in pink, coral, and yellow plus watercolor crayons in white and brown to enhance the paper printed cherries and flowers.
Dry with heat tool or hair dryer.
*I used chalk pastels (brown & gold) to outline and shade fruit and flowers.
*I used watercolor crayons (white & light green) to enhance and highlight leaves then used a black ultra fine Sharpie to do some sketchy outlining of fruit and flowers.
Dry with heat tool or hair dryer.
*Cut out bird shape, glue down with Mod Podge, coat top of image with Mod Podge.
Dry with heat tool or hair dryer.
*I layered and blended Gelatos (blue, green, orange, yellow, red, white, coral) to the birds body, then did a little highlight and shading with watercolor crayons (white & brown).
I shaded around the bird with chalk pastels (gold & brown)
Dry with a heat tool or hair dryer.
*Using a black ultra fine Sharpie I outlined the bird and feathers in a sketchy outline.
Some lines did not show up well so I went back in with a fine tipped liner brush and black watered down paint to do a little more outlining.
Dry with a heat tool or hair dryer.
*Using sponge dauber (or finger tip) and  paint (watermelon, sawgrass, sea foam) I created a few random polka dots on the page.
Dry with a heat tool or hair dryer.
*Using a piece of mesh, iridescent medium, and makeup sponge, I applied medium through mesh, lifting mesh straight off to leave a raised textured pattern. (this stuff is amazing, my first time to use it, it has a pearl shimmer to the finish and really gives the page pop!)
Dry with a heat tool or a hair dryer. 
*Add personal markings to page by using black ultra fine Sharpie.  I placed dots around the edge of all my large painted polka dots and small "X" shapes between my square stencils.
*Use Gelatos in white and accent color to highlight and shade large polka dots.
Dry with heat tool or hair dryer.
*Use graphite pencil to draw and smudge an outline around the bird to make it pop off the page more.
*Use brown chalk pastel to shade around large polka dots, repeat using graphite pencil.

*Use brown ink pad and gently rub all outside edges of the paper for and aged look.

*I used a brown ink pad and foam stamps to stamp the word "PLAY" on my page and dried it.  
I then used a white Gelato to highlight the letters.
Then I used a black ultra fine Sharpie to sketchy outline the letters.
Lastly I used a graphite pencil to shade the letters.
*For a finishing touch I scribbled a quote that feels meaningful to me at this time:

"The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you.
Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision.
So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can."
~Neil Gaiman~

*Look over your design and go back to enhance, shade, or highlight any areas that might need it.
*To finish off the piece I sealed it with a matte fixative to protect it from smudging.
Once completely dry loose page may crinkle a bit from all the mediums, weight down for a day or so to get a flat sheet.

This technique could easily be applied to a canvas or journal cover as well.
Make this your own! 
 Use as many or as little of these tips and supplies to create your own lazy journal page, grab whatever is within reach and play!
I would LOVE to see them!

blessings,
Sandy

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