Imagine. Create. Enjoy.
“I am a great admirer of mystery and magic. Look at this life. All mystery and magic.” - Houdini
Do you believe in magic? Are you intrigued as I am by stage magicians? Even if I know the secret to the trick, I still relish the performance. Mystery and magic. I can’t get enough of it.
For my next Artistcellar project I wanted to experiment with a supply I haven’t used in a long time. I have always liked adding embossing powders to my art. There is something about the transformation from powder to a liquid metal effect that I find sublime. I recently purchased a set of Seth Apter’s Baked Texture Embossing powders. With names like Chunky Rust, and Vintage Beeswax I couldn’t wait to create with them.
My other recent obsession is image transfers. I have been attaching images to an array of papers. The results widely vary. But when they work, it’s like holding a bit of magic in your hand. Most of my transfers have been produced from photocopies of engravings. The lines hold well to the substrate. I wanted to try a halftone photo. I decided to try my luck with a photo of a woman in a top hat I saw in a book. Because I wanted a transparent finish I transferred the photo to a tea bag. After a bit of soaking and rubbing, I was pleased with the results.
Using an old library book cover for the substrate I began the collage. I glued a piece of joss paper to the cover and layered the image transfer on top. While it was drying, I covered a selection of papers with embossing ink using my Open Work stencil from the Blocks series. I especially liked the colour and texture I got from the Ancient Amber powder on the tea bag. I also tried the powders on a piece of parchment paper. As the powder set, they lifted from the paper and I glued them to the design as free standing jewels. I liked the old carnival poster effect of the piece. I completed the work with tissue paper from my last project, a bit of French newspaper I covered with Vintage Beeswax powder, and papers infused with real beeswax.
Every time I create I dive into all that is magical and mysterious. The magic has been the discovery of a new way to use a supply. The mystery often times is just the process of creation. My hope is that you follow your inspired heart. It can guide you to places and people who will forever enchant your life.
Sometimes when I approach my art journal I like to look at it as a place for simple self reflection. Not everything in this place has to be an amazing work of art, right?
So today I pulled out some of my collage papers and used matte medium. Then I used the Artiscellar Diamond Series Stencil: Flanders and the Artistcellar Sacred Geometry 2: Seed of Life with black DecoArt Media Mister.
This created a really subtle effect because I purposely got the stencil a little too-wet.
Once that was dry I used Pan Pastels with the Artistcellar Blocks Series stencil. Pan Pastels and stencils are a match made in heaven!
To finish off, I added some lettering with a white gelly roll pen.
"Be Gentle. You are meeting parts of yourself you have been at war with."
Who doesn’t like soup? Warm, comforting, encouraging you to release your creativity with each new recipe, it is just the thing to lift my spirits. And as we trudge through more cold and snowy winter weather the smiling woman in the vintage ad carrying home her paper bag of Campbell’s soup and an article in a local magazine inspired me.
I have participated in a charity postcard exchange for the last several years. I knew my mind was set on the image I wanted to use for my next design. If you are like me, you know when an art supply is “just right”. The incredible range of Artistcellar stencils always help me find precisely what I am looking for in minutes. Spreading out my stencils, my eye was drawn to the Quasicrystals and Blocks Series. Yes…they were “just right”.
The card came together fairly quickly. I lightly coated a postcard size piece of cover stock with gesso. Using my sponge with the most texture, I applied several shades of Dylusion Paint. Working wet on wet I sponged the wonderful Dylusion Ink Spray to build the background. I wanted to create a sensation of warmth and happiness. Using the Dylusion products never disappoint. The colours are as rich and vibrant dry as they are wet. Again…they were “just right”.
Cutting out the image of the woman from the ad, I glued it to the card.
A local monthly magazine runs the most amazing food column. The recipes are carefully thought out which makes them easy to successfully replicate. This month paid homage to a rich and robust Minestrone, one of my all-time favourites. Reading through the ingredients, an old song came to mind…"Life is a Minestrone". I cut out sections of the recipe to surround our shopper.
Returning to my inspiration, I believe our lives always revolve around choosing a little bit of this, maybe a tad of that. We make the best of what we have on hand. But I am convinced that with a dollop of creativity and a dash of invention our lives can be as truly nourishing as a simmering Minestrone.
“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
There is wisdom in the saying “One person’s trash is another’s treasure”. For a collage artist, the aftermath of the Holidays brings with it the immense potential of discarded materials. There’s a lot to be said for scavenging through the rubbish to find an inspirational gem or two. It was there I found the start of my next Design Team project.
My substrate is a piece of thin corrugated board that surrounded a picture frame. Using an inexpensive one inch brush I applied gesso with a light touch. I liked patchiness and bristles left behind as the gesso dried. You can still see a little of it through the brushed and sponged acrylics. My stencil choice this time was Open Work from the Blocks Series. Rather than spray, I used a wet sponge to dab on Bubble Gum Dylusion Ink Spray. I liked the watery finish as it bled under the stencil.
Greeting cards are a wealth of ephemera. The gold foil was peeled from the inside of an envelope. Next to it I layered sewing pattern paper, a price sticker, a stamp and a line found in a magazine: “If You Are Reading This”.
My final bit collage work included a clipping from a book page that I infused with beeswax some time ago. Many of us have hailed the end of 2017. With the start of the New Year, my waxed paper seems timely…quotes about the qualities of the word “smile”. My continued goal for 2018 is to live mindfully, to slow down, and to enjoy the wonder that surrounds me. This is the reason I inverted the waxed paper quote. If anyone is reading, perhaps they will pause and enjoy the moment…and hopefully it will encourage them to smile as well.
The Quasicrystals’ Infra stencil applied in a variety of contrasting Dylusion Paint colours completed the work.
The New Year is here. I am filled with hope. And is there any better way to make the world a beautiful place than with a smile?
This week I'm bringing you a project that takes a page out of one of my sketchbooks and puts it up on the wall. I am still loving the faces I created in my little Moleskine I shared a few weeks ago. I didn't want them to just stay in the book, I wanted them to break out and decorate my wall! I chose one of my favorites and... follow along!
Here are the supplies I am using:
I prepped the chipboard with a layer of gesso on two sides (it keeps the chipboard flat). Using a blue and a red paint with the Tracks and Open Work stencils add a few layers to make a quick background.
Looking at my original I took a pencil and sketched a similar face.
Use acrylic paints to paint in the face and outline in black. Final touches and more texture done with my favorite drawing pencil.
After I am happy with the way it looks it's time to cut it out! Don't you just love how the stencil designs peek out?!
I used gel medium to attach the chipboard piece to the substrate and left it to dry overnight with a layer of books on top to help it dry flat.
After a coat of black paint around the edges to finish it off it's time for a coat of glossy sealer.
She looks great and I think she will look even better on my wall with a few of her sisters to join her. Better get to work!! Have a creative week!
Today I am bringing you a bookmaking project but it is not your average book. I was browsing through my collection of art books looking for inspiration when I revisited Alisa Golden's Expressive Handmade Books. (If you are in anyway interested in learning more about handmade books I highly recommend checking her books out.) The book structure that caught my eye is the Square Flexagon. The Dictionary defines Flexagon as a "folded paper construction that can be flexed along its folds to reveal and conceal its sides alternately." And no, it's not origami because you'll use scissors and adhesive to create it and the structure has its roots in mathematics. Don't be nervous! Here we go!
The square flexagon starts with a square piece of paper (surprise surprise!) and for mine I used a large 18x24 inch piece of Strathmore Mixed Media paper which I cut down after I had both sides decorated.
On one side I used Inktense blocks to rub colors all over the surface and then using a dry brush and a water spritzer I moved the color around and set the ink.
When that was dry I used the same blocks to create a multitude of skinny stripes all along the paper.
The other side of the paper started the same with rubbing the sides of the on the surface and wetting the ink to move the color around.
Once the gesso was dry I sprayed the entire surface with some Dylusions ink sprays and then wiped off excess ink with a paper towel.
The resist effect was subtle but nice.
I wanted to bring back more white into the design so using the same two stencils and white gesso I covered the surface with alternating dots and squares.
Now's the time I cut my paper down to a square.
There is a great contrast between the two sides. One is lighter and easy going. The other is darker and complex. I can see how these foundations can work together to create a thoughtful dialogue. As an artist I try to communicate SOMETHING in every piece of art I create and using a handmade book as the structure makes it even more interesting!
In creating the square flexagon there are several directions available online. The directions Ms. Golden gives in her book are slightly different then those I found online so I am including a picture of the directions she gives in her book. (Again, her books are wonderful!)
Here is the paper after I have made the folds and cut out the middle. (Which I also made into another square flexagon!)
Here is a video by Jill Britton I found on youtube for how to fold the paper together to make your book. It's smaller and not as pretty, but you get the idea.
Here is the result! Fun, right!?
Many thanks to my eldest daughter for the wonderful hand model work!
Now comes the content but I will be working on that later. I have some thoughts and reactions that I'll get down on paper but I want to get them right before I decide how to put them down on the pages. All in all there will be 6 different "pages" to fill. Personally, an artist's book must have content to give it meaning. Whether that content is words, pictures or the materials the book is made of there needs to be something that goes along with the structure to tell the story. I hope you give this fun book structure a try!
What is the story you would tell?