Whimsical Portraits Workshop

Wax Collage

Three months or so ago I took a wonderful workshop given by Ivy Newport.  Ivy creates all kinds of lovely art in the softest of colors.  This workshop actually has two lessons and is called Whimsical Portraits and Dreamy Landscapes.  You can find it by clicking here.  I wasn’t going to post about this until I created the Dreamy Landscape piece but, as usual, I got sidetracked by other things.  I know I’ll create the other piece, but just not when.

In this workshop Ivy shows how to paint over a photo so that it ends up looking very different from the original.   Because I used a photo of my mom, I couldn’t bring myself to change the photo drastically.  So instead, I just added a little color.

I wanted the piece to tell a little story about her.  Mom grew up on a farm in Missouri surrounded by corn fields.  She graduated from school when she was 16 and moved to Chicago with her best friend.  Her sister and brother-in-law owned an apartment building downtown Chicago.  She and her friend got jobs and rented a room in the apartment building.  She told me once about how, on Friday nights, they would walk to the pier and greet the sailors.  Sometimes they would get asked out on a date to see a movie.  The butterfly represents her change from being a small town country girl to moving to the big city.

My dad was from the same small town as my mom.  He was in the Korean war and once he returned home, they married and settled in Central Illinois where the raised me and my sisters.


Beeswax on Wood


Here’s another beeswax collage I created on a deep cradled wood panel.  It is very similar to a series I did called “Where Dragonflies Dwell”.   You can find that post and how I created the dragonfly collages here.  It’s hard to see in these pictures but I added some Perfect Pearls to the dragonfly wings to make them shimmer.




A Gift and a Thank You


My sisters friend, Tina,  loves to go to estate sales.  Once I had asked her to keep an eye out for a vintage plastic doily that I could use as a stencil.  She found one that I have used many times in my art pieces.  Recently she found a vintage plastic fan that she thought I might like to have.  I had just bought the May/June edition of the Somerset Studio magazine and fell in love with a wonderful little bird painting that was on the cover.  I was really excited to see that the artist used joint compound on the piece.  I decided to thank Tina for the gift by making her a piece that was similar to the bird painting and use the fan to create texture in the joint compound.

After painting a 4×4″ wood panel with a coat of gesso, I spread a thin layer of joint compound on the bottom portion of the panel and then spread out the fan and pressed the ends into the joint compound (I washed the fan with water right away and scrubbed out any joint compound stuck to it).  Once that dried I added a coat of gel medium over the entire panel top. Once the gel medium dried,  I painted the top of the panel using Tim Holtz distress paints in Broken China and Peeled Paint (I added a little white paint to each of the colors to make them more pastel).


I added some Tim Holz tape with music notes to the sides of the panel and toned it down with a few coats of gesso and then some gel medium.  I added some more tape that had words on it across the top of panel, toned it down with some gesso and then painted over it lightly with the Broken China paint mixed with white.  After drawing a black line with a Pitt pen, I added some little birds.  The birds were cut out of scrapbook paper, collaged on and outlined with the pen.  The word “imagine” was printed onto white gift tissue paper, torn out and glued down with gel medium.  I added a final coat of gel medium to the entire piece.  I love that little fan and am sure I will be using it again many times.



Texture, Collage and Gelatos

art 001

This was a fun little piece because I got to play in the joint compound again.  After applying the joint compound I stamped in it with bubble wrap and then carved into the paste with a pencil to create the leaf flower thingy’s (hmmm, maybe I should call them buds)  Once the compound dried I used 2 shades of blue and 2 shades of green Faber Castel Gelatos (I love using those yummy little sticks of color!) and scribbled directly onto the joint compound.  I then took a wet brush to paint out the colors.  I scribbled some pink Gelato onto my craft mat, watered it down and then spattered it on to some of the areas.

art 004

I added paper to the buds by tracing the outline using tracing paper and then transferring to scrapbook paper, cutting them out and gluing them down.  Once the glue dried, I doodled on and around the buds and into the stems with a black Pitt pen.  I also did a little stamping of white dots and black lines around the flowers and painted the sides black.  This was created on a cradled wood panel.  I really like using wood as a substrate when using the joint compound.

art 002

Happy Creating!


Where Dragonflies Dwell

1 dragonfly

I have to say that making these four pieces was the most fun I have ever had creating art!  So much fun that I plan on making a large one for my entryway.  Yesterday I took a road trip to the Dick Blick outlet store that is about 50 minutes from where I live.  My daughter gave me a gift certificate for Mothers Day and I couldn’t wait to spend it!  I found a wonderful 2′ by 3′ wood panel (exactly what I was looking for) on clearance for $20!  I was so excited that I would have danced across the parking lot with it but it was so big that I had to settle for skipping.  Just kidding.  But I really wanted too. 🙂

2 dragonflys

Anyhow, Where Dragonflies Dwell came about because a lovely piece of art caught my eye on Pinterest here , which lead me to a lovely blog ,which then lead me to purchase this book that is full of wonderful techniques, which then led me to make a mad dash for Lowes to get a bucket of joint compound.

3 dragonflys 2

I spread the joint compound onto the four 6 inch square wood boards and created texture by pressing in rubber stamps, bubble wrap, a round lid and other items that were handy.  I let the compound dry and then sanded around the edges and lightly sanded any spots that looked too rough.  I put a wash of yellow watercolor over each piece and, once dry, I randomly brushed on some soft gel matte medium (this creates a nice resist).  I’m so glad I used yellow as a base color because it gave each piece such a warm glow.  Next I added washes of watercolors and, at times, rubbed some of the color off to reveal the yellow or another color underneath.  Once I had the color how I liked it, I added a bit of text here and there using a rubber stamp and an ink pad.  Next I painted on some melted beeswax.  The wax creates great texture along with giving the paintings a dreamy look.  The dragonflies were printed onto tissue paper and then I lay them on the wax and, using a mini iron, I ironed them into the wax.  They just melted in there so nicely and the tissue paper just sort of disappeared.

2 of 2 dragonfly

I guess I’m going to need some larger objects for creating texture on the next piece, so a gathering  I shall go!

Have a great day!


UPDATE:  You can find lots of interesting information about dragonflies and see some beautiful images by visiting thedragonflywoman.com.   I really enjoyed reading about the dragonfly myths.   I also enjoyed reading her post about fireflies.  It made me feel lucky to have grown up where there are lots of them to light up the night.  Thank you Chris, a/k/a the Dragonfly Woman, for allowing me to use your wonderful dragonfly images in my art!