Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Christmas Card Tutorial From ImaginaryTrips.com!!

Back in 2011, I did a "Christmas In July" eClass in the hopes that I'd be ready for the holidays before December 23rd…it didn't work. All I can say is that I had my cards ready!

I've decided to share how I painted a cat face for my Christmas card from that class as a thank you to the many wonderful artists that have passed through ImaginaryTrips.com as well as for those of you who may wonder about the class set up and what's included in a trip.

Below is the video demonstration and pdf handout from the class. Obviously, we don't have a private class blog to post our work to, but I think this gives you an idea of what the classes are like.

This could be used any time you wanted to paint a cat face (rather than just during the holidays) and there are ideas at the end of the video on how to make this even more Christmasy.

I hope you will find time during this crazy-busy time of year to add or keep some art in your life. I know for me, art helps to ground me when things get absolutely nutty.

Please enjoy and let me know what you think!

Merry Christmas!

The assignment can be found here. 

*Below, are a few technical details that might not have been covered in the video:

  • I am working on Arches 140 lb. CP paper torn down to 5.5 x 7.5 inches. 
  • The ImaginaryTrips.com supply list can be found here though you do not have to use my palette to create this type of image. 
  • Uniball Signo white pens still remain the best on the market two years later! Google the name to find a supplier. 
  • The tracing paper is generic in brand and any will do. 
  • You can click on the four arrow icon at the bottom of the video, on the right, to enlarge the video to a full screen.
  • The type was added after the image was scanned.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Two Kittens and A Naked Tree

Two Kittens and A Naked Tree
Watercolor and Ink
Stillman and Birn Bound Beta Journal
5.5 x 8.5 inches
Most of you who read the blog now know that Chris and I have been acquired by two kittens and it has had a definite impact on our lives.

One of things we wondered about was how the kittens and a Christmas tree would get along together.

This past Sunday, we put the tree up, sans ornaments, for a trial run.

As we pulled the various parts out of the box, the kittens came to investigate. Before long Moby was running around jumping in and out of the boxes, attacking anything that moved, nibbling on "branches" and in general, getting under foot and in the way.

Willis was a little more reserved and sat back to observe before deciding it was okay to launch herself into the boxes and give everything the "sniff test of approval."

But Willis couldn't outdone by that young upstart (Moby) and quickly decided she needed to be in the thick of things as well.

This, of course, lead to much chasing and smacking and attacking—in short, they had a blast.

And in case you're wondering about Joey, he was all the way on the other side of the room, tucked up safe and sound in his bed away from the bedlam.

The tree stood unmolested for just over 24 hours before we watched Willis climb up into the tree.

Willis in the tree

We had hoped. (Yes, we were in denial.)

This left a frustrated Moby on the ground going into attack mode. She'd swipe at any part of Willis she could reach and it became quite the game of seek and attack.

With Moby on the attack, Willis climbed higher to get out of her reach. So far, she's reach the middle of the tree, about three feet from the ground.

And that really frustrated Moby!

What's a kitten to do but figure out how to get her furry behind up in the tree?

Moby hanging out in the tree
And so she did.

More sighing.

Before the night was over, I watched Moby run around the end of the love seat and straight at the tree (another six or seven feet) before she launched into the bottom of the tree without ever breaking stride or slowing down. Just like there was nothing to it…


In a little over 48 hours of the tree going up, we went to two kittens in a tree!

Updated Page and Tree
I decided to update the page to reflect the triumph of both kittens and to add the tail at the bottom of the page. 

I used a piece of scrap paper to create the sign and then glued it down. I used a white Uniball Signo pen to add the lettering and "string" to hold the sign on the tree. 

What I don't think we'll be changing is the "naked" part. 

I just don't see the tree being decorated this year. 

All those swing babbles…

I can just see disaster looming...

Yeah…not happening!

And Happy 21st Anniversary to my honey!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Evolution of a Sketch Into A Blog Header

Raw Ideas Scribbled in my Junk Journal
I like to change out the blog header during the holidays and this year is no different. For whatever reason, I seem to have snowmen on the brain and that's where I started looking for ideas for this year's header.

I grabbed my junk journal* with black pen** and started sketching lots of faces, hats and scarves in an attempt to capture what I could see in my head. This last page shows where I switched to pencil as I felt I was getting close to what I wanted.

*A Junk Journal in a journal of inexpensive paper that doesn't hold up to washes or even heavy marker work. The reason for this is so that I can play in complete safety and explore ideas without worrying that I'm going to "ruin" good paper.

**I use pen so that I can just put ideas down and not get caught up in refining the sketch too early. This is a brainstorming session. The refining will come later.

As I looked at the long scarf, I realized it wasn't a long hat I was looking for but a scarf!
Refined Sketch, Junk Journal
You can't tell from looking at the sketch, but there was lots of erasing and redrawing until I came up with what I was looking for.

Rather than work out my color scheme in the junk journal, I scanned the page and worked it out on a page I printed off. This allows me more flexibility if I ever decide to use this particular sketch again.

I then redrew the sketch on a piece of watercolor paper and got busy with my brush…and totally forgot to take photos! Oops!
Lefty the Snowman
I had a near disaster at the very beginning of the painting process: I used a salt that did not absorb the color I used in the background! I've never had this to happen in all the years I've used salt. Instead of robbing color, the pigment settled in around the granules creating dark spots.
Righty the Snowman
Since I really didn't want to start over, I decided to add snow with acrylic paint at the very end of the process. All of the "snow" collecting on the hats and floating around is from a white acrylic Sharpie® Poster Paint marker. Sadly, I don't believe this marker is made any longer.
The heart represents the love we're all entwined in and the tangles we often experience during the holidays (well, really it's all year long, but it seems to amplify during the holidays).

Since I came up with a number of ideas on the other brainstorming pages in my junk journal, I'm hoping to create more than one header this year. We'll see if I can scrape together the time!

I strongly encourage folks in the ImaginaryTrip.com classes to get a junk journal because they're awesome for playing, exploring new ideas and on occasion, failing without having it show up in a regular journal. When we have no fear of failing, we are far more likely to play.

Using a pen keeps us from getting mired down in the need to "make it perfect" when we're exploring ideas.

With the new header up, I can now say my holidays have officially started!

How about you? What starts your holidays?