Saturday, January 31, 2015

Random Instinctive Journal Collage

Some days, I have an idea of a design or art piece that I want to work on. When I am doing work for my Friday blogposts, I have to remember to stop myself and take a few shots as things develop so I can write about the stages of development and choices I make.

Other days I just want to go with my instincts and do some random collage work in my journal, without stopping to think about it or document the process. On this page that I made a few days ago, I just grabbed some papers and magazine photos, rummaged through my boxes of ephemera, and started gluing. I used the method I learned this summer in Kelly Kilmer's class at the Ink Pad.

The background is a vintage ad for Corona typewriters, compliments of Susan Morgan Hoth, who has an Esty shop called LaVogue where she sells vintage items. She was kind enough to send me a bunch of imperfect pages that were not in condition to sell, but perfect for collage.

The polka-dot washi tape came on a package from another artist, and I saved it for a rainy day. I wrote words with a sharpie that came to me as I was working on the page. The high-fashion polka dot coat made me think of individuality and speaking your mind, either through words or through art, in contrast to the shy woman in the kimono. I stamped a Chinese word, fortunate, with black ink and added a few words with a white signo pen.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Things Light and Airy


The Artistcellar Cathedral stencil series makes me want to hop on a plane and run away to Europe. The Amiens stencil is especially lovely. I wanted to use it the minute I opened the package. It seemed so soft and lovely, so I chose a very pale, buttery yellow acrylic paint, and carefully sponged it on to a journal page to test it.   

The rest of the page cried out for stencils, so I selected the Balzar Flower Piecing stencil, and added it at the bottom in the same pale yellow.


The page looked so light and refreshing, like lemonade on a summer’s day. But…of course I wanted to add more elements.

Butterflies seemed perfect, so I chose some Graphics Fairy royalty free vintage images, carefully cut them, and applied them to the page with matte medium

To accent the airy feel, I added some strips of my own paper, designed in Photoshop.  I scanned a design, made with hand-carved stamps that had green ink applied on yellow paper. When the green ink dried, I stamped white printmaking paint on top, using the same stamp design. The stamp on the top right was the one I used for this project since it had a lot of texture.  

Last, I added inspirational pocket stencil words with brown chalk ink, and a few small inspirational words scattered around the page. The small words were printed on Avery clear mailing labels, using an old typewriter-style font, then peeled off, cut to size, and applied to the page.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Most Unusual Hendrick's Gin Man

Hendrick's Gin has a really quirky ad campaign going on. I recognized the royalty free antique image that they used as the base of the ad since I had used it in some of my previous artwork.

I spotted the black and white ad in a magazine and saved it in my collage box. On Saturday, I decided it was time to see what I could do with it.

I added some color with brush tipped Tombow markers, a strip of vintage newsprint with spray paint on it, washi tape, a mini top hat and little vintage male paper doll legs. (royalty free Graphics Fairy images)

The orange and purple strips are from some paper scraps--I tried to make some art in the style of Jeanne Williamson, who is known for her work with construction fence.

It called out for some Artistcellar mini steampunk gears from their pocket stencil series. I used Inka Gold creamy paint, which goes on very smoothly and perfectly through a stencil, even for a sloppy artist who is super impatient and always hurrying.

Last but not least, I added words with mismatched mini alphabet blocks that seemed to express the mood of the quirky man.

According to the Graphics Fairy, the "graphic is from an 1880’s wholesale Pharmacy Catalog, for some Eye Guards /Goggles, to be warn while driving, bicycling etc."

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Constructing a New Art Journal


This summer, I learned how to make a fabulous folding journal when I took a class at the Ink Pad with Kelly Kilmer. That beloved journal is almost full, so I decided to pull out Kelly's instructions and make myself a new one. This time, I decided to use recycled cardboard. I had been saving cereal, pizza and cracker boxes with an idea of up-cycling them into a journal.

After some deliberation, I settled on using some of my original fabric on the exterior. Here is the design I started with, which I uploaded to the Spoonflower website and translated onto 100% cotton fabric. I painted the design with watercolors and watercolor pencils.

I measured the pieces carefully, and then glued it to my cover fabric with matte medium. On the corners  I added some Aileen’s extra thick glue. The fabric was a little bulky, so it was tricky to get the corners to be precise. (My first journal had a rice paper cover, which was much easier to manipulate, yet strong and durable.)

I discovered that the cereal boxes were pretty flimsy, so I cut another front, back and spine and glued it to the first set, which doubled the thickness. I glued the printed areas together so that the cereal and pizza designs didn't show through my fabric.

After the exterior was dry, I added an inside page, also made from my own design. Here is the original mandala that I made as a lunchtime relaxation exercise, and the textile design that I created from it and printed on paper.

My mandala series was done by tracing around a CD, then drawing inside the circle randomly with pencil. I filled in color with brush tipped markers and colored pencils. The mandala was scanned, reduced, then stepped and repeated in my QuarkXPress design and Photoshop programs to create the paper.

I only had blue cardstock on hand for the pages, but since I usually collage over the page anyway, the color didn’t matter much. I folded them into “signatures,” put in holes with an awl and sewed them into the book with waxed linen thread.

I couldn’t just leave a blank journal lying around…so I filled the first page with a printout of one of my self-portraits, and added newsprint, an Artistcellar pocket stencil word (of course I chose the very appropriate word CREATE!), a star from the Jill K. Berry Sunny Compass Rose stencil and added some dots with a white signo pen, black marker and pink paint marker.

This journal is not as precise as the first one I made, one side is about 1/8” bigger than the others, the corners are not quite square, I measured wrong so that the inside pages were too long and had to be trimmed, but I am pretty happy with it anyway. With my original fabric on the cover, and original paper on the inside cover, and a few new journal pages completed, it really says “me.” I made sure I used it right away; I have a couple beautiful journals on my shelf that are just too gorgeous to use, and I wanted to make sure that this wasn't turned into an art object, but something I would use and love every day.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hipster ATC Doll

Discovering that you could make paper dolls using an ATC as a base opened up a new range of possibilities for me.

I have hundreds of leftover ATCs, in various stages of development. When I make a batch, I trade a few, keep a few special ones in my ATC binder with clear pockets, and stash the rest in an ATC limbo box, which has pieces that are too nice to throw away, but I somehow never used.

A year or two ago I did a trade with butterflies, and used lyrics from Janis Ian's song, At Seventeen. This card has one of the lines: "one of these days I'm gonna lift my glistening wings and fly." I printed the words out in white on a green background, then used a butterfly stamp with white printmaking paint on top.

The butterfly wings started with a stamp I purchased at The Ink Pad. I added color with Tombow brush tip markers. The face is a Dina Wakely stamp, also from The Ink Pad. I added color with Derwent blocks. The arms and legs are from my "doll part" stash box that I have collected over the years. The "tattoos" are part of a Balzer Deco Doily Stencil that I got from I used a brown chalk ink through the stencil.

At first, the doll had a different face, but it didn't work, so I auditioned a few from the stash box. This one looked like a man, but a cool guy, so I thought, "why not?" A really cool hipster would not be afraid to wear butterfly wings, right? Or carry a rose in his hand?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Paper Doll From Stencil Scraps

When I need to do a little art, something that always restores my sanity and puts me in a happy place is making paper dolls—I immediately go back to a safe, happy childhood place. As a personal challenge, I decided to see what I could do using ONLY what was already in my art bins and scrap boxes.

First, I found a paper doll template that I had already printed out. (There are many free sources online; Retro Café Arts has a variety of doll templates that you can purchase.) The graphics fairy blog has free, downloadable vintage images—I love their shoes, hats, faces and clothing, and often use them in my doll-making.

I looked through my reject projects, imperfect printmaking work, and bits left over from other projects to see what inspired me. For this doll, I started with some of my own paper, which I had designed in Photoshop and printed from a color laser. I applied white printmaking paint onto my paper through various stencils, such as compass rose, steampunk and harlequin.

Using the doll parts template, I cut the body pieces out of the scraps of stenciled paper, and connected them with mini-brads. For the legs, as well as the belt and the ribbon on the hat, I used a bit of paper that had accidentally been sprayed with lime and turquoise Dylusion ink. (The hat is a Graphics Fairy image.)

I cut the skirt from a circle of the compass rose stencil, and the fleur de lis on the hat is from the same stencil.

The doll’s face is a Dina Wakely stamp, applied with black archival ink stamp pad. It was a “reject” because the ink printed a little sketchy, but I used a black pen to touch up the imperfect sections. A touch of blue was added to the hair using a Derwent block and a koi brush, and a tiny bit of skin-toned peach chalk in was applied to the face.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Desert Dreams

If you are a mixed media artist and haven’t heard of Mary Jane Chadbourne or her Desert Dream Studios, you have been missing some inspirational work. She is a master of whimsy, color and design, and her work keeps getting better and better.

I have been trying to put my finger on what it is that draws me to her work because there are so many elements and factors that make it so special. Maybe the most important element is color, so I analyzed some pieces of Mary Jane’s and decided that, among many other factors, it was the use of earthy golden ochres with turquoise that speaks to my heart.

I started this journal page in Photoshop, and layered vintage handwriting, old newsprint, and several shades of yellow, brown and orange. Next, I started using the eraser tool (in varying percentages) so that it would “age” and have layers peeking through layers. I varied the brush size and shape, and experimented with bringing different layers to the front or back to get the effect I wanted. Next, I added a heart shape in a pretty shade of turquoise.

I printed the design out on ordinary copy paper from a color laser printer and glued it to my journal page with matte medium. Then I tried to figure out what to do next, especially since I needed to cover up the marks that were already on the page, made from testing new stencils. But first I wanted to highlight the heart, so I used a Balzer Deco Doily stencil with viva décor inka gold—a creamy paint that goes through a stencil beautifully with no bleeding or smearing. I also used the edge of the doily at the top and bottom to fill in the blank space. Next, I used the inka gold through a section of the Cathedral Series Amiens stencil, placed in the center of the heart.

The page needed more turquoise, so I applied a soft chalk pale turquoise ink through a Balzer Flower Piecing stencil at the edges. Pretty, but still…something was missing. I decided that it needed whimsy and magic, so I added a blue Graphics Fairy vintage butterfly to match the heart, but decided to cut it in half and apply to the edges of the heart with matte medium. A few pieces of washi tape with French words, measurements and mini butterflies, and my homage to Mary Jane was done.

1960s Tie Dye Power

While experimenting with watercolors, Derwent blocks and Dylusion spray inks one afternoon, I used some white paper towels underneath my artwork to soak up excess color. When I saw the color stained paper towels afterward, I immediately thought they looked like 1960s tie-dye.
So, once it dried, I flattened out the “trash” and, using matte medium, glued it to a blank white page in my journal. I wasn’t quite sure where to go from there, so it sat in my journal, just looking pretty for a week or so.

While I was rummaging through my art supplies (looking for something else entirely), I spotted the Jane Davenport "coy" stencil and thought I’d give it a try on the tie-dye background. I used a black Sharpie marker since I thought I might add more color later, and I didn’t want the outline to run or smear.

The black face outline looked pretty good, but the head was just floating, which was kind of disconcerting, so I sketched in hair, ears and a neck with a pencil, then outlined it with the black marker. I gave her big hair—subconsciously thinking about the flower children and the 1960s big afro hairstyles popular at the time.

Flower power and tie-dye got me thinking about protests and social movements, and using the voting process to affect change. With that in mind, I added newsprint to the neck, cheekbone and hair. To me, newsprint represents information and knowledge.

To get the newsprint to fit just right on her neck, I traced the neck shape with tissue paper, and then cut both the tissue and newsprint at the same time to get a good fit. The newsprint section was randomly chosen, mostly for its spacing—the message in it was not intended to make any particular point. I adhered the newsprint to the neck with matte medium. I also added a few strips of newsprint to indicate a cheekbone and streaks in her hair.

The final touches were a tiny hint of soft pink chalk ink color on the lips, and the addition of some inspirational words in the hair and on the neck, which were printed on Avery peel and stick clear mailing labels.

The stencil is the one I used on my November 7, 2014 for my Artistcellar post called Lemonhead ArtIsn't it amazing how the same stencil has such a completely different effect when used with different materials and colors?

Harlequin Beach Journal Page

The minute it gets cold in New York, the newspaper is full of ads for tropical getaway vacations, clothes to wear on your tropical holiday, and food and drinks to enjoy while you relax on the beach. The aquamarine sea and sandy beach called to me from the magazine pages. The islands are not in my budget this year, but I had a little moment of relaxation while I collaged the images.

I started with a gorgeous turquoise beach, added vintage newsprint and a pretty bracelet using matte medium. Next, an interesting bottle top—maybe some rum to sip in the sunshine. My focal image was a pink rose-like photo—I think it was really some cleverly carved beets. After applying the first three parts with matte medium, I put the pink “roses” on at a slight angle.
 The page called out for stencils, so I used my new “go-to” favorite, the harlequin. I applied sections of it in three places using white printmaking paint on a makeup sponge.
The page looked a little empty at the top left, so I used another favorite “go-to” stencil—the Jill K. Berry Sunny compass rose, and applied a dusty aqua chalk ink through the stencil. I put a little star in the center of the first stencil.

It needed words, so I handwrote my feeling, starting in the center with: “I want to go to a tropical beach, sip fancy drinks, all my troubles melting away…” and ended with “…and stop to smell those roses.”


Saturday, January 3, 2015

More Quirky ATC Dolls

In the quest to use up more of my scraps before buying any more art supplies (who am I kidding? I went to the Ink Pad last weekend and got some new supplies...but only things that I use all the time and had run out of...and maybe a new product or two...) I have been making art from my boxes of paper scraps. I have a giant box under my worktable and a couple more in my art supply cubbies, so the scraps of scraps are either being used up or thrown away.

I used to be addicted to making arty paper dolls. I used a lot of vintage paper doll parts, combined with a basic template. Now that I have discovered a new twist--the ATC paper doll, I am having more fun than ever.

This quirky paper doll uses a leftover ATC made with with Artistcellar stencils that was a little bit imperfect, newsprint arms, legs from a free vintage Graphics Fairy paper doll, Graphics Fairy wings and hat, and an original face. The face was doodled during a phone conversation a few years ago...she is kind of my alter ego, who I call "Esme". She is the opposite of the inner-critic...more of an inner cheerleader, and her face shows up in various pieces of artwork.

The second doll has a face that started with a Dina Wakely stamp, purchased at the Ink Pad. I added Derwent watercolor blocks for color. the arms and legs are vintage advertising and newsprint, and the boots are a free downloadable image from Dover Books. The ATC body is a semi-reject ATC from a music themed trade, which used lyrics from one of my old favorite songs, Woodstock, made famous by Crosby Stills Nash and Young, and written by Joni Mitchell.

The really cool thing is that the ATC dolls fold up into a little 2.5" x 3.5" package, which makes them easy to store and mail to friends of all ages.