Friday, April 30, 2010

Chaos Project

A while back Tim Holtz wrote in his blog about a class he did called Creative Chaos. (If you click on that link you'll be taken to Tim's blog post on the class, and see the completed projects).   He was team teaching with Jennifer McGuire,  there was a tag-making, technique-learning frenzy going on, and the resulting tags were put together on a canvas.  Very cool, yes, and it inspired my friend Pam (who I know from ATT and the Mexico cruise) to put together the very ambitious Chaos Project.

So many ATTers signed up, there are three groups doing this.  Pam created a template of the finished canvas. All the tags are of different sizes, and some are arranged vertically, some horizontally.  We each signed up for a specific tag, and will create enough for everyone in our group.  Pam is going to put together the tag collages for us and send them to us.  Awesome!

My completed tags, shown above, were sent to Pam in California on Tuesday, and they're already in her hands!   Can't wait until everyone else finishes and mails so Pam can get started.  I know this will be an art piece I'll love having.

Here's a closer look:
The background was done on glossy magazine paper.  I stamped a bird with clear ink, covered with clear embossing powder, heat set.  Then applied several colors of distress inks over top with a blending tool.  Of course, the embossed areas resist the ink.  You can see the birds kind of walking across the tags.

The little border on the top is just inked grungepaper with holes punched for the type charms that spell out "fly."

As for the butterfly....a sizzix die...embellished with KAT's "drunken scotch" technique in various blue alcohol inks.  The antennae are done with resistors I curled with pliers.  I attached the butterfly with an "x" of mini staples using Tim's Tiny Attacher, and ended it all with a trail of bling.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Steampunk Marie!

Sue's Marie Antoinette journal has the theme of "Marie's Dreams," and we're to do pages of anything Marie might have dreamed of.  Lots of wiggle room for interpretation here, and boy did I ever wiggle.  My Marie's dream took her all the way from Versailles to Victorian England, and she may have encountered Jules Verne or H.G. Wells along the way.   Here is the result:
Marie's body was done with a rubber stamp, her head is from a PID collage sheet.  I added some real string to her corset, and gave her some steampunk-ish accessories....a keychain necklace, watch parts earring, and thimble hat.   I found a steampunk drawing of a bicycle and printed it on a transparency and that is what you see overlaid on the bottom.  (Click on the photo to see these details).  The hot air balloons in the background were in the original photo I used as the backdrop, but the three smaller ones in the foreground are actually a rubber stamp, done on separate paper, colored, cut, and attached with foam to make them dimensional.

On the journaling page.....underneath it all is a dictionary definition and illustration of a steampunk device.  I know you can barely see any of it, but I know it's there, LOL.  I gessoed over it, then added the color with my beloved Portfolio water soluble oil pastels.  The writing was done with Sharpie water-based poster paint markers, which are great because they're very opaque and give great coverage over just about everything.
The Victorian looking man with the birdcage hat is from a Tim Holtz stamp set, and the very steampunky  metal embellishments on both pages are also courtesty of Mr. Holtz.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I've been fascinated by the art (and the life) of Frida Kahlo for a long time, and when my Australian friend Lee proposed yet another collaborative journal with Frida as the inspiration, I jumped at the chance.  Yes, even though I'm currently in four other journal groups and have an overflowing plate.  Couldn't resist.
I decided on a compact size (6x6), as we are a very international group, and concerned about postage costs.
Here is my newly completed cover art:
I drew a (deliberately) crooked border and filled it with colorful doodling, my version of Mexican folk art.  Wasn't at all trying to be authentic, this is just what Frida's art inspires in ME.
Inside the frame I created the background with Portfolio water soluble oil pastels and torn paper used as a mask.  After buffing it with paper towels, I painted over it with gold mica paint, which I'm sure doesn't show up in the photo, but it is nice and shimmery.
The picture of Frida began with some clip art.  I put into practice the drawing technique Jen taught us on the retreat.  I lightly gessoed over the image of Frida and then drew and colored over the gesso, so the original image served as a guide.  Since it was a portrait, I added the skirt (which has dimensional flowers) and scarf (a piece of ribbon).
The wonderful letters that spell out Frida were stamped with black ink, using a great Tim Holtz foam alphabet set (sadly, no longer available), which I was lucky enough to get last year on the Mexico cruise.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Keys 4 Art - Day 3, Part 2, and Day 4 and.....goodbye!

To be honest,  I'm a little fuzzy on the time line here.  Not sure what we did when, or even if some of what I think happened on the afternoon of day 3 actually happened on day 4, and vice versa.  Maybe, just maybe, it had something to do with......
Whatcha think?
Anyway, at some point, Val taught us how to make those little wire nests with pearl eggs that everyone loves.  I'd made a few before, but mine were just the result of looking at one online and trying my best to duplicate it. Val had very good and clear step by step instructions, and I know my future nests will be that much better.  Working on the nests:
 And my little nest....the photo is fuzzy, the nest isn't!

We didn't even go out Friday night, just kept eating the delicious leftovers of all the wonderful food that had been brought in.....not to mention Nicole's fantastic baked ziti.
Val also showed us how to make tiles and embellishments from polymer clay.  We softened the clay and rolled it through a pasta machine, then either stamped images into it, or pushed it into molds.  I mostly made tiles, but did do that bird that is on the cover of my journal.  That was from a mold.  We brushed some mica powders on the pieces and then baked them in a low oven.  I think they are just beautiful:
I think I'm up to Day 4 now....a day of art and food and drink and a Key Largo sunset (sort of).
Elena has traveled all the way to Oregon to take a class with Teesha Moore, and she has also taken many online journal classes.  We all wanted to know how to make a hand bound book, and she assured us it was easy.  She taught us one way, and it wasn't difficult at all.  Since Elena had bought 4 rolls of the red rosin paper for my project, we decided to use that for our book.  I'll gesso them and fill them with something.  But not today, LOL.  Here is my hand sewn book (the beautiful cover paper is called Masa and I'll be getting some of that, for sure:
 At some point (today? yesterday?) Val showed us an embossing technique she calls inlaid embossing.  Very cool!  A chipboard shape is covered completely with embossing powder.  Once melted and cooled, an image is stamped over top, using clear ink, and then it is embossed with a very contrasting color of embossing powder.  I used this technique on the chipboard bird that is now in my journal:
It does very much have the look in inlaid enamel, and I love it!

Every Saturday, Bernie, Elena's husband, goes to Marlin (remember Marlin, home of the never ending stream of Cuban food and delicious Margaritas?) and does barbecued ribs for Manny, the owner.  We hopped on over there late in the afternoon to sample some.
Bernie's special sauce in the middle.....OMG!
That's me, Nicole and Marita showing we approve.
Now, mind you, Sue is about 90% vegetarian, and even she had a rib!
Notice, we're all in our Keys 4 Art t-shirts.  Colorful group, huh?
Bernie, Elena, and Manny.  Thanks for the great food all week!  And Bernie, your ribs rock!
We next drove to Marley's a waterfront restaurant/bar with live music and a fun atmosphere.  I think the pictures speak for themselves:
That's me, Jen, Val, Juliet, Marita and Sue enjoying this view:
We spent a nice hour or so there, where a new friend was made:
And everyone had a very nice, relaxing time.
We decided that nice as the view was, the mangroves would block the sunset, so we moved on to another, much more upscale place, The Big Chill, which was very crowded.  But, we managed to snag some great outdoor seating.
Way too many clouds for a proper sunset, and we did have a brief shower, but it was still beautiful.

We also enjoyed some conch fritters, nachos and dip, fried calamari, and wonder of wonders....Mango Mojitos!   We were joined there by Bernie, and Elena's cousin and aunt, both newly arrived from Cuba.  Bernie surprised the aunt with a very special gift......toilet paper imprinted with Fidel's picture.  Check out her reaction:

And not to be outdone by Gina and Jen at Marley's, Val met a pirate of her own:
Then.....sadly, home to pack.  Val and Juliet would be leaving first, then Gina, Marita, Sue and Jen would be taken to the airport in the late morning.  Lillian is staying on until Wednesday, and my flight is in the evening, so after the airport run, Lil and I went to lunch with Elena, then a brief visit with her daughter in Miami.  Stopped at a Michael's, then back to the airport, where I was really unhappy saying goodbye after such a wonderful 5 days.
How about a Keys 4 Art 2011??????

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Queen & Her Cake - A Marie Antoinette Collaborative Art Journal

The most recently launched art journal group I'm in has Marie Antoinette as a theme. (Click HERE for details of this project).
This week I received two to work in, and have completed the pages for Daisy's.  Everyone picked a specific angle on the Marie theme, and Daisy's is "Fashionista Marie's Couture."  Daisy did some beautiful pages of Marie in various backdrops, wearing the most magnificent clothes, fashioned from paper, fabric, and lots of trimmings.  Tough act to follow (I'm the first to work in her book), but I've been accumulating loads of frou frou, so felt up to the task.
Here is page one of the two page spread:
The background is a photo of a period room, printed in black and white, with parts tinted with pastels.  I took a Marie paper doll as the base and fashioned her dress and headpiece from bits of fabric, ribbon, lace and other trims.  I covered her hair with lots of champagne stickles, glittered her shoes, and added pearls and other bling all over.  The text, printed on the computer, cut apart and edged with gold embossing, says,  "the dresses are lovely, but....."
What's the but?????   Well, fancy dresses might be nice, but for me at least, it was always, "all about the shoes."  Or, as Sue, our resident French expert told me, "il s'agit des chassures."
Oh, I did have fun with this page.  Shoes, shoes, and more shoes. The tiny one on the bottom is completely dimensional.  I found a pointy shoe pattern on the internet, and reduced it in size and made this little gem....I think that took longer than anything else on these pages.  Working in miniature is NOT easy.  But I'm really happy with the way these pages came out.  This style, as I'm sure you know, is so not me, and yet, so much fun to play with.
Now, on to Sue's journal.  Her journal is all about Marie's dreams.  Daisy's pages for her are great....Marie dreams of being a can-can dancer in the Moulin Rouge.  Haven't decided yet what my Marie will dream of, but I'm leaning towards something very 21st century.  Should be a hoot to do.

The Keys 4 Art - Day 3, Part 1

The whole morning, and part of the afternoon was spent finishing the Lynne Perrella inspired project.  I was happy to share what I could with everyone, and even happier with how much they seemed to enjoy it.  We added color with paint, ink, paper.  I showed some of the techniques I'd learned for using the Portfolio water soluble oil pastels....awesome product!  I also shared some of Lynne's tips for making the images you find on the internet your own, through altering and coloring.  
The picture above shows all 12 of us holding our completed creations.  I know, I'm getting ahead of myself, but this is the only picture I have of everyone....from left to right, artist and home base (I hope; the picture is small and my eyes, well, they're 62 like the rest of me):   Jacquie, Florida; Sue, Illinois; Marita, Oregon; Linda, Florida; Juliet, W. Virginia (or maybe just Virginia); me!, New York; Jen, California; Patty, Florida; Val, Michigan; Elena, Florida; Gina, Oregon, and Lillian, Canada.
First, some shots of artists at work, and works in progress:

I love the way each and every piece came out.  Some turned theirs into books, and some left them as is, planning on having them framed for display.  Who could blame anyone?  Look how gorgeous:
We went outside and posed for closeups with our creations, in a suitably beautiful setting, by a hibiscus (bush? tree?).



And last, but surely not least, our wonderful host, Elena

Well, this was a long and full day, so even though it isn't over, I'll end now, and pick up in the afternoon of Day 3 for my next post.