Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Wonderful Afternoon

Carol came over this afternoon and we had a wonderful time arting!!  We enjoyed each others company, a great bottle of wine, some delicious Italian cheeses and salamis and we threw some paint around.  Even though Carol just started her altered book in February - she has already picked out her next book to alter because she only has a few spreads left!! 

Yup, she's hooked ;)

We also started planning our next trip to Italy - it is almost as fun to plan as it is to go.

I started a new journal today - totally spontaneous. I have always wanted to keep track of the wines we try and how we liked them and where we bought them.  My organizational skills are sadly lacking - I actually have a bought wine journal somewhere but I never used it.  heh.  Go figure.  Sometimes I buy wine because I like the label - yeah yeah - I know a pretty label is not exactly a good sign of a good wine.  I always intended to peel a pretty label off and save it.  heh.  never happened.  Until today....I had a book all glued and Gessoed - just waiting to be prettied up.  I did a bit of googling and figured out how to get the label off (this one wasn't purchased for the pretty label - it was purchased for it's age) and made a background for it.  A little journaling about the wine and I was smiling ear to ear that I finally had a system that feels like ME - an art wine journal!!

Now I am excited to paint the cover of this journal - it needs to be a fun cover :)

I hope you had a great weekend!!

Family Inheritance

This post has been sitting in Draft for many many days now. 

I guess it's sometimes tough to lay out my emotions.  Either that or I am lazy ;)

Seriously though, stigmas concerning mental illness make me angry - I am trying to change that.

This is in my Anxiety Journal - an appropriate place for it. 

My usual method of working in my journals is creating several backgrounds in one sitting having fun with paint, collage, gel transfers etc.  Then when I feel the urge to journal I flip through my book to see which page calls to me and fits my mood.  I have never created a page from start to finish in one sitting - until this page.

On this page was a failed - in my mind - attempt at using an image transfer - it was an inkjet copy used with self leveling gel - it didn't work.  The image smudged, the image wore off, it didn't work to my satisfaction at all.  You couldn't even recognise faces - my Geda holding me with my Baba and my older sister Carol.  I love this pic - there is a cow in the background!!  Anyway, one day I was playing around with some crackle paint and spread some over the pic to see if it would improve it.  Much to my delight it did!  I got out my Distress ink - vintage photo - and spread it around the edges. 

All of a sudden something clicked.  This page with my grandparents illustrated deep thoughts that had been on my mind for quite sometime.  The genetic aspect of anxiety and mental illness.  I have suffered from anxiety all my life and depression on and off for over 20 years.  Mental illness - both diagnosed and undiagnosed is prevalent on both sides of my family.  It is daunting to think what I have passed on to my daughters. I am not blaming or taking blame - just acknowledging the very real family history.

I got out my swirly stencil and my trusty Tri-Art Transparent Brown liquid acrylic.....

I had a greenish background in my head - I used Green Gold and Titanium White - not completely covering the page - just here and there....

Whoa!!  too limey yellow - toned it down with some light blue.....first sponging it on and then blending and rubbing some off with a baby wipe....

not quite the colour I was going for....I wanted to push it back a bit....I swear I owned Paynes grey - I must have taken it to leave in Phoenix at Carol's house.  So I improvised - picking out a more neutral blue and a grey - again sponging on and then wiping off with a baby wipe...

ahh yes....Titan Buff!!  the awesome colour that just kind of pulls everything together for me.  A fairly solid layer sponged on and then immediately water drops from my fingers sprayed all over.

After waiting a minute or two to let dry a bit - dabbed off with a tissue and then when almost dry I rubbed with same tissue to buff and weather it a bit.

The page titled itself - Family Inheritance.  I used rubber stamps with a sepia liquid acrylic.

Thank you for indulging me.  I believe by initiating discussion we can break down those old ideas about mental illness and maybe we can start to heal. 

My sister Carol is coming over today to work in our journals - it is going to be a great day!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekend Doodle

I can't seem to stop drawing and doodling....such fun!!!

Drawn in my large Moleskine with watercolour paper - I have yet to use watercolour though - just my Copic multiliners - such fun to colour in with the brush tips!!

I need to not be so lazy and scan these drawings BEFORE I start colouring in - I could use them as gel transfers in my altered book journals - maybe next time....

more fantasy flowers.....

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Anxiety Journal

Last May my daughter Karly and I took a mixed media on canvas class - it's where I learned how to alter books and where I got my first look at a chockful journal - our instructor Cathy McMillan had several of her personal journals there.  I mean there was really personal information in there and she didn't mind us looking at it - that concept just floored me.  And it gave me a real boost to start my own journal.  I had never journaled consistently in my life before and I had been tossing around the idea that maybe journaling about my "issues" might help me deal with them. 

my issues are - a n x i e t y.  it can be crippling at times and most times it's completely irrational but it always feels beyond my control.  it had gotten so out of hand that I recognised that I was missing out on things because of my wild wild thoughts that went from worry to just plain stupid. 

I had every good intention to journal my feelings about my anxiety so I could figure out how to conquer it - or at least quiet it a bit ;)

journaling is not easy!!!  but I did think and ponder about it a lot - mostly while sitting with my mostly blank journal in front of me.  heh.  little by little I started figuring things out.  seems the more I plan and prepare the less anxiety I feel. 

good to know!!  less easy to actually implement but it's a start. 

I was working my way through learning all new techniques with new supplies - my artistic background was pretty much strictly watercolour and now I was using liquid acrylics and gel mediums and photos and transfers and collage materials etc.  And then....the spine of my book broke.  I had not known to use a sewn signature as opposed to a glued book.

aha.  this is a good learning moment - but really disappointing because I kind of abandoned my anxiety journal.  Every time I looked at it - I got sad. 

But this past weekend I saw a journal Karly had rescued from the same fate - she cut it up and tidied up the glued ends and punched holes and used metal rings to hold it all together.

what an awesome fix for my first and very important journal.....

I also got busy and painted the cover in the style of my play page - I just love the terrific texture created by squishing the wet Gessoed covers together and pulling them apart!!

Here are a few page spreads that I had completed before the book broke. 

Not all my entries deal with anxiety - but I was having so much fun making pretty pages ;)

I have many more blank Gessoed pages to fill up with backgrounds and journaling.  After almost a year of journaling experience I feel much more confident and very excited to explore my anxieties deeper!! 

Do you have themed journals?  Care to share your thoughts?  I'd love to hear what you are thinking!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Play Pages....

 I took my nephew Logies advice this week and did some playing -

first I picked up a small book I altered and have been creating backgrounds in - I haven't journaled in this book yet.

the page spread had been Gessoed - I used liquid acrylics and a stencil and some tissues and baby wipes. 

first a layer of cobalt teal and then a subtractive method of removing wet paint through a stencil.  I let the paint dry mostly and then applied transparent brown and did same subtractive removal.  I let that dry mostly and applied Titan Buff and sprinkled water on it from my fingertips.  I let it dry for a minute or two then dabbed off the water.  I let it dry a minute more and then started buffing it with a tissue removing and smearing and wearing it off in some parts.

I was thrilled with the results of playing....

Encouraged by my little altered book result I picked up my current journal (that is almost filled!! I need to start a new one) "embrace imperfection" - I picked a page that was Gessoed and had some ripped vintage papers collaged - the vintage papers were not treated before I painted them so I got a different outcome than the book above. 

Same treatment - same colours - different stencil -

heh - I had to hold down the left hand side of the page with my swirly scissors because the book is getting so thick it doesn't want to lay flat.....

  I really enjoy the small details of the text peeking through the paint and how the untreated collaged papers are much darker than the Gessoed areas....

I haven't journaled on this page spread yet - when the urge to journal on it hits me I will show you the completed page. 

Enjoy your Thursday!!  I am headed to my daughter Karlys school that she teaches at - it is their spring concert and they will be showing a slide show of Karly's sketchbook project she has been doing with her students this year.  She is the art specialist at an elementary school - kindergarten thru grade 6.  I am excited to see the students work!!

Arting with Lee-Anne....

I had a wonderful evening arting with my good friend Lee-Anne last night.  We threw paint around, had a good visit and a glass of wine.  Sprinx and Beans even joined in.....although not much arting gets done with these two on my time I will take a pic of Lee-Anne...

Monday, April 16, 2012

I hold my breath when I draw....

laughing here....

it is one of those days for me - and by that I mean I have a monstrous neck/headache - that usually means I can't even hope to do anything creative other than drawing in my moleskin sitting quietly with a heating pad on my neck.  I've been to physio this morning so I am hopefully on my way to feeling better in the next day or two. 

so I am sitting here drawing and my head keeps pounding - worse than before I was drawing - and I realise that I hold my breath when I draw.  heh. not exactly the best thing for a headache - so I am attempting to stop that habit.  drawing distracts me from my pain - and it's always good to learn new things.....even if that is learning to breathe while I draw ;)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Gel Transfer Tutorial

One of my favourite techniques in my mixed media work is image transfer. Through some trial and error I've come up with what works best for me. 

Supplies used:

-a laser copy of your image

-Golden Self Leveling Gel

-a small sponge

-the substrate of your choice - I've used my altered book journal here in the examples

I start with a laser copy of my selected image - if there is any text in the image I reverse the image in my photo editing software.   In this example I've used a copy of one of my drawings and I've cut around my image since it's a black line image and there is no background to worry about in the image like a photo image would present - more on that later. 

With a brush I apply a layer of the gel on the altered book background that has been previously painted with liquid acrylic using stencils.

 Then a layer of gel is brushed on the image side of the copy - not too thick but you don't want it drying before you attach it to the substrate so it's a balance of the right amount of gel and being quick about laying it on the surface of the substrate.  Please disregard the very messy glue-board I have been using for months and months!!  It has a lovely patina of Gesso and glue ;)

After applying the image on the substrate, starting at the center burnish the paper with your fingers to push out any extra gel and to make certain the copy is adhered well.

Depending on the moisture in the air - drying time can take up to overnight.  This is quite important for a good image transfer - all areas must be dry.  I sometimes use my heat gun to speed up drying time.

When the paper is totally dry - using a wet sponge - soak the paper to rub off the fibers.  Don't rub excessively or you risk taking off parts of the image

Continue using the sponge - rewetting as needed - until most of the paper fibers are rubbed off.  Then switch to your fingers to get a better feel for the image underneath so you don't rub any off.

Keep going taking off fibers - it will seem like you are done - but let it dry and see if you can see any more fibers.

  After letting it dry - my image looks like this - cloudy - more rubbing is necessary for a clear transfer.

After more fiber removal - the final transfer -

Here's another example - this time it's a photo - and I've carefully ripped around it instead of cutting around it.  I prefer the look of a ripped image than a straight line - most times.  I have cut around photos before and then intentionally rubbed the edges of the image off while removing the paper fibers to give them a distressed look.

I am applying this transfer onto a page that hasn't been prepared - it is a raw vintage book page glued into an altered book.  If I applied this straight onto the page I would end up removing the page around the transfer with the wet sponge - so I've used the gel on the entire page to seal it and protect it from the water used in the fiber removal. Same process with application of gel on the image - brushing on and quickly adhering.

After transfer is dry - remove with wet sponge and fingers.

I really enjoy the effect of the text coming through the image!! 

An example of a colour photo transfer - I applied it to a Gessoed page - then I painted the background around the transfer.

Another black and white image applied to a vintage book page - before applying the image I brushed gel over the entire page.  The image was cut not ripped - the left hand side rubbed off quite well and I like the grungy ripped look - but the right side did not cooperate! That is how it goes with transfers - not always as planned.

This example was applied to a collaged surface - kind of interesting how the different colours of the pages shows through.

I hope this was clear and concise - if you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask.  I will do my best to answer or find answers for you.

Have fun with gel transfers!!