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Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Pair of Parrots

Here is another version of the green parrot project for my Watercolor Workshop Group. This time I experimented with ideas from Karlyn Holman's books about using oriental papers and Yes!Paste to collage the background leaf area around the parrots. I have several of Karlyn's books and love her many wonderful ideas to "break the mold" and experiment.
Here is the URL for Karlyn Holman's web site. There she lists her books and DVD's. She is a great inspiration!

In this painting, I saved the area I wanted to paint the parrots in, as "saved white", then worked colors into the background in a wet-in-wet method. While these were still wet, I started tearing off small pieces of the oriental paper, various sizes and laying them around the parrots. I used a wet brush to paint them into the colors there. Next, I let everything completely dry. The next day, I opened the Yes!Paste jar and added a small puddle of water on top of the paste and worked it around with a brush until I had a nice "paint quality" that I could paint over the pieces of oriental paper. This did not disrupt the colors already there and glued the oriental paper down. When this was dry, I could add any other colors I wanted, define the tree stump, leaves etc. and paint in the parrots. I used white oriental paper with some gold threads running through it on the leaf area and on the tree stump I used some oriental paper with a sort of bark, brown leaf quality.

When I shared my painting with the Watercolor Workshop group, questions were raised about the archival quality of the Yes!Paste. This sent me off to seek an answer. It turns out that when the paste was first on the market, it had a different composition and was not archival. But, they developed a new formula and changed the paste. It is now very archival and used by many artists and by scrapbookers and and other crafters. It is available at most art and craft stores and from DickBlick and Cheap Joe's and other art suppliers.

Since I painted this one, I have found that Daniel Smith's Catalog is a wonderful source of oriental papers that can be used in this method.
They are listed under "Decorative Papers" and some are made in Japan, in Thailand and in Napal. The thin, lace, filmy qualities are great to use in this way.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I belong to a Watercolor Workshop group and we have monthly projects. Last month, our theme was greens and
the posted optional image was that of a parrot.
Having a topic to focus upon and shared images, makes it great fun to see who other artists create on the same theme. I'm always inspired by what my watercolor friends come up with and enjoy experimenting along with them.
Here is my finished painting on the shared image.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A time to begin.....

Why a "Playpen?" After teaching children for 43 years, mostly very young children, they taught me that we are naturally creative, artistic, and intelligent. Play is the birthright of children. But, what happens to human beings as they grow up in our culture? Unlike my kindergarten students, my second grade students were asking "How to you draw?" , "What color should I use?", and stating whether they were "good at" and whether their classmates were "good at" art and about any other thing we were doing. By fourth grade I noticed we had students who thought of themselves as "talented" in art or "good in" art and students who thought of themselves as lacking talent or "were not good at" art. What is it that we take away from human beings as we educate them, raise them in our families, and allow them contact with our culture?
As I followed my heart back into active art after my retirement, I was confronted by the same traits in my fellow artists as well. Very young children do not concern themselves with being "good at" unless they get messages from others about whether they are or are not "good at". Besides witnessing this change over time in the artistic sense of trust, exploration, creativity in children, I noticed the many children who felt they needed to seek adult confirmation as to what adults thought of their work. They run to the teacher often with their drawings, paintings asking if we like their work. Unfortunately I saw most adults feeding into this trap, by offering praise or criticism. My own preference was to turn the question around as ask the child, "What do you like most about your picture?"
Thus the "playpen". For my quest is to experiment, create, explore, paint, draw, enjoy. And to nurture that in my artistic friends....and my non-artistic friends as well.
Welcome to Elsie's Art Playpen! Jump in and join me in the creative process!