Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A New Large Original OIL Painting!

"In All Things We Find Ourselves"
Oil on Canvas
48 x 48 x 1.5 inches
available on ETSY

It's hard to believe it's been almost 20 years...

since I painted in OIL. Wow.

After having been a professional acrylic artist for the last 6 years, here are some things I re-discovered.
  1. Oils take a REALLY long time to dry - especially when you paint with full pigment, as I usually do, with just a little walnut oil here and there (thanks for the tip and the free samples, M. Graham folks! It seems forever to the likes of an acrylic artist!
  2. If I was planning to paint again the next day, I could just leave my palette out and brushes in the walnut oil and I was good to go for my paint session the next day. No waste of this paint! (And before you gasp in horror at my poor paint brushes, I do the same thing with acrylic brushes in water, so go ahead and gasp twice for those of you diligent about keeping a perfect brush tip.)
  3. Oils have beautiful color and shine. Thanks to the great work of fine art paint manufacturers such as Dan Smith, though, they aren't nearly as different from acrylics as they used to be.
  4. After years of acrylic painting, and not worrying about the paint getting everywhere, on myself included, I was an oil painting MESS. I would find smudges of oil paint everywhere after a painting session. With acrylics, I would just rub my hands together, make sure they felt dry, and off I'd go. Hmmm. I may have to become a little neater if/when I do this again.
  5. Blending, even days later, was simple and fun. Nothing like acrylics. What fun!
  6. I need to get some decent gloves!
I hope you enjoy the fruits of my labor. And if you haven't tried oils for awhile, go ahead and make a mess and have some fun!

Now back to the acrylic painting I started this morning. It should be plenty dry for another layer of paint!

(for more about the progression of this painting, see my earlier blog post HERE)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Premium Bamboo Cards as Framed Prints!

After much consideration I have decided to move my popular line of 4 x 6 note cards to a higher quality bamboo paper using my giclee printer, giving the cards the same fine art, long lasting quality of my prints.

Why? You may ask.

I want my customers happy with my art! Really. Since the majority of my customers were either using or sending my cards as an image to be framed, I wanted the same quality in that frame as you would find in all my prints. To this end, as I convert my card templates over to the new printer, I will be arranging the images in sets of 6, allowing customers to better visualize framing possibilities.

Pictured above (and below) is the first set, "Poppy Abstracts", available at my Etsy store: Jenlo262.etsy.com

As with my previous cards I also strive to be eco-conscious. For my new cards (as well as my prints) I have chosen a beautiful warm white Bamboo paper from Hahnemuehle which is a part of their "green rooster" initiative focusing on earth friendly practices and products. READ MORE HERE. Unfortunately, with such lovely fine art paper and archival quality inks I admit the price tag will be forced a little higher. For such a lovely eco-friendly product, however, I'm splitting the difference! Yes, the price will be a little higher ($4.50 instead of the $3.75/card I charged before - or $22.50 for a set of 6), and my margins lower, but what we both get in the process is a beautiful fine art card that can be shared and enjoyed for a lifetime.

I hope you enjoy this new line of Premium Bamboo Cards!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fabric Design - Progress Report!

"Lemon Grove"
Prints Available on Imagekind.com

After starting with the basic single image design (see bird pattern in post below), I have finally made it to the more advanced level of taking an entire painting and manipulating the design into a repeat. And I LOVE what happened!

Original Painting, "Four Lemons"

  • I took the entire painted image, copied it and flipped it horizontal.
  • I started with the easiest two edges to blend, lining up the yellow together and blending by clone stamping along the seam (Photoshop tool).
  • I then took the top 2/3 of the entire new image, copied it, and attached it to bottom, lining up the partial lemon tops with the partial bottom, squeezing together the middle in order to line them up. (This part was the hardest for me conceptually!)
  • Next I cleaned up all the seams with a lot of clone stamping in order to blend them together.
  • Finally I copied a couple of the lemon shapes and copied them along the darkest seem where the mirroring of the leaves was too prominent.
I can't wait to get a fabric sample of this piece! It will be perfect for creating valences for the windows in my dining nook. I'll be eating my breakfast, sipping my coffee, in a Lemon Grove all winter long! As soon as I order, receive, and approve samples, the fabric will be available to you too! I hope you enjoy.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Learning the Art of Pattern Making

(fabric image courtesy Spoonflower.com)

I'm happy to say that, Yes, you can teach a middle-aged, let's say, kitten, new tricks! Somehow I don't feel like calling myself a dog - nothing against my sweet white shepherd.

I've been looking for ways to turn my paintings and designs into fabric. My first problem, however, was how to create a repeating pattern. Back in my art school days I took the required fabric design class, but back then we didn't use computers to create our patterns, we actually did it by hand. So, I knew the basic concept of how to do it with a new design specifically created using those techniques. It was time consuming, though, and was difficult to incorporate my current painting images. Then my husband mentioned - hey, why don't you search for info on the net? Of course. And what do you know, right away I came to this article by Sara Elands. Perfect!

Great article! And I had all the necessary tools right in my Photoshop Elements program. (Definitely use the article for more definitive steps and snapshots right out of Photoshop.) I am now ready to begin!

So, I started with my "Finding Sparrows" design, which seemed like a nice simple image to learn the steps in the process. And then I...

  1. Erased the turquoise background in the painting
  2. Opened a new document in a fat quarter size (18 x 21 in) and started pasting copies of my little sparrow
  3. Rotated and flipped the various sparrow images
  4. flattened my layers
  5. Used the filter "other" to offset the image first vertically
  6. Moved and adjusted sparrows to better fill the gaps
  7. flattened my layers again
  8. Then offset horizontally
  9. Moved and adjusted again
  10. flattened my layers
  11. Cont. steps 5 - 10 until I felt there were no gaps in my pattern
  12. Erased the background (so that it would go over other patterns with just the sparrow and no white background)
  13. Then created a pattern by selecting "all", "edit", "define pattern"
I could then fill any size image with a repeating pattern of this design. I chose to do another pattern in stripes, and then combine the 2 patterns. It was a great way to practice the techniques in the article. Next, I'll try it again with a painting and blending the edges together after I offset the image. We'll see how it goes... and if all is well, you'll find my designs available for purchase on fabric in a variety of sizes/yardage on Spoonflower!
(fabric image courtesy Spoonflower.com)

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Return of the Nude

Thanks to the enticement of participating in the "Unclad" show at the Stanwood Gallery, Gallery by the Bay - I have returned to the art of the Nude. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll have a piece ready for this year's show, but here's my start with hopes of having a painting ready for the show next year. If you haven't been to this show, I would highly recommend it. It's a lovely location with an amazing selection of art and artists.

"In Contemplation"
Mixed Media on Paper
Available on Etsy

It's been several years since my college days and "Life Drawing" classes, but it feels good to consider this beautifully natural form again. Admittedly, when I walked into my first class with a nude model (in the late 80s at the age of 19, mind you) propped up on a platform with lights highlighting every feature, an art instructor carefully directing the pose and props (pillows, vases, draping velvet), I did have to struggle to keep from giggling. For this mild mannered girl from the sticks it was certainly a scene I had never experienced, but one I learned to appreciate far beyond my teenage imagination. Once I started drawing and painting the human form I was awed by it's interesting and provocative lines and shapes. The human body is certainly a work of art, and I felt fortunate to have the opportunity to study it then, and again now.

March 12 - March 27, 2011
Gallery by the Bay
Stanwood, WA

Friday, January 7, 2011

Becoming Alice

Available on Imagekind

Things aren't always
What they seem
My dear Alice.

A patch of turquoise
Orange and yellow
Become Squirrels and
Bluebirds too.

A sprig of Thyme
Or rosemary
Waiting just for you.

Take a moment
Look around
To see this bright new world.

Because rarely is it true, my dear
That what you see
is viewed.

"Becoming Squirrel"
Available on ETSY

"Becoming Sparrow"
Available on ETSY

"Becoming Parsley"
available on ETSY

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Mathematical Challenge

Nothing like a little brain teaser to start the new year!

Why? Because I'm working on a piece to submit to the Arts Center in Corvallis, OR for their Math related exhibit - more info HERE.

The Challenge:

I'll be working with prime numbers in a grid format using the seeds of various fruits as the designated number for each block.

  • I want a 5 x 7 grid
  • Each block should contain a prime number (hopefully under 30 - the smaller the better)
  • I don't want any duplicate numbers in a row
  • I don't want any duplicate numbers in a column
  • Each row should add up to a different prime number (e.g., I don't want 2 rows both adding to 29)
  • Each column should add up to a different prime number
There will be more prime numbers hidden throughout, but I'm struggling with this first part. I can get close, but can't quite close the deal.

Be the first to solve my mathematical dilemma (posting your solution in the comments here) and I'll send you a FREE 11 x 14 inch print of the final piece which should be done in March.

(PLEASE NOTE: Free item must be shipped within the US. Only 1 winner.)

Happy calculating!

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