“Drippy Florals” and the “Nifty Fifty” project

Anyone who has followed my blog for a while knows that I love mixed media.  I don’t consider myself a “painter”, but am always open to a new challenge.  My latest piece illustrates this fact quite effectively.

I must admit that I’m an art book junkie.  When I saw that Carrie Schmitt was publishing the book “Painted Blossoms” this year, I knew it would be one of my purchases for 2015.

One of the projects in the book is entitled “drippy florals”, which is self-explanatory.  Here is my initial attempt…after some reworking of blossoms and the addition of leaves.

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18×19 inches, Strathmore Acrylic Paper

This piece was created on Strathmore acrylic paper, which I bought in a 5-yard roll in order to cut it to whatever size I would like.

I wasn’t comfortable leaving the blossoms floating in mid-air and decided to experiment with creating a vase for them.

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The above vase looked more like a tree trunk than anything, so I knew I would have to re-work it.

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This photo shows the addition of the blue table.  I used a pink pastel to outline a possible vase shape, and also painted over some of the leaf shapes that I didn’t like so I could re-work them.

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This is the final piece.  Because I know which frame I’m planning to use, I had a mat cut to fit and placed it loosely on top to see how it will look.

This project was definitely a learning experience.  I learned about color, painting and composition.  I learned that I’m a “planner” and prefer to have at least a general idea of what I want to accomplish when I start a new art piece, while still leaving room for surprises and happy accidents.  Since I didn’t have that in place when this piece was started, it created some challenges and frustration later on.

Creating this piece also prompted me to set some new goals.  When I compare this piece to those of artists I admire, I realize that they have created hundreds, or maybe even thousands of paintings.  The above is probably about my sixth floral…yes, sixth.  Therefore, I decided to create for my own development the “Nifty Fifty” project.  In the next two years, I plan to create 50 florals, 50 furry friends, 50 faces, 50 phrases and 50 abstracts.  Why the variety?  Mostly because I get bored easily and probably have a bit of ADD.  I’ll be creating pages for each category, so I invite you to visit again and check out my progress.

Thanks so much for visiting my blog.

Have a great day,

Melanie

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The Flops of ’14

Looking back over this past year, I can see how starting a blog and scheduling an art show have helped me stay committed to making art.  An acquaintance recently mentioned that she visited my blog and was disappointed that I didn’t have more art on my site.  I honestly told her that I hadn’t posted more art because some of it stinks!

When I went back through 2014, I was surprised to see that I hadn’t even made that much art during the first half of the year.  Aside from some random sketches and experiments, finished pieces were few!

Since December is such a busy month, and it’s unlikely that I’ll complete new work before the end of the year, I want to share the Flops of ’14.

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Stacked cups cut freehand from fabric

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Collaged onto prepared canvas, and penwork added

I decided this piece was a flop because I covered up the background pattern on the canvas.  I also was impatient and did the penwork before the layer of matte medium was completely dry….another lesson learned!

The next piece was based on this reference photo, from Puerto Morelos, Mexico.  (Yes, you can question my sanity for taking a photo of an outhouse and deciding to make art from it!)

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Photo – Puerto Morelos, Mexico, 2013

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First layer – working through ideas and placement

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Final piece turned out rather lifeless.

I decided this piece was a flop because I think my intention was to create something more abstract.  Perhaps I’ll revisit this idea when I’m in the mood for more bathroom art!

Thanks for visiting my blog.  I’m planning to share some sketches and experiments throughout the month, so check back….

…and have a great December,

Melanie

 

 

 

Inspired by Butterflies – Our Turner’s Syndrome Story

In 2009 our youngest daughter was diagnosed with Turner’s Syndrome, a chromosomal abnormality affecting 1 in every 2500 females born.  Amy’s doctor told us she has the “mosaic form” which typically presents with milder symptoms than the “non-mosaic form”, and would account for the late diagnosis.  Aside from being quite small for her age, Amy appeared healthy in every other way.

Subsequent testing of her heart and kidneys showed that she does NOT have the abnormalities that can be complications of this condition.  We’re grateful that Amy doesn’t deal with life-threatening conditions, and her diagnosis has caused us to reevaluate what we previously considered “normal”.  Simply put, there is no such thing!  Amy has her own path to walk and life to live, with its unique joys and challenges.

As we prepare to celebrate Amy’s 13th birthday in a few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on the wonderful blessing she is to our family, and how thankful I am to be her mom.  The emblem for Turner’s Syndrome Awareness is the butterfly.  You can imagine my joy when I stopped in at a local thrift store and found this 1914 edition of “Insect Life” in the FREE section.  I could hardly wait to tear out some pages and get to work!

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Someone’s trash, my treasure!

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First layer of collage on 18x18in cradled birch panel

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Paint layer added and butterfly outline drawn

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Final piece, negatively painted and details added

Thanks for visiting and letting me share our Turner’s Syndrome story.

Have a great day!

Melanie

 

The beauty of imperfection

Hello!  I’ve recently been going through much of my artwork, categorizing photos and making it easier to share in a logical manner.  It has proven more challenging than I thought, as photos are spread among different SD cards depending on which camera was used at the time.  Add to that the beauty(?) of phone cameras, and trying to retrieve photos from my previous phone.  I must say, I have learned my lesson!  There is now ONE camera/SD card reserved just for art, which will make it infinitely easier to find, upload and share art going forward.

In this process, it has been fun to look back at previous work and see what I’ve learned over the past couple of years.  Below is one example that illustrates the beauty of imperfection.  After reading “My Thread Sketch Journey”, an article by Kelly Nina Perkins in the “Cloth Paper Scissors Book”,  I was eager to try her techniques with my own subject matter.

Below you can see my inspiration “cups” as well as the book.  The third photo shows my “quick and dirty” experiment.  I wanted to create a piece for an art exhibit that I did last year, but this one turned out slightly smaller than the mat/frame I was planning to use, AND I wasn’t sure I liked how messy it looked.  The final photo shows the next attempt.  Although the colors are more vibrant, this piece didn’t seem to have the whimsy that the first one did.  It was a great lesson that letting go and “letting the paint fly” will yield very different results than a controlled approach.

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Two of my favorite cups

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First experiment, mixed media on watercolor paper, 4x6in

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Second experiment, mixed media on watercolor paper, 4.5×6.5in

It was so much fun to revisit these experiments that I think I’ll try it again with new subject matter.

Thanks for visiting!  I’d love to hear your comments or feedback.

Have a great day!

Melanie

What does it mean to be a “fearless artist”?

What DOES it mean to be a fearless artist?  Does it mean we never question our creative abilities or experience uneasiness at the thought of sharing our work?  I don’t think so, especially not for those of us who are new to the art world and just beginning to put our work “out there”.

One dictionary definition of “fearless” is lacking fear.  It is immediately followed by such synonyms as bold, brave and dauntless.  If we examine the word trail, we find that the synonyms allude to acting courageously in spite of a fear-inducing situation.  My, oh my, that’s technical!

I like this definition better,  “Fearless is not the absence of fear.  It’s not being completely unafraid.  Fearless is having fears.  Fearless is having doubts.  Lots of them.  Fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death.”  Taylor Swift, 2011

Another of my favorite quotes sums it up nicely, “Security is mostly a superstition.  It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.  Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.  Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”  Helen Keller

It’s strangely reassuring to know that choosing the fearless path is, in essence, choosing to live life to the fullest and seizing the beauty and opportunity present in each day.

May all our days be “fearless”,

Melanie