Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"Stairs of Life" (sold)


"The stairs of life unfold one step at a time and no one else can climb them for you." So often we only notice how others are progressing in life. The reality is that it is does not happen through osmosis. Each person has to be willing to climb the stairs of opportunity and focus on their own gifts and abilities.

Today's piece was created much the same way as yesterday's posting so I will not repeat those steps. However, there is one more additional element added that looks like a piece of collage.

The vertical lettering was typed on my computer and then printed on the Arches Text Wove after I completed the monoprint with Walnut Ink. You could also scan sketches you've created or any other line work and print it in the same manner. It does greatly enrich the surface without adding too many elements. And some of you are like me and have sketches and odd pieces in notebooks or journals that could easily be scanned to include with just the right photograph.

The cool thing about printing over a monoprint in this fashion is that you really have no idea where it will land in the final printing of your photograph over all of this background stuff. It is just another "spontaneous" technique that surprises you with its random placement. So let me reiterate again that if you want a spontaneous look, you will most likely be able to achieve that by using spontaneous techniques. So as you experiment and observe things happening in your studio, keep your eyes wide open for this type of process. Most of the techniques I've learned have been learned by just "messing around" with materials. These are just more things to try or think about.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


($40.00......mounted on a 1/8" depth clayboard panel)

"Slipping into timelessness is to possess those thoughts not frozen in time." There are particular people, places, and things that are unforgettable and don't seem to fall off of the "radar screen" of our mind. The image in this piece is an architectural element from the Biltmore in Ashville, N.C. It is an element not frozen in time because it continues to inspire with its perfection of design. I know this is deep, but try to think of those things that stir up timeless memories for you. Those particular thoughts are not frozen in time. They live on.

As you can see, I am still "pushing the envelope" with my photographs. The same kinds of effects can probably be created in Photoshop, but you would not have the actual properties of paint or the original marks on the piece.

In this piece, I began again with a monoprint created with Walnut Ink on Arches Text Wove. This monoprint was created on damp paper to soften the edges of the print, but it is also possible to do it on dry paper just to see what would happen. I then printed the photograph over the monoprint by running the paper through my printer. Pencil marks and lines followed. Spray Acrylic Coating (2x)....followed by Pouring Medium plus Unbleached Titanium. Dry overnight. These are all the things I did in yesterday's post. But today, I added a bit of soft pastel by scraping it onto a paper plate and applying with a Hake brush. The surface created by the pouring medium receives soft pastel extremely well.

In the final stages, I sprayed the surface with acrylic coating again (to hold the pastel in place) followed by (2) coats of diluted gel matte medium to prepare the surface for writing. (Remember to secure the piece with a removable sticky square so that you can hold the hair dryer and brush on the matte medium simultaneously. The medium will not attach to a slick surface without heat.) Just some more things to try or think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"My Home" (Sold)


"Other places I may roam, but Texas is my home." This time of year many people may visit other places, but those who live in the Lone Star State have a pride like no other, and Texas is their home. The star in the image is on the (5) acres we call home.

It is very easy to get locked into a particular technique and stay there forever, but real growth happens when you hold loosely to particular techniques and simply allow it to continue "morphing" into something else. This has been one of the hugh benefits of blogging every day. The process seems to spur on this "morphing process".

In this piece, I poured a bit of Walnut Ink onto my glass table top followed by the laying down of Arches Text Wove to make a monoprint. After drying thoroughly, I then printed my photograph over the monoprinted paper. I could have stopped there, but the look of Liquitex Pouring Medium plus a bit of Titan Buff has captivated me so I did that technique as well. (The photograph must be sealed with 2-3 coats of Krylon Spray Acrylic Coating first and mounted on a clayboard panel.) Pencil lines and writing were also added. I have some other ideas to try and you probably do as well. Just something to try or think about.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

"Aspens (4)"

($40.00.....mounted on a 1/8" depth clayboard panel)

"Aspens are like gold coins shimmering in the breeze." This is the last of the aspen series. For me, it was the perfect way to end up November and appreciate what God has created for us to enjoy. Thanksgiving has passed, but hopefully it will be in our hearts every day of the year.

Combining and exploring techniques has been one of the joys of working in mixed media. I truly appreciate and enjoy my friends who work in total realism, but for me, the idea of coming up with totally different looks that include lettering is my true passion. And I tend to want to do something for a few days and even weeks, but then I sense something within telling me to combine the things I know, add something new, and let the images continue to "morph" into something else.

Before going on to explore something else, I do need to say something else about lettering on top of pouring medium which is the top layer on the last six days of photography. I have used the same lettering style for the Aspen series. Moon Palace (diluted a bit) and a Mitchell (6) were the ink and nib used. And even though Moon Palace ink is very black and dense, one pass over this surface was not adequate. I did go over each letter again to make it bold. It does take practice to go over the same letter and place your pen in the exact same place again. It requires your best vision and best lighting arrangement. I have noticed that some of my script students are not always prepared to use a magnifying jeweler's hat or reading glasses even though they have trouble seeing up close. If you truly want to letter, it is imperative to be able to see well up close....especially if you're trying to retrace a letter.

I did use some background pencil lettering and lines in this series and in much of my other work. There is a softness and hand lettered quality to pencil lines....even more so than pen and ink. Pencil lines indicate a human presence even more than ink because it is similar to doing a sketch or a preliminary study. It is so compelling that even non lettering mixed media artists like to include pencil. These are just some things to try or think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"Aspens (3)"

($40.00.....mounted on a 1/8" depth clayboard panel)

"Up close and personal, aspen leaves are beautiful in form and color." Close up shots of anything in nature can create texture and in some cases look very abstract. I call them outdoor still life shots. It's almost December so enjoy some up close and personal observations of the remaining days of fall.

Yesterday I talked about the difference between writing on this type of surface covered with acrylic paint and medium as opposed to unprimed paper. If you do make a mistake you can get a stiff brush, dip it in water and remove the lettering. (It's almost like a "dry erase" board.) However, there are times when there may be a residue of the lettering still left. In that case, just dip the brush in alcohol and do what I call the "brush and blot" technique. You must blot immediately after wetting this surface with alcohol because it will get sticky and the kleenex will stick to the surface. The reason for this is because alcohol breaks up acrylic paint and mediums.

You can also use rubbing alcohol to break up the paint and then brayer over the surface, lifting some of the paint and creating a different texture. It really looks cool if there's a different color beneath the top coat.

You will notice how the haze of the Titan Buff Acrylic plus the Pouring Medium left an "old photograph" look in the upper corners. This particularly shows up well on dark backgrounds so if you like that look, you will want to keep that in mind when you do the photography. Refer to the November 22 posting for application of the paint / pouring medium followed by spritzing with water. Just a few things to try or think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Friday, November 25, 2011

"Aspens (2)"

($40.00....mounted on a 1/8" depth clayboard panel)

"Aspens and evergreens live together in perfect harmony." This is another photo from Hyde Park in Santa Fe. Before Christmas overtakes us all, it is refreshing to the soul to linger a bit in the company of Aspens dressed in yellow. Enjoy.

If you have a desire to learn this "encaustic like" effect over a favorite photograph, refer to "Aspens (1)" for details. There is a tip regarding the lettering that might be useful before you get carried away. This is not like writing on paper. You will not be able to attack this surface with the same energy you do on unprimed paper. It requires an extremely light touch, barely skimming the surface. The energy and form of your lettering must be practiced on paper first with a pencil to get the movement down before writing on your piece. The good news is that the surface preparation allows you to dip a stiff brush in water and remove any mistakes. (I have taken out whole lines of lettering before.)

As for all of you color's time to analyze what is going on with the colors in this photo and why we are captivated by this particular arrangement. First of all, yellow and blue are split complements, so by including a portion of the sky, you automatically have a combination that satisfies that need for the eye to find the complement. Second of all, even though you may not see any red, I can assure you that if you tried to mix a "rich" deep green as you see in the evergreens, you would need to use some red. And red and green are the two most powerful direct complements. The conclusion is that a close study of nature will actually help to understand what colors to use together and why. So get out your "trusty" color wheel and mix away! Just something to try or think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"A Thankful Heart"


"Fall is quickly fading, but a thankful heart is eternal." It is refreshing to be around people who are truly thankful in a world of entitlement. All of us are blessed to have shelter and food, not to mention the enormous abundance of other blessings. This is a great day to be thankful. Count your blessings!

These decorative gourds have been in my studio for weeks now because they have been a visual source for several of my postings. You will recognize three of them that I painted for other postings. Today they are featured in a bed of rocks by our patio. This is a photograph with an encaustic look created once again with pouring medium (Liquitex) and a touch of fluid acrylic paints. Encaustics are typically created with a wax plus some damar varnish which is heated and poured over imagery. It has a very ethereal look with the possibility of endless inclusions buried beneath the surface. It is heated with a heat gun between layers to smooth it out and prepare for the next layer.

The look is mysterious and "veiled" beneath the wax. Pouring Medium has the same ability to allow for this look with the possibility of adding lettering and imagery followed by the medium and preparing for the next layer. So far, I am in the beginning stages of my experimentation, but pushing the limits of a particular technique is one of the many advantages of posting a piece every day. It enables you to keep a continuous creative dialogue going until each technique is fully explored before moving to the next thing.

So keep your digital camera close by and practice observing unusual arrangements of anything and everything. My pictures of cracks in the concrete could easily be a piece of art with nothing added. The main job of the artist is to keep eyes wide open to all of the possibilities. Just something to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Curtain Call"


"Enjoy the fall before the curtain closes on red, orange, and yellow and opens again to the faithful evergreens." This photo was taken in Hyde Park in Santa Fe. There are a few spots of color here in Central Texas so try to visually drink that in, but also enjoy the vicarious experience of fall in other parts of the country. The curtain is about to close.

Yesterday, I gave a step by step instruction on how to incorporate your photos into a piece of artwork. This hazy look created with Titan Buff (Golden) plus Liquitex Pouring Medium will do this for you in varying degrees of opacity.

Abstraction describes the essence of something real and anything that is altered can be considered an abstract. Just painting red, yellow, and orange on your design space in geometric form or a few organic shapes could be an abstract of a fall landscape even though you would not see actual trees in that kind of presentation. In the case of photography, additional paint and mediums or inclusions can blur the edges between total realism and abstraction so in that sense, I have abstracted the photo. In days to come you will probably see me do it a little more drastically. The point is perfectly summed up in a quote by Pablo Picasso..."There is no abstract art. You must always start with something".

If you are interested in brief dissertations on abstraction as well as other prominent "design" words, I highly recommend a book by Tim McCreight entitled...Design Language. It can be ordered from John Neal Bookseller and will give you many insights into design.

The following direct quote from this book will give you the flavor of its pages. "Some people think abstract art just means something weird-looking; this is incorrect. Weird is easy but abstract work springs from, and must be responsive to a physical reality." So there you are. Just a few things to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Aspens (1)" ($40.00)


"Aspens pierced the landscape with yellow brilliance." As Thanksgiving approaches, I wanted to focus on the fall landscape with a new technique using photography. We don't have aspens in Central Texas, but we can certainly enjoy them from a distance. This is the first in a series of four. Enjoy!

The first thing to do if you are interested in trying this technique is to print a favorite photo onto Arches Text Wove. It is a lightweight watercolor paper that will feed through your printer. The only problem is that it is too lightweight to receive product like Pouring Medium. So after you have made the print, spray at least 2-3x with Spray Acrylic Coating (Krylon). Moisture will cause the toner to bleed.

The next step is to mount the photo onto a 1/8" Clayboard panel or 1.50" depth Cradled Clayboard. Use Gel Matte Medium to adhere the print and then cover it with wax paper and place it under a book with a rock or brick on top.

In just an hour or so, you will be able to mix up some Pouring Medium with a bit of acrylic. (Fluid Acrylics are best) In this piece I used Titan Buff (Golden) mixed with the medium and poured it over the piece and spread it with a palette knife. It covers the photo with no transparency at this point until you hold it over a paper plate and spray with water, allowing a lot of the paint mixture to drip off. By spraying in a particular area where you want more visibility you can achieve some interesting effects. After allowing to dry overnight, the surface is ready to be prepared for lettering. (Check previous postings for surface preparation) This is something you might want to try or think about. When all is said and done, the photo has a hard film over it which offers complete protection without glass.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Monday, November 21, 2011

"Welcome Mat" (sold)


"Early morning prayers and a cup of coffee are like a welcome mat in front of a new day." The most blessed part of my day and life is when I am praying. A cup of coffee wakes me up physically, but prayer wakes me up spiritually. It's a good thought as you begin your day.

In early postings, I've gone on and on about the elements and principles of design. These stubborn principles wrap themselves around visual communication like a blanket. Whether you are conscious of them or not, they're always operative.

One of the more subtle principles of design is "gradation". It is what I call the "crescendo" and "decrescendo" of design. These are music terms which mean to gradually get louder or gradually get softer. In the visual world, the application operates with any of the elements of design. For instance, color can be very intense and then gradually fade into another color or into gray or white. You can see it very clearly in this piece as the green fades out into the cream color. The same "fading out" can happen with gray values, line work, size, and texture. As always, too much gradation (which includes very diffused edges) needs the contrast of hard lines. You can see that here with the image, the lettering, and the thicker applications of gesso, as well as the pencil lines in the first layer.

All of this is analyzation to the "hilt, but it really isn't a bad thing to analyze what is going on in a piece of art. If you cannot identify what you've done "accidentally" you cannot readily repeat the process. Putting a name to what you're doing will definitely help to add new techniques to your repertoire. Just something to think about.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

"Paradigm Shift" (sold)


"Prayer creates a paradigm shift called thanksgiving." This quote is a springboard off of my favorite author on prayer....E. M. Bounds. I have also included his quote underneath mine. With thanksgiving just around the corner, it is good to ponder these things.

To my script students, this is an example of Copperplate and Spencerian used together to differentiate the two quotes. They are quite different alphabets but they are also very complementary to each other. I have often suggested to those of you who address envelopes that you might be well served to use Copperplate for the name and switch to Spencerian for the address. It would be much faster for you.

Writing on this surface presented a few challenges because it is very dense acrylic paint plus medium. And even though I prepared the paper with several coats of dilute gel matte medium (2 parts water to 1 part medium) it still posed a few problems. I think it was the paper, but I also think it is best to prepare the paper the night before and let the gel matte medium dry overnight. Even with a hair dryer, it doesn't get "bone dry" if it doesn't dry overnight. So I was pulling my hair out trying to get a thin hairline, but that's what I get for waiting till this morning to do the lettering. Just a few things to try or think about.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Warm and Cozy" (sold)


"Particular colors, images, and people make you feel warm and cozy." These two adjectives are generally referring to things like an afghan, a favorite sweater, etc., but it is a nice diversion of thought to think of unexpected things and people as warm and cozy.

There is a reflective spirit that takes hold of me when going through antique stores and looking at images of "old stuff". These old mason jars bring back lots of memories of my grandmother who might have had something like this on her shelf. How fabulous to have just the perfect background for these two gems.....and it wasn't even planned! So, to quote myself from yesterday..."Some of the best things in life happen spontaneously". I guess my point is, that you should probably hang on to those practice sheets, discarded backgrounds from a class, or anything else you haven't brought to completion. Effective cropping and adding just the right image(s) plus a bit of lettering will do the trick.

As you know, I love creating these windows, framed out in gesso. The way the color interacts with primed and unprimed surfaces is completed fascinating. The secret is to work on a larger sheet and do some effective cropping. But as you know, if you've worked with gesso before, paint does not always want to adhere to a "gessoed" surface because it acts as a resist. Thinning down the geeso helps a bit, but then you sacrifice the technique of being able to texturize the gesso. Pouring Medium or other acrylic mediums will help with this dilemma. You might need to coax the mixture a bit with a palette knife, barely skimming the surface. In some instances, you can achieve an "encaustic" effect with lettering and other imagery submerged below the surface. On a Saturday, these are things to try or think about.

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Spontaneously" ($60.00)

($60.00.....mounted on a 1.50" depth clayboard)

"Some of the best things in life happen...spontaneously." This piece was prompted by some feelings I had while sitting on the patio. Acorns were literally falling from the trees while I was visiting with a friend. Autumn was definitely in the air. It was one of those spontaneous, unplanned moments. In my memory, these always seem to be my best memories. Look for the unexpected special moments in the day...the spontaneous ones.

This was one of those pieces that kind of looked like a mess. But on closer observation, when I looked at where the pencil lines landed after the first layer and cropping, I was encouraged. Plus, there was a whole lot of texture going on that looked very spontaneous.

The collage elements were placed with the pencil lines acting as a support. If you look closely, you can see how the lines and the imagery connect so there is a division of space created by the combination of the two. Making connections of lines, shapes, and color blocks in a piece is crucial to good design. So don't try to achieve the most perfect background in the world. Get a little messy with the process and let some spontaneous things happen. They are the ones with the most energy and create the most memorable experiences. Just something to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece. I will no longer be listing items on ebay, but will incorporate a paypal link on my blog very soon.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Transition" ($30.00)

($30.00.....mounted on a 1/8" depth clayboard panel)

"A fallen leaf is a sign of seasonal transition just as right choices are a sign of a transition in life." It would be great if transitions in life happened as regularly and "on time" as they do in nature. The good news is that every life can have a quick turn around by making and following through with good choices.

Unfortunately, central Texas does not have the same brilliant colors in the fall landscape as you would be seeing in the Smoky Mountains. So the next best thing is to paint the colors as they would appear in other parts of the country. These particular colors are Raw Sienna plus White, Cadmium Orange, Napthol Red plus Raw Umber. This image viewed from across the room is quite brilliant. The color, of course, is "kicked up a notch" with Pouring Medium added.

In most of my pieces, I choose to focus on the image, especially color, so that it gives a power punch from across the room. Even when Pouring Medium and strong color are not chosen, the powerful division of space will give that "across the room" power punch. In this piece, there is a simple division of four horizontal bands with softly diffused edges. This type of division works every time it's tried.

Spencerian Script is my hand of choice when I have a long quote or don't want the lettering to overpower the image. To achieve a fine hairline on this type of surface (which has been prepared with gel matte medium...diluted) I dilute my gouache a lot with water and then add 1-4 drops of gum arabic in a small container not much larger than a thimble. It has been my experience that different colors require more or less gum arabic than others. Also, if the lettering turns out too light...I do go over the downstroke very lightly (with no pressure) just to make it more readable. All of these things are just something to try or think about.

Please visit my ebay listing to bid on original art from Dee Day Art Journal Painting a Day.
Dee Day ebay

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Deep Thinking" ($40.00)

($40.00.......mounted on a 1/8"depth clayboard panel)

"Deep thinking simmers in an atmosphere of peace and quiet." A state of peace and quiet needs to be pursued with intentionality in an age of continuous audio input. It is worth the effort and actually enables the deep thinker to make wiser decisions.

This kind of quote is best illustrated with colors that are less intense and "in your face". The Cobalt Turquoise (Golden) was diluted or grayed down with a bit of Raw Umber and White. The yellow is Raw Sienna plus White. (Raw Sienna is already a grayed down yellow.)  The dark, black looking color is both Turquoise and Raw Sienna plus Raw Umber mixed together with no white added. This is a Pouring Medium technique which gives a dense application of the paint with no brush strokes or interference of any other tools in the paint. That's why it's called a Pouring Medium.  (It is added to the paint in a paper plate.)

I added no water to the medium and color, but did soak the paper by submerging in a pan of water. If the pouring medium is not moving enough when you do the pour, spray with water. Manipulate the pour by picking up the paper in the corners and letting the color run. When you are satisfied, lay the paper flat on wax paper and allow to dry overnight. The only time you will be able to use a hair dryer is at the very end of the process if there are wet areas.  I have experimented with placing the medium + color into plastic bottles with a tip.  Paper plates (foam type) are still the best method in my opinion.

The reason I am recounting this process again is the teacher in me. None of us retains all of the details of a process without repetition. You will also notice that I left part of the paper untouched by the pouring medium. There was of course, a little "bleed" from the dark color, but that not only provides contrast, but gives an easier surface to letter on. Just something to try or think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"A Touch of Blue" ($40.00)

($40.00....mounted on a 1/8" depth clayboard panel)

"Paint my life with warm colors and a touch of blue." Warm colors advance visually in a painting and cool colors recede. Both are needed to make a compelling picture which is also true in life. Sometimes we all need to advance and enter life with "gusto", but there is also a time to pull back...and be alone.

There are many ways to incorporate collage in an art piece. You are only limited to the available time to experiment. There are several painters I admire who paint "photographic like" images within a very abstract background. That is basically the technique I have been using with collage elements.

There are several things to consider when taking this approach. First, the collage elements need to look like they were "made to order" for that particular background. In my case, I have been composing a still life on top of the background with the collage. It doesn't take too many collage pieces to accomplish this, but it can take time to find just the right piece for the right background. But this is actually the fun part and if you have a ton of magazines lying around, you'll have more than enough material to choose from. Be careful not to include images that are obviously someone else's a painting, a beautiful flower arrangement that looks like it was created by a floral designer. I generally stick to odd bits and pieces on a page and sales catalogs are also a good source. It's great fun and something you might want to try or think about. (Adhere collage pieces with gel matte med...brushed on straight from the jar following by running a brayer over the pieces.)

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Monday, November 14, 2011

"Don't Stop!" (sold)


"Working through the process means to start and don't stop!" Any endeavor requires this kind of determination. It has both secular and sacred implications that affect every area of life. It sounds easy, but it is not. Just something to think and pray about for a very long time.

Circles are symbolic of eternity. The most common use of a circle is probably a wedding band symbolizing eternal love. In this piece I have chosen to include circles made out of steel. One is a sculpture and the other is a "gear". Gears imply that something is happening....there is work going on. So in thinking about working through a process, it was the perfect symbol.

In thinking about the division of space, I chose to place the lettering where it would connect or overlap other shapes that would then touch two edges of the design space. The more I do this, the more I've come to realize just how important it is to have strong divisions that go from edge to edge. So the placement of metallic leaf and collage elements becomes very strategic.

One more decision that added depth was the inclusion of charcoal powder brushed  over both sections and sides of the metallic leaf. It mimics the "smudging" techniques that also create so much depth. Just something to try or think about.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Forgiveness" (sold)


"Love invades the heart of those who forgive and are forgiven." Everyone wants to be forgiven, but it is much harder to forgive. Both are necessary in our relationship with God and people.

This is one of those pieces that I normally shy away from because it goes into visual overload very quickly. Keeping the main thing the main thing is absolutely necessary....and then don't add any other non related elements. Editing can quickly go out the window and there may be a strong urge to keep adding collage elements. With that in mind, I chose to have one collage element (love chapter from I Cor. 13 torn from an old Bible). Crackle Paste was added to add texture and interest. Finally, pouring medium was added to tie it all together

Also, the color combination of black, white, and red is a way of keeping it simple since this is a time honored color combination. An artist friend of mine and I were recently talking about how difficult it is to know when to stop in a piece. Generally speaking, it is sooner rather than later. Knowing when to stop is often the difference between success and failure. Just something to think about.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

"The Art of Giving" (sold)


"Thankfulness inspires the art of giving." With Thanksgiving just around the corner, my thoughts naturally go to being thankful for God's provision in my own life. Sharing and giving to others is the path to a happy life. It feels good to share.

There are several things that give a piece energy. Making erratic lines and very quick writing with pen or pencil is one way. Trying to add these kinds of things after the piece is cropped and you know the concept never produces the same spontaneity. One of the reasons is that this first layer of marks and words is then covered over and partially hidden by gesso and paint. But there is another part of this that can add another dynamic. By not making the erratic marks too straight, but introducing diagonals results in more energy. If you have trouble doing this spontaneously, then look out the window and make marks without looking at the paper.

Writing a word in gesso that is right out of the jar without diluting is another one. The word can be readable or unreadable, but writing it with a stylus very quickly while the gesso is wet will yield some very nice texture. After it dries and the paint is applied, it has a way of "pooling" into those inscribed areas quite nicely. Just something to try or think about.

Friday, November 11, 2011

"Morning" ($30.00)

($30.00....mounted on a 1/8" clayboard panel)

"Morning rewards early risers with a treasure trove of fresh ideas." I already know that some of you are going to tell me I don't know what I'm talking about! But I would challenge you to try it for awhile and see how it goes. It really can be the quietest and most productive part of the day.

Many mornings in the hill country look like this piece right before the sun comes up. Often the fog settles in and then burns off with the sunrise. It really is a restful piece that required a restful script to support the concept.

Spencerian Script is a very "poetic" hand and I fell in love with the simple beauty of this script almost from the first moment I really began to understand and practice its unique characteristics. It is deceptively simple because it has very few shaded strokes, has an angular and smaller x-height than copperplate, and has a "rounded check mark" type of exit stroke,  but when it is viewed in a longer passage, it has a sparkle and simplicity that lends itself to quieter, more thoughtful pieces where more pronounced lettering does not contribute to the piece. These are just some of the reasons why you see so much of it in my work.

It also has a historical look and fits perfectly with vintage photographs or collage pieces where you just want a simple line of lettering without being too "fussy". So my advice to those of you who are still struggling with spencerian is simply to hang in there and practice just one line of writing a day. To quote myself....."everything is difficult before it is easy". (posted on May 14, 2011) Practicing with a very sharp pencil until you understand the form of every letter will speed up your progress. It is extremely difficult to write with pen and ink until you understand the form and characteristics of each letter. Just something to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"The Poetry" ($60.00)

($60.00......mounted on a 1.50"depth clayboard)

"The poetry of the autumn landscape is a call to embrace beauty." It takes intentionality and time to enjoy beauty. Otherwise, we could all lose sight of the positive things in life.

Even when composing a serene and quiet piece, texture is still a provocative design element that adds complexity to a piece without clutter. Gesso, molding paste, crackle paste, pouring medium, erratic lines done in pencil, palette knife applications, brush strokes, etc....are all ways to add texture. Of course, you don't need to do all of these things in the same piece, but it is a way to give the viewer something more to look at than a single image on a blank sheet of paper. With the vast volume of imagery that crosses our eyes everyday, it is imperative to have depth and visual interest. Knowing how to do that is a lifelong pursuit, but ever so rewarding.

Layering is the logical process of achieving complexity. And the case could be made that all art is layering. I like to think of it in the same way that it is done in Photoshop. Every time a change is made, there is a new layer. It is not necessary to cover the entire piece with a new layer of paint or texture to have a new layer. The subtlety comes when the artist is very selective about where to add additional elements or techniques. Just keeping a journal of one or two techniques is a great way to keep your hands on art everyday. Just something to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"Jewels of Color" ($30.00)


"Light pierced the glass and my heart with jewels of color." Because the word "light" has two meanings, this is a quote with a double meaning. Light gives objects form and in the case of glass, it has the power to create wonderful gradations of color when it passes through the glass. Light can also be an "epiphany" or insight that illuminates the heart. In either case, light is the key ingredient.

In many of the "gesso" and "pouring medium" pieces, little windows are created by leaving some of the unprimed paper untouched when applying the gesso. These "windows" create a place to highlight an image or lettering. The key in creating these "windows" is working on a larger sheet of watercolor paper so these areas can be cropped. Creative cropping definitely falls in the category of a spontaneous technique.

By using a stylus or the end of a pointed object, the gesso can become much more textural by writing into it while it's wet. Even using unconventional tools such as a stick or old brush will yield some interesting marks. You might also enjoy an experiment of choosing one letter and writing it 100 different ways with as many different tools as you can find. Some of these mark making tools might find their way into your "repertoire" of marks. This is also a great idea for an interesting journal, especially if you notate what tool you used. Just something to try or think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.  Paypal link will be forthcoming.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"Just A Number" ($40.00)


"Age is just a number but the higher ones are more difficult to negotiate." There are those of us, like me, who think they can still do what they always did. The day has come when "age" is part of daily consideration. What I know now is that some things can only be done in the morning, when I'm actually alert enough to put two thoughts together. However, it is also good to just look at age as a number and "go for broke"!

Crackle Paste (Golden) is a favorite medium that yields great results. In past pieces, I have randomly applied this medium to the paper before adding any color. However, more subtle results can be achieved by waiting until the last layer and noticing the area that becomes the center of interest. Most of the time, that place will be where there is the most detail, the most contrast with an interesting shape. That place became obvious in this piece, so I applied the paste with a very small palette knife allowing it to be a contrast within a larger shape. A bit of gray gouache was applied over the paste after it dried to highlight the "crackle" effect. I chose to use gouache because it is easier to manipulate the value of the color by adding water and blotting with a kleenex where it became too dark.

Blue and yellow are split complements and look very well together, but if you want the yellow to be very subtle, either "gray" it down with its complement or use Raw Sienna which is what you see here.  Just something to try or think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Monday, November 7, 2011

"Happy Companions" (sold)


"Coffee and creative thinking are happy companions." On a Monday morning this is particularly appropriate. Grab a cup of "java" and head on into your day!

Metallic leaf can certainly add some contrast and a bit of "bling" to a piece of art. There are many ways to adhere the leaf to the surface. The method I've been using is Liquitex Pouring Medium brushed over the surface. Not waiting to allow this to dry, I immediately press the leaf into the "tacky" surface. It is helpful to use the leaf that is attached to a piece of glassine paper. It now comes that way in the imitation leaf bought in craft stores. It's much easier and you don't need to fuss with leaf flying over the studio.  If buying real leaf, order patent gold or patent silver.  The word patent indicates that it is attached to glassine and not the loose leaf.

Another aspect of metal leaf that is often overlooked is the fact that it also has a color temperature. Silver is cool and gold is warm. Copper would also be in the warm category. In this piece, I chose to use silver to contrast with the warm orange and push the cool temperature in the piece to the dominant side. Blue is also cool, so by adding the silver, cool color then occupies most of the design space.

Another exciting thing to do with metal leaf is to lay it over textured areas or score it with a sharp instrument. In this piece, I scored it with an etching tool and then burnished it with steel wool. Just something to think about.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Timeless" ($60.00)

(adjusted price.....$60.00....mounted on a 1.50" depth clayboard)

"Timeless appeal is found in warm surroundings shrouded in quiet." In this crazy world of noise and confusion, I personally find it very comforting to have warm surroundings shrouded in quiet. It is not good to have constant audio input. It is better to balance out that part of life with quiet moments of reflections. Sunday is a very good day to do that.

The word "shrouded" conjures up all kinds of visuals in my mind so I decided to shroud my lettering in a translucent glaze created with Liquitex Pouring Medium and a very small bit of Liquitex Unbleached Titanium Acrylic. Of course, you may need to spray your lettering with Acrylic Spray Coating first if it is water soluble. The translucent mixture needs to be applied with a palette knife rather than a brush. It is very "gooey", but the self leveling nature of this mixture will even out if you lay it flat to dry. ( Do not dry with a hair dryer. It will get unsightly ripples in it.)

One of the more pleasing parts of this composition are the shapes. The main shape containing the lettering touches three sides of the design space. Also, the metallic areas also touch two sides of the design space with the top shape disappearing and reappearing behind the largest shape. There are also lines created in the first layer that show through adding more emphasis to the shapes. These kinds of details are extremely important when planning a composition. Just follow the rule of allowing shapes to touch two sides of the design space unless they are shapes within larger shapes. This will give your piece a good structure to build upon. Just something to think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

"Evergreens" ($30.00)

(adjusted price....$30.00)

"Evergreens are faithful through every season of the year." Attributing a human quality to an inanimate object is a wonderful way to come in the back door and make a point. And the point here is that "faithfulness" is demonstrated in nature by the very fact that evergreens are always there whether it's snowing or hotter than blue blazes. This is exactly what I think about when recalling the people I know who are always faithful. They are there no matter what the circumstances of life happen to be.

Anytime an artist can divide the space with a diagonal and still communicate the message of the piece is a good day. Diagonal lines always add drama to a piece. This one, of course, is quite abstract, but the white diagonal easily gives the illusion of a ski slope surrounded by evergreens and mountains in the distance.

There are several techniques used here that give this seemingly "thrown together" piece its structure and depth. There are many things to notice beginning with the first layer. I did use a pointed pen and moon palace ink to create some erratic lines having no idea what would show up in the final after cropping from a larger sheet. That is the fun of creating with spontaneous techniques. I know I am repeating myself, but I have learned one very important lesson after several hundred days of posting. What I have learned is that it is next to impossible to achieve a spontaneous look with a non spontaneous technique. Erratic lines are even hard to do because it is so very easy to return incessantly to the obvious things we might have done in the last piece.

One way to come up with some spontaneous lines is to study the cracks in concrete. First of all, you must lay down your inhibitions about being characterized as a "crazy woman" when bystanders look at you taking pictures of the concrete sidewalk. Never the less, it is worth the derision and embarrassment to go home with your picture treasures of beautiful erratic fault lines.

And of course there is the gesso in the second layer and then the Liquitex Pouring Medium in the third layer. The only thing that was planned here was the color selection. When communicating a concept, it is important to be convincing and making evergreens purple in all of this abstraction would not have been convincing. Making art is a "dicey" proposition, but always perhaps you might want to try hunting down some erratic lines or simply think about these things.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Friday, November 4, 2011

"Drifting" ($40.00)

(adjusted price....$40.00)

"Drifting is not an option if success is the destination." Drifting implies that nothing is happening with intention. In such a case, there are no goals, no plans...but simply living each day doing whatever feels good. The best thing to do is get some oars in hand before the canoe gets "beached" on a sand bar or keeps going in a circle!

There are so many approaches to the conceptualization process, it's hard to know where to begin. When that happens to me, I typically look at what is happening in my background and actually define the mood that is represented. By define....I mean with words. For instance, the extremely diffused lines in this piece caused me to feel like I was in a fog. So....being in a fog described the mood.

As I was looking for a visual to paint or use as a collage, I came across this canoe, with no one in it and no oars. At that moment, the word "drifting" came to my mind and with a few minutes of thought, the quote was born. The visual of the canoe, the diffused lines, and the quote complete the marriage of the design elements.

Hope this helps to describe one way of conceptualization. Make some connections in your art and you might be surprised at the outcome. Just something to try or think about.

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Texas Women" (unavailable)

( the permanent collection of dee day)

"Texas women are allowed in their man's cave." This time of year in our fine state, many a man (and his woman) spend time in his outdoor cave which would be called a "deer blind". Yes, it is time once again for deer season which opens this weekend. Just so you know, I am opting for the inside man cave. I do not do the deer blind scene....especially in cold weather!

Once again, I have opted to use one of my favorite color combinations which includes Napthol Red, Black, Raw Umber, and Titan Buff. Pouring Medium added to the colors accounts for the soft blending of color and a bit of marbelizing.

Two pieces of collage were added to this background which is just enough to establish the main concept. Besides selecting collage bits that fully integrate with the texture and feel of the background layer.... choosing a "quiet" line of lettering to cross over the background, over the collage, and over the background again is like "stitching" two pieces of fabric together. It is a wonderful way to complete the piece and have the collage fully integrated. One of the reasons I use so much spencerian script is that it is unobtrusive and adds the final touch to a piece without becoming the total focus. Just something to think about.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"Interior of a Heart" (sold)


"Light illuminates the interior of a room and the interior of a heart." Most of the quotes I create are proverbs. A proverb is a contrast between two ideas. What I particularly like are the words that have dual meanings. Light created by electricity can light up a room, but there is also the illumination that occurs when we get an insight or revelation about something. When that happens, the interior of a heart is also illuminated. Think about that when you see beautiful light fixtures and let it prompt you to also think of the other meaning. It will enrich your thinking.

The colors used in this piece are some of my favorite combinations. Even though the direct complement of green is not obviously present, by using an olive green (WN acrylic), the complement is present in the mixture. Another color used here that I often use instead of white is Titan Buff (Golden) because it gives a softer feel. The other two colors used were Raw Umber (Golden) and Carbon Black (Golden).

These colors were applied after writing a few words, drawing some lines, and randomly applying some gesso. I was able to achieve a look that reminds me of onyx. Of course, it did help to add Liquitex Pouring Medium to each of these colors separately before pouring onto very wet paper. By allowing some of the lines and words to show through, that translucent look magically took shape.

November is a time to think about rich colors since they are normally prevalent in the landscape. (Texas may be the exception this year!) But of course, you can always take your piece a step further by adding a few carefully chosen collage pieces. The contrast between super realism and an abstract background still fascinates me and I think you will find it rewarding as well. Just something to try or think about.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"Texas Star" (unavailable)

( the permanent collection of dee day)

"Everyone who lives in Texas is a star." From time to time my Texas pride overtakes me. This piece seemed to just evolve and finally there appeared a Texas star. Cowhides and Texas stars are the core of my decorating style. I do believe we have a Texas star in every room in the house. That's just the way it is here in our fine state!

One of my favorite formats is to divide the space into (4) unequal quadrants. It is often called a cruciform format. It is a simple way to design your piece without too much fuss and it works every time it's tried.

For those of you who were in the color workshop, you might recognize the presence of pouring medium. The only difference in the look here is that I worked a bit "wetter" which created some strong blocks of color and lots of movement. If you don't know what to do with some of the pieces you created, you might want to consider collage. By limiting your collage to just a few strategic pieces, you can create a very cohesive piece.

Remember to think about the corners. Having something different going on in each corner creates interest and keeps the viewer engaged in your piece. Also, keep the main thing the main thing. Going off into too many different directions leads to chaos, especially with collage.  Do have fun and let the creativity flow. Just something to try or think about.