Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween and Canvas, A Winning Combination!

Happy Halloween!
I hope you are all having fun and spooky days. I am super excited, because I've just about run out of things to paint on, and my big shipment of canvases from just arrived last night - whoo-hoo! The bad news is, I can feel a cold coming on... I hope I can fight it off and paint through it all instead, but we'll see. I ordered some new types of painting surfaces that I haven't tried before, so I'll let you know how it all works out. I got some oval shaped canvases, some gessoboard, a convex canvas, and some more traditional stuff. Unwrapping everything last night was just like Christmas!

I also got some frisket masking fluid (art gum), which I've never tried before andam very excited to experiment with. I also finally found a crackle medium that works for me: Jo Sonja's Crackle Medium. I never liked the results I've gotten with other stuff, but I love how this stuff looks, so I got a huge bottle of it since I just ran out. It's a one step crackle: you just put it on, wait for it to dry, and then you rub paint or stain into the cracks in order to accentuate them. I love this stuff! I should do an infomercial...

This is a close-up of a new painting I did. I used crackle medium on her face:

Here's the rest of the painting (and its twin!), with the Ruby Roo showing off her cute in the background:

I'm so glad a couple of people commented on the sound from the painting video! I had intended on replacing the sound with some music, but when I heard how it sounded sped up, it made me laugh, so I kept it like that. I don't remember what I was listening to when I painted, though! I had my iPod on shuffle, so it was going through my whole music collection and even threw in a few chapters of audiobooks (when it sounds like sped-up talking without music). I should pay better attention next time and write down what the songs are, because I'm curious myself, now that you mention it!

I hoped to do a video today, but it might have to wait until Monday since I'm feeling under the weather. I hope I don't really get sick...I have to teach tomorrow, and there's an art festival I was hoping to go to in a nearby town, too! I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bread and Black Coffee

...and a quick big-eyed girl painting, inspired by all of the big-eyed dolls in my life, like Blythe and Sad Eyed Susie...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Curiousity Cabinet of Love

curiousity cabinet of love, originally uploaded by howtouseart.

Today I wanted to show you a few of my favorite things in a little corner of my new place! :) Some of these goodies were handmade by me, some by friends and Etsy artists, and others are vintage thifted finds.

Yup, that is my puppy made into a snow globe in the center!

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who commented on or watched the painting video - it means so much to me that people are out there watching it and enjoying it, and it totally makes me want to make more videos like this! I am still new at the whole video thing, but I have lots of plans for what to show in the future, and they are so much fun to make; I will definitely keep updating with more in the near future. In the near future, I hope to do a DIY stencil tutorial for paper and t-shirts, more speed painting, and maybe a gouache painting (thanks for the suggestion, Jesse!).

I'm also really thrilled that people are liking the paintings. I have piles (literally) of paintings to share with you, but I wasn't sure anyone was interested and I am still pretty shy about my paintings, since I always used to be so fearful of the process. Even in art school, I would shy away from taking any painting classes, because I was so sure I'd be bad at it. I know my pieces could be a lot better, but at least I'm finally forcing myself to try and am *finally* really enjoying painting instead of it being such a stressful, scary thing for me. Painting is now one of the things I look forward to the most every day, and I'm so glad I can finally say that! The artists I have always admired most have been painters, so it's something I've always wanted to work on and get better at.

I know there are people out there who are scared of painting but want to try, and my advice is to force yourself to jump in, but do it slowly. I didn't want to spend a ton of money on canvases when I started, so I just found some throwaway scrap wood and tried painting on those. My first efforts were horrible and were painted over many times (layers and layers of gesso!). I realized I didn't draw enough to be able to make paintings and figures that made sense...if that makes any sense! So I drew each and every day, even when it started out looking terrible, and even when sitting down to draw felt like going to the dentist. I drew the same 5 faces every day for a month, and by the end, you could really tell the difference that practice had made. After that, I started craving color in my figures, so I started just adding watercolor. I made it so light that it was like a stain, coloring things in like a coloring book. That was really fun, so I started to add depth and color with the watercolors, not watering them down as much any more. This led in to painting with gouache (a water-based paint that is more translucent then water color). Then I painted with acrylics, then oils. I don't paint with oils as much any more because of the clean up and toxic materials involved in the process, but I love how they smell and hope to get back into it someday soon, if only just for the scent of the paint, ha ha!

I'm excited to share more tips and techniques in the future, and maybe we can even do some projects together via video and blogs. All my "art friends" have moved out of town, so it's awesome to find people online who are interested and willing to do creative stuff and make things. Okay, off to spend quality time with the doggy...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Finished Piece

Here is "Little Primitive Girl," from the video below, all decked out and finished with a paper pinwheel and some lace. I'm excited about my new little pink Flip video camera and hope to post some how-to's and tutorials on YouTube soon, although the whole video editing thing is pretty new to me. Let me know what you might like to see on video in the future!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Primitive Little Girl

My first speed painting video!

Enjoy ;)

Painting the Morning Away

I painted all morning to the tune of my iPod shuffling its songs about, throwing in a random audio book chapter here and there for good measure. My iPod tends to favor Johnny Cash and Christmas music when put on shuffle, but thankfully, it only threw in one of each this time. I'm trying to paint faster and paint cuter. And to use more glitter. And if you think that is stupid, then I think you are stupid. Poo on you.

Ruby Roo hid in various cave-like areas around the house while I painted, her favorite being under the 1970's (working, but scary!) massage chair. She is such a sweet little muse.

I wish I could paint all day, but I have to teach in the afternoon, and at night, I tend to get burnt out on creative stuff for some reason. Nighttime is time for ideas and reading and movies. I watched The Other Boleyn Girl last night, and it was fantastic. I love anything having to do with Henry the Eigth and his wives, and it's interesting to see how my other favorite (somewhat fictionalized) version of this saga, The Tudors, compares to the Hollywood film. I searched high and low at the booksale I mentioned before for a copy of a Henry XIII bio, but to no avail. I'll have to stick with what my internet researching can turn up for now... I think the BBC version of these events should be next up on my Netflix queue!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Giveaway winners!

I decided to be generous and pick not one but TWO winners for the blog giveaway! They are:

Yay! I even know ScienceMonkey in real life, so that's an added cool bonus. :)

Off to send you a winner's email so you can choose your prints from my shop.

Have a fun Wednesday, everyone. I really enjoyed doing a giveaway (and getting lots of comments!) so I hope to do it again soon... I already have an idea of what I can give out next month. (HINT: It involves an image of my little puppy roommate...)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Roo's Halloween Costume!

Enjoy! Ruby Roo decided to be the Angel of Death for Halloween, albeit a very white and innocent looking Angel of Death...

Today was spent eating Pad Thai, red velvet cake, thrifting, and going to the giant Friends of the Library booksale, where I found some great vintage books filled with amazing illustrations - pictures to come!

I hope everyone is having fun on the blog Halloween parties! In honor of the big party, I want to do a HALLOWEEN GIVEAWAY: Just leave a comment on this post, and I will draw a winning name on Monday night. Whoever wins can choose any print from my shop as their special prize... Good luck!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Heart-Shaped Box

Today I wanted to share this sweet little heart box that I found at the antique mall with you. It was in one of those glass display cases, which at an antique mall usually equals expensive, but this particular piece was really cheap...

I love the little face on the front of the box, so I just had to give you a closer look too:

Tons of tiny, ancient little pincushions live inside the box, and I could not help but take them all home with me, especially because they were sold as a lot.

In other news, Ruby Roo and I are getting geared up for our lovely friend Vanessa's big Halloween Blog Party tomorrow:

We just can't wait to see what Vanessa has in store for us and to show off Miss Roo's costume for the year!

I also got tagged by the wonderful Marjorie of MarmeeCraft Blog to list 6 of the Most Randomest Things I can think of, so here goes:

1. I like to pretend I am neat and clean, when I am truly messy and disorganized. I love to see piles of art supplies everywhere!

2. I work on a million different projects at once, that way I can wait for a coat of paint to dry here and a layer of varnish to dry there... Plus, working on many projects at once means that I can be thinking what the next step is on a different piece as I work on the project at hand.

3. My dog, Ruby Roo, prefers ice water from the Brita, just like mom.

4. I learned to knit and crochet just so I could make those cute little stuffed animal toys... Here is one that has been a work-in-progress for quite some time:

5. Lots of stuff in my kitchen is red.

6. I hate hate hate doing the dishes, even now that I have a dishwasher!

And finally, the finished furniture re-do...



It still needs a few touch-ups, but it was so much fun to paint, and I love how it looks now! Okay, I'm off to re-organize the silkscreen studio and work on some of those many works-in-progress...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thrift Scores!

A good friend of mine came into town for a few days, so a lot of thrifting and screenprinting has been happening around here...
I'm working on repainting some great tables that I scored for $6 for the pair! I'm covering up the black paint with light blue and leaving the red. I'll post "after" pictures when it's done.

This one really reminds me of someone special:

This is by far the best little sculptural bust figure I've ever seen. You've gotta love the sausage curls, and I have no idea what her problem is and why she is covering her ears...

This last little piece is a dancer doin' the twist.

More photos of thrifted yumminess to come soon! Hope you are all having a good week. ;)

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Yesterday the best thing ever came in the fabric from Spoonflower!! It's the first time I've ordered from them, and I just ordered a fat quarter to see how things would look. Now I'm totally hooked and wanting to spend the day designing more fabric...Whee! I am so excited and don't know what to make with my new, precious fabric. Any suggestions?

Roo wrote about the fabric on her DogBlog too... ;)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

My Doggy...

...started a blog!

It's listed under adult content b/c she's naked in most of the photos.

She decided to be Paris Hilton for Halloween this year, despite her mother's protests.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Just Some Fluffy Color...

Just wanted to show you some wool + sparkle batts I've been working on. I love color. It just brightens up every day and makes me want to smile. My foot is doing much better! :)