Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Elegant Distressed Frame

I love having framed artwork on my walls. Even better, I love giving commercial frames my own personal touch. So, when I saw the StencilGirl Creative Team theme choice, "Frame It or Fill It With Circular Shapes", I knew just what I wanted to do.

I had a frame on hand with a very wide (4") plain black mat. It was just the surface to suit Seth Apter's "grunge" technique. I had taken a class with Seth a few years ago and learned how to combine his Paper Artsy paints with his line of Emerald Creek embossing powders for a wonderful aged and distressed look.

I pulled out my paints and got started, applying each of the four colors one at a time until I got the effect I wanted.

Next, I added a spritz of distress stain and shimmer gold spray.

Then it was time for the magic:  I added more texture with stencils and embossing powder.
Ancient Amber embossing powder before heating.
I started with a mash-up StencilClub design by Seth Apter and Mary Beth Shaw, using Ancient Amber embossing powder.
Ancient Amber embossing powder after heating.
Another club set, Aboriginal, was used with the patina oxide embossing powder. It looked much darker dry, but once I hit it with the heat gun, the color softened.

Patina Oxide embossing powder before heating.
For more texture, I used a circular strip from another of Seth's StencilClub designs, again using the ancient amber powder.

It is always a little tricky to photography shiny artwork, but above you can see the finished frame.

I keep a painted box on my desk, filled with my "go to" stamps, ink pads, and small art supplies.The finished frame went perfectly with my box, which I had made last year using the same technique.

I was so excited to realize that I had made a companion piece to the box! Here they are together on my worktable.

(click HERE to see the blogpost on how I transformed an ordinary shoebox into a faux-wood distressed art piece.)

Usually people have a photo or painting, then select a frame to match it. This time I worked backwards, rifling through my boxes and bins and electronic files to find just the right photo to go with the frame.

Here's a few I considered:
I love my parent's wedding photo (from 1944!) but the pinkish tone of the sepia photo didn't quite work with the frame.
This punky painting from last year's ICAD (index card a day) looked kind of cool, but it was too small, and also had a hole in it that I punched to keep it on the ring with all my ICADs.

I finally settled on a piece that I had created in Photoshop a few years ago. I had used the artwork to make some 4" x 4" trading cards as well as some ATCs. However, for that project, I overprinted the photoshop artwork with stamps and white printmaking paint. (click HERE to see the old post.)

The Photoshop document was created by combining some images from The Graphics Fairy with an old photo of my mother, circa 1937.
It was a small (1.75"x 2"), vintage sepia toned photo taken in an old-fashioned photo booth. In Photoshop, I took out the background curtain, replaced it with the vintage script and botanical floral, then added some soft color to her cheeks and lips. The flower is upside down intentionally.

I loved the contrast between the pink, feminine image and the earthy frame. Even better, the colors and textures were strikingly similar to shingles on the house we grew up in, so the framed piece is a double homage to my mom, my siblings, and our family memories.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Easy Peasy Greeting Cards!

I realized recently that with all the art pieces, journal pages, ATCs, tags, books and greeting cards I create, I actually have very little on hand for a "gift emergency". So, I decided to use a bunch of gelli prints and paper scraps with some word stamps that I purchased at The Ink Pad NYC and create both some greeting cards for myself, and a selection to give to my boss at work. (Believe it or not, I really do have a day job outside the art industry!)

My full post is on the StencilGirl Talk blog (click here to read the post and tutorial.)

I started with a pile of pretty scraps and imperfect gelli prints. I cut away the imperfect parts and mix and matched them. I stamped the words Thank You,  Congratulations, and Happy Birthday onto white cardstock and edged it with sepia ink to give it a polished, professional look.

I used plain white 5" x 8" index cards and folded them in half to create a 4" x 5" card. Then I made the card fronts just a little bit smaller (4.75 "x 3.75"). I also made mix 'n match envelopes...I just opened a commercial envelope that fit my card size, traced around it onto the paper (my envelope fit on a standard 8.5" x 11" paper), cut, and reglued three edges, leaving the top open to insert the card. It can be sealed with a dab of glue, a sticker, a strip of washi tape, or you can just tuck the flap inside the envelope.

 Here's a few of my favorites:

Now I'm ready for any occasion that may arise...oh wait! Next there's Christmas and New Year's and Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day...I better get to work!

Little Fan Book

My first post as part of Nathalie Kalbach's Creative Squad ran on October 22, 2019. I made an adorable (if I do say so myself!) little tag book, inspired by someone that I am a big fan of, Ann Sullivan Barnes. Ann is a master of both precision and creativity, and a post on her blog inspired me to start making little books from oversized shipping tags.

I gelli printed Nat's positive/negative Fairview fan Art Foamies stamps onto black twill fabric, which gave a wonderful texture to the design. I also embellished the little book with some of my handmade tyvek beads in matching colors.

Here's a few steps on how I made the book...but please check out the full post...just click on the link above!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

One Stencil Three Ways Challenge

When StencilGirl® columnist Tina Walker suggested a new challenge--using one stencil but creating three very different projects--I was intrigued. We were asked to select only one stencil and use it for a journal spread, a home decor item, and a project of our own choosing. We could not use any other stencils on the project.

The hard part was choosing which stencil from my stash. I needed something that was versatile and distinctive but could translate across three categories. I settled on a small design from the June 2019 exclusive StencilClub collection from June Pfaff Daley called Aboriginal, which was inspired by Aboriginal artwork from Australia. I chose the medium sized stencil, which has traditional marks and patterns.

For the home decor project, I stenciled (and collaged and embossed and painted) an inexpensive wooden picture frame that I picked up at Michael's for $1. First, I covered it with matte medium and layered on recycled turmeric teabags. They have a lovely golden color and give a warm, earthy feeling. Next, I used the Aboriginal 6" x 6" stencil with a fine white embossing powder.

The frame looked pretty good with the golden background and white embossing, but I decided to push the envelope a little and add more to it. I sponged some Distress Ink and Lumiere paints on top and it began to take on a feeling of the ocean. I decided to add a compass stamp to enhance the nautical feel. I stamped them onto deli paper, carefully cut them out, and adhered them with heavy matte medium.

I had intended to put a family photo in the frame, but it didn't look quite right. I found a favorite ATC, combined it with a pretty piece of scrapbook paper, and mounted it on a black background. It was just the right thing for my nautical/Aboriginal frame!

Next up: my journal page. Here's how it developed:

 I used strips of Jane Davenport's washi tape for the facial features, then painted in skin color to match.
 I added wild hair with Derwent watercolor pencils.
 I wanted to use a favorite quote by Maggie Kuhn, and tried a combination of stamped letters and handwritten words.
On the final version, I threw caution to the wind and hand-wrote the quote, making the words FEAR and TRUTH extra large and bold. To fill in the middle, I used watercolor pencils to create swirly lines.
The third project was Artist's Choice so I chose one of my go-to projects: a paper doll. I used a template from Retro Cafe Arts and mix and matched papers, vintage images from The Graphics Fairy, and a stamped face from PaperArtsy designed by Lynne Perrella.

First, I used the stencil on black paper with white embossing powder.

Next, I cut some paper doll parts from it using my template. I gathered up some doll parts that I had already cut and selected some pieces that would go well with the Aboriginal black and white design. I decided to lean toward a black and white doll, but in the end, did use a pop of color on the wings.

The final paper doll
Detail shot
Isn't it amazing how very different the projects turned out?

And don't forget to check out Tina's blogpost, and the work from the other artists involved in the project!