New Studio & Some Things I’ve Learned

I have a new studio for grad school! So far, I am loving my studio and the space it gives me to create and be messy. I have learned so much about art already. In a studio visit with artist Alejandra Seeber, she gave me some advice to let the painting stay unfinished in sections, don’t give all the information, don’t equalize it too much, and let the painting breathe. In the “painting possibly finished”, (3rd painting, first row below), the phthalo green under the alizarin crimson is like a breeze of fresh air, letting the painting breathe and flow together. Without the phthalo green, the painting would become flat and equalized and all the parts would blend together without a break of unfinished color.

Drawings Made in a Place

everything moves
too quickly
too slowly
at the same time.
I’m frozen in time
and I’m speeding down the highway
days blur,
weeks and weeks go by
I’m tumbling, struggling
hanging on by a thread;
I’m lost –
but how can I even be lost if I’ve never known where I want to
be.
How can I be lost without a destination.
2/11/2020 11:33PM

Drawings made in a place where time stands still

Crochet Cardigan

I finished my crocheted cardigan! At the beginning, I planned to make a pullover sweater, but then as I was working on it, I decided it would look better as a cardigan.

It took a long time to make and I still have a lot of loose strings to weave in. I might just wear it without finishing up all those loose strings.

I am so happy with how it turned out and I can’t wait to wear it!

Edit: (the next day) – I wore my cardigan today!

Crocheting, Painting, and My Other Recent Artsy/Craftsy Projects

I’m working on a ton of small projects lately. I get bored of working on one thing and then I have another idea and I don’t really have enough focus to work on any one project right now and I’m frustrated with art and crafting currently. Just a bit of art/creative unmotivation. I finished some of them though.

I’m bored so I’m just gonna write about all my ideas and current projects here and organize my brain a bit.

The Projects:

1) Crocheting a granny square sweater – I decided to use my crazy colorful yarn to make a bright, patchwork-y sweater. I love crazy clothes and I am always trying to incorporate more colorful, patterned clothing pieces into my collection. I have the front panel of the sweater all sewn together and crocheted. I just need to do the sleeves and back panel, which is 21 more granny squares which I am kinda over making after the first 9. I’ll get to it eventually… (haha we’ll see). If I ever crochet the rest of it, I plan to add a cute little scalloped trim to the bottom of the sleeves and sweater.

2) The start of a new painting – beginning layers, we’ll see what happens to it…

3) Painting fabric with this pattern. When I’m done painting it, I hope to make either a quilt-like thing, or a tapestry-like thing

4) I painted a frisbee with oil paint

5) I drew on my hand

6) I destroyed an old painting that was already really ugly.

The end.

How to Make Paper – My First Time Making Paper

This was my first time making paper! (Actually, technically, I did make a sheet of paper at a paper mill a few years ago, but everything was already set up – this is my first time making it all by myself). I spent 5 hours yesterday making paper and I ended up with about 25 sheets. This morning I also made a few more sheets using the last little bits of paper pulp. I made my paper outside because a lot of water and messiness is involved with paper-making. It was very hot yesterday, but it helped to have the sun for drying my paper. If you make paper outside during the summer, it’s best to start in the early morning so the paper can have the whole afternoon in the hot sun to dry.

Before making paper, I watched a ton of YouTube videos and read different “how to make paper” articles. The following steps are what I learned from both my research and experimenting with the process.

Materials I used:

  • scrap papers (envelopes, construction paper, junk mail, newspaper, paper bags) (yes, you need paper to make paper, but you can transform junk paper into something beautiful)
  • deckle and mould
  • big tub
  • water
  • blender
  • extra decorations (grass, plants, flowers, herbs, glitter, sequins)
  • acrylic paint (to add color)
  • towels/mats

Deckle and mould: My mom graciously made me a deckle and mould. Thank you mom 🙂 – it worked very well. The mould is the screened frame and the deckle is the outer frame that lays on top of the mould.

The deckle and mould fit together with the deckle placed on top of the flat side of the mould.

These are the steps I followed and things I figured out:

Step 1: Rip up a bunch of paper into small squares (about 1-2″). I used construction paper scraps, envelopes, scrap paper, and junk mail.

Step 2: Soak paper in water for a few hours (or 5-10 minutes if you’re impatient like me). Thinner paper like envelopes from junk mail become softer much quicker than thicker papers.

paper soaking

Step 3: Blend soaked paper with water until it makes a fine pulp. If you want to alter the colors, add acrylic paint to the blender and blend until color is incorporated. Construction paper usually remains in larger pieces and doesn’t soak up color like other papers.

paper blended

Step 4: Fill a big tub with water (I filled it about 1/3 of the way). Add the paper pulp to the tub. Add glitter, flower petals, grass, sequins, leaves, and any other decorative elements to the water. More paper pulp added to the tub = thicker paper

Step 5: Stir the water/pulp mixture in the tub each time you are going to create a new sheet. Stir, slide mould and deckle into the tub at an angle, and then level it out once it is completely submerged. Lift mould and deckle out of the tub and gently shake to even out the pulp. Let the rest of the water drip.

Once you lift the mould and deckle from the tub, it should look like this:

Step 6: Place the mould and deckle on a towel. Remove the deckle

Step 7: Flip the mould, paper side down, onto the towel.

Step 8: Dab the mesh with a towel or sponge to get rid of as much moisture as possible. If the paper doesn’t come off easily in the next step, dab the paper more with towel/sponge.

Step 9: Treat the mould like a hinge. Slowly lift one side of the mould and the paper will lift off and stick to the towel. Leave the paper on the towel to dry for a few hours (usually it takes overnight for the paper to dry completely).

Step 10: Repeat the process. Make a ton of paper 🙂

Note: Paper dries lighter than it appears when wet.

Left – wet paper; Right – dry paper (papers are the same color)
Left – wet paper; Right – dry paper (papers are the same color)

Here are some more of my paper process pictures:

My finished papers:

I love paper!

My Recent Sewing/Textile Projects: Art, A Bag, & A Quilt

Lately I’ve been really into sewing and making things with textiles, fibers, yarns, beads, and crafty supplies. I made this small fabric panel featuring a ton of scenes and ideas mashed together in one collage-like scrappy, crooked square.

untitled (i don’t know), fabric collage (embroidery thread, various fabrics, sequins, and a little clay star), ~17.5″ x 17.5″, 2021

Some close-up detail shots:

Patchwork Bag – I also made a patchwork flower bag inspired by a bag I saw on Pinterest. Here are some of my process pictures and my final product:

My Quilt – I worked on my quilt in February and March. It was my first quilt and it was a very fun process:

As I was finishing up my quilt, my mom showed me a quilt made by my great-grandmother where she had stitched in her name and the date, so I decided to do the same.

Eric Carle Inspired Earrings

I made Eric Carle Hungry Caterpillar inspired earrings! This was a tedious process, but I am super happy with how they turned out 🙂

How I made my earrings:

  1. First, I grabbed a ton of construction paper scraps and added random marks with crayons. Then I painted on top of the paper with watercolors/ink to add more color variations.
  2. Once I had all my papers prepped (I used green, red, yellow, purple, and brown), I began cutting out the different shapes to create a collaged caterpillar. Basically, lots of tiny ovals.
  3. Then, I mod podged all the collage pieces onto my base paper. To make the base paper, I mod podged three pieces of cardstock together to make a sturdy base. Once I attached all my collaged pieces of the caterpillar to the base, I went over the whole thing with a couple layers of mod podge to hold everything in place and protect the paper.
  4. For the butterfly earring, I followed the same steps, yet I went in with different shapes and colors. In the second to last picture below, you can see how I sketched out my butterfly shape and used that as a base for the collage.
  5. Next, I added in the details. I added a small piece of wire for the butterfly antennae, and then I made a flower and an apple with a hole in it for the top part of the earrings.
  6. The final part was poking holes into each paper piece to attach jump rings and earrings to all the pieces.

And ta da!!! Here are my final Eric Carle inspired earrings:

I LOVE how they turned out 🙂

My Daily Self-Portraits

Because I already had an alarm set for 8pm each day, I decided I might as well draw every night when my alarm went off. And I was pretty consistent for a month and a half, and then I stopped. I made myself draw even when I didn’t want to draw. Some drawings are more gestural, some are just a few marks, and some I spent more time on. Some drawings really suck – the eyes are too close or too far from each other, the proportions are off, the nose looks flat and squished. Some drawings I spent 5 seconds on, some I spent an hour on. Some I drew in the dark. When I skipped a few days, I made it up by drawing more than one self-portrait over the next few days. At the end, I was skipping more and more days and I was spending less time on my drawings, so I thought it would be a good place to stop. I’m going to draw myself every day again soon. I want to fill that sketchbook with bad self-portrait drawings. My favorite drawing is the one from 10/22/2020 because I stopped caring about details and focused on shadow and gesture. Here are my daily self-portrait drawings from 10/15/2020 – 12/5/2020:

Art Rut

I miss making art. Not making art makes me feel lost. I have lost my art soul and I don’t know how to find it again. Art used to make me feel something, I used to channel my feelings into my art. I used to spend every second of free time painting and sketching.

Now, I try to draw or paint, but it doesn’t feel right. I miss being an artist but I don’t know how to be an artist again. I want to make art that I care about again. I miss making art with people in an art studio, I miss being surrounded by art people, I miss myself. I miss feeling the art, I miss the creative flow state and I don’t know how to get it back.

I’m trying – I try to draw almost every day, but it doesn’t feel right. I made myself draw a self-portrait every night at 8pm for 2 months. I laid out all my art supplies on my desk so I can easily begin creating when the feeling arises. Yet I’m still stuck in the rut. I need to find my art to find myself and feel right. I don’t feel right without my art.

Normally when I’m uninspired, I go to museums or figure drawing sessions at my local art center (neither of which I am able to do right now), or I go on walks and photograph things that interest me. And I write. I have notebooks full of writing, I have photographs of trees and buildings, but I am still uninspired. Maybe I need to put less pressure on myself to make “good” art. Maybe I need to let go and stop trying to force myself to find my art right now. I suppose getting out of an art rut is a process. It really sucks being so artistically uninspired, but maybe it’s okay to let go of the idea of needing to make something “good” and focus simply on creating something.

And at least I am drawing, even though the drawings are sloppy and rushed, maybe that’s okay. I will make what I can and see what happens. I suppose most people go through ruts of some sort, whether it’s writer’s block or artist’s block or another obstacle. Maybe I need to stop fighting with the rut and just embrace my lack of ideas and just make bad, ugly art since that is all I can make right now.

I think I need to accept my art rut and commit to it, stay in it, see what happens, let go of any idea of who I am as an artist and simply make whatever I want to make.

My sketchbook:

confusion soup process

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Confusion Soup helped me break free of painting the same old way I always had – realistic, detailed, and slowly. For this painting, I broke all of my internalized art rules. I splattered paint, let paint drip, used large globs of paint, let the colors mix on the canvas, and turned the painting upside down and all around as I worked. I had no plan. I started with a turquoise green and then I flipped through my phone camera roll until I found an image that I liked. Then I painted it on, without caring about composition or if it looked good. It was very freeing to throw paint around and not worry about making a “perfect” painting. I also discovered that I really enjoy working like this – going into the painting with no preconceived notions as to the end product.

As for the title, during the critique, my professor said she was very confused by the painting (but in a good way, I think), and later she said the painting reminded her of soup. Hence, the title “Confusion Soup” was created.

Ever since painting this back in November of 2018, I have become a lot more brave with my art. I used to worry about wasting paint and messing up the canvas, but now I feel more free to explore, experiment, and create.