Samstag, 31. August 2019

"Octopus" - Art Elements Theme Challenge

This month it was my turn to chose the theme of our monthly challenge at Art Elements. It is summer time and we are finally back on Formentera this year... So what would be a more perfect fit than "Octopus"?!

And of course... As much as I love this theme, I didn't even manage to fulfill a third on my to-do idea list. Work was a little bit overwhelming since I dared to take vacation ;)

Nevertheless I played a little bit with watercolor, I made some tentacles and a tentacle cover for my last blog post at Art Elements (with a tutorial how I made them)...

.... aaaaand most importantly - I managed to carve by biggest printing plate ever (definitely not my last)!

That was daring and the blue carving blanks are not cheap... But I love it! I learned a lot and also see what I could have made better...

Test prints in between... 

But there always is and I am ok with that. Learning needs practice.

Playing with adding some color.... More then I am back home again.

I will play more with the plate when I am back... And I will look for some treats here for this month's winner (by chance).
Thank you for joining us and please have a look at everyone's blog and their creations! :)

Guest artists:
Evie and Beth
Art Elements Team:
Claire (you are here)

Dienstag, 30. Juli 2019

"Flowers" - Art Elements Theme Challenge

The theme for our monthly challenge at Art Elements was chosen by Marsha - Flowers! A wonderful summer theme and one that allows for a broad range of interpretation. I really enjoyed it, only work and other obligations cut down heavily on the time (and energy) I had available.

So I won't ramble along like I usually do... but rather show you pictures ;) I played with the moleskin notebooks I got from my Art Elements secret santa. Pen and water color mainly.

I played again with layered monoprints but had to stop since our printer run out of black. Also although I liked the new color combinations I tried out, a lot of them had not enough contrast so I added marks with colored pencils, gel pens, and acrylic pens.


In between I started carving. I had a rubber printing block from a company I am not using anymore since it crumbles way too easy. But I wanted to use up all my leftovers.

With hare...

I also finished a big background printing plate / stamp with an abstract flower design.

For such big prints I use lino paint from Schmincke and thin rice paper. You can see the print through the back while printing.

I forgot to carve three lines... but I somehow like it and may leave it s it is.

The leftover pieces from the border can be used as tiny stamps.

I also made a test print with my hare again. For this I put a mask on the stamp before the printing and added the hare stamp later.

The background needs to be in a different color to enhance the contrast to the hare but I do love the end result!

When you had a look at yesterday's blog post at Art Elements (it was my turn) then you have seen this stamp during the carving process. Here it is finished with the first test print using an archival ink stamping pad...

....and here with lino printing ink. 

I had to add the hare again since this was my original idea - combine the hare with flowers!

....and with color added! Love it!

And at the end: Some of the flowers on our balcony :)

Thank you for coming along to this blog hop and please have a look at what all the participants made! :)

Here is a list of our Visiting Artists:
Evie and Beth

And our Art Elements Blog Contributors:

Sonntag, 30. Juni 2019

"Selkies" - Art Elements Theme Challenge

This month's theme challenge at Art Elements was chosen by Jenny - Selkies. The inspirations she provided at her Pinterest board were lovely and I though whether I should use the atmosphere, colors and textures as basis for my work... but actually I stuck to a rather literal approach.

I played with water colors and as much as I love this medium, it seems I need a break. Or maybe only holidays ;) But I am using my water color too heavy handed. I like the seal, I don't like the woman.... overworked. I show you all the pieces since there are a lot that go wrong. And that is okay, I still learn from every piece.

I also played with monprints and layered image transfers. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my latest layered prints with my brother's dog as motiv. I also wanted to create some prints for the theme challenge. 

This seal face is my absolute favorite one. I don't know why my camera was playing crazy with the colors. It is a little bit warmer, more turquoise... but I could not adjust the color even later on my computer. Still, love it! 

And there are some layered prints that I leave as they are. This is not one of them! I work on my prints after the print process with pens and paints. Here I used a white polychromos pen to lighten the area around his head on the left side, I used a Copic brush pen to enhance some dark areas at the eyes and around hhead, added the dark whiskers, and last but not least I used a uni ball white gel pen to enhance the white highlights in the eyes. They were already there but needed some more contrast.

Somehow none of my prints for the selkies theme worked like I wanted. Truth to be told, that was frustrating! But after a day rest, or maybe two, I could work on the prints until I liked them. In Htis one the seal was not perfect, so I used the Copic brush pen again to add his nose, dots, enhance some shadows... Seeing the image now in the blog post, I think I will go over with the white polychromos pen as well to add some more highlights. I like to use colored pencils for soft effects. 

Here is the third print, it also didn't work. I was too impatient and used too thick layers of paint. It is not that I don't realize what I am doing wrong. But sometimes by different brain parts seem not to want to work together! ^^ I will still use this and work with it to get the silhouettes from the seal and the woman out of the background.

Here is another example of an idea that did not work. Ok, I think it worked in principle, I wanted to carve out only the highlights of the body to create a nice light and shadow effect. But I am also in the process of using up materials I have and I had some master cut carving blocks left. I never tried them out before and I will never ever buy them again! The material crumbles while carving even with freshly sharpened Pfeil tools, it holds the printing paint badly (worse than rubber or linoleum), and even with a lot of pressure it prints badly. Maybe if I would have a printing press, it would turn out better. But I can print with linoleum without printing press quite well! So...nope... never again! Maybe I will try out this idea with a rubber or linoleum printing plate.  

Now to another stamp that worked out well! With my favorite blue rubber carving material! Made in this kind of retro style that I love to work with right now.

Thank you for joining us! I had hoped to create more prints but I thought at least I could show you some of my struggles. Most of the time I am also only showing what worked and that often gives the wrong impression. ;) Thank you Jenny for a wonderful challenge and please, everyone, have a look at all the participants!


AE team: 
Claire (you are here)

Donnerstag, 30. Mai 2019

"Forest" - Art Elements Theme Challenge

This month's theme at Art Elements was chosen by Susan - Forest. This gives such a broad variety of potential subthemes and inspiration. From the forest general down to the animals, plants and fungi, colors and pattern, maybe up to the feeling of life and decay at the same time. 

My first thought was actually my little urban garden on our balcony. I even have a wild growing corner with fern and a digitalis. 

As tiny as our balcony is, I try to let it be a tiny wee urban jungle! It is also my favorite play to get a coffee, read, paint (or also play silly little games on my phone - just to be truthful ;) ).

I played with my new watercolor sketchbook that I made last month. It really helps to try out different kind of papers because I was surprised. I thought I preferred the wonderful smooth surface but it is actually the medium roughness that works best for my way to paint! 

It creates more organic patterns, lets the water easier flow, hold the wetness better, and won't let the watercolor create harsh drying lines. 

You see, I played with mushrooms (due to the #mayshroom challenge that I used as inspiration). Mushrooms are such weird organisms with wonderful weird shapes!

I also wanted to make more carved stamps to use for print making. I want to go for some more high quality prints on nice paper combined with water color.

This plan is actually already for a long time on my to-do-list but I won't stress myself. I will do them one day since this is an "item" that stayed on my list for a long time now... other ideas can change more easily.


I was not able to finish the print blocks.I still need to refine them. But I thought I should show you a test print! I love where both of them are going to.

Since I have a lot of stress at work, I am struggling again a little bit with my routine of creating daily. I know from past experiences that these are the times I need to create more than ever to keep myself calm and sane. It is a wonderful coping mechanism and one that works for me. So I try to change also daily what I do since this helps me more than to repeat one material, technique or theme.

Making monoprints with small commercial plates works wonderful for that. I mostly use three different colors for a print: A light and a dark one plus a bright contrasting color. It is a simple recipe but it works nearly every time. If some contrast is missing, I can always add more.

I made a mix of abstract work combined with some shapes and symbols. All with the theme "Forest". I added with some markers and polychromos marks and highlights. 

And last but not least some urban inspiration that evokes such an organic feeling for me. 

My sister actually uses them now as backgrounds for her computer and phone! (so love that!) 

I am also thinking of printing them to use them as prints themselves or as background.

Please fell free to use them as well if you like.

And now please have a look what everyone else made! Thank you so much for participating! :)



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