Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Angels in my Studio

It's been quite a busy week since my last post. I got quite a bit done and was able to cross off a lot of things on my to do list! *Gasp* That is quite a surprise! It probably has to do with the fact that now my to do list lives in my new beautiful Filofax planner. I am so loving this whole Filofaxing thing, which is quite big as a matter of fact. I even joined a couple of Facebook groups dedicated to sharing cute decorated Filofax pages. Ah! One more thing to have fun with, and of course, shop for :)

Meanwhile in the studio,  a lot happened as well. I'm still enjoying drawing and painting my whimsical girls on old book pages, and I finished two more over the weekend. A sweet little angel, and a very holiday inspired girl.

Here's Imogen, the Angel of Possibility. I was having a moment of despair when this sweet angel came to me with her lovely message, telling me that anything is possible, if only you open yourself to the possibilities. Angelic energy is quite amazing, it works in such magical ways, I am very grateful for this message, delivered right when I needed the most! Imogen can be yours, she's up on my website now :)

This next girl I call The Spirit of Yule. I wasn't really planning to take her in that direction, but she had a mind of her own, and so it came to be that she did have a message to deliver. The holiday season can be quite stressful so she is here to tell me to take things easy and just relax!

Those are some pictures showing the process.  After distressing the book page and adhering to scrapbook paper + thick watercolor paper, and sewing it all together (you can see the whole process in detail in my previous post), I sketched and shaded her face with pencil.

When I was happy with the shading, I started to add highlights with gesso, and paint her eyes and lips with a combination of Prismacolor colored pencils and Golden fluid acrylics.

I finished by painting her hair and flowers with acrylics, and adding the vines and details to frame her and bring the whole thing together. I also tinted the sides of the watercolor paper with Tim Holtz Distress Stains. Of course I had to add some glitter. Nothing is really done unless it gets to sparkle :) You can see her on my website.

So the past week was very busy and productive, but also extremely stressful on the work front. I desperately needed the weekend to come so I could unwind and really dedicate myself solely to my art. When my workday finally came to an end on Friday (earlier than usual, lucky for me!) I told myself I wouldn't leave my "cave" for nothing! Except for a trip to Michael's Saturday morning in the.company of one of my dearest sistas. We had such a great time shopping and then enjoying a nice cup of coffee and chatting over it at Starbucks. We got some seriously good sales and also had two juicy coupons to top if off. And I can hardly believe I actually stayed within the budget I had set for that shopping trip! ...Well, maybe a few dollars over :) Here's all the goodies I got! Lots of new cling stamps, stickers, trims, washi tape, and self inking stamps, all for my Filofax, more scrapbook papers (there can never be enough scrapbook paper!), beads, charms, wooden plaques, and glitter. Lots and lots of glitter! Oh so much fun!

Of course when I came back home I was all fired up and ready to create. That's the (awesome) side effect of getting new art stuff! I was even able to salvage an angel I thought was ruined, and started (and finished) another one, using one of the new wooden plaques I bought at Michaels.

I call her Celine, the Angel of Trust. She's available on my website. Again, I received her wonderful message right when my heart needed the most. She was there to remind me to simply trust the process, trust my instinct, trust that I'm doing exactly what I'm meant to do, trust that I am indeed going in the right direction. I am quite pleased with how she turned out. I used just two mediums for this painting - four colors of Ranger Paint Dabbers, which are a very matte acrylic paint (essential for the colored pencils to work since they won't go over glossy paint like Golden for example. It needs to be matte, so any craft acrylic paint would do), and Prismacolor colored pencils. Keeping things simple. And of course, I had to finish it with glitter. I used some of my newly acquired Recollections glitter (the stars) and some Stampendous Shaved Ice, and of course, my favorite, Glamour Dust. 

I also started a couple of  book page girls, another ornament, and have yet to finish two angels that are at different stages of completion. But those will go on this week's to do list and will probably be the subject of my next blog post. Until then, stay creative and have a wonderful week! And for my friends and readers in the United States, I wish you a happy Thanksgiving!


Monday, November 17, 2014

Something old, something new

It's been a busy weekend around here. It started off awesome when I scored big at the local thrift shoppe. Found a lovely copy of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and an amazing book called The Literary Cat, featuring cat stories by some of the greatest names in English and American literature, as well as gorgeous illustrations. Of course now I love the book so much I find it hard to use it for collage! So off to the thrift shoppe I went to get another book to serve that purpose!

I did find a nice and thick book, this time not necessarily chosen for its title and content, but for the sturdiness of the pages and the sheer quantity of it!I had to make sure I wasn't going to fall in love with the books again :)  Now, armed with all the book pages I could possibly want, I was ready for the fun of prepping it for the projects I planned on doing. I got all my supplies ready for the first stage of preparation - strong coffee I had brewed earlier (and drank most of it of course!), Tim Holtz Distress re-inkers + ink pads, and Walnut ink. I lightly sprayed the pages with a little water, then brushed on the inks and coffee. Not all on the same page of course. Some pages I distressed with coffee, others with the re-inkers, and a few with the Walnut ink.

Now I needed to wait for all the pages to dry before moving on to the next stage. In the meantime I  started going through my stash of scrapbook papers to choose the ones I wanted to go with the book pages. Once the pages were dried, I was ready to adhere it to the scrapbook paper. I tried using Blick's gel medium but I wasn't too happy with the result so I switched to my old trusty Liquitex matte medium, and it worked perfectly!

Once the matte medium had dried completely, I distressed the sides of the scrapbook paper with a handheld Tim Holtz paper distresser tool + Distress ink pads. And then the fun began. Sewing the papers together. I just love love love that part. Sewing can be so relaxing. I just love the sound of the needle threading the papers and it's almost hypnotic to watch it move. 

Now I was finally ready to draw and paint the girls. Love the new techniques I learned with Megan, and I really had a blast creating this project. Really enjoyed the combination of soft graphite shading with touches of acrylic paint to kick it up a notch and bring some contrast. It was also fun to add some elements of decorative painting. I haven't done that style of painting in such a long time, so it was with a certain nostalgia that I painted the little roses and vines. Made me go back to my days of teaching Bauernmalerei, a traditional form of folk art painting from Germany and Austria, as well as One Stroke painting. Those were fun times for sure. I so enjoyed teaching at Michael's and AC Moore! My students were a fun lot and we had the best times back then. Such a shame that this kind of painting has fallen out of fashion and no one is interested in it anymore :( Oh, well, at Chez Scarlett, it is always very much en vogue, no matter what they say!

I let the girl dry completely for a few hours. Those roses and white dots are painted with pretty thick paint so it takes a while to really dry. I needed to make sure of that because the next stage involved gluing the piece to yet another piece of scrapbook paper, sewing it one more time, then adhering the whole thing to a canvas board. I was then ready for the decorating part. Fun with beads, jewelry wire, ribbons, and charms. Ah, so much fun indeed! 

TA-DA! Here she is, all ready to hang and make someone's space really pretty with her sweet face. But make no mistake, she is one lethal girl. Don't be fooled for a second. Her name isn't Poison Ivy without a reason :)

I'm really happy with how she turned out. I was able to achieve a nice and soft vintage look, but still keep it colorful and very whimsical. I think I'm addicted! I just want to make more and more of those! Won't those make lovely gifts for the holidays?

There were lots more going on this weekend. I finished a couple more ornaments and created my first brown skinned cutie, a request from a dear soul sister. Here's a sneak peak at that sweetie. But that's the subject of my next blog post, so you'll have to stay tuned :)

Until then, have a super Monday and remember to stay creative :)


Monday, November 10, 2014

It's the most wonderful time of the year

It's been really a busy weekend in the studio, making super cute Christmas ornaments, and having a blast with Megan Suarez's Whimsy Winter and Christmas Ornaments workshops. Loving every second of it!

The holiday season has officially began at Chez Scarlett and my creative space is brimming with activity and the lovely atmosphere that comes this time of the year. I just love everything about the weeks that lead to Christmas. The brisk and chilly air filled with the smells of warm spices and sugar cookies, the decorations on the main streets, the holiday music playing everywhere. It's just wonderful!

I started the ornaments as ATC's, and I wasn't sure if I was even going to make the ornaments in the beginning, but I just couldn't help myself. After watching the videos and seeing Megan pull out her beads and charms, the allure of it was such that I just had to get all my jewelry making tools out and dig in that big jar of charms I have collect over the years. That and the thought of melting beeswax and having that sweet smell of honey filling the air just made me want to turn the little cards into ornaments so bad I just couldn't resist!

Here are the ornaments before they became such. I had the most amazing time drawing those big eyed cuties. I've been meaning to give big eyed girls a try for such a long time but never came around to doing it. When I found Megan's art and classes, I was so enchanted I just had to get some of her workshops. I still have some of my birthday money left so why not use it for something I could truly enjoy? I have to say it was money well spent! I'm truly enjoying this process and I only wish I could add more hours to the days LOL! I'm completely enamored of drawing these big eyed cutesies :) Aren't they just adorable?

Those two big eyed cuties are from the Whimsy Winter workshop, but after watching the Christmas ornaments, I just had to combine both! I was eager to play with the beads and beeswax, so I had no patience to start with the other projects from scratch. So after properly glitterizing and beeswaxing, and of course adding super adorable charms and beads, and chains to hang, they became ornaments :)

I did have to stop in the middle of everything once I realized that my regular hole punch wouldn't work on the thick chipboard I adhered the ATC's to. After a quick run to Michael's, which of course is never a bad thing LOL, I came back to the studio with not only a Crop-a-dile to do the job, but a few other bits and bobs. Of course I wouldn't go to Michael's and buy ONLY the thing I went there for to begin with!

Now with all the supplies I needed, I finished the ornaments. One has beeswax, the other just lots and lots of glitter. Everything is better when it shimmers and shines, but I do love the dreamy vintage-y feel that the beeswax imparts so I will be doing lots more of it for sure!

Oh well, now we come to Monday, and the weekdays are a bit more complicated since I can't spend as much time in the studio. That being said, every single spare minute I have WILL be spent in my sanctuary making ornaments galore. I'm so completely hooked!!! This morning I got a few more started, and here they are in various stages of completion. Can hardly wait to finish work so I can go home and continue playing :)

Until next time, I wish you all a wonderful week and stay creative lovelies!


Monday, November 3, 2014

On frustration, perseverance, and Angelic guidance

Some days can be so rewarding, and everything goes well. All seems to be magically charged, and the vision I had for a painting happens almost effortlessly, as if invisible hands were guiding mine. Angels hands to be precise. Lately I've been blessed with their presence and inspiration. I feel surrounded by their love and guidance, and I can almost paint them with my eyes closed. Last week I was blessed with not one, but two powerful angelic beings that inspired some of my most favorite pieces to date.

I was having a particularly rough day when the most loving angel came to me and made it know that the reason angels can fly is because they take themselves lightly. What a powerful and wonderful message to come in a moment when I was doing precisely the opposite - taking myself way too seriously and feeling the full force of the negative effects that can have on someone. And so it is that after allowing her loving presence to enter my heart and convey that message, she practically painted herself.

I had a really wonderful time experimenting with colored pencils and matte acrylic paints on wood. I found buried in a trunk, a ton of small wooden plaques I got from Michael's some years ago and haven't really used much since. What a lovely surface to work on, the colored pencils lay really nice on that slightly textured surface, and layer really well over Ranger acrylic paint dabbers, which are a really super matte acrylic paint.

I very much needed that message reinforced, obviously. A couple of days later and I was feeling that heaviness in my heart again. And so it happens that another angelic being came to me in yet another attempt to lighten my heart. And as I was painting her, that meme from the Buddha you see on my IPad in the picture, appeared on my newsfeed. Ha! It would appears that I needed the whole troops to get the message delivered! Point taken :) By the time I finished Gabrielle, the other angel that came to me, it was quite clear that I had understood that in every heart awaits your angel. So true! 

She was a real pleasure to paint. I had fun with so many different materials, sheer heaven for a mixed media artist and art supply addict LOL! I got a chance to use several of my favorites, including several stencils and stamps I had never used before, as well as my lovely Angelina fibers, which I haven't used in a very long time. And of course there had to be stars, lots of starts on her hair. How I enjoy that part of the process! And I got to use my new Stewart Gill Metamica paint. What a delicious and shimmery metallic paint that is! Quite possibly my favorite metallic paint ever. Now of course I need to get more colors! As if I needed a reason or an excuse to get even more paint :) 

Of course after such a tremendous amount of activity in the studio, the whole place was quite a gigantic mess that required some clean up and organization pronto! Should be quite a tedious task, but alas, cleaning up the studio is always such a magical opportunity to find things I haven't used in a while and even find things I had completely forgotten I had. And so it came to be that my tidying up became a trip to the art store, without spending a penny LOL! I did indeed find quite a bit of things I hadn't seen in a while, and some I had never used (and didn't even remember I have!). Now, armed with a whole new lot of supplies, and having everything so handy and easy to reach, I am more enthused than ever to create. I can't help it, the angels keep surrounding me, and I simply adore that moment when they gently whisper in my heart "please, let me come through" and in that canvas forgotten in a dusty corner of my studio, the magic begins to happen.

Until next time, have a wonderful week, lovely ones. Stay creative and be happy :)


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

You can always teach a new trick to an old dog

I've always been a big fan of pastels, in all of its glorious forms - soft, hard, pencils, Pan pastels, all of them. It's probably my favorite medium second only (or probably right alongside) watercolor.

Being a mixed media artist, of course I love playing with every medium there is, not all of which I necessarily love to bits. Some I use only for small accents, others in equal combination. But when it comes to using only ONE medium in a piece, it'll always either be watercolor or pastel. Those are the mediums I understand the most. I know my way around them, their tricks and troubles, and I can totally work with the good and the bad of both. Maybe because they were the first materials I worked with, way back before the explosion of mixed media, at least the way is today. Back then I did combine both, and sometimes added colored pencils, and ink as well, so I suppose that is also mixed media, but not in the "Somerset esque" way we understand mixed media to be today.

Anyways, I digress. The point of this post is that even though I have been working with pastels for quite a number of years, I was pleasantly surprised to learn a couple of new ways to use this versatile medium, in the Facecinating girls (volume 2) class. Andrea once again delighted me with her super thorough lesson, beautifully taught as always. I absolutely LOVED watching her created a couple of her cute Facecinating girls with this most beloved medium. I've always worked with it on my wildlife and pet portraits, so it was heaven to learn new ways to use it when applying it to skin tones. 

Because pastel is a fairly quick medium, especially since there's no drying time, and in this case in particular, not many layers, I was able to get three girls done in one morning. Loved experimenting with different papers as well, kraft paper for the blue haired girl, Mi Teintes paper for the red haired, and tinted Bockingford watercolor paper for the pink girl. And because the latter was on watercolor paper, I was able to dissolve the pastel and create that watercolor look on  her hair. I couldn't love pastels any more if I tried!

I can't wait to play some more! The weekend cannot come soon enough! 

Have nice hump day!


Monday, October 20, 2014

31 Days 31 Faces...or something like that

I challenged myself to draw a face a day everyday for the whole month of October, mainly to hone my drawing skills but also to keep my creative juices flowing and myself busy at the studio.
I can't say that I'm keeping with the program as originally planned, but I do have quite a bit to show actually. I may not have drawn one face everyday, but I did draw almost everyday. Some days more than others in fact, so even though I didn't draw one face a day, today is the 20th of the month and I do have twenty faces done! So I guess that works :-) And thanks to the super talented and amazing teacher Andrea Gomoll and her beyond cute (and incredibly detailed and chock full of goodness) Facecinating Girls classes, I am having twice as much fun and feeling more inspired than ever to draw whimsical girls. I just can't help it. Watching her playing with all her yummy art supplies makes me want to do the same with mine! Plus, the classes have lots of mixed media techniques to try aside from drawing faces. 
However, the truth is, some days I just feel more like creating backgrounds on my journal, so I have a bunch of pages ready to draw my girls on. Or I'm in a super mood to doodle or zentagle. So I'm not being too hard on myself for not sticking to the plan. After all, the "real" plan was to make art every day. Any art really :-)
Here's a small sampler of what I've been doing on my sketchbooks and journals. Tons of fun with some of my favorite mediums - charcoal, pastels, and colored pencils. LOVE me some mixed media, oh yeah!
Have a wonderful Monday, lovelies.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Quick "Uber Busy Life" sketches

Today was a bit of a crazy busy day and I didn't have time to be in my studio doing some art journaling, at least not the way I love to. But that doesn't mean no art was made. I always carry a sketchbook or drawing pad everywhere, and my favorite pencils - a couple of charcoal and graphite pencils, a few Prismas and a one or two Col-Erase (my favorite for sketching due to how easily they erase (thus the name) and how "smudgeable" they are).

It's amazing the amount of drawing that can get done in a single day if we take every opportunity we can to just sketch. I spend a lot of time commuting, waiting in line, waiting rooms, etc. I waste no time, and as soon as I have a few minutes I pull my sketchbook out. And today, courtesy of the New York City subway system and their tremendously slow way of dealing with a fire on the tracks, my ride was greatly delayed. Without my drawing pad I would most likely be extremely aggravated and cursing wildly under my breath, you know, just your typical New Yorker :-) Instead, I accepted the fact that I was going to be late and just relaxed.

After 45 minutes waiting for the train to finally move, I had finished sketching this lovely girl with a magenta Col-Erase on my favorite Strathmore tan sketch pad. I think she turned out great actually, and I just love her sweet expression. I'm thinking that maybe she needs to be transferred to one of my art journals so I can give her the full mixed media "party" she deserves! Can hardly wait for the weekend so I can play in the studio.

Have a wonderful Friday. Just thinking of all the arty fun I'm going to have, I know I will :-)


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Art Journal Love

I must admit that I have a major art supply addiction. I can't help it, I just love love love to play and experiment with every single new thing that comes out in the market. But the thing is, I almost always end up hardly ever using any of it. Mostly because it's hard to decide what I want to play with first! It can get quite overwhelming when there's so many beautiful yummy colors and textures right in front of you. One can't simply use everything in a single piece!

I think that's the best part of art journaling - it can be a place to experiment with all the lovely supplies I have laying around the studio, one page at the time. It gives me a chance to get to know the materials, and decide whether I like it or not. And then move on to the next. I'm trying to stay commited to creating as much as possible, and little by little going over all the different pens, markers, crayons, pastels, pencils, paints, inks, and everything else I have. And what better way to do it than in my art journal? No pressure to make something awesome all the time, no disappointment if a lot of time has been invested only to turn out icky. It's all about FUN! And since I also have a workshop addiction (I'm currently signed up for more than I care to admit to), I'm playing along with Andrea Gomoll over at Creative Creations.  Her Facecinating Girls class is a feast for the eyes and sheer heaven for art supplies junkies. She shares my addiction and it's pure delirium to watch her having fun with her materials, all of which I also have LOL. 

After watching one of Andrea's videos, I finally had a chance to play with my Gelli plate, I've had it for so long but never even unwrapped it! It was a fun, nice way to create a quick background. The other materials I selected to experiment with today were paint markers (loved it!), acrylic paints, colored pencils (an old favorite), and stamps and collage for texture. I call her "Just being" ... because that's pretty much how I felt as I created this page - not thinking much, not analyzing, not trying to really accomplish anything. Just being...in the moment. And what fun it was!

And from yesterday, a sketch I did on the subway and ended up selling to a fellow Queen fan, right of my drawing pad! That was a first!

Last but not least, another journal page, from the weekend. Acrylics and colored pencils on the girl, and spray inks on the background. Fun fun fun!

Oh well, fun is over now, gotta go to work. Honestly speaking, I could just pretty much art journal every day, all day long! 

Have a super day!