Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflections, Goals and a Sneak Peek

I've been thinking back on 2013 and what I've done over the past year. Most of what comes to mind is art. I had a great time taking pottery classes with my mom and learning that new (still developing) skill-- I like to call it my new love. But, I didn't paint nearly as much as I would have liked and it's not because I didn't have time. I've been reminded throughout the year, in several ways, that we make time for things that are important to us-- and don't get me wrong, it's not that painting isn't important to me. But through my reflections, I have come to realize that being creative is what is important to me. When I'm doing pottery, my creative need is being met and so I don't feel as strong of a need to paint. I am satisfied with what I create each week in the pottery studio. And when pottery class is not in session, I pick up my paintbrush more. I think my mom said it best when I was complaining about not being able to do pottery for several months after our last class ended. I think I said "I will DIE if we don't do pottery" (or something to that effect) and she said "you just HAVE to be doing something, don't you?" And the answer is YES. I HAVE to be doing something or I am not happy. I truly believe in the quote at the top of the page: "Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." And trust me, my life has been pretty dusty lately.

So, the moral of this story is that I will probably not post as much when I am taking a pottery class, which will be several times throughout the year-- and it starts again in just a couple weeks! But I have been painting like a mad woman for the past few weeks so I'm hoping I have enough paintings to post while I am away in pottery world.

Another thing I have been thinking about while I've been reflecting is how I make watercolor WAY more complicated than it should ever be. I get so worked up about it that it's hard to actually paint. I think way too much about the outcome and that doesn't allow me to enjoy the process. It just shouldn't be that complicated. So lately, when I sit down to paint, I tell myself over and over "just put the color down, Emilee. JUST PUT THE COLOR ON THE PAPER!" And it works! I've been really satisfied with the results. In addition to that, one of my goals this year is to simplify my paintings. Lately, I've been finding more beauty in simplicity rather than more detailed, complex paintings.

And now, a sneak peek at something I am excited to share in 2014. In an effort to simplify my watercolors, I've been working on a couple series of paintings that I am really excited about.  Here is a peek at one I will be posting soon:

Monday, December 30, 2013

Watercolor Collage: Orange Flower

I finally received the mulberry paper I ordered to make watercolor collages. This paper is much closer what I had in mind for collages. I did this little orange flower just to test what the paper did when I painted it with color, overlapped it with other colors, and how it dried:

The colors are very vibrant when they are wet, but when they dry, they pretty much go back to their original color-- which is good, I suppose. There are no surprises when the glue/water mixture dries. I will admit, however, that it's a little disappointing after seeing how vibrant the colors are when they are wet. Also, there isn't a lot of transparency when the glue/water mixture dries. When different colors are overlapped, not much of the bottom color comes through. All in all, I think mulberry paper will be great for collages.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Art Journal: Stacked Blue Collage

One thing that I like about the rice paper is that it tears pretty much in a straight line if you want it to. That made it easy to make this linear collage:

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

White Poinsettia

I love painting poinsettias. It's a rather simple flower and the layers and shadows make it a lot of fun to paint. I have painted a few red poinsettias, but never any white. I've always been intimidated by the white ones-- until now! It turns out they're not that hard to paint at all. I especially had fun with different tones of white in this one.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Art Journal: High Contrast Collage

A watercolor collage made with contrasting colors:

Not sure how I feel about this one.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Art Journal: Abstract Collage

A small collage of painted rice paper:

The colors remind me of a summertime sunset.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Watercolor Collages

I found this watercolor collage I did in high school and I thought it would be really fun to try it again:

I thought I used rice paper to create the collage, so I ordered some on Amazon and waited patiently for it to get here. I realized very quickly when I opened the package that rice paper is NOT what I used to create this collage. The paper I originally used had a lot of fiber and texture. The rice paper is very smooth and thin. So I did some research online and discovered that there is a fibrous paper called mulberry paper that is used in Japanese painting. I think that will work much better for this project and it is on its way!

In the mean time, I figured I might as well try using the rice paper for a watercolor collage. I painted two sheets. On the first sheet, I started with a layer of just water because I wanted to see if the colors would blend. Turns out that was a bad idea. The paper got fragile very quickly and the top layer started peeling off in little balls. I painted it anyway. On the second sheet, I just painted the color on without getting it wet first. That seemed to work much better.

When they were dry, I crumpled them up to give the paper some texture. I will apply them to the watercolor paper with a mixture of water and white Elmer's glue.

 I'm picturing something more abstract. We'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Art Journal: Fill the Page

The purpose of this doodle was to see if I could just fill the page without getting stuck, because that seems to be a problem for me:

I did it! Now I just need to decide whether to paint it or not...

Monday, December 16, 2013


This is the last of my pottery for a while...

Raku firing does amazing things to the glazes. I hadn't done a raku firing before this class and now I wish I had. I know I'll definitely be doing a lot more raku in the future.

The shape of this vase was an absolute accident. I think that the clay got a little too dry when I was shaping it on the wheel and it started to twist. Rather than scrapping the whole thing, I kept it because even though it was an accident, it was different than anything I had ever made before

This little round pot turned out way better than I ever could have imagined. Half of it is a metallic coppery-red and the other half is a marbled white and yellow with flecks of copper.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Lidded Pots

My new favorite thing to make is lidded pots. They are probably the most complex thing I have learned to make so far and I made three of them during my most recent pottery class.

This one was supposed to be red. I even put a note in it for the instructor so he would know to put it in the right place in the kiln. Unfortunately that didn't happen...
The knobs were thrown on the lid itself. So, after the lid was formed, I put a round piece of  clay on the top of the lid and formed it on the wheel. It was really daunting at first but a lot of fun once I got the hang of it. The one thing I do need to get better at is fitting the lid to my pot. These were all a little too small.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Art Journal: Circles

Had a lot of fun watching these colors bleed into each other:

Monday, December 2, 2013

My First Bottle

One of my favorite pieces from my most recent pottery class is this bottle:

This was one of those pieces where I didn't really have anything in mind when I started and I just kept working the clay until I got a shape I liked. I tried to do others after this, but I couldn't quite get it to work. I guess I got lucky that time.

Not only do I really like the shape of this one, I also really like the glaze. I dipped the whole thing in white first and then three layers of Jensen Blue. The result is an awesome mixture of orange, brown, gray, blue and purple.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Art Journal: Remembering Snow

Winter is coming and I've been thinking a lot about snow-- how magical it is when it finally arrives (for a day or so) and also how to paint it.

A quick sketch from my art journal:

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving!
I took this picture a few weeks ago while strolling Wheeler Farm with my boyfriend:

The blue and red head. A touch of orange on the beak. The grey and black feathers. The textures. I just love him.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pots...not Bowls

In my effort to avoid making bowls, I made a couple of interesting shapes that are...almost bowls.

You can't tell from the picture, but this is probably the largest pot I've made so far. I wish I could have defined the shape better by bringing in the collar a bit more. But by the time I got to this point, the clay was starting to do weird things and I wasn't sure how much longer I could keep working it, so I stopped here. I still really like the shape and I am very pleased with how the glaze turned out.

Red either turns out beautiful or booger green. I learned that probably the biggest factor in determining what the Jensen Red glaze will do is where it is fired in the kiln. The instructor said to put a note in any of the pots that are Jensen Red and he would put it in a good place in the kiln. It worked perfectly for this one, but not so great for another one of my pots, unfortunately...

This small pot probably turned out to be my favorite from this class. It's small but I really like the shape and the glaze turned out totally different than I expected, but I love it.

The brown was supposed to be a light blue with purples and greens mixed in. The glaze was probably too thin and it turned out a mat brown. But I love it with the shiny darker glaze on the rim. There is one spot in particular (shown above) where the darker glaze started to run and there are flecks of light blue and green. It's just my favorite.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Forgotten Bowl

I totally forgot about this bowl when I was writing about my bowls the other day. It was washed and in the cupboard ready to be used. This one is my favorite BOWL from my most recent pottery class:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Card for Davie

My youngest brother, David, is serving an LDS mission in Dallas, Texas. I've sent him a few letters but never a card that I'd painted like I did for Tom (who will be home VERY soon). How rude, right? It's about time I send Davie a painted card.

I've been messing around with the idea of using masking tape to create layers. Sometimes it turns out well and other times it's a disaster. What usually ends up happening is the tape sticks to the edge of the paper and tears off a layer of the painting. I was very careful to make sure that didn't happen this time.

I started from the middle and worked my way out. At first, I was very patient and waited for each layer to dry before taking the tape off. When I saw that it was working and that I was liking the effect, I grew more excited and thus, more impatient. So, I got out my hair dryer and started blowing each layer dry. The result was paint bleeding under the tape-- which I kind of like in this case. I think this would be awesome on a full sheet of watercolor paper-- if I can get it to work!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Altered Forms

We had a new instructor for our most recent pottery class and I'm so glad we did because we learned so many new techniques. One new thing I tried was making altered forms. There are apparently many ways to alter a pot and I tried what are probably the two easiest.

For this one, I made a tall, round pot and just used the wood handle of a tool to make it square by running the handle from the bottom to the top of the pot on opposite sides. I really like the idea of square pots and I'd like to do this with a much larger pot (if I can ever work with that much clay).

Another new technique I tried was using the edge of a tool to draw squiggly lines around the pot while it is spinning on the wheel. After the lines were drawn, I used my fingers to push out different sections on the pot to give it more dimension. I think it would have worked better on a bigger pot. The sections I created were so small that it made it difficult to push them out enough to make a large visible difference.

This was never meant to be a mug. When I put it away while it was still wet, I must have hit it with another bat because it somehow got a big ding in the bottom of it. When I pulled it back out, the clay was already pretty dry. So rather than trying to fix it, I covered it up with a handle to make the world's smallest mug!

Saturday, November 16, 2013


I recently received an email from a very nice woman named Tracey asking if she could please buy one of my paintings. I don't advertise my paintings as being available for sale, but if someone wants one, I'd love for them to have it. So, now this little guy is on its way to Kentucky. Yay!

Sunday, November 10, 2013


My mom and I just finished our fourth pottery class and I think it was our most successful class so far. We ended up with lots of new shapes and designs. We branched out and tried new things with glazes. And our pots just get bigger and bigger (my mom's especially).

I only ended up with a couple bowls this time around and it wasn't on purpose. I had something else in mind when I was making these but I just couldn't make it happen and they turned into bowls.

I've decided that I'm no longer going to use the Green Celedon glaze-- it's too plain.

I really like how the Tea Dust glaze speckled on the inside of this bowl