Art Play Relay – Finishing Each Other’s Artworks

I’ve finished Juna’s awesome artwork! You can watch the video here:

And Juna finished my artwork! You can watch her video here:

Supply list:

  • china marker / grease pencil
  • gesso
  • Stabilo All pencil (black)
  • oil pastels (brown, turquoise, yellow, pink, flesh, red)
  • oil bar (white)
  • fluid acrylics (brown)
  • glazing liquid
  • high flow acrylics (fluorescent pink)

It was such an honour to work on Juna’s painting! Nerve wracking too! I had quite a few ideas going around in my head ever since watching her first video in which she created the work, but actually executing those ideas… I was scared I wouldn’t be able to do it or that I’d ruin her lovely work somehow!

After seeing the painting up close I knew I wanted to paint a peaceful face nestled in the welcoming arms. The challenge was how to do it, because the surface of the painting is VERRRY textured. I decided to go for oil pastels as I love working with them, and it worked out really well.

The next challenge was knowing when it was finished. I had a real struggle with this, because very quickly I felt that it was finished. I had a few conversations with myself at that point where I said I couldn’t possibly be finished, because I hadn’t spent long enough on it. This is where I decided to take a leap of faith and listened to my intuition. I decided I didn’t want to continue the process forcefully (up till then everything had just flowed and been almost automatic!) just for fear that I ‘hadn’t worked hard or long enough’ (childhood trauma, anyone? Lol).

Iris Fritschi-Cussens & Juna Biagioni art collaboration - Broken Pieces

I hope you like the painting as much as I do! I love Juna’s style and how she works with texture and usually quite monochromatic colour schemes. I wanted to add something equally soft & a bit muted, but with a small nod to my usual use of bright colours. So the face & hair are very natural, but then I also added the dashes of fluorescent pink to satisfy my need for colour.

Over these past few weeks I’ve LOVED seeing everyone else come up with their paintings and their collaborations with their partners. Can’t wait to see what everyone has up their sleeve next! Come join us in the Facebook group and share your artwork!

Join us again on 29 March when we will be picking brand new quotes and starting new artworks!

Art Play Relay – January Launch!!

The first two official Art Play Relay videos are here!!!

Watch my video below:

Watch Juna‘s video below:

What an awesome start to the project it has been! A lot of you have already joined our Facebook group to keep up to date, engage with the project and prepare to take part yourselves. Thank you for your enthusiasm!!

My supply list for the artwork I started is:

  • dip pen
  • India ink
  • heat tool (optional)
  • matte medium (or glue)
  • collage & tissue paper
  • (washi) tape
  • clear gesso (optional)
  • acrylic inks
  • water spray bottle
  • brayer
  • white & black gesso (or acrylic paint)
  • glazing liquid
  • (fluid) acrylic paints
  • Stabilo All pencil

The quote I drew was ‘Comparison is the thief of joy

Comparison Is The Thief of Joy | Art Play Relay by Iris | www.iris-impressions.com

I was quite nervous starting this painting. It’s hard to know what to do when you imagine someone else is going to finish the painting! I started the way I would normally start a painting by building up a layered background. Then I saw a figure in the shapes and colours so I went ahead and outlined that. I decided not to finish the figure all the way.

I worked with an attitude of being OK if anything I did would be covered up. I know that won’t necessarily happen, but it was amazing for letting go! It was also a really new experience to try and NOT finish a painting. It actually allowed me to be much more loose, take risks and has given the painting a primitive quality that I really enjoy.

Normally if I were working on a painting I would not even notice this stage, let alone stop, because of the knowledge that it’s not finished. But doing this has given me an insight into how awesome an unfinished artwork can actually look! I might try and pursue this more primitive look again on purpose.

I can’t wait to see what Juna makes of this next month. I also look forward to the challenges it will bring to work on Juna’s piece! I imagine it will be a big mental challenge to get over the fear of ruining her work or making mistakes! Can’t wait to learn!

See you all on 22 February when I finish Juna’s artwork and Juna finishes mine!

In the meantime please let us know what you thought in the comments below!

Technique Tuesday – Quick & Simple Background With Distress Ink

I love alliteration, so when I was creating this video on a Tuesday, Technique Tuesday was born! If you’d like me to cover a specific technique in my next video, please drop me a line or leave a comment below!

You can watch the step-by-step process with voiceover explanation in the video below or alternatively scroll down for a walkthrough with pictures & text.

Supply list:

  • Watersoluble crayons (Neocolor II)
  • Gesso
  • Stamps
  • Tim Holtz Distress Ink
  • Spray mister bottle with water

vlcsnap-2014-12-09-14h08m45s176Pick some crayons that are a similar colour as your Distress Ink. I went with Moss Green ink and picked greenish crayons

vlcsnap-2014-12-09-14h08m52s240Fill the page with crayon. Just be random about it and don’t think too much.

vlcsnap-2014-12-09-14h09m02s87Dilute with plenty of water and a bit of gesso to make it nice and even. Dry page thoroughly with a heat gun.

vlcsnap-2014-12-09-14h09m13s198Ink up your stamp

vlcsnap-2014-12-09-14h09m32s143Spritz your stamp once or twice with your spray bottle (enough so it’s wet but not dripping)

vlcsnap-2014-12-09-14h09m39s213Stamp onto the page. I stamp it 2-3 times before re-inking and re-spritzing

vlcsnap-2014-12-09-14h09m49s52Continue with more stamps until the page is full or until you feel you’re done!

vlcsnap-2014-12-09-14h09m58s110Here is another example where I used the technique for the background. I then started creating a portrait on top of it.

Halloween Whimsy Art Tutorial

Hello my lovelies! I love letting seasonal events inspire my art and I really wanted to create a cute Halloween witchy girl. I recorded the process and you can view the video tutorial below:

If you prefer a photo tutorial instead of video, fear not and keep scrolling!

Supply list:

-water spray
-ink spray (Dylusions)
-high flow acrylics  (Golden)
-fluid acrylics (Golden)
-gesso
-charcoal pencil
-black and white pens (Uniball Signo)
-watersoluble crayon (Caran d’Ache)
-stamp pad (black)

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h25m15s117Preparing the background. I tend to create several backgrounds at the same time at this stage. Use high quality watercolour paper. Spritz the water liberally with water spray. Then use spray inks and high flow acrylics on the page. Spray more water and let everything merge into each other. You can pick up the paper and hold it vertically to let the paint drip into different directions

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h25m57s37Sketching the figure. Start with a round shape for the head and put a horizontal line a bit below the halfway point.

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h26m06s142Sketch eyes on this horizontal line, a little nose & mouth in the middle.

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h26m12s215Add a witchy hat, hair and a simple shape for a dress.

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h26m20s45Sketch a swirly shape for the moon, simple stripey tights and some pumpkins

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h26m25s86Apply gesso to the face & neck area

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h26m32s143Shade the face with brown paint, going from light shading to dark.

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h26m41s245Add colour to the irises and mouth with a small brush

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h26m50s47Use a black gel pen (I use Uniball Signo) to add pupils and white for highlights

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h27m01s198Use the same pens to fill in the  tights. Use orange paint for the hair and pumpkins. Add some white gesso to the pumpkins for shading and some blue paint underneath as a shadow.

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h27m19s114Use the white & black gel pens to fill in the moon with swirls

vlcsnap-2014-10-28-16h27m38s48Add some text or numbers (I chose ’31’) to finish off.

Voila!

Halloween WhimsyI hope you enjoyed this tutorial! If you create your own whimsy or Halloween inspired art, I’d love to see it! Please share it on my Facebook page.

Art Journal & Tutorial Videos

It feels like when I do a lot of one thing, something else gets left behind! My focus these days has been on creating videos, which means I haven’t been blogging a lot. A few weeks ago I blogged a lot, which meant I wasn’t doing as much art. It’s hard to fit in all the things I want to do, because I want to do so much! I absolutely love being on this creative journey and all that goes with it: creating art, blogging, making videos, art supply shopping (..I think I have a slight addiction), connecting with other artistic people online. It’s awesome!

So in this post I bring you my most recent videos!

Every time I create a video I learn more about how to do this well. How to edit, what works, what doesn’t, what I need to be aware of when talking on camera. It’s a fun learning experience!

I’d love to know what you like when you watch an art video. Short or long? Talking or no talking? On screen text or no text?

My First Commission & A Photo Walkthrough

A few weeks ago I got the nicest surprise, my cousin Victoria asked me if she could commission a painting from me! I was a bit nervous but also really excited and once I’d spoken to her about the subject matter and colour preferences I got straight to work. I documented the process with my iPhone as I was working, because I thought you might like to see how I create a painting from start to finish!

Victoria is a harpist and owns several herself. I loved working on this piece because I have such a connection with music too. She asked for pink and turquoise which was totally up my street as those are my favourite colours!

Play Your Joy WIP | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

01. Music stamp for the background using waterproof black ink (Ranger Archival)

Play Your Joy WIP | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

02. Gluing down a layer of book pages from a music encyclopedia with Mod Podge

Play Your Joy WIP | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

03. Starting to add some colour with Neocolor II crayons

Play Your Joy WIP | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

04. Adding more intense colour with Neocolor II crayons

Play Your Joy WIP | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

05. Drawing & painting the figure and harp (I think I got so into it at this point that I forgot to take pics of the sketch!)

Play Your Joy WIP | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

06. Working on little details in the eyes, face, dress & harp

Play Your Joy WIP | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

07. Adding little music notes by pushing modelling paste through a stencil

Play Your Joy WIP | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

08. Finishing up by creating more grungy effects, embossing the harp strings and adding stamped text

Play Your Joy | mixed media on 8x8" canvas board | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

09. All finished!

If you are interested in commissioning a painting, please contact me to discuss it!

Now – Art Journal Tutorial Video

In my free art & inspiration guide there are several sections with art supply ideas, colour schemes and tutorials so I thought I’d create a video series in which I basically follow my own guide and show you the process!

The other week I went on a bit of an art supply binge at Atlantis (big art supply store in East London). I got a good haul!

I got some black gesso which I’ve been experimenting with a bit in my art journal and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it.

In this video you can watch me create a journal spread using just black gesso, a white paint marker and neon gel pens.

Follow along and show me what you create!

Now | mixed media in A5 journal | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow
Now – black gesso, white paint marker & gel pens in A5 journal

Now detail | mixed media in A5 journal | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

Now detail | mixed media in A5 journal | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

A couple of other pages I’ve created recently with black gesso:

Fireflies In The Garden Of My Mind | mixed media in A5 journal | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow
Fireflies In The Garden Of My Mind – black gesso, white paint marker & gel pens in A5 journal

Do You Know What You Want? | mixed media in A5 journal | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow
Do You Know What You Want? – charcoal pencil, white & black gesso in A5 journal

It is so freeing to use a limited number of supplies (and to know what you’re working with when you start). These are some of my favourite journal pages lately despite being a self-professed art supply junkie!

Have you created anything with a reduced number of supplies or a limited palette?

Trust {it will come} – Art Journal Video

Trust It Will Come | Art Journal Video by www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

I’m so excited to share a new art video with you all! I really want to create at least one art video a month, but I’ve been struggling to do it because it’s just so time consuming. But hey, tell you a secret, I’ve noticed that I’m getting faster at doing them. Who knew, practice makes me perfect speedy!

Watch me create a happy cheerful art journal page!

There are two specific reasons I’m so excited about this journal page.

ONE I received an email the other day from the lovely Lisa at Artist Cellar telling me I had won a giveaway for a set of stencils!! I love free stuff as much as the rest of us, but omg I WON something (I never win anything, not even at the funfair!) and I won STENCILS!!! I was literally jumping up and down. I think Andrew (my husband) really didn’t understand why I was getting so excited about this, but please tell me you understand. Art supplies are totally worth getting excited about lol!

So you can see me using these stencils in the video. They’re a joy to work with. Very sturdy and I just adore the patterns. I love stencils that can add texture to my backgrounds without being too much someone else’s style. It makes them really versatile.

TWO I actually really like this page! I’m getting to a point where I’m starting to enjoy my own art more and more. Big departure for me as my inner critic used to go completely rampant (before creating, during, after, in between, while I was asleep etc). I was trying to just be quick & free and it WORKED.

For me the meaning of the quote is that I need to trust that things will come along (not that trust will come, but you could read it that way if it resonates better with you!). I find it so hard to trust that my journey is ‘right’ and that I will get the ‘results’ I want. I’m always doubting and doubting some more. So I need to trust that things will come as long as I work hard, and they will come at the right time, and they will be in line with what I need. TRUST.

Trust It Will Come | Art Journal Page | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

Trust It Will Come | Art Journal Page detail | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

Trust It Will Come | Art Journal Page detail | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

Trust It Will Come | Art Journal Page detail | www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow

Supply List

Dylusions Spray Inks (yellow, orange & red), Golden Fluid Acrylics (yellow & orange), Blick matte acrylics (yellow), Americana craft paint (red), Golden gesso, Artist Cellar Quasi stencil, Sharpie paint marker (black), Uni Posca paint marker (white), walnut ink, stamp ink pads (brown & black), letter stamps

What have you been journalling lately?

How To Photograph/Scan Your Art And Prepare It For High Quality Art Prints

How To Photograph/Scan Your Art And Prepare It For  High Quality Art Prints. © www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow #artprints #scanningart #photographingart #photoshop

I wanted to share some tips with you all about how I create scans/pictures of my art and edit them in Photoshop. Below I walk you through the entire process I use to prepare my images to make high quality prints. Don’t forget to Share, Tweet or Pin this article if you find it helpful!

Photographing Your Art

Most of my art is too big or awkward for my A4 scanner, so I photograph it with my Nikon Coolpix P7800. Pretty much any digital camera will do as long as you make sure to set it to the highest quality & resolution. This amazing video by Tyler Stalman & Jason Eng created for Saatchi Online explains perfectly how to take good pictures of your art.

Using a tripod (or some other way to stabilise your camera) is essential. I attach my artwork to the wall with Blu Tack or picture hanging strips. I use a spirit level to ensure it is completely straight. I also make sure my tripod is leveled and the camera is straight. The more accurate you can be about this, the less you will have to ‘fix’ in Photoshop in terms of distorting the picture to make it fit.

I have a window on the left side of the wall which throws light, so I use a simple soft box light pointing at the painting from the right. You are trying to achieve equal soft lighting on the whole painting, no direct harsh light or shadows.

Using manual focus if your camera allows it is helpful. Nothing is more annoying than loading the pictures onto your computer only to find that they are not in focus or not everything is in equal focus.

Scanning Your Art

If your art is relatively flat and fits on your scanner it is preferable to use this method. You won’t be at the mercy of varying lighting conditions and a scanner will get great detail and every bit will be in focus.

Before scanning ensure the resolution is set to 300ppi. Depending on your scanner you may need to adjust the brightness and contrast. From the point of view of being able to adjust later in Photoshop, I prefer a scan that is slightly on the dark side over one that is too light. Adjust the brightness & contrast sliders and keep previewing until the preview matches the colours, detail & contrast of the original artwork. If you can, save these settings as a new profile so you can quickly access them next time.

Default Scan Settings & Adjusted Scan Settings. © www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow #scanningart #scanningartwork
On the left the default scanner settings, on the right with brightness & contrast adjusted. The adjusted scan is much more true to the original artwork. The default loses a lot of detail by being too bright and the colours are washed out.

Adjusting Your Art In Photoshop

I use Photoshop CS2, but any programme that allows you to adjust these settings will do. Editing in Photoshop is especially good for when you’ve photographed your art.

First I want to straighten up my art piece and make sure it fills up the whole canvas. I use the Rectangular Marquee tool to select as close around the artwork as I can, without cutting any of it off. Then I crop the image (Image > Crop). This may mean that on some sides the background still shows. To fix that, I use the Transform tool (Ctrl+T), and right click on the image and select Skew. I then drag the corners out where necessary. If you need to rotate your canvas with the transform tool (you shouldn’t have to if you followed the steps for straightening the artwork on the wall and leveling your tripod – it’s really worth doing!) do that before skewing.

Now we make the magic happen. First go to Image > Adjustments > Auto Levels. If it looks good, keep it. If it looks “WHOA TOO MUCH!” you can fade the effect by going to Edit > Fade Auto Levels and select a percentage. Then go to Image > Adjustments > Auto Contrast. Fade again if needed. Finally we use Image > Adjustments > Auto Color (and Fade).

Photo of Painting & Adjusted in Photoshop. © www.iris-impressions.com @rrreow #editingart #photoshop

How much you use these three tools depends on how true to life the pictures/scans you took are. Sometimes I hardly need to change anything, other times it makes a huge difference.

Save your picture at a high setting. I tend to go for File > Save As and then select jpg at Quality 12. There are other file types with less compression, but I’ve found there is no visually noticeable data loss with this setting and it keeps file sizes manageable.

Voila!

Now you’ve got your hi-res digital master to make prints of forevermore, even if you sell the original!

If you follow this tutorial please let me know in the comments, I’d love to know how you got on. If you have any questions I’ll be happy to answer them!

Start To Finish – bonded by history

Start To Finish Blog Series

Start To Finish is an ongoing series in which I share the progress on a painting from start to finish and I tell you what I did in each step. Please drop me a line or a comment if you decide to follow along and don’t mind sharing, as I’d love to see! Click here to view all posts in this series.

When I was having dinner with my friend Ed the other day, he was talking about his school days and said he and his friends from that time in his life were ‘bonded by history’. I promptly got out my phone, apologised for being anti-social, and made a note of that phrase as it spoke to me so much! I knew I wanted to create a painting that incorporated that quote.

I’ve created a few paintings lately in a grungy/shabby style and have been dying to share with you all the progress on one of these paintings! A quick note: on the other paintings in this style I did the background first and then painted the figure on top. In this one I drew the girls first and created the background around it. This makes the sketching easier, but in hindsight I actually prefer the first method because everything is integrated better. Ah well, live and learn! Either technique has its pros and cons, you just have to find what works best for you.

Bonded By History - mixed media on canvas board, WIP - © 2014 Iris Fritschi-Cussens I sketched two cute girlies on my canvas board (8×8).

Bonded By History - mixed media on canvas board, WIP - © 2014 Iris Fritschi-Cussens Adding colour to the faces and hair with Caran d’Ache watersoluble crayons. The irises in the eyes are done with sparkly Stewart Gill fabric paints.

Bonded By History - mixed media on canvas board, WIP - © 2014 Iris Fritschi-Cussens I cut this shapes of the dresses out of paper and put alternate stripes of washi tape on them.

Bonded By History - mixed media on canvas board, WIP - © 2014 Iris Fritschi-Cussens Added some grunge to the dresses with walnut ink spray and brown acrylic glaze. Adding background elements by using Tim Holtz distress stains, metallic paints and more glazes of brown and off-white acrylic paint.

Bonded By History - mixed media on canvas board, WIP - © 2014 Iris Fritschi-Cussens Added some brighter geometric elements to the background with stencils.

Bonded By History - mixed media on canvas board - © 2014 Iris Fritschi-Cussens For the final steps I muted the background elements by adding more glazes and metallic paint. I added lace ribbon sprayed with walnut ink around the border and finally I stamped the words in the middle.

I hope you enjoyed seeing this little painting take shape! If you enjoyed this post and would like to see more like this, please don’t hesitate to sign up to my newsletter (it’s over there —-> in the sidebar, you may need to scroll up)