Friday, February 7, 2014

Studio Doin's And Next Week's Giveaway

(There's going to be a short giveaway announcement at the bottom of this post, so I hope you'll stick with me long enough to read about it!)

A couple of months ago, I became possessed of the need for interesting and unusual ephemera to use in my collage work. I went to ebay first, where I purchased a huge box of musical scores from the 30's, 40's, and 50's.


I also purchased a massive encyclopedia with thousands and thousands of tissue-thin pages.


(And if you're scratching your head trying to figure out if you're going crazy, you're not, I did blog about them, recently.)

That obsession continues and I recently put out a call on my Facebook page (come follow me if you like!) for information about where to find foreign language literature that I could collage with. Ebay had been no help (you don't even want to know what my search turned up) and every search for foreign language newspapers I did only offered online versions. I was about to give up and start printing those out when my friend, Jeannie Evans-Van Hoff sent me a PM offering to send me some!!

Less than a week later, this bundle of goodness arrived in the mail.


I can't wait to dive into it and start using it!

But my obsession didn't end there. I had a hankering for braille paper... you know, books, newspapers and such written in braille. But again, a search turned up precious little that could be used for ephemera. And then I found Kristin at the Retro Art Cafe. She happened to have a stack of braille paper for sale and I snapped up the last bundle she had.


Ok, so the photo makes it look a little vague, but I promise you, it's page after page of beautiful braille. I'm sure that when I use this in collage, I'll be able to bring out the lettering more prominently.

Finally, my hunt for new and fun papers took me to both Hollanders and DickBlick, where I bought a stack of handmade papers, and another stack of printmaking paper.


I think maybe it's time to stop shopping and start collaging, don't you??

In other news, I had hoped to show you a new painting this week, but it's been progressing slower than I anticipated, so all I can do is show you the sketchbook rough-out of it and the beginnings of the actual piece.

I've gone back to working through ideas in my sketchbooks before putting paint to canvas (or in this case, cradleboard), and I've found it to once again be invaluable in helping me flesh out ideas and settle on techniques.

Still trying to coerce subtlety from my chosen color palette, I started with vibrant reds and yellows and toned them down with neutral grays and beiges. I layered color again and again, following each layer with neutrals thinned with acrylic medium, until I reached the texture and depth I was looking for. Then I moved into the other half of the sketchbook, using the same method with blues.


This is not what the final piece will look like, it was merely an exploration of colors.

Next, it was time to move to the cradleboard. I often start with a pre-primed, clay-surface board, but this time, I went with a bare wood cradleboard, which took a little more prep on my part. It needed to be sanded and then primed, both easy tasks. Next, I wanted the lower third of the painting to have texture, so I used a fabulous new (to me) product.

Back in October, during the IQF, some friends dropped by the house for a visit.


Judy, the owner of a very neat shop called Artistic Artifacts, came bearing gifts, including this lovely product. 


The name of the product had me a tad confused at first, because my experience with embossing paste has traditionally been the stuff you stamp onto your project, cover in embossing powder, and heat to create a raised, metallic effect. But this is not the same stuff... instead, it is a wonderfully creamy and luscious soft modeling paste. 

I used it to spread on the lower third of my cradleboard and suddenly, I was in love with this product! It goes on velvety smooth, a characteristic I don't usually find with other modeling pastes. The jar is small, and I would have expected to use the entire thing or more to cover the area of the painting I wanted, but I actually only had to use about half of the jar because I was able to get a thin covering that still allowed me to get great texture and markings in the paste before it dried. 

And yes, I was too impatient to take a photo of the work at that point. But here it is after its first few layers of yellows and reds.

 

While you can't really see it yet, the portion that's painted red is where the modeling paste is. Once the piece is finished, the paste will have given it great, subtle texture. My hope is that by this time next week, this piece will be finished and I'll be able to show it off to you!

At that time, I'll also have an exciting giveaway to announce, hosted by my friend Judy, so be sure to come back and check it out, you're going to want to get in on this! 

In the meantime, create!

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