Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Mirror Paintings Revisited

     Lately I've been experimenting with an idea that I've been bouncing around on the back-burner, and did a painting with a mirror background.  Now, mirror paintings themselves are nothing new for me.  If you've looked at my portfolio before, you may have seen the Chickadee Cherry Blossom painting I've done.

     The problem with this, is that it's very difficult to maintain a piece like this.  For starters, glass has no tooth to it, meaning there's nothing really for the paint to grip to.  One razor blade will peel even the best paint off a smooth surface with next to no effort, and while most people aren't going to be purposely scraping apart artwork, the fragility of the piece does pose a problem.  I've experimented with a few ways to solve this issue, but the solution I came up with is time consuming and while it holds better, it still isn't as stable as good old canvas.  It also doesn't solve the second problem, and that's how to clean the glass.  Glass gets dusty and dirty, and you can't just Windex a piece of art… well, you could, but I doubt it will turn out too well.

     So to combat problem number two, I started looking into reverse painting, which means painting backwards on the glass then using a mirror spray to add the background last.  This way the glass completely covers the artwork, not only protecting it like glass in a frame, but also making it easy to clean.  I've done reverse painting a few times before, most notably the daycare window art I did awhile back, but never anything more detailed than a cartoon.

See more of the daycare windows in my portfolio.

     In doing my mirror painting I've learned/ reaffirmed a few things:

1) Having no surface tooth sucks.  A smooth surface means paint slides all over the place, making blending, an already difficult thing to do backwards, frustrating beyond comprehension. 

2) Light not only shines through the glass, but through any layer of paint not thick enough to block all of it.  This means you get to see lots of streaks every time you flip your painting around to check it, and painting on glass means ten times as many streaks.  I was constantly blotting and filling in these streaky patches. 

3) You get dizzy flipping the glass around to constantly check your painting progress.  If I try this again, I will be rigging a second mirror to see my painting's reflection as I work.

4) Acrylics are probably not the best option if you're aiming for high detail and shading.  Even after they dry, painting over acrylics with a second layer sometimes causes it to break up on the smooth surface.  Next thing you know, there are chunks in your painting when you flip it over.  Add to this, the fast drying rate of acrylics and sometimes things dry in place before you realize how bad the color blend looks.  If I wasn't so against the messiness of oils and the idea of having to wait months for it to dry properly so I could mirror coat this, I would have used them.

5) The mirror coating I used is not as clear as it would be creating a mirror using the silvering process.  That said, I'm not sure what the silvering process would do to the paint, though I highly speculate nothing good. 

     Despite the hiccups, in the end, I was pretty happy with my final painting.  

I think I have a thing for chickadees and cherry blossoms.

     The mirror coating worked pretty well and while the blending was messy in some spots, it all came together rather nicely.  I would like to make these mirror paintings available for purchase, so I will be revisiting and perfecting this idea.  Stay tuned to see what I come up with.  Until then…

    Thanks for reading.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Doodley Do #2 - Cookie the Goldfish

    I love goldfish.  They're dirty, messy little guys, but they're so darn cute swimming and waddling through the water.  They can live for twenty plus years, and did you know they can get anywhere from 8 inches to over a foot in length?  That's about as big as a football!

    Sadly, many of these cute little waddling footballs don't get the chance to grow up.  As pets they are often kept in unsuitable conditions due to lack of knowledge or straight up indifference.  That's why for today's Doodley Do, I've decided to create Cookie.

*Insert Sarah Mclachlan song*

    So next time you're thinking about getting that cute little goldfish, remember Cookie.  Do your research, get a proper sized fish tank, and make that goldfish happy you found him.

    *Blub blub*  Thanks for reading.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Digimals Shop

      A few years ago I started doing a lot more experimenting with the digital medium and used programs like Photoshop and Illustrator to create characters and designs.  To showcase these fun ideas (and maybe make some side cash), I created a shop called "Digital Whimsy" on the website Zazzle.  It was nice to see my designs on different items, but like so many others, I was getting lost in the sea of thousands of other designers and artists on the site.  That's why a few months ago I decided to actually create a brand for the launch of a new and better Zazzle shop, "Digimals."  Note the updated website links at the far right of this page.


Meet the Digimals Mascot.

      Digimals is all about the cute stuff.  Most of the art is animal themed, but all of it is basically done in that cute cartoony style I can't seem to stay away from.  Needless to say, a lot of the products will be geared towards children, such as this Sweet Pea Toddler Tee.

       There's also my zodiac project that I've been working on for quite awhile now.  Today I'm happy to say all designs are complete and uploaded into Digimals and are available for purchase on cute little coffee mugs.  More items will soon follow, including a fun poster design.

Soon this could be yours!

      Over the next few months I will be adding a more appropriate store banner and lots more fun designs, so stay tuned.  Thanks for reading. :)

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Doodley Do #1 - Tackling too many ideas

          I've been bitten by the idea bug on more than one occasion (okay, a lot more).  It gets me into a lot of trouble when it comes to completing projects because there's always another idea waiting just over the horizon begging me to bring it to life.  Anyone who's looked into time management skills will know doing too much at once is far less productive than focusing on one task at a time, but let's be real here.  If you've got an good idea, throwing it on the back burner is like throwing a piece of your soul into a box with a label "Do not open 'til Christmas."  It's there.  You know it is, and it's kill... ing... you.
Soon, my precious.  Soon.

          So what to do?  Well, if you're me, you do what you shouldn't do and work on it anyway!  Ha!  No, but seriously, too much at a time only makes your work suffer and your patience burn out because twenty started projects without one finished is really discouraging.  For me, I've always found the best thing is a list of all the important, must do stuff.  I say this and also point out that I'm a bad list keeper.  I write a list.  Loose it.  Write another list.  Loose that.  Find the first list.  Revise it.  Loose it.  In less than a week my desks are covered in sticky notes, but despite all of that, it somehow keeps me on top of things and when I can strike a line through an item on the list(s), it gives me a little pat on the back to keep going.

          Once enough things are crossed off and I know I'm caught up on deadlines for the week, I'm allowed to work on one of my "back burner projects."  Eventually, those back burner projects will get moved to "the list" (unless they prove themselves not that great), but until then, I can indulge without feeling guilty.

          And if you're really overrun with ideas, keep a list of those ideas, or notebooks, sketchbooks, computer documents, whatever.  Sometimes I'll comb through my "whatevers"and revisit an idea I had years ago just to see if it still has potential.  If it does, it just might get moved up the line.  If not, I know it'll always be there waiting for me to get back to it.  Happy creating!


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Still Alive and Working On Lots of Fun Stuff.

      A quick post today because I haven't done one in over a month (so much for new year's resolutions).

      Been working on an overhaul for my Zazzle shop the past two months and have gotten pretty far.  The grand opening of the revamped shop is coming soon.  I've been focusing a lot on what I do best: cute animals.

      When I went to school I studied illustration, particularly because I love story telling and I love creating artwork for children (I'm too much of a child myself to do otherwise), so I've been focusing on creating a line of designs for children's clothing.  Today's most recent addition is this little gem below.

Sweet Pea Ruffle Tee
Sweet Pea Ruffle Tee by Digimals
View other Sweet pea T-Shirts

      I've also finished my zodiac images, and in addition to my sweet pea design, there's a few more children's themed art coming up. Stay tuned for the store launch, and another post.  I will get better at this blogging thing, I promise.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Trying Something New

      While watercolor tends to be my go to medium, every now and then I will pull out my other mediums to mix things up (and to keep up my skills with them).  Awhile back I did this with my acrylics and experimented with painting on mirrors.  I was pretty happy with the results: