Tag: atlanta art

Visual Journal Page 21: The Perfect Combination

I have said it many times, I have the sweet tooth of a 7 year old. My sugar palate never seemed to mature to the dark chocolates of my peers, I have always loved the 100% sugar, fruity varieties of candy that are marketed towards children. For many years, Skittles have been my reigning favorite, a fact that my hubby knows well.

Nick will periodically come home after a grocery trip with a share size Skittles bag. When we go see a movie, no questions asked, Skittles are the staple after popcorn. On road trips he will stop for gas, even if we don’t really need it, just to go get me a bag of Skittles.

Over the years, not only has Nick stored my favorite candy somewhere in his brain, he has also noted my favorite color combination: purple and red. I don’t know what it is about purple and red, it is the most perfect flavor combination out there. I don’t seek out purples or reds to eat individually, it is a combo deal, otherwise any color will do. I can’t even refer to them as their flavors, because a skittle flavor is unique to it’s color, and trust me, purple and red is it. As Nick and I snuggle up on the sofa to watch TV or sit in a movie theater, he will pass along Skittles to share. Without fail, if he ends up with a handful that has purples and reds, they come straight to me.

This is not something I ever made a point to tell him I needed. It was never a discussion, argument, or requirement. It was just something he noticed I liked and did for me unprompted. Moments like these define our marriage. It’s not the buying of houses or birthing of children, it’s the fact that I get every purple and red Skittle Nick comes across. The little things matter the most, because the little things add up to better days, weeks, months, years, and a continued growth together, not apart. The little things mean the other person is still paying attention, wants to know more, and do more to make you happy. Not because you are supposed to buy that house or procreate, they do things to make you happy just because they care enough to want to.

It’s scary how well you know me.

SUPPLIES:

  • Visual journal
  • Gesso
  • Paintbrush
  • Water
  • Pencil
  • Watercolor
  • Thin Sharpie
  • White colored pencil
  • Rubber cement

HOW TO

For this visual journal page, I decided to focus on the colors of the red and purple Skittles. I brainstormed different ways of including them, an avalanche of purples and reds, a Skittles package with nothing but purples and reds, but I ended up deciding that it isn’t the quantity that is important, it’s the combination of a single purple and a single red. Once I decided on just two skittles, I opted to draw hands cradling them, as if they were something delicate and special, not something I am about to chew up and digest.

To create the visual journal page, I started by ripping a page from my visual journal book. I did this because I wanted to make the arms and hands stand out against the page and decided to use watered down gesso to do that. Since gesso is liquidy, I didn’t want it to soak through the other pages of my book. I lightly sketched the outline of the arms and hands, then filled them in with gesso. Once dry, I added details and shading with a pencil. Gesso creates a nice, smooth surface to draw on top of.

After I finished my hands, on a separate sheet of paper I drew my skittles and filled them in with watercolor. I didn’t add much water to the pigment so I would end up with a nice, vibrant color. While waiting for the Skittles to dry, I moved onto my paint splatters. I added more water to the watercolor pigment, painted a thick line on a sheet of paper, and blew it at an angle to make the paint splatter. After the skittles and paint splatters dried, I cut them out.

I glued the skittles down first, then added a highlight and the “S” using a white colored pencil. Next, I alternated red and purple splatters around the hands, and glued them down with rubber cement. Last, I used an extra fine Sharpie to add the words on top of the paint splatters.

CHALLENGE

Dedicate a page to your favorite sweet.


 

Craft Fairs: Setting Up My Outdoor Booth

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After a year of collecting the necessary parts, I finally set up my outdoor booth.

On a very hot day in March, I spent a day in pursuit of a booth picture. My hubby and I spent the afternoon pulling out my tent, grid panels, “S” hooks, tables, decor, and of course, artwork. I loved watching all the pieces finally come together.

After three years of dabbling in indoor art shows I decided I wanted to expand to outdoor shows. They are more frequent and have a lot more foot traffic than the indoor exhibits. After finally deciding it was time to make the transition, I began looking for shows to apply for. Every single one required a picture of the booth set up in order to apply. This wasn’t something I was going to be able to submit, and see what happens. I was going to have to invest a lot of up front money in the hopes of being accepted to a show.

Over the next year I spent hours on Craigslist, garage sale and discount websites. Slowly, but surely, the components came together. The tent came first, I finally gave in and bought one new. A few months after the tent was purchased a coworker contacted me about selling his booth parts. He tried selling his artwork for a year before deciding it just wasn’t for him. I was able to get six grid panels and weights from him. I then pulled tables from my indoor set up, two of the three panels I use to display work at indoor shows, and hanging supplies.

After getting all the pieces it still took months for me to work up the motivation to set it up. For hours I was running in and out of my house hauling artwork. I quickly realized I would never be able to do this solo. The tent is too cumbersome and the panels are too heavy. My first lesson in outdoor festival participation is making sure Nick is always available for set up and break down.

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I decided I wanted my largest pieces along the back wall. They helped fill the space, and would hopefully catch the eye of passerbys. The trickiest part I have to figure out is where to set myself up. I enjoy having a table to hide behind. I am a passive seller. Perhaps I would earn more money if I pushed my products on people, but I want them to purchase one of my pieces because they feel connected to it. My tiny little table is my comfort zone. My safety net, preventing me from getting my hopes up as people come in and peruse my work.

DSC_3750 I decided to hang my letter pieces on the right side panel, and my 6″x6″ silhouette paintings on the left side panel. My hope is these pieces will be more approachable as people walk by. They may assume the large pieces are out of their price range, but with $35 and $25 price tags, these are easy to pick up and take home.

I also wanted to set up a table with my letter prints, at $10 each these are an even better impulse buy item. I decided these would be best set up next to my letter encaustics and extending slightly out of my booth to break up the space.

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One issue that always lurked in the back of my mind was how my encaustics would stand up to summer Georgia heat. I got a little taste of it during the practice set up, the pieces that were directly in the sun began to melt. It was worse case scenario. After all the time and work I put into my set up, I was now questioning whether or not I was even going to be able to do this at all.

As soon as I discovered the melting pieces, I snapped my pictures, and began disassembling. As I carefully took each piece down, I examined it for signs of tackiness and liquid wax. Luckily, only the pieces in direct sunlight showed signs of the wax turning to liquid. The pieces with the sun hitting the backside of them felt slightly tacky and the rest of the pieces were fine. Although I felt a little better, I was still concerned. These were only up for 30 minutes, an hour at the most, what would happen at an all day festival?

After cleaning up I began doing some research. There are brave artists out there who display their encaustic in the dead of summer at outdoor festivals. You do have to play a game of rearranging as the sun enters your tent, but it gave me hope. A lot of the sunlight was coming in through the sides of the tent, but at a festival, in theory, there will be tents on either side. I decided I just needed to give it a shot, and I applied for my first show. The Chastain Park Arts Festival, opening the first weekend of May.

6%22x6%22 Oil Painting Studies

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To ease my mind even more, I have begun mini oil paintings. These will hang in the sunlight when my encaustics have to be moved. I am ready to expand my art career, and this is the next logical step. I will not let a melting work of art get in my way.

Today I find out whether or not I have been accepted to the Chastain festival. Whether or not I make it, I have a long list of other festivals to apply to. Hopefully I will soon have an opportunity to take my booth set up out for the real deal. Stay tuned!

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help me spread the word about my artwork by sharing with others. Thanks for stopping by!


 

Visual Journal Page 18: Printing

Visual Journal Page 18-Printing

For over two years I functioned without a printer in my classroom. In my class visual journals are a big focus. Every Friday my students get out their journals and make whatever they want. With this open ended assignment also comes a need to print images for my students to use in their visual journals. In addition to my weekly need for a printer, my students often used images as references for their projects. At the start of every project I had to reserve time in the only computer lab in the school just so my students had access to a computer to look up images and a printer to print them.

For living in such a technically advanced age it shocks me when schools are so far behind. We are supposed to be preparing these students for college and the workforce. Technology is an inevitable part of their futures and they need experience using it before they get there. Many of my students were fortunate enough to live in homes that could afford computers. However not all of my students are that lucky. Some of their only contact with technology was in school, and we had low availability of it.

By my third year I was fed up. I was tired of battling every other teacher for time in the computer lab and sending students to the library to print for 25 cents a page. It was time to find a way to get technology in my classroom. I decided to apply to a grant program in Newton County called the Snapping Shoals Bright Ideas grant, provided by Snapping Shoals Electric Membership Corporation. To apply to the grant I had to provide a lesson plan and what materials needed funding for the lesson. I chose to submit a lesson for my Advanced Placement Art class that involved photo transfers. In order to print pictures to transfer they needed a computer and a laser printer.

The previous year I had applied to Snapping Shoals and was awarded grant money to help fund my sculpture program. I was one of 19 teachers selected to received funding from the surrounding counties. I was proud of myself and excited for the prospects this provided for my students. Because I was awarded money the previous year, I figured my chances were slim of being selected again. Despite this I put together my lesson and submitted my application.

The announcement day came and I couldn’t believe it when I found my name on the list. I was going to receive two computers and a printer for my students to use. I would finally have a space to allow my students to expand their ideas and create their projects.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Scissors
  • Laser printed image
  • Packaging tape
  • Book pages
  • Sharpie

HOW TO

To create this visual journal page I started with a print out of the most colorful, vibrant picture I could find. I wanted to show off my printer’s ability, and loved this picture of the brightly colored pots. I printed it off on my fancy new laser printer and got to work creating a tape transfer. I carefully placed packaging tape over the picture, sticky side down, on top of the front of the image. After I had one layer of tape covering the picture, I trimmed off the white edges, leaving just the picture stuck to the tape. I rubbed the back of the picture with scissor handles (burnishing) to ensure the ink was well stuck to the tape. I then placed the image in water until the paper began separating from the tape. I carefully rubbed the paper away, leaving just the ink stuck to the tape and creating a semi-transparent image.

I wanted to emphasize my ability to now create image transfers easily (thanks to my new computers and printer) so I also layered tape transfers of text in the background. To create these all I did was lightly stick packaging tape on a book page, then ripped it off, so the ink from the text stuck to the tape without too much of the paper sticking. I layered these in the background, the stickiness of the tape was enough to adhere it to the page.

Because the tape transfer of the image was very ink heavy, the tape lost its stickiness. In order to adhere it to the page I had to glue it down with Elmer’s glue. Do not use rubber cement when layering tape, it creates a chemical reaction and makes the tape bubble. I wanted to emphasize the image even more, so I cut a paper frame out of a book page to outline it.

To complete the page I layered two pieces of book pages on the right page, then wrote “printing” on top with sharpie.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page using the two types of tape transfers I used. One where you layer tape on a laser printed image and wash off the paper. The second should be a quick transfer of text by lightly sticking packaging tape to a book page or newspaper and ripping it off.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog! Help me spread the word about visual journaling by sharing with others. Thanks for stopping by!


 

2015 Marist Holiday Traditions

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After a very successful year last year, I decided to once again participate in the annual Marist School Holiday Traditions art festival. Don’t miss this amazing event and opportunity to start your holiday shopping. The festival is opening this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Marist’s campus: 3790 Ashford-Dunwoody Road, Atlanta, GA 30319. There is a $3.oo admission fee, but it is will worth the cost!

I love this event not only because of the sheer size of it, but also because of the range of items they have available. Last year I shared an area with a few jewelry artists, a ceramist, glass blower, candle maker, baker, as well as the illustrator of the very famous book and holiday tradition: The Elf on the Shelf. I packed up Saturday afternoon with a lot less artwork, a little extra money in my pockets, and an assortment of purchases I couldn’t help but make as I hung out with these fellow artists for the day.
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For this festival I will have my standard items, encaustic letter paintings, 6″x6″ silhouette paintings, and letter prints. In addition, I will also have some new encaustic collages, carvings, and other mixed media items. Items range in price from $10.00 to $850.o0. My set up will look much the same as it did last year (pictured below) but with some of my latest creations on display. Check out my Facebook page here for more updates with pictures on what I will have available.


marist craft fair

Find out more information about this annual event on their website here. I hope to see you this weekend! Thanks for stopping by.


 

Visual Journal Page 12: Fall

Visual Journal Page 12-Fall

I love every season of the year, but my favorite has to be fall. I have made many past visual journal pages about fall. I can’t help but be inspired by the vibrant colors of the changing leaves, crisp smells, the cool twinge that appears in the air.

Nick and I are incredibly lucky to have a massive, old ginkgo tree in front of our house. Every fall it reminds me why I love the season so much. I watch as the fan shaped leaves transition from green to yellow. Sometimes it feels like it happens overnight. I wake up in the morning to a beaming, glowing tree, covered in golden yellow leaves.

This ginkgo tree has not only inspired my visual journal, but also my artwork. Every year I find myself in my front yard, crawling around on my hands and knees, collecting the best specimens of fall ginkgo leaves. I press them in my sketchbooks, allow them to dry, then layer them into my encaustic works of art. I love having this piece of the year captured forever, preserved between layers of paper and wax.

Check out last year’s fall post here. Check out a few of my ginkgo inspired works of art here.

SUPPLIES:

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Watercolor pencils
  • Water
  • Paint brush
  • Pencil
  • Sharpie

HOW TO:

This visual journal page was fairly simple to make. I have to admit, it isn’t one of my favorites. I aimed for simple in order to put focus on the leaves, but I think I missed the mark in portraying the beauty of the leaves. Although it isn’t the page I am post proud of, I still wanted to share the image, story, and process. After all, both our failures and successes are all important steps in the learning and creating process.

I started by sketching out the ginkgo leaf shapes on watercolor paper. I wanted them to transition from large to small, to look almost like a single leaf floating in the wind, moving away from the viewer. Once I had the outline roughly (and lightly) drawn out, I began adding color with watercolor pencils. I wanted a sense of fluidity to the leaves, but I still wanted them to be defined. The watercolor pencil was a good solution, because it allowed me to emphasize certain areas, while allowing other areas to be loose.

After I marked out color, I went in with a wet paintbrush, painted over the colored edges, and moved the pigment toward the center of the leaves. I kept going back and forth between adding color with the pencil, and smoothing it out with the water. I did hit points here and there where I would have to be careful with the damp surface. The tip of the watercolor pencil would periodically want to melt into the water, and add a large, dark spot. It is always best to start light and build color to avoid this.

After getting a base of color, I allowed my leaves to dry. I added more detail, various shades of yellows and oranges with the pencils, and added more water. I kept the process going until I was satisfied. Once the leaves dried for the final time, I cut them out using scissors. I used rubber cement to glue them in the book.

Once I finished placing and gluing the leaves, I took a step back, and decided it still looked empty. To try to fill space I added “fall” with sharpie and a few watercolor pencil lines bled out underneath the text. I decided I was satisfied and stopped. Looking back, I still think the page looks incomplete. I haven’t yet decided how to improve it, and until I figure that out, it will stay as is.

CHALLENGE:

Create a visual journal page about your favorite season. Try out your own set of watercolor pencils in the page.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog. Help me spread the word about visual journals by sharing with others, I couldn’t do it without you. Thanks for stopping by!