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1  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Seriously Oily Poppies and a Dalmatian on: March 05, 2014 12:54:09 PM
What a massive waste use of oil paint.

I love, love, LOVE the rich pigment of paint, especially oils and even oil pastels.  So I was playing around and started doing this thing that basically is tube painting but only with dots that (ideally) form peaks so it's kind of like pointillism and it also created an impasto texture which I like since I do so love texture.

Anyway, did a basic field of poppies and a dalmatian portrait on yellow.  I have lots more planned but my hand hurts and I am working through these .41 fl oz tubes like crazy (but I can't use bigger ones and get the same effect  Roll Eyes)




2  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Other Image Reproduction Techniques: Completed Projects / Tenniel's Alice in Wonderland Lino Cut and Print on: February 27, 2014 11:36:07 AM
Okay so I did this a couple of months ago for a swap and realized I never posted it! Roll Eyes  This was (I think) 8x10" slightly simplified version of a scene from Alice in Wonderland with Tenniel's illustration (since that was my swap partner's preference).  I sent the cut along with a print (holy crap, SO hard to do) but hopefully onyxnox is enjoying it in her crafting!

In case you're wondering, yes, it took FOREVER


Forgive the mistakes, I'm terrible at printing but I'm working on it!!

The cut itself...
3  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Fun Art Tiles/Coasters on: February 25, 2014 09:13:59 PM
Whatever you want to call them (or use them for) I love making these - I think I just love the porcelain paint against the white tile!
4  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Mixed Media Nonsense on: February 25, 2014 04:31:13 PM
So I have worked up some mixed media pieces for a local fair next month that my mother and I have a booth at.  Some of them turned out much like I wanted and some...not so much  Roll Eyes  But this is a craft fair and not an exhibition for fine art and here in East Texas straightforward tends to be popular so some of this is less abstract than I'd like but them's the breaks if you want to pay for crafting  Cheesy

My favorite and the one I may want to keep since it was done very much with my husband and I in mind...  


The polyclay stamped words read "for shallow seas i won't betray my ocean".  It's on canvas with an acrylic base with satin material, wire-wrapped glass beads, polyclay stamped words, flat coin beads, oil on board, and acrylic on paper.

This is a fairly standard little inspirational piece on a wood block I bought secondhand with an acrylic base.  It has sequins, a delicate butterfly (I don't even know what it's made of), a big butterfly glass pendant, acrylic on paper, and lace.


I really loved how this worked out except that I wish I had done the clay words again for this.  It's also on canvas with an acrylic base, acrylic on paper, rick rack, poly clay, pearls, and glitter.


Obviously, I do a lot with words and while this is almost too stereotypical in pink, I liked how the rest of it came together and love the song.  Canvas with an oil base, acrylic on paper, shaped confetti, a resin pendant, some other flower thing that used to be an earring, heart beads and pendants, and a jeweled little ladybug.


A pretty piece with oil on canvas, a fake flower, acrylic on paper, old jewelry bits and pieces, cabochons, lace, mirrors, oil on board, polymer clay, and a butterfly pin.


Yahweh - "I am who am".  On wood block with an acrylic base, acrylic on paper, 3D see-through glitter stuff, oil pastels, soft pastels, and pearls.


Biblical reference - wood block with an acrylic base, feathers, polyclay, fine glitter, rhinestone ribbon, and oil on board.


That's it.  Thought I would share.  These are among my first mixed media pieces in years and the best I can do given that I don't actually have any ephemera (I know, right?!) and am working with a pretty typical audience.  On the upside, that lack of appreciation for abstract or metaphorical means my favorite piece might actually be a bit too out there which means I won't have to feel guilty for keeping it  Grin
5  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / Cheat Shaded Art *pic heavy* *cuteness overload* on: February 21, 2014 03:53:29 PM
Okay so after I did a couple of these for the OWS, I received lots of praise which I totally didn't deserve cause this is a total cheat.  So anyway I promised a tutorial and decided it would also be a good first project for my little website, too!  Smiley

So here it is:
Cheat Shaded Art



Materials:
Craft acrylic paint one base color per subject (so for this, I had two); also white acrylic paint and one color for the background.  
Glue/Mod Podge
Paint brushes at least one wide for spreading the glue and one fine for detail work
Printer and paper
A palette, palette paper, or piece of cardboard you can throw away

STEP 1.
Choose and alter your photograph into black and white.  I use fotoflexer.com where for free you can upload your picture, then click on the Effects heading and switch it to greyscale.  If it all seems really difficult to tell sections of gray apart, add a little contrast if needed.  Then print the thing according to the size of canvas you are working with (810 is usually ideal since you can do it at home).  Print it on regular paper not photo paper.

My picture I started with and then after I adjusted it:



STEP 2.
THIS IS THE ONLY SEMI-TRICKY STEP.  Bust out your pencil and break apart your subject(s) into shades of gray.  Ignore the fact that you love these people and are callously penciling all over their faces and breaking them down into shapes and areas instead of looking at them as a person.  I promise, whatever damage you do the soul will be repaired when painting.
 
Warning: Use pencil.  Do not use pen.  Never.  Ever.  No matter what.  No matter how lazy you feel.  Painting over pen is an exercise in futility.  Trust me on this.

Now, the easiest way is to draw over the picture, simply blocking off sections when you get to an area that is noticeably lighter or darker.  Dont worry about not being 100% sure.  Just block it off.
 
STEP 3.
Now, divide up your blocked-off areas into 5 shades.  At least, I use five shades of gray.  Im sure anything 3+ should be fine but I think 5 gives a lot of detail without being ridiculous (more than five might make you want to kill someone).

Start with your darkest and lightest areas they will give you a base to work from.  I usually use 5 for my lightest areas, 1 for my darkest, and so forth.  Once you have labelled your lightest and darkest areas, you can much more easily identify the middle shade (your #3) and then your remaining areas.  There will be some areas that dont fit squarely into your five shades its okay.  I promise.  Just try your best.

Tip: Evaluate each individual subject on their own.  In this picture, for example, Greyson would be way lighter than Alexis.  So do your five shades of gray for each person, animal, whatever on their own for a more balanced look overall.


 
Warning:  Those areas in the mouth?  Like the spots in between teeth?  DO NOT use your #1 shade even though they are the among the darkest spots.  Trust me on this.  You can use your darkest for general mouth stuff (like Greysons) but when youre dealing with in between teeth, use your #3 or #4 shade so theres not as much glaring contrast between the white teeth and the spots in between.

Tip:  When it comes to hair, dont get too wrapped up in it.  Number the areas that are on the outside and any large chunks but just leave the rest of it alone.  When youre painting, youll just naturally color in some areas with various shades and it will all look fine.

Other Tip:  Dont mess with background.  I include clothing and accessories but not background or furniture (unless the person looks weird, like if theyre leaning on a table and then they look float-y).  Sorry, underthemountain  Roll Eyes

Other Other Tip:  Just like the hair and clothes arent that important, the eyes are far and away the most important.  Make sure you keep those flecks of light in their eyes.

STEP 4.
Huzzah!  You are ready to roll!  Your areas are blocked off and numbered (the more you do of these the less you have to actually block and number everything).  So now you are going to take your picture and glue it on top of your canvas.

I am so not even kidding.  Mod Podge is always ideal but even Elmers will work if you are careful to keep it light, spread it evenly, and carefully apply it to make sure there arent any bubbles.

STEP 5.
Create your five shades.  Its pretty basic start with your base color (which will be your #1) and add an increasing amount of white paint to your next four shades.  You should end up with something akin to these five discernible shades:


 
STEP 6
Paint already!  This isn't rocket surgery.



Youll note that in this picture, the paper gets wrinkly as youre painting.  Its okay.  As long as your initial adhesion to the canvas was smooth, this wrinkliness (that should be a work) will be completely flat once dry.

STEP 7

Paint your background.  FYI, depending on your chosen background color, you may have to do more layers.
 
THEN YOURE DONE!!  It takes a little while but put on a movie or two and youll be done in no time.  You do want to do each subject in one sitting to make sure you have well-balanced shades.

Hope that clears up why I keep telling you guys that the final product on these has absolutely nothing to do with any talent or skill  Cheesy

P.S. Remember when I told you the painting would restore the damage done to your psyche by breaking someone you love up into shades of gray?  Seriously, every time I do one of these, even for people I've never met, I fall in love with some part of them.  The roundness of cheeks, the purse of lips, the spark of eyes - even how much eye makeup my niece wears - you totally discover it all over again.
6  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Impossible to Screw Up Valentines, Mother's Day, or Birthday Cards on: February 07, 2014 08:17:55 PM
So I pretty much hate papercrafting - I LOVE what it looks like but I just don't get how you guys know what works together  Huh  SO anyway, I was fiddling around with my oil pastels (which I so love to do) and hit upon my easy-peasy method of card making.  Eventually I'll try it with other choices, but today I stuck with roses since they're both easy and distinct...





I made three, each slightly different; two of mine are designed for Mother's Day and one is a thank you note though I think these are totally appropriate for any occasion as long as the recipient likes flowers  Wink



The colors are really much more vivid in real life.

So easy, kids can do them, you can use materials on hand (for many crafters) and seriously, you CANNOT screw them up!

1.  Oil pastels (or even crayons) - grab a couple of colors and scribble.  Seriously.  It's totally cool if some of the colors blend together.  I used a sketch pad; pretty much any kind of non-resistant paper should work so no magazines but yes to old newsprint!
2.  Search online for a rose outline (or the outline of whatever you want to make).
3.  Freehand it with a black oil pastel.  With roses, this is super easy since they just build up and get bigger as they go around.  Again, this is super, super easy - you are not looking to duplicate an actual rose, just mimic the shape.
4.  For the background, I used soft pastels, smoothed out with a little water (I never knew until a few months ago that you can use soft pastels like paints; now I love them - *so* much easier to control than watercolors!).  I did the same with the stems.  Any heavy paper should do fine (watercolor paper's ideal but Bristol paper or even cardstock should be great).
5.  Assemble!  I liked having them reach a bit over onto the white edges but you certainly don't have to do that.  If you do smaller roses, you could put a bunch of them on or make a little heart shape with a rose outline  Smiley
6.  Add a sentiment.  I grabbed my trusty black fine marker.  You can write on the card or in the card.  In the one example you'll see, I even outlined the matte in black.  For any of this, black's great to use since it works with the outline of the rose.  I liked the black-outlined matting since it plays up the stained-glass look of it all.

That's it!
7  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Completed Works / First oil paintings - eeek! on: January 14, 2014 01:20:58 PM
So we moved into a new apartment with totally different lighting and wall color and everything so thus husband wanted me to make some wall art for our new livingroom.  I pinned a bunch of inspiration pictures that incorporated some of our color palette and decided to try oil painting for pretty much the first time ever. 

So I did 2 little in-an-hour times I messed around with oil a couple of months ago and then I decided to just go for it.

I'm an idiot.

But in addition to learning that I'm an idiot, I have also learned A LOT about painting with oils.

Anyway...my cherry blossoms in the mist


This one is actually much prettier in person.  It's also the only one where I did a final thin wash over the whole thing when I was done which was terrifying but worked out really well.

My northern lights


My mountain range


This was infinitely the most fun to paint.  It allowed the most forgiveness which was fun so I felt all artist-y just kind of going with it.

Aaaaand the great white whale.  Well, not white, but definitely my personal metaphorical great white whale


It was horrible to work with (mostly because of my own impatience and unwillingness to really wait as long as I should have between all the layers) and it's my least favorite piece.  It's also my largest so at this point I'm not even sure it's going to make it onto the livingroom wall since it will definitely garner a lot of attention there.

I have learned that anything with strong, clear lines is not for oil painting (or at least not for ME to paint with oil).  Oil painting essentially goes completely against my natural inclinations (line drawing much?!) so I need to remember to keep it with art that completely goes against my natural inclinations.  I've also learned not to choose anything too detailed or close up (I actually had one painting I didn't even bother finishing).

But I've also learned that while oil painting is definitely at odds with what I've done in the past, I've definitely fallen in love with it.  See the water breaks at the top of the whale?  Favorite part of the whole thing - both to paint and to look at.  So it's been really neat to learn that I can expand my horizons and even enjoy it  Wink
8  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Detailed Tree with 10 Felt Ornaments (5 sets) on: November 20, 2013 08:25:43 PM
Okay so this year I decided to take on the task of creating a wall-hanging tree with felt ornaments.  I've seen these on Pinterest but actually derived the idea from one we had growing up - it hung on the wall and there were lots of ornaments and as we did good deeds during advent, you'd get to put an ornament on the tree.  Eventually we would each sort of adopt a particular ornament type and claim it and it evolved into a bit of a competition over who could do the most good deeds and have the most of their ornament on the tree.

Anyway, fast forward 25 years and I wanted something like this for some of my nieces and nephews but I know their parents are unlikely to really encourage it the way I'd like so I thought to do it for my younger nieces and nephews who are too young to do it that way right now anyway.  I have five older nieces and nephews (ages 7-13) and then another 5 that are all under 3 (and a 6th who may be here before Christmas even comes!) and they're all in different households (three are biological and 2 are my best friends who are totally family), so I needed 5 sets.

Plus, if we're being really honest right now, I'm thinking of doing ornaments for everyone for next Christmas and I'd really rather the little ones have something to distract them and thus hopefully my gifts will remain in tact a little longer  Wink

And here they are all together...



I took more detailed pictures of the different types of ornaments but I won't bore you with all of them now.  But the types were:
- Round monogrammed initial
- Teardrop retro-style glass
- Poinsettias
- Holly
- Dove
- Candy cane
- Gingerbread person
- Snowflake
- Stars
- Golden6+3.9-
9- snitches (Christmas isn't Christmas without a touch of Harry Potter, right?!)


The trees are green fleece and all of the ornaments are felt.  Everything is stuffed except the holly and the candy canes (well one was but I didn't like it).  I decided to go ahead and use velcro on the backs of the ornaments - all black so it gives the kids extra learning to match the black-to-black velcro pieces.

This was my first time to attempt any embroidery and it's all exceptionally novice but I'm okay with that.  I learned a lot and I can tell a huge difference between my early stuff and my later pieces.

Here's what they will look like (only the tree will be hung on the wall)



FYI - If I were to start all over, I would do a few things differently - namely, stick with one or two basic shapes (like the round) - these sewed up SO much faster than the other nonsense.  Secondly, skip the metallic embroidery thread unless you're more practiced with it - loved the effect, passionately hated the work.

Happy Christmas!
9  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Bubble Guppies Peg Hanger...Thing on: October 10, 2013 06:55:04 AM
Okay, so I don't know if this is where this goes or what to call it but here we are anyway.

I had two of these peg hanger thingies that I was going to paint for my niece and nephew when they were 3 and 5.  They are now almost 12 and 14, I kid you not, and I was still toting these things around.  So I decided it was fine for me to go ahead and use one for a new kid since it's a bit small for teens.

Anyway, did you know pencil on wood that's been there for 8 years won't erase?  I didn't know that but I do now  Cheesy

So this was for MacKenzie, my best friend's daughter, for her 2nd birthday.  She loves Bubble Guppies!


I didn't actually get to see her open it or know if she likes it - I was in a horrific car accident on the way to the party!  (This was like six months ago though, I'm mostly fine now.)  And apparently for the hour and a half I was in and out of consciousness, I just kept telling the people at the hospital that I was sorry I was so fat (since I'd wake up every time they'd have to move me) and that someone should call Brandi and tell her I wouldn't be there.  I was also very concerned that this had been destroyed in the car.  Miraculously, it turned out to be like the one thing that wasn't and I have been assured that Kenz loved it!  Cheesy
10  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Thanksgiving / The Thanksgiving Non-Wreath on: September 06, 2013 10:13:59 AM
Okay, so I love wreaths.  *Love* them.  But I decided to challenge myself a bit and create a non-wreath for Thanksgiving.  I have a little autumn wreath that I'll have up til probably November but then this will take over - it was a challenge partly due solely to the fact that I'm not typically a big fan of fall colors but for once I'm actually really pleased how something came out  Cheesy

In case anyone's curious, I used a wood plaque, a ribbon and fake flower, polymer clay for the leaves (and they're accented by little glitter-like flakes that are actually designed for nails), more ribbon, and pine cones

The plaque close up



The overall non-wreath (ignore the backdrop - the non-wreath will be on the door, not on our little control center)



One of the polymer clay leaves (you can see the word 'create' in there as well)



And I did the edges of my pine cones in gold glitter because, well, who doesn't love glitter?! (except my husband)

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