Friday, August 09, 2013

Fleamarket Journal Find

One of the things I love to do on a warm summer Sunday is walk around the local fleamarkets. Last weekend I picked up this ledger for 30 cents. The first pages had been torn out, which is pity, because judging by the few examples of handwriting on the remaining pages, it would have been full of figures and notes that might have added to the charm of collaging. Not to complain, though. I now have a couple of hundred pages of naturally aged ledger paper to use in my art. That's what I call a lucky find!

Origami With Postage Stamps

These cards arrived in my mail yesterday. The butterflies are made from used postage stamps. Sadly, I don't know the name of the person who makes these cards. All I know is that she is an 80-year-old lady who lives in Berlin. A friend of mine knows her. The lady does voluntary work with teenagers and teaches them fabric art. She also makes cards like those you can see here. A few weeks ago, my friend asked if I had any used postage stamps in my stash. I did, and I also knew I hadn't found any use for them in years. So, I raked through my stash, found them, and sent them off - a big, fat envelope full. Like many of us who do mixed media, journaling and altered art, I was delighted to know that someone would be able to use them. This was the lady's thank you. I'll keep one and send the other to one of my art friends, next time I have a reason to write snail mail.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

This is another item from the package I prepared for a friend. I need to send the package off a second time. First time around, I used packing tape that was a little too slick and the stamps detached themselves in transit, so the package was returned to me. Oh well, sigh. 

The person who'll get this was one of the travelling artists on the first TAG journey. She'll be taking part in the next journey, as well. What you see here is something I created to make the journey more interesting. The substrate is a canvas. I drew the hills, painted them, and then wrote a message along the outlines. For the next step, I covered matchboxes in map paper, added a brad as a drawer pull, then glued the boxes around the edge of the canvas. Each of the  boxes contain a sealed message with an invitation to do something that will add to the story.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fairy Girl For ...

This is on its way to a friend of mine who shall remain nameless, until the package has arrived. There are a couple of other items in the package, which I'll post in a day or so.

The substrate for this is simply cereal box card. One: recycling is always a good idea and two: the package was sent out the country, which means paying by weight, so it was good to have this lightweight material. Tip: For a sturdier substrate, simply glue two pieces of card together with gel medium.

I covered the substrate in crumpled tissue, to get some structure, then painted, stamped and stenciled the background.

I drew the fairy freehand and then coloured her using acrylic paint, Caran D'Ache neocolour II crayons and Spectrum Noir markers.

After that, I wrote the little story. Colouring in the loops in any writing makes text pop on a canvas or art journal page.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Cathy Bluteau Class

Earlier this year I signed up for 21 Secrets.

One of the teachers this year  is Cathy Bluteau, who teaches a class that combines collage and doodling. This is one of the collages I created during her class.

The collage and doodle combination is right up my street. After getting a feel for Cathy's easy-to-follow technique, I  incorporated zentangles, doodles and some of the lettering techniques I learned in Joanne Sharpe's online Letter Love 101  class, which I took at the beginning of this year. 

The background colour blocks are Spectrum Noir markers. Lesson learned: don't use them on watercolour paper, as that kind of paper sucks up the ink. I wouldn't mind as much if the Spectrum Noir refills were easily available in Germany, but that's not the case. Next time I'll use Pan Pastels or Caran D'Ache watercolour crayons.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Signature Image

This is my new signature image. For years I proclaimed that I couldn't draw, especially not figures. Then, late last year I decided that this view of things was entirely contrary to what I actually believe and what I preach when I teach. So, I spent some time on my favourite waste of time, Pinterest, and looked at the kind of figures I thought might be do-able. After a while looking around, I picked up my pencil and started practicing whimsical faces and figures. I was amazed at how easy it was!

The next step came after I signed up for 21 Secrets. One of the classes was about painting whimsical figures. I wasn't sure about the painting aspect at first, because it seemed a lot less controllable than drawing, but I jumped in and tried it, and was delighted with my outcomes.

This painting actually looks a little like me, so I decided to use it as my online image, when I need one.

Birthday Poster

I can't believe how long it's been since I last posted. A lot of life got in my way over the past two and a half years, with extreme challenges and upheavals that turned my life into something barely recogniseable to me for long stretches.But I'm feeling brave now, and I've decided to revive my blogs and some of the larger projects I had running.

Today's post is just a little - well, not so little - poster I made as a "card" for a friend's upcoming birthday. It's slightly larger than A4.

The substrate is the backing from a paper pad. I first rubbed on, direct to paper, two shades of pigment ink in blue tones - Adirondack Earthtones "Stream" and Color Box "Glacier Lake", then stamped the visible border using a Dylusions flower stamp and black Stazon. Once it was dry, I coloured some of the flowers using Pitt Pens.

The central panel is Bristol paper coloured with two shades of Derwent Inktese pencils. I only bought those last week, and now I understand why everyone raves about them. The colours pop! Then I drew a double frame (black fineliner) and filled in the spaces with patterns. 

The fairy was drawn freehand on a separate scrap of paper, coloured and cut out. After I had decided where I wanted her to go, I stuck her on using gel medium, then I wrote the story. As a final detail, I added the doodles that look like musical notes.

To finish up, I punched two holes, threaded through some sea green wire and added a bow.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Quedlinburg - Papier Atelier

Last week I attended a seminar in the beautiful town of Quedlinburg in the Harz mountain region of Germany. Most of Quedlinburg is medieval. What remains of the medieval town covers an area equivalent to a block of around 120 football (soccer) pitches and is choc full of half-timbered houses. That's around a third of the area the old town covered at the end of WWII. The other houses were simply demolished by the East German government. The remaining buildings and streets are now part of the UNESCO World Heritage programme and are being rebuilt and renovated.


I'll post pictures over the days to come and will tell the little stories that go along with them, but the first pictures I want to post are very special to me.

As you probably know, I'm coordinating and participating in a year-long journey in the name of the Travelling Artists' Guild. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, just click the TAG link in the sidebar on the right of this page.

Part of Alba's story tells of how she arrives at the Guild. On her walk up to the Guild from the town, one of the streets through which she passes is "Artisan Row".

On my way up to the castle complex in Quedlinburg, I took a shortcut and found myself in an alley which was, to me, quite clearly the back of (my) Artisan Row. On my way back into town, I walked the other way and was, indeed, on Artisan Row. As I passed along the back alley, I stumbled across a tiny shop called "Papier Atelier" (address at the end of this post), filled with paper and simply beautiful things made of paper, like cards, visiting card blanks, and journals, but also lamps and decorative objects. I went in, of course, and had a fascinating conversation with the owner, Katrin Ruhnau, a young woman who studied textile design. Among other things, she allowed me to photograph one of her paper and fabric objects.

I know we all make and see a lot of art and are accustomed to seeing sumptuous, rich objects. Even so, this roll stopped me in my tracks: it was so beautiful. I think I last had that feeling when I saw Susan Kapucinsky-Gaylord's "Spirit Books", or Judy Chicago's "Dinner Party" exhibit (waaaaay back).

See for yourselves.

Papier Atelier
Katrin Ruhnau
Schlossberg 27
06484 Quedlinburg

Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord's Spirit Books

Judy Chicago "Dinner Party" - Brooklyn Museum

Calorie Free Cake!

What do you do when it's a friend's late autumn birthday and she's sworn off cake? I decided the best idea is to have your cake but not have to eat it. I made this little cake box for a birthday, at the beginning of November.

The template is from Stampers' Sampler:

For the flower, I punched and layered blooms and leaves and affixed tiny gold-pearl stamen (florist supply department in any craft/DIY store) in the center. A touch of ribbon, and off you go.

The challenge was to find a small gift that would fit in the box. The obvious choice would have been a small edible delicacy, but, see above... So, after looking around the local gift store, and with Christmas approaching, I chose a tiny barrel organ music box that plays "Silent Night" when you turn the handle.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My New Roommate

Adam/Jake Fish shared the draft of his first encounter with the Guildmistress. Adam's description of the Guildmistress and Jake's thoughts and reactions made me laugh. A few days ago, I was given this lovely marionette. She is around 1 metre 20 tall. Other people found her scary, but I liked her, even though she did look somewhat stern.

When I got her home, I found a space to hang her and then we had a nice little conversation. In the days that followed, her eyes, though piercing, took on a more kindly look, and her smile seemed to widen. Rather than frightening, she now appears regal and authoritative.

She has lost her hair and looks as though she's undergone chemotherapy, so I'll need to find a solution for that problem. I also intend to change some of ther clothing, as she is very glitzy at the moment. I think I want to tone that down by using new accessories.

The Making of Alba's Map

This is Alba's map. I'd say it's around two-thirds of the way completed, but that seems right for now. I have a hunch Alba will learn more about the map tomorrow, and the rest will become evident as she journeys.

I started out with two A4 sheets of heavy watercolour paper, because that's all I had that was suitable. You don't really want to use flimsy paper when drawing maps, as it might tear when adding colour or erasing things. I taped the sheets together to create a larger canvas. I may take the map apart again, when I decide how to fold and transport it (for Alba). The first thing I did after that was singe the edges of the paper all round. I did it first to prevent burning away some of the work I intended to do. That said, it might have been equally interesting and possibly more mysteriousd to do precisely that.

Then I drew the outlines of country and islands and sounds. I like islands, so I alway include some. My islands are almost always to the north.

The next step was to mark in the major geographical features like mountain ranges, rivers and lakes. I like to draw topographical mountains. I'm sure there are some geographic impossibilities on my map, but this is about fantasy rather than perfection. Then came the colouring fun. I used watercolour pencils and watercolour crayons.

That done, I sat down to mark and name locations. This part of the process is fascinating, because events tend to pop into my mind as I name places and landscape features. The story begins to tell itself to me.