Sonntag, 30. September 2018

Fairies - Art Elements theme of the month challenge

This month's theme challenge at Art Elements was "fairies" chosen by Caroline. Even though I had taken time off work, I didn't manage to create a lot. The time was required to simply get back to recharge my batteries. The first days I made nothing. I had a lot of plans but my body just wanted to sleep and do nothing at all. Maybe drink some coffee...

Still, I played with different materials. Most importantly, I started my new water color sketch book! Yay! And I have to tell you, it works like I want it! Water color paper makes it easier. I may play with different brands in the future but probably will go on binding my own sketch books. The coptic binding makes it so easy to have it lay flat and paint in it.

Fairies was a difficult topic for me. Because as much as I enjoy seeing the cute, beautiful or playful interpretations of this theme, it is not me. So taking a deep breath, I thought about the other stories about fairies or the older name fae. If you are into fantasy literature, then you may know that in this world fairies and fae are actually describing different things. Not that it is "right" in the true meaning of these words. Fae is the older one, fairy rather the description that over time became the name itself (yes, oversimplifying here!). But in fantasy literature the name fae is often used for all the fae creatures, the seelie and unseelie court, while fairies is often used to described a certain type.

No, this is not important in general, but it helped me getting my ideas. I am a roleplayer since being a teenager and I also played a lot world of darkness (still doing) including changeling. So I went into the ideas of the unseelie court...

...and went on to the wild hunt. Keep in mind, this is all in my sketch book. There are no perfect paintings but rather ideas and experiments. For my wild hunt I went on to playing with layering to the extreme. There are a lot parts I went overboard (no going back with water colors) but I embrace them because they help me learn.

I also played a little bit with clay and made some new faces (I use the sculpey face mold, I think the most used one worldwide for faces? ;) ).

I had a lot of plans for them, since I wanted to create some earrings with the tiny ones and some beading with the bigger ones (yes, seeing all these gorgeous beaded creations of Art Elements members made me give it another try!)... but... somehow the time was gone. But as soon as I have used them, I will show you the results!

My husband and I managed to at least take a few days off for a small trip. We went to the Scharmützelsee and there we stumbled over this little place. I think it is magical.

Then a few days later back in Leipzig I stumbled over this place. It is not really as green as the one above since it is simply a green corner next to buildings but it made me smile!.

Last but not least I wanted to show you an old project that I still thought was fitting for this month's theme. I so love to use beetle wings in my work and I have made quite a lot of earrings with them. The colours look gorgeous especially in the sunlight.

I hope you enjoyed this month's theme challenge and please have a look at what everyone made!

Guest Artists

Art Elements Team
Claire (you are here)

Sonntag, 2. September 2018

Swirls - Theme of the month challenge at Art Elements!

Edit: I had some problems to login - so here is my blog post going online way too late and that even though it was mostly already finished a long time ago... so much for Karma ;)

This month's theme for the Art Elements theme challene was "swirls" and chosen by Marsha. Swirls.... so simple but in the beginning I was a little bit stunned. So I went for swirls and swirly lines in nature. 

I started playing a little bit in my sketch book. Really, really simple sketches but I wanted to play and experiment with swirls in the sense of pattern and movement.

I was really not into the plant "stuff" which is strange because that is normally something I love. But I do love the other two sketches. The pattern and lines are simple, playing with gradients either in size or colour. I think both elements will appear in paintings some day! 

Again I also played with polymer clay. I wrote an easy tutorial how to create swirls molds and stamps for this month's theme at Art Element (have a look here). 

I created several pendants using these molds and stamps and also made some examples what to create with them... this knotted necklaces with czech, indonesian and other glass beads I had in hand as well as waxed linen cord. My stash is running dangerously low now on axed linen *sighs*. If you have any good suggestions for a source for me? I live in Germany and the shipping costs from a lot of countries went through the roof...

Earrings are the kind of jewelry that is essential for me! I rarely wear anything else. I work in the lab so I would have to take off most jewelry all the time and in the beginning I couldn't count the times I forgot my jewelry after work. Now I am simply not used to it anymore. Even my wedding ring took a long time to get used to ;) (and it is a lightly textured gold band, we got the wedding rings from my husband's grandparents)

Working on the projects I realized how much I love "swirls" without really thinking about swirls. For me they were rather the organic lines of movement you can find with tentacles, ammonites, ferns... but in the end, they are all swirls!

While I made the swirl molds I stumbled upon an older pieces I made years ago. This covered lid is still one of my favorite boxes I ever created. Can you find the little pieces of broken beetle wings I included?

I also went through my stash and had a look what I still had lying around unused and what other molds and stamps I had collected over time that somehow had swirls, curls, or spirals in them. 
I have a lot of older pieces that are somehow not fitting my taste (anymore) but I also don't want to get rid of. So I tried to use at least some of them...

I managed at least one pair of earrings...

...but then I was rather motivated to create new stuff! ;) And yes, there is my favorite colour scheme back again!

I so love these swirls!

....and colours!

Of course, I made a lot of earstuds with the molds and stamps too. This is my favorite way to test patterns and paints while creating little lovely earrings without using a lot of material. I only show you the ones I like, there are always some who won't make the cut.

I will also be at the alternative christmas market at the Werk II in Leipzig together with a friend again this year. So I will need a lot more earstuds! Also why you see them already mounted on cards.

Strange thing is, that I so love to make them and think they are lovely - but I rarely if ever wear earstuds. I always go for really long and/or big earrings. But I am thinking of getting some more earholes to combine some studs with long earrings. My little sister did this and it looks great.

I am sorry but I had to include more pictures of them! At least from my favorites....

Can you see the little lion head with the swirly tongue? The same image from one of the pendants I showed above. I took an impression from an old box my husband has and uses it to store some tools in.

I really prefer using white polymer clay and adding a contrasting colour with paint afterwards.

This is again I pattern I already showed above: The same one like in the white an turquoise earring charms.

This pattern came from an old fork!

For the mold I used here, I stamped with an clear polymer stamp into a sheet of clay. Now I get a nice raised image!

Again a pattern I used above (and don't remember where I got it from) and these earstuds are my absolute favorites of the whole batch!

Last but not least I played with some monoprinting using the image resist technique. I can't show you in progress pictures because I worked on this project late in the evening to relax from work and simply forgot :/

But I used the prints to finally make a first test version for a water colour sketch book!

I bought a lot of sketch books that should be useable for water colour in the past.... since my favorite brand went out of production (still hard for me). I don't require perfect water colour paper but it needs to be useable at least with some amount of water without crumbling and glued enough that the pigments are not soaked into the fibers instantly (gets blotchy then and I can't lift any paint off anymore).

I used not professional but rather craft water colour paper I got from a friend. The back of the pad I used for the book covers (this is why they are rather thick, but I like that!). 

This was made only with half of the pad and paper, so I could make a second one like this. I really, really wanted only to have a sketch book I could test to see whether this would be a better option than buying another commercial available book and be disappointed again.

There were also several brands I wanted to try.... but most of them had horrendous shipping costs to Germany. Also I don't want to pay too much for a sketch book. It is after all to be used without thought about "wasting" material. 

You can see the spiral pattern that I used for the resist technique. The paint is payne's grey from Schmincke. It works better for me than the various blacks I tried. I think it may depend on the pigment in the paint.

I even managed to get the pattern fitting to both sides!

The binding is a coptic stitch I made with thin nylon cord I have for beading. I also have book binding linen cord but I loved the contrast with the red colour (and the nylon stuff is also really, really durable). The coptic binding allows to open the book completely so it will lie flat on the table for painting.

It was really an inspiring theme, thank you Marsha! 

And please have a look what everybody made for the challenge!

Guest Artists:

Art Elements Team: 
Claire (you are here)

Dienstag, 31. Juli 2018

Seed pods - Art Elements theme of the month challenge!

This month's theme challenge was "seed pods" at Art Elements. The theme was chosen by Jennifer and I couldn't have been happier about it. Like most people - I guess - I managed only a fraction of my ideas. A little bit was related to the extreme heat wave we have in the moment, but even more simply due to work. But what I manage better and better is to take up my regular sketching habit! So I will show you mainly what is inside my sketch book. :)

I enjoy using my "coffee time" to sketch a little bit. Often I am only using a pencil in the beginning and adding some water colour several days later. 

This is an ongoing process so a lot of the sketches you see may (or may not) get more layers of colour. 

But I really enjoy starting monochromatic. This also helps me to learn more about the behaviour of my water colours and the pigments in the different paints.

Seed pods are an inspiration for me not so much in their realistic shape but rather due to the interesting colours, shapes, textures... all together they give me wonderful ideas especially for abstract designs. There are several ideas I want to try out as acrylic painting or monoprint.

The line pattern with round ovals and smaller ones within a big one I either want to translate to a stencil or stamp.

My sketch book is also a reference book for myself where I can go to if I am stuck or just general need some ideas. 

You can see here on the right side some attempts in simplifying the shapes.

And yes, poppy seed pods were really some of my favorites!

What helps me to keep my habit of sketching on a more regular basis, is to use my travel kit inside my home. A travel kit is wonderful to take on the balcony, before my computer, or anywhere else. It my sound strange because I could have everything at hand being at home but a travel kit makes it even easier.

Sometime during sketching I realized: Seed pods are aliens!

Here I am playing again with more simplified shapes as well as bright colours.

I soooooo love the Horadam water colours from Schmincke! The paper in my sketch book is not the best for them and still, the colours! *sighs happily*

The last one was sketched during a wedding from friends of my husband. In between there was a lot of waiting time and we sat outside. Yes, I take my travel kit to weddings with me ;)

This small dots will become ear studs. They are made of polymer clay and I added white acrylic ink.

These seed pods I already showed at Art Elements - you can find the tutorial I wrote for them here.

And last but not least some ceramic pendants I made and hoped to include in some summer necklaces... but no... still on my to do list ;)

I had made some molds from clay and plants and I am always surprised how well bisque fired clay can hold even the tiniest details! 

I will still work on several of the sketches I have shown here and also go on with more ideas for seed pods. This is really my theme and I so enjoyed playing and experimenting with it!

Please have a look what everyone made for this theme challenge! :)

Guest Artists:
Art Elements Team: 
Claire (you are here)


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