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Saturday
Jul042015

H Squared - Making a print

I have enjoyed  printing multiples so much, I thought I would make an entirely stamped painting. I made a first attempt using my "just go at it" approach and realized it would be hard to make adjustments to the print later. I have discovered when making multiples - if you make a mistake on one (and you know it's a mistake as quickly as you have made it) you have to make the same mistake on all the copies. Then the fix is the same. Since I wanted to make multiples with this project, I made several practice runs to work out the potential errors in advance.

I picked a color story to work with. I love the Color Star. Unfortunately it is out of print, but if you are lucky to have one it is enormously helpful on projects like this. There are many color therory wheels or charts that are helpful with solving color problems in paintings. They are necessary tools to have in your studio. I also made decisions about the pose of my Quilted Woman and the stamp choice. In this project I opted for one square stamp that I carved. It could be turned in any direction to give 4 different looks. And since it was square, it would stack nicely while I built my quilt blocks.

I limited this run to three images. I wanted to follow a cruciform, which I think is fairly uncomplicated. I use it quite a bit in my paintings of Quilted Women. It works well since so many of the QW have arms stretched out. Using the interior, lightest shades on the wheel I built the cruciform composition, gradually building in the darks around warm colors.

Once my blocks were completed, using a timy brush,  I added the brightes hues in the H shapes exposed from stamping. I decide not to fill in the white spaces between some of the blocks. I think it could be done effectively, but because of my natural paper protected around the image, I thought it would be a unifying effect on the print. I liked it once I pulled my tape from around the image.

This is #1 of  my three finished prints. They are all slightly different because each time I placed the stamp I applied a new thin layer of paint to the stamp. I love the exposed paper spaces from the stamping. It shows how each one is different because of color, texture, the way I pressed the stamp and of course the directional turn. I think this project was a lot of fun to make and successful as a finished project. I have to say I slipped in a second stamp at the top. Do you see it?

Things I learned

 

  • Solve the problems before you begin the printing
  • Pick a color story that allows you to tell the best story with your painting
  • Choose an easy composition so that all of the nuance of hand work really shows up
  • One stamp provides many options so don't think you have to have a lot to make beautiful paintings.

 

 What I used

  • Stonehenge printmaking paper
  • Fluid acrylic paint
  • carved rubber stamp
  • removable tape 
  • brayer for paint applcation around the head

 

 

I would love to see what you create so be sure to share with me.
Happy printing!

Cheers, 
Susan

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  

Wednesday
Apr152015

It’s about the dresses

 

My grandmother, Myrtle Lee Wood, was a talented and resourceful woman.  I was young when she passed away so my relationship with her is a variety of tiny memories swirling around that occasionally become defined by stories from my older sister or brother. I remember she sewed and she quilted.  I think she moved often and probably never had a home long enough or a yard big enough to establish a large garden. If she could have gardened, I would guess that she would have grown vegetables before she would have invested in flowers. But I like to think that she had a lot of flowers growing and there’s a reason for that assumption.

I am most fortunate to have one of the quilts she made. Myrtle Lee was a frugal woman.  She recycled her worn dresses, cutting the best parts from them to piece her quilt tops.  My quilt is a summer garden exploding with every color, surrounded in sunshine, and bordered with a blue sky and points.  Each of those little flower pattern pieces are snapshot memories of my grandmother. As I remember the trim of an apron, or the length of a summer dress, she becomes a real person to me and her love of flowers is fact. 

 When I started the series of Women I Might Have Know, I knew something would solidify my project. I’ve made half a dozen Garden paintings now, and I’m pretty sure it’s about the dresses. My Grandma Wood wore floral print dresses with aprons that had trimmed borders of more flowers. She was from the era of an orchid corsage for Easter, and pretty little caplet hats with flowers for Sunday mornings. I remember that she had a quilt frame that she lowered from the ceiling to move her chair around and stitch. She had a treadle sewing machine that seemed dangerous to me. She had two purses and one of them had Bazooka bubble gum in it, and I believed I was the only one who knew it.  But always when I think of her she is wearing a floral print dress. 

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!

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