My Deepest Sympathy

goes out to those who have experienced kidney stones.

This is a long drawn out process, evidently.  This began Friday and continues to today…

The pain is unique.  Difficult to describe, as it feels like fire moving very slowly through my renal system…Until I actually have to urinate the stones out-then it’s like a hot burning poker being forced out of me.

And no, gentlemen, child birth still tops this.  And this is nothing compared to my really bad headaches.

Nevertheless, it has taken quite a bit out of me.  It’s not even 7:30 and my eyes are drooping.  I only worked on creating my Art Quest book today, didn’t even paint…

The papers I’ve been doing the art quest on are larger than your average 3 ring binder.  So I wanted to create my own, unique book.  I have had lousy results so far.  The book was to big for my usual book binding, and made so thick I was unable to find rings which would work well.

I resorted to an old scrapbook.  I mean an old one, like from the 1950’s.  I am aware it is not archival.  I removed all the papers from it and put in watercolor paper and sketch paper.  I can attach any of my loose papers into it by creating pockets.  This is a post book, so there is limited space for pages.

Since I was making this book, and the pages were to large, I cut off 4″ and made a second book.  More of a desktop-type book.  In it, I’ll put all my recipes for color mixing my acrylics.

I’ve cut out 12 sock monkeys to create my own color wheel.

I cleaned the work room.  It really only needs to be tidied up a bit.  I cleaned really well when I re-organized.

And now I can barely keep my eyes open.

Exhaustion.  After doing absolutely nothing…I need to feel better tomorrow.  I don’t have time for this stuff.


Acrylic Skins

After an unpleasant few days, I have jumped back into painting.  My desire to create unique and spectacular things has led me to search out other paint ideas and options.  One of these is acrylic paint skins.

I have used paint skins in the past, for jewelry making.  They are fun to work with, but I didn’t think about using them in an actual painting.  Now I am thinking about using them to create the entire painting.

The skins are easy to make.  I just smear acrylic paint on my no stick silicone baking sheets, purchased specifically for art work-never used for food, and let the paint dry a day or two.  When it’s dry, it will peel right off the surface.  You can cut it into what ever shape you want and add it to your painting with a gel medium.  If you want the paint to be quite transparent, add it to the glazing medium and smear that over the silicone baking sheet.  Let dry and use as desired.  Combining a couple different colors on the sheet is easy too.  Just pour out the color, dribble the second, third or forth color over the top of the wet paint, then I use a tooth pick or old paintbrush handle and swirl the paint through each other.  I’m careful not to over blend them, as I think they look nicer with a minimum amount of mixing.  Let dry and you have a lovely marbled skin to work with.

You can attach them to glass to create a stained glass effect, layer them to create a 3D effect on your painting, wad them up to use as beads, add to any multi-media project…There are many options for this fun medium.

If you want, you can pour the acrylic paint onto any non-stick surface.  Garbage bags work well for this, and once the paint is dry you can stack the garbage bags and skins on top of each other.  Just make sure you keep the non stick surface between each sheet of skins.  Then you cut up what you want as you need it.  Easy to store and easy to use.

I’ve just thought of my next project with skins!  Stay tuned and I’ll post when it’s completed.

Abstract Painting

I am taking on line art courses.  The challenge for this assignment was to create an abstract painting.

The last few days have been sort of rough for me, emotionally.  My brother, Jeff, passed away in January.  Very suddenly, completely unexpected.  The last few days have been tough “Jeff days” for me.  I don’t know why or what triggered the weepies, but I have been pretty blue.

So here comes this challenge.  Create an abstract painting.  Which I have never done, nor even attempted.  The instructions were to get in touch with your emotions.  Paint from the gut.

Here’s what I painted:



I have named it “Sorrow”.  The lower part of the painting is what life was like before Jeff died.  The top part of the painting is what happened with his passing.  Like darkness poured down upon me, smothering everything that was.

My daughter thought it looked like hell.  The flames coming up, and darkness all around…My friend, Suzanne-who is the person who taught me how to paint all those years ago-thought it should be placed into Art Prize, which is going on in Grand Rapids right now.

That is the best compliment I have ever received in my entire life, bar none!

That she thinks it’s good enough for that sort of competition, well, it just blows my mind.

And I have no idea if it’s any good or not.  It just came out that way, purely emotion.  No thought to the form or structure or movement or any design rules that should be applied to abstract art.

It simply is what I felt at that time.

I doubt I would have painted anything like that last week, before the weepies hit me again.  But the challenge came at a sad time, so sad is what I painted.

I’ll have to give abstract another shot.


Frugal Paint Savers

I am a painter.  This is what I do.

Since I paint a lot, sometimes several paintings a day, I often find I have to much paint on my acrylic palette.  While I have successfully sucked paint back up into the tube, it is a bit of a pain in the butt to do.  My stay-wet palette solution is somewhat effective, but I would rather not leave paint out where the kids or dogs can get to it.

Dollar Tree to the rescue!

I found clear containers with lids-8 in a package-at Dollar Tree.  They are very small, perfect for holding the tiny amounts of paint I often have left over on the palette.  I just scoop the paint off the palette, pop on the lid and toss it into the drawer that holds that color.

If you wanted, you could label the top with the color inside.  I don’t bother with this as I have a pretty good eye for color and can tell what the color is just by looking at it.  It also helps if you use a standard set of colors for most of your paintings.  I have 5 or 6 colors I use in nearly every painting, so chances are the left over paint is probably one of those.

These would also work well for a travel kit.  If you filled each of these little tubs with paint you would have quite a bit of each color.  Probably enough for a painting or two while traveling.  You can also put your mediums into them and won’t have to tote the larger tubs from your studio with you.

Back Home Again.

This past weekend we went to St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  It was a lovely weekend.

Each year for the past 21 years there is a truck and light show held in St. Ignace.  We walked around the town and saw 192 trucks this year.  On Saturday night the trucks went through town showing off their paint jobs and all their lights.  The smell of diesel was heavy in the air and Jake Brakes were music to our ears.

Some of these rigs are truly amazing.  The specialty paint jobs and custom interiors were just beautiful.  My favorites were the classic, vintage trucks.  Some were restored farm trucks, some were restored straight trucks, some were vintage pick up trucks.  Just gorgeous, each and every one.

The traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall was also there, and the name of the only person I know who died in the Vietnam war jumped right out at me.  I couldn’t believe it!  What are the chances of finding that one name out of all of those on the wall?  I wasn’t even looking for it.  I just stopped before a section, looked straight ahead and there it was, staring back at me.

I didn’t purchase any souvenirs.  Just brought home some fudge.  I did take many, many pictures from the balcony of our hotel-which was right on the water.  And from the main area of town, where the ferry goes across to Mackinaw Island.  We could see the island from our hotel balcony, as well as the four floating pillars where the boats used to tie up.  I have pictures of the light house, the ferry boats, sailboats, the marina, and countless shots of the gorgeous sky with the islands and boats silhouetted, and, of course, the bridge.  I will have plenty to paint, that’s for sure.

This is the first time I recall ever seeing the bridge.  I have been into the UP once before, but I suspect I had my head hidden beneath a pillow when we crossed the bridge.  This time I did great crossing the bridge.  I realized if I didn’t look out and down I was ok.  If I looked down-then I started to freak a bit-so I looked back outward toward the island.  Went really well.

I did have to take Dramamine for motion sickness, as it is quite a long drive.  About 5 1/2 hours from here.

We saw many people we know up there as well.  Scott and I plan to go up with just the two of us for a weekend.  We can nose around the shops and just relax.  This weekend was fun, but there wasn’t time for relaxing.

The New and Improved Workroom!

My desk from the art journaling area
Doorway is covered with canvas
the dark bookcase holds my papers and special books

This process has taken a long time, but I know where everything is and exactly what I have.  This is a huge relief and has unleashed a new wave a creativity.

A couple observations:

I had no idea how much watercolor paper I had because I had it stored all over the place.  Now I know what I have, where it is and that I don’t need to purchase anymore for a very long time.

The small plastic drawer carts have wheels for rolling, which I didn’t attach when I put them together.  I have added them and am thrilled with the ease with which the plastic drawers move.  The stack of them nearest my computer hold all my acrylic paints, separated by color, and will probably be moved next to the tall cabinet by the easel.  I use a table top easel-hanging from the pink peg boards-to do my acrylic painting currently.   This is inconvenient because it’s to high to sit at and to low to stand at.  Also, my lighting in the area over my desk isn’t the best.  Yet.

Since I have no running water in my workroom, I keep emptied gallon milk jugs filled with water for my painting.  I have one for fresh water and one for waste water.  When these are full/empty I take them upstairs and empty one and refill the other.  Also beneath my work desk, which is actually a sewing table, I have cleaning supplies, supplies to make my own gesso and pastes, some of the larger containers of gels and mediums, and larger bottles of soft bodied paints.

Through out this experience I have developed a real appreciation for those who live in small spaces.  My work room is small, and was crammed packed full of stuff.  Now I have far less stuff and far more space.

More importantly it’s also out of my mind.  My brain was cluttered and over stuffed with the crap that was cluttering my work room.  I could not escape the visual clutter, the emotional clutter, the overwhelming sense of chaos.  There was no way to create with abandon when I could not even walk from the doorway to my desk without tripping over stuff.

Utter and complete nonsense!