Saturday, May 30, 2015


Did I grab your attention?  I hope so.  This week at Artful Journeys, our prompt for you is to create a watercolor based journal page using a resist of your choice.

Being the resourceful person I am, and not having any masking fluid on hand, I experimented with several different types of masking techniques to show you.  And there are several others which I just didn't have time to play with, but will in future late-night art attacks.

The first thing I played with was a white OIL PASTEL stick.  All of these efforts are on 90# Strathmore 9x12" watercolor paper.  Here's the first attempt:

Watercolor Resist - Oil Pastel #1

I did NOT pre-wet the watercolor paper for this effort after applying the oil pastel, but had misted my pan watercolors and used a sopping wet stenciling stippling brush to apply the paint.  My choice in color did not seem quite dark enough against the white oil pastel.  Adding the letters with a white stick on white paper was tricky, but if you angle the paper in the light "just so" you can see it fairly well.  Not too happy with this test.

I moved on, still with the oil pastel.  This time, I made strong, firm, circular marks on the paper, with a more firm and consistent pressure, making quite a mark on the paper.  I pre-wet the paper with a wide flat brush, and again applied a heavy wash of watercolor from a light green to the deep teal and did go back and add additional color with a #6 pointed round, increasing the intensity of color in places.  I liked this one much better.  This will be a great background page to incorporate into my journal.

Watercolor Resist with Oil Pastel

My third effort with the oil pastel stick was the following result.  More fluid play here. But I did make very firm marks on the paper and used several colors from my pan watercolors, with a very wet, flat brush. My pans were pre-misted and already soft, and I added more water to the pans as I went along, knowing I wanted a fluid, flowy kind of look.  Still on 90# Strathmore watercolor paper.

Watercolor Resist with Oil Pastel

I liked how this one turned out.  I still may go back to it and add some additional color in places to intensify it in various places which will make the resist show up even more.

Next, I wanted to play with CRAYONS. Yes, the great smelling, wonderous coloring utensils of our childhood.  Anyone else have a smell fetish about Crayons?  There is something magical to me about the smell of a brand new box.  I have to open and smell them.  I love me some crayons.  LOL

I had never played with crayons as a resist, but had already heard one of our team having trouble with taking some advance warning into consideration, I went with some colored crayons and a little bit of white.  What I found out with the watercolor wash was that the colors, applied quite firmly, did very well, but the white -- well, the result was less than ideal.  As you see, I even made a very feeble attempt at drawing a woman's face, but she fared very well with the watercolor, with streaks of color poking through here and there where I left the white space.  Overall, a good learning experience.  I probably won't use white crayon for future resist projects.  Just didn't like the result after SEVERAL attempts (this WAS the best one).  The quote I used was "She is a worthy woman". Might have to work on that 'worthy' part now that "show and tell" is over.  Try and salvage it at least.

Watercolor resist with Crayon

Next, I had a brand spanking new bottle of Elmer's Rubber Cement.  I already knew that rubber cement will ball up when it is dry so I figured it would rub off easily.  And it did.  In fact, I had a lot of fun playing with it, but as in my typical fashion of impatience, I applied paint a little too soon on the first attempt.  I made random drips, twirls and marks with the applicator brush of the rubber cement all over the page and set it aside to dry.  I thought I had waited long enough, but there was one spot that was still a little wet, so when I applied the really wet watercolor, it acted really funky.  So then I waited again, this time until it was all really dry, and began rubbing up the rubber cement.  It was fun.  It was hard on my fingers.  It was kind of messy.  But it was kind of like using invisible ink and the result was a really bright pop of white!  Wow. I liked this a LOT.  FUN!

Watercolor Resist - Rubber Cement

Turn the page over. Do it again.  This time with a little more deliberate action with the applicator brush.  More really wet paint slathered on in section.  Wait.  Tick tock.  Why did I make it so wet? Oh yes, for the color!  Okay.  Finally all dry.  Rub, rub, rub.  Peel up the little balls of glue stuff. Ewww, it stuck to my finger -- reminiscent of -- well, not going there.  Bright white pops of color where the resist was painted on. Love it.  More fun background fodder for my journal.

Watercolor Resist - rubber cement

So, what did I learn?  I don't like the white crayon as a resist.  Perhaps I need more practice with that particular medium.  I am kind of on the fence with the oil pastel, although it worked great.  Both of these media get a really dry, non-waxy feel after they have been painted over and are quite smooth. But my favorite for leaving lots of good white space was the Rubber Cement.  I think, though, I will have to dedicate a smaller brush where I can have a little more control of the media when applying to the page.  The applicator brush attached to the lid is, well, industrial at best and the fibers of the brush do tend to come out but will rub off when the cement is dry.

I have used regular masking fluid with great success, in addition to masking tape.  You can really create a lot of fun designs using masking tape and the masking fluid.  I hear you can also use hot glue, PVA glue and other substances as a resist.  There is always something different to try and experiment with, so we will never run out of something to play with.

What kind of resist will you use or experiment with?  I can't wait to see!

Be sure and hop on over to Artful Chicks to see what Melody, Tamie, Lynn & Shana are up to this week, and don't forget to leave some blog love! We like to know you stopped by!

I'm doing my best to keep it artful!



Sunday, May 24, 2015


Wow! Memorial Day is here already.  The jump starter to summer, vacations, heat, swimming, family reunions, gatherings and all the fun stuff we cram into a few short months. But this weekend amidst all the food and fun, we need to stop and remember those who have gone before us and made the ultimate sacrifice for us and for our country.  I give thanks to them and remember them in my prayers. Nearly every generation of my family has served, and now the younger ones are following. From the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, WWI, Korea and WWII, my family has proudly served, and continues to do so. We had no one in the immediate family serving in Vietnam, but we are grateful to those who did and made those sacrifices.

Meet my handsome great nephew, Joseph, who is in the Navy, currently stationed  in South Carolina.  We are so very proud of him and the commitment he has made.  He was home on leave this week and present today (Saturday 5/23) for his sister's wedding shower, so he got lots of loves, kisses, hugs, "atta-boys", and congratulations from all of us. He left in December for basic training, followed by another school and now another, so we were all very excited to see him.  This great Auntie could not be more proud of this young man.  We are seeing so many wonderful and positive changes in his life and know that he is going to have an amazing career in the Navy, and all our buttons pop off with pride for his strong faith, his leadership skills, maturity, honor and integrity.  Well done, Joseph!

Let's get started on this week's prompt -- CIRCLES. Lots of circles. I had a lot of fun with this.  We love circles in our ARTFUL circle. <wink> Mostly I played with circles this week, almost always very late at night (or should I say morning) while trying to unwind so I could go to bed and try to sleep.

This first spread is all wonky circles -- perfectly imperfect.  Sure, I could have used my circle cutters or punches, or even a stencil. But I needed some down time with just me, my pen and a couple of other mediums while chillin' in the recliner.  I worked on a piece of 9x12 Bristol. The circles were all first drawn out with a Sakura Gelly pen, then I painted each circle and circular intersection with watercolor.  I followed by embellishing with Caran D'Ache NeoColor II and smudged some areas with my fingers and others I wet with a #6 pointed round brush.  I then added more NeoColor II to the background and did wet all of it with both a wide flat and a #6 pointed round.  Lettering with a white Signo Uniball.

After I finished this one, the next evening I still felt the need to make some more circles.  So I did. Again, nothing fancy or inventive.  Just focusing on the circles, the pen and the paper. The circles started by making random circle marks all over the page with a Sakura Gelly pen. Intersecting some, others not.  This time, I went with specific color families of blues and greens with my trusty watercolors and NeoColor II's.  Lettering with a #1 fine liner brush and white acrylic paint, varying letter sizes, density and style to create a little bit more interest.

Both of these pages have been tipped in to my Canson mixed-media journal.  I chose to do them independently, thinking I might actually cut them up, but decided to just include them in my journal. Looking at them makes me happy.  And they really, really, REALLY helped me to relax when I needed it the most.

ICAD-Warm Up #8
Also this week, as a warm-up to ICAD 2015 at Daisy Yellow, "circles" was one of the warm up exercises.  If you don't know about ICAD (Index Card A Day), this is a fun thing to do in the summer to force yourself to create art every day during the month of June and July.  ICAD starts June 1st, and this is my third year to participate.  We're not making fancy art. It isn't a competition.  It's more about the DOING. The CREATING.  We are using ordinary index cards, that are inexpensive, flexible and we use whatever supplies you have on hand.  This is the brainchild of the remarkable Tammy Garcia and she is quite inventive with her 61 days of prompts.....making us push the envelope and often think outside the box with technical and creative challenges.  Sure some of the prompts may be something we've done before, but for those, I try to do something different with them.  Pushing the envelope or getting out of my comfort zone. Some prompts can take just a few minutes to complete, others perhaps a little more time, but none are so challenging that you cannot complete them each day during the two month challenge.  So if you are interested, click on the linky over there on the right side of my blog and check it all out. Maybe you will play too.

ICAD 2015 - Warm Up #8
I couldn't do just one of these either, and actually my page for this week's prompt was inspired by the first one I did for ICAD, as you can see above.  This second image is a watercolor blending technique I also learned from Tammy at her Watercolor Playground workshop.   Very relaxing, blending these very wet watercolors.  I need relaxing right now.  And this week, circles came to the rescue.  For  both of these, I am using the plain manila tab-top 4x6" dividers.  I like the thickness of them for use with wet media.

So there you have it.  My circles for the week. Soft. Wonky. Imperfect.  And it's all good.  This week was more about play and less about thinking. Just the doing.

Now just do yours.  Get some relaxing done yourself, then show us your version of this fun!

Be sure and see what Melody, Tamie and Shana are doing by visiting their blogs. You can find the links over at ARTFUL CHICKS.

Happy arting!


Saturday, May 16, 2015


This week at Artful Journeys, we are asking you to incorporate a paper napkin or serviette into your journal.

I had a lot of fun with this one. Recently I received the motherlode of napkins in happy mail packages plus I had purchased quite a few lovely ones while on a shopping trip.  The decision of which to use was difficult because I had too many choices.  But I ultimately decided on this one with bold hydrangeas, first because of the design, and secondly because it was an oblong napkin or serviette that opens to a  huge size and would fit on my 9x12 mixed media paper I was working on.

There is just something magical and so lovely about hydrangeas to me and they are one of my favorite big and showy and the colors change based on the alkalinity of the soil.  If you can grow hydrangeas, I will be jealous.  I have a black thumb.  I leave all the growing to Mr. Jim.


Canson 9x12 Mixed Media journal
Apple Barrel Acrylic craft paint - Lilac Mist & Petunia Purple, Antique White
DecoArt Crafter's Acrylic - Lavender
Dina Wakely/Ranger Gel Matte Medium
Signo Uniball #207 Bold, black
Caran D'Ache Neocolor II - Turquoise, black
Copic Marker - #RV55 Hollyhock
Hydrangea serviette from Tuesday Morning
Metal, triangular palette knife
That fancy tool -- spit and my fingers
Watercolor paper scraps

Before you begin to apply any part of your napkin, whether whole or fussy cuts, you have to carefully separate the layer(s) of your napkin to make sure you are working with only the printed image.  My napkin was crimped all around the edges, making it a little trickier.  But to get it separated, I gently rolled the edge of the napkin back and forth until I got a tiny little bit of separation, then carefully pulled it apart, avoiding any tears.  I have used napkins in the past that had 3 layers, making the printed layer super, super thin and transparent when applied to the page.  You don't have to apply paint or anything, but since I was applying to a pre-painted page, the method I used was easy, as you will see below.

I had a  page in my journal that I had already laid down some lovely lavender acrylic, but it was boring so I thought I would just cover it up.  Using a wide, flat acrylic brush, I very quickly applied Dina Wakely's Gel Matte Medium to the page and began to lay down my napkin carefully lining it up with the page and smoothing as I went.  If you need to lift, you can do so, but do it carefully so you don't tear your image!  Then, after it was all applied to the page, I trimmed all the excess off the edges (and there was tons) and applied another coat of Gel Medium all over the napkin.

While reaching to put my tub of medium down, I inadvertently tore the top of the napkin with my thumbnail. Not sure how I did it, but I went, WOW!  Look at that.  I like that paint peeping through. So I began to scrape off more of the napkin here and there and decided I wanted to scrape it big time, so out can my flexible, metal, triangular palette knife and I hurriedly scraped in and around the image to reveal a LOT of that lovely lavender paint underneath.  And it scraped up quite nicely and evenly. The edge and tip of my palette knife did work a LOT better than my thumbnail. LOL  A couple of places I had to smooth back down (both with a little spit on the end of my finger and then again with the medium and the paintbrush. Coolio.  I had to stop and admire this bit of ingenuity.  Well, maybe someone else already did this fun thing, but it was a first for me.

What else could I do to it?  I had an idea of the words I wanted to incorporate, but it needed something else.  I added a couple of strips of really cute pink and greed dotted grosgrain ribbons down at the bottom, all the while I am chatting on the phone with Melody and I shot her a quick pic, and we decided that adding a deeper shade or shades of the lavender around the central image would make it pop off the page, and it did.  I just painted it on with my finger and blended it out.  More chatting.  Another pic.  More brainstorming.  Edging.   It needed edging of some sort, but nothing too busy since I didn't want to detract from the beautiful flowers.  NEOCOLORS to the rescue!

I went around the edges of the paper with turquoise Neocolor II and smudged with my fingers.  Then, it needed a little more depth, so out came the black one, but this time with a lighter edge and hand, just adding enough to give a delineation to the page.  Whoop! Whoop!  I was liking it much better.
Then a little more black here and there around the image, smudging as I went.  Yup.  Not so flat anymore.

Time for words.  I dug out some watercolor paper strips and scraps, found some suitable sizes and lettered my words with a bold, black Signo Uniball pen and Hollyhock Copic Marker.  I set the page aside until this morning when I had another look.  The words needed to POP off the page, so my Neocolor II in black came to the rescue again.  And I also added a little more embellishment with antique white craft paint.

I pronounced it finished.  I hope you like what I did.  Sure, I could have spent a couple of hours fussy cutting that big image out, but it was so much fun to scrape it off the page. It was like revealing a treasure underneath.  Try it.  You might have as much fun as I did.  I hope you like what I created. It was great fun, and it makes me smile.

Thanks for stopping by and looking.  Can't wait to see YOUR journal page.

As always, I'm keeping it artful!


Saturday, May 9, 2015


We're having some writing fun this week at Artful Journeys and are asking you to write a Limerick and incorporate that into your journal.

I know many of you will balk at this exercise, but seriously, it is fun and the rhyming is easy. Take a couple of minutes of your day, and look at some examples of Limericks on Google and just follow along with the strict rhyme scheme of AABBA.  Incorporating writing and words into our art journals is difficult for many people.  Often, I find myself just creating art without adding meaningful words.  I actually do journal every day, but do so in a specific journal that I use solely for writing, that periodically has art incorporated into it.  Not the other way around.

When we came up with this prompt, an idea for it immediately popped into my mind and once I set pen to paper, I wrote mine is less than 5 minutes, after spending just a couple of minutes getting the poetic meter in my head by reviewing some classic Limericks on the internet.  A couple of tweaks and I pronounced it done.  Sure, I could have spent hours tweaking and refining, but as always I have to move on to other projects.

My limerick:

There once was a man named Bart
Who loved creating his art.
But when the wind blew, 
Out the window the canvas flew 
Because the wind was only Bart's phart!

Background is sponged craft acrylic in Khaki and Tan. Bart was drawn direct with a bold Signo Uniball pen and then colored with watercolor paints. Letters embellished with watercolor.

I hope you get a little chuckle and have fun playing with limericks and then incorporating your own limerick into your journal. I did.  Just looking at my wonky Bart and the limerick makes me laugh. It even made the hubs have a good little chuckle.

Make it a great week, and I can't wait to see yours!

aka Arty Auntie