Tag Archives: Painting

Messy Studio and Imaginary Flowers

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New page for the artists book “The Orphan Train”

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My studio is a big mess while I work on this project artist book, The Orphan Trains.  I’m going to share what a big mess I make when creating – I think because it really does bother me that I can’t maintain some kind of order when I’m creating!  I wonder if I had a separate studio that wasn’t an extra bedroom down the hall from my bedroom, would I be less constricted about mess making.  I think I probably would!

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My work table under seige.  The heavy iron/steel thing sitting on the red plaid paper is something I found at an estate sale – it weighs about ten pounds and makes a perfect paper weight to smooth paper or hold until glue sets!  I’ve no idea what it was originally intended for, but I use it all the time for weighting down glued pages.

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A close up of the paper I’ve been aging for this project.  I’ve squirted lemon juice on regular text weight copier paper and baked it in the oven til it reaches the desired aged-ness.

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The Dorothy Parker book has nothing to do with this project!

Now for something more fun than messy work tables!  Make believe flowers!

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I am ready for spring! Dreaming of planting my summer pots and creating my garden, I started to doodle some imaginary flowers that are unlikely to be found in any botanists catalog, or garden wish book.  Once I finish the  artist book project – I’ll begin to seriously do some gardening!

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A strange little kitty – not saying ‘hello’ either – maybe a naughty kitty.  I had to redo her eyes with a piece of paper pasted over the old ones.  They just looked too naughty! ( journal pages)

New project

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Putting together a new project!  A handmade artist’s book called “Placing Out in America.”  I’m using collage, gelatin monoprint, paste paper, old photographs, gel image transfers, and found objects – oil pastels, acrylic, watercolor.

This is about the seventy-five year history of the largest migration of minor children in the history of the world, and its popularly known as the Orphan Trains.  The history is astounding in our modern age of child protection laws, privacy, and legal adoption.  Children were placed out by the Children’s Aid Society of New York City, and The Foundling Asylum later called the Foundling Hospital of the Sisters of Charity in New York.  There was no legal adoption; anyone who wanted to take a child into their home was interviewed and the child was signed over for a period of a 90 day trial, after 90-days if there were no complaints, the child became their legal property.  Most children were placed hundreds or even thousands of miles away from their New York City homes into the farm country of rural America.

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I am having trouble with the gel image transfers coming away cleanly.  I’ve used this technique before with good results, but this time I am not getting such good results – however, I’ve decided to use them as it seems to work okay with this project.

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Many of the children were immigrants and had survived the trip to America only to have their parents unable to care for them once they arrived.  Poverty, destitution and death left many of the children orphaned.  The Children’s Aid Society rounded up children from the streets of New York City from 1853 through 1929 and placed them out to the rural farmlands in America by train.

Winter, Sky, Trees, Moss –

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“Winter, Sky, Trees, Moss”   7×5 inches 8 pages.  Watercolor, collage, graphite, textile, paste paper.

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In Portland, winter can be mostly gray, and doesn’t change much from day to day.  It was supposed to be dry today with a predicted weak sun, but when I woke up this morning I could hear the rain on the street as cars went rolling down the road.  So another gray day.  But standing outside later, I saw such beauty in the drape of bare tree branches, and gray sky, and here and there the brightest little green tufts of moss, clinging to rocks, and the concrete stairs leading up to the street.  I love those little tufts of tenacity; clinging patiently through the dry times, coming carefully back to brilliant color in the rain of winter.

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Paste Paper

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I’ve been making paste paper and tearing into book size pieces, and pasting other things on top if it.

Paste paper is a concoction of wheat paste, or cornstarch, and water and pigment.  You can use acrylic paint for the pigment, or watercolor, or gouache, or even powdered poster paint pigment.  I’ve been running it through the printer after its dry using scanned images over the paste background.

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The red background of this paste was made using a vintage piece from an old erector set.  You can see the little circles at the top of the photo from the edges of the metal piece.  I used a scan photo and ran it through the printer a couple of times trying to get some handwriting to show from another scan. It doesn’t show clearly enough, so i have another idea for it.

2013 Paste Paper 008These images are cut from drawing paper weight paste paper.  They are just laying on top of a large sheet, I intend to use them later, just not sure how yet.

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This scanned image is used over a piece of brown paste paper – its actually darker than this photo shows.

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If you would like to try some paste paper its very simple.  I used 1/4 cup of cornstarch and blended with 1/4 cup of water, add this mix to one cup of water and cook ’til you get a nice custardy mixture.  Keep stirring so it doesn’t stick to the pan, and try to blend it so no lumps form.  Take off the stove and add 1/2 cup cold water.  It might look too runny, but it thickens as it cools.  Put a few tablespoons of this mixture in small containers, I got mine from the $ store, and then add your color and stir up.  The recipe says to dampen your paper – but I didn’t I just painted on the color using a brush, or my fingers, or a sponge applicator.  The the fun began of making designs in the paste with various items.  A comb, making straight or wavy lines.  Rubber stamps, or handmade stamps cut from potatoes, or found objects such as leaves, or rocks, sticks or whatever you have around the house.  The paste mixture should be thick enough to hold the impression that you make giving it a kind of 3-D look.  You can save the paste covered in the fridge for a few days if you want to use that particular color again.

I’ve made it before to use as wrapping paper, but you have to use a lighter weight paper so it doesn’t crack when you fold it around a package.  I used plain white kraft paper for this – once again, from the $ store.  I’ve also used the back of regular leftover wrapping paper.  I find that my colors sometimes come out more muddy than I wanted – I suspect I was too anxious to add more color without waiting for the bottom layer to dry a little.

Another Head Study

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Untitled head study – water soluble oils – 6 x 8 inches

I’ve been sewing for the last few weeks instead of painting, but thought I should have something to show before Christmas comes and no more painting for a while!  I used a magazine picture as a model for this study, but only used part of the face.  I often use model’s photos from magazines for proportion and shading, but I usually change them around so much they aren’t representative of the original photo in the end.  They are just a guide for general shape and mostly shading and lighting.  This is the first time I’ve tried to paint (“tried” being the operative word) an open mouth study.  I will never master an open mouth large smile with teeth – and don’t particularly want to – but it was interesting trying to place teeth under the lips and inside the mouth – challenging!The pearl earring turned into a disaster – but I really wanted her to wear pearl studs – so I’ve left it, oh well!

Our days are short and gray.  We’ve had so much rain, the basement area is beginning to have spots of standing water, so had to move some things to higher ground just in case.  I sort of miss, Bend Oregon.  Sunshine nearly every day and barely any rain, but I don’t miss the snow much, although it didn’t usually last very long, when it came I felt terribly trapped.  (I guess I’m a southern California girl forever! But don’t say that too loud in Oregon! haha)

I’m going to Highland Springs, Colorado for Christmas again this year so I will be sharing some lovely times with my magical boy!  He’s four now, and just got a puppy to romp with.  A Welsh terrier, possibly mixed breed, who knows! from a rescue of abandoned pups.  He hasn’t got a name yet, they just got him yesterday – but he is getting plenty of love!  He loves to chase the wild rabbits that venture into the yard, and stops and does the point thing when he spies one, foot goes up and tail goes straight out!  He’s about 10 weeks old.

I’ll post some photos of my sewing projects next time – been making stuffies for a new endeavor my daughter is taking on!

This is not a PS, but I almost forgot to mention, I had a small thing published in the current Stampington “Somerset Studio” magazine.  Not the one about artist’s studios, but the mixed media magazine called Somerset Studio.  It was included as part of Seth Apter’s 5×5 Project! http://thealteredpage.blogspot.com/  So if you have the magazine I’m on page 98!

Work in Progress, and a 4th Birthday Collage

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I’ve been working on a painting for the last couple of months or so.  I can’t seem to finish it because I don’t know where its going.

It’s called Pearl’s Mother and below is a detail from the painting.  The medium is oils.

Below is the original sketch I did in August, on a piece of notebook paper.

On another note, my grandson celebrated his 4th birthday on the 13th of this month.  I made him a collage to celebrate Number 4, and his love of race cars.  His new bedroom decor will now be all about race cars, including his bed!  I thought this little collage would be fun to hang in his room!

I did this using a a cradled wood mixed-media art board.  My youngest daughter, the graphic design artist, helped me make the paper for the backgroud using photo shop and some stock photos from the internet.  I had a little collection of various vintage wheels,tires, and other trinkets, and I recently purchased the little racing cars from ebay just for this collage.  They are about one and a fourth inches long and made of tin, their graphics are lithographed. The green car is #4, and doesn’t show well in this photo.I covered a match box with a paper print of an old stopwatch and the number four (about 2 inches long)I’ve had for ages – just proves that artist’s eventually do find a use for all their little collected bits and pieces!  The entire size is 11 x 14 inches.

  On the back I put a cutout of the Beatle’s and a verse from “All Together Now.”