Mixed Media

Mixed Media

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Basic Faces and Smoothing Wrinkles

The wrinkle in my Art Nouveau/Rosemaling piece has been smoothed. The main cause of this wrinkle was to much water meets to light of weight paper. I typically use Stonehenge paper as it is versatile, has a nice weight, and is Made in the U.S.A. In most situations, it actually wrinkles less than tradiditional watercolor paper. Applying multiple layers of color and water to the Stonehenge paper seems to break it down. I have found correcting these wrinkles is a little differently than you would do with standard watercolor paper. It is actually important to lay down more color with a light hand to create a heavy wax layer that builds up the paper. It took me two days of layering, lightly wetting and flat-weighting, but the nasty wrinkle along my young Norwegian maidens face is now gone and I can get back to work doing finishing details.
I started the face detailing on my Americana piece also. Everything done so far was done with Neocolor II crayons. I had some bleed off into her teeth. She looks like she has been enjoying a nice Cabernet. My next step will be to continue with The crayons going through and softening up all the details giving everything a bit more of an aged look.
I have started drawing out a third piece which I plan to use the Neocolor II crayons as the main base. Just looking at what I have done so far, I can really see the differences in these products. I am also coming up with a pretty lengthy list of each products merits and downfalls.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Wrinkle in my Plan!

I have encountered a wrinkle, literally. I ended up with a doozy of a wrinkle right in the face of my Norwegian maiden after coloring in the face with Neocolor II crayons and a water pen. It was the perfect storm of not enough dry time, to light of paper, and a bit to much water blending. Is's fixable, but is going to take a few days of delicate working. Since I'm not one to sit still and work on only one thing at a time I decided to draw a design to use with the Derwent Inktense pencils.
My sweet husband asked me why I never draw anything "American". This gave me a good chuckle. What did he want? Stars, stripes, flags, fireworks and eagles? Why Not? Since the Derwent Inktense pencils are both bright and subdued at the same time, I felt they would be perfect for some kind of "Americana" piece, but I wanted to keep with an Art Nouveau style. This is what I came up with. Art Nouveau meets Americana.
Of course my husband absolutely loved the design paying it the his highest complement by saying " I would hang that in my office." I think that was also a hint that he was laying claim to this piece.
Here it is colored in with the Inktense pencils and water pens. For the rest of the face and detail work I will most likely use Neocolor II crayons and Prismacolor pencils. I am not thrilled with the hair, but with some more working I think it will come around.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Art Nouveux Meets Rosemaling-Part One, Faber-Castell Gelatos

After several days of experimenting with Faber-Castell Gelatos using some of the more common techniques, I was about to throw in the towel. Used dry, I felt like they didn't move enough. Spritzed on a gessoed surface I found them to be grainy. I decided to instead use them like watercolors. After applying to a ceramic surface, I added water with a dropper and mixed colors with a palette knife ( both of which were found in Gelatos Tool Set). I then used a water pen to apply colors to a line drawing done on Stonehenge paper with varying sizes of black Micron pens.
I find large Corelle-ware plates work great for mixing colors. The are as big as a large tile, but the curve of the plate keeps any water from escaping. The Faber-Castell Mix & Match Gelatos Tool Set (pictured) comes with some of the most commonly used tool for Gelato application.
The pigments of the Gelatos took on a very delicate look when used with a water pen. They reminded me of the colors that would be seen in Art Nouveux pieces, but at the same time they brought to mind some Norwegian textiles that I have. I decided to combine Art Nouveux style with traditional Rosemaling.
Here is the piece filled in with the Gelatos. As there are limited colors available in this line, this is probably all that I will do with this product line on this piece. Stay tuned for the next segment as I continue to work.

Monday, September 8, 2014

So Many New Things to Try! Gelatos, Inktense pencils, and Neocolor II crayons

Besides connecting people around the globe, the Internet has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for artists and crafters. Products that would have once been found only in elusive art supply catalogs and expensive stores, can now be found on numerous online venues at competitive and even discounted prices. Learning to use these products still involves some trail and error, but a quick Google search can usually product a myriad of sites and videos that provide tips and techniques. In the last few months, I have been spending less time sewing and sculpting and more time drawing. With my schedule freed up from school, but often occupied with baby visits, I have had to find projects that can be easy put away and picked up later. This has led me to several new ( or at least new to me) products.
Faber Castell Gelatos are Chapstick like sticks of pigment that seem to be used primarily in card making, art journals, and mixed media projects. These are my newest acquisition,so I have had very little time to experiment.
Derwent Inktense pencils are water-soluble ink pencils that become permanent with the addition of water. They can be used on paper, canvas, leather, and even fabric.
Neocolor II water-soluble wax crayons by Caran D'Ache are bright crayons that go on smooth and take on a watercolor look when used with a wet brush or water pen. Like Inktense pencils, they can be used on paper, canvas, leather and fabric. They are available 126 colors ( set shown is 84 piece). Over the next few weeks, I will be going over the positive and negatives of each of these products along with what I have been doing with them.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Crafting Tornado

My husband has informed me that it looks like a " craft tornado" has hit our house scattering projects near and far. The eye of the storm seems to be my work table, which is actually quite clean. I guess the problem with having so many projects going on at once is that I have them set-up to work on in stages. Yesterday both my Hoffman Challenge fabric and the miniature wallpaper from Spoonflower arrived. By the end of the night, I even managed to get the initial layer of oil paint applied to the first of my two Alabama babies.
I am thinking I will paint the second one with acrylics so I can see the difference (other than dry time). For now, I should really clean up the aftermath of my last few days of creative inspiration.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Alabama Indestructible Doll

When inspiration takes ahold of me, all my good intentions often fall to the wayside. When I found out that MAIDA (making antique inspired dolls and accessories) was hosting an Alabama Baby inspired members challenge from January 1st to March 30th 2014, my creative juices really got flowing. This Challenge combines both the need for research and the utilization of new techniques (have I mentioned how much I love learning new things?). Alabama baby dolls (also known as Ella Smith dolls, Alabama Indestructible dolls, and Roanoke dolls) were produced from 1899 to 1932 by Ella Smith of Roanoke Alabama. These dolls featured molded heads covered with glue and stockinette and then finished with oil painted features. They ranged in size from 8 to 36 inches with the most common sizes being between 12 and 27 inches. Mrs. Smith built a small factory in her home town of Roanoke to produce her dolls. This was one of the first doll companies to produce black baby dolls for the Southern market. For this challenge, I decided to produce two dolls. One black and one white. I have started with the black version whom I am calling "Macie" ( after Ella Smith's adopted daughter). So far I have created a pattern and sewn it using high quality, hand-dyed cotton fabric. I then stuffed it with wool stuffing. The head "stump" was primed with gesso and tacky glue and covered and sculpted with Premier Clay
( this was the closet thing I had on hand to Plaster of Paris). Once dry, the headed was sanded, coated with tacky glue, and covered with a 65/35 cotton polyester knit
Original Ella Smith dolls had an interesting skullcap that was stitched on to the crown of the head. I am assuming this was used to cover the stockinette edges. Thanks to careful application of the knit fabric, I didn't have much call for this addition. I did add some Premier clay to the top of the head though to reproduce the variance in textures seen on the original dolls. I am currently in the process of applying multiple layers of black gesso to the head, arms, and legs.

Friday, January 10, 2014

So Many Projects, So Little Time

Besides my dollhouse and Hoffman doll, I have a long list of other projects in the works. What can I say, I love a touch of chaos. Today I decided it's time to clean of my work table and get a few things checked off my list. I have two baby quilts that REALLY need finishing. One is for a dear friends sweet little girl. It is made from pink and gray fabrics primarily from Michael Miller's Zoology line.
The other is for my very own granddaughter, who should be making her entrance into the world any day now. Like my daughter, this quilt is a bit less traditional. It has a super hero theme and is made from several different lines produced by Robert Kaufman.
My goal is to finish piecing these quilts this weekend so they can be finished on the long-arm next week. I guess it's time to put in a movie, load a fresh bobbin, and get cracking!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I Love a Challenge!

Nothing gets me motivated more than a challenge. Be it the challenge of learning something new or the deadline of a competition. To keep me on track with my dollhouse completion, I have decided to join the Undersized Urbanite competition. There are categories for both novice and experienced builders. The goal is to complete a room or rooms in miniature by May 12th, 2014 and post the end results to undersized urbanite.com. Since I also really enjoy the chaos of having multiple projects going at once, I have also decided to enter the Hoffman Fabric challenge. This years challenge fabric immediately brought an idea to mind.
I found a great online storefront called Batiks Plus, that allowed me to buy fat quarters of the challenge fabric which means I can get more bang for my buck. I am using this challenge as an opportunity to try some techniques I have never used before. I remembered something I saw in an issue of Soft Dolls and Animals
After a perusal of my fabric stash and art supplies, I realized I needed gesso, modeling paste, and gel medium. Thanks to Dick Blick, they will arrive at my doorstep in a few days. Time to bust out the sewing machine!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Wealth of Resources

Even though I am not currently in school, it seems that I can't embark on or complete any major projects without conducting a massive amount of research. It could also just be that I like doing research. In regards to my dollhouse project, the Internet has been both a valuable tool and a constant distraction. There is so much out there to read and buy. For basic instructions and tutorials, More Minis is the place to go. This is where I learned how to apply siding. It is so good that I felt confident attempting this on my very first build. eBay and Etsy have provided me with odds and ends needed for construction and decor. One Inch Minis by Kris is a fantastic place to learn how to build just about any piece if furnishing needed to complete a dollhouse. There are even sites like Spoonflower.com where you can design and produce your very own small scale fabric and wallpaper. These are a few of the ones that I have produced for this project.
I even found images from travel sites and old "women's magazines" to use as inspiration.

Time Flies

It has been years since I have written on or even visited my blog. Shame on me! In that time I have finished my degree, traveled to Italy and found out I am going to be a grandma (4 days and counting). Since I am taking a year off before graduate school, I decided to take on some projects I had back-burnered and try some things I have always wanted to. This is what has lead me back to my blog. I have decided to build a dollhouse and thought it would be a great idea to chronicle this journey. The house I chose as my first is the Orchid by Greenleaf Dollhouses I really liked he basic structure of this house, but knew I would like to add siding and personalize certain aspects like the stained glass and exterior gingerbread. I know this might be a huge undertaking for someone who has never built a dollhouse before, but I feel up to the challenge. So far, I have began construction on the exterior, including siding, and designed the stained glass.