From Coloring book pages – nanoscapes

Coloring pages have a heart

A Valentine heart coloring page

Drawing the first of the nanoscapes Valentine coloring pages was an unalloyed pleasure, as was painting the original ($100, limited availability at ETSY), and creating a digital print ($25, at ETSY). This 2017 Nanoscapes Valentine Heart is a dollar digital download at ETSY. You have choices: the original watercolor painting (get it before it disappears!), an archival digital print (Epson paper and ink), or a project (the coloring page.)

nanoscapes valentine 2017
Nanoscapes Valentine 2017 Dollar Digital Download at https://www.etsy.com/your/shops/SusanGainen/tools/listings/506928367

My pals have urged me to make coloring books for a decade

Adult coloring books stopped being a trend and coloring pages are now a tidal wave. I was a little slow getting to the coloring pages project, but I’m now at it all the time. I go everywhere with a pad of Bristol paper, 6H pencils, erasers, and a tiny brass pencil sharpener.

A collection of coloring pages

Common advice to writers is “go with what you know,” and I followed it. Making coloring pages based on nanoscapes’ designs lets me revisit the tiny shapes and spaces that I’ve explored since childhood with doodles, and with paint since I took James Boyd Brent’s Splitrock Short Watercolor Class in 2006.

Making a book to my satisfaction is much more complicated than I imagined, so I have made these pages into dollar (plus tax) digital downloads at my ETSY shop in the Adult Coloring Page section. Print them onto card stock. Get our your sharp pencils, tiny paint brushes, or pens and markers. Have fun!

Click to see the pages, then dollar download at ETSY

Click on each image to learn more about Orbs (an original nanoscape), Stacked Boxes, Boxes and Dots, Painted Knitted Metal 31, Demented Dominos, Stalagmites and Curves, Find the Owl!, Terrazzo Molecules, Friendship Bands, and Conversations Connections. There are now 24 coloring pages in The ADULT COLORING PAGES of my ETSY shop. I often add new pages.

New work review: fish parts plus

The range of new work surrounding me calls for both an exploration (what is she up to?) and a celebration (perhaps she’ll finally finish some of these projects.) It’s no surprise that my two favorite hashtags are #work-in-progress and #artfun. I may deserve a magpie award: lots of projects in various stages of completion.

Fish Parts Mirror

New work comes and goes in stages. The Fish Parts Mirror is part of the paper mosaic family which bubbled up in 2016. It will be a fish-with-a-round-mirror. What’s the hold up? This looks like a simple glue job. But no. The wooden fish substrate has curves and bumps that need to be smoothed out with layers of gesso. Then, the fish parts need to be fitted together. Funnily enough, what fits fine when flat doesn’t fit as well over bumps and lumps. But you knew that.

Fish Parts Mirror paper mosaic. New work on a wooden substrate.
Fish Parts Mirror paper mosaic. New work on a wooden substrate.

 

 

Coloring book pages in many stages

Where is the coloring book? Coloring pages have been in the new work pile for more than a year. I have lots of pages, but putting them together into a book that makes sense is a lot harder than it would appear. Questions abound:

  1. How big should the book be? This is a two-part question because it refers to size-of-the-page and number of pages.
  2. Should I include full-color versions of each page? Because all of the designs are based on original abstracts, the book won’t look like others in the market. I am cautiously optimistic that some people may be up for the challenge. On the other hand, painting each of these pages would be enormously pleasurable and a potential black-hole-time-waste.
  3. Each design has a story. How much to I tell. Where would it go? On the back of each coloring page? How much — if any — might be interesting, useful, or fun?

In the meantime, more than 20  pages are dollar digital downloads in the Adult Coloring Pages section of my etsy shop.

Square DNA Coloring Page: new work
Square DNA Coloring Page: new work

 

 

Blocks and Arrows Coloring Page: new work
Blocks and Arrows Coloring Page: new work

 

 

 

Dots & Dominos 2 Coloring Page: New work
Dots & Dominos 2 Coloring Page: New work

 

 

Golden Brand High Flow Acrylic: new medium for #artfun

Black and White High Flow Acrylic: new work
Black and White High Flow Acrylic: New work

 

High Flow Ferns Blue Green Red: new work
High Flow Fern Feet Blue Green Red: new work

With the same magical impact on my painting as Golden Glass Bead Gel, Golden’s High Flow Acrylics rocked my world.

Bead Gel, as you may know, contains tiny glass beads suspended in a clear acrylic medium that allows artists to make things bumpy and shiny. High Flow Acrylics do a lot of things that I haven’t explored.

What fascinated me when I got my first sample from the “sale” table at Dick Blick, was that when a blob is dropped into liquid (gesso was my first),  the blobs expand and then grow tiny fern feet. I was concerned (was this paint supposed to do that?) and curious. I sent an email to Golden Artist-in-Residence and Acrylic Diva Bonnie Cutts, who kindly replied that yes, the little feet were part of High Flow’s characteristics. She also sent a cool video. I’ve been playing with this stuff ever since.

The images at right are experiments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New work for holidays

Having made dozens of Flying Pigs and Elephants this year, it’s clear that I love spending “tiny time” with shapes and creatures. The Holidays (all of ’em) are upon us, and it’s time to turn to ornaments. I’m making a few Holiday Stars that will be studded with shiny stuff (stainless steel beads, etc.) Multi-level Stars of David will be shiny with optimism. Unless there is a groundswell of demand, I will make just three three-dimensional Red-Eye’d Bat postcards which will come with envelopes. All are subject to availability. Contact me directly.

Stars of David New Work
Stars of David New Work
Shiny Bats Postcards New Work
Shiny Bats Postcards New Work
Holiday Stars New Work
Holiday Stars New Work

Big Neighborhoods Community Coloring Page

Community Coloring Page

Big Neighborhoods 2 is all about getting people, things and ideas to work together. Handing colleagues and roommates pens and markers to work together on a Community Coloring Page will support teamwork and create laughter. Thanks go to the very nice man who saw it during  Saint Paul Art Crawl and plans to buy one for his company’s break room.

What a great idea.

Hang your Community Coloring Page

Create community in:

  1. An office
  2. A dorm
  3. A sorority or fraternity house
  4. A retirement home
  5. A community center
  6. A waiting room
  7. A recreation center
  8. Your choice

The Big Neighborhoods 22×33 Coloring Page will be available at the Vine Arts Center Holiday Sale, December 3-4, 2016.   $48 plus tax.

Big Neighborhoods 2 Coloring Page by mail

Each is packed in a sturdy mailing tube. $48 plus $16 shipping plus tax. Click here.

Big Neighborhoods 2 at the Saint Paul Art Crawl

Big Neighborhoods 2 is an abstract painting of squares and rectangles that celebrates connection between and among neighborhoods, people, and things. It has become its own Art Family, and eight versions will be at the Dow Gallery & Frame Shop at the 2016 Saint Paul Art Crawl.

  • The original painting (22×33, framed);
  • Two sizes of prints of the original painting;
  • Greeting cards with the Big Neighborhoods image;
  • The original drawing in three sizes of coloring pages, including a full-sized page on very special paper (17 mil DigiScape Smooth 350 by FiberMark);
  • Two sizes of digital prints of Black Light and Shadows, the invert of the original drawing,
  • Greeting cards with the Black Light and Shadows image.

Big Neighborhoods 2: an art trip

As soon as I began to draw Big Neighborhoods 2, I knew that I wanted to create a full-sized coloring page. It took only a minute to remember the great folks at Apropos Studio (printers and artists extraordinaire: an amazing resource) who helped me create the page. But the actual painting sat on my easel for nearly half a year. It is a watercolor painting, so I didn’t have the excuse that artists-working-in-oils have. Their works can take years to dry.

Was it finished? Was it complete? It certainly took up a lot of visual space in my living room studio. Now that it has all of its Art Family, it is, indeed, complete.

Big Neighborhoods 2
Big Neighborhoods 2: 22×33 Original Framed $800; prints matted to 11×14 and 16×20.

 

Big Neighborhoods Coloring Page
Big Neighborhoods Coloring Page (3 sizes: 22×33; 11×14, 8×10)
Black Light & Shadows
Black Light & Shadows  Prints 11×14 and cards. (And, because I love it so much, I made a show curtain out of this print. Available at zazzle.com.)

Other work at the Dow for the Art Crawl

I will be celebrating abstract shapes and connections with other work including Rings and Links, Conversations Connections, Friendship Bands, and more.

 

Black Lights-Shadows from Big Neighborhoods

Black Lights-Shadows – invert!

Black Light-Shadows is an image that is the next iteration of the nanoscape Big Neighborhoods 2.  BN2 was a joy to create, to paint, and to make into a Giant Coloring Page. Through the magic of Photoshop invert, the design has a new and different life with many possibilities that I’ve yet to explore.

It still reflects and incorporates neighborhoods and connections, and Black Lights-Shadows clearly celebrates my love of mosaics. Had I not given up activities requiring safety equipment and liability waivers for my 50th birthday, I would be in a glass studio cutting out pieces to recreate this design in glass or ceramic tile. An ambitious artist or crafter could take on that challenge using the 22×33 Big Neighborhoods Blank Coloring Page as a template.

Black Light-Shadows
Black Lights-Shadows

 

Big Neighborhoods 2 Coloring Page
Big Neighborhoods 2 Coloring Page

Black Lights-Shadows made in Photoshop

One of my favorite settings in Photoshop is “invert,” which turns white into black, black into white, and flips colors to their opposite on the color wheel. Without a color, Big Neighborhoods 2 became Black Lights-Shadows with one click and a bit of creative adjustment.

I used Black Lights-Shadows at zazzle.com to create  a shower curtain, an accent pillow, poster, and a postcard. This design will find a home on textiles and other materials, too. Watch this space.

 

 

Coloring page digital downloads

Prepping the coloring pages for the first nanoscapes coloring book is taking more time than I thought. (Really? Isn’t this like home repair? Everything takes twice as long…)  I’m so excited about each coloring page and some of them are available as ETSY dollar digital downloads. Each is a 300 dpi image. Please print onto card stock or other heavy paper that you’d like to color or paint on.

Each coloring page is based on an original nanoscape, one of the the abstract paintings that have been part of my life since 2006. It has been wonderful fun to revisit each design, to create a coloring page, and to begin to paint each one. My original goal was to make a completed painted work for each page, but I realized that would create an unhelpful and annoying delay in the publication date.  Here are a few of the ETSY pages which are $1.00 digital downloads. You’ll find a growing number  here at ETSY.

Painted Knitted Metal Coloring Page

There are two original Painted Knitted Metal paintings. They honor my friends Carolyn Halliday and Karen Searle, who knit and crochet with metal. I have known a lot of metal in my time, and none of it has ever said “Knit me.” Their work is exquisite, exciting, and in the dictionary next to the word “unique.” Think about coloring inside each corner, inside each shape, or between each shape. You are the boss of your coloring page. Click here for the ETSY digital download.

Painted Knitted Metal Coloring Page
Painted Knitted Metal  Coloring Page

Stacked Boxes or Neighborhoods Coloring Page

This is based on a life-long doodle that became many paintings. They were a vehicle for exploring and celebrating color when I first began working in watercolor. My friend and mentor, Russ Dittmar, told me that the way to get bright colors from watercolor was “lots of pigment, not a lot of water,” and those paintings reflect that motto. People have speculated that these images are cities, neighborhoods, stacked boxes, and other things. I always start each painting or coloring page with the only complete square (here on the left), and go from there. Have fun! Click here for the ETSY download.

Stacked Boxes or Neighborhoods Coloring Page
Stacked Boxes or Neighborhoods Coloring Page

 

Really Tiny Dots Coloring Page

The earliest nanoscapes were explorations of tiny patterns inside tiny spaces, most often circles or vaguely circular shapes. I made an image of all dots — lots of them — and Russ Dittmar printed 12 blanks for me. I painted them all in different color combinations, and wish that I had a decent photo of the time that they were hung together in a library. It was early in my art life, and I knew less than nothing about photographing art. Download here from ETSY.  Enjoy!!

Tiny Dots Coloring Page
Tiny Dots Coloring Page

Big Neighborhoods: Three sizes to color

Big Neighborhoods 2.1: a really big coloring page

Big Neighborhoods 2.1 is now a challenging full-sized blank coloring page, the same size as  the 22×33-inch original painting. The 22×33 blank page is expertly printed by Apropos Studio on 17 mil DigiScape Smooth 350. This is a wall-covering product, and it is a very smooth friend to paint, pencil, and marker. Order it directly from me: $48 plus $11.00 flat rate shipping.

Big Neighborhoods 2
Big Neighborhoods 2

Big Neighborhoods 2 to color: a really big project

Unless you have a spare work table or dining room, you will need to make a space to color on this piece. Confession: I taped my first big nanoscape to my dining room wall, and drew and painted on it there.

The original Big Neighborhoods 2 is taped to a drawing board, probably the Utrecht 28×38 heavy duty board which is remarkably cheap — less than $20. I have dozens of these boards in various sizes. They have clips, and not terribly comfortable handholds, but they are invaluable for their sturdiness.  Unless you are obsessively tidy (which I am not), these boards become living histories of your projects. The one below has hosted and launched a number of tiny Lost Cave Paintings of Saint Paul. I can see the colors of gesso that went beyond the tape.

Because I worked Big Neighborhoods 2 in watercolor, I painted on a flat surface, so the taped piece on the board sat on my painting table and I stored it vertically on my easel. You can see it taped below. The little Panda peeking out from under the easel is one of the Pandas of the Hidden Bamboo Forest of Saint Paul. It can be worked vertically with pencils, markers or acrylic paint.

Drawing Board full of life
Drawing Board full of life
Neighborhoods 2 Closeup
Neighborhoods 2 Closeup

The blank really big page: make it your own

The Neighborhoods 2 blank coloring page looks like this. It is printed on 17 mil DigiScape Smooth 350 by FiberMark. It is incredibly smooth, and the paper — a wallcovering product — is a friend to paint, pencil and marker. Order this by clicking here.

 

Big Neighborhoods 2 Coloring Page
Big Neighborhoods 2 Coloring Page   

 

Big Neighborhoods: Two smaller sizes

Big Neighborhoods 2.2

My comfort zone is tiny spaces, so I love working these pages in any size. Big Neighborhoods 2.2, is 12×16 inches, and requires a steady hand and your choice of markers, sharp pencils or pens, or a double-zero brush. ($22 plus flat rate shipping). Order directly from me: $22 plus 5.95 flat rate shipping. Printed with archival inks on 90# double-sided mat card stock.

Big Neighborhoods 3.0

Big Neighborhoods 3.0 is the tiniest version, just 8×10″. It requires a very steady hand, very sharp pencils, fine-pointed markers or double-or-triple-zero watercolor brushes. ($10. Free shipping Shipped flat). My comfort zone is tiny spaces, so I love this image. Printed with archival inks on 90# double-sided mat card stock.

 

Demented Dominos 1: coloring book page

Demented Dominos 1 – new #artfun

Demented Dominos 1 added itself to the first group of nanoscapes coloring book pages. I can’t wait to paint or color it. I suspect that there will be more to come in this family of images.

Tools I use

Every single nanoscape and every single creature painting begins with a 6H General Pencil. It makes a fine line, and is easily erasable if necessary. The General has 20 different degrees of hardness in graphite pencils, and I hope to experiment with all of them. Almost all of the original pages in this first nanoscapes coloring book are made on Canson Bristol pads. Smooth. Really smooth. For these pages, I’ve outlined each space with a black .05 Micron Pen.

 

Demented Dominos 1: a coloring book page
Demented Dominos 1: a coloring book page