Archive for the ‘Work in Progress’ Category

Embossing with Viv

November 27, 2011

Nothing gets the creative juices flowing like trying out some new, exciting technique!
As Viv Lieskovsky emailed around she was going to give a short workshop on dry embossing I totally fell in love with the sample she showed and signed up on the spot.

So yesterday afternoon 10 intrigued ladies met at Viv’s lovely studio space and threw themselves into making plates and running editions. Viv had prepared a little bag for each of us, containing 4 pieces of sturdy cardboard, 140 lb watercolour paper, 2 pieces of tin and some card making supplies.

We started by making the plates: on the card board we had to create a design with pieces of sandpaper, textured card board, puzzle pieces, metal wire or anything else that could provide texture. I decided to use my beloved crows; this is how my first plate looked:

Plate #1, 2x2"

The next step was to soak a piece of watercolour paper in water, blot off excess liquid and place the plate + the paper into Viv’s press:

This is Viv, demoing the process

Positioning and keeping everything lined up was a challenge and my plate shifted a bit, but I was happy with the embossed image I got:

Finished print, 3 3/4 x 5 1/2"

Below are the 4 plates I made. Aren’t they lovely just on their own?!

The little landscape with the trees came out quite nice as well. The trees are thin metal cut-outs, of which I glued 3 on top of each other give them more of a relief. After printing some got stuck onto the paper and it looked beautiful!
The trees are actually gold-coloured, but I changed the image to black/white to show off the texture better.

Before framing the plates I’m going to try if I can get some good embossed prints with my Cuttlebug, a small press which is used in the stamping business.
And then of course I have to find a way to incorporate some wax in the process….;-))


New! 8 small paintings + 4 little treasure chests

November 16, 2011

During the Lobby Gallery show at the Lakeside I painted a whole stack of small paintings as demos and some turned out quite well. Nice enough to put in a mat and cellophane sleeve; now they look like a million bucks!

The 4 little treasure chests are 7x5x3″ wooden boxes, which I decorated with encaustic. Each one is a painting by itself, don’t you think? I want to sell them at the next Lakeside show. Now, how to price them…??!


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The morning after…

November 10, 2011

Well, it seemed there was one offending thing in the last painting and think I’ve corrected it. Can you see what I’ve done??
I might still coat the shellac parts with medium, to protect them, but the edges are already finished and I’ll drop it in its frame tomorrow!


Made one little change...what is it??

I also prepared a bunch of panels for future paintings with encaustic gesso and coated some small boards for students to use in a private collage class later this month.

Don't you love those pristine boards?!

More Hills & Trees

November 9, 2011

Finally some real studio time again! Yesterday I was preparing for the Nov. 12 Tissue Paper Techniques workshop and came up with some neat projects for the students to try out.

The offending painting....

Today I started fiddling with an older Hills & Trees painting, which I did not really like. It also sat in an ill-fitting frame, 3/4 ” instead of 1.5″, so it was sticking out: awkward! What was I thinking as I put it on display in one of our local wineries this summer….;-((

My first line of attack was covering the lower part of the painting with a good layer of wax, not very concerned about colours, as I was planning on using a different sheet of the chiyogami paper:

Looks pretty awful!

After collaging in the nice paper the colours of the sky were all wrong, so I had to come up with some alternative.

Some charcoal-coloured shellac to make the clouds more interesting

I wanted to emphasize the diagonal from the lower lefthand corner towards the tree. the paper has some lovely upside down tree shape just below my painted tree and I thought that could make for a nice composition.

So I painted with white, black and gold wax on top of the paper to get the shapes to pop: now I like it!

What do you think?? Suggested title : Connected

Then I started a new painting on one of the prepared 10×10 panels, again intending on using more of the chiyogami paper and the hills and trees theme.

Not sure if it’s finished; will take a critical look tomorrow morning….;-)

Suggestions welcome!

RipOff 2011 – Continued

July 3, 2011

After the white wax on the samurai’s face had hardened I transferred the drawing again and started gauging the lines with a blunt stylus.The black lines you see here are still the charcoal drawing. Where the lines appear white I have scratched out the wax to fill with black wax.

Here I started filling the recessed areas with black wax using a small brush, but as I tried to scrape off the excess wax to reveal the lines I got into trouble. The wax layer underneath was too thin and uneven and it got real messy…

So I tried a different approach (it’s all about those challenges!) and filled the lines using the heated stylus with the brush head, which I had pressed flat. That worked much better!

After a lot of scraping and filling I was happy with the result. The original Japanese prints do have these black outlines as well, so it’s going to look great, I think.

Originally I meant to collage in the garments of the figures, using Japanese chiyogami paper, but I changed my mind. Instead I painted the garment of the samurai a nice rich blue wax and will create a pattern when the surface has hardened out a bit. Bethany gave me a fantastic idea on how to go about it…;-)
And I will still use some of those papers for accents.

So this is how my Nihon American Gothic looks right now….stay tuned!


RipOff 2011 – transferring the main drawing

June 30, 2011

In order to be able to transfer the drawing of the two figures onto the panel I needed to trace them on the back of the paper with charcoal. The easiest way seemed to me to tape the drawing to our patio door window, so I had a good view of the image through the paper.

The next step was to place the drawing, charcoal marks face down, on the panel and burnish the lines onto the wax surface. This worked really well. The lines transferred beautifully and hardly smudged.
The only thing was that part of  the samurai’s face was green from the mountains behind….I needed a smooth white surface to be able to get the features right. Now what?!

I decided to scrape off the charcoal lines in his face and paint in a layer of white paint, which I carefully fused flat.
As I was applying the white wax I also dry-brushed the shapes of the cherry tree canopies in. I coloured them with pink PanPastel and will later add some darker tone to create depth.
After applying the pale pink the colour of the pagoda really did not look very good, so I changed the colour to a warm red, again by brushing PanPastel on.
This is how it looks now:

It is certainly all still very coarse, and shapes or colours might still change, but I feel I’m on the right track!

RipOff 2011 – next step

June 29, 2011

My original idea was to use Japanese chiyogami papers to create the garments of the geisha and the samurai. These are some of the papers I bought in Tokyo many years ago:

Below you can see how it looks a bit like a puzzle, with all the loose pieces of paper! (This was before I had painted the pagoda in).

Now I’m thinking of painting the garments in wax, at least the large pieces, and then layer in some smaller pieces of the paper. The problem with large papers is that air gets easily trapped beneath them, which would make for bad adherence. I’m also not sure how to render the faces; I want them to be crisp and smooth, like in the original woodblock prints….
Lots of creative decisions to make. It’s a challenge every year!

Working on the next RipOff challenge

June 28, 2011

The next RipOff challenge will take place from July 4 – July 9 at the Quail’s Nest art centre in Oliver. We open with a reception on Monday evening from 6 – 8 PM and will work Tuesday – Saturday from 9 – 3. On Saturday is the big finale, where we all rush to try and finish our piece. Feel free to drop by any time.

In a post, back in March, I mentioned that we had chosen American Gothic as our fifth challenge. Each of the 10 artists in our group chose a different artist for their inspiration to create Grant Wood’s famous painting.
We will have Frida Kahlo (Marion), Len Norris (Leo), Katsushika Hokusai (Thea), Pablo Picasso (Terry), Salvador Dali (Russell), Gustav Klimt (Dianne), Erica deRuiter (Barbara), Alexander Calder (Kurt), Hildegard of Bingen (JoAnn) and Amedeo Modigliani & Charles Shultz (Enid). Can you imagine the fabulous artworks which are going to emerge next week?!

I’m extremely sad that my radiation schedule is going to prevent me from working at the Quail’s Nest during the week, but I will be there on the Saturday for sure.  I have already started on my piece and will send Marion pictures, which she will print off and display in my name.
My artist is the Japanese woodblock artist Hokusai and this is my design:

Nihon American Gothic

I prepared a 18×24 cradled wood panel with encaustic gesso, two coats of beeswax and a coat of white encaustic paint. Then I painted the sky and far hills. For the pagoda I printed off the image on my laser printer and transferred it on the warm wax by first burnishing the image down, then soak with it water and rub off excess paper.
The resulting drawing was painted in with wax paint.

Notice the Gothic windows, an artistic license of the artist…;-))

The next stage will be transferring the drawing of the figures onto the panel.

More Basics: Flowers this time

April 27, 2011

After a rather busy weekend I was back in the studio today to re-visit some old instruction sheets. This time I found the write-up for my workshop Flowers.

Here are some of the images I did today. Mostly with the iron, with a bit of help from the stylus.

Dancing Pansies

Magnolia Study

Fantasy Flowers


Tulips in a Vase

More flowers in vases

I recently got a request for the tutorial on how to paint these flowers in a vase. Promised it LONG ago, but hope hubby has time tomorrow to shoot it while I paint. Another thing on my list is demoing working with stamps.
Don’t hold your breath, though….;-))

But I did paint the six images I promised for the last folks who had commented on the first post about the Basics. They will be in the mail tomorrow.

2011 RipOff project off to a good start

March 12, 2011

The RipOffs are a bunch of artists who get together once a year to copy a famous work by a well-known artist. We’ve been at it for four years, so this year, our fifth challenge, we wanted to make it a special one!
Speaking of challenge: try to get 10 head-strong artists to agree on one dead artist & one image….it takes several meetings, lots of coffee and goodies, provided by our great “clubhouse leader” Marion to come to a consensus (more or less!)

There is always groaning from a few artists, who lament “they would have NO CLUE how to implement this particular artwork in their own medium…And then, when you see their finished work afterward, it is always fabulous!


Grant Wood - American-Gothic

To lift the veil: for this year we have chosen the iconic image “American Gothic” by Grant Wood.

And that’s not all: every artist will choose a second famous artist and execute the work in his/her style.
So, you would get an American Gothic looking like a Picasso or a Van Gogh….

Of course I’ve been pondering which artist to use and decided on following a specific style, rather than one artist.
We have lived in Japan for 5 years and I was always fascinated by the beautiful woodblock prints. We have several books and a few original prints, so that’s going to be my inspiration!

Next hurdle: it might very well be that I will not be able to work during our studio week, which is from July 4 – 9, at the Quail’s nest Art Centre in Oliver, B.C.

My radiation treatments will probably start early July and then I have to drive to Kelowna every day. Luckily my fellow RipOffs are very understanding and said I could just try to get as much done beforehand, they would get everything set up and I would show up for the finale on Saturday.

Of course I’m hoping to convince the oncologist to start a bit later with my treatment, but just in case: I’ve started to work on my piece and did my initial drawing:

Nihon American Gothic

Nihon American Gothic

I’m pleased so far; now I still have to decide which size I’m going for and prepare my panel. The plan is to use original Japanese chiyogami paper embedded in the wax for the garments and perhaps real dried cherry blossoms in the background.

We will soon have our press release ready, but I do want to show you our fabulous poster, which was created by photographer RipOff Russell Work.

Please check out our RipOff website to see what we have been up to in previous years.