Samstag, 29. Dezember 2018

"White" - Art Elements Theme Challenge

This month it was my turn to host the Art Elements Theme Challenge and I chose the topic "White". Although I love to work with neutral colours, this was a real challenge for me! I found a lot of wonderful inspiration (just have a look at the challenge launch blog post here).

Also I had a kind of head start since it was also my turn for a blog post at Art Elements in the first week of december that I used to explore the theme (have a look here). A tiny wee voice in my head tells me I should be lucky for that or I could have crushed the theme challenge I host myself ;)

After creating some monochromatic paintings with acrylic paint for that blog post, I switched to water colour. I really enjoy learning and exploring and right now water colour speaks to me. I think it is the combination of the free flowing paint and the control that can create such wonderful expressionistic work. I am still struggling to balance too much and too less details and sketching in general. But as much as I see the mistakes in my own work, I also see and feel the progress I make.

It could be true that I own a little bit too many Schmincke Hoaradam paints... but another part of me want to have them all! (still not there yet) Also when working with water colours, one realizes really soon that it is not only about the colour itself but how the pigments inside react. Colour shades may be quite similar but the physical properties of the pigments can vastly differ, how they move in water, how transparent they are, how the react with other pigments (yes, water colour has a lot of chemical theory in it), how they interact with the surface...

...I thought for some time I had too many shades of yellow, orange and red. Now I am rather like, for this I need exactly that paint! Or.... no, I don't ever want to miss this paint because there is no other like it!

I am also becoming more and more an advocate for high quality material. No doubt a skillful person can create wonderful work with any kind of material. But it like with high quality tools. The material works with you and not against you.

In the past I was tempted to get and try all kind of companies and materials. A part of me still is (and still doing this although not as much anymore) but I have to confess that I get also more and more disappointed.

Of course, I am not always buying the most expensive material but it also depends on what I want to create and use it for. For example I use different acrylic paints to antique my polymer clay work, to paint, or to use it formonoprints on gel plates. But even then I am taking care to use an acrylic paint of at least medium quality in the binder.

Okay, I started rambling again. I have a bad cold for a week now, survived christmas only with a lot of "drugs", and am so tired due to not being able to sleep... and tomorrow will be the next big family celebration. I tend to ramble if I am tired ;)

But if you would like to get a little bit deeper into properties of paints or other materials, just write in the comments what would interest you. That could be a good inspiration for a blog post.

Back to the theme challenge. You see I had a lot of fun sketching and painting white animals.Most of the time the didn't stay pure white but rather became somehow studies of shadows. But in nature a lot of white animals are also not true white. Even snow has a blueish tint especially on sunny days since it reflects the sky. This was what I learned in this challenge: How colorful white "spaces" in nature really are!

I also want to show you some of the ceramic work I made. Okay, I only show you the pieces that are fitting in this theme. They were not done especially for this months challenge but rather intended as christmas presents... but I let myself get inspired by the theme! Normally you would see way more orient blue in my glazes ;)

Clear glaze in white clay on the outside, opaque white glaze in the inside (the transparent glaze crackles easily and can only be used in a thin layer, I prefer a thick and close glaze layer where it may come into contact with food!).

I played combining different textures... and was so tempted to keep it for myself. *sighs* The next one... or I may take this one back if it is not loved!

Find the one that doesn't fit ;) My brother and my sister both wanted plates from me for christmas.

My favorite one! Nothing beats the beauty of nature...

This texture was made with a dried corn cob. I love the organic texture and can't wait to see how it will turn out with colour!

Just love! The contrast was made with black underglaze. It is so expensive but I prefer the results...

This tiny wee bowl was made with a laser cut paper dragon fly. I love that you can use any kind of material to create texture and images in clay!

I also made a new tiny sketch book with upcycled cardboard I got from some packaging. Since this was not usable with water colours I played with pens and pencils!

The eyes and the moon are painted with metallic markers but it is difficult  to capture the shine.

Oh, and a last sketch I made during a telco at work...that went on for ages! I coloured it in when I was back home.

I am so thankful for all who participated in this month's theme challenge especially doing this beside holidays in most countries and the usual end of the year craze! I was not expecting so many and can't wait to have a look at all of your creations!

Please have a look and we see us next year again! :)

Guest Artists

Art Elements Team

Donnerstag, 29. November 2018

Stars - Art Elements monthly challenge!

This month's theme challenge at Art Elements was chosen by Laney - Stars! My first thoughts were that this would be a wonderful versatile theme: From simple drawn stars to complex galaxies, from nightskies to the sun itself...

And with shapes it is always so easy to transfer them to different mediums! But.. I only managed a few of the ideas on my idea list (yes, doing those, especially during boring meeting ;) ). One coud argue with a lot of deadlines for grant application, a lot of work to do since so many people were (are) at work, with christmas so close around the corner...

...but in the end that was not the reason. I simply still struggle with the change of the seasons. It is dark when I get up in the morning, it is dark when I come home. Maybe I see a little bit of light through the windows at word but otherwise it is all dark and grey. It takes me a long time to adapt to the missing light. My body just feels tired and we have an argument about sleep on a daily basis (since I agree with him but not the rest of society, it is even more exhausting). So my energy level is non existent.


You can find stars in my work all the time. Above I showed some simple ceramic pendants (some from last year, some from this year). I make them for simple and fast children workshops using christmas decoration as stamps. 

I also love to make small ear studs with polymer clay in star shape. They always look so lovely and I am filling up my stash for the christmas market at Werk II in Leipzig. The glass cabochon earrings are from last year but I just had to show them to you! Made with pages from an old encyclopedia britannica and still some of my favorite ever "view stars"!

I love to make colour swatches from any kind of colour. This really helps me later to decide what I want to use (or buy if it was a sample) and in itself it is so relaxing. Seeing the mainly blueish colours I thought it would be a nice idea to add silhouettes and add some stars! Still working as colour swatches but even more fun to create!

As I wrote above, shapes are always wonderful to transfer to different media and of course I wanted to make some christmas cards. A super simple idea is to cut stars from textures paper and use them to create texture on a gel printing plate (I use Gelli Arts and GelPress). I like to enhance the contrast / contours with a pen. Maybe I will also add more contrast on these cards... 

Another super simple idea that I think is wonderful to make with children or simply if you want to have a project idea with (or for) friends. I have a lot of small pieces of my gel monoprints. They are to beautiful to throw away so I keep them all (even the tiniest piece could be used for earrings)!
I added double sided tape on the back, drew a rough star (don't go for perfect!) on the backside and then cut them out.

There are your star sticker!

I glued some stars on small cards with printed background I had at hand (at every time you will find way too many work in progress pieces on my table). Any kind of paper / card would work for this. 

But seeing the images now, I think, I will enhance the contrast of the stars (and incorporating them better to the background) with some pens. Either with acrylic paint pens or with polychromos (they work wonderful on acrylic paint).

Of course I kept the plastic backside of the tape! That are wonderful masks for gel plates! (You can guess my problem now, or? Why I have way too much stuff... because you could use everything sometime ^^)

I had more of the small cards with colourful printed backgrounds and only added a neutral, warm colour on top (stone grey from Schmincke Akademie).

Love them! I need to make more of them!

Thank you for joining us for this month's theme challenge at Art Elements! I can't wait to see what everyone made and hope you will have a look too!

Guest Artists
Art Elements Team

Dienstag, 30. Oktober 2018

Petroglyphs - Art Elements monthly challenge!

This month's theme was petroglyphs chosen by Karen!

As a short definition of petroglyphs (translated from the german Wiki page which I found more accurate and understandable than the english page ;) ):
A petroglyph (from Greek πέτρος petros "stone" and γλύφειν glýphein "carve", plural: Petroglyphs) is a rock carved in stone from prehistoric times. Unlike rock paintings, a petroglyph has been engraved, scraped or pecked into and soaked into the ground.
But to be honest, even though the method plays an important role of what is a petroglyph, I rather focused on the symbols and images first. Of course all the symbols had meaning although we still don't know all of it depending on time, place, and culture. So at first I went for any shape that spoke to me... and of course I looked into my sketch book if I could find images that would already fit to the theme!

The reason I had a look into my sketchbook was that I am drawn to use circles in my abstract work. Don't ask me why but especially the crossed circles or circles with added lines can be found again and again in my work. It speaks to me on a very basic level.

And dots of course! I mean dots! There are never enough dots on a page! Below is a mixed media page in my sketchbook using some simple plant drawings. Quite symbolized like so many petroglyphs.

Then I started copying petroglyphs from images I found online. Some are one to one copies others are variations I preferred. I know that I need to actually draw something to see whether it works for me or not! Again, look at a the circles, you will find me all in my work already!

Here is a collage of some of my work from the beginning of this year!

Even though I think the meaning of these circles in the different cultures are different than the ones for me, they seem to have a basic appeal to humans in all ages!

Can you spot the modern ones? I realized that the symbols for eletrical systems are all looking like ancient petroglyphs! Speaking of modern petroglyphs... I found these symbols on my way home!

Back to the circles - I drew some circle variations because I wanted to create a stamping plate with them. 

I found the plastic in my art supply store in the printing area. These plastic foam boards are meant for kids: They can simply scratch their images in the foam and then you can use the board as printing plate! I thought that would be the perfect fit for a petroglyph design because I have to scratch my design in the foam!

They don't give perfect impressions but they are fun to play with! Although I think I prefer carving rubber or linoleum definitely ;) 

Some circles turned out nice, others rather meh... But it was fun to play with.

The other side... the foam is thick enough to use both sides.

Again, fun to play with but rather meh as result... I think I will later try to use it for monoprinting on a gel plate.

And last minute: A stamp made with a strange plastic material that is sold for linoprinting but nope, fresh lino or rubber is was better! But you know, I need to try new materials ;)

One the good side: The plastic was a little bit strange and difficult to cut so the lines are rather organic.It created the look I wanted: Like an old carving! This one will definitely be a stamp I will use often in my mixed media creations! I will also leave the tiny spots where I didn't carve away everything.

I think this would also be a wonderful theme to be more explored in clay but this month was gone so fast... I think the grey men must have visited me!

Thank you for joining this month's theme challenge and please have a look at what everyone made! :)

Art Elements Team:
Lesley Watt:
Jenny Davies-Reazor:
Cathy Spivey Mendola:
Sue Kennedy:
Caroline Dewison:
Laney Mead:
Marsha Neal Minutella:
Claire Fabian: (you are here)


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