Tag Archives: art

The one where I take the next step

30 Nov

Good morning and happy Saturday!

I am very excited to share with you that I have entered the world of selling art. Last night, I dropped off my first five pieces to my new friend, Heather, at Atmalogy on West End in Nashville. I have my own little space (which I get to make my own so guess what I’m working on this weekend) in Atmalogy and I can add more pieces as I finish them. She also hosts a Makers Market monthly and I hope to participate in that in the future. If you’re in the Nashville area, go check her our her space. She rents out unique meeting spaces, has a fantastic cafe (great coffee!) and supports new artists. Plus, she’s pretty cool herself.

photo 1 (2)

art

So, this big step is one closer to my dream of being a full time artist and teacher. I’m off to work on my “shop” and continue working on next steps. Thanks for checking in with me this week.

Cheers,
Michelle

The one with 5 finished pieces

9 Nov

Happy Saturday.

I spent the last two weeks finishing up 5 granola box canvas art pieces. There are a few galleries in town that sell local art and I am hoping to get into a few of them. So this week, I won’t be sharing a narration of my process; just the individual finished pieces.

Each canvas began life as a granola bar box and they are 5 7/8″ x 6 5/8″. I use old book pages, magazine pages, and other papers to create the focal elements (the flowers and houses). And the rest of my mixed media consists of acrylic paints, water colors, gel medium, drawing inks, acrylic coating and varnish.

I’d love to know what you think. Feel free to leave comments at the end.

Grayscale flower

Grayscale flower

Sideview grayscale flower

Little houses in a field of purple

Little houses in a field of purple

sideview - little houses purple

Little houses in a field of green

Little houses in a field of green

Sideview Little houses green

Yellow flowers at dusk

Yellow flowers at dusk

Sideview - yellow flowers

Whimsical Blue Flowers

Whimsical Blue Flowers

Sideview - Whimsical Blue flowersSee you next week (and don’t forget to leave some comments.)

Cheers,
Michelle

Surprise, art in the mail (part 2)

14 Oct

Greetings! Last week, I shared the art card I made for my mom. I also told you that I would share with you the circle art journal that I started with her. But first, I should tell you about circle journals (or my version of them). I heard about this type of journal years ago and I guess it had been tucked away in some corner of my mind waiting for the day it would emerge.

That day was a little over 2 years ago, while I was still in the midst of trying to make some sense out of the unexpected passing of my dad. Not to digress, but I will tell you that he was the kindest, most gentle person you could have met and I miss him every day. Part of my journey through my grief included evaluating the relationships in my life. Those I would take care to work on if needed, to strengthen or just continue to build and those I would let go because as I just learned, life really is too short.

So, I turned to 2 of my favorite people, who happen to also be family members, and proposed this journal. I decorated a composition book (remember when I told you that I was having trouble with my iPhoto, well that’s the reason I’m not sharing what it looks like, but trust me, it’s pretty darned cool!). Anyhow, the idea is for the 3 of us to get to know each other better, as women, not the mothers we all are, the wives, professionals etc, but what makes us who we are. So, for the first few go rounds, I proposed the question. Sometimes, it’s a fun, light question, sometimes it deeper. And then I asked my cousin to take over, and boy, she hit us with a doozy (love ya cuz!)  We’ve all taken to making comments as we read through the others answers, and I have to be honest, sometimes, that’s my favorite part! And since we live in 3 different states, we have to mail it out (from me, to my sister-in-law to my cousin and back to me – hence the name, Circle Journal). It keeps us connected and it’s fun when you open your mailbox and see that envelope. I’ve enjoyed it so much, I asked some friends if they would be interested and so far, it’s in the middle of it’s second go round.

And this brings us to the journal I stared with my mom. My mom moved back to Vegas after my dad passed away. It’s hard to live so far apart and a few weeks ago, I realized that what we needed was, you guessed it, a circle journal. But this one would be different. Mom isn’t much of a journaler. But she is an artist and painting is her medium. So, I decided that we needed a circle art journal. I got this journal at the Curb Center’s Boot Camp back in August, and it’s the perfect size (3″ x 5″)to mail.

Here’s the inside page:

And here is my first entry:

Of course, I started with a layer of gesso. After that dried, I went with this pink background color. I used part of a gift bag as my patterned paper (on the left). I softened both the patterned paper and the paint with a thin layer of gesso.

I used crinkled plastic wrap lightly dabbed in paint to add some texture to the pages.

Close up of that texture:

I don’t have any circle stamps, so I used an old creamer lid. Not bad! The birds were found in my favorite local mag, Nashville Art Magazine.

I added pieces of newspaper (The Contributor – I like to recycle after reading the fantastic articles. Plus, I buy multiples each month so I can share a paper and use a paper). I ran the edges of the newsprint on a chocolate colored ink pad for some added definition and I softened each one with some gesso.

Finally, I hand wrote the following quote (you’re going to have to trust me on this, because much to my horror, I discovered that I forgot to take a picture of the final layout!) “Each morning we are born again. What we do today matters most.” I found this on pinterest, and it’s attributed to Buddha.

I got a very excited phone call from my mom when she received her envelope in the mail. She LOVES this idea. We’ve chatted since and she told me she’s sketching out her layout. I can’t wait to get it back. I can’t wait to see what she paints. And I’m so glad she’s excited about painting again! I already asked, and she has given me permission to share her pages.

So, is there someone in your life you can share a circle journal with? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

Cheers,
Michelle

So, what exactly is gesso?

3 Oct

If you read my last post (and thank you if you did!) I ended by telling you that my dear friend Nancy was kind enough to share my blog on facebook with her friends. And her kind comments were accompanied with “But what exactly is gesso?” So, as promised, today is Wednesday and I’m going to tell you about Gesso.

Acrylic gesso is surface preparation material. It’s similar to white paint, but it’s thinner (nowadays it also comes in black and if you’re really adventurous, you can tint your gesso with a bit of paint).  It’s flexible and won’t crack on your surface. It primes your canvas (or whatever material you are using) gives it “teeth” or texture and allows the paint to go on without soaking into the surface. I suppose I could get all technical and tell you that traditional gesso is a white paint mixture consisting of binder mixed with chalk or gypsum, but that’s boring and really, I think you get the idea.

So, I begin all my art cards and journal pages with a generous coat of gesso. Once in a while I forget this important step (usually if I’m particularly inspired and can’t wait to start a page and I can tell right away. The paint kind of smears on instead of spreading nicely. But there are many other uses for gesso.

Sometimes I start a card or page that doesn’t quite turn out as I planned. Instead of scrapping it all together, I’ll cover it with gesso and start over. This art card, for example, wasn’t working vertically, so I decided to cover it and change up the orientation. The finished product was much better (I’ll share it in the near future)

You can use gesso to tone down a patterned paper you may use as a layer in a page, like I did here:

Or when that didn’t quite work, I painted over the gesso layer and then toned the paint color down with more gesso. You can still see the patterned paper through the layers so it looks more like it’s part of the page instead of sitting on top of it.

There are many, many more ways to use (can you stand to read that word again?!) gesso. Check out Mel Stampz for some really cool ideas.

I’ll share both of these projects in the near future. They are on their way to Las Vegas as we speak and I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Once I know they have been received, I’ll share!

Cheers,
Michelle

Art journaling

29 Sep

As far back as I can remember, I have kept a written word journal; mostly they are chronological journals. You know, the large and small events that make up my life in chronological order. About 2 years ago, I started being intentional about including more things like books I read, movies I’ve seen, television I watch in a monthly roundup (thanks for the idea, Katie the Scrapbook lady!) I also have started doing random “I Love” pages where I list anything that comes to mind that I love (like pineapple, bridges, when the leaves turn colors in the fall). You know, those little things that people may not know about you unless they know you really well. I think it might be fun for my son (or my WAY in the future grandkids) to read and get a little more insight into what made me the person I am.

But, I digress. Anyhow, sometime over the last year, I found myself searching for a new creative outlet. I had found  Mary Ann Moss and her fantasticly yummy Remains of the Day journal on You Tube. I made one, well, my version of a ROD journal and while I truly enjoyed making it, it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. Then, low and behold, I stumbled upon art journals. One of the first artists I found was Milliande. She is amazing and so cute! I was so inspired, that I reproduced her art journal cover.

I actually have 4 art journals in various stages that I work on. Mostly because when I get inspired, I don’t care for little things like paint or adhesive needing to dry to slow me down. The following pictures are of a page inspired by one of my favorite artists, Donna Downey (check out her blog, Simply Me) By the way, I love sharing these wonderful artists who inspire me and by all means, please check out their links, but hurry back to Studio B!

So, what do you think?

Sidebar: I have discovered that photographing my art is a lot different than my regular photography. Lighting these pages just right so you get to enjoy their true colors and the fun textures is a new experience. Any tips?

Check back next WEDNESDAY (if you’re keeping tabs, I’ve been posting on Saturday) for a new post about Gesso. A dear friend was kind enough to share my blog on her facebook page and then asked “What’s gesso?” Nancy, the next one is for you!

Cheers,

Michelle

How did I make those recycled art cards, you ask….

22 Sep

Last time we met, I introduced you to my recycled art cards. And I bet you’ve been wondering all week exactly how I made them (indulge me, please). So here goes.

Recycled art cards begin life as magazine subscription cards.

I cover the subscription cards in a good coat of gesso. Currently, I’m using a White Acrylic Gesso by Artist’s Loft from Michael’s. It fine for this type of artwork, but I’m not in love with the way it coats the paper.  I recently found a sweet gem in Nashville called Plaza Artist Materials and when it’s time to buy new gesso, I’m going to try their brand.

Make sure to cover both sides.

Once I’ve covered both sides, I paint the background. Sometimes I have a vision of the finished product, sometimes, I let the colors I mix shape the direction of my art.

Like my fancy pallet?

This card was for my favorite red-head so I was thrilled to find a red-headed model in a magazine ad.

The wings are from a greeting card (also from Michael’s) and of course the woman is from a magazine ad.

Getting there, but not quite finished

She needed a bit more before she was finished. I added a tag from my favorite Tazo tea (India Spice in case you are wondering). And of course, a note to my sweet cousin on the back (which I won’t share). I do paint the back and cover it in various papers (mostly whatever I have at hand). Right now, I’m using the packing paper from a shipment of books. Love when they use kraft paper!

Her dress needed some bling, so I added gold paint. I also softened it up a bit with a gesso wash that I rubbed off with paper towels. This way, it looks more like it’s part of the card instead of sitting on top of it.

It’s that simple. Each set of cards I make for my cousins tend to reflect what I’ve been working on in my art journals. I love the challenge of painting 4 at a time with each different girl (and personality) in mind. But the best part for me by far is when I open my mailbox and have an envelope filled with their artwork in reply!

Leave a comment and tell me what you think!

Cheers,

Michelle