Tiny Bags of Love

Hi! Welcome to the new website!! I am extremely excited to have a place to share my art, story and ideas! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Over the past few months I decided that I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and try different techniques, mediums and styles with my art. For years I have painted on furniture...chairs, tables, clocks, etc. and mainly focused on depicting animals and other organisms from the natural world.  However, my world was opened up when I started seeking out inspiration from other artists whose work I admired. I took Flora Bowley's Bloom True E-Course (https://florabowley.com) which focused on intuitive painting and allowing the creative process to happen naturally...basically going in full force without a plan ahead of time. Scary, I know...especially for a planner like me. At first I was somewhat skeptical, not sure how I would begin to connect the spiritual part of myself with the physical act of painting. (Did I even HAVE a spiritual part of myself? Who knew? I surely didn't!) I started working on large canvases and over time truly found a sense of joy in the long journey from start to finish. A particular painting would be built slowly layer upon layer, but the freedom to make expressive marks that weren't permanent and could be covered up was refreshing. I also started using colors in my palette that I normally didn't even consider. I learned a ton and now have begun to add my own signature twist on things to make them my own.

This style is so unlike what I had been doing previously and I feel like I have made a lot of growth not only as an artist, but as an individual. 2016 has been somewhat of a bumpy road, with many changes and obstacles to overcome but I have decided to not let art take a back seat anymore. I want to put forth more energy and time in creating and using my imagination and follow my heart. I have been coming back to a quote I read in a book recently called "Zen and the Art of Happiness"by Chris Prentiss. It states, "We are the authors of every next moment." I feel this is especially poignant at this point in my life because there is so much opportunity and possibility, as hard as it is to see. At times I think I am stuck or even moving backwards but if I put forth the energy to do what I love, hopefully my efforts won't be wasted.

In the spirit of learning new things, I decided to take an online workshop called Tiny Bags of Love, taught by Jeanne-Marie Webb (https://ivynewport.com/tiny-bags-of-love) where dried out and used tea bags are the "canvas". Going from painting on huge 4ft x 4ft canvases to ones that measure barely 3 inches in length is definitely a shock! Along with the size difference, the subject of the paintings are portraits...of people....yikes. The last time I painted a portrait was in college and I failed miserably. I hated the entire process and my representation looked forced and strained. I immediately ripped it up after the class was over as to not have any evidence of it. It was not a good scene. Yet, I decided to give portraits another shot. I drank a lot of tea, emptied the bags of leaves, gessoed the surfaces and began sketching out tiny faces. The picture you see above this post is my first attempt at capturing a variety of female portraits in pencil. The next step will be to add paint...but not with just skin tones but rather taking advantage of the full color spectrum. Not only is this part daunting, but the idea is to make a large collection of these faces and watch how your skills improve over time. My first painted girl is a little rough but I am looking forward to painting these and seeing how they emerge...or don't...that's always a possibility :)


Mail Art

Just a quick update...this weekend I decided to work on some mail art trades because the best part of coming home from work each day is finding art in the mailbox! It always makes me smile and I admit it, I love going to the post office to find out what kind of interesting stamps they have for sale. This week I got some awesome planet ones...yeah...I'm a dork. I made a few altered tags, some Artist Trading Cards and a postcard.

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Encaustic Painting

"Encaustic is a wax based paint (composed of beeswax, resin and pigment), which is kept molten on a heated palette. It is applied to an absorbent surface and then reheated in order to fuse the paint."

It's been a little while since I last posted but since it's the weekend I finally have time! Though I think I might just be procrastinating from doing lesson planning and school work...:)

A couple of months ago I worked on some encaustic paintings with my aunt. I had never done encaustics before so it was fun looking at all the different products and tools that she had. There is a lot that goes into it! You need to heat up the wax on a griddle in small containers as well as have a solvent to clean your brush in between colors. You also need a heat gun to fuse the various layers of molten wax. Once we figured out what we were doing, we had a really fun time playing around with all the different equipment and experimenting with the various color waxes.

We immediately fell in love with the process. There is so much you can do with it and we enjoyed embedding various objects into the wax. I used seashells, dried leaves, keys, string, tags, fibrous netting, yarn, beads, text, and vines to make all my creations 3D. We used special encaustic boards to paint our designs on...they are similar to board canvases but a little sturdier. Here were some of the paintings I made:

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I have also been working on some other projects over the past few months. Here is a basset hound picnic basket I did for a friend's wedding gift:

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The last project was something I did for the Altered Envies Unite group on ATCSforall.com site. I sent this old cigar box painted with a guinea hen and hand carved stamp and a blank book inside that I made out of manilla file folders. I sent it through the mail as is...aka "naked". I am glad it made it to California safely!

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