Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Ticket to Venice

I am going to Venice!! 

Well, not really, what I am doing is following along with Mary Ann Moss when she is in Venice.  Mary Ann is offering an online class called A Ticket to Venice and I thought this would be the perfect way to re-live my experiences in Venice and also to learn a new book binding technique. 

I've been to Venice twice.  The first time was with my daughter Karly's school group in 2001 - we spent one day touring Venice and I totally enjoyed my time there although it was a bit rushed as school tours usually are. 

After my trip I found inspiration in my photos and painted several watercolour paintings.

My second trip to Venice was with my sister Carol in 2007.  That was our Italy "Dream Trip" - our first trip to Italy together had been with my daughter Ellen's school group a few years earlier and it had been difficult to explore or experience on our own so we decided that one day we would go back and do things the way we wanted - our Dream Trip.  Since Venice was not included in Carol's first trip to Italy we decided to spend several days there exploring.  What a wonderful time we had!! 

We stayed at a lovely B&B hotel right on the Grande Canal and this was the view from our room.  Although it can be noisy (who knew garbage collection boats would be an issue?!!) I would highly recommend a room with a view!!

During my first visit to Venice I missed out on touring the Basilica - I actually regretted it for years and had dreams - during my SLEEP - of Venice sinking right before my eyes before I had a chance to see inside it.  I cried when we arrived in San Marco Piazza and I saw the Basilica - and it wasn't sinking!! Such a treat to be inside - we paid the extra few Euros and went up the narrow staircase to the viewing area.  It puts you up close to the mosaics - incredible!!! 

Of course we took the obligatory gondola ride - totally pricey and totally worth it!!

I am so excited to see what adventures Mary Ann has during her trip there in a few weeks. Thanks Mary Ann for the opportunity to live vicariously through you!!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Spray Ink Background Tutorial

I've fallen in love with spray inks!  I own Adirondack and also the Dylusions which are my fave for the bright colours.  I stumbled upon a way to use them as backgrounds for my mandalas - it is more fun for me to draw them on colourful backgrounds. 

Spray inks are water soluable and I find when I don't seal them with something the inks rub off on my hands while drawing - they also are a bit too vibrant for a background with marker so I like to knock them back a bit with a glaze of acrylic paint. 

You can try any kind of paper - these papers I am using in this book are everything from copy paper to wallpaper samples to handmade papers to textbook pages etc.  I find that a page prepared with Gesso is NOT a good foundation for the inks - they tend to slide right off and we are looking for saturation with the inks. 

This is my Big Bertha journal which I am using pretty exclusively at this point for mandalas.

Using the spray inks - spray through a stencil of your choice - once your spraying is complete - press a spare book page into the leftover ink on top of the stencil and you have a page all ready to collage or use some other way - and you haven't wasted the ink ;)

 You can blot any excess drops of ink if desired with a paper towel being careful not to scrub - the inks run and mix really easily. Once the ink is dry - seal it with a glaze of clean water and self leveling gel with a drop or two of white fluid acrylic paint per side of spread.

  I start with a brush dripping with fresh water and carefully (no scrubbing) running it over the page loading more water as needed - and then adding a bit of the white paint and making sure it is even and spreading it adding a brush load of self leveling gel to all the page so the water - paint and gel mix without disturbing the ink too much.  My goal here is to seal the page - and to knock back the intensity of the inks without blending the colours too much.  Of course experiment and find the affects you prefer.

Here is the left side of the spread completed - and I am not thrilled with how it turned out - I had 3 drops of white and I find it covered too much of the colour so I wiped off a drop of the white I had laid out on the right side. 

And the completed page which I will let dry - or speed up with my craft heat gun - and then spray with a varnish - matte finish.  The self leveling gel is sticky and tacky even when dry - the pages tend to stick together pulling off when the page is opened - the spray varnish leaves it with a smooth matte finish that is wonderful and not sticky.  I've worked over the varnish with paint, marker, gel transfers etc with good success. 

 Heh - so I wasn't happy with how that spread turned out - the colours were knocked back a bit too much for me.  I made another spread and took pics along the way.  Same technique - all except instead of using book pages to sop up the leftover ink I pressed another spread from this journal over it - I love the negative effect.

I ended up making several pages to blot up the excess ink and now have a nice little stash for collaging or cutting up into shapes to use in my art journaling.

You now have a colourful page to decorate as you wish - I've used this technique with 300lb Arches cold pressed watercolour paper and collage - it worked wonderfully! 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and have fun putting your own spin on it :)

Meet Big Bertha

Meet my newest girl - Big Bertha journal!!

She is 8"x8" - I made her myself thanks to the wonderful instruction of my darling daughter Karly :)  Big Bertha is my first handbound book and I loved the process.  She is filled with all kinds of found papers including discarded photocopies, pages from text books - music books - atlases and also some file folders and cut up paper shopping bags. I never quite know how those pages will accept the spray inks I've been using and that is half the fun of this book - happy surprises!!

This has become my Mandala journal and I am really enjoying the square format!  I have pics taken that need to be resized and I will post them soon along with a tutorial on how I create these backgrounds.

Here are a few pages from my Big Bertha journal -

 This next page is in progress - not completed yet

On a personal note - I am still not well these days - the process to find a medication that will help my depression and anxiety has not been easy.  I am still trying and have just started a new one - which once again is making me extremely dizzy.  I am finding that I have completely abandoned this blog and also reading all my fave blogs because the motion of my eyes going back and forth makes the dizzy worse.  So sorry to all my blog friends out there - I am hoping to get back to routine once I figure all this out.

On my good days I sit at my art desk and use my spray inks to create backgrounds for these mandalas - artistically all I can do on my dizzy days is sit quietly and draw my mandalas.  I am really thankful to have something to keep me busy :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Doodles Doodles and yes - more Doodles

Hello to all who are still with me here on my poor neglected blog!

Posting from my iPhone with a few instagram pics of my goings on the past few weeks. I am still not well - although feeling a bit better after switching meds earlier this week. The dizzy is not as bad - but still not driving - hard to shoulder check with my head spinning. I've only left the house a couple of times in the past 2 weeks - dr appts mainly and physio. My beautiful daughter Ellen has been taking good care of me :)

I am currently obsessed with my spray inks and have created a ton of backgrounds in a few of my journals - to doodle away my dizzy days. And doodle - have I ever!!!

Here are a sample of the doodles I've been showing my instagram friends - so easy to post with just a few words over there :)

Saturday, June 02, 2012

I've gotten lost over at Instagram

Hello everyone!

I had every intention of writing a full blog post or two today complete with journal update photos - I even took photos this morning - but "the dizzy" has taken me over and I am incapable of sitting up and doing the necessary editing on my comp. I am typing this on my phone leaned back in my comfy chair with the boys curled on my lap watching the Nascar race.

Let me explain - I took the next step with my anxiety and depression and I started my meds this week. Dizzy has been my theme this week - a side effect that I am crossing my fingers will subside soon.

So all my best intentions to post will have to wait til the world stops spinning.

To distract myself I have fallen completely in love with Instagram!! If you are on there please let me know - I WANT to follow you!!! If you would like to follow me I am emilylagore there :)

A pic I posted on Instagram this morning - I was delighted to find a few lily of the valley blooms hidden amongst all the quack grass and dandelions in my -heh- "flower bed"

Enjoy your weekend!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Under the Lights

Today Carol and I drove from Phoenix to Vegas to watch Carol's son David play in a Mens Baseball tournament. He had a double header and they won both games!

I was very happy I thought to bring along my Large Moleskine and my trusty Copic multiliners!! I doodled and drew for most of both games - the 2nd game was under the lights giving me just enough light to continue drawing. It was a chilly evening with a bit of a wind - we've been out of the cold for an hour and a half and I am still chilled. I took a few shots of my doodle with the game (David at bat) in the background and told Davids dad Jon I was going to blog about my game doodle. Well that just gave him license to tease me every chance he could "why don't you blog about this? Or that?" It's all in good fun:)

Time for bed- 7am alarm set for us so we can get Starbucks before the 8:30 game - where I will show Jon that I blogged about my doodle and HIM ;)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Arting with Auntie Ella

Today is an arting day with Auntie Ella!! Yea! Ella is my dad's sister and she is my godmother who used to send us girls fancy dresses each Easter and Christmas - she is a fave ;)

Last trip here to Phoenix Carol and I taught Ella how to art journal and she took right to it. She brought old greeting cards and old photos. I made her some tags with the old cards and she told me all about the old photos. I took her albums home and scanned some of her wedding photos - the album photos were too small for her to see so I enlarged and printed some for her :). Today we are journaling with those photos and having a lovely afternoon. My spread is the darker pink and coral one in my Santa Croce Angel Journal and Ellas is the softer pink one.

Wasn't Ella a beautiful bride?!

She is living my life motto- never stop learning or you stop living:)

She is 84 and learning how to art journal :)

Love you Auntie Ella :)