Friday, December 30, 2011

July in Christmas

Yes, you read that right.  The familiar saying of "Christmas in July" is reversed this time because I painting a piece for my brother-in-law who serves in the army, and his family.  I needed a Christmas present for them, and I know they like the Hawkeyes (no way this Iowa State fan is doing something including that), hunting and the army.  (I know that's pretty limited, but humor me here!)   So, I decided to paint the Stars and Stripes. 

I love to paint over collage, so I collaged many patriotic images onto a canvas prepped with gesso.  Images include coins, statue of liberty, songs, famous past patriots and maps.  I printed out some images, and then printed out more.  I collaged them onto the canvas with acrylic medium.  It's amazing how many pages it takes to cover a roughly 24" by 34" canvas.  After letting the medium dry, I tinted the entire surface with a yellow ochre/ burnt sienna mix to even out the color.

Next, I simply measured out the correct dimensions for the red and white stripes and blue field.  I painted the acrylic as washes to let the collage show through.  I kept the color pretty muted for a folk look.  After that dried, I measured and cut out a star stencil and painted on 50 white stars.

Two coats of varnish, and this project was complete!  I loved collaging a painted a themed piece.  I plan to make several more flag paintings similar to this one.  I also have ideas to create other themed pieces in the future.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A gift for a friend this summer

This was a gift for a dear friend this past summer.  I love the collage and ink drawing.  I think I need to work on my art not being so dark.  : )

Friday, December 2, 2011

Curing Artist's Block

I'm starting to go through the book, The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.  It is a 12 week self study "course in discovering and recovering your creative self".  I have gone through the first few chapters before, and I did have more ideas flowing out of me than usual.  I have a bad habit of starting things that work, and then quitting them instead of realizing I need to continue doing those things to get the results that I want.  (Phew, that was wordy.)

I find a few basic exercises introduced in the beginning of the book very helpful.  This is just a basic, basic rundown that barely skims the surface.  The first one is "morning pages".  This is simply writing down your stream of consciousness or "brain drain" on 3 full pages every morning.  It's not necessarily writing that will turn into a finished product, but it helps us to get past our "censor".  The negative voice in our head that says, "you're not an artist", or "whatever you create in kitsch", "you don't have time" and so on and so on.  (Trust me, it really works.)

Another essential element is the artist date.  A time once a week (for 2 hours or so) for you alone to nurture your inner artist.  Whether it's gardening, visiting a thrift store or gallery, taking a long nature walk; do something that nurtures your creative side.  It may seem like an obvious thing to do, but it's amazing how we tell ourselves we don't have time to pursue such endeavors.  It is the second part to the basic foundation to rediscovering our creativity.

More to come later...