Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Found Type Tuesday

There's a lot of found type to love on this bottle cap mosaic that I shot in an artist's studio in an old factory building. The mosaic was done on the windowsill with these simple, yet beautiful, discarded bottle caps.

Maybe the artist was trying to improve upon the oh-so-decrepit windowsill with a funky burst of color. Or maybe this project was just a good excuse to crack open a cold one.

Don't forget to leave a comment with a link if you want to share your own Found Type Tuesday image.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Word Paintings

I made several little word paintings and gave them away as Christmas gifts.

They were done on stretched canvas that measured six inches square.

I painted the canvas, applied vinyl adhesive letters, painted it some more, and then removed the  letters.

I chose short phrases that were designed with each recipient in mind.

This was a fun way to create personalized gifts for a group of special people.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Found Type Tuesday

One of my favorite subjects to shoot when I'm out and about with my camera is found type. Words, letters, and numbers existing out in the world just naturally capture my attention. Some people are drawn to sunsets and beautiful vistas. Others to architecture. I like type. Maybe it's my urban surroundings or maybe it's just a love of words. I don't know. I just know that my camera finds these things. I recently took an outing to an industrial surplus warehouse where the above photo was taken. (Plus many, many more!) Besides type, I also like anything that is rusty and crusty, dirty and dented, scratched and scarred, or pitted and peeling. How could I not love the "quality" photo above?

Join me here on Tuesdays if you like found type too. Leave a comment with a link to your site and share your own found type photo. I promise I'll come by and check out what catches your eye out there in the world.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Lesson 2 - Take 2

In my last post I showed you what happened when lesson 2 of the Strathmore online workshop, Doodles Unleashed by Traci Bautista, got ridiculously out of control. When I went back and looked at what I had done in my journal so far, I decided to stop right there and call it finished.

Here is how lesson 2, spontaneous watercolor backgrounds, looks in the journal.

I have to admit, I am having just as much fun taking photos and looking for interesting snippets and compositions in these doodles, as I am creating the doodles themselves.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to my doodling and start on lesson 3.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Runaway Doodle

Week Two of the online Strathmore Artist Workshop, Doodles Unleashed by Traci Bautista, produced what I call a runaway doodle. The object was to create a watercolor background using a variety of water soluble media such as paint, crayons and pencils. Apparently, my doodle wasn't about to become any one's background and decided to run away and join the doodle circus.

I decided to start with a "warm up" piece on watercolor paper before attempting this lesson in my journal. Step one involved painting with watercolor using various sized brushes.

Next came acyclic ink, and watercolor crayons and/or pencils. In retrospect, I should have stopped somewhere around this stage. But I didn't. I think the hardest part of this method of painting is knowing when to stop.

I decided to add white gouache into the mix. This is when I had my "OH CRAP" moment. Oh crap! What have I done? What was I thinking? Why did I do that? I have this moment during every piece of art I make. Once I feel like I've already ruined a piece, I have no choice but to venture on and see what happens.

As you can see, once I get going it's hard to stop! I continued adding watercolor and gouache until I ended up with this--the runaway doodle. Does this look like a background to you? Me either.

I think the cropped views are better than the whole shebang.

Once again, I'm glad I took photos of the piece in process. It helps me see what I should have done or what I should do next time.

Plus, I have digital files of the stages that I can never get back to again. I like this little view right here a lot. There's enough there to be interesting and it still has the spontaneity that was the goal of the exercise to begin with.

I started working on this lesson in my journal and I'll share that soon. Hopefully this time I'll quit before it gets away from me.

Happy doodling!

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Doodle

I signed up for the free online journaling workshops offered by Strathmore, and the first one up is Doodling Unleashed taught by Traci Bautista. I completed lesson one and thought I would share the steps I took to create the doodle above. I'm working in a 9 x 12 mixed media visual journal from Strathmore.

The first step is to create a background using simple printmaking techniques and whatever objects you have on hand. I used my spray inks with a stencil I cut from a wallpaper sample, a piece of string, and some metal gears. Traci used a large sheet of paper for her demo so she didn't have to work around the binding in the middle.

The next step is to paint over some of the prints created with acrylic paints and a light wash of color to tie things together.

Next comes doodling with oil pastels.

The next step is to use india ink and a liner brush to add details in black. This is where I ran into a little trouble.  I had a hard time controlling the brush strokes and the ink didn't adhere very well over the oil pastel. It looked a lot easier when Traci did it on the video! At this point I was pretty unhappy with the results of the ink step and decided that I would most likely rip the pages out of the journal and begin again. I moved on to another project, and was having some fun with a paper stencil and white paint. Since I was planning to start again, I decided to stencil over the parts of the doodle where I was most unhappy with the black ink.

The next day I started a new doodle and hated that one even more. (It happens, right?) I went back to the journal and decided to persevere and just finish it off. It is a learning experience after all.

The final step was to add more doodling with markers and a white out pen. Traci used copics in her demo, but since I don't have any of those, I used color sharpies instead. I also added a little more color with gouache and a water pen.

I like the pages more today than I did yesterday. Sometimes a little distance really helps to improve a journal page. I think I'll quit while I'm ahead.

Even though I'm not thrilled with my results from the first lesson, I think it's pretty cool to see the progression from start to finish. Although you can barely see the original stencils and shapes from the first photo, they did lay the groundwork for the finished doodle. There are three more lessons to go in the first workshop, so hopefully I'll get the hang of this looser method of doodling by then.

It's not too late to join the fun and learn some new journaling techniques. Go herehttp://www.strathmoreartist.com/workshop-reg.html if you want to check it out.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hello 2012!

Happy New Year to all of my friends and followers!

As some of you know, I've been working in an altered book for the past year as part of The Sketchbook Challenge. Although I had hoped to finish it in 2011, I didn't quite get there. I've invested so much time and effort into this book that I want to finish it off properly. I guess it will have to spill over into 2012.

The Sketchbook Challenge is continuing into 2012 and January's theme is Doodling. Since I decided early on that I wanted to keep this book intact without removing any pages, I've kept "bulky" activities like collage, layering, and painting with acrylics to a minimum. That means that it's pretty much filled with doodling. I don't know why, but I really like using the outline of my hands on journal pages. You might recall another page where I traced my hands for last January's theme of Highly Prized. I doodled around these with a light gray marker.

These are some pages that I did last year that weren't necessarily related to any of the themes for 2011. I think they qualify as doodling.

I added some dimensional white paint to this page. I'm not so sure it was a good idea, however, as it makes the pages stick together a bit. On the other hand, I really love the added texture.

Yowza! Doodling to the max.

I used an egg-shaped, hotel coaster to doodle some random shapes on a page. This may or may not be finished.

Working in Pilgrim for an entire year has been both a blast and a challenge. I will admit that I'm ready to close the chapter on this project and move onto some new projects for 2012. I'd like to declare 2012 as the year of the book and try to focus on sketching, journaling, and bookbinding. I hope you'll come along and join me for another year of artful adventures!