Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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An Angel Appears

The month of September has come and gone. And with it we officially entered a new phase of life. Gone is the home we lived in for 12.5 years. Sold to a new family who seem to really love it and want to make it their own. It was a busy and stressful month with lots of back and forth between the old homestead and the new, moving out all those things we didn’t need, bringing home items that we wanted, and donating, selling, and tossing stuff in the trash.

Now it is time to breath and get back to the studio.

Today I want to share a newish painting that I created in over summer. In my last post, I mentioned a free tutorial offered by Kara Bullock . This angel painting was inspired by Kara’s tutorial. It is not the subject of her tutorial. I didn’t want to create the exact same thing and simply used it as a springboard for this piece.

An Angel Appears

Since I was thinking about taking Kara’s online class “Angels Among Us” I decided to try my hand at creating an angel painting. I combined some of Kara’s techniques with techniques learned in other classes. Here is the result.

I almost always consider the beginning (and sometimes the middle) of a painting to be the ugly phase. An angel is no exception.

At this point I was relearning how to draw and paint faces. The errors in my face sketch became more evident when I started painting on the details. Eyes too close. Flat features. Asymmetrical. Oh well. It was a good time to move my attention to her gown and wings.

I didn’t realize the challenge of creating angel wings with feathers. When I first added the feather detail, her wings looked like they were hijacked by Spiderman. A fair amount of white paint and paint marker did the trick. More work on her face and her hair. Then, all of a sudden, a pretty angel emerged from the canvas.

Nearly finished...

Nearly finished…

A few final details on her sash and repeating the color around the neckline of her gown really pulled this piece together.

An Angel Appears

An Angel Appears

I did sign up to take Kara’s workshop, “Angels Among Us” and recently started working on the first lesson. I’ll share the results of those pieces in the coming weeks.


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Face-Off

One reason I haven’t posted much in recent weeks is that I’ve been spending a bit more time in my studio. Yay me!

Since we’ve moved, the transition to a new home, getting settled, traveling, waiting for my studio space to be completed, all impacted my ability to engage in creative activities.

Once my new space was finished and I had unpacked and set up my work areas, I poked around at some things here and there, but simply was not feeling the pull to get my butt into the studio.

I stopped working with polymer clay last year and was not feeling inclined to pick it up again. I’ve taken a couple online painting classes with Flora Bowley and Pixie Lighthorse. Both were enjoyable. I learned some new approaches to painting and felt a new release of my creative muse.

Yet something still felt “off.” I’ve been dabbling with this intuitive painting approach yet still didn’t feel it quite coming all together.

A Shimmer of Light

During the WordPress Blogging 101 course we were given a task to find new blogs to like and follow. It must’ve been through that assignment that I came across Kara Bullock’s site and her upcoming online course, Angels Among Us. I’d been thinking that I wanted try my hand at painting faces on my intuitive painting canvases. Not necessarily portraiture. But something a bit more detailed than the simple faces or the faceless beings that were appearing in some of my pieces.

Kara offers a free online tutorial when you sign up for her newsletter. That gave me enough motivation to set the wheels in motion.

From there I discovered, through a different artist’s blog post, Dina Wakley’s video for drawing and painting faces.

Now the lid on the box where my creative muse had been lurking was blown off. Combining some of Kara’s instruction with what I learned from Dina’s videos, I started drawing and painting faces with more intention.

Then, on one of my rabbit hole trips on Google and Amazon.com, I came across Pam Carriker’s book Mixed Media Portraits. Ruh-oh George. Our library didn’t carry her book so I did the next best thing. I ordered a copy from Amazon.

The Eyes Have It

Now I’ve got a basic understanding on how to draw faces. We spent quite a bit of time drawing them in my four years of high school art classes. But skills get rusty when not used or maintained.

So, for about a week, I took time each day to draw a face from my imagination.

First, a sketch that was done about 3 weeks after I started watching Kara’s videos. This was created during a weekly sketching group using a live model.

Sketching Group Live Model

Sketching Group Live Model

Here is a face sketched after watching Dina Wakley’s video. I watched the video again while drawing this face.

Face Drawn Using D.W.'s Video Guidance

Face Drawn Using D.W.’s Video Guidance

Here is a face I drew following Pam Carricker’s directions.

Face Drawn Following P.C's Guidance

Face Drawn Following P.C’s Guidance

Below are the same sketches side-by-side for comparison.

And here are a weeks worth of face sketches.

Face Practice 1

Face Practice 1

Face Practice 2

Face Practice 2

I didn’t use much shading until the final practice sketch. This does give her face a bit more depth and definition. Through this practice I noticed some similarities in the faces; the longish noses, the tiny lips. The only face that was drawn while looking at a picture of someone is the first face on Face Practice 2. It really does help to have some sort of reference because most of the other faces all seem to have a serious look and a blank stare.

Now I plan to spend time sketching just eyes, noses, and lips. It seems as I get better at drawing one facial component, the other parts suffer. Hopefully, I’ll be able to pull all the facial components together in due time. Practice, practice, practice.


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Roman Pillar Face Earrings

In the run up to the Bolton Artisans Guild’s 7th annual holiday show this weekend, I found myself playing around with the idea to make earrings.

Yes, earrings. Something I have not done in several years. Perhaps it was working with the students in my Polymer Clay Boot Camp class that triggered this idea. Or maybe it was my desire to try something different.

Whatever it was, I did indeed find myself sketching an idea for earrings. Earrings that were inspired by our recent trip to Italy and influenced by the ruins of Rome and all the sculpture.

The result are these Roman Pillar Face Earrings.

Roman Pillar Face Earrings

Each earring features a face taken from a mold of one my hand sculpted faces or from one of many face molds I’ve collected over the years. The face is mounted to a background of textured pearl and black clay and framed by a rope of twisted black and white clay. After curing and sanding, I applied a patina of black acrylic and then buffed each piece to a nice sheen.

The earrings are 1.5″ long and .5″ wide.

I created two pairs with each face. What I found intriguing was that even though a particular face mold was used multiple times, no two faces ever came out the same. Each pair has its own personality and distinct qualities.

Venetian Mask 1

Venetian Mask 2

Roald 1

Roald 2

Buddha Face 1

Buddha Face 2

Creating these earrings has been a lot of fun. It feels good to create something different from my usual small scale sculptures. Sometimes stepping out of the box and trying a new (or returning to an old) format can ignite ideas for future work as well.


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New BS

Bottle stoppers (BS) that is.

Wine bottle stoppers are among my best selling wholesale products.  However, I’ve become a little bored with the standard designs I’ve offered for the last 1 1/2 years.  Now that I’m sculpting I wanted to try and combine faces/heads with the stoppers.

At first I thought of creating a stopper made entirely from polymer clay.  That required a lot of clay and I was concerned about strength and durability.

Then I realized I could simply paint the wood core, pull faces from molds I’ve made of my own face sculpts and other faces I’ve collected and mount them to the wood core.

headbs.jpg

These Head BS remind me of masks or shields.  I brought them to the Paradise City show to “test the waters” and see how they would be received.  I sold three of them.

I need to play around with the idea a little more and will introduce them to the wholesale market in 2008.

What do you think?