Archive for the ‘Fairy tale’ Category

who's the wolf

Another Daily Art challenge make. I am revisiting Red; I’m not alone, lots of people are seeing Red these days. There has to be a reason she is surfacing to consciousness right now. I’m not speaking for anybody else, but I feel two contrasting and contradictory energies at work currently. The illusion of black/white vs. ambiguity.  The middle road seems very narrow these days. Mulder is back with his “question everything” philosophy. I like that; my feeling these days is that the questions are more worthwhile than the answers.

I started with the Rives BFK® printmaking paper and dropped some water randomly onto the surface. I put some black Dr. Martin’s® Bombay ink into the plain water drops and let it spread. I blew it around with just my breath and let it wander, then set it aside to dry.

I wanted to use tube watercolors today, so I picked up an ultramarine tube and kneaded it gently to mix the pigment up. These tubes are old so I go easy, but today not easy enough. I was daydreaming and looked down to find ultramarine watercolor all over my fingers. Luckily I had torn up a bunch of lunch sacks yesterday so I wiped my hands all over those pages, and everything else that wasn’t nailed down. Then I took a big brush and swiped water all over the paper to move the paint. I don’t want to think about how that will turn out when it dries, but can you say “CRINKLE?”

Well, watercolors dropped way down the list. That’s how easily I am deterred from stuff. I thought I might try ink. I have a mess of Higgins inks and I like them very much but I never have drawn with ink. I bought them for the purpose of making blot papers for my Interactive Intuitive Readings™ but they didn’t end up working as well as the Bombay ink. Higgins® Dye-based Drawing Inks are much less expensive and highly pigmented. The back of the package says they can be used like liquid watercolors.

I really like the way these inks move, and I would definitely equate them to watercolor nature. **Be advised, I have no watercolor or inking skills. I am purely at a “coloring book” level. If you want to investigate the qualities of either medium, consult someone else with a far greater proficiency.**

The black ink blot was dry so I started looking at it, spinning it around to see if anything presented itself. Here’s how I work with blots and expressive art. Take a couple of breaths, close eyes, open eyes, soften eyes, turn the paper. Pause. Turn paper, pause. Do this all the way around. Subconsciously you likely already ruled one orientation out. Keep going. Don’t get scared. There will be a point when you feel panic and think, “I don’t see anything!” That’s good and natural because this is a trust issue. Expressive art is about developing trust in your creativity and your instincts. Just breath again and keep going.

I went around several times. There was one other orientation that was intriguing and likely would have been deeper expression for me, but I do keep in mind my time limitation. I am sticking to my one hour religiously and sometimes that means sacrificing an idea or technique. That’s ok, there are always other opportunities. Two of the other images were already no go’s. Like it or not, this was the one remaining. Suddenly (and I mean that, like a bolt of lightning) the wolf appeared, really well defined. The major work back into the wolf shape was adding teeth and ears (he had a nub of ear originally). At this point, all I had was white paper, black blot and the red teeth and eye.  As I was thinking and feeling what was left, I saw a curvy line that suggested Red’s Hood and Cape. You’ve got to be kidding me! So I colored that white space in with red. The image needed unity so I brushed on the dark blue for sky and green for ground. The other black blot is the silhouette of tree branch(es). I did see a snake head hanging down in mid-image so I outlined it lightly. It’s just a side note, but now we have three characters in our story.

So the image was nearly finished. There were the two white spots inside the wolf’s body, that is where the text could be. Text had to be short and handwritten. I got a toothpick and dipped it into the ink and scrawled it out.

I considered captioning it “Red’s Shadow.” That’s a black and white energy. I’m telling you the story. “Who’s the Wolf” is the ambiguous energy. Who is the wolf? Who is the innocent? Who is the onlooker? Who’s zoomin’ Who?

There was also the option to leave the space empty.  The highest expression is to let you ask your own questions or the freedom to not ask any and move along. As the maker I am forcing you to do it my way.

 

 

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meerimagic

I worked for the first time in this book, Fireside Children’s Songs illustrated by John Alcorn. I bought this book in a thrift; it had no dust jacket and a loose/torn spine. The illustrations were of the sort I grew up with. This book was printed in 1965 (I was ten that year). John Alcorn was an illustrator who was widely published in ads, posters, and books throughout the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. He had several dominant “styles”: psychedelic, folk artsy and some realistic drawings. The illustrations in this particular book I would classify as a mix of folk art/circus/turn of the century style. There are only four colors used: harvest gold, hot pink, medium orange and black (all on white paper except a couple on black background).

Because I bought the book for the illustrations and subject matter (I love old children’s songs) I couldn’t bring myself to destroy his work. So I had to figure out how to work around it in each spread. Most pages in the book contain some sort of illustration; often a two-page spread has a relationship between the images. The song here was “There was a Crooked Man.” I decided not to use any of the existing text on these pages.

I gesso’d the pages both to strengthen them and cover up the text. The pages of this book are not slick so gessoing was not a problem and it dried quickly. Because I love border and edge work I started by drawing this bold geometric “flag” design. I ran color along the top smaller border but didn’t want to do that all the way around, so I filled the rest of it in with a permanent pen. I scraped a small amount of neon pink, black, yellow and orange paint onto the pages with a credit card. I used the neon for two reasons: I had it and it was the closest to the colors Alcorn used, and I wanted to update his colors to more current tastes.  I prefer brights and neons, so I went with it; I think they work with his colors. The black also helps unify them.

Two creatures appeared to me in the paint scrapes. On the right is a five-legged doggish sort of guy. On the left under Alcorn’s crooked cat is a fox-like animal. I enjoyed making the five-legged creatures feet–one of them looks like a toilet plunger. Good suction in a wind storm. The other feet look like giraffe and horse hooves and a duck’s foot.

After I penciled the outlines for the creatures I knew I needed a central focal point. Since the pages so far had a bunch of animals and a house, I figured the resident of the house was a good start. I am very fond of this stencil from Dina Wakeley. It has three faces, all about the same size, similar but with slightly different expressions. She had the sweetness and folksy look to complement Alcorn’s designs and my decision to create a story. I made her the heroine of my tale. Her body is an inkblot stencil pattern, which gives her a kind of creature-y look as well. Perhaps a shapeshifter?

The spread needed some filler and incidental color pops. I used a rubber stamp set of playing card suits. I stamped the diamond suite on her forehead in the “third eye” area and that cinched her magic qualities.

I don’t know where the name Meeri came from. No doubt there are people named that but I wanted something unusual with a sing-song quality. I stamped the text, “Meeri is legendary for her magic and the company she keeps.” I finished it off with three page reinforcements that I painted black. My very last addition was one of the little creatures I traced from the Dollar Tree Monster stencil set and I placed him in an empty area that needed him.

I love this piece and think my additions hold their own against John Alcorn’s wonderful work, at least in the story-telling department.

da1-5-16The Daily Art Challenge police would have no trouble spotting the crime here–1/4/16?? It’s 1-5-16–busted! Yes, after signing this today (in permanent Sharpie™ of course) I realized the correct date.

But, moving on to this odd fellow. The lettering is a stencil alphabet that I traced onto transparency in 8.5×11 size. Then I cut a light colored scrapbook paper to 8.5×11 size and copied the alphabet by running the paper through the printer tray. That way, instead of having to buy stickers or stamps, I can print any of my alphabet stencils into any paper. So, if you are following along with my Make Do Initiative, and I know you are, this is a creative way to make your supplies and tools more versatile and also you have stuff that nobody else has with no further financial investment. How cool is that?

For sure you remember the Dollar Tree stencil sets I’ve been bragging about. The big leaf gnome body is a stencil from the Sea Life set, cut out from an old map. The legs, arms and hat are cut from a botanical print. The tree and acorn were sketched in with a Stabilo-All®  Water Soluble Pencil (brown) and wet very delicately and smeared, which is where this pencil excels. I outlined the gnome and letters with Prismacolor® pencils. The face is from a stencil of four different cherubs.

I thought I was using Rives BFK Arches printmaking paper. During making, the paper was behaving UnBFK-ly; it was buckling. I held the paper to the light and discovered it had an Allstate watermark–it is half-sized paper I found at an estate sale and bought for it’s cotton rag content. This paper is not suitable as a collage foundation. Not sure how, but this piece was in with my pre-cut BFK supply. A tip and reminder: any foundation you use for collage has to be heavier than the paper you are applying.

I may have taken longer than an hour. It’s been a weird unpredictable day. Several business matters needed to be done during normal studio time. An installer is coming to put in some equipment. There’s been unusual unavoidable interruptions. My work was intermittent and I forgot the timer. The dog ate my homework.

 

 

thedragonknightsteed

I already spent most of the day blogging at Mythos so I’m going to reprint a page from my process journal about this piece:

December 1 & 2:

Nikki (Nikki St. Laurent) made the Dragon’s Eye pendant and I had a torch fired hoop that worked color-wise. I tried various combinations and went down that path for quite a while. Finally I had an arrangement that used a spectacularly colored designer leather scrap I swore I could never find a use for. (Note: it looked like dragon scales). I LOVED the leather with the finish on the dragon eye, so reptilian and mythic. By Day 1 end I had a workable design that just needed minor assembly and a closure.

Day 2 I was still good with the piece and pleased with the component meld, but the closure stumped me. It was too heavy for a leather lace. Ball chain was out. I tried every silver chain I had and none worked so I thought of going to the store. The more I thought about going to the store for chain and a clasp, the more I thought about Make Do. I noticed a buckle part on my table…beautifully etched and in the shape of a shield. I removed the torched hoop and decided to form horsehair to create a loop on the bottom of the shield.  I really did not want to leave off that leather, but then I thought about the courage of the Knight. Courage, “la couer”, the heart. Also, the heart of the Steed and the red of scapulars. It occurred to me to make it a “badge of the Quest” scapular so I decided on deep red thread and seam binding to help form the horsehair. I knotted the hair at the bottom, sewed it in place, leaving ends to appear from behind the shield. I ran horsehair through the buckle hole, knotted it and ultimately hung the dragon’s eye off it at the top. I attached a tiny heart-shaped lock with a tiny brass safety pin.

The Knight is on the Quest, the Dragon guards the treasure the Knight seeks. The mythic story. But what of The Steed that carries the knight for many days over arduous land. Certainly he represents the energy needed to carry the Knight to the final destination. The loyalty and stamina. This is my tribute to the Steed.

fabric paper copies

When last we met, Fabric Paper Part 1, I promised a follow up about my uses for the paper. Well, my purpose in making the paper was to cut it up and make bracelet cuffs from it. I still intend to do that, but I  haven’t gotten to it yet. So this post is about art journaling.

I don’t usually decorate the cover of a journal first. To be honest, I  rarely get past the first three pages of a journal so nearly no covers get done. It’s not unusual for journal makers to leave the cover for last. Perhaps the idea is that after the journal is completed there is more of a tone to bring to the cover than might have been apparent at first. Perhaps the idea is that the cover might get so monumentally messed up that nothing could fix it and it would be forever lost. Not a very good way to start a journal. My feeling is, I need to love that book to the point that I can’t leave it alone.

I don’t usually follow the market for supplies. I’ve used various mixed media sketchbooks, hardbound and spiral bound. For some reason, spiral bound journals started to bug me. I actually used to LIKE spiral bindings, so I have no idea what that is about. And, the hardbound journals I had would not stay open or lie flat. That started to bother me, too. Wet pages had a mind of their own and would flip closed to the other side. (Don’t write to me about clips). Anyhow, I saw a few videos by Ranger for the Dylusions Creative Journal. It is a bound journal that opens and stays perfectly flat on it’s own with No Clip. The paper is heavyweight and suitable for wet applications; the cover is heavy chipboard. The 8.5×11 journal retails for $25 at Michaels, so I wait for a 50% off coupon and buy it; at $12.50 this 64 page journal is an excellent buy.

If you’ve been keeping up with my Mythos blog, you know I’ve developed an obsession with Little Red Riding Hood. Since I posted over there about Red last week, I’ve gotten an obsession with all the Grimm Bros. tales, and the Grimm Bros. themselves. I plan next week to get an obsession with Hans Christian Anderson, to be followed by Charles Perrault. Ultimately Mother Goose will be involved, at which time if I’m decorating my bedroom as a nursery I expect professionals will be called in.

So, I procured me a new journal: hope springs eternal. And I decided to tackle the cover first. Mother of Pearl, what a confunction.  I have no hand-lettering skills. (Could this be at the base of why I am a journal writer that does not write journals?) How was I going to get the text on? Was I going to collage a cover? (Treacherous). Was I going to draw a cover? (Unlikely). Was I going to paint a cover? (Unlikeli-er). Maybe I wasn’t thinking out of the box enough, but it seemed that about covered it, technique-wise.

Finally, I considered stencils. It’s hard to imagine that I didn’t think of stencils right away, because there is a good portion of my grey matter dedicated to thinking about stencils. I have several tree stencils of the right size.  Then the decision: paint or ink?

Acrylic paint has drawbacks; it creates a slick “dimensional” coat. I felt it could limit my options later, both for material and technique. Ink also has drawbacks, the first being, I don’t like the look of sprayed ink. It CAN be very inconsistent and temperamental. Like, I spritz it off-project a couple times and everything is good, then I move onto the money shot and it fires out blobby and drippy and with extreme prejudice. One time it actually blew the stencil off!

I didn’t want the cover black, and I didn’t want it colored, either. I wanted it natural, so my mind went to walnut ink crystals. I had some ink made up already. I also had one of those Mini Mister applicators. I thought the smaller mister might give a more consistent spray.

I had to take it outside because walnut ink stains just about everything. Particularly cats, and they seem to jump on my work island just as I am executing a critical treatment. My experience with spraying any ink is that it goes all over the place, even though you think it couldn’t possibly. (A good idea for you is to put the ink-ee into a box; that is, if you, as a well-prepared artist, can put your hands on a box that doesn’t have black widow spiders inside it. I am not so lucky. I am not making that up.)

Outside I went. I had applied TAPE to keep the stencil laying down. I tell you, I was firing on all cylinders. I got the mister going and I was right, the Mini-Mister did a good job with a fine spray, consistent and very much enhancing the detailed stencil. However, mysteriously I did produce two large drips. The biggest one ended up spreading out and isn’t too noticeable. The smaller one is at the bottom. While I was out there I sprayed the edges of the journal all the way around. The edges always get messed up on my journals anyway, so I figured I’d grunge them up from the beginning. woodsjournalstenciled

I left off working on it last night to let it dry properly.Today I was faced with Now What? There were many options. I considered collage for the tree trunk and limbs with small pieces of paper. That’s why I copied the fabric paper–some of the designs worked for tree bark and texture. I tore a couple pieces up and tried it and I didn’t like it. Not One Bit. I tried a teeny dictionary with tiny type to collage the trees. That was better, but with the busy all-over stencil design I was concerned the collage would be overwhelming and make the tree look stiff and clunky.

I decided to take a break so I sat down and outlined the tree with a fine line black marker (Artline) and that created considerable depth to the image. At this point I considered doing very very very small handwritten text along the tree trunk and limbs. I was very tempted to do it, being that it is one of my favorite activities, but it might be even busier than the collage. No go.

It’s not possible for me to hand-letter the journal title. I considered transferring toner or inkjet computer text to the cover. (Treacherous). I thought maybe I’d do a packing tape or Contact Paper transfer. (Easier, but the stickers can look clunky). I did not want to stencil again, even I know when to stop. So I went into the stamp hoard and found this alphabet (I cannot tell you who made it, the packaging is long gone). It was amazing that I bought both the capital and lowercase set of this font. I must have realized 15 years ago that This Day Would Come-And It Did.

woodsjournallettering

Isn’t it nice? You can see that I had to do a pre-stamp trial run…better safe than sorry. I have been sorry SO many times. I loved the font and the color (StazOn Saddle Brown). I took the plunge….wait for it…

woodsjournalcover

This is where I stopped. You will notice that I optimistically added the “Vol. 1” notation as an afterthought. I’m pulling out the stops to get this journal on a good trajectory. I Winter Solstice-ed it up for you by adding a cheery pine cone. I know how you appreciate that Martha touch. (I reread this post and see I’ve mentioned two Ranger products. I do not receive any compensation from them and actually use very few of their products).

The cat is Peter Pan. During the above process, I listened to Dr. Clarissa Pinkola-Estes, “The Theater of the Imagination”. Today it was Bluebeard. Her telling and analysis is a must hear for women.