Tag Archives: studio

Doggy Bag

Because I have to divide my time between my home studio and my work studio, I end up having to haul a lot of stuff back and forth.  If I intend to get anything done it’s necessary that my art and jewelry supplies follow me around.  What this mostly means is that I cuss a lot because something is invariably missing from my bag because I forgot to pack it.  I am very, very good at sabotaging myself, apparently.

I do, however, have a wicked-cool doggy-bag to haul all my stuff around in.  This is one of my Laurel Burch bags.  Yes, one of them.  I also have a purse and a suitcase designed by Laurel Burch.  It’s not all that surprising that I’m drawn to her work…just LOOK at those colours!!  A bag like this can lift your spirits from the depths of the doldrums and put a definite skip in your step.

What came out of the bag at home today:  gesso, acrylic retarder, impasto medium, iridescent medium, camera, large tube of acrylic titanium white, large tube of an amazing copper/burgundy/metallic gold acrylic paint.  I don’t remember what the colour is called but it’s the kind of colour you just want to squeeze a glob of into your hand and smear  all over your canvas….or your face.  I know.  I’m weird.  But this colour is THAT yummy.

What went into the bag to come to work with me:  my journal, my sketchbook, watercolour pencils, 6 x 6 watercolour paper, letter-sized watercolour paper, water pen, scotch tape.

Things that stay in the bag all the time:  archival ink pens, drawing pencils, a small ruler, gum eraser, white eraser, a very basic drawing pad, a bottle of masking fluid, and my camera  manual.

This poor bag has a constant ebb and flow of supplies.  Things go in, things go out.  It’s like a daily tide of supplies and goodies.  Sometimes everything stays inside because I don’t get to it or my Muse takes a powder, but sometimes…..sometimes magical things happen when things come out of the bag.

Now a question for all you creative types out there:  Have you ever bought an art or craft supply just because you fell in love with or were intrigued by it, but didn’t have a single clue what you were going to do with it?  Something you just HAD to have that you may or may not have ever done anything with?  Sort of like a tube of amazing copper/burgundy/metallic gold acrylic paint?  Let me know in the comments.  Come on….fess up….have ya huh?  The lady with paint all over her face promises not to laugh.

I’m In Love

Head-over-heels, in fact.  With pastels.

Friday was a dreary day.  Well, ok, it was more than dreary.

After a bit of warm weather this January, it was downright disheartening to open the blinds in my studio and look out at THAT.  *harumpffff*  I was determined, however, to get something, anything done in my studio.  So I turned on every light in the room, got it as bright as I possibly could and hooked up my only really essential non-art-supply.

*Must * Have * Tunes*  I’m sure I could create in silence, but where’s the fun in that?

So I settled in to make a mess.  My Art Guru, Brandy, had encouraged me to take the wrappers off my pastels.  I did it, but it hurt.  Not only did they not all look perfect anymore, by removing the wrappers I found out how many had broken.  Not many, but enough to send me into a good pout.  Then I made a great big mess.

I am NOT exaggerating about the mess.  This stuff gets everywhere.  It was all over the table, all over everything I touched and on my face.  I wish I’d taken a picture of my hands and arms because I had pastelly smears up to my elbows and all over my shirt.  I didn’t take a pic basically because I didn’t want pastel powder all over my camera.  But *O * M * G*….what fun!!!

Brandy had recommended I keep it simple when I started.  I’m all about not setting myself, or anyone else, up for failure.  We fail enough in life as it is without sabotaging ourselves, so I followed her advice.  Apparently I have a very strong affinity for Dr. Seussishness.  I could have dropped Horton into this and he’d have felt right at home.

Soft Pastel & Ink, Sealed

So there you have it.  This little guy (about 5″ x 7″) is my inaugural pastel piece.  It was SO much fun.  I’m addicted.  I’m in love.


Learning Curve

I finally got my studio mucked-out.  It’s once again a place that I want to retreat to for play-time.

That’s what it’s supposed to look like, more or less.  There’s still some clutter but the creative itch overwhelmed the maid so she quit.

She did manage to organize some of the supplies before she decamped though.

Now that I had some time and space for painting, I still had to force myself to pick up a brush and work on the current project.  It’s a comfort zone thing….and a learning curve thing.

My back ground is in decorative folk-art painting.  I even taught several kinds of traditional and non-traditional folk-art.  The thing about this discipline is that it’s pretty much fool-proof.  It sometimes feels like it’s glorified paint-by-numbers.  This is great for beginners and people who are intimidated by a blank sheet of paper, but it doesn’t really lend itself to improvisation.  It’s very structured and fairly rigid, depending on the style, so you don’t really learn to just  let the brush go and paint with abandon.

I also learned to do folk-art using liquid acrylic paints.  They’re very different than tube acrylics.  They flow and blend easily, but their pigments are weaker, dimmer.  They’re great for that style of painting but not for what I want to do now.

This piece is a sample I painted for a class I used to teach.  This style is all about how you hold the brush, how thick your paint is, how you load the paint on your brush, and how you execute each stroke.  That is so not going to work for my current painting.

So I’m learning.  The learning curve is manageable but the process, for me, is still involving an inordinate amount of cussing.  Cussing does help, you know.  I blocked in the beach today and I’m still learning how to manage these paints.  I’m letting myself just PLAY.  I’m discovering ways to achieve texture, ways to create light and shadow without the luxury of floating ultra-thin paint, ways to fix the boo-boos.  Yes….plenty of boo-boos.  It feels so good to be painting again though, I’ll continue to muddle through, cuss away, and follow that learning curve wherever it takes me.


Blah.  Blah blah blah.  That’s sort of how I’ve felt all week.  Part of it is the post-holiday blues, I’m sure, but I’ve been struggling to get back into the swing of things.

My blog has suffered from my blues.  My apologies to my regular readers for not getting my normal amount done here.  I’m going to try and make up for it with this post.  There’s a few new things to show you:

Jodi….one of my beautiful nieces….is one of those truly generous souls.  Not only is she trying to give me stuff (NICE stuff) all the time, she has a generosity of spirit that is a pleasure to bask in.  Like her mom, she’s warm and welcoming and loving.  She also has a wicked sense of humour that had us all rolling during Christmas dinner.  Just bringing that up pretty much ensures that my family is laughing right now.  ‘Nuff said.

Jodi likes simple designs.  Nothing frilly or over-done for her.  But she also likes unique things.  One of the most unique gemstones out there is Ametrine.  Ametrine happens when amethyst and citrine crystals grow together and you get a stone that is half purple and half yellow.  The photo doesn’t show the colour-play very well, but I do like the triangle-theme.

Vanessa, the next-oldest of my nieces, is so going to be a star.  Tall and willowy, with gorgeous red hair and knock-you-dead green eyes, she’s a young woman destined for greatness.  She’s slogging through her teen years as best she can, all the while devoting herself to her dancing.  I’m confident her natural grace will carry her through the toughest life can throw at her.

Austyn….my little moon-child.  If ever there was an old soul, it’s Austyn.  You can see it in her eyes.  There’s this sparkle that says “I get it”.  Quick to laugh and always a bunch of fun, Austyn always makes me smile.  Some people just sparkle all the way through.  Austyn is one of those people.

There you go.  Three pretties for three pretties.  My lovely nieces.  How on earth did I get so lucky??

Let There Be Light

I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I had to build the lightbox.  I had to find out, once and for all, if I was going to be able to take pictures that I felt were of adequate quality for this endeavor.  It was either that or start looking for a professional photographer.

I could have bought a light-box.  They’re available everywhere, especially now that we have a global marketplace via the internet.  I couldn’t do it.  I’d seen several tutorials online that described the process for making a lightbox in detail and it certainly didn’t appear to be rocket-science.  One of the best tutorials I saw was here:  Great Lightbox Tutorial .

I changed the process a bit to suit the materials I had on hand and will post a tutorial of my own a little later on.  This is what I built though:

The whole point to a light-box is that you can place the light-source outside one of the sheer panels and get adequate lighting without glare and back-flash.

I took a few photos to see how it worked.

I got this mega-cool jewelry hanger at Sue’s Clothesline this afternoon.  I think it’s such a fun concept.  There’s a whole bunch of them there, all in different outfits….I may have to go get more!!

There’s detail and no glare.  What a huge difference.  I also discovered the timer on my camera.  No more jiggly-fuzz.

Bottom line:  the right tools make everything so much easier.  Not bad for a cardboard box and a shower curtain, huh?