Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Finished Art or Technique Experiment?

Most of the quilts or mixed-media pieces or even the ATCs I create usually start with an idea, theme or play on words, but the piece I just finished wasn't really anything except experimentation with some techniques.
Praying For (big) Miracles-AVAILABLE

I wanted to see what kind of effects I could get with the silver irridescent and red/orange interference paints mixed with acrylic glazing medium. It turned out so-so compared to my hopes, but I did like the way the background shows through, even with umpteen layers of watercolor pencil/pastel shading and silver glaze.
hand detail from Praying For (big) Miracles

I wanted a little bit of dimension on the milagros so I used several carefully placed layers of Golden's clear tar gel with the teeny-tiniest bit of Lumiere mica powder mixed in.

heart detail from Praying For (big) Miracles

I also played around a little with a handwriting rubber stamp, some basic masking techniques and two different inks (for some hard-core masking techniques and tools, check this out). The first layer of stamping is under the background color and I used StazOn black permanent ink. I love StazOn, which isn't much of a surprise since Tsukineko also makes the Fabrico double-tipped fabric marker which is one of my staples for art quilts (remember my art quilts? I barely do).

I used Brilliance Moonlight White pigment ink (yeah, by Tsukineko again) for the top layer of stamping/masking. This time, I thought it would be fun to add some embossing powder - here's a tip: careful you don't end up melting or bubbling your acrylic layers with your heat gun... that is, unless you're going for that look. I liked the way that the white really stands out where the embossing powder stuck to the pigment inks, even with another layer of acrylic glaze over it. I'm filing that experiment away as "successful."

In between the layers of stamping I used one of my favorite transfer techniques - good ol' packing tape and my Epson inkjet printer. For those of you about to try this, you can use all kinds of images to transfer - newspaper clippings, laser copies, inkjet prints, magazine photos, etc. Results will vary depending on the quality and water soluability of the ink transfered. You can also use clear Contac paper for large images. I like these techniques over gel medium image transfers because I get a very thin transfer very QUICKLY.

For the edges, I had planned to use aluminum HVAC repair tape (I don't have a favorite brand so just Google it, folks) plain and simple, but once I got it on there it just looked too dangded shiney. Adirondack alcohol inks to the rescue (in oregano, caramel and latte)! I used their ink applicator tool (you could use cotton balls, but I like the convenience and tidy nature of the applicator) to dab the various colors on, then I sprayed it with some rubbing alcohol and let everything dry. I topped the whole frame off with a very carefully applied layer of matte acrylic topcoat.

Well, I guess that's it! If you just happen to like it as a pretty picture it's called "Praying For (big) Miracles and is 24x12". If you would like to have it for your very own, it is "$100 and available through Side Show Studios until March 10th.

Thanks for reading and happy experimenting!
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Monday, February 16, 2009

Mean People (just don't be one)

I was going to devote this post to a long rant describing, blow-by-blow, the maddening story of what happened to me last night at my local grocery store that starts with an "S" and ends in "afeway."  However, I decided after some reflection (and a 24 hour cooling off period) to drop a large portion of the ranting and focus on the takeaway point (sorry for the "bullshit bingo" language there).

I had a grumpy old white guy jump in front of me in line last night at the store and then proceed to be really nasty to me about it.  I stuck up for myself (verbally), after which two women about my age told me to GROW UP. Grow up?  For sticking up for myself?  For something else?  I didn't get it.  Then I realized that I've heard that phrase, which had never in my adult life been uttered to me, twice in the last 6 months.  Hmmmmm.  Both times it was here in the suburbs of Folsom, both times by women about my age who didn't know me or anything about me, both times they were looking me up and down - finally settling on my hair.  (FYI:  We moved here 10 years ago for the city advertised "open space" and working class neighbors - since then most of the land has been paved over and has either malls or McMansions built on it. Yay Folsom.)

Sigh.  OK.  I get it.  Let's face facts here - I never expected everyone to LOVE the pink hair, but I do and seriously, it really doesn't hurt a single person.  I know some people will judge me poorly because of it, but seriously, unless you live with me, what do you care if I spend one day a month dying my shower bright pink?  When did hair color become a punishable offence?  Geez.  I was feeling pretty beaten down and sad.  I started wondering why I bothered to NOT be a total dick to people since it didn't seem to be getting me anywhere.  Then, this afternoon, in a moment of synchronicity, I became aware of an awesome website that I hope all of you will visit and that at least some of you will accept the challenge: operationNICE.com   It's just what I needed.  Not only will I continue to NOT be mean, I'm going to go out of my way to do something nice for someone every day that I leave my house, no matter how small a gesture I make.

So there.  Take that.  [me sticking my tongue out at the mean people at the store]

Rock on.  Be cool.  Make art.  Have fun.  Do nice stuff.
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Monday, February 9, 2009

Art Is Like A Box Of Chocolates...

Once again, a piece I'm working on is not ending up where I thought it would, but it's still pretty cool.

When I started the piece that I wanted to do for the Valentine's Day love & lust / the human body show at Side Show Studios, I envisioned more "real life" color coming through multiple layers of transparent silver glaze on the milagros, so I started by shading with orange (hand) and red (heart).
new painting - "milagros" (working title)

Once I got going on the first layer of painting, things just weren't looking the way I'd hoped so I went another route - black and grey shading over the silver glazed layers, with a little interference paints (orange and red) mixed in for some fun. I ended up spending MUCH more time on the background color blending and layering than I had intended too. Who knew? Anyway, here's where I stand, with some Golden tar gel drying over the milagros (hence the spots of cloudyness).
in progress

I have no clue what else this needs (though I do have my "finishing touch" thanks to a little convincing by Evie to trust my initial instincts).

I also finished, as you know, the piece for Allyson of her doggie, Lulu, as a skelecritter.
FINAL final version

After much prodding by Ron, Allyson and everyone else, I went back and made the 'skele-Abby' up in the right corner more prominent:
skele "Abby" detail

This is finally sealed & dry, and has all the hanging hardware attached to the back so it's going to Al TOMORROW! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she likes it.
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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New Piece (I'll Let Skelekitty Tell You About It)

Skelekitty blogged about my new piece, Wanna Go To The River?, a custom mixed-media on wood I created for Allyson Seconds, my personal trainer, dog pal, friend, and often the voice of reason.

Click over to read the post and see the new painting.
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