Sunday, June 28, 2015

40 "Found" Objects to Use for Printing and Stamping

Purchased stamps and rubber printing blocks are readily available in stores, but dozens of items that can be used for stamping and printing are lurking right in your own home. Many of these make very interesting patterns and designs, and they're free! Look in your junk drawer, bathroom, kitchen, garage, craft stash, tool shed and back yard for:

1- Bottle caps
2 - Jar lids
3 - Wine corks (both synthetic and real)
4 - Feathers
5 - Potato mashers
6 - Lace
7 - Trim from a fabric store (flat profile cotton trims that can be glued to matboard)
8 - Paper doilies (use as stencil, then incorporate the doily itself into your collage)
9 - Household sponges
10 - Foam packaging materials
11 - Styrofoam packaging materials
12 - Buttons with a flat profile (glue onto the end of a wine cork to use)
13 - String
14 - Rope
15 - Cording
16 - Dental floss containers with flat bottoms
17 - Tennis shoes and flip flops with patterns on the soles
18 - Wallpaper with flocked or embossed designs (not plastic coated)
19 - Caps from cosmetic products (often have unusual or interesting shapes)
20 - Open weave fabrics such as burlap
21 - Heavy weight upholstery fabric with raised designs (Glue to matboard scrap to use as a stamp)
22 - Foam hair curlers
23 - Insulated pipe wrap from home improvement stores (can be incised with patterns or left plain)
24 - Drywall tape
25 - Cardboard scraps (peel off outer layer(s) to get an interesting stamp)
26 - Matboard scraps (use the edges to stamp straight lines)
27 - Pencil erasers
28 - Leaves from plants such as ferns
29 - Keys
30 - Foam meat trays (Cut into desired shapes, incise details with a ballpoint pen)
31 - Foam garden kneelers (Cut into pieces, use woodburning tool to make surface designs)
32 - Bubble wrap
33 - Carpet liner
34 - Rubber shelf liner
35 - Plastic or rubber placemats with raised or openwork designs
36 - Window screening
37 - Mesh
38 - Foam paint rollers
39 - Corn and callus pads (Affix to matboard scraps and stamp circles and ovals with them)
40 - Cookie cutters and biscuit cutters

Do you use any found objects for stamping or printing that are not listed here? Please share them with us. Let's see how many items we can add to this list!

©2015 Lynn Edwards

A Thought for Sunday, June 28, 2015

"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freedom of speech, a thing terrible to traitors." -- Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thank you, Artspan!

What a nice surprise I had yesterday when I opened an email from Artspan, the company that hosts thousands of artists' web sites, including my own,

Artspan was notifying me that they had featured two of my paintings, Ethereal Trees - Blue and A Case of the Blues, in a new online collection they'd posted on their web site's home page, blog and Facebook page. Considering the hundreds of thousands of pieces Artspan was able to choose from, to have my work selected was a huge honor. Color me happy!

The name of the collection is Tangled Up in Blue. It includes 86 works in which the color blue takes center stage. The pieces range from quirky to sexy to dreamy, and the blues range from palest robin's egg blues to azures and cobalts to blues so dark they look black. So if you love this wonderful color -- or if you're merely curious -- check the collection out on Artspan's home page, blog, or Facebook page. Please like and share, too!

©2015 Lynn Edwards

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Acrylic Painting Tip #1 -- How to Make Removable Marks

 Sometimes you want to make guide lines or a preliminary sketch on a painting but don't want the marks to show in the finished work. Some sources suggest using charcoal or graphite, but these can leave permanent marks. Here's where a pastel pencil really comes in handy if you're painting with acrylics and want to make removable, temporary marks or sketches on your work. You can draw right onto gessoed canvas or gessoed watercolor paper before you paint. Or, use it directly over acrylic paint, as long as the paint is dry. (Don't be heavy handed -- use a light touch!) When you're ready to "erase" the pastel marks, blot them gently with a damp paper towel. All traces of the pastel will disappear. 

An outline sketched on painted watercolor paper with a white Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencil.
Blotting with a dampened paper towel "erases" the pastel marks.

Text and images ©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, June 21, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, June 21, 2015

"I could not point to any need in childhood as strong as that for a father's protection." -- Sigmund Freud

Saturday, June 20, 2015

How to Start an Abstract Collage

Are you intimidated by a blank canvas? Paralyzed with indecision as to how to begin? Here's a fun little exercise to help you overcome your apprehension and take you straight into making an abstract collage.

An Exercise in Serendipitous Abstraction

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to perform a simple timed exercise in random collage. Its purpose is to encourage you into an “anything goes” mindset and a willingness to give up control of the outcome --- essential skills for making abstract art. 

1. Gather found and painted papers that look good together in terms of their colors and designs.
2. Gesso a piece of 140# watercolor paper (any size) and let it dry.
3. Place the watercolor paper on your work surface. Using blue painter's tape, fix it into place so it doesn't slide around.
4. Cut or tear the painted and found papers into smaller pieces and into various shapes and sizes. Use at least three different colors.
5. Holding them about 8 inches above the watercolor paper, open your hand and drop them all at once onto the surface of the watercolor paper. 
6. Use your favorite adhesive to glue down each piece right where it fell. Leave the composition to chance. Do not fuss over placement. Overlap and layer the pieces wherever you are able to.
7. If you're totally unhappy with where the pieces landed, or if they landed everywhere but on the watercolor paper, you may do a second drop.

Now add paint if desired, then more collage, then more paint and/or images or image transfers. This technique, adapted from one used by Dadaists, can serve as a good "warmup" exercise. It can also be the design inspiration for a larger canvas, or it can be developed into a work of art in its own right.

©2015 Lynn Edwards

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Thought for Sunday, June 14, 2015

"When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. And that's my religion." -- Abraham Lincoln

Monday, June 8, 2015

Why Artists Should Do Demos

The Marietta Square's First Friday Art Walk just keeps getting better and better. This past Friday night the Square, and the shops, restaurants and galleries all around the Square, were bustling with visitors seeking art, food and fun. Friday's event was one big street party, with live music and plenty of entertainment.

Hubs took leave from his role of Supportive Spouse after helping me get set up for my collage demo at 2Rules and struck out in search of a quick snack. When he came back, he reported that he'd had a hard time making his way through the crowds but had managed to snag a couple of cookies.

Gallery owner Lois Rule helps me set up for my demo prior to the start of the art walk. Behind us my mixed media paintings, mini-paintings, jewelry and paper mosaic mirrors are showcased on the freestanding display.

By this time I was in the midst of my demo, fielding questions from a stream of curious visitors wanting to know all about my process and materials. It would have been very bad form to stop in the middle of it to eat a cookie, so I tucked the cookie into my tote bag. (Where I belatedly discovered it just this afternoon. It was a little dry, lol).

Giving a public demo can be agony or ecstasy for an artist. Sometimes it's both. Painting in front of a crowd of strangers, and answering questions while simultaneously focusing on creating a piece of art can be unnerving. But for the undaunted, it's also a great opportunity to connect with people, share your knowledge and art with them, and receive valuable feedback. 

For me Friday night fell into the latter category. I had a grand time. Not only did I meet dozens of extremely nice, very interesting people, I reconnected with a friend I hadn't seen in several years, and was able to point a number of visitors interested in trying collage to resources where they could learn more about it. Talking to people about my art was fun; even more fun was watching it sell. Afterwards, we met up with friends for a late night supper. It was the perfect ending to a perfect night.

If you're an artist who's shy about doing demos, I hope you'll reconsider. You don't have to be perfect (making goofs is normal, and shows you're human as well as creative!). You don't have to be witty or articulate, either. In fact, some artists remain silent during their demos; they just paint and allow the audience to watch. I personally think engaging in conversation with onlookers yields a more satisfying experience for both artist and audience, but that choice is up to you. Giving demos is an important part of an art career. Don't let self-doubts hold you back. It's an opportunity for professional growth you shouldn't pass up.

Besides art walks and festivals, there are many places where you can offer to do demos. Clubs and organizations are always looking for someone to put on interesting programs for members. Active adult and retirement communities are another opportunity. So are churches, employee organizations, certain types of businesses, art and cultural centers, schools...anywhere people gather and are interested in learning something new.

By the way, I goofed during my demo at 2Rules. I misplaced one of my paper tiles, then glued down a few more in the wrong places. It wasn't the end of the world. I just punted by substituting a spare for the missing tile, and gluing down more spares over the "mistakes." You roll with the punches during a demo. Welcome those punches. They're not knocking you down. They're pointing you toward success!

Text and image ©2015 Lynn Edwards

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Join Me for My Demo at This Friday's Art Walk

If you've been curious about the process I use to create my mosaic collages, you can watch me construct one at 2Rules Fine Art this coming Friday evening, June 5, for the Marietta Square's First Friday Art Walk.

It's one thing to work in the privacy of the studio, and quite another to demo my process in front of an audience. Fact is, I'm feeling just a wee bit apprehensive. The piece I'll be working on is comprised of 285 tiny pieces of paper, each just a fraction larger than one square inch in size. So what could possibly go wrong??? Oh, lots of if somebody sneezes and all the papers blow away, haha. I can just see the gallery being subjected to a blizzard of "confetti." (It would be rather festive...but it's a scenario I'd like to avoid. Maybe I'll just store those papers in plastic bags as a precautionary measure.)

Here I'm working on a painting on canvas. Cropping the photo made my studio look tidier than it actually was.
Anyway, the piece I'll be working on for the Art Walk will be done on a cradled wood panel. I've been using wood panels in my work a lot. They're a joy to work on, particularly for collage pieces, since there's no "bounce" to the surface like there is with a stretched canvas. The unyielding surface makes adhering the papers that much easier. Better yet, wood's durability makes any art created on it less vulnerable to being damaged.

On Friday night I'll be creating an ombre style collage, using five analogous colors to achieve a softly blended, striated effect. My inspiration for this piece came from a small swatch of upholstery fabric. I'll have the fabric swatch on display to show how it's possible to achieve an exciting relationship between a work of art and one's home's decor. If you'd like to have me design a custom piece for your home, I invite you to come by the gallery Friday night and talk to me or to gallery owner Helen Rule. If you can't attend the Art Walk, just give Helen a call at 404-355-6897, or email her at the address below, to discuss your needs:

2Rules Fine Art
85 Church St.
Marietta, GA 30060

Text and image ©2015 Lynn Edwards