Monday, August 31, 2009

Mad About Medallions

I love the Medallion stamp in the current Stampin' Up! catalog.  Not only is it beautiful, but it is so versatile.  On Saturday I went to my friend Corris' meetup and we used the stamp to create three lovely cards, all done with different techniques. 
For this dreamy watercolor effect, color the stamp with markers and give it a quick spritz with water before stamping:
The next card is simple and elegant, just straight forward stamping, a little patterned paper, ribbon, and bling:
This is a WOW! card, done with a very cool technique.  First put a few drops of complementary colors of craft (pigment) ink refills in between two sheets of plastic, like a page protector.  Smoosh them up well, so all of the plastic is covered with ink.  Then open it up, lay a piece of acetate or clear cardstock on top, close it up and smoosh again.
We took  the acetate out and to speed drying a bit, blotted it off between two sheets of cardstock.  (More on that later).  When totally dry, I stamped the medallion stamp in a darker color on top.  Very rich look:
Remember the cardstock I used to blot off the excess ink in the card above?  Well, I thought it looked pretty interesting, so when I got home I used it as a background for this card:
Yep, I'm really mad about medallions!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Journal of Dreams

I have signed up for yet another collaborative art journal. Elena, my online friend, sister-in-art, and all round instigator of good ideas, is again the driving force behind all this. This time we will be making art and journaling about our dreams....nighttime dreams, daydreams, dreams for the future, any and all dreams.

Many of the same women from the I Dream in Colors and Through The Eyes of An Artist journals are in this group, as well as some new artists.

A week ago I was a real mess.....first I cut my paper wrong, then I had an issue with the cover, then after binding the whole thing I realized the cover wouldn't bend. Oh boy, I was tempted to bow out very ungracefully.

Then I went to the Lynne Perella workshops and suddenly there were no problems. I found an old book downstairs in the trash, altered it, gessoed it, and turned it into my latest journal.

You can see Lynne's influence in all the texturing I did. And I used my new Portfolio oil pastels a lot.
I had been certain I'd never be ready by our September launch date, but I have my covers done, my introductory pages done, and an art page done. Not only will I be ready, I'll be early!
I started my journal with this page, that expresses a dream I've always had of visiting the far east:

Great Blog and Giveaway

What an awesome giveaway I have just seen. You need to hurry over to see what she has for some lucky person. You only have until the end of this month so go there now!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lynne Perella, Part 3

We were working on large sheets of the red rosin paper. We had the choice of whether our finished piece would be a painting or a book. Most of us chose the book. Lynne called it an "easy book" (or was it a "fast book" ---don't remember), but it became a book with one cut and a few folds, so I guess it was both easy and fast.

The interesting thing about this method is that you have absolutely no idea how each page is going to look until the folding is finished. Your images might be right side up or upside down. An image might fold over two surfaces. Or your colors might do something totally unexpected.

My medieval piece was colored with both cool and warm colors. Looking at the full piece they seemed to blend well, though clearly one side was cooler and the other warmer. When the sheet became a book, something wonderful happened....each spread turned out to be either warm or cool, not both. A happy accident for sure. And if I'd wanted it to turn out that way I could never have figured out how to accomplish that. Check it out:

A warm two page spread:

And two very cool spreads:

Here is the book made from my piece for the asian-inspired workshop:

This was a wonderful experience and I already feel invigorated and recharged. I'd been avoiding working on two journals for lack of motivation and inspiration. I've already whipped through both, using much of what I learned, yet not copying Lynne, just integrating her techniques into my own style.

By the way, these workshops were sold out and The Ink Pad convinced Lynne to offer them again. So if you're in NY or can get here, they will be given on October 10 and 11.

Someone asked what I was going to "do" with these books. Well, I don't think I need to do anything, but I could add some journaling. I'm not sure, but honestly, I believe that even without any words they tell quite a story.

Lynne Perella, Part 2

First a little background in how I came to do these workshops. One of the collaborative journal groups I belong to was inspired by a project that Lynne participated in; the project produced a beautiful and inspiring book called True Colors.

I read it, fell in love with it, and was eager to join the color journal group, which has now been going on for about 5 months.

When I saw that The Ink Pad was sponsoring two of Lynne's workshops I immediately registered.

Both days covered the same techniques with different themes. On Saturday we used asian images, and Sunday's workshop used medieval images as a starting point.

Lynne's paintings and collages are richly colored and layered. Many times throughout the weekend she talked about how we are what and who we are not because of one experience or set of circumstances, but of many. We are layered, and if you pull one layer away there is still something interesting underneath.

The art we produced is like that. The first layer was all the texture and dimension we added with the gesso.
After our lunch break we began adding color. We squirted acrylics on the dried paper, brushed and brayered it, adding more, scraping away some, using some metallic paint. This layer was another opportunity to add even more dimension. I added some tissue paper and covered it with paint. Others added netting, stencil waste, scraps of paper. We also continued to make marks with various objects.
Some people used masks, stencils, rubber stamps and other objects that acted as stamps.

In addition to the paint we made good use of the Portfolios (water soluble oil pastels), a wonderful product, and one that I will surely use again and again.

Remembering the morning exercise, we could also add bits of paper, tiny scraps, whatever we wanted.

The next layer consisted of images. We'd been asked to bring in toner copies of theme-related images, and colored images from books, wrapping paper, newspapers, scrapbook paper.

Some people adhered their images in a seemingly random fashion.

Others used a kind of grid pattern.

Lynne showed us how to make them our own by coloring, cutting, masking them and altering them in other ways. I enjoyed coloring an asian-inspired scene and then cutting it up into small pieces and adhering them throughout my paper. Kind of like the image exploded and reassembled in a totally new order.
More of this wonderful collage journey next time.

Lynne Perella

I just spent the most amazing two days learning from the wonderful mixed media/collage artist, Lynne Perella. There is so much to tell, I think I'll divide it into several posts so no one has to plow through pages and pages of my gushing all at once.

First, click on Lynne's name above, and see what she's all about. Then come back here and see what she gave to me and everyone else in the workshops.

One of the things I loved about Lynne is that her art, while gorgeous, is also low-tech and low-cost. We painted on red rosin paper, the stuff that contractors put on your floors to protect them. It can be found at Home Depot for a few dollars a giant roll. We used inexpensive water soluble oil pastels and cheap acrylics. We used common objects for texturing.

We began with some mechanics. Our paper had to be coated with gesso, and at this phase we were to add lots of texture -- I embedded tulle, cheesecloth, and tissue paper into the gesso. I added further dimension with sequin waste, and made marks with a plastic fork, an old credit card, stamps and stencils.

We hung the paper up to dry:
While it was drying we gathered in a circle and talked a bit about who we are and what brought us there. Lynne said it is important to know your "community" -- the people who share your passion and truly "get" you. For some people in that circle, workshops and online groups are the only places where they're understood.

Then we did a great warm up exercise. One that Lynne uses every day in her studio. We looked at a copy of a Durer woodcut and each of us selected one image from it and using a small piece of black construction paper, either cut or tore it to represent the image we chose. We then took our images to a blank wall, and arranged the silhouettes:

We weren't finished. Lynne then had us go back to our tables and take all of our leftover black construction paper and add that to the wall. One of her favorite elements to add to her collages are the scraps she's cut off of other pieces or the paper she's wiped her brushes on. She wanted us to have a higher regard for what others might see as trash or waste.

Following this lively and interactive exercise we broke for lunch. This is how both days began. More later.....

Friday, August 21, 2009

Jewelry Inspired by Tim Holtz

Wednesday night I co-taught a jewelry class at Heidi's meetup group. I did these pieces as samples, but encouraged everyone to do their own thing, and they did some fabulous work.
The first two pieces were done with Tim Holtz's ornate plates. This one was colored with alcohol inks and decorated with some of Tim's foliage (also colored with the AIs).
The next one I left uncolored. The image is from Suze Weinberg's wonderful Instant Art collage book. It's covered with a coat of Glossy Accents, and blinged out with some crystals.
For this one, I used one of Tim's keyholes and a philosophy tag. The little clock I had in my stash, and the key is an old rusted one that I dabbed with a bit of gold alcohol ink.
This might be my favorite, because I love bird images. The charm is a Ranger memory frame. The image from my stash; can't recall where I got it. The roof is one of Tim's corner pieces, and I used one of his trinket pins to make it wearable. The little bird charm is from Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, and I toned down the original brass color with some blue alcohol ink. I made the little bird's nest with 24g wire and some white "pearls." After making the nests I saw a tutorial for them. Turns out there's a better way to do them, so my next batch should be even nicer.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Metal Challenge

This week's challenge at PID is metal, and as usual I did an ATC and a piece for the miscellaneous album. This time I did a journal. Not long ago, at my friend Laurel's meetup group, I learned how to do Japanese stab binding from the awesome Pooja (one of Laurel's members).
I used this technique to create a small journal, and then embellished it.
Both pieces feature the faux metal technique I first saw on one of my favorite blogs, Melstampz.
It's so simple and the result is always impressive.

Glue a piece of aluminum foil onto a piece of cardboard or heavy cardstock. Run it through the embossing folder of your choice, then leave it alone or color/distress it with alcohol inks, stazon ink, even acrylic paint. You can also sand it in spots.

For the ATC I used black alcohol ink, and for the journal, I combined the black with metallic copper AI.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Circle Circus

I LOVE this new Stampin' Up! stamp set. Yesterday I attended my friend Heidi's meetup, and we did three great cards that showcase the versatility of this set.

In this card we stamped random circles from the set on glossy cardstock with versamark ink, which we then sprinkled with clear embossing powder and heat set. Then, using a brayer, we covered the whole thing with ink. After it dried (quickly), we buffed the paper with a napkin. The resisted circles pop. Great and easy technique. Some Basic Gray taffeta ribbon and a circle brad complete the card:

The lattice die for the Big Shot was used in this card. The openings in it are perfect for some of the circle stamps to peek through. A little glitter adds some sparkle. The brads are actually SU's kraft colored ones which we dyed with reinker to match the cardstock. Cool idea.
In this card, we used the circles to form a topiary, and part of the large tag punch to make the flower pot.
Looking at the topiary, I thought about a snowman. When I got home, I fiddled around and came up with this card. I used white craft ink on Night of Navy cardstock, and heat embossing. I made his arms from the word window punch and his hat from about half of the designer label punch. For the snowflakes, I used the asterisk stamp from the Hello Again set we received at convention. I think it has a kind of vintage Russian look to it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I'm Back!

Convention was such fun! I think I enjoyed it even more this year. We flew in two days early and had time to do some sightseeing. We were also in a nicer hotel in a better location. The photo above is my team -- The Gotham City Stampers. The guy on the right is a SU photographer. We made it to the convention video montage that they showed on closing day. You should have heard us screaming!
One of the biggest thrills for me was seeing some of my work on display in the Gathering Place. Several of the pieces I'd submitted for the Artisan Award, (which sadly, I did not win), and even one of my swaps from last year made it to the display boards.
Here are two of the cards and last year's swap that I found posted at convention:

And two scrapbook pages: