Monday, February 28, 2011

"Painting is Easy" (sold)


This is one of those statements where you shake your head and ask...."Are you kidding me?" The answer is yes, I am kidding. It's a spoof! It's a "take off"' on another quote that says...."All you need to do to play the piano is hit the right keys at the right time."

All of us have an internal negative art critic. It's loud and can be overpowering. It can also shut down creativity. After one month of creating a painting a internal art critic has had to sit down and shut up! By the very process of creating and bringing a piece to completion in every 24 hour period,something happens that is quite significant. Fear of creating is replaced by simply getting it done! Decisions have to be made at such a rapid pace that you begin to follow your instincts. We all have a "gut feeling" when something isn't convincing. And when that happens, you must figure out why, correct it, and finish the piece. Of course, the ability to do this well is dependent on what you know and your experience. But how do you get experience and improve your design skills? creating artwork and lots of it! Be committed to doing that today and by all means....enjoy the process.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

"A New Leaf" (unavailable)


After taking and teaching many classes, I have observed that everyone in the class is excited on the first day. The prospect of learning new things gives everyone hope until.....they discover that the very thing they want to learn will cost them hours of practice well after the class is over. What was an exciting first day gets "side swiped" by reality. The hope does return, however, when the challenge is embraced.

The stage is set for the ultimate value contrast when using black and white. That's why black lettering on white paper is such a classic and so well received. However, if you really want to make a piece even more interesting, color must be introduced. It is the most expressive of all the design elements. In this piece, the colors used are the most powerful complementaries on the color wheel. That in itself is a strong contrast, but the dilution and softness of the paint application yields another contrast against the solid black. You might want to try a soft and diluted application of gouache. Not only will you need to dilute the gouache (opaque watercolor) considerably with water, but it will need to be applied to damp paper. You will only need to dampen the immediate area where you are painting. This creates the very soft edges such as the ones you see here.

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

Saturday, February 26, 2011

"Good Morning" (sold)


Even before I began drinking coffee, the aroma of coffee brewing told me it was time to get moving. Drinking that first cup in the morning awakens my senses and helps me to focus. How about you?

When a piece looks okay, but you feel as though it might need an energy boost....just introduce the complementary of an existing color. In this case the existing color was raw sienna (a very earthy, grayed down yellow). I had not planned on painting the table and chairs until I finished drawing them. There didn't seen to be enough life in the piece so I mixed up some cerulean blue gouache with some bleedproof white and painted. Because blue is the split complementary of yellow, this color brought the piece to life. Try using a color wheel to learn some of the basics about color. Direct and split complementaries are explained there along with other valuable information.

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

Friday, February 25, 2011

"Devotion" (sold)


To be devoted to someone or something is a rare thing these days. The word devotion represents a love that is one hundred percent dedicated to a person or a cause. It can have a spiritual or secular meaning. In this piece, the cross is symbolic of an obvious devotion to Jesus Christ. The level of devotion in any situation is directly proportionate to the passion behind it and is worthy of some contemplation.

The eye is a complex thing because it not only sees what is in the field of vision, there is thought attached to what it sees. For the artist, it is important to develop a highly sophisticated skill of observation.

One thing the eye is constantly trying to do is make connections. For instance....if there is a dot of red in a piece, the eye will automatically search for it somewhere else. With that knowledge, the artist can integrate elements by creating "echoes". If there is a particular texture, color, line, shape, value....make sure it is repeated. Otherwise, your piece can be so simplistic that the viewer can figure it out in (5) seconds. Keep the viewer engaged with a sense of mystery. Try incorporating "echoes".

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

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Friendship" (sold)


Friends and blankets may seem like an odd comparison until you stop to think about those friends you have who know how to produce feelings of comfort and encouragement. It then makes perfect sense. Enjoy the company of a good friend today.

To be honest, this was not an easy piece to create. I tried several colors for the sofa and they all fell short. The only choice was to go with high contrast. So I picked white simply because it's at the opposite end of the gray scale from black. By also writing with bleedproof white and introducing more white gesso in the background, it finally worked...(I think!) The moral of this story is to use color to  tie everything together by repeating it throughout the piece. The thing that keeps coming up with these daily works is that there is not time for "redo's". I have no choice but to make it work!

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

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Fresh Ideas" (unavailable)


Have you ever had an idea and failed to write it down? No matter how hard you tried to was gone forever. This quote is a reminder to write down all of the salient thoughts you want to remember.

Having a center of interest enclosed in a band of space from edge to edge is one of those design decisions that works every time it's tried. (as long as you don't divide the space equally) The white band in this piece is made more interesting by having an erratic edge rather than a straight line. The color showing through the black gesso is another way to "kick it up a notch". Notice also that all of the crisp, solid lines are in the drawing and lettering which is in direct contrast to the edges of the white band. Just something to think about.

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

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Buy...Paint...Eat" (sold)


The day before yesterday, after I finished painting my pear, I picked it up off of my drafting table and ate the thing! This quote came to mind. I think it's funny.

Some days I am such a "blond".   I went on and on the other day about how to reconstitute acrylic paint to soften it and scratch into the surface and reveal the previous layer. It is really quite simple. Take the corner of your old credit card and scratch into it before it dries initially. (duh!)

There is a bit of chaos going on here with texture. I think the white and (2) simple lines of spencerian script help to quiet things down a bit.

Monday, February 21, 2011


(unavailable....mounted on a 1.50" depth clayboard)

What we say and do is a direct result of what we are thinking. This quote is just a different way of expressing this very important principle of life.

After creating this piece, I "kind of" missed the high contrast concepts I've been playing around with. However, I needed a background to go with my pear so I actually cropped this from a larger piece created in the Yves Leterme Workshop. (A girl has to do what a girl has to do!)

It is interesting to notice a quieter and moodier look that results by shutting down the intense contrast...the lightest light not being white and the darkest dark being diffused, with soft edges, and not taking up very much design space. Just a few of the decisions that need to be made with each creation.  It all depends on what you are trying to communicate visually.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"Listening and Learning" (unavailable)


There are times too numerous to tell when I wish I had not said something. However, there are rare instances when I wish I had said something more. The truth of the matter is that most of us learn more when we listen to what others are saying. The spiritual application here of pausing to listen to God in prayer is also profound and worth pondering.

In the process of working on this piece, I discovered how to effectively scratch into the black gesso and reveal the color underneath. Begin by brushing on some alcohol into an area...wipe off the excess, and scratch into the top layer with an x-acto knife while the surface is still soft. The reason alcohol works better than water is that it breaks up acrylic paint. It's a subtle effect so you may not be able to see it as clearly without viewing the original.

The wonderful thing about discovering new techniques is that they most often happen while caught up in the joy of experimenting. Having a stack of 4 x 6 pieces of watercolor paper handy is a wonderful way to try something new without wasting too much paper. If you do come up with something you sure to jot down some notes on the back. Trust me, you will not remember what you did six months from now.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

"A New Contract" ($40.00)


Sometimes we just need to have a "heart to heart" with ourselves! Negotiate means to find a way through or over a difficulty or obstacle. Maybe it's time to set a new goal and a new habit. In other words, negotiate a new contract with yourself. (But also be realistic and not too hard on yourself!)

The architectural element in this piece is from a photo I took at the "Biltmore" in Ashville, N.C. It is a portion of the railing on the portico off of the main floor. It is the largest home in America....built in the 1800's by George Vanderbilt. You should go there if you're ever in the area.

So much for the history lesson! This piece is a good lesson in harmony and values. There is the high value contrast between black and white, but also a range of gray values and variation of edges between the stamped images in the background (soft edges) and the hard edges in the drawing and lettering. By creating all of these elements with liquid graphite and pencil, there is wonderful harmony. Even the two letters done with bleedproof white are a subtle contrast. The huge drama is created with the black gesso and white paper with one other color. (Remember that black and white plus one other color works everytime it's tried.)

Just in case you've noticed my compelling need to inform anyone who will listen...take note that I am a teacher. My degree is in music education, so I am not deliberately trying to treat everyone as if they know nothing. I simply have a need to inform. If you have teachers in your know what I'm talking about! (They always tell you more than you want or need to know.)

Please contact me personally to inquire about this piece.

Friday, February 18, 2011

"Habits and Patterns" (unavailable)


It is fairly easy to do anything for one day, but to do something long enough to make it a habit requires at least twenty-one days...or so they say. Something interesting happens when we commit to doing anything more than once or twice. A beautiful pattern is created!

I hope you are noticing how many different ways a square can be divided into positive and negative space. In this piece, you can clearly see where your eye wants to go immediately. Any part of the design space where there is a lot of detail and more color compared to other areas is going to be an "eye stopper". In this case it is the patterned area with (6) different colors involved. It would not have been as effective if the pattern had been over the entire design. (....or as interesting) Wherever there is extreme detail automatically becomes a center of interest.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

"Writing" (unavailable)


When writing your own thoughts with a special pen or in your own are revealing something of yourself that is like a fingerprint. It is unique to you!

I collect inkwells and this is one from my collection. The pen shown is my favorite type for "script" lettering and the nib is a Leonardt EF Principal. I still like Moon Palace Ink...but remember to dilute it with a few drops of water. You might also need to add a drop of gum arabic to get a thin line if the paper is too absorbent. In this piece I deliberately write a bit heavier, weighting the letters more so that it could be easily read on this background.

In case you might be playing around with black gesso, try applying it with an old credit card as though it were a brush. If it lays down thicker than you want...give it a light spray of water and use your credit card to remove excess. You can get some interesting edges that way. If you are like me and you like to texturize the acrylic paint and gesso with a sharp object such as an x-acto knife, your underneath layer (in this may not always be exposed. Try applying a bit of paint over your scratch marks and then brushing off the excess with a dry brush (wet, but squeezed dry) or blotting with a kleenex. The white applied on top of the black in this piece is bleedproof white. It is a good choice because it has great covering power...but is also rewettable. Have fun with your techniques and keep writing!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Solitude & Silence" (sold)


Most everyone has a place either in your home or some other place where you go to be alone. Hopefully, it is a place away from people and audio input where you can pray and meditate on the deeper things of life.

Believe it or not, I am deeply satisfied playing around with extreme positive / negative space. It is a very direct approach and the way I would describe the way I relate to others.  So for now, it feels like me. This approach is also well suited to a square format without having to deal with a strong vertical or horizontal orientation.

Just a few words about the advantages of daily blogging. In just two weeks time, I have made observations about design and technique that would have taken me (6) months to learn going at a slower pace. This is one of the huge benefits of not only playing around in my studio everyday, but bringing that 6 x 6 to a conclusion...completed and ready to post! In other words, design decisions must be made and techniques implemented at a fairly rapid pace. (Every (24) hours has a way of repeating itself like clockwork!) If you are up to the challenge, pick a particular size format and try this for a week or so. You will be stunned at what you learn....IF you don't opt to skip any days. You will notice that today's piece has the same blue as yesterday's piece. And the reason for that is time. One of the first things I learned was to work on more than one piece at a save time. (pun intended!)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Sitting" (sold)


The first person you call to share a joy or sorrow is probably a trusted friend. If you are blessed to have more than one, you are a rich person indeed!

If your received a "jolt" when this image appeared on your's because you are viewing my wilder side! Black gesso is the star here. Notice the division of space. The white space has the same stamping with graphite with a bit of the cobalt blue bleeding through. The blue was applied first and dried. The black gesso followed and then several areas of blue again. After each application of paint, I softened the edge by touching it with a brush loaded with clean water. Edges are a huge deal...especially with so many straight ones. If the edge is left hard, with no feathering, the eye will go directly to that edge and the piece will be less integrated. You will see this right away when you try it yourself. Also, if you are working on a larger piece and the paint dries too quickly...just dip your brush in alcohol and scrub the edge. (Alcohol breaks up acrylic paint.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

"Symphony" (unavailable)


The woodwinds, brass, percussion, and stringed instruments all come together to produce the richest and fullest sounds. Comparing love to a symphony is the perfect way to describe all of the display and exchanges of affection that will take place this day. Happy Valentine's Day!

The square format is always interesting because there is not a strong vertical or horizontal orientation. There is actually more freedom of possibilities in dividing the space. In this piece I was able to create some interesting shapes by having the stamped and mono printed imagery coming in from all four sides. Notice the strong black and white shapes playing off of each other. Notice how different artists divide their space. Imagery needs to connect from edge to edge to create the most dynamic shapes.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"Hugs and Kisses" (unavailable)


The familiar icon of the "X" and "O" standing for a hug and kiss made its way into the background of this piece and prompted the quote. It's great shorthand for saying "I love you". Tomorrow is your day!

The "gesso man" also emerged in this piece. Those who did not attend the Yves Leterme Workshop are probably scratching your head wondering what I'm talking about! You see, gesso can cover up an area that needs to go away. Since I was using gouache and watercolor, I did spray it lightly with Krylon Acrylic Spray Coating first. Next, came the gesso applied with an old credit card. The only problem was that it completely covered the image! So I ran to the sink and sprayed off my flower and then shoved the rest of the "soupy" gesso around with the credit card...creating the diagonal ridge of white. Now those of you who are familiar with the work of Yves Leterme will know that he would have told me to also cover up a portion or ALL of the lettering...and rewrite the quote in pencil (very small).... Maybe another time!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

"Printing & Publishing" ($30.00)

(adjusted price....$30.00)

There are moments in my life when I wish I could push the delete key on something I've said and simply retype a more appropriate response. That is the underlying thought here. I am quite certain everyone can relate.

My favorite part of this image is the stamped "R" with some of the edges disappearing. The hand carved stamp was cut from Safety Cut (available at most art / craft stores). The secret is to mix water with the graphite (or watercolor, acrylic, etc.) until you have a "soupy" mixture. Apply mixture to stamp with a brayer and print on dry paper. Also use commercial stamps and apply medium to a random portion of the stamp for a cool texture. Have fun! more thing. If you have not read the description of the final presentation of these pieces on ebay, they are mounted on gessoed masonite panels and varnished. This enables you to sit them on an easel or float on a black linen mat in a frame with or without glass.

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Recklessly" ($30.00)

(adjusted price....$30.00)

The chandelier is an icon of light, grandeur, and celebration to me...and they're downright beautiful! As in several of the quotes I've written, this one can have a spiritual or secular meaning. I prefer to think about the love that God wants to bestow when we pursue Him.

I've already mentioned that I am using liquid graphite from a tube to stamp and draw the imagery. Each tube has a slightly different tint and this is the blue one. The brand name is Derivan if you want to give it a try. The lettering and flourishing are done with a light purple gouache..."grayed down", of course. Allowing a very intense color to dominate a piece is not acceptable visually to most viewers. Save the super intense for very select areas.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Melody" (sold)


Music has always been a great "lifter" of the human spirit. To think on things that are good and lovely produces another lift to our spirits. Put the two together in a comparative thought for a great motivator of the soul.

In yesterday's blog I went on and on about positive and negative space. Today you can see a shift to the negative space being dominate. (Yesterday they were almost equal.) To add a different kind of drama...I included two moving lines of "offhand flourishing" which activates the space. If I had not done that, there would have been a dominance of straight lines and a chance of too much harmony and not enough contrast.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Quiet Love" (unavailable)


Words are not always necessary to show a deeply felt love for someone...but it permeates the air in quietness. A touch or a loving glance across the room says it all.

One of the design decisions that keeps coming up with each of these 6 x 6's involves the corners. I've come to the conclusion that the square format seems to compel the artist to design the corners more. However, just when I thought most of the drawings would be more dramatic at the edge and closer to a corner, I realized that the bromeliad is almost dead center (huge no-no in most cases). It works because of the placement of the stamped imagery. (go figure!) There is still almost half of the design space in white. This leads to another point....when the positive and negative space are almost equal, there is more drama. If you allow more negative space (no imagery) to dominate, the piece will be less dramatic. Just something to think about.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"Come In" (sold)


A smile...a text message...or a kind word can let someone know that you are willing to give them a few moments of your time. As in yesterday's posting, it can also have a spiritual interpretation.

I've used the time honored combination of black, white, and red.  In and white plus one other color works every time it's tried. This is a good thing to remember the next time you have trouble deciding what colors to use. Give it a try!

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Fallen Into Place" (unavailable)

(permanent collection of dee day)

This quote is a lovely way of describing the deepest motivation of our heart. It can actually have a deeply spiritual meaning or reveal the priority of our affections to those we love or a passion for something we do. With Valentine's Day approaching, this is a thought worth pondering.  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"Truth" (sold)


Truth is not always easy to except, but all of us need "reality checks" in order to progress in life. This piece has more color than previous ones and can serve as a visual illustration of how pleasant truth can be when we allow it to permeate our lives. Every corner of this piece was designed to have interest with variation. When the color appeared to be too overpowering...I softened it with powdered charcoal applied with a soft brush (such as a Hake). It can be very strong and needs to be applied to a work off sheet first.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

"Form and Shape" (unavailable)


There are many interesting plant forms that provide rich material for drawing and sketching. Such was the case for a Bromeliad that graced my studio for least it did until I forgot to give it water! I was probably "knee dee" in some art or lettering project. This is often what happens when we fail to think about the right things. They die and we lose beautiful dreams and goals. This piece is a reminder to think on lovely things because we become what we think about.

Friday, February 4, 2011

"Stillness" (unavailable)


Listening is such an important part of learning anything. Sometimes it means to simply listen to the heart and notice what it is that inspires you to move out of your comfort zone and do the hard thing. The secret is that the difficult things are the ones that bring the greatest reward. Try shutting down the audio input and be still.  God has something to say.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"Great Expectations" (sold)


Many of the images I choose to draw are taken from photos of antique items such as this vase. The placement of drawings and lettering emerge out of the randomly stamped geometric forms. Often an idea will arise from a time of experimentation which is precisely what inspired this particular approach. Pay a attention to those tiny ideas. They can grow into something else.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"New Beginnings" (unavailable)


A palm tree is a symbol of victory or flourishing. Since I grew up in the Rio Grande Valley with palm trees everywhere, I am happy to include it in anything involving passion or flourishing. For those of you who like script, this particular style is spencerian. The stamped imagery and drawing were done with liquid graphite by Derivan. It comes in a paste or tube form. Simply add water. Have a flourishing day!