Workshop: Paper Marbling with Michelle

Here I am at Jerry's, in 2012,
holding a student's marbled paper
On Saturday, April 5th, from noon to 3pm, I'll be teaching a workshop at Jerry's Artarama in Raleigh.  It's Paper Marbling with Michelle, where I demonstrate different techniques of paper marbling, then let the students loose to try them on their own.  I've taught this workshop before, and the results are always beautiful and varied.  I'm always interested in how the students will use their papers.  Many are avid scrap bookers and journal artists, who use them as backgrounds; some are book makers, who use them as they were first intended, many centuries ago as endpapers.  Still others are mixed media artists, and well, you never know where a mixed media artist will use lovely bits of paper! 

If you're in the area, and want an afternoon of creative play, visit the Jerry's website, and register.  You'll need to bring mixed media paper of your choice, acrylic paints, oil paints, and Turpenoid.  I'll supply the rest of what we'll need to make gorgeous, lusciously colored papers.  Oh, and bring an apron and latex gloves...it's a messy process!  But, as I often say:  if you're not getting messy, you're probably not having fun!

'Hope to see you next weekend.


Work in Progress: African textile inspired wall hanging #5

This time, I'll show you where I am right now; I haven't completed the latest in the series.  Here's the inspiration fabric, which I believe is block printed.  My first decision was about how many squares I'd use (I settled on 24, on a 20" x 24" MDF substrate), then whether I'd create foam stamps for each square, or freehand paint them (I decided to paint).  Once those choices had been made, I set out on the adventure of making this inspiration design my own.  I wanted to approximate the golden background color, so used Daler Rowney's FW acrylic ink; sweeping in across the gessoed surface with a sponge.  For the black figures, I used a brush and Payne's Gray ink.  And, to mimic the stitched together fabric squares, I outlined them in tan ink (which you'll see in a later photo). 

And here's my version.  You'll note similarities, but I've also added a number of Adinkra symbols.  Next up will be the thin color bands on both sides, then the side panels and clay elements.  'Not exactly sure where I'll end up with those, so as I always say:  stay tuned!


Work in Progress: Raffia Appliqué-Inspired Wall Hanging

I've been on a creative roll; this is the fourth in my series of African textile inspired wall pieces.  This time, my inspiration was the raffia appliqué fabrics created in Zaire, commonly used for men's dance skirts in funeral ceremonies.  The dark shapes on light ground appeal to me, as do the not-quite organic, not-quite geometric nature of those shapes.  I've researched many of my inspiration textiles using Duncan Clarke's outstanding book,  The Art of African Textiles
Gold weights.  They're made of brass,
and used to measure gold.

Following the process I've developed for the series, I primed the MDF with white gesso, then painted the two side panels and the two side bands with acrylics.  For the shapes, I penciled in the overall design, then filled them in with acrylic paint.  Once they were dry, I outlined each with brown Sharpie brush marker.  I used a regular tipped Sharpie marker to outline the small, ochre shapes. 

Creating the central polymer elements came next, and for those, I took as my inspiration the flat gold beads of the Ivory Coast, and the Akan gold weights of West Africa.

Once all the polymer elements were cured and colored, it was time to decide about the central panel and side band colors.  I ultimately chose Prussian Blue for the center, and Permanent Red (I knew that green didn't work!).  The blue really sets off the golden colors in the polymer, and the red is a strong accent.  I'm really happy with the way this wall hanging turned out! 

Gold beads from the Baule
people of the Ivory Coast.


Side panels and bands painted...'not sure
if I like this green, but we'll see.

Uncured polymer clay, stamped, incised, and ready for the oven. 
I did all the incising by hand, with the exception of
the circular pattern.  (I'm good, but not THAT good!)
Cured, colored polymer elements.

Finished wall hanging:  11"x24", mixed media
©2014 Michelle Davis Petelinz

What's next?  I have an idea, so stay tuned.  Or, if you can't wait for these completed posts, you can follow my more frequent postings on Facebook:  Michelle Davis Petelinz Kindred Spirit Studios.  If you stop by, please say hello!


Work in Progress: Adinkra-Inspired Wall Hanging

This week, I completed another in my series of mixed media wall hangings inspired by African textiles.  I did another set of photographs for my Kindred Spirit Studios Facebook page, and here they are, with additional information about the process:

Inspiration fabric
The first image is my inspiration fabric.  I found this piece of polished cotton in my stash from when I was doing my Ancestress Series shadow box masks. ' Don't remember those?  Look here.   The pattern here doesn't contain Adinkra symbols, but they remind me of them, and I loved the almost playful, seemingly random arrangement. 

Even the paper towel was pretty!
I created two 2"x2" foam stamps with similar symbols, and tested them on various colors of painted paper.  Here is the paper towel I used to clean the stamps before using them on the wall hanging. 

Side panels taped off and painted
Stamped symbols on side panel
I knew I wanted bright side panels and a dark central panel on the wall hanging, so I painted the sides with a combination of acrylic paints and inks, including some gold metallic.  For the thin borders, I used a Pthalo blue, and stamped the symbols in the still-wet paint, which produced a subtle, color-on-color pattern.

Next, I printed the symbols with Chestnut Roan chalk ink, varying the positions and combinations as I went along. 

The circular polymer clay pieces came next, and I added texture with carving tools and my own hand carved stamps, including the ones I used for the side panels (in the large, center circle). 

Raw, uncured clay elements, including the bar I ultimately
decided not to use.
Cured, textured, colored clay elements
Once they were cured, I added the color layers; micaceous iron oxide first, then various PearlEx powders, glazes, and pearlescent acrylic paints.  Once all were colored, I knew what color the central panel would be:  a rich, chocolaty brown.  And when I arranged the clay elements on the central panel, I decided not to include the horizontal bar I'd created for the top. 

Sometimes, the assembly phase is a surprise; what I thought would work doesn't, and I have to solve the problem how to proceed.  I think removing that element was the right decision, and as a bonus, the wall hanging can now be hung either vertically as I designed it, or horizontally.  The final touch was to add two African brass beads to both ends of the line of clay elements.  

I really love this piece; it's so great when an inspiration, plan and execution come together in a satisfying way...I cherish those works, don't you?  

The final piece:  11 3/4" x 24"


Work in Progress: Kuba-Inspired Wall Hanging

I'm often asked about how I do what I do.  And if you're an artist too, you know the answer to that is often complicated and contains many steps.  For my most recent work, a 20"x24" wall hanging, I documented much of the process and shared it on my Michelle Davis Petelinz Kindred Spirit Studios Facebook page.  I now share it here, complete with photos and a more detailed description of each step. 

An example of Kuba cloth
from the Democratic Republic
of the Congo.
The Preparation
The first image is a detail of the center portion of the piece.  The stages prior to this were:  adding gesso and tissue paper to the surface of the MDF (medium density fiberboard; a recycled wood product), to create a fabric-like texture.  Once that was dry, I painted the left and right sides in a vertical gradation from deep maroon to bright yellow. 

The Inspiration
I knew I wanted to continue the textile-like feel, and looked to my usual source of inspiration:  Africa.  For the center section, I drew in shapes inspired by Kuba cloth from the Congo, then tinted them with acrylic ink. Next, I filled in the background of the center section with acrylic paint.  For the two bands on either side of the center section, I drew another African-inspired black ink design over acrylic paint. 

The Ornamentation and Coloration
Meanwhile, I created polymer tiles which I would place onto the two side panels.  This process involved conditioning the clay (with a new to me technique of using a small food processor to make formerly unusable, hard clay workable--thanks, Pinterest!), cutting shapes, and texturing them.  I used a variety of stamps and tools to accomplish this, including my own hand cut stamps, clay tools, and unmounted rubber stamps.  Once the shapes were cured, I covered them all with micaceous iron oxide, to give a rough, yet sparkly finish, and lightly sanded each.  The next step is one I always enjoy:  adding color to the tiles, using PearlEx powders, oil pastels, acrylic paints, inks and glazes. 

The Culmination
After all tiles were colored, assembly came next; the challenge was to have both sides come out evenly at the bottom without having exactly the same elements in the progression (to me, that's boring!).  After a good deal of adjusting and readjusting, I was able to make it work.  The completed piece now hangs in my studio (above a papier mache mask I did for a class I teach, and a recycled wood sculpture I did on a Play Day with my Mixed Media Art Guild), and I'm so pleased with the way it turned out! 

Painting in the central panel shapes.  You can see the
texture created by the tissue paper + gesso mixture.

Filling in the background with acrylic paint.

Close up of the band between the sections
with black ink over acrylic paint.

Textured polymer tiles just before curing.  I ended up
not using the copper rings seen here. 

Cured tiles with a coating of micaceous iron oxide. 
Note:  the color inside the two tiles with holes
is from the paper below them.

Tiles with their coloring completed.

The completed wall hanging. 


Invitational 2014 Opening

The opening reception for the Delta Arts Center "Invitational 2014" exhibit was last night.  Here are some shots from the event.  We had a good time, and it was great to see the other work selected for the show.  Our friends, Val Boston and Kay Nicolls, who proclaim themselves my "Art Groupies" were there too, so it was even more fun. 

There were approximately 40 pieces in the show, and my work was among the very few mixed media entries.  The reception was very well-attended, so it was difficult to get a good photograph of the entire exhibit. I received many positive comments, handed out some business cards, and met local NBC-TV anchor Wanda Starke, who complimented me on my work, and enjoyed hearing about my teaching experiences with the "Mini Monets," my 18- to 30-month old students. 

I was asked if I coordinated my outfit with my work.
Of course I did! 

Striking a pose, with Stan

"Invitational 2014" runs through April 28th, so if you're in the Winston-Salem area, please stop by, and vote for my work as your favorite!  Thanks. 

Here I am, answering questions about my
techniques...I felt like I was in my booth
at an outdoor show.  I even took Tribal Vibe off
the wall at one point!


Exciting News: Accepted!

I just received email notification that two of my wall hangings:  Imani, Talisman of Faith, and Tribal Vibe have been accepted into the Delta Arts Center 2014 Invitational exhibition!  Located in Winston-Salem, the Center's mission is to: 
"enrich the lives of neighborhood and area residents by stimulating interest throughout the entire community in American arts and humanities, with emphasis on the contributions of African-Americans; to increase awareness and knowledge of the contributions of African-Americans to the arts and humanities in America and build pride in these contributions; to encourage individual creativity; and to provide quality cultural and educational programming for the entire community."

The 2014 Invitational exhibition runs from February 4 through April 28, and the opening reception is the evening of February 6. 

I'm excited to have my work included in the exhibition, which includes the work of 30 artists from all over the state of North Carolina.  Thanks go to my dear friend Joyce Finley Stamps, who encouraged me to submit my work...Joyce and I are longtime art collaborators, having produced Festival Noir in Boston for over 12 years.  Joyce is also a renowned expert in Black dolls and doll collecting, and is a sought-after speaker on the topic.  A description of a recent exhibit she curated is here

I will deliver my pieces to the Arts Center next week, and will hopefully get a sneak peek at some of the other work. And, I'm hopeful that I will be able to attend the opening, and if I do, I will of course, post photos!

Imani, Talisman of Faith, ©2012 Michelle Davis Petelinz

Tribal Vibe, ©2011 Michelle Davis Petelinz