Fun Feathered Friends

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I’ve been having fun drawing birds all week, in preparation for (the reprise of) Draw A Bird Day this Friday, the eighth.   I found the photograph for this image at my friend Jodi’s blog at Life in Between.  This mama cardinal’s eggs are due to hatch pretty soon(!), so now is a good time to follow the action over at Jodi’s place.   She takes amazing photographs of fun, food, and the wildlife she encounters in rural Pennsylvania, and her posts are always a joy to read.  She’s also a very kind person who’s a joy to know.

Since I’m focusing this week on bird art, I’d also like to share a link to the blog of an artist friend, Jill at Jill’s Art Journal.   Jill is so full of joy, and her artwork is, too.  A bird appears on her blog every day, and it never gets boring because Jill can do anything:  paintings, drawings, collages, even quilts!  There is no limit to the mediums Jill explores, and she even writes stories about the birds she invents from her imagination.  They are usually carefree and zany, like Jill herself, and her blog is a fun place to hang out.

Jodi and Jill never fail to encourage me with their uplifting comments, and no matter what kind of day I’m having, it’s bound to get better after an encounter with either of them.  I’ve been very fortunate to find lots of kindred spirits here at WordPress, but these ladies share a particular interest in birds, and so I wanted to give them a plug on this fine Wednesday morning.   They have both created some pretty amazing bird artwork recently, and you’re sure to find something to inspire you at their sites.

Jill recently encouraged me to start an art journal, and I’m so glad she did.   What better way to gauge your progress than to create a little something every day in the same little book.  I did a little research, and came across this journal at Amazon, and since I was placing an order there anyway, I added it on.  For just about $7, you can’t beat it for an 84-page book.  The paper is nice and thick, 100 lb. smooth paper with just a little bit of tooth to grab the pigment off my colored pencils and watercolor pencils, while being smooth enough for ink and pencil drawings.

The reviews said that it could take a light watercolor wash, and they were right.  I’m not sure I would do a full-on watercolor painting in this (I’ll try it at some point and report back), but I drew this bird in her cute little nest with Derwent standard watercolor pencils, and used a #10 round Royal synthetic watercolor brush with just a bit of water to go back and liquify it.  At first, the back of the page was a little puckery (just a bit), but once it dried, it’s virtually flat on the back.  How cool is that?   Plus, it’s spiral-bound and lays flat!   I was really happy with it, and I can recommend this for light mixed-media work, including collages as well, because of the thickness of the paper.   Thanks again, Jill, I hope I’m up to the challenge.  I’d love to look back at this (hopefully full) book three months from now, and who knows, maybe my drawings will improve some between now and then.   

Well, we’ve made it to the hump!  I want to thank all of you for reading and commenting.  I learn so much from all of you, and I’m so grateful for the journey I’m on at this point.   I hope we’re all warming up for the dance, as it’s only two days away!  😀  Peace, love and lots of fun feathered friends to you all.

Draw a Bird Day reminder: Friday, May 8!

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Thanks to A-Wing and A-Way letting so many of us know about Draw A Bird Day on April 8, many of us had fun drawing or painting birds on April 8.  Some drew a bird for the first time, and found it be lots of fun!  However, many people weren’t aware of the holiday until it was too late.  So, some of us decided it might be fun to make this a monthly event!   I also want to thank Squirrel Writer for helping to spread the word!

For my friends who may not be comfortable with drawing:  Do not let this sideline you, if you are interested in participating!  Anything goes:  Photographs, stories or poems about a bird, a little sculpture, a nature collage, you are only limited by your imagination.  I think what we’re trying to do here is open the cage door and let the birdies fly.  That’s us!  We all have wings, and sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to open them.  Let the spirit move you as it will.

Friday, May 8 is a week from today, and I hope we can all make WordPress fly to celebrate our wing-ed friends.

Magenta Memories

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Not sure what led me to start sorting through the memory drawer yesterday…I didn’t know a drawer could hold so many things! And there are two more to go!   

I know we’ve saved other shoes from our baby-girl-now-24’s growing-up years, but this pair is a family favorite.   I taught her to say “ma-gen-ta” when we got these (I guess she was around two or so), and boy, she told everyone she had ma-gen-ta shoes.  It was the sweetest thing. 

I’ve never tried to draw a pair of shoes before, but  I couldn’t resist a quick sketch of these with my “ma-gen-ta” watercolor pencil (Derwent non-Inktense).   Just a quick one to remember the moment:

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Then, to cheer myself up:  flowers!

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This is the photo I took a couple of months ago that was the inspiration for the painting.  I love to buy flowers and make my own arrangements.  There’s nothing like fresh flowers to bring positive energy to a space:

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For the background for the painting, I took a piece of ivory lace, painted parts of it with Inktense and non-Inktense Derwent watercolor pencils, then used a few Tombow markers to color through, with the lace acting like a stencil.  You have to hit the Tombowed areas pretty fast with water to fade the spots out, especially since the palette I have is so bright.  I thought it looked nice once it was faded out, though.  

Here’s how the lace turned out:

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I am enjoying every second I can grab with an art supply in hand!  Are we thanking God for a Spring Friday?  Woot!  I hope you set your inner artist free this weekend and make something beautiful.   I’ll be looking forward to seeing it!  Happy Weekend, everyone!

Late Lace Lagoon Lily Love

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 Woo!   It’s been a long day, and I couldn’t settle on just one L.

 

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So I decided to roll out a whole pack of them, instead!

 

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Hope you enjoy. 

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All of the photos were taken late; I apologize for the shadows.   I’m experimenting with *surprise* Inktense pencils and Dye-na-Flow acrylics on lace and fabric.    I’m really pleased with what I’m seeing so far.   This birdie can’t wait to fly with these quilts!   Really looking forward to it.

The last two photos are on Strathmore watercolor cards (from Dick Blick, .33/card, including envelopes, which is what I usually use).    I was pleased with the color combination on the last one:   1200/sea blue, 1220/green aquamarine, with a touch of 1230/mallard green and 1300/teal. 

Who else is glad it’s Thursday?    Time to warm up thy tailfeathers, which shouldn’t be too hard with the 66 degrees they’re calling for.   I’ve been enjoying the spring this year, which is different from many years, in which we leap from winter direct to summer.    The 60s and 70s are great  :))) 

Thanks for visiting.   I hope to see you back here with what I’ve conjured up for M tomorrow.    Ooh, Mysterioussssssss….

Colorful Creation

I’ve been trying new (for me) techniques from a book for which I’ll be posting a review soon.

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This one was a tape resist, laying down torn painter’s tape first, and then painting randomly all over. After removing the tape, I decided it wasn’t exciting enough, so I splattered more color to zip it up a bit. 

 If I were making this for a specific project, I’d have probably stayed with the blues and greens, but since it was one big experiment anyhow, I decided to add chartreuse and magenta. I’m determined to have fun with color; I was a pastel or navy-blue-or-black girl for too long, and now I’m in love with the brights!  

This was my first try with Dye-Na-Flow, which is apparently a permanent acrylic paint with very intense, almost ink-like pigment.  It has a very thin consistency, but as you can see, the colors are pretty intense.  The blues and greens I started with came from Inktense pencils.  I think the two mediums work well together. 

 Plus, this almost looks like it was meant to be an Easter egg, doesn’t it? I’ll take it. 🙂 I’m sure it’ll wind up in some project, somehow. It makes me smile, anyway, and I hope it finds a smile where you are, too!

Brilliant Blues

  

I had so much fun playing with Inktense blocks and a piece of cotton batting to create this little swatch.    I started off by soaking the batting in water and squeezing out the excess.   Then, I basically added almost every blue color I had and most of the aqua/turquoise shades too, with a wet paintbrush, until I was happy with it.    My focus, at least to start, will be beach-themed art quilts, so I gotta get those blues and aquas rolling!

As an afterthought, I decided to add a little white acrylic gesso to tone it down here and there.   Was my first time using gesso!    I’ve had it for half a year, lol.   It was biding its time, I guess!    It muddied the color just a bit, but not a bad price to pay to cover up some heavy handed Inktensing!   It covers bright/deep shades, too, which you’d expect from a primer, I suppose. 

Ok, the whole time I was painting this, the song “Brilliant Blues” by Pete Townsend kept running through my head…..and since I’m on the letter B, perfect title!    Does anyone else remember it?    It’s from the ’80s.   Yeah, might as well just flash my AARP card, huh?   (Lol I called them recently and told them their mail is depressing, please stop sending!    They were amused.    They get that pretty often.  hehe)  

Happy Spring Monday!    Stop and smell the daffodils today, and see how many signs of spring you can spot.   Mother Nature’s getting her palette ready, too.   It’d be a shame to miss it.    *warming up for a spring dance*     

Whisper

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OK, I’m dating myself (yet) again, but do you remember that commercial from the 70’s? “If you want to capture someone’s attention….whisper.” I have no idea what the product was, but my brother and I used to make fun of that woman’s voice, vamping up the madness and kill ourselves laughing over it.  I still wanna say it the way we used to, all deep and throaty.  Oh, those childhood memories!  🙂 

I was trying to think of what to make for the letter W, and thought it might be fun to pull out some of my really subtle fabrics and amp them up a little with my favorites, the Inktense pencils. I even had some fun splattering (oh yeah, that’s about as wild as it gets around here, lol). Love the effect that gives, and it’s so much fun to do! Reminds me of splashing in mud puddles when I was little. 

I could have made this much bolder had I not diluted the ink from the pencils with more water.  Didn’t want the whisper to turn into a shout!    Watercolor will always dry much lighter than when initially painted, so I need to keep this in mind the next time, when I want a bolder statement from the paint. 

See what happened while we were occupied with arty blissfulness?  We’ve already made it to Hump Day!  (Can’t you just hear the Geico camel now?  Oh, that’s just me?  Ah, ok.)  Two more days to the best day of all days!  

Spring seems to have made it here, and even though it’s a bit cloudy, no one cares because it’s in the 60s.  Gotta love it!  The crocuses are in full bloom in every color.  Mostly purples and yellows, my favorite.   Don’t forget to dive into those art supplies today.  Just a few minutes of time invested in YOU will pay off in happy smiles for the rest of the day.  I promise!  See you on Friday eve!

Vivacious Violet (with Yellow’s Complements)

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Art is so much fun. I’m working toward eventually making art quilts (for fun and profit), and toward that end, I decided to cut out a piece of organic quilt batting, and try out a bunch of mediums on it to see how they fly with the fabric. I didn’t expect the finished product to be postable, but I’m actually quite happy with the result.  So, here it is! 

 If you’re not into art supplies, you might wanna skip this section.  But for some of you who work with fabric, or might like to, I wanted to tell you what you’re looking at.  Clockwise from lower left: 

 1) Inktense pencils (painted from pencil tip to fabric with wet brush) in colors 610, 710, 720; 

 2) Inktense blocks, same colors as the pencils, top left corner and side (first one in upper left I got it wet and slapped it right on the fabric.  Oops!  A bit too inktense, so the other two colors I painted off the sticks with a wet brush; was still more intense than the pencils, which you’d expect); there’s also a gold Inktense block in the center/left (color 0250); 

 3) Tombow markers in top right corner (bright palette, the purples – don’t they look cool?  I thought they translated to fabric really well) 

 4) Portfolio water-soluble oil pastels in violet, yellow, and yellow-orange, taking up most of the lower R quadrant, except the very corner.  This was the biggest, happiest surprise of all.  The crayons themselves don’t look vibrant at all, but they really got jazzy and happy when I dipped them in water and drew right onto the fabric with them! 

 5) Bottom right is (I think, it was sitting around in a palette) cadmium yellow tube watercolor paint, which also translated very nicely to fabric, much better than I thought.  I’ve never tried painting watercolor on fabric before. 

6) Then, I went around the border with some gold Lumiere metallic acrylic, cut with water by about half. 

 7) Oops, almost forgot:  I went over the Inktense pencil on the lower left with Lumiere lavender metallic acrylic.  I took a picture of this in the sun, just so you could see the shimmer there, but it didn’t translate to the photo or screen that well.  It’s a very cool, very slight shimmer in that whole bottom left-hand corner.  In bright light, it looks awash with gold dust.  But only in bright light!  So it doesn’t leap out at you all the time.  This, I like. 

 What I learned:

  • I expected lots of stiffness.  Nope.  Soft, soft, soft!  Almost gloriously soft.  Probably the roughest sections are wherever there is metallic acrylic, but it sits on top of the batting, so the fabric itself isn’t at all stiff, and the top (just in those areas) feels like you’re touching someone with pretty dry skin.  All in all, not bad!
  • I expected the Inktense to be really bright and vibrant.  I did use some water with them, probably more than maybe some would use.  My batting wasn’t dripping wet at the end, but it was uniformly damp and needed time to dry.   I’m sure if I’d have used less water, my color would’ve popped more, but maybe more than I’d have liked.  Still, if that’s the look you’re going for, you can probably get that with the Inktense pencils, and the blocks are definitely stronger, and will make a major impact, if you want that.
  • I’ve not tried wetting the batting to see how permanent the Inktense and pastels are.  I believe acrylic paint is permanent on fabric, so I wouldn’t even need to test that.   This is just supposed to be a test swatch, but I really like it, and so I’m not in any hurry to try and scrub it and risk messing it up.  I’m thinking this will eventually be cut up and will wind up going into embellishments on the quilts.  Also, not sure if regular watercolor paint will wash out of fabric once it dries?  I assume it would, but maybe staining pigments wouldn’t fully wash out?  Not sure.
  • If I put something on the fabric and thought it was too bright, I just thinned it with water.  This worked straight across the board with the exception of the water-soluble oil pastels.  And I’m sure if I’d have really worked at those, I could’ve tamed those colors a bit.  But I really loved them!  They were my favorite part of the piece (and the biggest surprise, because I almost didn’t use them at all)!

It may just be me, but every time I look at this, I see those gorgeous violet and yellow violas that come out at this time of year.   I just love purple and yellow together, and those Portfolio pastels are so inexpensive that I think I’ll really be enjoying using this medium most when I want a really strong color statement. 

 Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing another mixed media fabric experiment to celebrate spring!  Playing with art supplies is so much fun!   Sometimes the less you know, the better; the surprises never stop!   Have a great Tuesday, and don’t forget to spread some joy around.  Peace.