Thursday, January 23, 2014

Owls...New Mizzle Friends part 2

At the beginning of the school year, students were watching me work on the "Rock Concert."

 They really loved how I was taking the scrapbook paper and creating layers.  Since they were showing such a huge interest in my technique, I thought it might be fun to create a lesson where they worked in the same style.  My students are illustrating a Greek or Roman myth.  They seem to like the assignment, but are having a little bit of trouble understanding the layering concept.  So, I decided to make another version of the owl painting, but to work in the steps that my students will be working in.  This meant working in a planed approach, which is not my usual habit.  Also, I knew I was going to be doing a live demo painting at the Orange County Creatives Gallery, so this piece worked as a great sample for my students and a great in progress piece to finish at the gallery.

Normally, I collage the background and scenery first.  Then add the characters.

Here I began by drawing the entire scene onto tracing paper.  Then I traced my lines with marker (I used orange, but it doesn't matter.) 

Then I used graphite to cover the marker lines on the back of the tracing paper.  I did this so I could transfer parts of my drawing to the scrapbooking papers.

I began by working from the background to the foreground, which is my sky and ground. The scrapbooking paper comes in 12x12, so when working on larger paper you need to be careful about where you place the line created by two pieces of paper.  I tell my students not to put it in the center, but to put it off towards the side and to try to place it where other parts of your art work will cover it.  In this case, I will have a tree and Larry mizzle covering most of the line.

Then I added the road.  Even though my characters are covering parts of the road in my drawing, I cut it out of the paper whole.  This adds to creating depth with the natural layering of the paper.
When collaging, you have to be careful about the colors and textures you choose.  I had a few choices that I liked for the bark of the trees.
option 1: a wood textured paper
with a light and dark green
Option 2: a lighter version of the ground
Option 4: a greenish brown

Option 3: cream colored texture

I really liked option 3 because later I will be adding shadows and details with watercolor.  I felt if I went with a darker paper, the trees might be too dark for the painting.

I traced the drawing over the chosen papers and began cutting them out. Here are photos of the trees and characters drawn and then cut out.

The squirrel is drawn behind the tree, so I drew it whole and cut it out.  I cut slits on the sides of the arm and tail so it could snuggly wrap around the tree.

Normally when I glue the pieces together I use a heavy book to apply pressure and bond the papers together.

But at my painting demo, I used a brayer to flatten and apply pressure to each individual piece.

Once all of the pieces are glued down, then I begin painting with watercolor.

I didn't get to finish the painting at the painting demo, but I've been working on it this week.  It's almost done.

Here are some photos Orange County Creatives took of my painting demo at the gallery last Sunday.  Life-size Larry came with me.  My best friend, Lydia, made him his wonderful bathing suit! 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Owls...New Mizzle Friends

As an artist it is really important to showcase your work as often as possible.  For the past 2 years, I've been showing my work at one night events every few months.  Last December, I displayed my work at the Santa Ana Art walk with Orange County Creatives.  I never know what to expect.  Each event is so different from the other because of various factors like weather, combination of artists showing, the personalities of the friends and family who come to show their support for those artists, etc.  This last event was not my best one, but it was still beneficial.  A woman had seen my work at this art walk and loved my mixed media work.  She has commissioned me to create a mixed media piece for her that included a forest, my characters, and owls. 

I immediately began researching images of various owls trying to find "the right one" to become friends with the Mizzles.  But I ran into a problem... I loved them all.  As I began doing various sketches of owls, I began wondering why I haven't drawn owls before.  I mean, my mom absolutely loves owls and for some reason I have never created any owl themed art work for her. That is about to change.  2013 welcomed the Mermizzles.  2014 looks like it is going to be year of the owl, although, it might still be too early to determine this year's theme.

Here are a few of the sketches I did of owls:

So, back to the commission...  I fell in love with a few of the owls I drew and decided to include them into the mixed media piece. I've had a lot of fun putting this together.  Here are a few pictures of it in progress.  Usually, when I begin a mixed media pieces I create a background first with layers of scrapbooking paper.  At this point, I don't usually have a plan.  I like the feeling I have as I allow the art work to happen and grow on its own.  The downside to this "organic" way of creating is that all of the scenes always have a simple horizon line; there is no linear perspective.  Once my background is ready, I lay tracing paper over it and being drawing in my characters. The characters are then transferred to a watercolor paper, where I begin to paint them. Sometimes I wait until they are glued to the art work before I paint them, but I tend to run into the problem of glue drying on the surface and creating these white spots as I paint.  I always think I'm being extra careful, but I always manage to get the glue on the surface.

Here is the final result:

I took it to the Huntington Beach Art League meeting last week and entered it into the mixed media category.  It won an honorable mention. 

I loved working on this painting that I began working on a second version before this one was complete.  I'll be talking about the process of the new painting in my next post.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Being Remembered

"My hope is to leave the world better by my having been there."  -Jim Henson

This quote has always been one of my favorites.  It is something I'd like to think that I've been successful at maintaining; living a life that makes the world (even if it is my tiny, small part) a much better place.  I try to be someone who is caring, kind, respectful, dependable, and loyal.  I try my best to be a friend that will always be there when I'm needed.  I try to be the big sister, and loving daughter who is willing to go out of her way to make things easier for her loved ones.  I try to be giving and help those in need.  I'm currently working on the forgiving part... none of us are perfect.

Part of the drawing I did this week. 
Final is below
I think my ultimate goal in life is to do what I can to make sure the people who are in my life know that I cared about them.

Earlier this week, I learned that one of my students passed away.  He was in a tragic car accident.  Sadly, this student kept to himself.  He didn't talk to any of the other students in class, and barely spoke to me.  My last memory of him was our conversation before winter break about using that time to get caught up on assignments he fell behind on.  He seemed optimistic and thanked me before he left.  I didn't really know much about him.  Regardless of that fact, I was still saddened by the news.  I thought I was ready to deal with the reactions of the students when we returned from our break, but I was wrong.

Close-up of part of the drawing below
Monday was our first day back from winter break.  It was the first school day of 2014.  Students came in to class full of energy and stories.  Teachers were asked to read a script to relay information to the students about the tragedy and to provide support if they needed it.  But I was completely shocked when my class wasn't phased by the news.  They picked up their previous conversations as if I had not made an announcement at all.  Not what I was expecting.  I think I was even more shocked later that day when the class he was in didn't mention anything about the announcement.  I honestly think they are unaware he was in that class.  I'm sure they didn't even know his name.  This seemed to depress me.  It just felt so wrong to me that there was no reaction. 

I spoke with my friend and colleague and she told me that a lot of her students talked about him and remembered him.  She saw the reaction I had thought I'd see.  It made me feel a little better knowing there were some people on campus who missed him. 

But this whole experience made me think about what we leave behind.  The only important things we leave behind are the memories of who we were to others. What kind of memories will you leave behind?  How will you be remembered?

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." -Maya Angelou
I couldn't really shake the feeling and I ended up putting this together.