Friday, March 30, 2012

It Was a Taxing Day...

Things are not going as planned! Yesterday was a disaster in so many ways. It started off great...HB and I had our yearly appointment with our accountant to do our taxes and that went better than we expected. We were all smiles when we left the office.

When I got home I decided that since my Paint Shop Pro 9 wouldn't "play nice" with Windows 7 that I'd just install the Photoshop Elements disc and begin there. The program came with my Bamboo tablet that I bought a couple of years ago. When I tried to upload the program it asked me for my serial number which is apparently printed on the sleeve the disc came in. No problem, right? Wrong! I have either misplaced or thrown out the sleeves and stored the discs in jewel cases. No sleeve, no serial number, no program installed...back to ZERO.

Then I decided to bake a dessert for dinner since I had a sparkling clean oven...I ran the self-cleaning program while we were at the accountant's office. Clean oven, baked dessert...what could go wrong?

It bubbled out all over the bottom of the oven. And not just a little bit either. There's brown sugary stuff dripped everywhere. It was a recipe I had never tried before and I'll never try it again! After all that I just gave up on the day and watched mindless drivel on TV all evening!

So for this progress report I'd have to give myself a failing grade! But I haven't given up yet. I'm going to try Gimp next. Hopefully that one will work for me.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks...

photo from Google Images

I've put it off for as long as I can! I have PaintShopPro9 and Photo Elements plus a Bamboo tablet and can't use any of them because I don't understand them. So I have to get serious about learning to use these programs. And I also need to learn how to take videos and get them into a manageable size to use online or to burn to DVDs. I have Windows MovieMaker so that's another program I'll be learning to use.

All of these programs are like gobble-dee-gook to me! I don't understand any of them. I have Dummies books for some of them but even they don't make sense to me. It's like trying to read Greek. I wish they came with a dictionary of all the terms they use.

So in order to make sense of it all, I've decided to completely immerse myself in these programs over the next month or so (however long it takes me to "get" it) and that means not so much art. After all these years, I'm going back to school in a way. I plan to read the books cover to cover and try all the things so I can finally make headers, manipulate my art, and do all the fun things everyone else seems to be doing.

I'll probably only be posting to my blog once a week. If I've made any progress I'll share that with you and maybe even ask a few questions that hopefully someone will be able to answer.

You may not see me around quite so much but I'll try to check in with all of you when I can. And I'll always read and answer emails. If anyone has any tips on easy ways to learn these programs I'd love to hear them. (I already know about YouTube video tutorials but many times they aren't all that helpful. If the tutorial is not using the same version of everything that I have then it doesn't help.) Just remember that I know absolutely nothing about these programs. I'm at the stage where I can open the program and that's about all. Anything from there is a mystery to me! I definitely qualify as a dummy in these areas.

Wish me luck and I hope to have lots of surprises for you when I come back. One of which will be a new blog where I'm going to be selling prints of my art plus some of the originals, too.

I hope you won't give up on me while I'm learning these new things.
NOTE: I've already run into a problem!! Apparently PaintShopPro 9 doesn't play nicely with Windows 7!!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Another Blue Haired Gal...

I'm really late getting anything posted today. HB is still not feeling good but we had some business that had to be taken care of this afternoon. He did okay but he was definitely happy to be back home again.

I played in my art journal this morning. I had a couple of pages where I'd "cleaned off" some stencils, and then I had added a very light layer of a cream/pale yellow paint. Then I painted a face on one page and I played with her hair...I think I have a thing for blue haired gals!!

You know how I don't like painting hair!

I like the way her hair turned out but her face looks like a very young woman. I didn't plan on just happened. I might change the color of her eyes and make them brown.

Okay, it's getting late so I think I'll spend some time reading.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Playing Cards...Or Not

HB is sick (he has a flu bug) so I'm keeping busy in the studio. Plus there's a storm rolling in and lots of rain is's the perfect day to stay in.

I started this art journal spread a couple of weeks ago
 and then didn't finish it until today.

click any photo to view larger

It tells about one of my crazy quirks!

Now I'm off to play nurse and take care of my hubby.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Do You Act Natural??

A little change of pace today. No faces. No bright colors. Just some neutrals. I'm taking a class from Julie over at The Land of Lost Luggage and it's all about using more subdued colors. The class is Act Natural. It's a fun class and when you sign up you get all the videos right away so you can go at your own pace. I sat down and watched almost all of them one night, then over the next few days I watched them again and really tried to absorb the content.

Here's a journal spread I did after watching the videos...
remember to click on photos to view larger

I started with some drippy paint...
then used a couple of stencils...

added some bits of collage...

This is the completed spread.
I "knocked back" the collage pieces with some 
light washes of paint...
and added some circles and dots.
Left side...
Right side.

I wish I had some different tip sizes to write with so the quotes would show up a little better. But I guess it doesn't need to be "in your face"...all in all I'm pleased with this journal spread and will try using more subdued colors again. This was fun! Which do you prefer - bright colors or subdued colors??

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Flora or Esther...

I just have a couple of's grocery/errand day...but I wanted to show you how I tweaked Flora just a tiny bit.

Somehow she seemed unfinished to me. I sat with her and began thinking of all the alternatives I had thought of for of them was a turban, which I like to use. That's when I knew she needed a "base" for the flowers so I gave her a black hat.

Several comments mentioned before that she reminded them of those old-style bathing caps and now she really does. I'm thinking old Esther Williams movies so maybe I should have named her Esther!

I found this image online...

Not quite...but similar! 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Flora Comes to Life...

Saturday was a cloudy, rainy, windy, chilly day. You'd think it would be the perfect day to play in the studio but you'd be wrong! I tried...and I tried some more but nothing was happening. So I gave up and watched some videos and read.

Sunday was better although in the afternoon we had hail!  But I finally worked on a face that's been sitting in the studio staring at me for quite awhile...

Do you remember her...

For the longest time I just couldn't "see" her hair. Then I was looking through my patterned papers when I saw several papers with large blooms and they just spoke to me. I cut out several of the flowers, glued them on, and then using a dip pen and ink I outlined them all. And she's called Flora!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Trade Pieces and Some Tweaks...

Now that both Lee and TJ have received their packages,
I can show you what I did for the trade.

The one above is what I sent to Lee...

and this is the one I sent to TJ.

I did these on small hardback book covers. I don't remember for sure but I think I added a layer of old book pages first, then some modeling paste and gesso. I scratched some simple designs in the modeling paste and when that was dry added some color. The leaves are patterned paper with stamping over that. A few dots and some doodling here and there and that was it.

Yesterday I tweaked a couple of faces I've shown you may not see a huge difference but in person they look better than before...

I just keep adding layers and trying different things. The right side of her forehead is still too dark...more layers needed!  Maybe one of these days (years!) it will become easier for me. I hope so! I see some artists turn out new faces each day while it takes me several days to get just one.

This weekend we're going to have cold, windy, rainy weather so I plan to stay in the studio and paint. I hope I have something new to show you soon.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I Keep Practicing...

Here's another face I did...

I still need more practice but I'm having fun along the way. You might recognize that background. It's some of the brown paper that came from my work table disaster several days ago. I glued a piece of it on one of the wood plaques I got at the dollar store.

And this is a small painting I did for Kate's birthday. 
I was a little late getting it to her.

This is done on a hardback book cover. 
And I used my favorite thing...DOTS!
Some of them are metallic gold.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

4 Paintings and Some Mail...

Yesterday I spent almost the entire day either painting or watching Mystele's painting video. I had some frustrations and some fun and I'm happy with what I did.

But first of all I have something else to show you. I was in a swap with Lee and TJ. I already showed you the art piece Lee did for me. Now here is what TJ sent...

She did some stitching on the square heart piece but I'm not sure it shows up in this photo. I love love love the background technique she used on these and the colors are beautiful. The ATC is a sample of some German cool is that! Thank you, TJ...I hope the art pieces I sent will arrive soon. I'll show those later.
I did some extra touches on this painting...

I added the halo and the words so now I think it's finished.

I also re-worked this one a little bit 
but now her forehead looks weird...

It's too dark on one side or the other side is too light! 
Either way I need to fix it.

Here's another one I was working on...

She needs some more work, too.

And finally here's one I did 
on one of the dollar store wood plaques I bought recently...

Now I hope I can make more improvements today. 
I plan on another day of painting.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Couple of Not-Quite-Right Paintings...

Recently I've been trying to loosen up when I paint faces...but it isn't working. Mystele (see Little Glimpses on my sideboard) has an excellent video in the community hub and I've watched it about a million times and even painted with it by stopping and starting the video. I just can't seem to get it.

Here's one of the pictures I was working on...

Her face is flat, flat, flat! I guess I just need more practice.

And here's another not-so-good piece I did using the tissue paper technique that I wrote about in a previous post...

I drew her from a magazine picture and her head was tilted back. In my version she looks like she's smelling a fart!

Oh, well, it's Saturday and I have plenty of time to paint so it's back to the drawing board, or in this case the worktable.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Don't Cry Over Spilled Water...

Did you ever start out your morning feeling really great about everything and then have it turn into a disaster?? That's what happened to me today. It's a gorgeous spring-like day and I woke up to birds singing, blue skies and sunshine. Got my big glass of ice water and headed to the studio. And that's when it happened...I spilled the entire glass of water on my worktable!

The picture above is what it looked like after it got wet.

And here it is now after I replaced that big center section of brown paper. Oh, well, the wet paper will dry and then I can use it as a beginning for something else. I never throw away the brown paper from my worktable. It gets incorporated into my art somehow.

I've been doing a little bit of painting. I have these two pictures started but lots more to do on them...

And that's what's been happening here...not much at all! With the weekend here I hope to find time to finish these paintings and work on some other WIPs that I have. Wish me luck!!

PS - I forgot to tell you...the header is only temporary. I used to make my headers using Picture It but my new computer with Windows 7 won't work with Picture It so I have to learn how to make headers in some other program...big learning curve for me!

Friday, March 02, 2012

No Art...Just Supplies

A couple of days ago Zorana did a post about all her paint brushes...and she had a lot! So since I don't have much art I can show you right now, I thought I'd share my brushes with you.

My brushes are all stored in recycled cans and I have them sorted into size and shape. I like to keep all my angled brushes together and separate from the others. There's a big can that holds all my big brushes...ones I use for backgrounds, brushing off a painting, etc. And then there's a can filled with flat brushes and another one with round brushes.

I'm terrible about taking care of my brushes! I am constantly leaving them in water or just plain leaving them on the worktable. When that happens I put them into a jar with a small chunk of Ivory soap and warm water. Brushes that have dried out will usually come back after this treatment. You may have to leave them in the solution for a day or so but I've had good luck with this. I learned about this treatment during a class I took from Wyanne.

Here are some other tools I like using....

These are a bunch of dowels I bought and had HB cut down to about 5" lengths. They are great for painting dots of different sizes. I also use old paintbrush handles and some skewers that I broke in half and sanded down. You know I like dots!!

And here are some of those faces from the other day. I still haven't finished them but they're now on some backgrounds and I've added the outlines for hair.

One of these days I'll actually finish the faces, the backgrounds and the hair and be able to show you something completed! But don't hold your breath! Lately I'm not moving too fast in the studio.