Friday, July 23, 2010

Caulk in Art Revisited - Yummy Texture and Dimension

Oh my goodness, where does the time go?  I'm really trying to post more consistently so my blog doesn't grow old and become stale.  I'm so honored to have so many followers and people who visit my blog, and I feel like I'm dropping the ball this year because my posting has been so intermittent.  On the other hand, when one is fighting the cancer battle, art becomes secondary or even further down on the priority list.

These pictures are not of new, recent art, and yes, they've all been posted on my blog before.  But they are three of my favorite works using caulk....which is a product I love to use, write about, and show and tell how it can be used.  I guess I just love promoting the use of caulk for great texture and dimension.  Some artists out there already know about it and have used it in their art, but there are also many artists who don't know about it and haven't used it.  Those are the ones I'm trying to reach and inspire to at least try using caulk.

I love the fact that it's so inexpensive (meaning cheap), so easily accessible, so easy to work with, and gives such great results.  What could be better than that?  It can be found at Family Dollar stores for a mere buckaroo ($1.00).  It's a little more expensive at the home improvement stores, ranging in price.  I buy the 5 ounce hard cylinders that need a caulk gun to extrude, but even caulk guns are cheap.  Or, you can buy it in the tubes that don't need a caulk gun.  I extrude it into a glass jar (the more shallow jars salsa comes in work great), and then put two layers of plastic wrap over the top, and then screw the lid on.  That helps keep the moisture in.  I've never had any caulk dry out on me, it can stay moist and usable for at least year, or even longer.

It can be colored with acrylic paint and liquid inks, and possibly even food coloring.  Or painted any color after it dries.  It can also be sanded after it dries.  It can be stamped or impressed into when it's wet, or frosted over stencils for a great but subtle dimensional effect.  It's a great adhesive and things can be embedded into it, or it can be used like glue to attach and adhere heavier items to a base or assemblage.  It can be applied to rubber stamps or any item with a make-up sponge, to get some dimension.  It can be diluted with water, or I suppose with any acrylic medium, to any consistency you desire.  You can put it in a plastic squeeze bottle to get the effect of dimension, or dilute it even thinner and use it more like gesso.  You can mix things with it when it's wet to get different textures, such as sand, cornmeal, tea grounds from used teabags, used coffee grounds, saw dust, small beads, torn paper, etc.  The sky is the limit as to what can be mixed in with it.  Oh yeah, and caulk can also be used on fabric and almost any surface.  If any of you have any more suggestions on how to use it, please share that information in a comment so all of us can learn about it.

What I've shared here so far are general tips on all the different ways to use caulk.  For more specific information on how I made certain art pieces using caulk, here is the link to all my caulk pieces.  So just scroll down that page.  And here's the link to my very first post on caulk, posted soon after I started my blog in February of 2008.

Regarding making some new art, I am actually working on an 11 X 14 canvas panel, a gift for my dear younger sister (and only sister) Jan, who requested an art work from me.  She has helped me so much and been so supportive during my battle with cancer.  And I love her and appreciate her so much.  I've managed to get the canvas panel painted in different shades of blue, green, and purple, and duh....I'm not liking it much at all.  Which is disconcerting to me.  No, more than that, it's bugging the heck out of me.  It doesn't happen very often that I dislike my art while in the process of creating it.  Occasionally, yes, but not that often.  Usually the more I do on a piece, the more I like it as it progresses.  And I consider this to be a very special and important piece, as a token of my love and appreciation for my sister.  

 The problem is, I'm really in a quandary as to where to go from here.  I suppose I could just gesso over it and start over again, even though I have many layers of paint on it, first with the credit card technic, then the sponge technic.  It has lots of paint on it, but I don't like the way it looks.  Even though it may sound crazy, I've never started over on a piece of art.  It shouldn't be a big deal, but it feels like a big deal.  I have so many ideas bouncing around in my head regarding what I want to do, I can't pick a direction to go in or focus on what to do next.  The ideas are: 

1.  to use caulk and/or wallboard joint compound for a very textural abstract piece.

2.  to do a layered collage, which I haven't done in a long time

3.  to use fabric and lace on it, and maybe even some kind of transfer

4.  to do a nature piece

All of these ideas are competing in my head, and I'm even trying to figure out how I can do all of them in one piece.  That would be great if I could manage to do it.  Or would it be?  Maybe not.  I just don't know.  So right now I'm very stuck.  I wonder if I should start over on it or just set it aside for a while, until I can focus on where I want to go with it.  There's no time deadline or urgency to get it done, and yet I'm very impatient to get it done.  Not only for her sake, so she can hang it in her home, but for my sake, to prove to myself that yes, I can still make art that I like or love.  Because I am concerned about that since I've made only one piece of new art since January, when I found out about the cancer.  At this point, I'm afraid I've lost a lot of the confidence I used to have, regarding making art.  And that is not a fun place to be in.  Oh well, this isn't earth shattering, I'm sure I'll work through it.  But I'd like to be there already!!!  I really need to gain my confidence back.

Oh, one more tip.  When I go to thrift stores or yard sales, I always look for frames. Sometimes I find canvas panels of different sizes, either clean and unused, or already painted on.  This panel I'm working on was already painted on, it was a painting of flowers.  It was not a very good painting.  So I just gessoed over it, and voila it was like a new large canvas panel that I paid a buck for.  I've been able to accumulate six canvas panels so far. Sometimes I find wooden plaques that would make good, sturdy bases for a piece of art.  So keep your eyes open for any kind of base that would work for an art piece.

And if any of you have any great tips for anything regarding making art, please leave that info in a comment.  I think tips are always fun and interesting to read, and it's great when I haven't heard them before.   Tips can really inspire me, and I could use some inspiration right now.  So how about sharing your own tips?  Please do!!!  You'd be doing me a favor.  I have the rest of the day to work on art.  Here's to hoping I find my way out of this quandary today.

One more tip.  If you like using lace in your art, look for lace tablecloths at thrift stores and yard sales.  I bagged a large, mint condition white tablecloth at a thrift store on sale for $2.00 a few weeks ago.  It's the thicker cotton lace, which I prefer.  And cotton lace can be dyed.  All lace can be painted.  The easiest and fastest way to paint it is to use spray paint.  Painting it with a brush can be slow and tedious.  I figure this large tablecloth will last me a good, long time.  I won't be running out of lace anytime soon, that's for sure.                                                                                                                         

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Health update and I love all you people out there

No new art to post this time, this is a short update on my health situation with my cancer.  This post is overdue, and I'm sorry it took me this long to keep you informed.  My first and only post about it was done on February 22nd, a long time ago.  Here's a link to that post in case you didn't read it.   This post is for those of you who visit my blog.  I posted an short update on my yahoo groups a few weeks ago.  I feel I should've kept you more informed, but it's not easy to write about.  And this is an art blog,  which I prefer to keep easy going and focused on art.

I just took a stroll through my blog, and read that post and then all of the 72 comments that were left for me.  I hadn't done that in quite a while, and I'm glad I did it tonight.  I love all of you, I really do.  Your love and concern and encouragement and thoughts and prayers and emails and comments and art works blow me away and have meant the world to me.  You all have been instrumental in, and played a big part in this journey I'm on.  You've convinced me beyond any doubt that I'm not going through this alone.  It does my heart good to know there is so much love and caring out there, from so many wonderful people whom I've never physically met.  So thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  All you guys ROCK!!!  Seriously!

I did get approved for Medicaid, and started treatment on April 26th.  Waiting those four months to get approval was a scary time indeed, realizing that the cancer could be spreading to any number of organs in my body.  I just prayed that wouldn't happen, and praise the Lord, it didn't happen.  He had my back on that, which was pretty darn important!  Thank you, Jesus.  I went to radiation Monday thru Friday, everyday, until June 16th, which was my last day of radiation.  Thank God for that.

 The radiation is cumulative, so it gets worse before it gets better.  Four weeks into it, I hit the brick wall, or fell into the abyss.  I was experiencing a number of bad side effects, at the same time, and was in pretty bad shape for the next month.  I was totally bedridden for two weeks, except for going to the hospital for treatment.  I had zero energy and could barely get around.  I ended up in the hospital for four days at that time.  

The bad side effects were no energy, dizziness, a foggy brain, diarrhea, intense abdominal pain, (the pain meds weren't working well yet, they were still tweaking the dosages), a right kidney infection, and bad radiation burns in the crotch area.  That was the worst side effect of all, as you can imagine.  It felt like a bad sunburn and the skin was even peeling.  I also experienced some depression and really had to struggle to stay in the fight and continue fighting.  That month was the worst time of all.  That's why I call it the abyss.  

And to make it so much harder was the fact that my brother, who was three years younger than me, he was 54, died of a massive stroke.  It was such an incredible shock to all of us, because he was of normal weight and active and appeared to be very healthy.  He died 10 days after he had the stroke, and was in a coma most of that time.  So I was trying to deal with the painful loss of my brother on top of all the other stuff.  Can you say ABYSS?  Or BLACK HOLE?  That's where I was at that time.

But I made it through.  The doctor gave me a week off from the radiation due to the bad burns, and that seemed to help a lot.  I started feeling better almost immediately.  Then I had only seven more treatments to go to finish my treatment plan.  The side effects started to clear up and I could see a light at the end of that tunnel, so the depression lifted.  

I was getting chemo once a week in addition to the radiation.  And my hair never did fall out, thank God.  I was supposed to be done with all treatment on June 16th, but my oncologist wanted me to do two more cycles of chemo with a different drug.  Two cycles meant four treatments in five weeks.  Two treatments, then a week off, then two more treatments.  So I had a treatment last Wednesday, and have three more to go.  The only side effect so far with this drug is a decrease in my energy.  Not as bad as it was during the abyss phase, but enough to definitely notice.  I learned that being bedridden is a real bummer and no fun at all.  It's BORING.

I'm up and around all day now, which is the way I like it.  But I start running out of gas in the afternoon, and have to remind myself not to overdo it.  I've been spending a lot of time on my computer.  A friend who helps me with computer problems took it home and cleaned off the hard drive, and now it's running almost like new.  It was so slow before it was driving me crazy, and was barely usable.  It takes time to get the computer back to where I want it, so that's what I've been working on.  I was able to save the important stuff onto my external hard drive.  

I have a strong desire to get back to making art, so strong it's consuming me.  I have the desire and am strong enough now to do it, but I need some inspiration and direction to go in.  Three of my siblings have all requested an art piece from me.  I can't seem to focus enough yet, or rather maybe it's my muse Bonita who isn't focusing.  It's easier to blame my muse, you know?  She's off on some fun exotic vacation and left me here to fight this cancer battle.  Shame on her.  Oh well, I'm certain one of these days, any day now, I will be creating some new art.

My oncologist told me two weeks ago, the last time I saw him, that I've responded very well to treatment and am doing well.  He said two more cycles of the chemo would give me a better chance.  I won't be tested for the results of treatment for three months after I finish.  So I still have some waiting to do.  I'll be believing and praying that the treatment will be a smashing success.  And I'd like to humbly ask all of you to pray and continue praying for me.   Prayer is very powerful!  

Once again, THANK YOU SO MUCH for your part in this journey of mine.  And thank you Jesus, for giving me your love, strength, comfort, and hope.  I do believe I'm going to win this battle.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Another Collaboration Piece

This is the second piece of my collaboration with my art friend Phyll.  This is my piece on which I made a background, seen in the first picture.  (I posted this background and explained how I did it on Dec. 12, 2009, here is the link.)  I sent it to Phyll to work on, and when I got it back, it looked like the second picture.  I was so, so  pleased -- it bowled me over.  She modeled the figure out of polyclay herself.  She covered a miniature trunk with the polyclay and then glued all of those beads inside it.  When I opened the box this piece was in, it took my breath away.  Truly it did.   I was just so impressed with her creativity and what she did to my piece.  Thanks so very much Phyll.  You did yourself proud!!!

I think the greatest thing about doing collaboration art like this is that the end result is such a surprise, and in my experience, far surpassed my expectations.  Phyll took this in a direction I never would've thought of, never would've gone.  I thought what she did was so interesting and so perfect for this background.  It's such a unique piece of art that we both took part in creating.  That makes it very special, at least to me it does.   I'm so grateful and fortunate to own this piece of art.  I plan on framing it soon and hanging it on my wall  

I think I will continue doing occasional collaboration work with other artists because I think it's fun, definitely challenging, and a very worthwhile experience.  I think it's one way, out of many, to grow as an artist.  It's also a great way to get to know another online artist better, in a more personal way.  It's been a pleasure getting to know Phyll better.  So, I definitely highly recommend doing this kind of collaboration.  Be bold and try something new, even out of your comfort zone.  I know you won't regret it!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Art -- A Collaboration

Yes indeed, this is another wonderful collaboration with my art friend Phyll. This is my third collab, and it's been awhile since I did the last one. I love doing collaborations, but it's a lot different and more challenging than making art alone. This one was especially challenging for me, because Phyll's background (the first picture) was made out of polymer clay and baked. She stamped into it with various items. The texture on it is so yummy.

I didn't quite know how to do my part due to the great texture on it. I love what she did, and considered it a stand-alone piece on its own. But I did have to finish it, and I was stumped as to what to do. I looked through some of my stashes and pulled out some things I thought would work on this piece, then I jumped in with both feet. This is not my typical art style, and I felt out of my comfort zone, because all I really did was glue on all these various pieces to embellish what Phyll had done. I loved her background and didn't want to cover up too much of it, I wanted it to shine through.

So, this is how it turned out, and I must admit I do like it a lot. I think it would look great in a nice frame, but that's up to Phyll. The work she did on my background is spectacular and I love it, but I haven't taken any pictures of it yet. When I do, I'll post that piece too.

I am so pleased to finally be able to post some new art. I felt so bad about neglecting my blog, but other than this, I didn't have any new art to post. When you're fighting cancer, other things become secondary. For me, that included art too.

I finished this over a month ago, but didn't get it sent to her until last week. I asked her to email me the pictures, since I hadn't taken any, so I could post it on my blog. The pictures came today, so here it is on my blog. I'm doing the happy dance.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Cardinal

Oh my goodness, I finally got some new art posted on my blog.  I can't tell you how pleased I am about that.  This piece was started last November and finished in December.  I posted the background only on my blog on November 28 (you can scroll down to see that).  This was made as a gift for my older brother who lives in Michigan, in a beautiful log cabin home.  I thought this was rustic enough to look great hung in his home.  He really liked it and hung it up right away.  In fact, he took this picture for me to post.

In a way, this is a collaborative piece of art, because I used a picture he took of the bird.  His property is 40 acres, and lots of birds make use of it.  He's a great photographer, so he has a lot of beautiful bird pictures.  He has them posted on an online Picasa photo album, which I have a link to on the right side of my blog, in case you'd like to view them.  They really are great pictures of beautiful birds.  

So anyway, I picked out this cardinal to feature in my art piece.  I thought it would be cool to feature his photography in this piece.  Thankfully he appreciated that idea.  I printed the bird onto a transparency sheet, then adhered it to a green paint chip, then rounded the corners. I outlined it with black permanent marker.  The long rusted piece was found in Kuwait by a friend of mine in the Navy Reserves when she was on active duty there.  The rusted piece had some holes punched into it (I don't know what it was originally), so I decided to weave some yarn through them, the same color as the cardinal.  Then I pulled some bark off a log, and glued a rusted skeleton key onto that.  I kept it very simple except for the background.  I explained how I did that in my post.  This is framed with a neat wooden frame I got at the thrift store, for half price no less.

I definitely wanted to post the finished art piece on my blog.  But I never got a picture taken.  Then it occurred to me that my brother could do that part better than I could.  Soooo, here it is, all finished and hanging on his wall.  And the first time I've posted art since January 1st.  It's about high time.  I'm very pleased with this piece, and thrilled that my brother likes it and that it's hanging in his home!!!

Addendum:  Update on my health situation.  I was supposed to hear on March 16 about the Medicaid, but unfortunately, no word came.  I can't tell you how sad, afraid, and angry I am over that.  It totally sucks!  I can't have treatment until I'm accepted for Medicaid, so unfortunately I'm still hanging in limbo, and trying hard to stay positive.  Not easy at all, at this point.  Thanks again for all the love and support, the cards and emails and gifts, and especially for the prayers.  Please keep praying.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Belated post -- not about art but about life

Yes, this is a long overdue post, for which I apologize.  However I think the reason justifies why I haven't posted in over six weeks.  Sadly, the news is not good, and has to do with my health.  On January 9th I was diagnosed with metastatic cervical cancer which had spread to the bladder.  I was admitted to the hospital on January 8th, and in my seven day stay, had two emergency surgeries, one to cauterize the bleeding and then one to perform right and left kidney nephrostomies.

I was not in good shape when I was released from the hospital.  I've spent the time since then trying to recover from the surgeries, and the news of my diagnosis.  Although I've had urges to make art, I simply haven't had the energy or stamina, and art has been put on the back burner for now.  I've never been through anything like this before, and am a total newbie at it.  I expect to get back to making art when I'm strong enough and the timing is right.

I know many of you may already know this news, because I made a short post about it on my yahoo groups a few weeks ago.  But many of you may not know, and I felt it was important to share this news with you.  As an UPDATE:  I am doing better, I am improving.  Progress is slow but is being made.  Right now I'm waiting to be accepted by Medicaid.  My file is in the pending status and hopefully will be approved any day.  Once that happens, I can begin 6 weeks of chemo and radiation.  Until that happens, I'm hanging in limbo regarding treatment -- not a good place to be in.

I have good days, bad days, and some really awful days.  As a newbie, I'm still learning how to deal with all of this.  I'm on narcotic pain killers, for which I'm grateful in the sense of how they help control the pain.  But I don't like the side effects at all.  They often mess up my mind to where I can't think straight or focus or concentrate, and make me so drowsy I keep falling asleep even when I want to be awake.  They also cause severe constipation, which I don't need right now.  In other words, they have many undesirable side effects, of which the ones I've mentioned are only a few.  This is the first time in my life I've ever taken narcotic medication for pain relief, and it's worse than I imagined.  But I need them so I take them.  My mind would work better without them, but the pain would be unbearable.

My family and friends, including online art friends, have been wonderful support to me.  I so appreciate that and thank all of you who've emailed me or sent me cards or art gifts.  It means a lot to me.  I especially appreciate prayers said for me, because I believe there is real power in prayer.  I am a Christian who believes in Jesus, and my faith and trust is in Him.  Yes, I am merely human, and often fall short when it comes to trusting God as I should, but I continue to try to the best of my ability.  I know that He knows every detail of what is going on in my life, and is able to meet my needs.  Perhaps not according to my own will, but according to His.  He has this under control and I am not alone.  I look to Him for comfort and strength, because I don't have the strength to walk this journey alone.  Thank you for reading this.

Val, who is in the fight of and for her life right now.  

Friday, January 1, 2010

It's Finished

Yes indeed, I got it done.  It's finished, all except for putting it into a frame.  I posted this background last week, on December 27, just below.  This was made for a friend of mine as a gift.  Actually, she requested it, and I was glad to oblige.  It will look much better in a frame, but I wanted to scan it rather than take a digital picture, and get it posted, so you can see how it progressed.  I'm happy with how it turned out, and love the background.  I'm really glad I started experimenting with this simple technic, which I explained in some posts below.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Another step in the right direction

Oh my goodness, how time flies.  Well then again, it is the Christmas season, when time is at a premium and we're all busier than normal.  This is my latest art piece, another background similar to my last two posts.  Since I explained the others in detail, I won't do that on this one.  I pretty much used the same supplies and technics.  I must admit though, I do love using the torn National Geographic pages to create these backgrounds.  It's such a quick, easy, and cheap way to at least start a new piece of art, to get something down on the base, and then go from there.  It inspires me enough at first to keep on going and adding more layers, to where I feel I'm accomplishing something and actually creating some new art.  No pain, no angst, no fear of ruining it.  This technic is a "new discovery" for me, and has helped me a lot in taking baby steps out of my prolonged art slump.  In my case, going back to a very easy and simple technic to start with, kind of like going back to the basics, has helped me overcome certain fears and artist block to actually get back to creating some new art.  And for me, right now, that's good enough for me!

Even though this is a background, I have further plans for it, and will hopefully work on it more today, and if I'm lucky, even finish it.  I'm making this piece as a gift for friend, which to me always makes it more special and enjoyable.  And when I do finish this piece, and get around to taking a scan or photo of it, I'll post the end result.  But right now, I'm just happy to post it as a background, and as a piece of new art.  Because at least it causes me to know I'm going in the right direction, however small my baby steps are.

So I hope you enjoy this piece, and that all of you out there had a wonderful, blessed Christmas.  I had a wonderful Christmas, which I'm grateful for.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Some more new art...and a bit further out of the abyss

My oh my, another new art piece.  And I'm very pleased I got this done today in a few hours.  And that it was easy and spontaneous, and mostly playing around.  And I didn't even "plan" to make art today, I just decided I wanted to, on a whim (and a prayer).  This is another background piece, but could stand on it's own I think.  Lots of yummy layers, but I wasn't thinking layers or focusing on that when I made it.  Why?  Well because when I focus on "layers", and think about it, it kinda freaks me out and ruins the spontaneity.  I'm also very pleased that I did some stamping on this, which I don't do often enough.  And also used a stencil, with some new semi-transparent paint.

The base is an 8x10 inch piece of thick chip board.  (Well, I have lots of that since I bought 75 pieces off ebay a while back, so I might as well use it.)  And I glued down torn pieces of National Geographic pages, then sanded them, then used an awl to etch over them in order to distress the piece.  Then rubbed over it with brown paste shoe polish and Golden Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold fluid acrylic.  A new product for me, and one I'm very much in love with.  Then I glued down some strips of netted fabric, and used a triple tip paintbrush to paint the black lines.  I also used a toilet paper cardboard core to stamp the large circles.  And then a foam stamp for the numbers, and a stencil for the hearts.

Gee, layering isn't so hard or intimidating.... as long as I don't think about it or focus on it.  I seem to be into torn NG pages at the moment, but hey, if it works, why not?  I have lots of NG mags, so I might as well use them.  But I'm thinking torn pages from other mags could work too.

Am I out of the abyss yet?  Well, probably not, but at least I'm headed in the right direction.  At any rate, I'm pleased with this piece and thrilled I have some new art to post.  And truthfully, after the week I've had, that's good enough for me.

Over and out for now.  Onward and upward.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Out of the Abyss --One Small Victory

Yes indeed, I consider this one small victory, because I actually got it together to make some NEW art.  New art is the key here.  I've been in such a depressing and extended art slump, I consider making any new art at this point a victory.  And hopefully, (fingers crossed) my first small step out of the abyss, the extended art slump, dry time, dark time I've been in.  Well, every artist is different and an individual, and deals with art slumps in different ways.  Many artists have written on this subject on their blogs and in books, regarding how to get out of an art slump.  And that is a very good thing indeed, and is very helpful to many artists in this situation.  Sometimes what other's have written has helped me, other times....not so much.  This time around, trying to muster up motivation and inspiration at the same time has been my biggest challenge.  At times, I've had motivation, but no inspiration.  At other times I've had inspiration but no motivation.  And for me, I need the two together, and that just wasn't happening.

Do I know why?  No, and that was part of my frustration.  But I don't think the "why" is that important anyway.  Right now, I don't care about the why.  What I care about is that I sat down and created some new art last weekend, and that finally motivation and inspiration came together at the same time.  And so this is the result, a background made for an art piece I'm still working on.  Which I'm excited about, and hope to finish within the next few days.  When I get it finished, I'll post it.  But today, I'm posting this background, because I really like it, and it's kind of a new technic for me.  One I've never done before in this way.

Many months ago, at my local book arts meeting, we played with a similar technic.  We tore strips of National Geographic pages, and strips of wide masking tape, and alternated those on a base for a background.  They turned out very cool and I liked that technic, although I don't know where it originated from.  This time around, I decided to just use torn strips of NG pages, to see how that would come out.

I used gel medium to glue them down on an 8x10 piece of thick chip board.  After they dried I  sanded the piece and etched into it with a very sharp awl to distress it.  Then I rubbed brown paste shoe polish over it to kind of antique it and give it more depth.  Then I used my finger to rub Golden's Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold fluid acrylic paint over parts of it.  I totally love that color, and it's the first time I've used it in my art.  Some members of my art group suggested I buy some, and I'm glad they did.  Then I brushed over the whole piece with a thick layer of gel medium to get more, yet subtle, texture.  And rubbed over that with brown paste shoe polish and also some gold waxy stuff to give it gold highlights.  Then I sealed it with Future Floor Finish (FFF) which gives a glossy finish.  While it was still wet, I flicked Pearl Ex Pigment Powders on it, in Aztec Gold and Spring Green.  I do love those Pearl Ex powders.  After the FFF dried, I sprayed the piece with hairspray to seal the Pearl Ex, and then sealed it again with FFF.

So that's how this background was made.  Not difficult at all.  NG pages are great for this, although pages from other magazines might work as well.  I think this is a great, easy technic for the first layer of a layered collage.  It gets you past a blank base and into the mindset of layering.  Beyond that it makes a great background for any kind of art, collage or whatever.  It can be distressed or rubbed with different paint colors, or glaze colors, or shoe polish, or metallic waxy colors....or whatever comes to mind.  I think it's an easy technic that opens the door to all kinds of inspiration and experimentation.  And gee, if you should screw it up or not like it, it can be glued over or painted over or tossed, no great loss.

In closing here, I'm just so grateful and relieved to have made some new art, and to have a plan for how I want to finish it.  True, this is a small step, but at least a step in the right direction.  And that's more than I was doing before, for too long.  So for me, it's a positive step back into the world of being an artist, and a step out of the abyss.  And one small victory for sure.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Another page from my Melange book

Okay, so here's the deal, the bottom line, in brutal honesty.  I'm still trying to find my way out of my extended art slump, and just not sure how to do that, or when it might happen.  I keep hoping and praying it will happen soon, but who knows?  It could happen today, tomorrow, or beyond that.  I dread thinking of the "beyond that".  I feel certain I will find my way out sooner or later, and that even yes, there is a reason for it, one I don't understand.  I'm not "okay" with it, especially concerning my blog.  But then again, learning to be "okay" with it might be the best approach and help me out in the long run.  I'm not sure where true inspiration and motivation come from, it seems to be rather mysterious to me.  If I could just produce it on command, that would be so great.  However, sad to say, I haven't figured out just how to do that.  If I ever do, I'll be sure and let you know.

This is another spread in my cherished Melange Book.  I definitely love the right page more, because I'm a nut for using rusted found objects in my art.  And I have a great stash of RFOs, one that might be the envy of many, most scavenged from my local truck stop parking lot.  So there's a tip for you.  The background on this page is wallboard joint compound.  I think I also used some walnut ink crystals misted with water.  The snake and centipede were added last, kind of as an afterthought, but I like them, even though they are kind of creepy.  I also used fabric threads and cheese cloth.

I'm wondering, how many of you out there use rusted found objects in your art?  And if you do, where do find them?  Do you get excited when you find I do?  And are we crazy to get excited about a rusted object we might find?  Most sane people would say yes, and not understand at all.  But hey, with us artists, it's mostly a "given" that we understand quite well.  It has to do with the heart of an artist, in my humble opinion.  And with something found unexpectedly that can be used in our art.  And with recycling something in a creative, positive way that would normally be thrown in the trash.  And with the nature aspect of it, of nature causing and creating the rust.  And with the rich color and texture, that is hard to replicate any other way.  These are the reasons I love rusted found objects and love using them in my art.  If any of you have anything to add to this discussion, please do so.  I'd love to hear what you have to say about rusted found objects.  I think it's a subject well worth discussing.

So anyway, here is my latest post on my blog.  And I'm happy to post this for the first time.  And if it stirs up a discussion on RFO's, that's great and would do my heart good.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Spread in my Melange Book

This is a spread I did in my Melange Book, probably my most favorite handmade book of mine.  It was a project done in my local book arts group a while back.  Well, more than a while.  It was a very challenging project....but also loads of fun.  I never would've created this book if it hadn't been a group project, and I'm so grateful it was, because it totally motivated me to do this and get it finished.  It was a group project, but we each created our own books.  Oftentimes, I need that kind of motivation.  And also the help and support that was so generously provided by other members of our super-great local group!!!  I'm oh so fortunate and grateful that we have such a fantastic book arts/altered art group in my area, the Denver metro area, and that I've been a member for over five years.  Our group is still going strong, and I hope it always will.  And I only wish that all of you artists out there could have a group like this in your area.

The left page is a fabric page of painted muslin, with lace, ribbon, rick-rack, and buttons glued down, and frayed along the edges.  The right page has cool scrapbook paper as the background.  The lower part is a pocket of fine copper mesh, with an altered CD inserted.  I glued down four rusted bottle caps....I always love rusted found objects, that's for sure.  The fiber is eyelash yarn (at least I think that's what it's called).  

To be honest, I'm going through a difficult time in my life right now, and so making art has kind of been relegated to the back burner.  I've been in an extended art slump, which has been quite frustrating and bewildering.  But beyond that, I'm dealing with some painful family issues/realities, that have really knocked the air out of me.  Sometimes, reality really BITES as I'm sure all of you can relate to and understand.  However, I want to keep my blog current, because it's important to me to do so.  There are a lot of things in life I don't have control over, but I do have control over my blog.  And it helps me to keep it going and current, or as much as I'm able to.  I know this too, shall pass, and better days are up ahead, but for now, I'm rather down under.  So please bear with me on this.  Thank you. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Muse Bonita

Hmmm, this looks rather different for my type of art.  And yet, yes indeed, this is my art.  That's a bit surprising, even to me.  Because this was made five years ago, and just months after my jump into altering books.  I think that part amazes me the most, that I created this just months into knowing anything about altered art and altered books.  I've never posted this on my blog, so I thought now would be a good time to do so.  Because this is one of my favorite AB spreads that I had mostly forgotten about.  And to be honest, also because I have no new art to post, and yet I want to make a post on my blog today.  

Long story short, I've been in an extended "dry period",  "art slump",  or whatever one calls it.  Which I'm not pleased about, but it is what it is and I'm trying to work through it.  However, there is still the issue of my blog, which is very important to me.  And it's been too long since I posted some art.  I'd much prefer to post some new, recent art, but that ain't happening right now, so I think posting some art, even though it's not new, is better than not posting at all.  Regarding how "old" art might be received, I have no idea.

When I first got into altered art, back in the spring of 2004, I was very into altered books.  So this is a spread in an AB, a still unfinished AB, a work in progress.  At least that's what I keep telling myself, but it hasn't progressed much in several years.  And I'm not even sure I'll ever finish it, but I figure hey, at least I got a great start on it.

Regarding this spread, I love the color purple, and wanted to express how I pictured my muse, so I think I went no holds barred.  I like that about this spread....and gee, just wish I could approach my art that same way all the time.  I won't go into detail about how I made this, except to hit on a few things.  The image of Bonita was from a rubbing plate.  The background under the image is sequined fabric.  The headdress and earrings are real, costume jewelry glued down.  I also used game pieces and some of the stamps were hand made with a wood burning tool on erasers.  I used an embroidery chain stitch around the edge of the right page.  I used a lot of technics and embellishments on this spread.  I hope you like it. 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bones -- Halloween/Autumn Collage

Ahhh yes, skeletal bones.  And a fine looking skeleton it is.  It started out lavender, the color it came in the package.  Which was cool, but not the color I needed for this piece.  So I painted it with Lumiere Gold and then rubbed black over it, then sealed it with Future Floor Finish (FFF).  Regarding the second photo, I once again played around with the fish eye lens on my photo editor just to see what it would look like.  I like the way it looks.

Let me back up a bit here.  This is an 8x10 inch piece of chip board.  I had an unopened package of multiple colors of Mulberry Papers, so I decided to finally use some.  I glued down an orange sheet with Mod Podge, and then glued down a piece of very red lace on top of  that.  I was going to go with that as my background, but I felt the lace was too red so I glued down another sheet of orange mulberry paper on top of the lace, and liked that result much better because it toned down the red lace and gave me the colors I wanted. I really like how the orange fibers in the mulberry paper show up so well.  I sealed the background with FFF also.

The orange piece is obviously a large paint chip from Lowe's.  I considered distressing it first, by sanding it and then etching in it with a sharp awl, but chose not to.  I did however brush over it thickly in all directions with gel medium in order to give it some subtle texture.  When dry, I rubbed paste brown shoe polish over it.  Well, before I textured it, I used my trusty Hot Stamps tool with my number set and burned in the numbers.  I did the same thing with my alphabet set for the word "Bones".  I do love my Hot Stamps tool, but haven't used it in quite some time.  It's one more great tool I should use more often than I do.  It works quite well on paint chips I discovered this time around.  It's always good to learn something new.

The spiders came in a package of Halloween confetti, and worked out great for this piece.  The paint chip came with the square windows in it, so it only made sense to glue the spiders there.  I had the transparent round pieces for years and never used them until now.  It's a miracle I even remembered I had them.  

The long fiber piece is an orange chenille pipe cleaner wrapped with the orange fiber specialty yarn.  Not my idea, but a great one.  This idea, and many more easy and innovative ideas for very cool embellishments are featured in Sherill Kahn's book, CREATIVE  EMBELLISHMENTS.  It's one of my favorite books ever, a must have for my own library.

The leaves were picked up off my driveway yesterday, not long after they fell off the tree.  I immediately preserved them by sealing them with gel medium on both sides, then put them in a book to flatten them out for a few hours.  I like them a lot on this piece, but am not sure if the color works well.  I would've preferred for them to be more orange, whereas they're kind of inbetween green and orange.  I don't even know what color to call them.  Maybe I'm crazy here, but it occurred to me I could paint them red/burgundy, and maybe even get crazier still and paint orange polka dots on them.  I mean hey, this is not exactly a serious art piece, right?  It already looks kinda funky, so why not expand on the funkiness with crazy painted leaves?  That thought is still tickling my fancy, but I'm a little afraid to try in, what if it screws up the whole piece?  So I'd really like your opinions on this idea.  Do you like the leaves the way they are, or should I get crazy and paint them?  I'd really appreciate your input, because I still haven't made up my mind on this idea.  Thanks for any input.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ebony and Ivory -- textured caulk abstract

This is a piece I made recently.  One I really like and am proud of.  I didn't post it on my blog because I planned to enter it into a juried open show at a local art gallery.  I've never done that before, so I was excited about it....but also a bit fearful about how it would feel if this piece didn't get juried into the show.  I had no idea what to expect, although I was hopeful.  Sad to say, it did not get juried in, which I must admit hurt and wounded my art ego.  I was sad and upset for that day, after I got the email.  Well, for more than that day, to be honest.  But after a few days, I got over it and am okay now.  The theme of the show was "Abstract", which I felt was right up my alley.  So I made this piece especially for the show.  

There was only one juror, who has his own art gallery, which mostly features abstract art.  I wasn't able to find out why this piece was rejected, but the lady who was at the gallery when I went to pick it up, who's also an artist although she didn't enter the show, gave me some feedback.  She said she really liked this piece, but that perhaps it should've been framed, to give it a more professional look.  And that makes sense to me, although even if  it had been framed, who knows if it would've been accepted?  But I'm sure it would've looked better and more professional if I'd had it framed.

I used a cabinet card for the base of my art, and glued it onto a 12x16 inch canvas board.  Silly me, I thought that would be professional enough.  I mean hey, at least I didn't use frozen pizza box or chipboard, which I most often use.  But when it comes to submitting art to a real art gallery, I'm a total newbie and novice.  Hopefully I learned my lesson on that.

Anyway, I mounted the cabinet card vertically, which I thought was interesting and different.  On the top part, I spread a layer of caulk and impressed into it with a foam circle stamp, a soda bottle lid, a drinking straw, and the end of a paint brush.  I also used a circle cut out of a vinyl rug runner, that has swirls on one side of it.  My main theme was circles, which I've done a number of times before. My initial intention was to make this a black and white piece, so once the caulk dried I painted over it with black acrylic paint.  I planned to rub over that with white acrylic paint, but then the idea came to me to use metallic pearl white instead of regular white.  So I did that, and was rather surprised that it ended up looking more like silver than white.  At first that bothered me, but then I came to like it, so I left it that way.

On the bottom part I used micro beads in gel medium on the frame part for a different texture, and painted over it with black.  I used a sample piece of fabric wallpaper, with the white lines, inside the frame.  Then I found the cool twig in my yard, which was the perfect size to fit inside the frame.  I painted it black, then rubbed the metallic pearl over it with my finger.  Then I made a caulk circle (on frozen pizza box) with my vinyl rug runner stamp.  And painted it black and rubbed on the metallic pearl.

I wrapped thick black quilting thread around the canvas board before gluing down the cabinet card, to repeat the lines in the frame.  (That idea was suggested to me by someone in my local art group, Terry.  Thank you Terry, I think it was a great idea.)  Then I painted some flat, round wooden beads black, and glued those on to repeat the circle theme.

So that's how this piece came together.  I'm sad that it didn't get accepted into the show, but even so, I really like this piece a lot.  And yes, I think it would look better and more professional if I had it framed, which I may do at some point.  Right now, the cost of doing that is a problem, but it would look better and more finished if I had it framed.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Linearity -- Caulk Squares and Rectangles

This is a new work, and a bit different for me, at least in some ways.  This piece is 4 x 9 inches, a size I've never worked on before.  The base is frozen pizza cardboard (FPC), nothing new there.   I've been using circles in my art for some time now, because I really love them.  But recently I've been inspired to play around with using squares and rectangles, with caulk applied with a small palette knife.  It was harder to make them that way than I expected, because it was the first time I tried it.  Hopefully, if I try it again I'll get better with some practice.

On this piece, I sanded the image side of the FPC and then covered it with white gesso.  Then glued down the netted fabric, then painted over it with Liquitex Majenta acrylic paint.  After that dried, I rubbed Liquitex Cadmium Yellow over it with my finger.  This is a color combination I love and have used at times.  Although the magenta looks more like a burgundy to me, and not true magenta at all.  I love burgundy and yellow used together.  

After that, I applied white acrylic caulk with a small palette knife.  I thought that part would be easy, but I was wrong.  It was rather difficult and required a lot of patience.  Once the caulk dried, I painted it with different shades of orange, then rubbed contrasting colors over the squares and rectangles with my finger to highlight the texture.

I liked it at that point, but felt it needed more and wasn't finished.  So I picked up the stems off my driveway and glued those down, then rubbed brown shoe polish over them.  And then pulled out my stash of skeleton leaves and found just the right size for this piece.  I didn't initially intend for this to end up being a nature piece, and yet it sort of is -- at least partially.  My squares and rectangles are far from perfect....but that's okay.  I kind of like them that way.  

If I do this again, I think I might try adding the paint directly into the caulk and mixing it in before applying it to the piece.  Just a thought anyway.  Or perhaps diluting the caulk a bit and see what happens with that.  Or maybe applying the caulk with a paintbrush instead of a palette knife.

So anyway, that's what I did on this piece.  I kind of like this size and format, at least for the linear effect.  It's nice to play around with new ideas.  Where they might lead....I have no idea!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Seed Flower -- Layered Nature Piece

I'm so glad I have some new art to post.  I mean very, very glad, since I haven't been making much new art in a while.  This is a small piece, a 5x5 inch art squared piece.  For a long time, that was the main format size I worked on and I was very comfortable with that.  Then I chose to start working on larger formats, which I enjoyed also.  And I must admit, it's a bit hard to come back to this smaller size, but it's a good thing, IMO, not to get too attached to any one size or format.  You know -- keep your options open, right?

The base on this is frozen pizza cardboard (FPC), which I used so often in the past, but then lately worked more on chip board.  Well, I still have a great stash of FPC, and I'm glad I do.  It works quite well for smaller pieces.  I glued down some patterned sepia wallpaper from a sample book, and then etched random lines over it with a sharp awl, then rubbed over it with paste brown shoe polish.  Then I glued down some fine lace fabric over that, and rubbed it with the shoe polish.  Then I pulled a small textured fabric piece, from another sample book, and started fraying it to produce some nice fringe.  The threads were thick and great for some more texture, so I glued some down, then glued the fringe down.

On top of that I glued down the seed fronds from my yard.  For living in metro Denver, I'm happy to find great nature items in my yard.  One wouldn't necessarily expect that, living in a big city, but I do often find great items for art just in my own yard if I take the time to go looking for them.  I encourage you out there to try that too, and see what great finds are in your yards.   Then I sealed this with Acrylic Floor Finish (AFF) from the Family Dollar store, which gives a matte/satin finish, and flicked on Aztec Gold Pearl Ex while it was still wet. 

Then I raided my rusted found object stash for the rusted washer.  Oh my, I love my RFO stash for sure.  And also my stash of old vintage keys.  I think this rusted key is very cool.  I have no idea what kind of key it is or what it might open, but the small size was just right for this piece.  The seeds for the flower are squash seeds, which I always wash and save for my art.  The other seeds are smaller seeds from cantaloupe I think.  I pretty much save all seed for my art, never knowing when I'll want to use them.

I thought this piece was done at this point, but then I spotted a piece of netted fabric on my work table, and chose to add that at the very end.  I'm not sure if it helps or hinders the piece, because sometimes I don't know when to stop.  Then again, it adds more texture, a different kind of texture, so I think I'm glad I added that piece.  At any rate, I did, so it is what it is.

As with a lot of my art, I didn't plan this out at all.  The interesting thing to me is that this piece ended up being so layered, and yet I wasn't all that aware of layering while I was making it.  I was just playing around, adding this, adding that.  When I actually THINK about layering in my art, or plan it, then I get very nervous and choke up about it.  As in fearing how much to layer, and covering things up.  Whereas if it just happens innately, and comes natural as it did in this piece, without me thinking about it....I'm so much more okay with that.  It's like I don't realize how much layering I've done until the piece is finished, and then I stand back and think wow, did I do all that layering?  Ahhh, if making art could always be innate and natural,  just playing around and having fun and not THINKING about it.  Those times are when I enjoy making art the most!!!  Do you agree with your own art?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Am Woman (another funky artdoll)

I am woman, indeed!  It amuses me to view this piece of art I made a few years ago.  I seem to be in the mood to revisit some of my older art that was done before I started my blog, that has never been posted on it, and post it now.  Well, I admit that I haven't been posting nearly as often or consistently this year as I did last year.  In a way, I'm disappointed in myself for that, but in another way, I'm okay with that.  Life happens, it ebbs and flows, that's just the way it works.  I haven't been making a lot of new art lately, but would still like to post on my blog and keep it interesting.  Hence, for now, I'm posting some older art of mine.

Regarding this piece, I think it was one of my first ventures into using found objects in my art.  The frame was found at a yard sale, and was the kind that had no glass over the picture of flowers.  I liked that part, because I knew I could use it for art.  So I used some Paper Perfect by DecoArt painted over the picture.  It's very cool stuff, described as paint that creates the look of handmade paper.  It looks and feels like wet paper pulp in a jar.  I'm not sure if it's still manufactured or for sale, but I bought two jars at Joann's when they were on sale and being discontinued.  I still have them, and they are still good, the pulp is still moist.  That is rather surprising, and I should use them again before they dry up.  Anyway, I painted that over the picture for some interesting texture, then painted over that with acrylic paint.

The head is another painted papercast that I made.  For some reason, the expression looks rather angry and belligerent, which isn't the case with the actual mold.  I'm not sure at all why it came out looking that way, but it did.  Maybe it was the painting that gave it that look.  Or maybe gluing crystals into the eyes.  Then again, the stance, with hands on hips, adds to that impression.  It brings to my mind the anger of so-called "feminists" of the 70's, which was not my intent in this piece, but hey, I guess I'll go with that.  I find that rather comedic, and laugh about it.  This may have been a more conventional, attractive piece if I'd used an attractive face....but it is what it is.

I used rusted found objects (scavenged from my local truck stop parking lot) for the torso, arms, and legs.  And lace for the skirt, beads for the hands, and buttons for the feet.  That's a dangle earring on the front of the body.  Surrounding the woman (or rather artdoll) are pieces of a chain mail necklace and earring set found at a yard sale.  And last but not least is the poodle, Pierre, on the right lower side, a pin found in my vintage jewelry stash.  I used gold glitter glue around the edges of the picture.

I do love artdolls, and the idea of making them, but have made only a few so far.  But this theme is coming up for me lately, so perhaps my muse is trying to tell me something???  I really don't know.  I'm not always that clued in on what my muse is up to, ya know?  I guess only time will tell.  What I do know is that I love using found objects in my art, and that includes jewelry.  I have an interesting stash of old and not so old jewelry I haven't looked through in a while.  Who knows, that could be a start for inspiration.  Inspiration can be anywhere and everywhere, hiding or right out there in plain sight.  Here's to inspiration, any which way you can find it!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Funky Artdoll -- Puzzle Art

Oh my goodness, I almost forgot I made this.  I was browsing through my past art, and saw this piece, and decided to post it on my blog.  I made this over three years ago.  A fine lady and artist in our local art group was involved in an Puzzle RR, and her theme was Artdolls.  However, she had a few puzzle pieces left over and asked for volunteers to help her finish her puzzle.  So I jumped in and volunteered, although I'd never worked on a puzzle piece before, nor made an artdoll.  So all of this was new to me, but it presented a challenge I relished.

This is what I came up with.  The background was "grunge paper" we'd made in our art group at one of our meetings.  Totally love that grunge technic, which is in my labels on my blog.  The face on this was a paper cast I had made, and I just painted it and used crystals for the eyes.  The arms and legs were made from felt wrapped around a wooden skewer and zapped with a heat gun to melt it, as far as I can recall.  I'm a bit foggy on that technic.  I used beads from a dismanteled necklace for the hands, and rusted found objects for the torso and feet.

Gee, now that I've revisited this piece, I really like it.  Well, the idea of wild artdolls excites me, but I've only made three.  So maybe I should revisit that idea and theme???  Ahhhh, there are so many themes and choices out there for art -- it gets to be a bit overwhelming, does it not my dear artist friends?  Perhaps accidentally stumbling on this piece of art I made years ago can inspire me now to make another artdoll.  Well, God knows I could sure use some inspiration about now.  Who knows?  Will I act on this, or file it away for a future time?

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this piece.  And if inspires you, or gives you some ideas, so much the better.  Perhaps sometimes visiting old art can be a good thing, a catalyst for renewal and new art.

Addendum:  Some people have asked about the size of this piece.  I don't still have this piece, because I made it for another artist.  So I'll have to guess about the size.  My guess is it's approximately 5-6 inches wide and 5-6 inches tall.  My particular piece to work on was more like a square, but of course not all the puzzle pieces were like that.  So, this was a large puzzle piece puzzle that was used for her Round Robin.  I'm not sure where these large puzzles can be purchased, but they're out there.  And probably also online.  And maybe at some thrift stores and yard sales.  I hope this helps.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Another piece of Nature Art

;Ahhh yes, another piece of nature art.  I love making nature art, and keep coming back to it often.  Why, I'm not totally sure....except that it's so, well, natural.  I think when I do nature art, I go into a different art zone, a free and easy art zone, with no pain or angst or planning.  It just kind of happens easily and spontaneously.  Beyond that, which is totally great, I can pick up nature items from my yard and use them in my art.  As in, gee, I don't have to make a run to Hobby Lobby or Joann's and buy something to use in my art.  Now, don't get me wrong -- I love buying art tools and supplies, when I'm in the mood to do so.  But I think I love even more using nature items, or natural items found outdoors, to use in my art.

I made this piece a few weeks ago.  I was in the mood to make art, but had no clue what I wanted to make.  So I took a stroll through my yard, and picked up the leaf and the seed items.  I don't know what to call them, but found them in my yard.  And thought great, I like these, I'm going to use them in my art.  Then I pulled out a piece of chip board, and got busy on this piece.

I also used fabric and threads that were on my work table, just because they were there.    I guess I made this piece because I wanted to make some art, felt the need to make some art, and for no other reason.  I had no plan, and wanted to keep it simple and easy.  I also chose to use a cool stencil I bought online, of various sized circles.  I just love that stencil, and I love using circles in my art.  I frosted over it with caulk, which I also love to use in my art.  It's so simple and easy to do that, and yet it creates great texture.  And I'm always about texture in my art.  Sometimes I think that's my main focus, above and beyond anything else.  I hope I don't overdo it, but I can't seem to help myself, when it comes to texture.

I mostly just glued various things down on this piece.  And the key  -- I love the key -- was a last minute thing -- I added it last.  I was on a vintage key quest for several months, wanting the old regular keys, the old unique flat keys, the old skeleton keys, and if they were rusted, the better.  So I bid on a number of ebay key lot auctions.  I learned that buying old key lots on ebay isn't cheap, and isn't easy to win.  I lost a lot of them, but also won a few of them.  And now, I have a fantastic stash of old vintage keys.  I mean now, I have over 100 of them, maybe over 200 of them, I lost count.  I've used them in my art before, on a number of pieces.  And then kind of forgot I had them, like duh!  So I remembered them when I made this piece, and chose to add one.

So anyway, this is what I ended up with, and I'm happy with it.  And I'm wondering, regarding art, what do YOU love making the most???  Do you have a special theme, dear to your heart, that you love making?  A theme you may keep coming back to, time and time again?  Do you love it when you make art spontaneously, with no real plan, or do you prefer to plan your art and stick to the plan?  And what is easier and more comfortable for you -- spontaneous art or planned art?  What kind of art causes you fear, pain, or angst, and what comes so naturally?  For me spontaneous unplanned art seems to come the easiest, and allow me the most enjoyment.  So what say all you artists out there?  Please chime in.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Citra-Solv Transfer Technic

These are some pages I made at my local book arts group meeting last Saturday.  Pretty cool eh?  Well I at least I think so.  We played around with this technic, which is new to me.  One of our members had tried it, and we loved the results she got, so she offered to teach it to the rest of us.  Regarding the technic itself, I don't know who first developed it or I'd give them credit.  Nor do I know how long this technic has been out there on the net, or in art books.  And of course, I'm not the first person who has put it on their blog.  I googled this technic, and found some others bloggers who've posted about it.  And chances are, other people have modified this technic in various ways, which often happens since artists are innately very creative people.

That being said, I'm thrilled with the results I got.  Here is what we did at our meeting.  We used National Geographic magazines, published within the past 10 years.  Not sure why that matters, but apparently it does.  We used large sponge brushes to spread the Citra-Solve over various pages in our NG mags.  The best pages to use are those with color pictures, and you have to spread the CS over both sides of the page.  Then we let the saturated mags sit for approximately 30 minutes.  The CS needs time to work its magic, but if left too long, the pages stick together.  After 30 minutes, we disassembled the mags to let each page dry.  Some people had to use a craft knife to cut their pages out, but all my pages pulled out very easily.  I don't know why that worked for me, perhaps I used more CS on my pages and it dissolved the glue holding the pages together.  

At our meeting, we did this technic outdoor on a table, because the smell of the CS is quite strong.  It has a powerful orange smell.  I had to leave the meeting early, so I brought my mag home intact and disassembled it on my picnic table on the patio.  I'm also lucky enough to have a clothesline in my yard, so I hung the pages up to dry, which took around 10 minutes.  Also, there are a number of Citra-Solv products, which are natural cleaning agents.  For this technic, you need to use the concentrated CS, which can be bought at natural food markets.  Apparently it's not available at regular grocery stores.  I'm not sure how much it costs, they have different size bottles.  I did go to the company website, and if you register, you can print a coupon for $1.00 off the product.

I don't know much about this technic, except for what we did at our meeting.  I think googling this might give you more information from different blogs.  Who knows, there might even be some youtube videos about it.  As for me, all I did was spread the CS on the color pages of my NG mag, wait a while, and then disassemble the mag, then hang the pages up to dry.  Obviously not a complicated technic, although rather messy with the disassembling part.

My take on this technic is that it's totally unpredictable and rather hit or miss, regarding how your pages will come out.  Some came out great, others were not great at all.  But hey, it's kind of cool regarding the serendipity of this technic.  Beyond that, it's not difficult or too time intensive or too expensive.  A bottle of CS should go a long way.

I'm wondering if any other product would work, or work in a different way???  Such as WD-40 perhaps, which I recently learned is non-toxic and made from -- get this -- fish oil!  As in, who knew?  Or perhaps Amor-All protectant?  I'm always game to try industrial products in my art, products purposed for a totally different purpose.  Hopefully when I have time, I can experiment with these other products.

So anyway, is anyone game in trying this technic?  Or modifying it or "altering" it, or whatever?