Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tea Party Mixed Media ATCs

"Tea Party—Mad or Otherwise” was the theme for the April Roses on My Table ATC trade.  The theme conjured up all kinds of ideas in my head, from charming English high tea to bizarre Alice in Wonderland images. I played and played with the idea, mixing teacups, teapots, forest animals and stuffed animals. I merged layers in Photoshop®, and cut out new and vintage images…but nothing really worked. So, I rummaged through my box of semi-finished ATCs, and began ripping about some old, half-finished work. I mixed portions of my Photoshop® collages (using free vintage images from The Graphics Fairy) with old pieces of my own printmaking , recycled teabags, and snippets of lace. I adhered them to lightweight ATC boards from USArtQuest, then ran the edges along a brown chalk stamp pad to give the ATCs an aged look. I made eight in all, traded four and kept four for myself.



Sunday, March 2, 2014

Vintage Typewriter Tag & Ransom Note with Eric Hoffer Quote

On a recent visit to the Ink Pad, I splurged on a great stamp of a vintage typewriter. It spoke to me for several reasons: it is a striking graphic image, I work as a both a writer and graphic designer, and I am also married to a long-time newspaper reporter/editor/publisher. It also reminded me of a really cute photo of my daughter, Amanda, when she was about three. She is sitting in Dad's office chair poised at the manual typewriter, and it is clear that she inherited the writing gene.

I tried the stamp two ways: as a tag and as the centerpiece to a ransom note. I inked the stamp with a black Stazon pad for both pieces. I love the contrast and simplicity of it on the yellow tags that I found at my neighborhood Jam Paper. A little checkered ribbon, and the tag was done.

I have been working on pieces in the Ransom Note style, so it seemed like a good idea to put a typewriter stamp in the center, surrounded by some words on the border. I chose a quote by the philosopher Eric Hoffer: "Rudeness is a weak man's imitation of strength." Living in a city that is famous for its rude people, it struck a bell...not that I really feel that people in New York are exceptionally rude as a rule, but it seems to be a mecca for extremes on both sides of the aisle.

Do I love this little piece of artwork? Not really...the print of the typewriter is a little uneven, the newsprint in the background of the border doesn't add the oomph I had hoped for, and the spots of color in the letters fights the crispness of the black and white.

What I DID learn from this little piece is that I don't have to make a masterpiece every time. I can learn from mistakes and I can redo pieces if I feel like it. I am a Virgo, so I am always striving for perfection and seldom achieving it, and I have to tell myself that it is okay to not be great, okay to make mistakes, okay if a piece doesn't turn out the way I envision, and that it is the process of doing art--especially collage--that is healing in itself.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Ransom Note Portraits

I had never heard of the Ransom Note art concept, so when my friend Karen Musgrave suggested doing some, I thought it would be just the thing to get me out of my artistic rut. I Googled the theme and found a lot of inspiration.

I started by randomly cutting words and letters in various sizes, colors and fonts out of magazines. Next, I researched famous quotes, and then made a short list of the ones that I liked best. I tried using words on a solid background, and then on torn strips of newsprint. One was too boring and the other too busy. So, I decided to try using faces in the background. I used two Graphics Fairy stern looking portrait images and one of Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits.

After the letters were adhered to the background portraits, they still needed something to make “make it my own,” so I added some stamping with white printmaking paint using my own hand-carved stamps, and edged the finished pieces with liquid chalk stamp ink. The “Beauty” piece also uses, in the background, a commercial William Morris-style stamp in coffee-colored distress ink. I put some washi tape of a measuring tape at the bottom to suggest how beauty is literally measured in our society. The "William Morris" stamp and washi "measuring tape" are from a great little store in NY called The Ink Pad.