This week I really felt like painting something different and challenging for me. I went for a bear and a dog, because I love animals and hadn't painted one in a long time. As you can see, I am still practicing drawing the female body in different poses. Next week I will be starting my days drawing hands in different positions because it is something I have to improve as well. I also included here an oil painting of pears that I finished this week. Still have a lot of exploration to do with oils, but I am enjoying them very much! Thanks for popping by and hope you enjoy these pieces!
"You want to make an omelette? You've gotta break some eggs."
-Tyler Durden (Fight Club)
In today's post, I will be taking you through the process of preparing an old canvas painting in order to reuse it to make a new artwork! I am a firm believer in using what we have and in being as resourceful as possible in our explorations. Because, as most of you already know, us artists explore a WHOLE darn lot and we have to be smart about how we spend our money.
First and foremost, a bit about the original painting. This canvas was a part of an artwork composed of three separate panels (three long rectangles meant to be hung vertically side by side). The paintings are 35 years old, at least. Probably more. Another important note is that these artworks seem to have been created using very thin applications of acrylic paint. It is definitely not oil. And they don’t have much texture to them at all. I took all of these points into consideration when I decided to use them in my explorations. I knew resurfacing them was going to be easy and that they presented good opportunities for me to work on a size and format I had never worked on before.
Secondly, I used regular Gesso I had at hand in order to resurface my canvas. There is a lot of debate whether or not it is ¨safe¨ to use oil paint on a canvas prepped with gesso. A lot of folks believe that it should not be done because it is just a recipe for cracking, peeling and an overall less durable painting. Other artists believe that a good quality Gesso can serve as base for practically any type of paint or medium. I think it is up to you to figure out if this will work for your specific type of artwork or not, and the only way of finding this out is through first-hand experimentation. Perhaps your just experimenting and learning like me, and aren't really looking to create a masterpiece that will be passed on from generation to generation. In this case, it doesn't really matter. Something you DO have to keep in mind is that if your goal is to resurface an old oil painting, a whole new set of rules apply. Regular Gesso cannot be used for this purpose. You would need an oil-specific ground and/or primer (I will not go into this process today because it is not something I have personally tried). So, once again, you CAN create an oil painting over traditional Gesso, but you CANNOT apply gesso over an oil painting. Are you with me?
I personally didn't worry much about creating an impeccable surface for this project because, as previously stated, I knew since the beginning that this was mostly an exploration for me. However, if it worries you, a solution is to apply Lindseed Oil prior to starting the painting process. Simply brush this all over the previously dried gesso and allow it to soak for about 24 hours. Afterwards, wipe off the canvas with a dry cloth and let the games begin! The idea is that the gesso will absorb some of this oil and it is less likely to make the painting crack later.
How to Reuse an Old Canvas Using Gesso:
You will need:
-Old canvas painting/print/pretty much whatever as long as it's not an oil painting
-Thick used up/cheap brush
-Glass containers for water
-Linseed oil (*Optional)
1. Wipe clean the old artwork. Make sure it is clear of dust and other particles.
2. Sandpaper the surface using light pressure and focusing on highly textured areas. Don’t fret so much about getting the surface super even if the painting has a lot of texture to it. Wipe surface using a cloth.
3. Apply first layer of Gesso as evenly as possible and allow to dry for a couple of hours. If your Gesso is too thick and this bothers you, you can add a bit of water to it. Make sure that first layer completely dries before continuing with the next step. If it feels damp to the touch, this means you should wait longer.
3. If you want to start off with a textured surface, simply apply a second layer of Gesso. If you don't want so much texture, sand your surface gently once more, wipe to remove particles, and apply second layer of Gesso (you can sand it once more after it dries).
At this point it should be ready to be painted on! But if you are still a bit nervous about not having a quality surface to work on, use the Linseed Oil suggestion I mentioned before. I will be trying this out on the next one!
To end this post, I would like to encourage you to always keep learning and not be afraid of devoting time to a process that might not produce the most amazing of artworks. Keep experimenting and be proud of yourself for simply going through a learning process. I firmly believe that the process matters more than the final outcome in both life AND our artistic journeys.
After I have devoted a solid amount of time into any artwork, I like to analyze it and make notes about what I learned throughout the process. In this case, here is what I wrote:
Hey! Nice to see you!
Here is a little mixed-media piece I just finished today and it is based on one of the pictures I took during my pastry photo shoot last week. Below I will be explaining a bit about the process I followed to get to this.
Here is the initial picture I took and on the right is what I actually used as I was painting. I used my handy-dandy Photoshop skills to clean it up so that my eyes didn't get distracted by the background. I also rotated the doughnut a tiny bit counterclockwise.
Once again, I used a gray water-soluble pencil to create this initial sketch. I like using water-soluble pencils because the lines completely disappear as I am doing the painting. However, a lot of artists like using straight up pencils. At this point, I try to get the proportions as close as possible to the reference picture, but I don't get super paranoid about it being identical to the picture. I also add in shapes that map out where the lightest and darkest values will be. For me, it is still a challenge to leave the lightest areas white since the beginning!
Here is what it looked like after about three layers of watercolor textures/values.
Here is the painting after about 5 layers of watercolor paints. After this I couldn't help myself and I took out my Soft-Core Prismacolor pencils and went in to add more textures/values until I was satisfied.
-Strathmore Cold Press Watercolor Paper Series 400
-Sakura Koi Pocket Field Watercolor Set
-Prismacolor Soft-Core Pencils
-Combination of Rodin and Artify paintbrushes
I just finished this watercolor piece today, which is meant to be the second part of my "Things I Eat Everyday" painting I did some months ago (here's the link to that post). This was fun and I worked on it on and off over the last 3 days. I am very big into health and usually eat pretty healthy.
It may be hard to believe, but I rarely eat things that I paint like fast food and sweets. In fact, this morning I went out to buy some sweet breads to photograph them for future reference images and, as difficult as it was, I saved them all for my husband to take to his friends later. Except a chocolate doughnut that I broke in half because I wanted to have a reference picture of a half-eaten doughnut (these make for challenging paintings!). That one I threw away.
Below are a couple of pictures I took during the process. I wanted to challenge myself and use only watercolors in this one. I helped myself with acrylic paint for final highlights in the first version.
This has been the first week of relative peace after finally settling into our new home and my painting studio/office is in a workable state for me, which is wonderful. I am in the process of establishing new work routines for myself, which I was in desperate need for after all that craziness, though I feel like my brain is in a state of denial because I'm finally enjoying my new home and all its new spaces. I really needed this. I am, however, making sure to make advances towards my goal of improvement and finding my style every-single-day.
Two days ago I started what is probably the biggest oil painting I have worked on so far. I decided to re-purpose an old painting that was going to be thrown out (not mine) by gesso-ing it and painting over it. I'm approaching it as an experimentation and will share the process with you later. :)
Thanks for reading!
It feels so good to finally get a chance to rest and work on my painting/drawing. Spring Break has officially started. I have a plan in order to improve my skills in the next 13 days:
Every day I will be working on pencil sketches in order to improve my drawing of anatomical elements of the human body. I really have to continue working on drawing the head in different angles, making poses more dynamic and feet/hands. I will be posting this type of sketchbook work on my Instagram as soon as I finish with them so click on the sidebar icon to follow me on there. :)
Aside from these, I will be working on a painting every day. Smaller paintings will be finished a lot faster than more complex ones. I plan to be working on two or more at the same time. If I have the time, I would love to do a small oil painting as well. Stay tuned!
I used a picture from Pixabay as reference for this painting. This site has been really useful for me in my quest towards improving my artwork! Highly recommended if you are looking for free reference images for drawings.
Hi guys! So... I'm not usually the type of person that likes to talk about my plans until they have become a bit more concrete. However, I am going through a strange phase at the moment that is unlike any other I have experienced so far and is likely the prelude to a new exciting chapter in my life. Hopefully, these transitory months of uncertainty (and a certain amount of anxiety!) will eventually bring me to a point at which I can finally start working toward a life of peace and happiness from doing what I love and living in a place where I feel like I belong.
My husband and I are applying to move to Canada (this means moving far away from all friends and family and the city that has been our home for most of our lives). It has been a process and will likely take months still, but I have decided to leave my current job at the end of this school year so that I can dedicate my time to art and developing an online presence. It was a hard decision. I really love teaching Art and hope to keep teaching Art in the future, but I am excited to be able to have time to improve and experiment and make a name for myself as an illustrator/artist. If you have visited before you probably already know that I have been doing my best to make time after my full-time job to keep drawing and painting. It has been hard and I am spreading myself thin as I am also very much committed to keeping a healthy lifestyle.
I have a lot of personal projects that I am currently doing a lot of research and investigation for as well. I want to open my Etsy shop and create my own YouTube channel soon. My Etsy shop will probably open sometime in the next couple of months and my YouTube channel is something that I will probably start as soon as the school year ends. I am so excited for what is to come!
Here is a bird for you, my friends! And I hope that you follow me throughout this journey!
In my last post I shared the process I went through in order to create the Vanilla Cat Lounge and Cafe logo. This personal project was a great opportunity for me to try incorporating original hand lettering design as well as some illustration work in both logo and menu. As you can see, I changed some of the the Pantones in the logo because I decided I wanted brighter colors to work with. This was a lot of fun!
Hi! Unfortunately it has been a while since I've had any time to do any actual design work. My time has revolved around teaching art and painting and improving myself in these areas whenever I have any free time. Between all this and making sure I'm looking after my health and wellbeing (this is really starting to become one of my priorities), my days are usually full.
Before leaving on Christmas break, I made a long list of the things I wanted to work on during this time. One of these things was working on personal design projects and incorporating illustration (which I feel I have done more of recently) into some type of collateral design. Sooo... after doing some brainstorming, I decided to create a logo for an imaginary cat lounge/coffeeshop. I started by dedicating some of my time to do research about these types of establishments and learning as much as I could about them. They are becoming more and more popular in the U.S., which I think is kind of awesome.
I wanted to share my process with you, starting from pencil sketches to finally vectorizing and refining the logo on my computer. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to create the font for the logo myself. I also wanted something different from the stuff I found online, making the cat elements a bit less obvious and in-your-face, while still maintaining a degree of playfulness and novelty.
Next, I am going to be working on a menu design which will incorporate my own original illustrations! I will be posting about that later.
Happy New Year! Have a great time celebrating!
Well hello there! Yesterday I went out to buy some small gifts for some coworkers who have helped me out a ton throughout the semester and decided to make my own watercolor "Thank You" cards. I think they turned out pretty cute, don't you think?
I started by covering a box with a couple of layers of paper mache. Because this box has an attached lid, I made sure not to cover the line that allows it to fold over. After finishing the paper mache, I let it dry over night.
After sketching a bunch of different ideas, I came up with a monster design that would complement the shape of the box and transferred it using a pencil. I then traced my lines carefully using a thin Sharpie.
I covered the box's folding line with a similar colored tape.
Ready to be filled with goodies! :)
There are only 2 weeks left before teacher preparation for next school year begins (OMG!). I am still working on my final portfolio for my Master program (which ended last month), but since I am done with all my classes I finally had a bit of time to dedicate to personal projects. I used this small break to set many goals for myself, in both personal and professional areas of my life. Because of this, I decided to create my own personalized planner to keep track of my progress throughout the year.
I saw/read SOOO many of videos and blog posts from others in order to get ideas for my planner. The whole thing was pretty fun to make and it will be super useful for me. I enjoyed it so much, I will probably be making more in the future. There are many websites from which you can buy monthly calendars and weekly templates, but I decided to make my own. If anyone is interested, the PDFs are below the pictures, which can be downloaded and printed out. I decided to make the design very simple because I plan on doing at least a certain amount of doodling and collaging in this planner.
To start off I found an old hardcover book and used an X-ACTO knife to carefully separate the pages from the cover. You have to run the blade down vertically, as straight as possible, and making sure not to damage the spine. Next I found an old blouse with a nice graphic that I was never going to use anymore. I cut out a large rectangle (the book cover has to have at least 1 inch of extra fabric all around it), ironed it, and used spray adhesive to glue it onto the book cover.
I then planned the sections I would be creating in my planner. This will vary from person to person, since we all have different organizing needs. I left only 3: Monthly Calendars, Weekly Plans and Important Notes. After deciding on my sections I got to work designing my monthly calendars, and my weekly spreads. I made sure to add areas to jot down monthly goals or notes about important events, as well as daily meals and exercising in my weekly planning section.
As you can see, I went for the easiest book binding method. I had a roll of thin rope in my basement which I thought would go well with the cover. I was a little worried at first that it wouldn't hold the pages properly, but the hard cover helps keep everything in place perfectly. :)
As a personal project, I decided to do a redesign for Kevala's Almond Butter products. I really like the product, but I really think their current image is really lacking good design. Here are some initial ideas which I am still working on.
I am going to be starting a new project with my Eighth graders soon that will involve designing and creating an Alebrije. Alebrijes are colorful Mexican sculptures of imaginary creatures, sometimes they are a unique representation of an already existing animal and sometimes they are wild combinations of several different animals in one. Some even combine human faces and elements with animal body parts.
We are going to be doing them the original way, using wire and paper mache. I can't wait to see their amazing creatures come to life! Since I always make my own example first, in order for me to try out the process personally and be able to explain to my students the best way to go about doing their projects, here is my initial sketch. I will be posting pictures of the final product later!
This summer I partnered with a Marketing specialist in order to create a pitch for Indio beer (Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma/Heineken). Indio beer is presently marketed towards young adults and sponsors concerts as well as other music festivals. The ideas we chose to present revolved around the creation of a fun character that would help make the brand memorable among individuals looking to connect with the beer brand they consume.
Following are character sketches and a couple of storyboards meant for T.V. ads.
So my Easter break has officially begun, which means that I have to take advantage of my off time from work and start with preparations for my students' end of semester projects and organizing the next Art Show. For my first graders, I decided to do a project which combined making homemade playdough and sculpting little monsters with it.
Of course, before actually doing this project, I had to find a good recipe which would a) Not leave the hands too dirty or oily, b) Could be put away easily, and c) Last as long as possible without drying and cracking once the final products are finished (I want the Monster Parade to look as awesome as possible at the Art Show).
I found different recipes and videos, but made my own modifications.
Ingredients: (this makes 1 batch of 1 color)
Packet of Cool Aid (or other COLORFUL powder beverage mixes)
1 Cup flour
2 Tablespoons Vegetable/Canola/Olive Oil
1/4 Cup salt
3 Tablespoons baking powder
1 Cup warm water
*If you want really vibrant colors, add drops of food coloring
1) In a saucepan mix flour, salt and baking powder. Add entire packet of Cool Aid and mix ingredients well.
2) Add warm water (I made sure to wait until the tap water was quite warm). Mix well.
3) Add oil. Mix well.
4) Using a low flame, heat while constantly mixing with spatula until a blob begins to form. :O
5) Leave heating for a minute or two longer.
6) Remove from saucepan and allow to cool.
7) Pretend you are a cat and knead thoroughly (*see .gif).
8) Store in individual zip-lock bags in refrigerator.
*If, for some reason, one batch comes out dryer/crumblier than another, add another tablespoon of oil and knead. I found this improved the texture greatly.
*If you want to change the color, or think the color is too muted, do not hesitate to add food coloring. This has to be done in between steps 3 and 4, before mixture starts to get thicker.
I love my beautiful blobs! :)
I wanted some fun classroom decorations for my younger students and made this at the beginning of the year using the regular paper mache technique.
-Regular sized balloon
-Kitchen paper towels
-Thin tracing paper
-Black permanent marker
-White liquid glue
-Transparent fishing line (for hanging purposes)
-Medium sized multipurpose brush
-Towel or newspaper to cover working surface
1. Blow up balloon to whatever size you want your bug to be.
2. In a container, mix 1 cup water and 1 cup glue (be prepared to make more every time it runs out).
3. Cut up paper towels into approximately 2 x 2 inch pieces. Completely cover balloon by placing piece by piece on its surface and wetting it completely using brush and glue mixture. Once balloon is completely covered with first layer, repeat at least 2 more times, making sure there are no thin areas of paper towel. Allow to dry overnight.
4. To make the eyes, make balls of crumpled up newspaper and tape them to the balloon wherever you want them. Cover completely with at least 3 layers of paper towels and glue, making sure that the base of each eye has a strong layer of paper towel connecting it to the body. If they aren't connected to the body with a strong layer of paper towel, they can fall off!
5. Place whatever amount of straws you want for legs using a piece of masking tape.
6. Cover straws and masking tape with paper towel pieces and glue mixture completely. Again, make sure that the base of each straw has sufficient paper towel to create a strong bond with the body once it dries. Allow to dry overnight.
7. Once bug is completely dry, color using acrylic paint. You can use a pencil to lightly draw lines before painting. Allow to dry.
8. To make the wings, draw them on tracing paper, trace with marker and cut. Paste them wherever you want using a silicone gun.
9. Use transparent fishing line or something similar to hang up. I personally didn't like the idea of making a hole on the body, so I decided to place the string around the body carefully.
As the school Art teacher, I was asked to contribute to the yearly ¨Altar the Muertos¨. This year it was dedicated to Francisco Gabilondo Soler (Cri-Cri), Mexican composer and performer of children's songs.
This is my version of his ¨Ratón Vaquero¨ character, though at the end I went with blue eyes and two gun holsters instead of one in order to make it similar to the one described in the song. My students loved it and it was a good way to introduce the things than can be done with modeling clay.
I needed a new pencil holder for my classroom desk and decided to make one myself. I used self hardening clay and acrylic paint.
Here's something I worked on last week. I was asked to develop a concept for a new candy line (cherry flavored/cherry shaped gummies), as well as some packaging proposals. I decided to base the concept around characters with different personalities that could, in the future, be used for animation-type publicity.
I will post my packaging ideas at a later date.
Here´s something I made with Photoshop last week. Felt like experimenting.
I was playing around with Photoshop the other day. I love animal heads on human bodies. Here, the poster can be viewed in different color schemes. The original is already featured in my Work section. It was really fun to make and, hopefully, I´ll have time to make more posters of this style.