Saturday, November 15, 2014

Leaf Me Alone

I had the urge to paint leaves.  I remember doing this several years ago and got the urge to try it again.

Of course, first I had to clean the paint palette I used with the blue paints the last time I played.  This is why I like acrylics--you can just peel them up and throw them away.  (My former self would have kept these blue "skins" in case I wanted to glue them on a journal page.  The new me just threw them out - trying to simplify my life, you know!)
I gathered an assortment of paints and gathered some things from the yard.  By the time I went out to get the leaves, it was dark, so rather than traipse around with a flashlight in the backyard looking for cool leaves (and risk having the neighbors think I was an intruder), I just got some small leaves at the edge of the driveway.
I made a background with paint and stencils to start off.
Then I brayered a mix of brown and red paint directly on each leaf.
I carefully pressed each leaf onto the background, placed scrap paper over it, and pressed with my fingers.
The images were fairly light, so I experimented with adding color with Inktense watercolor pencils.  I knew the pencils would not cover up the acrylic paints on the background, but it was all for the sake of wanting to see what it would look like.
Fairly quick and fun to try.
That's why I like fall better than winter.  You can't do this with snowflakes.

Friday, October 31, 2014

How to Cure a Grumpy Witch

Chocolate cures everything.

The greeting card above is on top of some background papers I did a couple of years ago.  I was playing with the first Dylusions sprays I ever bought.  They were out of most of the colors except purple, orange, and black, not normally my go-to colors.  But I had more fun playing than I ever expected.  I still have a stack of October-ish papers, and every year I think I should make a Halloween book with them.  But so far that hasn't happened.

I still like looking at them though!

Happy Halloween!!!  Don't let the goblins get you! 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Messy Play

I got some new blue paints a few weeks ago and have not had time to play.  I decided today is the day.  I just can't go too long without clearing a space and making a mess. 

I went to my old standby, painting a little of each color to see what it looks like and labeling them.  I also used some other blue paints I had on hand for comparison.  As it happened, I had a plastic case that holds baby wipes.  The wipes had dried up, and I was about to throw out the case when I realized it would make a great palette.

To use up the rest of the paint, I blocked off part of the page with masking tape, brayered and stenciled paints.  With the paint that was left, I stenciled onto plain white paper.
When the paint dried, I cut the white paper into strips and squares and added that to the page. 
Added a little detail with white and black pens, and called it good.  I feel so much better now.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Important Things

Seems like a long time since I posted here.  I guess that's because it has been a long time!  I wish I could reveal that I've been doing something exciting or interesting, or making fabulous art.  But, no.  Just kind of in a fall slump of a mood or something.  Starting things and not finishing them.  Cleaning and organizing then getting bored.  Trying to read a book, then falling asleep.

But things still percolate in my brain most of the time.  For instance, I have been working on a Very Important Research Project.  It was prompted by the screaming headlines a couple of months ago.  I was shocked, shocked, I tell you, to read that... well... Hello Kitty is not a cat.  Say what?  Her name is Kitty for crying out loud.  You expect us to believe that after 40 years, you have been fooling us?  They supposedly have this whole cockamamie story about how Hello Kitty is a girl, lives in London with her family, and even has her own cat.  I have to admit that I've seen more girls than cats wearing shoes and dresses and bows.  But she has whiskers.  It's a cat.

This requires a lot of research, and I have started my research journal (which I'm sure I'll lose interest in by the time this is posted!)
Another thing I did was finally give in and start a Pinterest account.  That was mainly because they have started putting a big block across the screen if you don't have an account.  You can still see things, but it was annoying me, so I signed up.  Because, you know, I need something to waste three hours a day on...  I don't have many boards or pictures up yet.  But I sure did look at a lot of stuff other people have put up.  It goes on into infinity and there is no good stopping place once you enter the door. (Pinterest account may or may not be found at this link if it works.)
 
One thing I discovered on Pinterest was this little easy project, which I think was described as a book closure.  If I had been smart enough to pin it, I could give you the link, but I forgot.  Basically, take a wide rubber band. Fold it in half and then in half again.  No need to clip it, I only did that so I could take a picture.  Punch a hole near the end of the folded part (I used my Japanese screw punch).
Unfold it and line up the holes. Use scissors to cut from each end to the holes.  Try to cut exactly down the center (do as I say, not as I do).
Then you have this handy little band that you can put around a small book, or a small stack of books, or probably a stack of ink pads.  Fun and easy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Moon Watch

I can't believe I actually got to see the Blood Moon in the wee hours this morning.  Usually, there is too much cloud cover or rain or fog that ruins the view when something like this happens.

Unfortunately, it was just getting good when it was time for me to report to work.  Yes, it's true, I do start work at O-dark-thirty every day.  Wish I had had time to get out the good camera and tripod and view the full eclipse.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Postal Passion

Like many of us, I'm such a postal geek.  I do love all things postal, whether old or new.
I made a trip to Michael's a couple of days ago, first time in months that I've been there. They had a whole rack of postal stuff, mostly in miniature.  I don't know how long they have been carrying these items, but it's long enough that they were marked down 60%.
 Yes, please, I'll have some of these, and some of these, and some of these!  They had lots more, but I already had some of the washi tape and postal twine.  As usual, my store may have it and yours may not. These things are unpredictable. But it made me a happy camper.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Smart Art

Okay, I may get a little geeky here.  I have always thought the Periodic Table of Elements is a little under-rated. Well, look at it... not very interesting at first glance, but it IS made of boxes and letters and numbers, which are certainly interesting.
An image search online will show lots of variations, from vibrant colors to parody tables and goofy versions.

A more interesting Table is one I have in my posession done in calligraphy by the late Ann Van Tassell (mine is a reproduction).

But then I came across this image on Pinterest. The original art is acrylic on a 60 x 36 inch canvas.


I tried to find out more about the artist, Princess Rashid.  Okay, cool name first of all. Second, she studied Physics and Astronomy. Don't we love smart women? Who do art?  I think I may be inspired to do some scientific art in the future.

Check out this video of her at work on another large piece
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcMM9Qvkozw

Friday, September 5, 2014

Documented

Last year, I made a little travel journal when I got home from Stampaway.  I liked it so much, I made another one this year, using stencils and stamps I got while there, adding notes and pictures.  I worked on it off and on over the last couple of weeks and finally finished it.  The front cover is not shown because I haven't decided what to do with it yet.  I used a piece of duplex cardstock that is red on one side and black on the other, plus a brown file folder.




 
 




I highly recommend making a travel journal, whether it is a simple little book where you can staple cards and receipts, or something more elaborate than what I have done here.  Just have fun with it!
 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

I get it now....

Friday, I headed up the road to have an art day with my friend Gaye.  I was about halfway there when she called my cell phone to say there was a change of plans.  We met at another location, she picked me up, and we went to a yard sale.  I have mentioned before that Gaye is some kind of yard sale guru who can find the most amazing things.  Where I live, I have stopped going to yard sales because I hardly ever find anything worth getting up early for on my day off!  This particular sale was held at the house where Gaye grew up, so it had special meaning for her already.  Plus, they had some pretty fun stuff and great prices.

I get it now, why she is willing to get up early, endure the heat or rain or whatever it is doing that day... because I got all this for $4.   Art supplies, red envelope with someone's class notes and drawings from an art history class from 1952, an old Japanese/American newspaper (Chicago Shimpo), what appears to be a block printing kit, and a button.



Lots of fun stuff to play with later, for sure.

Then we went back to Gaye's where we played with pan pastels, doing all kinds of things they were not supposed to do!  I love playing in the experimental art laboratory.  I highly recommend it!


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Travel Book

Last year, when I got back from Stampaway, I made a book of the trip, using stamps, stencils, business cards, and other things collected from the trip.  I decided to make another one for this year. The first page uses the same "road trip" stamp as last year, plus what looks like the same large number stencils - I saw the same stencil I bought last year in a smaller size this year and decided to get that one too!

I took my teacher's packet, cut it smaller to fit the page, and decorated it with one of the stencils I bought this year.
The packet included a map of local restaurants, and I added some notes and highlights about the trip (which included a car fire and giant squirrel statues).
Another thing I bought this year is a template stencil, so I've been playing around with making miniature folders and envelopes!
I still have lots of fun stencils I haven't had time to play with yet, and will be using those on other pages in this book.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

What a Tool

No, I'm not calling names.... just trying out a couple of things I got at Stampaway this year.  One thing I got was a house stencil (Artistcellar).  I decided to use some pan pastels with it, mainly because I got a couple of tools that I wanted to try out. 
One tool is the Brushstix.  It comes in different sizes, but I decided to try the small pointed tip and see how it does with putting pan pastels in smaller areas. It is made by Tsukineko and the package says it is for applying StazOn, GlazOn, and other mediums.  I know StazOn is a stamp pad.  Never heard of GlazOn.  Doesn't say anything about pan pastels...

I really liked it for the small areas.  I wish I had gotten two so I could keep one for dark colors and one for light colors.  I don't know how durable it will be, especially since I was using it on a rough watercolor paper.
I will note here that I do have other sponges and tools for the pastels, but wanted to try something different.  I have the plastic applicator things that have the replaceable sponge tips.  Most of them work okay for me, but some of the sponges (brand new) are already crumbling.  I am very forgiving when it comes to people - I will give you multiple changes in life.  But tools?  If that crumbly sponge is going to waste my time and frustrate me artistically, it's time to find something else!

Back to the houses... I could have sprayed a fixative when I was finished, but I tried something different that I saw at the convention and brushed a mixed media adhesive over the pastels.  Putting on the pan pastels was tedius.  Brushing adhesive over each color was tedius.  In the end, it smoothed everything out better on the watercolor paper, but honestly, I could have gotten the same effect using watercolor pencils and water in about half the time.  But it was very zen-like to sit and dab and paint, so the time was not a total waste.  (The adhesive, btw, did not "set" the pastels, and they will still have to be spray-fixed or the color rubs off.)

Yes, I did mention Two tools...I haven't forgotten the other one.  It's a fatter tool, and I tried applying pastels with it but didn't much care for it.  (Anyone out there who has this tool is probably laughing at me right now...)  I just went to get the package to tell you what it is. It says "Pebbles" on it and it clearly states it is an eraser.  I guess that's why I didn't have much luck with it as an applicator!  Okay, all together now, laugh With me please, not at me!
 
 It had the price sticker on the back where it talks about  the eraser, in very tiny print, I might add. The part below the sticker which was obviously the only part I saw, talks about applying chalk and erasing it.  Okay, now I know.  See how smart you get when you make mistakes!  May you have a very smart week...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Stampaway Weekend (Part 2)

Just a few more sights from the weekend in the Cincinnati area...  Gaye and I were driving around looking for a particular place to eat and went through the village of Glendale, Ohio, which I later learned is the home of the black squirrel.  I looked it up after seeing all these giant squirrel statues all over the town.  Louisville has its horses, Cincinnati has its pigs... Glendale has its squirrels...


Another day, this BBQ place was recommended to us (thanks, Nancy - yummy!).  She said it was the place with the ambulance in front.  And so it was! 

They pride themselves in cooking with seasoned wood, and in fact have a large pile of wood in the back of the restaurant.  Apparently it is easy pickings for others, and they had to post this sign.
Some years, Stampaway weekend falls on the same weekend as the Longest Yard Sale.  This was one of those times.  The weather has been a little cooler than August normally is, but the humidity more than cancels that out, making the air laden with wetness and heaviness that makes you sweat every drop of moisture out of your body.  It was almost high noon when we left Cincinnati, but it is our tradition to stop in Covington KY even if that is the only part of the yard sale we can manage.  At least there was some shade and a bit of a breeze.  When we got to the end of the street where the clock tower is, it started to chime and play music.  It was pretty amazing.  I could not get all of the tower in one shot, so this is only about a third of it.
At one point as we were walking from booth to booth, two girls went running past us.  I could not imagine what would make anyone run that fast on such a hot humid day.  Then I saw the boom mike. Then I saw the camera people.  I don't know what TV show they were filming, but my guess is something on HGTV.  In the past, that TV channel has had shows featuring the longest yard sale. HGTV and a couple of other channels have competitions with teams seeking to out-do each other in finding the best bargain.  I'm sure it was for something like that.  The lady sitting down in the yellow shirt said they bought a vintage Coca Cola cooler from her.  I'll have to be on the lookout for that.
 
We didn't stop anywhere else for the yard sale.  We had some spatterings of rain, and some slow interstate construction traffic, but eventually made it to our respective homes safe and sound.  Neither of us bought a lot at the convention.  I bought mostly stencils and a couple of stamps (and the very cool convention tote bag). 
 
 I had to pick up a couple of things at the store after I got home, and noticed they already have their Halloween candy out.  Soon they will have the Christmas things out.  Time moves on... Stampaway 2015 will be here before you know it!