Gouache Paintings Made with Extra Paint

Gouache is one of my favorite mediums to use. I worked with it in October and November for my daily pattern project, and during the process, something new developed–a series of abstract paintings I dubbed “extra paintings” since they were made in addition to the day’s pattern.

If I had to pin point the source of this new discovery, it would probably be when I started to use pieces of sturdy paper as paint palettes.

paint palette

paint palette

I really enjoyed the “paintings” that would develop on these paper palettes after several sessions.

There were times when I mixed too much paint in the process of getting just the right color, and I would let it dry on the palette. A couple of times the paint globs actually cracked and started to flake off which I wasn’t crazy about, so I started to scoop off the extra paint and smear it around on an blank sketchbook page.

painting

I thought these pages might come in handy for making textured papers for collage, but just like with the paint palettes, after several painting sessions, the built up layers became more and more interesting.

painting

painting

Before I knew it, I had painted quite a collection of “extra paintings” and my eyes were opened to the new possibilities of a different kind of visual pattern and texture.

painting

I’ve been having so much fun with the paintings I’ve been making, I want to do more. This year I plan to do a lot more paintings and I can’t wait to get started!

Daisy Yellow Zine Giveaway

A few months ago Tammy Garcia, who blogs over at Daisy Yellow, contacted me about writing an article about my daily pattern project for the 10th issue of her zine. I was already a big fan of her blog and the challenges she hosts such as Index Card A Day and the Moments Challenge, so of course I jumped at the chance!

Cover of the Daisy Yellow Zine Issue 10

We’ve had a lot of fun going back and forth with each other while perfecting my article. Tammy just released the issue for sale last week, and you can win a copy here on my blog, or via my Instagram.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Tammy, her blog is chock full of ideas and inspiration for creating art journal pages and mixed media art work. As I mentioned, she hosts a variety of art making challenges throughout the year, and moderates a really great Facebook group too. I recently joined DY community on Facebook, and I love seeing all the great art people post to the group. It’s all about encouraging and inspiring each other and being proud of the work you create.

Preview of the pattern a day article by Anika Starmer for the Daisy Yellow zine

In the article I wrote for the zine, I talk about why I started the challenge, how I came up with so many different ideas, changes I made to the challenge from month to month to help me stick with it, what I learned after more than a year of creating patterns everyday, and more!

My article is just one part of a zine that is, “Jam packed with ideas + inspiration.” You’ll also find art journal and photography prompts, Suggestions for altering a hard backed book for use as an art journal, a mini index card art project to try out, and even some blogging tips for creatives. Not to mention the fact that the layout and imagery throughout the pages is super lush and inspiring in its own right.

I’ll be very excited for whomever wins this zine, but if you just can’t wait, you can purchase your own copy right now over on Etsy.

How to Win:

If you want to try your luck, visit Tammy’s page that has all the info about Issue 10 and discover what you are most excited to read about–and your answer doesn’t even have to be my pattern article! 😀 Come back here to this giveaway post and leave a comment below telling me what part of the zine you can’t wait to read. Feel free to leave a comment on Tammy’s blog as well, but know that only comments left here will be counted toward the giveaway.

If you have already purchased the zine and you win either this or my Instagram giveaway, Tammy has graciously offered to refund the full price of the zine back to you!

I will randomly draw a name on January 31st 2014 which is next Friday (edit: I changed the date from February 1st because I was looking at the wrong calendar! The drawing will be Friday!). I’ll announce the winner here, and also send an email to the winner, so be sure to use an email address that you check frequently.

Increase your chances:

You can also enter on Instagram. Make sure you follow me there, and leave a comment on one of the giveaway photos. While you’re over there, check out Tammy’s colorful photos as well!

Preview of the Daisy Yellow zine issue 10

Good Luck!

Pattern a Day December 2014

I haven’t played with crayons in any serious way since I was a kid. One day I was hanging out over at my brother’s house and started doodling with my niece’s Crayolas.

Crayon Drawing

What fun! When I posted the above photo to instagram I got a great suggestion from Tammy (@gypsy999) who hosts the blog Daisy Yellow. She thought I might enjoy using Neocolor Wax Artist Crayons. Boy was she right!

Day 30 Pattern a Day December

I ordered a selection of Neocolor IIs which are the water soluble variety (they also make Neocolor Is which are not water soluble) and decided to use them for the first time when drawing patterns in December. I didn’t actually take advantage of their water soluble nature during this month, since I had so much fun simply drawing with them!

Day 31 Pattern a Day December

Working with neocolors was very freeing. The color is super saturated and goes on the page easily. I found that my marks could be really expressive and the color and texture was rich and consistent.

Day 27 Pattern a Day December

I also played around with scale, drawing some tiny shapes scattered over the page and also some that had larger elements to make a bold statement.

Day 24 Pattern a Day December

Day 12 Pattern a Day December

This was a great month of patterns in which I tried out a lot of new ideas and color combinations. After using these amazing crayons everyday for a month, I’m definitely hooked!

Pattern a Day November

In December I wrote a post about the show I was in at Light Grey Art Lab. I created a composition of glass bottles for their 6 Degrees show, and in the process I discovered a fun style where I painted gouache over pencil lines.

I was inspired to keep exploring the possibilities of this technique when I started my November patterns.

Day 29 Pattern a Day November

The main thing I learned this month is that pencil lines smear! I had to get the color on the paper quick, preferably only brushing over the pencil once, otherwise it might lift up. You can see what I mean in the image below. I painted the darkest teal shape first, and the color was a lot more opaque than I expected.

Day 3 Pattern a Day November

I had to carefully lift it off as much as I could, and the result is that some of the pencil lines were lifted off the page as well.

As the month went by I got better about being quick with the paint and had fun exploring a wide variety of subjects for the patterns.

Day 8 Pattern a Day November

Day 10 Pattern a Day November

Despite a few challenges, I came up with a nice variety of patterns, and by the end of the month it was a lot easier getting successful results.

Pattern a Day October

After creating patterns for over a year, it’s funny that I never realized that most of the patterns I created were on white backgrounds. I became aware of that fact before October, so I thought it would be the perfect challenge for me.

It really was a challenge, but wow, what a great one!

On the first few days I worked with looser brush strokes and tried out watercolor washes for the background.

Day 1 Pattern a Day October

Eventually my brushwork got more precise, and I decided to work with opaque gouache backgrounds, although I sometimes used several tones of the same color to create a textured surface.

Day 11 Pattern a Day October

Many of the patterns I created this month used abstract shapes, but I also included recognizable objects in a several patterns which was a lot of fun.

Day 18 Pattern a Day October

Day 25 Pattern a Day October

Even within the parameters of working on colorful backgrounds with refined brushwork, I was able to explore bold strokes of color that filled the page as well as delicate marks scattered over the surface.

Day 23 Pattern a Day October

Day 24 Pattern a Day October

I really hit my stride this month and created a number of patterns that I was very happy with. I still plan to experiment with different media in the future, but I’m sure that painting patterns will always be part of my repertoire. Also, now that I’ve gotten comfortable with working on colorful backgrounds, you’ll definitely see more of them from me in the future!

Pattern a Day September

I wasn’t 100% sure I would continue making patterns in September. I officially finished up a year of daily patterns at the end of August, and I thought it might be time for a change. However, I found I couldn’t stop!

I decided to loosen up the challenge a bit and let September be a month of “anything goes.” As a result, I made patterns with ink and a brush, marker, watercolor, worked within 2 different sketchbooks and even some loose papers. The result was a wide variety of styles of patterns.

Some patterns were structured repeating icons, like rows of houses or colorful shapes.

Day 4 Pattern a Day September

Day 9 Pattern a Day September

Some patterns were a scatter of repeating elements.

Day 23 Pattern a Day September

Other patterns were more like abstract compositions with an overall pattern-y feel.

Day 30 Pattern a Day September

Day 19 Pattern a Day September

After trying out such a variety of pattern styles and media, the whole challenge felt refreshed. I ended the month with lot of creative energy and new ideas. It’s pretty cool to know that even after a year of creating patterns daily, I still enjoy it so much that continuing has become a natural part of my life.

Pattern a Day August

When I started August’s patterns, my main goal was to spend more time working on the individual patterns. I had chosen quick and easy challenges in June and July, so I was feeling a pull toward a more time consuming pursuit. Plus, this month would officially conclude one whole year of making daily patterns, so I wanted to go out with a bang!

Day 4 Pattern a Day August

Day 16 Pattern a Day August

June’s challenge in which I started with black and white doodles and created colorful digital patterns had me thinking a lot about how much color can change the look and feel of a design. That gave me the idea to double up and create two versions of the same pattern each day: one black and white, and one in whatever colors I was inspired to use.

Day 18 Pattern a Day August

Day 29 Pattern a Day August

This was a really fun month for me. Not only was my creativity stretched by coming up with a new pattern each day, but I also got the meditative benefits by repeating each pattern a second time.

Day 10 Pattern a Day August

Day 31 Pattern a Day August

A great way to end a year of daily patterns!

Pattern a Day July

In July I decided to join Tammy Garcia from Daisy Yellow for her Index Card a Day (ICAD) challenge. ICAD runs for two months in which time you can make any kind of art on an index card. I combined ICAD with my pattern a day challenge and drew patterns with zig markers on index cards.

Day 5 ICAD and Pattern a Day July

I love this way of working so much! Maybe it’s because index cards are so small or so cheap, but whatever the reason, it’s like the pressure’s off. This freed me up to create “whatever I want.” I guess I’m always free to create “whatever I want,” but a lot of times I’m hopeful that the end result will look good, and I think that subconsciously has an impact on what and how I create.

When using index cards, I found that I was off the hook of having a “good” final image. If I didn’t like the outcome, I could always make another one, or keep drawing and experiment with adding layers of lines and color.

Day 11 ICAD and Pattern a Day July

Layering in this way is a new technique for me, and I find the possibilities here are pretty exciting. I’m looking forward to exploring more index card art in the future!

Pattern a Day June

I’m really excited to finally share these patterns. Because of the craziness of my schedule in June, it was all I could do to simply make the patterns; too much to share them daily, so here is your first glimpse! (unless you saw the sneak peek because you follow me on Flickr!)

In June I approached the daily patterns a little differently from previous months. I knew it was going to be a super busy time filled with trips, family visits, and deadlines, so early on in the month, I filled several pages with icons and marks made with black ink and a brush.

black and white icons for Pattern a Day June

I scanned in the pages and had them ready to pull shapes from as I made digital repeating patterns everyday.

Pattern a Day June

Pattern a Day June

I was surprised by how challenging choosing digital color is for me. Selecting color with a color picker is not the same experience as mixing paint or working with a limited number of marker colors. I often found myself hitting a wall. I might be happy with the first few colors, but just couldn’t figure out what the fourth or fifth color should be. Early on in the month, I would just go with something even if it didn’t feel “perfect,” but I did notice that it got easier as the days went by. There is still room for improvement, but it is pretty cool to notice how much more comfortable I became picking color digitally in just a month!

I hope you’ll take a moment to check out all of June’s patterns over on Flickr.

Have you tried working with digital color? Do you have one great tip that might make my life easier when creating a harmonious digital color palette? I’d love to know what you think!