Tuesday, October 25, 2011

a photographer is born

 happy birthday, zachary isaak!

today is my baby's 4th birthday, so i thought i would take this opportunity to share some of his recent photos with you.  zac loves art in all forms, but here recently he has become absolutely obsessed with photography.  i am not even kidding when i tell you that his ipod touch has close to 700 pictures on it right now. 

last month,  unexpected circumstances took zachary and me out to my inlaw's house in azle.  their house is on a huge piece of land.  we had some time to kill, so we went outside to explore.  i decided to take the opportunity to do a photography lesson with zac.  now, those of you who are in texas with me, i know you remember the scorching summer that we just emerged from.  well,  this photo shoot captured the tail end of that record-breaking heat wave and the beginning of an obsession for zac.

i, julia, do solemnly swear that the following pictures were taken by zachary isaak, age 3!  lol  (yes, i'm going to call him 3 one last time here!)

view from the front yard

the roses took a beating from the sun

even the cacti were looking scorched
me telling him to always be on the look out for an interesting angle
he called this one "pink flowers"
by the time we left azle, he had taken close to 200 pictures and a photographer was born.  and he taught me a lesson that day...no matter the circumstance, there is always an opportunity to share knowledge and make art!
peace, love, art,


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

pin it, make it, post it... love it!

to go along with the pinterest challenge i posted last week (click here to read that) i thought i would post my first-ever tutorial.  if you like this, feel free to "pin" it and send me a picture of your completed project for my challenge!

with halloween just around the corner, i get to display one of my favorite "print"works from my own personal collection.   

my sons and I made this in 2008, and i can't tell you how much i love it every fall when i pull it out.  my youngest son's birthday is near halloween.  those are his sweet baby footprints on there!  so i thought i would do a new one this year with him, using his hand prints this time.

the hand print and foot print ghosts are pretty simple to make.  the key is to get a great print.  that can be tricky with acrylic paint because it dries so quickly.  and it's even trickier with white, which seems to dry the fastest of them all.  so, for this project i recommend a craft white acrylic and a slow-dry blending medium. these are the ones i used for mine.  the liquitex medium will run you around $6, but you can buy it at any one of the craft stores using a coupon.  and you can use this medium any time you need to slow down the drying time on acrylic paint.  you will also need a black canvas or canvas board (i paint mine black ahead of time and let it dry thoroughly) but i know they sell canvases that are already black at the craft stores now too.  you could also use black paper, but keep in mind that it may warp some with the paint on it.  let me also just add quickly, especially if you do footprints, you may want an extra pair of adult hands to help out!

on your palette or plate, you want to mix equal parts of the paint and the medium.

use a palette knife to mix the two together until they are blended completely.  paint the precious little hand or foot until it is covered completely with the paint.  do not use too much paint though.  you don't want any globs.

turn the hand over and press onto the canvas where you want it.  it might be a good idea to practice that with the child at least one time before doing the paint.  that also helps you know exactly where you want to put it too.  press the hand straight down, press down once in the middle, once near the wrist, and once on each finger, all the time reminding him to keep his hand still.  try your best not to slide the hand!

then pull the hand straight up.  remember, if the fingers slide a little, that is just part of what makes these prints cute!  but if you accidentally get some paint in a place you don't want, if you use a wet paper towel or baby wipe while the paint is still wet, you may be able to get it off.  wash the child's hand (i use baby wipes)  and repeat with the other one.

i let the fingers and thumb on mine overlap a bit. after the last print, set it aside and let it dry before trying to add the faces or text.  you also have the option to let it dry in between hand prints too, if you are worried about messing up prints you already made.  once dry, use a pencil to lightly draw the eyes and mouth on each ghost.

then carefully paint in the eyes using a small brush.  if you don't feel comfortable painting those, another option is to use a black sharpie marker.  the first picture below is with marker and the second is with paint.

after that dries, you can add text if you want.  i always paint my text too, which can be very tricky.  in this case, i still am not sure about which text, if any, that i want to use.  so i used white stickers as a temporary solution.  maybe the stickers will become permanent, who knows?!  you could absolutely use stickers or glue chipboard letters on though if you don't want to paint text. or you could leave it blank with just the prints, which is what i may go back to.  the idea is to capture the prints, make it your own, and treasure it! 



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

pinterest challenge

so, have you discovered pinterest yet?  i have.  i read about it in a magazine a few months ago and was instantly intrigued.  a way to instantly bookmark or "pin" all the great things and ideas you come across on a daily basis into one place, where you can easily find them and the original source at any time...sounds like a creative dream come true.  and that's exactly what it is.  but, i've been thinking a lot about pinterest lately for a different reason.  i've been pinning ideas left and right, but i rarely go back and look at them, much less actually do them.  and that got me wondering if there weren't others just like me...caught up in too much pinning, not enough doing.  so, with halloween around the corner, to be followed by thanksgiving and christmas, i thought now would be a great time to post a pinterest challenge.  my idea...to set a goal to make at least one project i found on pinterest in one month's time.  you guys with me so far?  4 weeks- at least 1 completed project.  then i thought, why not invite others to join me!?  if you are interested, all you have to do is complete 1 project you found on pinterest, make it, and then send me a picture of it with your name and the original website or blog where the idea was posted.  you can email the information to me at julie@jaeartworks.com or post it on my jaeartworks facebook page here.  then, on tuesday, november 15th, i will post my completed project AND any other completed projects you guys send me!  if you are a blogger or have your own website, send me that info too, and i'll link it.  if you are not on pinterest and you want to see what it's all about...contact me.  right now, the only way to join pinterest is by invitation, but send me your email address, and i will send you an invite.  if you are interested in seeing the projects i have pinned on there, click the red pinterest button on the right sidebar, and you'll have access to all my pins!  also, next week, i will post my first ever "print" project/tutorial on this blog.  so, if you want, you can come back here, grab that idea and make it.  so, the real question is, do i have time for this?  absolutely not.  and that is exactly why it's called a challenge!

happy pinning, and even happier doing,


Tuesday, October 4, 2011


i am a figurative artist.  when i was in art school, it was a very contemporary art program.  i wanted to learn how to draw and paint people.  realistically.  here is my latest finished portrait.  mission accomplished, i guess.  you can see more of my drawings like these by clicking here.

"brett"  graphite on paper  18"x24"  (2011)

but back to that contemporary art training.  while my art professors admired my dedication to learning technical skills, they also pushed me to go past that and create more complex pieces of art.  at the suggestion of a painting professor, i started combining realistic works with other pieces, and reworking them as a whole.  and thus, my mixed media art works were born.   you can read more about my contemporary art beginning here.

"portrait of a fairytale"   mixed media on canvas  48"x72"  (1997)

as i'm sure you can tell, there is a huge difference between my latest portrait and my art school painting.  what happened in the middle?  life happened.   i started teaching, got married and had kids.  my portrait business came about sort of by accident while i was teaching, and then quickly evolved into the kid art stuff as my kids were born (you can get that whole story here.)  and while i was technically making art, i was moving farther and farther from the artist i was after art school.  

then the strangest thing happened.  one of the pastor's at my church asked me to paint a portrait of christ to go along with a sermon series.  you can see that whole story here.

"king"  acrylic on canvas  12"x24"  (2009)

in short, i really enjoyed the graphic nature of the painting, and it got me thinking about starting my own work again.  what if i could some how combine graphic portraits or figurative works with the technical precision i love with mixed media or collage elements?   in a way, go back to my roots.  it couldn't hurt to try, right?  so i started with this self portrait.

"surfacing"  acrylic and paper on canvas   16"x20"  (2011)

"surfacing (detail)" 

the title is "surfacing" because to me it symbolizes just that...me coming out of a long period of either no art or art for other people and reemerging into my own.  i can tell you my vision is not all there yet, but it sure feels good to be on the hunt for it again.

to be working.

to be breathing.

to have surfaced.


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