Monday, June 29, 2015

Artful Journeys Week #26

Our theme for our prompt this week is patriotism / red, white & blue and what a glorious way to memorialize our nation's independence this week.

I am a very proud American.  I well with pride at the singing of our national anthem.  I weep for those who have died serving our country and protecting our freedom.  My ancestors have served in every war protecting our freedom and independence, and of that fact I am most proud.

Created in my Dylusions journal, I prepped the blue field by braying on a dark blue acrylic craft paint and applied portions of a flag-themed paper napkin for the stars with gel medium.  I used flag red for the stripes and added the reproduction post card with the Statue of Liberty, one of our nation's most iconic symbols of freedom.  I finished by incorporating the lyrics from God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood with a bold Signo Uniball pen.

I hope you like what I created this week.  Take a moment this coming weekend during your holiday celebrations to reflect on the reasons we celebrate this national holiday and all the sacrifices that have been made for our freedom, and for those still being made to keep us safe and enjoying the liberties we so enjoy.


Arty Auntie

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Oh what fun an artful, creative and glorious messy day I had playing with inks and shaving cream! Reminded me so much of the day I finally got my Gelli plate.  I thought I would run out of paper before I ran out of steam for having fun!

This week at Artful Journeys we want you to play with shaving cream to create fun and interesting background pages for your journals, notecards, ATC's or whatever you want to use the papers for.

After doing a significant amount of research on Pinterest about nearly every method of using shaving cream and "paint" -- I decided on a method for me.

THE BASICS:  You will need a can of cheap shaving cream ($1 at Dollar Store); a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with sides; a straight edge (like a ruler*), sturdy cardstock, Bristol or watercolor paper and some paper towels.   You can use stationery, but it will curl due to the thinness of the paper.  Bring in lots of paper. You will want to keep doing this it is so much fun!

THE COLORING PART:  You can use many, many things to "color" your shaving foam to include: food coloring liquid, food coloring gels, alcohol inks, stamp pad ink refills (liquid), acrylic paint, & liquid watercolors to name a few.  For my experiments, I used some Stampin' Up liquid ink refills.  I have a shoebox full of them I got from my friend's estate -- so this was a perfect opportunity.

THE "TOOLS" I USED:  Since I was in the kitchen, I opened up my utensil drawer and drew out a long icing blade, a metal skewer, a butter knife, an icing rake, a scalloped-edged biscuit cutter, two sizes of rubber spatulas, a wide metal spatula (my best egg turner!) and a small flat spreader.

PREP:  To do my backgrounds, I went to the kitchen.  I had watched several videos and knew I did NOT want to do this at my art desk. First, not enough room, and secondly, I needed to be able to handle a messy substance.

Clear off space on your kitchen counter.  Beside the sink is really helpful (or to me, anyway).  Put your cookie sheet out and squirt a goodly amount of shaving cream into the pan so that it will fill the pan to about 1/2" thick and clear to the edges and smooth lightly with the tool of your choice.

Add drips, lines and squiggles of your coloring material.  See above for suggestions.  I used some re-inker inks for mine.

Now, with the tool of your choice, draw lines or swirls until you are satisfied lightly mixing the colors. I got a bit carried away with this bit a time or two and "over mixed" causing too much muddling of the colors at times, but I don't think it makes that much difference.  In the design, perhaps--depends I suppose on how much blending and lines and swirls you want in the final lift. I was playing so I wasn't too picky about the design at this point.

Lay your paper on top of your shaving cream, and press lightly so that all the paper gets covered. Lift carefully off the foam.  You can create different effects by straight lifts, dragging, etc.

If you get big white spaces, just repress onto the foam.

Once you lift it off, you will be scraping off the foam.  This is why I wanted to be at the kitchen sink.  My first press, I used a ruler to scrape off the foam and rinsed it off the ruler in the kitchen sink. I particularly didn't like the scraping method with the ruler, although very effective at getting more of it off all at one time in a big sweeping motion.  So I switched to my big wide spatula.  Once I scraped most of it off, just wipe the edges and across the page with a paper towel to remove any leftover foam.  Lay your page off to the side to dry (it will dry rather quickly).  If it starts curling, roll or curl into the "flat" position, and lay on flat surface. You can always weight it if you need to do so.

Rinsing really made this more pastel in color

This process is so much fun!  Get another piece of stock and play some more.  You can see in my photos, I really played around with this stuff.  I smoothed; didn't smooth; added more color; didn't add more color.

Each lift will be a little bit lighter.  Bored with your first colors, rinse off in the sink, dry your pan and do it all again with a different color palette.

Here is where I changed my color palette as the pink, red and blue was getting rather muddied. I started this set with a bright green and yellow.

After the first press, I added a Kiwi green that turned out to be rather dark, but I ended up liking it a lot. I think I can do a lot with this one.

This next one, I used a wide icing spatula to smooth out the top which blended the greens a little more, but not too much. Use a light hand.  I liked the color blending. It turned more of a soft celery green, with some of all 3 colors peeping out.

For this next press, I added a few more dots of that kiwi color and then used a wide rubber spatula and smoothed the top out again, further blending the colors, then made cross-hatch marks with a bread knife.  Loved how the lift turned out with a softer, more celery-green color, but still showing the white spaces.


And for the last press, I smoothed the top one more time. It was getting rather pale, but I am still in love with the color.  Using a small rubber spatula, I dragged it through the pan, creating peaks and valleys and a few swirls.


This was so much fun...and I could have kept going and going like the Energizer Bunny. It's fast. It's no-brainer easy.  Next time, I am breaking out all my food coloring and food coloring gels and play with those.

I can't wait to make some fun journal pages with these marbelized papers. I think the backgrounds will be awesome.

Keep it artful everyday!


Sunday, June 14, 2015


Another week of ICAD has come to a close, and only 6 more weeks to go.  I have managed to stay relatively caught up with the prompts and creating something everyday by doing so mostly right before I go to bed.  Most of this has happened well after midnight most nights. My days this week have been filled with canning, blanching and freezing fresh vegetables coming in from the garden. The hubs has a green thumb.  Me?  I can kill silk plants and even killed an air fern one time, and those things are supposed to thrive on neglect!

Last year I started making a marker or cover card for each week of ICAD.  Primarily, I use it as a quick reference during the week and it is easy to grab-and-go when I won't be home for many hours and tuck into my travelling ICAD bag (consisting of about 10-12 index cards, Signo Uniball pens and my Koi Field Watercolor kit and a waterbrush).

Tammy threw us a curve ball this week in my estimation.  The prompts are food based and we could use the prompts literally or figuratively, as always, or as a suggestion for color families.  Mostly I went with the color families, and weenied out on the "parsnip" thing.  Parsnips are visually boring, both in color and shape.  I like to eat them in lieu of potatoes, but rarely get the chance.  No matter how hard I thought about parsnips, nothing creative in any form or fashion came to my Muse with that prompt.  How exciting can beige-white be?  Not at all in my book.

Week 2 Cover Card

I have to admit I pre-painted this background long before ICAD started and thought the color choice was good for the week.  Mostly it was wavy line practice with a #4 round brush and watercolor.

Prompt #8 - Cherry and Grapefruit

I love cherries!  You know cherries come in all different kinds of colors and they are in early season right now.  While working on this prompt about 2:30 am, I was munching on some fresh cherries I had purchased at a local produce stand on Monday afternoon.  My cherries were red and yellow, but I drew some regular dark, Bing-style cherries in a bowl and added Erma Bombeck's infamous quote. Watercolor, Signo Uniball pens in micro and bold.

Prompt #9 - Carrots & Lemon

I love, love, love working with orange and yellow so I did two cards for this prompt.  On these two, both backgrounds were done with yellow Derwent Inktense blocks.  I sketched the top one and outlined with a micro Signo Uniball pen. Painted with pan watercolors, and lettered with a #3 round brush.

This one was prepped first with Derwent Inktense block in bright yellow.  I then used PVA Glue (Elmer's School Glue) to write out the words "Art Everywhere" (inspired from a television commercial) as a resist.  I let it dry thoroughly and then used orange Gouache over the top of the words, and ever-so-gently, removed the paint from the top of the letters with many q-tips so that the yellow base would show through..

Prompt #10 - Eggplant & Ginger

I was lucky enough to have three eggplants sitting on my kitchen counter for this prompt, thanks again to the farmer Hubs.  Sketched with a 3H pencil and then pan watercolor.  I took the card with me to the grocery store, found a piece of ginger I liked and stood there and sketched it.  I got a few funny looks, but I didn't care.  Sure, I could have snapped a photo, but it was more fun just to art someplace different.  Sadly, my attempt at drawing Pickled Ginger on a sushi roll was a miserable "fail".  It is hard to match the color of pickled ginger, and actually making that thing look like rice....well, you get the idea.  I love sushi and always have a nice pile of that pickled ginger and a big dollop of wasabi with each bite.  Yum.

Prompt #11 - Lime and Mango

Once again, I went with the color family for this prompt using craft acrylics in Lime Tree, Tropic Orange and Apricot.  I added some assorted collage elements that were laying on my dining table and called it good.

Prompt #12 - Parsnip & Kiwi


Here's where I totally blew off the parsnips.  While many in the ICAD group made some amazingly creative cards using parsnips, I just couldn't get into it.  I love the tart kiwi, but sadly I am very allergic to them (finding this out the hard way).  Pencil sketch, pan watercolors, Signo Uniball pens in micro and bold tips.

Prompt #13 - Blueberry & Plum

A minimal amount of time for thinking about this prompt so I went again with the color families of the prompt.  First I prepped this card with 2 thin coats of white Gesso.  Using craft and fluid artists' acrylics, I finger-painted some of circles & brush painted some parts using a #4 round with Admiral Blue, Violet, Lavender, Vanilla Ice Cream, Titanium White & Lime.  I added some found words and a cute little snail chipboard sticker.

Prompt #14 - Salt and Pepper

Sure, I could have drawn a salt and pepper shaker or tried to be a bit more creative with this today, but the brain is fried this week.  Too much on my plate so I just went with the color families, creating a play on the black and white words in reverse color order.  Black & Titanium White acrylic paints with bold & micro Signo Uniball pens.

There you have it.  Another week's worth of creating something every day.  Remember, we aren't creating museum quality art.  We are expressing ourselves creatively, sometimes thinking outside the box and sometimes, going with the obvious.  But I'm doing my best to stay artful every day!

Until next time,


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Artful Journeys - Week #24 "Sail Away"

This week at Artful Journeys our prompt for you is "SAIL AWAY"

I drew inspiration from an old song from 1979 by Christopher Cross called "Sailing". This has always been one of my favorite songs and can "take me away," even if just for a two minute song.

Created in my 9x12 Canson mixed media journal, I used acrylics, NeoColor II's and watercolor for the background. Lettering with a bold Signo Uniball pen.  The sailboat was created entirely out out Washi tape, created on an old envelope and then cut out and applied to the page.

So sail away to your happy place, even if just for the time it takes you to make your journal page.

I'm doing my best to keep it artful this week!


Sunday, June 7, 2015


For the third year, I am participating in Daisy Yellow's Index-Card-A-Day (ICAD) challenge.  The challenge started June 1st and continues through July 31st, so we have 61 days of creating art.  The idea behind using index cards is that 1) they are inexpensive; 2) they are not precious; and 3) to help get you in the habit of creating some kind of art every day!  Prompts and themes are given a week at a time. There are no deadlines, no pressure--just the joy of a suggested prompt and/or theme and the freedom to create what you like.  You can go with the prompts, or not.  Of course, keeping it up every single day is difficult sometimes, and often I will do several at one time because of my hectic schedule.

You can come on over and join us .... it's not too late. Just dive in and get started!  You can always go back and catch up from this past week.  There's a linky over on the right side of the blog or you can find the group here.

This is my 2015 ICAD cover card.

Warm-ups  Prompts were: Work an analog puzzle or game, Write 3 Haiku poems, Take your Index Card(s) on an adventure, Create a Mobile ICAD station, Make a Grid, Draw/sketch/doodle something from the 1920's or '30s, Top Ten List, Imperfect Circles, Create a 6-pc Jigsaw Puzzle, Write your name of word of the year in Doodly letters.  

First  warm up prompt - Analog puzzle. I usually work an electronic Sudoku puzzle every day (brain exercising), so I just started a new one and transferred it to an Index Card and then worked it.  Messy yes.  Did it need to be perfect?  No.

Next up are my three Haiku poems.  I love Haiku, which we were to do in 5-7-5 tamber. 

Take your Index Card(s) on an adventure.  The day of this warm up, I was exhausted, so I just took my card out to the deck, with a fresh cup of coffee and a Sakura Gelly pen & my micro & bold Signo Uniball pens.  Highlights added after the coffee was gone with Cool Gray Copic marker and a pencil.

Mobile ICAD Station _ aka Traveling Art Kit

This is my traveling art kit, made with a freebie case I got from Merle Norman several years ago at Christmas time.  I have wagged this thing tons of places, road trips, and even just out to the deck. So nice to grab and go.  I always keep it stocked with:  a basic set of Sakura Gelly pens, a Bold Signo Uniball, some acrylic paint, index cards, scissors, tape, glue stick, magazine images, some found words, a few stickers & rub ons, some assorted ephemera, 3 different paint brushes (a liner, a #4 round and a flat), a 1 ounce container of water; some gesso in a pill bottle, my Koi Field watercolor set (with waterbrush), and some assorted size cuts of watercolor paper and a pencil bag with colored pencils. Tucked in the inside pockets I have some small stamps and a couple of mini stamp pads in black and a dark brown. I glued an envelope to the lid where I keep many small, flat items.  My journal will slip right in for longer road trips and things.  And I can add to it or decrease items as I need to do so.

Make a Grid.  I love making grids. I use them a lot to document my art supplies (paint, markers, etc). This time, I just went grid crazy a little bit while watching television with the hubs over a couple of evenings.  Watercolor, and Copic markers (which I had never documented these color families)

Draw or sketch something from the 20's or 30's. This prompt I found a bit difficult, since I cannot draw.  Also, I do not recommend you draw or select colors while trying not to wake the husband in the near-dark of the bedroom. You can get some very random/odd colors digging into a dark pencil bag that way. But I gave it a shot doing an image and some shapes from the 1920's and 30's.


 Top Ten List.  I am a copious list maker by nature.  Some may call it obsessive-compulsive disorder, but as I age, I find that I must have these lists to stay on top of what I need to accomplish and not forget what I am supposed to be doing.  I even have redundant lists of lists.  Ok.  So I am OCD.  But this Top Ten List was just for fun.  We were challenged to use different instruments/media for each item on the list, which I accomplished.

Next up was Imperfect Circles.  I love drawing circles, stamping circles, stenciling circles.  I find them to be very relaxing, no matter how you do them.  Both of these are done with pan watercolor.

Six-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle.  We were challenged to create a 6-piece jigsaw puzzle out of multiple index cards and then put it back together. (this one is not quite finished) :-(

And the last "official" warm up exercise was to write your name or word of the year in doodly letters. I actually did two, one on an index card, and the other as a tip-in for my journal.  Micro and Bold Signo Uniball pens and pan watercolor with #4 round brush

I did a few others, just for fun, and not in response to any prompt.

You know this is my favorite!
Memorial Day - and poor spelling or brain phart!

Erased words as a test on graphite


I always create a cover card for each week of the ICAD challenge. I can grab it when I am on the go and have a handy reference when out and about. It also serves to make a great weekly "divider" during the 61 days of this challenge.  While I write the prompt and media on the back of each ICAD created, it is nice to refer back to what the theme and prompts were for the week.

#1 - Chevrons

I used inexpensive lightweight spackling for the "texture paste" through a chevron stencil on this card.  You can buy a half pint of the stuff at the big blue box store for under $2.00 as opposed to the very expensive artists' modeling or texture paste. Works great. Dries fast. Mixed with color wonderfully and takes inks superbly.  This was created with Dylusions Ink Sprays in Funky Fuschia, London Blue and Bubblegum pink.  I actually dabbed on the Bubblegum pink onto that top chevron and it soaked up the color quickly, and spread quite nicely onto the dry spackling.  I just used the bottle end of the squirter thing.


My favorite memory of fairs and carnivals as a child was the cotton candy.  I didn't have much time as you can see by the simplistic nature of this card, but hey! we're not making museum quality art here. We're having fun and creating!  Watercolor.


I love pre-printed maps, but I really don't like drawing maps.  Tammy Garcia (Daisy Yellow) must love maps because we always have at least one in our prompts. LOL.  My map is the Road to Discovery and is creativity-process based.  My road is filled with lots of coffee breaks, alternate plans, switchbacks, failed efforts, procrastination and finally to success! Watercolor, Prismacolor Pencils, Spectrum Noir markers and Micro Signo Uniball pen.

#4 - MAIL BOX - I love my rural mail carrier and sadly she is moving away at the end of June. The good Lord only knows where my mail will end up while they find her replacement. I have already begged the postmaster to give us someone really great like Jodie!  Prismacolor pencils, Micro Signo Uniball pen.

#5 OWL -  I find owls fascinating. There are so many kinds. This is the rarest of them all, the ever-elusive brown Texas Owl-cat.  hahaha.  Micro & Bold Signo Uniball pens, pan watercolors.

#6 - TAXI - Many moons ago, I visited New York City on several occasions and was always fascinated by the sheer volume of taxis available there.  Hardly anyone drives their own vehicles in Manhattan.  Here in north Texas, finding a taxi is like finding teeth on a chicken...impossible!  I like to use these kind of opportunities to practice my mediocre-at-best drawing skills. But if you don't practice, you don't get better, right?

#7 - PERIODIC TABLE - I thought creating a periodic table would be easy.  But regular periodic table of elements are soooooo boring, and way to science-y for me.  So I made one up!  Prismacolor pencils and Micro signo Uniball pen

So that's it for the start of ICAD.  I'm looking forward to the ensuing weeks and carving out at least a few minutes out of every day to create something, play with some of my supplies, experiment and just have a little fun.  Consider joining us at Daisy Yellow.  You will probably see many people you know there!

As always, I'm keepin' it artful!

aka Arty Auntie

Saturday, June 6, 2015

ARTFUL JOURNEYS - Week #23 "Song Lyrics"

This week at Artful Journeys, our prompt for you is "song lyrics".  Working with song lyrics can be challenging, but I knew exactly where I wanted to go with this prompt...for once.

We have had a very wet spring in north Texas with a lot of flooding all over the state.  I don't know anyone who was complaining about the rain since we have not had any appreciable amount of water in the last 4-1/2 years.  I live on a beautiful lake about 65 miles east of Dallas, and sadly, everyone was mowing the coves. There were no boat ramps open, save for one over by the dam, which is about a 27 mile drive one way from my house.  All the prayers, rain dances and rain chanting must have paid off, because our lake is now full and the hottest part of the summer is on its way, and quite rapidly.  The City of Dallas owns the water rights to this lake, as it was impounded in 1961 as a primary watersource for the city.  They pump it out of our lake to a constant level lake in Rockwall, Texas, so as the rain subsides, and the heat comes on, we see the effects of supplying water to a major metropolitan area.  And it isn't just our lake.  Several in north Texas have the same issues we do, but for now, all the lakes are full, or over-full (some still at advanced flood stages), so we're not complaining. Fishermen are flocking to area lakes to finally get their boats in the water and try and catch some fish.  I too, am hopeful to add some nice bags of fish to my freezer again.  So wish me luck!

So back to song lyrics.  After my story above, we are very happy to see the sunshine.  Now in about a month when it is 105 degrees in the shade, we will be begging for a rain shower or a breeze or something to cool us off.  But for now, we're all happy campers!  And the theme of my song lyrics spread ... is, of course sunshine!

The background was created with Derwent Inktense blocks and baby wipes.  I used an old hymnal page to create the sun, colored also with Derwent Inktense in a dark yellow and then fussy cut out and adhered to the page with gel medium.  Outlines and "rays" with Inktense blocks and watercolor pencil. Lettering with a bold Signo Uniball pen.

The final result makes me happy.  I love working with yellow and orange shades.  And John Denver's song was just perfect.  He was a great songwriter who could make lyrics speak to your soul.

I hope there is a song out there that speaks to you this week.  Thanks for stopping by for a visit.  I can't wait to see all your creations!

Have a great week!

Betty aka Arty Auntie