Baby Elephant – Collage/Painting

Baby Elephant, newspaper collage, acrylic paint, and watercolor on paper, 9×12″, 2014. 
This is the most recent nursery artwork that I completed only this week.  It is for a colleague who is expecting a boy in March.  I have been returning to my painting and collage roots as of lately.  Hopefully I can get some more work done this weekend to share with you.  
As always, prints and artwork are always for sale, please inquire by e-mail or through my Etsy shop, which is currently empty.  If you are interested in purchasing something you have seen on this blog, I will create a custom listing for you.  I also do custom commission pieces as well.  

DIY Stamped Towels

One recent sunny Saturday morning before Christmas, Greta helped me make these stamped towels.  With minimal prep and basic supply list, they are an easy morning or afternoon project for all ages.

Supply List:
– white cotton dish towels (pre-washed and dried)
– fabric paint or acrylic paint thinned with water
– plastic tray or plate for palette
– small brushes
– water for washing brushes
– paper towels or newspaper for blotting stamps
– rubber stamps, found objects, cut celery, cut apples, cut potatoes for stamping  

I started with a set of white dish towels I ordered off of Amazon and washed and dried them.  If they are wrinkly, it is a good idea to iron them as well.

Next, I mixed up some regular acrylic paint with a bit of water.  I wanted to ensure that the paint would soak into the fabric, but not be so watery that it would not produce a clear stamp.  Always test the stamp before using.  If the stamp has too much paint on it, your image will be blobby – so blot on newspaper or a paper towel.

Takeout containers from our favorite Thai restaurant are the best palettes.  I use them in my classroom to save paint palettes and keep supplies organized.  A paper or plastic plate works well for a palette too.

Next, I prepared my stamps.  We use every day items as stamps as well as rubber stamps.  This is the bottom of a stalk of celery – it makes a lovely floral design.  It is also the perfect size for small hands to hold and stamp.  

We use several every day item stamps to create the polka dots – a cork with a handle, the base of a highlighter, and an eraser.

Of course we also broke out the rubber stamps too – there are just too many cute ideas with rubber stamps.  This project was a success – Greta was patient and enjoyed the entire process.  Her absolute favorite part was creating the hand prints on the towels – I had to watch her though, she wanted to wipe her hands clean on the towels we were stamping!  
I let the towels dry overnight and then washed them on cold and dried them – there is no need to heat set this paint.  I ironed them one last time and then wrapped them up as DIY gifts for the grandmothers. As the gifts were opened, Greta enjoyed telling both grandmothers, “My do that!” 

NC Home Collage

North Carolina Home, collage & mixed media on paper, 9 x 12″, 2013.  
Do not reuse image without permission. 

Our Iowa home has something  new and interesting to grace its spacious gallery-like walls – a collage.  This collage makes use of old Greensboro maps, vellum, scraps of wall paint from the old house, and acrylic painting.  Since this was our first home, I made this for Eric – coincidentally one of the first artworks I’ve actually made for him.  Eric remarked on the house drawing, “Wow, I’ve never seen you use a ruler before to make art!”  Hey, there’s a first time for everything.  

Painted Glassware

Here’s another catch-up project from being immobilized all summer.  
A friend asked me to paint a set of wineglasses for her group of girlfriends.  I had not ever done this kind of painting before and was eager to try it out.  This was my first attempt at using the acrylic glassware paint.  
Start with clean and dry glassware.  

Wipe the surface you intend to paint with rubbing alcohol.  This ensures a clean surface for the paint to adhere to. 
I painted these glasses in assembly line fashion.  First I did all of the acronyms, then the skin, the clothing, the faces, the hair, and lastly the outlines.  
I mixed some of my colors for a more unique color combination, but some I used straight from the bottle.  A combination of thin brushes, hair pins, and toothpicks were just the ticket for creating small lines.
One of the finished ladies.  I used a black Sharpie marker to outline the letters and the ladies.  
The entire line-up.  Look out, they’re on the loose!
After allowing the paint to dry at least one hour, place the glassware into a cold oven.  Turn the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes.  Turn the oven off, and allow the glassware to fully cool down.  The label says top rack dishwasher safe, but I would err on the cautious side and only hand wash items painted with this enamel.  Note, this enamel should NOT be used in areas that come in direct contact with foods.  

Baby Handprint Watercolor

I started this painting quite some time ago.  I won’t tell you how long I have been procrastinating finishing this, other than my daughter’s hands and feet are much bigger than they would have been had I finished it when I started it. 

I started by painting simple abstract design using patterns of shapes and lines – nothing too fancy about this watercolor.  I used watercolor paints for the background on a 140 lb cold press watercolor paper.

I added in some etching by scratching into the wet paper and then painting over it.  This creates areas of color much darker and more precisely defined because the pigment pools and dries in the etched lines.  This photo above shows the orange lines and yellow dots are etched. 
When the paint dried completely (over a much longer time than I had planned), we stamped her little hand and foot.  
I needed Eric’s help holding her still while I applied the paint.  I rolled black acrylic paint onto an old magazine (for a smooth surface) with a brayer, pressed her hand into the paint, and then pressed it onto the painting.  If you don’t have a brayer, you could also use a paint brush to smooth the paint surface out.  
She was so intrigued by the black stuff on her hand, she did not put up a struggle at all.  Make sure you have a wet rag or paper towels handy if you are going to paint your baby’s hands or feet!  
Now we just need to frame it and hang it somewhere where it will make me smile for years to come.  

Brought to you by the letter G

Some friends gave us baby room decor as part of a baby gift way back in July.  I finally have the project finished and up in her room.  It was a fun and really simple project.  
I started with the blank G.  What to do?
I decided to go with magenta.  
A couple of coats later, it was much darker than I anticipated.  So I added some white on the face of the G for a lighter tint of magenta.  It looked nice with the contrast.  I let the paint dry.  
Next, I used my hole punch to cut out an assortment of green and black & white dots.  I was going for a complementary color scheme.  If use pink at all, I like to tone it down with some green so it is not too girly.  The black & white dots were just to punch up the design. 
I tried placing them in various ways on the G. Once I had them where I wanted them, it was time to glue. 
Scotch adhesive has a nice tip for gluing small items and the gloss gel is perfect for decoupaging surfaces.  I glued the dots onto the G.  
Then I sealed the surface with the gloss gel.  You can also use Modge Podge.  Be sure to clean your brush with soap and water if you want to use the brush again. The gloss gel will go on whitish but dry clear.  Let it dry for a few hours before you hang it up.  
Greta’s G!