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Abstract Painting Art In Progress: Let Joy Be Your Guide

Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

When I first started working on this one, I only had a few minutes to put some paint on paper, so I was pretty hasty in my technique.  I threw some colors down and moved it around and needless to say, my lack of focus (and time) showed up in what I created. I ended up kind of hating it and because of that, this page stayed quiet for at least a month, maybe more. *Ugh*  I just couldn’t figure out how to attack it again because it was so choppy looking to me and I didn’t love the color scheme.  But in the end, this piece was a good lesson in not giving up–especially when I’m just at the beginning of something.

Abstract Painting Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

So during the next session, I went allllll in and added a different color palette. I left some of the original colors in the background, but I wanted to move this piece in a different direction than what I started with, so I added some markings and a little piece of collage.  I’m not sure why I picked that piece in the bottom corner, but I saw it, liked it and then just slapped it on. I try not to think too hard when I’m creating and just go with the flow of inspiration. Eventually those little whispers make sense.

Abstract Painting Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

Next I wanted to create a spot for my girl.  At this point of creating, I usually don’t know what the sentiment will be or what she will look like, I just put the bare bones down to create space for the next layer of creativity.

Abstract Painting Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

So I added the features, collaged in her dress and added some accents to her hair.

Abstract Painting Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

Abstract Painting Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

Then all of a sudden the collage piece in the corner made sense when I saw a little bird in my collection of collage papers.  I love little birds.  I even have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to bird art!  So yes, the bird made sense to nest there in the corner.

Abstract Painting Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

And then the sentiment came to me.  It had a lot to do with the bird bringing me joy 🙂

Abstract Painting Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

And then here’s the finished piece.

Abstract Painting Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

This is in my sketchbook which I’m getting used to working in and slowly starting to LOVE. It’s a lot more portable and forgiving.  No worries about screwing up an entire canvas which is great because more experimenting = more learning.  And I’m totally into that!

I hope you enjoyed this view into my process + If you do nothing else today…just let joy be your guide 🙂

Some Supplies I used:

Love, Steph

 

Abstract Painting Art In Progress: Let Joy Be Your Guide2018-03-29T20:23:05-04:00

How To Transfer A Photo To Canvas

These are a series of helpful hints on how to do something art + growth related. Come over and take a peek!

This is a series of helpful hints I want to share with you that I’ve learned along the way in my art journey.  For more How To’s click here.

Come on over and check out how to transfer a photo to canvas. Click through for the quick and easy step-by-step instructions.

If there’s one thing I love, it’s to learn how to do something myself that I usually pay a bunch of money for. Recently I bought a canvas that a company will print a picture on for you.  And it got me thinking: what if could create a picture printed canvas on my own?  With a little research, I found it’s not only doable, but it’s easy and cheaper to do it myself.  Woohoo!  Today I’m sharing the process with you, so you can do it too.

Let’s get this party started!

First, let’s talk supplies.  Here are the things you’ll need for the project:

  • Canvas.

Whatever size you want, but keep in mind you’ll need a print that’s somewhat the same size.

  • Inkjet print of image you want to transfer, on photocopy paper.

(you can get this from Staples if you don’t have a printer) *It’s important to remember that if there is lettering on the image, you will need a mirror copy of it so the print is going the right way when it’s transferred. (I did it the wrong way originally myself!)

  • Some kind of  medium.

Liquitex has a great one that I use a lot but you can also use mod podge, especially if you’re on a strict budget.  When you’re buying it, keep an eye on the finish; “matte” or “gloss” are the terms they will use. Consider these when you think about how you want your finished canvas to look in the end.  Matte is cool but can dull the colors + gloss will give you a shine.

  • Old credit card/used gift card for smoothing.
  • Foam Brush
  • Acrylic Sealer (Optional)

You can put a final coat on the image to extend the life of the colors and overall look.

Come on over and check out how to transfer a photo to canvas. Click through for the quick and easy step-by-step instructions.

The first thing you’ll do is smear a bunch of medium on your paper print.  I used modpodge since it’s a product known for it’s ability to transfer images (and it’s cheaper which always helps).  I just squirted a bunch on the paper and used the foam brush to move it around. You want to make sure that you coat the liquid evenly on the paper and apply it a little thicker than you’re comfortable with.

 

Great Graphics Workshop Registration

 

Come on over and check out how to transfer a photo to canvas. Click through for the quick and easy step-by-step instructions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come on over and check out how to transfer a photo to canvas. Click through for the quick and easy step-by-step instructions.

After I applied it, you can see that the image is barely visible through the layer of modpodge.  That’s what you want.  When everything is evenly coated, take the paper and lay it centered on your canvas.  Then, as best you can, smooth out any air bubbles with your credit/gift card.  A little warning here: be gentle.  The paper is wet and will rip easily if you’re not careful so just glide that card around and get the paper as flat as you can against the canvas.

Come on over and check out how to transfer a photo to canvas. Click through for the quick and easy step-by-step instructions.

If you want to turn the canvas over so that the frame is facing up, it will apply extra pressure to the paper to make sure everything sticks.  I even added some weights on top of the frame (I used candles) for good measure.

Next: you’re going to wait 24 hours.  YES!  You must wait or it won’t come out right.  The medium has to completely dry so that you can separate the paper from the canvas without creating a gooey mess.  Do it too soon and you’ll be covered in sticky paper.  Yuck.

After you wait 24 hours, get your sponge really wet and gently coat the canvas with water.  Pretty soon you’ll see the image appearing through the wet paper.

Come on over and check out how to transfer a photo to canvas. Click through for the quick and easy step-by-step instructions!

Start gently rubbing the paper off with the sponge.  It gets a little messy, but that’s how you reveal the picture underneath.  Keep wetting the paper and rubbing gently.

Come on over and check out how to transfer a photo to canvas. Click through for the quick and easy step-by-step instructions!

Eventually the paper will come off and you’ll have your image on the canvas.  Magic!

Come on over and check out how to transfer a photo to canvas. Click through for the quick and easy step-by-step instructions!

So as you can see, I tried out 2 different styles with this project: one was to use an image that was flush with the sides of the canvas and the other looks like it has a natural border because the picture was smaller than the canvas.  Which ever one you try is up to you and what kind of look you’re going for.  If you try to do the flush edged style and it doesn’t reach the edge, you can always add a little paint to make it a mixed media one-of-a-kind piece!  Just have fun with it and don’t get too crazy about making it perfect.

If the edges are a little ragged, you can either sand  it with fine sand paper or just slap a little medium on it and smooth out those edges.

I do want to show you a mistake I made though, so you don’t do the same thing:  I got a little zealous/impatient and used the scrubby part of the sponge to remove the paper.  You can see where it pulled off part of the image from the canvas. Oopsie.  But I can touch up those parts with a little paint too. And it gives it a little character, no?

Come on over and check out how to transfer a photo to canvas. Click through for the quick and easy step-by-step instructions!

If you look closely on the left side of her dress, there’s a cut out that looks a little like a butterfly.  That’s another part of my *ahem* enthusiastic paper removal, or maybe it was an air bubble.  But you know what?  I love how it looks.  Some how the ink made it’s way to the canvas, and created a multi-textured look.

Come on over and check out how to transfer a photo to canvas. Click through for the quick and easy step-by-step instructions.

So there you have it, friend!  How to transfer a photo to canvas for beginners.  It was actually really easy and didn’t take a lot of time at all!  And if you want to seal the image you can use a spray acrylic sealer OR add an isolation coat to it.

Hope you have fun trying, I’d love to see your results in my Facebook Group!

Love, Steph

How To Transfer A Photo To Canvas2018-04-07T16:08:22-04:00

Abstract Painting Art In Progress: Be True To You

Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

In an effort to get back to creating consistently, I went out and made an on the go studio kit for myself.  You can see what it includes in this post I wrote about creativity.  I wanted to take the pressure off of needing to set my studio back up after having a baby in order to get back to abstract painting.  I realized I can be creative in so many ways on the go (hello simple sketches) and I liked the idea of smaller versions of my favorite supplies to bring the ease back to my process.

I got these adorable paints from Target.  They’re small and fun and the colors!  *swoon*

Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.I wanted to change what I painted on and try a new format–using a pad of heavy duty mixed media paper is new to me because I usually use a canvas to create.  You know what? I found working on the paper to be amazingly freeing!  I wasn’t so worried about ‘messing things up’ like I would feel sometimes in front of a fresh started canvas.

I began this piece below by using water soluble wax pastels and treating them like watercolors.  Have you used them before?  They’re definitely worth checking out.  I colored with them on the page, then smudged with a wet brush and sometimes my fingers and it gave a nice watercolor background effect.

20160716_092712

I spread some of the paint colors around the edges of the paper and added in collage and pen details.   I had fun with the doodles, I wasn’t thinking too much but just trying to enjoy the process–that is the way abstract painting is meant to feel.  I saw that a girl was emerging so I brought her to life by painting her face and neck.

Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

Some close up details of the doodles…

Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

I found myself getting a little stuck on what to do next so I started adding details to the girl–her hair came first.  And then I added the outline for her eyes, but I messed up on the left eye!  Oh well.  I was using a pitt pen, so I quickly wiped it with a baby wipe and just tried again.  The paint for the color of the eyes eventually covered it up.

Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

After adding some more details and the sentiment, I feel like it was finished. This was so much fun to create on paper, I can’t wait to do the next one!

I spread some of the paint colors around the edges of the paper and added in pen details.   I had fun with the doodles, I wasn't thinking too much but just trying to enjoy the process.

Love, Steph

 

Abstract Painting Art In Progress: Be True To You2018-03-29T20:23:06-04:00

My Top 5 Favorite Art Tools

Click through to see my 5 favorite art tools right now. They're more simple than you think!

Creativity comes in many forms for me these days, but my preferred way of making art is to use acrylic paints to create mixed media art on canvas.  I generally start with painting abstract backgrounds because it’s a fun way to slap some paint down and let my creative tendencies flow without the fear of making a mistake.  It’s so freeing!

After I get the background to a point that I like, I start to think of the next layer–it’s usually a character, animal or a sentiment.  I can’t say that I usually have something specific in mind to layer on top when I start, it just comes to me after that first layer of paint.  The color + vibe of the whole thing inspires me for the general message that’s coming through.  It’s a lot of fun to flow like this:-)  And for the times I do get stuck, I just start working on another canvas to keep the flow going (and let the other one dry).

So in this process, there are a lot of different tools that I use; some are traditional, some are everyday objects (paper towels, anyone?)  I try to keep circulating tools so that I get new marks + visuals on my paintings and don’t fall into the rut of the same old look.  There are some old stand bys that are the foundation of my art making, here they are:

Spray bottle: So simple, right?  It’s an amazing way to create drips, soften colors and even remove something entirely.  It’s an easy tool that can change things in an instant.  Who doesn’t love spraying with abandon?

Paper towels: Again, a really simple tool, but man does it do some great things!  I use them to blot, blend and absorb color.  Sometimes I use them to apply paint back on the canvas, too.  The patterns of the paper towel end up in the final pieces a lot, and it offers simple variation to the background.  #winning

 


Foam brush:
I got this tip from painter Flora Bowley when I saw that it’s generally the one brush she used to paint most of her paintings!  I figured there must be something to it, and sure enough it’s a pretty cool tool.  The foam brush is great particularly to use on bigger pieces because you can cover a lot of ground with a few swipes.  They’re great for blending and making patterns + marks, too.

 

Stamps + stencils:  I absolutely LOVE stamps + stencils.  They can give such great dimension to any painting, and can also create an overall interesting feel for the piece.  I use a lot of pattern stamps so I can use them in a row to create a line or use them a few times around the piece at different angles.  I also love using letter stamps to create the sentiments on my pieces.  Combining the different style letters gives a little bit of an ‘off-center’, whimsical feel.  And to clean the stamps?  I use baby wipes.  Yes, baby wipes!  They are my total secret weapon in making my art.

Palette Knife: Not only can you blend paint colors together with this nifty tool, but you can also paint with it.  On bigger canvases, it’s a great way to smear, smudge + scratch paint into the canvas.  Different sizes and shapes will give different appearances–it’s fun to experiment with them all!

 

 

SO where is the best place to get all of these items?  You can pick up the general things at your local store like Target or Walmart but for the art specific tools, you get the best deals from the online shops:

Amazon>>>>AC Moore>>>>Michael’s>>>>Dick Blick>>>>Jerry’s Artarama

Happy creating!

Love, Steph

P.S. My favorite bonus tool? Canva.  I know it’s not a traditional art tool, but man is it an amazing way for me to display my art!  I use this cloud based program to create graphics for my online world (blog + social media) and I even incorporate my own backgrounds into the design.  Are you looking to learn how to create your own graphics, too?   I have you covered–my course, Create In Canva, is especially for you so come take a peek.

Get notified when Create In Canva is available!

My Top 5 Favorite Art Tools2018-03-29T20:23:06-04:00

Art In Progress: You Are So Loveable

Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

I started this piece in class with a very loose background–I love that blue!  It’s one of my favorite colors.  And I love the complimentary accent of the hot pink, I always seem to find a way to put that color in somewhere 🙂

Ever wonder how a painting is made? Come over and check out my series Art In Progress to see how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, You Are So Loveable, click through for a peek. Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

 

I left the background a little more open and airy than I normally do, I experimented with it to see if I liked leaving a little more resting space for the eyes.  The next step was adding the girl + I collaged in a piece for her dress.

You are so loveable 2

In the spirit of trying new things, I gave her short hair.  She reminded me of my niece who used to sport a cute pixie cut and it just felt right.  A lot of my inspiration for these girls came from my nieces, so I just followed my gut on this one.  Don’t you just love it?

You are so loveable 3

I added in the sentiment and some more accents in her hair, on her dress and collar. (sorry for the blurry phone picture!)

You are so loveable 4

After some more collage and accents, she started to feel finished to me–I love how she came out!

Ever wonder how a painting is made? Come over and check out my Art In Progress and see how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

Prints available here.

Remember–we are all so loveable in our own unique ways.

Love, Steph

Art In Progress: You Are So Loveable2018-03-29T20:23:07-04:00

Art In Progress: Dream Big, Little One

Art In Progress: See how I create Inspirational art for kids + the kid in you. To learn about art technique + my motivation for creating this piece, click through for a peek. See how paintings evolve from start to finish! Original artwork by Stephanie Martel.

No dreamer is ever too small; no dream is ever too big. -anonymous

I started this piece in class one night and it came out quite quick.  I wanted to try a different color palate–one that involved a few cooler colors and no pinks 🙂

Here are the first couple of layers:

dream big art in progress painting

The background colors + style reminded me of trees so I cut out a few chubby birdies to add to the piece.

dream big painting art in progress technique

Here they are up close + with more layers for the wings.  One is a little bigger so I made her the mamma.

dream big painting art in progress technique
dream big painting art in progress technique
Next, I added some embellishments around the edges of the painting.  I wanted a little more interest in the background, so I added purple and some collage pieces.  The birds got an outline and some sweet stick legs–Don’t you just love the gentleness of them?

dream big painting art in progress technique

Then lastly, I added in the sentiment: Dream Big, Little One.  I love how simple yet strong that message is.

dream big painting art in progress technique

You can buy the print here in my shop.

Remember to dream big, friend!

Signature

 

 

 

Art In Progress: Dream Big, Little One2018-03-29T20:23:08-04:00
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