Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Today in the Garden

It's late Spring in the garden. Daffodils and tulips are gone here in NC. The summer perennials are up and growing- especially with this little heat wave we've had. Right now, the garden belongs to the columbines, irises and this gorgeous white viburnum. Saw the first hummingbird of the season last week.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Postage Stamps- Tiny Masterpieces

I love using postage stamps in my collages. Each one is a tiny masterpiece with beautiful colors and elegant design. Use a special one, like the elephant stamp to suggest a theme for your design. The mushroom stamp suggested a great color scheme. Whistler's Mother with her austere demeanor was lightened up with the tongue-in-cheek pink pig. The elegant outfit on the angel stamp suggested the red and gold colors and theme for the ATC. On the blue and green ATC, postage created a beautiful background.

Many stamps are sold in batches by theme or country. Use the best ones for focal points in a piece. Since they are so small, layering to several different pieces of paper is an easy way to increase the size and importance of the stamp. The quirky ones, like the pink pig, can add a little humor and irreverance to your work. Finally, all of the basic nondescript ones make great backgrounds. Glue them down randomly or in rows. Most stamps here in the US are self stick now so they are like great little stickers- fun and easy to use.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Integrating Clipart

Even though I can draw my own images, I love using clipart! Many clipart collections are old book illustrations or advertisements. Before the camera, artists created detailed and often exquisite drawings to inform readers or attract potential buyers. Dover has a vast collection of copyright free clipart and it's easy to find images on nearly every subject. You can use these images in black and white or color them with pencils or watercolor. Two of these pieces are colored with pencils. Only the faces and special details were highlighted but they can be completely colored too. It's like a coloring book for adults. You can also alter images in your computer to create colored images from the b&w art. Sepia looks antique but consider blue, red and purple too. Color changes the mood of the image and allows you to integrate it into your art. I like to work with an image and create several colorways and sizes then print them to add to my collage stash. Printing on colored or patterned paper give new options too.

On these four pieces several methods were used to bring the clipart into the composition. The top two are both colored to work with the background colors. The face on the left has a dramatic placement in the composition and her sultry gaze draws the viewer right in. The bottom examples were used in black and white to pop off the intensely colored backgrounds. Detailed black rub-ons were added to repeat the feeling of the fine lines in the clipart.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

CRAZY colors!

Ever stuck for a new and innovative color scheme? Let Adobe Photoshop do the work for you! The original photo and natural colors are in the top left corner. By adjusting Hue/Saturation you get a whole array of new colors. These experiments can be tweaked by adjusting the Saturation slider bar for subtle colors or a blast of neon. Take an image with these color changes and put it thru filters like Solarize for even more possibilities. You can take one image and create a whole portfolio of possiblities to inspire a new piece of art.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Art from Old

Sometimes I will finish a piece and no matter
what I do, I'm just not happy with it. Even
when I put it aside and revisit it 6 months later, it doesn't work. Many of my collages are very complicated with lots of different techniques in the background or time consuming hand sewing and beading. It's hard to throw them away. So, I just cut them up! I'll isolate areas that will make good ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) or cut strips for new backgrounds or rip off the focal parts. The actual "whacking up" part is very freeing. The old, unsuccessful art is gone and fun possibilities exist with all the new pieces. These 4 collages all include parts from a much larger piece. I did it for a specific project and when it wasn't accepted, I didn't care to be reminded of that. On these 4 new pieces you can see the background fragments in the turquoise and
blue parts. The original piece was on deckle edged watercolor paper and I used those edges in the fragments. The little sampler in the bottom right example is also recycled. I used every piece of the original "reject" and had fun making a lot of new art. So, if you have some bad art hanging around in your studio, just put it on your papercutter and make something new and beautiful!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

http://www.vvprints.com Great site and they sell Kaleidoscope Kreator software.
http://www.joggles.com Cool mixed media supplies and a wide range of online classes
http://www.stampington.com Publishers of Somerset Magazine and it's many sister publications. They are real leader sin the field of mixed media and paper arts.

Photoshop FUN!

I have lots of garden photos that I use in my garden journals. Most are very generic since I'm recording the plants for my records, not doing an "art" photo. This photo of black grass is a good example. Even with this so-so image look at the cool stuff you can do in Adobe Photoshop! I really love Hue/Saturation and Solarize. I have over 20 versions of this photo- all totally different! As you can see, you don't have to be able to draw to create killer designs for your artwork.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


These wonderful kaleidoscopes were created with Kaleidoscope Creator software (www.vvprints.com) They are so easy and so addictive! These were created from scans of my collages, drawings and garden photos I manipulated in Adobe Photoshop. The software allows you to pick a template and move it across the scan to highlight certain areas. Then, it creates the kaleidoscope. As you move the template around, you get totally different results from a single image. It's so much fun! I've used the finished pieces in several collages and as ATC (Artist Trading Card) backgrounds. My goddaughter Jenn and I spent a couple of hours manipulating photos and laughing like crazy at all the weird images you can make with a face.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Almost Spring!

The daffodils are blooming all over the yard- tulips and hyacinths too.