Heartbeat

Here is another neurographics-related painting I made.

(If you wonder what I’m talking about, here is a post I wrote explaining how I got to this place along the art road.)

This one is called “Heartbeat”.

I did this painting in March, 2022. It’s 24″ x 18″ on Masonite, painted in acrylics and acrylic paint markers.

These Are Not Art…But…?

I was out in my garage a while back, taking photos of some paintings (with the door open the light is pretty good for a photo). For some reason the idea struck me to take some photos of various garage scenes using the little macro lens for my phone camera.

I went around snapping pictures. Hey, look some are kind of interesting, I thought. And then I realized I was speaking the words of a blog friend of mine, Dave Whatt, and specifically, a feature he does called This is not art.

OK, maybe these are not art, not even great photos, but I think they are interesting. There is a certain abstract quality to them, a design they didn’t know they had, a pattern or a plan? I’m not being facetious, because I tend to think everything has a voice or meaning, if you listen or look.

So here is a different perspective, at least – Especially since we’re not usually walking around viewing things with macro-lens eyes to see them like this.

What are these scenes? From top to bottom –

  • Coiled orange outdoor extension cord
  • Detail of the top of a metal sawhorse covered with the remnants of past jobs
  • Pencil and ruled edge of a tool my husband uses in making birdhouses
  • Looking down at a pile of shavings left on the table from the above birdhouse-making project.

Well, that’s it!

Large Artist Sketchbook 2021 Pages 35 and 36

Here’s another one of my artist sketchbooks for you to see. It was finished in May of 2021 but the artworks were done over the previous year or so, I guess. I’ll be showing you page spreads, one each week, for as long as the book goes on.

As you know, I make these books for my own enjoyment. I work on a page as the inclination strikes me and I never have a plan for the book or for the artwork that goes into it. There is no theme, no meaning, other than what each image shows the viewer and the viewer takes away from the experience.

In this book I did artwork on the front and back of each page. There’s nothing written associated with the images, and the images paired in each page spread do not relate to each other in any way except for being side by side.

I hope you enjoy looking at this book!

Here is the page spread for today:

And here are the individual pages.

Engine

Here is another painting I made following (very loosely) the structure of doing a painting while considering neurographics. (If you wonder what I mean, here is a post I wrote explaining how I got to this place along the art road.)

It’s called “Engine”.

I did this painting in March, 2022. It’s 24″ x 18 on masonite, painted in acrylics and acrylic paint markers.

Paste Papers and Paste Painting

You may remember I’ve taken a couple of Zoom classes at the Kalamazoo (MI) Book Arts Center with Lorrie Grainger Abdo. She’s a great teacher, informative and fun to learn from. I also like the subject matter she presents – topics that stem from her work in book arts but are applicable to any artist’s work. (Look here for posts I’ve written on mark-making and circles/squares.

So when I saw that the Smithsonian was offering a Zoom class on paste papers and paste painting, taught by Lorrie, I was ready to sign up for two reasons. One, the teacher! and Two – I’ve wanted to try this technique ever since some students I taught in college classes showed me paste papers they had made. They were beautiful and quite different from the collage papers I make by simply painting with acrylic paints. I’d never had the chance to try the technique and now, here it was right in front of me.

All right. What is paste painting? Basically, it’s a surface decoration process that involves using a mix of paste and paint, applied to paper. It’s very amenable to layering and to texturing. I won’t go into much more detail since information is readily available on the internet. Let me tell you how we did things in the class.

The paste used is this product, Elmer’s Art Paste. It’s readily available and very inexpensive. This whole box can go through quite a few painting sessions, and once water is added, it lasts a very long time, so you don’t have to use it all up right away.

We needed to prepare the paste a day before the class, and it must be made with refrigerated cold water (to avoid lumps), which should chill overnight at least. For the class on Thursday, I started cooling the water on Tuesday and made the paste on Wednesday.

Here are Lorrie’s full directions on how to prepare the paste. I appreciated her thorough explanation.

I made half a box of paste and it just fit into a large plastic multi-serving container. I thought the paste would be white, but it’s actually clear. In fact I thought my paste had not gelled until I stuck my finger into it, between that and it not being opaque white, I had a bit of a fright, thinking I’d have to start over.

All right. Next, I gathered my materials and set up my work space. Lorrie had sent us a photo of how the materials might be arranged, along with written notes as to what was needed. Here is my set-up with her photo in the middle of the picture.

You see that I have craft acrylic paints for this session. Craft paints work perfectly well, but they have less pigment than better paints, so that you would use more paint. However, since I didn’t know if I’d ever do this process again, I just grabbed my existing assortment of $1.19 paint bottles and it worked out fine. For future reference, Lorrie used a student grade acrylic and I would think that if I kept up with paste painting I would do so as well.

You also see

  • plastic tubs to mix the paint and paste;
  • a variety of texturing tools;
  • foam brushes to spread the paste paint on the papers;
  • sketch papers, which is what I used in this session;
  • rags and water (the brushes and so on will get glued up if they don’t stand in water when not in use).
  • And of course the paste, in the yogurt container to the back right.

OK. After Lorrie explained the process to us, we got to work (our class was a group of about 10, and we were from all over the US). Basically, you glop paste into your container, then add paint until you like the opacity (this is where the use of better paints comes into play). If you want to mix a custom color, you just get the paints you want, mix the color, and add it to the paste.

Or, if you are me, you use up some of your color, red, let’s say, and then you add more paste and some blue paint and you get purple. Use that up, add more paste, add white, now you have lavender…

Once you have your colors, you spread paste paint on the paper with your foam brush (for overall coverage) or maybe with a palette knife or other tool (for mark making, usually in later layers, but…no rules! ).

The paste paint dries pretty quickly, so you can layer another color on not too much later. You can also paint in stripes, or blobs of color randomly scattered, or…really, do whatever you like.

All along the way, you can use your tools for texture. I was astounded by the transparency of layering possible, and the dimensionality this paste paint gives. You can scrape into the paint or you can add on to the top layer with stamps or a paintbrush, etc.

Let me just show you want I mean rather than using words.

The class focused on painting for the purpose of making collage papers or paper to be used in bookmaking. I also experimented with painting a “scene”:

I love the transparency and the layering. I’d like to try more things like this image. There is an ethereal quality to this image that I really enjoy. What did I use to make this image?

  • /Foam brush, both for spreading paint and for daubing straight lines with the end of the brush
  • plastic spackle tool
  • pencil eraser (at the end of a pencil)
  • plastic soap holder, flexible and grooved
  • plastic grout spreader
  • rubber-tipped tools intended for making marks into clay (I have a variety with different tips that make different marks)

*******************

Well, that’s pretty much it. I’m thrilled to have learned this process, and I can see I will be experimenting with it and finding uses for it as time goes on.

Thank you to Lorrie Grainger Abdo and my classmates for a very informative and fun session!

Puffy Cloud Sky

I made this tiny painting (it is 6″ x 6″ on Masonite, in acrylics) by putting a bit of paint on the gessoed board and using a roller to apply it to the surface. I did several layers to achieve this landscape effect.

I scribbled and scraped into the layers to get some interesting marks that look like some kind of vegetation, and I used markers to scribble between layers of pain as well. I also smudged things a bit with my finger if the hard edges made by the roller looked too harsh to me.

As for the puffy clouds, the roller picked up the small dab of white paint I put on the surface and made spots rather than a full line across the image, because there was of course too little paint to coat the roller. I really like this effect, especially if I keep going over the surface until the paint is all gone.

You could get a similar effect by sticking your finger into some paint and then tapping all around the picture. I have done this sometimes, too.

Large Artist Sketchbook 2021 Pages 33 and 34

Here’s another one of my artist sketchbooks for you to see. It was finished in May of 2021 but the artworks were done over the previous year or so, I guess. I’ll be showing you page spreads, one each week, for as long as the book goes on.

As you know, I make these books for my own enjoyment. I work on a page as the inclination strikes me and I never have a plan for the book or for the artwork that goes into it. There is no theme, no meaning, other than what each image shows the viewer and the viewer takes away from the experience.

In this book I did artwork on the front and back of each page. There’s nothing written associated with the images, and the images paired in each page spread do not relate to each other in any way except for being side by side.

I hope you enjoy looking at this book!

Here is the page spread for today:

And here are the individual pages.

Three small paintings

Here are three more of those tiny 4″ x 4″ paintings I have been doing on 3/8″ thick board – with the idea of them being useful for art drop offs in parks and the like (look here if you wonder what I am talking about).

I think these were my favorites from the group of twelve I recently made, so I have kept them here at home for a while to enjoy them.

Half-a dozen

Back in February or so, I got out this assortment of 6″ x 6″ Masonite boards and let my inner painting person have her say. In other words, I had no plan, I just felt like painting, and what emerged were these colors and shapes.

There is a great sense of freedom when you are using boards that cost less than a dollar each.

Well, I’ve got this assortment now and it seems to me they ought to stay together, but I’m not sure in what way to configure them or combine them. I sort of feel like making them into a cube, if I can figure out a good way to do that. Then I could set it on a table and as I pass by, turn it to see something new.

Hmmm…if I do go in this direction, I’ll check back and let you know.

2003 Calendar – May

Here’s a project I did in 2001-2002 that I had forgotten about. Now, here in 2022, I will take a trip down memory lane and show it to you, once each month.

Why this schedule? Because it is a calendar. For 2003.

I made three of these – one for my son, one for my parents, and one for my husband. It’s the last one that I am showing to you. They were all alike except for the covers.

I hoped this calendar could be a small record of a certain time in our family. I do not know if my son still has his version, and my parents now are dead and their things scattered and gone, but here is the version we still have at our house, a voice speaking up again from the past.

If you want to know more about this calendar, look here.

Here is the collage image I used for the month of May, 2003. It’s called “May Iris Garden” and was 14″ x 11″.

Here is the page in the calendar. As a note, Andrew in #1 is my son and May is his birthday month. Clovis, mention in #2, was one of our cats. In #3 I refer to mowing the grass – that was my job and one I still do today, quite willingly as I like mowing the grass and always have. #8 refers to my art show schedule – at this time, I was doing 20 or so shows a year with most of them occurring between the months of May through October.

The rest of this month’s notes show our preoccupation with gardening at that time – we had a large yard with flowers and vegetables, including a section that we seeded with wildflowers for a kind of meadow effect.

Happy May!