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Hi, I'm Cyndi, and I've been writing and updating  Mixed Media Artist since 2005.  If you're a new visitor, welcome! Come tr...

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Painted Hills 2 - a collage painting and tutorial

Painted Hills 2
by Cyndi Lavin, 2016
Here is the second collage painting inspired by our recent trip to Oregon's fabulous Painted Hills.  You can see the first one here.  At that link, I explained how I added the texture to the pieces.  This week, I want to talk about a couple other things.

I was asked by a friend what inspired the lavender color in the collages...was it flowers?  No!  It's close to the color of some of the rocks there.  I don't remember exactly what the chemicals are that cause this coloration, but it's striking, especially next to the usual ochres and reds:



The other addition to this piece is a line image of a catfish fossil.  This area is known for amazingly abundant deposits of all sorts of fossils.  If you want to create a simplified line drawing of one of your photos, the tutorial at the link shows you how to do it in Photoshop.



Copyright 2016 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Book review: Fabricadabra - Simple Quilts, Complex Fabric


Paula Nadelstern wants to teach you the most straightforward ways possible of creating eye-catching kaleidoscopic quilts.  To that end, she wrote Fabricadabra - Simple Quilts, Complex Fabric for C+T Publishing.  She teaches you how to see the seams and she unwraps the mysteries of symmetry.  The results are simple, but not easy: they still require much thought and work once you understand the simple patterns behind them.


Reversing the usual organizational order, the gallery is right up front, each quilt accompanied by a line grid illustration to show you how to "read" the quilt and find the simple seams.  As I worked by way through the book, I found myself increasingly able to predict "how she did it" before seeing the grid.

The second part of the book covers design strategies and how to work with complex prints.  Paula likes to camouflage the seams, so to speak, so that the eye flows over them .  The third part of the book covers using your tools and templates properly.  This type of design is precise, and Paula helps you hone your skills.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Painted Hills 1 - a collage painting and tutorial

Painted Hills 1
by Cyndi Lavin, 2016

Mike and I like to travel out to Oregon to see our daughter each year, and we usually go sometime in September, when the temperature tends to be just perfect and the rainy season hasn't started yet.  Each time we go, we leave her home in Portland and head off in a different direction to see what we can find.  This year, we headed inland to the desert, and in particular, to the Painted Hills.  


The shot above is just one of 10 million (it seemed like, anyway) that I took of the beautiful high desert and the Painted Hills themselves.  So far, I have created two collages inspired by the Hills, and I kind of expect there may be more to come in the future.  Or maybe a quilt...

Anyway, I thought I'd share a bit about the technique that I use to get the textures in this piece.  When I'm on site, one of the things I shoot a lot of are close ups of great texture.  Besides images of landscapes with interesting composition, like the one above, I shoot a lot like this:


Using whatever method of creating a simplified line drawing that you like (here are a few ideas using Photoshop), reduce it to something like this:


From here you can print them out onto heavy paper and do an image transfer, you can use it as a reference and physically draw (pen and ink) onto your collage pieces, or you can print it out onto tissue paper and add it directly to your collage.  I'm sure there are other ways, too, but these are my preferred methods.

Copyright 2016 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Book review: Arftul Improv


Cindy Grisdela, author of Artful Improv, started out by doing traditional designs, then began tweaking them.  Eventually she arrived at the place where she no longer wanted to use patterns or precise measurements, even though her personal designs where still heavily influenced by the traditional designs that she loved.  In this new volume by C+T Publishing, Cindy shares the building blocks that she uses, teaches you how to work without precise patterns, shares color recipes that will ensure the designs actually do work, and covers free-motion quilting.  The quilting is extremely important in these quilts, because the solid color fabrics she favors do not have the same degree of complexity as prints.  



The topics covered in this playful book are as follows: organizing your fabrics, creating a color "recipe", using design elements and principles in your work, working improvisationally, creating the building blocks (stripes, circles, blocks, and curves), using negative space, balance, and texture effectively, and quilting/finishing choices.  This is a fine choice of a book for anyone who wants to just cut loose and see what happens!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Venice - a collage painting and tutorial


Years ago, Mike and I traveled to Italy to pick up Dani after her semester abroad.  Some of you might remember that my poor poor baby had to go study oil painting and sculpture in Italy as part of her art degree.  And of course Mike and I couldn't possibly let her travel back all on her own ;-)


I took possibly 2 million pictures while we were there, and fully 1 million of those were of doors, windows, and textured walls.  Venice was captivating in a way that's like no where else on earth.  I have made quilts, other collages, digital pieces, and jewelry all inspired by Venice.  And now here is the latest...I just can't seem to shake these colors!


1. Take large pieces of tissue paper (white) and gesso both the front and the back of each.  You'll need to wait till one side dries before doing the second.




2. Print out a grayscale sketch of your inspiration photo and use it to plan a grid.  I divided up the shapes, and also used it to plan the color placement in rudimentary form.



3. Use a small brayer with acrylics to paint the papers once they're dry.  Allow the paint to hit just the high points.

4. Paint a background piece of watercolor paper (cold press, 140 lb), again using the brayer and a couple different colors of paint.



5. Carefully cut out the delicate gesso papers and adhere them to the background with gloss medium.  Top coat with matte medium and acrylic matte or satin varnish.


Copyright 2016 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.
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