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)

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)


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