Thursday, February 1, 2018

Painting On Silk With Thickened Dyes

Over the years I've used many different formulas for thickening dye. I have made home made print paste for screen printing on silk in the past by mixing sodium alginate with alcohol then mixing Urea and hot water with a little water softener and mixing it all together. I've tried spray starches and Magic Sizing , which technically is not a starch according to Karen Sistek, who happens to create magnificent paintings on silk with it. I have also used Resistad diluted with either water, for clear, or dyes. Resistad is my favorite product for block printing on silk.

The product I have used the most to thicken my dyes however is called No-flow which is made by Jacquard. It is a liquid starch-like product that I  have used for many years in my landscape paintings on silk as well as on my silk scarves and ties.

In this video I am painting a silk scarf with Dupont French steam set dyes that I thickened with No-Flow I coat the silk with the No-Flow and then let it dry completely. I sometimes add a small amount of alcohol to the starch first to loosen it up before adding it to the French dyes. Be sure to thoroughly mix the starch with the dye by whisking it.

The pen I am using in the video to draw the back lines is a refillable Molotow pen that I have filled with black Dupont French dye. This method only works with dyes, it will not work with silk paints.

Head on over to my website and join my mailing list for exclusive coupon sale codes for items my Etsy shop, links to tutorial videos and giveaways.. Crow House Studio ~ Linda Marcille Art

My silk scarves, ties and fine art prints can be purchased online in my Etsy Shop.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

What Does an Artist, an Art Gallery & A Chicken Have in Common?

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I've been reading Orbiting the Giant Hairball, by Gordon MacKenzie. I's a wonderful book for creatives,  highly recommend it. The subtitle says "A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace". It's timely for me because I have been thinking about putting my work back out into galleries. Back before I got sick, (An illness caused me to retire from painting for a few years),  my silk paintings, gicleĆ© prints and silk scarves, were at one time represented by a combination of 12 Galleries, gift shops, and boutiques. During that period I felt like I lost a lot of my creative freedom because I was expected to create and re-create the same types of work that were selling successfully. I was discouraged from creating blatantly experimental work. My series of Jazz paintings were not well received by the gallery manager when I excitedly delivered them. He told me to stick with landscapes.That's what sells, he said. As long as I followed those rules my work earned prominent placement in the galleries and it sold well. But when I started to rebel against that I was labeled "difficult", "demanding" and even worse, my experimental work was demoted and received poor placement in the galleries which of course leads to a decline in sales. 

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So fast forward to now. I recently wandered into the magical world of remission and my health has improved to the extent that I am painting in the studio again and selling my silk scarves and a few prints in my Etsy shop online.  Selling on Etsy is great but the self promotion is a time suck away from painting in the studio. I'm also not sure Etsy is the right place  for me to market my original paintings on silk. 

That's when I got to the part of the book called "A Chicken's Fate". If I do seek after gallery representation again, can I keep from getting stuck when they press my beak down on the line.... but I'm getting ahead of myself. Read on.....

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From Orbiting the Giant Hairball, by Gordon MacKenzie

"My father spent the summer of 1904 on the farm of an aunt and uncle who lived a stone’s throw northeast of Lucknow in Bruce County, Ontario, Canada.

It so happened that the aunt and uncle had a son the same age as my father. Story has it that when the two boys were together, they were a couple of hellers with a genius for mischief.

One sunny Sunday, the boys feigned stomachaches and so were excused from going to church. Uncle hitched the horse to the family’s carriage and helped his wife on board, and the two of them rode off to town for their communal worship. Of course, as soon as their carriage was out of sight around the bend, the boys’ stomachaches miraculously disappeared, and the two 10-year-olds set about to find something to do. Wanting to impress my father, a city boy, the cousin asked:

“Do you know how to mesmerize a chicken?”

“Mesmerize? Uh-uh. What’s that?”

“Follow me.”

The cousin led the way to a ramshackle chicken coop out behind the farmhouse. There he selected a fine white hen. He carried her under his arm to the front of the house, produced a piece of chalk and drew a short line on the porch. He stood the creature over the chalk line and held her beak to it. After a moment or so, the boy slowly removed his hands. The chicken stood motionless, beak to the chalk line, hypnotized. My father hooted with glee.

“Let’s do another one! Let’s do another one!” he pleaded.

The two boys ran back to the hen house for another chicken. And another. And another. Before long, the hen house was empty, and the front porch was filled with 70 or so dead-silent, stark-still chickens straddling chalk lines, beaks seemingly glued to the porch.

The boys, too, seemed hypnotized — mesmerized by this glorious example of their own cleverness. A breeze gently rippled the feathery coats of the unmoving chickens. In the distance, soft thudding hooves and the rattle of turning carriage wheels signaled the return of Aunt and Uncle. Wouldn’t they be surprised at this latest joke? (Aunt and Uncle did take a perverse pride in the boys’ escapades.)

But wait! There were two carriages, not one. Behind the family’s carriage followed a small runabout driven by the preacher! Aunt and Uncle had invited their Scottish Presbyterian reverend to come to lunch (or dinner, as they said back there, back then). Worse, Aunt had already explained to the preacher that boys had not been at church because they were ill.

Upon seeing the fowl foolery, Uncle flew into an embarrassed rage, leapt off the carriage and bounded onto the porch, place-kicking chicken after chicken back to consciousness. Feathers and clucking and curses filled the air. The preacher, scandalized, turned his carriage around and, without a word, fled back to town, never to return.

The same thing that happened to those chickens can happen to you. When you join an organization, you are, without fail, taken by the back of the neck and pushed down and down until your beak is on a line — not a chalk line, but a company line. And the company line says things like:

“This is our history. This is our philosophy. These are our policies. These are our procedures. These are our politics. This is simply the way we are.”

If you are not careful, you will be hypnotized by this line.

And what a pity if that happens.

When you come into an organization, you bring with you an arcane potency, which stems, in part, from your uniqueness. That, in turn, is rooted in a complex mosaic of personal history that is original, unfathomable, inimitable. There has never been anyone quite like you, and there never will be. Consequently, you can contribute something to an endeavor that nobody else can. There is a power in your uniqueness — an inexplicable, unmeasurable power… a magic.

But if you are hypnotized by an organization’s culture, you become separated from your personal magic and cannot tap it to help achieve the goals of the organization. In losing connection with your one-of-a-kind magic, you are reduced to nothing more than part of the headcount. Deep inside the Hairball.

So, whenever you feel your head being pushed down onto an organization’s cultural chalk line, remember the challenge is to move out of the way, to choose not to be mesmerized by the culture of the company. Instead, find the goals of the organization that touch your heart and release your passion to follow those goals.

It is a delicate balance, resisting the hypnotic spell of an organization’s culture and, at the same time, remaining committed from the heart to the personally relevant goals of the organization. But if you can achieve that balance and maintain it, you will be out of the Hairball and into Orbit, the only place where you can tap your one-of-a-kind magic, your genius, your limitless creativity."

Head on over to my website and join my mailing list for exclusive coupon sale codes for items my Etsy shop, links to tutorial videos and giveaways.. Crow House Studio ~ Linda Marcille Art

My silk scarves, ties and fine art prints can be purchased online in my Etsy Shop.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Silk Scarves in Great New Spring Colors in my Etsy Shop

I've been busy in the studio painting some spring colored scarves in an effort to encourage the warm weather to return sooner rather than later. I have really been enjoying working with the lighter and brighter colors. A couple of them sold before I even got them into my Etsy shop but I got the others listed in my shop today. There is still time to order for Valentines Day! Visit My Etsy Shop 

Head on over to my website and join my mailing list for exclusive coupon sale codes for items my Etsy shop, links to tutorial videos and giveaways.. Crow House Studio ~ Linda Marcille Art

My silk scarves, ties and fine art prints can be purchased online in my Etsy Shop.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Video Tutorial With Tips and Tricks On Steaming Silk

I made a video showing the process I use for steaming Dupont French dyes in a horizontal steamer. So many people tell me that they are afraid to move away from using heat set silk -paints to using steam set dyes because of the steaming process. I remember how nervous I was during my first steaming using my homemade stove pipe steamer. But I can assure you it really is not that complicated and once you learn the basics you will be steaming like a pro. I have both a vertical bullet steamer and a stainless steel horizontal steamer and I have to say I love the horizontal one the best for it's no-fuss ease, reliable results, and quicker steaming times. It is also substantially less expensive than the bullet steamer. I bought my steamer about 20 years ago through Dharma Trading and they still sell them today. 

If you like the video please give it a "Thumbs Up" on YouTube as that helps increase my visibility which helps me continue to earn a living as an artist. Your likes and comment s are greatly appreciated. 

Head on over to my website and join my mailing list for exclusive coupon sale codes for items my Etsy shop, links to tutorial videos and giveaways.. Crow House Studio ~ Linda Marcille Art

My silk scarves, ties and fine art prints can be purchased online in my Etsy Shop.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Ivy & Chris Newport's Make Your Mark Workshop is Great!

I have been taking Ivy and Chris Newport's "Make Your Mark" workshop and it is mind boggling how much information they packed into this workshop. I also took their "Lights, Camera, Art" workshop but I will save that for another blog post. 

I am an extremely right brained person and on top of that, those of you that follow me know, I have neurological issues due to a chronic illness I live with. So if Ivy and Chris can put all this technological information across in a way that I can understand and put into practice I am guessing you can do it too. Having said that, it has been challenging for me and I did have to take a few days off from working in my studio to get all my social networking sites set up with all the info Chris is teaching us in the class. But now that I am making some real progress I getting pretty excited about seeing my audience and views increase. 

So here is just a tiny fragment of what I have learned. How to add SEO (search engine optimization) info to my site. The major importance of Alt Text tags on all your images and tips about how to add them and what NOT to do when adding them. That part took the longest for me because my website has hundreds of images of my silk paintings, silk scarves and my more intuitive acrylic paintings. I learned how to link my Facebook account and Website's ad tracking and analytics. Also a lot of info about branding and things you must and must not do in designing your website. There really is so much information packed into this class and I am only about half way through it as I write this post. There is still lots more learning and implementation to come for me and my social media sites as I work my way through the rest of the class. 

One of the changes I made that will be most noticeable to my followers is that I created a banner with my logo, a flying crow carrying a silk scarf, using consistent fonts for all of my social media sites. Here are 3 screen shots below with the new banner on my Website, Blog and my Etsy Shop. I really love how the new banner carries my brand from one site to the next unifying them. Each photo has a link under it that will bring you right to that site so you can see the changes I have made throughout each site. 

Branding, Art, Marketing, Painting, Great workshop, tips, techniques, Ivy Newport,  Make your Mark, Website, Design,

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In the promotional material for the class Ivy writes;

"Bring Your Followers On A JourneyMany of us artists feel pretty uncomfortable with marketing, BUT we need to change this way of thinking and redefine our relationship to sales. Marketing is (when done artfully and authentically) is simply a form of storytelling. Your marketing efforts will lead them on a journey and allow you to share your wonderful gifts and passions. The steps in this class will teach you how to build an amazing marketing campaign that will lead your followers to your website and become your most loyal customers! ~Ivy Newport"

Ivy's Links:
Facebook: Ivy Newport Artist
Website: Ivy Newport
Make Your Mark Workshop

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Great New Silk Scarf Colors For Spring & Free Tip!

I finally got my studio switched back around for silk painting again and it felt great to be painting all these wonderfully light and bright spring colors on silk scarves. I was craving more vibrant color during these long cold winter days here in Vermont. I used a combination of my Dupont French dyes and Jacquard Dyes from Dharma and I am hoping to put them in my silk steamer tomorrow for 2-3 hours to set the dyes. Two of them will be shipped out to a customer some will be going into my Etsy shop and some will be going to The River Artisans Gallery in Bellows Falls to be juried into the gallery.  I'm hoping to keep building my stock back up over the next couple of weeks after it got so depleted over the holidays. 
You can click on Photos to Enlarge
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On some of the scarves I used Kosher salt for that awesome textured effect you get as the salt draws the dye out of the silk creating a look reminiscent of the tails of thousands of tiny falling stars. If you have never tried using the salt technique Dharma Trading has a short but sweet tutorial here: Salt Technique On Silk You can also use this effect with watercolors on paper. It is great for simulating the look of grass or the leaves on trees in landscape painting. In the photo below of one of my scarves you can see the effect the salt had on the dye. The effect varies a great deal depending on the levels of humidity in the air, the thickness of the silk, how diluted the dyes are and it does not wok on very light pastel colors. 

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I'm in the process of starting a mailing list on my website. I will be using the list to mail out exclusive coupon sale codes for items my Etsy shop, links to short tutorial videos and giveaways. So hop on over and sing up using the form at the bottom of all my website pages. Crow House Studio ~ Linda Marcille Art

Monday, January 22, 2018

Free Painting Video Inspired by Misty Mawn's Workshop

I'm posting 2 more time lapse videos of one of the paintings I did for Misty Mawn's Immigrant Portraits workshop. If you aren't familiar with Misty's work you really should check her out. She gives these amazing online workshops that are so creatively stimulating. Especially for those times you find yourself in a bit of a creative block. Misty will be releasing another workshop very soon so be sure to follow her website: Misty Mawn Art  She is also on Instagram: Misty on Instagram

The thing I like most about Misty's classes is how loosely she interprets her inspiration piece. In the end it will always be clear that it is her painting and not a copy of someones else work. I have learned a lot about loosening up and expressive painting from her and I'm working on integrating those expressive qualities into my work more and more. I find I enjoy expressive painting much more these days and I feel very draw to many of the 20th century artists. As a matter of fact I have some news about that coming up soon but for now let's talk about immigrants.

There is a website with some interesting info about the immigrants that came through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1854. There are lots of amazing portraits on the website and you may just find yourself inspired to do some further research on them or perhaps even paint your own series of immigrant portraits! I'd love to hear from you if you do! Here is the link to the website. I hope you enjoy looking at all of these fascinating people. I know I did and I even painted a few of them which was such a great experience.  Public Domain Review Portraits of Ellis Island Immigrants

Here are the videos in 2 parts of me working on one of my Immigrant Portraits. I hope you enjoy them. I would be grateful if you left a comment letting me know your thoughts and clicked on the thumbs up on YouTube if you like them.