Monday, May 15, 2017

Mixed Media Yin Yang - Peace and Harmony

I've posted a few Yin Yang pieces on earlier posts, but I decided to post this one because it is much bigger than the others, measuring 24" X 24" and it was inspired by the red and gold colors I saw at the Chinese New Year's Parade in New York City's Chinatown this past January.

I started by creating an underlayer of painted papers, security envelope pieces, and book pages.  Then I gave it a coat of clear gesso because I forgot to put the white gesso on at the beginning.  I love how the clear gesso can save me when I need it.

I followed with a transparent coat of magenta and red paints from Golden and Amsterdam.  Then gave it another coat of red to really bring out the deeper red that I wanted on the piece.

Although the stencil is on top of this, you can clearly see the collage layer and variation it creates in the red paints.

I cut the stencil from cardstock paper that I taped together because I didn't have anything large enough.  Finding something big enough to draw a large circle was a bit tricky but finally, I used a ruler and held one end in place, put a pencil in one of the holes that are there in case you want to put it in a 3-ring binder and used it like a compass.  The medium circles were made from a dish, which also took some trial and error.  The smallest circles were easy. I used a circle cutter from a scrapbook thing.  And Voila!

Once the stencil was cut and taped in place, I used a metallic champagne craft paint - two coats.  I like this color because you can add a wash and give it almost any metallic color you want.

Here it is with a wash of Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold - I love that color.  It makes everything so vibrant and warm.  and I started playing with some collage for the corners here.  I used dictionary pages with the terms peace on one and added a Chinese character for peace in the sense of serenity and balance.  On the top dictionary page, I used the dictionary entry for harmony.  I added some paper that I had printed using a Gelli Plate and some chocolate candy wrappers - because what else says peace and harmony like chocolate??  Nothing.



So here is the final piece.  It has a nice gold finish with the quin Gold wash and it is currently hanging in The ARTery Gallery in Milford, PA.  If you're in the area, I recommend you stop by.  There's a lot of nice work there and the theme this month is a burst of color.

Thanks for checking out the blog.  Feel free to leave a comment or question.  I wish you a day filled with peace, harmony, and balance. (remember to work and play!)

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Artisan Faire Tomorrow!

Greeting Fellow Art Enthusiasts!!

I'm preparing for a quick one-night show.  Thankfully most of my stuff is organized but every show requires a bit of preparation, set-up and thinking through.  If you are in the Sussex County area and want to check out some sure to be fabulous artwork - PLEASE STOP BY!

I hope to see you there!  You can check out the Sussex County Fairgrounds website for directions.  Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Snow Days!

Well, the winter was feeling pretty mild until recent days.  I can't say I was missing all the shoveling and hazardous travel.  But, I must also admit that the coating of glistening white frosting certainly adds to an otherwise gray and dull landscape.  The morning and evening light gives the drifts of snow hues of blue, purple and soft pinkish tints.  As I look at it from my wood stove warmed house, it looks very peaceful.

So, along with the coming of the snows, I was granted a few days off of work.  Some unexpectedly and others quite obvious.  Last Friday there was a magical dusting of snow that seems to only stick to the grass and natural areas.  The roads had been warmed by the sun and so as it fell, it seemed to just melt away.  But, the forecast was not good, so I had the day off of work.  I decided that after finishing my last piece, I should clean up a bit.  That lasted about 2 minutes and once I saw the pile of scraps that were on my table.  I was immediately distracted and began moving them around and rearranging them.  I decided to start putting them up on my design wall and within a relatively short period of time, I had this piece loosely pinned to the foam board.

17 3/4 " X 17 3/4 "

The scraps were already pieced together in some cases and the other parts were all in the same pile of leftovers.  I have been looking at the abstract style of cruciform paintings and pinning them on Pinterest as a kind of brain exercise.  With no reference to anything whatsoever during the process of this piece, I made this cruciform.  I was going to name if table scraps, but decided that "Spring Snow" was perhaps more appropriate, since that was the event that allowed this to take shape.  

The scraps are raw edge qppliqued in place using straight line machine quilting.  Rather than complicate the piece with elaborate or free motion work, I thought the form should follow function of stitching in place.  I think it's a good first attempt at a cruciform.  I plan to try some more using paper.  We'll see how that works out.

Now, for the second storm.  A nor'easter.  This storm was well forecasted and much anticipated.  If you weren't prepared, it wasn't because it was a surprise.  I got an early call of school closing and once again, took a look at my table for inspiration.  I collected some of each of the fabrics I used in my "Bridges" piece. and added some mistyfuse to the back.  I like it better than wonderunder.  It seems to hold better and tolerate my acrylic mediums and paints more easily.  I named this series "Nor'easter".  It looks like the circling radar and has the white swirls and shades of blue that drifts of snow seem to produce in varying light.  I might be taking some liberty here, but it's art - so let's not take ourselves too seriously.  

12" x 12" mounted on gallery canvas

I've done this type of work before and it's a nice change from using the sewing machine.  I fused the fabric arcs down on some cotton batik.  Then I trimmed the squares to 6" x 6".  I attached them with matte medium to the canvas that I had prepared with some dark teal paint to that if there were any gaps, they'd be colored.  I also prepainted the sides of the canvas.  

Once the matte medium dried, I used paint markers, Lumiere metallic paints, Golden acrylics and various stamping tools to add marks to each quandrant.  It's busy but the added pattern helps hold the piece together.  

Once I was cutting, I was on a roll.  So, I made extra squares and mounted them on 6" x 6" pieces of 1/2 inch birch board that I got from Home Depot.  I bought a large 2' X 4" piece and then used a table saw to cut them down.  I also sanded and gessoed the boardsbefore I prepainted the edges and back. 

Here they are.  I think they'd hang nicely as a separated group to show the circle or in a row or column.

With all of these sealed with UV protective sealer and ready to hang, I'm on to the next endeavor.  Not sure what that will be.  However, I am taking advantage of the snow to do a bit of snow dying.  Trying some new combinations and overdying some pieces that were okay in my stash but weren't really special in any way.  They're on the rack and I'll keeep you posted on how they are used.  

Thanks for checking out the blog.  Feel free to leave a comment or question.  In the meantime, stay warm and enjoy the view.  

Sunday, March 5, 2017


I'm Back!  It's been a while - creative blocks to overcome and time the ever limiting factor have not been on my side but, I finished a piece this week and here it is.  I titled it "Bridges" for a couple reasons.  First, in each block, there is a piece of fabric that goes the length or width of the block and looks similar to the shape of a bridge structure.  Second, I am using this piece to bridge the gap from a period of less art quilting activity to a recent creative burst that I am experiencing.  I think I finally stopped trying to think about what others might like and just did what I do.  I got into that funk after a year of hanging my work in a gallery and thinking about what might sell.  Big mistake.

So, I chose a color palette and away I went.

Here is the first row.

  The blocks are pieced from commercial batiks, crossweaves, hand dyes and commercial cotton prints.  It took a week to get this done and THEN... it came!  Snow and the snow day that accompanied it.  Woohoo!  I haven't had a snow day in two years so I made the most of it.

Again, here is my white flannel design wall and the second row is pieces.  These are not attached yet but each square is 10 1/2 inches on all sides.  I'm getting somewhere.

Snowing like crazy and third row complete.  I'm liking the color progression from light to dark.  Two rows to go.  I had some pictures on my phone of the progression but I inadvertently deleted them.  Oops! So here is the final piece and a few close ups that I might use to make greeting cards from.

Finished size 29 1/2 inches by 49 1/2 inches

I machine quilted this in wavy rows and used light thread at the top and darker threads as I progressed down the blocks.  Here's a few close ups.

Thanks for checking out the blog.  Feel free to leave a comment.  

Monday, January 9, 2017

Creative Art Workshop

Happy Monday!  It's in the single digits here but yesterday an intimate group of creative people stayed warm by joining me for my first in a series of creative art workshops.  It was held at the Sunrise Yoga Studio in my hometown of Branchville, NJ.   After taking part in a paint and sip hosted by a good friend of mine, I decided that I would like to try my hand at teaching an art event.  Now, I'm no painter - as many of you who have viewed this blog before will attest to.  So, I decided to make it a workshop that focused on various processes and layering to create unique pieces that spoke to the individual.  I used my recent Yin-Yang series as a guide and here are the results.

We started with some thoughtful under layering of images and text that spoke to each person.
Then we painted the first layer of paint.  We used analogous colors and and blended them with some acrylic blending medium.
You can see how the under layer comes through the first layer of paint and even when it is obscured, the intention is in the piece.
We cut some stencils of the Yin-Yang - it required a bit of math but everyone seemed to survive it - and there was wine available.
One the stencil was cut, we used painter's tape to hold them in place so we could add our second layer of paint.  At this table everyone chose the same first layer colors, however each of their pieces turned out very different from each other.

After the second layer of paint and a bit of outlining, the artists added some extra collage pieces in the negative space and Voila! Personalized and meaningful art pieces.  That's a good Sunday afternoon spent!

Thanks to Cassia, owner of Sunrise Studio and all the participants for a fun afternoon.  I'm hoping to get some folks out on February 5th for my second workshop.  Yeah, I know it's Superbowl Sunday - but we're going to start early and you'll still have time to get to the guacamole and chips and to watch your favorite commercials and musical artists at halftime.  Let's face it, if your favorite team isn't playing that's the most interesting part anyway.  Hope you can join us!

Thanks for checking out the blog and feel free to leave a comment.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Yin-Yang Series

Thank you for visiting, I've been away for a while.  I usually take time in the summer to produce a lot of art, but this summer was more about getting outside and doing some hiking, biking and kayaking.  Now that I am back to school, I seem to have better time management and have been back in the studio.

Over the summer I was lucky to take a 2-week training course with Robert Peng, an internationally renown Qigong Teacher and Healer.  It was intense and energizing all at once.  I am adding this work to my Reiki Master work and have been treating people for various health concerns since my return.

So, I decided that on one of the blank walls in my treatment room, I wanted to hang a Yin-Yang.  Any of you know how about Chinese healing would understand the meaning, but I won't go into it on this forum.

So I made three pieces so far and I am trying to figure out what color to make it so that I can make one that is 24" X 24" to hang in my treatment room.  So far I like the ones that I have made but none of them are the color that I will use on the larger piece.

No. 1
12" X 12"

Someone gave me this red, laser-cut, tissue paper a while back and I believe it is to protect your home in Chinese culture.  So, I figured this was a good place to use it.  I also collaged book pages and paper bits.  Then I painted it various shades of blue.  I hand-cut a stencil and painted the Yin-Yang in metallic champagne.  Finally, I gave it a wash of quinacridone nickel azo gold and added a few finishing touches.

Here's the close up...

So far I have made three but none are the color I will use in you treatment room.  But as I practice, I am getting different results and I like the whole process.  

No. 2

8" X 8"
I used some old paper towel that I had cleaned up a spill with for the turquoise.
The doilies were from some restaurant dessert plate.  I would never go and buy doilies.  I'm not very girlie.  

 6" X 6"

I included some papers that I rusted last year in the base collage on this piece.  

So, thank you for stopping by, especially since it has been so long since I last posted.  I would love to read your comments.  Wishing you good health and a lot of Qi.  (pronounced chee and meaning life force energy)