Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Work in Progress: Tiny Totem Bobble Birds-Part Two

Last week I showed you a picture of my Tiny Totem Bobble Birds in progress. You can see that post here.  If you don’t feel like following that link, suffice to say that the birdies had recently been cured in the oven and were shown without any color. Just plain ol’ cured white clay.

Now, let’s see how I add color to these cuties.

First, you need alcohol inks, rubbing alcohol, paint brushes and gloves.

Luscious alcohol inks (not for consumption)

And here are the little birdies waiting to be colored.

Hi! We're Waiting

Because I will be teaching a class on how to make these little birdies, I can’t share all the specific details on how to create and paint them at this time. Please enjoy these process pictures as each piece is colored. Humming your favorite song while looking at the pictures might be fun. For some reason the theme song from Jeopardy, the one they play when people are writing their answers to the final question, popped into my head.

Do not, however, hum “The Girl from Impanea.” You know what will happen if you do. Just sayin’.

Tiny Totem Bobble Bird “Spike”

Coloring the top side of Spike

Add a Green collar

Gotta have fuchsia spiky hair

All done & waiting

Tiny Totem Bobble Bird “Wing”

Don't 'cha love my tangerine wings?

A nice warm yellow for the bod.

Heart-beat

Green hair & a yellow neck

Tout fait, for now.

You may have noticed that I use both Pinata & Ranger alcohol inks. On “Wing” above I decided to only use the Pinata alcohol inks. I noticed a big difference between the two brands almost immediately. The Pinata inks appear to dry with a glossy sheen whereas the Ranger inks appear to dry with a matte finish.

If you use alcohol inks, have you noticed this difference?

To continue this further, I’m going to put a coat of Kato liquid clay on “Spike,” dry it with a heat gun, and see what happens. Will he end up with a shiny coat or will all his colors meld and patina with the liquid clay?

Stay tuned for more pictures of “Spike” and “Wings.”

Oh, if you’re interested in learning how to make these little birdies, leave a comment below that you’d like class information & I can add you to my newsletter list.

Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!


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New Wall Art: Within 1

About a week ago I wrote a post about an evolving idea where I shared how I went from one conceptual idea that failed, to another idea which really sent the creative muse into overdrive.

With a new vision in mind, I proceeded to take one of the new polymer clay focal disks I created and combined it with a beeswax design applied to an artist board.

Here is the artist board with colored beeswax before attaching the polymer clay focal disk:

"Within 1" artist board

I applied several layers of beeswax to the board, incised the circles and lines, and then colored the surface with alcohol inks.

Then I added a polymer clay focal disk:

"Within 1"

I’m really happy with the way this first piece turned out.

Abstract art is a completely new area for me to explore. It isn’t something I’m typically drawn to. But like I said, I really like this new combination of polymer clay and beeswax and I really like making these focal disks. Trying something completely new and different also falls in line with choosing the word BIG as my word of the year.


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The Ever Evolving Creative Idea

Now that I have emerged myself in this new body of work, ideas for new pieces in the series frequently bubble to the surface quicker than I can write them down. And each new idea is often an evolving process. I sketch out the idea, I try to create it, and it morphs into something slightly different. Or the original idea is a complete failure upon creation. You know that feeling “Um, that isn’t what I wanted to make” or “That isn’t what I pictured in my head” or “This is a piece of crap.”

Such is what happened with a recent idea.

Taking a break from sculpting Spirit Messengers, I’ve been focused on making wall pieces. I had an idea to make some pieces with abstract forms on the surface. Since I was already working with alcohol inks, pearl ex powders, gold leaf and polymer clay, I decided to use these items on my first attempt.

I pulled out several molds with abstract forms and conditioned both white and translucent polymer clays. I pressed the clay into the molds, popped them out, and worked on their surface designs.

And you know how some things look really cool in that raw stage? The colors are appealing. The shape intrigues.

And then you pop those pieces into the oven, sand them when they’re cooled, and buff them on the buffing wheel.

And they come out like this:

Abstract Forms

Yuck. I’m not feeling the love here folks. I mean, several of the shapes are cool. But the colors aren’t doing it for me. I also wasn’t pleased with the Kato Liquid clay that I applied as a final layer over each piece. Maybe Kato Liquid clay works better on flat surfaces. It certainly wasn’t staying on many of these raised surfaces…as I found out when sanding and the gold leaf started to flake off.

Again, could be a neat effect, if that is what you’re going for. But I wasn’t going for that.

Doing my best Pooh bear imitation, I place my paw, I mean my hand to my head and start muttering “Think, think, think.” Idea one failed. The concept remains a good one (abstract shapes) but the execution…not so hot.

So I pulled out one of my art books* for inspiration and guidance.

BINGO!

There they were, disks and caps, textures and abstract forms. This excited me. This spoke to me. This would be the answer to what I saw in my head.

Getting to work with a few simple tools (always a plus), I made various sized disks and caps, textured them, combined them, and gave them an acrylic wash.

Viola! The new abstract forms that will be incorporated into future wall pieces:

Abstract Forms

Creating these pieces reminds me of the tiny underwater studies I put together last year. You can see those here. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m really excited about these forms. I know I’ve found something here because I’m already working on a slightly different version from the ones in the picture. Now the muse is off and running again.

*Thanks to Rona Sarvas Weltman’s book Ancient Modern for providing the inspiration.


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Experiments in Beeswax

The beeswax/encaustic medium has really caught my interest. Last week I spent some time experimenting with beeswax, alcohol inks, gold leaf, and pearl ex powders. I don’t normally dive into a new medium without understanding it a little more. In other words, I’m not always one to experiment with a medium I know very little about. Diving right in seems to fit living my word of the year: BIG.

All of these experiments were done in my mixed media sketch book. I’ve since learned that paper is not the best substrate for beeswax beyond the experimentation stage.

Experiment #1

Everything but the kitchen sink....

Experiment #1 has everything in it: beeswax, gold leaf, alcohol inks, pearl ex powders and swirls created by impressing the wax with an unmounted stamp.

Experiment #2

Feels like autumn....

Experiment #2 includes beeswax, alcohol inks, gold leaf and a texture sheet impressed into the wax. At this point I continue to have problems with the texturing. The wax is peeling off the paper and sticking to the texture sheet (or unmounted stamp as in experiment #1.) In experiment #2 I also tried incising or cutting into the wax with a needle tool. I like the way it directs the alcohol inks.

Experiment #3

Did Monet start out this way?

In experiment #3, I decided to keep it simple and applied three colors of pearl ex powder to the wax surface. I like the way the wax moved and blended the powders. The overall effect is very soft and dreamy.

Experiment #4

Mysterious words

In experiment #4 I started by stamping with black ink onto the sketchbook paper. Then I applied a layer of beeswax, followed by pearl ex powders and another layer of beeswax. Using a fine tip exacto knife, I “wrote” in the beeswax and back filled the marks with alcohol ink.

Experiment #5

The kitchen sink over wood

In this final experiment, I lightly sanded a small piece of wood and applied beeswax, gold leaf, alcohol inks, pearl ex powders, and texture. The wood is definitely a better substrate for the beeswax. I still had a minor problem with the texture plate pulling some wax off the surface. I think this may happen because the wax was still too warm or the layers were not fused well enough. Given that I’m using some very basic tools that don’t have exact temperature controls on them, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised.

But boy is this fun!

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