November 17, 2008

Soul Journal – Day 14 (part 2)

Posted in Art, Art journals, Art samples, Beginner's art, Fun & frivolity, Papercrafts, Soul Journal tagged , at 10:00 pm by amateur-in-art

I’ve split Day 14 into two posts because of their length. Today’s installment will conclude Day 14.

I finished up painting the couple. I gave her purple bloomers and cockeyed feet. And didn’t realize until I was all done that I had forgotten to give her hands! Oh well. Too late now, and I’m not going to bother.   Although I gave him hands, I didn’t do much in the way of footwear for him. I just used a block of brown paint to sort of make a boot-like rectangle for his feet. It works for me. So I guess between the two of them, she has the feet and he has the hands. Oh well.  I like the way their bodies turned out, silliness and all!


Here’s what they look like, all put together!


I deliberately put the brads for the man’s arms in a spot where they would look like the hooks on a pair of overalls. I think he turned out pretty well.


I also had forgotten that I had some flower-brads, so I used them to attach his legs. And I used them all over her, because I thought they would go well with the flowers in her dress.


Yay! My paper dolls are finished – which means now I get to go play! Let’s see what they look like in their new home!

Here’s the woman at home, throwing up her hands over all the cooking to be done! (Or maybe she’s celebrating that it is all over with!)


And here is the man, dancing a jig down the path!


And here’s a picture of the happy couple together. I think they will live happily ever after!


Thanks again to Sarah for designing this Soul Journal journey. And thanks, too, to the Thrifty Collage Artist for making these wonderful old-fashioned photographs available.

I had a lot of fun with this – much more than I thought I would. And I really enjoyed creating the contrast between the old black and white pictures, and the bright colors of their clothes, along with the “hippie” kind of feel. This was a very fun exercise, and one that I would not have done, if Sarah hadn’t provided the instructions. Now I have several ideas for future paper dolls to use in my art, as well as ways to use and attach old photos for new uses.

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© amateur-in-art, 2008


November 16, 2008

Soul Journal – Day 14 (part 1)

Posted in Art, Art for beginners, Art journals, Art samples, Beginner's art, Papercrafts, Soul Journal tagged at 12:19 am by amateur-in-art

Today we’re finishing our paper dolls using collage and paint.

I decided I wanted to use a recipe, just like I did on the pages, on the woman. I had several choices – one of which included cooking a squirrel and hens – but finally decided on one for “Mother’s Beef…”


I knew I wanted the woman’s dress to be bright colors, and chose yellow as the base.

I also decided I wanted to make both of my people kind of hippies (to fit in with the peace signs, on the inside of the roof). So I used some of the same paper from the paper bag and cut out a flower, circle and peace sign to put on the man’s overalls.


I decided I wanted to make the woman’s dress more “sixties” style – plus I thought with just the orange swirls, she looked sort of like an Easter egg, so I added some hippie flowers, a couple of peace symbols, and some purple polka dots.


And here’s how I finished up the man’s clothes:


I wasn’t sure how to manage the suspenders part of his overalls. I didn’t think they’d be durable enough if I cut them out; I was too afraid they’d tear easily. Besides, I needed the top part to hook on his head. So I just decided to take some dark gray paint to block out the places for his neck and arms and make them look more like overalls.  I also realized after I did this that by choosing dark gray, it would work well with the gray on his suit.

I’ll come back and complete this sometime soon. I think this is enough for today’s post.

© amateur-in-art, 2008

November 12, 2008

Soul Journal – Day 13

Posted in Art, Art for beginners, Art journals, Art samples, Beginner's art, Papercrafts, Soul Journal tagged , at 11:34 pm by amateur-in-art

Today we’re making paper dolls. The first step was to measure the house-pocket. Mine was pretty small – about 2 1/2 by 3 inches tall. I guessed I’d want the head of the person to be about one inch.

Next, I had to select the pictures to be used. The dolls were supposed to be of our family, but I thought about this and delayed for a long time. I just couldn’t get used to the idea of cutting up family photos – even if they were copies. I just didn’t like the idea of making everybody into paper dolls. I also knew that if I used pictures of my immediate family, I didn’t want to post them online, for privacy, but that was actually a very small concern. The bigger issue was just that I couldn’t get comfortable with the idea of literally cutting up my family.

I had also been thinking that I wanted to use some old-fashioned photos, because I like the look of them and I think I’d like to work more with old photos in my artwork. I considered using pictures of my grandparents or great-grandparents, but again, I just couldn’t get comfortable with the idea of cutting them up. Plus, the angles on the faces just wouldn’t work right, for me, either.

So, I decided to see what I could find online. I went to the Thrifty Collage Artist and found two images I liked there.  Sarah’s instructions for the paper dolls said to mount the pictures on watercolor paper, but I just printed mine on regular photograph paper, and that seemed heavy enough to me.

Here’s how things were looking when I started out:

sj-day13-startThe stick figure was my estimate of the size I needed for my paper doll.

Next, I cut out the heads, leaving extra neck room to attach them to their paper doll bodies.


I just happened to put her here after I cut her out. It made me laugh when I saw her as a disembodied head floating above the landscape. I kind of like it!


I deliberately used the man’s suit collar as a pattern to cut out. I also like his tie. Then I realized that if I punched the brad through his tie, it would look like a tie-pin.  I also decided I wanted him to be a tall and skinny guy, so I just cut out a long rectangle for his body.


I wanted her to be a “short and stout” kind of woman, so I gave her a very plump and round body. I didn’t realize until I was attaching her head that the brad could also work as a brooch on her, because of the slender line on her collar.  I also realized once I decided to give her a plump body shape, that there would be no way she would fit in my house-pocket. That was OK, I decided, because my house was so tiny anyway. Besides, I liked her. The shape made me think of her as a bird-woman, and I was very tempted to give her wings and bird legs, but I was concerned that I had seen that somewhere else, possibly with the same or a similar image, and I wanted him to have a human wife, so I didn’t go that route. But, I may have to remake her at some point in the future as a bird. I can definitely see that in my mind.

Next, add arms and legs.


There we go! All done for the day – and I really like this couple!

© amateur-in-art, 2008

November 9, 2008

Embracing My Inner Third-grader

Posted in Art, Art for beginners, Beginner's art, Learning art, Techniques (art) tagged , , , , at 9:21 pm by amateur-in-art

It only takes me several months to read through my magazines. Recently I was looking at the July/Aug. 2008 issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors.

I often compare my artistic abilities to that of a third-grader (no shame, it’s just a fact) and I’ve found yet another reason to embrace that part of my art, as well. In their column “Popping the Question,” CPS asked their readers to write about how their artwork has been inspired or influenced by children. This provided an opportunity to read about the joy and exhuberance of children’s artwork. And in fact, children’s art is often not about the end product, but the sheer joy of creating. Of getting messy, of feeling the paint or the crayon or the paper or the clay. Of exploring while you create. It’s about the journey, not the destination.

So maybe saying I have the artistic skills of a third grader is not so bad after all. I should “embrace my inner child” – and let her go where her enthusiasm takes her. Run away, wild child, and I shall follow you! 😀

© amateur-in-art, 2008

November 7, 2008

Soul Journal – Day 12

Posted in Art, Art journals, Art samples, Beginner's art, Collage, Learning art, Soul Journal tagged , , at 12:17 am by amateur-in-art

Today is Day 12. I really liked the look of my drawing w/collage, and hestitated a bit to put color on it.  It also took me a while to decide exactly how I wanted to color it – with what media?  I didn’t think I wanted to use acrylic paints. I thought about crayons, because that would be perfect! – so child-like! But I was worried about the “mess” they would make, especially when the book was closed, so I finally decided on watercolors.

I got a cheap “kid’s set” of different art supplies – containing colored pencils, crayons, pastels, watercolors, and so on. That’s what I used here.


I’ve gotten started on the sky and grass, the tree and the chimney.

There were a few odd spots – I think maybe where the surface of the gesso was sanded weird or something – you can kind of see it below the sun – where there were small unidirectional scratches, that didn’t cover well. But oh well, there wasn’t much I could do about it, once I saw it happening, and besides, it does give it a little bit of an unusual surface.


Here’s the finished piece.

I used markers on the flowers, only, because I really wanted their color to stand out strong.


I also liked the way my tree turned out, the swoopy strokes making like leaves, and the streaks on the trunk.

You can also see the streaky-thing happening in the sky between the sun and the barn.

I took some heavy watercolor and highlighted the “warm place” phrase. I liked it in the sun, and then realized it really tied the whole piece together, with the cooking and the house and the smoke coming out of the chimney and also representing the emotional warmth of the house.  If I had a title for this page, it would be “In a Warm Place.”

Overall, I really like this page, and I had fun making it. I’m glad I went ahead with the coloring, and didn’t leave it with just the collage.  I’m pretty satisfied with this one!

© amateur-in-art, 2008