Friday, June 22, 2018

What Do You Look For In A Book About Creating Art?

     I love to read books about many different types of things. And art books are no exception. But as I've progressed, I'm more selective about which books I want to purchase about art techniques. They must have good photos, good examples, detailed descriptions, and exercises to do in order for me to want to spend time with them. In December, I got a book with color studies in it by Richard Mehl

  I have learned a lot from color studies in the past, but feel there is always more to learn. I've been too busy until recently to take the time to start studying from it, but this past week I settled down and did the first exercise in it. I took a meticulous approach to it and took my time creating a color wheel that I hope to use as reference in the future. I've done color wheels before; some simple ones and one that was more detailed, but this one shows me some relationships that are more complicated. 
     To get the exact colors, I purchased colored papers in a kit called Color-Aid. It has papers in 314 different hues, tints, and shades. They are labeled on the back with codes that tell how much white, black, etc. are in them. Just taking them and rearranging them in different ways is a good study. Also, using them as reference to mix paints is a good study. Because of the price, I was hesitant to buy the kit, but decided it would be so useful to me in many ways that it was worth it. 

     The first exercise in the book instructed me to make a color wheel with the 12 basic colors using tints, shades, and compliments if possible, and to also include a 14-step gradation of white to gray.  I could use paints or paper. I can't pass up a good challenge so I wanted to include as many tints, shades, and relationships as possible. I tried several designs sketched out on paper and got inspired when I looked at a mosaic fountain from Morocco. I like the eight-pointed star and the shapes that can be formed when combining the stars in patterns. It took a while to cut out the pieces and glue them together, trying to get everything matched up. All the shapes didn't match up exactly in the end (which is why I gave up piecing fabric long ago), but I'm pleased with the result. 

     I'm looking forward to exercise 2 about contrasts of dark and light. I'm linking this up to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art blogs. Please make comments on the artists' posts so that they know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Can Art Be Hung In A Window?

     Have you ever hung any of your art in a window? Usually I wouldn't because I'd be afraid the sunlight would cause the colors to fade. But I have a sliding glass door that I want to mark so that people don't walk into it thinking it is open. (I did that once and almost lost a tooth because I hit it so hard.) I could hang a small piece of metal art or plastic or some other solid one of those clear suction cup hangers. Instead, I decided to try a different sort of fabric art that I'm hoping won't fade.
     I monoprinted regular copy paper with colors of my Prochemical fabric paints. I could have used any type of paint, but I have a nice supply of that in a variety of colors and love it. I allowed the papers to dry. Next, I got a piece of sheer polyester fabric prepared by screening on Color Magnet and dyeing the fabric in dilute black procion mx dye. The dye washed out of the fabric everywhere except where I had screened on the Color Magnet.
     Then I used a technique described in a book by Jane Dunnewold and Claire Benn on  paper and metal leaf lamination to attach the colored papers to the prepared polyester. To get the design, I used a thermofax screen of vines that I had made from my photos to screen on the gel medium to the sheer fabric. After that was done, I applied gold leaf also with a thermofax I had made from one of my photos. Then I did some hand stitching to laminated vines. To complete the artwork, I sewed the laminated polyester fabric to a commercial sheer polyester fabric that had a scroll design embroidered onto it so that when hung in the window, the scrollwork will be visible through the laminated polyester.
Close-up showing the "paper" vines, stitching and gold leaf.
NOTE: you can see some of the scroll work on the under sheer through the top sheer
I put the word paper in quotes above, because the paper is actually gone. It gets washed away in the process, leaving only the paint. But a different look than if the paint was applied directly to the fabric instead of in the lamination process.
Close-up of it hanging in the window

     To hang it, I sewed the top over a painted dowel, attached some wire to the top and sides of the dowel to make the dowel look a little nicer, and hung it from a clear, suction cup hanger stuck to the window. I purposely cut the fabrics beforehand so that the polyester underneath with scroll work would be longer and hang out the bottom.

On the window just after sunset
     I love how it looks in the window. It's size is about 12 x 8 so it still leaves lots of clear window to see outside. And it's character changes as the light changes during the daytime and in the evening which makes it an interesting piece. How long the colors last in the exposure to sun remains to be seen, but since they are applied with gel medium, I expect them to last awhile.
     And I have news... I'm having a solo show of my work this summer in a local gallery. The gallery is an interesting one. The front section is the art gallery while the rooms in the back house a salon. And it is located in an alley of the main street. The alley has a great gift shop, up-scale kitchen shop, and comes alive on Friday nights with food trucks, music, organic farmer's market, and even bat houses from which the bats swarm at sunset. It's called The Blake Elliot Gallery The opening reception will be Friday, June 22, 6 PM - 9PM. If you are in the area, try to come. It should be fun.

Promo for the exhibit
     I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other fabric related artworks. Please make comments on the artists' posts so that they know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.