Croquet Ball Art

Acrylic on a vintage croquet ball.
Acrylic on a vintage croquet ball.

An artist friend of mine asked me to paint a bird on a vintage croquet ball as part of her bird wall.  I must say painting on a three dimensional surface was definitely a very different experience.

She shared this picture and text online “A beautiful vintage croquet ball painted for me by a fellow artist and friend. I will now add this to my ever growing Bird ball wall! Thank you Amanda for the precious pass-it-forward gift…I just love being involved in this random act of giving…and should I say, receiving!”

Thank you Beka!  Paying it forward is such a fun experience!

Beka Brayer’s art can be found here.

Gesso Techniques

Paper prepared with gesso.
Paper prepared with gesso and then acrylic and ink layered on top.

It is interesting to see how other artists work in the same mediums. I found artist Will Kemp and read about how he dilutes his layers of gesso from thin to thick. This layering technique will create a smooth surface on your canvas. If you want to check out how to do this visit his website.

Prepare your surface with gesso and enjoy painting on top of it!

Gessoing Canvas Tips

I get asked all the time if I gesso my canvas. I do often buy the pre-primed canvas at the art supply store, but I do find that it is not smooth enough for my style of painting. I found this video by Howcast and it is exactly how I do mine (minus the mixing of the gesso). And I do prefer a squeegee. I also love to add texture and paint to my gesso to start off an interesting painting.

Has anyone ever mixed their own gesso? I am curious if there is any difference in quality.

Love Birds – New Commissioned Art

New commissioned artwork.  Love Birds, mixed media on canvas,
New commissioned artwork. Love Birds, mixed media.

It is so fun to see what people are drawn to.  This piece was inspired by another love birds silhouette painting of sparrows in love.  It was fun to play around will my paper scraps and see what this 6 x 6 canvas starts to create.  What a little beauty!


Teal – Color of the Day

Three on a Wire II.  Mixed media on canvas.
Three on a Wire II. Mixed media on canvas.

I love the color teal, it is such a happy cool color.  I find that I use it in a lot in my work.  What is your favorite color?

If you like technical information on this color, check out Golden Paint’s information page:

Gallery Route One Closing Salon

Varied Thrush colored pencil drawing with journal notes.
Varied Thrush colored pencil drawing with journal notes.

Last chance to see the show at Gallery Route One. I have on display a framed colored pencil Varied Thrush drawing along with several framed sketches from members of the Journal Club and with some of John Muir Laws sketch books. The gallery is holding a closing salon on Sunday, March 23rd from 4 to 5 PM. The gallery is located at 11101 Highway One, Pt. Reyes, CA 94956.

What Inspires You and Me?

Inspiration is such a important part of why we create. It is so exciting to find inspiration in a piece of paper, a word or an experience. That spark that gets you working on a new project or helps you finish a longtime challenge is such a wonderful welcome. Even certain people can start your mind working faster than you can write everything down.

I work, sometimes tirelessly, to discover processes to steer me clear of a creative block. At times I wish I had someone to give me the answers, but that might have taken some of the fun out of it. And a good thing too because my imagination and creativity has become part of the process of making my art.

Here are a couple tips to get your creativity started:

Keep your mind open. Always keep your eyes and your mind open to discover the things that inspire you. You never really know where you might find something interesting.

Keep a visual journal. Try saving clippings, notes, and images that inspire you and keep them together in a journal or a box. Just reviewing your stash of goodies may start your mind wandering. You can even rearrange items as if creating layers in your work. Or think about saving them on your mobile device.

Always be prepared. Notes or messages to yourself can sometimes be a great tool, so keep a pencil and paper or your mobile device nearby to write them down.

If you put the pieces together from the above tips you might see the trend and the start of a process that may work for you. It is a start to a simple process, things that you can do even if you work a full time job and a life outside of art. After discovering what gets you going the next step is to start making appointments with yourself to allow time to create.

I hope I can help inspire your own creativity by sharing these bits of goodness, and by sharing information about people that inspire me.

-Amanda Krauss, Avian Artist

Amanda in the Studio Working in the Studio

Two Birds in a Coffee Table Book

Above are the two works selected in Room to Breathe: The Wild Heart of the San Francisco Peninsula, a coffee table book celebrating 40 years of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. Hopefully the book will be available as scheduled on November 1st!

I enjoy hiking at Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve which happens to be near where I live. It is a interesting open space with a variety of microhabitats in such a small area. On one of my trips I saw a poster inviting artists to apply to the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District for publication in their 40th anniversary coffee table book. I sent in some artwork immediately and heard back in December 2011 that I was a semifinalist. Woo hoo how exciting!
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Bird Art Interview on SVOS Talk Art

My interview from March 1, 2012 at Silicon Valley Open Studios (SVOS) Talk Art by Sally Rayn.

Preparing for my interview was very different than any other art exhibit or event that I have ever prepared for, and boy I was so nervous. I had to pick the art for the set, practice talking about myself and learn all about being on screen, which included hair, makeup and wardrobe. But my favorite part was preparing the demonstration. It took me back to doing demonstrations in my art classes and workshops.

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Hello, Welcome and Enjoy!

Welcome! My name is Amanda Krauss and I am an avian artist. This is a very different format for me, but I am looking forward to delving in my artwork, my inspirations, and talking about other artists. I am going to start with a plug for my next art fair, the Kings Mountain Art Fair Labor Day Weekend. I will have several new paintings, abstract and realistic birds. I hope to see some of you there!
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