My Week

Feb 27, 2011

the snow came and went 
i wore my snowflake boots that were made in christchurch, new zealand
my heart breaks for the devastating loss there this week

another project- fixing up a 1961 bike I got for $8
can't wait to ride it this spring

the girls' birthdays seem to be coming around faster
this year's craft- beaded bobbin pins

New works

Feb 25, 2011

This photograph of a tree was taken last summer at Lake Tahoe.  Continuing with my experiments with image transfers, I made a print of the photograph to transfer onto canvas.  It unfortunately didn't turn out as vibrant as I had hoped, so I painted over the image.  I actually ended up covering most all of the original tree image, as evidenced by the photo on the right. 

Whenever I mix up an indigo color, I can't help but think of traditional Japanese fabric designs.  In the same way, when I use earthy reds, I think of Native American art.  You can see both of these influences in the new painting I titled Starry Sky.

To create a clear, glossy top coat, I brushed on a thick layer of acrylic gel medium.  When dry, the acrylic medium gives the painting a wet look, which is a great effect.  However, I applied the medium a little too thick, causing the turquoise paint to crack a bit.  It's not terribly noticeable, but I went ahead and added the painting to the sale section of my Etsy shop.

For the past few days, I've also been working on 100% recycled drawing paper.  Normally I create pen and ink drawings on the Kraft-like paper, but I primarily used acrylic paint this time around.  The two new works feel more like sketches to me, so I debated uploading them into my Etsy shop.  But I enjoy sketches from other artists as much as their polished works, so I decided to add the new pieces to the shop.  The one on the left is called Peak and the one on the right is Valley.

My chalkboard wall

Feb 23, 2011

It's been over a year since I mentioned [here] painting one of our walls with chalkboard paint, and I'm happy to report that I finally did it!  I'm not sure why I waited so long, because it was a relatively painless task.  I was able to paint two coats in one afternoon, and it only took one quart of paint.  The girls had a blast drawing on it for the first time, covering as much surface with chalk as possible.  I contributed some doodles myself, and I have to say that I found it quite liberating to draw on a wall in our home.  I can understand why kids prefer walls over paper.  The whole arm is involved in the drawing process and there's a lot more space to be creative. 

My Week

Feb 21, 2011

Apparently, I'm digging reds and greens right now . . .

my latest work, Cherry Blossoms // it just got snatched up as a swapathon trade

a favorite on sunday afternoons- tomatoes and basil on baguette

value drawing lesson for 10 year-olds in my dining room

bouquet of flowers we've enjoyed all week

a dear family friend (and former art student of mine) recently got engaged, on our front porch! 
i snapped some photos of the sweet couple this weekend

Handmade envelopes in a jiffy

Feb 14, 2011

This week I found myself crafting envelopes- not out of a desire to start a new hobby but out of necessity.  I've been looking for small envelopes (made out of recycled paper) for my new notecards.  I went to a couple of paper specialty shops in town but was out of luck.  Discouraged, yet determined, I sat down one afternoon and found that making envelopes is quite easy and surprisingly fun.

Folding an envelope is essentially basic origami.  (By no means do I consider myself an envelope craftmaster, but I do have strong origami folding genes.)  To make a standard envelope with a triangle flap, you need a square piece of paper cut an inch wider than the diagonal measurement of the notecard.  My card measures 4.5" from one corner to the opposite corner, so I needed a 5.5" square paper. 

Many origami patterns have you start by folding in all four corners of the paper.  Centering your card on the paper, this will be the first step of folding an envelope.  In the photo on the right, you'll see that I've highlighted four little triangles created by the folds.  You'll want to cut these out.  Then all you have to do is fold two sides in and, with a gluestick, glue the third side down on top of the other two sides.  And there you have it- your very own handmade envelope!

I started playing around with some other designs and was able to come up with a few more envelope patterns.  Here's an envelope I created with a top opening.  I prefer this design because it's a more efficient use of paper.  The one thing you'll need to keep in mind with this design is that you'll need to taper (just a tad) the large side that folds in.  And, to help even out your creases, I found that a spoon can do the trick! 

For additional decorative touches, you can use corner punches.  I like to have rounded corners on my notecards, so I find that repeating these kinds of features on envelopes creates a more cohesive look.

For more interest, you can use patterened paper.  I created my own triangles pattern and printed it on recycled paper.  I also love the idea of using found paper with printed designs, whether it's magazine pages or recycled business envelopes (which is the envelope in the middle). 

Hope I've inspired you to create your own envelopes.  No more shuffling around drawers or quick runs to the grocery store for last minute birthday cards.  Just make your own, and what a wonderful treat for the recipient!

New works, "Cascade" and "Enchanted"

Feb 13, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, I almost gave up on this piece after a major mishap with a clogged paint bottle.  After some problem-solving and repainting, Cascade is the latest print in my Etsy shop.  The title of the new work comes from the rainfall patterns in the design and a mountain range in Oregon.

In this post,  I had mentioned that the first test prints didn't turn out.  So I added some brighter hues (via conventional painting methods, not post-editing), and it worked!  The scanner was able to pick up the contrast.  Shown above is the new print in a frame.  You can read more about it here.

Enchanted is an original mixed media piece.   My favorite part of this work is the pink sky.  I also used for the first time a pearlescent ink.  It's hard to tell in this photo, but there's some shimmer in the green.  You can see more pictures of the new work here.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Since starting Habit of Art, I have been committed to adding at least one new work to my Etsy shop every week.  In 2010, I created 62 pieces, all cataloged here.  My goal this year is to double this.  Although my life seems busier than ever, I really want to get to the place where I'm working at my art desk every day.

I also desperately need a new computer, so this will motivate me to add more products to my Etsy shop.  My computer screen temporarily turns white every time I use it, so I know it won't be much longer before it goes kaput . . .  sometimes I despise being a slave to technology! Granted, I could always use my husband's PC, but I'm one of those Apple loyalists.  You'll probably find me blogging from my iphone before I touch the PC.

When craft becomes art

Feb 10, 2011

For the past week, I've been leisurely going through the book By Hand: The Use of Craft in Contemporary Art. The book features 32 artists and their collections of handmade works, from pillows to quilts to fashion to books.

Aritsts like Rowena Dring of The Netherlands creates "paintings" out of fabric.
I realized that I could make paintings that masquerade as quilts and quilts that masquerade as painting.
Shown above is a close-up of one of her appliqué works called Big Daisy (2004).  A large piece can involve 1200 hours to complete- and I can believe it!

These stunning chandeliers were made by Brooklyn-based artist Kristen Hassenfeld.  Like many artists who are part of the handmade movement, Kristen's works are a response to consumption and wealth.  Appearing jewel-like in the light, her chandeliers are actually comprised of "un-precious" materials.

I have handstitched a few quilts myself so I can appreciate the intricate work that Anna Von Mertens puts in each of her pieces.  I absolutely love the color blocks in this collection. 

By Hand showcases the artists' handiwork in beautiful photographs.  These large doily-like creations were made by London artist Shane Waltener.  You can see the exquisite craftsmanship of Shane's work in the detailed shot.

I thoroughly enjoyed looking through this book, but more than anything, I was so encouraged by the artist's stories and messages.  Living in a world that seems to demand faster technology and mass production, it's truly refreshing to read about artists who value manual work and tradition as well as ingenuity.

Swap-a-thon is back!

Feb 7, 2011

Swap-a-thon Winners!
Friday, Feb. 11- Jennifer Allison
Saturday, Feb. 12- moodymama
Sunday, Feb. 13 - Kate
Monday, Feb. 14 - Couve Illustrations
Tuesday, Feb. 15- Richelle

The swap-a-thon in August was so much fun, I thought it was time to run Swap-a-thon II.  The idea behind the swap-a-thon is quite simple.  I'll swap my art for any handmade, vintage, or found object you have.  To enter the swap-a-thon, all you have to do is leave a comment below listing the item(s) you would exchange for my art.  The value of the trade should be no more than $20. 

This Friday at noon (PST), I'll randomly choose a winner who will in turn choose the next swap (i.e winner).  By the end of the swap-a-thon, there will be a total of five winners.  Swap-a-thon winners will be able to choose any item in my Etsy shop valued up to $20 or choose to have a $20 credit towards an artwork. 

A few things to keep in mind:
1. When you leave a comment, make sure your name is linked to an email address.  Otherwise, keep checking back to see if your name was picked. 

2.  If you are a winner, but don't get back to me within 24 hours with your choice for my next swap, I will go ahead and randomly choose the next winner.

3.  I am willing to mail art to anywhere in the world if you are willing to pay for postage to Portland, Oregon.

4.  All swaps will be featured in a follow-up post.  See swaps from the last event here.  

Let the swapping begin!

My Week

Feb 6, 2011

added a couple new pieces to the shop // this one is called Escape

leisure reading // book review to come

my friend brought back goodies from thailand // the oversized billfold is perfect for brushes

princesses, a castle, and the imagination of a child

started pinning // now you can see more of my favorite finds here

Fun with image transfers

Feb 5, 2011

I don't like to see things go to waste.  So when my experiment with acrylic gel medium as a top coat didn't quite turn out like how I had hoped,  I wanted to figure out another alternative use for the material.  As I was browsing Golden Paints' website, I came across a video on how to create image transfers using acrylic gel.  Perfect!  And I knew just the drawing I wanted to use.

This drawing has been sitting in my "I don't know what I want to do with it" pile for several months now.  I was excited to finally use it in a project.  The first thing I did was make a color copy of the drawing (image was flipped horizontally), and then I trimmed the print to the size of the wood panel.  After applying the acrylic gel onto the wood panel,  the print was placed face down on top of the gel.  I left it overnight to dry.

The next morning I wet the print with a wash cloth and started rubbing off the soaked paper.  This part of the process is almost as fun as watching an image develop in the darkroom.

Once the remaining pulp was wiped up, I set the piece aside to dry fully.   For the top coat, I decided to use a varnish rather than the glossy acrylic gel medium. 

On my second image transfer piece (using another drawing from The Pile), I ended up applying the acrylic gel as a finish.  For the background, I mixed the acrylic gel with some color, but I'm not sure what I think about it yet.

Here is the video that inspired it all.  I look forward to hearing your experiments with image transfers!

Artists I like: Tracy Rocca

Feb 2, 2011

Moonstone Beach
This painting by Tracy Rocca had me at hello.  Earlier today I came across Tracy's art on Artist A Day, and I had to see more.  I clicked over to her website and soon became lost in a world of celestial images. 

At first glance, the blurred images look like they were taken by a camera.  Moonstone Beach, for example, reminds me of this photograph shot by Portland photographer Anthony Georgis.


When I discovered that Tracy's works were not photographs but paintings,  I became that much more intrigued with her creative process.  In her statement she writes,
the use of instantaneous digital tools in my everyday life makes me want to find a slower, gradual, more contemplative painting process that reasserts the value of the human hand. I work every morning in natural light using traditional painting materials, walnut oils and mongoose brushes, to apply thin glazes of color that I blend and blur into soft transitions.
Even the way Tracy paints sounds heavenly!

Lili Pad II


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