Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Cereal Box Journal

I have learned so much from other people, too many to remember to list them here. I do want to mention Jane LaFazio, who introduced me to cereal box journals, and Jane Davies, who taught me about lifting paint. I have learned a great deal more than that from Jane and Jane. They are both brilliant artists and excellent teachers, and their classes are fun and filled with new ideas. Check out their workshops and online classes on their websites!

Okay, my cereal box journal. I save cereal and cracker boxes and cut off the sides and ends to make pages. I punch holes in them so that I can hold them together with rings.

Art journal made from cereal boxes.

Art journal made from cereal boxes.
As you can see, we eat lots of cereal
and crackers around my house.
I am working on collage and paint pieces (not in the journal, on printmaking paper), and sometimes I want to remove paint that I have applied. I grab a cereal box page or a piece of drawing paper and blot to lift the paint. I love the interesting effect of this. The cereal box by-product is just a bonus! When I have blotted enough that the CB page is covered, I make marks on it and sometimes I add more paint.

Art journal pages

These finished pages are fun to play with. I have no stake in how they look. They do not have to be perfect! If I end up with something I hate (it happened once) I can either paint or gesso over it or throw it in the trash.

Sometimes I use cheap drawing paper to lift paint. I learned about this paper from Jane Davies. It is on her Favorite Materials web page.

I love to write on these pages. I overlap the writing so no one can read it (really, I say things I would never want anyone to read!), and I love the blocky squiggly effect.

Rather than punch holes in this paper, which I think would soon be destroyed by flipping through the heavy cardboard, I stick it on the CB pages with acrylic medium. I am sure PVA glue would be just fine, I just haven't had a bottle near me when I have been doing this. In this photo I have folded the drawing paper in half and wrapped it around the cardboard page.

I'll add some paint and some writing certainly, and maybe more. Whatever I do, I will enjoy doing it, and maybe learn some things that will help me be a better artist.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Winter grays and browns

It's no secret that I have a rough time emotionally in the winter. My personality is not suited to viewing grays and browns relentlessly. I think that's why my art leans toward screaming bright colors. I feel like a parched plant drinking in water when I work in big bright colors. Sometimes it's hard to get myself to my studio to work when it's cold and brown and gray outside. On those days, I take it easy on myself. Sometimes just sitting in my studio helps. Sometimes just sitting leads to working, which helps a bunch. I haven't felt like taking on anything difficult or big, so I have been working in my art journals and making Gelli prints.

Gelli prints on card stock and deli paper

As I printed on the Gelli plate, I used the journal page below to clean my brayer and print off stamps and rubbing plates that still had paint on them. I am very pleased with how it turned out, especially considering that it was a no-brainer. Come to think of it, most of my backgrounds are no-brainers.

Journal page from cleaning brayer
and stamps
Wishing you all the color you want in your life.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Cereal box journal

I have been saving cereal and cracker boxes to make a journal. I love the idea of the rough look of it, and I can smugly pat myself on the back for repurposing something that would otherwise be wasted.

These pages are calling to me that I can do any old messy thing I like and not give a hoot about what it looks like. In other words, it is truly an expressive art journal. I need something like this to work on a few minutes a day, maybe right after I write my Morning Pages.

Repurposing cereal boxes -- I am so green. 
I intend for the "binding" to be a couple of metal rings, as you can see in the image. I started making holes in the cardboard pieces as I cut up the boxes, but soon grew weary of that because it was boring and made my hand hurt. I will add holes as I finish each page.

This is as far as I have made it with this thing. The next step is to apply gesso, and I have no doubt that the non-printed pages will be fine, but I am concerned about getting gesso to stick to the shiny, printed side. I will probably be spending some time with a sanding block. I don't like sanding, but it is for art so I will sacrifice myself. Or I will just make art on one side. It's my journal and I can do whatever I like. So there.

I'll post my progress with this project. Maybe. It might contain many expletives.

Have you ever made a cardboard art journal? I'd love to read about your experiences!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Moongazing Hares

I don't know what it is about hares and the moon that lures me in. Something just does. On a trip to London a lifetime ago, I found a little moongazing hare sculptural figure in a gift shop, I think it was the V&A. I have had it around at the edges of my awareness, tucked in a drawer or at the back of a shelf, for many years. 

The other day, while trying to read the entire internet in one sitting, I ran across an image of one of these creatures and have felt myself drawn back in. The hare represents regrowth and the fertility of spring, which seemed apt for the time of year and my age. At 67, I consider myself in the springtime of my old age, and am finding a growing energy in artistic creativity. If you want more information on these critters, here's what wikipedia has to say.

I googled for images and was not disappointed. Eventually, I chose my favorite and with PhotoShop and Illustrator managed to make a file that I could use with my Silhouette Cameo to cut a stencil.

This is not the stencil, it's the mask that came from the stencil.
This is the mask (the part that came away to make the stencil), and I think I am going to have lots of fun with this and my Gelli plate. (Note the textured papers beneath the mask. I am using them to remove paint from the Gelli and eventually they will wind up in a piece of art somewhere. Someone gave them to me but I believe they are anaglypta wallpaper and I might be able to get more from the paint store!)

This was made using the stencil.
Here's what my hare looks like stenciled on to an art journal page. I outlined it with a .35mm Energel pen, and I like that look, but the hare does not seem finished to me. I think I will gradually add paint to it until it is less translucent and stands out on its own more.

A few more pictures of the hare …

Gelli print on card stock using stencil and hand carved stamp.
It amuses me to make these hares in non-hare colors. I didn't realize that the spiral on the hare was layered over a spiral design on the background image until I made the print. Happy accident.

Gelli print on deli paper cut out and placed on existing collage.
This pink hare was stenciled on a piece of deli paper using the Gelli, then cut out and placed over an existing collage art journal page.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Stamp carving

I carved a few stamps this weekend. Carving is so relaxing to me!

Large pattern stamp
Somehow I thought I could turn this stamp so that all the patterns would match. Either it can't be done or I can't figure it out. I am spatially impaired so it's not surprising! This was easy to carve. I freehand drew the pattern on a piece of pink carving material that I had around. It carved beautifully, so I need to head out with my Michaels coupon and see if I can find it there.
Smaller stamps
These smaller stamps were a pain in the neck to carve. Not because they were small but because the material crumbled as I worked, leaving irregular edges. It is a creamy color, but I don't know what kind it is. I especially like the spiral and the second one in the right column.

 Julie Fei Fan Balzer has a new book out, Carve Stamp Play: Designing and Creating Custom Stamps, and I have added it to my book wish list. (I linked my wish list on amazon, just in case anyone is searching for the right gift for me. Just saying')

My next projects are another luna moth stamp, about half the size of the first one, and a moon gazing hares. There seems to be a moon theme emerging here. Hmmmm.

I love comments! Feel free ...

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Fried Egg Art

This was my breakfast a few days ago. A fried egg. I liked its looks so I photographed it. And put some makeup on it, via Procreate, an iPhone and iPad app*.



*Procreate is the best photo editing app I have run across, except for one tiny flaw: it crashes constantly. I can't recommend it because of that, but I like to play with it occasionally when I have some time.

Painting the Gelli plate cover

See that Gelli plate below? It is not loaded with paint. The plastic cover sheet is loaded with paint.

8x10" Gelli plate with painted cover sheet

Please tell me that I am not the only Gelli plate owner who, in her zeal to get started, put paint on the sheet covering the plate. I've done it to both sides. A multiple offender.

BTW, it's not very clear in this photo, but this is where my Gelli plate lives: on a glass sheet recycled from my (old) refrigerator. The glass is tempered, which makes it safe, not that it ever moves. The Gelli sticks right down and does not slide around when I am printing. It stays on my worktable most of the time, but if I want to move it, I turn the glass on its side and stow it vertically my with cutting mats. I have noticed no difference in my Gelli over time. I have been doing this for over a year, and as far as I can tell, nothing bad has happened to the plate. It's not dried out or stiff, it seems to be just like it was when it was new. Even this sides, which are constantly exposed to air, are unchanged. I am not recommending that you disregard the manufacturer's storage directions. I am just telling you that I did and so far no ill effects.