16 November 2012

November 15: Family Project

I spent the better part of my free time yesterday working in support of a family project, instead of my own.
In this case, I am happy to be supporting a very worthy project, about to be launched.
Adding it up, I have spent at least four hours each week since the end of August helping my parents with digital graphics and technical advice, such as I can give.

Artwork for Vanishing Cincinnati Drawing Series by David and Barbara Day
My parents are artists. They have created a beautiful book which represents their careers as designers in business together and their favorite subject: their city, Cincinnati, Ohio. (If you've never been there, you are really missing out. Cincinnati has charm, culture, and multicultural history in abundance.)

My parents have a long standing relationship with the history, architecture, and cultural vibrance of their city. Their lives and work are inseparable from its visual culture. So much so, that the detailed drawings that are included in the forthcoming book are embedded with their passion, as much as with factual renderings of the city as it is, or as it was in memory.

So I am dedicating this post to my parents and their book, which is a celebration equivalent to a lifetime achievement award and testiment to family collaboration. I am also grateful to the many people who have given their time, energy, and resources to bring this book to life.

Vanishing Cincinnati, by David and Barbara Day will be officially released on December 1, 2012, published by Orange Frazer Press, Wilmington, OH.

You can see more of my parents' illustration work online here.
Book Cover Preliminary Drawing, Vanishing Cincinnati by David and Barbara Day

14 November 2012

November 14: Second Autumn

You know how Hobbits talk of having Second Breakfast in Lord of the Rings? Lately we seem to be having a Second Autumn here along the Chesapeake.

I thought that Hurricane Sandy would cause all the remaining leaves to blow away, but some trees held on. There were a lot of them still green at the end of October. This week I have observed stunning reds, yellows, and a few oranges where there was dull green last week. What a spectacular autumn we've had this year!

13 November 2012

November 13: Reindeer Games

Today I was itching to play with inks. Winter is coming and I wanted to see what gesso over ink could do for making snowy landscapes.
I pulled out a stack of glossy card stock and put down some inks. Then a layer of gesso. I took a pointed needle and scratched several sgraffito stars. I let it dry then stamped an evergreen tree with a hand-made stamp. I added the cocoa-colored reindeer last, an old stamp from All Night Media that I still love.
This experiment is not finished yet, but it seems like I might be on to something. Thinning the gesso leaves some colors visible.

12 November 2012

November 12: Variations on a Theme

My sketchbook class assignment is to take a thumbnail sketch I made a couple of weeks ago as the basis for further art. I made one replica in paint. Another one, I created as a negative space, using a mask to block the shapes from a background. Then I made one more using collage pieces from my gesture paintings.

11 November 2012

November 11: Air Mail

This is one of the paint wash + collage pieces that I am working on for my sketchbook class. I started with the 7x7 in. watercolor paper painted last week with an acrylic wash. I added the collage element from an envelope with canceled UK stamps. Then I drew the blue and red border design that reminds me of airmail packaging.

10 November 2012

November 10: In the Realm of Make-Believe

Today I went to the Faerie Con with my friends, a gathering of unconventional, artistic, and dramatic people. The theme, of course, is stories from the myths and legends, but there is a cross-over somewhere (no doubt by way of Victorian literature) to steampunk gadgetry and gears.

My entry today is a Steampunk Crow, that I made from a pattern by artist Molly Stanton. Molly teaches a great workshop. We started with a pile of black sculpy clay and findings. We ended with a 5" in long pendent in the fully-formed crow shape, feathers, beak, wings, and the mechanical gears and rivets that give him steampunk flavor. In just under 2 1/2 hours! Such a fun workshop.

Enjoyed my time in the realm of the fey immensely. I ended up deciding my half-formed costume could wait for a later debut in favor of my leaf-covered dress and a few bits of bling I have picked up at various shops.

09 November 2012

November 9: Into the Woods

Fabric painting on a shirt, part of a woodland sprite costume for Faerie Con tomorrow. I had already sewn faux ivy garlands on the sleeves.

08 November 2012

Big Gestures with a Silver Lining

Here is another cropped section from one of the November 4th Big Gesture paintings. This time, I added a single collage element and drew lots of black & silver lines to enhance the marks already on the page. Then I used a metallic silver paint pen to bring out even more of the design.

Who Lives Here?

Had to wait until morning to post, since the background had to dry before I could add the finishing touches.

The background is a cropped piece from one of my gesture paintings made the other day.

06 November 2012

November 6: Indoors and Outdoors

Watching election results while working on my assignments for my sketchbook class. I have cropped portions of my gesture painting from the weekend. Now I am adding line and color to them with different media.

Earlier, I took a series of photos featuring the crows who were very active in the trees along our walking trail.

04 November 2012

November 4: Big Gestures

Move over, Jackson Pollack. This evening I am working on a series of sketchbook assignments for my online class, taught by mixed media artist, Jane Davies. These are exercises, not finished products. In fact, when they dry, I get to cut them up and collage with them. I am having fun being an Abstract Expressionist in black & white.

03 November 2012

November 3: The Loot

It was a bustling day, and I was in motion much longer than I was sitting still. Shopping to do and preparations for an evening event in Baltimore.

My art today was all in the planning and details.

One accomplishment, though, was a shopping run to my favorite paper arts shop, The Queen's Ink in Savage Mill. I recently received a gift card there so I had made a date with myself to pick up some inks, odds, 'n ends to use my credit.

I am very grateful to the person who gave me this surprise gift as a way of saying thanks to me. I promise to share the art that I make with the loot.

02 November 2012

The air is wild with leaves

Today, I worked on a series of Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) and one tag. These incorporate inked backgrounds and/or die-cut leaves. I had a lot of fun experimenting, finding elements that complement the warm hues.

Sources: The leaves are the Tattered Leaves shapes in Tim Holtz's line, courtesy of my friend Maryanne who owns one of the fabulous Vagabond die-cutters. The raven comes from a die-cut set by Martha Stewart.

01 November 2012

November 1st: Embracing the Darkness and Finding a Light

Today I am starting a new series on this blog. I am participating in a month-long challenge sponsored by artist Leah Piken Kolidas her blog, Creative Every Day: it's called Art Every Day Month. So, each day of this month, I intend to make something: draw, paint, collage, scribble, photograph, cook, knit, or otherwise do something creative. (You can see the "rules" of this challenge posted by Leah here. And some of you will find that the challenge fits whatever creative acts you are doing already each day.) I'll try to post one image a day, depending on how my schedule is going.

For me, the goal is to document my work everyday, in order to keep track of all the various kinds of creativity I have brought into my life. I have made a space for art-making as daily practice, and now I'm challenging myself to record it and share it.

I hope you'll stop by to see where I am on my journey.
                            But, enough exposition, get to the art, runningwave.

Ancestors Walk Among Us by ~runningwave~
Today there was really no doubt that my theme would be inspired by the images of sugar skulls and mums common to the Latin American fiesta that begins November first, the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos). I became fascinated with this holiday seventeen years ago when I was in the midst of learning about my own Celtic ancestry. I discovered the amazing ways that ancient cultures of both Latin and Celtic countries revere ancestors at the time of the astronomical cross-quarter each autumn: the point at which the long nights begin to eat into the hours of daylight.

These celebrations are deeply spiritual in significance. It is a way of reconnecting to your genetic ancestors and your cultural ancestors. I can be difficult to see them in the Halloween celebration we grew up with, so you have to peel back the commercial layers and get at the point of why it is important to embrace the darkness, mystery, and ask for guidance from the souls who've been there before.

Dia de los Muertos altar in La Jolla, California by ~runningwave~
Artistically, Dia de los Muertos, is a true visual fiesta. I worked for Mexican folk art shop in Georgetown in the District for a while and became enamored of Mexican art, the vibrant, cheery colors and fluffy flower petals contrasting with the chalky skeletons and the tin-covered shrines. Now when I travel to California or the Southwestern states in the autumn, I keep my eyes peeled for these extravagant window displays with family portraits, flowers, candles, and skulls. There are always figurines, skeletons doing what live humans usually do. They intrigue me because, they are us. They were us. We will be them.

Darkness from which emerges light,
We thank you for the time to pause and remember.
Ancestors, walk among us and speak your truths.
Charge us to work towards a more humane and peaceful world.
We light a candle in all your names,
Foremothers, Forefathers, Friends.
Call to us. Transform us.
Be here now.
Blessed be.

--runningwave, October 2001

Sources for art journal page above:  Skull stencil from TheCraftersWorkshop.com; sugar skull and mum rubber stamps from Papersource; Distress inks, and Memento dye ink, colored pens and gel ink.