Traveler Art

One of my attempts at collage, this piece includes preprinted elements, brads, and wings made with a stencil and stucco acrylic medium.

I’ve been in the mood to do some artwork recently. I signed up for a Craftsy class on working with colored pencils and so now — you guessed it — I have even more art supplies on my desk than I did before I started watching the course. But honestly, is there such a thing as too many pens or pencils? I’ll only consider it to be a waste of money if I put the pencils away without using them.

And I haven’t used them much so far, but I am pulling out papers and other art supplies and creating something. I’ve done a few minor sketches with the pencils but nothing that I want to share. This small piece was done on a 4- by 6-inch card. I sprayed the card with Ranger’s Distressed stain in Tumbled Glass but it beaded up on the surface, so I blotted it with a paper towel. That left behind the impression of the paper towel, so I rubbed at the card until that design was gone and ended up with a nice mottled background. For the edges of the card I just dabbed at the paper with an ink pad.

The wings were done with a stencil and Liquitex ceramic stucco acrylic gel, which I later drew on with a pencil to give them a bit more definition. The color of the stucco blended in too much with the background and I thought it needed a bit more of a distressed look to carry through with the rest of the design.

I’m continuing to work on writing projects but I think there’s a fair amount of burn-out going on. I’m hoping the art projects will help keep me moving forward with a little bit of creative cross-training.

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I Wanna Be a Pumpkin

I drew this pumpkin first as a pencil sketch and then scanned it and colored the line art in Photoshop.

I drew this pumpkin first as a pencil sketch and then scanned it and colored the line art in Photoshop.

 

I’ve ignored my blog for some time now. I could use the excuse that I’ve been busy, but I have really been wasting a lot of the free time that I do have. Part of it is stress, but I’m also finding some other creative things to do and so I’ve spent some time away from the computer. Look, I sit in front of the computer 12 hours a day already, so I really need to do something else. Unfortunately most of “what else” I do is on the computer.

I registered for a Zombies, Run! virtual race that’s coming up in April and I have done no training. I suppose I’ll be walking most of it, but my goal is to finish the 5K in under an hour. I’ve also signed up for a couple of noncredit online classes, including one on making comic books. It’s “How to Make a Comic Book” on Coursera, and the instructor leading the course is Patrick Yurick. The pumpkin started out as a pencil sketch for the first week of the class and I colored it electronically to add some pizzazz and made it my avatar.

And I also signed up for a quill-along with Erin Perkins Curet of Little Circles, so I’ll be making a peacock mosaic just for fun. Quilling is making art with little rolls of paper, which can be a simple flower or a complex mosaic or even 3D artwork. I did quilling a long time ago when I was a kid and then put it aside, but I still have a 3D paper dragon I made that has survived a house fire and a tornado. (Of course! Dragons are tough.)

This week is for getting back into my writing projects. I’ve been hammered at work and so mentally fatigued that I’ve spent most of my time playing Guild Wars 2 instead of writing. But now with this blog post under my belt I can say that I’m back in the saddle, so today is about taking stock of my works in progress and moving forward.

Have a productive, creative day, everyone!

Quilling a Dragonfly

The finished quilled dragonfly rests on a blue ripple of water. I may add something to the bottom right to balance the composition.

The finished quilled dragonfly rests on a blue ripple of water. I may add something to the bottom right to balance the composition.

This year has gotten off to a slow start and most of my writing projects are mired in various stages of incompleteness. It’s quite frustrating and I’ve decided I need some art therapy to let myself relax and play, and I really do believe that one form of creativity sparks other forms of creativity (mental cross-training and all that).

Many years ago my father bought me a quilling kit from a hobby store. The kit included an egg-shaped piece of Styrofoam and instructions for making a goldfish. After I finished the fish I played around with three-dimensional quilling and eventually made a dragon. Then I more or less put quilling aside until a couple of years ago.

I bought some supplies with an idea for doing a specific project, but that fell by the wayside when I got busy with school. I am still busy, but this week I bought Paper Quilling Chinese Style after seeing some fantastic photos from the book on Amazon.

The book arrived today and I decided to try making the dragonfly. My skills are rusty but I’ve managed a decent first project, although I’m not entirely happy with the composition. The card it’s sitting on is Strathmore multimedia paper. I’ve used Ranger Distress ink pads in Tumbled Glass and Weathered Wood, applying the colors to the paper with a foam applicator. For the edging on the card, I used a Faded Jeans color mini ink pad and simply wiped it against the card. The dragonfly’s eyes are 5mm rhinestones glued on top of tightly rolled quills.

The yellow eyes are done, and one wing is finished. The paper clip is holding a set of wings until the glue dries.

The yellow eyes are done, and what will become the head is just to the right of them. The paper clip is holding the wings until the glue dries and above that is the abdomen.

Warped Ideas

An antique Weave-It pin loom weaving kit.

An antique Weave-It pin loom weaving kit.

I got an interesting email the other day — I won a prize! I’d signed up at Margaret Stump’s website, Pin Loom Weaving, a couple of months ago and my name was drawn as a winner for a loom giveaway. How fun! There are actually two pin looms in the kit, one is a 4-inch square and the other is a 2-inch square, so it should be easy to design projects around those sizes. I’m already thinking about the eight-bit computer art that might make a nice geeky scarf or runner for my coffee table. Can’t have enough space aliens in the house!

I also came across the eLoomaNation website, which has some history as well as downloadable PDFs of pattern books that came out during the 1930s for projects using the pin looms. I gotta say, making a sweater from these squares is probably more than I want to get into; I can’t even make clothes from crochet and I’m fluent enough with crochet not to have to read directions every time I pick up a hook. On the other hand, each square is a finished project in itself, so the satisfaction of making something is there. I guess I could collect enough to eventually do a pillow cover, lap rug, or if I’m determined enough — an afghan.

I don’t do a lot of needlework but the past couple of years I’ve been getting back into crochet and doing some beginning weaving projects. My latest “thing” is crochet lace leaves and flowers because I can make a finished flower in an hour or less and feel like I’ve accomplished something for the day. Right now I’m working on several long-term writing projects so I think it makes me feel good to have something done each day, and I find that working on a variety of creative projects tends to be like cross-training for the mind. I’ve made one 2-inch square so far, but the ribbon yarn I experimented with is very loose. I’ll try some regular yarn next.