Tuesday, March 23, 2021

How to upcycle and frame small artwork


I framed these for a good client of mine. She wanted to use a frame she had on hand. It was an inexpensive frame from the 90's that came with three matt board window openings. The plexiglass is thin.
My only regret is not putting in real glass. My local hardware store is no more, they were the best and reasonable priced for custom glass cuts. I get my Mattboard for free at the local frame store. The keep a bin of off cuts. These are great for all sorts of projects and FREEEEE!

The finished piece. These are my original watercolor paintings, each 5x7 on cold press 140lb watercolor paper. Do check out my website for lots more art AmeenDhillon.com. Original art work, especially if the paper has a deckle or torn edge looks beautiful mounted in a shadow box style frame where the artwork is raised slightly to appear to float within the frame.

Gather your materials and stretch them out on a clean table. Ruler, pencil, white plastic erasure, acid free tape, hot glue gun, white mattboard that matches or compliments the artwork, acid free foam core pieces cut to slightly smaller than the art work.

Coil the tape and put it the 4 corners of the foam core. Center your artwork and gently add pressure so that it sticks. Keep a clean piece of paper on top of the artwork and gently burnish the taped areas with your hand. This keeps the oils and any dirt from you hands from getting on the art. Mount all three paintings and set aside.

I replaced the original backing with sturdy matt board making sure it was larger than the opening so that it would attach across the back of the frame. Measure and place the paintings keeping an equal space at the top, bottom and sides. paces between the paintings should be slightly less. I left 1 1/4 inches around the edges. I put very light pencil marks in the bottom corners only. Put coiled tape on the back of the foam core squares and attach to the matt board. After they are mounted and the mesurements look good erase your pencil marks. Now let's put it all together, hot glue the plexi glass to the inside of the frame. Attach the matt board to the back of the frame, before securing it in place check for dust, debree and  fingerprints within the frame.  Attach the matt board to the back of the frame,  I used the existing clips and a staple gun for the side without clips. 

 For light frames I attach fishing line with a staple gun and knot it in place for hanging.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Valentines crafting, Emroidered Felt Hearts

I wasn't in the Christmas spirit at all this year. No cards or  cookies with friends... But its Valentine's day and there are a lot of special ladies in my life so tomorrow I'll be doing some porch drop offs.

Plum Preserves from our tree, 84 lbs of plums last year!!!!

I've been busy crafting these little cuties.

They started as Christmas ornaments , our tree was looking a little bare and I had wanted all handmade ornaments. The hearts started in January.

I keep everything in  a little tin, super portable. Usually I make a couple when we watch a show.

I have a new website for my art, ameendhillon.com With my studio temporarily closed I've been busy with my own work. I stenciled a bunch of the paper offcuts from my paintings for little Valentine tags.

My current favorite stencil and stencil/tooth brush.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Small Figurative Watercolor Paintings

Hello friends! My forced sabbatical continues into 2021. It was a very productive fall and I am looking forward to positive changes coming for 2021. 

I have a new website up to sell and share my personal work. I'd love it if you checked it out ameendhillon.com. Let me know what you think. 

I am currently on day 40 of my 100 days of art challenge on instagram. Here's a few pieces that were done early on. To see them all follow me on Instagram @ameendhillonart

I was playing with a stencil I had and then added a single figure and loved the way the 2 came together. The abstract background gives a sense of space to the figures without being specific. A reference to a tiled wall or floor or an embroidered fabric. 
All images are from my own photos of India, specifically the state of Punjab. Paintings are original 5"x7" watercolors. 

Riding Gear 5X7 watercolor on cold press watercolor paper

Posing for a Picture 5X7 watercolor on cold press watercolor paper

 Dinner Prep 5X7 watercolor on cold press watercolor paper

Mother  5X7 watercolor on cold press watercolor paper

 Her Lilac Sari 5X7 watercolor on cold press watercolor paper

Mummiji 5X7 watercolor on cold press watercolor paper


Thursday, November 19, 2020

100 Day Art Challenge and Travel Log

 I have officially started a 100 day art challenge, I hope you'll follow along IG account

During the next 100 days I'll be posting a 5X7 watercolour painting each day. Some days it'll be a work in progress, other days a finished piece. All inspired by my travel photos from over the years. I have A LOT of travel photos. I am always documenting thinking I'll draw from them. Usually a small body of work or sketchbook studies happen during or just after a trip and then  I move on to something else. Well, I am so thankful to have all these photos to flip through. 

Summer of 2019 we did a month long self drive road trip through Botswana. Starting and finishing in Johannesburg, throughout Botswana to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.  No guides, no fancy safari camps, just an Overland vehicle and our family of 4! It was a total adventure and we can't wait to get back to Africa.

We camped at Planet Baobao, Gweta, Botswana, just follow the signs...this place was awesome! One of the coolest campsites we have ever been to and a welcome treat after camping in the bush!
The most beautiful painted rondovals and of course the Baobao trees are incredible.

Day 1

Day 2

A day trip to Victoria Falls, we couldn't drive in because our rental was only insured for Botswana and South Africa. We planned a day trip from Senyati Safari Camp to Victoria Falls, its not very far but much simpler to go with a pre-arranged driver through the camp. Crossing borders in Africa isn't exactly straight forward, we appreciated having someone else drive. 

Day 3

I'm not much of a shopper at home in Seattle. I like to keep up with basics and  hit the thrift store on a regular basis. But when I travel I generally buy a large cheap duffle bag to bring home the haul. Carry on bags only on the way there and checked bags coming home.  I was quite happy supporting the crafts people on our trip!

Day 4

...and a few more from Botswana

This bridge crosses the Zambizi river from Zimbabwe into Zambia. Had to cross it, what we did not do was Bungy Jump off the bridge.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Painting Series from travel photos

Classes are still on hold, I'll be back teaching in the studio sometime next year, but until then I am on sabbatical and hope you'll follow along.

My son headed off to college this summer and I quickly reclaimed his room.  A thorough scrub down revealed multiple work surfaces and good natural light! I added a rug and a nice quilt to the lofted bed and that was about it. My new studio space was ready.

In my last last blog post I shared my entry for the Dear Ballard greeting card fundraiser. That seems to have been the starting point for my new small body of work which I have titled #fromwhenwecouldtravel
I am so thankful for all the travel opportunities that I have had. Going through the thousands of photos brightens my days and fills me with inspiration. I had a watercolor block of blank postcards that I started with and have since moved onto a 5X7 block of watercolor paper. I get up everyday excited to make my morning Chai and get started! 

The journey starts in Burano, Italy....

A number 8 brush and whatever watercolors I had on hand.

Ikea road trip for some frames. 


Sunday, September 27, 2020

Sketchbooks, drawing, painting, daily practice

The studio is still closed. I'll open up again when it is completely safe. Until then I'll be taking a sabbatical, sharpening my pencils and filling my sketchbooks. I treasure all the photos I have from passed travels and am really enjoying sketching from them. They may just stay in the sketch books or become small cards. Lets see where it goes. 

One of favorite places, Burno, Italy. I could spend a month here just drawing and painting everyday, all day. #fromwhenwecouldtravel

These 2 will be part of the  Dear Ballard Greeting Card Campaign that will have handmade cards available October 1st,  all funds raised going to charity.  A great project that got me started painting again.

I've also started working on my Urban Sketching and quick figure drawing skills....so much fun! A friend recommended SkillShare and in particular James Richards Urban Sketching classes. I highly recommend it!

 ...and I'm brushing up on my french with Duolingo

Bonne Journee!

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Journaling and Sketch book ideas

Here's the latest YouTube video, this time around a look at a sketchbook  that I made for my son. He just graduated form high school,  so his last page includes his graduation announcement!

Remember to subscribe to my YouTube channel. New videos are posted every week or two.

These are the 8x10 basic black sketchbooks I have kept for my kids. They both had their first 10 years very well documented and then I did recaps a few times a year. 

The elephant card was the starting point for these 2 pages. I quickly covered the page with orange ink to match the card, carrying the ink loosely over to the other page. The scribbles were already there, so I wanted to keep the brush strokes messy as well. With large pages I generally block in color quickly, letting the brush strokes show.  I like to cut out photos of people really tight, so that they can become a part of their new landscape. White paper with notes on it was glued down before orange paint was added, the text becomes texture in the background.

The half face is my grandpa. I was working on a larger project and had a few extra xerox copies of him and collaged them on various pages. I decided to crop his face to line up with the center of the page. Using whatever paint was left over at the end of the day I blocked in the background. I also would have randomly painted a few more pages to finish the paint. Another cut out of my son so that he is looking into the page. 

Sketchbook pages evolve over time. I will go back through a book and add some color to a page or pages that were started many years ago, or add a bit of collage. If something doesn't turn out, it can be covered with collage. The sketchbooks are also filled with journal entries. Often the journal entry is the starting point. I'll write in any direction, any color. A color theme is one element that can bring  order to a page.  

There are lots of attachments in the books as well. The envelope has been printed with a map, another left over from an old project. I stuffed the envelope with a Christmas card and some school photos.

I usually have a few sketchbooks that I am working on at the same time. One is set aside for just travelling, another for daily journal entries and to just have with me so  I can sketch or write anytime.  

This was my last travel journal, the paint brush gives you an idea of size. I fit the journal, this small watercolor kit, 2 brushes , a couple pencils and a few markers all in a sandwich size ziplock bag. This was for a 1 month trip. We always travel light, so i just pack the essentials for art making. 

Let your sketchbook be a place to explore thoughts and ideas, and experiment with materials. What are you going to do in your sketchbook?

Ciao for now!
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