Category Archives: Crafts

Progress!

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BFF and I recently bought two big canvases (70% off at Michael’s!) for the studio, and I’ve been experimenting with an abstract piece. I used to say that abstract art was easy — just slop some paint on a canvas. But it’s surprisingly hard. My photos today will show you my progress on the big canvas, which was also my first time painting on an easel. I am now much better at:

  • mixing colors,
  • avoiding making all the colors look like mud,
  • being willing to paint over a section I’m not happy with,
  • knowing I need to find balance,
  • varying the sizes of my marks, and
  • understanding that the piece needs to look good from afar and look interesting up close.

I still very much struggle with the ending — knowing when the piece is finished.

Here are several photos of the piece I’m working on right now. It starts with an attempt, then a total paint-over, and finally a direction to go, even though I’m not finished. 

Tweaking the circles:

Eliminating the circles:Starting over:

Trying it in a vertical position:

Better, but not yet finished:

Close-ups:

I’m also learning that art isn’t about the finished product, but rather the process and progress. Good learning!

Mixed Media Sunflowers

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It’s sunflower time in the beautiful fields around my area in northwest Louisiana, and they’re an inspiration to my mixed media work. I’ve just changed out several of my art pieces around the house, as seen in the photos accompanying this post. I’ve painted, stenciled, and stamped the backgrounds and then used gelli-printed papers to make the sunflowers.

This one above is proportionally a little off, but I love the metallic sparkle (which is not very apparent in the photo).

This small one in my guest bath has enough red that it works well with the golds and crimsons decorating the rest of the room.

The one above is my favorite, mainly because I think the background is just right. And when it comes to crapsmanship, “just right” isn’t a common phrase!

A New Art Trick

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BFF and I enjoy watching artists’ YouTube videos, and I just recently learned a very helpful trick from artist Adele Sypesteyn in this video “How to Get Unstuck in a Painting” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMgGFqJUVyE. You see, I do a very crappy job at imagining what a painting is going to look like if I’m contemplating a change to it. Here’s an example. I made this abstract picture that I really liked as is (see https://crapsmanship.com/2020/05/31/betty-krause-ish/), but then I decided to make it a little more representational by making my marks into flowers and creating a “pot” for the plant. CRAP ALERT: Below are my revisions. I DO NOT like it now! That pot is damn ugly!

But Ms. Adele taught me this brilliant trick. All you need is a sheet protector. I painted this potential revision directly on to the sheet protector taped to my painting. I like the shape but I think the black/white pot is too stark in contrast to the rest of the painting.

With a little bit of elbow grease and a baby wipe (my granddaughter insists we call them “art wipes”!), I cleaned the sheet protector and then added a pink and yellow pot that brings out the colors in the flowers.

This I can live with! So I painted the yellow and pink directly onto the painting, added a few black lines, and I’m now much closer to a finished product.

As I usually do, I’ll live with the painting as-is for a while before I make a few more changes. But Adele’s trick kept me from making a difficult-to-fix error. Thanks, Ms. Sypesteyn. I’ll keep this trick in my crafting toolbox!

 

Cards in Progress

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The Etsy shop — A La Carde Studio — is off to a good start. BFF and I love our time in the studio creating art to put on the front of our cards. Who wouldn’t welcome a note with a piece of removable art?! Here are a few photos of some cards in progress.

Don’t forget to check out alacardestudio.etsy.com!

A La Carde Studio Debut

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BFF and I are debuting our new Etsy shop!!! Each one-of-a-kind card has original art on the front. We sell them in sets of five for $20. That’s only $4/card — cheaper than Hallmark and a hand-made keepsake to boot. They are blank inside for personal messages.
We’ve had such fun. Visit us at alacardestudio.etsy.com for a look. Please do some shopping too! Now’s a great time to send a card to a quarantined friend or relative to brighten their day. Here are a few of our offerings.

A Piece of Work

America the Beautiful

Bonfire Hearts

Celebration

Modigliani

Pull Up a Chair

You Are My World

 

Abstract Attempts

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I’ve been drawn to abstract art lately, and it looks so easy to do. Just slap some colors on the canvas and call yourself an artist. NOT! This process has surprised me with its challenge. I’ve been watching the instructional videos of Betty Krause — her work is luminous, the colors are gorgeous, and her tutorials are explicit. (See her YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_LtcQkDngMzTtnGtdl1gxA.) So I’ve tried to follow the general direction of her work. Here are two of my attempts.

The one above started life as a filler paper for a frame. I painted it with gesso, and then, ala Betty Krause, filled it with random marks using colored pencils.

I used water to spread the pencil marks around. Big slashes of black acrylic paint came next.

I then added random blobs of warm colors (reds, oranges, yellows), let them dry, and then added random blobs of cool colors (blues, greens, purples). Going back and forth between warm and cool colors, I eventually ended up with this.

I wasn’t quite happy with the overall construction, so I added some intentional marks with acrylic paint and china markers. Here’s the completed piece on temporary display in my living room.

Here’s another one I made, following the same steps as I’ve described above.

This one’s hanging in my half bath with a wrong-color mat. Once quarantine lifts, I’ll need a trip to the craft store to try out different mat colors!