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Abstract Painting of Charlotte, NC

I hope everyone’s fall has been spectacular so far!  I’ve been so busy bouncing from one project to the next that I’m stoked if I even finish anything at all!  Is anyone else like that sometimes?  I really hope I’m not the only one, and since I finally finished one project- this abstract painting of Charlotte, NC. And it turned out so incredibly well, I’m stoked to tell you all about it!

The tough part about this painting is that photos do not do it justice.  No matter how many settings I switch, or how much light I add or take away, I just cannot seem to capture the colors in their true form.  The greens and turquoises I used in this painting of Charlotte, NC blended so well, I almost can’t even believe it.  This map is so bright, so colorful, and it’s almost a shame to write about it at all since these pictures are only about a tenth as brilliant as the painting is in real life.  But, I love it too much not to share it.

Abstract Painting of Charlotte

This map was a bit hard to free hand.  The freeways make a giant circle, but the scale made it almost impossible for me to add any grids to the center like I usually do with my abstract maps.  However, once I finished adding the ink and acrylic paint, I decided it didn’t need any other streets or outlines. Definitely not a dark spot to represent downtown.  The only thing I added was a bit of pearlex powders to give it a little shimmer.

Since this is a painting you need to see in context, here is picture of my table set up for an art market I participated in recently-

If you’re interested in seeing more photos or purchasing this piece, just comment below or email me at classicanj@gmail.com.

Abstract Painting of Charlotte, NC

  

abstract painting of Charlotte, close up

Thanks for reading!!

My Mixed Media Maps- Representing History

Mixed Media Maps- “City of Oaks”

mixed media maps Raleigh

We use maps pretty much every day.  Whether they’re printed on paper or interactive on our smart phones, they help us understand the direction were traveling.  Try as we might, it’s pretty much impossible to keep track of our direction by ourselves.

More than that, though- an up to date map is a culmination of years of history, and represents the stories of thousands of families and individuals who, through their struggles with the topography and use of resources, their industry, politics and beliefs, have all influenced the shape, size, and surroundings of each block.

What a symbol a map is!mixed media maps, Raleigh NC

I wanted to capture some of this symbolism in these mixed media maps.  I focus on the big picture, but the variations in the layers of paint and ink, the outline of the streets, and the feathered ink and paint splatters bring to mind all the individuals who, recognized or not, have made each city what it is.  Each layer is like a generation, which stacked together makes the city richer, fuller, and fascinating.

Mixed Media Maps- “The Bull City”

mixed media maps DurhamI began with the cities where I live.  It’s so interesting to me that after living here for a few short years, and meeting a tiny percentage of the people who live here, that I can feel so connected to these cities.  There is good and bad here, dark history and history to be proud of, but it all makes these cities what they are.  They aren’t perfect, but they are beautiful, and the maps of these cities (and of every place around the globe) represents that truth.

mixed media maps, Durham NCMaps, and the meaning behind them, are works of art that are functional, but also emotional.  They evoke memories of people as well as places, and those places and the history behind them influence us in ways we can’t begin to understand.  And I love them for that.

What city should I paint next?!

Here’s a link to my project video Master Plan– this will give you an idea of the process behind these pieces.

DecoArt Dimensional Effects in Abstract Art

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!  I have a couple awesome mini canvases for you today, one of them bright green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  🙂  I created them with DecoArt dimensional effects paste.  The consistency of this texture paste is so interesting- it’s like pudding.  For some reason, I just want to eat it out of the bottle.

decoart dimensional effects

It’s fascinating to me how brands of texture paste are so different from each other. I guess dimensional effects is not technically texture paste, but it’s similar.  However, the dimensional effects has an opaque, shimmery quality about it.

In this first piece, I’ve also added some green acrylic paint in various shades (also DecoArt) and some white india ink among my paper pieces.  I love the way the splatters of india ink and paint interact with the opaque quality of the texture paste.  It’s such a cool look!

DecoArt Dimensional Effects

decoart dimensional paste decoart paste in abstract art

This sunset colored one, however, looks just awesome.  I love the colors, obviously, but for this piece I used all india ink with the dimensional effects and quilling pieces.  The liquid ink clung to the edges of the paste, really highlighting those areas and making them pop!

decoart paste with india ink decoart with quilling

What do you think?  Have you tried different brands of texture paste?  Which brand is your favorite so far?  I will confess, I see so many possibilities with this dimensional effects paste.  The fact that it is opaque, with a rather elastic consistency, kind of blows my mind.  I can’t wait to try some other techniques to mix it with paint, ink, etc. and see how it reacts, not to mention using it through stencils, with stamps, and who knows what else!

“Forces of Nature”- using a make-up dauber to create abstract pieces

I’ve been experimenting with different tools and mediums lately because I’m setting up some workshops and I want to find the best tools to create easily understood and mimicked techniques.  This is one of the best canvases from these experiments, using a make-up dauber with acrylic paint and india ink to create awesome layered, cloudy backgrounds.

using a make-up dauber to create- "Forces of Nature"

At first I didn’t like the using a make-up dauber.  It’s has a tapered end, but the bottom, where it’s the widest, is rectangular and when I would use it to add paint to the surface, I would get a rectangular, or corner imprint.  It wasn’t a huge deal because I would just spritz it with some water or smear it with my finger to blend it into the background.  Despite this, I’ve come to really like them and now I use them all the time.

They’re cheap, first of all- you can get a whole pack of them for just a dollar or two. The material is good for either daubing or brushing, they’re absorbent so they will hold a lot of water to help dilute the paint if you need it.  They’re still not perfect, but it’s fun to get messy!  I can spread the paint super fast with these babies, and then load them up with water and wring them out in certain spots that need it.

They are also great for layering- once your main background is dry, you add a small amount of paint to the end and daub straight up and down.  Especially if the paint your using is a bit lighter, but the same shade as the background, it will blend wonderfully and add more texture and depth to the colors.

Using a Make-up Dauber

One more thing about using a make-up dauber to paint – if you mess up and use too much ink or paint, the dauber is great at soaking it up (if you using a lot of water, like I do), and then you have it to use somewhere else.

using a make-up dauber to create using a make-up dauber to create abstract pieces using a make-up dauber to create mixed media backgrounds using a make-up dauber to paint

I hope this has been helpful!  I’d love to hear your feedback- what are your favorite painting tools?  I’ve always on the lookout for some awesome new techniques.  🙂

Abstract painting- “Master Plan”

Ok, confession time- this had been a rough week.  I won’t go into all the details, but suffice it to say that the past few days have not been pleasant.  So, I headed to my studio and started painting.  I had no idea what I was doing, I just started working and let this abstract painting take shape on it’s own.

IMG_2961-compressorAbstract Painting Tutorial

I love this style of abstract painting because the way the paint and ink blend is so soft and spontaneous.  I can control the way it looks, and yet at the same time, I can’t control it.  Learning the way the paint and ink behave and allowing them to work the way they’re designed to work is so essential and powerful, and really easy.  When you let things go, the result can be fantastic!

In fact, since I just worked on this abstract painting without any really thought as to the finished result, I find it a little ironic that I named it “Master Plan”.  Perhaps it’s the gridded lines and squares and the map feel of the piece that makes me think of designed streets and a master planned neighborhood.  I guess not all good things have to be planned to the hilt.

And I have to say something about the purple- it was definitely therapeutic, working with my favorite color.  The different shades and brands of paint worked beautifully together.  I find it fun to use different brands of paint when I work, because they each have different qualities that are fun to watch and work with.

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Creating abstractly, especially when you’re not sure what you’re trying to create, can be a bit terrifying.  Don’t worry- even if you end up painting over what you’ve done, you still learn something in the process, and it’s exhilarating and so satisfying when you see where the piece has led you.  So throw aside your fears and give it a shot!!

Mixed Media Snowflake Commission

I was approached by a friend of mine a couple weeks ago about doing a commission for her wedding anniversary.  She asked for two things- shades of blue in her wedding colors, and snowflakes.  I drew up a few sketches, and once we decided on a the basic idea, I got to work this mixed media snowflake piece.

mixed media snowflake canvas art

Boy, this piece is just bursting with texture!

mixed media snowflake art

  • Creative Embellishments has snowflake chippy’s in various sizes.  I placed several of them on the surface of my blank canvas, then used watered down acrylics to spray some color all over.
  • Once the paint had dried nearly all the way, I removed the chipboard.  The paint had dried underneath with a super cool print of the snowflake, marking a pattern on the surface.
  • I added some variation by daubing some more paint onto the surface with a sponge.
  • The background still needed some sparkle mistiness, so I spread some silver metallic paint on some plastic wrap, and used that to apply the paint to the canvas.
  • The chipboard was splashed with color from the first steps, but I added some of the metallic paint to give them more shimmer, then splashed them with a bit more blue.
  • Now for some modeling paste!  I knew the basic look I wanted to achieve with the texture I would add, so I used a palette knife and my fingers to apply the paste.
  • I added my chipboard snowflakes to the wet paste, and made sure they were embedded solidly.
  • After the paste dried, I splashed it with some more fluid acrylic to blend it into the background.
  • Once everything was dry, I took some Snowflake Effects paste and added it in certain areas over the snowflakes and texture paste.
  • As the finishing touch, I added silver paint over the snow effect to give it a bit of shimmer, and a bit more to the surface of the canvas over the spots of texture I added.

mixed media snowflake commission IMG_2645-compressor

Finished!  I love that the piece looks like gusts of wind and snow.  There’s so much movement, it’s awesome.  I hope the new owner loves it as much as I do!!