Ten things you need to know about my art.

I’ve been back in the studio again working on a new series.  Here are ten things you need to know about my art:

  1.  There’s ALWAYS Naples Yellow on my pallet – it’s like sunshine.
  2.  I generally use Burnt Umber instead of black.
  3.  My pallet is a tiny bar cutting mat that I bought at the dollar store.  It scrapes down easily when I don’t wash it right away and my ultra thinned acrylics just don’t stick to it.
  4.  There’s usually a layer of shimmer somewhere on my paintings.
  5.  I use watercolor pencils, inks, gel medium, and clear gesso between layers.
  6.  Every painting I do has a minimum of 6 layers.
  7.  I sign my paintings before I finish them.
  8.  I glaze like a maniac – rarely is there one layer of pure pigment on my canvas.
  9.  I sometimes draw my birds on paper with Prismacolor Pencils then layer them on   the canvas with gel medium.
  10.  I create “studio cards” when I work.  It uses the extra paint on my pallet and lets  me try new ideas with no “commitment issues”.
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    The beginnings of a cactus flower painting alongside a “studio card”

    20180325_122244.jpg Here’s another shot of the same card, with a few more layers.  I send these out to random people I know.

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The Romance Collection

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This is a new series of small artworks that I have made on repurposed VCR tapes.  All began with a poured acrylic painting, embellished with flowers, decorative papers, and other small items to give them sparkle and dimension.  They were all sealed with a coat of crystal resin to add depth.

I chose a romantic theme for this series – flowers and little objects that remind me of romantic events.  There’s a bit of sparkle and I think all of them are quite elegant.

I like the size of the work because they fit into almost any space – and they can conceal small mementos inside.  I really dream of living in a tiny house, so I’m inspired by the thought of giving my art a dual purpose – not only does it look lovely hanging on a wall, but the interior of the box can hold little things that are important to the owner.  I love that idea – it’s minimalism with a sentimental twist.

All of my small cases are available in my Etsy shop.

Starry Night Repurposed VCR Case

20171118_191836This is one of my favorite new projects – using VCR Cassettes as a canvas.  This one was created in several layers.  The first was an acrylic pour which brought all of the blue and gray shades into the piece.  I immediately thought “galaxy” when it dried, and then built on that idea.  Next, I used blue glitter suspended in a transparent medium to get the swirl effects shown below.20171001_155557 - Copy

You can just make out the faint shimmer above the black line along the bottom.  It’s subtle in the pictures, but you can still see the glimmer through the resin coating.  It looks like the glitter is just floating on top of the swirls.  The dark cells are also quite lovely and remind me of distant planets.

When I was happy with the background, I went to town adding stars and – yes – more glitter.  20171118_191836

When everything was in place, I sealed it with a thick coat of resin.  I’ve tried a bunch of them but for my cases, I like the Gedeo Crystal by Pebeo (not a typo, Gedeo by Pebeo).  I absolutely love creating these small works.  They’re great little places to store things, and I love something with a dual purpose – plus, it keeps all of those VCR Cassettes out of the landfill – win!

If you have to have this one, it’s still available from my Etsy Shop.

I am going to keep creating these little wall art pieces and I’ll post about each one – every one is different and I love combining all sorts of different materials when I create them – I never know what they’re going to be until I haul out my supplies!

A New Beginning

Etsy Shop Banner

I’m pretty excited – I just opened my Etsy shop today.   Originally, it was supposed to open in 2014, but life took a different twist and here I am three years later getting back to what I wanted to do.

Those three years in between were pretty chaotic, but even in that chaos – with all of that stress – art was my stability.  In those three years I found myself as an artist and learned some new skills that help me to be more creative.

Etsy Shop opening

I have amassed a collection of materials to work with and have really come to rely on those quiet moments when I am creating as a way to bring balance to my life.  I have discovered that my tangible art is vastly different from my digital art – but when I look at my art as a whole, there’s more cohesion than I thought.

I have often stressed over the fact that I didn’t have a “signature” style.  Recently, I realized that the more art I created, the more similar those works became.  My signature developed organically – thorough the creation of new works – and I guess I spent a lot of time stressing when I didn’t have to.  I think that pattern will continue.  An organic narrowing of my aesthetic that will develop with time.  I’m excited to see where it goes next.

I also discovered that everything in life is better with a bit of glitter.  It’s hard to be unhappy or stressed when you’re sprinkling glitter on something.  I think I’m going to glitter everything – just because.

So stop by and visit my Etsy Shop!  I’ll know if you did because I set up the Google Analytics….just sayin’.

 

Coming Soon! Mixed Media Wall Art

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I’m so excited about these little boxes that hang on the wall and can conceal small mementos inside.  For years, my husband and I collected little works of art on our travels together and those little items remind me all the time of all those happy memories we shared.   That was the inspiration behind these little boxes.  The materials are things I love to work with – decorative papers, poured acrylic paints, jewelry findings, flowers, and all sorts of embellishments (which might be my new addiction).  I know you can’t see much from the big photo above, but here are some little images:

I love creating little things – little flowers and butterflies, layered works with decorative papers and acrylic crystals.  If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time, you know I love experimenting with new products – from the Pebeo Fantasy Prisme and Moon paints to Liquitex mediums and a host of other cool things that make texture and color sing.   All of those experiments came together when I began creating this series.

When my life tipped upside down, my ability to concentrate on large works suffered.  I still needed the outlet of art, but I couldn’t work a single canvas for hours on end any more.  I turned instead to smaller projects, like poured acrylics.  I also began playing with stencils and other products to create texture.  From these experiments, I started to envision a whole new direction for my art.  These are the beginning of the journey.

I have decided to re-open my Etsy shop to sell these little wall art pieces.  The best part is they have a little concealed area suitable for hiding those little items we all shuffle around our jewelry boxes and dresser drawers.  Here’s an interior shot of one of the boxes:

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You can check out my Etsy shop on November 19 (SandAndChiArt) to see more.   In the meantime, I have more boxes to create!

 

 

Dimensions

I like to build my elements for my small works – it’s a great way to keep creative without feeling like I’ve made a large “time commitment”.  While I was watching television one night, I “built” the golden dragonfly above.  The wings were made by using Pebeo Moon paint and Cerne Relief to give them texture.  I layered large acrylic gems over the paint, placing each gem with a pair of jewelry tweezers.  I outlined a body with the Cerne Relief and used Recollections micro beads to fill in lower part and larger Recollections golden gems to give the upper body some dimension.

The dragonfly is sitting atop a fantastic swirled base, created with layers of Pebeo paints, resin, and glitter poured over an acrylic pour.  Then, I embellished the whole piece with various gems and a blue flower.  The entire piece was covered with resin to give it shine – nothing brings depth to a piece like a glossy coat of resin!

Blue Flower with Dragonfly

Golden Jellyfish

Golden Jellyfish TN
Golden Jellyfish

Multiple floaters on a green sea.  I love the “ghostly” aspect of the top jellies.  I gave each one it’s own personality with different shades of orange, yellow, and red.

This one is also available on Society6 – think shower curtain!

Using multiple techniques – Mixed Media Collage

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This is from a new collection that I’ve been working on.  These are not digital images, but rather mixed media collage pieces, all centered around a nature theme.  In the above shot, you can see the embellishments I added to the surface – including a paper butterfly that was inspired by a Lalique pin I saw.

All in all, there are at least 7 techniques used above – probably more, but after 7 it’s really a moot point.  These new collages have texture and are all finished with a clear coat of resin to give the surface some depth.  So I thought for a while I’d post about these little gems.

On the main substrate of the piece.

I used acrylic paint and Liquitex pouring medium to achieve the cream and white color of the base.  Next, I layered Liquitex gel medium over it using a stencil (this one is from Tim Holtz), then used Pebeo Vitrail in sand and white to flood over the dried stencil to get the deeper areas.  The Vitrail lightening medium is so easy to use over a textured piece.  It carries the color right into the recesses and by flooding the piece with a mixture of Vitrail paints thinned with lightening medium I can get a soft finish with nice color transitions.  My next step was to drop on some Pebeo Moon paint…but more on that later.

Then I went to work on a cardstock butterfly.  I layered Pebeo Moon and Fantasy paints over the surface (in pearl and gold) and let the effects mix together.  I love the way they swirl and change and give an enameled look to a piece.  Then came some embellishments (Recollections glitter and little bling gems) all held on with some glossy mod-podge.  You never want to use the matte mod-podge over a glitter – it takes away the sparkle.  I also let some white Vitrail flow over some little flowers I molded with PaperClay and a small mold I bought years ago.  These little flowers then got a gem glued to the center and the edges brushed with PearlEx powders.  That really added a little extra sparkle!

In the 1st photo, you can see some faint butterflies with glittery bodies.  Those were a photo-transfer using scrapbook paper and gloss gel.  Once the gel dries, you can soak it in water and rub off the paper – leaving a transparent “skin” with the image on it.  It’s great fun to do while watching TV.  I then assembled all of the elements – including some little gears and a big sparkly Bead Landing flower that came from my stash of jewelry supplies and then a coat of clear Gedeo resin – Voila!  A mixed media collage that took HOURS but was so entertaining to do.

 

Red and White Jellyfish

Red and White Jellyfish Bubbles TN
Red and White Jellyfish

This was my first jellyfish – the one that started the obsession.  I like the way it popps off the background – it gives it some real dimension and that effect gives the jelly some substance.

It is available in my Society6 shop.

Give the audience what they want…Chaos.

Back in July, I reworked this site to achieve a more clean, consistent appearance – making it more like a portfolio than a conglomeration of posts.  Granted, all of my pre-July posts were related to my art, but there was a pretty healthy mixture of final designs, how-to posts, and other posts that gave this blog an inconsistent, all-over-the-place feel.  At least, that’s what I thought (and what someone whose opinion I respect thought).

So I redesigned.

I focused on my digital work.  I took down my artistic experiments, my random thoughts about this design or that, and my “I’m so excited by this, I simply must share” postings.  I streamlined, created pages, and kept the look consistently clean and polished.

And my view stats took a nosedive.  A 75% down sort of dive (a horrifying number).  When my blog views tumbled, my sales tumbled as well (not so shocking).  I gave it 4 months to correct.  It didn’t.  So now, welcome back to my crazy, random, hard-to-define blog.

The lesson is this:  the same approach doesn’t work for everyone.  I follow artist sites where the look, message, and theme is consistent, polished, and simple.  I’m sure those artists do very well.  I am now aiming between my former chaos and my most recent foray into clean and simplistic.   The truth is, this blog is similar to my style as an artist – both suffer from an artistic form of  multiple personality disorder.  I’m okay with that.

I am inspired by so many things that I utilize a variety of mediums to produce an array of subject matter in multiple forms.  I paint, snap, fling pigments, pour colors, drip resin, create embellishments and add doo-dads to my work.  I upload and post.  I wrap and ship.  My work is downloaded and purchased in America and around the world.  I have a sort of Artistic Attention Deficit Disorder (AADD) and that works for me.

All of it comes together in my work and every foray into a new area has made me a better artist.  Working digitally made me a better painter.  Working on abstracts gave me a new perspective on color and texture.  Photography forced me to look at things in new ways and then I began to print those photos, transfer the images, and paint over them or simply layer my photos on top of one another to get new digital compositions.  All of these techniques force me to be creative in new ways and add a new lens to look through when I’m facing a blank canvas.

So join me on this wild ride through artistic expression.  Not all images will appeal to everyone and you probably won’t be able to identify work in my “signature style”, but it won’t be boring.  I’ll continue to stretch myself as an artist and provide those who are so inclined with some new experiments, ideas, and tips.  We’ll talk acrylics (which I’m passionate about once again), layers, and yes, digital art.  I might even throw in some photography or resin paintings – and I’ll add glitter and crystals when I am so inclined!

Embrace the chaos with me.

Love and Pigments,

R.L. Cornell