Colors – I need more Colors!

I drew around the flower shaped design that was already on the paper.  I used a white gel pen to fill in the white sections.
I drew around the flower shaped design that was already on the paper. I used a white gel pen to fill in the white sections.

 

“Ink.  Paper.  Forget the world”  Shaun Hick

I have been in a black hole of my own making lately.  A few weeks ago, I decided to try again to play with the synthetic Yupo Paper that I had heard so much about on watercolor forums.  I wasn’t fond of using watercolors on the paper.  It bothers me that no matter how dry the watercolors may be, you can reactivate them and completely wash them from the surface of the paper.  God forbid  you are painting with a cold, and sneeze…

But I had heard that Alcohol Inks also worked well on the paper, and I had some of the inks just sitting on my bench so I gave it a try.  I dropped different colors over the paper, then laid a piece of Saran Wrap overtop of the Yupo paper.  The Saran Wrap served three purposes – it spread the inks thinly over the paper much better than any  brush and mixes the colors together, the textures of the Saran Wrap when crinkled over the top of the paper makes a great design with the ink, and the Saran Wrap keeps the ink from drying immediately.  Pull the Saran Wrap off quickly and the still wet colors blend back together slightly.  Leave the Saran Wrap on for a minute of two, and the crinkly design of the Saran Wrap remains distinct.

Initially, I only thought that the beautiful results could serve as unusual backgrounds for paintings.

A Plover.
A Plover.

 

 

I still love the using the technique to create unique backgrounds, but I entered into the art black hole when I realized what a black sharpie and some white ink could create.  Better than tell you, I will in the next few weeks show you a series of paintings. By the way, if you do not know, Yupo paper is a synthetic paper that does not absorb paint or ink, but allows the paint to sit on top of the paper.  Watercolors wash right off, but inks are fairly permanent and adhere better.

 

 

 

A Look Back

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I got an interesting surprise in the mail recently. Early in my career as a metal clay artist, I left some pieces on consignment at a local business in Collingswood’ New Jersey. They didn’t sell, and I quickly forgot I even left them there. The amazingly honest owner of the store recently mailed them back to me and it was like delving into a time capsule.
I was such a newbie artist and I had so little understanding of design and even less and understanding of quality control. Many of the pieces we’re very bulky looking and were only worthy of the scrap pile.
Surprisingly enough, there were a few glimmerings of my future jewelry in amongst this pile. Several of the silver earrings were quite pretty, and one of the pieces, with a little redoing, will be quite beautiful.  Linda even claimed a pair as her own, which is high praise.
  

I Must Be Recycled ‘Cause You Done Used Me Agin! (My fav fake Country Song Title)

Fine Silver and Manmade steel blue pearls.
Fine Silver and Manmade steel blue pearls.

Every once in a while, I overturn a yellow cup that sits on my bench to see what has accumulated over the last few months.  Spare Earrings, salvaged focal pieces, and the occasional pendant find there way into this cup with some frequency.  I could send them to Rio for credit, but I like to first see if I can still make something.  I call these my “Kitchen Sink” necklaces for obvious reasons.  Birds, paw prints, love letters — you name it and it can end up as a charm on these necklaces.  Usually I mix bronze and silver pieces, but here I wanted to use some beautiful steel blue man made pearls I got recently.  The necklace is just beginning, and there are lots of pearls to add as I go along, but I wanted to share the work in process.  Make something today!

Photography is everything

 

I hate cameras.  They are so much more sure than I am about everything.  ~John Steinbeck

I ran across this wonderfully done picture of a beautiful necklace by Nina Bagley yesterday. http://www.etsy.com/shop/ninabagley?ref=l2-shopheader-name

Simple and artful
Simple and artful

I really enjoyed the subtle photography of this work.  For those of you too young to remember, the necklace is placed on an empty photo album page from a very old photo album that was originally meant to hold tintype photographs from the late 1800s.  The placement of the necklace carefully frames the necklace and emphasizes the dangling accent without taking the viewers mind away from the beauty of the piece itself. Good photography is always a concern to artists.  We all know how to take the standard picture against a black (or white) background, and it is always important to have at least one pic of this type for every piece if you plan to submit to professional magazines, etc.  But for the majority of us, who sell on Etsy and send photos off to juried art shows, we need pictures that showcase our work without boring our audience.  An Etsy site made up of purely silver jewelry on plain black background will not keep a potential buyer looking for long.  The secret is to find a good compromise between classic black, and a background which is too distracting.  Here are some examples of what I think are good and bad choices for backgrounds.

Lovely necklace, but the model is a bit distracting.
Lovely necklace, but the model is a bit distracting.
By all means use a model, but don't show a face - too distracting
By all means use a model, but don’t show a face – too distracting
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You can barely see the earrings for the sea shells.
Same theme, but now the emphasis is on the earrings.
Same theme, but now the emphasis is on the earrings.
Hanging jewelry from the side is a vase is usually effective, but crystal offers too much reflection, and you see too much of this vase.
Hanging jewelry from the side is a vase is usually effective, but crystal offers too much reflection, and you see too much of this vase.
earring
Closer in, and no distracting reflections from the crystal, make this a much better shot.
I love rock backgrounds, but there is way too much going on here and it takes away from this amazing necklace.
I love rock backgrounds, but there is way too much going on here and it takes away from this amazing necklace.
Perfect
Perfect

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally, my least favorite way to see jewelry presented – the hand!  We are not hand models folks, and even if we were, there are simply better ways to photograph our piece. 959ac819066e7ccd71133dea602008a4 This is by far one of the more beautiful pair of earring I have seen, but instead of looking at the earrings, I am checking out the hand and wondering how the artist keeps her hands so much nicer than mine when we are both metalsmiths!

Another play day!

I love experimenting.  Experiments, by there very nature cannot fail.  If you prove something works – Yeah!  Your experiment was successful.  If you prove something does not work — Double yeah!  You experiment was also successful in proving what does not work.  Experiments only fail if you don’t learn anything.  It’s like a scientifically based play date.

With that attitude, I approached my first experiment with watercolors and Yupo paper – a totally waterproof polypropalyne based “paper”.  The paint does not sink into the paper, it floats on top.  Colors mix in unusual ways.  They don’t fade as they dry.  If you don’t like a section, wipe it completely off with a cotton swab or a damp tissue.

Getting ready to play.  Yupo paper, and cheap watercolor gouche I found at a Home Goods Store!
Getting ready to play. Yupo paper, and cheap watercolor gouche I found at a Home Goods Store!

Of course, where you are playing, you don’t want to use your best supplies, so I pulled out the tubes of watercolor gouche I found for just a few bucks at Home Goods. (always check out there stationary section for cheap art supplies).  Of course, since it was gouche, I expected that the colors would be opaque so you wouldn’t see as much of the gentle color mixing you can find on more pastel translucent colors.

In fact, my first experiment with mixing, I created a lovely painting that more than slightly resembled a cross section of  the liver of some alien species.

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I did learn how to remove paint and create texture with balled up toilet paper.  It was also easy to direct and move colors where I wanted them to be.

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Adding more black into the middle, I was able to pull out lines of black with a small brush.

 

 

 

 

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I love how the light looks when the paint is still floating on the surface of the paper.

 

 

Of course, when I was done, I was tempted to put the successful experiment right into the trash bin,  The I remember that Yupo is waterproof.  A few minutes at the sink with some soap, and I have a fresh surface for my next experiment.  Next time, I think I’ll use regular watercolors and not gouche.  I’ll also think I’ll try a landscape that might be more amenable to the yupo restrictions .

 

But Until I can do a better job of showing you the best that Yopo paper can help create, here is a lovely watercolor on Yupo by a very talented artist.  Now find some Yupo paper, and paint, drip, roll, smush, and generally have fun.  Then wash it off and start all over again.

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