Thursday, January 31

Tutorial: Coffee Filter Blossoms



These coffee filter flowers are super easy and a great way to add dimension to your mixed media art work and scrapbooking pages. I originally saw this idea on Paper Bakery, where they used regular tissue paper and staples. I don't have a small stapler, and wanted a coloured centre part, so I had to adapt the idea. I also have a large amount of coffee filters from a previous art project (our coffee filter has a reusable 'nest' filter, so I can't even use these for coffee). I also 'alter' mine a little after.

Materials:

  • Coffee filters
  • Scissors
  • Glue / Gel Medium
  • Ink pads
  • Markers (I use Faber-Castell Pitt big brush pens, and Letraset Aqua Markers)
Cut out your circles. I folded three coffee filters over to give six circles. The larger
your blossom the more layers you will need to give it good 'fluff'. Mine are a little smaller
than quarters.
I use Gel Medium to bond my layers, but you can use anything. This was
just on my desk on hand.
I use the end of a paint brush to dab some gel medium in the centre of the first layer
I place the next layer on top, add another dab of gel medium and continue to build
up until I have my six layers. I let this dry, doesn't take too long.
I crumble each layer, individually, into the center.  The more
imperfect, the better. 
Now that it's all crumbled up, I will uncrumble, and fluff. You might
have to play with this a little to get the blossom you like best. 
Once all unfluffed, I use an ink pad to define the edges.

For this particular blossom, I'm using another colour of ink pad to give more
interest

I draw in the center with my markers, and it's all set to be attached to
my artwork!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! You can do this with any sort of tissue papers.

Snowboarding Bliss

Blue Mountains Ski Resort, Collingwood Ontario
A view from snowboarding last week. It was a beautiful day, and lots of gorgeous snow. It turned quite cold, as night came, but still an overall wonderful run on the hill with our snowboards.

Wednesday, January 30

Peek Inside My Sketchbook (and life right now)

Sketchbook page: aquamarkers, stamp/ink , sharpie pen, peerless watercolour, pencil
Started this page with the butterfly stamps, then made the chevron
pattern on the left (LOVE that pattern)
I was M.I.A. from my blog last week, as I was working a string of nights (11pm to 7am). I had articles planned for the beginning and those were posted, but with the shift change, and the weather and just tons of other things needing doing I had to put it to the side. I consumed massive amounts of coffee, and those shifts went well. I did not mind them at all. But I have quickly bounced back from night shifts back to days- I had to take an IV Certification course the day after my last run, and then a day shift at the hospital....so I sort of had to. And, I finally have some days off now. Today and tomorrow are what I'm dubbing my "midweek-weekend".
Sketchbook Page: saffron ink / stamp, pencil, Peerless watercolour
black sharpie ink.
I started this page with the stamps, and then drew around
 I am going to dabble on my laptop for a little while, and then do a massive house clean (I'm not much for cleaning on the same days that I'm working - so our place doesn't really get dirty, but just odd things and books left around). And then pack orders, and then work in my studio for the rest of the day! I got my new monthly kit from ScarletLime, and have been playing around with the materials trying to come up with a game plan. I have also been looking at Alisa Burke's larger than life course (I have always enjoyed painting huge pieces!), and some of the courses being offered by Christy Tomlinson, especially the last one with Junelle Jacobson. It talks in the description about painting spring-related items, and calves! I grew up on s dairy farm, and the calves were always so adorably cute - especially if they were twins!

These are my neighbours cattle from a couple years ago. I tried looking
for photos of our Dairy calves, but they must be before I owned a digital
camera, so they're hiding in a photo album somewhere.
I realize that I am already taking a course, Life Book, and some smaller self-study ones. But I also feel that this year I have the freedom to do this. I am a lot more secure and settled, in all ways, then I was even a year ago. And, I really feel the need to explore art this year. To just dive in and try different things, but different artists. I have found that I am already taking little bits here and there and applying them to my own personal work. As you can tell from my sketchbook pages, I'm starting to draw a lot of faces, trying to stylize them a bit...and it's easy. Something that I struggled with before, but have since taken those classes and learnt the little secrets, have embraced!

Lastly, I will leave you with a song that has been stuck in my head all week!

Wednesday, January 23

Sketchbook Project 2013 Submission


I mailed out my Sketchbook Project last week, it was sad to say goodbye. Creating this project has taught me to many techniques, and was a creative challenge as a whole. 


As you can see the pages are a little thick - that is because they are made out of plaster! I completely rebound my book with an accordion fold, and recreated the pages using paster. The only 'original' sketchbook components are the front and back covers.


My sketchbook is titled, "Chronicle of a Smile", and so I appropriately placed it in the "Chronicles" category. It is an odd book, modern I suppose. And I'm hoping that the viewer will leave with curious thoughts. 


I used monprinting techniques to create the backgrounds, and then used image-transfer techniques to apply various imagery. Some pages have items embedded, while others have amazing textures from the gel-medium. Lastly, various words were applied to each page. And here they are, in the order that they appear:













As you can see, the monoprinting for the backgrounds give beautiful layers of colours. Here are some detail images of the gorgeous texture that the pictures just cannot capture from far:




There are obviously fewer pages in this 'sketchbook' of mine, than the original book. But being plaster pages I needed to keep it under their 1" thickness requirement. Despite that, it still took ages to complete. 

Tuesday, January 22

Wildflower Hearts : Week 3 Life Book 2013


My Week 3 piece of art from the online Life Book class that I am taking. This class was taught by Christy Tomlinson, and I was so excited for this one and have totally impressed! (And I got notification that this month's mixed media kit has shipped this week too! Cannot wait to get that!!) I learned a very innovative technique that I think I will be applying in a lot of work down the road. I had a little bit of trouble trying ot decide what direction to take at first this week. I completed the first step, and then let it sit for most of the week while working on other projects. 


I really liked how I have so much dimensional effect to it, the flowers just jump right off the page! I also found a new technique myself, just by playing around with my newer art supplies. I started applying the Letraset Aquamarkers over gesso (which I had applied over previous layers), and got beautiful translucent splashes of translucent colour.


I have really taken to this class. I cannot wait to see what this week brings! Not often do I complete art "for me". Almost all of my artwork eventually gets posted for sale, as it is with my art sales that I pay for art supplies. And, I could simply not house all my paintings - can you imagine? My house would be so cluttered with artwork, and I wouldn't be able to properly appreciate anything!  

Monday, January 21

New Art Prints in the Shop!

A bunch of original paintings have sold over the past month, and so now I am able to offer them in prints!


You can find them all, as well as other prints, in my online store: www.jellybeans.etsy.com. Some are from pastel paintings, and others from watercolour paintings. 

I am also taking requests for custom paintings for those who are interested. You can contact me through Etsy, or email me: angievanden@gmail.com

Sunday, January 20

January Thunderstorms?

Before shovelling
Last night, there was a thunder and lightening storm - in Canada, in January. Bizarre? Most definitely! I happened at 130-200 am last night, and was it ever loud! It completely scared the cat! It wasn't one of those pathetic little thunderstorms, it was house-shaking-loud with super bright lightening. James and I both love storms, so we of course proceeded to pause the movie we were watching, and set ourselves up in front of our windows to watch.

After shovelling...
In the morning, without doubt, we had a pile a snow. It has been a pretty mild winter, with not much snow, and it not lasting long. So it was a beautiful treat...when I rolled out of bed this afternoon...I'm not lazy, I'm starting night shift tonight (11pm-7am shift), so I stayed up really late last night (and got to enjoy a 'freak' thunderstorm), to force myself to sleep late today, so that I can make it through my night and not fall asleep. Sort of like flipping my sleep cycle, which doesn't biologically make sense, since it's based generally on melatonin and light...but caffeine - and lots of it will help me 'adjust' to the shift in sleep pattern. It will be my first night shift ever at this specific hospital, and so I have 5 "training" shifts - I work with someone else (usually you're all by yourself); so at least I will have company.

The sun is trying to peak through
It made me thankful that I didn't have to go to work this morning - James wasn't so fortunate, and got called early this morning to go in. The roads were horrible, and being a Paramedic, he has to drive on them all day. But that left me with 'shovel' duty. And was it ever a workout! It wasn't too cold outside, so that was refreshing, but there was slush under the snow from the mild day before, and that just made it a pain. Nonetheless, an hour later everything is clear and I do not need to exercise today.


It's still snowing, and I hope it doesn't pile up too much before I have to leave tonight again. But, I must admit though, all the snow on the trees is just so pretty!

Saturday, January 19

Just Paint

Cat on Patterned Rug - Acrylic on canvas; in progess, 16x20"
It has been awhile since I've sat down and worked on a painting - using only paint. I have lately been caught up with mixed media and using mediums, and adding textures - and more (and 100% loving it). But sometimes, a girl just needs to go old-school and just paint and paint away the way she did before she was introduced to everything else! Think of it as going back to my artist roots. I was missing just using acrylics, so I knew I had to sit down and reestablish my relationship with them.
 
 I've been playing with a couple ideas for paintings lately, and finally settled on two. The cat, who is - yes - based on Oreo, is a more illustrated / pop-art approach I suppose you can say. It will not be very realistic, especially with it's lavender / blue underpainting. The oil painting will be a landscape inspired by all the beautiful work that The Group of Seven has completed. These paintings have taken a little more planning that my mixed media pieces (a thumbnail sketch, and some compositional changes as well as looking through my photos for some reference imagery). I choose oil for this landscape as The Group of Seven traditionally worked in oils, and I feel I will accomplish achieving the effect I desire by utilizing the same methods.


View from cottage - Oil on canvas; in progress, 16x20"
I don't paint in oils often as I'm not a fan of cleaning the oil paint from my brushes (clean in a solvent of a sort, and then soap and water, and then you cannot really use that specific brush until it's completely dry...it's just tedious hehe). Although I do enjoy and appreciate the longer working time of oil and how they do not dry out as quickly, I also do not having to wait a week at times for the next layers. Despite all this, I do still enjoy and desire painting with them when a perfect idea forms. Working with them feels so...classical and traditional, we will say. And I am loving it. They glide on so smoothly and are like butter.

Acrylics are beautiful, as are watercolours, but oils are gorgeous on their own. Those who have worked in all three mediums will agree that each one just has a certain quality and a certain charm that ignites excitement when you pull them out again after a long time. I cannot even remember the last time that I have painted with oils! I also have only a few tubes, so the limited colour palette definitely tests my colour mixing skills.

Please note that the names of these paintings are not set in stone. They do seem 'lame', but the paintings have not evolved yet so much that I can come up with a better name. There is still so many layers on each that have to be laid down, that the mood, emotion and overall feeling is not quite there yet.

And for those wondering, why start 2?...My oil painting has reached a stage now where it needs to dry before I can continue with my painting-game-plan. Thus, the acrylic is one that I can work on during these drying "phases"


Friday, January 18

Works in Progress


I have two paintings / collages that are currently in progress. I've been jumping between the two working on them - as a layer is drying on one, I'm working on the other. One is obviously more towards the complete side than the other. The piece on the right has a direction, I promise...you just don't know it yet!

Both are mixed media pieces, including acrylic paints and collaged elements. I'm super excited for the one on the right. Not sure where I'm going next with the one on the left. It's sort of like a mixed media version of my watercolor tree, Retro Falling. xo.

Thursday, January 17

New Watercolours!

Frosted Jade - 9x12" Watercolour Painting

Tranquillity - 9x12" Watercolour Paintingwith collaged paper elements
I've added two new paintings to my online shop, www.jellybeans.etsy.com! "Frosted Jade" is the first, and I was inspired by Pantone's 2013 Spring Palette - specifically the colour "Greyed Jade". "Tranquillity" has beautiful collaged paper pieces incorporated into the painting, giving is a little something special :) xo.

Wednesday, January 16

A Lesson On Composition - Rule of Thirds


There are so many elements and layers to this painting, "Just Because Flowers". I wanted to create an interesting perspective on the usual "flowers" painting, so on top of all the contemporary elements, I placed the flowers a little askew. Despite this, it still follows loosely the rules of composition based on the canvas being divided into thirds.


Here is a diagram below describing the "Rule of Thirds" for those who may not know. It's very simple: you divide the horizontal and vertical aspects of your canvas into three, and where the two lines intersect are where "areas of  high interest" should be placed, or along any of those lines. These are areas that the eyes are naturally drawn to, and are a more natural division of 'artistic space', rather than keeping everything 100% symmetrical. For example, if you would do a landscape, the sky would be 1/3 or 2/3rds of the piece, not 1/2 of the painting.


In my painting, "Just Because Flowers", the blossoms of my flowers float around the top left point, and the shadow of the vase (loosely indicating to the viewer a table) sits on the bottom line. 



This rule doesn't always apply, and doesn't always work, and it is just one of many. But as just a quick 'art lesson' I thought I would share it with all of you! Especially since it is so easy to apply. If you have never really used it, maybe take a look at your artwork - you may have been doing this naturally all along anyways!