New Lino Cut - Submission for Cloth Paper Scissors

I am so excited about the current Reader's Challenge for Cloth Paper Scissors!  It's the Carve It Up! Challenge and you can read all about it here.  To sum it up, you can use any carving material you wish and make a stamp that is 6"x6" or smaller, make a print, and mail it to their offices.  I decided to use linoleum for my carving material so I can also offer prints of the image as freebies in my shop.  I like it because it is firm and durable, and I can readily find it already mounted to a board. 

Here are the sketches I prepared for my carving.  The smaller one is the original, and the larger one I resized with my all-in-one printer and did a bit more doodling on.  The sketch is actually a reverse image of my original pencil sketch.  You have to remember that when you print it your image will be a mirrored image of what you carve. 

Once I had my basic sketch the size I wanted it, I used carbon paper to transfer it to my linoleum.  I use a Staedtler carving tool in size 1V to carve more detailed cuts, and a larger V tool I got in a wood carving kit at WalMart to do the larger cuts. 

Here is a picture of the carved linoleum.

I did a test run of prints, but I think I will do another run before I select my favorite print to send off to the Cloth Paper Scissors offices.  Here is the first run of prints.

Keep an eye out for my post of the second run because I will be giving away four of these prints!  Until then, here is a closeup of the print.  It is a 4"x6" image on a piece of 5"x7" drawing paper.


Skull and Sparrows - New Painting

A friend of mine requested an original painting.  She wanted a Day of the Dead inspired painting that combined a sugar skull, sparrows, daisies, swirls, and rainbow colors.  I did a bit of research and here is the thumbnail sketch I came up with.

This painting took me forever to do.  I experimented with a few different techniques, and they took me a long time to figure out.  First I worked on my backgound layers, a step that I had previously not put much effort into.  I was inspired by a video by Regina Lord of Creative Kismet.  You can view the video here.  I collaged layers of sketchbook paper with gel medium, coated them with a light brushing of gesso, then added some yellow with watercolor crayon.  I wish I had taken of photo of this step, but I did not.

Next I did an underpainting in white.  I have never done this, but after seeing this underpainting by David Lozeau I decided to give it a try.  You'll notice his is much, much, much more detailed than mine.   It was more work, but I like how it brightened all of the colors in my final layer.  Here's the underpainting.

Next I did a sketch in pencil over the underpainting to use as a guide.  This is usually where I start, then I do detail work, then try to paint the background in.  You can imagine that this really limited the amount of detail I was able to include in my background.  I much prefer this newer method.

Once the sketch was down, I began painting.  I also had two lovely birdies to paint.  These were thrifted vintage, and I believe they were from Homco circa 1970-something.  They were golden, so I added layer of gesso and painted the the same colors as the sparrows in the painting.  Here's the end result.

I learned a lot with this piece, but most of all I learned that acrylic is a labor of love.  I think my next project may be watercolor, or maybe just a simple ink drawing.  I need a break!  Hey, let me whine just a little bit.  I am 11 weeks pregnant and exhausted.


Charmed Brass Book Necklaces - WIP

Okay, I finished these last week for a festival, but I don't have pictures of the finished necklaces.  I sold a few, but I will get some photos of the remaining necklaces and post them later.  Until then, here is a look at them in progress.

Here are the charms that hang over the cover of the books.  I used antiqued brass filigrees from aka Lula Beads, vintage West German stackable flower beads from Lee Bell, and resin cabachons from aka Lula Beads.  I put these together using my secret weapon, a scrapbooking brad.  Yup, that's right.  Works a lot better than a head pin, but a lot of times I have to increase the size of the hole in my components with a small diamond file so the brad fits through.  These were attached to small jump rings.

Here is a picture of the books without embellishments, and one of the crazy way I went about sorting them and keeping them separate.  The brass covers are made from blanks that came with a few sets of vintage brass stencils that I had.  I cut them with metal snips and sanded them for a smooth edge.  I used 140 lb. cold pressed watercolor paper for the pages.  Each book has about 24 sheets.

Pretty books all in a row, waiting for their embellishments.

And the assembled pendants ready for soldering (of the handmade jump rings), then chain.


Published in ArtTrader Magazine!!!!

Hey guys, my Embellished Paper Bead Mandrel article is featured in the new issue of ArtTrader Magazine.  I am super excited - this is my first published article!  ArtTrader is a free online magazine available for download in PDF format.  You can find my article in Issue 16 - Fall 2011 here.  But don't stop there - each issue has tons of beautiful art, helpful tips, and how-to article that will knock your socks off.  Take a minute and add this site to your favorites - I know I keep going back for more!

I have a few of these mandrels in little kits in my etsy shop, i spy with my crafty eyes, so stop by and check them out!

A big thank you to Sal Scheibe and everyone else at ArtTrader Mag for featuring my article in this lovely magazine - and for offering it to us free!  Keep up the good work!

You can also find awesome workshops and digital downloads for your mixed media art, so explore the site.  And check out their sister sites ATCs for All  (for some great trading) and Illustrated ATCs (for a jurored trading community).