Thursday, January 21, 2016

Dimensional Tip-In

This week at Fauxbonichi Journalers, we were given the challenge to create a "tangled" dimensional tip in for our journals or planners.  I thought this was a fun and different challenge, so I tackled it with some late-night gusto (as usual).

A butterfly was given as an example, and who doesn't like butterflies, so I just went with it.  I started with a 9x12" piece of 140# watercolor paper, then scored it directly in the middle.  I then roughly sketched the body, and the right wing and antenna, doing my best to center it.  I folded it in half, and fussy cut the whole thing out.  I wanted it to be equidistant in size, so all I had to do was draw one side and then cut... I'm not very good freehanding that kind of thing and have both sides come out the same.

I didn't really have a plan, but now with the rough shape, I dragged out some Spectrum Noir markers and started coloring here and there with some basic shapes, just to split up the color.

Following that, using a medium tipped Faber Castell Pitt pen, I outlined the body and began doing my limited tangles in the center portion of the wings and elsewhere.  Switched off to a white Uniball  Signo UM-153 pen in white and added the rest.  I painted the head, body and antennae with black heavy body acrylics.  As you can see, my doodles are just kind of random doodly marks.  I just was going for the basic idea here, not creating a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination. 

And, oddly enough, I see I didn't finish off the left wing checkerboard.  Guess I will finish that up in a bit with a fresh cup of coffee!  hehe

When I got all finished (or so I thought), I flipped the thing over, applied some gesso and used Golden heavy body Ultramarine blue and titanium white to cover the reverse, painting only with my fingers, not caring too much of the design, but having fun playing and blending the paint and covering up the bleed-through from the alcohol markers.

 Here's the finished example just layed into my planner.   I haven't decided the best method to affix to my planner yet, but I think 1/8" ScorTape is going to be the answer, right down the center of the fold on the body.

As you can see, I got a bit of gesso on the tangled side, but we're embracing imperfection, right?

I hope you like this idea.  I may make another one for my art journal and take a little more time with it.  It was fun and as always with doing tangles and doodling, very relaxing.

Thank you for stopping by for a visit.  Go out and keep trying new things, keeping your world artful!


Friday, January 15, 2016

Careful - Your face will freeze like that!

Betty Richardson aka Arty AuntieDid your mother ever tell you this?  Mine certainly did.  Kids love to make faces. Apparently some adults do as well with all the duck face selfies I see on the web.  Never got that, nor do I understand it, and I have a niece or two I think needs to hear that old axiom -- Careful, your face will freeze like that!  Most of the time, I feel good when I can make a 'good' face for a picture.  Must less making a ducky one!

And speaking of faces, drawing or painting faces is my bane.  So much trouble with perspective, spacing, shapes, roundness.  I want to draw whimsical faces. I want to draw faces that look real. I want to include faces in my art and in my art journals.  And the good Lord knows I keep practicing (they say it does make perfect, doesn't it?).  Well, I finally did it.  I drew a face that looks like a face. Not a circle. Not comic. A face. 

Art by Nika Rouss

And I credit inspiration from Nika Rouss at Nika in Wonderland for making me actually stop and think about the construction of a face.  It has never before occurred to me to draw half a face.  But Nika posted an absolutely stunning watercolor on her page here, (along with many others) and in my art journaling group, Artful Journeys  that for whatever reason, made my lightbulb go off.  I get so few of these moments, I had to act upon it immediately.  Isn't she just gorgeous?

When I can visually see something, I can pretty well draw it, or something reasonably close to it. But if I have to make something up from memory, well, the results can be pretty disappointing.  So I called up Nika's beautiful painting on my computer screen, I got out my large Dylusions journal and turned to a page with some leftover mop up paint.  I spritzed and sprayed some assorted Dylusions sprays on top of the acrylic paint, and put down a base layer of paint, then using my TCW Flower Frenzy stencil, added some of the stencil around the page as a base layer.
Anxious to get underway, I grabbed a sketch pencil and did a rough face outline and started on the eye.  Now I have practiced drawing eyes over and over and over.  I can always get the right side of the face pretty well, but the left side is always a bit wonky.  (My left side is completely challenged in every way, but that's a whole other story).  So this concept of a one-sided face really appealed to me.

When I got the basic shape of the face, the first layer of my TCW Flower Frenzy stencil was really speaking to me for her hair.  As I finished up the eye, with several erasures, and finally settled on a nose shape (real, lifelike noses still elude me), I grabbed up my stencil again and this time I used Polished Jade Dylusions sprays and extended her hair over both sides of the spread. I love how the color changes on the stencil when flipped over and on top of the alcohol ink as it progresses across the page.

I finished off her eye with Caran D'Ache NeoColor II and titanium white acrylic and the face with a Stabilo All pencil and a smidgeon of Cadmium Red Light and white acrylic.

I used some advertising words found in a magazine as the quote on the page, and outlined those as well with NeoColor II in black, dark blue and lime green.

The fun part about using the Stabilo All pencil was the ability to smudge and shade using my finger.  Granted, it is far from perfect, but for me, it IS perfect.  And the TCW Flower Frenzy Stencil was just the right size and flexible enough for me to bend and shape it around as her hair.  This is the closest to a real looking face I have ever drawn.  I will keep practicing, and one of these days I might actually draw an entire face.  But for now, I'm super happy with a one sided face.  I made progress, so practice does pay!

So go out there, practice drawing ordinary, everyday things. Sketch faces. Practice those noses, eyes and lips.  One day we'll all be drawing and painting fun and exciting faces. This day was my best yet.  Show me yours!

As always, keep it artful!


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Magical Things Happen When You Keep Trying ...

That's a pretty powerful statement "Magical things happen when you keep trying..." isn't it? 

I made some magic of my own this week, and not without practice, I can assure you.  While I am not a super-skilled artist, the one thing I do have is tenacity to keep at something until I either get the hang of it or the "lightbulb" finally comes on.  As I age, I seem to get fewer and fewer lightbulb moments, so when I do get one, an extraordinary sense of accomplishment fills my soul!

Those of you that know me and my art know that "grungy" is not something I am known for, or can (could) even do with even a small sense of satisfaction.  Being a Virgo, and with OCD and a compelling sense of order takes control of my art most of the time.  Line things up. Crisp lines. A clear picture or image.  Fear of messing up a piece I've worked hard on drives me more than just adding more.  When it comes to paint, I can slap on layers and layers of the stuff without any problem. Adding ephemera and the total finish out, well, that sometimes is another issue for me entirely.

The significant magical happenings for me this week:  I made grunge, and I made it more than once! whoop! whoop!

My grungy pieces are part of a workshop currently hosted by Tammy Garcia at Daisy Yellow called Novel Approach, where we are altering a book and exploring and working with heavy body acrylics and more grungy type work.  If you are interested in checking out this terrific workshop, click HERE.

One of our first "assignments" was to create a prism or starburst page, using and blending heavy body acrylics.  This was my first page.  I shared it with the group, but truthfully, there was not one single thing I liked about it except the process.

Then, not wanting to let this thing beat me, I made a second page, this time with a little different approach and color choices.  This was page #2.  I didn't have the suggested Golden Iridescent Pearl paint, so I opted to experiment, instead, and used a soft pink Liquid Pearls and painted it on the journaling blocks and some of the lines.  Still wasn't loving it.  It was still "too" -- too bold, too bright, too "even" or something. I liked it better than the first one, but not in love with it.  Only the process made me happy.

So off I went again, on attempt #3.  I began to alter the above spread by adding some black Neocolor II and a lovely stencil by Traci Bautista from StencilGirl.

I rather liked how this looked, but then I went and added more. <sigh>  Here's where I get into trouble.  Now, I'm out of love with this one again.

I don't like my lettering (with Posca pen) and while I love this girl, I don't like her on this spread at all.  Me thinks the gesso will be coming out again to cover this one up.  Still have to either work through the ugly on this one, or start over. I decided not to decide I was so frustrated and have let it sit.

Again, I mustered up another go, brought out the gesso and slapped it over effort #1, covering up all that bright, garish ugly.  We don't have to live with something we hate in our journals. That's the beauty part about art journaling.  After letting that nasty thing sit for a day or two, I couldn't stand it any longer.  I didn't want it in my Happy Journal, because primarily it didn't make me happy. At all.

So this time, I chose a darker palette to work with.  I used Dina Wakely's heavy body acrylics in Night, Lapis and Lime. I blended with titanium white and the only brush work was the last little bit around the journaling boxes.  To me, this LOOKS grungy.  It isn't perfect. You see the movement in the paint, the old one underneath adds a bit of dimension to it.  Overall, I was very happy with this version. I still don't have anything in the journaling boxes, and might not ever put anything there, but at least I managed to accomplish the concept.

So, off I went to tackle the next grungy assignment.  Oh boy.  I got to paint more with my fingers and had no brushes to try and clean up afterwards.  This time, we were making a background page.  Gotta love those.  Here's my first one:

This is definitely NOT grungy. I got so carried away having fun blending the colors with my fingers, I ended up with something a whole lot more Monet-esque and a whole lot less on the grungy side of things.  To me, this background screams spring, butterflies and flowers, sidewalk cafes. Definitely not grunge.

So what did I do?  Out came the black NeoColor II for a few smears. Wasn't liking that all that much, so then I grabbed <hold on> ... black charcoal.  Where each paint color separation happened, I outlined the area, then smudged.  Wow, what fun was that!!  This stuff smears great.  Your fingers get super nasty, but oh what fun this was!  This definitely ended up super grungy.  I sealed the charcoal with a spray fixative, not knowing what might come later.  There is still nothing else on this page, but I think I can definitely see something kind of steampunk-y or Teesha Moore style happening ultimately on this page.  Definitely doesn't look springy any more!

You know how I am -- I still wasn't satisfied or finished playing in all that glorious, yummy paint, so I made another background page.  It's all abstract and funky and schmeary and was super fun.  I'm letting it rest a few days to see where I want to take it.  Because I was a little more heavy handed with my paints this time, not too much of the graffiti-style markings underneath with NeoColors didn't show through all that much, but I can still see a lot of the altered book through the paint, and I like that part.  It's bold and dark at the same time, and that kind of contrast really speaks to me.

So this next page, is more grungy in style and manner of application, using NeoColors and medium only, with only a teeny weeny bit of paint right at the last.  Of course I didn't exactly follow the rules or guidelines that Tammy set out, but I still was happy with the end result. It looks grungy. It appears random, although the process wasn't random at all (more of my OCD kicked in).  At the very end, I used my Stabilo All pencil and added some additional marks to my page, just because I could.  This is a huge breakthrough for me.  Just for fun. Just for play.  Just because.  I liked it!

So, by the time I finish this fun workshop with Tammy, I might just master the art of grunge.  Who knows. I'm kicking my OCD, order-loving inner critic to the curb. I'm covering up stuff I hate, and doing my best to create something that makes me happy. In my happy journal.

Life is good.  Go out and keep your world artful.