Sunday, December 28, 2014

Studio Sunday

Welcome to Sunday!  Because this is the weekend between Christmas and New Years, I'm kind of all over the place here in the studio.  I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday with family and friends and you are taking a much needed break before 2015 rolls in!


This weekend I was busy cutting more stencils and experimenting with them on paper.  I'm thrilled with the Tim Holtz Distress Stain Sprays.  They are so beautiful and then using some of the Distress Inks with them, the colors are fantastic.  This section above is what I started with to create the two designs below.  This process is so much fun and I continue to amaze myself with the all over designs that can be achieved by using a section of the paper results.


On this design below, I just repeated a block without rotating it and I could see these blocks alternated with solids or another similar pattern for a quilt top.  I'll have to explore this further.  The more and more I consider these as fabrics, the closer I get to actually ordering the fabric to play with.  My fingers are itching to get back to playing with fabric and stitch so it is just a matter of time!


This design below is incredibly YUMMY!  I had experimented with a new repeat design which happens to be the background you see in the image above and created this design by layering, flipping and rotating the original laid on top of a gelli print I had done a while ago.  I'm going to go back in to see if I can position the layers so that the entire overall design looks like the blue and orange sections only.  Up close, this design would make you swoon! LOL


A new development this weekend was a chance to go to the CHA Tradeshow again with my friend Barbara (Joggles.com) in Anaheim, CA, January 9-13!  Talk about a spontaneous decision but the flights were affordable and it will be a well-needed super inspiring trip.  The Crafters and Hobbies Association Tradeshow is where all of the paper arts products (stamps, stencils, scrapbooking paper and supplies, Ranger, etc.) show new products for buyers.  I attended in 2012 with Barbara for the first time and it was incredible.  Shortly after that trip, we launched the Joggles stencil line with yours truly :)

I ran into so many artists there including Joanne Sharpe, Dina Wakley, Julie Fei Fan Balzer, Mary Beth Shaw, Pam Carriker and Rebekah Meier!  The most memorable artist sighting was Lisa Engelbrecht, who most recently passed away.  This was the show that I visited with Lisa, she remembered my name from way back at ArtFiberFest 2005, and she designed my name written in her  amazing style which I still have and will always cherish.  It is packed safely away but I think it might be time to take that out and frame it.  I still can't believe she is gone :(

It will be a fun trip as Barbara and I turn into brainstorming devils.  It's great for the soul and I'm in a big need of an inspiration injection!  I'm sure I will have lots to share!

Stay happy, healthy, and safe this New Years and check in next weekend for more design inspiration!

Margaret




Sunday, December 21, 2014

Perfect End to the Weekend


This is the best way to end the weekend! Lots of fun with a new personal stencil and Tim Holtz Distress Stain Sprays!  Love, love, love those colors!!!  




Now for Monday...


Studio Sunday


Happy Sunday!  I hope you are done and ready for Christmas!  I stayed up late wrapping last night after a long day playing and experimenting in the studio without much to show for it.  That's ok.  I will be on a better path today and will be pushing myself hard.


I started experimenting with some new textures that I made from spraying through one if my new stencils and putting it in repeat using Illustrator's pattern tool and I love these markings.  Nice and distressed!  I use the adjustment mode in Photoshop called Difference a lot because I love the intense look of the results.  This example above and the one below are using the same background with different patterns blended.


I don't know what the Difference adjustment was meant to do but the results are great and it creates a really good base version for jumping off into changes to hue and saturation and more blending.  This adjustment produces some very batik-looking designs and I think that is why I love it so much.  Whenever I venture to the fabric stores, I always check out the batik fabrics and sometimes buy fat quarters just for the inspiration. 


This design above was a patter I created yesterday while playing and it is layered on top of one of my gelli prints.  I desaturated the color so it looks less obnoxious!  There is a lot of distress going on in this one and it is less appealing because of that but I will still find a place to use it.

I'm totally missing my design wall.  I have a place to hang the shelves like I did in my loft but I'm really afraid to put more holes in the walls.  I may have to :(  Here, I have placed my foam core boards up against the largest window which is limiting my light (I also miss my big fluorescent light over my workspace.)  


I'm trying to organize a lot of the images that I have created and there is only so much room to hang them up.  This is only a tiny selection and right now I feel like I need to see everything big and clear to help me put my thoughts together.  Below is one more totally yummy layered and blended collage background I created from my printed papers.  I just want to eat this one up!!!  It will make a very cool addition to a collection for Surtex!


Back to work so I have a lot done to work with over next weekend which will be a nice long block of time to play!  

Enjoy your holiday, remember all the special moments with your family and friends and take pictures!  If the weather holds out, there will be a quick trip to Maine to spread some more cheer!!

Margaret

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Studio Sunday


Contemplating how to draw.  This is the biggest question I am asking myself right now (other than have I finished all my Christmas shopping)!  LOL  It's not a question of learning how to draw because I have proven to myself on numerous occasions that I am capable of actually drawing/sketching.  This was a sketch that I had done while taking an on-line drawing class with Misty Mawn back a few years ago.  


So the question I am asking myself is how do I want to draw?  How do I want the look and feel of my drawings to appear?  It's not a question of drawing everyday and eventually getting better and possibly developing a drawing style.  It is thinking way too much ahead of the process to draw with intention a specific style that I want to portray.  I guess it's like forcing myself into a style that I want to adopt before I even practice that style to see if it works for me.  It's crazy, I know.  I have a bad habit of trying to anticipate the end result so I can eliminate anything that doesn't apply in the build process.  This is because of my database building experience. LOL


So I frequently find myself in the bookstore looking at the art and drawing books trying to find an example of how I want to intentionally draw.  This week, I finally found a book that I could reference with various styles of drawing.  I love fashion but I will never be a fashion designer.  In this book I purchased, Illustration Now Fashion by Julius Weidemann, there are a number of examples of illustration styles that really intrigued me.


One technique is illustrating with black ink and adding watercolor in areas but not all over.  Obviously, this is my first pass at this but I can see the potential from it.  The style that I am not trying to replicate is realism.  Sometimes I begin to draw realistically like in the swans above, but that is not my aim.  I want to achieve more of a mysterious look.  A style that shows you lines and color without completely defining the image itself but providing enough of an inference that it is clear what that image is or what it portrays.  Something more minimalist.


Hand-drawn images are trending right now but I find that some look like they were drawn by 5-year-olds.  That is definitely not my goal.  This week I will continue going through my new book and experimenting with different styles hoping to find a comfortable place that I can continue to develop.  In the meantime, I'm loving the texture created from my designs cut as stencils and applied with Tim Holtz Distress Stains and the rough-around-the-edges look.



This last image is my attempt to draw a horse that I could use in a collection I am thinking about.  Of course, the image looks to realistic for me LOL and I'm going back to the drawing board on that one!  I give myself a B for effort but that one is going in the drawings box under the desk.


I hope you are all enjoying your weekend and you are taking extra time to relax between all the holiday stuff!  11 days left!  Ugh  :)

Margaret



Sunday, December 7, 2014

Studio Sunday

Happy Holidays!  Well, between on-line shopping and one full day at the stores, I think I am done!  Now I can get back to business LOL.  More than once I have mentioned that I am not a "doodler" by nature and that is my biggest challenge as a surface pattern designer.  I don't consider the lack of the skill a detriment to my designing, however, the more techniques you have that you can add to the toolbox, the more diversified your designs can be.


I definitely want to break out of this box but it is more challenging for me than people may see.  The other major challenge for me as a surface pattern designer is my complete lack of interest in designing for holidays.  Some artists love to design for Christmas, Easter, Halloween, etc., but not me.  No cute icons; bunnies in baskets, toys and stockings, monsters and costumes.  A part of that is that the color combinations don't inspire me.  Black and orange is not really my thing and every time I see purple and yellow, I think Easter.  


So where am I going with this?  Well, I'm kind of kicking myself in the rear here to get my pencils going, to stretch a little and explore the mark making.  My strength is working with shapes as you can see from the designs above.  When I was challenged to make holiday designs, this is what I came up with.  I was thinking recycled kraft paper backgrounds with simple shapes to create a feeling of the season through color.  (Yes, I did doodle the tree at the top and thought it definitely worked well for this purpose.)
  

Somewhere I need to find a balance in the creation of shape with just enough detail to change the designs up a little.  I'm still finding where that place is for me and how it might change or modify my current design style.


Of course I will continue exploring shape to build patterns and create design elements and ornamentation as it is truly my nature.  I would buy the wrapping paper below, would you?  



I think some of the time I compare my style to others who do have the more illustrative background and who do it really well which is unrealistic because our styles are so different.  It just makes me think I need to incorporate more of that look and feel into my own work.  I did stretch a little below to create my partridge in a pear tree.  But again, its a simple, low detail look which can work in a lot of areas as well.


So off the holiday designs and back to the fun stuff!  Since shopping took over the day yesterday, I haven't done anything in the studio so thought I would just share some more designs I've created.  The design below has a gradient background and there has been some digital manipulation of the texture inside of the image shapes but when you look at this up close, it is such a dreamy design.  It doesn't currently have a home in a collection but is ripe for a jumping off point.


The same with this design below.  I really want to print this up but want to work some more on the repeat as it seems quite boring.  When you see this one up close, it has a very batik look to it and I love the way the blending modes are working for me here.  The icon itself has 3 pieces to it which are all working together to create the look.  Yummy!



This set below is part of a collection I created that I will be possibly re-working for May.  I've been looking at trends for 2016 and it seems that the boho look will morph into a more gypsy-like look so I have been thinking of ways already to build new imagery and patterns into an existing collection to really expand it and create a more interesting collection.  I'll share more on that as I work on it.


So there we are!  I'll be digging into gypsy today and forcing some pen to paper activities so stay tuned for some reveal next week!  Have a fabulous weekend and I hope you can get all of your holiday shopping completed so you can get back to your studios for more creative fun!!!

Margaret