Wednesday, February 27, 2013

La Famiglia

I am often inspired by a single object and find myself building an entire artwork around it. That was the case with this vintage photo, complete with a rather ornate, paper frame. It has been in my stash for too many years to count. The sepia tones in the image called to me today.

You can create something similar on a book cover, canvas, wood panel, or - as I did - on book board. To start, I cut a piece of book board to approximately 9 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches. I rounded the corners using sandpaper, and painted both sides with black gesso. I added a bit of depth and interest by dry brushing a bit of white gesso around the edges. 

Next I began to assemble my layers using patterned paper. I hand cut my base layer but found it a little too bright, so I darkened it using spray ink and added dye ink to the edges.

My next layer was created using patterned paper and a die from Spellbinders Grand Nestabilities Large Labels.

From there, I created a number of paper elements to be used in the design.

I added texture to kraft colored card stock using Spellbinders M-Bossibilities Bricks Embossing Folder and then lightly rubbed the surface with dye ink to darken the bricks. Lastly, I hand cut the card stock to create two smaller pieces.

Using a die from Spellbinders Shapeabilities Botanical Swirls and Accents, I cut and embossed two different color patterned papers into the same shape.

I then layered the die cuts and, to make this more unique, added brads and a circular found object.

I used the same two patterned papers to create shapes using one of the dies from Spellbinders Shapeabilities Address Book. I cut these shapes even further by hand and created two unique elements, layering the different colors in the final piece for more visual interest.

Using one of my own hand painted papers, I cut, embossed and stenciled this element using one of the dies from Spellbinders Nestabilities A2 Filigree Delight. 

For the final touch, I added several different found metal objects to both frame the focal image and add another design element.

In the end, by combining mixed media elements with my own individual twist on commercial products using tools from Spellbinders, La Famiglia was born!


Supply List

Spellbinders Paper Art Supplies:

GC-001 SpellbindersTM Grand Calibur® Machine
LF-168 SpellbindersTM Grand Nestabilities® Large Labels
EL-015 SpellbindersTM M-Bossibilities®  Bricks and Bark Embossing Folder
S5-146  SpellbindersTM Shapeabilities® Botanical Swirls and Accents
S5-167 SpellbindersTM Shapeabilities® Address Book
S5-177 SpellbindersTM Nestabilities® A2 Filigree Delight

Preferred Promotional Partners: Tsukineko Momento dye ink pad, Imagine Crafts Inkblushers sponge

Cross Promotional Partners: BoBunny Press patterned paper, 7 Gypsies patterned paper 

Other: book board, gesso, watercolor paper, card stock, vintage photo, acrylic paint, paint brush, spray ink, found metal objects, brads, tin snips, adhesive, scissors, sandpaper

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

At this Point

In 2010 a series of survey questions were posted on my blog as a means of ‘taking the pulse’ of the online art community. More than 40 questions were posed and the results of the survey were presented as sidebars in my book The Pulse of Mixed Media: Secrets and Passions of 100 Artists Revealed. The survey tapped into a range of issues, both practical and psychological, related to being an artist today.

In Pulse Points, my newest series which ends today with this post on Create Mixed Media, select survey questions from the book were presented to several different groups of artists working in mixed media and beyond. 

Today's rockstar panel includes: Kristen Robinson, Joanne Sharpe, Becky Shander, and grrl+dog.   

Today's questions and original survey results from The Pulse of Mixed Media:

Is it important to you that others like your artwork?
It is a bonus but not a priority…77%
It absolutely is...17%
Not at all. I create for myself only...6%

Overall does your family support your life as an artist?
Yes, 100% behind me…59%
Sometimes yes, sometimes no…34%
No, they just don't get it…7%

And a taste of what our panel members had to say:

Kristen Robinson: "My work is an extension of my soul and as such, it should be irrelevant but truly it is not." 

Joanne Sharpe: "My style isn't for everyone, but it is all me." 

Becky Shander: "My family knows that making art makes me happy, and since they like seeing me happy, they're all for it." 

grrl+dog: "Pulling the thread on this question unraveled issues rolling out of deep inner space." 

Head on over to Create Mixed Media to hear much more of what the panel has to say about these issues. You can also read the first five posts in the series if you missed them. And if you would like, please share your own experiences in the comment sections here or at CMM.

Monday, February 25, 2013

First Stop: New York City

Travel the USA without leaving home. Join Marit Barentsen, art blogger from Marit's Paperworld and creator of the mixed media magazine Featuring, as she embarks on the virtual tour she has always wanted to take. Every Monday, she will be bringing state and city inspired blogposts that will evoke creativity of all sorts. Each stop along the way will include at least 2 posts, one from a local guest blogger and another which shares what her readers have to say or show. You can read all about the project here.

I am excited to be kicking off the tour with an insider's guide to Marit's first stop and my hometown: New York City. I have pulled together a long list of must-see and must-do locations and activities for every artist and art lover that visits NYC. Most of these are off the beaten track suggestions that you might not find in every traditional guidebook. And each one comes with a hint to help you make the most of your visit.

So fasten your seat belts and make sure your seat back is upright and your tray tables are stowed. The Big Road Trip starts in NYC here!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tell All: Chapter 8

Welcome to the 5th edition of The Pulse -- The State of the Art -- a survey in words and pictures of the online artist community. The Pulse is a collaborative project that aims to introduce you to new artists, help you get to know familiar faces even more, and allow you access into the creative hearts and minds of a very talented crew of individuals. More than 130 artists have answered a series of questions which make up The Pulse. Their responses will be presented in a series of online posts which will run every Sunday.

Style File, Techniques & Tools, Master Class, It's Still Life, and Playing Favorites were the first five projects posted and links to all these posts can be found on the sidebar of my blog. The final project from The Pulse #5, Tell All, continues now...

Participants were asked: what is the one thing that you know now that you would have liked to have known when you first started to create art? 

I wish I had known that it was okay to make mistakes. In the beginning, I was such a perfectionist that I was afraid to take risks or try new techniques; I hadn't yet realized that making mistakes is a vital part of the learning process. when that finally dawned on me, it was extremely freeing, and a major turning point in my evolution as an artist. Sharmon Davidson 

That art and money DO mix. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to be okay with making money from something that comes easily to me. It was hard to frame art/teaching as WORK when I enjoy both so much. I felt unnecessarily conflicted for a really long time about making money from my passion. I wish I had found out so much sooner that it is okay. Deb Eck

Every single idea, sketch and doodle has the potential to become something great - but you've GOT to honor the muse and the process by showing up to the sketchbook and regularly recording everything. Then let it simmer...sometimes for years. Then go back with your artist's eye and cultivate the diamond. Victoria Crowder Payne

That it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks. I used to have a "deer in the headlights" reaction - to the point where I stopped creating because I was worried how the end product would be received. If I could go back in time I'd tell myself to trust my gut, just do the work and stop getting distracted. Stacey Merrill

No one in the world can tell you if you are an artist or not. That choice is up to YOU. Don't wait until you're "good enough" or get paid enough for your art. All of these things come second. FIRST, you have to embrace what makes the creative side of your heart beat, and allow it to flourish. Withholding the title of artist from yourself or allowing others to withhold it from you is not the way to do that. Rachel Whetzel

If I had known that art would have me to deal with many painful memories and express my deepest feelings, I would've definitely started creating earlier. Svetlana Spasojevic

This is a difficult question to answer. Therefore I quote Robert Motherwell, that "Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it." Eric Adama

That art is a personal thing. It's not about who likes what, it's about what speaks to you. If you like something or enjoyed creating it, that is enough. The views of others are their opinions and not something you can influence. Trying to make things to appeal to others that don't make you happy is something I've tried to do for far too long. It takes time to learn this, but you feel so liberated when you can escape that thought pattern and create things that make your own creative spirit soar. Billie's Craft Room

An artistic voice and artistic skills are developed over time and require hard work plus the willingness to persevere even when the process yields less than stellar results. Yes Virginia...good art is directly linked to bad art. Denise Aumick

Forget what I've read and heard - and just paint! Evie Zaccardelli

Next Tell All will be posted on Sunday, March 3rd

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Open Call for The Pulse

Just a friendly reminder that the deadline to participate in the 6th online edition of The Pulse is fast approaching: Sunday March 3, just 8 days from the date of this posting. Every person who contributes will be included. In a bit of a twist, this edition of The Pulse will collect your favorites in 10 categories. The results will be tallied and collated and will form the basis for a series of online resource manuals for both artists and art lovers.

All the information you need to participate can be found at this link, which can be accessed at any time from both the [PULSE 6 OPEN CALL] tab just under my header as well as my sidebar. But tally your favorites quickly so you can be included!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Shifting Gears

I am always looking for ways to create dimension and texture, even when working on something as small as an Artist Trading Card or ATC. ATCs are the size of a playing card and traditionally are created to trade among artists. Being that it was a freezing day when I sat down to make this piece, I knew right away I wanted to capture the icy feel by using a palette of primarily silver and white.

I was further inspired by Creative Cogs, a new embossing folder from Spellbinders.

Using the silver side of a sheet of craft foil, I ran the embossing folder through the Grand Calibur.

I chose one section of the foil and cut it down to playing card size.

I also embossed and hand-cut several pieces of patterned paper in contrasting colors in the exact same way to use as accents. I added some extra silver markings to the white paper using a metallic marker.

I selected some of the embossed and some of the debossed sections of the foil piece, cut out the equivalent sections on the white piece, and glued them together for more detail.

I then added brads to create more dimension. I had silver but no white brads. So in order to keep a consistent color palette, I painted the heads of several brads using white gesso.

I then cut out three strips from the black piece I had embossed earlier. I glued one strip to the very top of the ATC for some contrast and then added my title using white, rub-on letters to the other two strips, which diagonally crossed the card. To finish off, I brushed a layer of black gesso on the playing card and glued that to the back of the ATC to both hide the prongs from the brads and add the finishing touch.


Supply List

Spellbinders Paper Art Supplies:

GC-001 SpellbindersTM Grand Calibur® Machine
F-013 SpellbindersTM Jewel Tones  Craft Foil 
E3D-002 SpellbindersTM 3D M-Bossibilities® Creative Cogs

Cross Promotional Partners: Bo Bunny patterned paper

Other: playing card, white gesso, black gesso, metallic marker, adhesive, paper, brads, rub-on letters, scissor, awl

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Stops Along the Way

The Thread that Weaves: I have been working my way through an online workshop taught by Roxanne Evans Stout from River Garden Studio

I have been taking my time on this project and savoring each step along the way. 

She has just decided to extend sign-ups through spring. At the end of the workshop, not only will you have a handmade book to treasure but through Roxanne's videos and exercises, you will better be able to identify the "thread that weaves" through your art.


The Big Road Trip: Join Marit Barentsen from Marit's Paper World as she takes a virtual trip across the United States. 

Every Monday, starting 2/25/13, Marit will highlight a city or state by first sharing a guest post from a local who will talk about their home from an artist's point of view and then post her reader's thoughts and experiences about the same place. There is no charge for gas and no tolls along the way. This is one trip you will not want to miss.


One Fish Taco and Half an Order of Guacamole: Lynn Cohen from Getting my Feet Wet has just released a book that highlights her experience of one year of drawing in public over lunch at the restaurant Tacos Jalisco.

Filled cover to cover with her sketches and accompanying thoughts, this book is a gem. The drawings are filled with life and a bit of whimsy too. Any artist who has ever dealt with the self consciousness that comes with drawing in public will doubly appreciate this book.


The Ground: The third issue of The Ground print magazine was just released. The Ground is a current, edgy magazine that focuses on art, music, photography, and fashion. 

It is also a community of artists and writers that offers many networking opportunities. This recent issue is titled The Balance, and like all their issues, also focuses on a charity - in this case Unicef.


El Anatsui: Those of you who are in or close to NYC have the opportunity to see Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui at the Brooklyn Museum. El Anatsui is a Nigerian-based artist who creates the most amazing sculptural pieces made from found materials - most often bottle caps. 

These shimmering pieces, which he manipulates almost like fabric, are large in scale, completely unique, and truly awe inspiring. The following picture gives you an idea of the size.


The Craft Donkey: Lacey from The Craft Donkey is highlighting some of my work and words on her site in a section aptly titled Men Craft Too! 

If you have never been there, her website focuses on craft-related tutorials, challenges and giveaways. Thanks so much Lacey for spotlighting my work and my blog.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tell All: Chapter 7

Welcome to the 5th edition of The Pulse -- The State of the Art -- a survey in words and pictures of the online artist community. The Pulse is a collaborative project that aims to introduce you to new artists, help you get to know familiar faces even more, and allow you access into the creative hearts and minds of a very talented crew of individuals. More than 130 artists have answered a series of questions which make up The Pulse. Their responses will be presented in a series of online posts which will run every Sunday.

Style File, Techniques & Tools, Master Class, It's Still Life, and Playing Favorites were the first five projects posted and links to all these posts can be found on the sidebar of my blog. The final project from The Pulse #5, Tell All, continues now...

Participants were asked: what is the one thing that you know now that you would have liked to have known when you first started to create art? 

I would not have spent so much money buying every art supply I could lay my hands on! It's a treat to now now where my interests lie and not be tempted by things I will never use. Makes for easier storage too. I have many grateful friends and colleagues who have been the recipients of my many purges in the last few years. Erin Perry

I really started painting again about 5 years ago. It was me all alone in my little condo, painting on large canvases and adding collage elements. I then attended my first art retreat where I found out that this is called "mixed media". I began to devour everything I could find out about retreats, blogs, mixed media artists and the magazines they were published in. So much so that I stopped creating with that unabandoned innocence I had started with in my condo. I'm not negating those things as I've learned a huge wealth of information. But I wonder how much further I would be along had I not spent that time comparing myself to those things. Adrienne "Dree" Berry

No matter how careful you think you're going to be, never paint while wearing a white top. You would not believe the amount of clothes that I've ruined because I didn't cover up! Kathryn Dyche Dechairo

Probably I would have liked to know that any class that required me to purchase an extensive or expensive set of specific tools was likely not for me. I've taken a number of classes that I had to do this for and never used the tools again. I eventually figured out that my first love is paper-based art. I then considered any future classes carefully, paying close attention to the supply lists. I know take classes that help me add to my skill set in the medium that I create in on a daily basis. Lelainia Lloyd

Creating everyday and being consistent is the biggest tool and advantage you can secure for yourself and your art. I've been pretty dedicated to my art since I started, but the difference really came for me when I decided I was going to do something, anything, every single day that gets me closer to my goal. It's been a motivating factor for me. Jodi Ohl

If I had known how much pleasure creating art would give me, I would have started doing it much earlier and more often. And I would have made sure I had a sink in my studio. Susan Madden

I'd share this with all young and all old artists: learn how to haul your regalia or your stuff around - tents, displays, easels, supplies and artwork - because that's what you do a while heck of a lot. Laura Lein-Svencner

Don't get hung up on about having your own style. Just create. Create lots. Your style developed all by itself somewhere in the middle, and just when you think you have your style pinned down, it begins to change. Natasha White

The importance of organization. Organization of the records of one's body of work from the get go would simplify things. It makes things easier when you have a website, when you apply for work, or need to put together a portfolio.  theresa mARTin

It would have benefited me greatly if many years ago I started a sample book of my experiments, both the failed ones as well as those that were successful. With time, some things are forgotten, of course, and sometimes I look at an older piece and can't, for the life of me, remember exactly how I created it. Jessica Walthall

Next Tell All will be posted on Sunday, February 24th