The Star Flowers

I have a soft pastel painting in progress on my easel. It’s eventually going to become Gemini. But every time I set out to my studio, warm drink in hand, take stance before the painting to take stock of where to go… I just get a million and one creative ideas for other things that I’d like to try out and I have trouble focusing. I’ve decided to follow that strange creative intuition. It led me to create the ‘Children at Night’ set, and tonight, I made this trio.

I’ve used oil pastel before, but never with a true direction in mind.  It was always simple doodling or sketching – the quick stuff.  These were rather quick to make, but it was a fun experience to use oil pastel more purposefully. It won’t ever replace my love of soft pastel – that’s a love affair that’s in it for the long haul – but these simple illustrations are perfect for the media.

I call this trio The Star Flowers.  Left to right, they are Cygnus, the swan, inside a sunflower, Vulpecula, the fox, with foxgloves, and Crux, the Southern Cross, with a cactus.


To be Young

I started a pastel piece based on the Gemini constellation earlier this week, but then I’ve been a little under the weather and just not up to the usual focus it takes to work on pastel. In order to get back into the artistic swing, I worked on my children’s trio. This is the second piece. 

These little mixed media works take no time at all – even the little embroidery stars. What seems to be the most difficult is choosing a paper and developing a matching silhouette!  I’ve been pretty lucky to have found some fantastic vintage children’s books to put towards these projects. 

It seems that when you work with kids – even when you don’t have your own – you’re always thinking about them. Much of my earlier work features children and lovely moments of childhood, and it’s a subject I love. Growing up on a farm, I had a pretty great childhood. And I just love to capture moments that remind me of how great it is to be young. 

Trading Ghost Stories

oct 30 blog

I spent the evening working on my Artist Trading Cards.  I haven’t participated in our local group’s monthly trades in a while – my schedule just hasn’t relented – but I made a conscious effort this evening to go through some of my materials and put some work together.  It only took a few hours and was a great creative energizer.  I have some new ideas for my other works in progress.

Artist Trading Cards are small works on paper.  They are only 3×4″ big.  The size restriction causes you to really plot out what you’re doing.  A friend of mine who is always used to working big says that this is a challenge for her.  The work I’m currently doing is on the small side at only 8×10″ so I’m a little more accustomed to the restrictive nature of it.

I also take a mixed media approach to this project, and it’s very similar to my last entry about using vintage children’s books and illustrations.  For these cards, I used pen and ink illustrations from a vintage book of Adventure Stories for Girls from 1955.  Reading through the stories is hilarious – and a little nostalgic.  I sometimes wish we could all be that naive again.  Inside I found some of the most perfect illustrations for the spooky Hallowe’en theme.  I added some of my own illustrations in coloured marker, and gave the cards cheeky titles, like: “What’s That MacBeth Recipe Again?”

Hallowe’en is simply my favourite holiday of the year.  Pumpkins, cats, witches, bats… seriously creativity just waiting to be had!

Art is Fluid

oct 29 blog

I love going through vintage children’s books for papers to use in print making and multimedia.  I found a Golden Book Encyclopedia from the 1950s with some terrific illustrations for my constellation theme.

I started off with my silhouette painted in India ink.  I was going to leave it as is but the more I watched the painting, the more it spoke to me.  It wanted more.

So I took out some embroidery floss and created some French knots in the paper to act as stars.  I’ve never done embroidery on paper before, but I’ve always wanted to try it.   I enjoy regular embroidery on cloth so why not spread my wings a little?

Art is fluid – changing.  The piece started out simple, and I may have been content to leave it so.  Perhaps on another piece, I may be more minimal.  One thing I’m learning as an emerging artist is that I have to listen to my intuition when it speaks.  It’s usually right.