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! :)


Dienstag, 30. April 2019

"Repurposing" - Art Elements Theme Challenge

This month's theme over at Art Elements was "Repurposing". Lesley chose this wonderful theme that was (should have been) perfect for me! I love to use anything I can find simply because I like the shape, the color, the texture... or the weirdness.

This is a picture of my work table... and this is nearly the clean and orderly state since you can see some wood of the table! But in a lot of the small vessels and dishes are found objects and other strange pieces that I love to use for my work. Repurposing is a big part of a lot of my creations.

I had a lot of ideas and plans... nope... didn't manage most of them. But I did finish my tin can book! I showed how I made the book covers in my blog post for this month (here). 

I painted a little bit more on the edges (and will go on with this, my sketch books are ever eveolving things) and chose my favorite red thread for the binding. I love the contrast!

This will be a wonderful sturdy tine wee book.

I went for a selection of different water color papers. I got a lot from different companies to try them out.

Since the pages are often quite thick, even cardboard like, I had to use a single page binding stitch.

It really took some time to find a stitch that worked for me. I watched a lot of tutorial videos, I have some books on bookbinding... in the end I played so long until I had my own way for stitching single pages.

Just for today, I even played a little bit!


The first row is still uneven, I was in the "figure it out" phase but I love how the other rows look.

And I made a second new sketch book with single page binding. At first I thought... mh... not fitting the theme... but then I remembered that I always use the leftover cardboard for my book covers. I don't think of it as repurposing although it is. I simply use what is available.

I finally used one of my favorite monoprints ever! I try not be a hoarder... but it is hard!

Again, the first row is a little bit uneven, maybe I have to fix the book better doing the first row.


In this bigger one I enforced the ends with washi tape. Since I used three different kinds of paper I also used the washi tape to color code them.

Since I am doing monoprints, most commercial papers lost their appeal.

By the way... the company already color coded the pages! I just didn't see that.

This was of stitching allows the book to lay completely flat when open. But of course it is also more flexible in all directions. If you don't like that in a sketch book, then I would not recommend this kind of stitching.

I need to make more monoprints like this!

 I also had some lose water color papers that I used for testing. I keep them as reference.

Can you see the different thickness?

Aaaaaand a lot of them!

So I went through my paper stash and repurposed some packaging cardboard for the back to make a little cover.

The papers are not fixed, I a not sure whether I want to bind them or not.

The outside... 

As a last point I wanted to show you my latest tools I use for monoprinting. Because in the end monoprinting is the perfect repurposing method! ;) A package piece that creates wonderful lines, two trash plastic pieces that from the lab, and another package piece I cut down to have this wonderful eight figure.

This was a wonderful challenge even though I didn't manage the projects I had planned. But so is life and the project will be done at some time. I know myself.

Thank you for joining us and please have a look what everyone made!


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