Beadwork is a Wonderful Art

As you know, I’m a jewelry designer (among several other arts) and this past year I’ve been learning beadworking.  It is amazing how relaxing it can be.  I love doing all of the stitches and watching how each piece turns out.  It is time consuming, but worth all that you put into it.

For those who want to start beadworking, I suggest getting a subscription to the magazines “Beadwork” and “Bead and Button.”  These publications are a font of beadworking knowledge.  You can learn the stitches and create the projects.

The bracelet shown is my bracelet that I made for the Lake Shore Artists group annual May Exhibit.  It won second place to my surprise.

Since I’m learning beadworking, I will add it to my list of creative things to do.  I will post my projects as I go along.

Thanks for stopping by  🙂


Completed Watermedia Painting – Coneflowers

Sorry it took me long to post the completion of this painting. 

Well, here it is completed….at least for now…I’ve been known to take “finished” paintings out of the frame and do more to them….I’m obsessed with my arts…don’t know if that makes me a perfectionist or not 😀

As stated in the previous post, this is a water media painting…watercolors, watercolor pencils, on Arches professional coldpressed cotton rag paper…I swear by this paper…pricey, but excellent if you want your painting to turn out professional looking…you can usually find it on sale online quite often. 

So, in the previous post I started out with the first flower with no plans of adding much….just started as a practice….but then I got a few ideas that I found in “Birds and Blooms,” an excellent reference magazine for those who love to paint florals and birds.  I highly recommend it…but, always remember to only use magazines and other printed sources as a REFERENCE ONLY…do not copy other people’s photos, you always should do your  interpretation only and switch up your references….this is a very important rule if you want to paint professionally…it’s not nice to copy other artists, photographers, media, etc….you can get into serious copyright problems…just FYI.

So, I added the extra conflowers…and I added another floral element in the top of the painting…a lavendar element (not sure what flower that is)……a little moth was added to the one flower for a touch of whimsy 🙂  I like to whimsy things.

My background, which should have been really done in the beginning, before adding the floral subjects….doing it first, would have made it easier.  But, I have to do it the hard way 😀  Well, here’s how I did it…..I like to wet a small area at a time…..making sure that I don’t touch the already painted areas…..then I slowly add colors here and there, letting the wetness run slightly to create mottled colored areas….this is something that you have to practice at….I suggest, just trying it on a blank sheet of paper….you have to work with what amount of wetness you want and the amount of color to run to create the kind of background that you want….be careful not to over wet the paper…and here’s where you really need a good paper to experiment on because there are art papers that won’t take all of the wetness and working with a brush…cheaper papers may create a balling up of fibers when you over work it with a brush and lots of water usage….good papers can hold up to this kind of method and other methods that an artist may need to use to create their painting.

If you have any questions, I’ll be glad to answer them.

After I completed this painting, I did get to exhibit in the Geneva Ohio Grape Jamboree Art Exhibit in late September, as I mentioned in the previous post.  It did not take a prize for there where lots of beautiful paintings entered.  I did win the Gold Star Award for one of my mixed media paintings in the exhibit and it was sold, which was a blessing.  I may have to post some of my mixed media painting soon…mixed media is fun…lots of experimentation, which I love.

Well, that’s all for now.  Thanks for reading….please leave comments 🙂

Check me out at AliveWithColor.

The Beginning of a Painting….

Well, it all started when I went to my Wednesday morning art workshop where we, local artists do our art and catch up on all the usual artist stuff.  I didn’t have a new picture started, like I usually like to do ahead of time.  So I shuffled through my canvas art bag to find some birding and gardening magazines to get some ideas.

This coneflower is what developed out of a few reference photos that I used.  This was the beginning of a larger painting that I finished for an upcoming exhibit.  Here’s a “shout out” for our Geneva, Ohio Grape Jamboree Festival, which has an art exhibit as one of it’s events on the last full weekend of September every year.

So, first I started out with Arches 140 lb. cotton rag watercolor paper, which I swear by…..I like the cold-pressed version.

Next, I took a combination of watercolor pencils and watercolor paints to create the flower that you see here…..basically, penciling in the flower shapes and some of the shadows….then adding some water lightly (and I mean lightly…dip brush…dab on tissue….this was taught to me by an artist friend)…and carefully applying the wet brush to the penciled areas….also, adding watercolor paints where needed.

So, this is the beginning of my painting, which I will continue with the rest of the instruction in my next post……

Check back for further instruction and to see the final results   🙂

Also, check out my website  where you can find links to my Etsy stores and an “about the artist” page.

Art Instruction on Acrylic Collage on Canvas

This is my collage acrylic painting “Altered Garden.”  First, I took an acrylic glaze and mixed it with a bright green paint and worked it into the entire background of the canvas, paying attention to sort of “scratch” in details of floral background, giving depth and textural interest. 

Next, I took several digital kaleidoscopes that I had made from my photography stash and printed them out on various photo papers and art papers.  I then cut out these various kaleidoscope designs and attached them in various locations on the canvas with an acrylic gel.  After attached, I added the same acrylic gel to the face of each design to give them a protective coating. 

After these designs were added, I painted in the stems, vines, leaves, etc. for each of these kaleidoscope flowers. 

Then I added various other hand painted flowers and vegetation until I got the desired effect that I was happy with.  Finally, after allowing all of this painting and collaging to dry thoroughly, I added a good spray finish to provide a protective coating.

How the Sunflowers are done…art instruction and kind of an art supply review.

In this painting of sunflowers, I used “Arches” 140 lb. cold pressed paper and “Winsor & Newton” and “Grumbacher” watercolor paints.  In my opinion, Arches is the best and most professional art paper to use for most art projects.  It is durable and takes well to scrubbing and excessive water and brush lifting back of color.  If you’re a watercolor artist, you will probably understand what I am saying about the need of a good durable painting paper….actually, to get really specific, Arches is made of 100% cotton rag.  I’ve used many other papers, but I have to say that Arches is my favorite…and I’m really into using the watercolor blocks.  Arches also comes in 300 lb., which is nice and thick….I have a friend who uses nothing but that….and also comes in the usual hot pressed, rough, and what I prefer, cold pressed….and it’s available in sheets or blocks.  If you watch your art supplies sources, you can usually find Arches on sale frequently.  In all, I believe, it’s really worth using.  Now this,…just for the newbies to watercolor…I used to wonder this too, before I got really into watercolor painting, so don’t feel dumb….watercolor blocks are basically several sheets of “paper” kind of glued together on all sides, like a note pad might be on the top, forming a thick block of paper…you can only get to the top sheet to paint on, until you gently cut around the sides to remove that top paper.  So when you are painting, you are painting on a thick hard surface.  Ok…now on to the paints….

I’ve been using “Winsor & Newton” and “Grumbacher” watercolors for a while, and I’ve used others before, so I’ve got to say that I really like using these two professional brands.  They work beautifully….I love the product and the result that they produce.  Like the Arches, these too can be found on sale frequently if you watch your art supply sources. 

Now about using “quality” supplies….as an artist, I’ve found, that it’s worth a couple of extra dollars (and usually it is only a couple of extra dollars if you watch for sales) to buy and use the professional quality art supplies.  When you create something, you want it to turn out great and last forever, especially if you are selling your artistic creations….you want your customers to be very happy with their purchase.  I know that is important to me as an artist.  If you are just starting out and don’t want to make that investment yet, it’s understandable to use the less expensive products, but as soon as you get more serious about your art, it’s worth the investment in the long run….start out with one good paper (or canvas, or strand of gemstones, if you’re a jewelry artist, or any supply for whatever facet of art you’re in) and maybe the three basic primary colors of  paint (red, yellow, blue….you can mix your colors)….I know, I’ve been there!

Now, to the “Sunflowers”……I like to make my backgrounds by wetting the paper (this is why you need strong, durable paper/rag) in small sections and adding watered-down pastel paints to different areas and letting the color spread, but also guiding the color with my brush to control where I want it.  I keep doing small areas until I’ve covered the whole area….but, gently blending in one small area into another.  I use different colors where I want ultimately creating a diffused background…kind of what you get when you photograph flowers and you see the blur of the rest of the garden in the background.  After you get it the way you want, now it’s time to let it dry….and I mean, leave it alone for a while to really dry….this makes a big difference in your next step of adding your subject.

I want to interject something here, right now…..when you do watercolors, if you are at a point where you either cannot get something the way you want or you feel something is missing or not right or you’ve worked at it for a while and it’s frustrating you…..STOP and LET IT BE….walk away from it for a few hours…a day….when you go back to it, you may be very surprised at how it looks after it dried.  It’s amazing.  I can’t tell you how many times it’s surprised me.  You also may have a different perspective then and can complete your piece. 

Now it’s time for the actual subject, the sunflowers.  I collected several photo references of sunflowers (you can use your own photos, or ideas from magazines etc…) and slowly added in the outlines of my subjects (you can do this in whatever way works for you…like a light pencil drawing to guide you or you can lightly paint a faint outline of each by using a watered-down pale color that will blend into your final subject)…I find a real watered-down sepia works for many outlines.  After all of this preparation, it’s “paint away” time….of course in this painting I used MANY shades of yellows and browns….I find, I like using many shades usually, especially here in the petals of the flowers to create a luminous look.

I decided in this painting to make my sunflowers different in the centers and their position….when you paint, let your artistic flair loose….this is art, express yourself.  Everyone has a different style and way of doing things.  It’s important to enjoy yourself and be expressive…paint what you see, not what someone else tells you to see. 

If you or anyone you know may be interested in purchasing my painting, please click on the link below or contact me if you would be interested in prints or cards are anything else this starving artist is selling….thanks 😀