Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Documented Life -- Recycled Art

This week's prompt in The Documented Life Project is to collage something you've recycled. I decided what better to do than recycle bits and pieces and leftovers from old art projects, including those I've done and some I've received.

I used a piece of an old magazine cover as my base. As I arranged the elements I tacked them down with Elmer's Extra Strength glue stick (it doesn't muck up the sewing machine needle). 

Some of the circles are fabric, others are paper. 

There are bits of old tags, circles punched from postage stamps and some cut from envelopes. See the piece on the top left with the ribbon? It is the top of a tag that had otherwise gotten damaged. Over on the top right, those animal heads were on postage stamps, I believe from Australia.

The brightly striped circles were cut from paper that was originally an envelope, handmade by a friend who sent me some "stuff." And I do believe that is Queen Elizabeth in the center of one of the circles. (Also from a postage stamp).

I'm sure I've said this before, but I love using things made/sent by my friends in my own art. Even just a scrap of paper or fabric, or a bit of ephemera handed to me at a workshop will make me think of that friend every time I look at the finished piece.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Getting My Tangle On

Several months ago, a discussion of Zentangling began in one of my groups (Blissfully Art Journaling). My friend (and group mom) Teri suggested that those who were interested follow along with the tangles in this book, because many of us already owned it:

I found a nice chunky notebook to work in.

I got into this because I'm a doodler, and just wanted to add some variety to my doodling. You know, something a little more interesting than my usual crosshatching. What I didn't expect, was how relaxed Zentangling made me feel.

Every day Most days Many days I'd practice the tangles, generally first thing in the morning .There are usually three presented each day, with extremely easy stroke by stroke directions. The culminating activity is to use the new tangles in a design, along with any others previously learned.

My first designs are very simple, since I didn't have a whole lot of tangles to work with...yet. I think the designs grew in interest and complexity, and I have found that a few minutes of Zentangling is a much better and more calming way to begin each day than my usual coffee and email. (Oh, those come later, I'm still me).

Here are a few, in chronological order. I'm about 2/3 through the book, by the way.

The chapter I'm working on now deals with adding color. In the first design, I used colored pencils, in the second, watercolors.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Documented Life....That's How I Fold

A fold by any other name, is.....a tip in. Our Documented Life Planners are full of them, at least one for every week. This week's prompt is to do a fold (AKA, tip in) on a fold. I've been doing that all along, because my book is not an actual planner, and I have to tip in the weekly journaling pages, and they usually wind up on one of my pre-existing tip ins. But, in honor of this being a challenge of sorts, I did more than one fold on a fold.

This is what the page looks like. Just about everything on it is the result of gelli plate printing on deli wrap paper.

On the top of the page a tag had already been tipped in. On it, I attached (AKA tipped in; AKA folded on) a small brown paper bag. Here is what's under the bag.

The bag serves as a pocket, and inside, a small tag. The flower makes it easy to pull the tag out. BTW, the stripes (arrows and banners) that are all over this page were done with the gelli plate transfer technique. I've seen it demonstrated with packing tape, but I used Scotch Magic tape because it has a matte finish, which I prefer to the gloss of the packing tape.

If you lift the tag, the underside is covered with that tape. Shall we call it faux washi? And under the tag a continuation of my I'm-sick-of-winter-gimme-some-spring theme. Flowers and birds, people, flowers and birds.

Moving down to the bottom of the page are two small tags. The bottom one is hinged on the right, the top one on the left. Why? Absolutely no reason other than variety. To find out what I long for, you have to lift the top tag.

Good guess. I need some spring!

If you lift the bottom tag, a short rant on the subject, and another glimpse of what lies beneath the whole shebang.

The three larger birds were cut free hand from some gelli plate prints. The little guy on the bottom is from Prima (I think).

As far as art and folds go, I am finished. But I just may be inspired to add a few more words. We'll see.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Documented Life - Let Me Repeat Myself

I find myself looking forward to Saturdays, when the creative minds behind The Documented Life Project post the prompt for the week. Week 7's suggestion: select a shape and repeat it throughout the page. My immediate thought was to do circles because I love circles, I'm always doing circles, and I have about a million circle stamps and stencils. Hmmm, where's the challenge there? Then I thought about silhouettes, for largely the same reason. Lots of silhouette stamps and stencils in my stash. So, naturally, I ultimately decided on triangles, not a shape I often use, and guess what? Barely a stamp, stencil, or other embellishment in that shape anywhere in my vast collections.

I went to the bag that holds all my gelli plate prints and started cutting triangles. I then used matte medium to adhere them to a page I had previously painted with a wash of turquoise. The triangles were overlapped, and in the spaces where there were none, I drew some in with pens. I created some triangular stencils by masking half of diamond shaped stencils with painter's tape, and stenciled some areas with black paint. I also outlined some of the triangles with black fluid acrylic.

I added some triangles of fabric, decorative napkins, and textured grungeboard. Then some doodling with glaze and souffle pens, and finally, a trip to the sewing machine.

Some of the triangles are lifted up with dimensional adhesive dots. That, along with the stitching, adds some texture and interest without adding a lot of bulk to a journal that is already getting very very big.

While I had the machine opened, I worked on a little top secret project. I'm "auditioning" ideas for an upcoming swap, so I did a little hand-felted heart, which is embellished with some fibers, held in place with machine stitching. 

BTW, the heart is actually about half the size of the photo. Don't know if I'll wind up using this technique in the swap, but I do like the way it looks. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Better Late Than Never

Over two years ago, we (and by we I mean my collaborative art journal peeps and moi) started a new round robin with an asian theme. I thought I was finished with that ages ago, and in fact, have had my own book back for over a year now. Turns out, due to a glitch in the mailing process, Marita's book skipped me, and it was only recently that I was able to do some pages and mail them to Marita so she could finally have a completed book. I used a stencil technique I learned from the wonderful Lynne Perrella. When you find an image you love, you make a bunch of photocopies of it, and then using a craft knife, cut away only parts on each copy. You also carefully cut out the entire image on one, so you have a silhouette as well. That way you can create (or maybe I should say recreate) the image, but using your own colors, textures, designs, etc.

The two facing pages:


Most of the color comes from acrylic paint (some are metallic), though there is some embellishment with markers, paint pens, and glaze pens. Lots of stencils were used. You can see how using Lynne's technique allowed me to decorate each part of the image differently. Surely not authentic, but I love how it came out. I have been zendoodling almost daily, so couldn't resist doing some of that on the quote. 

Since I was working on loose pages, and not in the book, I used that opportunity to add some texture with some machine stitching. I don't know how much of that is apparent in the photos, but it's there.

So happy to have finally done this and gotten the pages into the mail. I really do hate being so late with something, even if it wasn't my fault.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Documented Life - What Inspires You?

Such is the journaling prompt this week in The Documented Life Project. Do a page based on something/someone that is an inspiration. I chose the watercolor sketches of Jane LaFazio, one of my favorite artists. Check out Jane's blog here. I love Jane's style; her sketching and painting is natural and intuitive, and surprisingly easy to follow. I've had the great fortune (and pleasure) of taking classes with Jane. There were several people in one class that had never sketched or used watercolors before, and by the end of the day even they were producing wonderful pieces. If you can't get to one of Jane's classes, she also teaches online. You can even find some short tutorials that are free. Click here for one of those on YouTube.

One of my favorite things to do is sketch everyday objects. I see it as a way to document a moment in life where too many (if any) words are unnecessary.

My page, followed by some closeups.

The process:  sketch with pencil (I used 98lb. bristol paper and a plain old #2 pencil) lightly, then draw over the pencil lines with a thin permanent pen (I used a Micron, tip size 01). Erase the pencil lines, then paint. If you've never done this before and want to try, do watch Jane's video. I have a travel sized Sakura watercolor kit, but you can use any brand you have. According to Jane, even a child's set will work just fine.

This is where I have found my inspiration today. What is inspiring you right now?