Sunday, September 27, 2015

Halloween Bad Boy ATC

A Dover royalty free image of a vintage Halloween wizard was the inspiration for my series of Halloween 2015 ATCs. This one was my favorite of the four I made, and will trade with the Yahoo Paper Traders group.
The background on the right is from some wrapping paper with Day of the Dead skulls that I received as a gift from a fellow artist. The little boy reminded me of one of those little guys who pretends to be sweet when adults are around, but is really a little terror to all the other kids, so it seemed appropriate to have the skull lurking in the background to really scare him.
The orangey, flowered background is a collage I created in Photoshop using Day of the Dead skulls (which are partially hidden) and traditional flowers used for Day of the Dead. On top, I stamped a variety of images using white printmaking paint. The final touch was some scary words that were stamped on using tiny alphabet stamps and a black ink pad.


Monday, September 21, 2015

Art in a Small Space

Back in the old days, there was a big studio in the country filled with sunlight and beautiful shelves teeming with art supplies, books, magazines, fabric and recycled materials waiting to become some kind of art. It was even pretty well organized. There was a sink for messy projects, a nice Mac computer, scanner and camera. Nearby there was a lovely deck for working outdoors in the sunshine, and I could experiment with—wearing a mask of course—some of the really smelly products.
Life changed, and now we’re in a midtown New York apartment, and my space is limited. Accordingly, my design scale has been downsized too. A chronic shoulder problem made me shift from art quilting to working on paper—using soft supplies like paint, stamps and stencils. Repetitive stitching, free-motion quilting and cutting through layers of fabric and batting with a rotary cutter are out of the question. And of course using NevrDull or CitraSolv and melting painted Tyvek is out of the question.
I have become a pretty faithful art journalist. I’ve been making, and working in, these really cool art journals that I learned about in a Kelly Kilmer class. They have accordion fold signature pages, so a lot of artwork can be packed into a little book. Best of all, they don’t take up much space.
I also make and trade ATCs and other small paper items. My closet and shelves have clothes and accessories, but only the things I really use…the iffy items…have been purged to make way for art supplies.
Did I mention I am also working 9-5, five days a week…which is really 8 to 6 when you figure in travel time? I really like my job, it is creative and fun, but of course I live for my personal art time on evenings and weekends. I have even started painting on my lunch hour, which creates a nice break in the day. On the weekends, the half-round table in the living/dining/office room become my little studio space.
The homage to Diebenkorn journal page made me think about someday having a big studio again and how magical it would be to work on huge canvases. The “Ugly” page used up some ephemera that was just…ugly…but somehow it worked, and made me realize the ugly is a relative term. The Victorian vintage winged angel was leftover from making ATCs a few weeks ago. But it made me wonder…is someone/something listening to our prayers, watching over us? On the last journal page I used scraps from the ephemera box, and added a royalty free Dover clip art image that I printed and transferred with the packing tape method.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Jane Davenport Inspired Paper Dolls

Artistcellar's Jane Davenport Face Stencil with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer stamps, shrunk to doll size
The other day on my lunch hour, which has now become--after quickly scarfing down my mid-day meal--my art hour, I realized that my love of making quirky grown up paper dolls was not unrelated to my love of faces. In fact, it suddenly made complete sense.

I had been studying Jane Davenport's Whimsical Faces DVD and teaching myself her method of painting faces on my lunch hour. It occurred to me that I could take the paintings, shrink them down to the size of the doll head on my template, and really kick my dolls up a notch. I had been using a variety of faces--some from magazines, some from my own small drawings, and some from vintage royalty free clipart.

This face is from my own design, based on Jane Davenport's method
I also decided to try making my own template for the body parts. I found the vintage paper dolls a little sexist, with ridiculously tiny waists and contemporary templates rather blah. My own template is a work in progress.

The papers are my own design. I printed my doll template on cardstock, back to back with my paper/fabric designs. The butterfly wings, shoes and crown are royalty free images from The Graphics Fairy.