Earlier in the year I created some of my favorite recent batik artwork, using verses from the Psalms as my inspiration. I had been working my way through the Psalms and writing scripture that spoke to me in my journal along the way, making the selection process easy!
Each piece began by writing the verse in some sort of circular form on Unryu paper that had pieces of gold thread imbedded in it. As always I used my trusty Sharpie for that, knowing it can withstand the rest of the batik process without fading.
I took a wide brush and dipped it into melted wax and blocked off streaks of the pieces so they would remain white and then added light strokes of color with a feathery brush and India inks. Next all the pieces were entirely covered with the wax, crumpled to create cracks for more color to seep in randomly and then sprayed with liquid watercolors.
After that application the pieces dried and then the wax was removed to reveal the final outcome of each. All four have been framed in 12×12″ barn wood frames. Here they are:
I wanted to share some changes I’ve implemented regarding class offerings. I’m not going to re-invent the wheel here so this is an excerpt from a newsletter that goes out to those interested in my classes and workshops:
I’ve been, especially this year, less than successful with the class offerings I’ve promoted. I’ve spoken with other teaching artists and know that I am not the only one struggling in this area. Trying to discover the right combination of topic, date and location is frequently like pulling the handle on a slot machine…. …NOT a winner!
Although I adore sharing my love of art and techniques with others, I have reached a point where my outlook has shifted. Instead of putting things out there and hoping for the best and I am going to rely more on you, and others like you, to determine the dates, topics & locations! As I make this shift you will see changes to my website making it easier for you to do the choosing. You can visit THIS PAGE to see how the new system looks and works. (You’ll notice one scheduled event listed too…that’s because someone has already taken advantage of both the new system and the discount offered below!)
Another change you will see is that for classes here at my home studio there will be NO minimum attendance required. If you are the only one that registers, congratulations – you’ll get one-on-one instruction! Want to have a special date night with a family member or friend? Here’s the perfect opportunity. If you’d like me to bring a project to you for a gathering, party or shower – can do! You’ll find all the offerings listed HERE.
If you’ve been thinking you’d like to take a class, now might just be the perfect time! As an incentive to try out this new approach, I’m including a coupon code for $10 off any(all) class(es) you register for during the months of October or November. You are welcome to share this code “NEWshift” (with no quote marks) with those you feel might be interested. I’d also love some feedback on the changes, I’d appreciate it if you’d share your thoughts!
As I continue randomly exploring different forms of art I branched out a bit into musical instruments! Not hand-built or fancy but an easy kit and lots of creativity. 😉 I purchased three of these kits and have had them in the studio for quite some time. I’m not sure what happened but last month it was finally TIME. So I pulled out the first one and got busy.
After a bit of sanding the painting commenced! Layers of acrylic ink in randomly colorful streaks were the first order of business. A great base to add to, with lots of designs, doodles, more ink, paint pens and fun.
It took several sessions to complete all the details, then it was time for assembling the pieces. No instructions included but a couple of YouTube videos spelled it out pretty clearly. The waiting time for the glue to dry as pieces were added seemed like it took forever but, finally, it was all put together.
I found a handy app for tuning eukeles and had it strumming at last! The included strings were not inclined to keep a tune so I have a new set that arrived the other day that I’ll be switching too. This one was for fun, for practice and just for ME. I’ve got it hanging on the wall in my studio.
The next two? Well, I’ve had a request or two already so we’ll see what happens. The possibilities are endless for design, the hard part will be making up my mind!
I love to include words, quotes and text in my art but, despite some instruction and practice, I’m not always thrilled with the way my hand drawn letters turn out. This little hack is a favorite of mine and I thought you might find it useful as well! This was just an impromptu, messy fingers project that popped into my head one day. The first step was to add acrylic paint to the board I was painting. Somedays my favorite paint tools are my fingers, and this was no exception.
I have accumulated a large selection of fonts on my computer (there are many resources for free downloadable fonts available online) and have fun using different ones in digital creations, advertising and such. They are especially handy when lettering on artwork! Some of my batik work is done on Unryu paper which is transparent enough you can actually just trace the letters onto the paper as they are visible when placed underneath.
If I’m working on wood or canvas I have a way of getting the letters on my art that works very well. First I measure the space where I want the words placed and create a blank file in Photoshop Elements that is the same size. Then, using the type function I type, resize and arrange the letters to suit my project. This is what the file looked like for the project I am showing you:
I printed it the exact size as the file (which meant it had to be printed in two sections) and then taped together the pieces. The next step was to turn it over and take either pencil or charcoal and cover the back of the paper where the letters were printed.
You want to cover it fully, the pencil or charcoal is going to be used like copy paper to make outlines of your letters onto your art. Turn it over and position it where you want the letters to be on your art and then take a ball point pen and trace the outlines of each letter. I get excited and always want to rush things so come to find out my paint wasn’t as dry as usual, I ended up lifting some of it from the wood when I applied the marks. It still worked!
Now that I had the outline on the artwork I could use markers, paint pens or a really steady brush to add the colors and outline for the lettering and any details I decided to include. I decided to just handwrite the “hello” portion of the lettering and kind of wish I’d have traced that too. Oh well! Here is the final piece.
Let me know if you try this technique for adding letters, I hope it’s inspired you to get creative!
Been slacking around here…I think blogging will always be a struggle for me but I keep TRYING anyhow! Thought I should at least post the details for two upcoming classes that have been scheduled. Hope you can join one!
As I mentioned in my last post, today’s blog features some new batik artwork. It seems as if I haven’t exhausted all the ways I can play and explore with this medium…as I learn new styles and techniques in other media they often translate into some fun batik pieces!
The piece above (and the three below) I used the wax to “paint” abstract marks and shapes onto the paper before adding the background colors. The final coloring on these pieces seeps in between the cracks in a final layer of wax. I like the earthy way these feel. Incorporating the spirit-led, random mark making with the wax painting brings in some of the new style I’ve been using with acrylic paints.
Another new type of batik I’ve been exploring is using India Ink to paint onto the paper prior to waxing and adding the final layer of color. Very free strokes, flow-oriented and fun!
Obviously I was having a LOT of fun with the piece above! Testing how the inks interacted with the paper, how the brush moved and the colors could blend. The ones below were a little more thoughtful as far as the colors selected, but still full of freedom and expression.
I did one other very special set of batik art but I can’t reveal them just yet…I need to deliver them first! Look for them soon.
Shortly before Christmas I decided to try my very first “live” sale online at Facebook. I gathered up giftable items (including a large amount of the newly created jewelry), classes and other items I thought people would be interested in. Then I created individual posts for each and started promoting the event. Here’s a look at the flyer I made to generate interest:
I also created promo posts leading up to the event with the “Top 12” reasons to shop the online sale memes – some heartfelt, some funny and all true – and used them across Instagram, FB, Twitter, etc. I also added incentive for people to share the event – the more people, the more purchases and the bigger the discounts! Starting at 10% off all the listings I added an additional 1% for each sale, with a cap at 50% off. Below are the details of how an online “live” event can be set up on Facebook, if you’re wondering how it works.
The prep was actually more time consuming than any other aspect, making sure I had good images and accurate descriptions for each thing. I also designed trivia posts with prizes to keep it fun and interesting. Overachiever that I am, I had 45 posts to get online in one hour. Next time I’d aim for around 30, it was so fast and crazy trying to get all of that on the event page in just an hour! I didn’t feel like I had time to go back and reply to those who had purchased items or answered the trivia questions and I ended up running past the 9 p.m. end time by about 10 minutes. Since it was a holiday sale, this is a sample of one of the trivia questions:
Here are sample posts of items that were sold during the event:
In all I sold 38 items, meaning each person who made a purchase earned a 48% discount! Happy holidays to all of us. 😉 The bonus part of all this work is that I was able to use the image/descriptions of the unsold items to list them on my website – something that was already on my to-do list.
I am planning on doing another one of these online sales, what do you think would be a good time? I’m leaning toward late April/early May thinking people will be on the lookout for Mother’s Day and Graduation Gifts. Once I get that figured out I’ll be sure and share the details here on the blog.