“Hands of Action International” – non profit to open in Bemidji, Minnesota

This past summer when I started The Fearless Artist, I wrote about wanting to use my love of art to help troubled kids in my community.  Shortly after that, an artist friend mentioned that two ladies from our church were planning to open a non profit art studio/boutique with both local and international impact.

It’s almost here!  Jenn Anderson and Jen Kovach have been working tirelessly to establish the Hands of Action International, Bemidji location.  You can learn more at about this new initiative, as well as the ongoing work of Hands of Action at www.handsofactioninternational.org, and click on the Bemidji Vision link.

A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the new site and learning more from Jenn and Jen about their vision to reach out to kids in our community, and how artists can be involved.

Today and tomorrow, November 28 and 29, they’re hosting a Holiday Bazaar called “Gifts on a Mission” at the downtown Bemidji location.  Proceeds will be used to cover the costs of starting the new venue.  I hope local friends will stop in and check it out!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Melanie

 

 

“Sunburst” – working with mistakes

Measure twice, cut once!  Elementary, isn’t it?  And yet I failed to do so when creating this piece.  This piece was my first attempt at creating a colorful version of a photo I had seen that used laminate pieces on a plain white background.  I didn’t print the original photo, as I wanted to use my own measurements and design sense.

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Working out design with colors and values on 24x24in scrap plywood

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Super heavy gesso was used to create texture on a cradled birch panel. I used different texture tools, as these stencils didn’t give the effect I was looking for.

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Detail of texture and base layer of yellow.

When I started to collage my design onto the prepared background, I realized that some of my strips weren’t the right width, and I was going to have gaps where the strips weren’t wide enough.  At that point I decided to work with this mistake rather than recut strips.  My motivation was to embrace the opportunities that come with mistakes, and hopefully create something even better than my original idea.  (Hmm…the parallels between art and life are striking sometimes!)

The gold center and thin strips were my answer to this dilemma, and I think served to make the piece much better.

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detail photo

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“Sunburst” – mixed media collage on 24x24in cradled birch panel.

After warming up the yellow background with naples yellow and adding a little distress ink, the piece is finished.

Thanks again for visiting my blog.  Have a great day!

Melanie

Making my own summer – ‘Tis a Woodland Enchanted

This past week I’ve been finishing up art pieces that will be included in my December show at our local Dunn Bros. coffee shop.  While waiting for a layer of super heavy gesso to dry after adding texture to a larger piece, I decided to revisit the butterfly theme on a smaller canvas.

Since winter has arrived early to Northern Minnesota, I’m grieving the loss of warm weather, but even more the colors that are decidedly absent during the winter months.  It seemed like a good occasion to reach for my vintage insect book and make my own summer!

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1914 “Insect Life” book

A fair amount of this book pertains to identifying, capturing and preserving specimens of insects….not terribly romantic for a whimsical art piece.  I did find some pages that were suitable, however.

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Ugly stage – not happy with my choice of colors at this point

The above photo was taken with my phone….pretty bad.  I also realized it needed a SERIOUS color makeover, and added the bright violet to bring it to life.  I used vintage ric-rac, mica flakes, beads and buttons to complete the piece.

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“Delightful place ’tis a woodland enchanted” – mixed media on 10x10x1in canvas

It was fun to experiment with color and see how adding the violet made the piece more interesting.  It was also fun to use the mint green and lime green together as an unexpected combination.

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detail photo

Thanks for visiting my blog.  Have a great week and Happy Thanksgiving!

Melanie

 

 

“Branching Out” – trying a new color scheme

I recently saw a photo of an interesting collage that featured what looked like thin pieces of laminate on a plain white background.  My mind immediately started translating it into “mixed media” and I thought it would be fun to create a similar piece in a bright color scheme.  My quilting background came in handy as I chose patterned papers, figured out appropriate widths for cutting strips and created a new design.  My original color scheme was bright pink, orange, lavender and white.  However, after getting a little crazy preparing the background, that color scheme just didn’t seem to work.

Many art experts say you should never fall in love with your background….but I did!  Rather than viewing the disparate background as a problem, I chose to go with it and make a whole new design in a new color scheme to use it.

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Base layer of papers on 24x24in cradled birch panel

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The glue – I prefer the gloss heavy gel, but didn’t have enough. I’ve found that the heavy gel adheres papers flatter than lighter versions.

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Design in place. I forgot to take a photo of the background before adhering strips.

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After applying a base coat of Mod Podge, and letting it dry completely, I used Faber Castell Big Brush Pens to add shading to the strips.  The Mod Podge works better than other mediums to allow smudging of color before the ink dries and becomes permanent.

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“Branching Out” – mixed media collage on 24x24in cradled birch panel

The final photo shows the piece with a bit of blue added to background and a layer of brown glaze to unify the background color.  I think it’s finished, but may tweak the glaze tomorrow.

Thanks for visiting.  Have a great day!

Melanie

 

“It Wasn’t Me!” – Cat Inspired Art

This past summer my family adopted a kitten.  It had been a long time since we’d had a kitten in the house and I’d forgotten how much fun they are.  Although this art piece isn’t directly based on my new kitten, it is inspired by the silly things cats do and hopefully captures their essence.

This piece is the second of four “pet” pieces that I’m working on.  Since I chose pink for the background of this canvas, I thought a black and white cat would work best.

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Pink collage background

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My reference photo – a picture from the local humane society of a lovely cat who is up for adoption

After adding layers of pattern with stencils and paint, I used an enlarged photocopy of the original picture to get proportions correct and analyze which details I wanted to include.  For the eyes, I chose to make them larger and add some whimsical elements.  After placing the pupils, the title for this piece became evident…..she just had that look!

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“It Wasn’t Me!” – mixed media collage on 9x9in extra deep canvas

Thanks so much for visiting.  Have a great day!

Melanie