Friday, October 28, 2011

Didja Notice Something?

I was just reading my e-mail when it came to me: The World Did Not End Last Friday.

Didn't end today, either. Unless all those cars on the road around me, ahead of me, and even behind me (the ones racing up to sneak in when a lane ends) while driving home tonight from Art Spa were headed to the place I had in mind for them. But as none of them disappeared, probably not.

And, believe it or not, it probably won't end next Friday, either. I hope not, because I am teaching a workshop on the following Sunday, and I would hate to have wasted all this time getting ready.

Direct-to-paper rubber stamping

The workshop is on making transfers, and though I have taught such workshops before, it's been awhile since it was polymer clay. So my samples all looked rather shopworn, not to say in tatters. Why is it, when you tell a class, "Please don't bend these samples, because that will destroy them," the very next person handling them flexes the sample and shatters it. Did they think I was lying to them? Or what?

Direct-to-paper rubber stamping with process colors (magenta, cyan and yellow)

Or what, indeed. Today, as I was making new samples, I thought about that, and the many other tips you send out in the course of teaching something. "If you do this, that will happen." And it does. "If the temperature is too hot, the clay will burn; not hot enough, the clay will not be very strong." And I am right; they are disappointed in their work, and I have to be careful not to start off with, "Did I not explain to you what would happen?" The folks in my upcoming workshop are mostly experienced enough in clay-ing, as we call it, that they will get it about the temperature. But the rest of it? who knows.

Another direct-to-paper stamping example

When I taught watercolor to rank beginners for a now defunct adult education school, I would start out telling them that artist quality paint was the only way to go. I gave them enough paint to get through the three weeks of class and beyond. I told them it was better to have three colors of artist quality (the primaries, of course) than a whole set of student quality paint. I gave them four colors--I added a green, because no matter what the theory says about mixing blue and yellow to make green, what you actually get is kind of dull. I also told them they would be happier with a paintbrush that was also artist quality, but if that was unaffordable, there were good student quality brushes to be had. I specified several kinds that were relatively inexpensive. I explained why one needed a "good" brush. I specified a good quality student grade paper that was inexpensive, and one sheet of the artist paper that they were to tear into smaller pieces for the last day of class when they would be painting a still life. Out of a class of ten, at least four would add to the colors I gave them with anything from Cotman (ok, but not artist quality) to an eight-color Prang school box. And the brushes were often not what I specified--really cheap brushes, like you get in a set of umpteen in the kid's section. The excuse was that they were not sure they would continue, and didn't want the investment. I could understand that--and I had some brushes they could borrow during class, but what about when they were home and trying to get color on a hopelessly limp brush? They were sure to be disappointed, and they probably wouldn't continue. And I used to wonder, Why won't they listen? Why can't they see it's more fun with good tools? I may have even gone overboard with the Having Fun part depending on Good Tools. May have? Hey, I acted like it was the End of the World if they didn't seem to agree with that concept.

Another dtp sample. All the stamps in these, except for the top example, were  molded foam

That's the idea, isn't it? To have fun? Otherwise, why do it?

Dtp again. Once you have the scans, you can make  other colors by manipulating them in Photoshop. None of these were done that way, though. This one was black, white, and copper stamp pad ink. All were pigment inks.

So maybe I should, as the teacher, have fun too--instead of despairing over ignored instructions. Well, I know the upcoming workshop will be fun, because there are very cool people taking it. And if they don't listen to every golden pearl of wisdom I cast before them, and even if my samples get rough treatment, it won't be the End of the World. That was supposed to be last week.

Cheers, Nan, who knows these pictures have nothing to do with the text, but is having fun using them.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Addendum to Yesterday's Post

Sometimes I wonder! Here I go and put up stuff about my daughter, the Artist-Singer-Sonwriter, and forget all about putting up a link to her web site. DUH!

Here is the link:

"Who is in the Crowd" by Susan Ruth
Check it out--and be sure to check out the music, too! And just so I shouldn't waste the trip, here are a few more of her recent works:

"Deconstruction" by Susan Ruth

"Throwing Stones" by Susan Ruth

"The Other Side" by Susan Ruth

"Untitled" by Susan Ruth
Susan lives in her studio in Nashville, and spends her time writing songs, practicing piano and guitar, walking her dog, Mikey, and painting. She just finished a Showcase in Florida, and will be going to New York City the end of November for a Showcase there. 

'Til next time, Proud Mama Nan

Monday, October 24, 2011

Virtual Art Journaling is Fun, But Not So Easy

Well, when I started out to do a blog. I had all sorts of good intentions about regularity, but we all know how those intentions end up...Life happens, your Muse takes a holiday, you find yourself going to but never getting there. So even if I am not posting every week, I do try.

For the last few days I have been making pages for an Art Journal--whatever that is. In my case, it turns out to be an excuse to play with different techniques and materials. I got some new Martha Stewart Craft Paint to try, and I found that I really love the stuff! I am gleefully adding it to my stash of inventory--art NEEDS inventory, remember? When it came on sale at half price for a day at Michaels, I loaded up on a set of Satin colors and a set of Pearl/Metallic colors. I got one glitter--copper--to use for Halloween, and an almost-white, and black, and indigo and a bright blue. I find I will need a bright green, a purple, and a dark brown. Of course I can mix the colors, but for craft paints, I like to get the color already mixed. I also used Golden heavy body acrylics for some pages.

So I scanned all the pages I did, and today I made a virtual art journal using some of the scans.

This is the title page

I used some Elmer's glue with the Martha paint to make crackle pages, and I also used Ranger's Distress Crackle Paint. I had to thin that some--it dries out in the jar, and you have to keep an eye on it to thin it before it gets too hard.

On the left, yellow craft paint layered with Elmer's Glue-all and red craft paint; on the right, copper metallic craft paint layered with Elmer's and blue craft paint

These pages have Distress crackle paint over Martha's craft paint

You have to zoom in pretty far to see the crackles. The two methods give quite a different effect. I have some acrylic crackle stuff to mix with my Golden colors, and I will have to give that a workout soon.

Here is the first spread after the title page.

I have been taking of series of pictures of me reflected in various objects, such as mirrors, windows, tea kettles, and this bottle, which I saw at the Saturday Market in Ilwaco when we were vacationing in Long Beach, Washington last September.

I like
I like these birdies just the way they were, so I didn't do much to them in Photoshop.

I have a lot of fun collecting things to make texture in my art. One really super find was a piece of blue plastic bubble wrap with triangular bubbles arranged in hexagons. It gets a lot of use in my art.

These circles were made using a glue stick container.

Now I have switched to Golden heavy-body acrylic. I painted a thick coat of the green, and mashed the holder I got with a pack of glue sticks into it. I also painted the holder with Golden magenta and stamped with it. Some wet brushwork over the green side thinned the paint out some. The photographs are some I took this summer.

My daughter, Susan Ruth, is an artist; these pages salute her . The circles are made with a pill-bottle top.
My daughter, Susan Ruth, lives in Nashville. She is a singer-songwriter who paints. She is over six feet tall, so you can see she doesn't deal in miniatures! The top two on the left are from a gallery opening; the painting on the bottom is recent work. She gives her paintings interesting titles. You probably can't see that the bottom one is called "From My Window I See Possibilities." The paint used here is Golden cobalt teal heavy body acrylic.

I used stencils on this spread.

For this one, I used a page twice and stuck it on a scan of the spiral wire
and  inverted the colors in Photoshop; more stencilling.

A spread cobbled together in Photoshop from two larger pages;
on the left, magenta Golden paint; on the right, Elmer's and Martha Stewart craft paint.

All in all, it was a grand couple of play days! Very refreshing! ---Nan