Monday, May 25, 2009

Squish Painting Part 2

Cranberry Orchids by Marge Bennett

The second in a series of “How did you do that?” Posts.

The three monoprints shown above are made with the same print process as the mums in the Imagined Garden Piece. Squish Part 1

The small square here is a detail of the center flower. Note the texture. Only one color was used for these flowers. The stems and leaves were done in the same fashion using a green watercolor mix.

Since they are more complex, the orchids were created in small sections

How it was done:

First create an outline drawing of the image you wish to print.

Place the flexible celluloid plate over a small portion of the drawing (smooth side up).

Use a washable marker to trace that part of the drawing on your plate.

Turn the plate over and cover the image with soft, wet paint.

Squish the plate on the paper in the selected spot and create as much distortion as you desire. (Pressure and direction of push gives some control.)

Lift the plate by one corner and pull up so as to create texture.

Wash the plate and repeat the process again and again until the image is complete.

Obviously the images created will be fanciful. Squish painters are not doing botanical illustration! The process can be used to make prints or the images can be integrated into paintings as in Growing Old Gracefully shown below


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Squish That Flower

The first in a series of posts answering the question: “How did you do that?”

Imagined Garden in Vase shown left is one of my Imagined Garden paintings. The images in that series are a distillation of the flowers I have known and loved all my life. Look with your heart and you will see your own special memories reflected there.

Now to the question: “How did I do those mum-like blooms in the vase?” The answer: “I squished them.”

The Making of a Squish Flower requires paint (soft and juicy), water with a tad of liquid detergent, paper or canvas, and plexiglass or flexible transparent plastic.

Some helpful hints: The paint should be the same as that in the rest of the painting. Using acrylic? Don’t dawdle!

The texture and absorbency of the paper make a difference. Experiment.

Keep the water in a spray bottle. Mine is labeled, “joyful water”.

Plexi has sharp edges. Use care or file them down. They work best if sanded on one side.

(I prefer the pliable sheets that come in packages of bacon or smoked salmon from the grocery.)

Place a blob or two of paint on the rough surface of your plastic. Spray with a bit of water if needed.

Center the plexi, paint side down, over your paper or canvas. Squish it by pressing on the clean side. Note that you can control the direction and degree of spread with your fingers.

Gently and immediately pull up one corner of the plastic. A pattern develops depending upon your direction of pull and the consistency of the paint.

Admire your flower.

I sometimes fiddle a bit with a moist brush and in some cases start the stem with the moist paint.

Just for fun you can cover all of the plexi and make a small print. Be sure to pull the plate up by one corner so that you get good texture. This is a great project for small hands, but be sure to use child friendly paints (washable and non-toxic) and smooth-edged squishers.

Thanks for tuning in to Squish Painting 101. Tune in next Tuesday for a more sophisticated (well, sort of) use of this technique. I welcome comments on this painting style and would love to hear about others.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

"Let Them Eat Cake"

If you are like me, you make art museums and art shows a destination and you seek them out when you travel for other reasons. Coffee mugs are my link to the show and the artist...I love coffee and art so I make it a point to visit the gift shop in the hope of adding one more mug to my collection.
Recently a recipe for 5 Minute Chocolate Cake in a mug appeared in my in-box, courtesy of a fellow artist and chocolate lover. Of course I tried it and of course I ate it. My recommendation is to top it with whipped cream and a chocolate kiss. Care for the recipe?

Mix 4 T each of flour and sugar in mug
Add 2 T cocoa + 1 egg and mix thoroughly
Add 3 T each of milk, oil and chocolate chips + splash of vanilla
Mix a lot and place in micro wave on High
Try not to panic as it rises over the top of the mug.
Cool a little and EAT.

My mugs have reminded me of artists and their shows and they are fun to have for friends who share mt love of the brew. Simply query: "Modigliani or van Gogh"? Then pour a cup.

It occurred to me that using my mugs of cake could make for interesting dining conversation. I plan to use them when our small critique group meets at my studio. We can share ideas about the artists and eat chocolate at the same time.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My New Room is In

Just received word that Room Painting #5, Room With A City View, has been accepted in the American Juried Art Salon's spring show. It was completed about two weeks ago and is part of an ongoing Room Series.

Details and a URL for the on-line exhibition will come later. The Room Series has been one I return to when I just want to have fun and paint something outrageous. Now I am considering an "outrageous summer". Good Idea?