Posts tagged ‘art’

Painting the Dragon on the Vanity

Here is the first how-to on the vanity.

1.  I have painted the vanity with a Krylon acrylic paint in Banner Red.  The surface is clean.

preparing work area2.  I gathered inspiring images from Google.  Search for keywords that interest you and print out your favorites.  Print out for reference.  If you’re not comfortable free-handing, you can print out images  full scale so that they print on several pieces of paper and seam them together with tape.  Rub chalk on the back and trace from the front onto your surface to transpose chalk guidelines to your tabletop.  I took my favorite elements from several images to get a Dragon and Phoenix I liked.  Have your image respond to the edges of the table top.  My beasts curl around the curves of the desk.

image showing colored pencil outline

3.  I’m using a basic black acrylic paint found at any craft/art supply store.  You can use the 99¢ bottles of crafting acrylic or the thicker tubes.  The crafting acrylic should get a less-dimensional image.  The tube paint will leave raised ridges and brush strokes.  I liked this effect since it really told you the desk was hand-painted.  Pour a little paint into a small bowl.  Keep adding water and mix paint into water until you get an inky look.  Leave some paint unmixed in the bowl so you can vary the viscosity of your paint.

image applying paint4.  Use a long narrow brush.  I like the stiffer bristles of an acrylic brush so that I can vary the width of the stroke by adjusting the pressure on the brush.  I wanted to imitate the brush-stroke kanji of the collage paper.

image of progressive painting5.  Continue filling out the details.  Begin to layer in the thicker paint on the meatier areas if you want to give the paint some dimension.  Be aware that you will be working over a large area, so you may want to start on the area furthest from your hand (I obviously didn’t do this).  I don’t rest my hand on the surface, so it’s not as big an issue for me.  But, you don’t want to accidently run your hand through the wet paint.

image showing longer brush strokes6.  Wait until you’ve developed your comfort with the brush strokes before you tackle the longer major outlines.  I definitely developed a technique and style as I went along.  Don’t be too afraid to make mistakes.  Leave a moist rag around to quickly wipe up any strokes you don’t like.  Dry the area thoroughly before repainting to avoid bleeding or feathering.  The acrylic tends to sit on the surface until it’s sealed, so you can even wash off dried paint for the most part.

more progress painting7.  Invest in textures and details.  I really liked the feathered texture on the scales.  It took a while, but really took it from a craft project to a work of art.  That being said, I also left some areas very loose and interpretive.

image of finished painted tabletop

8.  Shot of the completed top.  The acrylic dries extremely fast.  Once the thickest parts have dried, take it outside and put  several clear coats of acrylic spray paint.  Do not use lacquer as it can cause wrinkling.  If you plan to collage, you’ll apply more coats of sealer on top of the collage work and will probably have to recoat the top as well to prevent the dusty look of overspray.

This process can be applied to any theme you choose!

 

 

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November 6, 2010 at 4:00 pm 1 comment

Awesome Flotsam & Jetsam Art

Giant 8 foot fish made from debris found on the beachGiant 10 foot squid of found objectsCaught a fun and informative show entitled “Washed Ashore:  Plastics, Sealife and Art” while on my vacation today in Oregon at the Newport Visual Arts Center. It was a show of large installation art made completely of found objects that have drifted onto shore. I was amazed by the color and variety of objects. One display showed plastics that had been nibbled on by marine animals. It was sad to think of the creatures that had consumed this refuse.

The “fish” pictured has a hollow metal armature and plastic “scales”. The hollow belly is filled with styrofoam, a trash item commonly consumed by sealife. It is an inviting tactile display that invites you to explore with your senses.   My kids enjoyed drumming on the “bones of a whale,” and dancing in the “tentacles of a jellyfish” among other activities. Will add more detail photos and more later.  In the second photo, you can see how the bits of plastic are attached to the armature.  There is a heavy steel frame making the general shape of the fish.  Then, something like chicken wire (metal mesh) is applied.  The plastic pieces have been drilled with several holes and are then wired to the  mesh.  All in all, the show is sturdy and took the abuse of my two toddler boys quite well.  If you are in the area, it’s worth exploring, especially with children & children at heart .

View into the mouth of the fish armature.

fish eye detail showing how the pieces are attached

Even my toddlers enjoy contemplating the art. tunnel of trash!

For more on the center or the show, follow this link:

Washed Ashore show and Newport Visual Arts Center

Sean Wells via iPhone

September 11, 2010 at 1:01 am Leave a comment

simple paintbox of spicy colors

image of colorful jars of clayI’ve been collecting local clays and minerals to continue my natural pigment retablo training.  I wanted to keep them in something I could take with me to craft shows to display the pigments.  I had some canning jars around from preserving various garden items and thought they would make perfect storage containers for the bulk of the clays.  But, I wanted something a bit more apothecary feeling for my everyday display jars.  I found a dated set of 1970 spice jars (still containing original herbs) at an estate sale for $1 that I thought were ideal.  I cleaned and filled them and used my label maker to give them delicious sounding names like chocolate, ginger and chile rojo and cumin.

image of the spice rack and tool boxI was just going to trash the ugly wooden holder until I realized it was the exact size of of my tool carrier.  I painted it white and mounted it together using some mending plates.  There was a perfect slot between the two to allow for my brushes to slip in.  I just love how it came out and it makes me want to leave the set out in plain view, encouraging me to paint.  I’ll be looking for another set of these spice racks for the other side of the tool box, mainly to adjust the weight!  I’m looking forward to displaying my setup at my first show!

Oh, I FINALLY finished and photographed the legless vanity!  Too late to post tonight, but it will be a series of how-to posts.  I can hardly wait for the big reveal…stay tuned.

tool chest in action

August 22, 2010 at 7:06 am 2 comments

St Anthony helps me find my art

Image of Jason painting a retabloI took a retablo workshop with my brother (the previously featured tinsmith) in Santa Fe today.  It was wonderful.  One of the traditional Spanish Colonial Crafts, a retablo is a piece of devotional art painted on a wood board that has been prepared with gesso.  It most commonly depicts patron saints or other icons of Christianity.

As a child, I had participated in the youth market of the annual Spanish Market.  But, as the distractions of life took over, I lost touch with the art.  Now that I am back in NM and enjoying watching my brother foster his tin talents, I long to develop my retablo interest once more.  I had studied with an incredible and well respected santera (=one who paints saints),  Arlene Cisneros Sena.   She taught me a respect for the art that I had not understood as a child.  She reminded me of the true meaning behind these primative saint paintings:  To honor God, a heavy responsibility for any artist to carry.  Over a series of intense one-on-one lesons, she also imparted the advanced materials and techniques that go back to the original Conquistadors.

After finishing my studies with her, I felt much more secure in my understanding of the art of retablos, but I still did not feel a personal ownership of the art.  I was also struggling with the realization that although Arlene’s personal retablo style is beautiful and impressive, it does not reflect my natural style of painting.  I did not want to simply imitate her work.  I needed to find my signature feel.  I applied for Spanish Market last year and was rejected.  I believe it was primarily due to the fact that I had not developed my work enough for it to have a consistent style (ie. my pieces did not look like they were painted by the same person).  But, the rejection (as rejections are prone to do) stunted my motivation.  My brother has been encouraging me to continue to develop and suggested this workshop.

image of clay pigmentsI jumped on it immediately.  As a one day workshop, the actual workshop was casual and not filled with too much technical information.  We were given prepared boards and Juanito jumped right into a retablo.  Each artist has a preferred media.  Some use acrylic, others watercolors, others natural pigments.  Juanito uses earthen clays which gives his pallete a very natural complimentary feel.  I found myself freed to paint, unburdened from the responsibility of choosing or representing colors.  The freedom led to a natural evolution of the painting and I was very happy with the result.  Juanito himself has a very fluid, interpretive style.  And, although my work is very different from his, his permission to loosen up with my hand gave me some confidence to trust my insticts.  I’m very hopeful about applying this year for market and look forward to developing a few more potential portfolio pieces with the new techniques I have adopted.  The piece shown is the retablo that I finished today, the image of Alma de Maria.

image of Alma de Maria retabloI was also quite happy to find out I had won the workshop raffle!  Juanito painted a demonstration retablo depicting Saint Anthony (patron saint of lost items).   He asked us to pick a number between 1 and 40.  I picked 27 and hit the nail on the head.  He personalized the retablo to me.  It was a good day.  If you ever get the opportunity, I recommend taking a workshop with either my brother at his shop (www.NewMexicoTinwork.com) or at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts (www.SpanishColonial.org).  You can view photos from the workshop at my online gallery.

I would love to collect some clays from around the world!  If you would like to send me some clays from your region, please send to:

SEAN WELLS
3167 SAN MATEO BLVD NE
ALBUQUERQUE, NM 87105

Saint Alma retablo with tin accents by Jason Younis y Delgado.

UPDATE 09/22/2010:  My brother just added tin accents to my retablo.  Here is the beautiful collaboration!

August 1, 2010 at 7:06 am 3 comments

featured on creature comforts blog – haru’s lokta paper mobile

I woke up this morning and discovered that creature comforts featured my latest paper mobile in her very creative and inspiring blog. Thank you Ez! I feel honored to be included with many of my favorite artists.

By the way, you can view her beautiful photos on her flickr photostream.

♡Beth

July 27, 2010 at 8:25 pm 1 comment

Spanish Colonial tinsmith ‘how to’

image of tinsmith pounding metal I was honored to assist my brother this weekend in his demonstration booth at the annual Spanish Market fiesta celebrating the long heritage of the Spanish Colonial Arts this past weekend in Santa Fe, NM representing nearly 300 of the top artists in 17 basic categories.  The body of traditional New Mexican Spanish Colonial Arts generally share four basic factors:  They all derived from the original Spanish artisans that colonized New Mexico;  The artists each have some story of heritage tied to the original craftsmen in some way; The artists are trained in the original materials and techniques;  And the arts all revolve around honoring the spirit of God (and more specifically, the Catholic Church).

Graphic Delgado Family Tree

My brother, Jason Younis y Delgado is a 5th generation tinsmith in the Delgado Family tradition.  Every year I can, I join him in his booth and share the story of our family artisans.  Every year, I listen to my brother share stories passed to him from our Grandmother, who he studied under for many years.  And every year, I learn something new and wonderful.  I created this graphic family tree banner to show the breadth of Spanish Colonial artisans in our family and although I was well-aware of the many artists and long lineage in tinwork, I was moved to see it represented in one place.

There are so many amazing stories how this and the other Spanish Colonial crafts evolved here in New Mexico.  Fortunately, my father, a professional videographer has captured these tales on DVD for our family to enjoy and share.  He has created a 2-DVD set.  The first covers the history of tinwork, the history of tin in the Delgado family and the basic tools and techniques.  The second volume is an instructional How-To video that covers three basic projects.  My brother and Dad both did a fantastic job. This is an interesting video for anyone interested in historical stories, family biographies or anyone who enjoys learning new crafting techniques.  You can also learn more or purchase finished pieces, starter kits or supplies from my brother’s comprehensive website NewMexicoTinwork.com.

If you have a historical crafts in your family or region, I encourage you to learn more about the history and/or techniques.  It is an incredible way to sew the generations together, to support your local artisans and to keep these rare arts alive.  Please support your (and my;) local artisans!

PURCHASE THE DVD SET

To learn more about Spanish Market, visit www.spanishcolonial.org

To learn more about having your own How-To video produced for FREE or to see a 10-minute snippet of my brother’s video, check out www.Videotero.com.

July 27, 2010 at 7:48 am Leave a comment

National fiber arts convention full of color and texture

wall of soft colorI had the opportunity to attend Convergence Albuquerque 2010, a national conference for fiber artists. It was filled with candy for the senses. There were booths on weaving, dying, quilting, spinning, felting, beading and lots of interesting modern machines that fold computer technology into the tactile world of fiber arts. There’s a fascinating wearable art display featuring hundreds of delightful pieces (including a fabulous jacket of hand dyed, hand woven, hand painted silk by my Big Sister Victoria Rabinowe). I left with some adorable crocheted finger puppets for the kiddies. I wanted to dive in to the piles of lush, brightly colored, freshly carded mounds of wool. I enjoyed learning about the latest fibers made from bamboo or other sustainable sources.

I’ve been looking for a source where I could find naturally colored local spun wool so I could try my hand at colcha (Spanish embroidery). I think it would be a fun challenge to create an image from shades of natural white to brown.

wall of colorful skeins

One booth featured intensely colored lumpy ribbon-like yarns spun from recycled Sari fabrics from India. I was very tempted to buy some, but couldn’t think of what to do with it, and I already have plenty of boxes of those kinds of materials! But, I was most excited seeing felting demonstrations. It is such a simple, fun, fast craft. I liked watching all these (100% female, BTW) gentle crafters furiously and repeatedly piercing their little projects like you might torture the voodoo doll of an ex. But, I’m not sure whether I think the results are ugly or groovy. I would like to find a felting project that actually looks cool and not frumpy when completed. Does anyone have any suggestions? I’ve been squirreling away some moth-eaten cashmere sweaters for felting potential in the aforementioned “crafting materials that I don’t know what to make into” box.

The convention is not just for fiber artists. Anyone who enjoys crafting is sure to find some inspiration here!

Unfortunately, they do not allow photos anywhere, but V knew a lot of the booth vendors and gained me permission to snap a few pics.  The beautiful shots here are from family run “Weaving Southwest” (Taos NM),a wonderful weaver’s gallery and local supplier of wool yarns.  It is well-respected in the local weaving community for encouraging many local weavers to pursue their work professionally by creating a dedicated gallery.  www.WeavingSouthwest.com

The convention runs through the weekend (July 18-25). For more info on the convention go to: http://www.weavespindye.org/?loc=8-00-00

Sean Wells via iPhone

July 23, 2010 at 5:36 am Leave a comment

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