For the third year in a row I attended Jane Davies' week-long art retreat in southern Vermont. Despite some seriously hot weather, it was a great week and I feel like I accomplished a lot.
We were in the Rupert firehouse, as usual. They even had a call one day while we were at lunch!
We were working in series, starting with certain parameters and adding a few variables. I decided one of my parameters would be neutrals.
Somehow, this one got to look like Hello Kitty! I haven't had the hear to work it over yet. LOL
I'm happy with where this work is going. Nothing finished yet, but well on its way.
I'm really excited about the work I did from an inspiration piece:
I've got about two dozen pieces in various stages, and I feel like I have a year's worth of inspiration and direction. Another excellent artful week with Jane and the girls!
I've started a few canvases as test pieces for a canvas I'm going to do for a friend. I wanted to play with colors and work with modeling paste and graphite…and not think too much. I started two fresh canvases and two that already have paint on them, all four 16 x 20.
I'm playing with sunset colors, the beach, the ocean…
And adding lines with graphite and then using them as structure for the composition…
At this point, I was looking at the piece from different angles,standing back, turning it around and thought 'oh, it goes this way'.
And it was practically done.
A lesson in the value of looking at your work from all distances, directions, and angles!
It seemed like it would never make it, but ready or not, spring has appeared. I know, by Memorial Day, most people are looking at summer, but this is the Northeast, and other than a couple of weird hot days, winter hung around forever. My yard is it's own ecosystem, too, and it seems as if it's the last place In the county for the snow to melt. We've had a patch of wet weather, so I've spent much of the weekend planting, weeding, and mulching like a fiend as if I can cram the entire season into a weekend. The daffodils are just starting to fade, the lilacs are blooming, and the hummingbirds are dogfighting all around the porch where I'm sitting.the studio is usually quiet this time of year while I'm outside, but I've done a few small watercolor pieces while watching the Giro d'Italia and waiting for the rain to stop.
The pictured piece started as a pencil doodle. I added watercolor crayon with a waterbrush, then I used colored pencils and graphite pencils to add highlights and shading. I realized that if I rotated it, I could add a quote quite easily. Brilliant! 🙂 I penciled in the quote, then wrote over with a gel pen. Easy, fun. I'm thinking I may put the watercolor pieces together in an art journal, but not unless it starts raining again!
Here are three collages for a lesson in Jane Davies' color online class. The first is the monochrome:
I used green blue and blue in this, as well as black and white, and the partly hidden letters are blue neutralized with orange. Mostly paint with a bit of cut paper and some doodling with watercolor crayon.
Here's an analogous piece:
This started with a green blue background and then a green and yellow green island appeared. All paint. I think I'll add some even lighter tints to the 'island' although this isn't as dark in real life as it appears.
And here's a complementary collage. I had a hard time finishing this one. The pinkish circles were bright red violet to start but that seemed too intense (even for me) so I knocked them back and now…they need something. Texture? Fine detail? So this is probably NOT finished!
Moose said that as long as I was cutting up his muslin (see previous post) I should try some gesso experiments. I've used gesso as a resist on all kinds of paper but never on fabric and it seems like less effort than batik. 🙂 I'm also still working on that wonderful blending of orange, green and purple that I like to call 'octarine' (a la Terry Pratchett). All of this is in aid of a future project that gets more massive the longer I plan. I should stop planning and just do it, but this experimentation really is part of it. Really. Really!
Anyway, I started by tinting plain, rather thick white gesso with a little Naples Yellow Golden fluid acrylic because I didn't want stark contrast and I wasn't sure how much it would be stained by the sprays. Turns out I could have used more tint, but it's okay. Then I used a palette knife to scrape it through a couple of stencils and 'freehand' onto the muslin. My gesso is thick enough and the layer I scraped on was thin enough that I didn't have any problems with seeping under the stencils or pooling and sticking to my work surface, but I did this on waxed paper just in case.
I let the gesso dry completely and wet the fabric with a mister until it was wet but not soaked. I used dye sprays, orange Colorwash and crushed grape and dirty martini Dylusions. Yes, I know Dylusions aren't meant for fabric, but they're what I had in the colors I wanted. I'm not going to wear this or wash it.
The purple stained the gesso most, then the orange, and the green almost not at all. I let this dry completely and decided the purple wasn't dark enough. There were also some pink and blue places that, although cool, were not what I wanted.
So here the final product.
As cool as this is, I think I may like the back better! The gesso didn't permeate the fabric completely so the contrast isn't as great but the texture is still there.
Another shot of the back. The gesso makes a slight relief here:
There's some nice blending in here. Not as nice as on watercolor paper, but nice enough. I think I might try it on linen if I can find some. That's for another day, however. Seems we get one nice day out of this holiday weekend, and I'm going out to enjoy what's left of it!
I started these last weekend and gradually got them finished. Had I known the weather this weekend would be so lousy, I would have just waited and finished them this weekend.
These are just bleached and unbleached muslin. For this experiment, I wanted to see if wetting the fabric made a difference, and my canvas doesn't absorb water well (it's actually a canvas drop cloth so that makes sense). I wanted to use the secondary colors, and there's a a fine line between getting a great blending of those colors and getting, well, baby-poop brown.
So I tried dry, spot wetting with a mister, and soaking and wringing. You can tell which is which on the samples by the amount of wrinkling. Once again, I started with a layer of acrylic and fabric medium at 1:1 but subsequent layers are just paint. I used two shades of each color on each layer. There's less blending than I expected even with the soaked fabric.
Here's a spot-wet (love this Balzer Designs stencil! i have both sizes; this is the 12 x 12) and below is a three-layer spot-wet piece:
Here are some of the soaked pieces:
The pieces I started with orange have a solid layer of paint:fabric medium.
I like these but I'm probably going to have to use dyes on the fabric first to get the level of blending I want, then maybe one layer of paint stenciled on top. The forecast is for rain for the rest of the long weekend, so that's next!
I'm taking an online class from Jane Davies right now as part of my intent to improve my composition skills. I'm really enjoying it and wish I could spend more time at it. Which one of Murphy's Laws is it that says as soon as you commit to something fun, work intensifies? Anyway, this is a mini cruciform study, probably my favorite of the six 4x4s I did. You can see them all here
Here’s another spread based on Dina Wakley’s Art Journal Freedom. I’m having fun with this, can you tell?