Monday, May 30, 2016

flowers, flowers, everywhere

The unicorn is up on the wall...let the art-playtime begin ;) 

I was thinking of this as being knighted by the unicorn, but a friend pointed out that it could also be read as being stabbed, hence the ketchup-blood shot, haha. 

Now that the unicorn is up, trying to build it an environment...

I'm picturing flowers, lots and lots of flowers - marbled the paper and printed dozens of flower options:

These are polyester plates printed with a mix of the new-to-me gold Hanco lithography ink - love!  They printed really well - sharp and dark enough to be clear, but still with enough metallic that they shimmer and change as one moves and looks at them from different angles and in different lights. 

Next I printed the stems and leaves and patterned ground - I used the same pattern that I drew and tested in March, but changed the ink to a mix of white and the new gold so that it has a subtle shimmer.

I was really inspired by both tapestries - for the idea of millefleur and metallic thread, and also by stained glass, especially grisaille glass, for the way it's put together as fragments making up a whole, but I'm trying to use a palette that relies on contemporary dyes and pigments. . 

Next, I cut out the flowers and sewed them on with a silver metallic thread.

Zooming in on the result:

 I think it's really starting to come together in a beautiful way - still thinking about how the pieces are going to relate to one another [Hmmmmmmmm].

Luckily I had lots of inspiration on hand. I know I said I was only going to post my favorite one or two flowers each week, but I really can't restrain myself...

"Starry Night" petunias - love, love

So much variation within a single plant!

I didn't feel like the photo I posted last week did justice to the color
of these osteospermums - so I tried again to capture the
French ultramarine-ness and think this (un-color corrected!) photo
does a better job - thumbs up! 

And last, but not least - creature update! It's been very hot, and my clever Little Bear has decided that in front of the open fridge door is the ultimate napping spot (and she quickly learned that the human throwing a toy in the opposite direction is just a diversion to be able to shut the door.) Clever pup :).  

Monday, May 23, 2016

still unicorning...

A busy week in Artlandia! The unicorn is starting to come together (literally - I glued and ironed the pieces together this week, then used drawing to hide the seams.) I'm encouraged to see how well the parts are coming together to make a unified whole.

 Though (as we can see :P ) there is still one last seam left - behind the rib cage between the front and back half.  This last one remains because I haven't decided quite how I want to handle it - on the one hand, if I use some kind of temporary attachment process, it will be easier to break down and transport; on the other hand, a permanent seam will show less because I can iron it down so that there is physically less of a difference between the pieces. [Hmmmmm].

I also tried this lovely harness. Partly, I wanted to try my new gorgeous(!) gold ink, and partly, I'm trying to picture the unicorn in the same space with my other pieces, and think it needs an element of color and pattern internally to mesh with the other work.  I think the idea of internal color/patterning is right and I like the gold, but not sure that this is the final version of the collar yet [Hmmmmmm.]

Work continues on the 4 ft tree, and I don't want to jinx myself, but it does seem to be coming along nicely (fingers crossed!) Right now, I'm focusing on getting it done, then printing it, but I can't help starting to think beyond that - I'm very excited because I think this has the potential to be not just one tree, but many different trees - if I print and scan it in parts, I'll have lots of options for flipping, distorting, and rearranging the pieces, and even though it seems big (for a block), from the beginning, I've imagined enlarging it following a similar process as I used with parts of the unicorn and figure (steeples fingers - yes, that's right, I admit it, I'm dreaming of a life-scale forest filled with creatures - wouldn't that be awesome?!?) Where I'm going to put this forest when I don't currently have a wall for the unicorn is questionable (it's on a piece of gray fabric on the floor right now), but baby steps... first finishing the block...
It wouldn't be a complete post without a puppy update :) -
For comparison, this is Honey's original photo, and here she is today in almost the same pose. I can't believe how much she's grown in just 6 weeks!  She's starting to have her grown up gait when we walk, and I'm so proud of the elegant, powerful dog she's becoming.
Baby Honey at 8 weeks old
Honey today at 14 weeks

So that I don't post every single flower in my yard every week (haha - it's so hard to resist!), I decided to try to pick the best one or two each week. This week, it was the purple columbine (that I planted last year while I was working on Columbine in the Commedia Dell'Arte - hard to believe it's been a year!) and the blue osteospermums (- they look sort of purple in the photo, but, I swear, they're French ultramarine in real life - pitter patter).

Monday, May 16, 2016


A busy week in Artlandia!

Refinement continues on the wing -
This week, I glued and ironed the pieces together, and now that it's all together, we have official measurements:  41 x 30.5"

Work also continues on the unicorn. On the one hand, I was so excited to have all the pieces last week, but there's still much to be done before it's finished -this week, lots of painting and drawing trying to match the grays and add the lights and darks to give it a more dimensional look.
It's subtle, but adding a dark wash to the back leg pushed it back, while adding lights and darks to the
front leg pulls it forward.

I also shaped and refined along the seams to help the pieces blend together - here you can see the  finished (or close to finished?) seam moving in a rounded of diagonal from mid-lower left to upper right of the frame.
patterns within patterns
I also started toning and adding ink to the front, but the seams are not glued down yet as I think about the exact positioning

Work also continues on the 2 x 4 ft block for Cultural Chaos:
Excited to start carving inside the tree (with my toes for scale).
Trying to balance the larger view with the detail  -  I get pretty into carving the twigs - fun times, but also got to keep it moving to get it done on time.

  The last thing I did was something new - still in process, but potentially an exciting new direction.

A little background... I have been taking online courses (fingers crossed - for a certificate in graphics and animation). Last week I finished my second course, intermediate photoshop. It's funny, because this is a program I'm very familiar with (at least I thought I was :P ), but when I took the diagnostic test before starting the intro course, I barely passed - it's a complex program, and there was so (sooooo) much more for me to learn, and I'm glad I started with the intro course, because otherwise the intermediate one would have been way beyond me.  As it was, I needed to study pretty hard, and I'm happy to say I passed! It's taken several months of studying to get to this point, and now I'm excited to start using the new skills right away.

Now that my process has become a hybrid of digital and manual techniques, I wanted to try making some things for which the final process is digital, and I needed every bit of the recent studies to turn scans of my blocks and drawings into this lovely piece (custom brushes from blocks, adjustment layers, layer masks, smart objects, gradient masks, clipping masks...Eep!). The next step will be to have these digitally printed in a limited edition. (...onward!)

We like? O:)

On to creature updates -

This week Honey made her first trip to the conservation park with me!
Look at that face!  I think it was a hit :).

She also saw the pond for the first time (she went right in, as we
can see by her muddy little legs, then
had a blast running on sand for the first time.)

Continuing to work on "family unity."
Junior helping demonstrate the unicorn's pose

...and keeping my carving pillow warm.
While Junior was assisting in the studio, my elegant Princess has been sticking close to her favorite
 (which happens to be the sometimes heated) blanket  - is it me or do those eyes say - "You got a puppy, Human, I quit."
 (Or as I prefer to look at it - "she's thinking of retiring. " ;) ) After a decade of faithful studio assistance, if she wants to spend her senior kitty years getting lots of cuddles and brushing while  napping on "her " bed  and  looking out the window at the birds, that sounds good to me.
Look what bloomed in the garden this week :)!
So cool right?! - Starry night petunias - art/flower love
And we saw ducklings! (And my little Bear
was very good and stayed with me and did not
bark at or chase them).

Definitely still teething.
One ear all the way up mid-nap.
One last puppy story - because Honey is half Lab and half German Shepherd, I've been wondering whether her ears will point. From what I've read, the majority of lab/shepherd mixes' ears do not point, but it's possible.  If they are going to point, it may not happen until she's 5-6 months old, after she's done teething.  No one else who's seen her thinks her ears are going to point, but I'm not so sure. This past week especially they sometimes they go up, and she can definitely move them (like when she greets me in the morning they're folded up tight like a closed hand and back). Hmmmmmm - we'll have to wait and see.  I think she's the most beautiful puppy in the world, ears up, down, or in-between, but the suspense!  

Monday, May 9, 2016


We have a unicorn! 
Or, technically, we have two half unicorns...

and faith ;) 

 Lots of refinement to do (lots - a wash over the front leg, fixing all the seams, heightening...) but having all the pieces and having them all cut out is a big step [thumbs up!]

Early in the week I printed the body in two parts of 3 plates each (6 plates total).
 Then it was time to cut out and start assembling all the parts...small issue, I don't actually have the wall space for something this size, and even if I did, the walls are plaster, so I can't pin into them... so... I pinned them into foam core and hung the foamcore from a curtain rod with curtain rings for the front. For the back, I hung a line across the room and used clothes pins to suspend it in front of the window. It's not pretty, but it's up.

My elegant princess, roused from her human pillow, because the human had to photograph the back half at night so it wouldn't be back lit (oh the hazards of hanging directly in front of a window :P).
Jr. was ready the next morning when I got up to do refinements - she managed to keep my whole drawing board nice and warm (how does she know to sit on the carving pillow when I'm going to be carving, and on the drawing board when I'm going to be drawing?? - signs of a great assistant, always a step ahead :).
I continued refining the wing - working with white ink and color pencil so that the transitions between the sections are smoother
last week (L) this week (R)

In the primaries, I brought the pink forward and the yellow back to make a smoother gradient.

Adding little touches of white makes it vibrate - it's starting to hum like the best pieces do O:).

 I also continued working on the giant tree block for Cultural Chaos with Big Ink in June. (It's starting to feel very close - Eep!)  Thanks to some great photo tips from Lyell Castonguay, I set up the tripod and got some good process shots.  I think these are pretty funny - I'm actually carving here, so they're accurate in showing my concentration frown and idiosyncratic technique [I carve with both hands on the tool - it's weird, but it does ensure that I don't cut myself], also, I am covered in powder.

We can't close without a puppy update - Honey is growing so fast! I wanted to get a profile shot to show how long her legs are getting, but, being a very loving pup, she usually turns toward her human, so I caught her while she was preoccupied with breakfast ;) - that's my little bear at 12 weeks old [heart!]