Monday, September 2, 2013

Work in Progress - David Bowie's "Aladdin Sane" Painting

I am currently working on a new painting of David Bowie's "Aladdin Sane" album cover. This is possibly my favorite album cover of all time. The angles of Bowie's face and the glam makeup are a dream to recreate. The painting is just starting to have definition, so I thought I'd post my progress. It has lots of layers of transparent paint built up to create the design. So far I've used gauche only, but I will probably be adding watercolor and acrylic soon. Come back soon for the finished project!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Geektastic Onesies on Etsy

Stormtrooper "Support Your Troops" and Sailormoon Silhouette Onesies

Possibly the biggest task facing a new aunt is the problem of how to find a way to amply spoil their little niece or nephew. The path I've taken to niece spoiling is that of geekery. My goal is to make my niece things my sister can't find in stores. I want my niece to be surrounded by handmade crafts that will inspire her own creativity as she gets older.
I've been making myself one of a kind t-shirts since high school. This started with spray painted bar codes and moved on to faces drawn with Sharpie (Andy Warhol's face was my fave). In college I experimented with both screen printing and acrylic paint on t-shirts. I finally decided to try stenciling with fabric paint. The results have the look of screen printing, but it is much easier to mix custom colors and the clean-up is MUCH simpler. I stenciled almost every plain piece of fabric I could, from t-shirts and tanks to towels and underwear. It seemed natural that when my sister had her baby, that baby would need a bunch of cool stenciled clothes.

Pink Sailormoon silhouette on white onesieMy sister and I both loved Sailormoon when we were younger, so a hot pink silhouette of Sailormoon on a onesie was a no-brainer. And really, what little girl doesn't love Sailormoon?? Made to order versions of the Sailormoon onesie are now available on Etsy. They come is a variety of sizes and the printing can be done in any color, not just the ones listed.

Purple Stormtrooper "Support Your Troops" on white onesieThe Stormtrooper design is actually one of my favorites so far. It is especially fitting for my niece, whose daddy is in the army. She definitely supports her troops, Imperial or not. I absolutely love it in purple or hot pink for a little girl. Most Star Wars stuff is for boys, so being able to make something Star Wars in girly colors makes it really unique. The made to order version of this Stormtrooper onesie on Etsy can be printed in any color, so it works for both boys and girls. It can be also be printed to match any military branch's colors. This onesie is a fantastic gift for both geek parents and military parents. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

New Baby Clothes


New baby clothes are coming to Oryx Ink! My niece has grown into some of the clothes I made her and can now model. I love this Sailormoon onesie. I've loved Sailormoon since I was a kid. Since my sister and I used to watch it together when we were younger, it seemed like the perfect baby gift. Sailormoon is printed using a hand cut stencil. The design is printed on a Gerber onesie. I love the bright pink for Sailrmoon, but other colors will be available too.

I absolutely loved making this butterfly dress for my niece. The fabric is pink cotton, so it's breathable and comfy. The ties on the shoulder makes the little dress adjustable so she won't outgrow it so fast. The butterfly was hand drawn using fabric markers. The butterfly is based on a Blue Mountain Swallowtail, but I added the orange to make it more colorful. I am currently working on another butterfly design based on the Common Blue Morpho.

Both of these pieces will soon be available on Oryx Ink. Each piece is made to order, so colors can be changed to your taste. I'm also happy to make custom orders if you have a specific design in mind.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Kansas City Maker Faire

The 2013 Kansas City Maker Faire was a blast! All sorts of artists, crafters, builders and performers came together to show what we can do. It was amazing to see the different ways we all find to express our creativity. Whether it's a car covered in dentures or a homemade R2-D2, we can all make something that is unique.

One of my favorite parts of the Maker Faire was the performances. Both the Eepy Bird's Coke & Mentos Fountain and Steve Trash's Magic Show were across from the Oryx Ink ReMobiles booth. Steve Trash was hilarious! And his repurposing of trash for magic tricks is ingenious.

The Eepy Bird performance was fantastic. I got to watch their set up before the show, it took almost three hours! That time was worth it though, because the fountain they made was great. As a crafter and artist, I also found their explanations of how to make your own fountain very interesting. I love how they attached sprinkler heads to the coke bottles to make new designs. It's great that they continue to experiment to find new and exciting ways to use coke and mentos to make performance art.

Eepy Bird Setup

I also got to see some amazing droids at the R2-D2 Builders Club. This group of people build full size astromech droids. Some are even better that the ones in the movie because they make sound and move. I am definitely going to have to download the plans to build my own R2. The plans are free to download, plus they have all sorts of tutorials and help on making your own droid.

I love seeing Star Wars enthusiasts turning their passion into works of art! Star Wars is one of my favorite themes in my own artwork, so seeing someone making an actual working robot was awesome.

The figurative sculpture of E S Schubert's was absolutely stunning. His work is both beautiful and thought provoking. The realism coupled with abstraction shows both the beauty of the human form as well as our flaws. His work also has a painterly quality not often seen in sculpture. After seeing his work at the Maker's Faire, Schubert has become one of my favorite artists. I plan on visiting all of his public installations around the Kansas City area.

Possibly the coolest invention I saw at the Maker's Faire was the turntable spirograph made by Robert Howsare. This is such a cool way to repurpose something to make artwork. It was fascinating to watch the arms of the spirograph move and form an intricate pattern. Howsare sells the prints made by his turntable on Etsy. I'd love to see this same apparatus used to etch a plate for printing. I think these patterns would also make a gorgeous fabric.

Being a part of the Maker Faire was truly inspiring. After seeing lots of other artists' experiments, I have so many new ideas for future projects. The breadth of work shown really demonstrates that anyone can find something to be passionate about and can make something that's personal, beautiful and creative. Visit the Maker Faire website to find a Maker Faire near you!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

12 Arm Record Mobile

The 12 arm mobile I made at the Kansas City Maker's Faire is now hanging and ready for viewing! Come see this huge 8ft mobile. The Oryx Ink ReMobiles booth is located outside directly across from the Eepy Bird performance. The Kansas City Maker's Faire is at Union Station today from 10am to 5pm.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

"All Terrain Armored Transport" Watercolor Painting on Etsy

The "All Terrain Armored Transport" watercolor painting by Oryx Ink is now available on Etsy! Two sizes are currently available: 8"X10" and 9"X12". Since this painting is made to order, the colors can be chosen to match your decor. You can also request a custom order for a different size or even a different vehicle!

All Terrain Armored Transport

Sunday, June 23, 2013

"Sunset on Ko'Olina Lagoon" on Zazzle

Oryx Ink has new products available on Zazzle featuring the original watercolor painting "Sunset on Ko'Olina Lagoon". These new products include mugstilespostcardsclocksiPhone casesmousepadsornaments and bags. Most of these products have customizable features such as size or shape.

Sunset on Ko'Olina Lagoon

The painting used depicts Ko'Olina Lagoon at sunset and is an original watercolor. Ko'Olina Lagoon is a series of four manmade bowl shaped basins on Oahu's leeward coast. The third lagoon, called "Nai'a," is shown in the painting. Ko'Olina is one of the best places to watch sunsets on Oahu.

Sunset on Ko'Olina Lagoon Watercolor Mug
"Sunset on Ko'Olina Lagoon" Mug

"Sunset on Ko/Olina Lagoon" Tile

"Sunset on Ko'Olina Lagoon" Clock

"Sunset on Ko'Olina Lagoon" iPhone Case

"Sunset on Ko'Olina Lagoon" Mousepad

"Sunset on Ko'Olina Lagoon" Ornament

"Sunset on Ko'Olina Lagoon" Postcards

"Sunset on Ko'Olina Lagoon" Wristlet

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Print of "Scimitar Oryx" Watercolor Painting now Available on Zazzle

The watercolor painting Scimitar Oryx is now available as a print on Zazzle. This painting is based on the scimitar oryx, a beautiful and magestic animal that is now extinct in the wild. This painting was created in an effort to preserve the natural beauty of the oryx.

"Scimitar Oryx" watercolor painting by Oryx Ink
Scimitar Oryx

Monday, June 17, 2013

Oryx Ink now on Etsy

The Oryx Ink Etsy Shop is now open! Upcoming products to include baby barrettes, watercolor paintings and hand printed T-shirts.

The first product for sale is the snail barrette. This barrette was originally designed for my sister's new baby girl. My new niece is now two weeks old. Once she grows some hair, I will be sure to post pictures of her modelling her barrettes.

Snail baby barrette

Sunday, May 26, 2013

AT-AT Painting, Watercolor on Paper

I recently finished the newest painting in my Star Wars Series. This watercolor is the latest version of the painting "All Terrain Armored Transport". I have always found the AT-AT to be one of the most visually fascinating designs from Star Wars. The Star Wars franchise, especially the original trilogy, provides a lot of design inspiration for my work. While this piece is small, 8"X10", I hope to someday paint a large version in acrylics.

"All Terrain Armored Transport"  Watercolor on paper

Made to order versions of this painting will eventually be available on Oryx Ink on Etsy. Each painting will be unique as each is hand painted, no stencils are used.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Kids' Found Object Mobile Tutorial

Kinetic art isn't just for adults, kids enjoy making and watching mobiles too. The Kids' Found Object Mobile Tutorial shows kids and parents how to make a cool piece of moving art from lightweight objects. This project can easily be adapted to suit young children or teens.

Found object kinetic art hanging mobile tutorial for kids

The Kids' Found Object Mobile is made from the bottom up. Construction begins with the bottom most arm. The bottom arm is then attached to the upper arm. This process of adding arms can be continued to make large mobiles. This tutorials shows the construction of a small 2 arm mobile. This size is good for a beginner learning the concepts of kinetic art.

If you intend for your mobile to hang outdoors , be sure to use weatherproof materials. Plastic and metal objects will be weather resistant. Some objects, such as cardboard shapes, can be painted for waterproofing. Some natural materials from your backyard are naturally weather resistant. Pine cones, leaves & seeds are all good options.

-sticks or pipe cleaners for arms
-ribbon, thread and/or fishing line
-lightweight found objects, such as beads, buttons, fabric flowers, small toys, etc
-paper or thin cardboard
-needle if using thread
Optional materials: hole punch, markers or paint

Begin by cutting out shapes from paper or cardboard. These shapes follow an ocean theme, but you can make any theme you can think of. You can decorate shapes with markers or paint. As an alternative, older kids could make paper airplanes.

Layout your pieces to decide how to hang objects. Cut shapes and found objects hang from a stick or pipe cleaner.

Tie or glue thread, ribbon or fishing line to your hanging pieces. More than one object can be hung from a single thread. Clear thread is used here to make objects appear to float. Young children should use ribbon or thicker string for ease of tying.

Tie ribbon or thread to stick or pipe cleaner to hang objects. Glue can be used as reinforcement. You now have a completed arm.

Attaching the lower arm to the upper arm begins with finding the lower arm's balance point. The balance point is the axis the arm with rotate around. Find the balance point by tying ribbon or string around the arm. Slide the ribbon up & down the arm until the arm is level. At the point where the arm hangs level, double knot the ribbon and add a dot of glue to reinforce.

Tie the lower arm to the upper arm & reinforce with glue. The lower arm can be attached anywhere on the upper arm.

Tie objects to the upper arm the same way as for the lower arm. Find the balance point and tie on a ribbon. This ribbon can be used to attach the mobile to the ceiling or a hook.

Vinyl Record Mobile Tutorial

Kinetic art mobiles make a great design element in any room or outdoor space. The movement of a mobile catches the eye and fascinates the viewer. The Vinyl Record Mobile Tutorial shows the construction method for a wave style mobile with fixed planes. While this mobile is made from vinyl records, this project could be adapted to use cardboard, metal sheets or other materials. One of the benefits of using recycled vinyl records is that the mobile may be hung outside. This design uses 45rpm records. LP records could be used for a larger mobile.

Recycled Vinyl Record Kinetic Art Hanging Mobile

Warnings: This project involves fire, sharp objects and fumes. This mobile should be made outdoors or in a very well ventilated area.

Materials: 16 gauge galvanized wire, vinyl records, ruler, awl, needle nose pliers, candle

Prepping the Vinyl Records
Before the records can be attached to the arms of the mobile, they must be cleaned & have 2 holes punched for the wire attachment. Records that are no longer playable can be cleaned with window cleaner or water & dish detergent. Hot water should not be used as it can warp the vinyl.

To begin the punching process, start by determining the spacing of the two holes. Mark the spacing on a ruler. Place the record on a box with a hole cut in the side with the area to be punched over the hole. The hole will allow the awl to pass through.

Heat awl over a flame. Failing to adequately heat the awl will cause the record to crack or shatter.

Using the ruler as a guide, press the tip of the awl into the vinyl. If the awl is hot enough, it should melt through the vinyl forming a hole. Applying too much pressure will cause cracking. Repeat for the second hole.

Arm Construction
The arms of the mobile are constructed one at a time from the bottom up. Each arm is attached as it is made. For the wave style mobile, all arms are identical except the bottom most arm. The bottom arm ends in a spiral while the upper arms are attached to the next lowest arm. This mobile has a total of five arms. The number of arms can be changed to make a larger or smaller mobile.

Decide how many arms the mobile will have. Cut a length of wire for each arm. Five pieces of 18" long 16 gauge wire are used in this mobile.

Lessen the curve of each arc of wire by pulling wire firmly between fingers. Try not to make bends or bumps while straightening the wire.

Each piece of wire should be a smooth gentle curve. Repeat this for all of the arms, trying to make the pieces similar.

Using the same measurements as the holes in the records, make a hook in one end of the wire arm. The short end of the hook should be slightly shorter than the distance between the holes. The hook should be formed under the arc of wire.

Thread the hook through the 2 holes in the record. Be careful not to bend the record as this will cause cracking. Hold the arm coming off the record firmly while using the pliers to bend the hook into place.

Attaching the record in this way keeps it in a fixed plane relative to the arm. Mobiles using fixed planes catch wind easier than mobiles with free moving planes.

For the bottom most arm, use the the pliers to make a spiral in the end of the arm opposite the record. The spiral can curve above or below the arm arc.

For the upper arms, use the pliers to make a hook in the end of the arm opposite the record. The hook should curve under the arm arc.

The final step in arm construction is creating a hanging loop at the arm's balance point. The balance point forms the axis around which the arm will rotate. A centered balance point will yield a horizontal arm. This mobile's arms are at an angle, so the balance point is 3" from the edge with the spiral or hook. The hanging loop should always be above the arm.

Begin making the hanging loop by gripping the wire with pliers at the balance point. The wire should be curving downwards from the pliers. Bend one side of the wire upward as close to the pliers as possible.

Loop the wire around the tip of the pliers.

Use the pliers to squeeze the loop into a circular shape.

Using the pliers, bend a 1-2" piece of wire into an open ring, like a jewelry jump ring.

Thread the small ring through the hanging loop on the arm. Pinch the ring closed. This ring gives the arm freedom of movement.

Arm Attachment

To attach arms, thread the open hook on the end of the upper arm through the small ring on the hanging loop of the lower arm.

Using pliers, bend the hook on the upper arm into a closed loop.

Repeat this process until all of the arms are attached. The top arm's hanging loop ring is used to hang the mobile.