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Saturday, April 25, 2020

Aunt Audrey the Badger



I wanted to do some needle-felting, so I chose to make one of the characters from my book, Tales of Love and Courage from Milkweed Manor. I was aiming for Gwen, the young badger who likes wearing girly dresses. But when I finished the felting I realized I needed to re-group.

To wear a dress, Gwen would be standing up, but when I stood her on her hind feet I didn't see how I could possibly make a dress for that body! Her body is so thick, her neck is nearly as thick as her body, and her upper arms are quite thick as well. So, what to do?


I finally decided to make her Gwen's mum, Audrey, and to give her a simple costume of a decorated shawl.


Roxanne, a raccoon and another character from the book, made the shawl for her from items she's collected from the manor house trash heap. She used fabric from a discarded blouse, and decorated the garment with a selection of her button collection and a very special ribbon rose.

Audrey is very proud to wear this wonderful creation!






Sunday, April 19, 2020

Making Blank Books


Every once in a while I get the urge to make little books, and this group is the result of my most recent urge. They're very simple because there's no drawing or painting, just simple collage. I used pieces of scrapbook paper for the backgrounds, then just added a few elements, such as scraps of paper, metal stampings, a ribbon rose, and buttons.

They were fun and simple to do and I think turned out pretty nice. The front and back covers are glued onto a piece of denim. Leaving a 1/2" gap between the covers leaves a "spine" of denim to which I sew the signatures. The signatures are groups of pages from simple copy paper.

A piece of ribbon glued onto the inside of the back cover makes a built-in bookmark, and I used buttons and twisted cords of embroidery thread for the closures.

I was so inspired that I've decided to work on a book about making books! Stay posted!

Saturday, April 4, 2020

A White Cat


I used one of my favorite techniques on this piece - collage background with painted subject.

As I scan through old magazines and catalogs looking for collage elements a color palette begins to form. In this case, I was taken by photos of some blue and white ceramics as well as a bouquet of white hydrangeas.

Once I had my collage elements selected, I applied them to an 8" x 10" board to which I had previously applied two coats of gesso. I use Liquitex matt medium as an adhesive. One of my most critical tools for collage is - surprisingly - an old magazine or catalog that I won't be using for collage elements. Here's how I use it:

To get a smooth application of the paper pieces, I apply a coat of slightly thinned medium to the board, then lay the piece I'm going to collage upside down on the catalog and apply a slightly thinned coat of medium to the back side. I brush it in really good so that the paper becomes saturated, then I can flip it over and lay it in place. I brush more matt medium over the collage element, brushing from the center outwards to force out any air bubbles trapped underneath it. (But be careful to not brush so hard that you tear the paper - tissue paper is particularly susceptible to tearing.) Brushing the back of the collage element with the medium is important because the moisture stretches the paper. That way, it won't wrinkle on you!

Sometimes I apply multiple layers of collage, letting each dry before adding the next. Sometimes I add transparent washes, or a thin coat of gesso. These paint or gesso layers somewhat obscure the images in the collage elements, and also unifies them. That done, I may want to "bring back" parts of the images as I did in this piece with the hydrangea blossoms. I accomplished this by side-loading a wide flat brush with white and redefining the edges of some of the petals.

I also enjoy embellishing the collage background with painted elements using acrylics. Examples are the leaves and linear spirals.

Finally, I'm ready for the subject. I draw the outline then paint within it with gesso. This will hide the background behind the subject. Very often, I'll need to use two coats. After it's dry, I'm ready to paint my subject. This one is painted more loosely than I usually do, and I like it!