Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ebony and Ivory -- textured caulk abstract

This is a piece I made recently.  One I really like and am proud of.  I didn't post it on my blog because I planned to enter it into a juried open show at a local art gallery.  I've never done that before, so I was excited about it....but also a bit fearful about how it would feel if this piece didn't get juried into the show.  I had no idea what to expect, although I was hopeful.  Sad to say, it did not get juried in, which I must admit hurt and wounded my art ego.  I was sad and upset for that day, after I got the email.  Well, for more than that day, to be honest.  But after a few days, I got over it and am okay now.  The theme of the show was "Abstract", which I felt was right up my alley.  So I made this piece especially for the show.  

There was only one juror, who has his own art gallery, which mostly features abstract art.  I wasn't able to find out why this piece was rejected, but the lady who was at the gallery when I went to pick it up, who's also an artist although she didn't enter the show, gave me some feedback.  She said she really liked this piece, but that perhaps it should've been framed, to give it a more professional look.  And that makes sense to me, although even if  it had been framed, who knows if it would've been accepted?  But I'm sure it would've looked better and more professional if I'd had it framed.

I used a cabinet card for the base of my art, and glued it onto a 12x16 inch canvas board.  Silly me, I thought that would be professional enough.  I mean hey, at least I didn't use frozen pizza box or chipboard, which I most often use.  But when it comes to submitting art to a real art gallery, I'm a total newbie and novice.  Hopefully I learned my lesson on that.

Anyway, I mounted the cabinet card vertically, which I thought was interesting and different.  On the top part, I spread a layer of caulk and impressed into it with a foam circle stamp, a soda bottle lid, a drinking straw, and the end of a paint brush.  I also used a circle cut out of a vinyl rug runner, that has swirls on one side of it.  My main theme was circles, which I've done a number of times before. My initial intention was to make this a black and white piece, so once the caulk dried I painted over it with black acrylic paint.  I planned to rub over that with white acrylic paint, but then the idea came to me to use metallic pearl white instead of regular white.  So I did that, and was rather surprised that it ended up looking more like silver than white.  At first that bothered me, but then I came to like it, so I left it that way.

On the bottom part I used micro beads in gel medium on the frame part for a different texture, and painted over it with black.  I used a sample piece of fabric wallpaper, with the white lines, inside the frame.  Then I found the cool twig in my yard, which was the perfect size to fit inside the frame.  I painted it black, then rubbed the metallic pearl over it with my finger.  Then I made a caulk circle (on frozen pizza box) with my vinyl rug runner stamp.  And painted it black and rubbed on the metallic pearl.

I wrapped thick black quilting thread around the canvas board before gluing down the cabinet card, to repeat the lines in the frame.  (That idea was suggested to me by someone in my local art group, Terry.  Thank you Terry, I think it was a great idea.)  Then I painted some flat, round wooden beads black, and glued those on to repeat the circle theme.

So that's how this piece came together.  I'm sad that it didn't get accepted into the show, but even so, I really like this piece a lot.  And yes, I think it would look better and more professional if I had it framed, which I may do at some point.  Right now, the cost of doing that is a problem, but it would look better and more finished if I had it framed.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Linearity -- Caulk Squares and Rectangles

This is a new work, and a bit different for me, at least in some ways.  This piece is 4 x 9 inches, a size I've never worked on before.  The base is frozen pizza cardboard (FPC), nothing new there.   I've been using circles in my art for some time now, because I really love them.  But recently I've been inspired to play around with using squares and rectangles, with caulk applied with a small palette knife.  It was harder to make them that way than I expected, because it was the first time I tried it.  Hopefully, if I try it again I'll get better with some practice.

On this piece, I sanded the image side of the FPC and then covered it with white gesso.  Then glued down the netted fabric, then painted over it with Liquitex Majenta acrylic paint.  After that dried, I rubbed Liquitex Cadmium Yellow over it with my finger.  This is a color combination I love and have used at times.  Although the magenta looks more like a burgundy to me, and not true magenta at all.  I love burgundy and yellow used together.  

After that, I applied white acrylic caulk with a small palette knife.  I thought that part would be easy, but I was wrong.  It was rather difficult and required a lot of patience.  Once the caulk dried, I painted it with different shades of orange, then rubbed contrasting colors over the squares and rectangles with my finger to highlight the texture.

I liked it at that point, but felt it needed more and wasn't finished.  So I picked up the stems off my driveway and glued those down, then rubbed brown shoe polish over them.  And then pulled out my stash of skeleton leaves and found just the right size for this piece.  I didn't initially intend for this to end up being a nature piece, and yet it sort of is -- at least partially.  My squares and rectangles are far from perfect....but that's okay.  I kind of like them that way.  

If I do this again, I think I might try adding the paint directly into the caulk and mixing it in before applying it to the piece.  Just a thought anyway.  Or perhaps diluting the caulk a bit and see what happens with that.  Or maybe applying the caulk with a paintbrush instead of a palette knife.

So anyway, that's what I did on this piece.  I kind of like this size and format, at least for the linear effect.  It's nice to play around with new ideas.  Where they might lead....I have no idea!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Seed Flower -- Layered Nature Piece

I'm so glad I have some new art to post.  I mean very, very glad, since I haven't been making much new art in a while.  This is a small piece, a 5x5 inch art squared piece.  For a long time, that was the main format size I worked on and I was very comfortable with that.  Then I chose to start working on larger formats, which I enjoyed also.  And I must admit, it's a bit hard to come back to this smaller size, but it's a good thing, IMO, not to get too attached to any one size or format.  You know -- keep your options open, right?

The base on this is frozen pizza cardboard (FPC), which I used so often in the past, but then lately worked more on chip board.  Well, I still have a great stash of FPC, and I'm glad I do.  It works quite well for smaller pieces.  I glued down some patterned sepia wallpaper from a sample book, and then etched random lines over it with a sharp awl, then rubbed over it with paste brown shoe polish.  Then I glued down some fine lace fabric over that, and rubbed it with the shoe polish.  Then I pulled a small textured fabric piece, from another sample book, and started fraying it to produce some nice fringe.  The threads were thick and great for some more texture, so I glued some down, then glued the fringe down.

On top of that I glued down the seed fronds from my yard.  For living in metro Denver, I'm happy to find great nature items in my yard.  One wouldn't necessarily expect that, living in a big city, but I do often find great items for art just in my own yard if I take the time to go looking for them.  I encourage you out there to try that too, and see what great finds are in your yards.   Then I sealed this with Acrylic Floor Finish (AFF) from the Family Dollar store, which gives a matte/satin finish, and flicked on Aztec Gold Pearl Ex while it was still wet. 

Then I raided my rusted found object stash for the rusted washer.  Oh my, I love my RFO stash for sure.  And also my stash of old vintage keys.  I think this rusted key is very cool.  I have no idea what kind of key it is or what it might open, but the small size was just right for this piece.  The seeds for the flower are squash seeds, which I always wash and save for my art.  The other seeds are smaller seeds from cantaloupe I think.  I pretty much save all seed for my art, never knowing when I'll want to use them.

I thought this piece was done at this point, but then I spotted a piece of netted fabric on my work table, and chose to add that at the very end.  I'm not sure if it helps or hinders the piece, because sometimes I don't know when to stop.  Then again, it adds more texture, a different kind of texture, so I think I'm glad I added that piece.  At any rate, I did, so it is what it is.

As with a lot of my art, I didn't plan this out at all.  The interesting thing to me is that this piece ended up being so layered, and yet I wasn't all that aware of layering while I was making it.  I was just playing around, adding this, adding that.  When I actually THINK about layering in my art, or plan it, then I get very nervous and choke up about it.  As in fearing how much to layer, and covering things up.  Whereas if it just happens innately, and comes natural as it did in this piece, without me thinking about it....I'm so much more okay with that.  It's like I don't realize how much layering I've done until the piece is finished, and then I stand back and think wow, did I do all that layering?  Ahhh, if making art could always be innate and natural,  just playing around and having fun and not THINKING about it.  Those times are when I enjoy making art the most!!!  Do you agree with your own art?