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.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Archeologia and Collage

Roman Layers (maybe) 8x10

Here's another collage I created earlier this week. Roman Layers is just the working title...I had to  name the image file something...but it does convey a sense of my thoughts while I was creating the piece.

When I was in Rome with my friend Michelle a few years ago, we visited a church just a few blocks from the coliseum, the Basilica di San Clemente,

Fresco of San Clemente in the lower church
Mithraeum, designed to look like a cave

a 12th century basilica that is built on top of a 4th century church, still underneath, with many existing frescoes. Then we descended further to a 3rd century Mithraic temple.

It amazed and still amazes me how all these layers of history exist. How the present day church is at street level, and the many centuries of all that preceding life has moved down, down...

I was definitely thinking about that trip and those reflections about the layers of history when I was designing and making this collage.

As well as images and bits of painting, the piece also includes text in Italian from two sources and Latin text. Archeologia, Italian for archeologyis a possible title for the collage, as well as the Latin,
Scientia Antiquitatis. Preferences and suggestions are welcomed.

This post, and lots of other stuff to look at,  is linked to this blog .

Update: "Roman Layers" is now up on my shop.