Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cover Finished!

Last night I finally finished the cover on my new Canson 9x12" mixed media journal that I will be using this year at Artful Journeys.  I had already decided to go bigger this year, because in the past I have used both the Strathmore Mixed Media 5x8" journal and the Visual Journal the same size because of "big white page fright".  My confidence is much better this year, and I am not so intimidated by the "big white page"!  Using a larger journal will allow me to do spreads that would be the size of a double spread in my smaller journals without fighting the wire spiral.  I will also be using Dyan Reaveley's large size Dylusions Journal throughout the year. It still is in its pristine state, so we'll talk about that journal later!

First, I primed the cover with a medium coat of Liquitex Gesso and let it dry.  I used smooth and coarse brushes, just to give the extra smooth surface of the cover a little texture.  Then I applied craft acrylics by Folk Art and Apple Barrel in Turquoise, Violet Pansy, Lavender, Black and Fuchsia. Once the turquoise paint was almost dry, (which I applied first)  I wiped it in assorted spots with a baby wipe, removing some of the paint to let the gesso peek through, giving more dimension to the paint.  I went with Turquoise around the edges to try and blend in with the tiny bit of the cover color that would remain at the spiral. It is just too tedious to get in-between all those loops!

I salvaged the silhouettes from some advertising that came in the mail and fussy cut them out and applied to the painted cover.  I added Stickles in Crystal to the Fuchsia "fireworks" in the center of the page and went around the purple part with a black china marker and smudged with my finger and the eraser end of a pencil dedicated solely to china marker use.  The textile was sent to me from a friend in Australia and applied with Liquitex Gel Medium and dried for a couple of hours.  The chipboard letters are by K&Company and were hiding out in my stash.  They had a sticky backing, but I used some Elmers Glue to make sure they wouldn't come off during repeated handling throughout the year, and then applied more gel medium over the top and let that dry.  The year letters are turquoise and wonderfully glittery and are called "Thickers" by American Crafts and are also chipboard. I used the same method as for the letters for application.

White highlights and doodles were made using my broad tip Uniball Signo pen in white.  Once the whole thing had dried completely (with a little help from my heat gun), I then applied a thin layer of gel medium over the entire cover to effective "seal" everything.  This morning everything is really good and dry and ready to use over and over and over throughout the year.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the way it all turned out.  What are you doing to the cover of your journal for 2015?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Preparing for the New Year

Now that Artful Journeys is open and off to a great start, I wanted to share my take on our first pre-launch prompt which was to create a 2015 whole-year calendar.

So to start the AJ year off, I went bigger.  A LOT bigger!  I am presently using a Canson Mixed Media wire bound journal in 9"x12".  I love using mixed media paper as it holds up well to heavy wet work with all my assorted paints and is sturdy enough to support heavy embellishments and all those bits n' bobs we love adding to our journals.  While I frequently work on loose paper, having pages sturdy enough to hold more watercolor paper and embellishments is important to me, and this particular journal is the exact size of the paper I like to use.  If I work on loose paper, all I have to do it glue it into the journal or add as a tip-in with washi or decorative tape.

This page's background was created with Laguna Blue, Diva Pink & White Apple Barrel craft acrylic, applied with a large flat shader in broad sweeping motions.  In addition to these colors, I added in Kiwi to my circles, some of which were painted with my fingers, some with a #6 round brush. Accents in black & white were brushed in and dots applied quite easily with the tip of the brush.  I drew and then fussy cut the year, added some circles  and then just glued them onto the page.  Quite frankly, I'm not very happy with them and may gesso over them later and change their color.  The calendar part I got in the mail from one of my favorite charities. I cut the advertising part off, glued the whole thing down and outlined it with a black china marker, smudging with my fingers and the eraser end of a pencil dedicated solely to "china marker smudging".  Lord knows you couldn't erase anything with it at this point!

We were asked "why" create a calendar page in your journal.  Well, I like having calendar pages in my journals.  They are a great way to start the year off, are handy to refer to later, and as the year progresses, adding in a monthly calendar along the way helps to document when you create pages in your journal.  By the time the year is over, you have a clear, annual progression of all the art you created throughout the year and know exactly when you created it!  I  know no better reason than that.  Often, I forget to actually date my work, so I find a calendar quite helpful.

Each week, I will be far more diligent about sharing the work I've created with you, and give you some insights how I created it.  Certainly I have a lot to learn, so maybe we can all learn together.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A New Adventure Begins!

Today marks a day to be grateful.  Grateful for family. Grateful for blessings beyond measure. Grateful for wonderful friends.  Grateful for oh, so many things.  My family had a wonderful day together, filled, as always,  with lots of love, hugs, laughter, food & football.  What is a Thanksgiving Day without all that, right?  But in addition to all this goodness, today a new adventure also begins.

This evening, four other friends and I have launched a new art group, dedicated to art on paper, art journals and art in our daily planners called ARTFUL JOURNEYS on Facebook.  And to work in conjunction with the group, our beautiful new blog, ARTFUL CHICKS has been launched simultaneously.  The five of us are already managing ARTFUL MAIL GROUPIES together, our fun, close-knit mail art swap group, so this is just a natural progression of what we're already doing..... playing with our art supplies and our online friends from around the world.

So if you're looking for a fun group of arty people where you aren't just a number, this is the art journaling group for you!  We have weekly art prompts to spur on your creativity, mid-week pop-up art challenges, tutorials, guest artists and more art than you can shake a stick at!

Tell your friends, bring your journals, or your daily planner or just some paper and your art supplies and come get creative with us. If you've never journaled before, we'll help you with that too.  It is all about starting and putting the pen to paper.  No pressure, no deadlines. Work at your own pace and we'll encourage you the entire way!  You won't find more supportive friends anywhere.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday Art Challenge

A quick little Artful Daily Craft Challenge by our own Lynn Jackson over at Artful Mail Groupies was to create a greeting card using some of your scraps.  Mine came together rather quickly and easily, so I expanded and got some more paper bits off my desktop and made two tags!

The GREETING CARD was made from on-hand white cardstock, cut to 5-1/2" x 8" and folded. I prepared the background with Portfolio water soluble Oil Pastel in green and smoothed it out with a baby wipe.  I had a long strip leftover from another art project that was created by scraping the acrylic paint background then finger painting and brush painting circles and swirls that I cut to size and adhered with plain old Elmer's School Glue.  The stamp is by Stampabilities and I used a Uniball Signo broad tip pen for the highlights and Special Black Copic marker for the edging.

TAGS:  90 lb coldpress watercolor scraps adhered to precut tags that came in happy mail. The sunflower stamps are by Hero Arts and Comotion. The swirl stamp is by A Stamp in the Hand.  On the large sunflower, I used Prismacolor pencils, Sakura gelly pens and Special Black Copic marker.  On the small sunflower tag, the background is made with Dylusions ink sprays on scrap 90 pound cold press watercolor paper scrap leftover from another project.  I added the swirl stamps, and finished off the sunflower with Sakura Gelly pens and Copic markers, and a scrap painted strip across the bottom that was just randomly in my way on my desktop.

This whole quick craft took less than an hour for all 3 pieces.

Spend a few minutes and make yourself something fun with ephemera laying around your art space.  You know there's something fun to use in that pile you've been meaning to sort out, so go have some fun for yourself today!

Friday, November 21, 2014

AMG Pop Up Art Challenge

I challenged our group members at Artful Mail Groupies to a pop-up art challenge today.

The challenge: create art just for yourself using any medium or substrate and using at least one "found" object.  Time limit was 45 minutes from start to finish.

So, in the spirit of fun and needing to make something just for me, this is my 22 minute effort. I used two 3x5" index cards glued together, adhered some scrap background paper I had leftover that was painted with Daffodil Yellow and Lagoon Blue craft acrylic and Tulip Fabric paint in Turquoise.  I have a whole big sack full of interesting "found objects" and used the first 4 things I pulled out:  2 silvertone hoop earrings, an acrylic heart charm and a clear glass marble.  I removed the bale and fish hook wire from the bottom one, and crimped down the little bits that remained so I wouldn't hurt myself later.  The charm and the clear acrylic dangly part on the bottom earring are both loose to give the piece motion.  Lettering done on a piece of scrap watercolor paper with a Signo Uniball Bold black pen and .05 Sakura Micron pen.

This was a fun challenge.  When the whole thing dries thoroughly, I will edge the card with a Special Black Copic marker to finish it off.

Won't you take the challenge too?