A Voice in the Crowd

Geography: Acrylic paints with vintage paper and wax

Being a late-blooming and unschooled artist,  I’ve spent a lot of time experimenting with new techniques lately.  Browsing through Jerry’s Artorama catalogue spurs some experimentation.  Who can resist the rich colors and intriguing possibilities presented there?   The talents and  techniques of  all the fabulous Melange Team Etsy artists spur experimentation, too.  I want to try everything.

But, like all experiments, some of mine haven’t turned out so well.  For instance, I’ve experimented with encaustic techniques, without investing serious money for the necessary tools.  There is no way I can get a nice, smooth encaustic surface with a little heat gun and a soldering tool.

I experimented with representational drawing and painting and managed to work out a watercolor of a barn that I have to my father-in-law.  He loved it.  But, he’s my father-in-law.  I tried a second piece – a trite and hackneyed landscape scene in a truly freaky pink/green color scheme.  (I tried diffusing it with wax, but couldn’t get it smooth — see above).

I’ve experimented with a high-gloss, thick resin finish on a couple of collages on wood panels.  The look is stunning – it looks almost like a ceramic tile.  But, it was  difficult to get a flawless finish.  I sanded and added coats until my husband finally told me that he had given me “old” resin and that’s why the piece had flecks in them that I couldn’t sand out.  Thanks, dear!  There goes three pieces right there. 

For the past few years, learning new things has been my mission in life.  I’ve learned I’m capable of doing things at which I thought I stank.  Exposing your brain with new experiences keeps your brain in top working order; it really does keep you young.  At the same time, one struggles to find one’s voice.  Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.   The struggle is to listen for your own voice amidst the clamor of everything else.

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Encaustic Art Opens New Possibilities

A Moment in Time: New encaustic piece from ruthsartsandletters.etsy.com

 

Encaustic art uses beeswax and resin to add texture and intense color to pieces of art.  It is an art form that has been around since ancient times.  More and more modern artists are learning about and using this ancient technique.

Using wax is as multi-faceted as using any other painting media.  In general, beeswax is mixed with a resin – often damar resin – and then melted and applied to a surface.  Encaustic paints are available, and the colors are particularly saturated and rich.  An artist can also mix their own colors using pigments.  The melted wax is applied to the surface in any number of ways, including with a tacking iron, a heated spatula or other hot tool, a brush, or simply drizzled on the canvas.  Once the wax is applied – it dries almost instantly – the artist can manipulate the wax using a heat tool.  You can embed almost anything in the wax, and build up the layers to form 3-D images.  Paints or other colors can be applied on top of the wax, also.  Due to the resin content, the wax cures to a very hard and resilient finish.

For more information on encaustic art, visit the following link:

www.encaustic.com

Another Too Cool Artist — Lana Rabinovich of Fine Embroidery on Etsy

Golden Venice - A piece from a series by Lana Rabinovich from Fine Embroidery on Etsy

Lana Rabinovich’s award-winning embroidery is a feast for the eyes and the imagination.  Rabinovich is the owner of Fine Embroidery, with two shops on Etsy and a website http://www.embroideryny.com/index.html.    She works closely with individual clients, fashion designers, and interior designers to create unique pieces.  Her work has been featured in Elle and Stitches magazines. 

Close up detail of the amazing embroidery in Golden Venice

Rabinovich is inspired by romantic historical images, in particular the unique masks of Venetian carnival.   She used Dupioni silk as the canvas and also incorporated pieces of velvet, satin, organza, tulle, silk, suede, lace and irridescent fabric in the finely detailed work.Embroidered details placed on hand painted “Dupioni” silk.

Too Cool Artist: The creative eye of lucybones

Browsing through Etsy on a dull post-Christmas morning, I came across lucybones.  (http://www.etsy.com/shop/lucybones).  Lucybones incorporates nature into the art in a unique way.  For instance, “Stem” is an original oil painting and photomicrograph on Hahnemuhle William Turner 310 gsm paper.  The subject of this piece is bamboo.

Stem by lucybones on Etsy

“Warmth” is another oil painting and photomicrograph.

Warmth by lucybones on Etsy

 The subject of “Warmth” is a silicone breast implant.  Lucybones draws on her appreciation of “the unseen world of minerals, plants, and animals” in her art.

Before Christmas, I was thinking about creativity and analogy.  I’ve read that very creative people are those who can think in analogies.  The Private Eye is an education program based on encouraging just such thinking. Creativity is fostered by looking at common objects through a jeweler’s loupe and asking questions like, “this reminds me of…” or “When I see this it makes me think of…”  When I see lucybones’s art, it makes me think she is a master of analogy, for it’s not just anyone who can find warmth and beauty in a silicone breast implant!

As artists, we should all make a New Year’s resolution  to look at the things around us with fresh eyes.

Nancy Lefko’s Authentic Art

Nancy Lefko is a mixed-media artist in New Hampshire.  She is also, like me, a stay at home mom.  So, I really identified with this great piece that she created while tending a sick child.

Mixed Media Art by Nancy Lefko

Be sure to check out Nancy’s blog and her Etsy shop.

http://nancylefko.blogspot.com/

http://www.etsy.com/shop/collageartgirl

Etsy Marketing–There’s Visibility in Numbers

I didn’t think I would become so business-minded when I decided to open an Etsy shop to sell the art that was beginning to pile up in my spare room.  After all, doing artwork was fun — exhilerating even.  What I didn’t understand was how huge Etsy is.

There are thousands of artists on Etsy, and the challenge is to get people, more specifically, buyers, to look at the stuff in your shop.  So far, I’ve learned that you have to list new objects pretty much every day to stay visible.   Second, I’ve found that experienced sellers are generous with support and tips if you ask.  I browse through a few shops every day and identify the ones that are impressive, either with their art or with the way they have presented their art.  I convo these guys, telling them specifically what I like about their shop.   I have now joined two etsy teams – Collage Etsy team and Melange Etsy Team.  Being on a team gives you a connection to artists who have similar artistic and marketing interests. 

At this point, the biggest challenge for me as a new Etsy shop owner is learning to use internet technology to bring in customers.  It seems that a successful seller must build a network of sellers.  The old adage – there’s safety in numbers – could be rewritten in the virtual age as “there’s visibility in numbers.”

Etsy is a Great Place to Shop

Red Dress in the Wind

Red Dress in the Wind

 

This piece was the first item sold in my Etsy shop. 

If  you haven’t already visited Etsy.com, it is a great place to find original handmade arts and crafts.  Anything from soaps to purses to handbound journals abound on this great site.  Check it out for Christmas shopping!  Your gifts will be one-of-a-kind.