Monday, July 31, 2006

Wild Girl

Oooh... she turned out to be a cross between Cindi Lauper and Pippi Longstocking. One way or the other, this girl just wants to have fun (with wings on, of course).

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Paper Doll

I'm taking part in an online paper doll class, and this is my prototype. It's a very basic "how do all these bits fit together" rather than a real attempt to make a doll. I've got the real thing on my workbench right now, ready for some fun.

I've always loved paper dolls. I had a boxful of them when I was a little girl (and oh, if only I could have that box now...)

Yesterday I finally started on the long-planned triptych painting for my living room wall. All I can say is... I sure as heck wish that acrylics had been available when I was at school. I groan when I think back to those awful poster paints. I loved acrylics the moment I tried them (a long time ago now). They are so intuitive and I feel there is no way to make a mistake, as there is with oils or other paints. Somehow I "understand" acrylics. I'll post photos soon.

Friday, July 28, 2006

View of Beyond

The title of this collage card is "View of Beyond". It goes to Barb in Montana, USA, in exchange for a card titles "Sister," which I received from her yesterday.

I created the background for "View of Beyond" by dry-brushing on cadmium red (one direction, leave to dry) and then pale gold (other direction) acrylic paints. Brush marks and gaps are intentional. On top of that I pasted a scrap of tissue wrapping (white) with a stylised flower rank pattern (silver).

Layer three contains a scrap of print, colored with chalk (bottom) and a scrap of hand-cast paper (upper left) Over that I placed two scraps of textured paper (upper left and along the right edge) that I made a while back using gesso, gold acrylic paint, and a tooth comb.

The angel was created using a face from a collage sheet, a scrap sheet rose, some scrapbooking paper, and text from an old book. The wording is a packing tape transfer.

Beer Mat Journal

When I say you can find materials everywhere, I mean it. The covers for this little journal are beer mats. The floral elements on the covers are cut from a scrap of leftover wallpaper. Inside, the pages are edged with wallpaper images and patterns clipped from magazine pictures.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Vintage-Look Journal

This journal, too, will soon be on its way to someone, this time in the USA.

The little framed photo was a fleamarket find, frame and all. The inside pages are embellished with scraps of paper from an old German book in fraktura script, a handwritten account ledger from 1931 (again, a fleamarket find), and some definitions from a sheet of scrapbook paper.

This time I simply punched three holes and tied the pages together using fibres. The journal is rounded off by a simple punched tag and a scrap of stick-on fabric border. The tabs on the right are just strips of paper folded and glued on. There is space for the recipient to write a few words on a topic of her choice.

New artists often worry that making journals and the like will cost them a fortune. It can, if you purchase all the commercial scrapbooking supplies available, but it doesn't need to. If you pick up material at fleamarkets or just keep your eyes open for interesting magazine images and junk mail, you can work even on the tightest budget. You probably have knitting yarn tucked away someplace and you can use cut up cereal boxes as cardstock to start with.

Mind you, I love scrapbooking supplies, too...

Rose and Lilac

Sometimes I am not as happy about Blogger's photo upload system as I'd like to be. I tried to post yesterday and it just wouldn't work out. The site was probably overloaded, or something like that . Never mind. All it means is that there's more for me to share today.

This little journal will soon be making a long journey to Australia. I won't mention names, but someone who already has one of her own will know who it's for. (There's nothing like being cryptic, is there?)

The technique is the same as that used for the journals shown below. I added a few snips from a nice picture of lilac (I think), a metal-look tag, some fibre, and a tassle.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Summer Journal

Today's visual offering is one of the little 7x7 centimetre summer journals I made yesterday. The covers are card (I recycle product packaging for small items like this) covered with background papers created using 180g/m2 aquarelle paper and water-soluble aquarelle crayons. As so often of late, I used baby wipes rather than water to spread the colour. The inside pages are unstiffened painted (wiped) aquarelle paper. The small pages with flower stamps are scraps I had left over from another project. I swiped and dragged a light green chalk ink pad over the pages to add interest and then edged the papers using dark green and blue inks. While rummaging for something else I found a drop of green glitter glue at the bottom of a tube, so I wiped that over the cover, too.

It was a quick and easy task to bind the journal by running pale green paper-covered wire--the kind people are sign to make little lamps these days--and a length of emerald green effect wire through some holes I punched with a setting tool. There's really no need to set eyelets or grommets on something this small. I looped the binding loosely, so the journal can be opened flat to write entries. A couple of tiny scraps of ribbon and a few tiny shells rounded it all off, and here you are!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Fortune (for Gisele)

Blogger refuses to let me upload to the relevant post, so here is another photo of the spread I did in Gisele's book.

Click to enlarge.

Earth, Sea and Stars

Earth, Sea, and Stars is a "wild necklace" I created for Dakini as part of a swap organised by Shakti through the Altered Art Europe group.

The foundation is simply "ladder" yarn in blue-green tones. I looped it through a piece of sea shell, then sewed on around one hundred little stars in three shades of green. For the next layer I threaded tiny green-dyed sea shells onto effect wire and added them to the necklace. The triangles are tiny, tiny mini-journals covered in iridescent paper the colour of sea glass. I considered writing in them, but then I thought I'd leave it up to Dakini, in case she has wild prayers or wishes she'd like to wear.

The circles and drop beads are from a pair of rather ostentatious earrings I picked up someplace and kept, just in case I ever did a project like this one. The round bits remind me of shields and of the planet earth. The drops are just... well... impressive.

The tiny figures are Guatemalan worry dolls. According to legend, parents in Guatemala give these dolls to their children and encourage them to share their troubles with them. The dolls are placed under the child's pillow and carry away all the troubles told to them overnight, while the child is asleep. I dare say we could all use few of these little helpers, so I added them to the necklace.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Found Poetry

Yesterday I put the finishing touches to two spreads for a round robin in my Artwords group. The topic of the RR is "Found Poetry".

This one is for Gena in France. As you can see, I've added a Claudine Hellmuth style doll. The face reminds me of the queen in Alice in Wonderland. The words are from my stash of interesting newspaper titles and subtitles. I mounted them for emphasis and so it would be easier to get them to stick to the background.

I made the background in layers. For the first layer I dry-brushed on light sienna, dark sienna, and touches of red and yellow acrylics. In the second step I spread white gesso and used a tooth comb to move it around. Some of the first layer was completely visible, some of it was faintly visible through the ridges, and some was entirely obscured. I dry-brushed the ridges of the gesso layer using pale gold and copper acrylics. Layer four was a gel medium transfer of pages from an old German lexicon in fraktura script. The print dried too pale and the writing was barely visible, so I painted it over with a layer of latex binder. Latex binder can be used as a medium to eek out paint and seal collage spreads. It's easily (and cheaply) available in Europe, whereas many of the wonderful products artists use in the US are not. That did the trick and make the print visible. The figure and words make up the final layer.

This one is for Gisele in the Channel Islands.

The background to this page is watercolour pastel that I spread using a baby wipe. The baby wipes make for rich jewel-colours. I then painted the background over with a wash of sparkle paint. Then I stamped and embossed and stuck on a few blue skeleton leaves before adding tape transfers of words and phrases from my newspaper stash.

The top of the page features a pop-up that will be familiar to everyone in my 1000-Mini-Journals project. The pop-up is embellished using scraps from a sheet and parts of colour copies of cabinet cards and postcards, pepped up by a few painted brads and a couple of beads.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Cabinet Card Finds

I picked up a handful of cabinet cards at a fleamarket the other day. I also have a few I bought in Berlin a couple of years ago. The market is actually flooded with them, since the east opened up, but unfortunately the sellers want to make a fortune, so they price them high... so high the items don't sell. The problem is that the photographs offered at outdoor markets are subjected to weather and handling, so they deteriorate quickly. I'd love to alter originals, but at the prices I had to pay, I can't afford to, so I'll make some colour photocopies and use those instead. Now... if only colour copies weren't so ridiculously expensive in Rendsburg. (No copy shops here, either, folks.)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Three-of-One Art Challenge

Would you like me to send you an item of original art by mail? Here's how to get it...

Go through your art/craft/scrapbooking materials and send me an envelope or small bag of things you've been hoarding but know you won't use anytime soon. The material should be enough for me to use in three similar pieces of art. The art will be of a size that I can send through the international mail service.

I'll use as much of your material as I can, and I'll probably supplement it with materials from my own stash, so don't feel you have to send piles of stuff. You don't. Just look for materials that are interesting or unusual. Please don't send junk, though. Here's a typical example of what people send for me to work with:

If you click to enlarge the image you'll see that the gold stickers are half used and that the paper is only half a sheet. In this example there are also three ATC-sizes snips of paper, three calendar pages, and some buttons, eyelets, and artificial flower stamens. That's all....

You'll receive one piece, I'll keep one piece, and the third piece will be given to someone as an art RAK (Random Act of Kindness). Why not add yourself or a friend to my RAK list, too? Just click the "Inspired2Write" link on the right and use the website email form to contact me and let me know if you want my address to send material and/or share your name, street address and email address if you want to be added to the art RAK list. Please be explicit about the reason you are contacting me, as people are often extremely vague and I can't read minds.

I work in many different styles, and pieces are often inspired by the materials at hand, so I can't really say in advance what I'll make for you. You might receive a box shrine, an embellished (completed) mini-journal, a collage, a couple of ATC, or something completely different.


This, too, is a RAK for someone in the 1000-Mini-Journals group. One side shows a background of starts and an image of Hildegard of Bingen, who is something of an historic "celebrity" nun. The other side shows a picture that reminds me of a 1940s movie starlet, and she is looking in much the same way and direction as Hildegard. I liked the parallels.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


This is another rak for someone in the 1000-Mini-Journals group. I sent the first one (see previous post) on its journey to the other end of the world yesterday. "Curiosity" won't be travelling quite as far -- it will remain within Europe -- but I hope it will be well-received by its new owner.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Invitation and Observers

This piece is entitled "Invitation". Early tomorrow I'll be sending it off on a journey to one of the members of my 1000 Mini-Journals group. It's a RAK (Random Act of Kindness) that I hope will serve as a small thank you for the artist's contribution. I hope to make and send out more little works like this in the months ahead.

The other piece I finished today is "Observers". I just adore the look on the face of the girl on the left.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Postcards and pictures

Gaeta in Italy

These are postcards I made for the "Alterations" group postcard swap. The idea was to take normal picture postcards and alter them. Each of us has three partners, and, as usual, all of mine are in the USA. (Where on Earth do all the European artists hide away?)

Rendsburg in Germany

So these cards will be on their way tomorrow to Jackie Baxted, Renee Stockfleth, and Livia Hajowsky respectively. To preserve a touch of suspense, I won't say who gets which card...

Geneva in Switzerland

Today I'm going to another flea market, and I already know there will be two or three amateur sellers who have old letters, photos, and cabinet cards. Sadly, each of them thinks she is in possession of priceless treasures that are going to make her rich when the right buyers happens along. The reality is that the market is flooded with junk like that, and everyone is asking so much that they can't get rid of it. Another year or two and the material will be good only for the rubbish bin. Two of the sellers have material so brittle it will crumble if handled too much and photos so faded they can only be useful if I digitally enhance them and print copies. The last time I asked, they wanted way too much for their "gems". Today I'll try once again to pick up the stuff for a price worth paying, this is to say, for cents rather than euros per piece. Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 08, 2006


Deja-vu is a mixed media collage and one of my most popular pieces. I was surprised at the number of people who emailed to ask if I'd sell it to them, but this piece is not for sale. I made it for a friend, and he wants to keep his art, well, at least he wants to hold onto it until I get famous and my work commands high prices.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Why "Angelix"?

Here's an Artangel postcard I created recently.

Sooner or later someone was bound to ask about the "angelix" part of the blog name. It's simple, really, especially when you apply a touch of literary licence and follow in my wake as I wind my way along the paths of my reasoning. First of all, let's hold onto the idea that athletes do athletics and artistes do artistics. My nick is Artangel, and what do angels do? Angelics, of course! And since everyone and her dog is replacing "cs" with "x" these days, "angelics" becomes "angelix". See?

And talking of angels... If you've read my profile you'll know that "City of Angels" with Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan is one of my favourite films. Guess what was on TV last night? What a perfect way to end a gorgeous day in which I was able to create art and take a long, long cycle ride through the countryside hereabouts.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Voyage

This is a fold-out piece I created for the June Challenge in the "Altered Art Europe" group. The theme is "The Voyage". Cover and inside panel(s) are created separately and then bound at the left edge. The booklet opens left to right, and the inside panel folds out on three levels to create an illusion of depth.

I used 180g/m2 photo card (beige) for the project. I stamped the cover with gold pigment ink and a travel-theme stamp, then embossed it using fine clear embossing powder. I then coloured the entire outside of the cover with Caran d'Ache Neocolour water soluble crayons in three shades of watery blue and green, which I softened and spread using a baby wipe. The fold is decorated using a scrap of torn and distressed corrugated paper (Ranger distress ink pads).

Inside, I made the waves by spreading gesso on the card and using a comb to create the wave pattern. After it was dry, I painted the waves using Caran d'Ache Neocolour crayons and water. (Water and baby wipes create different effects. Try them both and see for yourself!) For the middle layer I used part of a school atlas I picked up at a flea market. The background panel contains scraps from an ephemeris, tide tables, logarithm tables, and stamped and coloured images and scraps from magazines. After punching holes along the top of the inside panel, I sewed on fibres and attached mini tags and trinkets.

And yes, I also made a journal for my 1000 Mini-Journals project. Here it is:

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Stamps and Spirals

Another day, another journal. This one is covered in paper with a postage stamp motif, so I carried that over into the journal itself. The postage stamps from around the globe and scraps of old map suggest foreign travel. The background is a rubber stamp with a journaling theme. I've used a small spiral stamp to create a pathway through the journal and pull the various elements together.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Impressions of Africa

I didn't set out to write a post a day or upload a journal a day, and I dare say life will get in the way of it anyway, but here I am with today's journal. It has an African feel to it, which is not surprising, as most of the inside images came from a flyer for the musical "Aida" and from a box that contained rooibush tea bags. (I drink gallons of rooibush every day: hot, cold, any way it comes. I haven't touched traditional tea in years.) What you can't see in these pictures are the larger page "faces", which are perfect for journaling.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

1000 Mini-Journals

An artwork a day keeps frustration at bay. Or something along those lines. This is a mini journal I made for my 1000 Mini-Journals project. I donate artwork to charities fairly often, and my original idea for this year's charity project had been to set up a group and create 1000 little art journals. The group came together in January, and everything looked quite promising at first, but, as so often, life quickly got in the way for many of the members. We started again in in early May with a smaller group, and if I change the achievement target to 2007 instead of 2006, we should still be able to reach the goal.

All the journals are the same size. (I provide a pdf tutorial for group members.) What makes the difference are the materials various artists use and the techniques they work with to embellish the journals inside and out. The project attracted some quilters as well as paper- and mixed-media artists, so there is considerable variety in style and approach.

My journal styles vary. Today's journal is a "glue book"style journal filled with interesting scraps of paper and ephemera I had in my scraps box. I cut the tags with a craft punch, wrote on one side, then stuck them into the journal and added fibres for richness.

1000 Journals group: