Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Digital Art

Just these, and then I'll quit. Really. Well, I do have another one sort of designed in my head, but I also have a million other things do to get ready for Christmas.

Fellow followers of the Graphics Fairy blog will probably recognize some of these vintage images that I have combined and manipulated for the deer art I made this morning.

I also put together this vintage typewriter "CREATE" card and mousepad since my last post. I really have a thing for old manual typewriters.

The most popular holiday image by far has been this "Santa over Paris" Eiffel Tower picture—on cards, ceramic ornaments and as a print.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Digital Art and More Image Magic

I have continued working with GIMP, my image manipulation program, the last few weeks.

Paris Butterflies Digital Collage by Anita Barnard

This little Paris Butterfly collage was my most ambitious to date, if only because it had more layers than I had used before in a piece and some fidgety placement and sizing and levels of differing transparency that I had to figure out. I am still playing with how to get to the right place for what are probably some pretty basic commands, and making this digital collage was definitely a learning experience for me. And satisfying in that I am happy with how it turned out.

Starry Christmas Night

I had an idea of Santa's sleigh flying through Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night sky. After I found the vintage image of Santa and his sleigh that I wanted, I spent about 200 years clearing out all the background from in between the sleigh runners and all the little reindeer antlers...with a tiny erase brush and the image at 400% most of the time. (Okay, maybe not quite that long, but my hand was stiff and cramping a bit before I was done. There's probably an easier way of removing a background from an image that isn't all white or just one color, and I'd love some guidance if anyone can tell me what that method is). I am a big van Gogh fan, and I liked how this looks.

Having done all the work clening up the Santa image, I then found some great vintage postcards of Paris and Rome over at The Graphics Fairy blog, and had fun positioning Santa to fly past the Eiffel Tower and over the Coliseum.

Many of my new images - and variations, as well as images of my hand cut physical collages and art have been put on some things like cards, mugs and shirts over on Zazzle. Here are some examples.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving, Food and the Garden

I have made the traditional cranberry relish..cranberry sauce...I never know exactly what to call it...with fresh cranberries, orange, orange zest, clove and a wee bit of cinnamon...and the house smells great. Just like the holidays have arrived! Which I suppose they have. How did that happen already?

I have also pre-cooked and mixed up the squash casserole with fresh yellow squash and fresh oregano from my garden. We are still enjoying going out to the garden for fresh herbs and some vegetables. Earlier this week we had roasted red peppers on homemade pizzas from the bell peppers that are now starting to turn red...and we have lots of them in various shades of green to red, still on the plants. We have several jalapenos ready to pick, lots of very green tomatoes that survived the cold nights a while back, and we picked two small eggplants several days ago. Wow! Eggplant and jalapenos in late November. My okra is huge, and still has blooms and little baby okra, but the growth of the okra has slowed down a lot in the cool weather, and it takes a long time (especially considering the usual growth rate of okra) for them to get big enough to pick. Even my basil is still surviving, which makes me very happy. I think that is what I miss the most through the winter and early spring...not being able to go outside and get fresh basil in just the amount I need.

Another dish I am making for Thanksgiving tomorrow is buttermilk pie. I have been a big fan and critic of buttermilk pie since we stopped at a small home cooking type restaurant in East Texas after berry and peach picking one summer about 6 years ago. Since then I have sampled and critiqued (right texture? creamy enough? too much nutmeg? no nutmeg? too dry?) many slices of pie from restaurants and cafes all over. But, I have never made a buttermilk pie myself. I know, it's funny, because I bake a lot...maybe I was a little intimidated. (Would I not live up to my own standards?) The recipe I am using we looked up on the internet a few years ago, is titled the "Best Ever" buttermilk pie. I recall that it was part of an article about buttermilk pie, and how a southern girl had to convince her friends where she was then living that the idea of buttermilk pie was not weird or gross but was in fact VERY good. Sounds great; however, this buttermilk pie recipe has no nutmeg...not the slight perfect amount, not any. So, of course I will be adapting that recipe and adding a hint of nutmeg with fresh whole nutmeg and the essential nutmeg grinder that my son Damon gave me.

Monday, November 21, 2011

House of Hope and Striving Collage

House of Hope and Striving,  Collage by Anita Barnard

Here is another recent collage with a different interepretation of a house. The piece explores the theme of Vincent Van Gogh's yellow house in Arles, France and the great hopes he had of creating an artists' community there. The collage is 8x10 on 11x14 Bristol board paper. It is comprised of found and created papers, text, images, ink and acrylic paint. Two examples of Vincent's handwriting from his correspondences appear in the piece, including the larger word "Tristement" in the roof. Sadness.

I worked on the piece on and off for over a week, then I just let it sit for another week, sometimes taking it out and looking at it, or arranging the last couple of elements on it. Finally I quit asking Edward and my youngest daughter whether I should add the last bits or not and just glued them down. I don't know why some pieces of art feel more certain, and others are dithered over for a long time, but I am happy with the decision I made. (Which is good, because you can always add something later, but it's a lot more problematic to rip something out.)

It was an interesting piece to work on, and sometimes a somewhat melancholy process, as I spent a lot of time thinking about Van Gogh's work and his life while working, as well as about the life and ideas of artists in general.

An archival print or a poster of House of Hope and Striving are available on Zazzle.

The images of wings came from The Graphics Fairy, a great site for vintage images.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Two New Collages - Houses and Birds

Collage with Mixed Media 8x8 inches

I've been having a lot of ideas for some little collages lately. Today I just finished up the images of two from last week. I keep thinking about house and home and all that means and that images of houses can symbolize and bring up emotionally for us. Like some of my other recent collages these two have the house image...and also some birds that crept in, which is not unusual in my collage work lately.

Collage  8x8 inches
The two pieces are very different in tone and color, one being more serene and pastoral, closer to a traditional landscape, and the other with more deep color and contrast, and as Edward said, more masculine "plus it has all those numbers." Now I'm not very into numbers, being more of a language and art person, but as a former quilter and sometime woodworker, these images of vintage tape measures and rulers just appealed to me.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mixed Media Collage on Wood

Small Stories 10 by Anita Barnard

I'm posting some more of my Small Stories series of little collages.

Small Stories 11

These are about 51/4 x 5 1/4 inches x 3/4 inch thick so they can hang on the wall or sit on a shelf.

Small Stories 12

Small Stories 14  (Sorry, this picture is unedited.)

The old English garden urn image is from Karen.

Some of the Small Stories collage series

Linked here.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Garden in November

Happy Autumn

I just wanted to talk about my garden today, as we get close to the end of the season here in north Texas. Or more specifically, my potager or kitchen garden.

The okra plants are six feet high, a couple a little taller, and have been producing like crazy lately, since the scorching temps and drought eased a bit. Ignore them for a few days and all of a sudden I have huge okra, too big and tough to eat.

Late last week as a cold front was blowing in, I ran out to harvest okra, just before the rain hit. My plants were covered in buds, blooms and tiny baby okra.

I'm pleased to say the temperature only dropped to about 40 and they fared well.

I'm still hoping for all my green bell peppers to turn red before I have to pick them.

Today I have to pick yellow (so called "summer" ;-) squash and more okra. And since it will get down to 32 tonight, bring in the basil that's in pots and cover my peppers. Not sure what to do about all the still small green tomatoes. The heirloom plants are almost too big and sprawling to cover, but as we got almost no tomatoes during the harsh summer, I really hate to lose them.

Tonight may mark the end of some of the garden veggies, but even so, I think Fall gardening in Texas is the best.

Monday, October 31, 2011

More Small Stories, Mixed Media Collage

First of all -
Happy Halloween!

"Orange Man" carved by Edward

I've just finished straightening up in GIMP some more of the Small Stories series of small collages on poplar wood panels. This batch starts the ones that I made most recently, from mid-September to mid-October. Sometimes it seems that tinkering around with the images to get the colors and everything right takes longer than making the is one of those times.

Small Stories 10

Small Stories 11

Small Stories 12

Small Stories 13

Thanks once again to the Graphics Fairy for the vintage hand in the last collage.
This post i linked here.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Face Paints DIY

Friday afternoon, as R was about to go out the door for the middle school Halloween dance, we decided to do some face make-up or face painting to complete her outfit.

One side of the quicky "extreme" face paint..and my extreme daughter :-)

I just happened to have some paint mixed up in a little container for washes on collage papers that was perfect for the job. This was a mixture of regular artsits' acrylic, or acrylic craft paint would work as well, mixed with a few drops of acrylic glazing medium and a few drops of water. It's about 50-60% paint and went on very smoothly. I'm sure just mixing with water (somewhat less than 50%, I think) would be fine, but a really great way to mix your own face paints is acrylic paint plus about a 1/4 to a 1/3 BABY SHAMPOO. I used to always use this a million moons ago when I painted faces at the big sidewalk sales for the toy store chain I worked for when I was just out of high school. It goes on very smoothly, that's very important with face painting, and why the glazing medium was good, and washes off the little ones' faces after like a dream. This is a great DIY face paint formula. Good for spontaneous face painting urges, or as an alternative to really expensive sets of professional face paints or the thick face "paint" crayons or wax sticks that don't give good fine lines.

BTW, I am now experimenting with kids' glitter glue in the squeezable plastic tubes as a face paint. First off, I'd say, spot testing it on the inside of your wrist is only good if you aren't going to be working and using your hands for a while. Plus, when it is dry, if it's on a moving, bending part of the body, it will crack. It makes a fairly fine line and ..I tried the gold from a 10 tube pack from Dollar very shiny and sparkly. The downside: it takes a LOT longer to dry, so little children probably wouldn't be able to keep from rubbing it during the drying time. There is no itching, redness, pinkness or irritation from the glue on my wrist at all. I did get a brand that was marked non-toxic and suitable for kids over 3. Verdict: I'll probably be using this on my face before we go to help out at the kids' Halloween party at church Saturday afternoon, in blue and silver, to match my dollar store wings. Also, don't use it around the eyes for smaller children.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Small Stories, Collage on Wood

Small Stories 5, Mixed Media Collage

Today I'm posting the rest of the Small Stories series of fun little mixed media collages on wood that I did in the spring. (I have a bunch more to get the imaging right on that I did over the last couple of months. I seem to work in spurts as far as different projects go...a few weeks or months of intense collage or glass fusing or mosaics or....)

Small Stories 6 Mixed Media Collage

These are 5 1/2 inch square on poplar board that I cut, sanded down and sealed with a couple of coats before I started painting and pasting.

Small Stories 7, Mixed Media Collage

Linked to collections here and here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Whimsical Little Mixed Media Collage

 Fun, whimsical, quirky, charming...? Small Stories Series


Today I'm going back to the spring with some of the small mixed media collages on wood that I was making in April and May and only just got around to photographing. Two found a new home during the spring Arts Goggle, before I got a chance to take good pictures, but one is half visible here on the display wall over Edward's shoulder.

Small Stories 1, mixed media on wood

Small Stories 3, mixed media on wood

Small Stories 2, mixed media on wood

Thanks to Karen for images and inspiration.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More Digital Image Experimenting: Wine is Proof that Bacchus Loves us...

One of the things that I've played around with in GIMP, my imaging program, is making some layers and coloring in and shading an outline, then adding text.

I've had this bit of text in my head for a few years and knew that I wanted to do something with it - combine it with an image and make a T-shirt, make a sign...something. The words are a play on the Benjamin Franklin quotation you often see on shirts etc about beer. My version: Wine is proof that Bacchus loves us and wants us to be happy.

The beginning for the graphic is a vintage black and white outline of grapevines and a wine barrel. Perfect.

I have to admit that I didn't create my text in the GIMP because I wanted the font sizes to be different for different words, and creating  a number of separate layers and patching them together correctly for the text portion just seemed like too much trouble...or too daunting.

The back side of the mug, created on Zazzle,  says: I'd rather be drinking wine, and I left it customizable so it could say drinking Chardonnay, Merlot, etc. I also put it on a T-shirt.

Wine is proof that Bacchus loves us T Shirts from

Friday, October 14, 2011

Shakespeare and Me, My First Digital Collage!

Yesterday I created my first digital collage. It was fun, challenging and above all (at least at times) frustrating. And I am eager to discover that perfect image that will click with a new idea and get back at it today.

I am still very much in learning mode with my imaging program, and also in a love-hate relationship with it. I have used GIMP for quite a while now, and use it fairly frequently to do minor editing and mostly things like straightening up, cropping and adjusting file sizes on pictures of my art and jewelry. Making a collage takes a lot more skill, knowledge, and in my case, trial and error. Some of those functions just don't really explain what they do, and more importantly I usually had to hunt and guess to find the hidden button or function to do what I wanted. The undo function was well used. "Undo" good.

The theme of my collage was William Shakespeare and The Globe theater. I was immediately drawn to one particular image of Shakespeare, which rather resembles my own Edward. Besides Will and a 17th century rendition of the Globe, it includes what is believed to be Shakespeare's handwriting, a bit of an old map of Stratford on Avon and his signature.

The past couple of days I have also opened a shop on Zazzle and been experimenting with putting some of my images on products there, so when I completed the collage, I tried it out on a black T-shirt.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Casting Pendants from Glass Frit and Powder

Every Star, Every Planet, cast fused glass pendant

I decided to do step-by-step photos of the process of making a small frit and glass casting in my new pendant mold. In the spring I did mold casting for the first time of small teardrop pendants. The new trillion shaped mold is larger and deeper, giving me more ability to layer and have more depth and interest in the pieces.

Glass powder, frit and cut pieces of dichroic glass being layered in the mold. The blue color is the kiln wash that must be brushed or sprayed on the mold and allowed to dry before adding glass.

First mold covered in fine, clear frit, second mold being composed with black powder and glass pieces, including some coarse clear dichroic frit. You can just see the edges of the fiber paper I layered on top of the base layer of powder in the second pendant to make a channel. I covered the paper  with a bit more powdered glass, then a solid piece of dichroic glass. A solid piece of clear will go on top before the clear frit.

Clear frit mounded up on both pieces. You get a lot of shrinkage as the glass melts, and it's easier to do some final addition of frit after you have carried the mold to the kiln. I clear up any stray bits with a small, soft artist paint brush.
Here is the second pendant with the channel for a cord. These both turned out to have a lot of tiny, tiny bubbles, which I love the look of in these dark pieces, because they remind me of looking up at the night sky out in the country or a view of a distant galaxy. I went up to 1550 degrees on these firings and kept them between 1450 and 1550, looking frequently, to soak for around 15-20 minutes. (I don't have firing schedule/temperature controls on my small jewelry kiln.)
Two more pieces with approximately the same process, except that I used all frit and no base of powder for the aqua one. I think for my next firing I will go up just a tad higher, then soak it a little longer and see what effect it has on the bubbles.
Pendants "In My Galaxy" and "Every Star, Every Planet" are now available in my Etsy shop

This post appears on HopeStudios blog with lots of other cool stuff, including a recipe for a chickpea pot pie that looks really tasty! Also linked here and here.