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1  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / New Paintings! ** Lots of Pics** 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
2  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Re: Sweet Dreams Series on: May 31, 2016 03:24:40 PM
Gosh, thanks for the love everyone!  Embarrassed

Uhhhh. Would it be super creepy if I wanted to stitch up Sea Dreams? Or Night Dreams. Probably Sea, because it's so wonderfully lovely. But I'm back to Night.


Haha, Joyfulclover its not creepy - it's actually flattering if I'm honest. 0.o  If you do end up stitching Sea Dreams, be sure to drop me a pic - I would love to see it!

I had to return to this thread and tell you how I admire your daring use of all kinds of different 'materials'.
I used to do that a little myself, but never to this extent or with such stunning results.

You make me want to draw/paint again (I gave that up because of chronic pain and other health issues, many years ago).

BeaG, thank you for such kind words - it definitely took me a little bit to figure out how to "meld" the different materials together in a way that I liked. and truth be told, when I started down the path to "being an artist", I wasn't sure exactly what my thing was. I figured the best way to figure it out was to try a lot of different things and experiment.  My "control" was landscapes, flowers, and animals to help me develop techniques to work with the materials and once I got a handle on that, I moved myself into more fantasy related things (about 2 years later).  I don't think I'm quite there yet, but I feel like I'm developing a sense of "me" throughout my work, finally.  Still a long way to go.

I do hope that you are able to find a gentler way to still express your creativity.<3
3  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Sweet Dreams Series 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

4  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Re: The Totem Series - Lots of Pics on: May 25, 2016 08:26:23 AM
Gosh, thanks everyone! 

Patraw - as of right now, I am set on these three.  There could be more later on [I don't like fully closing the door on the possibility], but I don't have anything else to give add to the series at the moment.  I feel like these three sucked a lot out of me so I have a few lighter pieces lined up to create. Wink

5  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Re: The Totem Series - Lots of Pics on: May 24, 2016 08:10:52 PM
Thanks! Smiley
6  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / The Totem Series - Lots of Pics 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

7  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Re: Wheel of Fortune Book - PICTURE HEAVY on: May 15, 2016 06:04:55 PM
Thank you! Smiley
8  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / Re: Shrine Swap Spring 2016 Gallery 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!

9  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Wheel of Fortune Book - PICTURE HEAVY 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
10  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / Re: Shrine Swap Spring 2016 Gallery on: May 12, 2016 12:14:02 PM
Awe, I'm glad you like everything Wulf! and that it made the journey in-tacked Cheesy

Yofi - if you're referring to the ones on the steampunk shrine, they are made up of wire and nail polish.  I followed one of the many tutorials floating around Pinterest because I didn't like the brown roses for that particular shrine and used them instead to brighten up the back of the smaller, circular shadowbox shrine with the black and white butterfly Smiley
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