Thursday, March 29, 2012

Creative Chemistry 101, Day 9

Embracing the Perfection of Perfect Pearls

Yes, yes, if Tim Holtz has a mantra it's probably "embrace imperfection," and believe me, I have plenty of that to embrace.  But as he says in today's lesson, Perfect Pearls is an aptly named product.  So easy to use, and such an uncomplicated way to add some glitz to a project.  Here are my tags for the three techniques we did today in Creative Chemistry 101:

The techniques are, perfect distress mist, perfect distress, and perfect splatter distress, and honestly, they are best appreciated in person, where you can hold the tags, turn them to hit the light in different areas, and really see the sparkle of Perfect Pearls.

I even have a bonus tag today.  It was created by sopping up the leftovers on my craft sheet after each technique.  Pretty cool, huh?

Remember, you can sign up for this class ANYTIME, and will have access to the content FOREVER!  The only difference between taking the classes now or later on, is that the forums and galleries can't be added to later, although you will be able to read all comments and view all the pictures.  I know I've said it before, but I'm saying it again:  take this class and you will not be disappointed.

My distress markers are supposed to be delivered today, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to play with them just yet.  Busy day today.....taking mom for a haircut, and then getting ready for a weekend getaway with some of my bestest local artsy pals.  We're trying out a new place this year, and I have to gather my supplies for the project I'll be teaching.  Yes, I know I'm lucky.  I have friends I can make art with from all over the world, even my own backyard.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Painting The Town -- Creative Chemistry, Day 8

Today's lesson is all about paint.  Creative Chemistry starts off with a very interesting and informative video on Ranger's line of paint products, followed by tutorials in another video featuring the distress paint dabbers the distress stains, and the distress crackle paints. 

And once again, I learned something new.  Here are my three samples:

The first technique is dabber resist, and it was done on Claudine Hellmuth's sticky back canvas.  I used Tim's large flourish stamp.

The next tag features crackle paint resist, and I used stamps from Tim's pen and pencil set.

The final technique is called shattered stains, and it is a very impressive one.  Tim did his samples on grungeboard; mine is done on one of Wendy Vecchi's art parts.  Click on the photo for a closer really does look like glass.  I attached it to an old background I'd done on a tag so I could include it with my other class samples, but I think it would make a fantastic pin.  I'm sure I'll be making lots more using this technique.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Creative Chemistry And A Simon Says Challenge

It seems like every other person I bump into online is taking and loving Tim Holtz's online class, Creative Chemistry 101.  Me too!  As experienced as I think I am in all things ink and paint, I learn something new every day.  Anyway, I decided to put some of these techniques into practice, and used a few on the tag I did for this week's Simon Says Stamp and Show challenge.  What did Simon say this week?   Show me......a tag! 

I started with the marbled stain technique from day 5 of the class, added some masking and stenciling, and also the flick technique from day 1.  BTW, the stenciling technique is one I learned from Lynne Perrella.  First I dabbed black paint through the sequin waste on the right.  Then I moved the waste ever so slightly and dabbed gold paint.  One more move, and some metallic orange paint was added.  The two layers soften the black and add a lot of texture (which means adding interest).

Although I knew I wanted to use the fish stamps from Wendy Vecchi's Art For Men set, I didn't have a plan for where the tag was headed, but once those images were down (BTW, I did stamp them before adding the stenciling), the tag started to feel asian to me.  I added the Chinese lettering at that point.

Next step, another technique from Tim's class, watercoloring with stains.  I used that on the two fish stamped directly onto the tag.  Looking at the tag, I thought a focal image was missing, so I stamped one of the fish onto watercolor paper with archival black ink, and after heat setting it, colored it with distress stains and cut it out.  I attached it with pop dots, and as a final touch wrapped the poor guy with some twine.  Guess he was caught.

I'm very happy with the way this tag turned out.  I'm in an asian journal group, and I suspect this tag will eventually find its way into someone's book.

Now for some Creative Chemistry tags I haven't posted yet.  Here are my three from day 4:  watercoloring with re-inkers, layered misting, and custom stamp pad.

I cheated on the third tag.  I didn't have any more of the felt pad needed for it, so I just used the custom pad I made during the last 12 Tags of Christmas, so I'd have it for reference.

Today's class was all about embossing powders, everyone's favorite "magical" technique.

The three techniques are:  nostalgic batik, rusted enamel, and distress powder resist.

If you heard a shout of happiness coming from the east coast this morning, that might have been me.  Patti from Absolutely Everything wrote to let me know that my distress markers are going out today.  And that means I'll soon be able to try out the techniques from day 6.  Color me thrilled.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Creative Chemistry (And A Few Observations)

I completed all three tags for Lesson 5 in Tim Holtz's wonderful online class, Creative Chemistry, on Friday, but honestly, I wasn't too thrilled with any of them.  I had time this morning for a do over, and I have a few observations that might help anyone else who has been less than happy with their results.


I have LOTS of tags.  Some are from Ranger, some from the office supply store, and many are from unknown sources.  There IS a difference.  The two tags I did Friday I now see were done on lighter weight manila, and I really don't like the way they reacted with the inks and stains.  The paper seemed to "pill," and I wasn't happy with the blending either.  Here's an example.  My original tag is on the left, and the new and (I think) improved one, done on Ranger's tag, is on the right:

I don't know how much it shows up, but the first attempt seems blotchy to me, and you can see how much more the first one curls up.  The one done on the higher quality manila has remained pretty flat even with all the liquid layered upon it.  Oh, and by the way, this was the marbled stains technique.  Note:  I do not work for Ranger and I'm not looking to make anyone spend more money than they want to.  I just think that for techniques that involve a lot of liquid, the higher the quality of the tag, the better. 


I thought I did, but not until I watched Tim's video earlier in the week, did I find out otherwise.  I had actually re-inked my black archival pad a week ago (but not the right way), and I wasn't getting good impressions when I stamped.  This morning I followed Tim's instructions and you can see the difference in the two tags below:

The other thing I didn't like about my first tag for the stamping with stains technique is that the background stamp, stamped with white, barely shows up.  I believe I didn't dry the tag enough when I stamped.  I made sure the second tag was totally dry, and you can certainly see the white background now.


For the stained kraft resist technique I chose a piece of Tim's kraft resist paper that didn't have a whole lot of open space, and I corrected that with my second tag.  I also think the stamp I chose had too much open space.  Add to that, it was done before I correctly reinked the archival ink pad.  I chose another piece of kraft paper, a better stamp for the technique, and worked with a properly re-inked pad, and am waaaay happier with the end result.

I actually don't dislike the first tag; I think it's kind of interesting, but not the greatest example of the technique.

I'm all wound up for tomorrow and the start of week 2 of Creative Chemistry.  Have you joined in the fun yet?  

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Feat of Engineering

That is how I describe the project we did with Kathy Files on our last full day in Key Largo.  Kathy has a very popular blog and website called Paper Phenomenon.  She creates all sorts of dimensional projects....albums, shadow boxes, suitcases, purses, etc.....all with an ulterior motive.  Inside might be drawers to hold treasures, pages for scrapbooking, files, get the idea.   Elena has been a fan for the longest time, and asked Kathy to create something for us to use to hold all our Mail Love.  I mentioned Mail Love ages ago.  Another one of Elena's brainstorms.  In this age of texting, tweeting, emails, etc., how many of us actually get anything nice in our snail mail?  Elena proposed we send one another something at least once a month, and as there were 19 who signed up for this, we all have a pretty big stack of cards, tags, magazine articles, bookmarks, calendar pages, charms, etc.  So, here is the sample that Kathy presented:

It looks like an antique hutch that you might find atop a desk.  All paper and chipboard.  Amazing, huh? And those "drawers?"  Check them out:

They are actually stand alone albums, containing file folders, envelopes, pockets....all designed to hold our Mail Love treasures.

OK, now that you've seen Kathy's fab work, let me tell you my sad tale of woe.  I admire this sort of thing, but it honestly isn't MY thing.  So, all that assembling doesn't exactly come naturally to me.  Also, we started working at about 9AM and it was well into the night when most of us just had to stop and clean up and pack.  I did finish most of the work on my three albums, but still have to make the box they all go in, and do the finishing touches on the insides of the albums.   Here is what I have to show for myself:

The largest of the three albums, above, opens up to reveal files, perfect for holding cards and tags.   I still have to decorate the tops of the files.  Well, I guess I don't HAVE to, but looking at Kathy's finished piece, I kind of feel I should. 

One of the smaller albums, which opens up to reveal a smaller set of files:

The other small album has two inserts inside, one of envelopes, the other of pockets:

The rest of my unassembled pieces, as well as the rest of the scrapbook paper we used are in the box I left for Elena to ship to me, so it may be a while before I can even consider finishing this.  As neither Pat nor Teri finished theirs either, we plan to get together, and hopefully between the three of us we'll understand how to put the box together.

So, another fantastic Keys4Art comes to an end.  Here's the whole gang (well, minus Kathy, who was probably off somewhere cutting chipboard):

Front row:  Marita, Linda, Jen W-L, Patty, Karen, Gina
Back row:  Val,Teri, Me, Lillian, Sue, Lynne Perrella herself!, Jacquie, Jen R-D, Elena, Daisy, Pat

OK, one more picture.  One of Elena's pups, by the name of Lucky, was wildly attracted to Teri, and could often be found curled up on her air mattress.  Usually on top of her sweater.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Invasion of Key West and a Little Chemistry

On Thursday, after two wonderful but very intense (and long) days with the fantastic Lynne Perrella, we took the day off and headed out to Key West, caravan style.  Three cars, 14 women, and only a vague plan that included Margaritaville and a sunset.

We stopped for a photo op (and a bathroom break....I did mention there were 14 women, right?) on Islamorada at Anne's Beach:

The speed limit is pretty low, and passing is pretty dangerous, so if you have a slowpoke in front of you, as we often did, it can be a long drive from Key Largo to Key West.  By the time we got there we were starving, so we headed straight for Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville.  No wasting away; the burgers were enormous and the margaritas even bigger. 

We did some wandering around by foot, found a cool jewelry store, but what caught everyone's eye even more than the jewelry was this shirt:

Several of the ladies purchased it.  Not me.  I looked at the XL and it didn't look large enough for even the likes of Demi Moore, so I passed.  But still, gotta love it.

Then we spied a powder blue vintage car, and got Teri to pose in front of it. I really wanted her to do an Angelina, but she wouldn't hike up the skirt far enough.   Just as I was getting ready to snap, the owner came out and he was absolutely delighted.  We saw him and his car about three more times that day.  He loves it and loves to see people's reactions to it.  Hey, everyone needs a hobby.

In the late afternoon we decided to buy tickets for a trolley ride around town.  Good idea.  We had a great driver who had an amusing running commentary and passed by every hot spot.  It was a hop on hop off deal, but we didn't do any hopping.  We just sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed the ride.

 If I remember correctly, this is the bar that is in the oldest building (of all the bars) in Key West:

 The driver made a stop for those who wanted to sample some coconut water.

After the trolley ride we decided we'd walk around a bit and meet up on the rooftop of the tallest building in Key West....The Conch Hotel.....all seven stories of it.  It's the best place to take in the famous Key West sunset.  Unfortunately, the clouds came in, followed by torrential rain, so while we enjoyed the view for a bit, the sunset was not in the cards.

On the way back we stopped for a late dinner at a place called (I think) Lazy Days.  Elena had been raving about their lobster roll sandwiches, but they didn't serve them for dinner.  I think I once described Elena as tenacious.  Well, she spoke to the owner and the waiter, who spoke to the chef, and you guessed it, we got the lobster rolls and they were beyond delicious. 

This was a 12+ hour day, and we got home exhausted.  We'd be needing a good night's sleep.  Tomorrow's project with the talented and extremely patient Kathy Files (or is it Kathy Orta?  I've seen both names.  Someone, help!) would be a very complex feat of paper engineering.

OK, the "Little Chemistry" I referred to in the title is Tim Holtz's online class called Creative Chemistry.  It is an extensive overview of all the products he uses, the science behind them, and three techniques each day.  Oh, and two videos.  Very cool.  I highly recommend it, as it is self paced and once you register you'll always have access.  The first three techniques are blended spritz and flick, wrinkle free distress, and brushless watercolor.  Here are my samples.

The next day we did alcohol ink agate (my favorite so far), archival resist, and reflections stamping.

Always super organized and detail oriented, Tim includes downloadable labels for the backs of the tags with all the directions and supplies used, so at the end of the two week class I'll have a great reference guide to all the techniques.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Keys4Art2012 -- Two Days With Lynne Perrella!

Thanks to Elena's drive and tenacity, Keys has grown from a group of art friends getting together to make art and share ideas, to an event which, while still true to the original concept, also includes classes from well known mixed media artists.  Last year we were fortunate to learn from Ingrid Djikers, Julie Nutting and Beatriz Furquhar-Guzman.  This year, we had two wonderful artists, and this post will focus on the one and only Lynne Perrella.

Living in New York City, only a couple of hours from Lynne's home, I have been lucky enough to take many classes with her, and I was thrilled that my far flung art sisters would have that opportunity too.  Lynne designed a class just for us, based on the feedback she got from Elena, and called the two day workshop "Go For Baroque."  We were to select some images we wanted to work with, make toner copies of each, and bring them to the Keys.  Some chose gypsies, some kings or queens, or other members of royalty.  Johnny Depp and Clark Gable even made an appearance.  Such fun!

After prepping our surfaces (canvas, red rosin paper) with gesso and texture and leaving them to dry, we gathered around the table, introduced ourselves, and hung on every word as Lynne explained her philosophy of art, and shared some samples of her glorious collages.  Check out her website and prepare to be dazzled.

Then we just got busy, adding color with paints, inks, Portfolio brand pastels, and layering more texture with a variety of papers, fibers, and even fabric.  Here are some of our projects, some finished, some still works in progress.  And thanks to Val for being so diligent in her picture taking.  I wouldn't have much to share if I couldn't swipe photos from my friends' blogs.  Speaking of which, for lots more, check out Val's blog as well as Elena's
 Eileen (me!)

 On the left, me working; on the right one of my 12x12 canvases


Another view of Johnny, this one by Jacquie 
Jen's large banner, in progress





The next two are Val's, making baroque work
with steampunk

If I misidentified anything, artist, please let me know.  This has been known to happen.

Lynne spent every minute of each all day (and into the night) class, walking around the room, assisting when asked, and often stopping for a demonstration of a particular technique or use of material.

Tomorrow we invade Key West.  Those spring breakers don't know what's heading their way.