Octopus – the Art Elements theme reveal

Claire has a deep love for octopus. If you know her – you know this. So it wasn’t a surprise when this was her selection for the theme this month! Personally I find them alternately beautiful and creepy, yet utterly fascinating. They are chameleons, and very intelligent. (Image from this NY Times article)


CreditCreditFred Tanneau/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

I sat down to bead – to bead a tapestry with the perfect enameled Octopus by Anne Gardanne.

I was thinking. a felted and beaded tapestry .I tried out ideas for an embellished frame that wold have embedded shells in Apoxie clay. I wove ribbons of hand dyed French silk ribbon amongst the tentacles….. Nothing. The Muse was not a-mused. ( I set this aside for another day. )

See what I kept thinking of was a mermaid. Who says they all have to have fish tales. I mean, Ursula the Sea Witch was an octopus. So I went to one of my all time favorite artists for inspiration. Alfonse Mucha.

This is “Dance” completed in 1898. It was the figure reface I needed – clearly Mucha in style, with clear lines to alter the lower half of the figure. And I traced it – full disclosure!

I drew my own decorative elements, and did line work in sepia permanent marker. I painted happily one afternoon – a break from the studio – red hair, aqua waves, and a mottled background.And then tackled those tentacles!

I started a base coat of watercolor. I had masked off the edges a little…. I planned on using salt in a wash to get speckles. But I had small salt, and it wasn’t dramatic enough – so I started shattering! What a wet mess and SO much fun. Then I added some Brusho pigment crystals…

Wet and wonderful

I had thought about drawing in the suckers with white Gell pen? Or painting a hint of them in watercolor… but the Brusho are so intense they kinda ruin a piece for working back in. They also splattered past where I had applied Maskit and are very hard to cover! ( They reactivate with anything wet…) SO I think I am done!

This was just what I needed – to paint for pleasure. Thank you Claire for a great theme. Oh – Zoey wanted in on the octopus action too:

Don’t forget – this is a hop! Take a look at other creations from the Art Elements team and our guests this month!

Guest artists:
Cat
Evie and Beth
HopeKaren
Kathy
Melissa
Michelle
Rozantia
Sarajo
Tammy

Art Elements Team:
Cathy
Claire
Jenny
Laney Lindsay Marsha

Creative re-use: the Art Elements theme reveal

Welcome! This month Lesley tasked us with something a little different – she challenged us to reuse, recycle, and reinvent. While that wasn’t a new idea for some of us – it was a really fun challenge to try something new, to make new from old. It was perfect timing with Earth Day falling in the month to make use of exiting materials, in an effort to reduce waste and consumerism.

My first piece came to me filled with delicious British chocolates. Jenny Wren to be exact. They arrived perfectly intact from my Secret Santa Caroline – that tiny wren flying thousands of miles with the assistance of the Royal Mail. We ate the chocolates carefully, savoring the treat over a few days, and yes – I did share with my husband.

The box fascinated me. I loved the engineering, and the size. The colors aren’t my personal palette – so for this month’s challenge I decided to give it a make over. ( Sadly no process pix. Oops) I based my palette on paste paper I had made with my Book Arts group a while back. It was my favorite aqua greens, but with gold and burgundy. I covered the hot pink, but let the yellow peek out at the edges. I wrapped each drawer, and lined the inside. I knew I had to use thin paper, and leave certain areas alone – to as not bulk up the form and impede movement.

I am really happy with the box – it may live on my bead table, holding artist beads that are too pretty to put away, or that are in my line of vision as I contemplate what their future holds.

My second re-use project uses old wool sweaters. Unlike many of my team mates here at AE, I cannot sew. Nothing functional that it. I can embellish and embroider, but no patterns or machines for me. Old wool sweaters from the thrift store shrink and felt into lovely fabric – one simply needs to wash and dry on hot! These felted pieces I have used as the basis for tapestries, for pouches… This month I tried a goddess art doll of sorts. There are some issues – but I liked embroidering while watching tv – having something to do with my hands. The goddess shape I drew onto the felt, and did lose some definition of shape when I turned its and stuffed it – due to the thickness of the fabric. I think I will play with this idea more.

Ok – this is the big reveal. This is a thing I actually found in an antique store in Maine last October! When I saw it – I had a plan!

It is an antique mens travel grooming case, in great condition. I clean it up, threw put the brushes… and refilled it!

While it isn’t the most streamlined travel art studio – its unique and makes me happy! The soap and toiletries boxes have all been reimagined:

There are travel scissor, brushes… I need to find a plastic travel bottle that fits in one of the open loops, and I have a watercolor tray that may fit in as well. I went to find a sketchbook to fit inside – but they were all too thick. So I made a folio – to hold loose paper. It will serve as the work surface as well. It is covered in Tyvek painted with alcohol inks – so it won’t be harmed by the occasional splatter.

Before I go – a few process pix. The watercolor pans are all in place with magnets. Magnetic tape not eh bottom of the box, and a round magnet on each pan. Easy to remove, rearrange, refill. And the Tyvek? It was simply a USPS mailer envelope cut open, and painted on the clean white inside. ( Free and durable)

Thanks for stopping in – I am off to dabble with my watercolors for the #100 day project. But please – take a look at what creative re-use solution are going on on the other blogs!

Guests 

Tammy

Alysen

Evie & Beth

Karin

Hope

Divya

Anita

Sarajo

Kathy

Rebecca

Martha

AE Team

Niky

Laney

Cathy

 Caroline

Jen

Jenny  ( you are here)

Sue

Claire

Lesley

Art Journals – personal journeys

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Lino prints series in progress, ink drying… many stages all at once. 

I have always kept a journal. Sometimes lists, events, feelings… sometimes doodles, scraps and ephemera. Over the last few years I have gradually been making an art journal a new personal habit. For me it is a place to play, to emote, to work through things… and maybe never to share with another set of eyes. Its a place to work in art mediums that aren’t my day to day work as a full time artist. Its a chance to create with no pressure, no deadlines, no gallery or show inventory lists to check off.

Last year and this year I have signed up for Journal 52 hosted by Canadian artist and journal keeper Effy Wild. On her inspirational mailing list – one received a prompt each week. This has kept me motivated, helps me stay accountable to myself ( and sharing as I choose in the online FB group) and helps me get out of my own way. I dont need to plan – I can respond. I can think it through or go intuitive. And as the 3rd month draws to a close I am up to date. I will be gentle with myself as the show schedule ramps up for the season – but it has become a habit, and some “me” time I relish.

I wanted to share a few images with you:

“Portal” – carat d’ache crayon, watercolor, wax crayon, ink, marker, salt. Quote paraphrased from Joseph Campbell.

At the Art Elements blog we started a weekly challenge – to contribute as you can – no pressure. Themes range form color to concept to object. You can see the weekly round up of offerings each Sunday on the blog. Here are: “Red, Spiral, and Serenity”  This series has made me start thinking of small prints that echo my Mythic Nature tiles. Perhaps coming to a show this Spring?

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Week 5: Anticipation. collage, gel medium, marker, interference paint, watercolor

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Week 8: Stillness. Acrylic paint.  

 

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Collage, paint, ink, piles of work in progress.

 

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Week 10: Truth. collage, linoleum prints, marker

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Week 9: Emerge. This coincided with St Davids Day – honoring my Welsh heritage. And allowing the errors to show… ( Materials – Tombow markers, carat d’ache crayons, watercolors. )

I will keep updating here periodically through the year – to share and keep myself accountable. I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you keep an art journal?