Monday, September 15, 2014

palette knife play

When working with paint, a palette knife can be a really fun alternative to using a paint brush! Typically a palette knife is used for mixing paint but it can also be used to apply paint. These days there are all kinds of palette knives (and even decorative scrapers) with different tips and edges that can be used in many creative ways. Try ditching your brushes and swipe, scratch, drag, dot, mark, layer and spread that paint! 

TIP: Keep in mind that using heavy body acrylic paint tends to work best with a palette knife when creating thick heavy layers but just about any acrylic paint will work!

P.S. I've got some new designs over in my Society 6 shop including a few of my palette knife paintings! Head on over HERE to see everything.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

5 creative ways to use a feather

I love using feathers in my creative projects and today I am sharing five of my favorite ways to use a feather in creative projects!

Living at the beach I am always finding feathers and while I love them- sometimes they can need some cleaning up. I've found that soaking them in a little bit of dish soap and water works great!

I think my favorite way to use feathers is for sketching inspiration. I teach a lot of sketching classes and feathers are actually one of my favorite examples for demonstrating how to use lines in a drawing.

I love using a feather as a stamp! Simply cover the surface with acrylic paint (using a brush or a brayer) and press firmly into your surface and then pull it away. The result is a beautiful imprint of your feather. This is a great way to create a feather pattern on a surface,a way to add layers to a painted background or just a creative alternative to traditional stamping.

Gelli printing is one of my favorite ways to create really unique surfaces. I start by inking up the plate and then I press feathers to the surface. Next, I place my paper onto the surface of the plate, roll my brayer over the backside of the paper and then peel it away.

The result is a beautiful and abstract print of the feathers!

If you use a brayer in your mixed media painting you will know that your brayer can actually pick up texture and you are able roll that texture from your brayer onto paper. 

I start by placing my feather into wet paint and I roll my clean brayer over the top. Then I roll my brayer onto a clean surface- the result it a really light reverse imprint of the feather.

Painting feathers is a really beautiful way to transform something from nature into a colorful little piece of art! Since feathers tend to absorb paint you have to use a fairly thick layer of color to get everything covered. I've found that spray paint actually works really well. 

Then you can add all kinds of embellishments with a variety of materials- paint pens, glitter, puff paint, beads and more!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

patchwork sweater blanket

I love upcycling all kinds of things but one of my favorites are old or thrifted sweaters. You can transform an old sweater in all kinds of things (pillows, poufs, arm warmers, even a new sweater) but one of my favorite things to make is a blanket. With fall coming, you can never have enough cozy blankies (thats what we call them around here)!

When I am out thrifting I am always on the lookout for cheap sweaters with colors or pattern that catch my eye. I like to keep a little stash in the studio for fall and winter projects. 

I grab a few sweaters (I used 4 for this blanket and have enough leftover for another project). I like to pick funky and unexpected color and pattern combos.

Next, I cut them up into different sized squares and rectangles.

Then I piece them together, pin everything and get busy sewing!

Sewing sweaters can be a little tricky and messy because once you cut up a sweater it will want to unravel.

I use a really tight zig zag stitch when sewing the pieces together. This keeps everything together and helps to avoid any unraveling.

I stitch everything on the outside because I prefer to have my stitching and seams show (that's just my style not a requirement). The cool things that happens when you are sewing sweaters with a zig zag stitch is that the seams get curly which adds more texture to the surface.

I sew everything together and call it good! While you could back the blanket I prefer not to because I like the back side of all the sweaters showing.

Monday, September 08, 2014

family beads

As Lucy gets older I am having so much fun making things that bring her joy! She loves family, they are like super heros for her so I thought it would be fun to create some whimsical beads with family members on them that could be turned to necklaces for play.
Wood beads are really fun especially for kids projects because you can use all kinds of supplies to transform them! 

I wanted my beads to have a whimsical and illustrative look so I used a black micron pen (they are permanent) and started by drawing really simple little portraits.

Next, I used watercolors to add color. The cool part of using watercolors with wood is that the wood soaks it up and the colors are more translucent which for me is a fun alternative to my typical thick layers of acrylic paint.

I created all kinds of family members (I still have more to make).

Then I added the bead to twine to create some simple necklaces

Needless to say they are a big HIT- lots of playing, lots of stories and lots of conversations have come from these little wooden beads!

Friday, September 05, 2014

fashion friday- studio style

When you work for yourself and by yourself, (and on the occasions when you do work with others- it's your mom and husband) it is really tempting to spend all day every day in pajamas. I love fashion but many mornings I have to talk myself into getting dressed. I do it anyway and always end up feeling so much better and like a regular working girl. 

While everyday is different for me- somedays I am painting in the studio, other days I am sewing, then I'm out and about taking photos, then back home for DIY projects, then back to the studio to paint- I try to at least pull some kind of outfit together. They are not always the most stylish but I figure when you are self employed and an artist you don't have to follow any rules- pattern mixing, paint covered pants, bare feet and hats are all welcome in my work place. As long as I am not wearing pajamas in public I am a happy gal!

Thursday, September 04, 2014

exploring we will go

A while back we made the promise to each other to always make time to seek adventure as a family (you can read about it here). Exploration and going outside is a big part of our daily lives and once in a while I like to share a little peek into our adventures.

For the last couple of months Lucy has been asking to visit a farm so we finally made some time to head south to Tillamook and go to Blue Heron French Cheese Company. While Tillamook is known for the Tillamook Cheese Factory, Blue Heron French Cheese Company is actually a really fun alternative. Known for their specialty cheeses, they are located on a 40 acre farm surrounded by vintage farm equipment and have all kinds of kid friendly animals to pet and feed. We had a blast exploring the grounds, eating cheese (they have the best brie) and visiting the animals! Here is a peek into our adventures.

It's all fun and games until a goat freaks out a toddler!


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