Monday, July 10, 2017

Arctic Watercolors Derived from Collages in Previous Post

Arctic 2 with Monolith
Arctic 1 with Seal Hunters

Monday, July 3, 2017

Arctic Collage

We recently returned from Alaska, where we visited Barrow in the the high Arctic. The expansive landscape, clean air, and sparkling sea ice were beautiful. I kept thinking about how I could try to capture the "feeling" of the Arctic in an abstract painting. Today I thought, "Hey, that collage mini-journal would be a quick way to try out some ideas, since it is so small." It got to be so much fun that I just kept going for five hours. Then I thought, "Hey, I could have done a whole painting in that time!" Anyway, here are three photos of the Barrow landscape, so you can see what inspired me:

Apparently the Arctic had been in my mind, because I realized that a couple of mini-journal collages I made before the trip were very Arctic-like. This one has the "feeling" of the Arctic tundra from the air:

And this one looks like an Arctic sea with iceberg and the Aurora Borealis:

Here are the journal pages with my efforts to "capture" the high Arctic:

I think these two have the potential to become paintings:

And since I was on a roll, I finished up some faces I had begun before we left:

Sunday, June 11, 2017

And Now for a Little Collage

Recently, I took a workshop with Jacki Long, and she showed us numerous methods and ideas for creating a mini-journal with collage, using glue sticks and all sorts of other materials. It was enormous fun! You can see her charming, funny, and informative blog at and be impressed that she has been doing this every single day for over four years. After the workshop, I got home and couldn't stop. I am usually a neatnik, so using a glue stick instead of matte medium or liquid glue, which get all over me, made it feasible for me to work this way. Here's what I made.

Jacki demonstrating collaging in mini-journal
Inside cover -- we pasted envelopes to hold college pieces
First page of journal, all the rest in order, each a method she demonstrated for us

Jacki taught us an excellent method for sticking glue on the back of a collage piece. She used an old telephone book (I used an old magazine). She said to put a collage piece face-down on one of the pages, hold it down with one finger in the middle, run the glue stick from the middle to the edge all around the piece, and last, remove your finger and put the glue stick down in the middle spot and it will lift the collage piece. Put it where you want it in the collage, and then smooth it with a brayer (I used an ivory stick I use for folding). Cool!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Half a Year Later

The last half year has been challenging, with only a few stabs at trying to create art here and there. Thinking a workshop would jump start my motivation, I signed up for the Art League's recent one-day class with Joseph Stoddard on ink and watercolor. He suggested we try to replicate one of his works in order to learn his methods, and since I think that's a very worthwhile learning experience, I did so. And it WAS -- I re-learned that I'm not good at or inspired by paintings of buildings. But I also learned I enjoyed working with ink lines. It was such a good learning experience, I decided to try to copy another artist's work. 

Linda Kemp works 100% with "negative painting," and she creates gorgeous organic paintings. There's a demo of her working in acrylic ( and watching it inspired me. Trying to copy one of her works is a fun and difficult puzzle, since I have to study certain parts for quite a while in order to figure out how she did it with only negative painting. It really works the spatial relations part of the brain! Anyway, it was a great deal of fun, and the end result was quite satisfying. Doing this also gave me several ideas for future paintings of my own. 

Here are the two lessons:

Vignette by Joseph Stoddard
My replica of the vignette

Acrylic demo painting by Linda Kemp
My Kemp Copy in Watercolor

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Aunts at the Beach

A semi-impressionistic oil painting, almost finished today:

I have done several watercolors based on a photograph of my five aunts at a picnic in Indiana in 1945, and in this water mixable oil painting, I experimented with outlining and brush and color techniques, while focusing on three aunts and putting them at the beach. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Managing to Make Three Artworks in Three Months

Three artworks were created since the last post, two oils and an iPad work, and I learned some valuable lessons. 

It is fun and fast to make an iPad "painting" (P. A. Woman below), and the inspiration can be something like a photo of my Chinese dipping sauce. I learned that with my iPad art, the result is not necessarily what I had imagined, and it seems like they are all starting to look alike.

It is fun and fast to do a small impressionistic oil painting (Out of Darkness). This painting was inspired by my choreographer daughter's brave struggles, and it looks like what I feel when I think about those. I think other people don't like this painting much.

It is NOT fun and it is NOT fast to do a semi-realistic 18 x 24 oil painting! The main thing I learned from painting Joy is to never do anything like it again. It began to feel like WORK, and I dreaded working on it. At this stage in my learning about oil painting, going smaller and more impressionistic is better.

My friend Jessica's niece was christened, and she took a beautiful photo in the church. I saw her photo and said to myself, "That would make a great painting," and it would -- just not by me. I think the problem is what my friend Carrol said gave her difficulties -- I knew the people I was painting. Instead of going impressionistic, I ended up fussing about whether it looked like them. And with details and defining edges, my essential tremor just fouled me up! I learned valuable lessons, so this painting was a worthwhile experience. Now my problem is what to do with the darn thing -- it's really big and I don't think anyone wants it.


Out of Darkness

P. A. Woman

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

New iPad Pro

For my 72nd birthday in April,  I finally bought myself the new, large, FAST iPad Pro, with the latest Procreate program, and Dan bought me the iPencil, all fabulously fun and inventive art tools. Besides making a couple of story books for the grandkids, I tried a couple of collages from old watercolors, since there are parts of those old works that now look very beautiful to me. This one has potential:

Leaving Eden

I liked this one enough to risk posting it to the Procreate FB page today.
We'll see.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

And Now for Something Completely Different

Also in honor of my sister, I decided to try something completely new -- mono-printing!
I took photographs of my sister's pottery and used them to make stencils. With the Gelli printing plate Carrol Wolf gave me, I used a Speedball 2 inch rubber brayer to roll red, yellow, and blue Speedball water soluble printing ink onto the plate with the stencils present in some layers. The stencils worked in some layers and not in others. I did six prints and here they are in order:

The last one is my favorite. I'm thinking I could use some of the textures in my iPad art. And I think I'll give all these printing supplies back to Carrol Wolf for her to try. 

Taking Another Stab at Water Mixable Oils

As often happens, life got away from me, and I have not done any artwork since the last post. Yesterday I told myself I had to paint SOMETHING, to counter my sadness at the second anniversary of my sister's unexpected death. So I decided to copy a work by one of my favorite artists, Wolf Kahn, to try to figure out how he does it. I got out my WN Artisan and Holbein Duo paints, an old cheap canvas board, and made myself paint. It finally got to be fun.

What did I learn? First, it's harder than it looks. Second, I can copy pretty well, but can I take the things I learned and create something of my own? 

Here are the paintings:

My copy

Sunday, January 31, 2016

New Hybrid Works

Just got back from a wonderful 5-day studio workshop with Katherine Chang Liu and learned that what I have been doing on the iPad can be called "hybrid works." And there ARE artists who are doing something slightly similar, which I found exciting. Before I went to the workshop, I created the work on the left, and during the workshop I did the one on the right. And I actually like both of them. I thought about both for many days before I made them, and it took a while to collect, photograph, and edit all the elements. Great fun!

P A Belle

Ashes/Blue Planet

Saturday, September 5, 2015

An Obsessive's Dream/Nightmare

Creating artwork with the iPad apps means that one can easily change small parts and then change it back to see the effect. For someone with obsessive tendencies, it can mean hours of fiddling. At times I have taken an old painting that had some parts I didn't like, put it into the iPad app, worked on it for hours, and then when I compare the two versions, I can hardly tell them apart. Finally, I'm left with the problem of having to decide which one is "the one." Here is an example.

Right now I'm thinking neither version is very good, or at least that my first one (on the left) is better. Apparently, I have discovered another way to increase self doubt. Oh well, at least I had fun!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

My Sister's Things

This work was created with ProCreate on the iPad using photographs (most taken by Dan) of my sister's things -- our mother's oil paintings that she had, drawings she did when she was young, the ceramics she made in retirement, and the small porcelain figurines we collected as children.  Lord, I miss her.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

There Used to Be Birds

A series of artworks about the continuing decline in bird numbers resulted in the following:

The two above are versions of the same idea, digital collages created new on my iPad with the Procreate app. The next one was DRAWN on the iPad with a bit of digital collage some time back and revised recently:

This last one was was based on an oil painting I did last year. A photograph of the painting was entered into the art app, and the falling feathers, each photographed individually, were digitally collaged on top.