Friday, July 25, 2014

Repeating patterns

I just love when I stumble on a design I can adapt to fit more than one creation. All of the following projects were inspired by one of my cards for the ICAD Challenge. That's happened for me a few times over the course of the challenge, and I'm loving the flow of ideas and inspiration such a simple thing as ICAD has yielded.

First up is the ICAD that spurred all the ensuing projects. It started with a Gelli print background that I added some stenciling to using sequin waste. I then inked up a script stamp in black ink and stamped it randomly on the surface of the card. I finished it off by stamping one of my newest hand carved stamps using acrylic paints in cadmium red and vermilion. Aqua is my favorite of all colors, and for awhile now I can't seem to get enough of it when paired with red.

Next up I pulled out yet another Gelli print, this time one I'd created on textured kraft cardstock. I followed the same steps to create this handmade postcard. I also added some punched Gelli print circles on the side and a bit of doodling with a micron pen.

Why stop there, right? Here is a set of 4 handmade notecards done the same way. I just love bright, vivid, and citrus colors! And aqua always comes out to play in my studio.

Here's another set of 4 notecards. I was having so much fun with this theme I just couldn't stop. In fact, I'm also now working on a couple ATCs in the same vein. 

As an aside, if anyone is interested in purchasing these colorful and cheerful notecard sets, they are available for sale right now in my Etsy shop.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Exploding Dinosaur

Just a quick post to share a link with my readers. I am not the only creative person in my family; my mom and brothers are very creative as well. My brother Josh has been drawing for as long as I can remember, and he recently started a weekly web comic. Maybe I'm a bit biased, but I think with enough exposure, it's really going to take off. It's pretty awesome, in my humble opinion. 

You can find his web page here: Exploding Dinosaur, and there's a Facebook page, too. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

More ICAD 2014

Although I'm a bit behind, I'm still playing along when I can with the ICAD challenge. I'm still very much enjoying it, and learning a lot about my own process as an artist, not to mention getting lots of fresh ideas.

Here are a few of my favorites from my recent ICADs:

 ICAD #14
This one was from a Gelli print I'd made.

 ICAD #15
A simple one to test out a newly carved stamp.

 ICAD #16
Testing another hand carved stamp.

ICAD #18
Playing with acrylic paint and flexible molding paste.

Monday, June 23, 2014

ICAD 2014

I'd been seeing the Index-Card-A-Day challenge  (aka ICAD) going on over the past few years and thought it interesting, but I never jumped on board. After seeing a friend post one of her index cards on Flickr, I decided to give it a go this time around.


I usually don't have a problem getting some creative time in most every day, so for me the challenge wasn't really about carving out a bit of art time every single day. I'm really not sure exactly what prompted me to join, or what I'd hoped to gain, but I am so glad I decided to play along!


I knew from the beginning that my own personal goal would be to incorporate some of my lesser-used art supplies. Other than that, I decided to just go in whatever direction I wanted on any given day. I have rarely used the prompts and themes, although those can be helpful to give you a jumping off point or something to work towards.


By the time I'd gotten to my 4th ICAD, I noticed a wonderful thing starting to happen. I had a flurry of ideas and things just seemed to flow. For me, this is what I always call being "in the zone". All too often when I sit down to create, the zone eludes me, but getting to that point feels amazing, and it's there that I do my best, most authentic work.

A revelation!

After working on this challenge for a few weeks, I'm finding almost no end to the rush of inspiration. These little index card creations have given me a ticket straight into the zone, and it happens almost effortlessly. I can't really explain why; maybe it's the small size (although I do make ATCs and other small creations as well), maybe it's the fact that I've been using some of my forgotten art supplies, or maybe it's the freeing feeling of using something as common as an index card. Perhaps it pushes aside that inner voice that nags at you to make a masterpiece when you sit down with a canvas or expensive papers and paints. I don't fully understand it, but that's ok, I don't need to have all the answers. I just know that this fun little challenge has allowed me to break out of a bit of a rut I was in and make some authentic creations. Not only that, but the ideas that have come about on the index cards I have then transferred to other pieces, like handmade postcards and other mail art, ATCs, and more. 


I would encourage anyone to give this a try. The main idea is just to be creative, just to get something onto the index card. It allows for a small bit of art time every day, and can be done nearly anywhere depending on your chosen medium. You don't even have to consider yourself an artist to give it a try, but trying is what's important. Give it a shot, and I'm pretty sure you'll find it to be as much fun as I have. And you just might be surprised by what ideas you're able to unleash, and the resulting creations.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

New-found love: Gelli Printing

I can't remember when I first heard about the Gelli Arts printing plate, but I knew right away I wanted one. I've been interested in gelatin monoprinting for awhile, but was uncertain whether I wanted to try my hand at creating my own homemade gelatin plate, a plate that breaks down over time and so is temporary. The Gelli Arts plate makes monoprinting so easy and hassle-free, as it is a permanent, gelatin-like printing plate, so it's always ready to go whenever you are. I know I sound like a Gelli Arts spokesperson, but I can't help it. I just LOVE this thing!

I received the 8"x10" plate for Christmas, and I can sincerely say it is one of the greatest creative gifts I've ever been given. From the first moment I rolled paint onto it with my brayer, I was hooked. I took every available opportunity to sit down and make prints, and in short order I had accumulated quite a substantial stack of painted papers. Some of my prints were a success, with interesting patterns and textures, and some weren't so amazing, but I have come to realize even "failed" prints can be used in numerous ways in various other projects.

Here are just a few of the multitude of prints I've made:

It's always exciting to peel your paper off the plate and discover what you've managed to create. I haven't been this inspired by a new art tool in awhile. If you have been thinking of jumping into monoprinting, you simply cannot go wrong with the Gelli plate. I must warn you, though - it's completely addictive. 

In a future post, I'll share some of the projects I've created using my prints. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I return with mail art goodness!

Wow, it has been well over a year since I have posted here. So much can happen in a year, and as with most of us, life has been hectic and busy, which makes it very difficult to find the time for blogging. I am, however, still creating (as I have been for most of my life), and the desire to share my creations and network with other artists brings me back here yet again.

As per my usual, I'm all over the map as far as mediums, but my main love has always been paper, paint, and ink. In that vein, I find myself regularly making a lot of handmade postcards; mail art is near and dear to my heart. So, I'm jumping back into the blogosphere to share a bit of that. For those interested, I'm sharing a bit about techniques and/or supplies, too. 

The above postcard was made from calendars for a calendar recycling/reusing swap. I added a bit of rubber stamping, because everything's better with a stamp!

This guy makes me smile. Made for a green collaged postcard swap. The robot image is from a vintage children's book. I added sequin waste, embossed circles punched from metal tape, scrapbook paper, and rubber stamping.

I have a dear friend in England who loves puffins as much as I do. This was made just for her. The puffin image is from a National Geographic magazine. I placed textured items underneath (stencil, rubber stamp, ceramic tile), and then rubbed over the surface of the paper with Nevr-Dull. Love that technique! And I know you're shocked, but rubber stamps were used here, too. 

Made for a Year of the Snake swap. Nevr-Dull again makes an appearance, and stamps, and ink, and stencils, and paint, and...

Made for a swap where we could only use trash *ahem* (read: ephemera!) to create our postcard.  

Oh rubber stamps, how I love thee, even after all these years. Color was added with Inktense pencils. 

"Thrust you can trust". Ha! National Geographic image, Nevr-Dull, fish from old library book, Gelli-printed papers. 

Made for a very recent swap that I'm hosting; rubber stamped and inked and such.

Another swap, this time one using the Gelli Arts printing plate and bubble wrap. 

I offer my thanks to those of you who decide to stop by and visit my little, neglected piece of the web (bad blogger that I am...). It means a lot to me.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Fearless Art Journaling, Part 6: Creation of a Page

I have been blown away by the number of hits my Fearless Art Journaling series has received, especially considering I haven't added a new post in the series in over a year. What this tells me is that a lot of folks out there are very interested in art journaling, with making backgrounds being at the top of the list, at least as far as my own page views are concerned.

For this part in the Fearless Art Journaling series, I thought I'd show you the construction of one of my own pages from start to finish. I hope it gives you some ideas of your own as I show how an art journal page goes from blank paper to completed page.

In the past year, I haven't been as prolific in my own journaling. In fact, until the other day, I hadn't even opened my art journal since last summer. I wanted to change that, so a couple days ago I decided to do a quick page and just play around. No pressure, no stress, just play, which is how I always encourage anyone to work in their journal. 

I knew I wanted to make use of my new aspen trees template, but other than that, I had no real goal or outcome in mind. I started the page by sponging on Antique Linen Distress Ink, then I stamped this nifty newspaper background using Frayed Burlap DI.

Next, I pulled out the template. I used blue painter's tape to keep it in place, and using a Ranger ink blending tool, I rubbed on some Rusty Hinge DI. 

Working in the same way, I rubbed on Wild Honey, Crushed Olive, and Broken China. After removing the template, I used a toothbrush to splatter Transparent Raw Umber acrylic ink. 

At this point, I felt the area where I'd used the template needed to be framed out more, so I grabbed some paper scraps (I have a plethora of scraps and am thrilled anytime I can find a use for them) and glued them down to create a frame. I also added some washi tape in a couple spots. 

This is the point where I sat back and looked at the page, trying to decide where to go next. I felt like I wanted to add the image of a woman's face in the trees, so I picked out one of my rubber stamps for that purpose. I wanted some focus on the woman's face and felt that just stamping directly onto the trees would be too busy, so I brushed on off-white acrylic paint where I wanted to stamp the face. I also dry brushed this same paint in different areas all over the page, and then rubbed on some Broken China where I planned to stamp the face. It was then I remembered I'd wanted to flick water onto the page to make use of the water-reactive properties of Distress Inks. I love how the water droplets look with the ink and paint together. 

Once everything was dry, I stamped the woman's face in Ranger's Archival Ink in Sepia. This is a permanent ink that works pretty well on glossy surfaces, but it does need time to dry on any glossy or painted surface, so at this point, I walked away to have a cup of coffee as I let the ink dry. Once the ink had dried, I stamped the tassels and outlined the face in Broken China using a blender marker. 

I like how this page turned out and feel it's pretty much complete and ready for my writing. I might add something later, as it seems usually I tweak pages some here and there if I feel later it needs something more. 

I hope showing the steps involved in creating this simple page gives the beginners out there a little insight into how a page can be constructed.