Tag Archives: creative process

Stencil People Tiles

I often do stencil work in paint and collage, but not in clay work. Here’s a first try.

Velvet underglazes on handmade clay tiles, fired at cone 06, December, 2017.

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Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending February 16

 

Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

More art. A new week.

February 9, evening – I made a couple more paper dolls. I think there will be still more to come.

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Saturday, February 10 – I loaded up the kiln with my assortment of mini-tiles with the idea of firing them the next day. With a bisque load (the first firing) – the tiles will emerge as ceramics after having gone in as dried mud. In this stage, I  could stack the tiles and arrange them tighter; they have no glaze on them to stick to each other –  and I would if I had a full load, but this small amount of work can be spread out, there’s plenty of space, so I used three full shelves and a half shelf, built up from the bottom of the kiln.

Here is a portrait of the hard-working kiln stilt. These items come in various heights and allow for a custom array of kiln shelves for each firing, depending on what is being fired.

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In the evening, I was tired, and we were watching the Olympics on TV – I needed something to occupy my hands. I have a couple of paint brochures, so I got one out, plus a white gel pen and a black ink pen.

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My idea was to make little drawings for each color square, the theme being that I’d draw what the color name inspired; and I needed both pens because some squares were dark and others light. I’ve done this kind of thing before.

But, it’s been some time. Now I wonder why I let myself forget about this activity. It’s lots of fun. I’m showing you just a bit of the two pages; I’ll do a post with better pictures when I’ve finished the other brochures I’ve got. These little pictures take some study.

Sunday, February 11 – I did fire the kiln today; results tomorrow. Otherwise, I worked on that mysterious collage project I have mentioned. I promise you will see the results in good time.

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When I cleaned up, well, there were some interesting sights on my table. Who would discard a perfectly good arm?

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I also want to mention a collage inspiration that I’ve used in the past and will certainly do so again. When I am working at collage, I am flipping through magazine pages, moving fast, and I slash or tear out the image or item I want, leaving irregular scrap-pages in my wake. The subsequent pages are peeking through these holes, that’s what is happening, and I have been struck by the compositions that result when I come upon the layers of pages in a calmer mood. Serendipity calling!

I cut around the layers, lift them out of the magazine as a whole, and glue them down. And there I have something nice, courtesy of — chance. Let me show you what I mean. I photographed some of these situations after this collage session. If I think of it I’ll go back and cut them out of the magazine.

Monday, February 12 – I opened the kiln. All good. Here’s a look at all four levels, top to bottom.

Now I’m ready to put some color on these tiles. I’ll be working on these for some time, I think. A nice meditative kind of work.

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Then I started on a new project. I had eight 4″ x 4″ gesso-primed cradled boards. I decided to make small paintings using a sheet of photos I had printed out as my reference.

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I chose eight of the nine views and quickly sketched on the boards in pencil. Oh no, I am thinking. This is not how I usually work. I generally just start right in with painting. Pencil sketching is how I make tiles. Well, that’s fine, but underglaze behaves differently from acrylic paint.

Well, I’ve got a dilemma now. How will I make this work out? I’ll figure things out as I go, I guess.

That’s in the future. Here is the overall group, laid out like the photo page:

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And here are the individual sketches, photographed in a hurry, but you get the idea:

Tuesday, February 13 – I worked on the small paintings.

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I will let these rest a bit, I think. I like how they are turning out. I found myself using smaller brushes than usual, that’s how I dealt with the small scale (I’m proud of myself for figuring that out, I am).

I also like the sketches I made to start them off, even though they are now obliterated – I might do a set of pen and ink drawings of the photos and make them into postcards.

Wednesday, February 14 – I was in the mood for some free-form painting today, as opposed to following a prepared plan as I did with the 4″ x 4″ group. I got out four gessoed 8″ x 8″ boards (I am using up the supplies that I have accumulated over time and there is a lot of variety in what I bought in the past, oh yes). These boards have 1 1/2 inch cradles, making a thicker profile than what I usually choose, so I guess I might have gotten these on sale?! Anyway:

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I decided to do two of my favorite motifs – faces and trees. I did some random paint application:

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Things progressed:

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and progressed:

and at the end of the session here is where we were.

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Paintings this small can go quickly when I’m in a free-form mood. I’ll take a look in the next couple of days and see what needs to be done to them to finish them.

Friday, February 16 – I worked on a variety of things this afternoon – my mind felt a little skittish. I painted ATC’s – whether these will stay this way or not, I don’t know, in the beginning I just paint.

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I might do some collage on these cards and I also have some other collage-ready surfaces, so I painted some papers, too.  In the past, late 1990’s and early 2000’s I made many collages using only papers that I had painted, usually in a more representational style. I don’t do that anymore (it had its run and then one day – enough) but I mention it to say that in those days I had many pages of painted sketch papers. Usually I’d do a whole sheet in each color or design – here I just wanted a little of a lot of colors, done very simply – no layering of colors or adding a lot of splatters or the like.

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I added a little bit to the current page in the current Artist Sketchbook I’ve got going – remember, this is where I put extra paint or papers or ink or whatever and try to turn it into something. I like this abstract composition and I might say it is finished.

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Finally, I selected one of the four portrait paintings I did the other day, obliterated the face, and did something different. Now I’ve got a little goblin creature who looks like he might just have eaten an unwary…something. I like him, though he might need a little more work. The other paintings,  I’m pretty happy with them, though I do think I was on a definite ogre/troll/gnome theme.

OK, that’s it for this week! Thanks for taking a look.

Mixed Up

These postcards from June 2017 have a lot going on – paint, collage, India ink – even some of my handwriting practice work. When in doubt, just keep piling it on!

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending February 9

Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

Here is another week of art.

Saturday, February 3 – I decided to get to work on the large painting whose board I prepared last week. I have no idea what I want to be painting but I’ll get started anyway.

My first step is always to cover up the white gessoed surface with color. Any kind of color. Just get rid of the white.

Since this board was so large I got out my baby roller and put some paint on. The tool is cheap and I don’t worry about cleaning it much when I am done. Eventually I just throw it away. I don’t use it a lot but today it seemed right. I amused myself by rolling paint this way and that.

I got down to using some brushes and by the end of the afternoon I had some kind of coverage. That was good and enough for today. What I am doing I still don’t know.

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I also got out the bubble wrap to start pricing and wrapping tiles. I will do this while watching TV over the next few days. it’s a boring job but necessary.

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Sunday, February 4 – More painting today. I seem to have some kind of ideas. I am not sure what it all means. Anyway, things progress and that is how I do things – kind of feel my way along.

Monday, February 5 – I worked on the large painting in two shortish sessions, one in the morning and then in the afternoon – I had to split my time because I had several things I had to do out in the world. I prefer to work in one session a day, but…Things continue to move along. The painting clearly has a theme now. I am at the stage where I think I need to let it sit for a few days.

At the end of the morning:

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and at the end of the day:

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A couple of detail areas:

and a view of some very tired-out tubes of paint. You can’t see the brushes but they are dearly wanting a bath.

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Tuesday, February 6 – More work on the large painting. The progress of this image is going along in the way most of my paintings do – there is a lot of taking a stab at something and seeing if it works out. And once one thing is changed, it upsets the balance of the rest of the painting, and so other changes must be made. Something this large and with such an undefined finish (because I am painting something imaginary and not looking at a reference photo or drawing)could go on forever and if I don’t get hold of myself, it will. I think I’m getting close, though (or I am getting tired of it, which is also one way I decide when a painting is done!).

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It is inevitable that parts of the painting I like have to be crossed out for the good of the whole. There is certainly struggle going on here, and an awful lot of paint. I wonder how many layers, and then I decide to think about something else.

Wednesday, February 7 – I’m tired out on the painting. Here is is as it is today, with a little more work. I’m going to let it rest for a while now. It’s time to see how it holds up with some distance.

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I got the tiles priced and wrapped and ready to be stored until May, when I take them to the Moravian Tile Festival. I did this task with the help of my cat Martok and Ben Matlock of the Matlock TV show.

Friday, February 9 – I’ve spent most of the week on the big painting. I had time to do some paper dolls while watching TV, though. Here they are.

And lastly, I’d like to thank Alanna Pass for nominating me for a Liebster Award. I don’t do awards, but I appreciate being complimented in this way and I wanted to say thank you and mention the blog.

More art next week!

Printed Matter

These postcards all contain print. You know how much I like print. Here is is, again.

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending February 2

Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

Here we embark on a new week and new art.

Saturday, January 27 – I opened the kiln. Everything came out fine. Always a relief. Compare the before and after shots. The tiles are more brilliant in their fired state.

Also, on Friday night as I was cleaning up, I took all my collage scraps and quickly and randomly glued them on to postcard-sized recycled cardboard. No thinking, just slapping on the acrylic medium and sticking on the papers. It looked like this:

On Saturday I trimmed them. I will use these later in a project of some kind.

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Sunday, January 28 – My husband and I took a walk in the mall before it opened. The weather was cold and rainy so we wanted to be inside for some exercise. I took a lot of photos of the store windows – I like reflections. Here are a couple of shots featuring shoes.

Monday, January 29 – I rearranged my schedule a little, as it looks like snow tomorrow, but I had some time to work on paintings and clay.

First. Paintings. I have three 6″x6″ boards to work on and two 8″x10″. I laid them out on my table.
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I like to work in groups, you know that. I decided the small pieces would feature animals and that I’d do the other two as different floors in a house. I just started in and got going. Here are the small paintings.

I’m going to have to wait and see how they develop, the animals, I mean. I feel a little out of my depth here, I don’t think I’ve done anything like this before.

The rooms are more inside my comfort zone. They will need a lot more work, too, though.

End of the painting day. I’m not sure I’ll keep the eyes on the animals or not. Or if I need to add some ink or crayon, maybe. I did like their blank faces. We will see.

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I spent a little time with clay as well. I have an idea to make a lot of  @ 2″x 2″ tiles with designs in underglaze. A giant series. I have some white and some terracotta clay in bags with about 1/4 left in each, that would be about 5-6 pounds. Not that much.

I am making slabs; then I am going to cut the slabs all into little squares, fire them, and then put simple geometric designs or maybe tiny faces on them as a kind of low-thinking and mentally restful project. It will take a long time.

Today I cut the white clay. I rolled it out on my slab roller.

I transferred the slabs to my work table and cut them with a needle tool. I’ll let these dry and work on terracotta clay another day.

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Tuesday, January 30 – We had a little bit of snow today, enough for me to decide to stay home and catch up on lots of home things. I took the assortment of recently made tiles upstairs to my living room and wrote my name on the back of each one – a task that needs to be done but is not too exciting. I indulged in an episode of vintage TV Perry Mason to help me through it.

I don’t store the tiles long-term in this manner; I wrap them in bubble wrap as they can damage each other’s colors if they bang against each other. I’ll do that step after I price each tile – another day.

In the afternoon I checked on my clay work. The tiles I had cut yesterday were at a good stage – stiff enough to handle, but not so dry that they had become brittle. I needed to clean up the edges of each one. I used a round sponge and wiped around each tile, putting some force into it. Now they will not have sharp edges or look unfinished when fired.

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This work is also pretty tedious. I listened to an audio book; I do that quite often when I’m making art. Somehow in my head I can separate the art thoughts from the book thoughts. I do like a good thriller – that’s mostly what I listen to.

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I then went through the same cutting-out process with the terracotta clay. I try not to move the tiles too much; if they are bent in the wet stage, they “remember” that and want to go back to it when fired, even if they look flat when they enter the kiln. Small tiles like this, though, are usually not much of a problem. I kept some slabs just as they were cut out but some tiles had to move so as to allow me to do more work on the table. That’s why you see this arrangement.

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Wednesday, January 31 – I was out a lot of the day so much not art time happened. I did clean the edges of all the terracotta tiles I did yesterday. Now I will wait for all these tiles to dry. I like to give them a couple of weeks. You can tell the clay is ready for the kiln when it no longer feels cool to the touch – I use that test and then I wait a little bit longer…to be sure.

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I took a moment to look over those 6″ x 6″ animal paintings. I decided they needed some India ink. I gave them some faces and made a start on background work. Just enough to see that I liked it. Once I finish up with the ink, well, who knows what is next? I have come to understand that these creatures will figure out their own destiny and tell me, not the other way around.

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Friday, February 2 – I spent the afternoon finishing up some projects and starting new ones. First, the starting: I had a cradled masonite board in storage, 36″ x 24″, which is very large for me. I don’t make many paintings this size, but I sold two in these dimensions last year and so I just got the feeling of wanting to make another large one. I do not know what I will paint on it. Luckily, today all I had to do was prepare it.

I sanded the masonite surface (forgive the bad picture) to give the surface some tooth for the gesso to hang on to. Then – I gessoed it.

It spent the afternoon drying. I’ll get to work on it in the next week, I think.

I finished up the small animal paintings.

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I added India ink and crayon details.

Blots and irregularities are welcome.

Now I think these animal paintings are pretty much done. I also worked on the “home” paintings and I also feel they are close to being finished. I’ll let both of these sets of paintings come upstairs and sit in my living room for a few days to see what I think.

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And just for fun I made some paper dolls while watching TV at night this week. Haven’t done it for a while and I was glad to get back to them. I am sure there will be more of them soon.

Well, that’s it for this week. On to the next. Happy Art.

Exploration

I hope to set foot on another planet some day. I am not sure how that will come about, but I think it would be with a sense of awe and wonder at the infinite experiences possible in our universe.

More prosaically, I hope it would be possible to pick up some rocks and bring them home. When I was young I did that (on earth, not another planet!) and had a collection. I still do it now and then, if I see something interesting. I think rocks from another world would qualify as interesting, certainly.

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