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Showing posts from 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I will see you all again in 2018!  Hope your holiday season is wonderful :-) Nate, Lizzie, Cyndi, Mike (back) Katherine, Dani, Julianna (front)

Jennifer, My Love - a mixed media collage painting tutorial

Jennifer, My Love Cyndi Lavin, 2017 The western juniper is actually considered an invasive species in Oregon, which seems terribly sad to me since they are so interesting looking.  I spent some time taking pictures of them, along with other Northern California and Oregon trees.  I decided upon a juniper for this piece, not just because I love the gnarly way they look, but also because the song Jennifer Juniper kept running through my mind! This is a pretty simple piece when you get down to it.  Draw a tree or something else that you love.  Chose the colors that remind you of the place.  Assemble! 1. I used a lightbox to trace my drawing onto dressmaker's pattern paper with medium and extra small Pitt pens .  Spray the tracing with an acrylic fixative .   2. On a wet piece of heavy watercolor paper , use foam brushes to paint around the outer edges with Phthalo blue acrylic paint. All of the paints that I used were diluted with quite a bit of water in order to get some

Aspen Afternoon - a mixed media painting tutorial

Aspen Afternoon Cyndi Lavin, 2017 For this piece, I started with a very limited palette that I wanted to experiment with.  For the sky, I used a Phthalo blue gradient, and for the trees, I used Hansa yellow medium , Pyrrole orange , Green gold , and waterproof white ink .  1. Using a large foam brush , paint a blue gradient onto a wet piece of watercolor paper for the sky.  Use a paper towel to wipe off an area for the mountain background.    2. Working from the bottom of the piece, alternate blobs of your yellow, orange, and green paints.  Use White gesso on a foam brush to pull the colors upward.    3. Use white ink to drip trees from the bottom with a pipette .  Use a skewer to add some skinny branches.  Also use the skewer to add bark markings with diluted Phthalo blue.  4. Cover the tree area with Polymer medium and the sky area with Matte medium .  Let it dry.   5. Use a ratty brush to stipple in "leaves", making sure the tops are un

A new series coming soon!

    Paintings for Sale One of the best parts about abstract painting and mixed media work is that you just never know what's going to pop up next! I'll be starting to post a series of work like this in the new year, based on particle physics, geometry, electricity, and anything else sciencey that happens to catch my fancy. You can blame it on my being married to a particle physicist if you'd like... Copyright 2017 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved.

Beading Arts tutorials - part three

    Tribal Stripes bead embroidery pendant Here is the last installment (for now!) of tutorials that have been posted on Beading Arts , covering beaded arts, jewelry, and other wearables. Part one Part two  Crocheted bracelet St Petersburg Chain bead embroidered pendant Bead embroidery pendant with blue pearls (2 parts) Stitched freshwater pearl bracelet Tribal Stripes bead embroidery pendant Fierce bead embroidery pendant   Cherry donut beaded necklace   Hanging the Moon necklace Flapper necklace Golden harvest necklace Mixed metals and beads necklace Red jasper bead embroidered pendant A bead embroidery clock motif African trade beads necklace   Leopard skin jasper bead embroidered pendant Bluebird singing in the Dead of Night necklace   Sandcast beads Boho necklace   Red bead embroidered pendant with drops   Blossoms of the Moonlit Waves  

Deep in the Evening of the Smiley Moon - a mixed media painting tutorial

Deep in the Evening of the Smiley Moon Cyndi Lavin, 2017 Prints for sale Each month, the smiley moon is my favorite part of the moon phase.  I'm not sure why, but maybe because it reminds me of the Cheshire Cat? 1. Wet a heavy piece of watercolor paper and use a foam roller to paint it solid with Hansa yellow opaque . 2. Alternate small blobs of Pearl violet , Metallic olive , and Red oxide along the top edge, and use White gesso   to pull them down the page in long strokes, using a foam brush. 3. Scratch into the damp paint to reveal some of the yellow underpainting.  Add more pure colors to adjust.   4. Use the bottom rim of a small paper cup to stamp in a moon arch with Hansa yellow opaque . 5. Use waterproof black India ink in pipettes to drip in the trees. Take a raggy, craggy old brush and use it to stipple in the "leaves" with a mixture of Yellow ochre and White gesso .    This post contains affiliate links Copyright 2017 Cy

Keep Your Feet - a mixed media painting tutorial

Keep Your Feet Cyndi Lavin, 2017 This is the third piece in my small series on trees with personalities.  For this one, I once more used the techniques outlined in the piece Longing , so I'll let you check that out if you need the steps, and I'll just give you a list of the acrylic colors used here.  This one was inspired by a well-known quote from JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings: "It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." I think my tree is ready for that adventure! Sky: Phthalo blue , Medium magenta , Hansa yellow opaque , White gesso , and glazing medium Road: Yellow ochre , Raw sienna , Red oxide , White gesso, and glazing medium Hills: Jenkins green , Sap green , White gesso, and glazing medium Tree: waterproof black India ink Flowers: Naphthol red light This post contains affiliate links Copyright

Call a Dance - a mixed media painting tutorial

Call a Dance Cyndi Lavin, 2017 I got a lot of enjoyment out of painting Longing a few weeks ago, so I decided to do a small series featuring trees with personalities.  My second one was inspired by the W.B.Yeats poem The Cat and the Moon: "When two close kindred meet, What better than call a dance?" The technique used is basically the same as for the painting Longing with only a small color variation.  I used Phthalo blue and Dioxazine purple for the sky rather than Phthalo blue and Phthalo green. This post contains affiliate links Copyright 2017 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. The tutorial only may be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

Moon Dust - a mixed media painting tutorial

Moon Dust Cyndi Lavin, 2017 I wanted a somber feel, but rich colors, so a ended up doing an underpainting to help guide my choices.  The paints I used were acrylics are welcome to change up the colors to suit yourself!    1. Lightly spray a piece of heavy watercolor paper with water, and use a large brush to lay in waterproof black India ink .  Keep it darkest around the edges, and leave a spot with no ink at all.  Blend the ink to get a nice gradient.  Allow to dry completely.      2. Use a mix of black gesso and white gesso to make a light gray.  Use a foam brush with the gray mix to pull full strength heavy bodied Phthalo blue and Dioxazine purple down the length of the paper. Spray lightly with water if needed.  Adjust the colors.  While the piece is still damp, use a pipette to drip diluted black ink from the top.  Allow to dry.   3. Drip full-strength India ink from the top.  Use the pipette to draw in some branches.  Take a scruffy,

Longing - a mixed media painting tutorial

Longing Cyndi Lavin, 2017  I decided to see if I could interject some more personality into my ink trees.  That involved controlling the ink more than when I was just letting it drip from the top. But I still used a pipette to draw them in!  The background is acrylic paint . 1. Use a large brush to wet your watercolor paper .  Working from the top, layer in Phthalo blue , Phthalo green mixed with glaze , and white gesso with the large brush.  Clean the brush, and from the bottom, layer in Jenkins green , Sap green mixed with glaze , and white gesso .  Blend and let it dry. 2. Using a pipette , add swirls in the sky with waterproof white ink .   3. Use another pipette to draw in the trees with waterproof black ink .  Add some "flowers" with Hansa yellow light .   4. Use Naphthol red light to add a few spots in the sky, flowing from tree to tree. 5. Use white gesso to make a few of the ink swirls cross in front of the tree.  This helps

At Cross Purposes - a mixed media painting tutorial

At Cross Purposes Cyndi Lavin, 2017   1. I started this piece with a batik-style background , for which you can find a tutorial at the link.   2. After the background was completely dry and ironed (to make absolutely sure the ink wouldn't run), I flooded it with dilute washes of several acrylic paints: Hansa yellow light , Medium magenta , and Pyrrole orange . 3. I used pieces of painters tape (low tack) and card stock to form the masks.  After adhering them to the center of the piece, I used a foam roller to lightly roll white gesso around the outside, just enough to mute the colors but not enough to totally obscure them. 4. Slip out the card stock mask, but keep the painters tape.  Add more tape around the central rectangle that was previously under the card stock.  Just line up the new tape with the's easy!  Roll the center portion with Manganese blue .    5. Carefully remove all the tape.  Add black lines with waterproof black

Winter Sunrise - a mixed media painting tutorial

  You can get a lovely watercolor look with acrylic paints by thinning them enough.  Certain colors are problematic when you add water, because they will separate and the binder breaks down.  But to counteract this, I painted them on top of slightly moist gesso.  Here's how it worked: Prepare a selection of acrylic paints, placing a dab into small paper cups and adding water until they are extremely thin.  I used these colors: Manganese blue Permanentviolet dark Hansa yellow medium Pyrrole orange Prepare your w atercolor paper , 140 lb cold pressed, with white gesso .  I use foam brushes for this.  You might want to test your thinned paints on a scrap piece of paper with gesso before committing to the full-sized piece, to make sure you are getting the colors you want.  Thinned acrylics can be a bit deceiving! When the gessoed paper is still a bit damp, use pipettes to drip the paints lengthwise along the paper, holding it up vertically.  Flip the paper to the s

Firefly's Race - a mixed media painting tutorial

Firefly's Race Cyndi Lavin, 2017 This painting was very loosely inspired by a gorgeous copper beech tree that lives next door to me.  It is a truly glorious tree, but since it is not a native of New England, it is always about four to five weeks out of sync with all the other trees.  Just when we think we're done guessed it!  I suppose it is lucky that it is so glorious :-) For this simple painting, I started with a sheet of heavy watercolor paper and painted the background entirely with diluted Iridescent copper acrylic paint, using a foam roller .  I gave it several coats.   When it was completely dry, I tinted up some tar gel with Red oxide paint in an applicator bottle , and used that to sketch in the tree.  Accuracy was NOT an issue, just a general impression.  You need to let tar gel dry on its doesn't always react well to a heat gun.  So put it aside, work on something else, and come back the next day.  The next step inv

Golden Grove - a mixed media collage tutorial

Golden Grove Cyndi Lavin, 2017 Whether you live near forest, desert, mountains, or water, trees hold an iconic place in our imagination.   People write poems about them, which is what inspired this particular piece.  I've included the text of the poem at the bottom of this post :-) Materials + Tools Pages of text torn from various books Watercolor paper Matte medium Foam brushes Spray bottle Pipette Acrylic spray Black India ink   Acrylic paint colors: Yellow ochre Red oxide Quinacridone nickel azo gold   1. Use matte medium on a foam brush to lay down your torn text pieces on the watercolor paper.  Don't overthink it.  Leave the top unsealed as much as possible.   2. Use a foam brush or sponge to add diluted (with water) Yellow ochre over most of the surface.  Let it puddle a bit and sink in unevenly. 3. Add Red oxide next, and finish with Quinacridone gold, added with your fingers in just the spots you want.  Let it dry thoroughly.  Iron flat if

Epiphany - a mixed media painting tutorial

Epiphany Cyndi Lavin, 2017 Prints for sale Think about all the different colors you could use for a mixed media painting like this, depending upon the season!  I'll share the colors I used for this one, but feel free to make substitutions that suit you. Materials + Tools Watercolor paper Black India ink Pipettes Acrylic spray Spray bottle Acrylic paint colors: Hansa yellow medium Quinacridone magenta Permanent violet dark 1. Starting with a sheet of watercolor paper, drip black India ink from a small pipette to form the "trees".  Let it dry thoroughly and give it a light spray with acrylic fixative. 2. Mix up the colors you want to use.  I place them in small cups and dilute them with quite a bit of water to get the thin consistency.  No acrylic medium this time! 3. Spritz the surface with water.  Use pipettes (one per color) to add lines of color between the "trees".  Spray more if the paint doesn't move the way you want it to. 4.

Book review: The Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design

Ok, either you love Sharon Boggon's work, or you're wrong! :-) But seriously, how could you not love her work?  Just look at what you'll find in The Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design : Sharon's main goal, I feel, is to teach you how to tell a story with your quilts, how to make every part of the process serve the art.  To that end, she starts with an overview of the encrusted crazy quilting style, discusses how to design that journey for your viewer, and then moves to piecing and stitching.  The second half of the book teaches you how to do beautiful variations on basic stitches and how to incorporate beads, buttons, and more. I don't often quote parts of the books that I review, but I just want you to have an example of one of Sharon's many many (many!) tips that you will find in this book.  I recommend it for beginners and experienced quilters alike: "A good, quick way of finding a color scheme is to select a favorite patterned fabric. T

Beading Arts tutorials - part two

  Earrings tutorials Last week was part one of the list of tutorials on Beading Arts , covering beaded arts, jewelry, and other wearables. A charoite bead embroidered pendant Jewel bead embroidery pendants Bead making tutorials Earrings tutorials Waves - a beaded necklace Bead stringing tutorials   Run-Around Wrapping - a beaded necklace  A practical lesson in choosing colors for your beadwork (2 parts) Peace on Earth - a beading tutorial Night Sky - a beadweaving and wire necklace tutorial Orinoco Flow - a bead embroidery tutorial   Pink yarrow, flame, and greenery necklace (2 parts) Single earring trend for 2017

Into the Woods - a mixed media painting tutorial

Into the Woods Cyndi Lavin, 2017 Prints for sale I used a batik-style background for this piece.  The instructions can be found at the link above.  It's super-easy to do, using waxed paper and some non-waterproof black ink .  After adhering the textured paper to your substrate and ironing it, I would advise adding a few coats of acrylic spray to prevent any running.   I used heavy-bodied acrylics diluted with water (not medium) in the following colors: Permanent violet dark , Quinacridone magenta , Hansa yellow medium , Phthalo green , and Ultramarine blue .  I spread it around on my piece using pipettes .  I used paper towels to blot it frequently, and to build up layers of color. After drying thoroughly, I spritzed the piece with water and used regular water proof India ink in a pipette to drip the trees and add thinner branches.  I let it dry and then adjusted the paint colors as needed. This post contains affiliate links.   Copyright 2017 Cyndi Lavin. All r

Beading Arts tutorials - part one

    Amethyst tree necklace tutorial Tutorials covering topics like wearable art, beading, beaded jewelry, etc generally reside on the Beading Arts blog.  Every so often, I like to give you a list of them here in case any of the topics interest you!  Here is the first installment in chronological order: Bead embroidered rhodochrosite pendant Amethyst tree necklace tutorial (3 parts) Pearl and crystal cuff bracelet A simple spiral rope in blue Bracelet projects - wirework Bracelet projects - fiber Bracelet projects - beadweaving and stringing Bracelet projects - bead embroidery, part one Bracelet projects - bead embroidery, part two  Bracelet projects - mixed media

A Light in the Forest - a mixed media painting tutorial

  Last week I talked a little about adding some depth to an abstract by shading the elements in a way that draws the eye into the picture rather than just across it.  Today's piece uses the same technique with a different color palette, and in a much larger size so that the elements could be spread out a bit more.  I wanted to see if that would make a difference in the perception of depth.   The background was rolled with Green gold and allowed to dry.  I then painted around the center, moving outward, with Sap green , Phthalo green , and Turquoise phthalo , these three being both mixed with white gesso and plain.  I then dripped in the most "distant" trees, white ink with a couple drops of turquoise paint.  After they dried, I sponged the whole piece lightly with Iridescent copper (not shown above).   The next step is to drip in the "middle distance" elements, this time mixing the white ink with a bit less turquoise.  When they were dry, I