Thursday, May 15, 2014


I've written a feature on horsehair bracelets that I planned to post yesterday, but due to multiple technical problems; i.e., a computer Charlie Foxtrot, I didn't get that sorted out with pictures and all--the details are tedious so I'll spare you. You can look forward to horsehair bracelets (if such a thing floats your boat) in the near future. Perhaps.

Today I'll post a few owl-themed works I've created over the past few years. Owls seem to have enjoyed quite a bit of popularity in the craft scene--I think owls may be on the way out, as elephants were a few years ago. What is the next hot animal trend? I've seen quite a few sloth and hedgehog memes--a little more outre´, perhaps. Cats are always popular, have been and will be--but I don't need to dedicate a particular post to them.

Today's color link:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

More on Color

Today I found some images from a 271 year-old 
Encyclopedia of Color and Watercolor Paint. (Traité des couleurs servant à la peinture à l’eau)

This past weekend I attended the Maryland Sheep and Wool  Festival. There were so many beautiful hand-painted/hand-dyed skeins of yarn of all types--merino, cashmere, alpaca, blends--you name it. It's probably a good thing that I don't knit. I wouldn't have been able to control myself.  I do some crochet but I have a lot of yarn I am planning to use for the throw that I started a year and a half ago. I haven't worked on it since the end of 2012.

If there had been some felt for sale I probably would have indulged. There was, but I already have quite a stash and there was nothing that stood out. But I love to look. Here's a felt brooch I made some time ago and gave to a friend. I embellished it with a tail feather from my African Grey parrot The felt is a very thick type made in Nepal. It's a dream to work with.

I did buy a table top loom I had looked at last year. I still wanted it so I decided to buy it. Since my studio is still all clean and orderly I figured I was allowed. I haven't started to mess with it yet. I need to string the warp threads. I didn't even know which was the warp and which was the woof. But I have no problem diving into something I know nothing about. It doesn't always work out but I'm always up for novelty.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Reworked Paintings

I reworked some of my paintings and collaged a couple of pieces I did on gessoed muslin. It's quite satisfying when I'm inspired to go back to something or figure out how to incorporate into a larger separate work I've already done. I love birds so I have three here--a parrot, a pileated woodpecker, and I forget what the other bird was supposed to be. I really like how the pileated woodpecker turned out. I had left this one for a few years. I had done it in Derwent Inktense watercolor pencils. They are water-soluble but they just don't give you the saturated color of regular water colors. I didn't like the faded look. The outlines I made to create the figures showed in a way I didn't like. So I used tube watercolors and Luminarte iridescent watercolors and acrylics. I have a boxful of different brands of tube paint. I love the Luminarte paints. I didn't like some of the elements in this piece so I covered them with a few coats of Daniel Smith Watercolor Ground. This stuff is one of my favorite art supplies. It has added a lot of flexibility in the way I can work. Then I just painted over the ground. It has some texture but that is fine by me--probably wouldn't work if it did. If you use it on metal you should sand the surface and rough it up a bit.

I painted this bird on gessoed muslin (before I discovered the Watercolor Ground). It's a fantasy representation of an actual species but now I can't find what it was--pretty sure it was a tropical species. The pinkish paper is beautiful--the surface and color are lovely and the paper has some weight and heft to it. The dye job is superb. I got this from Pulparazzi on etsy in 2012. Wow, somehow I thought I got it a few months ago. My idea of time is rather warped. It looks like she is focusing more on paper goods at present, rather than handmade. She used to have a lot more colors of paper available.

The parrot piece is done is the same sort of media and process.

This is my bird with her colors reversed. It turns out a red version of the African Grey has been selected for and bred. I am not surprised--breeders are always selecting for bizarre and exaggerated traits to create a new version of an animal, whether a dog, cat, horse, or in this case, parrot.

OK I am tired of writing and I am sure most people are bored to death reading about the minutiae of my process!

Cat and birds on wood with paper collage