31 May 2011
I ran across this drawing I had done a couple of years ago... she was originally destined to be turned into a three dimensional needlepoint, and may still eventually be some day, but until then, she seems the perfect candidate to paint. You should be warned, all of my mermaids are painted naked (the mermaids... not me) so you are likely to see boobs (the mermaid's... not mine)...
I very lightly transferred the original drawing to the 140 lb cold press watercolor paper (11" x 15"). And then I just dove into the painting...her first, then the background. The gouache colors are very pretty and bright, but I also needed some colors that I didn't have in the gouache palette, so I pulled out the watercolors too. They worked very well together.
Lots of layers of color, some applied to wet paper, some more dry... oranges over yellows, reds over oranges, right now everything is an experiment. I like the layering process (seems to be a recurring theme with me, doesn't it?). It's all an experiment at this point, and that's probably what makes it so much fun for me.
Once I was happy with the colors I let it dry it very, very well (aren't you proud of me?), and then I added some finishing touches...
My trusty very fine tip Sharpie marker to add outlines... and since mermaids are sparkly and magical creatures it seemed a wee little metallic gold was in order. I don't want her to be too outrageous after all... so I just added pattern to her tail.
Maybe not high art, and certainly not realistic, then again, I haven't seen too many mermaids lately... but I like how she turned out. Now on to the next experiment!
30 May 2011
To those men and women who serve in our military, to those who have gone to war to ensure the freedoms guaranteed to me by our Constitution, and to those who have given their lives, there are not enough words...
29 May 2011
It's also no secret that my current obsession is those watercolors, mostly because I hate failing. To those of you who are masters at them, I salute you. Especially those who can simply take brush to paper and create something beautiful. I concede... regardless of how much I practice, I shall never be that sort. I'm ok with that. But I shall keep trying.
I am a self taught artist. Unless you count the couple of classes I had in high school. I have a "knack" for creating stuff... come from a long line of women who have always been creative... but nothing has been "formally" taught. I'm not complaining, I think not knowing how a technique is supposed to be done gives me great leeway in how I create something. No rules mean everything is possible. Except for these darned watercolors. Why are they so difficult for me? Of course, this makes me very curious, which, in turn, leads to some research on my part (don't even ask me what I know about coconut trees... when I get curious about something I just have to know...)
Opening my browser, I typed in "water color and similar paints" into the Google search box... and found that there may be a better alternative for me. Gouache paint. What's the difference? Well, the particles of pigment are larger, and the ratio of pigment to water is higher, and they generally have a white pigment (such as chalk) in them as well. That makes the paint heavier... more opaque. It dries very flat, and you can paint layers. Ohhhh... this seems promising!
Off I go to purchase some gouache paints. Before investing the inheritance of my children in a medium I'm not remotely sure I am going to be able to master, I decided I'd get a "student quality" set that was reasonably priced. And I went home to practice on poppies again. I even spent the day cleaning house yesterday so I wouldn't have to feel any guilt about spending the day today painting... Here's what I have found... It's not the paints, it's me. Realistic painting is just not my thing. But... the paints are great!
They are more opaque, and I like how I can layer them... although, I REALLY do have to learn to be patient enough to let the layers dry between. The colors are vibrant, as is evidenced above and to the left... we know I like bright and colorful! They aren't going to help me get the poppy done well, but... there are a whole lot of possibilities that I can see here.
Have I told y'all I like mermaids? Pretty, colorful, mermaids... And you know, it's easy to not feel frustrated realistically painting them... we have so few photos of them to go by...
28 May 2011
I love technology when it works... not so much a fan when it misbehaves.
Anywho... It's Saturday, and I know lots of us have plans for a long holiday weekend here in the States... (mine don't include gatherings, but rather, I'll be cleaning out closets) so, before you get to the barbeques, and the picnics, and the reflection on why we celebrate Memorial Day, I want to share with you the ArtsyBlogger links...
Cyndi has been featuring wonderful wire artists all this month...take a look at what these folks are doing!
Created with a brick matte background and Artistic (textured) Letters
See how Eileen used a 3D Valentine’s Day card template to make a 3D card suitable for many special occasions.
Show-Me State Gourd Festival
27 May 2011
Any of you guys who read know how to fix this? I'd so appreciate any advice y'all have... technologically savvy I am not...
25 May 2011
Watercolors are my Achilles heel. I love them. That transparent color, the layers, the not so perfect edges of color saturation... I could spend hours looking at them, finding every nuance of how the water and paint have interacted. Sheer beauty... Of course, I would love them... because I suck at producing them. Never have been good with them, may never be good at them, but I've decided it's time I step outside my comfort zone on a few things and make the good attempt...after all, if I don't try, I cannot improve... right?
And I chose last night as my first attempt... in another lifetime I had created a poppy needlepoint canvas that I just loved. It's realistic, yet not... bright, colorful, cheerful... I thought it would be great to recreate. I sat down with it, drew in the design and started painting.
Here's my dilemma... I can't get those beautiful layers of color... the shading that I love... nothing every looks "right" to me... (heavy sigh)
I'm not happy with the outcome, but I'll fiddle with it for a bit, try it again, maybe get some better water colors, maybe use water color pencils instead (or with)... but I am happy that I stepped out of my comfort zone. Staying there just allows me to be too complacent, too narrow as an artist... and who wants that? Growth as an artist, as a human, is so important to becoming who we really can be.
So, here's the question for today... what do you want to do that you just have a difficult time doing? Maybe it's because you don't live up to your standards at it... or maybe you just don't get the results you want from it... or heck, maybe fear just prevents you from trying... What are you going to give a go at to move out of your own comfort zone?
23 May 2011
Yep... another one... and just look at this! It's a neighborhood of miniature houses... on a bracelet no less!
Seven mini houses, two mini trees... pink and blue beads.
And I just love the clasp... isn't it great?
So tell me... who wants it?
You know how this sort of thing goes here... there have to be some rules... so...
1. You must be a follower of the blog (I have to be able to see you over there in the followers list).
2. You must leave a comment on this post (I am only counting the comments on this post) for one entry. You have until midnight, June 14th (the blog's birthday!) to leave them.
3. For a second entry, blog, tweet, share the info and let me know where you did. Two entries are the limit for everyone.
I will use Random.org to choose a winner on June 15th. That winner will be announced in a blog post on the fifteenth (you guys are responsible for checking to see who wins), and that winner will need to get in touch with me no later than midnight June 18, 2011. I reserve the right to choose a different winner if that does not happen.
Good luck everyone!
22 May 2011
Ahh... the weekend... a couple of them ago I spent my weekend making tiny houses from polymer clay and then shared them with you guys on this post. I had a couple of people ask what I had made them from, and Susan asked if I'd consider doing a tutorial... well, heck yeah... you ask, I try to make it happen!
These tiny things are simple, simple, simple... I promise! Here's what you need... a white polymer clay (I use Scupley, you use whatever you prefer), aluminum foil to bake it on, acrylic paint, teeny tiny paint brushes, Mod Podge, an extra fine tip permanent marker (I use Sharpie), fine grain sand paper or a fine grain emery file, and super glue. Optional stuff... extra fine glitter, wire, wooden bases. (Not everything is pictured here.)
Note here... you know how I like to tell y'all about my mistakes so that you don't have to make them and can make your own... ALWAYS put something down to protect your surface when you work with polymer clay... I've discovered that it can mess up a finish on a table really well.
The first step is making the houses. Knead your clay until it is easily pliable, and then, using little bits of it, make a "sorta house" shape. I call it that because it really isn't very structured. The smaller ones are mostly just a triangle with the sides flattened a bit, and the taller ones are a rectangle with the top pinched to make a "roof". Make them different sizes, tall and skinny, short and squat, and everything in between. Then bake them (on aluminum foil) according to the directions for the clay you are using.
When they're finished, let them cool or you'll burn your fingers... not only does it hurt, but it's just not productive.
When the houses are cool, paint them with the acrylic paint. I water my paint a bit, I like the soft effect that it gives, almost like a watercolor. If I want deeper color I let it dry between coats and apply more. If you prefer to have a more "solid" look to yours, don't water down the paint. It's a bit tricky... these things are itty bitty after all, so what I usually do is paint the roofs and let them dry and then paint the bottom (or vice versa). I don't really go into painting them with a "plan" for the colors. Normally I just put several (little) blobs of paint on a surface and use them randomly. It seems to make them feel more whimsical and less "planned".
Once they are painted with the base colors, add "splotches" of white for where you want the windows to be, and another for the door. Mine are never perfectly placed, I'm way past the desire for perfection... Let all of the paint dry, then outline the windows and the door with the extra fine point Sharpie (or whatever marker you prefer), and I add a line between the roof and the bottom. Makes it look more distinct, but really it hides the areas where the two colors don't quite meet each other. Let it dry for 10 minutes or so, and then add a coat or two or three (never less than two for me) of Mod Podge to seal. I use a mixture of one part matte Mod Podge, one part of regular Mod Podge, and one part of water to thin. You have to do it much like you did the painting, top or bottom first... hold them for a bit to begin the drying process, then you can lay them on aluminum foil to finish.
In my original pieces I made the bases out of wooden pieces I had around already left over from other projects. They were painted and detailed and covered with the same Mod Podge mixture and everything is allowed to dry.
Play around with combinations of houses and bases, and when you are happy with what you have use a drop of the Super Glue to glue everything in place. One caveat here.. be sure to sand the bottoms of the houses so that they will sit flat and secure on the bases you put them on. Oh... and don't get your fingers in the way of that Super Glue... it sticks them to the houses very well... You can add trees, little things on wires (like the hearts), glitter... whatever strikes your fancy to make them all yours...
Let me know if you have any questions... and if you use the tute.. send me a picture or two so I can share them here!
(Heads up... a new give away starts tomorrow... and it may have something to do with these little houses!)
21 May 2011
Show-Me State Gourd Festival
And yet another chance to win a fabulous bead package giveaway!
Who doesn't recycle cards and gift bags these days? This was a real simple recycling project. Look at the card Jackie gave Eileen for her birthday; and then how Jackie received it back on hers!
When spring gives you strawberries and rhubarb, you've got to make crisp!
Art Journal Fun
20 May 2011
Nick from Indy (I wonder if he was the guy I saw standing in the window of Gigi's every day for the first few weeks) wrote:
Hmm, you were there for their grand opening in the evening and only 4 or so varieties were left. Sounds like they had a great day and were depleted. Did you expect them to have a few hundred on hand for you right before they closed? How many wicked turns did you have to make to tip those cupcakes over on the way home? And I would imagine that since this is a franchised concept there are local owners who have invested there heart, soul, time and money into this venture, which I think is very well proven in towns throughout the south. A good (which by the way you are not) food critic usually gives an establishment a few weeks to work the kinks out before going in and reviewing the operation. Its obvious that you are on a total witch hunt with some sort of nasty motive. Shame on you and your small town mentality.---Nick in Indy
I can't imagine where Nick got the impression I was a food critic... have never remotely pretended to be... I'm just a consumer expressing MY OPINION about a product.
And then there was Anonymous (by the way posting as "anonymous" tends to be a cowardly way to post a nasty comment in MY OPINION) who wrote:
Go Nick from Indy! You're right, Creative Dreamer IS very contradicting and sounds like a witch on a hunt with a nasty motive. What do you expect a co-worker to say after a cupcake sits out a day? "Very dry"??? Sound familiar? My opinion Gigi's Cupcakes are amazing and will only get better. Besides no one's perfect lets bring this blog back to reality. Gigi's and Magee's are going to do very well in the Lexington area no matter what your opinion is...besides I have to give you blogging props, using the Little One as an excuse to go get a cupcake was a great excuse to throw Gigi's Cupcakes under the bus. Good luck with your nasty motives!
Seriously y'all... "throw Gigi's Cupcakes under the bus"??? It was just MY OPINION... and where exactly was I contradictory? I didn't like the darned thing and tried to say it in the nicest way possible...
Dear Creative Dreamer,
I am so sorry you had a bad first experience at Gigi's Lexington. Our goal is to create the very best cupcake that you would want to come back for. I ask that you give us another chance to earn your business back on me and make you another one of Gigi's valued, happy customers. Please email me directly to work out the details. firstname.lastname@example.org
I wish you and your blog the best and appreciate your heart felt honesty.
I decided to give Gigi's another try. So, on Tuesday, May 17, 2011, my daughter and I went to Gigi's to have another go. We arrived there about 5:00 pm, and, apparently they had had a wonderful day, there were about 3 dozen cupcakes left. The woman and her daughters ahead of us asked if that was all they had, and the young woman behind the counter explained that was what they had left.
After the woman ahead of us purchased her cupcake, we were up to purchase ours. I had gone in there with the intent that I would purchase the exact type of cupcake, however the "Birthday Party" was not available. I chose the "Wedding Cake" which I was assured was the same thing, just a different color frosting. My daughter chose a lemon one.
Now, just for good old "Nick in Indy", my daughter held the box the entire way so as to NOT allow for any of those sharp turns to knock the cupcake over (even though she was hesitant to, she wasn't sure she wanted to be mentioned in the post in case people left some comments about her that were "sorta like death threats"). It still fell over, they are just top heavy, that's what you sorta have to expect of them. This time it didn't dent the frosting so badly (And I was NOT given the option of two boxes, the young woman had them packed into a 4 box before I could). In MY OPINION, it wasn't all that important as I really wasn't planning to give any of these away anyway.
Here, again, although no one has asked for it, is my opinion of the Gigi's cupcakes we purchased. And... I am not on a witch hunt, nor am I being nasty, I am a CONSUMER... expressing MY OPINION... period. Not a food critic, not someone out to sabotage Gigi's... or "toss them under the bus"... (as if I could with two posts, come on people), have no motives at all really... other than to see if they had improved. And, just to be upfront.. I don't have to use my Little One as an excuse... as a grown woman who makes her own money, and can chose to purchase from ANY company I want to (y'all see what I am saying here, right?)...
I'm very pleased to say that they have improved a great deal... (of course, this is only MY OPINION)from my first visit. The frosting this time had a vastly better consistency and that weird aftertaste was missing. With the first cupcake the frosting was far too heavy, this time it seemed much more of a whipped consistency, much lighter and fluffier. Still had about 3 inches of it, which in MY OPINION is a bit much, even to a frosting fan like me... but it seems to be part of their signature look... so I'll simply deal with it.
The cake was still dry... and Anonymous, this was a "fresh" cupcake... eaten as soon as the purchase was made and I drove home (.5 miles from the Gigi's location), and it was a pretty standard white cake sort of thing. Nothing spectacular, nothing horrible... just pretty average.
The lemon cupcake that my daughter chose... I can only comment on the frosting as I got no other taste of it... it was light and fluffy as well as the one I got. I give them props on getting that worked out from my first visit to this one.
Will I make Gigi's a regular purchase? I might have, I try to always give a shop the benefit of the doubt, there are off days, and there is always a learning curve, but will I now? Nope... not really because of the cupcakes though, mostly because of "Anonymous" and "Nick from Indy". Although, let me be sure to state here, I appreciate that Mr. Butler recognizes the importance of the consumer, even if I chose not to take him up on the offer. If I can't express an opinion about something that I purchased from a company, and was not all that happy with, without being blasted... it sorta makes me not want to bother to give my business to that company. (Tells me that rather than learn from what their customer says, they prefer to be defensive and tell the customer how wrong they are... maybe not the best way to do business.)
Do I hope they succeed... absolutely, I know how hard it can be to make a business succeed, and I know how much money someone can sink into a business as part of a franchise, not to mention how many of their dreams they invest in it... and I NEVER wish any ill will on anyone. Especially not those who are working to fulfill their dream. I hope they not only succeed, but that they flourish. Who doesn't love a cupcake after all? I also hope that those who post their comments supporting Gigi's learn how to word their insults in a far more constructive way... because when you are a business you really don't want to distance customers... even if their first experience was a not so great one.
I reserve the right to delete all mean and ugly comments posted to this expression of MY OPINION... and if y'all cannot read the facetiousness and humor in this as well as the review... well... in MY OPINION... you just missed the best part...
19 May 2011
After lots of thoughtful consideration, I've decided that this will be the last "Creativity Invitation" prompt. It's been an amazing run full of fun and creative folks... not to mention some seriously beautiful creations, but a year is enough.
Now... don't for a minute think we're finished with being creative around here... it's just time to move on to other projects. I've a few ideas floating around in my head and once I decide on one, I'll announce it.
In the mean time, for the last Creativity Invitation prompt it's all up to you. Yep... this time it's "Artist Choice"... share something new you create, something that you created long ago that you just love, something bold and daring, something sweet and demure... it is all up to you!
And I just cannot wait to see what y'all send because you never cease to amaze me!
(The "Big Reveal" will be June 14th... this blog's birthday! So everyone, and remember, EVERYONE can participate, get your links to me before then!)
18 May 2011
Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2011-05-18 14:50:40 UTC
Now... look at who left the fifth comment...Magpie Sue said... Email me your address... I'll get it out.
Just wait 'till y'all see the next give away... it has something to do with these...
17 May 2011
So, without further ado...
Eileen created, or rather re-created, a gorgeous purple necklace for her friend Loretta. I love the finished product, it's absolutely beautiful... but here's the part I love... she refashioned a relatively plain necklace of beautiful amethyst and brought out the beauty of the beads. Amazing!
Sue created a great piece that's going to be, of all things, a part of a lab coat for her friend.... how creative and cool is that? I think the piece is wonderful, fun, and colorful... just great!
Trish made some earrings. Aren't they pretty? My friend Margaret would just die for these... and she could wear them with anything, she's in purple every day. Trish also made a necklace to go with them... check out her post and see how beautiful they turned out. Really a simply beautiful set!
And lastly... my creation for the month... it's a tiny polymer heart with wings, sitting atop some painted wooden findings. Just about two inches overall. It sits in Margaret's office, just down the hall from mine... seemed especially fitting since she inspired the prompt, don't ya think?
Check in tomorrow... the May prompt will be up!
Thanks for playing everyone... you all did GREAT!
16 May 2011
Learn how to make easy paper flowers with this step by step tutorial.
Believe it or not, a friend of a friend whom Eileen had never even met gave her everything she needed to explore the luscious art of silk painting.
Cyndi shares her method of making a charm necklace from a vintage button!