Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Grocery Bag Backgrounds

 In my never ending quest to come up with interesting backgrounds, I came across this technique and thought you might like it too.  It's super easy and I love the look. 

I started with birch wood panels but this technique works on paper as well.  Spray your surface with water and apply ink.  This could be a work of art in itself.  Love these colors!  Allow the ink to dry completely. I spray a sealer over the top just to make sure the ink does not reactivate when I add paint to the top.

Next, spray your dried ink with water and add any color fluid acrylic paint to cover the entire board.  Then take your shopping bags and lay them on top of the acrylic paint.  The more you crumple up the bags, the better.  Allow to dry completely.  Remove the bags and voila!

Beautiful backgrounds for your art.  I wish I had come up with this technique on my own but I learned it in an online class from Catherine Scanlon who uses this technique on mixed media paper.  She uses this technique and makes it the focal point.  I like it as a background that I can collage on top of.

Thanks for reading and if you use this technique I would love to see what you come up with.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Color Schemes From Home Decor

I was a little surprised the other day when I posted this picture of art I had sold at an art market.

What was surprising was that most of my backgrounds were yellow, blue, or green.  What?  I thought I was doing a pretty good job of mixing it up, but there it was in full-on color - yellow, blue and green.  At about the same time I was having background insecurities, I was cleaning out my bookshelf and came across this little gem.

A home decor magazine featuring color schemes.  I little light bulb flickered.  Maybe I could use some of these color schemes as inspiration for my backgrounds.  This is what I came up with.  Not perfect matches, but a nice change of pace.

And one wild and crazy background just for fun.

Stay tuned.  More colorful backgrounds coming soon.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Inspiration - Straight From The Jar

What I truly love about my life is that I get to create on almost a daily basis.  I have a studio table with all my supplies and the recent addition of a little jar of inspiration that was given to me as a gift from my arty sister from another mister, Kathy Ericksen.  Everyday when I step up to my table I see her heart-felt gift and I pull out a little inspiration bomb.

Kathy had the brilliant idea of collecting creativity quotes throughout the year, and when it came time for holiday gifts, she filled mason jars with her collected quotes and voila - inspiration in a jar!

When you think about it you could make these little jars of happiness for your Valentine with love quotes, for your school age children with quotes about hard work and determination (I know what I'm doing today), your comic friend with a jar full of jokes, as a wedding gift with quotes about relationships, etc.

I picked out the three quotes that were speaking the loudest to me this weekend.  Here they are - in no particular order.  Enjoy and have a great week!

*Are you willing to give up who you are today for what you can become?  ~Gwen Fox

* The advise I like to give to young artist, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration.  Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up & get to work.  If you wait around for the clouds to part & a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work,  All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. ~Chuck Close

*As you start this week, may you find a nugget of courage to do the hard thing your heart is aching to do.  May you find enough freedom to do something brave and risky, something that taps the gift you were given but haven't yet fully and outwardly exercised.
We are all artists in some way, whether our media is watercolor, keyboard, food, camera, numbers, or diapers.... ~Tsh Oxenreider

 Artwork by Kathy Ericksen -

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Paper Painters - Don't Throw Your Paint (Money) Down The Drain

If any of you ever use paint for your art projects I'm sure you can relate to the feeling you get when you go to clean out your brushes and you see all of your beautiful, expensive, paint pigment, come gushing off your brush into your water that you later pour down your drain.  Especially that first wash, when your water is nice and clean and you see it turn Manganese Blue or Phthalo Green.  I hate that!! 

I use painted paper in my artwork; so, I decided to put the paint that was still in my brush/sponge to good use. I made up this little box that sits on my studio table.

In the box is all the papers I normally paint for the collages I make - deli paper, a cookbook, an old dictionary, sheet music, an atlas, a ledger, and art papers/scrapbook papers.  

Now, when I am working on the background for a piece and I have paint in my brush, I don't wash my brush right away.  I reach over and pull a piece of paper out of my paper box and lay down a base coat with the left over paint in my brush.  If I am using a sponge, I can grab a stamp or a stencil and put down some texture onto another piece of paper. If I am using markers or oil pastels or ink, I can take a few minutes and add to my papers that already have some paint and texture on them. 

Not only am I saving money, I am saving the time I used to use to paint paper.  Win - Win!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

This Way Up

On my way home from vacation last week I found a dandy article in the Southwest Airlines magazine that sits in the seat back pocket.  You can find inspiration in the oddest places.  This little article was only half a page long, but it is so appropriate for the New Year that I thought I would share it with you. My word for the year is BRAVE.  Maybe that is why I liked this read.  Enjoy :)

THIS WAY UP by Scott Steinberg

If you want to climb the ladder, put yourself in opportunities way.  We all know someone whose career is charmed.  It's no accident.  Luck (the place where opportunity meets preparation) is hard work.  Successful people actively put themselves in the cross hairs of fortune.  Simply put, they're courageous.  Instead of waiting for opportunities to appear, they seek them out.  They continually strive to gain new talents, training, and experience. 

A courageous lifestyle is one in which you know where you are going and you have a plan to get there.  When you see an opportunity, seize it.  When you spot a problem, fix it. And when you want something, ask for it.  Ask yourself: What do I need to do right now to get to where I want to be later?  Being brave in business and in life means taking that first step - and then taking more steps, one after another, until you've arrived at your destination.

Happy New Year!!