Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sea Horse part 2- 4-25-09

So the next little bit of work I did on my stick horse, now dubbed "SeaHorse", was to add some fish. Sketches were done using my Generals graphite pencil (water soluble) and as you can see, I am redoing the eye (that came with the horse), ear, and nose. The little white fish are actually painted with gesso and soon they will be green. So far so good and this is a load of fun...It is nice to do something really different and donate to a cause to boot.


PS. Lorrie, I have not forgotten about the fixative info. While working on each mixed media collage piece I will generally use Krylon Workable Fixative. This dries pretty glossy. I have to get you the name of the final varnish/sealant I put on. It is a golden product and you dilute with a brush and brush on. It comes in glossy, matte, and satin, satin being the one I use the most. I keep forgetting to dig out the bottle for the product number!

Friday, April 24, 2009

New project : A horse of a different color

I am a sucker for good causes and when you combine a good cause with an artistic challenge, well I pretty much have no choice but to participate. We have a wonderful program here in northern Illinois that essentially involves horse therapy. The program works with disadvantaged and disabled kids or adults to help them relate in a positive and caring way to their world through the use of horse. Main Stay Therapeutic Riding Program http://www.mstrp.org/ is funded primarily by donations. So the organization is sponsoring a new fund raiser called a Horse of A different color. It is sort of like the Cows on Parade that was done in Chicago or the Trail of Painted Ponies that was done in Santa Fe New Mexico. Some beautiful resin like carousel horses are being painted by select artists. Then there are the stick horses. This is the one that I decided to get involved in. I paid for a stick horse and now I can decorate it. As I usually do, I am going to record the process. These are wooden stick horses. As you can see by my first step here, I have given a couple layers of paint and have begun to build up an ocean floor complete with a sea plant or is it see weed? Anyway. Both sides of the head will be decorated pretty close to the same. I have a lot of ideas in my head and I am really enjoying this process.

When the stick horse is finished, it will go on display in a store window that faces the historic Woodstock, IL. square. Then on June 10th there will be this huge celebration on the square. My children and their class will dance in it along with other performers. The stick horses (a select few) will be auctioned and others will be sold outright. I think the same is true of the carousel horses. It will be a magnificent site to see these painted horses all around the square. Do visit the Main Stay site just to read about the program. I am thrilled to be a part of this wonderful cause


More to follow!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Completed Work: "On the Wings of Faith." 4-19-09

Finished!!!! YEA. I really love this piece and I am struggling with giving it up. But I made it with the fund raiser in mind and so it came from that part of my heart, specifically for that purpose. So, I give it up. I wish you could see and feel the texture on this work. I really love using tissue and napkins to build up layers. While the scan does not show it, she has a tiny bit of glitter on her wings, not a lot, just enough to hint supernatural. As far as the artist crayons and blending (asked Lorrie), I will blend them primarily with water. You can keep working them without losing pigment. But I have also blended these crayons with acrylics. After blending with water, if the color needs to be enhanced, I have then resorted to using neutral acrylics to blend. That works just fine. If you want to add other media on top of the crayons, what I do is use Krylon workable fixative to hold the crayons on the substrate and then paint over or use a media over them. Before I seal my work I will spray with the workable fixative so nothing runs as I seal it with varnish. I also use graphite and of course if you don't fix the piece before applying varnish, the graphite smears and runs. THe writing on the side of the painting says: "Live by faith-one day at a time." Now all I have to do is seal the work and it is good to go. I hope who ever wins the piece will appreciate the symbols and emotion that went into it. Lorrie, if you have any more questions on the crayons, give me a holler. You can buy them individually too if you just want to experiment.

I am sooo tired. Colin and Claire turned 14 yesterday and IT was such an action packed day and we kept on going till about 11 PM. They had a final dance/mixer at their school in the evening. After the dance, which was emotional because they will soon graduate 8th grade, the kids surrounded them and sang Happy Birthday, hence the photo. Then it was out for dinner and more celebration. Too much partying for me!

Finally, if any of you are in Palatine this Sunday, I will be in a group show at Emmetts Ale House
http://www.emmettstavern.com/contact_us/contact_us.php. Stop by and say "Hi" and have a good beer, micro brewed of course!.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Breast Cancer Donation step 6 4-15-09

I am about 90% done with my piece for the breast cancer fundraiser. I incorporated a single flower in her hair (thanks Kris) and started a halo. Still need to tweak background, add some text, modify wings just a tad, and maybe retouch the face. I think I finally captured this earth angel features. I was going for really delicate. Note the slight color and change of shading in her skin tones. I used a current fav, Caran d'Ache Neocolor II crayons,
http://www.dickblick.com/products/caran-dache-neocolor-ii-artists-crayons/. These crayons blend beautifully with a touch of water and appear to be more rugged or durable than the water soluble oil pastels. In other words you can achieve a beautiful blending without loosing too much of the crayon. Oil pastels can't take heavy blending (in my opinion) but I still use them. After I lay down an acrylic underpainting of the skin (face, hands etc) I then go over those tones with the crayons. I love the effect, it adds a lot of depth to the face. I am really pleased that this work is coming all together. Hopefully she will be finished by the weekend. I would love to bring her with me to a small gallery show that I am in. K

Friday, April 10, 2009

Stage 4 of Breast Cancer donation. 4-10-09

I was fortunate enough to have a precious 2 hours in my studio today. I made some progress but the face and torso look really wacky to me. This work is very different in terms of the face and the full length figure. I am use to working with larger features. Her features are so tiny but not quite right. I will be fiddling some more for sure. The skin tones need artist crayon work yet and I have more to do in the background and more work on the little bird that I added as an after thought. I added more dept to her clothes and those have shaped up nicely. Kris suggested flowers in her hair and I like that idea too. So hopefully I can hit the studio tomorrow. Although, I may be heading to the clinic for a throat swab. My throat is on fire and this cough and congestion is hanging on like a demon!


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Breast Cancer donation Mixed media and collage work. Steps 3 and 4

I worked a little more on this piece this past week even though I am still dealing with a huge virus of some sort. You can see how I am building up layers on this earth angel's dress. I have also subdued the background with some neutral acrylics. The work is definitely in progress and I would say I will busy with it for several more "days." Note nothing more has been done on the face. I usually work the face first but she is not speaking to me just yet. I think I want to flush out more in her dress and shawl. Hair needs something... and I want to add gold leaf somewhere. You get the idea...I am lost right now. I tend to over think everything because I try to work out what the final product will look like before the first papers are glued down!
My heart will find the way eventually. I keep thinking of Cindy while I am working on this. The piece is supposed to give the message of faith and instead, all I can feel is sorrow.


Sunday, April 05, 2009

A Cyber Toast to Miss Cindy

Margarita Graphic Comments
It has been a long sad week at the preschool where I work. I have really been out of it and not able to concentrate on much of anything. So, Kaitie, Colin, and Claire, when and if you read this entry, I hope you can maybe understand how Miss Cindy's death really affected me. As you know, she died a week ago Friday night. The accident was tragic and senseless. So many emotions came and went all week. Shock, disbelief, sorrow, sadness, and depression all mixed together in my heart. Now I am really angry now because I think Miss Cindy should have had more sense than to be in an attached trailer, asleep, on the highway, while it was raining. Blessedly she was pronounced dead at the scene and all those that were her feel that she died pretty much instantly once the trailer started to dove tail. So this past week I just trudged to work...no smile, no quirky look, no funny stories...they all went away once Miss Cindy died. A bunch of teachers and myself stopped at Fernandos, a little whole in the wall Mexican Restaurant that makes the best "Ritas" and drank a real toast to her. I did not order a "Rita" but rather a small Sangria. Miss Cindy knew that I never had one glass of any alcohol if I was driving but I made an exception this time. I do love Margaritas though...so I am toasting her right here.

Yesterday was dreadful.. I was feeling sick anyway and it was so darn cold in that Funeral Parlor. I sat there for 3 hours just starring. I think I talked some but really don't remember to who. Maybe the fact that I was running a fever had something to do with it. My immune system must have been way off. I slept little last week and with all that I do and all that I am exposed to , I suppose everything caught up with me. When it cam time for the eulogy about hours after I arrived, I finally lost it. It was when Pastor read my little email that I sent to the office at Shepherd of the Hills (where I work). I wasn't prepared and when I heard my words...I was gone. And I did not stop for the next 35 minutes. You did not really see me when you guys got home, but I was a mess...swollen eyes, a pasty face streaked with makeup, and sicker than a dog. I went to be as soon as you walked into the house and have been pretty much there ever since. When I was asked to write something about Miss Cindy, it was the hardest thing I have to do in a very long time. Here is what I wrote about the my friend and colleague:

"Although I have only worked with Cindy for a few short years, I feel so blessed to share in a small part of her life. She endeared herself to so many and I was lucky enough to be included. Cindy had such a huge personality. Just one of her smiles could change the mood in dour room. We had so many "little" talks over these last few years and I came to learn how much she adored her daughter and husband. When she talked about them her whole being glowed. She adored them. She loved anyone lucky enough to be her friend. I remember that just a few weeks ago, Miss Cindy was sharing one of her friend stories with Miss Andrea and myself. She described a recent visit she had with her woman doctor friend. When Miss Cindy talked about her friends, she always became so animated. She described her doctor friend as a very serious person...rarely taking the time to smell the roses and rarely spending anytime just having fun. So Miss Cindy drove to her home with a variety of costumes and the two of them played dress up that evening. Can you imagine two adult women playing dress up. She said her doctor friend never played dress up as a child and this was something that she liked to do with her. That story really epitomized the type of person that Miss Cindy was...a wild and free spirit who deeply cared about her family and friends.

Miss Cindy cared deeply for those close to her and it showed because she was such a good listener. Many confided in her their deepest troubles and she listened with great compassion and deep concern. She offered advice freely and was there when you needed her most. She put her faith in God first followed by family and friends.

I work three mornings a week at the preschool and I knew that whatever kind of mood I was in first thing in the morning, it would be greatly improved after receiving my morning greeting from Miss Cindy. Without fail, each morning that I worked, I would walk down the long stretch of hallway to Miss Andrea's room and see Miss Cindy sitting at the children's table in one of those little orange chairs. Upon hearing me trudging in, she would lean back in her chair, cock her hear, and say "Good Morning Miss Kathy!" and then flash one of her brilliant smiles. Thank you Miss Cindy for brightening my day.

It is so hard to make sense of all this. I know though that Miss Cindy was needed for a greater purpose. Slowly I will accept what is..for it is our Lord's will. Prayer now comforts me... The words from this Lennon/McCartney song ring in my soul:

"When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of Wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, Let it Be,
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be."

I love you Miss Cindy and I will keep you close in my heart always.

Miss Kathy"


graphic taken from http://www.devilgraphics.com/pic.php?n=margarita/&b=Margarita/