Thursday, March 22, 2012

A fancy coffee...

I seem to have a fascination with taking pics on my phone of beverages -who doesn't love a pretty cocktail? Or a fancy coffee- I just loved how the whipped cream is seeping in wonderful tendrils into the dark coffee...I will take beauty where ever I find it....

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Trying out my new blogger app...

So it didn't get very good reviews on iTunes but I thought maybe being able to make a blog entry from my phone might be helpful when travelling since I cannot make an entry from my iPad - I can't even post a draft from it without losing the photos from the draft.

Here it goes - and a pic of some orchids that Karly gave me last week for my birthday....

Saturday, March 17, 2012

They are in the mail.....

so it took me long enough - despite my best efforts to create my postcards for iHanna's swap quickly - life got in the way this past week and it took me a lot longer to mail the cards off to Sweden, Australia, South Africa, and the USA.

I had a ton of fun making these!!  Big thanks to Hanna for organizing this swap - now the fun of waiting to see what's in the mail!

Here's how I made them....using Jodi Ohl's faux encaustic techniques....

I started with Arches 300lb cold pressed watercolour paper covered with 2 coats of Gesso. 

I did a bit of collage with vintage book pages, atlas pages, music sheets etc. and then applied some glazing medium and some acrylic paint.  Adding spatters and drips with acrylic paint - then some stencil work. More glazing medium with different colours of paint.

At this point I cut the watercolour paper into the individual cards.  I applied a gel transfer photo and hand painted a flower on each card.  I used rubber stamps and Staz On ink to apply the title and used a permanent marker to embellish the painted flower.  I also added  a scrap of gauze and then applied a couple of layers of pouring medium tinted with Titan Buff paint. 

as many times as I try - and as many different ways I have tried saving this file - it does not want to orient properly.  I am tired of trying so I am just going to post it the way it wants to post - sideways.  sigh. you have NO idea how much this bugs me....

I drew some Mandalas on the envelopes - because I wanted to spread my love of them. 

I chose a special stamp from Canada Post - an art stamp by Joe Fafard an incredible sculptor!! I love his quote from the stamp pack -

"When one makes sculptures of horses, one remembers all of that great relationship that humans had with them, with the horse. Even today one raises horses only for dressage, the races, for the pleasure of horseback riding. It has become an animal of romance, an animal of pleasure which has lost it's utility in the West..."

-Joe Fafard

I hope the recipients enjoy the floral cards....I am looking forward to seeing what's in my mailbox in the coming weeks!!!

have a great weekend!

Friday, March 09, 2012

More Art Joy.....

It is one thing to teach a class of art teachers how to alter books - it is something entirely different to teach self confessed "non-artists" how to art!!! I had a fabulous week in Phoenix with my sister Carol and our friend Wendy - we shopped - sat in the sun and arted!!!  Carol had expressed an interest in having an art journal of her own to feature ephemera and photos of our travels in Europe and the Caribbean. She has watched me painting and creating in my journals and wanted to give it a go - with no previous art instruction or interest!! She decided our friend Wendy (no art or crafting experience) would be participating - whether she liked it or not!

 Well, they both loved it!  More art joy spread :)

and another trip being planned for more arting fun.....

A lovely fine art mess!!
Carol and Wendy

I am happiest amidst an art mess

Wendy and I showing off our journal covers - complete with tags sticking out

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Sweet Treat

it was a hard day around here - to compensate for the stress, my daughter Ellen and I made some cookies.....they hit the spot.

a journal peek with a close up of the handmade tag with a gel transfer of an image of mine from a watercolour journal.....have I mentioned how much in love I am with embossing?!!  you can see in the close up pic the gold embossing I've done on the page - I hadn't been familiar with scrapbooking techniques until just a short while ago and I cannot get enough of embossing powders and my heat gun!!!

have a great evening!!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Postcard update....

I have completed 4 of my 10 postcards for the Postcard exchange - but iHanna's site is still down and I haven't registered yet - today is the last day to do that.  Hopefully she will extend the deadline since it's not been possible to join the exchange for almost 2 days now. 

I am having a lot of fun creating these and I hope I get the opportunity to send them off in the mail.....

"Joy" approx. 4"x6"

"Amaze" approx. 4"x6"

"Inspire" approx. 4"x6"

"Shine" approx. 4"x6"

Ribbons Ribbons

I have an obsessive personality.  I kind of go all in when I get an interest.....

I was unhappy with commercial ribbons - they are too tidy and pretty for me.  I started making my own ribbons after attempting to alter pre-made ribbons with failing results.  I rip fabric into strips of ribbons and I am much happier with my results.  I use the ribbons for hanging handmade tags at the top of journal pages, gluing onto a journal page, hanging pretty blingy items from the bottom of pages and for attaching to the sides of a journal to keep it tied shut - I am sure I'll find new uses for them....

Only now I want and NEED to get more and more fabric for they have a 12 step program for arter crafters?!!!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Postcard Exchange

I am feverishly working on my postcards for iHanna's Postcard Exchange - the deadline to enter is tomorrow - March 7 - but her site isn't working properly and I haven't entered yet!! 

I am having great fun painting and collaging the bases for the cards - now comes the detail work with some gel transfers to apply and some flowers to paint - then some layers of faux encaustic techniques that I have been playing around with after reading Jodi Ohl's tutorial in the January/February issue of Cloth Paper Scissors.  I have to send out the postcards - 10 of them - by March 12 - I think that is enough time to complete them!! 

fingers crossed anyways ;)

here are a few pics of the watercolour paper that I've prepared for the cards.....I will update when I have gotten a little further with them.

have a great Tuesday!!

David Gray!!!

I saw David Gray in concert in Las Vegas!!! Not entirely art related - but I do listen to David Gray when I create!!

He was simply outstanding!  I was in heaven singing along to all the songs while watching him head bob and stamp his feet. What a performer!! We (my daughter Ellen met me in Vegas) were standing about 15 feet from the stage - perfect vantage point to see facial expressions etc. 

He is still singing in my head and the concert was over a week ago. :)

The opening act was a young Malaysian singer named Yuna - check her out - fantastic voice and a very sweet personality - I hope she goes far!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

My Altered Book Techniques....

My old friend Ruth - from  my watercolour days at Wet Canvas found me here and I am thrilled to have her following me!!  She asked about my techniques for altering books.

Here are my preferences - most of them having arrived at via trial and error.  I took a class on mixed media canvas last spring at  The Paint Spot- a local art store here in Edmonton - with Cathy McMillan and that is where I first received instruction on how to. 

The book = must be in decent condition - no mould or mildew preferably. must be constructed with sewn signatures.  My first altered journal I had no clue and just started gluing pages together - I had painted and decorated about a dozen pages before it started falling apart. The signatures had been glued together rather than sewn and with all the water and paint I throw at an altered book it really needs to be well made.  Look for the thread in the center of the individual sections - signatures.

I prefer pages and covers that are not shiney - shiney pages in my experience do not take paint well and can flake off - not the look I am usually going for.  I must stress that some people do not care as much about this sort of thing as I do - I use methods that work for me and the esthetic I am looking for.

Starting at the center of the signature I take a sharp knife and make a light cut as close to the center as possible without cutting the thread.  I remove both sides of the center page and repeat with the next page.  Doing this to all the signatures (removing 2 full pages) I find that I give myself enough room to put layers and layers of glue, paint, collage, transfers, photos, AND sparkley shiney bling and hand made tags with ribbons inside my book.  If you don't remove pages you might find that you cannot close your book when you are finished arting it up - if you are okay with that then no need to remove pages.

The next step is to glue pages together if you would like a sturdier page for your art base.  I like to glue - using Golden Self Levelling Gel Medium - I imagine any type of good quality glue would work - I prefer the self levelling gel because I use it for my gel transfers and I find it works great for me - 2 - 3 or 4 pages together depending on the thickness of the pages I am gluing.  I don't pay any attention to what's on the page and just glue pages in order - but some people like to keep certain pages showing -  by all means do what you feel you want. My daughter Karly writes poetry with the existing text on her altered books so she strategically glues her pages to keep her poetry pages showing.  Some people don't glue any pages together - I personally like to have a thicker base for my paint and glue etc. 

After gluing a whole book together - the spine and cover can get a little warped - I like to smoosh it back to an even spine and let it sit overnight with heavy weights on it. 

My next step is to apply a very thin coat of white gesso on each page spread letting it dry thoroughly before moving on to the next page spread.  This can take forever so I usually do a couple page spreads with gesso and then get painting - applying gesso in stages in between painting sessions.  I use a thin layer of gesso because I like seeing the text through it and try to keep some parts of it showing through my painting.  I like the charm of a journal that shows it's former life through thin bits of paint or gel transfers. 

I use liquid acrylic paint to decorate my pages - gel mediums to glue items and photos in and to apply transfers.  Acrylic paint tends to stick to itself so a thin spray of a varnish helps de-stick so there is not a worry when you close your book that the next time you open it there is that awful sound of paint ripping off a page with a big ugly white spot - ugh. 

I hope this helps get you started Ruth!! 

It is very late at night and I will try to take some pics to illustrate my techniques tomorrow.

If anyone has any questions please feel free to ask and I will attempt to answer as best I know.

Now go art!!!

Friday, March 02, 2012

Spreading Art Joy.....

A few weeks ago I helped my daughter teach a class - of school teachers - how to alter books into journals. What fun!! The enthusiasm was infectious and it was a delight to show them all I knew about the subject.  After sitting isolated at my art table for the past 9 months or so - it was enlightening to be surrounded by willing students.  I realized that my self-directed learning has been productive and that I had progressed further than I had thought.  It is very easy to sit here and not see my own progression when I have art obstacles in my mind at all times.  A good lesson learned - to get my head off my own table every once in awhile ;)

A journal peek......I just love the look of a full colour gel transfer!!  The vintage Valentine makes me smile....