Solar prints are fun for kids and adults

Sep 30, 2009

Solar prints (also called sun prints) are easy to do and inexpensive.  I picked up a package at the local toy store and spent an hour with my daughter one afternoon creating different images from found objects in our yard.  Here are three prints that we created together:

The exosure time is only a few minutes, and all you need to "fix" the image permenantly is a pan of water.  You can also create solar prints from original drawings on tracing paper.  I'll have to play around with this idea.

New favorite material to work with- Galkyd

Sep 29, 2009

Just recently, I was on the hunt for a safer resin to use on top of my mixed media works.  I wanted to create a high gloss coat and had called a couple of places in town for some suggestions on what to use.  I eventually picked up an 8 oz. bottle of Gamblin's Galkyd, which is a painting medium.

Galkyd has the consistency of maple syrup.  On the label it says in capitals "DO NOT POUR APPLY."  So naturally, I pour apply.  It's funny how I tend to be a huge rules follower (I don't even jaywalk!) except when it comes to art. 

I planned on testing the medium on an oil work that I had mounted on a birch panel.  I applied just enough Galkyd on top of the piece so that the fluid didn't spill over the edges. 

It took a couple of days for it to dry to touch, and I was super pleased with the outcome.  Galkyd does yellow the work slightly, but I like the added warmth and dimension to my work.

When applied unevenly and too thick, there could be some wrinkling effects.  You can see this on the corner of the first piece I experimented on, shown below.  (From a normal distance, though, it's not very noticeable.)

Here's a new work that I just created yesterday with Galkyd applied on top.  In the upper right hand section, you can see the tint difference on the white where there is a thicker layer of Galkyd.

UPDATE: I've noticed in the last year that Galkyd continues to yellow over time.   It seems to be more noticeable with thicker applications and pieces that were stored in the dark. 

Designing a kitchen

Sep 28, 2009

I have a knack for picking projects that are more complicated than usual.  Take my kitchen remodel, for instance.  I worked closely with local craftsmen on the custom design and installation of materials, and all of them confirmed that I chose challenging design elements.  Maybe this is why my husband runs the other way whenever I mention starting a new home project.

Having remodeled two kitchens now, I've learned a few things to help the design process go smoother.  Here are a few of my tips:

1. The key to custom work is to communicate your ideas well and to work with people that are experts at what they do.  Even if your drawing skills are not strong, try to sketch your ideas down.  It's amazing how a simple line drawing can help articulate a design idea to others.

2. Keep your sketches, along with magazine cutouts and swatches, in an organized notebook. I actually dedicated a console drawer to the books and samples of materials I had collected over the course of a couple of months. 

3. Know your color palette well.  The color red, for example, could be interpreted as a tomato red to one person and a raspberry red to another.  Most of the interior of our main floor is painted with Yolo paints, and I love how you can see all their color choices on one page.  They actually make choosing colors fun!

4.  Stick to your budget!  Even though I wanted to incorporate Lumicor panels in my cabinetry and have cement countertops, we just couldn't make it work with our budget.  We ended up using glass for sliding doors on one cabinet unit and particleboard for the countertop.  Having a smaller budget, though, doesn't mean you have to sacrifice the "green" factor. 

To read more about my green kitchen remodel, go here.

Below are snapshots of my favorite parts of the remodeled kitchen- the hanging pantry and the tile backsplash.  I am thrilled that they turned out like how I envisioned!

Once in a blue moon

Sep 27, 2009

I was looking at some art on a couple of Portland gallery sites and found two works that would make for a great "comparing art" discussion with a group of students. 

My past and present captured in embroidery

Sep 25, 2009

I have a bag of beautiful vintage silk fabrics that my grandmother gave me years ago.  The fabrics are actually garment remnants from traditional Korean dresses called Hanboks.

One day, I had this idea to embroider images of Portland on the silk fabric.  I had dabbled with embroidery before, but more with lettering than imagery.  I decided to pick up a hoop and a embroidery stitching tool at a craft store, and I'm so glad I did!  The embroidery went so much faster!

I was able to complete my first Portland embroidered image that first evening.  I probably should have sketched it out first on the fabric, but I'm super impatient when it comes to prep work.   Hopefully you recognized it's the Hawthorne Bridge!

All I have to do now is wrap it around a stretched canvas frame so that it's ready to hang.

Lake Grove, Lake Oswego

Sep 24, 2009

This photo was taken behind a church parking lot.  I contemplated keeping it in color, but ultimately b/w always wins in the end.

Taking the old and making new

Sep 23, 2009

This is what my drafting table looks like at the moment.  I've decided to work on smaller pieces for now and move away from canvases.  It's been fun to take some of my old monotypes and create new works mounted on birch panels.  I've also been experimenting with safer alternatives to conventional resins. . . will post my first trial piece soon.
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