This Is It!

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A little sneak peek at some of what I’ll be teaching August 1-2 at Donna Downey’s Studio in Charlotte, NC. Because I have reduced my 2015 teaching schedule, this is the ONLY workshop I’m teaching this summer and the ONLY portrait workshop I’m teaching this year! My only other upcoming 2015 workshop is now full so if you are interested I hope you’ll consider joining me for a all inclusive, fun and inspiring weekend!

 

Un-Masking My New Stencil Release!!

I’m very excited to reveal my latest line of stencils from Stencil Girl Products!!

Mask Stencil Promo

Check out my video to see why masks are meaningful to me and for a little art inspiration.

Also be sure to go to the Stencil Girl Products BLOG to find another tutorial using some of the other mask stencils!

 

 

 

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To start off this journal spread I adhered a napkin doodle drawing (I love to do these in restaurants and then bring them home to use later) to the page with Mixed Media Adhesive and then used my ‘Thoughts of Courage-No Regrets’ stamp from my line of stamps at Stampington & Co, with some black Staz On ink in the area that I wanted to add the mask. You could also us a permanent black pen to add your own thoughts to the page.

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Next I laid the ‘Behind the Mask’ stencil over the stamped area and used black paint and a sponge to pounce the color through the stencil design. (I love Matisse Background colors as they have gesso in them and are flat instead of shiny when dry.)

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Using more of the black paint, I sponged it around one side of the mask.

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With a wet brush I moved the paint around leaving one side more washed out than the other. This helps pop the image off of the page a bit.

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Using a simple color palette of White Washed, Mustard Seed and Barely Black from my line of Fluid Matt Sheer Acrylics, I began to paint in the background and the face and I added some White Washed to the mask.

 

I added in a horizon line and left some nice dar and light areas on the pages.

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Some simple journaling finishes off the page.

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DVD’s are Now Available!!!

I’m thrilled to announce that my new North Light DVD’s are available!!! So much fun to finally see them ‘out there’. It’s been several months since I was shooting them in cold Cincinnati last February. The whole experience has been a joyful ride and I hope you’ll take a moment to check out the sneak peeks for the videos on the North Light shop (just click the video images below)

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And there’s also a value pack available with the stencils I used in the Color Wheel Journal!!

You Have to Show Up

You Have to Show Up

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I’ve said before in my books and articles that to be successful and fulfilled as a creative person, you need to ‘show up’ and do the work! Success (whatever defines that) can really only happen if you are doing the work and putting the time in. Sometimes you hear someone use the term ‘overnight success’ and I always kind of laugh because I bet money that those ‘overnight successes’ would beg to differ with that!

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It takes YOU to make You successful at whatever goal you are trying to achieve! Our artwork often reflects bits of ourselves in it, that’s what makes it personal and meaningful.

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I’ve learned some new things about myself in this 50th milestone year of my life. I did not enter it the way I set out to. I had goals and I kind of lost them for a bit. I didn’t feel in control of my life, my body, my emotions for a variety of reasons. This manifested itself in gaining weight, feeling physically and mentally exhausted and STRESSED.

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I will admit I mostly complained about it, internally and externally making some half hearted attempts to change things. It didn’t work.

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So I gave myself a long pep talk. I needed to make changes for myself and only I could do this. So a couple of months ago I did. I got out my Fitbit. I began with walking a couple of miles a day. Then I added in working out at the gym 2 times a week. Making each step attainable so I could feel successful. Then I added in dieting ( I know, sigh, not fun but really I needed to get control over eating as well). When I feel I have reached one goal and attained it for a bit, I step up the next goal. Now I’m walking at a faster pace and doing 3 1/2 miles a day and working out 2-3 times and I’ve cut my calorie intake. I’ve been losing the weight I gained last year, finally. I feel so much better. And the work on my body has helped with the stressful aspects of life that have plagued me this past year.

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Once I set my mind to it and began ‘showing up’ to take care of myself, I felt the tides turning. Is life perfect? No. Will it ever be? Probably not. Am I OK with that? Yes. I will try my best to make the most of what life has to offer each day. I can’t fix other peoples problems. I will be there for them but that’s all I can do. If they choose not to ‘show up’ and do the work they need to do, well, I can’t fix that.

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If you don’t like some aspect of your life, I encourage you to take steps to change it. They don’t have to be big steps. Set reasonable goals. Take care of yourself. Encourage those around you to do the same but don’t take it on yourself if they choose not to.

 

Color Shaper Journal Painting

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I was messing around in my journal a couple of days ago and wanting to play a little differently I grabbed my Colour Shaper tools to paint this portrait without using brushes. Several people have asked about both the Colour Shapers and the method so I did another quick journal page in my Extra Large Moleskine Sketchbook (11.5 x 16.75″) and took some step out pictures to show the process.

Most important I think to using the Colour Shapers in this way is not to get bogged down by details, stay loose and go with the marks that they make!

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The Colour Shapers are some of my favorite art tools and I keep them handy by my work table on my Raskog cart from IKEA.

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Here are the sizes I like, and note that they come in both firm and soft tips and it’s good to have both as they will work differently with the paint.

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I’m using my Fluid Matt Sheer Acrylics in Mustard Seed, Barely Black and White Washed. You can see that these are very fluid and also carry a high pigment load. You can try any acrylic paint and you will get various results depending on the viscosity of the paint.

I love this color palette as the Mustard Seed and Barely Black mixed together make a really warm gray color.

FullSizeRender_3My model is my Asaro’s Head. This is such a wonderful tool for seeing how light hits on the different planes of the face. Here I just sketched the actual head, but you can use it to also sketch a more realistic face and get some great references to where shading and highlights should go.

FullSizeRender_2Using the larger 1″ and 2″  Colour Shapers, I start to block in the dark areas. Note all of the cool marks the tools leave in the paint-I don’t try to avoid them, this adds to the overall look.

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As I work I wipe off the tool onto the background to start that off. By adding small amounts of White Washed to the gray mix I get various tones of color that I add the planes of the head. Switch to smaller tools as needed.

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You can also wipe a bit of each of the tones you mix on the page somewhere to help document them. I do this a lot in my journal work.

(and yes, that’s a glass of wine in the background-keeps you loose while you paint😉

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Remember to stop! I am not at all going for some finely detailed painting, I want it raw, so remembering to stop is important. In all this took less than hour from sketch to finished painting. Now I’m going to let it dry and then add some journaling to the page. This is a fun journal exercise to help you loosen up and play with shading and tonal values.

 

 

50 Shades of Grey…in Portraits

Some of you may remember one of my Shades of Grey workshops. They were conducted way before the books and movie of that title came out and I very much prefer my take on it;-)

 

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Here’s a little workshop video I did for Strathmore Artist Papers a few years ago.I return to this simple palette again and again, it’s my favorite and exploring the tonal values in this way is such a good exercise for creating faces.

There are several projects in my new book, Mixed Media Portraits with Pam Carriker, that deal with exploring tonal values in the face and while the projects are meant to be fun, there’s also a lot to learn each time you explore the lights and darks of the face, or any object. A simple sketch is one way, but when you start to add in various media such as Conte Crayon, charcoal, acrylics, oil pastels and more you get an even more intense experience as you blend and create shades of grey.

I went back through my artwork and journals to pull 50 Shades of Grey in faces spanning the last several years. It’s always fun to take a look back and see how your artwork had evolved and what things still draw you that you continue to explore. I encourage you to take a look back at your work and reflect on what things still appeal to you as you go forward~