Free Sketching

“You can’t do sketches enough. Sketch everything and keep your curiosity fresh.”
-John Singer Sargent

Experiencing a dry spell of creativity or trying to work out an idea? If you are a writer, you may be familiar with a prewriting technique called free writing. For a set period of time you continuously write without regard to the topic, and it could end up being the words, “I don’t know what to write.” over and over again on the page. Think of it as exercising your brain, and you can also use this technique with sketching. 

A sketchbook becomes a booklet of possibilities that you keep by your side. Don’t be afraid to make random marks, doodles, patterns, or spread color around. Express your ideas using lines or words! Sketching is a great way to become more familiar with mediums you haven’t used before. Or doodle what you see in the world while you are on a lunch break. You don’t even have to “finish” a drawing. Paint a color and leave the page to draw something else. There is no rule that says you can’t go back to the painted page.

“Sketchbooks should be the one place without rules.”
-Marilyn Patrizio

A Page from College Sketchbook

Admittedly, I have never been an artist who regularly sketches, but it does help me work out the ideas rattling around in my head. Knowing I was going to be teaching a pottery painting class at Beavercreek’s Decoy Art Studio on Wednesday, October 28th, I broke out some paper and thought about what a 21-year-old & up group would want to paint for a “Fall To-Go Mug.” 

Fall To-Go Mug Sketches

Without worrying about making perfect drawings, I used my pen, Crayola watercolor set, Sharpies, and drawing pencil to figure out a possible design. Wanting to include at least one of the specialty glazes from the studio, I drew out a few ideas but ultimately was drawn to the complementary color (meaning any two colors that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel) combination of blue and orange. 

The final piece gives a nod to the fall theme without hitting you over the head with it. People will enjoy carrying this mug whether the season has passed or not. If you would love to learn how to create this wonderful mug on Wednesday, October 28th, 2015, please sign up for the Wednesday Workshop at Decoy Art Studio in Beavercreek, Ohio! The price is $30 per person and this includes the instruction, your mug, and use of the glazes.

You have three options to sign up:
1. Call the studio at (937) 431-4838
2. Surf their website at www.decoy-art.com
3. Visit the studio at 1561 Grange Hall Rd., Beavercreek, Ohio

Final Fall To-Go Mug

Hope to see you at the studio!

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Sample Plate

At the end of last year, I was asked to create a sample plate for the art studio I frequent that has a pottery painting section for their customers. Of course, I was thrilled to have a chance to paint more pottery since it is now my obsession! Choosing fall like colors, I sponged about 4 different colors onto the plate (which is a really fast way to get your glaze on the bisque). Of course, I sponged about three layers of color for each spot and waited until it was completely dry before I took a water soluble marker to draw out my doodle design I had in mind. Once it is placed in the kiln, the ink from the marker will burn off and you won’t see any trace of the lines. If you make a mistake in your line work (which you see below), it will not affect your final piece.

Didn’t want to get too carried away with the doodle since customers may try to mimic the plate. I wanted to try out one of the dark green glazes instead of using black on top of the autumn colors, but I was a little worried that it wouldn’t be strong enough to go over top of the other glazes. Just in case, I went over the lines three times to make them as dark as possible.

WIP: Sample Plate

Work in Progress: Sample Plate

Above is what your pottery will look like after you have covered it in glaze but you haven’t fired it. The colors will always be more on the pastel side at the beginning. Once they have been placed in the kiln the colors will become more vibrant.

It turned out beautifully! I loved how textured the background ended up being because of using a natural sponge to place the color onto the plate. In the final image, the dark green looks black, but it did turn out well. It has been at the studio for several months now, and it has been cool to pop into the studio and see it hanging on the wall.

FINAL: Sample Plate

Final: Sample Plate

Silent Auction Serving Platter

For my Kiwanis service club, we were going to have our first silent auction to raise money for several programs that were geared to helping children. I went to several local businesses asking if they would like to donate some items for the auction, and this included asking the local art studio. The owner was extremely generous by letting me hand paint a serving platter to go in the basket along with two items for the people to paint themselves along with a gift card to the studio!

Since this platter was going to be in the silent auction, I wanted to keep the color palette simple. One of the studio workers suggested a lovely Robin’s egg blue color for the base (most people love blue), and I was planning on doing my doodle flowers in black. You can see the brown water-soluble marker outline I freehanded in the image below. This helped me because originally I thought I would only do half the design on one side but decided to cover most of the plate in the doodles. Even if I had decided not to paint everything I drew with the marker, it would be all right because the kiln makes the marker disappear completely.

WIP 1: Auction Serving Platter

Even though I am using black glaze, I still did about 3 coats of glaze on the outlines. I was so excited to see how the blue and the black would look after the glaze and firing!

WIP 2: Auction Serving Platter

Once fired, it looked absolutely beautiful, and I almost felt sad it was going to the auction! Lol! I was still proud to place it in the art studio’s basket (which was a beautiful red one that I found at the thrift store!). The auction was a great success by the way! We were able to make about $4,000 that night. Not bad for our first silent auction!

FINAL: Auction Serving Platter

Pottery Painting Addiction

This summer, my bestie and I went to a store where you could paint pottery and make candles. After the first mug I painted, I was hooked and my artist fire had been lit! I found out my local art studio also had pottery painting available so in August, I decided to stop by and check it out. As soon as I walked through the doors, they were incredibly welcoming and the space was the perfect place to create.

MY POTTERY PAINTING PROCESS

The item I chose to paint was this a lovely round plate. I decided to experiment with multiple colors of glaze as a base. It took a very long time to paint because you need to do about 3 coats of the color to make sure it doesn’t show brushstrokes after it is fired. It was hard to make sure your third coat was strong on the edges of the shapes I was creating. I had to wait for the background to dry before I could use a water-soluble marker to draw my doodles. When I tried to draw on it before it had dried, it pulled up the glaze.

When I was able to stop in another day, I freehanded my doodle flowers onto the plate using the water-soluble marker. I wanted to cover it in flowers, but I realized it was going to take a lot of brush work to make sure it was all outlined. One of the gals, Megan, had suggested I use a bottle that came to a point (reminds you of those puffy paint bottles but it is full of glaze). It was hard at first because I was having trouble controlling how much glaze came out of the bottle, but it was complete in a matter of minutes.

WIP: Painting a Plate

After a week, I was able to pick up the plate and I was excited to see how it turned out. When you first paint the glaze, it is more pastel in color than what it will really be after it has been glazed and fired. It was definitely more colorful than before, but the lines bled a little because of using the bottle of glaze. It does create slightly raised lines too which makes the plate feel neat, but I still say it was a successful experiment!

FINAL: Painting a Plate