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It’s a Kitty!

You would not believe the variety of art supplies I have. I started as a painter, then found polymer clay. After that I discovered paper, beading, resin, mold-making, flower arranging, mixed media, sewing, embroidery, wood burning, and everything else except knitting and crochet. Those last two… I can’t even, so don’t get me started.

I used to go to a craft store every Friday and spend at least fifty bucks. When my dining room filled up (because I don’t have a real studio) I stopped.  Once in a while I go back and find materials that inspire me and then shit like this happens: I make tiny wire cats. Now I have forty tiny wire cats just like this one in a Tupperware box and don’t know what to do with them.  Whoops.

Maybe I can pair them up with the thirty wire people I made before moving on to wire cats.

The Evolution of the Sticky

I haven’t created any new sticky note art in a few days. It’s my curse as a moody person to have stretches of time that are not productive creatively (as anyone who follows my music can attest). I have, however, taken pictures of everything I’ve done with the intention of sharing them with you. Let’s get started.

This first one is inspired by pure silliness found on Facebook.

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Still a hoot after all these years.

I met Jym McMurdo my first year at Washington State. He was The Guy With The Room To Himself on my floor at Orton Hall. He’d also lived at Orton the previous year and had a leg up on everything one needed to know about life there. His room was full of interesting stuff and people smoking, drinking, and eating pizza. I vaguely remember him doing something rude to a teddy bear I had with me one time. Jym was, as my mother would say, a hoot.

This is Jym wearing a knitted animal balaclava of some sort. This is an illustration of the selfie he took while wearing it.  I thought it was hilarious, and now here it is. I framed it.

I managed to get my hands on more of those watercolor pens. I couldn’t help it – I like new products and trying out new things, and watercolor is a new thing for me in any form – there are so many things I want to try out with them! I’m not good with color in any way but I force myself to work with it. You can’t get better if you don’t practice, right? I wanted to practice, even if it meant falling on my face with advanced tools.

The result is a lovely girl in a dress, and proof that I cannot stay within the lines of anything. I’m a little disappointed in how messy it got and debated sharing this note at all because of it.  The illustration under all the messy color is still pretty nice. Should I try to cover it up? I don’t know. Maybe it’s okay as-is.

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To correct or not to correct… THAT is my question.

This last one I’m pretty happy with.

The Face of Boe joined my household last year to keep my BFF Martha company since I was feeling a little overwhelmed by being the center of her universe. I had never owned a kitten before. Martha had had kittens before she joined me, so I figured the two of them would be okay, right? Well… kinda.

Boe is not very smart. Okay, that’s unfair – he’s just really juvenile. Still, whenever I see him zipping around in the morning and annoying Martha, I hear “LOOKIT ME IMA TIGER” in a little kid voice. He also kind of walks like he thinks he’s a tiger. Scared of everything, I’ve trained him to relax when I tell him he’s a good boy.

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YESH HE IZZZ SOISH A GUD BOY BOE YESH YOU ARRRR

This was done with different markers entirely. I found a set of Faber-Castell pens at Snapdoodle Toys in Kenmore that seemed like they’d be fun. It intrigued me that there were two white markers in the set – how the heck does that work? It’s a subtle white, that’s for sure. Where the Faber-Castell white didn’t do what I wanted I used an extra-fine Sharpie paint marker. The whole composition captures Boe perfectly. He IS a tiger!

I’m sure there will be more. I’m just not there yet.

They Just Keep Coming

The sticky note art project continues. As I contemplate my position in life and reexamine my priorities, I find myself with a need to MAKE MORE STUFF. Unfortunately I have a day job and can’t spend an entire day in my studio painting, sculpting, and generally coming up with art out of thin air. I have to make do.

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Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body!

I started with pencil and added ink. I don’t like using text in my compositions, but I’m not trying to be original here. My only requirement is that creativity flow from my brain to my fingertips through the tools I have at the time. I am inspired by whatever seems to be on my mind at the time. When I can’t come up with a composition I will force the issue by eavesdropping. Or finding something ridiculous on Facebook.

Bikini Body is my own. I’m not a slender woman at all, and that has created some problems in my life. This piece is me trying to convince myself that what I’ve got is worthy and beautiful. While I enjoy the result and the sentiment it did nothing for my self-esteem. Is it a self-portrait? I don’t know. The girl on the sticky note sure is cute whether she is me or not.

I recently did an acoustic show at The Mix in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood and took my sticky note pad and pens with me. I had recently discovered a set of watercolor pens I thought might be fun to work with and brought the black one out of the set. Shows are rarely one act, and I think it’s rude to avoid other artists’ sets, so I will often bring something to do with my hands. I figured something would inspire me and it did.

Irene Peña moved to Seattle from L.A. and has been making the rounds with an acoustic set of songs. Like most non-Seattle people, she’s warm, friendly and very likeable. She’s also a little nerdy – something I figured out just by looking at her guitar.

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The sound hole guard had a ThinkGeek sticker on it. Heh.

The guitar image was the first one I tried to use the watercolor pen on. In this case, I drew the bubbles on dry and added water later. To create the shading on the guitar I took the still-wet brush and used the residual color to create the shadow. Over on the right where it looks like something went wrong? Well, something went wrong. That is what happens when you draw on wet paper with a watercolor pen. Whoops.

Lesson learned, I moved on to the next idea a couple of days later.

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Don’t tell me you’ve never done this.

Oh the curse of being moody — it’s great for art, not so great for everyone and everything else. God forbid something truly terrible actually happen when a major mood swing is going on. I rode out my last major mood swing with this little composition, complete with Rage Comic rageface. For the wash I ended up using the marker on another sticky note and using a water-dipped brush to get the desired tint. I find this wasteful and am experimenting with alternatives. Until I find one, I think this worked out okay.

There are more sticky notes, but I am out of steam for today. Check back later and I’ll have more stories for you.

Everybody’s Doing It

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Sticky notes. Everyone uses them. Mostly functional as a blank slate for random reminders and occasional practical joke, I have seen a handful of artists use them as doodle pads, giant pixels for decoration and animation, and as impromptu anonymous public inspiration. Just my luck I have a day job that provides these in multiple sizes along with 30- and 60-minute pockets of time to come up with random thoughts to draw on them.

Will these become something bigger? I’m still trying to figure that out. Of the ones I posted here I have one already on canvas. We’ll see.

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Yeah, it's weird. I like it.

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I suppose I could have used different language here. ...nah.

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I felt like this yesterday. Then I took a pill and got some sleep.

Following Some Trends

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My local craft stores and boutiques have full displays of text-as-art decor. You’ve undoubtedly seen them in one shape or form, if not in person you’ve seen them on Pinterest captioned by the sorority-girl pinner as “I’m SO going to do this!” They were humorous at first, then clever, then someone decided to turn it into a list of rules your kids and everyone else in your house will ignore. The list goes on. I have one of these in my living room posted right next to the cats’ favorite perch titled “CAT RULES.” It’s not very imaginative, and I think I hung it because I secretly hope my cats can read English and will get the hint.

In other news (and I swear it’s related) my current BF has kids. Kids are great, but his kids are weird. Maybe I just grew up around too many uppity Southern women, or maybe I listened to my Dad too much in my formative years, but I don’t believe in sheltering kids. At all. Stay age-appropriate to avoid scarring them for life, but you have to let them fuck up or they won’t learn anything. Today’s kids are a mishmash of niche sensibilities and medicated personalities. Whatever it takes to keep modern parents from killing their offspring, I guess. My BF’s kids get bent out of shape when I say “crap” “hell” or “damn.” I never considered these words profanity and never will, but they flip out on me. I could go on and on about the discussions I’ve had with the 9 and 11 year-olds on the topic, but it always ends up with me saying this: Get used to it, it only gets more colorful as you get older, so be sure you use it correctly.

Context is everything.

Context is everything.

These two things have resulted in creating text-as-art rules of my own. Only one rule per artwork, because grouping rules into a list will cause young eyes to glaze over and we don’t want that. I pay the mortgage, I get to use whatever language I want. The first one is “Cussing allowed, but only if used properly.” Why? Because “what the shit?” doesn’t have the same impact as WTF. Context is everything, people.

My process is kind of primitive since I don’t own a fancy vinyl cutting machine or stencil. This is on a 6″x6″ wooden canvas sealed with black gesso, transferred old-school with a chalk-backed printout of my design, and letters filled in using white acrylic. No tutorials here. It’s not difficult. At least I think it isn’t. If it truly is then I’m an arrogant jerk for believing anyone is capable of creating awesome things with whatever imagination they have on them. Sorry.

Orb of LightOrb of DarknessSince “trends” in my post title is plural, I should probably add another trendy craft I experimented with recently. This one was on display at my local Ben Franklin crafts right next to their faery diorama and mist-once-a-month succulents. I’m not going to pretend this was cheap to make. The glass and the sand were pricey by my standards ($12 and $5, respectively). Everything else I already had in my supply cabinet, from the fake flowers to the tiny glass bottles. I guess they turned out okay, but I might end up hanging them in better light. These photos kind of suck.

I like what I made but probably won’t make more unless new rules become necessary, and definitely won’t make more of the sand globe dioramas. Those just aren’t me. I’ll stick to the little faces and masks because I truly enjoy everything about them. Don’t let my experience keep you from experimenting, though. You never know what you like or what you’re good at if you don’t experiment.

Little Face

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A while back I made a small Green Man mask I was pretty pleased with.  It took me over a year to feel okay about parting with it before I could post it on my Etsy site, and it sold within 24 hours. A friend of mine bought it for her mom out on the East coast, who gets a number of remarks on it. I think that’s pretty cool and have been wanting to create more works people comment on. The magic hasn’t quite happened yet.

A month after I sold my original Green Man I got an email from my friend. Her mom’s neighbor likes that mask so much I’ve been asked to make another one. Of COURSE I’m happy to make one! I just need to get on it already. My original estimate was a week. Add a major health issue and a new job, and now we’re at least three weeks overdue.

I’m not happy with myself but have been spending what time I do have at home on this project. In the pic I posted here you clearly see two masks — one is the one I’m making for my friend’s mom’s neighbor, and the other is one I’ve been working on as an experiment. As you can see, they are in completely different stages of completion. On one of them I was on my way to the oven with it when I realized the eyes were too creepy so I scooped them out. It was an uncomfortable but necessary task that made me feel like a serial killer. The other one I didn’t like his eyebrows, but he was baked already, so I had to pry them off with a tile nipper.

Does my art sound glamorous yet? Try not to think too hard about it. All good art goes through phases of clunky backtracking and do-overs. I sometimes think that’s why artists talk so much about their work — it’s not always the result that makes the art, it’s often the process. My process for these happened to involve eye-gouging and tile nippers. ToMAYto, toMAHto.

I will get the little guy on the right new eyes this week. As for his larger friend on the left I think he’s going to be just fine.

Disaster Not Averted

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This is embossing powder. I do not emboss much, but keep this stuff around in varying colors to knead into polymer for a variety of effects. Not long ago I had this particular bottle out and sitting on my dining table as I stood and multitasked around my chair.

I was so focused on what I was doing with my hands that I forgot two huge rules of crafting. One, do not wear bulky clothing, and two, always keep the lid on bottles of tiny things. Powder counts as a tiny thing. LOTS of tiny things, actually.

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