Sunday, December 04, 2005

Huge Art Day Today

I have been very busy lately and unable to make art. I have been helping my mother by attending doctor’s appointments for her Breast Cancer. I also spent a day with her when she had her surgery.

I have found what appeals to me most while sitting in waiting rooms for hours and while faced with such a depressing thought as my mother having Cancer is reading about making art. I hope to write some reviews and summaries of the books and magazines which I have been reading soon.

Last night was the coldest night of this season so the heat was really going in our house. As a result, I had one of those horrible dreams where my mouth and throat are all dry and no matter how much I drink, I cannot quench the thirst. I woke up to realize this was just a dream but did find myself completely dried out. It was five in the morning and I was well rested and unable to get back to sleep. So I got up to make art.

I began by working on an ATC for a Found Photos swap which has been difficult to make. I worked with it a little but still felt discouraged. I tried working on a swap called “Scavenger Hunt” but still can’t find images that are required for this. I am considering backing out as this is not fun anymore.

I then decided to begin altering the thrift shop finds. I put a coat of Golden White Gesso on these items:
Seven Christmas ornaments ($2)
Lid of metal heart shaped container (25 cents)
French Flower Vase ($2)
Wooden box with lid (25 cents from a thrift shop)

(I took 'before' pictures of these items which I will share with you another time, if Blogger will let me upload them.)

After that dried I lightly sanded each then applied a second coat.

Everyone was still asleep so I decided to make the beginnings of a watercolor paper journal. I took out a watercolor paper pad which I bought last year for $3. I don’t know the weight of it, but it is good enough to not pill or come apart when I paint on it. The pad had 23 pages in it.

This is how I like to work with the watercolor paints. I dampened the surface of the paper with water. It is not soaking wet, it is just damp. I then squeeze tubes of watercolor paint onto a palette. I think this is a cheap brand of paint; I bought it in an overstock store for $1.95 for 12 little tubes of paint. I am not disappointed by it so far. Hey, this is all I can afford right now so this is what I am using! I then dampened an old shaving brush and dipped it into the paint (undiluted). I brush this across the paper. I add in a second color and sometimes also white. If the color is too dense I dip the brush into the clear water and then paint on the paper with it. I make sure the entire paper is covered.

Today I worked primarily with shades of pink (made with red and white paint), shades of red with a touch of orange/yellow mixed in, and some blues with white paint mixed in. The green page I made was not a pretty color, it looked a bit muddy (perhaps this is a consquence of using cheap paints?). I made two purple pages which came out quite dark and frankly I don't know if they can be written upon (maybe I should try bleaching them?).

The pages dried very quickly due to the house being so dry because the heat is cranking due to the weather being in the 20s today.

Oh, I forgot to mention that when I woke up there was snow on the ground and it was falling the entire time. This meant that church was out of the question. Also the roads were not plowed and that meant our brunch plans at our friend’s house was also cancelled. So I was relaxed enough to play at art and not feel guilty. It was great to think the whole day was committment-free all of a sudden, what a luxury.

When the watercolor paper dried it was curled up at the edges I was not going to give up, though. I decided to iron the very-dry papers. It worked. On an ATC chat list which I am on, when someone asked about this problem/dilemma, they were told to buy more expensive, heavier pound paper.

Anyway I hope to make an artists journal for myself and also I’d like to give one to a friend who keeps a (regular) journal. Perhaps the painted pages will inspire her more than her journals grid-paper.

An open question is what do I do about the backs of the pages? Can these be painted upon also? I will experiment with this. However if you have the answer I'd love to hear it.

My children then woke up and they wanted to make paper snowflakes. This was inspired by last week’s Cub Scout meeting in which my Co-Leader had the Scouts making snowflakes to give to residents of a nursing home at which we will be singing Christmas Carols and other holiday songs. My older son insisted on doing things his way so all of his snowflakes came out square. I took out some square tissue paper we own and we made more with the colored tissue paper. Later I ironed some of these so that they would lie flat. My older son refused to allow me to iron his as he said he preferred the look of the folds being visible. (I live with children with strong opinions.)

I also worked on painting the French Flower Vase. After the two coats of Golden white Gesso I applied one coat of burnt sienna colored acrylic craft paint. In some areas where the brush strokes were I could see the white background. I decided I'd like it to be a more muted color, so for the next coat I applied an acrylic glaze to which I had added a cream colored acrylic paint as a tint. When this was dry, it looked too white and bright to me, it didn't come out the way that I had thought it would. I decided to apply a coat of bronze metallic acrylic paint as a wash (the paint was diluted with an equal part of water). This effect worked great. In the areas that looked too white and bright I added plain paint and worked it in until it looked good to me.

I painted the exterior and the handles and the top rim. I left the interior the way it was, which is painted a solid cream color.

My original intention was to collage on top of this paint. Frankly, it looks great the way it is. I will put this to the side for a few days while I ponder the next step (if there is one). I also will ponder what kind of images I would want to collage onto this and also what will I use this for? (And I do want the other three which are still for sale at the thrift shop for $2 each.)

As I write this it is approaching 6 p.m. and dinner is over and already cleaned up. I might have more time for making art before we go to bed.

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