Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Favorite Stamp, Shabby Chic-afied

So, this week, Simon Says Show Us Your Favorite Stamp (except they spell it favourite).  Which means I am pretty much assured of being able to use whatever I create for the Grungy Monday challenge as well.  As long as stamping is involved.  There I am, early Monday morning, waiting for it to be 8am my time, so I can see what Linda L. has planned for us.  And it is a great stamping (yea!) technique from Tim.  In fact, it dates way back to December 2007, one of the 12 Tags of Christmas, and it is called shabby chic.

It's always difficult to select a favorite anything.....stamp, color, song, book.....there are so many and for most of us the concept of favorite is kind of fluid.  That being said, I do know what ONE of my most beloved stamps is, so I'm using that one.  It is the artsy chick stamp from Wendy Vecchi's Art Rules set,  and I do use it a lot.  Also I just liked the idea of doing artsy chick in shabby chic.  First I just played around with the technique on scrap paper, trying different paint colors. Looking at the array of samples on my work table, I was hit with an idea.  If one artsy chick is good, how great would eight be?  And this is what came out of that:

Each part is ATC size, and they are done on black foam board.  Which I painted black as per Tim's directions, because I found out the hard way that the technique just works better on a painted surface.
And, because I had just scored a bunch of metallic paints, I used them instead of the paint dabbers and I absolutely love this variation.  The bits of gold, however, were done with a paint dabber and a stencil.  I added some number rub-ons (which I sanded a bit to shabbify them) and decided it would be more interesting if they were out of order.  Then I just arranged them on a larger piece of foam board, and it is, as they say, ready to hang.

It's always a little difficult for me to photograph anything with a shimmer, so I hope this close up gives you a better idea of how the metallics work.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I'm A Tagmaniac!

I'm part of a group called Artistic Portfolios....mainly the women I do collaborative art journals with, and most of whom I get to see in Key Largo at our (now) yearly Keys4Art retreat.  We've been creating backgrounds and journal pages and sending them to everyone in the group.  Our next project is tags, and we're making two for each participant.  Of course we can do whatever we like with them, but the idea is to incorporate them somehow into the journals that we're going to make with all the pages we'll be getting.

I used this as a way to play around with some of the techniques I've been doing lately, some from weekly challenges and some from workshops. 

These use the brushless watercolor technique that has popped up on TWO recent challenges (see prior posts for the details), and I've used Wendy Vecchi stamps (except for the sentiment, which is Stampin' Up):

This next set of tags has the nice and easy color blocking technique by Sir Tim (see last week's Grungy Monday for the deets):

The background stamp is Tim's and of course, umbrella man, who looks great on the colorful base, is a Tim die.

One of my all time favorite techniques (and I don't know who to credit it with because I've seen it in so many different places) is a variation of Joseph's Coat.  You stamp over patterned paper with clear ink, emboss it with clear powder, and then cover the whole thing with dark (usually black) ink.  The embossed areas retain the original pattern, and if you've used colorful paper it really pops.  I did several tags with that method:

I did the technique on 12x12 papers and used very dark blue ink instead of black, then cut the papers up into tag size, which is why each background is slightly different.  They're also all embellished differently.  I've used Spellbinders butterfly and dragonfly dies, Tim's mini butterfly and cage/bird dies, and one more.....

To get that rich deep and very distressed looking blue finish on the butterflies on the ribbon, I stamped the row of butterflies from Tim's Papillon set on black paper with clear ink, and then used blue UTEE (Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel).  Then I just cut them out and fastened them to the tag with the tiny attacher.

The next few tags gave me the opportunity to play around with the use of stencils over collage. 

Small squares from a previously done collage were glued down on the tag on the left.  The entire tag was covered with adhesive.  After the squares went down, gold UTEE was applied....embossing powder/enamel sticks to glue just as well as to wet ink....which created the mosaic effect.  Final touch:  stenciling in black paint and then some black crystal bling.

On the right, the collage was not cut up, but the same stencils and bling were used.

All of the following started out as collaged pieces, mainly text and patterned tissue paper.  Some had a little embossing added, others received images, and all were stenciled.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Making Art Challenge and Another Collage

Yesterday Lori announced the next Making Art challenge over at the Wendy Vecchi yahoo group....EWV (Everything Wendy Vecchi).  If you'd like to play along with us, just join the group and you'll have plenty of inspiration from a great bunch of talented people, including Miz Vecchi herself. 

This week's challenge is based on the project on page 26 of Wendy's first book.  If you don't have the book, no worries.  Lori makes sure that anyone can join in.  All you have to include in your piece (besides at least one Wendy stamp) is an ATC in the horizontal position and a chipboard circle. 

I did another piece on a 4x4 coaster, NOT in my usual color palette, and here it is:

I had some purplish paper cut from one of the collage pieces I did at the Lynne Perrella workshop and covered the coaster with it.  Over that I stamped one of Wendy's backgrounds in clear ink and embossed it with Zing's very tropical apricot powder.  Wowza.  I think I was so happy to see sun after almost two full weeks of gray skies and lots of rain, that I needed some brightness.

The ATC itself was a textured white paper colored with distress inks (spiced marmalade and mustard seed). The words were computer generated, something I do when I can't find a rubber stamp that says what I want it to say.   As for the chipboard circle.....I used Wendy's watch case Art Part, maybe not technically chipboard, but close enough, I say. I colored it with an eggplant paint dabber, highlighted with gold paint, and attached it to the ATC.  Inside I glued some interesting paper, and a ring of microbeads and glitter (AKA Beadazzles).

Final embellishments:  some Wendy flowers and a Tim wing and butterflies on grungepaper.  The significance of the #29?  This is for an occasion, and the number is a date. 

I still can't stop talking about, and thinking about the Lynne Perrella workshop, and happily, I also can't stop creating things inspired by it.  If your name is Elena, you can stop reading right now, because the next photo is of a piece that is for you!  Those of you who know my good friend know that she LOVES the zetti style of art made famous by the very colorful and talented Teesha Moore.  While I admire that work greatly, it is not my thing, but I wanted to do a collage for Elena that kind of gave a nod towards  the style, while still remaining "me."  This is about as zetti as I can get:

It was definitely influenced by what I learned at the workshop, it's a little bit zetti and also totally Eileen. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Another Wendy-fied Grungy Monday

Click, click, click....that's the sound of all the planets in my little universe falling into place.  In other words,  several challenges could be completed with one project.  As I still haven't figured out how to get more than the normal allotment of 24 hours into a day, that's a good thing.

Challenge #1, from Simon Says Stamp and Show......Wendy Vecchi style.  Hmmmm, wonder if I can do that?  LOL!  My three binders full of Wendy's stamps says I can.
Challenge #2,  courtesy of Linda Ledbetter's Grungy Monday........Tim's watercolor technique using stamps, dye inks and a spritzer.  Now why does that sound familiar?   Because, it is, coincidentally enough,
Challenge #3, as per Lori our fearless leader on the Wendy Vecchi yahoo group.....brushless watercoloring.
Challenge #4 (a personal one).....get a BD card done.

First of all, you really should click HERE for all the details on the technique, from Sir Tim himself.  Having done that, here is my piece, a 4x4 coaster which will morph into a BD card very soon:

Truth be told, this is NOT the piece I originally submitted for the EWV challenge.  Lori had told us we didn't need a finished piece; we should just try the technique.  I did, but was sorry I hadn't used a background stamp (not part of the technique, but IMO a nice touch), so I made sure I used one here.  Here are the details:
  • sponged some permanent ink (a mustard color) on the coaster
  • inked a Wendy background stamp lightly with brown permanent ink
  • used the technique on two of Wendy's flower stamps
  • cut Tim's tattered florals die on sticky back canvas, inked it and trimmed it to mimic Wendy's flower
  • cut a foliage idea-ology piece in half to embellish the canvas flower.
  • stamped the phrase (Tim's stamp) and mounted it on dark paper and adhered it to the coaster
I haven't decided yet, but before I make this a birthday card I just may switch out the sentiment for a birthday one.  Or not.  This one is a nice message for any occasion.

And just so you know, this is a very easy and fun technique, with the best results obtained when using a porous surface.....watercolor paper is the best option, but the coaster I used worked great too.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Still Inspired.....

......by all I learned/experienced at the Lynne Perrella workshop I attended a little over a week ago.  The asian theme found its way into this altered game piece pin:

First the piece was colored with alcohol inks, then the chinese "love" was stamped with archival ink.  The dragonfly was stamped with clear ink and embossed with a bright green powder (Zing's leaf).  On the right, a blue mix of micro beads was adhered with multi medium.  For the danglie....I wrapped some colored wire tightly around the piece (I say this casually as though it just took seconds to do.  NOT!  It took some effort and more coordination than I normally possess, but finally succeeded), and then attached the beads, doing some twisting and curling of the wire.  Here's a closer look:

This is the back.  I don't know what game this piece is associated with, but it's roughly the size of a domino, just a little wider and shorter.

I later did a quick collage on a large sheet of paper and decided to cut it up and make some tags.

After a gorgeous sunny Saturday, the rains returned yesterday, and I took this as a sign that I should stay indoors and create something just for me.  Not for a swap or a challenge or a gift.  So I pulled out the red rosin paper, the gesso, the odds and ends of collage art, and worked on it, on and off, all day.  Note to Self: buy more stencils IMMEDIATELY!

It's a medium sized piece, a little under 12x18" and I made it using all the layering/texturing/stenciling techniques we learned from Lynne.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Mikado in Connecticut

Nope, not an opera review, but a great weekend in beautiful Connecticut with the fabulously talented Lynne Perrella ( if you've been reading my blog for a while, you know she is my collage idol).  This was my fourth workshop with Lynne, but the first with an out of town venue, and I just loved it. 

Last Thursday, Teri and I met up in Grand Central Station and took the Metro North train to Wassaic (which happens to be in NYS) and then cabbed it to The Interlaken Inn in Lakeville, CT.  This area is the foothills of the Berkshires, so NY, CT, and MA are all very close together.  This is the country!  We passed fields.  We saw cows.  Lots of cows.  About 30 minutes later we arrived at the inn, which is lovely.  The workshop would begin the following morning, but given the choice between coming a day early or taking a 6am train on Friday, well, you can see why we chose the first option.   Here are a few photos of the lovely grounds and our room.  (This is a good place for sharing.....two queen size beds, lots of storage, and even a little deck).

                                                   Metal sculptures were everywhere:

We had a huge room that was kept open 24/7 for us.  In this "studio" we each had our own large table to work on.  The inn kept us in coffee, tea, and snacks throughout our stay, in addition to breakfast and lunch.  We didn't even have to stop working and clean up at lunchtime.  We gave our order in the morning and it arrived in boxes in the afternoon.  Great service!

As the workshop theme was asian, Lynne had this gorgeous display set up to inspire us.  The kimonos were borrowed from a friend, but those umbrellas.....Lynne did all the decoration.

I brought a large suitcase that was filled to the brim.....a few articles of clothing and the rest was paints, pastels, collage elements, brushes, etc.  Check this out:

The left side holds all the personal items I brought, including clothing.  EVERYTHING else you see, plus what's in all the other sections are the art supplies I brought.  And under that plastic container is another one, just as full.

Here is Teri, very busy creating:

By the way, her table didn't always look so orderly.  Neither did anyone else's.  Some theme-appropriate items were in our class package:

Yes, that is me.  And this is where I worked:


Believe it or not, those are the only photos I took all weekend!  Too busy, and hands too full of "stuff" to stop and snap any pix.  But when I got home, after putting some finishing touches on my pieces I took plenty.

Our largest project was a banner.  Mine is about 2' x 4'.  It was mostly finished at the workshop, but I added some trim and a little bling when I got home.

And some close ups of different sections:

We started with red rosin paper, which you can get in hardware stores, covered it with gesso, and added lots of texture.  Then it was all about layers:  paint, papers, fibers, portfolio pastels, stencils, masking..... I think I have a new love and respect for stencils and realize I need TO BUY MORE.

We did a smaller piece, which highlights all the wonderful masking/stenciling techniques that Lynne taught:

I took that photo after I hung the piece, and of course it's in an awkward place for picture taking, so the lighting isn't perfect.  Here are a few closeups:

A smaller project was done with a leftover piece of gessoed paper.  I did what Lynne refers to as "speed collage."  I just quickly and randomly glued all the leftover bits of paper I had onto the gessoed sheet, added some color and stenciling, and then finished the opposite side with black paint and stenciling with metallic paint.  Then I did some simple folding and cutting to create a book.

The front:

The back:

Becoming a book:

Front cover, followed by inside pages and back cover:

One of the things I learned from Lynne at the very first workshop I attended, maybe two years ago, was to save the trimmings from projects and use them in future pieces.  I had some very long strips after I trimmed my pieces to "square" them up,

Instead of tossing them, I made this (don't know what I'll use it for, but it might become part of a journal page):

In addition to making art and learning from Lynne, the weekend also allowed me to meet and interact with seven other artists, and that was a wonderful experience.  We all approached our projects differently and everyone was so generous in sharing not only ideas, but supplies.  We're already talking about next May in Connecticut with Lynne.