Thursday, January 29, 2015

Try, try, try again...

This week my Documented Life page was quite a long journey to get to the end. I wasn't sure whether I should share the whole journey but decided it may help some people. The prompt this week was words with friends and the art challenge writing.

 I started my page with 3 colors that appealed to me. Turquoise, magenta and pale pink. They seemed like pretty colors for a page about my friends. I randomly applied them with a brush.

Next I used a rubber brayer to spread more of those colors on the page and blend the paint that was already there. At this stage I could have left it and used the background like this but I wanted to use a bit more of the light color.

I added more pale pink then thought it was too much so I spread more of the other colors around too. Again the page could be left like this and finished off but I decided my images and writing wouldn't stand out on this busy background. 

I covered a lot of the page with the green and left just a little of the other colors peeking through. I decided to leave this overnight to dry and see if I liked it better in the morning. 

In the morning I decided the background was too dark so I covered the whole page with a little white paint using my brayer. I was thought that was it now.  I got out some scraps of paper to do the paper piecing and when I put them on the background they didn't stand out at all. I needed a dark background for the paler colors of my paper.

 I went through my stash and found this container of Moon Shadow Ink. It has been open for a while and the ink had evaporated into a really thick brown goo. Perfect! I spread it over  the page and then splashed on a few drips of water. The water lifted the ink in spots so I blotted them off and finally was happy with the background.

Looking back I can see that the colors I chose at the beginning did not work with the papers I had for the cups so that is probably why I didn't think the background was right. Lesson learned - to trust my instincts!

 The finished page. I sketched some cups, cut them out of paper scraps and glued them to the page. I added some black and white pen details. I wrote the quote out to look like stripes across the background. It was quite a journey but the finished page pleases me and reminds me of many cuppas shared with wonderful people I love to call friends.

In this photo you can see the metallic pigments of the ink. When I turn the page in my journal it catches the light.


 My handwriting for this week is another idea from the Creative Lettering book. I used my own writing and added the little flowers like the example in the book.

Each month I am also doing an extra page of watercolor paper. I will add 4 images to about that month. For me that means summer and Australia Day.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A color wheel

This weeks challenge for DLP was a color wheel. I decided to do color wheel sections full of things that are one of the six primary and secondary colors. I wanted to keep it simple with my technique this week so I only used a lead pencil to sketch and watercolors to fill in the details, no mixed media this time.

I had to gesso my page first because the watercolors seep right through the paper in this journal so I can't really blend them like I would if they were on watercolor paper. I picked easy things to draw because I didn't want to spend too long on this one.

The quote is the one we were given for inspiration. I came across an old lettering book from my scrapbooking days that I used for the words this time. The book is The Art of Creative Lettering by Becky Higgins. I think it will be a great resource for my art journals.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Textured gesso...again

Okay, I know I have shared this technique before but I do like it a lot! The challenge this week for DLP (Documented Life Project) was to use gesso so I went a little crazy with it.

 I started my page with some random book paper glued down with matte medium. Most of it will not be visible so I didn't care which direction the text was in. I use clips to hold my pages down when I am using glue or gesso in journals so it doesn't shrink and curl the page as it dries.

 Next I used my very worn old sea sponge to apply gesso over the book paper. I tried not to cover the whole page because any areas without gesso will stain darker later on. It is a look that appeals to me. I took my book outside and used a heat gun to make the gesso bubble. It adds even more texture than just the sponge.

 I spread gesso through a stencil in a few areas to make even more texture. I was careful when lifting the stencil off so it doesn't smudge.

 Next I used the distress inks to colour the background. I started with the brightest blue and edged the page with the browns.

 The page was a little too bright for me so I decided to spray it with my dye sprays. That was a big mistake. The dyes washed most of the distress ink off and changed the gesso to blue. I quickly wiped the whole lot off with a paper towel. Now I had a mess but I kept going.

I redid the distress inks but I left out the really bright blue this time. In the final image I also added a little green distress ink to tie the images in to the background more.

The final page, almost. I stamped the birds on separate paper, colored them with pencils and cut them out. The are glued to the page with matte medium. I wrote the quote out with a black permanent pen.

I thought the writing didn't stand out enough so I colored in the letters with a green pencil. Now it really is done. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Documented Life Project

I decided to join the documented life project this year because they are going to do a year of art journaling and it looks like fun. I had already decided to do a year long journal after buying the 'No excuses art journal book' so I am combining the two ideas.

The first prompt for DLP is: be your own goal keeper and the challenge is to use book paper. My main goal this year is to experiment with my art and use familiar materials in unexpected ways.

I started with a blank journal and drew in my own planner, leaving a lot of blank area for art. I did not rule the lines because I wanted it to look handmade. I slapped on two blue colors of acrylics for the background. When it dried I also sprayed it with brown but later on washed off those spots because they were distracting to my eye.

I have 4 books that I use for my mixed media work. 3 of them were falling apart already and the 4th is an old Anne of Green Gables book that I chose because the words were nice. Be careful when you are choosing a book to use. Once I did a class where the teacher bought an old book for a couple of dollars only to find during the class it was full of violence and swear words so nobody wanted to use it, lol.

 I painted one page with blue for the water and while it was still damp I tore it into strips leaving a white edge. I used the brownest book for the sand. The wavy edge comes from tearing across the grain. Any type of paper has a grain and when you tear in one direction you will get reasonably straight lines but if you give the page a quarter turn and tear, the lines will be uneven. The other objects were sketched on the book paper and cut out. The bird wings were done with cut out lines of print.

I glued down the water strips and then the sand. I used a clip to hold the page flat while it dried. With the sand I tried to put some blank areas between each of the printed strips to make them stand out more.  Later on I thought that I should have alternated them with some horizontal strips of print for an interesting look.

I used colored pencil along the edge of the sand to make it stand out. It probably would have been easier if I had done that before they were glued down! I also added a little blue pencil at the base of the waves for shading.

I glued everything down and added a little watery acrylics for color. I kept them watery so they would be transparent. I left the whole thing to dry before I added the shading. 

I did some outlining and shading around each of the parts of the picture. I used a Quick Kutz alphabet to cut the letters out of book paper and added them to my page with some shadows.

I have also bought the 'Whimsical Lettering' book so I am doing a different exercise from that book each week as well. Here I have used a pencil to doodle on the letters that I had cut out. In the book it is supposed to be marker doodles on letters that have been drawn with a marker but this is close enough. I am also adding the weather each day and a brief description and image of what I have done. I hope it will be an interesting journal/diary by the end of the year.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Post Christmas painting.

After a couple of hectic days of preparing and celebrating Christmas I usually like to spend the following day relaxing in my studio and doing a little painting. This year I got out a canvas and did one of the patterns I have been saving.

It is a Monika Brint pattern from an old Quick and Easy painting magazine (2007). I love her designs and sometimes it is nice to have the drawing already done by someone else. All the painting instructions come with the pattern and I mostly followed them except I wanted a blue sky. If you think want to learn to paint all the instructions that come with decorative painting patterns is a good place to start. Any one of the magazines or online sites will have many types of patterns you could try, from beginners to more experienced artists. That is how I started many years ago.