Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sister, Sister

In 1976, while on vacation in Ocean City, Maryland, my mother had my sister and I sit for portraits.  We were on the boardwalk and the artist drew our portraits with a charcoal pencil in about 15 minutes.

After watching Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's video, All About Faces, I became inspired to try my hand at some faces.  Julie sells face stencils to make it easier to get started.  I've been meaning to buy a couple of her stencils, but being the procrastinator that I am, I just haven't gotten around to it.  So I decided that I would make my own stencil out of the charcoal portrait of my sister.

First, using tracing paper, I traced the primary lines around the face, hair, eyes, and mouth.  Then I used a black Sharpie to darken the lines.  I used a plastic file folder for my stencil.  Transparencies are way too expensive and stencil plastic comes in a roll that is impossible to straighten out.  The file folder worked perfectly.  I just cut it in half, taped the paper with the facial lines to the folder, and started cutting with a razor knife.

I painted a background with acrylics, then glued on some ripped up book pages and sheet music with gel medium.  When that was completely dry, using the stencil, I drew the outlines with a pencil onto the background.

Then I painted the face and hair with Golden Fluid acrylics filling in the outlines.  I used pink and orange to do some shading on the face just like Julie Fei-Fan Balzer said to do.  Then placed the stencil back on and, using black Liquitex paint and a sponge, totally painted on my stenciled face.

I touched up the eyes and mouth afterwards and continued adding stamps and other miscellaneous designs to the picture and it was finished!!

I'm pleased with my first face.  I don't how much it looks like my sister (she doesn't have red hair), but it is a face.

Here's a very fast video from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer on stencile faces.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring - When Everything Old is New Again!

Here's last night's art journal page.  I started out by painting some pink flowers with watercolor.  They make watercolor look so easy in the videos.  But is not easy!!  I decided to add some birds to hide some of my watercolor mess.  Then I kept adding and adding, and it just kept getting worse.

Never one to give up, I decided to start putting glitter on it - hey, what could it hurt?  Then, finally, I reached for the Dylusions spray inks and Liquid Pearls and figured it may not look like what I was going for, but at least it would be colorful.
Spring is a time for starting over.
Material used:
Artists Loft Watercolor pencils
Pigma Micron pens
Rubber stamps
Stickles by Ranger
Liquid Pearls by Ranger
Dylusions Spray Ink
Tim Holtz Distress Ink
Adirondack Acrylic Paint Dabber
washi tape

Watch how easy this girl makes it look.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

What a Peach!

I can't believe it!  We actually have two tiny little peaches on the tree that Mark planted a couple months ago.  They are so cute.  They're about the size of a gumball.  I can't wait to see if anymore pop out.

The tomatoes are almost ready to go into the ground.

And.....the lettuce seeds that were planted a week ago have germinated.

Isn't it amazing that everything starts from something small, a tiny seed, or a tiny grain of sand, or a tiny egg, or a drop of water.

Zentangle Peacock

Here is the 4th and last zentangle drawing in my little series.  I can't say that I'm thrilled with it.  It needs something on the bottom so that it will be similar in size to the other three.  I've been staring at it for about an hour and can't think of what I want to do to the bottom.  I really wish that I had just made the peacock a little bigger.  Oh well..........


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Zentangle Fish

Here's #3 in my four piece card series.  I love fat little goldfish.  The jellyfish were an afterthought.  They could have been better, but as my, Italian, father-in-law always said "whatta ya gonna do".

I think I have an idea for #4.  I was doing some organizing today in my studio/craft room and I found some pictures of peacocks.  I think it will be really fun to zentangle a peacock.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Zentangling Flowers Again

I just finished my most recent zentangle drawing.  I've decided to do a 4 piece series.  I would like to turn the 4 drawings into blank cards.  I need to look into the printing process.

So here's number 2:


Monday, March 18, 2013

Zentangle Flowers and Lena Dunham

I love "Girls" on HBO.  Lena Dunham, who plays the main character, Hannah, is fantastic.  She's not thin.  She's not beautiful.  She's smart, yet insecure.  Talented, yet a total mess.  The actress is so confident with her body, even though she is exactly the opposite of what Hollywood leads young girls to believe they should look like. 

The first time that I saw this actress was in the independant film, Tiny Furniture.  In that movie she played a character exactly like her character of Hannah in "Girls".  Several of her fellow actors in Girls were in Tiny Furniture.

Granted, it's HBO, so "Girls" is sexually explicit and has nudity.  However, the nudity is one of the strongest parts of the show.  Hannah has no problem running around with cellulite jiggling and tiny breasts exposed.  When you see her like that, you think "Wow, THAT is a confident girl!"

I think this is the best thing that TV could do for young women (heck, woman of all ages for that matter).  The characters in this show are smart and real.  The men look like real guys, not department store mannequins.  The woman look like real woman, not starving, size zero, porn stars with boob jobs.  Don't get me wrong.  I dont have anything against plastic surgery.  I just hate to see teenage girls saving their money for breast augmentation before they really even know who they are.  As we all know, beauty fades, and you have to still be able to love yourself when your hair is grey, your skin is sagging, and you don't recognize the stranger in the mirror.

Anyway, while I was watching "Girls" last night, I worked on this zentangle.


Saturday, March 16, 2013


per-ma-cul-ture - noun

The development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.

My husband is still aggressively working on turning our 5 acres into a permaculture wonderland.

I think that I mentioned a couple weeks ago that he was waiting for some worms to come in the mail.  Well, they did and he put them in the worm box that he had built, per youtube instructions.  However, after a few days he opened the box and was attacked by millions of fruit flies and a horrible stench.  So he had to re-think the worm situation and now he has them in a re-designed worm box and in the 10 foot deep hole near the back of our property (which he says will be perfect because they need to be kept cool).  You might ask why we have a 10 foot hole available to receive worms.  It was originally dug for an underground shelter, but that's another story.

Worm ledge covered with stuff that worms like.
There are a couple worms in the middle of the photo.  They usually like to stay underground.  It's amazing how much lettuce they can eat.

Hy-dro-pon-ics - noun (used with a sing. verb)

A method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil

He's been thinking about trying a hydroponic garden for some time.  He's using a large, plastic container, with dirt built up on the sides to keep it cool.  It will be filled with nutrient-rich water with a pump and air-stone.  The plants will be started in little cups that sit in holes cut into a piece of styrofoam that sits on the top.  I'm not sure what he is going to grow yet, but, I can't wait to see what happens.

And then, he re-purposed a couple old pallets to create raised beds.  He nailed some wood on the back and sides, drilled drainage holes, filled them with dirt, planted the seeds - voila, raised beds.

He planted several different types of lettuce.  They are covered with plastic until the seeds germinate and pop out of the ground.

 He is using only heirloom seeds and only natural methods of fertilization and pest control.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Collage Couture

I've seen the work of several artists who do collages of women in pretty clothes made out of paper, fabric, flowers, little gems, etc.  So when I was in the bookstore the other day and saw Collage Couture: Techniques for Creating Fashionable Art, I had to get it.

It starts at the beginning teaching you how to sketch a fashion figure (you know, those tall, skinny figures that fashion designers draw for their creations).  Then she moves into drawing clothing, painting backgrounds, choosing colors and styles for clothes, then putting it all together into a piece of art.

The hardest thing for me was choosing the papers.  Then the only scissors that I could find were huge, which made it very difficult to cut out the body and dress.  Next time, I will make sure that I have some very small, very sharp, pointy scissors.

Here's my first attempt.  This was the first project in the book.  I made a couple changes.  She made her background by rubber stamping flowers and the word Vogue.  I didn't have a flower stamp that looked right, so I stenciled some leaves with a few small flowers.  I added a couple silver skeleton leaves.  I used bubble wrap to make the little white cirles and fine black marker to outline the stamped areas and add a couple more flowers.

Here's the most recent art journal page and some zentangling that I did while I was keeping my parents company in the hospital.  Actually, the girls face couldn't be consider zentangle - it's just doodling.

3/12/2013 Art Journal Page


Three Tears

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fast Women and Moonshine!

My grandfather is 94.  However, he tells everyone that he is 99 and will be celebrating his 100th birthday in a couple months.  I don't know why he has this number in his head, but we just go with it and will be congratulating him on his 100th this May.

He also loves to tell people that he owes his advanced age to moonshine and fast women.  This is also pretty funny because he's never been a drinker and he is extremely conservative.  Certainly not the kind of man that would play around.  Actually, he did go through a period where he would drink one beer a day out of a coffee cup.  He did this for medicinal purposes, of course.  He said that he had to drink the beer for his kidneys.

When my grandfather was in his 70's, he would tell us that "he's not much longer for this world".  Or he would say "your old grandpa isn't going to be around that much longer".  I think he is totally shocked that he has lived this long.

He also calls square dancing at the drop of a hat.  Usually on his way to or from the bathroom, he'll stop and sing his favorite square dancing song.

Sixteen hands and roll that wheel, the more you dance, the better you feel - - - now drop your hands and fall in line, ladies in the lead and the gents behind - - - swing your partner - - - round that corner as you come down, right and left all the way around - - - promenade - - - 

The man is a trip.  He has lived life by his own set of rules.  Always confident that he was right and everyone else was wrong and probably out to cheat him in some way.  He hated Democrats and loved antique cars.  He started out working in the coal mines of West Virginia and retired from a large construction company in Washington DC.  Like many of his contemporaries, he moved to Florida after retirement.  He worked on his antique cars, took care of is year and went bowling twice a week.

I don't see him as often as I should, but it will be strange when he's not around anymore.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Animal Print Doodling

Last night I was doodling around with leopard and zebra print.  I had to add some zentangling at the bottom.

Monday, March 4, 2013

I Love to Color

When I was little, I loved to color.  I remember being so excited the first time that I got the big box of Crayola crayons with the built-in sharpener on the back of the box.

I was one of those kids that always stayed within the lines. It's kind of funny because even though I grew up to live my life outside the lines, if you give me a Sharpie, I'm still carefully avoiding any stray marks.

New Collage and Two Girls

My sister came to visit the other day.  She spent the night because her husband was doing a sleep study.  This gave us the opportunity to gossip and create some art.

She taught me how to draw cats and I taught her how to do gel transfers.  She's writing a children's book about a cat that finds a home.  My sister has always been able to paint.  A couple years ago, she gave  me a beautiful hat box that she had painted.

While we gabbed, I taught her about gel medium and she transferred a photocopy of an old map onto a canvas.  It turned out perfectly.

Here's the collage that I just finished.  I started out with two transfers on the blank canvas, then started layering on top.

Last night I did some doodling while watching "Girls" and "Enlightened" on TV.  I'd like to add these girls to a collage.