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Monday, April 18, 2016

Time capsule

I'll fess up, I've long been one of those "stashers" whose idea of cleaning up is putting things in a storage box, drawer or folder and getting it out of sight. It seems like a valid approach, however this strategy (if you can even refer to it as such) doesn't effectively deal with the clutter issue. After deciding to open up a plastic shoe box, cutely labeled with the equivalent of "miscellaneous", I was presented with an amazing collection of partial art, shall we dub this "partart"? For me this is artwork that was created for swaps, artwork created while learning a new techniques or items that just could not be otherwise tossed in the recycle bin.

My criteria for what to save has evolved since I first began making art almost 20 years ago. At that time a small piece of paper the size of a credit card was to be saved and reused. The problem with this approach is that I didn't go back to the stash to use these pieces and it eventually pushed me to a potential hoarding situation. So, I now am much more discriminating now on what I keep.

The fun bit is that I have approximately 20 of these shoe boxes, so this is just the beginning of raiding my lost art.

Now that I've highlighted the problems of having all this stashed stuff, I'll turn the tables and find the silver lining. One benefit is being able to take a trip down memory lane. Colors, stamped images and even techniques are like food. They can be trendy and looking back can make you realize how far you've come artistically.

So here are some crackle stamp backgrounds, and an attempt at a collage.

This collection is from classes I had with a favorite teacher MaryJo McGraw. I stalked her years ago.  I went to see her at every convention and took any class she offered. This technique used acetate and Diamond Glaze.  I don't recall exactly how it was done, but the translucent and glassy finish is great.


The images above are backgrounds using alcohol inks and it was called "polished stone."  In addition to the inks, we used the Krylon leafing pens.  Brings back memories.

This is another MaryJo McGraw project involving clear shrink plastic, flattened with a stamped image to get a relief, then using alcohol inks to get the amazing colors.  

These are some polished stone pieces that are stamped and ready to go.  I also worked on a book cover and used some Ultra Thick Embossing enamel (UTEE) powders to make the gold design on the front.  I have two mini book covers in the back on the right, with what appears to be wax seals on the front.  This was when the glue sticks were being used to create the look of a wax seal, but they were much more flexible. And you could add embossing powders to the glue and heat them prior to stamping.  It was a great technique.

The one piece here I want to talk about is the lower front piece which was made with strips of paper, woven together and then attached to a backing.  Then the entire surface was covered with clear embossing ink and UTEE was applied to create a clear thick coating on the surface. This would make a great cover to a book. There is some gold powder as well.

So, I made an attempt to color in a stamp, inspired by a teacher I loved called Kristen Powers. Look how I even wanted to map the colors used, like a legend.  So adorable. 


This is from a class I took from a teacher long ago.  I'm not sure I recall her name but we used products to get a patina on the paper that made it look like metal.  So cool.

So this is it.  The assorted ephemera from years ago.  I want to use it or lose it at this point.  Remember, this is only the first box. Wow, can't wait to see what else lies ahead.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Stencil spree

Back in February I attended a retreat with Dyan Reaveley and I picked up some of her gorgeous dylusions paints. I'd been telling myself that I didn't need new paints, I had paints. As I used them during the retreat I realized that the colors she offers are my favorites. The typical art store paints are classic colors. These are eye candy colors. So, I purchased some.

What I really appreciated about Dyan is that she told us how to care for the paints. She also told us one of the best things ever, which is we should go home and use them. Don't buy them to put them on the shelf and think "some day" but to use them up asap.  

After I saw them in my paint stash the other night I decided she was right. So I busted them out and had a blast. I used the Tim Holtz applicators with foam tops and designated one for each color. I pulled six of my favorite stencils and grabbed a bunch of manila tags and got to work.  

One tip for collage, choose a variety of stencils.  Some that are open designs (like the Tim Holtz spider's web) and some that have few openings (like the graduated dots - which is becoming my favorite). Doing this will allow for varied amounts of paint to be distributed on the work. Sometimes you feel you need a little something in a small area, this is great for the less open stencils. The first layer of design is great for the more open stencils.

Then I had to choose colors. I picked three colors that are harmonious or analogous, that are next to each other on the color wheel - in this case dirty martini, calypso teal and after midnight. I worked with these as the predominant colors used.  For the pop of color I picked a complementary color, which is a color opposite one of the colors I used for the designs. In this case cherry pie works as a pop for the green and blues I've been using.

Once I started working I just kept grabbing for more paper to color. After I used up the tags I found some envelopes and started to color them as well.  

This is a tag I made for a friend's birthday. I cut out a monogram and colored it with the stencil and the pop of color. I then used my white Uni-ball Signo pen (LOVE IT) and colored the larger dots in the background. Fueling my neglected Zentangle relaxation time.

So then, I colored some basic backgrounds by applying paint and used a large stencil and colored over with the same colors as used in the background. I love the way these tags turned out. They are large tags, so I think I can fold them and turn them into cards.

These are the paints. The jars really show off the color. You turn the jar over, then back before you open. Then remove the lid take the applicator and grab some color from the lid. These paints go a long way.  

So I found these two die cut images in my stash, and had to color them.  

Here are my stencils and the one in the lower left is becoming one of my most used. There are large dots and small dots so you can use whichever you like. I am not a nut about cleaning them every time, however I don't want them to build up too much paint and affect the ability to use them, so I do wipe them down periodically. It's actually good for some to get a little paint-coated, particularly the more delicate stencils.  

Finally, my tip for working with stencils is have some washi tape handy. The great thing is that washi tape can be used on the edges if you don't want paint to go over the edge, it secures the stencil to the paper and generally won't hurt your paper. As you use the washi tape over and over, it's even safer on your work. The tape lasts a long time. Plus, you can isolate an image as I did above with the arrow. This stencil has dozens of arrow images but I wanted to use just a couple. By masking it with the washi tape you can get just the single image you want.

I really channeled my seemingly long-lost inner child working with finger paints. Time was lost and I can't wait to make more.