Saturday, August 29, 2015

ARTFUL JOURNEYS - WEEK #35 "Sunsets & Fireflies"

Our prompt this week at Artful Journeys is Sunsets and Fireflies.  What could be better for the end of the summer?

As we were coming home from dinner on Friday evening, we had a spectacular sunset!  There was apparently a lot of dust in the upper atmosphere and the sun, a huge crimson orb, cast off shadows of deep purples, pinks and blues and bright, golden linings to the clouds behind the setting sun.  It went down quickly, but the sight of it, and its still-lingering memory inspired my spread this week.

This page was done with heavy body and craft acrylics, with the idea of the sun setting over the hills around our lake.  My fireflies are mostly captured in little mason jars, drawn with a white Sakura Pen Touch pen.  The glow of the fireflies is with a neon yellow Sharpie paint marker.

I hope you like it.  No quote this week or words of inspiration.  Just the sheer joy of remembering how we used to catch fireflies in mason jars on hot summer nights as kids, and sometimes pinching off those blinking tails and smearing them on our shirts.  Fun times!

Have a wonderful and artful week!


Sunday, August 23, 2015


"Art is the window to man's soul. Without it, he would never be able to see beyond his immediate world; nor could he see the man within."  ~~Lady Bird Johnson

 This week at Artful Journeys, our prompt is "WINDOWS."

I went with a literal interpretation this week, but on a more basic level.  My original idea was to make something very complicated, and about a third of the way through it, I hated it and into the big square file under my desk it went. <sigh>

After that, I just couldn't make up my mind.  Collage some windows?  Have eyes peeping in or out? Use a commercial window envelope?  Draw some windows in a big city?  I started the latter, hated that one too and covered it up with lots of gesso, and turned the page again.

Next, my old friend, Pinterest.  Nothing hit me.  I went to my closet hidey hole and pulled out a big stack of children's coloring books.  I found a cute image of a window with a cat playing, but THAT basic idea hit me.

I used the window itself as my inspiration and replicated it as best as my drawing skills would allow. I found it wasn't THAT difficult.  A window by itself is really just a box.  And I liked the simplicity of just using a plain, simple window with a powerful message as a reminder to make me think.

So, I sketched out the window and used Copic markers, Sakura Glaze pens, Signo Uniball pens in bold and micro tips, along with a Deep Red brick stamp.  I used a barn red acrylic craft paint that I applied with a paper towel and a baby wipe over the stamped brick.

I have a whole journal of collected quotes and sayings.  I try to jot them down when a great one presents itself and selected the one I used because I find it very introspective in nature, as I do the quote I started this post with by Lady Bird Johnson.  Yes, we can look out the windows, but what if we looked "inward" to the window of our soul a little more often?  Imagine the discoveries we shall find there!

Be sure and check out what Melody, Shana and Lynn created by visiting our group blog, ARTFUL CHICKS and leave us some love!  I'll be watching over at Artful Journeys for all your wonderful takes on this very interesting prompt challenge.

Have a great week, and remember to keep it artful!


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Artful Journeys - Week #33 "Bad Poetry"

What a week this has been.  I had a big spurt of creativity following a busy week with errands, grown up stuff and some real work.  It has been so hot here this past week, we are all suffering, and trying to hide out inside as much as we can. But thankfully, the last couple of days we have not broken 100 degrees F.  Our version of a cold front.  But I digress...

This week at Artful Journeys, our prompt for you is to create a spread using "Bad Poetry".  The concept of this prompt is to generally select a central image and then find random words or phrases (or let the image dictate your selection of words) in magazines, cut them out and include them on your spread.  You can go wild with this. It isn't supposed to make a whole lot of sense, but you would be amazed at how your mind works and puts words and phrases together that make sense on your spread.

My spread actually started with the cartoon image I had saved from a Geico advertisement. Then, while sifting through my box of clipped images, the clock showed up and I knew (why?) that this is what I wanted to work with.  I pulled out my box of found words, deciding on the above.

I worked really hard on this page.  I have always had trouble with the JAM philosophy (just add more) for fear of really messing up my hard work.  But this time, it created some magic for me!  Hooray!

I started the spread in my 9x12 Canson mixed media journal that I started at the beginning of the year and only has about 15 pages left before it is full!

I began by gluing down some dictionary pages that I tore all the margin edges off and fitted them to the page and affixed with gel medium.  I then tore some sheet music and placed them randomly across the page. Then, I added some random flower and leaf punch cuts on the page. The color didn't matter since I knew paint was going on top of them, and this would help to create texture on the page.

Next, I spritzed Dylusions Inks in Fresh Squeezed Orange and Funky Fuscia, followed by sealing with some hairspray, knowing I would be adding more wet media! (Dylusions Inks reactivate when wet).  I added some Bright Magenta & Spice Orange fluid acrylic on top of that with a baby wipe, and some Dylusions Acrylic in Sunshine Yellow with a credit card, blending as I went.

I was satisfied with the color of the background and moved on to stenciling.  The clock stencil is by Fab Stencils and it was applied with a watered down Titanium White acrylic with a cosmetic sponge, dipped and the dabbed off the excess onto my mop up paper.  I then added the square stencil, and added some black into the white to create a tonal gray and stenciled a little bit more for some darker contrast.

Now to play with my clippings.  I wanted that cartoon Muppet to be hanging off that clock, and that was a chore. I ended up having to work to fit him around that clock, glued him to the back and then affixed the whole thing to page with gel medium.  Sadly, I accidentally scraped across the clock and Muppet and distorted the image a little bit.  Words affixed to the page and outlined with a black china marker.

I am rather pleased with how it turned out.  The "poetry" is really bad, but somehow the whole thing works together.

Hopefully this gives you a little jolt of inspiration for your spread!

Have a great week!
Arty Auntie

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Artful Journeys - Week #32

Hi everyone, and I hope you have enjoyed your weekend.  Summer is in full swing in north Texas and we are sweltering in the heat, hibernating in the A/C when we can, and suffering while we are out.

This week at Artful Journeys, our prompt for you is technique based and we're giving you a couple of different options!  Create a journal page using a watercolor & salt resist technique or rubbing alcohol fade.

I actually did both of these techniques, but ended up loving my watercolor/salt resist technique I made a full single page spread out of it.

I started with a 9x12" sheet of 140 lb cold press watercolor paper, wet it quite heavily and went to town with a dark purple, red and brillant blue pan watercolors.  I also used a little grape Dylusions spray ink.  Working quickly, this time I used rock salt as the resist.  I have used many different types of salt, but this was my first time to use rock salt.

I loved the way the rock salt left little color blobs around the area where it sucked up the color and I saw eyes. Eyes in the night.  Eyes everywhere.  Reminded me of nightmares as a child of things that go bump in the night, so I kind of went there.  Can't you just see them peeping through the bushes at you??

I drew the tree with a #3 round brush and black liquid acrylic paint and likewise with the lettering.

Hope you like it!  It was fun, as always. Can't wait to see what fun your techniques bring to you!

Stay cool, and as always, stay artful!


Saturday, August 1, 2015


Our prompt this week at Artful Journeys is to "go organic."  Our original line of thinking was to use real organic materials but I just wasn't feeling it at first and I think my Muse has perhaps gone on holiday. And besides all that, everything in my yard is getting brown and crispy. It is our hottest time of the year and I am no gardener.  For heaven's sakes, I can kill silk plants!

So, I created this first spread Friday night after my weekly dinner date with the hubs. I had wandered around in the yard and just couldn't seem to find anything I felt like was suitable that was growing, er.... dying.

I sat down with my Dylusions journal and let the page just happen "organically".  We've had a bit of a stressful week, and friends and friendships are definitely on the forefront of my mind and how important those relationships are.  So this little idea started in the back of my head.

I started by stamping across the bottom with my large Dylusions curly-q stamp (not sure what the official name of it is, but I love that stamp!)  Then I used a large tree stencil and applied lightweight spackling through the stencil and let it dry.  In hindsight, I should have finished the background colors first, but oh well, right?  I then used a small flat brush and applied some Liquitex acrylic in a light brown to the trunk and limbs.  I used a large foam sun stamp in the corner and filled the page with Liquitex Cadmium Yellow Deep Hue and added some embellishments with the light sepia.  I then proceeded to use some Dylusions Distress ink in Orange to make some dots all over the tree. I liked how that was going, so I opened up a Quin Magenta and a Neon Pink and made some more random dots on the tree using my index finger.  So freeing to paint with our hands, isn't it?

I also applied other random dots in the lower margin and using some Spring green, added leaves and stems everywhere.  I tried a couple of different techniques coloring in the curly-q's at the bottom, including a baby wipe (epic fail), finger painting (fail) Dylusions Inks - sprayed (fail) and NeoColor II's.  Obviously I had much more control with the NeoColors and will likely be making some use of some gesso later and redoing the bottom part.  But for now it just has to do.

My favorite part is the tree.  I will we had "feel-a-vision".  I love the way the lightweight spackle works through a stencil.  Something so fun about feeling that texture.

Lettering with a 0 fine liner brush and black acrylic paint.  My friends are the flowers in my life. And I'm so glad you're planted where you are.

Then this morning, Saturday, I got to worrying about not really following along with the prompt in a closer sort of fashion. I went outside with my coffee to the front porch and stood there looking around.  Would my neighbor mind if I went and snagged some stuff from her flower beds?  Probably. My poor flower beds are pitiful. Dry. Dying. Tired looking.  I went to the back deck. Had a look through the garden -- which is barely hanging on. Nothing good there. The Basil looks good, but I was definitely uninspired by that.

Back to the front.  We have this stand of 100+ foot Sycamore trees across the front of our yard. The leaves are generally HUGE.  Time for a closer inspection.  Oh, look!  Some baby leaves...... that could work.  And Sycamore tree leaves have an interesting shape -- so I selected several and returned to my dining table and fixed a fresh cup of my favorite elixir.

Turn the page in the Dylusions journal.  I picked up my Dylusions acrylic tubs in Turquoise and Bubblegum Pink and added paint all over everywhere.  I added some stamps.  Hated all that. Out comes the gesso. Same colors, different application this time with a brush and some babywipes.  That worked better.

I was sent this great face image on deli paper in happy mail some time back -- sorry I cannot remember who shared it with me.  I grabbed that and played with it on the page, laying the leaves here and there.  I felt like those leaves would make a great "crown" and so I went with that.  Leaves and face image were applied to the page with Faber Castel Gel Medium, and the leaves were given another coat with some DIY Mod Podge.  I had previously used this with another leaf project over a year ago and the leaves are still soft and green.  Nobody wants brown crumply leaves in their journal, right?

I grabbed up some Liquid Pearls in Peacock and a bottle of Scribbles in gold metallic and added the veins and outlined the leaves.  That "crown" needed some sort of edging so with the Scribbles I created the crown base and added jewels there and on the tips of the leaves. She looks pretty good, huh?  The flash on my camera made the deli paper show up more, but in natural light, it just seems to blend in perfectly.

Those big Sycamore trees were still in my mind. More digging through happy mail and I found these beautiful papers sent to me by Kay Theuerkauf in Australia.  I lettered a "thought" on these two papers with a black Sakura Gelly pen, adhered to the page with Gel Medium and added the Queen Elizabeth Australian stamp just for fun. Out lined with a black china marker.

In case you can't read it --

"As she sat in the shade of the old Sycamore tree, she fashioned herself a crown.  She felt like Queen of the Earth.  And it was so."

The last leaf I picked was added to the corner of the page and tarted up like the crown.  And lastly, I grabbed some Liquitex Neon Green and a small circle stencil and added some additional paint and called it good.

And here is the finished spread.  More in tune with what we originally had in mind.  I feel better about it.  It was fun playing with those leaves after all.  Did I noodge my Muse to wakefulness?

Thanks for stopping by, and have an artful week.  Be sure and show us how you interpret our prompt this week, and don't forget to stop by and see what Melody, Shana and Lynn have created!