Thursday, May 20, 2010

Speaking of my day job...

Here are two of the illustrations I did in March for the latest Daisy Kingdom/Springs pattern for Simplicity.  The fabric print was so cute (although those dark, detailed prints are a nightmare to render in watercolor--I was crosseyed by the time these were finished):
Currently I have a fleece poncho drawing in the works....I'm past the due deadline (what else is new?). Too much on my plate, and too many distractions...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

On Top of the World!

March continued to be a whirlwind of a busy month.  I did a stint at our neighborhood elementary school as Artist in Residence(that sounds so impressive, huh?) for a week.  I used to spend a lot of time there, when Gretchen was younger....was a room mother, party planner, art literacy teacher, etc.....but haven't been back much in the last 6 years, except to visit Chris and other teachers occasionally.  It was really fun being back in those familiar halls, but especially fun to be in two very wonderful classrooms full of eager, terrific third grade kids.  Chris instigated my involvement in the program, and I'm glad she did.

I've been focusing on collage lately, when I'm not making soldered charms, or doing my "day job" of illustration and graphic design.  So that seemed like a perfect direction to take with the third graders.  A recurring theme in my own collage-work has been a figure seated on a globe....
collage created for a school auction a couple years ago

"Uncle Marvin", licensed for use by a tote bag company

We took black&white photos of each child sitting on a stool, then cut out their image, trimming away the stool and entire background.  Each child created a textured, collaged background in a color theme of their choice.  They searched for letters to spell out their names and the word "world", as well as images of things that helped define who they are.  They placed themselves on the globe, added bits of color to their photos, positioned the title letters, and glued their masterpieces together with much care and cleverness.  After diligently working through many steps, using lots of glue sticks, and finishing just in time for Mother's Day, about 60 kids took home wonderful pieces of art they should be so proud of:
Obviously, I couldn't pick just one to feature here....this is just a small sampling of the kids' great work.  There were so many more that just melted my heart.  It was a really wonderful week for me and I was on top of the world!

Monday, May 17, 2010

So much catching up to do...

It's been way too long since I've posted on this blog, as some of you keep reminding me.  Lots of distractions, lots on my plate, lots of procrastination: these are my lame excuses.  Before I knew it, two and a half months flew by, so now I have lots of to catch up on.

Way back in early March, we had our first "Altered Images" class.   I made name-tags for everyone, using pictures from a 1958 high school yearbook.  The hairstyles and glasses and funny phrasing cracked me up, and I had fun making the silly tags. (click on any image to enlarge.)
We had a pretty awesome group of ladies in this class--all very creative, and all very fun people.  Here's the dream class:
We started the evening with a collage challenge.  I had assembled folders for everyone, each containing a "hero"/main image, along with somewhat-coordinating bits and pieces of papers and such.  Each packet was quite different, and some were a bit more random than others.  Some students were inspired by the components they received; others were a bit frustrated.  But it was a good exercise to take limited elements, layer them, arrange and rearrange them until finding a satisfying composition.
We talked a bit about basic composition and balance principles,  and I showed a bunch of examples for inspiration.  I think the results were terrific!  Like I said, we had some pretty crafty, creative students:
We spent the majority of our class time on this first experimental project, so we had precious little time left to get to what was supposed to be the nitty-gritty of the class, altering images.  I sped through some ideas for tweaking and embellishing photographs of people.  I love to take an image, scan it, convert it to black and white if necessary, and print it out on matte photo stock with my inkjet printer.  The paper's surface is wonderful for adding colored pencil touches.  It accepts waxy Prismacolor pencils like a dream.
I also like to add other elements to the photo to further alter it:  butterfly wings, hats, different clothes, etc., adding touches of whimsy and a little quirkiness.  I wish we had had more time to play with photos, but class went by too quickly.  We squeezed in some attempts:
We think that next time we offer this class, it would be good to expand it to two evenings, to allow plenty of lab time for experimenting.  Maybe this fall we'll try it again.  Not sure we'll be able to match this great group of ladies again, however!