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Sunday, September 30, 2018

The First of Nine

My enthusiasm for painting in series got the best of me a few weeks back and I proposed a "Small Works" show to the board of my local art group, the Placerville Arts Association.  They approved, and the show is set for the week of December 10.  There will be three categories, series of 9, series of 3, and individual works.  I have committed to both a series of 9 and a series of 3.  But I was shocked when I counted up how many weeks there are between now and December 10.  I'll be completing a little more than one painting a week to make the deadline.

My series of 9 will be "A Feline's Guide to Floral Fantasy," in other words cats and flowers.  I found nine girls' names that are also names of flowers, and that list provides me both the names of my cats and the flowers that I'll depict.  I decided on acrylic.  And all the paintings are 8" x 8".

This is the first one, and it was very difficult for me to paint.

The difficulty was the paint drying soooo quickly.  I think it was because I prepared the board differently than I usually do.  I cut these boards from a larger piece of 1/4" thick MDF (medium density fiberboard) that I bought at Home Depot.  Usually I simply spray them with white spray wood primer.  But this time I added a coat of gesso over the primer.

The gesso was so absorbent and was fighting me all the way.  So for the next piece I'm going to use primer only and also I'll sand the primer super smooth before I begin painting.  Hopefully that will work a lot better!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

A Difficult Project

I've been working on my free downloadable art piece for my October newsletter.  (If you'd like to subscribe, just e-mail me at  In addition to the free downloadable art, the newsletter contains a discount coupon for my Etsy shop, thefoxesgarden, and behind-the-scenes, in-the-spotlight, and in-the-pipeline articles.  I don't share your information with anyone, and you can unsubscribe at any time.)  I began with the drawing, which I was happy with pretty quickly.

But it went downhill from there!  I was not feeling confident in my ability to paint.  So I made the - bad - choice of starting with colored pencils.  But since I was working on Strathmore Mixed Media paper which has some texture to it, it was impossible for me to get good darks.  So then I added acrylic washes, and had trouble with getting those smooth.

It finally occurred to me that the problem was the surface.  Because of the textured paper, part had colored pencil and part did not.  So the wash wouldn't go on smooth.  I sprayed the piece with workable fixatif then applied a layer of Liquitex Matte Medium.  At that point, the washes went on much more easily.

I continued to have trouble getting the piece dark enough.  The "finished" piece is above, but I may add another wash to darken it more.  We'll see.  

All in all, a cute design, but not very well executed.  Disappointing.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Productivity Problems?

It feels like I haven't been very productive this week.  Actually, I made 5 needle felted reindeer (little ones) so that should qualify as good productivity.  But it doesn't feel like it.  The reindeer are all  finished, but here are four of them showing the different stages in their creation.

I've also spent a lot of time straightening my studio.  I became aware of both stuff that didn't belong and stuff that belonged but wasn't there.  In the latter category the prominent item was a place to relax.  I thought it would be nice to have a small recliner, but where to put it?  All the space was packed.  But I found one on that I liked and that was small enough for the room, so I determined to clear the space for it.

I got rid of some stuff, specifically I put some stuff in deep storage, threw some other stuff in a box for the thrift store and threw some stuff out.  I was able to make room in the closet for a cabinet that had been in the room and once that was done I had room for the recliner.  I still have a ways to go, but should finish tomorrow when I complete another cabinet for in the closet that should provide a home for the rest of the stray stuff.  

Here's a photo of the studio as it is now.  That chair is really comfy!  I think it was time well spent even though it took time away from actually creating art.  The space is more inviting now and easier to work in...

Saturday, September 8, 2018


It hasn't been a very productive week for me, at least not in the way I intended.  I got sidetracked cleaning the studio.  It didn't really need it that badly, but I suddenly became aware of several clusters of stuff that was just wasting space, so I tackled it.

But I did manage to finish needle felting the second rat, Dawn, on the left.  Aurora is on the right.  The next step is to make their clothes.  They are woodland nymphs.  I bought three vintage silk scarves on Etsy, one peach, one pink, and one butter yellow.  I'm not really sure that the yellow one is silk but I sure hope it is because it matters for the design I have in mind.  We'll see how it works.

I barely started the clothes.  The white thing you see on Aurora is my first attempt at a pattern piece for the front of the dress.  I use paper towels because they drape fairly well on the little creatures.

Dawn is reassuring Aurora who is a bit worried about wearing a paper towel!  "It'll be OK, sweetie!"

Sunday, September 2, 2018

A Happy Accident

I always figure you can't go wrong with a bird, and it proved to be true yet again with this little painting/collage.

The collage part is very simple - just tiling the surface with pieces of color-coordinated images then adding a piece of an old book page that I punched along one side with a Fiskars edge punch then ripped the rest.

The branch, leaves, and berries are cut from pieces of magazine pages, but I painted the bird with acrylics.

But here's the fun part!  I noticed that one of the leaves somehow had a little raggedy-edge hole and the white of the book page was showing through.  I didn't like that at all!  But what to do?  I decided to get out my X-acto knife and try to scratch veins in the leaves and, guess what?  It worked?  I think it adds a lot of character to the piece and it all came about through a happy accident.