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1  Dancing Harmony - Pic Heavy in More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works by StudioANF on: September 09, 2016 09:36:42 AM


Hello Lovelies!

I just wanted to share my latest painting with you all.  I think it might be one of my favorites that I have done to date.  We recently had our formal dining room furnished after saving the last couple of years for it but one wall was blank and in need of something pretty.

Thus, this concept was born of several wonderful [copyright free] reference photographs provided by a reference site I'm a member of.

Without further ado -


Concept:





A few in process photographs - apologies for the poor quality since they were taken with my phone during low lighting.  I really need to invest in one of those full spectrum daylight bulbs since I find my groove in the later hours of the day.







The final:





The piece is called "Dancing Harmony" and is 16" x 20" on fabriano 300 lb completed with Van Gogh watercolors.  I added a bit of micron pen and white gel pen for edge definition and highlights in certain areas as well.

Thanks a bunch for taking the time to look! Smiley

XO

-Nichole
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2  New Paintings! ** Lots of Pics** in More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works by StudioANF on: June 28, 2016 08:04:57 AM


Hiya! 

So I wanted to share my latest adventures with you lovelies!

For the last few weeks (maybe a month?) I've been slaving away at creating pages for my own adult coloring book based on my illustrations and all of the black and white was driving me a bit insane.  I took a break to do some mini paintings to purge the crazy from my system so I could get back to work with a clear head Wink

The results are below! 

While I've been shying away from recreating picture references in my own style lately, there is definitely something almost freeing about the process.  With trying to conceptualize an idea, I have to figure out every little detail to bring a composition together. 

Recreating photo references let's my brain sort of float around in white static. 

Which sounds kind of weird...

Anyway, these are all 4" x 6" in watercolor with some gel pen and fineliner for highlights and definition:


Bushtit


Cardinal


Nature's Jewel


Rainbow Succulent


Together



This next mini painting is a little bit smaller, capping at 3.5" x 5" because I found this really awesome antiquish frame that was begging for a painting and how could I possibly resist?

Mid-Flight Meal


Framed



This last one is different than the rest, but I couldn't resist sharing it with you anways.  I finished a concept that will become a page in my upcoming coloring book as well as a full painting (I have a long queue of concepts pinned to my studio wall that serves as my painting "to-do list"). 

My usual approach to paintings is to blast them with all the colors.  I like brightness, and it shows even when I don't mean to.  But I wanted to approach this particular one differently, and thought I might try to do a practice mini painting to ensure that I could, indeed, paint softer.  My results are below and I couldn't help putting my practice painting in another antique frame I had on hand. Smiley

Blinding Beauty

Concept


 In process Practice Painting


Framed



I think that's everything, for now. Thanks for taking the time to look! Smiley

XO
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3  Sweet Dreams Series in More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works by StudioANF on: May 27, 2016 03:56:40 PM



I wanted to share the first painting series I completed this year. I call it the 'Sweet Dreams" Series and was built around the ideas of where our minds wander to when we are asleep and the fantastical things young dreamers come up with.  This series was meant to be on the lighter and more whimsical side of things, and they all started with concept sketches first.

Concepts:
Sea Dreams



Steam-Punk Dreams



Night Dreams



Through my artistic career, the one subject matter I really struggled with [and still struggle with to some degree] is capturing the human form in an effective and somewhat believable way.  I made a personal goal at the beginning of the year to attempt to strengthen skills I felt were lacking and this series was my first foray. 

As for these pieces, I wanted to create as much movement as possible with line-work to add to the whimsical feel.  I also wanted the hair to "bleed" into dreamlike elements while still retaining their shape. 

The Final Pieces:

Sea Dreams:



Detail:





Steam-Punk Dreams:



Detail:



Night Dreams:



Detail:



These are sized at 11" x 17" and I completed them using a watercolor base with copic marker, pencil pastel, gel pen and fine liner overlay for detail and definition. 

anyway, thanks for looking! Smiley

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4  The Totem Series - Lots of Pics in More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works by StudioANF on: May 24, 2016 08:03:30 PM


I wanted to share with you guys a series I just finished (literally, just completed the last one yesterday) from concept sketch to final painting.  The concept designs I created are listed below followed by the final paintings. The series is called the "Totem Series" and I use a watercolor base with a little bit of copic marker, pencil pastel, gel pen and fine liner for added definition.  The actual painting sizes are all 16" x 20" on fabriano cold press 300lb watercolor paper.

Now, let me inundate you with as many pictures I can first - then give you the analysis Smiley

My Concept Sketches:

Goat:  
Crow:
Wolf:

Finished Paintings:

"Goat Totem"


Detail shots:





"Crow Totem"


Detail Shot:



"Wolf Totem"


Detail Shot:



Analysis:

I always find the difficult part to be actually articulating what I'm trying to convey in my pieces.  I'm good at pictures not words, so bare with me as I attempt to explain myself here.

For me, most of the time I don't know how a piece will turn out, much less three pieces that are supposed to be unified in some way.  I've done a series before (which I will post later) that was pretty easy to identify and interpret based on the whimsical themes I used.  Here it's a bit more serious and I find it pretty interesting to see all three together.  

In a general sense,  the series is a conversation on the internal struggle for balance within ones self on a spiritual and mental level.

In "Goat Totem", the depiction of the goat dominates the composition and the girl is an afterthought.  She is flat, as if she is being absorbed; her ear the only part left visibly human.  This represents someone who is influenced to hold onto an idea or concept at the cost of themselves. There is no sense of self, only this thing, this "Totem".

In the "Crow Totem", The woman is presumably looking off into the distance with a black crow on her shoulder.  At first glance, you would assume this is a take on the classic concepts of devil vs angel; you can clearly see the woman being influenced by the crow and crows mean bad things right?  

Within the themes of this series, however, I use the crow as a symbol based on the context of spirit animals or guides;  the woman is gaining a higher perspective.  Her eyes are opening to possibilities.  She's looking towards the future. This piece is meant to show a sense of transition.  

Lastly, we come to the "Wolf Totem".  The woman is wearing a wolf hood, one eye piercing the viewer in complete confidence.  The wolf and woman are two halves of one whole; they both share an eye and a canine tooth.  The wolf's galaxy eye is a representation of the "third eye" which provides perception beyond ordinary sight, such as intuition or "gut instinct".  With this piece I wanted to convey a sense of strength, balance and acceptance of all the unique pieces of oneself [good and bad].

Whew, I hope that makes sense! Smiley

Thanks for taking the time to check out my stuff!

XO

Nichole

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5  Re: Shrine Swap Spring 2016 Gallery in The Swap Gallery by StudioANF on: May 13, 2016 12:32:38 PM
I received the most amazing shrine from Wulf today!  I squee-d first, then laughed because he picked "Tarot" from my list of themes which still amuses me as I type this up.  I suppose that saying really is true, great minds think alike! Wink

Here's the full view:



He chose to represent one of the Major Arcana, "The High Priestess" - though, I agree with you Wulf; I do like the old name too "The Popess". Smiley

Now for some detail shots!

















I love all the little details like the pull out drawer and crossed keys at the top along with the little moon hanging down. Smiley and I really enjoy all the nails too. I also love the shape you chose to make for the base. Thanks so much for this lovely piece!

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6  Wheel of Fortune Book - PICTURE HEAVY in Completed Projects by StudioANF on: May 13, 2016 10:56:00 AM


This is my first time tackling an altered shrine swap. I thought I'd give it a try after doing some substantial research (and some how ending up with a whole pinterest board dedicated to shrines).  I actually ended up making my partner (Wulf) three smaller shrines and I'd like to share one of the three with you here (I will post the other two later).

I kind of went "off road" with this one and based it more on a couple of his boards rather than any one theme he gave in his questionnaire.  I liked the concept of a book of shadows and magic so I decided to revamp a lonely Altoids tin into a 3-d layered tarot card and fit it inside a book to help disguise it.  I can never do anything the "easy" way - the whole book is made from scratch.

I started by making the inside of the tin first.  I chose the "Wheel of Fortune" tarot card because I liked the meaning of the card and I also enjoyed the illustration I found to use as a reference (please excuse the poor process photos!):



so I drew, painted, varnished and hand cut each little piece for my tin.  Here are some of the tiny pieces:



Once everything was cut out, I started to layer them into the tin by rolling up very thin strips of paper to use as "pegs" to give my card the dimension I wanted:







Once the inside was completed, I started to work on the outside. I had some thin cardboard stashed and used that to cut out the cover of the book, taking care to score the "bind" for maximum flexibility when opening and closing the book.  Then I covered the book with some stashed fabric I had been saving, using hot glue to secure the inside edges and corners.  I loved the slight sheen this fabric gave and the beautiful tree illustration printed all over.  After securing the fabric around the cardboard, I then added a deep navy card stock to cover the inside of the front and back to give the book a "finished" appearance and to cover any frayed fabric edges. Once that was finished, I glued a small stack of brown kraft paper (the kind that is sent inside packages as "filler") in the front to cushion the tin and help fit it into the binding perfectly.





Then came the tedious part of trimming another set of kraft paper down to fit around the tin for the bottom.  I wanted the tin to look nestled into the book. 



I ended up trimming down a couple sets to get the height that I wanted on the bottom but I eventually got there! After that, I added a fuzzy textured ribbon around the outside to be used as the "closure".  to finish the look off, I added a wax seal with the letter "W" to represent Wulf's name.  I've always thought wax seals look ancient and traditional and thought it would look nice and I was in luck because I had a whole heap of silver sticks leftover from doing my wedding invitations a few years ago.

So I took a regular rubber stamp letter and attached it to a clear stamp block (you can get both at michaels usually) and started playing with hot wax until I got my desired look:



I attached it to the front of the book along with a tiny branch I had created from wire and nail polish.  I thought it would look nice and add a little bit of color as well. (plus it linked nicely with the other two shrines where I used the same nail polish flower technique in the same colors).

After the outside was complete, I finished off the lid of the tin by adding some fun lacy looking material I had stashed away in a deep red - it sort of looked gyspy-ish and thought it worked well with the tarot card on the other side.  I then added another wax seal in the center in the letter "H" to represent Wulf's last name. The finishing touch was a little "book mark" with a swirly bead and star at the end. 

Here are some nicer quality photos of the finished product:













In the end, I had a lot of fun making shrines and I may consider another go if the swap comes around again Wink

Thanks for looking!! Smiley
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7  Re: Undercover Fandom Gallery in The Swap Gallery by StudioANF on: May 09, 2016 11:33:09 AM
Received my package today from SevsOnlyGirl!

Here is everything in a little group shot:



now for close ups!

A lovely custom shirt with my favorite magical creature on the front:



You can't tell in the picture, but the paint glitters magically.

She also created some fun buttons with supernatural quotes along with one for BSG (Battle star Galactica) and of course, Princess bride:



Next I opened up a couple of adorable necklaces:



One with Salt in it to guard against demons like the Winchesters do in Supernatural.  can't be too careful!  The other one has some Felix Felicis in it which I will be wearing all the time because who doesn't need a little luck in their life!?

Then there's this adorable little purse with all kinds of pockets.  This will be great for traveling when I need something less bulky to tote around:



Lastly, this adorable little gnome charm:



He has the cutest little face Cheesy

Thanks for a great package Sevs!
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8  Re: Undercover Fandom Gallery in The Swap Gallery by StudioANF on: April 26, 2016 08:37:13 AM
I wanted to go ahead and post pictures of the items I made for SevsOnlyGirl since she's been under the weather the last couple of weeks or so.  I hope she enjoys everything!

The medium Item I made for her was based off of the book series she listed on her Questionnaire called "The Looking Glass Wars" by Frank Beddor.  I decided I wanted to recreate the logo that is featured on the cover of the books here:



so I made a mini stuffed felt pillow:



For the small items, I decided I wanted to hand decorate a couple of mugs for her.  The first one is a back to the future reference:

Front:


It's hard to see here, but I took a toothpick and etched through the letters to imitate the look of lightening moving through them

Back:


I stylized the scene where lightening strikes the clock to give them the juice for their time traveling.

The second Mug I decorated was based off of a pin Sevs had on her board that referenced "The Hollows" series by Kim Harrison.  I've read through a few books on this series and they were pretty great if you like Urban Fantasy.

The picture from the pin is here:



The Front of the Mug:



Again, I took a toothpick and hand etched the design away after laying down a layer of black via a glass oil pen.  It's not perfect but I'm happy with how it turned out based on the photo reference.

The back of the mug is a quote from the series:



The Quote says "You cannot thrash the person who makes you coffee.  It's a rule somewhere. - Algaliarept".

I also sent a few extra things that she could use for her daily planner/organizer or for general crafting purposes.  Smiley

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9  Twin Peaks Stamp in Other Image Reproduction Techniques: Completed Projects by StudioANF on: February 27, 2016 08:45:23 AM
I recently completed carving this stamp for my partner in the Woodland themed Swap.  She is a fan of the show "Twin Peaks" and I couldn't resist because it fit the theme so well. 



Here is the stamp up close:



It's been a while since I've had to carve anything, but the speedball pink block is super easy to carve so I was able to complete this one in a day. Regardless of the ease, I've always found that typography is a difficult and delicate process.  Especially since you have to work with backwards words. Smiley

I made her a set of notecards with the stamp and gifted her the carving as well since I won't use it. I did, however, keep a test print or two for myself. Wink



Thanks for looking!! Smiley
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10  Woodland Kodama and his Goat Friend *LOTS OF PICS* in Felting: Completed Projects by StudioANF on: February 27, 2016 08:34:31 AM
This was my first go with the woodland themed swap and I loved it! My partner, Emilywilde, had such an interesting mix of inspiring pins on her pinterest board, however once I came across this image I was sold:




I knew that I needed to make this picture come to life for my medium for her! 

I started with the Kodama:





Making his body was simple enough, though I tinkered with his expression for a little bit to make sure I got the right mix of creepy and cute.  My husband definitely thought he was creepy looking so I think I achieved my goal there. (I secretly want to make more of these and hide them around his office to find)

Once I was finished with getting his body right, I knew he needed a friend and that goat is just too darn cute for me to resist!



So I switched gears and started shaping the Goats head and body.  I used the same felt roving on the goat as I did the Kodama and just covered him up with light brown roving once I was satisfied with the shape.





After getting the body shape the way I wanted it, I added the small details to his head; the eyes, nose and mouth.  Then I attached the head to the body. I think the next part was tricky getting his legs the same length and width.  I didn't use any sort of armature when building him up, so I wanted to make sure he was stable enough to stand on his own without tipping over on his head.



It took me a couple tries, but I finally got him on his own feet. Then it was time to add some fuzz to his chin, chest and belly!



I completed the last steps at a craft meetup because I needed advice on how to tackle his horns.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to do them in a different type of material, like polymer clay.  Ultimately I decided against it and kept with the felt theme instead.  I was worried they might break off in shipping even if I wrapped him up.  I like how they turned out though.  I also added arms and a twig to my Kodama too.



Overall I'm pleased with how they turned out!  Smiley

Thanks for looking!!
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