Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Measure Twice

You know that phrase, "measure twice, cut once"? Yeah... I think I need that framed above my sewing table. Unlike painting, you can't just get it close enough or paint over a mistake. On a related subject, I was looking for my seam ripper, but it is no where to be found! I even looked in the places where my cats usually fling small objects I leave unattended, but no luck. So, needing to get my fix of creativity, I looked around and remembered a painting I'm doing for a friend. I've put this painting off for some reason, and my friend has been incredibly patient in waiting for it. Plus he lives in India, so he can't do much about it ;) I kid... seriously it's really late.
Pencil on canvas board 14" x 18" 
I thought I'd do thin layers of acrylic paint to build up the colors.....

Acrylics on canvas board
.... but then I realized that since I didn't erase the grid lines, I'll need thick paint to cover those up. Whoops. Another example of measure twice? Actually, I think it will look better with more opaque paint in the end, so no big deal. I'll keep you updated as the painting progresses!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

New year's make-up! Sorry the quality of these photos are awful. I used my camera phone. Someday I'll get a nice camera. But until then, enjoy these crappy blurry pictures!
 I found that getting the glitter to stick to my eyelids was difficult- you really need some kind of sticky primer to make it work. Also, my eyeliner got messed up when I put on the fake lashes.
 I'd love to see anyone else's make-up experiments or re-creations of the stuff I've tried.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Peacocks & Bananas: Costume and Make-Up Art

The other thing I've been really into in lieu of painting and drawing-type art is costumes. One of my favorite parts of going out is getting the opportunity to do dramatic make-up (it's the little things). Due to my love of dressing up, and the proximity to my birthday, Halloween is perhaps my favorite holiday. Last year I frightened people with my Edward Scissor-hands make-up:

A lot of people I knew passed by not recognizing me. This year I decided to go as a peacock, which turned out to be no small task. I did a practice run with rainbow peacock eye shadow, which turned out pretty well.

...but, instead I decided to try the techniques in this YouTube video entitled Peacocky! My version didn't look as good as the one in the video, and in the end I kind of prefer the above rainbow eye shadow.

The costume itself took hours and was pretty expensive, but was fun and turned out really well.

Gathering materials (and cats)....

Measuring the tail....

...and the end result!

I already had the sparkly dress from an awesome goodwill find from years ago, and I purchased the sparkly gold tights for the occasion.  The arm warmers I made myself by just sewing tubes from costume fabric, hemming them, and sewing in thumb holes. I made the tail by tying the feathers together with twine, decorating the back with ribbon, and using blue ribbon to tie the tail on in two places, which keeps it upright. Sort of impractical for crowds and cars, but impressive looking nonetheless!

Peacock & Captain Hammer at Holocene in Portland on Halloween

Soon after Halloween, to commemorate the upcoming release of the final season of Arrested Development, some friends of mine threw an Arrested Development party. I went as Mr. Bananagrabber because my friend had left her child-size banana costume in my care (don't ask). I re-used my gold iridescent tights from the peacock costume and paired it with a black t-shirt and miniskirt underneath the banana suit. I used a Banagrams bag as my purse and for make-up I did yellow eye shadow with black winged eyeliner. Black winged eyeliner using MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack is my new obsession, btw.

It's not very often that you have an excuse to use yellow eye shadow, especially with my pale complexion, so I enjoyed it for that factor at least. A guy dressed as gay sailor Tobias won best costume, but he was also the host, so that's probably for the best:)

I get a lot of ideas from YouTube, if you haven't noticed, so that is a great place to look for make-up and costume tutorials. In fact tonight I did a practice of this Starry Eyes make-up tutorial for my New Year's make-up tomorrow! See? I got lazy with the eyeliner because it's a run-through but the eye-shadow turned out well. Jasper approves.

I'll try and take a clearer, well-lit photo tomorrow to show the final result. 

My bathroom counter before and after a costume make-up session :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012


 I haven't posted any artsy things lately because.... well, I haven't been painting. However, I have been getting my creative juices going in other ways with.... sewing! My mom's always been a great sewer, and made a lot of my clothes growing up. I started to get into it when I was a kid, and even attended some of her quilting meetings with her (wow, I was a dork). Then in early high school I decided to make a cute summer dress, and I did... with a lot of tears and frustration along the way. After that I gave up on sewing for a long time. But I found a tutorial for the "Infinity Dress" a few years ago and have been meaning to make one ever since. The Infinity Dress is a circle skirt with a waistband and two very long straps that you can use for INFINITE ways to style (what a clever name). Here I've just shown one way to wear it, but you can find tons of YouTube videos and pictures of how to wrap your dress.
 I wore this one to a friend's wedding and got a lot of compliments. The clearest and most concise tutorial for it I've found yet is here on the blog Sew Like My Mom. The above dress was made on polyester type of fabric that stretches and hangs really nicely. That type of fabric is ideal. I made a second version out of jersey knit (below). It is nice because it's more casual, but unlike the former, it does wrinkle.

As you can see, my cat was super helpful during the sewing process. Guess he saw me working on the floor as an opportunity to cuddle.

And here, he was kind enough to hold down my pattern for me.....

I'll be posting more projects as I photograph them!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Are you free or are you tied up?

"Tied Up" mixed media on paper
My dear friend Kerri runs an art group for therapists- it's basically where a couple of us from our grad school cohort meet at her office and take a couple hours to chat about our lives, being a therapist, and whatever else we want while we make art. Kerri always has a prompt of some sort to get us going, and provides the materials for it, too (because, you know, she's awesome). We usually end up doing some sort of art therapy type thing- we try to incorporate what we're thinking and feeling, and what's been occupying our energy at the time, thus helping to release that energy into our art and out of our brains and bodies.

The prompt this time was not a topic, but a method of creating - she has a cup full of strips of paper that say things like "write," "draw," "paint," "3-D," "pattern," "text," "photo," etc., and you have to do something using that method, and once you're done you pick another one at random and add that to your photo. The topic, in this case, was completely open-ended.

I did a piece about what was going on in my life and what had been on my mind. I had also been listening to Miike Snow in anticipation of seeing him live the following day (great show) and the song that was stuck in my head- "Animal," has a line that just happened to fit the theme perfectly. I'm not going to tell you what it's about because really, that's none 'o yo dayyyy-umn business, so let your imagination go wild.

What I really like about this activity and, in this case, the result of it, is that I'm not able to really plan my piece out very accurately, because I might have a great idea using paint and inevitably, I pull "write," out of the cup so then I'm stuck having to write something out or make a pattern or do whatever it says. I actually think it turned out well, but the evolution and end point of the piece was a surprise to me. It's almost like the art itself, paired with my own thoughts and feelings, take me on a journey- like it has something to show me rather than me controlling where it goes.

P.S. If anyone ever tries an art therapy kind of technique I talk about here and feel like sharing it, I'd love to see it and/or post it on the blog. Same goes for any non-prompted piece of art you've done and you're proud of... or not proud of for that matter!!

Monday, April 9, 2012


Kosara. colored pencils on paper, 11"x14"
 This is a commission piece I did for my uncle to give to my aunt of their granddaughter (what does that make her- my cousin once removed? They're also on my step-dad's side, so riddle me that) for their anniversary. Sadly, I have never met Kosara, but she's good looking, apparently! I took some photos during the process to show the progression if the drawing.

My work desk, i.e. kitchen counter.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


"Swamp". acrylics on canvas board, 14"x18"
Searching for inspiration, I turned to Illustration Friday, a site that posts weekly one-word prompts for art-making. This week's prompt was "swamp," so this is what I came up with. In the process of doing this I (or one of my cats, I can't remember who) spilled a my paint water all over the counter. I have two laptops and a clock/radio/speakers thing on the counter, so I checked where the water went and it appeared to have spilled on the carpet. I didn't think much of this and went back to painting. Shortly after my (brand new, beloved) laptop shorted out. This confused me (I still didn't make the connection) so I just went to bed. Then the next morning I tried to turn it on to no avail. I then picked up the laptop to discover it was literally sitting in a puddle of water. Wow. Not so smart on me. Since it's new it's still under warranty and hopefully can be repaired. We'll see. I have my little Asus Eeeeeee PC as back-up.

As you can see from the above picture, I'm having a lot of difficulty photographing my art. I've been taking photos with a Canon Elph or... (don't laugh) my camera phone. Then I put it in Picasa and touch it up a bit before posting it. Usually it looks borderline acceptable, but not this time. The shiny acrylics made it hard to take a photo without glare from the surrounding light. Any tips out there for taking decent photographs of your art? I'm not going to buy a new camera or special lights, I just want it to look decent enough for the blog, and eventually my website/portfolio.

*Update: I messed with it a little bit in Gimp and used the burn tool to take out the uneven lighting, so it looks a little better now.

After my last post I got a couple of requests for commission portraits- one involving a certain family member, and it's looking great so far! Hopefully I don't mess it up before it's finished;) So I'm excited about that, and I will share it with you as soon as it's done and delivered to the appropriate parties (it's a gift, hence the vagueness, but I wanted to give you a little teaser anyway)!