Charmaine Boggs is an artist and arts educator living near Dayton, Ohio. This is her fourth installment in a 4-part series as one of Artist Strong’s Artists in Residence. You can follow her artistic adventures, and occasional side trips, on Instagram @cboggsart. She also offers free art tutorials on her YouTube channel.

August has flown by in a blur of activity here in Ohio! This may be my final post as an Artist Resident with Artist Strong, however there is still much more to come with the family heritage project I’ve been sharing, as well as my other work. Last week, I ended on a hopeful note, saying the I might have a finished piece to share…and if not, at least a bit of progress toward the end of that “messy middle”.

I also shared the three words that summed up my father’s values: faith, family, and friends. During the past week, progress with my art has taken a backseat to spending time with my family.

My grandsons live in another state and play travel baseball in the summer. Last spring, my husband and I planned a few mini-vacations to watch each of them play in tournaments that were within a few hours’ drive of our home. So off we went, this time to explore the Lake Erie beaches on Presque Isle in between baseball games in Erie, PA. I now have a collection of Lake Erie lighthouse photos from our trips to Sandusky and Erie. Could be a few paintings in the works soon!

Before we left, I was working on a few backgrounds for this mixed media cyanotype project. I knew that I wanted to use the idea of time passing along with family traditions, and I found these stencils on Amazon that I can use in many different ways. I often make cyanotype and rust printed papers to try new ideas or to give myself a break when a painting or project isn’t quite working as I hoped it would. I keep these in bins and folders to use in collage work.

The yellow, orange, and red colors of rust prints combine well with the blues of cyanotype papers. I also have these printable images that I purchased from VectoriaDesigns on Etsy over a year ago. At the time, I just liked them and I didn’t really have a purpose for them until now. Gold and copper are my favorite metallic paints to use with this color combination. I’ll probably add some white gel pen for embellishing patterns and adding text.

Since we returned home, we’ve had some sunny days and I’ve been able to make a few more thumbnail cyanotype photos to add to my art journal for this project. Making the negatives from some of the sepia and color photos was challenging. It took several attempts to get dark enough blacks and grays to have good contrast for the cyanotype prints. This potential background was one of the prints that was way too light colored, so I reapplied the cyanotype solution, added a stencil, and reprinted it. I like the way the images appear in the background, especially this one here of my grandmother behind the image of the clock.

My art journal is still a work in progress along with everything else, but I now have enough to get started on this collection. I also have a little motivation to keep going and not procrastinate. I’m a member of the Miamisburg Art Gallery, where we have the option to show our work in themed exhibits several times a year. The upcoming September exhibit theme is “Friends and Family”, so I need to get to work on this one sooner rather than later!

I’m planning to continue sharing more of this project on Instagram and on my YouTube channel. I’ll be creating a YouTube tutorial to explain the process I’m using to create the negatives for the cyanotype photographs. If this sounds like something you’d like to try, be sure to follow me on YouTube. I also post updates on my Instagram when I have videos to share.

Thank you for coming along on my creative journey this month. It’s been fun sharing my work with the Artist Strong community and I’m looking forward to hearing who the September Artist Residents will be!

Every month, 1-3 artists show up in our Artist Strong community to share their artistic process, journey, explorations with us over the course of a month.

The goal is to normalize the MANY, VARIED experiences of being an artist.

And if YOU  want to apply to be an Artist Strong Artist Resident, subscribe to our weekly updates to hear about the next time applications are open.

Hi, Carrie here. I want to take a moment to personally thank Charmaine for sharing her work with us. I love her teaching side (I wonder why?! haha) and that we’ve been exposed to a medium not many are familiar with called cyanotype.

She has offered us a wonderful insight into using photographs in our art in a unique way and her connection to family and story in this way gives us all opportunity to think about how we are more personally connected to our work. Thank you Charmaine for all of your insight and exploration.