Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, December 27, 205

"When art critics get together they talk about Form and Structure and Meaning. When artists get together they talk about where you can buy cheap turpentine." -- Pablo Picasso

Saturday, December 26, 2015

All Work, No Play? Why Goofing Off is Good for You

The day after Christmas is a good day to just chill out, and that's precisely what I did today. After all the frantic preparations, shopping for gifts, cleaning the house, preparing Christmas dinner, coping with torrential rains and violent storms and dodging tornadoes as well as toppling trees, it was so wonderful to just sit and do absolutely nothing. Oh sure, there are a million things on the agenda yet to tackle, but today was truly a day of blessed rest! Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves preparing for the holidays that we forget to reserve time for ourselves to "recharge." I plead guilty on all counts. Now that I've spent all day doing nothing at all, and feeling restored and refreshed as a result, I see this is a gift I should give myself more often.

Of course I did spend time in the studio, but instead of working on a project I "should" tackle, I chose to just play with some transparent fluid acrylics. With nothing more purposeful in mind than observing how the colors would interact, I splashed pigment onto 8x8" gessoed watercolor paper, pushed it around, added some lines and marks, then added more lines and marks with inks and brightly colored Sharpies. It probably won't ever hang in the Louvre, but this "playtime" experiment actually yielded some exciting ideas for a future series. This happened without needing to consciously think about anything, plan it or do any analyses. the lightbulb moments just seemed to come out of nowhere. My motto for 2016? Work less, play more. A lot more! It goes to show goofing off is truly GOOD for you!

©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, December 20, 2015

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us." -- Joseph Campbell

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Escaping the Holiday Hassle

Christmas is less than a week away. Yikes! The to-do list seems to grow longer as the countdown gets shorter........and I have come to the conclusion that much of the attendant stress is of my own making. As usual, this year I decided to make some gifts while purchasing others. But I had other projects on my plate to finish first. So what happened? I found myself running around in circles, trying to find gifts for this person and that person, all the while trying to get sufficiently organized to start on the gifts I was convinced I needed to make.

I do this to myself every year. You'd think I'd learn.

Actually, I did learn something this year about minimizing the holiday chaos: I discovered that it's possible to have a magnificent Thanksgiving dinner without cooking. (And without being a guest at someone else's table.) I discovered I could order up a complete holiday meal, including an honest to goodness whole turkey, from Publix, our local grocery store. Everything was cooked and prepared by Publix. All I had to do was go pick it up the day before Thanksgiving, heat it up on Thanksgiving Day, and place it on the table. No muss, no fuss, no bother. And no, I am not getting paid or compensated in any way to say this. I'm simply recounting my positive experience.

If you think our meal was probably less than stellar, you'd be dead wrong. It was DELICIOUS! Better, even, than anything I could cook myself. The "hardest" aspect of preparing it was removing the wrapper from the turkey so it could be heated in the oven. The rest of the meal -- cranberry orange relish, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing and a decadent ambrosia-type dish -- was equally yummy. I confess I did make one extra vegetable dish for the occasion in order to uphold a family tradition. But that was the only dish I prepared myself.

Ordering the dinner from Publix freed me up to enjoy Thanksgiving as never before. It eliminated the hassles of all that shopping, chopping, peeling, dicing and slaving over a hot stove. It was my Get Out of Jail Free card.

So -- surprise! -- we're having the very same holiday dinner at Christmas. I've already placed my order. In fact, I can declare emphatically that I have cooked my last holiday meal. Having Publix prepare them is the only way to go. Now, if I could just find a way to get my act together when it comes to those Christmas gifts!

©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, December 13, 2015

"Whether we commune with Nature with unspoken intuition or informed knowledge, we remain humble to the sacredness of our reverential covenant and relationship with Her. This form of transcendent wisdom cannot be gained in gardening books or at nurseries. It is gained on one's brown-stained knees or in the still observation of a subtle shift of energy in the air, within the soil or drop of rain, or emitted by an insect, rock or plant." -- Tricia Clark-McDowell

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Lighting Up Thanksgiving -- An Update

Well, it has taken a whole lot longer than Hubs and I originally anticipated, but we've finally managed to bring my Martha Stewart fantasy to life: a beautifully decorated tree in the window, the front door surrounded with a lighted garland with lighted twin trees to either side, and the arbor marking the entry to our home swathed in lights as well.

It took many, many more trips up and down a ladder than I ever thought our knees could handle, but we've done it!
Here, take a peek:


Christmas lights are magical to me. One of our most cherished traditions is driving through a nearby residential community a few nights before Christmas to admire the beautiful light displays at many of the upscale homes. It's always such a treat to drive slowly past house after house adorned with lights of every kind and color outlining eaves and roof lines, encircling tree trunks, and lighting up paths, porches and driveways. It's a glorious, dazzling sight -- something I look forward to all year long.

This year, we'll enjoy a light display right here at home each night as well. Of course, we'll still make our customary drive to view those gorgeous houses with all their gorgeous holiday light displays. We wouldn't miss that for anything.

I'm always sad when the holidays end because it means everything gets packed away and life returns to normal for another 48 weeks. For the first few weeks of January I often find myself thinking the world seems a lot less colorful and interesting. But then little by little, this state of mind gives way to a sense of excitement as I realize the days are starting to lengthen once again, and occasional respites from winter's chill remind me Spring isn't far off. Soon it's Summer, then Fall and finally, another holiday season...and another magical celebration of Light!

Text and image ©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, December 6, 2015

"...We will never solve our problems simply by instituting new laws and regulations. Ultimately, the source of our problems lies at the level of the individual. If people lack moral values and integrity, no system of laws and regulations will be adequate. So long as people give priority to material values, then injustice, corruption, inequity, intolerance and greed -- all the outward manifestations of neglect of inner values -- will persist." -- His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Art Abandonment: Leaving Gifts of Art in Public Places

If you're out and about in your community and stumble upon a piece of art that appears to be "abandoned," there's a good chance you've encountered the work of an artist who's a member of the the Art Abandonment Project.

A miniature painting I plan to "abandon" Friday in Marietta.
The Art Abandonment Project was started by well known artists Michael deMeng and his wife, Andrea Matus deMeng. The Facebook group now boasts an international membership in the thousands. Its sole purpose: create pieces of art -- which can encompass anything from original paintings to jewelry to art postcards to craft items and beyond -- to be left anonymously in public places for strangers to claim and enjoy.

When someone finds one of these treasures, a card accompanying the piece informs them that it's intended for them with no strings attached. Or, if they'd prefer, to pass along to someone else. It also informs the recipient that if they so choose, they can email the group to share the date and circumstances under which the item was found.

I loved the concept as soon as I heard about the Art Abandonment group. As I listen to reports of the tragic shooting in San Bernardino this evening, coming on the heels of the horrific attacks in Paris, I'm thinking that leaving small gifts of art for strangers to discover, and committing all sorts of "random acts of kindness," is more important now than ever. These are small gestures, and against the broader picture no doubt they seems irrelevant and totally insignificant, but in times like these, every "insignificant" gesture of love, good will and concern for others is of monumental importance. Whether it's leaving a gift of art on a park bench for a passer-by to find, holding a door open for a stranger, or offering a kind word to a harried store clerk, every tiny act of kindness helps counteract the climate of violence and intolerance that threatens us all.

We don't have to engage in grand, sweeping efforts to become instruments of peace. It's small, simple gestures that, cumulatively, can have enormous impact. Saint Francis summed it up when he wrote, "Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is darkness, light..."

Together, our smallest efforts can change the world.

Image and text ©2015 Lynn Edwards


Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, November 29, 2015

"The whole activity of considering what you want -- accepting and rejecting the opinions of others -- that is the very hard work of being an artist." -- Melanie Rothschild

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Lighting Up Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the USA, a day Americans set aside for gathering together with family, enjoying a special meal together, and giving thanks for all that we've been blessed with. Many view Thanksgiving as the opening day of the holiday season with festivities lasting into the New Year, while others just enjoy celebrating the day for itself and deferring the tree trimming, light stringing and gift shopping until later.

In our house we tend to enjoy the meal, do the dishes, watch football, and wait a day or two before lugging the artificial tree up from the basement. Usually the tree sits unadorned for a couple of days in the living room as we muster up the energy to tackle decorating it. Which is an all day job. We've amassed so many ornaments over the years that I've had to divide them up into two separate collections: the Red and Gold group and the Country Homespun group. Our tree can hold only so many ornaments, therefore each year we have to choose between the two themes. The past several years the Red and Gold has won out; it's our annual opportunity to indulge in a bit of glitz!

This year our tree will be set up out on the new sun porch instead of the living room. With its floor to ceiling windows, the porch will allow the Christmas tree to be better seen and appreciated. I have a totally ridiculous Martha Stewart fantasy of seeing the tree lit up at night in all its glory, with tiny white fairy lights in the garden just outside the windows, and the arbor draped in fairy lights as well. This fantasy also features a lighted evergreen swag around the front door, lighted mini-trees to either side of it, and wreaths at the windows. Will this become a reality? Will we actually DO all this stuff? Or will we decide, after 14 trips up and down the ladder, that the concept sounded great but the execution of it is just too much? We'll see...stay tuned!

©2015 Lynn Edwards









Sunday, November 22, 2015

One More Way to Keep Acrylics Workable

Ooops, my bad! I forgot to include the use of acrylic glazing liquid in my list of ways to keep acrylics workable longer (see my post dated 11/19/15.) Glazing liquid is a real workhorse in the studio. The basis for mixing glazes -- thin applications of transparent colors over previously painted surfaces -- it's formulated to keep acrylic paint "open" long enough to cover those surfaces so that the glaze goes on smoothly and doesn't dry too quickly. But it can also be added to paints on the palette to slow down their drying time. While glazing liquid won't keep paint workable as long as Open Medium does, it does extend their working time and makes blending easier.

©2015 Lynn Edwards

A Thought for Sunday, November 22, 2015

"The private and personal blessings we enjoy, the blessings of immunity, safeguard, liberty and integrity, deserve the thanksgiving of a whole life." -- Jeremy Taylor

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Six Ways to Keep Your Acrylics Workable Longer

Acrylic paints dry fast. When humidity is low and air temperatures are high they can dry to the touch in as little as a minute. This quick drying time is both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because you can complete a painting on the same day you start it. It's a curse because you don't have the luxury of dawdling. To paint with acrylics you've got to be decisive. As the saying goes, "You snooze, you lose."

Fortunately there are several ways you can slow down acrylics' drying time. Below are a few of the methods that can buy you some extra time:

Use Open Medium

This acrylic medium, made by Golden, is an economical way to extend the working time of "regular" fluid acrylics, soft body acrylics and heavy body acrylics. Add a drop of two of this medium to each color on your palette, mix it in with a palette knife, and you'll gain anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour or more of additional working time. Exactly how long depends on the amount of paint you've put out on your palette, atmospheric conditions, and the viscosity of the type of acrylic paint you're using.

Use a Wet Palette

Several manufacturers offer specially made palettes featuring sponges in them that can keep acrylics workable for quite a long time if the sponge is not allowed to dry out. My Sta-Wet palette usually keeps them viable for about two weeks with the lid on. The only drawback I've found is that our humidity levels here in Georgia are often high enough to encourage the formation of mold in the palette's closed environment. If you store your palette away and forget there's paint in it, be prepared for a less-than-fragrant experience when you get around to using it again.

Use Open Acrylics

A few years ago, Golden Paints introduced a line of acrylic paints and mediums designed to stay workable much longer than conventional acrylics. Open acrylics are great. If you're just starting to build a good selection of colors, I'd recommend buying Open products exclusively. If you already own tubes, jars and bottles of regular fluid, soft body and heavy body products, don't despair. You can mix Open acrylics with most brands of acrylic paint and those paints will stay wet noticeably longer. (There are a few brands which are not compatible with Open Acrylics, so be sure to read labels carefully. If necessary, call the manufacturer and ask.)

Use Retarder 

Retarder is somewhat like Open Medium in that it is a liquid that's added to the paint in small doses. However, retarder is much trickier to use: you must follow the directions on the label to the letter. Mix too much retarder in with your paint and your painting can remain wet or tacky for years.

Use Water

Water is what we used back in the "olden days" to keep acrylic paints viable. A quick spritz of the paints on the palette does work, but over time, repeated spritzings will overly dilute the paint. If you use water, use it sparingly.

Use Gels and Mediums

Some acrylic gels, such as Soft Gel or Regular Gel, will keep paint from drying too fast both on the palette and on the canvas. Most matte medium, gloss medium, string gel, self-leveling gel and other such products can also extend acrylics' working time.

Try any of these methods as your budget and inclinations allow. I tend to rely heavily on my bottle of Open Medium to keep my paints wet because it's convenient to use and a little goes a long way. You may find that one of the other methods works better for you. Try them all; you're sure to find one that's compatible with your working style and budget.

Note: see my post of 11/22/15 for one more way to keep your acrylics wet longer.

©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, November 15, 2015

"An informed people is one of the best guarantees of a continuing democracy." -- Harry F. Banks

Friday, November 13, 2015

Getting Ready for a Holiday Boutique

It has been uber-crazy here lately, with company arriving from out of state and yours truly participating in a holiday boutique show, all in the same week. Which is why I haven't posted anything in several days. There hasn't been a minute to spare!

One of my goals was to have at least a dozen large pendants completed for the show. All are on 24" black ball chain necklaces, which I think compliments the pendants' vibrant colors nicely. These are pieces that will be perfect with sweaters and other casual wear. I was able to finish 13 of them in time, and here they are:
©2015 Lynn Edwards
This is a less than stellar photo (it was taken for inventory purposes only) so please overlook the shadows and bad lighting.
Admission to this holiday boutique, which is being held in Alpharetta, is by invitation, so if you'd like to attend, email me at lynnedwardsart@bellsouth.net. It starts this evening (11/13) with an opening reception from 5-9, with hours on Sat. 10-5 and Sunday 12-5. I'm one of several artists showing work that includes everything from gorgeous handwovens to artisanal foods to jewelry, paintings, and handcrafted writing instruments.

Text and image ©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, November 8. 2015

"Never underestimate the power of human stupidity." -- Robert Heinlein

Friday, November 6, 2015

Merci! Suddenly I'm into Curves!

French curves, that is. Earlier I posted this small painting (it's roughly 2 1/2 x 6 inches) which I had created using a plastic drafting tool that makes curves, circles, arcs, angles and other cool shapes. As you can tell from the picture below, I sure had fun with it!

Geometric I                       ©2015 Lynn Edwards
When Geometric I was finished, I considered cutting it up into pieces to use for pendants, but ultimately I decided to leave it intact. It's now available online through my Daily Paintworks gallery and my Etsy shop, Playing With Colors.

To obtain a similar piece for the pendants, I created a second painting using most of the same colors. Stupid me, I failed to take a photo of Geometric II before cutting it into four pieces. The photo below shows the four pendants I made from Geometric II, along with several others that will be available for purchase after November 16:


By this time I was on a roll. I was having so much fun experimenting with this device that I wanted to expand on the concept. So I decided to order a set of French curves that I found on the internet.

Well, ooh la la! These puppies turned out to be just too much fun! Here's the first painting I did using them:

"Untitled", acrylic and ink on 7 1/2 x 8" wood panel  ©2015 Lynn Edwards
Besides experimenting with this new toy, I had another motive for painting this abstract: evaluating several different brands of acrylic paints. I test drove four different products, all acrylics, none of which I had ever used before. The results? Well, let's just say that my hands down favorites remain acrylics made by Golden and Holbein. When it comes to coverage, smooth application and pigment load, these two brands are unsurpassed, in my opinion.

I might change my mind, but for now I think I'll hang onto this piece. After days and days of rain, with more rain to come, I need something bright and cheerful to look at each morning!

Text and images ©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, November 1, 2015

"We often pray for purity, unselfishness, for the highest qualities of character, and forget that these things cannot be given, but must be earned." -- Lymon Abbott

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

No pumpkins or ghosts today, just a small geometric abstract in autumn's colors. Can you identify the tool I used to create the design?



©2015 Lynn Edwards
I painted this with the idea of cutting it up and using the individual pieces for art pendants. But now I'm not so sure. What do you think??

Text and image ©2015 Lynn Edwards

Thursday, October 29, 2015

An Update on the Triptych and Its Trip to California


"Rain Gods" is the 36x36" mixed media triptych that took me weeks to complete. It's shown here hanging on the wall in my studio before it was shipped to California. Materials used in its creation included acrylic paints, inks, hand painted papers, fabric, fibers, metal, foamcore, wood and beads.         ©2015 Lynn Edwards

It took weeks to create, with many hours working late in the studio, but I'm happy to report the triptych that seems to have swallowed up my summer is finally finished! I'd break open a bottle of champagne but I'm afraid the buzz would knock me flat, so I'll just have some flavored water, thank you.

What did knock me flat was the shipping fee to send this piece from Georgia to California. Both FedEx and UPS have recently adopted something called dimensional pricing, which basically means they now charge based on the number of cubic inches a large package occupies, as opposed to charging by weight. If you're shipping something large yet lightweight -- such as a painting on canvas -- be prepared to shell out a whole lot more than you're used to paying, particularly if it's going to travel any distance.

I elected to ship the piece by FedEx. I had packed it in a well constructed cardboard box specifically designed for the transport of fine art. Three plus inches of foam surrounded a sturdy interior box containing the triptych, whose panels were separated with foam lined, paper encased spacer boards to keep the canvases with their dimensional elements from rubbing against each other. Sealed and ready to go, the whole thing weighed just slightly over 17 pounds.

Being unaware of this new dimensional pricing structure (everything I've shipped this year was sent by USPS Priority Mail) the fee quoted was a bit of a shock. Two day delivery was going to cost twice what I had anticipated -- close to $300.00. I was picking up the tab, since the piece was created as a congratulatory gift for my niece. She had just graduated from law school with flying colors, aced her bar exam on the first try, and had secured an excellent position practicing law that included having her own private office. Which had bare walls in need of some art!

After mulling over my options, I decided to put my faith in FedEx and the durability of the shipping container, made by Armadillo Protective Packaging of Santa Fe, NM. Biting my nails all the while, I selected the less expensive 5-6 day delivery. This was $120, and included a signature requirement and additional insurance coverage on the artwork. I was more than a little nervous about my choice, since the longer a piece of original art is in transit, the more vulnerable to damage it is. And California is as far from here as you can get.

But as it turned out, I need not have worried. Someone at FedEx must have noticed that the shipment contained original art and decided to give it special consideration. (How else to explain it?) Much to my surprise and delight, the triptych was delivered to its destination less than 72 hours later, and according to my niece, it arrived in perfect condition. She was thrilled with her gift, and I was thrilled with the extraordinary level of service provided by FedEx, as well as the craftsmanship of the folks at Armadillo. Wow! In appreciation, I'll pop open a bottle of champagne (forget the flavored water) and raise a toast to both companies. They definitely deserve it. Thanks so much, guys, for a job very well done!

©2015 Lynn Edwards






Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, October 25, 2015

"Know thyself? If I knew myself, I'd run away." --  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Welcome, Paula Guhin -- Artist and Author Extraordinaire!

Today it's my great privilege to welcome guest blogger Paula Guhin, whose artwork and photography knocks me off my feet! Paula is not only remarkably talented with a brush and camera, she's a respected visual art educator as well as the author of six popular how-to art books: Image Art Workshop: Creative Ways to Embellish & Enhance Photographic Images; Painting with Mixed Media (with Geri Greenman); Creating Decorative Paper; The Complete Photo Guide to Creative Painting (with Geri Greenman); Glorious Glue!:Art with Adhesives and Adventures in Photo Artistry: Easy Activities for Anyone! All are available through Amazon.
Paula works in a wide variety of media. Below, she shares with us her process for creating the fascinating assemblage she has titled Time, Where Have You Gone? Be sure to visit Paula's blog, Mixed Media Manic, (links at right and below) to see more of her beautiful and amazing artwork! -- Lynn
 
Paula Guhin
"I'm a collage artist and painter who also adores assemblage. Here's how I begin the latter: I start with an idea, a theme. Then I gather materials to fit that concept, and a vessel of some type to contain it or to build upon. In Time, Where Have You Gone?, I used a tall wooden clock housing for structure. I always have acrylic paint and mediums, a small hand saw, and strong adhesive handy!

Found items suggesting a theme are arranged on and in a wooden clock housing.  ©2015 Paula Guhin

Two pair of thrift shop earrings reminded me of wings...time does fly! Dollar store Halloween stuff (like plaster headstones, etc.) fit right in with my thoughts of mortality as I worked on the piece. I often use doll parts, too, but I alter them (and I change most of the other materials as well).
TIP: As an assemblage is completed, the artist should feel free to add to or discard some of the collected materials. They don't ALL have to be included.

Time, Where Have You Gone? 13x5x3" mixed media assemblage on wood ©2015 Paula Guhin
I always finish the back of a free-standing piece, but of course some assemblages are meant to be wall-hung. This one took me well over a week, since each side had to dry before I continued. I finish artworks by checking all angles for contrast, variety, unity...you know, all that good stuff! (But just because this piece is formally balanced doesn't mean that all of them must be.)

The back and sides of the assemblage feature altered Halloween "tombstones" from a dollar store, earrings from a thrift shop, a clock face and other found objects.  ©2015 Paula Guhin
Now YOU try one (they're so fun!), and maybe see many more assemblages at http://mixedmediamanic.blogspot.com/
My thanks to Lynn for allowing me to guest here...she's a peach!"


A Thought for Sunday, October 18, 2015

"If you work with abstract painting for a period of time, you may come to think of it as a melody, a song, a piece of beautiful music." -- Judi Betts

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Coming Monday: An Exciting Treat for My Readers

If you follow this blog, you know how highly I regard Paula Guhin, author of several of my favorite art books. Paula is a woman of many talents: she's a wonderful artist and photographer, and a very fine writer. As if these accomplishments weren't enough, she's also a respected art educator and an accomplished equestrienne.

Paula's blog, Mixed Media Manic, is a fabulous resource for artists with dozens and dozens of tutorials to inspire and inform. It's also where I head when I need some cheering up. Paula's blog features humorous tidbits guaranteed to give you a good laugh, particularly if you're a woman.

So it's with great pleasure that I can announce Paula will be my special guest here on this blog next week! Be sure to check in this coming Monday to see some of her amazing work and learn how she created it. You're bound to come away with your mind spinning with fresh, exciting ideas, and a strong urge to drop everything and make a beeline for your creative space. Have I whetted your appetite? I promise you won't be disappointed! See you Monday!

©2015 Lynn Edwards

Monday, October 12, 2015

FAQs About Collage

When I first started painting, the only medium I used was acrylic paint. It didn't take me long to add collage to my artistic bag of tricks. Not only does collage add a fascinating new dimension to your work, it can be made from almost anything, anywhere, at any time. Below are the most frequently asked questions about collage posed to me when I was teaching adult art classes at Kennesaw State University. If you haven't tried collage yet, grab a few supplies and get busy!

Q: What, exactly, is collage?
A: Put simply, it is a work of art created by layering papers and/or other elements and adhering them to a substrate such as canvas, wood or heavy paper.

Q: What media are used in collage?
A: Acrylic paints and acrylic mediums are extremely popular with collage artists. Acrylic paints themselves have adhesive properties, and the enormous range of specialized acrylic mediums available offer a vast range of effects. Other choices are watercolor, ink, colored pencil, pastels, graphite, gouache, dyes, charcoal, crayon, even oils….the list is almost endless. For our purposes here we’ll confine our discussion to acrylics.

Q: What is the best adhesive to use?
A: It depends on what you’re gluing. Lightweight papers like tissue, gift wrap, and text weight papers can be glued down with liquid matte or gloss medium, sometimes diluted with a bit of water. You can also use gel medium diluted with water for those items. Heavier materials, such as 140# or 300# watercolor paper, heavy card stock, small twigs, etc. can be adhered with gel medium. Soft gel medium works well for most collage materials. Really weighty items -- rocks, large shells, tiles and the like -- require heavy or extra heavy gel mediums.

Q: What else do I need?
A: A scissors or craft knife. If you use a craft knife, you'll also need a cutting mat to keep from carving up your worktable. You'll also need brushes in a few different sizes for applying adhesive. Inexpensive flat brushes work just fine. You'll also need a container of water for your brushes and some paper towels for blotting. Baby wipes are also useful for removing glue residue from your fingers. And a soft rubber brayer comes in handy also.

Q: How can I keep my papers from wrinkling as I glue them down?
A: To minimize wrinkling of papers, smooth them onto the support by stroking gently with your fingers from the center outward. Or use the rubber brayer, stroking in one direction only. Place a piece of freezer paper, waxy side down over the work, then run your brayer over it. Then peel the freezer paper off gently. Remove excess adhesive with a damp paper towel. Let each layer dry thoroughly before applying another layer over it. You can speed things up with a hairdryer in many cases.

Q: Why use freezer paper?
A: It protects the brayer from coming into contact with the glue. The freezer paper also peels off the wet surface without taking half the collage with it.

Q: What kind of support should I use?
A: Anything from cardboard, chipboard, illustration and Bristol board to heavy watercolor paper, stretched canvas, wood panels, canvas board, or mat board can be used as a substrate. Whatever you choose, it must be of sufficient strength to support the type of materials you’re adhering to it. Canvas board is a good choice because it’s inexpensive, sturdy enough for most applications and is readily available.

Q: How is the support prepared?
A: On supports such as mat board, illustration board and Bristol board, seal the side edges by running a piece of candle wax or paraffin over them. (This keeps moisture from separating the multiple layers of paper from which they’re composed.) Then apply liquid gloss medium or liquid matte medium to the front and back. Canvas and canvas board usually come pre-gessoed so sealing the surface with gloss or matte medium isn’t required, but I do it anyway. (That’s both sides for canvas board, front surface only for stretched canvas.) If you’re using wood, sand first and remove all dust. It’s a good idea to apply GAC 100 (made by Golden), which prevents discolorations in the wood from bleeding upwards into the work, followed by gesso, followed by matte or gloss medium if desired.

Q: What materials can I use to make a collage?
A: Almost anything. Papers both “found” and hand painted, fabric and fibers, pressed and dried grasses and leaves, magazine illustrations, old correspondence, playing cards, sheet music, lichen, pebbles, rocks, shells, photographs, electronic components, game pieces, junk mail, canceled postage stamps – you name it. If you can glue it down, it’s fair game for collage.

Q: What about archival issues?
A: If you’re not concerned with the work’s longevity, use whatever materials strike your fancy – archival or not. But if you’re aiming to create heirlooms for future generations, or museum quality pieces, use only acid-free, Ph-neutral and archival materials. If this isn’t possible (and it probably won’t be) you can still protect your work by encasing each element. Encasing simply means applying liquid gloss or matte medium or diluted gel medium to both the front and back sides of the item, then gluing it into place.

Q: What about varnish?
A: Once you’ve completed your collage, brush a coat of gloss medium or gloss gel over it. When this dries thoroughly, apply a high quality varnish with UVLS protection. If you fail to varnish it your collage will feel "sticky" or "tacky" indefinitely. It will also collect dust and debris like crazy. Not good!

Q: How can I use collage?
A: Besides using it for making two dimensional fine art, collage is often used for altered books and journals, greeting cards, artists’ trading cards, scrap booking and the like. In the past I've also used it to make handmade business cards. You can take this art form even further by collaging papers onto furniture to give dressers, tables and cabinets a whole new look. When used in this way, it's referred to as decoupage. But that's a whole other topic!
©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, October 11, 2015

"I have friends in overalls whose friendship I would not swap  for the favor of the kings of the world." -- Thomas Edison

Monday, October 5, 2015

Enhance Your Acrylic Paintings with Isolation Coats

Two acrylic paintings are hung side by side. Both are appealing, but one has a much richer, more luminous appearance. The darks are more lustrous, light areas have more "life," and areas of transparent paint almost seem to glow with an inner light. How did the artist achieve this effect? Chances are, he or she used one or more isolation coats in creating the painting. 

What is an isolation coat?

An isolation coat is a layer of clear acrylic that's applied to a painting prior to varnishing, and sometimes as the painting is progressing. An isolation coat is made from a mixture of soft gloss gel medium and water. The gel medium looks white initially, but dries crystal clear.

Here’s how to make and apply an isolation coat:
1. Mix one part water with one part Soft Gel Medium-Gloss Finish.
2. Stir gently but thoroughly to eliminate any lumps.(Gently is the key word here; vigorous agitation produces air bubbles.)
3. Brush the mixture onto the painting using a clean, wide brush with soft nylon bristles. Brush the mixture on gently and evenly, working in one direction.
4. Allow the first isolation coat to dry thoroughly before applying a second coat. (At least 24 hours if possible. More is even better.)
5. Apply a second isolation coat at an angle to the first coat to ensure good coverage. Let this second coat dry another 24 hours or longer.
6. Varnish the painting with a high quality acrylic varnish in the finish of your choice – matte, satin, semigloss, or gloss.

For best results, use only gloss finish soft gel for mixing an isolation coat. A matte formulation can cause dark tones in the painting to appear cloudy.

What does an isolation coat do for a painting?


An isolation coat gives a wonderful appearance of depth to a work. It enhances the colors, making the darks appear richer and the lighter colors more vibrant, even when those colors are opaque. And the luminosity of transparent colors is enhanced with the application of one or more isolation coats.

As if those weren't reasons enough, there are even more practical reasons for using an isolation coat:

It provides additional UV protection, which helps prevent fading
Helps protect the paint layer from scratches and abrasions
Allows the varnish coat to be removed without disturbing underlying paint layers, should the work ever need to be restored or cleaned
Offers extra protection from the effects of dust, dirt, smoke, and air pollution

The more coats the merrier

There’s no limit to the number of times you can use isolation coats in a given painting. You can sandwich paint layers between multiple isolation coats, if desired. (The renowned painter Edward Betts was a master at using multiple isolation coats in his acrylic paintings to spectacular effect.) 

Just be sure to end with an isolation coat before applying varnish. Don't use an isolation coat as a substitute for varnish, however. You’ll still need to use varnish to ensure the painting is fully sealed and adequately protected.

Of course you don’t have to use an isolation coat; you can varnish directly over a paint surface with no ill effects. But if you take the time to apply even one isolation coat, your work will not only look better, it will withstand the test of time better, too.

© 2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, October 4, 2015

 "There must be more to life than having everything." -- Maurice Sendak

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Marketplace 120: Marietta's Hidden Treasure

How would you like to do all your holiday shopping in a delightful store that's the polar opposite of a crowded, noisy, traffic choked mall? A shopping destination with plenty of free parking and easy access to the interstate? And, even better, one that's chock full of one of a kind handcrafted gifts, wearable art and fine art?

The automotive and aviation paintings, left, would make great gifts for guys. Just beyond them are amazing "paintings" made entirely from beads. At right is a selection of abstract mixed media pieces by Kathy Woodworth.
 Marketplace 120 fronts Marietta's South Loop, one block west of Interstate 75, but it's easy to miss. This unassuming building at the intersection of the South Loop and Wylie Road contains all manner of unique, colorful items made by local artisans that you won't find in any mall. For example, brightly painted handmade purses, hand thrown pottery, and hand made jewelry to name just a few. (Don't miss the stunning 14K gold and silver creations by Brenda Smith, whose designs are sought after and worn by Hollywood celebs!)



On a recent visit to Marketplace 120, I saw a wide range of original paintings ranging in size from tiny to tremendous, at every price point. From small pieces perfect for tabletop display (and ideal stocking stuffers) to big, bold pieces sized to dominate a room. Choose from abstracts (check out Kathy Woodworth's lively mixed media and acrylic paintings if you want to add some zing to your decor!) or select realism, photorealism, semi-abstract or folk art. Can't decide? Many of the artists offer inexpensive prints and giclees as well.


An impressive collection of African art is featured in this room.


In the area of the store called the OTP Gallery, I found this display of beautifully crafted pottery made by Kennesaw State University students.

In addition to artisan goods, Marketplace 120 also carries a very nice selection of antiques and home decor items. (Curiously, the sign on the exterior merely says "Antiques" but there's so much more than antiques here.)

As a community service, Marketplace 120 also offers meeting rooms available at no charge, so if your book club or quilters group is looking for a nice place to convene, contact the store for more information and to check availability. This store really IS Marietta's "hidden treasure." It's definitely worth seeking out for the array of unusual gifts it offers in a pleasant, laid back atmosphere.
Marketplace 120 is located at 562 Wylie Rd., Suite 24, Marietta, GA 30067. The phone number is 678-540-7511.

Please note: I have no affiliation with Marketplace 120, other than friendships with several artists whose work is displayed there. So fear not, dear reader. The opinions I've expressed here about Marketplace 120 are totally unbiased, nor have I received any incentives to offer a positive review. My only aim is to acquaint you with fun, interesting places to shop, find excellent locally made handcrafted goods and -- hopefully-- help fellow artists continue to thrive doing what they love most!

Text and images ©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, September 27, 2015

"A work of art consists of two elements, the inner and the outer. The inner is the emotion in the soul of the artist; this emotion has the capacity to evoke a similar emotion in the observer....The inner element, i.e. the emotion, must exist; otherwise the work of art is a sham. The inner element determines the form of the work of art." -- Wassily Kandinsky

Monday, September 21, 2015

Pull Out That Plastic!

No, I'm not talking about your credit cards! I'm talking about the perfectly clear, medium weight plastic that's sold by the yard at fabric stores.

Here's one use for it that takes the guesswork out of glazing a canvas with acrylics:

Create a small, sample batch of glaze, then brush the mixture onto a small piece of the plastic. Lay the plastic over the area on your canvas that you plan to glaze. You'll be able to see right away what effects the mixture will have on underlying colors. Making small samples lets you test a variety of color combos and adjust them using only tiny amounts of paint and glazing liquid.

When the plastic gets filled up with samples, squirt it with rubbing alcohol and wipe it clean with a soft cloth or paper towel. This allows you to use the plastic again and again.

You can apply a coat of Golden's GAC100 to the plastic first to improve adhesion of the glaze, if desired. If you do, let the GAC100 dry before applying the glaze over it.
The clarity of this type of plastic is what makes it so useful. It's as clear as glass. It's inexpensive, too. I found it in my local fabric store for less than $4 per yard. (I used a coupon that brought the price down to $3.) Look for it in the same area as the upholstery and decorator fabrics.

©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, September 20, 2015

"Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people." -- Horace E. De Lisser

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Let's Welcome Fall, Y'all!

Hi folks! This summer has flown by and now Fall is sneaking in upon us. Have you noticed the light has changed? This is my favorite time of the year, and it's all too fleeting in my opinion. The leaf colors are glorious, the air is (usually) crisp, and even the blue sky seems more vivid.

Even on an overcast day, Nature paints with saturated colors. This is an October view of our pasture, taken in 2011.
 I've been so immersed in the triptych project the past few weeks (more on that soon) I've barely had time to glance at the calendar. But I did manage to do just a wee bit -- 15 minutes worth -- of fall decorating the other day before heading out to the studio. The summer wreath on the front door was swapped out for the autumn version, I put a leaf garland on the decorative metal obelisk just outside the door, and strung another leaf garland across the fireplace mantel. Done! Now, bring on the cool weather. I'm ready for it!

Text and image ©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, September 13, 2015

"A thousand years scarce serve to form a state; an hour may lay it in the dust." -- Lord Byron

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Free Paint Palettes!

Freezer paper and heavy plastic sheeting make great palettes for mixing acrylic paints. You can buy these items at the store, but sometimes they're right under our noses and are totally free. Start looking with a different eye at packaging you'd normally toss out. You might be surprised at what you find. Here's an example:

The plastic bag containing these curtain panels yielded four free paint palettes!

Several weeks ago I bought 11 pairs of sheer curtains at Ikea to hang in our three season room. Each pair came packaged in a clear, strong plastic bag that measured roughly 12 x 16 inches. It was the very same weight and type of plastic I use in the studio for mixing my paints on. There were 11 bags, total. Eureka! That's a slew of plastic palettes for free!

Those printed symbols on the empty bag won't harm anything.


To be more specific, that's 44 plastic palettes for free! I'll not only use the two exterior sides on each bag, when they're full of paint I'll cut them apart, turn them over, and use the other two "interior" sides. So, 44 palettes in all. Totally gratis.

These leftover paints will eventually become acrylic paint skins.


But wait! There's more! As a bonus, the leftover paint can become colorful acrylic skins to use in  mixed media pieces. When paint layers build up, they can be peeled off the plastic, cut into shapes, and used in collages.

Spritz the plastic with a bit of rubbing alcohol, wipe with a rag to remove any remaining dried paint bits, and you're good to go with a nice clean palette. Truly, they're the gift that keeps on giving. How cool is that? Thanks, Ikea! At my age, I'll probably never have to buy plastic sheeting again.

Text and images ©2015 Lynn Edwards






Sunday, September 6, 2015

OMG, What an Honor!

This past week held many surprises, but the most notable was receiving an email from Paula Guhin, the author of several excellent books on art techniques, and whose own beautiful work I greatly admire. Paula's books are some of my most favored go-to resources. I keep them in my studio library and refer to them often for inspiration and information. Her blog, http://mixedmediamanic.blogspot.com, offers a wealth of superb art tutorials along with an ever changing roster of hilariously funny jokes. If you haven't visited Paula's blog or read her books, dear reader, you are missing out.

Anyway, getting back to Paula's email, she was inviting me to be a guest on her blog! Needless to say I was flattered beyond belief. In fact, I was speechless! What an honor!!! Of course, I said yes and sent her the images and material she was requesting.

I was away from my computer all day yesterday, and didn't get home until late last night. Imagine my utter surprise when I turned the computer on and saw myself described as a "Super Talent" on Paula's blog, accompanied by glowing accolades for my work.

It's a good thing there's something called gravity, or I'd be floating up into the stratosphere at being named a Super Talent by Paula Guhin, whose own gorgeous art has been featured many times over in well known art publications. I'm so appreciative, not only because appearing on her blog allows so many more people to see my work, but also because what she has said about it is something I can use to remind myself -- on those distressing days when neither inspiration nor paint flows easily -- that I am in the right occupation, after all.

As artists (or writers, or photographers, or musicians), it's so easy to doubt ourselves, particularly when things are not going well, we're at a loss for ideas, and creating feels more like a battle than a blessing. It's times like these when a little reassurance, support or validation can lift us up and restore our confidence. I just wish every artist could enjoy a similar experience as mine. Her words I will always treasure. A thousand thank you's, Paula!

©2015 Lynn Edwards

A Thought for Sunday, September 6, 2015

"Out of clutter, find simplicity." -- Albert Einstein

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, August 30, 2015

"The work of art which I do not make, none other will ever make." -- Simone Weil

Friday, August 28, 2015

Cozying Up to a Triptych

Here's how to find out if your studio is too small: try painting large. Of course your studio is too small! Unless we're working out of a 40,000 square foot warehouse, we never feel like we have enough square footage in our studios.

This week, that idea hit home when I began working on a triptych -- a painting created on three separate canvases. This one is comprised of three canvas panels, each of which measures 12x36 inches. Placed side by side, the overall measurement is 36x36 inches. It's going to be a mixed media piece, featuring paint, collage, inks, possibly even fibers and clay embellishments.

Those dimensions may seem laughably small to some people (like the artist whose studio is a warehouse) but when you work in much closer quarters ...well, let's just say things get quite cozy when you tackle a work of any size. It can feel like you're working on and around something the size of a Smartcar! (I'm exaggerating a bit, but I swear that's how it feels.)

Anyway, this triptych and I have finally reached an understanding: if I don't fall flat on my face trying to navigate around it, it will be set free (in other words, finished and shipped to its new home) by the end of next week.

Meanwhile, here are some photos of this work in progress:

I've masked off parts of the canvases to protect completed areas across the top.   ©2015 Lynn Edwards

Another view  ©2015 Lynn Edwards

This is where the fun begins: "auditioning" painted and stamped collage papers   ©2015 Lynn Edwards
More possibilities   ©2015 Lynn Edwards
Some papers that made the cut.   ©2015 Lynn Edwards
Stay tuned...I'll be posting more pictures as work on this progresses. My next project, after this one, is a work on FOUR 12x36 inch canvases. For that one I'll need to rearrange the furniture!

Text and images ©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, August 23, 2015

"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home." -- Twyla Tharp

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Traveling Light

Those who've been following this blog for a while know that my friend Kathy and I have a standing date to meet once a week to make art. One week she comes to my studio, the next week I go to hers. We've been doing this for 12 years, ever since our first painting class where we met and became friends.

My good friend and longtime painting buddy, Kathy Woodworth, in my studio.


When Kathy travels to my studio for a day of painting, she brings every supply she anticipates needing, and then some. She freely admits she over-packs, but says she'd rather do that than discover she has left an essential something behind. Kathy line dances about 20 times a week and can out-exercise Richard Simmons so hauling enough paint to stock an art supply store doesn't faze her.

Me? The very thought of all that exertion wears me out. I tend to travel as light as possible. When I'm heading to Kathy's studio I pack small, portable projects like artist trading cards, greeting cards and 6x6 canvases. These are almost always collages. Collage papers are feather light compared to paints! Everything fits nicely into a super sturdy canvas tote I bought on Harbor Freight's web site. (The best $14 I ever spent, BTW.)

This week, I challenged myself to pare down even more. I allowed myself just one piece of black card stock and a few painted and stamped papers. The latter had been painted in shades of Prussian Blue and Quinacridone Crimson, overstamped with Iridescent Pearl, Titanium White, and Titan Buff. My aim was to design a series of small abstracts using this limited color palette, just to see how far I could take it.

Here are the three pieces I completed while at Kathy's this week:

"True Friends" 6x6 collage on paper   ©2015 Lynn Edwards

"Growth"  6x6 collage on paper   ©2015 Lynn Edwards

"Balance" 6x6 collage on paper   ©2015 Lynn Edwards
Doing small pieces like this is a good way to experiment with colors and design concepts. Working on a small scale enables you to explore creative options and hone your skills at little if any expense. The resulting pieces can be stand alone works of art, or they can serve as inspirations for larger pieces. Either way, they're great fun to create -- and no heavy lifting is required!

Text and images ©2015 Lynn Edwards


Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, August 16, 2015

"Hospitality is one form of worship." -- The Talmud

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Check Out My Latest Domino Pendants!

If you're looking for a fun way to add pizazz to your wardrobe, check out my newest domino pendants, now available through 2Rules Fine Art Gallery in Marietta!


Each pendant features an original acrylic painting on a vintage wooden domino.  ©2015 Lynn Edwards
The vintage dominoes I use to make these tiny treasures are made from real wood, not plastic. I create the little paintings and permanently bond them to the dominoes. Then the entire pendant is sealed with multiple coats of clear sealer followed by varnish.

Each pendant is suspended by an elegant Aanraku bail on silky soft, luxurious black cording. For extra strength, double split rings secure the lobster clasp and extender chain. (The chain allows the wearer to adjust the length from 24 to 26 inches.) The bail, clasp, split rings and chain are extra heavy silver plate to ensure the jewelry will keep its good looks for years.

I really enjoy making these wearable art pieces. The vintage dominoes are just like the dominoes I played with as a kid. (I guess that makes me vintage, too!) But instead of playing the game of dominoes, I used to build little structures with them.

To purchase, or for more information, contact 2Rules Fine Art at 404-355-6897.

A Thought for Sunday, August 9, 2015

"Love is the spirit that motivates the artist's journey. The love may be sublime, raw, obsessive, passionate, awful or thrilling, but whatever its quality, it's a powerful motive in the artist's life." --Eric Maisel

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Introducing More New Works

Another insanely busy week! Here are pics of some recent works for your enjoyment:

Sediment, 12 x 36 acrylic on canvas   ©2015 Lynn Edwards
Titled Sediment, this 12x36" painting is acrylic on a gallery wrapped 1 1/2 inch deep canvas. I've used a limited palette of colors and a variety of special techniques to suggest a dreamy, "floating downward" movement.

You can't see them in this photo but the dark band across the bottom also contains some interesting patterns.

This painting can be hung vertically or horizontally. It would look terrific on a narrow wall! Hung horizontally, it can be reversed directionally by changing the location of the hanging hardware on the back.

Sediment is now available for purchase through 2Rules Fine Art Gallery, 85 Church St., Marietta Ga 30060. The gallery may be contacted by phone at (404)355-6897, by email at
helen@2rulesfineart.com, or through its website.














The second painting, shown below, is Winter Lights, acrylic on a 24 x 24" gallery wrapped, 1 1/2 inch deep canvas.

Winter Lights, 24x24 acrylic on canvas   ©2015 Lynn Edwards
This painting features a very textural, tactile surface.

Something amazing happens to this painting when it's illuminated by a picture light or gallery style lighting. The silvery area at the bottom and the stars emit a beautiful soft glow! The effect is what you'd see while gazing at a frozen lake under the light of a full moon.

I did not use any gimmicky fluorescent paints to achieve this effect. In fact, I didn't discover it until I went to hang the finished painting on the gallery wall in my studio, which is lighted with halogens. This painting is lovely without any special illumination, but my jaw dropped when I saw it under the gallery lights. I also discovered that its appearance can be altered dramatically by dimming the light to varying degrees.

To learn more about this painting, contact me directly by clicking on Comments below, or by visiting my web site and clicking on Contact the Artist.

Have a good weekend!

Text and images ©2015 Lynn Edwards

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Bears -- Oh My!

This past weekend Hubs and I drove up to Asheville, NC to spend the weekend with our dear friend Gail. Gail lives on a mountain, surrounded by dense forest, with only a few neighbors within shouting distance. It's a gorgeous setting, wonderfully remote but with all the attractions of Asheville just a few minutes away. Because it's wilderness, Gail's place is frequently visited by bears, who enjoy lolling about under her crabapple trees and treating themselves to water from the little pond and waterfall just off her patio.

I have always loved bears, but have never been lucky enough to see one in the wild. So I was hoping I'd get a chance to spot one while we were there.

Friday came and went. No bears. Ditto for Saturday. But on Sunday morning, just as we were preparing to sit down to a lovely brunch, Gail's dog, who had been looking out her French doors, suddenly went crazy barking. Sure enough, ambling along the edge of Gail's flower garden was a magnificent black bear! I raced to the window just in time to catch a glimpse of the sun shining on his lustrous dark coat as he headed for the crabapple tree a few feet beyond the pond. There he proceeded to snack on apples, then laid down in the shade to take a nap, totally uninterested in anything but being indolent.

What a thrill for me! He was a beautiful creature, easily 200 pounds. Gail said he visits on a regular basis and has been doing so since he was a cub. Her only complaint was that she once found him sitting in the pond like a big hairy Buddha, which of course displaced a good bit of the water in it. So my instructions were to poke my head outside and blow as hard as I could on a whistle she keeps by the back door if it looked like he was going to wade into the pond again. Secretly I was hoping he would, just so I could get a better look at him.

But this time he wasn't so inclined. He stayed put in the shade until he heard Gail's daughter's car coming up the driveway. His big head turned in the direction of the noise, then he slowly got up and in just seconds he disappeared into the woods.

Those few minutes of observing a wild bear up close and personal were quite an experience for me. It was something I will never forget. How anyone could shoot or harm such a beautiful animal is totally beyond me. The heartbreaking case of Cecil the lion just brings home the urgent need to protect the amazing animals we share this planet with. If we don't, someday they will all be gone. And a vital part of our humanity will have gone with them. That's not a world I want to live in. Do you??

©2015 Lynn Edwards 





Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, July 26, 2015

"We will often find compensation if we think more of what life has given us and less about what life has taken away." -- William Barclay

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Having Fun with Fun Foam Stamps

The other day I was poking around in my paper stash and noticed a paper I had created several months ago using one of my own stamp designs. There was a stack of ACEO-sized watercolor papers on my work table...hmmmm....inspiration struck. I used an ACEO-sized viewfinder (a piece of scrap matboard with an opening 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches cut into the center) to select a couple of sections that would make good designs for ACEOs. (An ACEO being the sellable version of an Artist Trading Card.)

Then I cut out those sections, trimmed them to the size of the cards, and glued them down with acrylic matte medium. Here's one example:


©2015 Lynn Edwards

You may be wondering how I managed to get a two-color design using just one stamp, which was nothing more than fun foam cut into shapes and glued to scrap matboard. The secret technique? I just painted in the negative spaces. On the ACEO above, the dark blue part was the stamp, and the orange areas I hand painted using a small round brush.

If you haven't tried making your own stamps with fun foam, you're missing out. Sheets of the adhesive backed type, which is what I use, are less than a dollar each at arts and crafts stores. One sheet makes a lot of stamps! For the bases, you can use scraps of matboard, heavy cardboard, or foam board. (For longevity, seal these on all sides, including edges, with acrylic gloss medium or soft gel.)

I've got a few dozen fun foam stamps I've been using for years and they're still going strong. Literally costing just pennies apiece, my stamps are studio tools I just can't live without. Whoever named fun foam really hit the nail on the head. Making your own stamps with it is just as much fun as making art!

Text and image ©2015 Lynn Edwards



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Rest of the Photos

Hooray! Finally... below are the photos showing more views of "Journeys," the very first piece in my new Chunkies series. There are others in various stages of completion in my studio and I'll be sharing pics of those with you soon.











This is a collage comprised of  36 one-inch squares, all hand painted by me, on bright white gloss paper stock that has been flush mounted on a 6x6x2 inch cradled wood panel. The glossy surface lets its vibrant colors really shine!  Better yet, you don't need any hanging hardware or an easel to display it. Just place it on a shelf or table top and it will brighten your day every time you look at it!
"Journeys" will be available for purchase through my Etsy store on Wednesday. It's a great chance to acquire original art at a very reasonable price -- $79 -- and that includes shipping!

Text and images ©2015 Lynn Edwards

Monday, July 20, 2015

Bear With Me...

On Saturday I said I'd take some additional photos of number one in the Chunkies series to post here on the blog. Well, life got in the way: intense storms, unexpected but delightful overnight company, and a doctors appointment that took much, much longer than anticipated. So bear with me, please......the photos WILL be posted either tonight or tomorrow. Scout's honor!

©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, July 19, 2015

"All animals except man know the the principal business of life is to enjoy it." -- Samuel Butler

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Introducing "Chunkies," 6x6 Art with Attitude!

This week I've been busy working on a series of pieces I've dubbed my "Chunkies" collection. They're so named because each collage or painting has been created on heavy watercolor paper and then mounted onto an extra deep 6x6x2 inch cradled wood panel. Here's Chunkie #1, which I finished just yesterday:

"Journeys," the first in a series of 6x6 "Chunkies." ©2015 Lynn Edwards

These little gems are perfect for displaying on a table top, shelf or desk. The sturdy cradled wood panels with their extra deep sides means Chunkies can stand on their own -- no easels, frames or hardware needed.

In keeping with this little guy's happy colors I've painted the edges the same red as a color in the art. (Would have included a side view but it was starting to rain so I could only get one photo. Will get another pic or two as soon as I can, and will post them here on the blog.)

Affordable, original, one of a kind art -- just $79, and that includes shipping! Be the first to claim this Chunkie when it makes its debut this Wednesday in my Etsy shop, http://playingwithcolors.etsy.com!

Text and image ©2015 Lynn Edwards
 


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Making Collage Postcards

Just can't seem to tear myself away from playing with my new EK square punch! Here's yet another collage postcard I made the other day with this helpful little tool:



The papers I used were already in my paper stash, so it was simply a matter of selecting colors and patterns that looked good together and using the punch on them. The 140# watercolor paper the 1x1 inch squares are adhered to had been cut for another project but never used. So without the need to do anything beyond creating 24 squares, the postcard went together lightning fast. I used my trusty matte medium to glue them down, then applied it over the surface of the card to seal it.

If you don't have any hand painted papers, you can use images from old magazines, calendar illustrations and any number of other "found" papers. Packaging materials often have very bold graphics and interesting typography that work well also. This postcard was one I made using black and white typography taken from magazine ads:


I didn't use a punch because at the time I didn't have one. I simply used a craft knife to cut the paper pieces into rectangular shapes. Then I arranged them on a piece of watercolor paper and glued them into place.

And here's a third postcard with a playful look. To make it, I punched out one inch squares from a  magazine ad featuring bright colors and simple designs:



It may not be "high art," but making your own postcards is a whole lot of fun. You'll have the satisfaction of knowing the correspondence you're sending is one of a kind, and as such, it's sure to delight the recipient. And if you use materials that were destined to be discarded, you can pat yourself on the back for re-purposing them into mail art that's attractive and useful!

Text and images ©2015 Lynn Edwards

A Thought for Sunday, July 12, 2015

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance." -- Aristotle

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Collage That Started It All







Ooops! I think I had promised to post a photo of the finished collage I was working on during my June 5 demo at 2Rules. Well, here it is...better late than never. It's comprised of 285 mostly handpainted paper squares that are slightly larger than one inch in size. I included some found papers as well, but the majority are my own. I also included several glass tiles ranging in color from clear to green to cobalt, placed in a random pattern. (They're hard to see in the photo. Ansel Adams I am not!)

The tiles refract the light and provide an exciting dimension to the surface of the work. To give it the maximum amount of UV protection, I used several applications of an isolation coat, followed by several layers of varnish. This was my very first venture into working with tiny squares of paper, and I'm delighted with the outcome. It now hangs on a wall in our new sunroom where it sparkles in the light and looks very much at home.


Text and image ©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Serendipitous Art -- From a Paper Towel!

I always wipe my brushes on paper towels to remove excess acrylic paint from the bristles. A while back, I was painting away with a riot of colors in a slightly watery manner, and was using a slightly dampened paper towel to wipe off my brush. When I was finished, I didn't discard the paper towel, I just set it aside to dry.

The next day, a different painting had me using a lot of golden yellow that was fairly diluted. (I use fluid acrylics; adding water to them creates a watercolor-like wash.) In this instance, I had about a quarter cup of this watered down paint left over at the end of the day. So, on a whim, I applied it as a "background" color to the paper towel I had used the previous day. Here's what I ended up with:


I kinda liked the effect -- cheerfully colored brushstrokes with a washy look -- but didn't have any use for it in mind, so I just added it to my paper stash.

Then a week or so ago I bought a paper punch on Amazon that makes perfect one-inch squares. I had a field day going through old magazines, looking for ads with colors or graphics that caught my eye. I like to use snippets from magazines to make little collage postcards I send to friends and family. It's a good way to upcycle and it gives me something creative to do when I'm watching TV at night. Here's a postcard made with the new punch:

After making up a couple of these using magazine pages, I got the idea to try using that paper towel. Much to my surprise, the punch had no trouble slicing into it, consistently yielding pieces with nice clean edges. With this punch, you can turn it over to see exactly what you're punching out, so I tried to position it over the choicest parts. When I had a couple dozen pieces or so, I adhered 24 of them to a piece of 4x6 watercolor paper using matte medium. Here's the result:


As each piece was glued down, I brushed more matte medium over it to seal it well. The surface texture is still apparent, which gives the piece a very dreamy, "soft" look, I think. I really like the way this little collage turned out. It tickles me and tugs at my heart at the same time, knowing that it's not meant for me to keep.

But, as a postcard, I don't think it would survive the rigors of the postal system. So I'll put it in a nice mat and offer it for sale through my Etsy shop later this week. I hope someone who likes it as much as I do will buy it and enjoy it each day as it brightens a space in their home!

 Text and images ©2015 Lynn Edwards