Thursday, November 01, 2012

Finding Focus

I started craft amor because I wanted a place to capture all the different projects I was working on. I've always had trouble focusing on a particular type of art. I use the word "trouble" but I don't think there is anything wrong with this. Creativity is a fun and strange beast, and I my unofficial philosophy for a long time has been, "I want to do it all."

The I want to do it all philosophy has been wonderful from a creativity standpoint but occasionally does cause me life anxiety.  When I look out into my future I know on some level I can only get so good with such a broad strokes. Doing it all means never getting really good at one thing. But even knowing that, I still couldn't help but think, "What if" and then run off in whatever direction that particular idea took me. I didn't want to have to give that up. It's just too fun.

But then something recently in life happened and the result has been surprising.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012



I like to name my pieces. Even the little owls often have names.

With Sarah, she isn't perfect but she's an excellent start to a style I'm exploring. It's a mix of papermaking, collage, and faces. I have a long way from being where I want to be, but like I said. A solid start.

And now that I've finished the first one, I need to review a few DVDs to strengthen my technique. Clearly I'm far off from being a great portrait artist. But through constant practice, I can feel myself getting better. (yay!)

DVDs I need to review:
Jean Pederson's Wet Glazing:
Jean Pederson is a watercolor artist but she approaches the face like I'd like to with a series of washes. Also it's be good for me to see her draw a face.

Anne Bagby's The Grunge Book
Anne Bagby's third DVD is very different from her previous two. The third one isn't technique focused but rather project focused. But one things I really like about it is you see her draw a complete face. We edited very little out of the process for people who really wanted to see her put down every line. I'm ready to watch her put down every line. Drawing can feel like magic, but someone had to sculpt that face. With Anne Bagby, I can see her actually do it.

Lessons to Learn:
I should start with larger pieces of hair for the under layer. Large swaths read better.

I also need to glue down the bottom ones and work up. It feels better to have the top layers overlapping the bottom layers. That wasn't painfully clear until part way through the process.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


I'm working on faces, and so far I've been trying to do at least 15 minutes a day (a la Anne Bagby.) I'm not yet where I want to be but oh how you can see progress if you work consistently.

Yes, I have a long ways to go, but it's fun to start playing with facial planes (so much learning to do) and pattern. I'm trying to incorporate fun elements into the more potentially frustrating elements. For example, I really need to keep working on the drawing and the painting of the face. That is fun but I have to fight through my own emotions about my current ability.

Pattern on the other hand is completely fun. There is no judgment. If I mess up I don't take it personally or as a verdict on my potential. So as I move forward with faces I'm trying to do both.

This is headband girl. I haven't named her yet beyond that. I'm glad that I started to try and add depth to her face instead of a flat face. This is one of those parts that really forces me through my own anxieties about learning to paint. As with most of the art I do, it's all in the value range of 1-4, but that is something that will get easier as I become more confident.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Bouquet Attempt 1

I'm working on learning to paint three main themes: Owls, portraits, and flowers.

The learning curve on all of them is pretty steep, but I'm slowly crawling my way up it.

I ended up destroying this painting. I really liked the image I have above the jump. Unfortunately, I knew it wasn't finished if it had no background. I liked the shape of the bouquet. I learned to put down greens first in former projects and I felt like the greens with red flowers was a success. Darn the background.

Monday, October 01, 2012


Golden recently discontinued it's glazing line.

"What glazing line?" is what you might be asking. Exactly. And you're not alone.  I didn't know about Glazing until Anne Bagby's first DVD, Paper, Pattern & Glazing. Unless I was at a fine art store, no one I talked to at hobby stores (even the ones selling Golden products) had ever heard of glazing liquids.

But glazing liquids are amazing! And as I get to know my own process of working more and more, I've decided that I want to use the handy chart Golden supplied ( and make some of my own. Anne Bagby uses Aslphaltum. It's a warm glaze.

I might also try Slate, Sea Foam Green, and Yellow Ochre. Or I might take already transparent colors that I love and mix up a bottle of them with a bit more transparency.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekend Lessons

This series will help me track what I'm learning and where I want to direct those lessons next.

Jane Davies DVD is out in just a few short weeks (you can PreOrder it right now and save $5)

Jane Davies does some neat things with stamps, and it's a good reminder for me to pull mine out and get creative.

I know I have a mental block against using stamps with acrylic paint. Stamps are expensive. They need to be cleaned immediately after use. It feels like I'm wasting paint when I use them. Small ones require a lot of STAMPING.

But in light of all of these reasons to be hesitant, I've been holding onto stamps for 10 years now and have never used them in card making. I'm not going to ruin them from a higher purpose. Time to get them dirty and see what they can do. (Note to self: Stop being so precious about your art tools!)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Jane Davies' Scribble Collage

One of the best parts of my job at Creative Catalyst Productions is meeting working artists. Art doesn't just happen. A beautiful piece is the result of hundreds and hundreds of hours of thought and work. Meeting the brains and passion behind that hard work is inspiring each and every time.

And for that reason there is a special place in my heart when we release a new DVD. We take months on our projects. We aren't a bring-them-in-spit-them-out operation. We take months before we shoot getting to know the artist. We spend an intense few days shooting the video and then we spend months putting the project together in post production. It's a labor of love. And it's so exciting to be able to share that love with fellow artists.

So welcome to the world Jane Davies', Scribble Collage with Hand-Painted Paper. We cannot wait for what you have to share!

Friday, April 06, 2012

Robin the Felt Bird

Besides the really great, positive working environment, my new part time job comes with a serious perk: Industrial toilet paper rolls. I am a fan of the regular house hold type of toilet paper roll. And eventually, someday, when I get my act together, this blog may see some of the creations based on the mighty little roll. But what we also might start seeing here are the creations based on the mighty giant roll. It's the secret inside every public highway restroom ever. And I have a key!

Side note: My husband really likes this bird. Some day he's going to wake up and see a whole row of them below his side of the bed looking up at him. Werner Herzog would not be impressed.

Also, maybe we've just landed in our version of the urban chicken.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Latest Blog over at Creative Catalyst: Polly Hammett

Here's my most recent post over at Creative Catalyst Production's blog:  Thumbnail to Final Collage: Lessons from Polly Hammett's DVD.

I've spent the last few weeks working through Polly Hammett's DVD, Design with the Figure. I love figures but I don't really paint them. I also don't use watercolor. That said, I learn so much from Hammett's DVD workshop that I know I will refer to it again and again. Good artists have a lot to teach no matter if their style is different than ours. Surprising? OK so not really.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Small Victories

To me, this image represents a successful night. When it comes to art, I've had a game plan for months. Months that have been eaten live by new jobs, old jobs, and newborn babies. (Not mine :) And the truth of the matter is that art has to happen with life. We all wish we could hit the pause button, run off, paint for five hours, and then come back and hit play again. But we can't.

I just started a new part time job. It's fantastic. The people are great, the volunteers are great, the mission is great. I come home and fall into a pile on the floor. I fight off the urge to eat ALL THE COOKIES before crumbling into bed. On my to-do list I had, "Start new job. Refurbish etsy shop." I had these two back to back like in that reality I require no adjustment period, and I'm magically more productive than I've ever been.

Lesson learned...again...and again...and again.

But I'm not beating myself up. Instead I'm making new lists and creating new adjusted plans where I realize that my art progress will be a bit slower while I ease into new responsibilities and a new schedule. But that's why one of the reasons learning to paint is so great...we're forced to learn more than just pigment and paper. We're forced to learn to give ourselves a break and feel victory in our first night of hands covered in paint.

(Note: These papers are done in the Anne Bagby style I learned from her second Creative Catalyst Productions collage DVD workshop, Pattern & Form: Advanced Collage Techniques.)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Blogger: Creative Catalyst

Want to witness a battle of light vs dark? Check out my value studies post at the Creative Catalyst Productions blog.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sam's Love Glasses

I love Valentine's Day. Actually that is untrue. I love the time after New Years leading up to Valentine's Day. I have trouble with the actual day itself BUT all the days leading up to it can be filled with an abundance of cuteness: pink, white, or red. Deeelightful.

Sam (to the left) he loves it too!