Monday, April 20, 2015

Art journal pages

 The monthly theme for the Documented Life Project is color safari (exploring inks and paints).

 The DLP prompt for this week was water under the bridge and the challenge watercolor. Sometimes I have trouble with specific prompts so I am now just picking one word as my prompt. For this one it was bridge. I gessoed the page and when it was dry sketched the page then used watercolor to paint.  I used a bit of salt in the water and added extra sparkles with a white pen.

 The prompt I used was river and the challenge was acrylics. This is all acrylics and marker for the writing. I bought a really cheap set of acrylics (at Target) to try out and that is what I used here. They worked fine but are a little more transparent then artist grade paints. I think that will be good when I am journaling because the first layers will show through. They will be great to experiment with in my journals.

I didn't use a prompt this week because I wanted to do a tribute for Anzac Day. The challenge was to use a gelli plate so I did. I used printing inks because they don't dry as quickly as paint and it allows you more time to prepare your image before you print. I did the background first with some ink brayered onto the plate. When it was dry I used a paintbrush to put blobs of red ink on the plate for the flowers. I used two colors so some would appear darker. I did small flowers at the top, gradually getting bigger as I came down the page. It adds depth. I printed the flowers on another page then sprayed with water and did a second print on this page. I liked the soft look of the second print more so that is the one I decided to keep. I used colored pencils for the centers, stems and some shading to separate the flowers. I added the words and the page was done.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Textured gesso and stamping.

The prompt for this week at DLP was to ride your own unique spirit so I chose spirit as my inspiration. The challenge was to make a custom element so I decided to do a textured background.

I started by laying a stencil over my page and scraping thick gesso over it. You could use texture paste if you wanted to.

After I removed the stencil I used the palette knife to apply more gesso across the bottom and pressed the stencil into it so I would get a slightly different look.

 I used a heat gun while the gesso was wet to make bubbles. Where the gesso is thin you will get smaller bubbles. Here you can see the large bubbles in the thicker areas of gesso. Make sure you do this in a well ventilated area. You do not want to inhale the fumes from the heated gesso. I usually do it near an open window or outside.

At this stage only the top layer of gesso has dried so when you let it cool and then press the bubbles down you get a more textured effect. I then usually let the gesso dry for 10 minutes before continuing. 

Next I used acrylic paint to color the page. I used aqua and white for the top and blended that into a bronze metallic paint at the bottom.

The metallic paint wasn't very shiny so I added some copper colored Viva Inka-gold over the textured area. It doesn't show up in the photo well but it makes the texture stand out more. 

I used bubble wrap to apply green paint to the background for visual interest. I stamped dandelions using stazon ink.

The stamped flower stems were too small so I used a brown sharpie to make them longer. Notice how I didn't make all  the stems reach the bottom of the page. I also wanted the flower centers to be darker so I used the marker for that too. If your stamping doesn't come out dark enough it is ok to go over it with markers. You are in control of your journal. 

I wrote the quote on tracing paper first to make sure it would fit into the space I wanted then used a copper pen to add it to my page. This whole page only took me just over 1 hour to do. It is very typical of my style of clean backgrounds and colors I love.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Pastel workshop day 2

 The second pastel painting I did during my 2 day workshop was another picture with the eyes closed. The workshop tutor gave us eyes closed photos to use to make it easier for beginners to draw. It did work because everybody had a pretty good picture at the end of the day, even the beginners.

I tried to go with a darker tone this time but I still ended up with my usual style of soft coloring and blending for faces. I am happy to recognize that and accept I my own artistic temperament. This picture is pretty close to the photo we were given.

After looking at the finished picture for a while I decided I didn't like the hair across her forehead. It is realistic because it is the way it was in the photo (and how we were taught to do) but I decided to tidy up her hair for her. I liked it much better now and it seems to make more sense to me without the forehead hair. I forgot to take a photo before I framed it so it is a little duller behind the glass. I want to try another portrait like these but with eyes open this time. I just have to find a model to get a photograph of.  
 My DLP page for week 11 was about borders. I was initially going to use only four colors but somehow those extra colors made their way onto my page. Is it weird that I like to do softly colored portraits but my journal pages have a lot of bright color? My writing exercise this week was the color the negative space around the lettering.

 This DLP page is about Focus. I found a quote I liked and decided to do my first face in this journal. I was going to only use acrylics but at the end I added a little pencil to define the details, especially the eyes and hair. I did manage to go darker with my shading for this portrait and resisted the urge to smooth out the shading. I can go messier if I want, lol. I chose a wonky style of writing for my quote and highlighted a few letters here and there.

Next post I will share the technique I used for my current DLP page.