Saturday, January 31, 2009

Art Journal Day 30 - Bubbling

Most of the day Friday I just had a general sense of contentment. There wasn't much rushing around that had to be done and I've made it clear how I feel about that! I know there are things in my physical world that contribute to feeling like that - sunny skies, beautiful snow-covered landscape, a loving husband and warm home are just a few. But I know that contentment is more than skin deep. I have peace in knowing Jesus Christ as my Savior. When I saw all those circles I'd been painting the previous night, I thought of bubbles. A song that we used to sing in our church many years rose to the surface of my memories:
"It's bubbling, it's bubbling, it's bubbling in my soul;
There's singing and laughing since Jesus made me whole.
Folks don't understand it, nor can I keep it quiet.
It's bubbling, bubbling, bubbling, bubbling, bubbling day and night."

This page started with a sheet of blue card stock that I had used to blot paint off the painting of the previous night (see last post). I used sequin waste and a stencil brush to build layers of circles in shades of blue and some white. Then I used some craft foam circles to stamp more paint onto the surface. These were outlined with a chalk pastel pencil. Writing the verse took the longest. I'm not very proficient with lettering, so I tried several inks and applicators (nibs, brushes) on scrap paper with the same painted surface. Eventually I settled on using a small pointed round brush and thinned India ink. It was hard to get the fluid strokes I was hoping for on this small of a scale.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Circles - GPP Street Team Crusade No. 27

I had been considering participating with the Green Pepper Street Team Crusade, but I've been focused on my journal. But with my post of circles last week, I was on my way to having something to post for GPP. I have been doodling and playing with circles. Last night I took a square of illustration board that I'd primed with grey gesso several months ago. I built a base of Prussian Blue & Unbleached Titanium. Next I used matte medium to adhere green polka dot tissue paper to much of the support, but leaving the center portion open. Layers of gesso and paint were built up and tamped off. In the middle of the support, I started "seeing" the face of a woman emerge. You know, it's like when you see things in the clouds.
What did a woman have to do with all this layering of circles I was creating? Don't over think it, and just go for it. So I did. I didn't use any reference pictures to paint her. I've been studying faces and I'm learning. There are some areas that are quite the struggle for me, but that just gives me more to work on.
I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but I have some ideas. I'm at the point where it's hard for me to add more because I don't want to "ruin" it.

Art Journal Day 29 - Curiosity

Sometimes I MUST make art because my curiosity is overflowing. I stamped this cat and colored it with markers. I "matted" the cardstock with a recycled envelope.
This was done very quickly because I wanted to start work on another project and my curiousity was running very high.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Art Journal Day 28 - Faith

We woke up to a beautiful day where hoarfrost added a touch of fantasy to our landscape. It is things like that which turn my thoughts to our wondrous Creator and I am touched by joy and gratitude. Earlier this week I was reminded of a favorite quote from a message given by a former pastor at my church. Kip Hamby was speaking of God's kingdom and the parable of the mustard seed. It's easy to feel insignificant and forgotten in our world, but each of us matters. How we live our lives matters.
I took a few quick shots of the trees near our house. Then I just had to play in PS Elements last night. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with that altered image, but I can see it has possibilities.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Art Journal Day 27 - Comfort

It was my day off. If I was a cat I would have curled up on a cozy spot where the sunlight pooled on the floor. Instead, I made a pot of tea. It's nice to have time to enjoy a POT of tea, not just a hurried cup before heading out for the day. When Hubby & I first moved into a house, we went to auctions to find furnishings and tools. We found great deals and the auction house atmosphere was entertaining as well. One night I spotted a teapot that I fell in love with. It was in a cardboard box with matching cups, a couple of trays, and other items I don't remember anymore. I don't remember how much we got all of that for anymore, maybe about $20. But the only person who bid against us asked what we wanted in that box. She had her eye on one of the trays and she offered us $10 for it. That was a sweet deal.
Not only do I love the blue color and the abstract pussy willow design, but the teapot is made of substantial pottery, so it stays warm for a long time.
In the afternoon I went out for a haircut. After my appointment, I had a bit of time to kill before music rehearsal, so I headed for Starbucks and a chai latte. The weather was so strange and beautiful. There was a very high and thin cloud cover. And it was very gently snowing all afternoon. It didn't seem like there were enough clouds for it to snow. The atmosphere made for an interesting late afternoon shot of the sun through the window at Starbucks.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Art Journal Day 26 - Blah Monday

Misty Mawn has prompted us to express our emotions and thoughts with attention to color, images, etc.
One thing this month of journaling has made me realize is that I tend to be reserved in how much of myself I am comfortable revealing with my art. You can imagine that this assignment didn't excite me very much. But I'm planning on seeing this journey through to the end of the month.

I've been feeling "blah" all day. I spent a couple hours at the doctors' office this morning. Then it was off to work for the afternoon. Nothing was really that bad. It's just that everything seemed so gray today.

So... to come home this evening with this prompt to express how I felt was not appealing. Making art helps lift me up and I would typically choose happier, brighter colors to take me to a happier & brighter place. Well, I learned something. Even though the thought of working on this didn't excite me very much, I still got some of the lifting of my mood through the act of creating.

Art Journal Day 25 - Circles

The art journal assignment was to choose a shape and play with it. Time and energy were very limited, so I kept this page simple. I took a magazine page and cut circles with a punch. These were glued to black card stock. Then I embellished with a white galaxy marker that fizzled out, so I came back with a white china marker. Not enough pizazz, so I used a gold metallic paint marker and a template to draw circles on top of the collage. I purposely let some of the paint puddle for interest. Next I punched black circles and punched smaller holes in the circles. These were glued onto the page.
I punched a row of holes on one end of the page and put more of the magazine page behind them. The last step was to add more gold paint. When I mounted this into my journal, I decided to add a title which was stamped and embossed on a strip of card stock.
This isn't my favorite exercise, but I enjoyed the process.

Art Journal Day 24 - Giving

For art journal day 24 we were prompted to create art to give away. Since I need to get some cards done, that's what I focused on. I re-organized some of my stamping supplies before I got started and that helped me work more efficiently.
The background for Thinking of You was created with a Stamping Up set that I've had for many years.I stamped this tulip image on smooth bristol paper. I ran out of time to do any more work on Saturday. Tonight I colored one of the images with my PrismaColor pencils and adhered it to cardstock.
This last image is what I saw out the window as I was wrapping up my card making session. I just had to grab the camera to capture it.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Art Journal Day 23 - Vincent Van Gogh

Misty Mawn prompted us to do a journal entry inspired by a favorite artist. There was little hesitation for me. I went straight to Vincent Van Gogh. In 2003, Hubby & I were invited to a wedding in Germany, but Hubby said we should go somewhere else, too. I didn't think twice when he asked where to go. We spent a few days in the Netherlands so we could go to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. It was amazing to be surrounded by his work. I highly recommend this museum if you are ever in Amsterdam.
As moving as that experience was, the painting that stands out in my mind is found at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. When we first visited the museum our time was limited and my only goal was to see the Impressionist galleries. I didn't know there was a Van Gogh until the shimmering colors of "Olive Trees" drew me in.
My interpretation drew on my landscape and Van Gogh's style. I used acrylic paint on heavy paper. It was a thrilling experience to do this exercise. Thank you, Misty, for your prompt!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Something to Think About

Art Journal Day 22 - Crayons

Thursday we got to play with crayons. In my adult life, I've had at least one box of crayons ever since my sweet Hubby bought me coloring books and crayons when I was in the hospital just a few weeks after our wedding. However, the crayons don't come out to play very often. About 10 years or so ago, my sister bought me a package of Twist-Up Crayons because I enjoyed using them while coloring with my nieces. I got them out to do the wild flower that I colored on smooth Bristol. I like the way they lay down color.
This cropped portrait was done with Crayola crayons. While I had more choices of color, I didn't like the way they went down on my paper. I suppose a paper with more tooth would have been better.

Art Journal Day 21 - Altered Image

This journal entry proved to be another exercise to stretch the old grey matter. We were to alter an image that we photographed ourselves. Where to start? I decided I wasn't going to take a lot of time finding a picture, so I just went by impulse. I have several digital files labeled flowers or spring or summer with a descriptive. So I just randomly chose one of those. The tulips caught my eye as I went through the file. It's really not a good photo, but I save such things because I see something that appeals to me and it may inspire a painting.
Just to make this more interesting, I made some quick adjustments with PS Elements (hue, saturation, posterized). Then it was time to go to the office.
After work, I decided to cut out some of the flowers so I could control their composition. Then I had to decide what the background would be. I used Daniel Smith's Sedona Clay watercolor to wash the paper. Then I used ModgePodge to add rectangles of orange mulberry paper. Next I added the tulips and some leaves. The watercolored areas needed to be beefed up, so I added more color. That's all I did. I could have done more, but I was loving the play of the complementary colors and that was enough for me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Art Journal Day 20 - Word Art

This prompt from Misty's challenge was to create a journal page focused on one word. I have already started a separate journal based on the word hope and considered posting from that journal, but I decided to go another direction. In my mail were offers for artist magazines and there were reply cards in artist magazines I purchased last week. There was my word.
I recently purchased the book "Art and Fear". I started the spread by writing a quote from the book. From there I drew the word and outlined it with a Sharpie. The letters were colored with highlighter markers. I printed definitions from the Internet that I glued onto the pages. Marks were made with colored pencils and chalk pastel pencils. I glued down the ephemera I gleaned from the mailings I mentioned earlier. The painting came from a frame catalog.
The bright colors were just what I needed after the somber tones of the previous post.

Art Journal Day 19 - Embellish

Misty challenged us to use fabric and embellishments for this journal entry. This has been the most challenging page for me so far this month. It could be because I was very tired. But I think it has more to do with the brain fog that comes over me when attempting to get very embellished. To help me get started, I flipped through a wallpaper sample book that I picked up for free at the local paint & decorating store. This book had swatches of coordinating fabric for some of the collections. I chose a fairly neutral paisley printed fabric and cut out a section of the coordinating wallpaper, too. I'm drawn to paisley designs and this gave me a theme for the spread. I altered the fabric with blue paint. I added walnut ink to both the wallpaper and the fabric. They were both glued into my journal that had been prepped with gesso. The wallpaper was a nuisance in that it resisted most things I tried on it. I finally got some chalk ink & Stazon ink stamped images to stay on it. I loosely traced some of the design lines on the fabric with a Pitt Pen. The 2nd page of the spread has layers of paint, gesso, walnut ink, and stamped images. I adhered a candy label, drew an eye and journaled my thoughts. Once everything was dry, I added glitter glue and a couple of sequin flowers.
I like the color scheme that I developed. I also like the depth of the background on the 2nd page of the spread. But I'm not impressed with the grunginess that I developed. To me, the glitter is really odd against that setting.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Art Journal Day 18 - Pink

I woke up with a lousy headache today and I was extra tired, so I stayed home from church. I ended up vegging in my nightgown & a robe much of the day. It just so happened to be my pink nightgown, so it became the focus for one page of my spread.
I kept this simple by prepping with gesso, sketching in graphite, and painting with acrylic.
I added the Pink Panther label to the second page of the spread. I'm a big fan of the animated character.
My boss takes the employees and spouses out for dinner each January. Last night we went to a Japanese steak house where you can see your food being cooked right in front of you. It was entertaining & the food wasn't bad. But my asthma kicked up while we were there and I wonder if today's headache was a result of being at the restaurant last night. This picture shows where the chef stacks raw onion rings, pours a couple liquids in it and lights it on fire. Imagine a flaming volcano. It's quite spectacular, but it sends out a lot of smoke once the flame is gone.

Art Journal Day 17 - Yellow

For today's entry, I prepped my pages with gesso and a couple thin layers of Golden Light Molding Paste. It was a better surface for taking watercolor than just gesso. I sketched out the sun & sunflowers with a Derwent chocolate drawing pencil. The painting was all done with Van Gogh watercolors. After it dried, I went back over some of the lines with a Pitt pen, which was also used for the journaling.
I never really considered using yellow in my art very much until after my Grandmother passed away a little over 4 years ago. Not long after her passing, I started working with acrylic more than watercolor because I wanted more texture and more intense colors. I noticed that I was using a lot of yellow. Then my Dad died and the bright colors continued, including yellow. I think it helps elevate my mood. Yesterday, we lost another beloved family member, my husband's aunt. Working on this spread helped me deal with the sadness.Some of you have asked how our winter is. I took this shot yesterday. Our mailbox is nearly buried in snow. The snow isn't that deep all over, but we tend to get the biggest drifts on our block, and hubby has been shoveling A LOT of snow. It's really been piling up.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Art Journal Day 16 - Red

Red is a strong, powerful color and I didn't think I could go with the wash of feature color on the background to start a page. As I was laying in the neutral background of gesso with some smears of brown Nupastel, I saw the uplifted face of a woman. I thought of a torch singer. So that's where this page started. I imagined a woman who is coming into her own and she is wearing red. She is strong and isn't going to hide in the shadows anymore. Hubby thought she looked athletic. I could imagine a diver who is preparing to take the dive of her life.
She is worked in Caran d'Ache NeoColor II - watersoluble crayons. They were a bit challenging on this surface, but I like the variety of ways to treat them. The background was colored on directly, then I burnished it with a fitch scrubber and finally a flat color shaper.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Art Journal Day 15 - White

My mixed media experience is limited, so I focused on trying different white pens, markers, pencils and pastels today. They were all applied to black cardstock. Then I tore or cut up the samples and glued them into my journal. The last step was to make notes using a black permanent marker.
I already had most of the media, but I picked up the Galaxy markers and the StazOn Ink pad at Hobby Lobby last night. I had hoped to get a Sharpie white marker that so many have raved about, but there were none in stock. I dug through my stash of gel pens and found a milky white pen that had dried up. As I worked, I got more ideas of things to try. But those trials will have to wait for another day.
I think my favorites that I used were the Derwent Chinese White pencil, the General Chalk Pastel Pencil, Jelly Roll Pen, Galaxy Broad Marker, Prismacolor pencil, Col-erase pencil, and NeoColor II.
I also bought the Galaxy medium nib, but it performed quite differently than the broad nib. The medium applied very translucently, almost transparently, and then the white started to appear almost like magic. Well, that made it harder to see what I was drawing. When dry, it was less opaque than the broad nib.Liquid correction fluid pens had a very opaque look once I got it flowing (after much shaking and dabbing on scratch paper.) It was annoying to apply because you have to keep pressure on the barrel while writing. The Pentel brand was the poorer option of the two I tried. It will be interesting to try these media on other surfaces. Do you have a favorite way to apply white to your journaling?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Art Journal Day 14 - Green

I like green. The trouble with green is that there are so many versions of green and today I didn't have the luxury of taking a lot of time deciding which way to go. So I just went with the first green I saw which was some watercolor paint on my table that I hadn't put away. I don't even remember why I had the palette out.
In the end, I'm very glad I chose this springtime yellow-green. Take my word for it, it really is spring green. But once again I'm posting at night when the lighting is not optimal. Even playing with the white balance & photo editing are not letting you see what I see. Where you see some glare on the dragon fly is a reflection off the glossy accent and glitter I added to some of their wing. I put the same glossy accent on the flower centers, but it doesn't really show up well on the photo.
I started by washing the page with watercolor paint. I added a few layers and blotted with wax paper. Next I stamped a large fern frond all over the pages for a subtle background. The dragonflies were stamped next.
It was time to go to the office and I started thinking about green thumbs. My sister has the greenest thumb I know. She shared divisions of so many beautiful perennials with me several years ago. They have multiplied and I've enlarged my garden, added new beds, shared divisions... you get the picture. My sister is a nurse and one of her patients dubbed her "Daisy". After work, I colored and stamped a sheet of green card stock to give some variations of green. Then I used daisy punches to make all the green flowers. There are three sizes and I stacked them or used them singly.
Today I used a Sharpie marker to do the journaling. I found out that my gel pens are very sensitive to moisture when I use them on this water colored surface.
I'm excited about what I'm learning on this journey. Today I was inspired to start another journal, but that is a subject for another post.
By the way, if you've wondered about the little clothes pins that are showing up on some of my journal page images, here's the scoop. The edges of some of the pages want to curl & I'm just using the clothes pins to keep the page flat for the photograph. Once I close the book and let it sit, the pages have been flattening out.
If you haven't been there yet, be sure to check out Misty's page. I'm so glad she put out this journaling challenge.

Art Journal Day 13 - Orange

My inspiration for Orange was "Wild Sweet Orange" Tazo Tea. The label inspired an ATC a few months ago. When Misty prompted us to journal with Orange today, I knew I'd be using the tea label again.
Today I mixed acrylic paint to get different shades of orange. I used Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue, Permanent Rose & Titanium White. Depending on the amount of white used, you can come up with a nice orange sherbert hue. I also added a bit of burnt umber for some of the darker shading. A sepia Pitt marker was used to outline the flower. I used a black gel pen for accents and journaling. There's also a bit of watercolor pencil accent work, too.

I also added a bit of stamping to add texture. A chalk ink pad works great for this.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Art Journal Day 12 - Blue

This week Misty Mawn has prompted us to focus on color in our art journals. Today is blue. If I had to select ONE color as a favorite, I think I would choose blue. There are so many beautiful versions of blue. I chose to use Daniel Smith's Lapis Lazuli Genuine watercolor as my primary blue for this spread. It reminds me of my favorite shade of denim.

I started by prepping the pages with what I thought was thinned gesso I had stored in a yogurt container. I added a bit more gesso into the container and then started spreading it on the page. It just seemed too smooth. Well, I kept on working away prepping a few more pages. When I grabbed the container's lid, I saw where I'd written gloss varnish over the label. OOPS! Since I'd mixed some gesso into it, I thought "What the heck" and see what happens. The surface didn't have as much tooth as I usually desire. But I like the way the watercolor paint looked on the surface. It lifts very easily, so I had to be careful.

Embellishments and journaling finished off the pages. I like working monochromatically. It simplifies decision making. I'm looking forward to the rest of this week's prompts.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Journal Day 11 and Hope Painting

Happily, today I spent a lot of time working on a painting. I spent time the past few days organizing and storing supplies that had collected on my art table. But first, a little about today's journal entry.
Hubby & I went out for lunch and I grabbed my trusty little black sketchbook and my gray Pitt pens. While waiting for our order, I started this sketch. I love paisley patterns, so I started with the teardrop shape and then went from there. I admit, it had me stumped for a while, but then intuitive drawing took over. Next we headed to Borders where I was delighted to find Somerset's Art Journaling was FINALLY on the shelf (and now at my house). No one in the store knew anything about it when I was in the store last week. Anyway, I completed the paisley sketch while Hubby was looking at his favorite computer magazines.
Back at home, I went back to work on my "Hope" painting. This is on a 12 x 12 canvas that I started working on last summer. I'd base painted the canvas, but it just wasn't working for me. A couple months ago, I tore strips of rice paper and adhered them to the canvas with matte medium. When I decided that "hope" would be my inspiration word for 2009, it occurred to me that I could do something on this canvas with that word. Yesterday I wrote several Bible verses and a couple dictionary definitions onto the canvas. Today I added several layers of paint. This image isn't great since the lighting wasn't optimal. I'm not sure if it's done, but I'm going to give it a few days to decide.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Journal Day 10 - Sudoku Portrait

Numbers can intimidate me in the abstract. Calculating yardage and quilt blocks doesn't because it's not abstract. I use a lot of simple math with my jewelry designs. But algebra and calculus are not for me. When I first saw Sudoku puzzles, I didn't give them a second look. I could never do the typical number puzzles in crossword puzzle books. I inherited my Mom's love of crossword puzzles.

But one day I was reading the newspaper while waiting for my husband. I was waiting a long time and I decided to take a look at that number puzzle by the crossword puzzle. Hmmmm. It was fun. I didn't have to do math. I was quickly hooked. Now Hubby likes to do Sudoku puzzles, too. He's got a program on his computer to do them. I like my books edited by Will Shortz. I'll attempt all difficulty levels, but I can't always complete the most challenging. My favorite are the moderate puzzles. There are books that have only moderate puzzles. I'm working on my second one.

My favorite time to do the puzzle is when I go to bed. It helps my mind slow down from the day, and I usually fall to sleep faster if I work on a puzzle or two before I turn off the light. If I read art books or magazines at bedtime, I usually need to work on a puzzle to get my mind to settle down. Otherwise I tend to get bombarded with imagery that keeps me from sleeping very soundly. It's just the creative part of my brain getting all churned up.

Last night I doodled this face on an envelope while talking on the phone and decided to incorporate it into this collage. Once again, I struggled with getting my eyes even. It didn't help that I was working in ink.

This page was colored with Nupastels and Distress Ink. The portrait was colored with Prismacolor pencils. I cut a frame from a catalog. I tore out a page from the last book I completed.

Lest I forget, many of my puzzle pages have doodles all over the bottom of the page. They work like a list for me. You know, when you're at work and your personal life keeps intruding your thoughts. I just stop and jot down reminders to myself so that I can put those thoughts away til I'm done at the office. The doodles on my puzzle pages help me let go of the creative thoughts that would keep me awake.

How do you help transition your brain activity from the creative mode to help you sleep?

Common Sense in my Little Black Sketchbook (Day 7)

Here's a catch-up entry to the art journaling challenge. On Wednesday I never got to the journal I'm using for this challenge. But I had my trusty little black sketchbook in my purse. I usually have snatches of time away from home and this has become my favorite item in my purse. It's only 4 x 6 with 160 pages of 80 lb. paper that I really like. It's called "Leather Etc." by CIH Corp. It was only $3.99 at Hobby Lobby! After work on Wednesday, I went to Hobby Lobby and picked up the 12 piece set of Prismacolor Nupastels using a 40% off coupon ;-) .
Hubby & I often have dinner at the HyVee grocery cafeteria. That's where I headed next (with Nupastels stashed in my purse.) As usual, we spent time reading the newspapers after dinner and that's where I saw the quote by Will Rogers. I was just going to jot it down in my sketchbook when the light bulb went off in my head. Out came the Nupastels. I smudged in the background colors, drew circles, smudged some more. After penciling in the quote, I inked it in with gel pen. It was fun & satisfying.

Day 8 Art Journal Spread

I had to step away from the face on the self-portrait challenge this week. I really needed to play more. Since I am in love with textures and saturated color, this spread shows an aspect of me - just not some version of my face.

The pages were prepped with grey gesso. The left side was painted with Golden fluid acrylics. The vine was drawn in with a white charcoal pencil before painting it. Then I outlined it with a Pitt pen. More layers of paint were added with a paper towel. The stamping was done with chalk ink pads and foam stamps. A copper gel pen helped the word grow pop.

I placed a ginkgo texture plate under the right page and rubbed yellow, rust & blue Nupastels on the gessoed page. After fixing the pastel, I added Golden acrylic glazes in the same hues used on the left page. Both pages were accented by rubbing on metallic copper Shiva paint stick. Journaling on this page was difficult which I think was because the Shiva was not cured & thus was resisting the markers & pens. (Any tips on journaling over Shiva paint sticks would be appreciated.)
These pages were hard to get a good image because of the reflections on the sheen of the materials I used. I REALLY love the results and this will be a launch for other art.