Friday, September 22, 2017

Video Tutorial on Watercolor, Dimensional Paste & Oil Pastel

Happy Friday! Enjoy a quick and easy watercolor mixed-media tutorial using watercolor, dimensional paste, and oil pastels.




Beyond a basic set of watercolor, below are some additional supplies I used or have suggested in the video:



Have a great weekend! xoxo

Thursday, September 7, 2017

A Glimpse into My Art Studio (as featured in Cloth Paper Scissors)

An art studio, for me, is not just an area for art-making, it is a deeply personal and sacred space we give to ourselves. For the past 13 years that I’ve been a part-time watercolorist and mixed-media artist, my studio has evolved from a kitchen island to the dining table, from inside a linen closet to the corner of a spare bedroom, and finally, after purchasing our very first home, a renovated living room that is now an art gathering place. All creative spaces are tremendously precious and invaluable. They serve as incubators of ideas, a safe haven to dream, and a permission slip to play.

Sometimes, I would take my art studio outdoors while on a nature walk or sitting down at a café. The point is, an art studio, no matter how tiny or spacious, rented or owned, conventional or unconventional, is ultimately a symbol of self-care. It is how I tune out the rest of the world so I can begin listening to myself. And as a person who craves creativity, it was particularly important to find my own artistic voice. An art studio is how I began designing my life.


Once I had a dedicated art space, something within me changed. I took myself more seriously as an artist. I became a bit braver each day. I began submitting my artwork to magazines and built relationships with publishers. Sometimes my art submissions would get rejected, but it didn’t matter. I was grateful for the opportunity to do something daring in my life, and also that I had a physical place to return to… to start making art again. A studio setting gave me the room to grow and nurture a body of work. My wish is the same for you. Please honor yourself, your creativity, and your dreams. You don’t need a fully decked-out, custom made studio; a cleared corner of a desk will do. You just need a warm and inviting space with good intention. The world needs to hear and see your art. You need to hear and see your art.


Decorating a creative space can be a joyful, rewarding process. Here are some organizational tips that worked for me, and a few backstories/explanations to go along with it:
  • Hunting garage sale pieces, flea market finds, and furniture marked for clearance is how I slowly built foundational pieces for my art room. Also, Ikea is my BFF.
  • Bookcases and bookshelves serve as great vertical storage. I use stackable boxes and trays to take advantage of every inch of shelf space.
  • Storage doesn’t have to be expensive or uniform. You can be eclectic, thrifty, and pretty with your storage solutions. I love any design that is both beautiful and functional.
  • Color is everything. It’s been said that your outer world is a reflection of our inner world, but I think it works both ways. When I am surrounded by calm, beautiful color, my heart feels like it’s being hugged, and I get inspired to create. Maybe it’s a cyclical relationship.
  • I embrace a super messy studio because it means I’m blissfully creating or panicking over a deadline. But in order for me to keep a consistent workflow, I spend a lot of time cleaning, tidying, and reorganizing my studio between projects. No matter how late it is or how tired I am, I make sure I leave my watercolor station all prepped and ready to go with clean water and brushes for the next project. It’s how I honor the space. I learned this honoring-of-space years ago in karate class. Whenever we entered or left the arena, we had to bow to the space as a sign of respect. Today, I may not literally bow to my art studio, but I do know how lucky I am. I make sure to respect my creative space and show gratitude by taking care of it.



  • I love being a mixed-media artist and testing out new art supplies. Plus, a good portion of my art supplies come from companies that have asked me to try out their products. But after learning about the KonMari Method of organizing and streamlining, and listening to The Minimalist podcast, I realized where my anxiety was coming from. I was holding onto way too much stuff. Now I treat my studio organization as a game: If I can’t find a place for an item or if I haven’t used something in a while but it’s cluttering my mind or mental space, I donate those art supplies to friends, schools, or a local charity. I want to spend less time decluttering and more time making art.
  • Throw an Art & Wine party! I do this about once a month in my studio space and it is a dream come true. I can comfortably fit six people, and no one has accidentally dipped their paintbrush in a wine glass yet. As a working artist and a mom, this it is how I fill my creative cup. Nothing blesses a space more than sharing your life and your art skills with others. I knew I wanted to create a studio to uplift people, but the universe has blessed me back a thousand fold.





Note: This writing was featured in Cloth Paper Scissors yesterday. I wanted to deeply thank my editorial director, Jeannine Stein, for approaching me and wanting to do a special studio spotlight. I am so honored. 

Thank you EVERYONE who has come over, blessed my life, and continues to help make this a creative, joyful space. 

Love & hugs,
Gina


Friday, August 4, 2017

StencilGirl Talk - Featured Artist

Hello everyone! And if you're visiting from today's StencilGirl Talk blog post, welcome!


Mermaids are a popular theme and far as stencils go, StencilGirlProducts.com has a nice selection of them. I was particularly drawn to these two (designed by Jessica Sporn and June Pfaff Daley):



What I love about this stencil pair is how image-rich they are. Every real estate of the 9"x12" mylar surface was used! With such generous oceanic icons, textures, and figures to choose from, it was difficult to decide which image to use. But alas, the mermaids helped guide me on my art journey.


Please enjoy a tutorial video--my watercolor and mixed-media approach to using such beautiful stencils.



~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Here's a re-cap of the major steps and techniques:


Step 1) Gather your art materials and mermaid stencils. For this exercise, you can use either light modeling paste (Golden) or watercolor ground (Daniel Smith).


Step 2) Make several sheets of stenciled pages by applying the paste or ground with a palette knife. Let dry and set aside. TIP: whatever stenciled images you don't use, you'll now have a convenient supply of marine-themed collage elements to use in a different project.


Step 3) With an x-acto knife, cut your signature pages to make several ocean wave flaps and begin painting a sunset sky with warm shades of watercolors. Let dry.

Step 4) Paint the ocean with several shades of cool blue-shade watercolors. Let dry.

Step 5) Paint directly onto stenciled mermaids with watercolor. TIP: pastes & grounds will readily absorb a lot of watercolor pigment at first; glaze and repeat coats to achieve the right color and saturation.

Step 6) Carefully cut out mermaids and glue all collage elements to finish your journal page.


OPTIONAL: Add any touches of shimmer like glitter or metallic paints as a final detail. I also glazed the sky one more time for a deeper, richer pink (as seen in my finished photo at the very beginning of this blog post).


I hope you enjoyed today’s art lesson as an easy watercolor approach to art journaling using stencils.

💜

Please stay tuned for more video tutorials using StencilGirl Products. I will announce them first via my instagram and will feature them here on my blog.

 Here’s a sneak peek for September’s tutorial video...


and here’s a sneak peek for October.


Thank you for stopping by!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Transparency Collage Article with Cloth Paper Scissors

Hello Friends! Before the summer season zooms right by, I wanted to share my mixed-media article that was featured in Cloth Paper Scissors July/August 2017 issue. I am so honored! It's in newsstands now at your local Barnes & Noble or Jo-Ann store. You can also get your copy here with a digital download option.


Working with Cloth Paper Scissors is such a pleasure. The team is so good to me.
They have created a special adventure issue full of inspiration, ideas, and tips for travel journaling, packing a travel art kit, creating art on-the-go, and lots more.



My article demonstrates how to make a colorful layered page for a midori-style travel journal. Here's a sneak peak:






To add unique dimention, I used Dura-lar transparencies (made by Grafix), watercolor, gouache, oil pastels, washi tape, collage, and more. I wanted to thank Grafix and their team for sending me a sample of their clear films. The company offers a variety of acetate alternatives

As a watercolor and mixed-media artist, this wet-media film was perfect for my CPS project. (I have  purchased some more at dickblick.com).








Here's what my craft table looked like right before I sent all the step-outs to my editors.



I hope everyone's have a wonderful summer. Thank you for stopping by!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Enjoy My Recent Podcast Interview with DSS!



Hello everyone! If you're arriving here via Instagram or DeepSpaceSparkle.com, welcome!
I had the honor of being interviewed by the lovely Patty Palmer for her Art Made Easy Podcast. We talked about art, creativity, my watercolor journey and so much more. I hope our podcast conversation inspires you..

 • If you're on your mobile and want instant playback, click here.

• If you want to listen directly from iTunes (with the option to subscribe), click here.

 • If you want to visit Patty's blog and get additional show notes, art links and other inspirational resources, click here.



A heartfelt thank you to Patty and her team! 
_______________________________________________________

Enjoy some behind-the-scenes look around the studio:



Here's a shot right before our podcast recording (Patty lives in Santa Barbara and I'm in Chicago). My laptop had to be propped on a crate and an empty storage bin so that my head wouldn't be chopped off while we Skyped. My craft table is full of joyful things--art supplies, paintings...........and coffee.




Here's a before-photo when I have multiple deadlines. And an after-photo when things become calm again or when I have guests coming over. I struggle with clutter everyday. As a working artist and a mom, I try to keep things real. I do have OCD tendencies (e.g. insatiable need to tidy things in rainbow order), but I think that's just the nurse in me. I love my messy stages, too. 



Patty asked me how I became a watercolor teacher. While I was pursuing my nursing degree in Massachusetts, I led children, youth and adult watercolor workshops as a volunteer at a local Audubon Society nature conservancy. Today, I tribute much my art instructor experience to my 5 year old son. He teaches me how to make any art-making process fun, creative, and approachable. He's an awesome studio helper and an art supply test-driver. :)




I love the light in my new studio. I feel so grateful and giddy and inspired to paint in here. For years prior to owning our first home, I blissfully painted wherever I could--at our condo's dining table back in MA or inside the closet of a spare bedroom (at the last house we rented). My husband always wanted to build me an art studio. And finally, that dream came true.


As you can see below, the prior owners used it as a sitting room, painted in a dark burgundy. 

 
(BEFORE)


I wanted to paint the walls a clean, light gray color. It took multiple coats of primer. Sorry the image above is so dark; photo was taken in the early evening.


We ripped out the white carpet and installed thick maple hardwood floors throughout the main floor. In neutral cappuccino brown, of course. Adding recessed lights and a chandelier, pulled everything together.




Here's my husband assembling my Pottery Barn hutch desk back together again.






Thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful week!




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