Even though I believe in contributing to making this a greener planet, saying goodbye to my car of 12 years is a little like experiencing a death in the family.
Sometimes creative impulses need to take precedent over other scheduled work. Even so, getting back on track with a task list can help to keep you moving forward.
Picture of an artist's desk complete with sketchbook, finished design and a design in progress.
Today’s design hails from my past:
I’m a big fan of the dazzling contrast of black onyx with the sparkle of diamonds. In this earring, I imagined a round onyx sphere inlaid with diamonds as the focal point. One artist who is a master of this type of inlay work is Michael Bondanza. More recently, Michael has taken inlay a step further, combining precious metals, diamonds and gemstones with hand-turned rosewood. Proof that if you can imagine it, it can be done!
Here is the first chandelier variation I designed to complement and dress up the diamond milgrained hoop:
As you can see, I’ve kept the milgrained detailing in the chandelier dangle to tie in with the design of the hoop, and have chosen to echo the tear-drop briolette shape in the elongated onyx drops. Slide this dangle onto the hoop and Voilà! you have an earring worthy of a black-tie event! Come back tomorrow for the 2nd chandelier variation…
Earlier last week, I did a series of colored pencil and gouache renderings on vellum. All of these designs departed from a simple gold circle which I then paired with diamonds and other gemstones. Here is another variation on that theme:
Today marks the 1ooth day in my project of posting a design or rendering every day on my blog for a year. I’m excited to embark on the next 100 days because the challenge of continuing to refine my technique has become as addictive as the design ideas which continually pop up in my brain. Coming soon will be an official invitation to preview my website which has undergone some big changes, and more new pieces from Joana Miranda Studio. Thanks for coming along with me for the ride!
One of my favorite periods in jewelry, and, in fact in all art from advertising to fashion and architecture, is the Art Deco period. As an outgrowth of WWI, this style predominated in the years between 1920 and 1930. Characterized by geometric patterns in bold and striking color combinations, the Art Deco period suggested a practicality departing from the dreamy fantasy of the earlier Art Nouveau period.
My Deco-inspired brooch below is based on a hexagon, one of the basic shapes in a snowflake. The diagonal bars of bead-set melee diamonds suggest icicles. Black onyx echoes the hexagon shape and contributes a visual foil to the white sparkle of the brooch:
Other characteristics of the Art Deco period in jewelry include:
- Sleek, streamlined look, emphasizing the vertical line
- Gemstones including diamonds, black onyx, lapis lazuli, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, jade, turquoise and topaz
- Carved or cabochon-cut colored gemstones
This has been another very busy week for me…less so at the Milwaukee Symphony than at my business. I’ve been running to the post office and FedEx every day it seems. As soon as I think I can breathe easy and go about my day in a less hectic manner, an email or phone order comes in! So, my renderings have been a little more simple as a result. Here is a variation on the rounded gold disc with diamonds I designed yesterday:
I’m still mesmerized by this combination of shapes and the contrast of the yellow gold with the diamonds. I don’t think I’ve yet put down on paper what truly makes me say “that’s it!”, but I’m getting there! Tomorrow I’ll be posting another variation on this theme…
Tonight when I sat down to do this rendering, I fully intended to do a really quick design. I started with my shape templates and quickly laid out the hexagon and rectangle. The two shapes combined looked very Art Deco to me, so I decided to follow this design vein. As I started filling in the diamonds and faceted onyx, I was bothered by a lack of balance. After I had finished the rendering, I couldn’t leave it and went back and added the pear-shape faceted emerald drop.
Time stands still for me when I design and paint. Since this is one of the only times during the day when I’m happy to sit still and my mind is quiet, I see these designs as a form of meditation, as well a chance to further my design and rendering techniques. These designs are my own way, too, to offer a daily gift to my readers and maybe bring a tiny bit of beauty into both our worlds.
For today’s rendering, I went back to working with colored pencil on vellum. This rendering practically flew off of my drafting table and was fun to do. Here are some tips for working with vellum:
- After drawing your design in graphite on the vellum, pick up any extra graphite with a kneaded eraser by pressing it over all of the graphite lines.
- Place your vellum from this point on over a piece of brown mat board so that you can see the depth of the colors and highlights you will be adding.
- Have a scratch piece of vellum on hand to test out the fineness of the points of your colored pencils. (To that end, frequent resharpening of the colored pencils, as well as further sanding on sanding stick, will help you to achieve precise points.)
- Color in the back of the rendering if you want the gold (or in this case, onyx as well) to really have a richness of color.
- Use as fine a paintbrush as you can for working with the white gouache for the diamond or other gemstone highlights (I just bought some new 0, 00 and 3/0 watercolor paintbrushes to replace my old ones which were getting frayed.)
- Fix any small errors (stray colored pencil lines) by very gently lifting off the color with an X-acto knife. You want to be sure to use gentle sideways motion so that you only lift off the color and don’t gouge the paper.
- Create a shadow under your finished design with an artist’s stump dipped in graphite shavings. This will help make your design pop off the page. The good thing with using graphite shavings for the shadow is that you can always erase and “re-smudge” if your shadow doesn’t look quite right!
- Spray the finished design with a fixative. I do this for all of my renderings, whether on vellum or Canson art paper. (I use Utrecht’s “Workable Fixative” spray.)
Finally, do what you love to do. I’ve found that the only way to get through the day-to-day difficulties of life, is to surround yourself with people you love and immerse yourself in something that totally absorbs you.