Saturday, July 18, 2015

A little crayon therapy

We spent Independence Day at my husband's grandparents house in Langdon, ND. This quiet little town is the perfect escape for our little ones who are not big fans of fireworks. Also, my Grandparents-in-law are just wonderful people. They've set a great example to the family of how Christians should live and love people, warts and all!

It was really hard to say goodbye to them on this trip because Grandpa's second round of cancer is finally catching up with him, and we don't expect to see him again on this side of eternity. We are filled with a mix of grief for our up-coming loss but also a hope-filled peace that he will soon no longer have to feel the effects of this disease. 

This up and down of emotions has just made me just not want to work on anything I've got "in process" for the moment. I knew that I just needed to work on something so I was thankful that Jane Davies posted this showing her latest pieces using crayons. Given the ages of my children I'm sure you can imaging how many crayons I have!!

Rachel Loewens: A little crayon therapy

I ended up using a combination of crayons, oil pastels and watercolor. The pastels and crayons work as a resist for the watercolor which can created some interesting pooling of color.

Rachel Loewens: A little crayon therapy

The older I get the more I appreciate these times to just experiment and play. They help keep my creative energy up and any negative inner criticism down. Using cheaper materials also takes off the pressure to create masterpieces each time I'm in my studio!

Rachel Loewens: A little crayon therapy

Speaking of tough critics, my four-year-old told me that she thinks I did really well on these pieces. She is not known for holding back negative reviews of my work so positive comments are always appreciated! :-)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Race Report: Odin's Revenge

A few weeks ago my husband and I went to Gothenburg, NE for Odin's Revenge, a self-supported gravel bike race. Note: my husband is the one who races. I merely come along for the fun.

The short course riders leave at 6:45 in the morning so there is no sleeping in on this vacation!

After seeing Travis off, I headed back to the hotel for some breakfast and to attempt some watercolor landscapes and read a bit. 

As you can see, landscapes are nowhere near my strong suit, but it is a genre that I would like to gradually get better at with time.

Trav was done with the race by noon (he got third) so we decided to go explore some gravel roads just the two of us!

I ride a road bike so my husband wanted to check my tire pressure right off the bat. It is very nice to ride with someone who can take care of those things for you!

And he took this lovely selfie to remember our adventure date!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Trying something new!

When I collage, I have a tendency of using small pieces of paper. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this method, but I wanted to try to maintain some larger areas in these pieces.

Rachel Loewens: Trying something new!

Rachel Loewens: Trying something new!

Rachel Loewens: Trying something new!

Rachel Loewens: Trying something new!

Rachel Loewens: Trying something new!

In an attempt to be more organized, I've already uploaded these to my print store for sale! 

Happy making!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Science notebook success!!

When I was a youngster I loved to hike. I lived in a house surrounded by trees so I spent as much time outside as I did in. As I got older and had some health issues (more on that subject at a later time), hiking was no longer an activity that I could enjoy. 

Thankfully this summer has been quite the turn-around for me. I'm feeling better than I have in a long while, and we are starting to make a Sunday hike part of our weekly routine. My kiddos have been all up for it until lately when a dead baby animal sighting and a drastic increase of mosquitoes have threatened to derail this exercise. 

I knew that if I gave my kiddos some sort of activity to do while we hike we would be fine, but what can you "do" with a 4yo and 3yo while you hike? My solution was to make a science notebook where they could mark off each time they saw something on the trail.

Science notebook success!

I made a list of the most common things we see and showed them how to make a tick mark each time they saw the item listed. Knowing my children as I do, I knew that this would last no more than five minutes, but I hoped that it would at least kinda redeem hiking in their little minds. 

Science notebook success!

As predicted, they lost interest in making little marks, but instead drew a line or scribble each time they saw something of note. Ants, butterflies, squirrels, wild turkeys and bird sightings were all meticulously recorded on this page. 

Science notebook success!

So not only did we get through our Sunday/Father's Day adventure, but now I have an activity to try for our upcoming 10+ hour road trip!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My process: quilting with paper

So, I thought I would talk a little bit about my process today. Specifically, how I select the papers I use in a particular collage. Most of the papers I use come from magazines because they are convenient and are otherwise headed to the recycling bin!

My stash isn't too big, but I do have the goal in the back of my head that I should try to use it all up by the end of the year. This helps me avoid hanging on to "favorite" pieces or treating them as precious. The second I start being concerned with "ruining" a piece by cutting it up, I know I'm going to get stuck!

Rachel Loewens: quilting with paper

So, I'm sitting on my couch with these piles of paper before me thinking, "Where should I start?" The easiest place for me to begin is to grab the first piece that really jumps out at me. Then I start flipping through the stacks pulling out other pieces that I think would go well with that first piece. In the picture below, I started with the page that is on top.

Rachel Loewens: quilting with paper

If you are a quilter, you will probably think that this sounds quite a lot like the process you use when pulling fabrics at the store because that is really how I view a collage, a quilt out of paper. 

Rachel Loewens: quilting with paper

I try to find an interesting balance between warm and cool colors, semi-solids and patterns and so forth. Sometimes I'm really successful at this and sometimes not so much!

Rachel Loewens: quilting with paper

Often I go and pick out paper for multiple collages at once with the intention of doing all the cutting and pasting in the very near future. This has lead to multiple "What was I thinking?" moments when I look back at what I've previously assembled. :-)

Anyway, selecting the papers I'm going to use for a piece is one of if not my favorite part of the process. Would love to know if any of you work this way as well!

Happy making!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Shop update!

Just wanted to let you all know that I've update my shop on Fine Art America to include my latest collages! 

They provide multiple print options as well as pillows, duvet covers, tote bags and cell phone cases!

Also, you have the ability to select the size of print to best fit your wall size! 

Happy making (and shopping)!

Friday, June 5, 2015

More naptime making and interruptions!

Well, it looks like all these "Naptime Collages" might become a series since I keep making them! I've even toyed with recording myself making one until I realized how many times I have to stop and check in on one of my sleeping kiddos. (going to pause writing now to do just that!)

The one from the previous post and the three pictured above are all made on these pressed wood boards that I purchased last year at a school closing sale. They are a nice size and make an excellent substrate! You can see in the one below where I used a thick paper as a substrate how it curls up on the left side a bit. That won't be noticeable if I scan it in for prints or frame it for my own wall so I'm not worried! 

If anyone knows of any amazing tutorials for how to record yourself making art, please put a link in the comment section in case I decide to try it anyway!

Happy making!!

Monday, June 1, 2015

What I'm Making: a naptime collage

Rachel Loewens: nap time collage

I really needed to make something. I mean, REALLY needed to make something. As much as I love having my living room painted, the loss of making time over the past two weeks was really taking a toll on me. 

Rachel Loewens: nap time collage

Past experience has taught me that one of the easiest ways to get back in the creative mood is to piece some collages. There is something rather meditative about cutting up paper and you can always glue over the parts you don't like. For example, I thought for a little bit that the piece was complete as it was below. 

Rachel Loewens: nap time collage (attempt #1)

But then I thought that the proportions were a bit off so with a little bit of tweaking I ended up with this! 

Rachel Loewens: nap time collage

I wish I would have used a gel medium  instead of a fluid medium so the wrinkles wouldn't have been so bad. Live and learn!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Art in Progress: Flora Bowley

I think I stumbled upon this video of Flora Bowley painting on Pinterest (of course!) and just loved all her methods of mark making- especially when she uses her fingers!

Flora Bowley ~ Brave Intuitive Painting from Zipporah on Vimeo.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorial weekend making

My goal to have most of the living room painted was sort-of met. The brush that I was using for edging broke so I still have some touch-ups to do and an entire wall still needs a second coat. Thankfully said wall is behind a sofa, bookcase and artwork so no one could tell!

Friday night was spent watching Dr. Who on the porch by the fire. My kind of date!

Rachel Loewens: Memorial Weekend Making

The Grammy's took turn watching the kiddos so I had plenty of time to clean the house and prep food for Monday night. 

Rachel Loewens: Memorial Weekend Making

We make foil-pack dinners on the fire so most of my work is chopping all the veggies!

All week long it looked as though it would rain, but thankfully the storm did not roll in until after the evening was over. Each year I try to prepare only enough food for the night so I won't have to deal with leftovers and each year I fail. Guess what? This year was no exception!

We don't usually each meat but we had quite a bit left so I made a huge batch of beef curry which easily used up ALL the leftovers! 

Rachel Loewens: Memorial Weekend Making

And here's a little peek into what I was sketching on the porch!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What I'm Painting: Walls and Watercolors

This past week I've been occupied with the oh-so-fun task of painting the living room. My goal was to get it done by Memorial Day, and it looks like I might get it done with a few days to spare. 

Progress has been slightly hindered the high ceiling on half of the room, but I borrowed my mom's ladder so I should be good to go from now on.

Rachel Loewens What I'm Painting: Walls and Watercolors

And as great as the crisp white walls look, it will be nice to have my paintings back up!

Rachel Loewens What I'm Painting: Walls and Watercolors

 My kiddos paint with watercolors everyday and I've been feeling a little jealous since all of naptime/maketime has been devoted to wall painting for over a week now.  
I started painting shapes that I have been drawing for awhile and then starting to play a bit more. 

Rachel Loewens What I'm Painting: Walls and Watercolors

The design on the bottom middle seemed sort of botanical so I tried it out in warm colors.

Rachel Loewens What I'm Painting: Walls and Watercolors

And then I just had sort of a doodle page. Who says sketches have to "be" something!

Rachel Loewens What I'm Painting: Walls and Watercolors

Monday, May 11, 2015

Race day report

This past Saturday was my husband's race at Platte. After having such a relaxing time their last week, I made sure to be there for race day.

A UP employee/friend of ours told me that technically putting coins on railroads is illegal since the lines are private property...

but I had some change in my bag and just couldn't resist. Sorry for setting such a bad example for all of my young, impressionable blog readers!!

Since the race was four hours long I seized the opportunity to explore more of the park. Because of all of the rain we've had in Nebraska lately it was sometimes hard to know if a path was a real trail or just an area that was washed out. 

My little ones always like it if I can find some snail shells for them, but the only ones I found were "occupied". At least I scored a turkey feather!

As for the actual race, my husband placed fourth with is really impressive because he was riding a cross bike for a mountain bike race. Trust me, this matters!

Oh, and one last thing! Today is our sixth wedding anniversary so happy anniversary Trav!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Friday night foraging finds

My husband has an upcoming bike race at Platte River State Park and was needing to head out there for a few practice laps before the big day. Being in desperate need of some solitude and fresh air, I quickly volunteered to go with him.

I really love how you can still see some of the original art on the coins even after the train flattened them. Also, they remind me of some of the forms that I like to experiment with.

I'll keep changing up this arrangement until it feels a little more right. If I don't get this glued down by 4pm today my daughter will probably take a few of these items for her own collections so I had better get to work!