Sunday, February 26, 2012

What's Up in the Batcave

Ah yes.  The Batcave holds many surprises.  It's where I work, create and play on the computer.  I forgot that I promised my very creative friend, Alisa, some pics of my new paint brush holder that we found at Rescued Junk by Old Crow Farm back in the middle of January.  It's a fabulous place a little west of Des Moines.  We had fun junking that day and I bought a few things at Rescued Junk.  When I saw this sterilization piece (either from a dentist office or for test tubes?) I immediately thought; paintbrushes!  I took it into the Batcave and voila.  This is what I have.  I was not only able to stick in all but the fattest paintbrushes, but I managed a brayer or two, some palette knives, some pencils and a few other odds and ends.  It sits on my art table and is so wonderfully handy.  I highly recommend it!

I also purchased some things at Ikea while I was helping Lauren move to Baltimore last summer.  They are supposed to be used for sheers, but I saw organizational possibilities for unused wall space in the Batcave.  My handy hubby hung them.  They are called 'Dignitet' and are a fairly thin wire that can be tightened from either end as weight is added.  I have seen these used for hanging kid's artwork.  I am using them for my ephemera because I am one of those people who need to see what I have in order to use it.  There are clips that you buy to go with these.  The plan was to use one wall for the product and the other for artwork, but ... ahem, I had too much product.  Oops.  That is what comes of working at a scrapbook store.  The hearts were another find at (help me Alisa), I believe, Urban Finds in Des Moines.  They are corrugated metal just cut and painted.  I bought them for Valentine's Day, but love them so much that I hung them in the Batcave.  I may eventually move them up to the wall, but for now, I love just seeing them in here.

You can't see it, but there is a little tightener thingy on
the place where this is attached to the wall.

My hearts!
I have been working on a couple of projects, but also I have been diligently practicing techniques that I have learned from a fabulous class that I took called "She Had Three Hearts".  It is an art journaling class and I learned so many cool techniques, you wouldn't believe.  It is taught by Christy Tomlinson and she offers fabulous classes online!  If you are interested just go to ScarletLime and check them out.  You will not be disappointed.  Anyway, this weekend, I finished reviewing the second week of the class and loved the resist techniques that she taught us.

This is just hot glue and then some Tim Holtz paint dauber
rubbed over the glue after it is cooled. 

This is gel medium (Claudine Hellmuth) on paper.  

My fav:  sticky back canvas, gel medium, and paint.
It looks like Batik fabric to me.  It's cool to work with the sticky back.
You can just press it down on your craft mat and it stays for you.
Love that.
Alcohol ink and stencil.  Love it!
Have a great week.  I need to get lesson plans worked out for the week.  It's a short one for me as I have conferences on Thursday.  Then the next week I work for three days and take an early holiday.  Can't wait! Back to the Batcave!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

More Metering Practice

So I finally opened up my new remote and one of the girl's tripods.  Yup.  They leave stuff, it's mine!  Sort of like all of Julie's art stuff that I have confiscated.  Now, if I can just find her Gorillapod that I know she has stashed somewhere...
I read some more from Aimee's fabulous blog It's Overflowing and gave metering with my prime lens another go.  I desperately need to practice before I head to Arizona.  I took the pics of the sculpture between about 3:20 to 3:30 pm.  It was super sunny today and the window in the living room faces southwest, so the afternoon soon is fierce.  The pics of the painting were done between 3:35 and 3:50 pm.  While the sculpture is on a small table right by the window, the painting is on a table a bit away from the window.  In some cases I had the drapes partially or completely drawn.  I had to attempt to control the light so that I could keep my shutter speed around 100 or below as those are the guidelines given for still work.
I must admit that I am completely freaked out about controlling the light in Arizona on a sunny day while I'm outside.  I may explode.
All of the pictures below were taken with a tripod and remote.  That was fun!

These two were taken with the mark right below and right on the middle hash mark on the meter.  I believe that I am liking my shots right on the middle the best.

With the next group, I only messed with the shutter speed and the drapes.  I left the aperture and the ISO at the same levels.
The drapes are partially open here.

The drapes are closed in this shot and the next two.  

This next set were taken with drapes open, partially closed and closed.  I messed around more with the ISO  and aperture.  Again, they were taken between about 3:35 and 3:50 on a very sunny afternoon.

This is my favorite of the painting exposures.  I think the color balance
and light are just right.

The next shot blew me away.  The colors and light are exactly right for the time of day.  While the subject is dumb (a branch that fell off of our tree after a heavy, wet snow) I couldn't resist just shooting in manual through the big window right into the evening light.  It was 5:56 pm.  Note that our front yard light is on in the picture.  That is how I know that the lighting is right.

I can't leave without a kitty pic.  She was sitting on our bed on a sunny day with lots of afternoon shadows being thrown around through the windows.  I wonder what she is thinking about here.

Thanks, Aimee, for your fine class.  Head over to It's Overflowing if you want to learn how to use your camera.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Technique Workout

Most of the day yesterday and all day today (in between laundry loads) I have been practicing techniques in my little technique notebook.  You can tell by my hand that I am a mess and that is after getting off the gesso!  My fav technique of the day?  It has to be this faux batik on a full page.  Mod Podge a book page onto my journal, a little spray, a little paint dauber, a few stencils and voila, the coolest page!  I love it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My First Face

So the latest art lesson from Christy Tomlinson and her She Art 2 online class has involved painting eyes, nose, mouth and more detailed hair.  Big gulp.  This is my first attempt at a real face.  I have watched all of the videos a couple of times.  After a little detail practice in my notebook, it was time to take the plunge.  This is a rather large canvas (11x11, I think) so it was a little more daunting for me.  I cut the face too long and I don't thing the eyes are placed in the right part of the face vertically (they should be a bit lower), but otherwise, I am not too disappointed with my first effort.  I kept the details minimal around her as I wanted the face to be the focal point.  It is very hard for me to edit, so that alone was a huge accomplishment.
I am not sure what I am going to do with her.  Right now, she is staring at me.
Another project is in the works and then I have to develop those thank you cards I promised my sister.  And I need to finish them BEFORE I visit her in Arizona.  Yup.  I have a couple of weeks at least.

The papers are mainly K and Company from one of those pads you buy and then you don't know why you bought it.  Her face is book paper and her shirt is Graphic 45.  I used Faber Castel Big Pens for shading, lips, eyes, etc.  Graphite pencil, ink, acrylics, Golden Fluid Acrylics and a lot of paint dabbers by both Ranger and Jenni Bowlin help to round out the supplies.  I used various 6 x 6 stencils, stamps and roller stamps.  My new fav is the small dot one that you see all over the canvas.  You can also catch a glimpse or two of the film strip roller stamp.  Of course, I used my normal amount of rub-ons and then the punchinella for the white honeycomb effect.  Yum.

Metering Practice

If you go to Aimee's site It's Overflowing you will see that the next lesson is on Metering.  Okay.  Now this is really scary because it involves looking at that little graphy like thingy and (Phantom of the Opera music here) putting your camera on MANUAL.  Aaaargh.  I have never done this before.  Not even with my P/S camera that I love.
She gives us great exercises for practicing and throughout the lesson she has been giving good guidelines regarding settings.  Her husband, Stud, is a professional photographer, so she passes on the settings that he normally uses.  This helps so much.  We don't have to reinvent the wheel here.
Now, with metering, you do need to sort of remember how the other exposure pieces work.  But, not to worry.  You can look them up again like I did.  She gives a great practice set for you to do that really helps understand how all of this is interconnected.  I tell you, I am nearly at my light bulb moment here.  I can sense someone by the switch!
Below is my attempt at all manual photography.  This is all that remains of my Lagomarcino's candy.  I will discreetly omit the size of the box here.  All are set at 1/30, f/1.8, ISO 200 and taken with a 50 mm lens.  They were edited in Picnik by cropping and adding text only.  It was a really sunny day here and I kept having to manipulate where I was, the shades in the room, all sorts of things.  I think that means I might be getting this.  Let's hope so.  Enjoy.  And if you haven't visited her site, It's Overflowing what are you waiting for?

Stud usually snaps pics when the meter indicates
 a couple of hash marks below the middle.
This was taken with the mark directly in the middle.
This was taken one hash mark above the middle.
A little too exposed as you can see.
This was taken one hash mark
below center.  Much better.
This was taken with the meter two hash marks below center.
This one is a tad dark, I think.

Practice makes perfect, so I will post some practice shots, done manually, of my latest creation.  I did have to switch to my telephoto lens as I wanted some close ups for artistic purposes.  Toodles.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

More Aperture Practice

Because of Aimee's blog I am feeling a teeny, tiny bit more confident about my new DSLR (a Canon Rebel EOS T3) that my wonderful hubby got me for Christmas.  It came with an 18-55 mm lens in the kit and I got brave this week and purchased a 50 mm lens and a remote at our local camera store (I have to support small business).  Here is a bit of a continuation for aperture practice.  The new lens is able to go down to f1.8 which adds a neat level of fuzziness that I love.  I cannot wait to get this camera to AZ and practice outside!
The subjects are little Valentine gifts that I made for 'my boys' for our class Valentine Party on Tuesday.  Because there is kind of a lot to focus on with the words, etc, you will notice that sometimes the wrapper is out of focus, but the ribbon is crystal clear.  Of course, this is also because of my changing position just slightly occasionally.  Haha.  I do love this effect.
I promise not to post again until I have started a project.  That should be today, but it won't get done today. Laundry calls.