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Sunday
Jun282015

Carving Stamps

As many of you know, I use hand carved stamps to create the lush layerd patterns in my paintings. They add a richness of texture and design to my work. Here is a short tutorial of carving stamps, Hope the tips are useful and you find a way to incorporate some stamping into your paintings.

I use Speedball Speedy Cut rubber pads for my stamps. Its made in several densities. Some are more flexible than the others. I like the pink material. It is slightly rigid and holds the edges of my carving very well.I also use a speedball carving tool. It comes with a variety of carving blades.

I cut the stamping material to a size I like for my stamp. I draw my images with a pencil. They can be as a complex as you like but remember you must carve around shapes so tiny details can get lost. I stamp with paint more often than ink, and that is a thicker material that will fill up tiny spaces.

I used the small carving blade to cut my interior flower designs. I used a wider blade to carve around all of the flowers. As you can see, it takes several rounds of carving to remove all the unwanted material.

This is roughly my carved design. I always test the stamp before calling it completed to make sure I've cleared away any material that might interfer with my design.

I rolled out a small amount of red ink on plexiglass with my brayer. I then rolled the brayer across the top of my stamp to see the ink pattern. I can see any areas where I missed carving away unwanted material in my design and can go back and remove it. Can you see some of those small random red spots? Those would be spaces I missed and had to go back and lift them out with my carving tool.

Once I'm satisfied I just flip the stamp over and make an image. This is a big stamp and as you can see, I moved the stamp slightly on the right. It creates a shadowed image. I don't want that, so I need to be careful when placing such a large stamp on my painting. These errors are often not fixable, so be careful.

Finally, as Sister Robert Ann used to say in our vocabulary class, it is not enough that you memorized the word and can spell it, now use it in a sentence. And so friends, you must use your newly carved stamp in a painting. Below is mine. As you can see, it's a dominant pattern in my painting. I'll bet now when you look at my painting you can see many other stamped images. There are 6 other stamps I used. See if you can pick them out.

Things I've learned.

 

  • Keep the shapes simple.
  • purchase the correct tools for carving. 
  • large stamps are flexible and can move around on the surface when stamping. Apply them with care.
  • a thin layer of paint or ink is best. 

 Make happy art today, Susan

Sunday
May032015

Coloring Book

Several months I got the idea to create a coloring book of some of my best selling  Women I Might Have Known greeting cards. I thought it would be fun to see how someone else interpeted my colorful paintings. Shortly after I began to post some of the drawings, an activity director at a retirement facility told me it would be so wonderful for her ladies to be able to color a woman their own age instead of fairytale princesses. I think that's a great idea. Of course my ladies are all their own version of both fairy and princess!

This is the cover of my book. It is 8.5 x 11, spiral bound and filled with images of my ladies. Pages are printed on one side and on heavy card stock that will hold up to markers and all the other mediums coloring book enthusiasts enjoy! Below are a few pictures of the new coloring book!

I've left lots of room on some of the pages for you to try your hand at lettering
to add your own favorite quote.

If you would like to see original paintings and read stories featuring these images  my blog 

You can find most of the greeting cards in my shop

I hope you enjoy my coloring book. You can order it right here  , or ask for it at a retailer who carries my greeting cards!

Be sure to scan and send me your favorite page to share on my website!

    Cheers  

Thursday
Apr092015

Tutorial - Young Girl with Butterflies

My work in progress is always so confusing to the studio visitor. Here is a small tour of how I design a painting. Believe it or not - there is a detailed road map to this painting. I've drawn it on sketch paper. I've identified my composition, colors, and chosen stamps for pattern making. I've prepared my surface with under painting color and marks, then transfered the design on to the prepared paper.

I usually paint the face first. If I don't love the face I'll abandon the painting. Once that part of my painting is settled, I begin working on the background.  As you can see my figure is taped out to protect the surface from additional overpainting, and I've started to block in the field of flowers.

Once I have my flowers painted, I pull the tape. 

Then I retape to frame my dress and stamp a pattern on to it.

Here is a close up of the dress.

I lift the tape and refine the details of the face, hair and ribbon. 

A few more details will still be added to this painting: more flowers, butterflies and grasses.

And there she is, ready to become a greeting card, a coloring book page, and framed as a finished painting.

I'll be teaching my process in a workshop in May. If you are local to the Denver area check my calendar for workshop information. Happy painting!

Friday
Jan022015

Happy New Year 2015

That is how I feel today - pretty excited to see the new year start. Last week was not the same. Everyone in this house had a cold. We spent lots of time wrapped in blankets, lying on the couch and sipping tea with old Christmas movies to keep us company. Not a bad way to be sick, although the amount of work pushed aside so we could just be sick was staggering. Now that I'm recovered, I'm running to catch up so that I can be off to Atlanta on Sunday.


This is not a beer, 
but it is my favorite insulated mug filled with steaming hot Earl Grey, honey and lemon. 

 

These little birds were gifts this year but we were too sick to add them to the birdie tree. For now they look pretty sweet keeping my books company. Thank you Betty and Kevin!

 My new Quilted Women series is making lots of people happy. At first they were released as blank cards. I always knew they needed to say something. I must say, I really labored over the sentiments. It was important to me that they conveyed messages as uplifting as the paintings are. Finally, after writes and rewrites,  and finding a few inspirational quotes, they were ready for print. I can't wait for you to read them. I've just added the new greeting cards to my shop on the website and you can read the wonderful messages with them. I'm so pleased to add 9 new cards to my greeting card line. Below is a preview of one I've written for comfort.

Inside greeting: 

Just as quilts are pieced from the worn dresses
and shirts of our relatives, they are evidence of our own history, 
and provide us with soulful comfort.

May you gain strength and comfort from those who love you.

I'll be at the Atlanta Gift Show, America's Mart
Jan 8th through 12th
Building 3, floor 5, booth 1706

All of my new greeting cards, note cards and a few new ladies (shown above) will be in the booth each day. If you are a gift buyer please stop by and say HI! If you are a card fan, please show them to your favorite gift shop and perhaps they will carry the cards so that you can buy them locally. They are always available in the SHOP on my website.

And here is my motto for 2015! Remember reading Ann Lander's column? I started reading it in 7th grade and always looked for her sage wisdom. What a smart clever woman.  I'm going to follow her advise.

Happy New Year girlfriends!
                                                          
                                                                              

 

Wednesday
Nov262014

Knitting - Making Things With Purpose

I absolutely love to make things. I always have. I come from a family of makers. Sometimes I have been driven by practical reasons to create when the things I wanted would have been to expensive to buy.  I just looked at an item I admired and told myself, "I can can make that!" Over the years I've really come to appreciate my ability to be a maker, especially in a "mass produced" world market. There is a great deal of satisfaction in knowing how things are constructed, if they are well done, and what "some assembly required" actually means.

I make a lot of things - specifically greeting cards that you all know about. But I love to bake cookies, occasionally I sew and sculpt my dolls, and a lot of my free time is spent knitting. Knitting is my "time not wasted" activity. There are always a number of knitting projects in various stages of progress waiting for my interest to return. Almost everyone of them is a gift for someone. My Tuesday night knitting group often discusses the number of hours invested in this sweater or that scarf. It's a constant running joke that we would kill anyone who threw our knitted gift in the wash machine, or even worse - THE DRYER! There are labels that you can purchase to sew in a garment that say that very thing!

Here is an example of what making things looks like!

Inside these baskets is the promise of a winter hat, a baby sweater, afgahn squares, at least three new scarfs and a gift exchangew for my knitting group. I'm going to be bold and tell you that cedar chest is full of more projects. 

From the beginning cast on there is so much promise in those first stitches. Of course there is the delight in what the fiber looks like when all that beautiful color is knit. And then there is the complexity of design, not just in the pattern you choose, but in the very idea that you can just make little loops and turn a long strand of fiber into - "Something, Anything!" That's pretty glorious in it's self, but now add in the joy that comes with giving something you created.

As makers, we all know that until the gift is given, the project is not complete.

I know I've shown you this before. It's titled "A Knitty Christmas"
from Left is Uncle Bob, husband John, Aunt Margie and John's mom, Jane - all sporting hand knits from me.
They were funny to see all lined up for a photo but they were worn for many years!

 I'm wishing all of you, my friends, a Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday season!
May all of your hand made treasures be loved and appreciated for many years to come! 

                                                                                                                                                       Cheers,