January 12, 2014


I thought I'd share the stages of some of my newer work.  The stages of a piece of art can be as interesting as the finished piece itself.  Have you ever started a project with a vision of how it's going to look, and at some point in your process it becomes slightly, or even drastically, different?  Depending upon how much you invested emotionally in your initial vision, this change can be welcome, or greatly frustrating.  And sometimes, the changes are a bit more dramatic than you'd have wanted!  To illustrate that, I start with the following:

I envisioned nothing here, so much as a circular form made of a tangle of thin lines.  I started out with the spare form, which to me resembled a rose blossom.  Then I applied some Koi watercolors.  I hadn't pictured a rainbow palette, but that's kind of how it worked out as I was painting and blending.  

As I added more lines around the circle the object started looking less like a rose and more like a green cabbage.  Which didn't really bother me.  In fact, I'm pretty certain that if my colors had been more rosy, the object would more resemble a rose to the viewer.

You can see that the lines became much more dense and embellished with pattern.  And when I had added about the right amount of detail, I decided to apply some gloss gel medium over the entire page in order to make the watercolors look deeper and more vibrant.  That was a mistake:

Unfortunately, one or more of the pens I used was not dry.  In adding the moist gel, I caused the black marker that hadn't set to run.  It clouded and obscured the bright central segment and made the whole page look horrible.  At the same time, the black lines became gray as the water brought up pigment.  I've since learned that, although the pens were all permanent, waterproof pens, I have to wait long enough for the thicker lines to dry before adding the medium.  Additionally, because the paper I used was not conducive to moisture, when I tried blotting it, the paper tore and I was left with white areas.  I was tempted the give up on the whole thing, after hours of work.

Instead, I allowed myself to calm down.  I waited for the 'horrible tragedy' to dry.  After drying, I pressed the page under my trusty stack of heavy books.  And once flattened as much as possible, I mounted the work onto some white card stock by applying a good layer of glue stick (NOT wet glue) onto the cardstock, and pressing the thinner page onto that.  Then I weighed the piece down again.

Once the page was dry and fully adhered to the stock, I took my yellow Copic and   Dark Chrome Yellow Pitt marker, and deepened the central yellow.  I used some other pigment pens to cover up the torn white spots with color as close as possible to the watercolor hues.  Then I reapplied some of the black markers to the faded lines.  It turned out fairly well.  I sent it out to my Instagram friend, Emily Lagore, who had already expressed appreciation for the untarnished version.  I hope she likes it!  (I sent her a consolation doodle in case she doesn't.)

As you may have gathered from my previous works, I've been way into curly and wavy lines.  I started the next piece with bold lines and some rounder shapes, but with no preconceived idea in mind.  At first, it looked a little like Santa's beard.

I continued by simply adding more lines of varying thickness, and everything started looking kind of... vine-y.  Which made me want to add leaves to the bottom.

But at this point, my bold markers had begun to make the whole thing look too dark and heavy.  So I decided to try to cover up the dark lines with some white Sharpie paint pen and some white Gellyroll gel pen.  I had to apply several layers of those to cover the dark pigment pen, but was generally successful:

This piece has been sent out as well, and I'm awaiting my return goodness from the other artist!

Next, I decided to join in on one of the first swaps of the new year on the Mail Me Some Art group--a postcard using the theme of Time.  This was the most pre-conceived of my recent pieces.  I knew I wanted clock faces and numbers.  I wasn't sure how they would figure, but I knew I wanted circles.  So, I drew them, and then colored them with Copic markers in yellow, orange and red.  The mix turned out pretty well, but then I had to decide on a background color.   

The benefit of not having the entire set of a particular marker is that you don't have to choose from among a hundred colors.  I found a light blue Prismacolor marker (very similar to Copics), and found that it went perfectly with the red.

All that was need was to add the hands, the numbers, and some Gellyroll metallics and glitter pens.  This will be swapped for someone else's Time-themed postcard. If you like swapping with no pressure, try out Mail Me Some Art and look at the Open Swaps page.

For this next piece, all I knew was that I didn't want to use curves, swirls, circles, or waves.  So... I started laying down triangles!  I had no idea what I was going to do, but I knew what arrangement was looking and feeling good as I continued.  I first drew a variety of triangles, and had them connected by straight (not curvy) lines.  And... voila!  (Unfortunately, I didn't take a photo of this before coloring it.)

This looked either like a tangled banner of flags, or a version of origami paper cranes trying to break free, or... well, whatever it looks like to you.

To add some dimension or interest, I added some grey Prismacolor along the inner perimeters of the triangles, and then brought forth some 'stems'.  I wanted more interest inside the negative spaces, so I added what could be considered 'tails' for the flags or cranes.  I was very pleased with this and have added it to my visual journal.

Lastly, this is a page I finished for my collaborative journal with Bonnie, of Somepinkflowers.  I've had some of her marvelous pages with me for months, and have not embellished any of them.  Yesterday, I covered this whole page.  And with only a few curvy lines!

Next up:  The first pages of my Documented Life journal, and some images of mail art received!  Oh, and probably an actual entry on the Hyperbolic Muse page.  Anything can happen!


  1. I love what you see in your pieces, the cabbage was interesting. I know a little of what you speak, I have a very definite idea of what I want and then it's all gone wrong somewhere.

  2. Thanks for sharing the thought process in creating your art. I especially appreciate hearing how you "saved" your pieces when something didn't work out quite like you were hoping for. I like them all, but my particular favorite is the second one.

  3. I loved this! I've always enjoyed any progress shots that you share, because I'm always amazed at what you can do with line work, they just become such polished eye candy as you work them. And I can just feel the pain of your "disaster", I've so been there, but you really did salvage that one, I gotta say.

  4. there is so much to love about this post, where do I begin? I love seeing the stages of those cards, and hearing the amazing rescue from the brink of the trash can. I still suffer from the fear of adding too much. Like I would have just stopped at the Santa's-beard-with-some-crumbs stage, because that's totally awesome just the way it is. but THEN you went and did all these other amazing things to it, and when you had do much you figured out a way to change direction. and it's so much better by the end of the journey than where I would have just stopped. so it's helpful and inspiring to see the steps along the way.

  5. I find the process fascinating - I usually have pieces that "morph" into something very different from my original plan.

  6. thanks for coming back.


  7. Wow, Chris...how fun to see your works in progress! I love, love, love the second piece you shared here, as well as your time-themed postcard. Awesome work!!

  8. Wow, Chris...how fun to see your works in progress! I love, love, love the second piece you shared here, as well as your time-themed postcard. Awesome work!!