What Does the Fox Say?

April 2, 2016

Honestly, I don’t know. Do they yip? Bark? Doesn’t matter; I think they’re awesome and cute and combine the best physical traits of cats and dogs. Once, on an early weekend trip to the grocery store, I saw two red foxes frolicking in the grass a couple hundred yards from the side of our rural road. They were fascinating to watch and so pretty.

So my thoughts turned to foxes when I discovered Lenna Andrews is hosting swaps again, after a long hiatus, and I couldn’t wait to join in the opportunity to add to my extensive ATC collection. There isn’t a subject theme, but the ATCs must be either sunset colors or ocean colors. I’m normally drawn to ocean colors (and am in fact working on a mermaid themed project at the moment), but I’ve been a bit obsessed with foxes lately, and their coloring is more conducive to those of a sunset.

fox atc

I started by making a bunch of Gelli prints with sunset colors, then found a photo of a fox, traced it, and added some fun touches, like a big ol’ heart. The design was transferred to the various printed papers, then each piece was cut out and glued into place with matte medium. The pieces were outlined with a black pen, then shaded with charcoal pencil.

What do my foxes say? Well, you’d have to look at the back of each card to find out; they have unique personalities and different thoughts to share!

all fox atcs

Steampunk Easter

March 26, 2016

Ranger is having a challenge to decorate Easter Eggs using Ranger products, and their examples are so cool – check them out!

When I think of Ranger, the first person that springs to mind is Tim Holtz. I’ve been a long-time fan, and love the story of how he got into the business – resisting at first! – and went on to become such an amazing and inspiring artist.

When I think of Tim Holtz, I think vintage, grungy and distressed, and wouldn’t you know it, Steampunk goes so well with that aesthetic. So I knew I was going to do a Steampunk egg and began by running metal tape through my Sizzix with Tim’s Riveted Metal embossing folder. I cut it into pieces and covered a silver Easter egg from the craft store, rubbing down any wrinkles. (With their unending curves, eggs are quite a challenge to cover with anything!)

I painted the egg with metallic bronze Distress paint, rubbed with black permanent ink to highlight the “rivets” then dabbed on some minty green paint here and there to mimic copper that has begun to rust. Somewhere along the line, I decided to make my egg into a balloon.  Little did I know what challenges lay ahead with that decision!

close up egg

I created a net out of black cord, which involved a lot of pauses to ponder and considerable head-scratching. (Which cord goes where, now?) The net was literally nailed onto the egg near the bottom so it would hang straight (thank you, Tim hammer!) and then I covered the nailed edges with gears created with  Tim’s gear die.

It took forever to get the chains to hang correctly, and please try not to notice they still aren’t quite right. I had mistakenly thought the challenge ended Sunday, and once I realized it ended a day earlier, I really had to scramble to get this done. (There may or may not have been tears as the clock counted down the minutes!)

steam egg 3

Tim Holtz copper jump rings attach the chains to the basket, which is cardstock covered with Tim Holtz metallic sticker strips that I colored with Ranger alcohol ink and rubbed with permanent ink to highlight the raised stars. The flag at the top is made with Tim Holtz tissue tape wrapped around a Tim Holtz memo pin. (Man, Tim is everywhere on this egg!)

It had just started to rain when I went outside to photograph this, so I didn’t have time to get the best pictures, but at least I got it done! (No more tears! LOL)

steampunk egg 1

Gelli Gone Wild!

March 16, 2016

So I’ve been continuing my love affair with making art by piecing together printed papers onto painted canvas. It’s so easy and so much fun and there are so many possibilities!

I finished this large (11×14) angel canvas the other day. The background is metallic lavender with metallic green stars; a bit difficult to see in a photograph. I liked the idea of 3-D elements, so I added rhinestones and a layered silk & paper flower. “She cast her radiance and her fragrance over me,” is from The Little Prince. The quote refers to a flower, but I think it could apply to the angel as well.

finished angel

Now after all those soft colors, my next project turned out bright and bold! I decided to create an homage to my feisty feline, Taz, because, well…it’s what I do! (I may or may not have an entire wall of the living room devoted to artwork featuring Taz, not only by myself but by quite a few other artists!)

I started by tracing my favorite photo of Taz to get the main features down, then added a little bird pal I’d modified from a stained glass pattern. The image was divided into sections with some fancy “doodling”, starting with her precious little heart. (It is precious! No matter how feisty she gets…)

The pieces took quite awhile to cut out and adhere, but it was super fun and I love the colorful result.

taz in the garden

Diane Salter Inspired

March 7, 2016

So the latest issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine has a wonderful article by Diane Salter, in which she makes beautiful art using those many Gelli printed papers we all have stacked up throughout the entire house (not just me?). Her sample piece is a cute vignette of teacups with a bird perched on top. I’ve been into foxes lately, so I chose a fox stained-glass pattern to use as my guide, not trusting myself to free-hand cut anything more complicated than a triangle!

(Foxes are awesome, aren’t they? Like the perfect balance between a cat and a dog. Only you can’t really keep one as a pet. Alas.)

I already had a gigantic stack of prints on deli paper, but this project requires something more opaque. So I forced myself to spend an evening making more Gelli prints on plain copy paper. My husband finally said, “Do you think you have enough? There are probably 100 here. Also, there is paint all over the kitchen.”

My answer? There are never enough.

So here’s what finally came about. I used the cover cut off a large old book as the substrate; gessoed and painted the background and used a Fude pen for the details. Diane uses a Pitt pen, but I didn’t have one of those and all the others I tried soon petered out on the matte-medium covered surface. (Pitt pens are on my shopping list!) I just love his little pink foots.

wild fox

This was super, super fun! I’m currently working on an angel on a large canvas with pearl paint in the background and softer colors. The first work I ever saw of Diane’s was this angel and I just fell in love with it. Mine won’t be anywhere near like hers, but I’m so inspired by her techniques!

diane angel

B is for…

February 21, 2016

So a friend at work asked me to make a card for her sister. It was for a very special occasion, and she wanted it to be “over the top.”

bday 1

Now, does her sister like pink? I don’t know. But this card is SUPER PINK. And over the top, just like my friend requested. I started with pink cardstock, added pink checkered paper, piled on pink flowers and glittered the heck out of some painted pink chipboard letters.

bday 2

So, what’s the occasion? Not her birthday. Not her anniversary. Not even Valentine’s Day. It’s to commemorate the day she beat breast cancer! (Hooray!)

The pink is, of course, the “official” color of the famous breast cancer charity, and the B represents her new “ta-tas”. She opted for a smaller cup size than nature had given her and is reportedly quite happy with them. Thus, a “B” day celebration!

bday 3

(I won’t mention my husband’s idea for how I could “enhance” the B to better represent the subject…but I’m sure you can imagine.)

More Coloring Fun

January 21, 2016

I’ve been having a great time with my issue of The Coloring Studio, deciding what to color next and planning various projects. I love Sue Pelletier’s dresses sketch, as I am drawn to images that are set out in a grid pattern. I cut out a quadrant of four of the dresses and colored the large areas with chalks, filling in the small details with colored pencils.

coloring card 1

The image was mounted onto cream-colored and black cardstock, then I added a paper flower (colored with chalks) and some lace and mini-pom trim to make a fun, feminine greeting card.

coloring card 2

Now I have to decide whether to color the rabbit or the birds next! (I have a really fun idea for the rabbit.)

 

Word of the Year

January 10, 2016

For the past few years, I’ve noticed other bloggers assigning themselves a word for the year, as a sort of guide or mantra or ideal state of affairs they hope to accomplish. The word is always something positive and deeply meaningful to that person.

While it’s an interesting idea, one word can’t apply to every situation. If your word is “brave,” does that mean you will be more inclined to take unnecessary risks? Or maybe your word is “forgiveness.” If so, would you be more willing to endure mistreatment at the hands of others?

I personally thought the idea of choosing one word was fairly limiting, and the couple of times I decided to do this myself, I could never land on a particular word. Then, as I was falling asleep last night (or, attempting to, since I just switched from night shift to day shift and still haven’t adjusted!), I realized that I do want to choose a word this year and the perfect word suddenly came to me:

incomparable

Because this is what I do too much of: comparing. I compare my lifestyle, my ideas, my choices, my priorities… We all seek out similarities in others; it’s a natural human tendency. Unfortunately, we also notice the differences, and sometimes those differences can frighten us. All too often, we compare what we have, what we do, what we think, what we own, what we produce…and we find ourselves lacking.

This year I resolve to stop comparing. We are all unique – incomparable, as it were! – no two of us are alike and no two of us ever will be. And what a wonderful thing that is! If everyone were like me, the world would have no doctors (I’m squeamish!), we’d all be vegetarians (I’m not one, but I could never bring myself to butcher an animal!), there would no longer be music (because I can’t play or sing to save my life!) and we’d all be living in caves (because effective use of power tools eludes me!). On the positive side, we’d all be considerate of each other and kind to animals, believe in peaceful resolutions, never let anyone go hungry, and fill the world with amazing art (just don’t ask us to do math).

So there’s my word for the year: incomparable. No better, no worse – just different.

The Coloring Studio

November 20, 2015

As December 1st draws ever closer, I find it more and more difficult to contain my excitement about Stampington’s new publication due on that date, The Coloring Studio. Not only is it exciting to contemplate how wonderfully the subject of adult coloring will be handled by the experts at Stampington, but I have the supreme honor of having a drawing chosen to be published within its pages!

1TCS-15-The-Coloring-Studio-600x600

I decided to celebrate by creating an art journal with my drawing, Complicated Cat, as the cover. All cats are complicated, of course – aren’t we all still trying to figure them out? One of my favorite recent comics by The Oatmeal pictures a cat saying, “I am just as confused by my mood swings as you are.”

My cat is also physically complicated, with lots of doodled patterns and feline-related quotes.

After coloring the drawing with Prismacolor pencils, I laminated it for durability, lined the edges with deco tape and added floral embellishments.

coloring cat art journal 1

The book is filled with mixed-media paper, ready to be used as my next art journal. It measures about 5″x7″.

coloring cat art journal 2

The Coloring Studio will be filled with unique images to color, plus tips from artists and ideas for using your completed masterpieces. Wouldn’t it make a great gift bundled with some gel pens or colored pencils?

New Faces

October 2, 2015

I’m still in the midst of my obsession with painting new faces on dolls. I say “painting,” but this is very much a mixed-media venture, as I use colored pencils, watercolor pencils, gel pens and pastels.

These two dolls started out as Monster High Clawdeen and Howleen, werewolf sisters. They’re still sisters, but without fangs, their werewolf traits are now reduced to that of cute little puppies.

In this photo, they’re plotting together the best way to steal all the pumpkin spice Eggo waffles and blame it on the cat.

clawdeen best buds

A New Obsession

September 28, 2015

So for the past month I’ve been taking an online class with the fabulously lovely and talented Jane “Danger” Davenport. “JOYnal” is all about creating a unique altered book in which we are drawing mermaids, fairies, elves and other creatures from our imaginations. It’s so much fun it should be illegal!

One of the huge highlights of the class is that we are also learning to create our own pose-able studio muses. Starting with a ball-jointed doll (such as Monster High or Ever After High), we’re removing the existing face paint and drawing our own unique faces. This was a bit of a daunting prospect at first, so I knew I would want lots of practice. I purchased a lot of seven used Monster High dolls from Ebay, scrubbed them up, fixed their hair and ordered them some inexpensive clothes.

My first two attempts were on Clawdeen, a werewolf, and Purrsephone (or possibly her twin sister, Meowlody), a zombie cat. Here’s what they looked like before I erased their factory-applied faces:

clawdeen before

zombie cats

And here they are after drawing my own! I made Meowlody (or is it Purrsephone?) much less like a fashion model and more like the cat she really is. Clawdeen still has wolf ears, but no fangs.

first two

Not bad for a first try, but I knew I could do better! I next tackled a Lagoona doll, who has webbed feet and gills, so I knew she’d be perfect to make into a mermaid.

lagoona

I decided to make her eyes aqua to go with the streaks in her hair.

mermaid fairy face

Also, it wasn’t enough that she was a mermaid – I wanted her to have wings, too! My husband called her “a freak of nature,” but then I reminded him that mermaids and fairies don’t actually exist, so it’s entirely in the realm of impossibility that a fairy mermaid could also exist. (I think I hurt his brain.)

So yes, she has wings AND a tail! I colored a rubber stamped butterfly image, scanned and enlarged it, laminated it, bent it slightly and adhered it to her back with E6000 glue. I bought the tail from Ebay; it’s designed for Barbie, but fits Lagoona just fine. And because Stickles are an integral part of my life, I used them to draw a pretty design on her chest.

mermaid fairy

My next victim started life as Draculaura, a toothy-grinned gal with a sanguine personality.

draculaura

Her bangs are supposed to be flat on her forehead, but my pre-loved Draculaura wears hers up like a Mohawk. No worries, it was still fun to draw her a new face! She is no longer in the business of sucking blood and now eats Cheetos and Diet Coke, just like the rest of us. (Please fail to notice she is slightly wall-eyed and instead concentrate on her super cute jumpsuit.)

former vampire

I think I am getting the hang of this! Once I’m more confident, I’ve got this incredible brand new doll to transform. She’s Apple White, daughter of Snow White, from the Ever After High series. I’ll probably give her wings, too! 🙂

apple white