Saturday, August 6, 2016

What else have I been doing?

Recently I have been working on my embroidery. Right now, I am trading in a few swaps that will let me create any type of art I want within a theme (Halloween and Christmas!) . It's the perfect excuse to pull out the old hoop. Below I am sharing pieces in various states of completion. Some of what is here is for swaps, some of it is practice work, and some is just for shits and giggles! ;)

For the Halloween-themed swap I embroidered a Day of the Dead skull on some linen. It is about 5"x3" and I realized it was too large and too time consuming to do more than one or two of them -

I believe this skull is called the "Multicolored Time Suck"
It lead me to the sanity-saving decision of making them smaller. While looking around online for ideas for the swap I found a Halloween bunting that included skulls, bats, and pumpkins. Day of the Dead skulls just seemed like more fun.

The plan for the smaller (4'x2") skulls is to loosely stuff them and then attach them to a piece of chunky twine. They are obviously not done but there will be one for each color of the rainbow plus black and white, giving me 7 skulls total (Don't forget they removed the "I" from ROY G BIV!).

 These are the Blue and Orange skulls. They are both done as far as the embroidery but I haven't stuffed or completely sewn up either of them. That comes next.

These two are the Purple and Red skulls, both are very close to done. 

The last three skulls, yellow, green, and black/white are not close to done. I will post images when finished with everything.

At this point this particular project has taken me many more hours than I had anticipated. I believe it's taken me over 25 hours even though project is only 2/3 of the way done. I'm starting to wonder if I will be able to give these away? The further along I get the more I like them and remember that I never keep art I make for myself...

I believe this spider has learned human curse words while I was in the process of creating it.
 Speaking of Halloween embroidery, I also tried my hand at stump work in the spider above. Stump work is the process of embroidering a project in "3D". Essentially you embroider around a piece of wire or stuff material under your work to make it pop out. I had already drawn out a spider to embroider traditionally when I noticed that a stump work spider would be kind of horrifying and fun! The legs were done with wire and thread wrapped around them and the spider is "stuffed". I am hoping I can improve my skills before doing the final projects for my swaps.

Oh Virginia, you look so... pale and grey?

I also tried my hand at portraits. This one is Virginia Woolf and clearly, it's not done. I haven't finished the highlights and darkest darks but she is coming along. This project is my way of seeing if I would like to start embroidering more realistic subjects. If it works out I am mulling over a project creating portraits of famous female authors.

That's all folks! There is still one more post coming up about making block prints. Stay tuned! 

Questions? Concerns? Want me to create a tutorial for something? Need to scream into the void? Look down to the little box below and let me know!

 **I wanted to note that I didn't use any templates/patterns/designs to make these. I drew the image out and transferred it to the material it would be embroidered on - just wanted to clarify before people ask where I got the patterns/templates.**

Monday, August 1, 2016

What on earth have I been up to?

I have been working on several things recently that aren't watercolor. I have been doing some embroidery, cutting lino blocks for block prints and have done a little bit of watercolor in the form of more mail art.

I will share the watercolor art first because it's been what I have focused on the least. These are the fronts and backs of envelopes. Check out my previous mail art post for more about these envelopes! 

 This is my May envie done in the style of Japanese wood block prints

This is another May envelope which was my idea of what Snoopy and Woodstock would look like a little less stylized and cartoony.

This is the front and back of my June Envelope. Obviously Casablanca themed done in gouache and ink. I had some struggles but finished it.

 And finally my July envie. My partner asked for something to do with bees. The front has the bee and the back is the flowers.

 I'm going to end this post here and post another with all my other art. As always, ask questions, leave comments, tell me I am wrong, tell me you are wrong, tell me about life and love. Just tell me all of that below in the comments section.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

The Magical World of Mail Art

*See note at bottom about edits made to this post*

I stopped doing 2-D art for about 6 years. Yes, I painted my nails with some interesting designs and I did fiber art (dyeing, weaving, crocheting) but I didn't do any drawing or painting. I didn't feel like I was good at drawing, and didn't practice enough to feel any better about my drawing after I took some courses in college.

Anyways, the reason I bring that up is because it led me to where I am now, making mail art. I have been working on regaining, and improving, my drawing and painting skills. It's been a little over a year of consistent, almost daily, practice. I can see some actual improvement. However just studying drawing and constant exercises can really sap your will to keep going at that pace. I started looking for other creative outlets. It lead me to trading Artist Trading Cards, or ATCs which are art cards the size of a playing card (2.5"x3.5") that are "arted" up (drawn, painted, collage, stamped, etc.).

While on one site ( I found several types of mail art. Mail art is, at it's most basic, sending art through the mail (descriptive, right?). Knowing what I know about the USPS, this idea really frightened me. My mom worked for the USPS when I was a child and I have heard stories. With that said, trading mail art has amazing. It's not without it's bumps and snags (hey, we are talking the USPS, here) but the other artists I trade with are a fantastic group of people that are really there for the camaraderie, the art, and excitement of getting something amazing in their mail box.

This group of artists I trade with send "envies," or decorated envelopes, "naked" through the mail. Naked, as in the art isn't inside the envelopes, it's on the envelopes. I have been having so much fun with envies that I felt the need to share. The envies we send are larger than ATCs  so they are less restricting, but can also take a lot more time.

Do you want to see some art? Why else are you here? Why do I ask so many questions? (It's like having a conversation with myself where I answer, then laugh at the response. No one said being an artist was for the sane.)

All of the envelopes below are made of watercolor paper folded and glued into an envelope and are painted with gouache and ink. Hope you enjoy!

Front and back of October 2015 Envelope of Frida Kahlo inspired by her various paintings.  The first envelope I did.

Front and back of the November 2015 envelope featuring a Ragdoll cat and her toys. You can see where I left a square unpainted to accommodate the recipient's address.

 Front and back of December 2015 envelope featuring the northern lights. The stars have sparkle medium on them. 

Front and back of January 2015 envelope featuring different mineral specimens. This envie included a fair bit of reflective (gold and white sparkle) ink to add depth to the mineral specimens. You can see the blacked-out address of the person I was sending it to to protect the innocent 

The front and back of the Heceta Head Lighthouse on the Oregon coast for the February 2016 envelope. 

This is the front and back of my March 2016 envelope, it is of Edgar Allan Poe and his ever-present raven on the back. 

 This is the front and back of my April 2016 envelope, you can see where I left the space for the recipients address on the front. This envelope is my favorite of all the envelopes I have done so far for these swaps. It has an orange cat, go figure.

This is obviously as far as I have gotten as I just finished the last envelope a week or two ago. I plan to keep trading envelopes with other artists as it is a good challenge and good fun. I also plan to do a post soon about how I make my envelopes. I haven't found a good watercolor envelope that I like on the market, so I make my own. More on that soon...

As always, if you have something to ask, add or just want to ramble at me, go ahead and comment below! Operators are standing by. 

**Edits made were I found some spelling errors and other mistakes and I took out a spoiler warning for the recipient of the last envelope, she got it a few months ago now.**

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Valentines Day Extravaganza!

Ok, ignore the title, it's not really that exciting. I don't usually make cards most years but the website I trade on had a Valentines swap so I decided it would be fun to do.

If you are from that site and don't want to see the card you might recieve, don't keep reading! :)

Let's also follow this up with the fact that I am not really a paper artist for the most part. I don't have a die-cut machine or many art punches. That means that everything I have created for these cards has been drawn and cut by hand, especially the hearts. All those hearts were cut by hand.

I found inspiration for several of these cards from hunting around Pinterest. Some of the cards might be familiar if you cruise craft sites. A few came from my crazy head. On several of them I tried new techniques. Well, techniques that were new to me. 

Away we go!

 This card was made by gluing tissue paper onto the card and then paint was dry brushed over to create the background. Used a die-cut heart which I then drew white lace on and filled part of the lace with silver ink.

 Much like the last card, a piece of tissue was glued onto a card and dry brushed with paints. Created a background by using silver ink and a stamp I carved. Then I then painted a heart with acrylic and gold ink.

One of the only hole punches I have is hearts. I punched out tons of them from leftover edges of paper and a tiny piece of tin foil. Then I glued them over hand drawn x's and o's.

 This card is actually shaped like a mason jar. I colored the "jar"with colored pencils and silver ink. Then I attached hearts. 

 Used a small piece of watercolor paper and cut it to look like an envelope as well as painting a few shadows on. I then took a bunch of hand cut hearts and glued them on.

 This is one of the cards I made by "embroidering" paper. It's actually pretty easy, draw your design, use a needle to punch holes throughout the design and then use a back-stitch to embroider your image in whatever colors you choose.

 Same idea as the card above!

 This is tough to see, but the background is watercolor paint loosely splashed on followed by splotches of silver ink. Then a die cut heart painted with white and silver ink to create lace around the border.

 This is probably my favorite- It is 5 watercolor hearts painted in pink and purple with a wet-on-wet technique. Then I punched two holes in each heart and attached them with brads so they can spin. The ribbon holds the hearts and can be used to hang them when extended like a banner.
 This is the hearts open. You can't see the ribbons well, but they are tied on the far right and left holes.

 A cut heart I covered in glitter. I then made the banner to go over it. Simple and cute

 I fastened two brads with holes. Then I glued some linen string into the brads and made the hearts look like they were "hanging".

 This looks pretty simple for what I actually did. I swirled several layers of acrylic on the background. Then I made the heart and outlined it in paint and silver ink. I finished with adding tiny hearts all over.

 This I found through a tutorial, but it's incredibly simple. Draw the heart outline and the word in pencil. Use frisket to paint over the word. Paint your watercolor and remove the frisket to reveal the word free of paint.

Watercolored background wash with a woven heart over. I cut two extended "u" shapes in the long part I cut uneven strips totalling about 7 per "u". I then latticed (or wove) the strips and glued together.

Another labor intensive card. I painted the entire background with acrylic. I then made another woven heart and glued it on. I think took white ink and painted the lace around the border.

Possibly the most time consuming of the bunch, a colored pencil background smoothed out and sealed. Painted acrylic clouds and then glued paper hearts over. Ink used for the balloon "strings".

And there are a few more, but I felt like this post was WAY long already. Hope you enjoy! If you have any questions or want any tutorials on any of the pieces, let me know in the comments! :)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

That escalated fast...

It won't be the first time. It also certainly won't be the last, but I have officially over-committed myself. I am almost positive I will finish everything, but there is always that nagging doubt.

Before the end of this month I  need to complete several art commitments. I have completed 18 out of 19 Valentines I need to for a swap. They are all unique, a few are like others but none of them are the same. I still need to make about 5-8 more for family and friends. I have to finish about 10 ATC's by the end of the month. I also agreed to send a few people some "love" in the form of art this month. I am incredibly excited to make so many fun new things and bring happiness to others, but I am slightly concerned. I also need to finish 3 domino books by mid-March at the latest. It doesn't seem like a lot when written out but I am adding up the hours each thing will take me in my head and grimmacing at my choices a little. 

Oh! I forgot I still need to live my life in between all of this. I know that my partner is kind and easy going but I am waiting for the day he decides he is tired of looking at my art supplies everywhere. I figure that I will come home one day and the walls, floors, and cats will be painted with all of the art supplies I have left out. I joke, but I can only imagine what it's like to live with an artist.

I am going to share some of the Valentines cards I have made in my next post. If you don't want to see what I might have made you, don't look too close. I will post the pics far down the page, but I am letting folks know now. Fair warning!