Monday, April 20, 2015

When Good Owls Go Bad

A new issue of Cloth Paper Scissors had a technique for making owls, where you draw the shape with water, then use the dropper of a bottle of acrylic ink to put the color in the water.  The technique for last week's DLP journal was acrylics, so I thought I would try this. 

One of the main adjustments for this journal for me is that it is such a large size.  So I wanted to practice making a large owl in another journal.  I did pretty much everything wrong.  I didn't use enough water, so when I dropped in the color, it didn't do much of anything.  Plus, I forgot to draw in the owl ears with water, so I had to go back and put some in. 

The whole thing ended up looking pretty bizarre.  I can't decide if this looks like Eddie Munster, or a Russian orthodox priest.  Either way, every time I walk by it, it cracks me up.  It's so large, I can't avoid looking at it.  So I guess it wasn't wasted effort after all!!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

DLP Week 14

It's always exciting when a new month rolls around, to find out what the monthly theme is for the Documented Life Project journal.  For April, the theme is Color Safari, Exploring Inks and Paints.  Week 14 (last week) explores Watercolors.

I had a rough idea in mind for what I wanted to do.  I wanted to write with markers that I knew would run when water was sprayed on them.  I  had very mixed results and markers that I expected to run didn't.  I was working outside my journal on separate pieces of art paper.
 
I wanted the words at the bottom of the page, because the journal prompt was "It's water under the bridge."  I was going to have runny blue ink at the bottom of the page.  But I really liked the pattern on my first attempt.  No reason the "bridge" couldn't be at the top of the page.  Of course, then the words were upside down, so I ended up cutting off most of them.  I used the other trial pages to punch out circles to use for the dates on my calendar page.

For the top of the journal page on the left, I sprayed water through a circle stencil, then took the spray stem out of a bottle of Dylusions spray and just touched it to the circles of water.  Really liked that, but there weren't enough circles and the page needed more.  So I used the spray stem to make scribble marks in the same area.
The rest of the page was done by drawing out the calendar with water color pencil then activating the color with water; putting washi tape across the top of one page; gluing tissue paper fish to the page; and stamping out some lines for writing about the theme and techniques I used.
When I started this page, I didn't know how messy my watercolor was going to get (not much as it turned out), but I didn't want it bleeding to the page before it because that page has a very simple white background.  So I put masking tape around the page borders before I started working on the page spread.  When I removed the masking tape, it tore bits of paper from the page.  I hadn't planned to put anything around the border, but decided to use my No Blot pencil to scribble all around the edges and activate it with water to turn it blue. 

This is a pretty simple page, and I may not be done with it yet, but I'm happy with it for now.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Still Here...

Guess I'd better post something here, huh?  I am still playing in my DLP journal.  Mostly working on different pages all at once, so there are parts in progress.  The March theme was Doodles and Mark Making, which I expected to be the easiest month for me.  For some reason, it has been the hardest for me to connect with.  Not sure why, since I am such a doodler and mark maker.

Nevertheless, anytime I work in the DLP journal, I always smear the leftover paint in my play journal.  The play journal is also where I test out new paints and stencils, etc.   Sometimes I am happier with that than the other journal!

This spread was where I had tested new paint on the left side.  The tubes of paint were different companies, and looked almost the same in the tube, but definitely different on the page.

On the right is where I tested some new stencils, adding tapes and papers to the border.  The big flower was on the cover of the postal service catalog and is a Victorian rose which is featured on a new postal stamp.  The page already had leftover paint on it when I started, and it was lots of fun.  I sponged on Archival ink with the stencils and really like how those inks work so well over acrylic paint with no problem.

Going to try to work more on the March pages now that April is here!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

DLP Week 8

The theme for Documented Life Project for Week 8 is Repeating Elements.  This is a page I've had in my head for a long time. 
I used a piece of corrugated cardboard to stamp lines on the page.

I really had fun with this, and used a combination of acrylic paints, stamp pad inks sponged on and stamped on, as well as permanent black pen for scribbling.  I had some gift wrap tissue paper with the same design, but it was really shiny and I didn't use much of it.  Most of the stencils used are from Michelle Ward/ Green Pepper Press.  And, yes, I'm still going backwards, catching up with past assignments.

Woven Fat Book

I don't remember when I made my first book, back in the mid 1980's I believe.  I just love to make books, any kind of book. 

Even better is having a best friend who also makes books.  Gaye Medbury constantly comes up with new and interesting ideas for books.  I am proud to send out a Book Alert that her new class, Woven Fat Book, is starting today, March 14, 2015, at Creative Workshops.

This is the Woven Fat Book, a fun little book that anyone can make.

Isn't that cute?  The pages are index cards, so that tells you it's a smallish book. 

And one of the things that amazes me is that Gaye has now started playing around with her sample book, making little quickie art pages. These pages are not part of the class, but it just shows you how much fun you can have with a 3 x 5 index card as a book page!  


Now this would be where I would give a disclaimer, that I'm not affiliated, don't get a kickback, yada, yada, yada...  Well, I don't get a kickback, but I am affiliated since Gaye is a friend.  But I do hope you will take her class because it's a fun, easy project at a great price. 

Click below to link to the class info and introductory video:

DLP 2015 - Index Page

I realized I had not posted the index page I made for the Documented Life Project journal.  This is in the front of my journal, and I used vintage library due date stickers for each month, where I will list the monthly theme and the weekly prompts and challenges.
A word about vintage due date stickers... the good news is, they are stickers.  You can lick them and stick them on top of acrylic paint and they stay attached remarkably well.
The bad news is.. well, imagine a basement full of smelly old books.  That's what they tasted like when I licked them.  By the time I got to May, I would lick, stick, turn my head and go ptuey, ptuey, ptuey, then lick the next one.  Somewhere I have a thing that holds water and was used for wetting postage stamps, back before they all became self adhesive.  But I was too lazy to go look for it and wanted to get my page done.  So, the ptuey method worked just fine.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Colors and Shapes

First Saturday in March = road trip to Indianapolis...I shoveled snow off and on for two days to clear out enough of a path to get my car from point A (garage) to point B (the road)!  The kind people at the county road department kept gifting me with Mt. Everest at the end of my driveway (mounds of rock hard frozen snow every time the snow plow went by), but I eventually felt comfortable that I had cleared enough that I could get out for the road trip.

Had no trouble getting to Gaye's once I got out of my driveway.  The interstate was pretty clear, but as I drove by abandoned cars, covered in snow, I kept thinking about all the people that were stranded there for 24 hours in their cars only a few days before.  We just don't get that kind of snow, and it came in fast, too fast for the plows to keep the interstates clear.  It brought out the best in people, in most cases, with fellow travelers checking on each other, sharing food and water.  I hope we don't see that kind of weather again anytime soon.  The first day of spring is only days away, after all.

I didn't spend a lot at the Heirloom Rubber Stamp Show.  I bought ink pads and stencils.  I am gravitating more and more to Archival ink pads, and I wanted more colors of those.  I woke up at 4 a.m. this morning and stamped out every color I bought plus the ones I already had.  I also bought a StazOn mini pad to try out.  I didn't know they made the mini size like that.

I started having trouble remembering the other colors I had considered getting but didn't.  So I went online to check what was available from Ranger.  While there, I printed out these color labels they had, ran them through the Xyron, and attached them to the stamp pads.  When I do art, I am very, very messy and work in a messy environment.  But the other side of my brain really like to have some order and organization. 
They didn't have labels to print for the Wendy Vecchi colors.  Too bad, as those are the ones I like the best and have been adding to my stash.

And as long as I was hanging out with my new supplies, I took the stencils I had bought and tested them all out on a page in a journal.  It already had yellow paint on the page, paint that was left over from something else and got brushed on the page.
I really like the ATC sized stencils I bought.  The company was new to me, Sweet Stamps.  I don't know why no one thought of ATC size stencils before.  Of course, you could use a regular stencil on an ATC, but I like the fact that the design itself is smaller in proportion. 

So, good day overall and a good trip as always.  I only took one picture, and that was of the dinosaurs at a museum next to where we stopped for gas.   Good thing I didn't take any once-in-a-lifetime pictures, because once again, my camera card was in my computer at home and not in my camera (I hate that about my new computer.. the card slot is hard to see and I constantly forget to take the card out).

Friday, March 6, 2015

DLP Week 9

I have finished my journal page for Documented Life Project journal for week 9, which is the current week's assignment.  The more I worked on it, the less I liked it, so maybe I shouldn't say I'm finished.  But at this point, I am walking away from it for awhile. 

The Art Challenge was to use at least five layers.
The Journal Prompt was Give Me a High Five.
The high five turned into three hands on the page. (I started with just one, but soon more hands joined in!)



 A lot of what I used was from bits and pieces thrown into a box after other projects.  A dictionary page, a scrap of paper where I stamped out some new stamps, a piece of interfacing type material painted purple, and some perm rod papers (remember those?) that I had tested paints on way back when.
 Below are some of the things I used for my layers.  I started with white gesso only, then brayered white gesso, pink and purple paint, blended those on the page with a baby wipe.  Then I glued book paper, perm rod papers, interfacing, and the stamped paper.  From there, I used masks and stencils with paint and gesso.  The hands seemed to disappear on the page, so I outlined them with a Sketch & Wash pencil and blended with water.  On one hand stencil, I drew through the stencil with an orange Jelly Roll Moonlight gel pen (just discovered those and love them).  I did some scribbling with a permanent black pen.  I used a small cup to make circles with orange acrylic paint.
Glad to be caught up with Week 9, but I'm still playing catch-up with past weeks.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dear Snow....

I'm sorry to tell you this, but I have to break up with you.  I know that in the beginning, I said I loved you, but that was when things were light and beautiful between us.
Lately though, I feel like there is a heaviness in the air.  I feel like your presence is weighting me down.
I used to love how you entertained me with your creativity, your uniqueness.

But now it seems that no matter how hard I work, you come along behind me and cover my tracks.
I feel like you are smothering me.  I admit it was a little creepy when I opened the garage door and there you were, piled up and trying to prevent me from leaving. 
Sometimes you don't even let me know you are coming, you just show up unexpectedly.   I try to be prepared, but this relationship has taken a lot out of me.  I feel I have given you my all this winter.
Even worse, sometimes I feel you are drifting away. 
So, over the next couple of days, I will help you clear your things from the driveway, but I feel it's time for you to move on.  In case you don't think I'm serious, I have a large quantity of rock salt with your name written all over it.
It's okay if you visit from time to time, but I never expected you to stay this long.

It's been fun.  Nothing personal.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

DLP Title Page

I made a title page for my Documented Life Project journal back in January.  But I couldn't post it because I used a really fun napkin on the page, and I was giving some of these napkins as a gift and didn't want that person to see them.  (Napkins from Erin Smith - and by the way, the order came with fortune cookies with custom sayings inside, and her web address on the back of the strip of paper)

So, here's a look at my journal title page:

Sunday, February 22, 2015

DLP Week 2

I am one of those people who works on a journal in stages.  I am committed to this Documented Life journal this year.  And I know full well that I will get behind at times.  It's a given.  But I have worked in bits and pieces on different weeks.  I am also backtracking to January to finish the challenges that I skipped earlier. 

Just because I finished Week 2 as we are well into February doesn't bother me at all.  I owned up to it, and put "completed 2-21-2015" on the page!

The assignment was to use gesso.  I guess there are so many things to do with gesso, I couldn't decide what to do exactly.  Then, a couple of days ago, I watched a webinar online by Dina Wakley.  I love her work, and I just basically repeated what she did.  (I should have used better lighting when I took these pictures.  In reality, the blue is brighter than this.)
I was happy with it yesterday, then today felt it needed more.  I added more stuff to the right side of the page spread.  I'm not sure it looks better, but there's no turning back now.
Detail shots always look much better than the full page.

Part of what I added on the right was some quotes that I jotted down during the webinar, things Dina said. 
One was "Done is better than perfect."  I may have to adopt that saying permanently.
Another was "You are the boss of the art. It's not the boss of you."
Stay tuned.  I may not be timely, but I'll catch up with the assignments eventually.
 

Friday, February 20, 2015

How cold is it?

The normally warm southern United States are experiencing brutally cold temperatures.  How cold is it?  I just saw this photo, taken in North Carolina.  This is what happens when your Jeep is coated in ice, you warm it up, then drive away.  Permanent ice sculpture left in its place.  Unreal!!
Stay warm!!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Makin' Labels

Well, I've seen other artists doing it.  Whether it is printing a journal page onto a sheet of labels or making art directly on labels, it looks like fun.

I have labels in sheets that are meant to be used in an ink jet printer.  The two sizes I used were 1-1/3 x 4 (14 per sheet) and 2 x 2 (12 per sheet).  I copied some awesome collage sheets onto them (made by my friend, artist Gaye Medbury.)  Now, the thing about printing on labels is, you have to let go of what you want to be on any given label.  When you use them, you will have parts of things on each label, which really challenges you on what to do with them.

A few weeks ago, I had brayered acrylic paint onto tags.  They were just the thing for adding labels, then adding doodles, marks, and washi tape.  It was such a simple fun thing to do, and I am chomping at the bit to do more!

Here are some of my tags and printed labels.
 



I also used circle punches to punch out parts, and used them on my goals envelopes that are in my DLP 2015 journal. 
I think I could easily get addicted to making more of these tags and labels!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Documented Life Project Week 5

This journal spread has kind of a sloppy look to it, but I was a little worried about getting too far behind in the weekly assignments for Documented Life Project 2015.  The Art Challenge for week 5 was "under paper".  That's the scrap paper we use to put under whatever we are working on, the paper where you clean your brushes, use up your paint, etc.

I have been trying to de-clutter and de-stash lately, so I didn't have much under paper on hand.  But I did have these scrap papers which were stored with other "good" stenciled papers using the same spray colors.  These are the result of spraying and stenciling, with stencils blotted on newspaper and old ledger paper.  Like I said, pretty sloppy. 




I decided not to even think much, just put it on the page.  I did prep the pages with gesso, but in retrospect, that probably wasn't needed.  I ran all these papers through a Xyron machine to put a quick adhesive on the backs, and lickety-split, all the papers were down on the page. The only thing I would change is the February calendar.  I meant to print it on old paper that is less stark white, but forgot.  So, I'll tone it down each time I add something to the calendar, and maybe it won't glare at me so much when I look at it.

I'm still adding things but I did find something interesting that happened as I worked.  After attaching the under papers, there was a big white square in the middle.  I painted some purple there and blotted some off while it was wet.  When that dried, I used a black Stabilo pencil to make circles.  I used a wet brush on the back circle then blotted it off.  It seemed to take some of the purple off too, and I really liked how it looked.

Feels good to use up those papers in this way!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Something Fun

Sometimes, it's fun to resurrect a new interest in something you haven't done in awhile.  A free class recently on Altered Books was just the thing on a snowy day to sit and play with nothing on the agenda other than have fun.

For some reason, every time I schedule something that requires me to drive north for an event, this happens.

The weather forecast for my area included maybe a little mix of snow and rain, maybe less than an inch of snow.  Nothing to be concerned about at all.  So, imagine my surprise to find five inches of snow when I got up that morning.  Luckily, the roads were not a problem and I made it to my destination just fine.

I went to Gaye's first, then we drove to southern Indiana where our altered book class was taught by the engaging Ehren Reed, recently moved to the area from San Francisco (click on her name to see her portfolio of altered books).  This is her sample book, with long evening wear gloves used as the book closure (snaps hold them closed).  I should have taken more pictures, because she made good use of zippers, transfers, and other techniques.
One of the techniques we were encouraged to use was to cut a niche in the pages.  This book belongs to one of the students in class, where the opening was cut through the pages and the cover, with figures glued in.
Ehren had a lot of books for us to choose from to work in, as well as a lot of collage material.  I picked a book called The Journals of Eleanor Druse, thinking along the theme of journals.  When I started looking through the book, however, it was more about a mental institution and had a fairly dark theme.  So I started cutting out words and photos from old magazines to go with my insane asylym.  I got a lot of pages started, but eventually got to a point where the pages needed to dry before I could proceed. 

I have a lot of things at home to add, including chart paper (for pretend brain scan results), lots of stamps, etc. 

At the end of the day, as we walked to the car, I noticed this building at the other side of the parking lot.  Great way to put up your address!!

Over the last few days, I have been re-visiting altered books that I had worked on years ago.  I decided I should play in them some more as I get time.
 
I have one book with drawers and a zipper in it, and also a book by Einstein.  It was fun to look through them again and think about more things to do with them!  


Hope you are all doing something fun!!