Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New ATC's

In a previous post, I had done mixed media drawings on book pages I had printed and stamped on.  After doing several of those, I thought it would be fun to do some artist trading card (ATC, 2.5"x3.5") sized art, so I cut up a few of the remaining book pages and glued them to watercolor paper for extra support.  I did a couple flower ones (I really love drawing poppies, and since I have a colored pencil called "poppy red", that worked well!) and then a few random ones.

I really love the pink and blue ones (the one with the plumeria and the poppies), those were my favorite backgrounds. And I think the color of the flowers goes really nice with the backgrounds.  I wish I had more of those to go around.  

Colored pencil and extra fine sharpie marker on printed and stamped background.

Both of these are also colored pencil and black extra fine
sharpie marker on printed background.  I love having a pencil called "poppy red"! When I did these, I actually had to do the pencil outline of the flower and then gesso the inside so I was coloring a white surface.  The top one originally was just the pencil on top of the blue background, and the red and blue together made pretty muddy colors, so I gesso'd over them and colored them again.  Much better color!

I love drawing octopus (octopi?). This is also colored pencil on printed book page. Outlined with extra fine sharpie and white gel pen. The white gel pen starts out bright, clean white but as it dries it kind of takes on the colors under it for some reason.

I don't know if you've noticed yet, but I love to paint my cat. He's such a regal animal and at first I thought painting a black cat was difficult, because I could never see much detail in the photos I took of him. But I just kind of go with it and have a lot of fun. In this photo, he was sitting under the table and there was a lot of light coming from the window behind him lighting up his left side and the other was much more in shadow and I couldn't even really tell where he ended and shadows began, haha. 

Inspired by my trips to Italy, and Venice in particular.  I absolutely love all the masks on display everywhere. I took a ton of photos of them when I was there. I would actually love to do a whole series of masks.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Flying Shark

Last year, I got an offer though one of the various art related emails I get to test some new paints.  I was told I would get some acrylic paint samples, and when I had tried them I had to fill out a survey and get a free paint brush as a thank you. Good deal!

Well, the paints showed up MONTHS later, after I had given up on it.  I had been getting emails asking to please complete that survey asap, even though I hadn't gotten the paints. When they finally showed up I tried them right away and tried to do the survey, but I was told it was expired. I emailed them and explained I had only gotten the paints the day before and to please let me fill out the survey (I really wanted that damn paint brush). But they never responded and I was out of luck.  The paints were also in tiny little containers, barely enough for a small painting. I got I think 4 colors, the three primaries and white.  So I grabbed a little 4"x6" canvas and painted a sky and sea. Very simple, but I thought pretty cool that with dark blue, red and white I got the variety of colors of blue ;-) 

So I had this little blue canvas for the last year, unsure what else to do with it. I thought I'd put a boat in there somewhere but then thought that was too boring, too expected. A boat on the sea? How original!!  

Then it hit me...Sharks! I don't see too many paintings of sharks, so that could be fun.  I've always loved Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, which is where I'd seen the "flying sharks".  Only in this one specific place (I can't remember where) the great whites leap out of the water after their prey.  Now that would make a cool painting. So yesterday, I did this:

And since it was kind of a funny little painting, I put a pirate ship in the background because, well, why not. 

Acrylic on canvas, 4"x6"

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Book Page Drawings

A few weeks ago, my friend and I did gel plate printing on some old book pages.  She got the book from a thrift store and we had fun making the prints. We had some stamps, doilies and other stencils to play with.  I now had several sheets of pages with some cool backgrounds on them, but wasn't sure when or what I was going to do with them. 

Yesterday, I decided to draw some flowers on them.  I used my own photos of flowers from my travels.  For some reason, they were so simple to do and I did 4 drawings in only a few hours! I'm usually so slow. Maybe now I'm starting to get the hang of this mixed media stuff, too. 

These are all done in colored pencil with a black extra fine sharpie marker outline.  
I took the photos of poppies in Bosnia, the rose is from a garden right out front of our apartment in Scotland and the two plumeria are from photos I took in Hawaii. I see a lot of poppies throughout Europe and it made me realize that I don't think I've ever seen any poppies growing in the US. Weird. They're so pretty.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Cat doodles!

Yesterday, I was playing around more with the cat doodles from my previous post.  I've seen all these "sharpie mug" tutorials going around Pinterest and I thought the cats would make a really cute pattern.  Our apartment came with an assortment of mugs, including two plain white ones, perfect for this project.  I don't think the owner of the apartment will mind that one of them is now decorated, so long as he gets the same number of mugs at the end ;-)

I looked through several tutorials before I started, and it seems the best idea would have been to use an oil based Sharpie paint marker.  I don't have paint markers, and someone else had said the regular black ones work fine, so that's what I used.  I drew the cats on the mug and followed the baking instructions (put cold mug in cold oven, heat to 350 for 30 minutes, then let sit in the oven and cool off until oven is cool). 

It came out really cute and I was excited about it, but figured its permanence should be tested.  I scratched it with my fingernail, and nothing happened. Then I took the rough side of a sponge and warm, soapy water to it and the marker did come off with some scrubbing.  I don't normally scrub my mugs that way after using them, especially on the outside, but I wouldn't put it in the dishwasher after that. 

Notice the scrubbed off kitties :(  So for my experience, I would definitely try it with an oil based paint marker, it would hopefully be more permanent.  But this is ok, I probably won't drink out of it but just having such a cute little cat mug around will make me smile anyway. 

I wanted to play with the cats in watercolor as well, so I grabbed a little watercolor postcard and got to work.

Unfortunately, I'm having trouble trying to rotate this properly, but you get the idea.  I like the cats much better solidly filled in.  But this was the point of this weekend, to doodle and play with no high expectations of masterpieces.   

Until next time!

Saturday, November 30, 2013


 Two days ago, I finished another two wedding gown drawings purchased from my Etsy shop (yay!!)

Before that, I was working feverishly on the Queen Anne's Lace painting I wanted to hang over the dining table.  It's been weeks of working hard on projects, and I wanted to just unwind and play without the pressure of a "perfect" final piece. 

I was in a shop a few weeks ago and there was a little girly backpack that had a pattern of cute little cartoon cats on them.  I fell in love with the little cats but I didn't want to buy the backpack so I took some pictures so I could play with the pattern.

The 4 little pencil drawings are sort of copied from the cat pattern, but I refined them a bit. The larger one is a doodle I tried to make from a painting I did of my own cat. I love the bottom two the most, so I played with those some more. These doodles were pretty small...

So I enlarged them....

...and made stamps! The stamps didn't come out quite as "perfect" as I wanted, but oh well. We're just playing today. They're still really cute, I think.  Then I did them with watercolor.

That's all for the cats today.  I love them though, they're so stinking cute! I can't wait to think of things I can use these for.

Last night, I was playing around a bit too.  I was given a Japanese tea set several years ago as a gift from the mother of a girl I used to babysit.  The mom was a karate master who had her own karate school and had studied in Japan. Their house was filled with beautiful Japanese crafts.  I love this tea set, but with moving around a lot the last few years, the tea set sat at my parents house unused.  When we came to Scotland, I packed it and put it in a box to ship here because I wanted to use it.  It was a little cast iron pot with 6 ceramic cups. Simple, delicate, beautiful.  Well, I packed it badly and when it arrived, all but one of the cups was smashed.  I was devastated.  The surviving cup has a chip and a crack, so it can't be used, but I won't throw it out.  I've been wanting to put it in a still life, so I started sketching it last night.  I was trying to do the cup and I was at it for about an hour and just couldn't get it symmetrical. Then, I just dove in with the pot and sketched without caring about the outcome at all and I was pretty impressed with what I did! Especially the handle, it was amazingly correct! The back part is a little lopsided I guess, but look at the handle!! :-D Again though, this was just going in without trying to make it perfect and I surprised myself. :)

Then I started doodling my wine glass and the Eiffel Tower and decided it was time for bed...

Thursday, November 14, 2013


This week, for our weekly art day, my friend and I decided to do some origami cranes.  There is an art supply store here in town that has mini cranes all over the store and it inspired me to try it.  I've never done origami before (unless you count making 'cootie catchers' in grade school lol) and I was stuck on doing cranes.  So my friend had a nice supply of colorful origami paper and we got to work.  

She had done these before, but a long time ago.  We set up a video tutorial on youtube which was awesome. I needed to see someone doing it, not just look at diagrams of folding paper in a book.  By the end of the day I had it down and didn't need to watch the guy do it anymore. I was so proud of myself ;-) 

We did two sizes, the larger crane with the piece of paper the size it came in and then divided some sheets in 4 to make the mini cranes.  (Note the cootie catcher in the right hand corner ;-)

Bright, colorful cranes :-)  

After finishing them, we started to string them so I could hang them up.  Before that though, I had to take some fun pictures in the bright sunlight!

Those shadows are so awesome. 

After this, I strung up the rest and hung them in the window. 

There were still 3 left over, so I hung them over my art desk :-)

Apartment Art

We moved into a furnished apartment here in Scotland.  I don't know if it's common to have furnished apartments in the United States, I've only lived in houses.  Living in Poland and now in Scotland, furnished places are very common and they usually come with some kind of artwork.  

In our friends' places in Krakow, I'd noticed a lot of cool artwork.  The two apartments we had in Krakow had none whatsoever.  When we came to Scotland, the few pieces hanging on the wall were absolutely awful.  Of the 3 paintings, only one was acceptable.  Not something I would have picked myself, but it was allowed to stay on the wall. The other two may have been painted by the same artist (no, I didn't bother to even check) but they both had the same icky, muddy palettes.  One was a large framed rabbit that was just creepy and ugly.  Muddy colors, I think the rabbit had red eyes...maybe I'm making that up, I don't remember. We took it down and put it up in the storage area and hung our own stuff in it's place (a round Aztec calendar from Mexico and a large, wooden carved face from Jamaica that we call Bob), but there was still the ugly painting above the dining table.  

The painting above the dining table was a food painting.  Now, I am a big foodie, I love food, I love to eat, I love paintings of food and a painting of food above the dining table is something I would really like. But this painting was another that just looked like it was painted with mud.  I did take a picture of this one before it got banished to the attic space with the creepy rabbit. 

Now this is just bad.  It looks like maybe artichokes and garlic and a coffee/tea pot? Either way, blech. I wanted something brighter and more cheerful.  I'd love a food painting, but I wanted to do something quick and fairly easy and painless, as I have a lot of other projects I need to work on.  A good still life of food in that large size would take months.  So, I did this:

Queen Anne's Lace (or as it's called in the UK for some reason, Cow Parsley...) 30"x30" acrylic on canvas.  I think it looks much better than the muddy veggies that were there originally. 

I found this picture on Pinterest and thought it looked simple enough and I just wanted to do something quick so I kind of copied it.  I was originally going to do something even simpler, more a graphic dandelion with the little petals flying away but then it evolved into this.  Either way, I'm happy with the result and the more cheerful look it brings in. Good bye mud, hello sunshiney sky and flower :-)

Fun With Polymer Clay

Last week at my weekly art day with my art friend here in Scotland, I did some polymer clay tiles.  My ultimate goal with these little tiles is to find a frame or framed mirror to put them on.  I'd like it to be a framed mirror.  

I had way too much fun making these little tiles, my friend has a lot of stamps and things that were fun to press into the clay.  I was doing this for hours! 

Here's the whole lot of them:

 And just a few close ups of some of my favorites:

I love this one with the pansy because I love the look of the writing underneath the flower.  I need to do a lot more of these to fill up a frame, but it might take a while because I have a lot of projects lined up right now. 

Hope you enjoyed!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Artist Trading Cards

I've been intrigued by mixed media artwork recently, but I haven't done much in it.  Mostly, I feel a little overwhelmed by all the possibilities and it can be hard to branch out and just experiment and play. 

I met a lady at one of my art classes here in Scotland and now we get together once a week and do art.  She does a lot of mixed media work and artist trading cards (ATC's).  Since doing art together, I've been trying to do some mixed media collageI think I get a little too random, but it's all about experimentation, right?

Today, she was working on a set of ATC's with the theme of "doors" and I tried to do some as well.  

 ATC's have a standard size of 2.5" x 3.5", so they're pretty small and don't need to take days to finish a piece, which is nice for me.  I had fun doing these.  This one is on recycled cardboard from a cereal box and I used some paper scraps, washi tape, marker and pen. I was kind of going for an old, wooden door.  

This one is a bit simpler, also using some washi tape, cut up paper and marker and pen.

I can see why people love doing these so much, I might find myself doing some more pretty soon!

Monday, October 28, 2013


Last week at the grocery store, I bought some tomatoes that weren't quite ripe.  They had to sit for a few days to ripen and during that time, I noticed the curly, dying vines from two tomatoes that were plucked from this particular vine.  I thought it would make a fun still life, so I started drawing them from life.  I don't do a lot of my art from life, I mostly work from photos, only because I'm a slow worker.  Painstaking details, I wish I could work faster and looser, but anyway.

Between the drawing and painting stages, my fiance had eaten two of the three tomatoes, so when I started painting them, I had to do a bit of guessing on the color and highlights, haha. But it came out alright, not quite what I was hoping for though.  I don't think I used the best quality paper, I'm not happy with how some of the color bled and blended. But it was a fun little project. 

 Tomatoes, 7"x8" watercolor on paper

Chinese Painting Workshop

This past weekend at the Scottish National Gallery, they had a Chinese Ink Painting workshop which I was really excited to attend.  I did Chinese painting in college and I adored it, and was thrilled to try it again.  The class was originally for October 12, but it was full, so they ran a second class on the 26th, which I was lucky to get into. 

We had the same problem at my college, the class was only offered once a year and it always filled up right away.  We had a professor from China who was a famous artist there.  Our supplies all came from China, which I still have...beautiful brushes, bottled ink, stick ink, ink stone, Chinese watercolors and rice paper.  Unfortunately, all my stuff is back at my parents house in the US, there was only so much I could bring with me overseas.  

There is a Chinese grocery store that I go to a lot here, (I love making my own wontons and dumplings and miso soup) and they have a small selection of art supplies, so today I went in and bought some ink and a brush to work with until I can get my supplies from home. 

I really love the smell of Chinese ink...and oil paint.  Stinky art supplies are the best! They smell like art :)

So here are some of my practice drawings from the class. We were working on plum trees and blossoms, and we had to learn all the brush strokes for flowers, branches, and how to fill them in. 

 And then we were given the good rice paper and got to paint the whole composition. 

 Plum branch and blossoms, ink and watercolor on rice paper, 13"x13".

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Latest Etsy sale

I always get really excited when I have a sale in my Etsy shop.  I've been open a year, and besides a few sales from my friend, I've had exactly 2 sales from strangers.  I would really love to get that number to go up, so I'm going to share the latest drawing I did.  I do drawings of wedding gowns and watercolor paintings of bouquets and centerpieces.  I've had one bouquet sale and this most recent one was a gown sale. 

This order was for a drawing of both the front and back of the gown, and I took a photo of just the front by itself after I completed it. I love drawing these dresses, I find drawing and shading all the folds in the fabric really satisfying.  I hope you like! 

If you're interested in having a drawing or painting done for you, check out my Etsy shop. :)