Category Archives: Cats

Easy DIY Art with Colarting Kits

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When summer temps hit the valley of the sun there are only a few acceptable activities. One, of course, is hanging out in the pool; another is anything that can be done inside with air conditioning and a cold drink in hand. (The latter situation is also familiar to my northern friends who hunker down to escape the blustery cold of winter.)

As a teacher, I spend a good deal of my time in the summer thinking about and planning for school (which gears up at the beginning of August), but since I don’t have to do those activities on a bell schedule, I also get to spend a good deal of time in my studio. On 115 degree afternoons, the coolness of the basement beckons me to color, cut, and paste.

Thus, our Colarting (where coloring meets art) kits provide a means to escape the heat and create something to hang in my room, office, or home. Let me show you how it works with the Dreamy Kitty design.

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Each kit comes with three or four layers (depending on the picture) to create a 3-D design along with a package of standard embellishments and the foam tape used to give the art dimension. Full instructions are also included, along with a bonus coloring page.

 

 

 

In step one, each of the layers is colored in preparation for cutting and stacking. While a person could leave the larger shapes blank (white), I suggest filling them in to provide a background when looking at the pieces at an angle. This helps the piece look more professional when its complete.

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The middle layer has a gray space around the pieces to indicate what will be cut away. Because I know I’m going to cut these out, I don’t worry about staying inside the edges. As a matter of fact, I intentionally go over the line to make sure I fill in all of the white space. In addition, when I’m using several shades of the same color (like two shades of green on the squirrel shape), I color the entire shape in the lighter color using a chisel tip marker, and then go back with the darker color and fill in the details using a fine tip marker. This makes it much easier to color small, detailed areas.

As you can see, I have written the color numbers I used across the top (which will get cut off). Since I don’t always have time to color all of the pieces at once, this helps me remember which markers I used so I can carry the color theme over to other pieces.

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The top layer consists of cut outs that will rest on top of the middle layer pieces. I used the same basic colors to complete these pieces, too.

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If you plan to use a photo mat (which I highly recommend since it adds a professional finish to your artwork), put the background in the mat before you begin adding the layers. This allows the layers to stick out over the edge of the mat and adds to the 3-D effect.

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Now you’re ready to cut out the middle and top layer pieces.

Once everything is cut out, open up the embellishment packet and locate the foam tape squares. These will be applied to the back of the cut out pieces in order to create a 3-dimensional effect on your artwork.

It’s always a good idea to space out the foam tape squares around the edges of larger pieces (like the kitty). The smaller pieces may only need one or two squares to support them. Remember to plan the number of squares per piece to make sure you have enough.

Once the tape is stuck to the back of the layers, peel off the wax paper backing and apply the middle layer to the background.

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Repeat the application process with the smallest top-layer pieces. Here, the angled photo gives a better look at the shaded in bottom layers. (Take a look in the lower left corner under the lizard.)

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Once all the layers of the picture are attached, it’s time to have some fun with the embellishments. The packet contains basic embellishments in clear and silver to match any color scheme. Of course, you can always add extras from your own stash. (Consider buttons, beads, jewels, trims, pieces of broken jewelry, or even origami.)

If you don’t have a stash, we offer additional embellishment kits in multiple colors. (All of our kitty-themed demos on the website feature standard embellishments. The other themes sport a variety of items from my studio.)

Arrange the embellishments wherever you like. (I suggest placing all of them on the piece before gluing, just to make sure you like the layout.) Regular white glue or craft glue will work to attach the embellishments, or if you’re impatient (like I am), use a hot glue gun for immediate gratification.

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Finally, don’t forget to sign your work before putting it into a frame. Our kits create an 8 x 10 picture which fits into an 11 x 14 mat and frame. (I suggest you get a shadow box frame so your work will be protected behind glass.) If you use a non-shadow box, simply remove the glass to allow space for your 3-D design to pop out of the frame.

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The final product is a one-of-a-kind piece of art ready to adorn your office or home. Our whimsical designs are perfect for kids rooms, dorm rooms, hallways, and cubicles. They make great gifts as a project to be completed or as a finished product to make someone smile.

Check out the nearly 30 designs available at thecockeyedcolorist.com. Happy colarting!

 

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Charmed, I’m Sure

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Like most people these days, I frequently find myself pressed for time when it comes to things I want to do (like creating art) versus things I have to do (like working). More and more, though, I find that if I put a project on my brain’s back burner and let it simmer awhile, the actual time it takes to create the piece is drastically reduced.

Case in point: Today I created a piece from start to finish (except for framing) in about six hours including breaks for food, pets, and drying time. This is highly unusual for me, but I’ve been thinking about the work since I popped awake at 3 a.m. about 10 days ago and made a quick sketch just to get the idea down so I could sleep. So, even though I had organizational chores that took up my time for awhile, by brain just kept plugging away at what I was going to do. Then, when I stepped into the studio this morning ready to begin, I also finished. Perhaps the organizational tasks helped, too, since I re-sorted all of my backgrounds, pictures, and embellishments in the process of refining a system I implemented a year-and-a-half ago. As I sorted, I thought, “Oh, I should use that!” when I came across a piece of lace or some beads I had forgotten about.

Here’s today’s work: “She’s a Charmer.”

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I started by spray mounting heavyweight pink construction paper to a 30″ by 20″ foam core board to create a solid colored base layer.

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Next, I swirled glue on top of the construction paper and added a layer of dress maker patterned tissue. The swirls of glue (which show since the tissue is so thin), provide added interest.

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Next, Stanzilicious PouffyPants helped me choose some flowers to cut out of printed and sequined felt. These felt pieces are remnants of calendars that my mother-in-law makes for me every year. When the year is up, I cut away the calendar portion and keep the decorated motifs for other uses.

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Once cut, I glued on the sequined felt pieces and added some paper rickrack to finish the border.

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I tend to use whatever I have handy to weight items down while the glue dries. Here I used a couple of heavy books and a pair of pliers. The items added to the piece include a plastic recorder that I painted to look like brass along with half a thrift store hat and a glove with some wire and batting. I sketched my lady’s face, scanned it in, and printed it on manila paper. Her lipstick, eyebrows, and hair are alcohol marker, while her eye shadow and blush are oil pastel. A green zipper “snake” is responding to the lady’s tune.

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Poor Licorice needed a little help to join me on the studio table today. He had surgery last Tuesday and tore out his stitches last night, so the boy has to wear an inflatable collar and a bandage until we can take him back to the vet. This, however, did not stop him from wanting to take Stanzi’s spot this afternoon. It also garnered him quite a bit of extra attention and treats.

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Next, I added a little more jewelry to my lovely lady. I had already placed an old (broken) ring on her gloved had before gluing down the fingers, so I an amber colored earring and a charm bracelet I picked up a couple of months ago at a swap meet seemed appropos. I also added some jewels to the zipper “snake” for some extra shine.

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The final touches include beaded fringe for hair plus one more flower for good measure. I used a drawing of an angel wing that I had previously completed for her collar and outlined it in gold glitter. (After all, a girl can never have too much sparkle!)

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Finally, I added the lettering that ties together all of the imagery. The word “charm” can be used in multiple ways: as a reference to beauty and grace (my lovely lady), as a means to mesmerize (a snake charmer), as a piece of jewelry (a charm bracelet), and as a means of good luck and protection (under an angel’s wing).

After spending so many days contemplating this piece, I am happy to see it finished, and I’m excited about the next idea rolling around in my brain. (No spoilers, but I will say that it involves a recently acquired broken cello.) I’ hoping to capitalize on some think time for a few days.

 

 

 

 

A Real Who’s Who

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Well, I have done it. I have taken the plunge and am in the process of building a website. (I just keep remembering the man who ate an elephant – one bite at a time!) It is a little intimidating but interesting. I’m learning about all kinds of tools, and layout, and content needed for thecockeyedcolorist.com . However, as a creative endeavor it is also fun. I enjoy the process, and I’m having a good time writing some of the descriptors. (Although the artist statement still eludes me, and that will be the topic of a future post.) In the meantime, I’d like to give you a sneak peak of one of our pages by including the About Us content describing our staff.

toasting-our-friends-5-2Jenny Medlock (aka The Cockeyed Colorist) is the (not so) evil genius behind a diabolical plot to save the world through crafting by making people smile whether they want to or not.

 

toasting-our-friends-6-2Jeffrey Medlock (aka Lochinvar) is the organization’s Yes Man, as in “Yes, I know you can do it!” and “Yes, I’m here to help!” His jack-of-all-trades role keeps the machinery moving forward.

 

stanzi-1-2Stanzilicious Poufy Pants is the Efficiency Expert. She calls the staff to the basement to work every day and provides periodic petting breaks to her servants – I mean workers.

 

banditBanditulyumptious is the Cat Encouragement Officer (CEO) who brings incentive toys to the workers and makes sure everyone knows when it’s time to quit for dinner.

 

smudge-2Smudgicles (aka Old Blue Eyes) is Chaircat of the Board who oversees the whole production. From her seat of power she supervises the CEO and doles out responsibilities to the minions.

 

licorice-2Licorice is the Chief Fool and Art Critic (CFAC) who sees himself as a feline Jackson Pollock working in cat spit instead of gloss enamel.

 

georgie3Georgie Porgy is the Chief of Annoying Technology (CAT) who is never around when you need her. She specializes in hiding until problems are solved, unless someone shakes the treat jar.

And there you have it – the creative team behind our new website and our new product line (Coming Soon!) We hope your life is as colorful as ours!