Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 334 ~ Work with bar codes.

I've been saving bar codes from packages all year in anticipation of this project. From now on, when I go to recycle a package, I'll miss cutting the bar code off first.

Today is the birthday of my friend Emily. I made this to post on her Facebook wall, but her account has been suddenly deactivated. Bummer. Oh well, Emily, if you happen to see this, I hope you have a great day!

The colors on this come from scanning the pasted up (and I mean this in the archaic sense) image of the black and white bar codes into my computer and then messing around with Picasa effects.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 333 ~ Create a unique trophy and award it to someone.

This solid gold (well, gold anyway) "365" trophy was made just for YOU! And it is your reward for sticking with me throughout this year's project and giving me your 'likes', support and feedback. Thanks VERY much to Amy, Amy, Anne, Aundrea, Beth, Blair, Branka, Caitlin, Chris, Connie, Debbie, Doug, Emily, Frances, Francis, Heather, Jackie, Jennifer, Jonathan, Joshua, Joy, Judy, Karen, Kyle, Lance, LB, Leslie, Lisa, Luna, Lynn, Marcia, Mark, Mark, Melonie, Nan, Nan, Neal, Noah, Paige, Ricki, Sheila, Stan, Sue, Sue, Susan, Suze, Sylvester, Tara, Wa, Yvonne and anybody else who has gotten a kick out of seeing my progress. I hope I brought some smiles. (Of course, we're not quite done yet!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 332 ~ Create a wheel chart.

This is a 'Creativity Wheel' made from heavy watercolor paper. It's about 8", fingertip to fingertip.

It was fun to work out the engineering of this. I made models of each layer, measuring the placement of the windows as well as the words that appear through them. The 4 pieces of paper are fastened together with a homemade rivet so that they can turn easily.

The idea is, if you want to do a fun project, but need some inspiration, you can turn the wheels to reveal random choices of a subject, materials to use and a color suggestion. As the wheels are positioned here, you would be making something that had to do with harmony, using azure-colored shoe polish. Other combinations could be things like having the subject of life times, using toothpaste and gold. Or the underground, using fur and the color ecru.

Other subjects on the wheel include outer space, extinction, tribes, architecture and fables. Other suggested materials are rocks, fibers, raw food, newspaper and kitty litter (clean, of course!). Additional colors ~ violet, puce, teal, ochre and sepia.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 331 ~ Make a flower out of everyday objects.

Flowers from leggings and socks, shown with my able assistant, Zubie.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Day 330 ~ Do a finger painting.

Do a finger painting? How hard could that be? It started out innocently, having fun covering the paper with gentle swirls of yellow then green, thinking, oh, this is so much fun, I'll have to tell everybody to do this because it's so much fun...

Then the obsessing entered, the more I obsessed about coming up with a successful finger painting (! think about that !) the weirder it got. More and more paint, fingernails scratching through the top surface to reveal the colors underneath.

I kept trying to find my "headline", as my friend Neal has counseled me to do. Your paintings need headlines! he says. (Implying, correctly, that much of my work lacks a focal point.) But this finger painting's headline wanted to be I'M A MUDDY MESS. So I put it out in the sun to dry.

Painting over the dried mud with white looked good to me. The lighter paint enhanced the textures and gave me that complex, overworked, detailed, layered look I like so much. I smeared on too much and washed it off with a wet towel, leaving a glaze.

Then, try as I might not to do a horse AGAIN, I did. My easy solution to a headline. At least it's going to the right for a change. Another friend, Nan, asked me Why do all your horses go to the left? It's because I'm right-handed and I always start with the head and move to the right. Same with profiles of people, much more comfortable drawing them facing left. Already struggling with this painting I thought, hey, as long as I'm trying to paint with my fingertip anyway, why not add the challenge of having the horse face to the right, forcing me to work from right to left.

The one thing I noticed about painting this horse with a finger is that I was much more aware of the form and movement and not so concerned about the contour, so it was more akin to doing a sculpture than a rendering.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 329 ~ Work with tissue paper.

For this I used a technique that my artist friend Tobey uses on his paintings. I painted a surface with acrylic paint and stuck a sheet of tissue paper on the wet paint surface and let it dry.

I started with a 9X12 watercolor block, painted it with black acrylic and covered that with white tissue paper. Let that dry. Then I painted in the rough horse shape with red oxide acrylic, over the white tissue paper. I put a sheet of blue tissue over that wet paint, let it dry, then peeled away the tissue that hadn't adhered. Next I painted over the blue tissue horse shape with clear acrylic medium and laid a piece of green tissue that I had crumpled and brushed over lightly with black ink using my deer tail brush (from Day 82). I let that dry and peeled off the access again. I needed to boost the contrast at that point so I defined the edges of the horse shape with a charcoal pencil, smearing it in places to bring out the texture of the first layer of white tissue over the black paint. I finished it by brushing on some acrylic medium to enhance the color and contrast. I had to do the horse first, then the background, otherwise the charcoal would have smeared onto the surface of the horse.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 328 ~ Make something with a snack before eating it.

This apple should be the ONLY thing I eat today after all the damage done at the delicious Thanksgiving feast yesterday and evidenced by the reading on the bathroom scale this morning!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Day 327 ~ Create an alternate alphabet from a make-believe culture and use it in an application.

Recently discovered at an excavation site near Wadi El Natrun, this ancient papyrus is believed to be from a North African culture, which existed in 3000 BC, known as the Felixthecatum. Archaeologists have determined that the message refers to the civilization's celebration of the annual harvest, known to involve great feasts and midnight excursions to the local bazaars for much trading and commerce.

The figures, which bare a striking resemblance to Egyptian hieroglyphs, seem to have been incised into the surface in an almost claw-like manner. The papyrus was then stained with a variety of substances to enhance the scratches, making them stand out from the background.

Theory has it that this may have been a greeting sent from one member of the tribe to another with affection and good wishes.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 326 ~ Use the world of amphibians as inspiration.

Continuing with the carousel idea from yesterday...a carousel frog. This is done in watercolor and colored pencil and is about 8" wide.

First I needed to make sure I knew what an amphibian is. For example, a turtle is not an amphibian. It is a reptile. So no carousel turtle this go round.

An amphibian is a cold-blooded vertebrate that thrives in a freshwater habitat. The blue coloration on this particular amphibian is loosely based on the Dyeing Poison Frog, Dendrobates tintorius (is that a great name or what?), whom you would run into if you were wandering around South America somewhere. He's only slightly over 1" in size in real life and he and his mate both take on the job of protecting their eggs and can be very aggressive when defending their territory, according to a wonderful Natural History book I have published by Smithsonian.

But this carousel Dyeing Poison Frog (ha!) is nice and would love to have you as a passenger.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 325 ~ Design a wallpaper pattern.

Subtle, I know, but I was thinking it would have to be to actually work as wallpaper. What I think would be really wonderful, though, when I have more than a day to do so, is to create a design with different carousel animals in colorful detail on a light background. There could be elephants and rabbits and dolphins and frogs, bears, lions, giraffes, birds of all kinds...Wouldn't that be great wall paper for a kid's room?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 324 ~ Make something seem to melt that normally wouldn't.

To get an idea of what to do for this project, that didn't look like a Dali ripoff, I put in a search for 'A quote that uses the word melt'. Got an amazing array of quotes and chose this one from William Allingham. He was an Irish poet born on March 19, 1824 and I found it interesting that he was married to Helen Paterson, an acclaimed illustrator and watercolor painter.

My idea to go with the quote is that the leaves are falling and melting into the big area under the trees. I traced the outline of this area with a purple watercolor pencil, flooded it with water and dropped saturated amounts of watercolor into the puddle, letting the colors blend at random.

Measures about 9X12.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day 323 ~ Work with CD and cassette cases.

There is an advantage to being a dinosaur AND a pack rat! Most of the tapes in these cassette cases don't even play anymore.

This image took a lot of going up and down the porch stairs, eyeing and readjusting, to get this to look the way I wanted it to. I was using a drawing I did of a rearing horse for reference.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 320 ~ Work with keys.

Wanted to try the technique from Day 315 again, using a charcoal line with white acrylic paint. This time I added more color. You can't tell here, but the additional colors are metallic gouaches, gold and silver. Also used some black acrylic washes. Piece measures 9"X12". Also probably hard to see is the surface texture, which is what I like best about it. My scanner cropped it a bit, there is more room on the edges in the original.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Creative Year ~ 2013 Calendar

Available now! Be inspired to be creative throughout the new year with this 2013 calendar featuring the work (or more like play) I've done from Noah Scalin's book, 365 ~ Make Something Every Day and Change Your Life!.  Each month is colorfully illustrated with a collage of images from this blog. A great gift! It's $22 + $4 shipping in the U.S. If you are interested in having one, please contact me at my email address ~

Day 319 ~ Write and illustrate a ten-word murder mystery.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 318 ~ Work with rubber bands.

A monoprint with rubber bands and acrylic paint. Colors inverted in Picasa.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 317 ~ Do something inspired by a foot.

A silly poem, written by yours truly, and inspired by one of the many confusing things about the English language.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day 316 ~ Make something with rice.

A rice pony, with 2 eggs added to the precooked rice to hold it together. It looked a bit more appetizing when I flipped it over and it was all nice and brown, but it broke apart some, so I decided to show the 'before' picture. As in before flipping it. Tasted great with a little salsa!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day 315 ~ Create a clear version of something that isn't normally transparent.

I was stumped by this exercise, really didn't know what on earth to do, until I ran across a 1976 painting by Susan Rothenberg, titled Axes, where she uses gesso and charcoal on a canvas to show just the outline of a horse. Her painting is 60 X 104 inches. Mine is 6 inches square and done over an existing watercolor. I first simplified the outline of the horse with a charcoal pencil and then painted over the rest of the surface with white acrylic paint, letting the charcoal smear into the paint, which I like. This is a painting I would like to see bigger. It gives me ideas for things to try with those paintings I have that aren't selling and need to be painted over!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Day 314 ~ Design a tattoo.

This is a tattoo I designed for my friend Kim, at his request. He wanted a blue-tailed skink, a toad, a bracken fern, a Carolina wren and a damsel fly. These are images indigenous to his home in West Virginia.

We began by draping a piece of fabric around his forearm to measure exactly where the tattoo would go. He was interested in having the design conform to the structure of his arm, following the muscles and bones. The blue tail of the skink will wrap around his wrist bone and the rest will decorate the top of his forearm up to his elbow.

I did a number of sketches (happily, I might add) until we had it just the way he wanted it, then I did the final art in pen (because the tattoo artist will start with a black outline) and watercolor. I trust the artist will enhance my colors a bit. I feel this painting came out rather bland and without enough contrast.

Kim seems happy with it, though. It was my gift to him for his 60th birthday. He's going to take it to his tattoo guy for an estimate. I'll try to remember to show you the actual tattoo when it is completed on Kim's arm.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 313 ~ Work with fire.

This was done with a wood burning tool on heavy paper. The burned edges were created by lighting the paper on fire and (quickly!) blowing it out. Measures 4" x 7".

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 312 ~ Make something using only black materials.

A core of newspaper wrapped in masking tape, covered with black fabric and black yarn. Glass beads for nostrils. Same approach as Days 113, 185, 220 and 300.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 311 ~ Work with reflections.

A collage of images made from the reflections on the sides and hoods of cars. Played with, maybe too much, in Picasa.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Day 310 ~ Work with items from a hardware store.

Pony made from the collection of stuff in an old cookie tin Judy keeps in her wood shop.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 309 ~ Create something inspired by wheels.

I used paint swatch samples again, left over from day 112, pasting them onto a black background. Even with those bright colors it didn't look very lively on the black, though, so I inverted the colors, used the heat map effect and posterized it. Like it much better than the original art!

Day 308 ~ Something that can only be seen properly from far away.

A rainbow can only be seen properly from far away.

This is a monoprint. The original piece is quite small and (I think) it looks better enlarged, which is unusual for artwork in most cases (I think?).

I like that the rainbow appears transparent with this technique.

Day 307 ~ Create something based on plant shapes.

These started out as more experiments with acrylic monoprints, but then I messed around with them using oil pastels, watercolor pencils and more paint.

Day 306 ~ Do something creative with a pad of sticky notes.

Doing a show at the Harford County Day School in Maryland, had fun using some colorful sticky notes to make an 'abundance' prayer flag string to stretch across the top of my booth. Didn't make a million bucks, but it looked festive!