The following images are representative of the current direction of my studio work, spanning the period from the summer of 2009 to the present. As in my past work, these pieces are very much place-based and focus on personal narrative. The move from drybrush watercolor, pencil, and pen-and-ink to a mixed-media approach incorporating digital imagery with traditional media has been an exciting experience to me. The possibilites of the mixed-media process I am currently engaging in have quickened my art spirit and have awakened me to new avenues of expression. As I continue do develop my expertise with transfer techniques and the technicalities of combining media I am continually being challenged to delve further into the realm of "what-if". I find myself searching for others who are embarked upon similar journeys, reaching out to them in the hopes of sharing knowledge and insight. The potential for personal and professional growth, and the goal of guiding my students as they pursue their own paths to artistic expression, are my motivations for further explorations.
Autobiographical Digital Collage, 2009. Photoshop Format.
Click on the images for a larger version. This is my autobiographical collage. The windows came from some images I had taken several years ago of an old Methodist church in nearby Bryson City. The bluejay feather is a scan of a feather from my collection. The tree came from a photo of a huge walnut tree at the home of some dear friends who are no longer living; the sun was just beginning to break through the fog--my kind of weather and my time of day. The children are my grandchildren, and my own children are behind them. If you look closely you will see a reflection of my face in the window on the left just underneath the image of my husband. Reflected in the window on the right is a vintage photo of my parents on their wedding day. In the center, underneath the tree is a photo of the Methodist Church in Cades Cove TN, in what is now part of the Great Smoky Mtns National Park. My great, great, great grandparents are buried in the cemetary at the back of this tiny church.
The Woman Who Called Quail
I began with a scanned photo and color corrected it in Photoshop. The resulting image was printed on vellum finish Bristol board. I first used water to move the inks around and soften parts of the surrounding imagery. Next, I added drawings of objects related to my memories of Aunt Virgie, along with the music/lyrics for Old Dan Tucker (a song she used to sing while working in the kitchen) using Prismacolor pencils, ink, and graphite. Finally, after spraying it with workable fixative, I worked into the piece with acrylic paints to soften parts of the drawing and put more focus on the face. I also tried to add some unity by duplicating the grid pattern of the screen door (left side) by painting in blocks of white acrylic, varying the opacity from one area to another. By not making these squares perfect, they also are tied to the polka dots on the blouse.
Papa's Hands, 2009. Mixed Media: digital image, watercolor pencil, pencil, solvent, and pastel on watercolor paper. 10 x 8 inches. Private Collection.
This piece began with a photo of the hands of my husband and our youngest grandson taken at the hospital when he was one day old (the grandson J). I did very little work to the photo before printing it because it was a good image to start with. I printed it on hot press watercolor paper and then used a brush and water to move the inks around. After it dried, I went back into the image with pastel pencils and pulled some texture back into it, as it had become quite flat looking. I extended the image beyond the borders of the photo at this stage. When I was finished, I sprayed it lightly with Matte Finish, and lo and behold, the fixative ate the pigment away in places. L I decided to just go with the effect and used the spray to “frost" the edges of the image, concentrating the spray into larger random droplets by only slightly depressing the spray nozzle.
The Basket Maker
The Basket Maker, 2009. Mixed Media: digital image and watercolor pencil on Bristol Board. 8 x 10 inches. Collection of the artist.
This image, my second attempt, began as a very POOR photo taken at Oconoluftee Indian Village in Cherokee. The photo was dark, low resolution, and grainy. I edited the photo in Photoshop, erasing most of the background imagery, before printing on Bristol Board. After printing it, I worked into the image with watercolor pencils. Some graininess remains in parts of the image.
Origin of Baskets
Origin of Baskets, 2009. Mixed Media: digital image, watercolor pencil and ink with relief carving on Bristol Board. 8 x 10 inches. Collection of the artist.
After completing the Creator of Baskets image, I scanned it back into Photoshop and printed it again onto Bristol Board. For the spider image, I used an upholstery needle to scratch through the surface of the ink and expose the white paper underneath; black Pitt Pen was used to add the details on the spider. Cream and white watercolor pencils were used to add the spider's web/cobwebs that anchor the basket to the edges of the image.
Creator of Baskets
Creator of Baskets, 2009. Mixed Media: digital, solvent transfer, and ink on Bristol Board.
To create this image I first scanned the base of a river cane basket I made a couple of years ago. Then I added a photo of one of the huts at Oconoluftee Indian Village in Cherokee, the image of the basket weaver from the previous pieces, and a photo of a river cane basket taken at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian (x3). I erased through layers and adjusted the opacities to allow different parts of the images to show through. "Creator of Baskets" was written in Cherokee syllabary using a sepia Pitt pen and a white gel pen. The phonetic pronunciation of the Cherokee term was done in Paint, mirrored, printed, photo copied and transferred using a xylene marker.
Tiger Lilies, 2009. Mixed Media: digital image, solvent transfer, colored pencil, pastel, ink and acrylic paint on water color paper.
Swallowtail, 2009. Mixed Media: digital image transfer and acrylic paint on watercolor paper.
The substrate for Tiger Lilies was a page from my sketchbook that I had poured some watercolors on and then sandwiched with the facing page. The substrate for Swallowtail was some watercolor paper that I had left over from playing around a couple of years ago with printing from ferns I had gathered.
Both images were printed on inkjet transparency sheets (Staples brand) and the transfers were done by brushing Purell hand sanitizer onto the substrate with a foam brush, applying the transparency, and burnishing. I used the palm of my hand to burnish the butterfly, but in order to get some parts of the lilies to transfer, I had to use my library card.
Jesse and Ed
A Photoshop "sketch" was created as follows: Layers>stylize>find edges with selected parts of image duplicated and pasted over background layer....
Pickin', 2010. Mixed media: digital image, acrylic paint and pencil on Bristol Board. 10 x 8 inches. Collection of the artist.
Knit Together , 2009. Mixed Media: digital image printed on cotton fabric, altered with paint, ink, and stitching. 8 x 10 inches. Private collection.
Knit Together began with a photo of my daughter working on a lace sweater that she and I are doing a Knitalong with. I opened the photo in Photoshop, duplicated the image in a new layer and created a sketch layer (Filters>stylize>find edges). I duplicated the image again and under Image>Adjustments did a posterization followed by adjusting the saturation of all the colors except red and yellow. These two layers were then merged. The background (original photo) layer was copied again and moved to the top of the file and the opacity was lowered so it was only barely visible.
Next, I photographed some detail images of a lace shawl I had knit a couple of years ago and placed one of the photos between the top two layers(low opacity original photo and posterized/sketch layers). The lace image layer was adjusted for opacity, and had the color saturation lowered as well. I then erased through parts of the lace with a low opacity eraser to reveal the figure; parts of the figure were left blended with the lace. The resulting image was printed on a piece of unbleached muslin fabric ironed to freezer paper.
At this point I began adding embroidery stitches to the image using wool and cotton threads. Stitching was used to accent parts of the figure and the leaves in the upper right and center of the image; the threads were matched to the values in the image as much as possible, with the exception of the hands, which were done in a darker value than the image to create emphasis. I tried to duplicate the pattern of the knitting using stem, outline, and chain stitches, matching the colors of the threads to the values in the image. Then I went back into the image with a sepia Pitt pen and a sienna gel pen to add some subtle contrast to certain areas. Finally, using the Pitt pen I added parts of the knitting directions and the lace stitch pattern over the background lace. The handwriting was done very softly in some areas and was given more emphasis in others so that it would blend into the image rather than overpowering it.
Detail of Stitching on Figure
Detail of Leaves Stitching
Detail of Hands and Knitting
Rebecca Alice, 2010. Mixed media: digital image woven with fabric, cotton cheese cloth, oak leaves, beeswax, cotton thread acrylic paint, wood, metallic crayon, colored pencil, glue and paper. 5 x 7 inches. Collection of the artist.
This is the 4th version of Alice. The base layer of the image is a sepia toned photo of Harold's great grandmother, Rebecca Alice and her little Chihuahua. It was cut and woven with strips of a small toile print cotton fabric. This layer was then glazed with a sienna acrylic glaze. In the upper left corner is a waxed oak leaf. A piece of tea stained cotton cheesecloth was the applied using clear acrylic gel medium. Alice was printed out on an index card-sized piece of acid free card stock and was cut out paper doll fashion; color was added to her skin and clothing with colored pencils. The remainder of the negative area was cut into a grid and color was added with metallic crayons and then heat set. The grid was glued in place with rubber cement and then another grid of turquoise thread to pull the color from Alice's dress into the background. Another wax coated leaf was hand stitched to the background image using 6 strands of embroidery floss. Extra layers of card stock were glued to the paper doll to make her more substantial and stable, then a thin wooden strip was glued up the length of the back side to raise her off the surface. She is attached with jeweler's contact glue.