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Friday, March 24, 2017

Fox and Chickens Play Poker

Here's an early phase of my latest project.  I started it to enter in Bead and Button's 2017 Bead Dreams Competition, but I didn't get it done in time.  I'm thinking if I do a really good job on it I can enter it next year. For the category I'm going to enter the piece must be 85% polymer clay.  It's going to be a poker game inside the chicken coop.

At this stage, I've made most of the players - the fox, five chickens, and a mouse - as well as the inverted pails that two of the chickens are standing on and the straw bale on which the game will be played.

I've sculpted and baked the pieces, then I attempted to antique them, which I where I began to run into trouble.  This is a technique that I've never been too successful with.  You have to completely seal the polymer clay or the antiquing medium soaks right in and can't be rubbed off.  So I sealed each piece with two coats of satin finish acrylic varnish.  Then I mixed acrylic paint with Golden air brush medium which I understand to be an acrylic medium.  

I had my usual few instances of places that I hadn't properly sealed.  But, worst of all is that for some reason the antiquing mixture that I used ended up giving the pieces a gloss finish which I don't like at all.  Plus, the fox is no so dark that I'm not happy with it.

For tomorrow, I'll have to think of a way to correct these problems.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

My "Trade" for Art and Soul

Here's my finished "trade" for the up-coming Art and Soul retreat.  I selected three vintage buttons from my stash and sewed them on.  I was going to glue a card to the back with QR codes for my blog and Etsy shop but I decided that would be tacky.  So instead, I'm hand-writing "Art and Soul, Portland, 2017  Kaaren Poole  I figured it would be nice to have contact information but not anything hinting of a "sales pitch."

I think this is pretty cute if I do say so myself.  Oh, just thought that I should put a copyright symbol and my signature on the front.  You never know.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Blue Crows

This is a very unusual painting for me.  I painted the border and the center part about a month ago as part of a program for my local art group, Placerville Art Association.  Pen Slade brought a photo she had taken and four of us volunteers painted from that photo during the meeting.

It was a challenge for me because I'm not a landscape painter and I knew that the photo would be a landscape.  I just looked for blocks of color and took it from there.  As I looked at it over the past few weeks, I determined to not do any more work on the central landscape.  As I continued to look at it, I imagined blue crows in that landscape so I did these silouhettes in a medium/dark blue.  My intention was to add some detail to the crows with glazes of Indigo to develop form and a suggestion of the main body, wing, and tail shapes.

But my sister declared the painting "finished" when she saw it this morning.  And since I don't think she's ever said that about any of my other paintings, I decided to honor her opinion.  It's finished!

I do like the use of color in this painting and my departure from "natural" color.  Perhaps I'll do more.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Welcome Spring!

I decided it needed more flowers and, to reduce the "spotty" look of the background, a darker background edge.  Once I was done with those additions, I was much happier with it.  Then I felt the need to add the dots around the edge.  And - done!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

A Problem

Once again, a lack of planning has created problems for me.  I've spent a fair amount of time painting the robins and the spring beauties only to realize that the composition is a problem.  Or, I guess I should say that it needs more elements to make the composition good.  So I've put it up by the TV and will be studying it tonight trying to figure out where to go from here.

But I have to say that despite the problems, I actually enjoy working in this more spontaneous way.  We'll just have to see how it turns out.

Friday, March 10, 2017


My art club is having a challenge for our March meeting - create a piece with "spring" as the theme.  Here's the beginning of mine.

I began with a collage of just text, including pieces of pages of old books as well as a bit of hand-writing.  The hand-writing expresses a few of my memories about springtime in the woods near where I grew up in northern Ohio and, drawing on those memories I decided that "spring beauty" wildflowers and baby robins would star in this piece.

After the collage dried, I added glazes with Golden fluid acrylics.  Then I did the drawing directly on the piece.  The dark dots you see are the eyes for the baby robins that I'm planning on including.

I'm painting the flowers by adding white gesso, applying with a side-loaded brush with the load of color on the highlight edges.  Then I added a bit of yellow green in the centers and the dark fuschia vein markings on the petals.  Last, I added the stamens with green stalks and Quin violet heads.  I'm doing the leaves with successive glazes, working light to dark.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Painting is Done on the Kitty

The painting is done.  Now I need to make it into cards that I can print on my Epson printer.  I'll use Photoshop Elements to size it, add text, and make a full sheet of repeats.  The problem is that I don't really know how to use Elements.  At least I'm having a hard time putting several images on the page.  I don't understand the concept of "layers" so I'm pretty much lost.  Actually, I think I get the concept, just not how to use it.

These cards should be pretty nice if I can get through the computer part!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Making a Trade

Next month I'm going to the Art and Soul retreat in Portland Oregon.  I've been to a few of these retreats before.  As I was looking through their website again I noticed a little blurb about "trades."  Apparently it's a tradition at the retreat to trade little art-related items with people you meet.  They can either be art supplies or little pieces of art.  So I decided to make some.

I'm going to make little button cards with a vintage look.  I'll have a painting of a cat in a dress and I'll sew vintage buttons on them.  So, here's the start of the card.  I'm doing the painting larger than the finished item - I'll shrink it down before I print it.  The piece of paper is about 8" x 10" and I'm aiming for an image size around 5" x 7".  I'm working with Golden fluid acrylics over my pencil drawing on Strathmore Mixed Media paper.

Sunday, March 5, 2017


I am having so much trouble with this one.  I added more and more glazes to the top part then worked more on the coyotes' shadows, then decided that those shadows were really bad and gesso'd over them.  The whole time I've been working on it I've been thinking to myself "I just can't do this!"  So it's time to put it aside for a while.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

A Big Project

I'm starting this piece with the intention of entering it in an art show at a Lutheran church in Sacramento for religious and spiritual art.  The theme of the show is "Let the Spirit Sing."  It will be two young coyotes howling at the moon and will incorporate the text (author: me) "Nature is not mere backdrop.  Each of God's creatures sings his own song, center stage."

So I began with the drawing of the coyotes.  It took quite a while because they;re big (the coyote drawing is about 20" across) and because I had trouble with the legs.  But finally I finished.  Then I was able to determine the size of the entire piece and constructed the cradled board.  I also drew the dove.  I adhered the drawings to the board with Liquitex mat gel and when it had thoroughly dried I began adding glazes of transparent acrylic using Golden fluid acrylics.

Friday, March 3, 2017

A Small Study

I'm planning a large painting of two coyote pups and a night sky with a moon.  The pups were so fun to draw that I decided to do a small piece - partly as a study, and partly just for fun.  This one is 8" x 10"

It's my usual process as of late - begin with a pencil drawing then include it as the main element in a collage, and finally, add color with glazes of Golden Fluid Acrylic.  The top part turned out a bit messy, largely because I put the little foil pieces on too early in the process.  As a result, I needed to add more glazes then more little foil pieces.  But, oh well, live and learn!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

My Fox Collage

Although I've been doing a lot of art lately, I haven't been good at taking photos, so all I have are photos of several finished pieces.

I decided I wanted to do a fox with grapes, so I began by drawing the fox.  After I had the fox I could decide what size piece I would do and constructed the cradled board from 1/4" hardboard and pine strips.

This collage portion presented many challenges.  I tried to use papers that related to my subject, and to add to that stash, I ended up hand-writing Aesop's Fox and Grapes fable in Greek.  It's just to the left of the fox's face.  I also used other text fragments as well as pieces of magazine photos for the collage part.  For the photos, I selected mainly skies and centuries old buildings.

For the final layer of the collage, I added some tissue paper that I stenciled with my own designs.  In this case, they're tapestry look designs of flowers and leaves.  Of course the fox drawing was part of the collage also.  I tinted her with glazes of Golden fluid acrylics.  The word "fyxen" that you can see mid-way between the left edge of the painting and the left edge of the fox means "vixen" in old English.

So far, so good.  But the real trouble came with painting the grapes.  I cut a piece of 1/4" hardboard to paint the grapes on and would later glue it in place at the top of the piece.

I coated the grape piece with Golden Coarse Molding Paste, then painted it with Golden fluid acrylic, aiming for the look of a painting on stucco.  I think I achieved that goal, but I found it difficult to paint on this surface - difficult, but, in the end, worth it.