Friday, April 27, 2012

Let The Good Times Roll

One of my favorite collaborative art journal groups is the Artistic Evolution.  That's the one in which our pages are supposed to evolve in some way from the pages that came before.  If you'd like to know more, click HERE.  It's been a while since I've received a book to work on, so I was thrilled to get Gina's from Elena last week. 

Gina's colors (the ones she'd like to be predominant in her book) are purple, emerald green and deep blue.  So, I immediately thought of Mardi Gras.  The pages that came right before mine had lots of gold, and the text mentioned silk and gold dust.  That just reinforced the Mardi Gras theme in my mind.  So, I used some of my favorite phrenology head images (including Wendy Vecchi's art chick stamp, an Invoke Arts stamp, and some from an Alpha Stamps sheet), and dressed them up in Mardi Gras finery.

Here are my two side by side pages:

The backgrounds were done with Color Wash sprays, distress stains, Inktense pencils, stencils and both glaze and gel pens.  The revelers were colored with Portfolio water soluble oil pastels, metallic craft paint, and lots of glaze pens.  They all wear collars made from bits of left over ribbon that I shredded into tiny pieces.

Here are some closer looks.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Sketchbook Project


Yesterday, Pat and I trekked to the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn to visit The Sketchbook Project.  Click HERE to see my earlier post and what my sketchbook looks like.  If you'd like to know more about the project, click on the link on my sidebar.  Sketchbook 2013 is already underway, so if you'd like to participate next year you can order your book and get an early start.

Williamsburg is an interesting and diverse neighborhood.  Once primarily a settling area for immigrants, similar to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, many of the original tenement buildings remain, now side by side with new construction.  There are lots of good restaurants, boutiques, antique shops, and other indications of the gentrification process that began a good number of years ago. 

The sketchbooks from the past two years are housed in a storefront "library," and all the books have been catalogued in such a way that visitors can go on a computer and select books to look at, either by theme, by the name of the artist, or request books randomly.  At the end of the month this year's books will begin a tour that will take them all over the country, after which they will return to Brooklyn.  If you can't get to Brooklyn you can also view books online.

Here are just a few of the many packed shelves:

Pat and I looked at our own books, the books of strangers from all over the world, and books by some of our online friends.

Here's Pat holding up her own wonderful book, which had the theme of Time Traveler.

Dawn Brown had the same theme as I did....Writing on the Wall, and here I am with both our books.

Jennifer Rogers-Daniels' book is full of her own drawings, including these pages that pull out.  Amazing book!

We looked at Marlene Moore's book too.  Her theme was Monochromatic and her pages were lovely.  Unfortunately, the photo I took was too fuzzy to use.  Sorry Marlene!  We really loved your book.

Kate Burroughs put together an amazing book of watercolors of many places in Hawaii and California.

After our visit, we strolled along Bedford Avenue and stopped for an early dinner at S and B (we ate there last year too) where we had delicious Polish food....peirogies, kielbasa, sauerkraut.  Yum!

Visit the project's website to see all the cities on the tour.  If it comes your way, take a look.  It was a fun way to spend a couple of hours and check out the work of artists from all over the world.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Arting With Friends

Yesterday I headed to Westbeth for a journaling class with Diana Trout.  With me, some of the usual suspects in these events, Heidi, Michele and Pat.   I always enjoy the classes that The Ink Pad sponsors at Westbeth, because it's a nice large space and we each get half of a long table to spread out on.

Diana is a fun, down to earth person with a very loose and carefree style that I am very drawn to.  No measuring, no over thinking, no rules.  Yea! 

We started with a warm up exercise that Diana calls journal spilling.  I think a lifetime ago it might have been called stream of consciousness writing.  We just wrote and wrote and wrote without thinking or planning until Diana told us to stop.

Then Diana demonstrated some of her background techniques, which involved a lot of water.....appropriately called paint spilling.

After which we proceded to cover up all that writing, and that was a process I enjoyed very much.

Other exercises involved drawing lines.  This was my favorite.  Put your pen down on the paper and start drawing, and don't lift the pen or stop drawing until time is called (or the page is filled, whichever comes first).  Also, don't cross over any of the lines.

I'll be filling that with color at some point.  Here is another page I worked on.

My art pals, getting all inky and painty.

Michele and Heidi


 Heidi's hands, smooshing the paint

After our lunch break we made paper dolls.  I don't know about you, but these crack me up.  Here are the girls:

 Most people did two sided dolls, with different outfits and accessories on the backs.  Look closely.  I did not.  LOL!

We were joined by some other friends.

Play nice, ladies!

Although the workshop was geared a bit more towards beginners than I'd expected, I enjoyed myself thoroughly, and was introduced to a new supply which I absolutely love......Derwent Inktense pencils.  They are watersoluble ink pencils.  So, they react with water as watercolor pencils do, but when dry, they are permanent, because they are INK, not paint.  Very rich beautiful colors, and I think I need to get a larger set.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Compendium of Curiosities 2 Challenge Begins!

Everyone who loved participating in the first Compendium of Curiosities Challenge (me! me!) was thrilled when Linda announced that with the publication of CC Volume 2 there would be a new series of challenges on her blog.  Finally, that day has come.  Click HERE to get the total scoop from Linda herself.  And, if you don't already own Tim's new book, click HERE to get your own autographed copy.  And just in case you recently returned from a lengthy alien abduction, click HERE to find out more about Tim.

The first challenge is to make a custom foam stamp and then use in on a project.The directions can be found on page 66.  I made a stamp from Tim's Townscape on-the-edge die, and used it to decorate a small unfinished wooded frame.

After a coat of gesso on the unfinished wood dried, I colored it with distress stains.  I used peeled paint and broken china.  I stamped the townscape foam stamp with black paint, then colored in the windows with distress markers (mustard seed and spiced marmalade).

In the tiny opening of the frame you'll see two separate Wendy Vecchi stamps (from her Homemade Art set) that I combined together.  The house is part of a much larger stamp, and in the original has writing inside the house.  Using painter's tape, I masked off the writing and the rest of the stamp, leaving only the house with nothing inside.  In that same set is the sentiment, which fits neatly inside the little house.  Random luck?  I think not.  Wendy is just too good about creating stamps that fit well together for me to believe in coincidences.

I used Ranger's black archival ink for the stamping, and Tim's distress markers for the coloring.  Now, if only someone I know would move into a new home I have the perfect gift.

The generous folks over at Simon Says Stamp are going to be giving away a $25 gift certificate to a randomly chosen participant, so what are you waiting for?  It's time to make a foam stamp.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Perfect Pair

What makes a perfect pair?  Well, today I'm talking about a Tim technique paired with some Wendy Vecchi stamps.  The current Simon Says Stamp and Show challenge is to make something featuring one of Tim's techniques.  I took one of my favorites from his online Creative Chemistry class...alcohol ink agates...and filled an entire 8 1/2 x 11" sheet with it.  I think if you're going to the trouble of doing a background, you may as well do it BIG and have lots on hand for future projects.  As I'm in need of a bunch of greeting cards, I cut the background up and used them for that purpose. 

Here is my entry for the challenge, a birthday card for my brother. Cards for men always give me pause, but Wendy's "serious" man (from the Serious Art set) works well.

Besides the "serious" stamp, I used the number background from Wendy's Dimensional Rose Art set, and the polka dots, which are also from the Seriously Art set.

Inside the card is the sentiment from Card Art Essentials, which you will see in the next card. 

Speaking of challenges, over at the Wendy yahoo group, our challenge is inspired by the piece on page 38 of Wendy's third book.  We're to do something that includes two eyes and a hand. 

The eyes come from the An Eye For Art set, and the hand is from Mail Art.  The sentiment you already know about; I've been using it a lot lately on my birthday cards.

Like I said before, I cut my original background into several pieces, and here are a few more cards.  These have no sentiments yet, though I did leave room on the bottoms for that.  You'll see the large weeds from Well Worn Art, the smaller ones from Botanical Art, and a swirly flower, also from Botanical Art.  Plus some twine and a little bling.

Oh, and I have to share something I discovered while making these cards.  I screwed up the stamping (archival ink, by the way) on one and really felt terrible about tossing it, so I tried something I'd never done before.  I swiped it with Stazon stamp cleaner and guess what?  It removed the archival ink but left the alcohol ink background untouched.  How cool is that?

One more card, not from the above group.  The background has distress inks, sprays, picket fence stain, patterned tissue paper, and some stamps by Wendy (those weeds 'em! and the birthday sentiment too) and Tim (the splatter stamp from Urban Tapestry, and the curved floral spray from Fairy Tale Frenzy).

And you know what starts tomorrow.......can't wait......the first challenge from Tim's Compendium of Curiosities II.  Head on over to Linda Ledbetter's blog to get the scoop.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Creative Chemistry, A Simon Says Challenge, and The 12 Tags of 2012

I completed my tags for the final technique at Creative Chemistry 101.  It is one of the easiest, and yet most lovely backgrounds I've seen.  In fact, I did two tags; one with the distress inks that Tim used in his example, and one using archival inks, just to see the difference.  Apart from the colors, not that great a difference.  I was just wondering about how the distress inks would react when remoistened, but it wasn't a significant amount.  I like it both ways.

The one on the left was done with distress inks; the one on the right with archival inks.

I liked this technique so much, I used it on my entry in this week's Simon Says challenge....which is to make something using Wendy Vecchi's products and or style.  I need a few thank you cards, so made multiples of this one:

The background stamp is the beautiful lace from Wendy's Sentimental Art set.  The large weeds are from her Well Worn Art set, and the smaller ones are from the Botanical Art set.  The background was done with distress stains and inks, but the weeds were stamped with archival ink, so they would remain intact after the last part of the technique was applied.  Sorry!  You'll have to take Tim's class to get all those details.  The sentiment is an old and much used Stampin' Up stamp.

Now that we're in a new month, Tim posted his April tag for the 12 Tags of 2012 ongoing project.  Click here to see what he did and all the step by step instructions.  And here is my interpretation.  I followed the technique as given, but used different die cuts.  I also don't (yet) own any of those cool word bands, so I made my own with a scrap of thin metal, some rub-ons, and archival inks to give the metal a softer patina finish.

I've been keeping busy with all this stuff to avoid what I really should be taxes.  Yikes!  I just can't get in the mood for that! 

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Heavenly Weekend, But First.......

.......a bus ride from hell.  I really do not like long bus trips under the best of circumstances.  But put together a surly driver, traffic, two car accidents, and a detour, and a two hour ride becomes a three hour test of patience (I have little).  But, Pat and I finally arrived in Warwick NY for a crafty weekend with some of our peeps.  We were the first to get there, settled into our lovely rooms at the Warwick Valley Bed and Breakfast, met the warm and friendly owner Loretta, and just hung out until the rest of the group checked in.  Why did I forget to take pictures of the rooms?  Each different from the next, all beautiful.  But I do have some nice outside shots.

OK, I just snagged some photos of my room (The Paisley) from the BandB's website.  Click on the link above to see the whole shebang.

We'd get three meals the next day (Saturday), but we were on our own Friday night, and went to a really nice restaurant called Coquito, which specializes in food from Puerto Rico.  Pasteles, tostones, empanadas, sangria, mojitos, oh my.  Afterwards we returned to the BandB, hung out for a while, then crashed.  Breakfast at 8:30 and a full day of projects to rest up for.

Each of us brought something for everyone to do, and they were all different and interesting.  Heidi showed us how to make really cool bracelets with leather cording, ball chain and embroidery floss.

These were addictive, and most of us continued to make them at night while watching a movie.  I think Heather made about a dozen of them.  I did the two above in the afternoon, and made one more at night.  I have all the supplies at home, and I'm sure I'll be making more.

Speaking of Heather, she brought about a ton of feathers so we could make embellishments for a headband, a barrette, a pin, or whatever else we feel is in need of some feathery bling.

Above, Kahena and Gayle work on their designs.

Laurel is making a headband to wear when she goes dancing.

My masterpiece.  Don't know what it will be used for, but trust me,
I will NOT be wearing it on my head,

Lunch break!  Loretta prepared wonderful meals for us, served in this charming room:

Lunch was homemade beefsteak tomato soup and delicious toasted sandwiches filled with chicken or turkey and all manner of vegetables and sauces.  And a spinach salad.

Each table had these odd little salt and pepper shakers, and we had fun re-arranging them into all sorts of poses.  'Nuff said about that.

Laurel had a card with faux stitching.  My actual stitching is better than my faux, so pay no attention to the cockeyed lines.  Still a lovely card.

Pat also had a card, featuring masking an area with torn paper to create a snaky wave of color, over which we did some stamping.  Here are mine and two others.

Kahena had us do resin pendants, but not just any old resin.  These were done with the type that cures under a UV light (yep, just like in the nail salon) in minutes.

Above, one of my pendants.  I embedded some tiny watch parts and glass glitter in between two layers of resin.

Corris, our resident bath products expert had us making sugar scrub.  Here she is explaining the process.

In the next photo (of Heidi's supplies for her bracelet project) look at the top right, and you'll see a jar of the finished scrub.

I kept changing my mind all week about what I'd bring.  I was so taken with Tim's shattered stains, I decided to bring some grungeboard and chipboard shapes and share the technique with everyone.  They all loved it, of course, and I think a few of them will be signing up for his class now.  Heather turned hers into a pin.

Gayle's project was t-shirt scarves.  To be honest, I did not know what to expect, but it is really a cool thing to do, and I think a great project to do with kids.  It just involves some cutting (which does not have to be exact), and pulling (which anyone can do).  Here I am, in all my glory, adorned with t-shirt scarf, t-shirt necklace, t-shirt sweatband, and of course, some feathers.

This is only one of many ways to alter t-shirts into scarves.  Click here for some other ideas, or just do a google search and you'll find lots more.

We finished all 8 projects before dinner, had time to clean up, check emails, etc. and then another bountiful meal of salad, sweet potato soup, stuffed zucchini, roasted chicken and/or tilapia.  Then we all managed to stay awake for a movie, and a few (not me) made it a double feature.  The next morning, omelets, stuffed french toast, and sausage baked with maple syrup.  Packing, saying our goodbyes, then on to the dreaded bus.

The trip home was better than the Friday afternoon ride, but still a bit bumpy.  I wish this BandB was near a train station.  However, Marty (Heidi's husband) picked us (Heidi, Pat and I) up at Port Authority and we all got rides home from there.  Yea, Marty.