Sea Change

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Sea Change, mixed media, 18×24″, 2010.

This combination of painting, collage, and drawing came about as a result of a weird dream I had where this woman was sailing away on a Viking ship.  I added in surreal details to add to the dream-like idea.  It recently found a new home, in a friend’s new home.

 

Garbage Landscape

Garbage Landscape, 12 x 16″, mixed media, 2019.

 

Pretty self-explanatory image.  The clouds are tissue paper with paint thickly applied.  The ground is corrugated cardboard with the top layer peeled off, and painted.

PB & J

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PB & J, Embroidery, felted wool, acrylic paint, 2019. Chelsea Hayes.

I have been enjoying a different type of mixed media lately – embroidery, felting, and painting. If embroidery is like drawing with a needle and thread, then felting is like painting with roving and a needle. My son promptly claimed this art for his room.

Life has been hectic lately, as it always will be. I choose to keep myself busy, but this is a different level of busy. I am also prepping for a show in April, and so I have to really force myself to squeeze out more art making time.

Egg Carton Wreath

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As I got out spring decor this year, I realized I did not have an egg carton wreath for my own front door, even though I was certain I had one somewhere in the basement.  Nope.  No luck, the wreath was absolutely, nowhere to be found.

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It was then that I realized I had assisted my students in making a few of these wreaths for a school fundraiser silent auction, and forgot to keep make one for myself.  As this was two years ago, I will chalk it up to post-baby-then-toddler mommy memory loss.

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So, what is a DIY mama to do?  Make a new one!  I set to work cutting up a paper egg carton, trimming them into semi-flower forms.  I used the ring of an extra large take and bake pizza box as the circular shape of my wreath.  I simply cut around the circle hole to make my wreath shape.  Otherwise, using a compass, large mixing bowls, or a pencil tied to a string are all great ways to make circles in your cardboard.  Then, I painted the cardboard ring blue.

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The kids needed an on-going project this week to work on.  March has been rough – sickness, snow, rain, freezing rain, more sickness, cold weather, mud, and time changes.  Ugh.  It’s enough to drive any teacher or parent mad right now.  So, we spread out newspaper and the egg carton eggs, divide up some different size brushes and started painting.  We always use liquid tempera paint for kid craft projects like this.  It is washable, bright, and easy to dispense and mix.  I personally like Crayola liquid tempera paint.  The 12 bottle set is a great array of colors and will last!  Actually, if it lasts too long, it will start to stink, FYI.  If you do not plan on doing a lot of painting, or are painting a smaller project, the 8 oz size bottles might be a better choice.

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After the flowers were dry, we simply glued them onto the blue wreath ring.  We just used liquid Elemer’s glue, so the kids could help.  If it falls apart, I will fix them with hot glue.  The leaves are made from green construction paper and origami paper squares.

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After attaching the leaves with liquid glue, I also decided to add some embellishments on the flowers with some of the printed origami paper.

Balancing Act

With grad class on hold and winter break in session from school, I have managed to do some of my own artwork.  At any given time I have a minimum of five projects going, absolutely filling my brain and art room.

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This is a painting I did for my sister, as a Christmas present.  I painted a woman in a similar style, dressed to the nines, holding an axe.  It now hangs in her office.  I really enjoyed that particular painting, and the idea of juxtaposing femininity with a stark axe.  So, I decided to juxtapose suit and tie masculinity with a pink frosted cupcake.

In any case, I really enjoyed working on this painting.  Acrylic isn’t something I work in as often as watercolor, yet I keep finding myself moving further away from realism and being drawn towards abstraction, and acrylic is the way to make this happen.

Whenever possible, I draw from real life, making my family members pose for me.  This break, my five-year old has figured this out, and began requesting me to draw her while she does various poses.  She tried to convince my two-year old to do the same, however he cannot sit still.

A couple works in progress, with the blue underlayer still showing.

Another work in progress, before reworking the nose and hand a few times.

Someone give me some more painting subject matter, quick!  Before grad class starts up again in February!

 

 

 

 

Artistic Wrapping Paper

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This project ended up being one my most favorite that I have ever done with Greta – making our own wrapping paper.  I have always kind of hated wrapping gifts and find myself giving sideways glances at those who wrap perfectly gorgeous department store worthy packages.  But that all changed this year – I now have a helper!  My oldest can write names, tear tape, cut, and hold her finger over knots.  VICTORY!

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Both kids are starting to get to the point where they can come with me to my classroom while I do a few small tasks.  Over Thanksgiving break, I had to unload a kiln or two, so I set them to work.  I gave them the backside of used, white roll butcher paper, and set them to work designing and creating recycled wrapping paper.  Here, they are using texture rubbing plates and large crayons.

 

They used foam dot stamper brushes and regular large paintbrushes to create swirls of reds, yellows, golds, and glitter, on the left.  The gold dots, on the right, are my personal favorite.  My youngest was able to easily stamp out the designs, and it was a quick enough project that he was not easily bored.

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Back at home, my oldest wanted to use foam stamps and Jumbo Paint (and Clay) Explorer Rollers to transform the brown paper packaging sheets into wrapping paper.  She loved figuring out how to mix tints – above she has figured out that adding white to her sponge stamper (something similar here: Pattern Paint Foam Rollers), it makes the green lighter.  This is always a fun ah-ha moment for little artists.

After the success of this project and their joy in working on a larger scale, a roll of paper may become a mainstay on their own art table.  I am leaning toward this Melissa & Doug Tabletop Paper Roll Dispenser.

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On another note, I woke up at the wee hour of 4:15 AM this morning – nothing says first day of winter break like being awake before the birds.  So, I got up, relished the quiet of my house, and set to work making Challah.  I would say this was a home run batch, making up for last year’s total flop.

Tomorrow is one of my favorite days of the entire year.  Happy almost Christmas Eve!

Roots Watercolor Painting

roots.paintingI finally finished my most current watercolor painting, Roots of Motherhood.” It’s one of the first large artworks I’ve done in quite some time, at a whole 22 x 30″. 

 I have been working on it since March, slowly plugging away on it whenever I carve out the time. In other words, after children are in bed. The downside of a long-term watercolor is letting the orange frisket masking fluid sit for far too long on the paper. I have a few orange tinged root sections, as a result. 

  Photo credit: James Marvin Phelps flicker user.

The idea came from a church sermon by Erin Gingrich on Chapel Rock, a unique geological formation on Lake Superior in Michigan. The original arch collapsed in the 1940s, leaving a tree with a root connecting a single tree to the mainland. The question in the sermon (if I remember correctly, because I was daydreaming about this painting) was, what would it look like if we had roots coming out of our hips? 

Violet Butterfly Watercolor

Phew, I hammered this artwork out in a single day.  It has been a long time since that has happened to work out well for me.  Last Saturday, since we didn’t make it to Minneapolis, I was at my in-laws’ house while Greta napped.  Loud hammering and nailing sounds were ringing through my house as the windows continued to be installed.  27 windows is no small feat!

I started with my taped off paper and a pencil sketch.

Next, I laid in the India ink on all the black parts.  India ink is perfect for areas that cannot bleed with the watercolor paint.

I closed my eyes for a few minutes while the ink dried and then began with the color.  I had a little more fun with this painting than the first.  So, it actually worked out well that Greta claimed the first butterfly painting.

Layers of watercolor interspersed with a few water, snack, and Olympic watching breaks and I was nearly finished by the time Greta awoke from her two hour nap.  During her post nap snack, I added the last few finishing touches.  My last task is to get this in the mail before next week, as my cousin’s little girl is due in March.

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.