Monday, February 24, 2014

Page #2 Altered Book

So, yes, I am very behind on my altered book. As I posted before, my students have challenged me to complete an altered book by the end of the school year.  This is an assignment I give my Art 3 students every year.  I started one at the beginning of the year with the students, but never made it past Assignment 1.  They have completed 11 assignments, so they told me a few weeks ago that I must have my second page done by Feb. 14.  Well, I completed it today, only 10 days late. The subject I chose was very difficult and took a great deal of time to complete. 

This is the assignment:
For this week’s lesson in acrylic paint I want you to recreate a famous painting to incorporate into your theme.  You may interpret this however you like.  Remember, this must be a famous painting.  If you are unsure about whether it is in the “famous” category, check with me.  You may create your own variation of the painting to include in your theme, or you may do a work of your own art with a miniature of the famous painting somewhere in the composition In your design “hide” the name of the artist.

My book is about the trip I made to Turkey and Greece a few years ago with  a close friend.  My famous art page includes the Deesis Mosaic from the Hagai Sopia in Istanbul.  The is a mosaic that I had seen in art history books for years.  When I came around the corner on an upper lever of the Hagia Sophia and saw the mosaic, I was surprised and excited.  I knew it was there, but had forgotten. The mosaic had disappeared for a while and had to be restored.  Much of it is missing, but is still breathtaking.

I decided to I paint Joy and myself in front of the mosaic. The prospect of painting the two of us made me very nervous.  We had not taken a picture of ourselves in front of the mosaic, so I had to find another photo of us to incorporate into the work. It was a fun trip and the painting was difficult but fun as well.

Also, I "hid" the location within the painting.  I used a very dark colored pencil on the very dark area on the right to label this "Hagia Sophia, Istanbul."  Here is what this looks like.

You have to turn the book to the light to be able to read it.  I tried to use a font that was similar to some that were in the museum itself.

The Hagia Sophia was a Christian Church from the 5th century until 1453 when Constantinople was conquered by the Ottoman Turks.  It then became a mosque until 1931.  At that time it was made into a museum housing both Christian and Muslim relics.  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Reviving Watercolor

I had a tube of watercolor that had dried up and was rock hard.  It wouldn't squeeze out of the tube. That doesn't usually bother me because I can just cut open the tube and rewet the paint with my brush.  However, my husband put some of these empty paint tubes in my Christmas stocking, and I have been dying to use them.

 So I put the hard cakes of dried up paint in a little dish and soaked it in water.  I covered the dish with plastic wrap for several days and left it.  It absorbed all of the water but was not completely soft.  So I put some drops of gum arabic on the cakes and mashed it all together with several makeshift tools.  I did not have a muller, but found some rounded objects and ground it all together.  Then I used a palette knife to blend it until it was a smooth texture.  I scraped it into the bottom of the empty tube. I poked down in the tube with a toothpick several times to release air bubbles.  Then I used a paper towel to clean up around the bottom opening.  I folded the  bottom several times and then took it to my husbands vice.  I pinched it with the vice, being careful not to pierce the tube.  Voilà- a new (ish) tube of Ultramarine! Not necessary but Fun.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

And Another kind of Watercolor Pad

I'm still trying out watercolor sketchpads, and I found one that I really like. This one is a Kiliminjaro pad from Cheap Joe's ( .  It has 140 lb cotton watercolor paper and sketching paper.  This could be a good pad for traveling and journaling. Paint on one and journal on the next.  I also used tape on it, and it came off without tearing.  I think this is the one we will use for our trip to France this summer.  I also like the size of this one.
The painting is once again from Île d'Yeu.  I had a beautiful lunch and lots of laughs on this sunlit patio with good friends.  (JB, does this house have a name?)

"Ker Chalon"
3" x 5"

Here is the pad I used.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Speed Painting

I tried to do one small painting in an hour tonight.  However, it probably took about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  This is another painting from Île d'Yeu in the same location as the previous post.
I used the little Moleskin sketchpad and liked it better this time because it didn't curl as much. I used the Koi travel palette and mostly conventional brushes.  I tried using the water brush, but kept picking up the old standbys, both from Cheap Joe.  I wanted a flat brush tonight and I always turn to the Golden Fleece by Cheap Joe.
Here's a picture of my set up as I worked from the computer screen:

Monday, February 3, 2014

More Watercolor

I start each of these little watercolors with the intention of "sketching."   But it doesn't look like sketching.  I need to work more spontaneously. Anyway, here is a little painting made from a photo I took on Île d'Yeu off of the western coast of France.  This was a little beach on the south side of the island called  Plage de la Pointe des Corbeaux.  I know someone (JB) reading this is impressed that I know the name of this beach! (I found it on Google.) This area of the island has these unique little cabana type buildings and boats with wheels on the back, so it was pretty easy to find once I Googled images for Île d'Yeu. This is a very interesting little island with monolithic and neolithic relics/stone structures. I love this island.  I could write several entries about the food and the pots of cream and the hydrangeas.

5.75" x 6"