Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fish Themed Clay Tiles

As I promised a couple of weeks ago, I am posting the results of some of the clay tiles that I made at school this year. My students began a unit learning how to use clay. As an introductory project to the clay (most students have never worked with clay), I assigned them to create a textured tile design. I showed them a couple of my examples from last year(here and here), and explained how they could add a variety of textures by carving out clay and adding clay pieces to raise the surface. They had to roll the clay out into slabs, cut them out into a square shape, cut out their design pieces, then start putting them together. So after they got settled and began working on their pieces, I started a couple of new ones so they can watch the progress and hopefully get some ideas that they can apply to their own clay pieces. Here are two pictures showing my results. The first is the two fish tiles after the bisque firing. I have also added black glaze to emphasize the carved lines and corners and edges. After removing the black from the raised surfaces, I added the rest of the glaze colors. The tiles were fired in the kiln one more time to get the final shiney results you see in the 2nd photo.

Fish Tiles after bisque firing

Fish Tiles after Glaze Firing
Beth S. Macre © 2008

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Baseball Cards

Walking and...Bat and Ball Series
I started some ACEOs last weekend and planned to finish and post them earlier in the week, however, time has gotten away from me again. This week turned out to be pretty busy. I've started walking after work in an attempt to get into shape for my trip to France in June. My friend Becky, the French teacher, and I are trying to get into shape for all of the walking we will be doing when we are in France. She also had a meeting with those who will be traveling with us to talk about the things that they should do between now and our departure. So between now and June 2nd, when we leave, I will be pretty busy. My son graduates from high school in 2 weeks, and end of school year work gets pretty hectic. I will have pictures of some of my clay tiles that I've been working on at school. Hopefully I will be able to finish firing some this week.
Also little Radar, the Papillon, was a little under the weather this week so he needed a little extra pampering. I don't think the vet was ever very sure whether it was an internal infection or if he had just hurt his spine somehow. But he is doing better today, thank goodness! He was so pitiful when he would try to hide and lay his ears back. He is always so happy, you know when something is not right, by the position of his ears and his lack of tail wagging.
So here are the two ACEOs that I completed last night and posted on Ebay. They were drawn together, but I cut them apart to sell them either seperately or together. Just depends if the collector wants them both or just one.

"Bat and Ball"
(2 cards as they appear together)
Prismacolor colored pencils on white Stonehenge
Beth S. Macre © 2008

Here is what they look like seperate:

"Bat and Ball 1"

"Bat and Ball 2"
These were done using a watercolor pencil underpainting with dry Prismacolor colored pencils on top. I used white paper which, to me, takes longer now that I've been using colored papers. I've also been using the sanded papers, which seem to speed things up somewhat. I keep switching back and forth between the colored sanded supports and the white paper and really can't decide which is best for my style. But I do prefer the sanded and colored papers for speed.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Spring Weather is Finally Here!

Dogwood Blooms
I've been a little distracted from my art lately. With the end of school year coming fast, my son's high school graduation, and several other things I won't bore anyone with, my mind just can't settle down enough to sit down at my drawing table. So I've been doing some spring cleaning, since it has finally arrived.

I live in the South, so usually we have an early spring. We've had so much rain and cool weather this year, I was beginning to wonder if we would skip spring weather and go directly to summer weather. But the last several days have been very nice spring weather. The dogwood trees started blooming last week and are still very pretty. Here are some pictures of the one in my backyard. I would love to have more dogwoods, but my yard has very little shade, so they would burn up anywhere else. I will try to take a walk around the neighborhood tomorrow to get some more spring flower pictures. I need the exercise too!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Beautiful Pansy ATC

"Pansy" ATC

This beautiful Quilted pansy was waiting for me when I got home from work today. This beautiful card was created by Fannie Narte . I admire her work on fabric using paint and threads and jewels to embelish these little gems.

Thank you Fannie! It really came when I needed a lift!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Dark Colored Paper

This has been a busy week with deadlines and meetings, so I haven't started anything new... again. (I'll be glad when summer vacation gets here!) I have been working with clay at school, so in a week or two I will have a picture of those to show. They have to dry, then get fired, glazed, then fired again.
So I thought I would go back a few years and pull out a colored pencil work showing the steps in progress, on black Stonehenge paper. I love the effect that you can get on black paper, but it is hard to light and to photograph. I've done several pieces on black stonehenge and plan to do more in the future. The trick is to put a good layer of a white underpainting where you want your lightest highlights, before adding your color. On this piece, I think I should have put more white on first. I had to go back and add more white between layers of yellow. The yellow has a greenish tint in the first few layers. After adding more yellow, more shadows, more yellow and more shadows, I went back and burnished to make sure the brightest yellows were solid.
Step One

White underpainting for highlights,
with violet underpainting for darkest values,
and beginning of some yellow layers on bottom flower.
Step Two

Final Layers

"Yellow Lilies"
Beth S. Macre
© 2005
Prismacolors on Black Stonehenge

Saturday, April 5, 2008

More Strawberries

“2 Strawberries”
ACEO ~ 2 1/2" x 3 1/2"
Colored pencil on Stonehenge
Beth S. Macre © 2008
This is the companion piece that I worked on with "One Strawberry" a couple of weeks ago. I was more satisfied with the first strawberry. I'm not sure why, but this one was a struggle for me. I may decide to go back and rework it. Somehow these little ACEO 'studies' seem to challenge me a lot. I want each little one to be successful, when they should only help me with my technique and the 'style' that I find ever so elusive....

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Stiff Neck!

I've been nursing a stiff neck and shoulder this week, so I haven't drawn anything new this week. But I did finally list the Papillon ACEO on Ebay today. I hope to do some more ACEOs over the next couple of months. I will not have alot of time to start anything larger until after my trip to France in June! I will be traveling with the French teacher and 12 teenagers to Paris and I'm beginning to get excited! I hope to take lots of pictures for future paintings. So for now, I hope to sell a few ACEOs to raise a little spending money for the trip. I will be working on some handmade ceramic tiles over the next few weeks also. My students are working with clay now (which may be why my neck and shoulder are bothering me), but I plan to work with the clay also, as time allows. I started one this week, but it will take a couple of weeks before it is finished. Here is a photo of one one of the clay tiles that I did last year. It also has the the pretend dog house.

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