Feb 22, 2011

Lauren's Art Heart

Lauren  10"x10" mixed-media

So the past few weeks have been busy with Olivia's Heart Fund! We are all preparing the preview of the Art Hearts for the Rhode Island Flower Show this Thursday. While a lot of those plans were going on, I had this latest Art Heart in limbo, as I kept debating which ideas to use in the design. First let me tell you a little about Lauren's story.

Lauren's parents were happy to welcome their second daughter into the world, and were not expecting any complications. The first sign they had that there was a problem was eight hours later, when she was taken to the NICU as a precaution, because she hadn't been eating. It was at this point that the doctors discovered Lauren had a congenital heart defect, which was a shock to her parents. In fact her condition, Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, is very difficult to detect during pregnancy.

With few options, Lauren was brought to Boston for her first surgery at only three days old. She would eventually need two additional surgeries and several cautheterizations for her condition. Though she has faced some difficulties during those procedures, she has since recovered and is doing well.

In my emails with Lauren's father, he helped me to learn more about his daughter. She is a dancer and singer, and loves the beach and nature. I did some research, looking for the right imagery for Lauren's heart. Initially, what resonated with me was the starfish - I thought with Lauren's love of performance arts, perhaps the star would best represent her. After further study, I found out that the starfish is the fisherman's symbol for protection from the Virgin Mary (Stalla Maris = star of the sea). It represents salvation during trying times, a celestial symbol of infinite love, as well as guidance, healing and regeneration. Perfect!

using the heart template to mask the spatter area

So Lauren's heart was different than the previous ones in that I wanted to add some texture for the sand and the star. After starting with a sketch, I dropped in some background color, and then using my heart template as a mask, I spattered it with several hues of watercolor.

the background color wash

Once the sand was done, I added three stones on the beach - one for each of Lauren's surgeries. I filled in the surrounding heart area with a wash of watercolor in orange (Lauren's favorite color).

lots of texture on the starfish

Next, I layered more color and texture over the starfish to give it more dimension. I added some shading around the star as if it cast a shadow on the sand.

the whitest whites for the seafoam

After the watercolor was complete, I needed to brighten and add detail to the seafoam. This I painted with acrylic, drawing in all the bubbles and froth, adding a few spots of bubbles over the sand.

last step - blending the pastel edge

The last step was to add pastel all around the heart, blending some yellow to add radiance. I luckily was able to finish this Art Heart just in time to be included with the others that will be on display at the RI Flower show (more details about that here) February 24th-27th 2011. I like that Lauren's Art Heart is a big different with a warm color palette and the details in the dancing seafoam. She is unique!

the completed Art Heart

This is the eighth piece in my series of Art Hearts for Olivia's Heart Fund. If you'd like to read more about the project please check out the Art Hearts page on my blog. If you feel inspired to make a donation to the charity please click here or on the button below to visit the charity's site. If you'd like to see this piece, or the other seven Art Hearts so far, please consider visiting the RI Flower Show this week. I'll be looking forward to it!

Feb 21, 2011

Art Hearts preview at the Rhode Island Flower Show!

So the past couple of weeks have been very busy, preparing for the Rhode Island Flower Show . My Art Hearts for Olivia's Heart Fund will be displayed in the flower area, as the theme is "Gardening with Heart", and the American Heart Association, as well as other heart charities will be represented. So yay! For OHF and also for me, because I am super excited to have the art out where so many people can see it. Thanks to the awesome volunteers at OHF, we now have framing for the first eight paintings. Kim was able to locate Crestar Framing in east greenwich who very kindly donated their services.

We also have been getting promotional material together for the event. Erin has created postcards for the project, and I designed the banner you see pictured above, as well as a dvd slideshow for the booth that OHF will have on the fifth floor of the convention center. Since the fifth floor has a childrens area, jessica had a great idea-to create coloring pages with hearts for the kids to work with. I made an outline version of several of the Art Hearts. Things are shaping up for next week!

If you are coming to the Flower Show, here are the dates and times:

Show Dates

  • Thursday, February 24, 2011, from 10:00AM to 8:00PM
  • Friday, February 25, 2011, from 10:00AM to 9:00PM
  • Saturday, February 26, 2011, from 10:00AM to 9:00PM
  • Sunday, February 27, 2011, from 10:00AM to 6:00P
You can also RSVP on Facebook if you so desire.

These are the Art Hearts that will be showing there, in the garden area:

I will be at the Flower Show each day at some point, and would love to chat with anyone interested in the Art Hearts or Olivia's Heart Fund. I hope you can make it!


Feb 11, 2011

Fun-a-Day Providence show!

So tonight is the night! All of the work that the artists have put into their projects will be shown at the WBMA in Providence tonight and tomorrow night. If you are in the neighborhood, please stop by and check out the work and chat with the artists. I'll be in attendance tomorrow for the closing night, partying with my creative peeps! I took some photos last night when I went down to hang my work. The crew was working hard to get everything ready.

More information about the show is on the Fun-a-Day Providence blog, and here's a Facebook invite for those of you who'd like to RSVP.

Feb 9, 2011

Fun-a-Day paintings wrap-up

Well, the Fun-a-Day Providence project is complete! I haven't had much time to post much lately, as the entire beginning of February we were buried in snow up here in Douglas. I've been shoveling my brains out for the last week. But more on that later.

Days 29, 30 and 31 are complete!

The last three paintings for the project were small numerals, and relatively simple paintings. At this point, I've been comparing the new numbers to the rest of the grid as I pick out their color, so that I can relate squares to each other in a harmonious pattern.

The wood panel is prepped and ready for the paintings.

This week, I started to wrap up the project, preparing a panel to mount all of the small paintings. I cut some scrap wood to size (14" square), and sanded the edges.

All the paintings line up on the grid correctly!

Once the panel was prepped, I used acrylic medium to seal the wood and bind the paintings to the surface. Some of the paintings have pastel on the surface, so I had to be careful to not smudge them. It was also important to keep the acrylic medium from bleeding around the edges of the numbers so that the encaustic medium would fuse to the surface later.

The completed artwork - Thirty-one Days, 14"x14" mixed media

To seal the surface I added a mixture of melted beeswax and resin (the encaustic medium) which I melted and applied with a brush. I dabbed the wax on so as not to smudge the pastels, and then heated the surface with a heat lamp to smooth the surface and bind it to the paper underneath. This darkens the underlying artwork, but also makes the colors look rich and saturated. I like the fact that now you can touch the surface of the final piece instead of mounting it behind glass.

I'll be hanging the artwork on Thursday for the Fun-a-Day Providence show this weekend. I'm looking forward to all the creative work that will be on display! If you are interested in checking out the show, it runs Friday, February 11th from 7-11pm and Saturday the 12th from 5-10pm at the West Broadway Neighborhood Association, 1560 Westminster Street Providence, RI.