Wednesday, February 27, 2013

in progress

here's to progress!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013


i've been on what i call a "remix" kick in my house for a while now.  the idea is to change up spaces in my house using things we already own (or in the family), utilizing materials we already own, and spending as little as possible in stores to fill in the gaps.  the ikea pillows on my couch are no exception.  i recover them often with printed duck cloth i buy occasionally on sale or with coupons.  here's my latest change.  loving the yellow!

this old deco chair was given to us by my aunt years ago.  it was in our bedroom for a long time, usually stacked with clothes because our closets in this old house are tiny.  but i digress...
a while back i pulled it out and recovered the seat with gray chevron fabric i had in my stock pile. 

i love the chevron with the deco styling of the chair.  i love the mix of the brown chair with the gray fabric.  i feel like the mixing of those two neutrals is very modern.  what do you think?

then i moved on to the piano.  we have a very old (let's say late 1800's) piano in our living/ dining space.  and for a long time there was a brown piano bench beneath it.  tired of the brown on brown, i finally repainted the stool in a distressed turquoise color.  i might mention here, that i wanted to paint the entire piano turquoise after seeing this post here on pinterest.  but my husband did not agree, so we compromised. 

still think it looks much, much better.  it's amazing what just a pop of color can do!  now i'm thinking that i might need to put some wood wax on the piano.  we like the old, distressed look, but for some reason i'm feeling like a wax would help.  anyone ever tried it?

back on the subject of brown on brown, the fact that our dining table was all brown (in addition to the brown floor and the brown piano behind it) was driving me crazy.  so, inspired by this post by a beautiful mess here, i decided to change it.  i might add here that i wanted to paint the legs yellow like they did, but again, a compromise with the hubby led us to white.  before...


my next project?  well, i won't lie, there's a line of them.  but at the top is this chair that we found in my in-law's shed.  it used to be in my husband's grandmother's house.  i wanted to paint all of it and my husband likes the wood.  so, yet another compromise has led us to the agreement that some will be paint and some restored wood.  that will make it trickier though, because to do that correctly, it will have to be disassembled.  what do you guys think?  any suggestions?

so, this week, here's to using what you have and mixing it up.  and, oh compromise.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

evolution of a reductive print

in an attempt to up the difficulty level with my advanced students, i am introducing reductive printing.  with basic block printing, you carve a design, ink it, and print it.  as long as your plate stays in good shape, you can use it over and over.  you can see some of our basic block prints and my tutorial on how to do it here. 

with reductive block printing, you print multiple times on the same print, each time reducing the image a little more by carving.  because you are physically changing the plate in between prints, it is important to do multiple prints at each stage so you end up with a series.  obviously, once you carve more into a plate, you cannot back up to an earlier stage.  usually, you change ink colors with each printing as well.  if you do not want the ink colors to mix, it is important to let each print dry completely before you print again on top.  and, with any kind of printing, remember that the image will print in reverse, so plan accordingly.

i created a couple of examples to show my students, so i thought i'd share them with you too.  i started with a basic line drawing carved into a styrofoam printing plate.  my carving tool of choice...a dull pencil, as pictured below!

i inked that plate with white and printed on blue paper...

then i carved into the same plate a second time and got this...

which i inked and printed this time with red to give me this...

then i carved the plate a third and final time, giving me this...

which i inked and printed with yellow.  voila...

my second example is a quick self portrait.  the plate evolved like this...

and the print like this. 

so there you have recent adventure in reductive printing.  i like it.  it's different.  it's fun.  it's challenging.  a good combination!

 this week, here's to the challenge!


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

beautiful bright hearts

it's that time of know, where every where you look there are hearts.  over here, that doesn't only include the studio.  last week they invaded my kitchen as well.  last year, i blogged about how to use your crock pot to turn your old, broken crayons into new heart shaped ones.  you can see that original post here.  since i still had all the molds, and a tool box full of old crayons, i volunteered to make them for my 5 year old's valentines party at school. cute and functional...a great combination!

in the studio i've been trying to think of a heart project for my classes.  i came up with these oil pastel resist hearts.  and since i'm really digging the bright colors, i think i'll roll with this idea. 

 just start with a small heart in the middle of the paper, and then carefully draw around the heart with alternating brightly colored oil pastels.  make sure to leave a little bit of white in between each ring.  you need to make sure the oil pastel is pretty thick, so you have to draw slowly and press hard.  this is trickier than it sounds for the students!  just keep adding rings until you like it.  the lines will not be perfect, but that is what will make them more interesting.

once the heart is drawn, paint in between the rings with watercolors.  i used a different color for each ring with the watercolor as well.  also, try to keep the brush off the oil pastel lines as much as possible.  even though the oil pastel will resist the watercolor, it will still start to get muddy and messy if you rub on the oil pastel lines a bunch.

wishing you all a very happy valentine's day!

here's to beautiful bright hearts,

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