State of the Art, April 2022 – Spillin’ dat tea!

Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it?  “Spillin’ dat tea!”

It’s really not, although I guess it could be. I’ve decided to try out tea staining my watercolor paper to see what effect it will have on my paintings. I first heard about this technique when I discovered the artist Tea Kitsune (Instagram | Twitter) but didn’t bother experimenting with it until now. Partially because I’ve been busy with “real life” and partly because I’m stuck with deciding where to go with my art. I mean, I love doing my layered paintings but want to push further somehow.

So tea staining isn’t exactly hard, per se, but it does take a bit of time to do.  You have to let the paper sit in the tea for a bit so the color soaks in.  The longer it soaks, the darker the color can be.  

Watercolor paper soaking in tea water

Watercolor paper soaking in tea water

Two pieces of watercolor paper soaking in tea water.

Two pieces of watercolor paper soaking in tea water.

As you can see, the trays I’m using are perfect for two pieces of 8.5in x 5.35in paper but just a tiny bit too small for a 9in x 12in piece.  Either way, letting all the water evaporate from the trays leaves some beautiful marks on the paper and I loved using my first two attempts with the smaller paper in paintings.

“Contrails”
8.5in by 5.5in on tea stained watercolor paper

Contrails | 8.5in x 5.5in | Tea stained watercolor paper and white gel pen | 2022

Contrails | 8.5in x 5.5in | Tea stained watercolor paper and white gel pen | 2022

(This one let me try out my new white gel pen and it worked BEAUTIULLY!)

“Fox and Butterfly”
8.5in x 5.5in on tea stained watercolor paper

Fox and Butterfly | 8.5in x 5.5in | Tea stained watercolor paper | 2022

Fox and Butterfly | 8.5in x 5.5in | Tea stained watercolor paper | 2022

I hadn’t planned to do a little forest scene with a fox and a butterfly but there you go.  It was a nice change of pace for me to do, actually.  I so very rarely do non-abstracts that it’s a nice to do something different.

I’ve also been doing some beginning bookbinding, and completed my first book.  It was a wonderful learning experience and there are some steps I’d do differently now that I’ve finished, but overall it turned out great! I’m already starting on a second book, this time with parchment resume paper instead of gridded paper. Here’s the quick little video I did of my first completed book over on Instagram.

So that’s all I’ve been up to lately.  I’m having fun making my own faux leather from paper bags to use as eventual covers for the handmade books.  It’s enjoyable and somehow soothing to crumple and smooth and work the paper into it looks kinda-sorta vaguely like leather and then use it to create a book cover.  I just need to get my workspace organized a bit better so I don’t have things drying in odd places and I’ll be set!

Until next time, be creative!

 

State of the Art – 7-Feb-2022

I promised myself I’d keep up with the site more, so here’s another post.  It’s about disappointment.

I go through phases of creativity.  I’m managing to be more creative even though I let gaming (Final Fantasy XIV) suck up a lot of time.  It’s easy to log into game and “get stuff done” and feel like I accomplished something, even if it’s virtually.  I’m doing better, honest.  Which is where the disappointment comes in.  I’m out of my usual pads of 9″ x 12″ paper so I’m using 11″ x 15″ pads instead.  Not a huge deal, I simply crop the paper down to a more manageable size and work with that.  In this case, I’m being lazy and just cutting the pages in half so I have two pieces of 7.5″ x 11″ paper.  It’s not quite standard size but meh.Continue reading

State of the Art for January 2022

So I’ve finally gotten myself motivated enough to make some changes around the site, update and add missing photos of paintings from previous years, update the galleries to better show my art, and I’m making a blog post.  This is a momentous day!

I’m seriously not motivated enough to dig into editing CSS of free WordPress themes in order to edit them.  I used to do that far more.  Now I just look for themes what I like and I think will work for me.  The theme I’ve been using for a while – Vantage – worked but I wasn’t completely happy with it.  So I finally started looking at the built-in customization options that the theme has and found that I can change things up to much better match what I’m looking for.  Along with actually digging into the options for FooGallery to show photos, and I’ve made a lot of changes to the galleries and to the front page.  I’m very much happier with the overall look of the site.

I changed the galleries from Illustration/Abstracts/Digital Works to 2019 and Older works/2020-2021 works/Current works instead.  At one time I thought it made sense but the pieces I had in Illustrations were all very old, nothing recent which reflects that I’m focusing more on abstracts now so it makes sense to remove that as gallery.  I didn’t want to have too many links so kept it at three for now.  I may add a gallery for the past postcard swaps/ATC swaps/TAE charity specific pieces I’ve done, if only to call those out.

I still keep telling myself I’ll update a Writings page to link to the various stories and fanfics I’ve written in the past.  Maybe if I do that, I’ll get my writing motivation back and finish some of the outstanding stories I have going.

Oh, and I should probably figure out some way to list paintings for sale if I actually want to do that.  I certainly wouldn’t mind letting my art get out there into the world.

Also – I have my first painting of 2022 completed!

“Connections”
Watercolor on paper
7″ x 10″

Connections | Watercolor on paper | 7" x 10" | 2022

Connections | Watercolor on paper | 7″ x 10″ | 2022

Catching Up – 2018 Art

So as I mentioned last month, I’m trying to catch-up with posting my art from the past two years here on the site instead of just on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter.  Today I’ll do 2018.

Looking at the total output of paintings I finished, it wasn’t a very productive year overall, BUT I did create art.  I wasn’t totally shut down and sucked into online gaming (which I started back up in December 2017 as stress relief) but neither was I doing art every day either.  I still haven’t arrived as a happy balance and there are days I want to create but get lazy and log on instead.  I’ll figure it out eventually.

Warning!! Image heavy post! Continue reading

State of the Art – 9/9/2018

So I thought it might be a good idea to revive these semi-regular art updates to let folks know what’s going on (and to make it seem the site isn’t inactive).  I’ve slowly been going back through all my posts to update the image links in them.  It’s frankly a huge pain to do but it also allows me to make sure the images are all correct (a few have been broken) and that the images are stored in Word Press’s media library instead of via a gallery plug-in.  There’s nothing actually wrong with the gallery I had been using but I also don’t want to be reliant on a plug-in which needs to be updated anytime WP changes.  I do still use a gallery plug-in, but it builds its albums from the WP media library, so the locations of the files themselves don’t ever change.  If I want to change an album (or even delete it entirely) that doesn’t affect the image files at all, whereas with the other plug-in, changing the albums and galleries affected all the images in there, hence some posts had broken image links.  I don’t want that, so I’m taking the time to change it all. 

Other than that, I’m still creating art.  I post works-in-progress (WIPs), completed pieces, and random photos of my doggo Jasper over on Instagram if anyone feels like following there.  My own website tends to lag behind in updates because I’d rather post my scanned photos of art here and that takes more time than sharing a photo from my phone.  I promise I’ll get caught up sooner or later, but my preference is sooner.

Winter is coming (or I’m not dead yet!)

Or something like that.  It was nice here today, but it’s going to be colder by the middle of this coming week.  Ugh.

Anyways, not been all that busy, but I did manage to complete a postcard for TAE18.  This will be the first year I’ve taken part and I’m pretty excited for this.

El Dorado
Watercolor on paper, 4″ x 6″

El Dorado (TAE18) (2017)

El Dorado (TAE18) (2017) | Watercolor on paper. 4″ x 6″ | Available

And I finished this piece this afternoon.  It’s a bit new (I usually do wet washes all over the page) but I really like how it turned out.  I mean, really like it!

Jellyfish Daydreams
Watercolor and ink on paper, 9″ x 12″

Jellyfish Daydreams (2017)

Jellyfish Daydreams (2017) | Watercolor and ink on paper, 9″ x 12″ | Available

So enjoy! 

Something New, Something Blue

Well, actually, they’re both blue but minor details.  I’ve finished two new pieces, although one is kind of a cheat.  I already posted about this in progress, but now here’s the finished piece.  Except for basically ruining my crow quill by accident (which accounts for the blotchiness in the lines), I’m pleased with how it looks.

Untitled Abstract (2017)

Untitled Abstract (2017) | Watercolor and blue ink on paper, 5.5″ x 7.5″ | Available

For my second piece, I did an ACEO to submit to the Grumbacher Art Swap #53 event.  The theme was song title interpretation and I decided to go with “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic.  It’s a fun song, the video makes me smile, and the idea popped into my head when I was thinking of different song titles.  So there ya go!

Counting Stars - ACEO (2017)

Counting Stars – ACEO (2017) | Watercolor on paper, 2.5″ x 3.5″ | Grumbacher Art Swap #53

Cuts like a knife

Vague post title is wonderfully vague.  Except it’s kind of not.  I had a larger (11″ x 15″) piece I was working on that just wasn’t doing it for me.  The composition was off and I didn’t like it.  In fact, I’d pretty much stopped doing anything with it for several days.  Last night, I decided to take a knife to it and sliced the piece into four smaller (each 5.58″ x 7.5″) paintings and suddenly *BOOM* everything seemed to come together.  Here’s a WIP shot of the first piece that I’m adding blue ink to now.  It’s already a vast improvement over the original, larger sized painting, IMO.

 

 

Image Gallery testing in progress

I’ve been somewhat dissatisfied with my image gallery plug-in for a while now, but haven’t gotten motivated enough to do anything about it until now.  I’m testing something new and want to see how it looks.  The upside is if I like this, it’ll look much nicer on the site.  The downside is having to completely re-upload and redo all the images on my site. 

Oh, and as anyone can tell by the dates on the blog posts, I’ve been a lazy slob about updating.  I’ve been much, much, MUCH better about updating my Facebook art page and Instagram, which needs to change.

Testing…

UPDATE Tuesday – I think I’ve found the setting I want to use.  The gallery adjusts based on the images, so it’s not all same sized boxy pictures.  It has captions and a lightbox setting.  So far I’m loving it.  Yes, it will be a hassle to redo all my galleries, but I’ll take the opportunity to clean them up as I go along, which should be a good thing.  Below is the starting point for the “Abstracts” gallery.