New Work Reveal – Wonderland

I have been slowly adding to this piece over the last couple months. It went through some stages where I wasn’t really sure if I even liked it, but lo and behold, in the end I think it all turned out just fine :). I usually use only one or two shocking, bright colors in a piece at a time (with the exception of illustration/graphic design stuff when it calls for it) and never primaries like this, so I must admit the color scheme did freak me out a bit and I was sure for a moment that I’d made a terrible mistake. However, adding the dripping watercolor from the bottom to blend into the blurred figures in the background really tied it together. I wanted to use these “childlike” colors to reinforce the idea that we are seeing the environment through the eyes of the girl. This is also the reason why I made the drawn on windows on some of the buildings in the back simplified, and more “sketchy” and didn’t use a straight edge. This decision also greatly freaked me out at first. Apparently I don’t do a whole lot of “childlike” illustration. This was definitely something new, and it’s been a wild ride and I am pumped to move on to the next thing :). I really don’t know how some artists work on one piece for years, I’m always anxious to finish up and get on to the next big idea! I took in-progress photos this time, a first, and really must remember to do this more often.

WONDERLAND – 18×24 – COLORED PENCIL, INK, AND WATERCOLOR

Starting with the midtone shading of the skin ... I know I have mentioned before it's usually best to start with the background first. However, since I knew I wanted to do the background in ink, I reversed the process. Since primsacolor pencils are oil based, they provide a barrier so that the ink mess doesn't get all over the area where I want the figure. Sometimes you have to alter your process to best suit the materials, learned mostly through trial and error.

Starting with the midtone shading of the skin … I know I have mentioned before it’s usually best to start with the background first. However, since I knew I wanted to do the background in ink, I reversed the process. Since primsacolor pencils are oil based, they provide a barrier so that the ink mess doesn’t get all over the area where I want the figure. Sometimes you have to alter your process to best suit the materials. I’ve learned this mostly through trial and error.

Next on to the hair, and I did a little trial filling in the rabbits in color on her shirt ... still scared of the bright color!

Next on to the hair, and I also did a little trial of the color idea by filling in the rabbits on her shirt … still scared of the bright colors!

Decided to fill in black behind the pattern on her shirt to balance the dark areas in the composition, and also to "anchor" those darn rabbits to something! I also inked in the blurred figures rushing by in the background, softened the edges with water, bleeding the ink.

I decided to fill in black behind the pattern on her shirt to balance the dark areas in the composition, and also to “anchor” those darn rabbits to something! I also inked in the blurred figures rushing by in the background, softening the edges with water, bleeding the ink.

Added more color by putting a pattern on the lapel of her jacket, and began rendering the cityscape in the background in ink.

I added more color by putting a pattern on the lapel of her jacket, and began rendering the cityscape in the background in ink.

Buildings inked in!

Buildings inked in!

Further developed shading on the skin where needed to have harmony with the values of the background, dripped colorful watercolor up from the bottom of the composition, and chalked dark clouds over the background to recede it further back, and draw the eye to the figure. I believe it is now finished :).

Last, I further developed the shading on the skin where needed to have harmony with the values of the background, dripped colorful watercolor up from the bottom of the composition, and chalked dark clouds over the background to recede it further back, and draw the eye to the figure. I believe it is now finished :).

Back From Chicago With Amazing News!

My boyfriend and I spent the last 4 days in Chicago as a “Hooray, we don’t suck at relationships!” 3 year anniversary celebration trip. Though he’s been to Chicago far more often than I have, he had never seen The Bean so we had to rectify that immediately. It was a very educational trip – we went on a museum frenzy and probably absorbed 100x the daily recommended amount of visual stimuli. We lucked out that Rotofugi Gallery was having an opening for a show paying tribute to Tim Burton Friday night, and the night before we caught a theatrical, acrobatic rendition of “Through The Looking Glass” – it’s like they knew I was coming.

Next comes the good news part! That same Friday back in Midland, the “Piece By Piece” exhibit was debuting – one of the shows I was talking about getting ready for. I missed a call later that evening, and as I gave the voicemail a listen I was informed that I’d won Best 2D for my mixed media piece I’d entered, “The Dance”. The news was particularly exciting and surprising because this was a piece I’d struggled with. Like all mixed media works, the environment built literally “piece by piece” of book pages and fabric and thread and ink … it didn’t look too great when it was still in progress. About halfway through, the image just wasn’t coming out how I’d envisioned and I freaked out. I’d put way too much time into the project to abandon it, so I instead decided to step away for a couple of days, covering up the offender laying on my drafting table with a blank sheet of paper so that I wouldn’t even look at it. Once I decided to go back to work, I only added a tiny bit of alteration per day; I stepped back from the piece to see where it needed more texture for balance, where the colors in the background needed to be darkened, and where I needed to add more detail so parts of the piece didn’t look unfinished. Not abandoning “The Dance” paid off. What art actually looks awesome in the middle of the process, anyway? Although we expect it to, it’s impossible – it’s not yet finished! Even if you start completely despising a project, never send it straight to the bin on impulse. Walk away for a couple days and let it sit. Oftentimes you’ll come back with a fresh perspective and realize it’s not the mess you made it out to be.

“The Dance” is currently available as an 8×10 print and a numbered, limited edition ACEO print in my shop.

The view from the mirrored surface of the bean! No, my boyfriend is not imaginary. Though quite handsome I assure you, he does not like his photo being posted online, so you'll have to be content with this one of just me.

The view from the mirrored surface of the bean! No, my boyfriend is not imaginary. Though quite handsome I assure you, he does not like his photo being posted online, so you’ll have to be content with this one of just me.

From the Aquarium - I had no idea sea creatures like this even existed! Living things truly are moving, breathing sculptures - complete works of art.

From the Aquarium – I had no idea sea creatures like this even existed! Living things truly are moving, breathing sculptures – complete works of art.

The Dance, Awarded Best 2D; prismacolor pencil, ink, watercolor, fabric, book pages, embroidery thread

The Dance, Awarded Best 2D; prismacolor pencil, ink, watercolor, fabric, book pages, embroidery thread