Looking for something to do this weekend? Head on out to Long Island City for the LIC Arts Open 6 and an opportunity to visit hundreds of artists’ studios. Have you ever looked at a painting in a gallery and wanted to know “how did they do that?” This is your chance.
Begin at Reis Studios (43-01 22nd St., LIC) with 200 artist studios to start your tour. See the inner workings of my art studio #225 where I’ll be demonstrating how I use a Gelli Plate to print the collage papers I use in my work and making FREE greeting cards for those who drop by. Come by to get yours. Studios open this Sat. & Sun. from 12-6pm. Directions below.
In my last blog post, I talked about how to best manage my two studios. One idea was to invest in duplicates of my most used tools. Some of these tools are my Gelli Arts printing plate and Speedball brayers so I purchased a second set yesterday. I wanted to play with my new tools but not worry too much about the final outcome so I decided to decorate envelopes. If I didn’t like the way they turned out, I could always use them to pay my bills with.
I started out by cutting 3″ Post-It notes in half and sticking them to the center front of the envelopes. That preserved the address white space.
Next I got out my Gelli plate, brayers, acrylic paints and stencils (some hand cut, others purchased from Stencil Girl Products). I started by adding some paint to the Gelli plate and then rolling it out into a smooth layer using a brayer. I placed the envelope face down on the plate, placed a clean piece of scrap paper on top and rolled a clean brayer over all of it to transfer the paint. I cleaned the plate and then added a second paint color to the plate. This time after rolling on the paint, I laid a stencil over the paint and then placed the envelope on top (and the scrap paper) and rolled the clean brayer over it all. This left an interesting pattern as the top layer with the first paint layer showing through the stencil gaps. I sometimes printed a third stencil layer as well. I repeated the process on the back of the envelopes.
Finally, I pulled out my paints and markers (I use Copic Markers, Zig Writer and Faber-Castell Pitt artist pens) to doodle and add some details. Voila! Some fun, usable envelopes.
The Back Side of the Envelopes
I started with the idea to create a set of matching paintings with lots of 3D texture. I love the soft, white flowers of the dogwood tree but realized I would need a colored background to make the petals show in the paintings. I’ve documented my painting process below. I will flip-flop between the two paintings as I forgot to photograph them both at each stage, but you should get the general idea.
I start by painting a variety of stripes on watercolor paper (glued to cradled wooden panels) using acrylic paint.
Next I glue down strips of different Japanese papers. I love handmade Japanese papers (made with mulberry leaves, rice shaft, and other organic materials) because they add a unique, textural feel to my work. I also include some handprinted deli paper I made using my Gelli plate.
Now come the flowers. First I sketch in the compositions. Next, using Golden’s heavy molding gel, I spread on the petals with a palette knife. When the gel is dry, I sand off any sharp points.
I add in collage paper elements for the leaves and stems, painting some areas to give them more dimensionality. Finally, I add sheer cheesecloth for an unexpected touch and use colored pencils to create some delicate color in the white petals. The paintings are sealed using a clear acrylic medium, and then two layers of acrylic varnish to protect the paper.
Dogwood One, mixed media on cradled panel, 12″ x 12″
Dogwood Two, mixed media on cradled panel, 12″ x 12″
Here’s a side shot to better see the raised texture of the paintings.
I fit in a couple of yoga classes while in Colorado for the holidays. This motivated me to start a new painting for my yoga inspired series which I began last year. I have four paintings completed so far and this will be the fifth. For this series, I start each painting by first picking out a Sanskrit word as my guide. This painting’s Sanskrit word is “Kirtan” which means a community gathering involving chanting, live music and meditation. After working out the composition in my sketchbook, I then did a quick value/color study. The next step was to paint a loose, watery background on a cradled panel to show the major color areas while also getting rid of that intimidating white!
With the basic color areas blocked in, it was time to hand-paint some paper for the collage elements. Using translucent sheets of deli paper and a Gelli Plate, I printed multiple layers of paint on top of each other using a brayer, stencils, scraping tools and more. I torn up these printed papers and moved them around until I was happy with the composition. Next, I glued all the papers down, painted over some areas and glued down even more papers. After some final fiddling, the painting was complete.
“Kirtan” (a community gathering involving chanting, live music and mediation), Mixed Media on cradled panel, 20″ x 16″, $600.
Paintings can be purchased at www.kathyfergusonart.com