Sunday, February 22, 2015

DLP 2015, Week 8 -- It's Worth Repeating

The Documented Life Project, February Theme: Layers You Will Love
Week 8 Art Challenge: Repeating Elements   Journal Prompt: It's Worth Repeating

I love patterns; I repeat design elements all the time. Mainly circles. So I decided to go a bit rectangular this week.

First, I dug out some of my favorite handmade stamps.

Some were carved on regular stamp carving material, three were carved on a pink eraser, one was carved on a wine cork, and one was cut, not carved from adhesive backed fun foam, and stuck to a piece of plastic. Nothing high tech here!

Then I took a piece of rice paper, large enough to cover my two page spread, and lightly penciled in a grid of differently sized squares and rectangles. I stamped different combinations of the above with a permanent black ink, let it dry, and then filled in each segement with color. This is what I used.

I generally (and this time) use the blocks like watercolors. I leave them in the box and just wet them with a brush. I like them because the colors are vivid and when dry, permanent. The rice paper is thin, but sturdy, and when it was completely dry I cut up the segments. I then arranged them in my journal, adhering them with matte medium. Last step.....adding another repeating pattern, dots. Lots and lots of dots.

So, I have a few repeats going on here: the grids, the stamps, the colors, and the dots. As for the journal prompt, what is worth repeating is the word BE. It's good to just be. Be happy. Be kind. Let it be. Just BE.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

DLP 2015 Week 7 -- The Big Coverup

This is what we were given to work with this week by the good folks at The Documented Life Project:

February Theme
Layers You Will Love!
February 14
Art Challenge:  Cover Up Good Stuff
Journal Prompt:  Going Undercover

There was a lot of chatter on the DLP FB page about this. I think for a lot of people, especially the beginners, the thought of creating something "nice," and then obliterating it was nightmareish. I am much more a process person than a product oriented one, so I don't mind. Besides, I do look at this as a useful exercise in not taking myself too seriously, and not regarding my art as "precious." As I used to tell my second graders, "it's only paper!" And some very talented artists, like Anne Bagby, Flora Bowley, and Tracey Verdugo have offered up the same philosophy. Sometimes a cover-up is a good thing.

And now, how this:

Became something else all together.  First of all, I used my 6x6 Gelli Plate as a stamp to create the patterns.

And these are the high tech tools I used for the patterns:

Then I used a bunch of stencils on a sheet of deli wrap, and set it aside for a moment.

Back to my journal. I scraped some random blobs of heavy duty gesso over the pages with a palette knife. Cover-up number 1.

I liked the texture, but not the stark whiteness, so I covered the whole thing with a mixture of paint and matte medium (which forms a glaze).

Remember that sheet of deli wrap? I tore it into strips and started covering the page, again.

Not loving it, but I thought some more glaze would make it less busy. And some numbers with embossing paste. And some paint scraped on with an old credit card. And.....several other things I didn't stop to photograph.

At this point I was describing it as a "hot mess," and seriously doubted I could either a) make it worse or 
b) make it better. As they say, it is what it is. So, I walked away for a day, and when I returned I decided it needed to be a cityscape.

There were many steps along the way where I could have stopped. Maybe the end result would have been better, maybe not. But it wouldn't have been this, and I wouldn't have learned anything if I stopped at a safer point. I don't suggest that every project should be approached with the "cover up the nice" attitude, but I think you can learn a lot and free yourself if you try it from time to time. And BTW, the triangular rooftops were cut from the scrap paper I was using as a palette. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

DLP 2015 Weeks 4-6

I've been knocked out for the past two weeks with either a killer cold or the flu (I hope not the latter, since I did endure a flu shot), and finally started feeling well enough to sit up and attempt a blog post. Here are the last three Documented Life Project challenges.

Week 4 Continuing the January theme of Facing The Blank Page
             Art Challenge: Writing
             Journal Prompt: Words With Friends

As often happens, I started out with a "brainstorm" that went nowhere, but wound up happy with what evolved.

The background is a repeat of one of my own carved stamps over metallic paint. The borders are a stencil, highlighted with more stenciling in gold paint. The silhouettes are also stencils. The quote is a variation of one by none other than Aristotle. Hey, aim large.

Week 5 (Still in January)
              Art Challenge: Use under paper (you know, the paper under your work that collects drips, blobs, wipes, etc.)
              Journal Prompt: What Lies Beneath

The curvy borders and the thin rectangles forming the rays are my under papers. What lies beneath them: more layers. Paint, ink, stamping, stenciling, even a few transluscent stickers I found lying around.

February Theme: Layers You Will Love
Week 6 Art Challenge: When Not To Stop
             Journal Prompt: "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough!" (ooh)

This challenge was not really a challenge for me, though I totally enjoyed doing it. I am all about layering, and can (and often do) add them without a thought.

It did, however, give me the chance to finally play with the 8" round Gelli plate I bought ages ago. I have no idea why I bought it, besides that it is adorable. There is nothing I can think of doing with it that I can't also do with the plates I already had. But the round prints that emerged did give me an idea. I cut lots of rings from the circlular prints, cut them into segments and then reassembled them on the pages. (BTW, all the prints were pulled on deli wrap).

My layers, more or less in order: Gelli prints, stenciling over the prints, splattering, doodling with pens, outlining with paint, spreading gold embossing paste over a stencil, stamping with one of my own carved stamps.

This is the palette I used.

These are some of the stencils I used both in the Gelli printing and then on the finished prints.

As you can see, I'm not very obsessive about cleaning my stencils.

Some of the paint I used seemed to dry very quickly, and I was left with some on the plate that refused to come off. An easy fix is to lift the dry paint off with tape. As an added bonus, the tape can be used as an embellishement.

After removing the dry paint with the tape (I used clear packing tape), brush some Perfect Pearls on the sticky side. It will cling to any part of the tape not covered by the paint, and it is beautiful. I cut circles out of one of the strips and that is what I used in the centers of my reconstructed circles.

Did I have enough when I stopped? I'm not sure. Maybe another layer or two are in my future.

Monday, January 19, 2015

DLP 2015 Weeks 2 and 3

I returned last week from a wonderful mini vacation in South Florida (more on that another time), so had some Documented Life to catch up on. Week 2 (still dealing with the overall January theme of facing the blank page) was using gesso, with a prompt of "the beginning is always today."

The gesso I used is colored, from an Australian company, Derivan Matisse. The figure was done by scraping light olive green through a stencil. Once dry, I repositioned the stencil over top and used paint and two other stencils right over the gesso. By the way, they call it "background paint," but the small print clearly identifies it as gesso.

The other area I used this product was on the cornflowers (close-up below). This time, I applied terracotta on silhouette stamps. Caution: when you use gesso with your stencils and stamps, please wash it off immediately after use. Wet gesso comes off easily; dry, not so much.

Week 3 is all about the color wheel, and the prompt is a Georgia O'Keefe quote, which you will see clearly on my pages. First step, to get a whole bunch of color onto my pages. For this I used stencils, lots and lots of stencils. I just kept layering them, using colors, sometimes going dark over light, sometimes the other way around, which resulted in this riot of color.

Now comes the part where a little bravery (and faith in the technique) might help. I learned this in a workshop with Anne Bagby. After spending the better part of a day creating bold and beautiful designs, we used a mask and covered all but a part with dark paint. For this spread, I used clear embossing ink on some solid stamps, then heat set clear embossing powder. The embossed areas resist the next this case, black paint. There is a lot of glare on the photo, so it looks grayish, but trust me, it is very very black. After the application, the paint wiped off the embossed areas easily with a barely damp paper towel.

Last step, adding the quote, which I did with some of my favorite pens for writing over dark paint: Sharpie poster paint water based paint markers, Molotow high-solid paint markers, and Posca paint markers.

I wish I could have taken a better picture, minus the glare (I tried many times), because the bright colors against the very dark background just pop so beautifully, but you get the idea.

As always, looking forward to the next challenge. Thank you, Art to the 5th ladies!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Documented Life Project, 2015

Yes, I'm still alive. Now that we got that out of the way, I am looking forward to more art, possibly even more blogging, and in general, a more purposeful life in 2015. I'll let you know how that goes.

For 2015 the DLP group suggested using Dyan Reaveley's Dylusions journal (the large one). I have used it, like it a lot, so bought a new one and did the cover ages ago.

Stencils. Lots and lots of stencils. I only have about a million, so really should use them more often.

Each month has a theme, and each week, within that theme will be a technique and a prompt. I'm liking this process a lot. And it works well for beginners and old pros as well.

January theme: facing the blank page.
Week one technique: using book pages
Week one prompt: be your own goalkeeper

I tore up a variety of book pages for my collage and covered them with a wash of blue and green acrylics. Most everything else on the spread was done with stencils and masks. The joyful figure is a Sue Pelletiere stencil, and the sentiment is from a Jessica Sporn stencil. On the facing page, the words (my three words for the year) were traced from a Tim Holtz alphabet stencil and filled in with a black marker. The cornflowers are masks from a Michelle Ward stencil. I laid them over the painted page and then sprayed over everything with a darker blue spray. I still have one or two sprays that haven't completely clogged up, so I'm using them as fast as I can.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Art Is You, 2014

Here I am, once again in shock that it has been over a month since I've posted. Don't have any reasons that make sense to me; I guess I just have to accept that like so many of my blogger friends, I'm just not a three times a week blogger any more. Or at the moment. But enough of that. I am here and ready to share a bit of my experiences at Art Is You, 2014, in Stamford Connecticut.

I love AIY; I've attended for the last three years, and this was definitely the best so far. I registered for five classes and I loved all five. I'm usually pleased with my choices, but there are often one or two classes I like less than the others. On the way home my friend and travelmate Cheryl asked me which was my favorite and I honestly couldn't answer. To borrow a phrase from The Last Crusade, I chose wisely.

Day 1, Rethinking Dinner with the talented and fun Cheryl Strait. As promised, I will never look at dinnerware in the same way. We used spoons and forks to create jewelry, and I had a blast pounding, sawing, filing, drilling and torching.

 Cheryl was VERY generous with her time and her tools. I'd never used a jeweler's saw before, and it was easier than I thought it would be.

Our class kit consisted of what we'd need to make earrings and a bracelet or two.

I sawed off the handle of the spoon to use on the bracelet. The earrings feature the tines of the fork. The round pieces started as chunky buttons that I pounded the @*%! out of.

The next day I changed gears totally. The class was called Soft Sculpture Puppets with Lisa Lichtenfels. Ordinarily I have no interest in dolls or puppets, but I have always been fascinated by soft sculpture pieces and jumped at the chance to learn how it's done. Lisa is very famous in this world (I didn't know that when I signed up), and aside from being talented, she is a lovely human and an excellent teacher. Check out one of her sample pieces, Albert Einstein.

 Two other samples which demonstrated how to create an old and a young face.

Pretty amazing. Here is my sweet old-ish lady.

Lisa guided us through the process step by step. It certainly isn't easy, but it sure was fun.

We used pins....lots and lots of pins....and fiberfill to form the features. At this stage it is just plain frightening.

Once we began the sewing and removed the pins the heads looked much less creepy.

The addition of the puppet body and hair made all the difference. Now, I very much doubt I will be attempting this again, but just in case, our class kit included a DVD with every step explained in full.

Day 3 was Sacred Hearts with Lesley Venable. I was so looking forward to this class and it didn't disappoint. I got to solder all day! What's not to love?

Day 4, Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves with Andrea DeMeng. This was my second, and I'm sure not my last class with Andrea. I love her style, and her teaching is on point. She is so organized and her suggestions are spot on. We did fairly large collages and everyone did an outstanding job. Here is my....well, not a gypsy, no tramp, not a thief.....I believe what I have here is royalty.

The last day, Embedded Heart Shrine with Laurie Mika. My third class with Laurie. You think I like her? Nope. LOVE her! I know I can (and sometimes do) work with polymer clay at home on my own. But I just love her projects and the energy in her classrooms. 

 The coolest thing about the hangs on a hook in the niche and can be removed to wear as a pendant. Laurie even provided the chain for us to use.

One last thing about AIY, and another reason I feel this year was the best. Every attendee receives a handmade name tag (which is really like a little purse to hang around your neck, with room enough for a hotel key card). We were encouraged to make charms as a trade, and by the end of the week, the lanyard was completely covered with charms from art friends new and old. It's now hanging in my studio right above my computer, along with those from 2012 and 2013 to remind me always of wonderful times with my "tribe."


Many thanks to Sallianne McClelland & Ellen Legare, the extraordinary organizers of this event. They get us, and know how to create an environment that nurtures us. See you in 2015 ladies!