Sometimes You Keep Trying

I’ve got a couple of tiles here to show you that illustrate this idea – if you aren’t satisfied with your work, don’t live with it, see if you can correct it. Both of these tiles went through several stages to get to their final look.

This first one, a bird. Originally I painted (with Velvet underglazes) a bird on this tile. I hated the way it looked and washed it off. Sometimes by doing this I get a nice weathered look. I don’t have a photo of how it looked before I washed it off (that would be before the 2nd firing that sets the color) but here it is after that firing:

Clay tile WIP bird @ 4x4 7-195

I like the look of the terracotta clay showing through, but I am not happy with the bird’s look. I took some Amaco TP glaze (the “shiny”) and added it in green. Another firing and here is the end product:

Clay tile bird 7-19 @ 4x42

The photo does not do it justice, but believe me, it looks better with more green definition, and I like the contrast of matte and shiny.

Here they are together:

Next up, a sunshine and a little creature in a house. I had the same problem with it as the bird tile – I hated my initial image and I washed the underglaze off the tile, leaving some of it for an image. I also put clear glaze over the sunshine and the house area. Here is stage one after firing:

Clay tile WIP blue @ 4x4 7-196Not quite what I wanted. I did not like the roughness of the big open blue area. So I added a little of a white translucent glaze in the open area.

Clay tile WIP stage #2 7-191

Ugh. No good. I considered throwing the tile away but I liked the figures a lot and I thought – one more try. I added more black around the sunshine, I dappled white underglaze in the open area, and I gave the roof of the house some color. (Please excuse the bad photo, I can’t seem to get a good picture of this tile at this stage. I need work on my photo technique for glazed items and their bothersome reflections.)

Clay Tile @ 4x4 8-19 sun looking down at animal in a house1

Now I was happy (take my word for it, the tile looks happy now). Here are all three versions together:

I can’t say these are masterpieces but I like their look now.

Renovating artwork is often worth doing, but it is also important to know when to give up and just throw the item away – when your time will be better spent on something new. What kept me going was that I liked my drawings and I thought I could make things work out.

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More Sidewalk Art: Seven

A few months ago I wrote a post about some artwork I did inspired by a book:  Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun, by Carla Sonheim. (Look here for that post.) I’ve done some recent work inspired by the same subject – the cracks in the sidewalks under my feet. Now I’m doing a small series of posts to show you the results. Search this blog under the term “sidewalk art” to find earlier posts in the series.

My method is to take one photo and rotate it through a circle – that way I can do four drawings from one photo. Here is the source photo for the drawings done on 9/1/19:

 

Sidewalk 46 for 9-1-19

and here are the drawings.

 

Drawing - Sidewalk 9-1-191

 

 

 

 

Update on Art Class

As you may remember I am teaching a mixed media art class at a local art center. We’ve just finished three classes. I’ve taken my students, who are all experienced adult artists in various mediums, through a grounding in collage, paint techniques, and today, in combining the two.

From this point we will spend a number of weeks approaching mixed media from the standpoint of various genres – still life, landscape, portraits, etc. But these three weeks form the basis for all the remaining work we will be doing.

During this class, one thing we did was go through the process of creating backgrounds for mixed media work. My goal was to have the students see how it works to use layers of paint and paper to build up rich visual texture.

I brought in a mixed media piece I did some years ago to illustrate what I was talking about today.

Art class 10-16-19 Abington (2)

Today, these backgrounds were not made with a specific goal – just to practice the technique, feel some ease in working this way, and to avoid turning a background into a composition.

Not that the last bit is a bad thing – I do it all the time, just start in and let the composition go where it will. But today, we needed to stop before that point in order to focus on just doing mixed media work. And, it’s also important to realize that in some cases, you will want to create a background for a specific purpose or image to follow. You don’t want to lose control and wander off.

It’s hard to do this, I think. The brain wants to see patterns, to begin to organize, to choose a direction.

Next class, I told the students! We will do it next time in our class.

When we finished,  they had done some really nice work. I want to show you. Here are a few:

Art class 10-16-19 Abington (3)

and here is a composite photo (it looks odd because I combined a couple of shots) of all our work.

Art class 10-16-19 Abington (4)

I am very excited about the work the students are doing. Next week – the topic is ABSTRACT. Let’s see where that takes us!

 

 

 

More Sidewalk Art: Six

A few months ago I wrote a post about some artwork I did inspired by a book:  Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun, by Carla Sonheim. (Look here for that post.) I’ve done some recent work inspired by the same subject – the cracks in the sidewalks under my feet. Now I’m doing a small series of posts to show you the results. Search this blog under the term “sidewalk art” to find earlier posts in the series.

My method is to take one photo and rotate it through a circle – that way I can do four drawings from one photo. Here is the source photo for the drawings done on 8/31/19:

 

Sidewalk 15 for 8-31

 

and here are the drawings.

 

 

Drawing - Sidewalk 8-31-195

 

 

 

Minuscule Illustrations: Domestic

In October 2017 I came across an internet blog challenge for a story written in two sentences. I wrote a story. Liking the format, I did another one. Another one. And another.

Quite a few stories later, I had enough for a book. Not only did I have stories, but I had written a short poem and created a brush and India ink illustration for each one as well.

The result was Minuscule, published in 2018. I’m now going to show you the book illustrations as an ongoing feature on this blog, once a week. I’ll link back to the story (they have been published one by one on my poetry blog).

If you want to hold the entire book in your hand, the print version is available on Amazon.

“Domestic” is the title of the story. Look here to read it.

Minuscule #70 Domestic 10-1868

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Sidewalk Art: Five

A few months ago I wrote a post about some artwork I did inspired by a book:  Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun, by Carla Sonheim. (Look here for that post.) I’ve done some recent work inspired by the same subject – the cracks in the sidewalks under my feet. Now I’m doing a small series of posts to show you the results. Search this blog under the term “sidewalk art” to find earlier posts in the series.

My method is to take one photo and rotate it through a circle – that way I can do four drawings from one photo. Here is the source photo for the drawings done on 8/30/19:

Sidewalk 21 for 8-30-19

 

 

and here are the drawings.

 

Drawing - Sidewalk 8-30-194

 

 

 

 

More Sidewalk Art: Four

A few months ago I wrote a post about some artwork I did inspired by a book:  Drawing Lab for Mixed-Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun, by Carla Sonheim. (Look here for that post.) I’ve done some recent work inspired by the same subject – the cracks in the sidewalks under my feet. Now I’m doing a small series of posts to show you the results. Search this blog under the term “sidewalk art” to find earlier posts.

My method is to take one photo and rotate it through a circle – that way I can do four drawings from one photo. Here is the source photo for the drawings done on 8/29/19:

 

Sidewalk 74 for 8-29-19

 

and here are the drawings.

 

 

Drawing - Sidewalk 8-29-193