Monday, December 29, 2008

Winter in Color and Texture


Oh my gosh, I'm so pleased with this piece and how it turned out. Actually more than pleased....I'm somewhat shocked that this came from me, and that I made it. More so knowing that it was a very easy, simple piece to make. I don't know, perhaps sometimes the simplest pieces of art can turn out the best. I've never been a big believer in "less is more" with my art, but now I'm inclined to believe that can be true in some cases.

This is a piece I made two days ago. In the span of a few hours. No pain, no angst, no false starts. And no, I didn't fly by the seat of my pants on this one. This one was planned ahead of time for entry into an art contest on a cool art website I signed up on recently. The theme of this particular contest is "Let it Snow". I looked at all the entries so far just to get an idea of what was being entered, and discovered the theme is wide open in how it can be interpreted. I was happy to learn that. So I knew I wanted to enter this online contest, and just sat back and let some ideas percolate in my mind for a few days until I had an idea I could start with.

I thought well, I should have some white in this piece, but it doesn't have to be all white or only white. It mainly has to evoke the idea of winter in some way. Then I thought, what evokes winter but bare trees? Trees with no leaves on them. So I cut some twigs off a tree in my yard. Then I thought I should paint them white. Regarding the background, I thought of using caulk, since it's white to start with, and I wanted lots of texture on this piece. (Well like duh....when do I not want lots of texture in my art?)

I always get excited when I use caulk in my art. It's one of my favorite media to use. So I spread wonderful caulk over this 5x7 inch piece with abandon. The base here is chip board. I used a vintage butter knife (with no serrations) to spread the caulk to get the kind of texture I wanted. That was easy enough and only took a few minutes to accomplish. The hard part was waiting for the caulk to dry, which I helped along with my hair dryer. I waited a few hours, and then proceeded.

Then I thought about painting it, and the colors I wanted to use. My first thought was using blue (acrylic) paint, because to me, blue is a winter color. Then it occurred to me to dilute the paint with water, to make it thin enough to run over the textured caulk in a totally random manner. It was fun to watch it run down this piece, to see the effect of randomness. I liked the way it looked with just the blue and white at that point. I had some cheese cloth dyed blue, so I glued that over the piece on which the twigs are glued. After I glued down the cheese cloth, I painted Matte Mod Podge on and sprinkled with very, very fine purple glitter. I wanted even more texture on the base piece, so I glued down some white and blue synthetic fibers I had. They were in a package I had bought a long time ago, and totally forgot about, but happened upon for this piece.

I liked it, but felt it needed another color, and purple is one of my favorite colors. I also felt it needed more white, but chose to use metallic platinum instead, and also metallic purple. I diluted those with glaze, and once again let them run down the piece. With the fibers on there, the diluted paint ran even more randomly. Then I glued on the twig piece, and outlined it with permanent blue marker. And voila, it was done and finished.

A part of me started thinking maybe I could add something more, but my muse adamantly put her foot down, and said NO, this piece is done!!! I had to agree with her, because I wanted this piece to be simple and organic. And I felt adding anything more would be too much, and ruin the organic effect. And I'm so glad I listened to my muse, and didn't argue. I'm not always that cooperative with my muse.

I haven't used caulk in my art for quite a while, and now I realize I've missed using it. It provides such fantastic texture, and is so easy to use, and what makes it even better is how cheap and accessible it is!!!

So in closing, I'm VERY happy with how this piece turned out, it's like how I pictured it in my mind when I started. And believe me, not much of my art turns out how I envision it when I start. Which is fine and okay, different approaches at different times to different pieces of art is okay, it's the "artist's way" I believe. For most of my art, I have no plans and fly by the seat of my pants. But sometimes, I settle down with a plan, and actually make it happen. I like making art both ways, and don't necessarily think one way is better than the other.

As an addendum here, I'm submitting this piece to the Mixed Media Monday (MMM) challenge. Here's the link.
http://mixedmediamonday.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Old keys -- wonderful keys

My oh my, I guess I've been a very good girl this year. Santa is giving me all these oh so cool old keys!!! However, I don't have a chimney or fireplace, so he's sending them through ebay. Ah yes, Merry Christmas to me, and sometimes, ebay rocks!

As some of you may know, if you visit my blog on a regular or even not so regular basis, recently I've been using old (some even antique) keys in my art. Well, I stumbled onto this penchant I've developed for very cool old keys several months ago, and where else would I go to find them but ebay? I've been fortunate enough to win several auction lots for old skeleton keys and funky flat keys.

When I first started looking for old keys on ebay, I didn't know what to expect. So I was shocked to find out just how popular and sought after they are, and how hard it is to find a good deal on them, and how hard it is to win an auction. I bid on, and lost, many auctions before I finally started scoring by bidding at the very last minute. Even then, I lost quite often. However, I did score on some of them.

Most old key lots go for much more money that I'd ever want to spend. And most get bid on early, and end up with many bids and bid up high, before they end. I didn't even try to bid on those auctions. I had a rule for myself, that I wouldn't pay more than 50 cents per key, including shipping, and generally it worked out that that's what I had to pay on the ones I won. But considering what most key lots go for, I considered myself lucky.

But hey, on this auction, I really struck gold, and right before Christmas to boot. I kept my eye on this particular auction for several days, and it never got bid on. Which is totally rare for old key lots. I know, because I've been watching them for several months now. This one ended early this morning, and I knew I'd still be in bed when it ended, so I had to bid on it last night before I went to bed. I only bid a dollar over the entry price, and fully expected to be outbid. I was totally shocked and amazed that no one outbid me, or bid at all. I was the only bidder on this auction. Totally amazing!!!

Because this lot contains 100, yes 100 keys. The entry price was $9.99 and shipping was 7.60. So I got 100 keys for $17.59, or 17.5 cents each. Unbelievable!!! And far less than my rule of 50 cents per key. This is by far the best deal I've ever gotten on ebay for old keys. I'm still in shock that I was the only bidder on this auction. I kept waiting to see it bid on, and it never happened. Not even after I bid on it.

So anyway, I'm thrilled about this, and feel so great to get such a bargain on these old keys, knowing what they normally sell for on ebay. Today was my lucky day!!! And also, after winning this huge lot, I doubt I'll be bidding on anymore keys anytime soon. Now I just have to start using them in my art....more than I have been. There might just be a key on every piece of art I make from now on.

Merry Christmas to me, Merry Christmas to me! I really lucked out, and Santa is sending me a whole bunch of old keys. I must've been a very, very good girl this year.

And Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you out there. May each one of you have a wonderful and blessed Christmas, and make a memory to treasure always. And in the hustle and bustle and stress of Christmas, may we always remember the REAL meaning of Christmas, and that Jesus is the reason for the season. Amazing grace! If not for Him, there would be no Christmas. May God bless all of you.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Green Lady

This was made today for entry into the Theme Thursday challenge. The theme this week was using the colors green and brown in a piece. A fairly simple theme, not hard to achieve. On this, I used the brown side of frozen pizza cardboard (FPC) for a 5x5 inch piece. First I painted it randomly in a few different colors of brown. Then I squeezed on some tan paint and put down Saran Wrap over the whole piece, and scrunched it up in places, to get a textural effect. I let that dry overnight before peeling off the Saran Wrap. I've only tried this technic one other time, and would've preferred more texture, but it worked pretty well. Next time I think I'd use more paint for more texture.

After that, I rubbed some green paint on randomly with my finger. Then I stamped with brown paint with some eraser domino stamps I made a few years ago. Due to the increased texture, it's a little hard to tell they are supposed to be dominos, but that's what they are. I used a stencil to trace the figure onto scrapbook paper, then cut that out and glued it down. Then I used my Hot Stamps tool and burned on the number three, the other marks, and the three question marks. Those may be a bit hard to see, you have to really look for them. Lastly, I sealed the piece with Future Floor Finish (FFF). Amazingly enough, I didn't use any brown shoe polish on this piece. I almost did, but decided otherwise.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Time to post again


These are two works I'm entering into the Crazy Amigo Challenge at   http://crazyamigochallenge.wordpress.com/. I don't often enter weekly challenges like this, but lately I've been following Heather Robinson's lead, who enters lots of weekly challenges. Heather, http://creativesolace.blogspot.com/, is an excellent artist and good art buddy of mine, and I so admire her art. Some of you already visit her blog, but for those who don't, you really should -- it will be a treat! Heather and I have a personal swap coming up soon, a collaborative effort we'll be working on. I'm looking forward to that a lot. I think it will be very interesting to see what we end up with, considering our art styles are totally different. Greetings Heather!

The theme of the Crazy Amigo Challenge this week is Hearts. And I do love using hearts in my art! The first piece I created yesterday. I used a sharp awl to scratch diagonal lines into the brown side of a 5x5 piece of frozen pizza cardboard. (I should start abbreviating that into FPC, lol, I use it so often for a base.) Then I rubbed it with brown paste shoe polish, so the lines would show up. Then I glued some torn music paper, and text and an image torn from an old Cumberland General Store catalog published in 1976, and rubbed them with shoe polish. I don't even remember where I got that catalog, maybe at a yard sale, but I think I should start using the images, they are great. The rectangle on the right is a distressed paint chip. I've shared how I distress them in previous posts. I outlined that with a gold paint pen. The hearts were cut out of brown candy wrappers, the the gold circle was punched out of a foil bag that once contained coffee. After the fact, I don't think gold was the best color to use for the circle, but oh well. And the letters and number were burned into the piece with my Wallnut Hollow Hot Stamps tool. I finished by sealing it with Future Floor Finish (FFF).

The second piece is one I made a few weeks ago, and entered into a yahoo group challenge, the theme being using the colors red and green. I used the FPC as a base, but used the colorful image side, after sanding it a bit. Then I used my sharp awl to distress it and scratch the text into it, then rubbed with shoe polish. Then I rubbed magenta acrylic paint over it and quickly wiped some of it off, then rubbed green glaze over certain parts. I stamped with scroll stamps in the green. Then I glued down the hearts and the frame, made from distressed paint chips. Lastly, I sealed it with Acrylic Floor Finish (AFF from the Family Dollar store that gives more of a satin finish.)

As an aside, I wanted to say that I stumbled onto this website yesterday, myartfriends.com http://www.myartfriends.com/index.php, and decided to join. It looked interesting to me, and there's some good art there, and lots of different artists. So, I posted some of my work there, and will be posting more as time goes on. The works I posted have already been posted here on my blog. Just wanted to share that site with all of you.

That's all folks.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Joy of Serendipity

This is my latest work, just finished. I spent a few hours on it today. Well, I have to admit that I'm rather slow when it comes to creating art, I can never rush through it and get it done quickly. Even when I think I can, and try to, it never works out that way. However, I do have to say I really enjoyed making this piece, and it was fun and easy. Why??? Because I was in the "zone", of just doing whatever came to mind. No stress, no pressure, no angst, no frustration, etc. Gee, it would be so, so cool if I could be in the "zone" all the time, but noooo, that's not the way it works out a good part of the time. So when I'm actually in the zone, I truly appreciate it and enjoy it.

I was SO in the zone on this piece, it's even hard for me to remember exactly how it came about and the steps involved in making it. I started out with a 5x7 piece of frozen pizza cardboard. And then used my very sharp awl to distress the brown side of it, which I've never done before. And rubbed brown show polish over it. I always paint or glue down a background first, but this time I didn't. Then I glued down some torn music paper, map paper, and text paper, and rubbed more shoe polish over it. Then I glued down some strips of rusted dryer sheets and rusted fabric and fibers from fraying the fabric. I also glued down a large skeleton leaf.

Then I used my Walnut Hollow Hot Stamps tool, which is basically a woodburning tool, and heat stamped the letters and numbers on. I thought it was finished at that point, but it wasn't. I sealed the whole piece with Future Floor Finish for a glossy effect, and while it was still wet, flicked Pearl Ex on it in gold and then copper. Again, I thought it was done, but decided no.... as in I had to push the envelope. I chose to spray mist it with Memories Mists in Strawberry Daiquiri and Mango Lemonade -- the only two colors of mists I own. And I totally love those two colors together!!

I confess, I was VERY afraid to spray on the mists, because I liked it the way it already looked. I really had to argue with myself to do that, and take that risk, but I went ahead and did it. Now, after the fact, I kinda wish I hadn't, but I did, so it's too late now. I don't know, sometimes I think I don't know when to stop, and let a piece just be what it is. I have to hold my breath and cross my fingers that if I take it to the next step, I won't ruin it. And sometimes I do ruin it, or feel I do. And other times, I'm glad I took the risk, and feel it turned out better for it.

With this piece, I'm not sure. I thought it looked good before the spray mists, but I think it looks good now too. Oh well, it's too late to go back, so this is the end result. And I'm pleased with it. And very happy I was able to get in the "zone" today, which doesn't happen often enough.

I have chosen to enter this piece into this week's Mixed Media Monday challenge, which is "Gold".  (http://mixedmediamonday.wordpress.com/).  So just click on the URL and it will link you to that website.  I'm entering this piece because I flicked gold Pearl Ex onto it in several places.

Monday, December 8, 2008

"Raw Art" - the title of this piece


This is somewhat different for me, but not totally. Lately I seem to be into using paint chips and distressing them, then rubbing brown paste shoe polish over them to highlight the distressing. I've done several pieces using this technic, which is my own technic developed by me, as far as I know. I've never seen it used by anyone else, or read or heard about it, regarding someone else developing this specific technic. So I feel kind of good about that -- that I developed a new technic that I've shared on blog.

In this piece, it occurred to me that I could use a sharp awl to actually write text on these paint chips. And that it would show up, after being rubbed with the brown shoe polish. And I don't often use text in my art, but this seemed an easy way to do that. Although recently, I've been using more text in my art than I ever used to. I also discovered that writing text with an awl is a bit difficult, it doesn't come out like writing with a pen, it's more like a "carving" process. Perhaps I can improve on that with more practice, but at this point, I kind of like the imperfect effect of it.

Well, let me back up here a bit. Last year in November, Cyndi did an artist profile on me on her fabulous website, Layers Upon Layers. My profile is here, if you want to read it. Just click on the URL. http://www.layersuponlayers.com/artist-profile-valerie-foster/ Anyway, Karen Campbell, a very fine and talented artist and a friend, and the leader of our local book arts group, left a comment for me about my profile. In it, she said "You specialize in raw art — art that comes solely from you and art that does not depend on a lot of commercial products. That truly is the toughest art of all." Well, I'm not exactly sure what "raw art" is, but I found her description of it quite interesting. It is true, I don't use a lot of commercial products in my art. Such as pizza cardboard, caulk/joint compound/spackle, rusted paper and fabric, paint chips, shoe polish, etc. I tend to use those kind of things much more than commercial products meant for art.

So on this piece, the term "raw art" bubbled up into my mind, and so I went with it. Although I must admit, I'm a little nervous about posting this piece, because it's kind of "out there" with the awl written text. But oh well, I'm posting it anyway, come what may. I seem to be going into a more primitive or primal direction lately in my art. And I'm so glad to be making art again, after a long slump, I'm not going to fight it.

In this piece, I used frozen pizza cardboard, and it's 8x10 inches in dimension. I used a piece of wallpaper cut from a sample book for the background. And a paint chip, which was sanded and written on with a sharp awl, then rubbed with brown shoe polish. Actually, I used two paint chips here, one glued on top of the other. The "windows" were already in the top one. Then I used my Walnut Hollow Hot Marks heat tool with the appropriate nibs screwed on, for the question marks and the lettering in the upper left corner. I'm so glad I "rediscovered" this great tool. The hearts and rectangles were punched out of paint chips. I used tea dyed cheese cloth in the upper left corner, and scrapbook paper in the center, and some copy paper I stamped with a stamp I carved out of styrofoam (a meat container) in the lower left corner. I rubbed over the whole piece with brown shoe polish and sealed it with Future Floor Finish for a glossy finish.

I'm still not certain exactly what "raw art" is, but Karen's description sounds pretty good to me. I'm willing to go with that, at least for now.

Friday, December 5, 2008

New art -- just flying by the seat of my pants

This is something I made yesterday. I wanted to make some art, but as per usual, had no plans as to what to make. So I was basically playing around. Although I did pull out my Walnut Hollow Hot Stamps Alphabet tool, which I haven't used in ages. It's like a wood burning tool, with the alphabet and some cool stamps as nibs to screw into the heat wand. I'm glad I foraged around and pulled it out and used it. I used it to heat stamp ART and also for the circles. It's always nice to pull out tools/supplies one hasn't used in while, and put them to use again.

This is a 5x5 art squared piece on a frozen pizza cardboard base. I started out with using a dyed paper towel, something I've had for a long time, as the background. Then grabbed a paint chip and distressed it with sanding, a sharp awl, and a dress pattern tool. Which I've done before on previous art, and like doing and using in my art. After distressing the paint chip and the torn scrapbook paper, I rubbed brown paste shoe polish over them. On the bottom edge, I used a piece of scrap fabric, and frayed it. I used the frayed threads to glue down, rubbed with gold waxy stuff, and glued the key on top. So that's how I created this piece -- pretty much the way I do most of my art, or at least for some time now.

Any questions? (tongue in cheek and just kidding). I guess I'm just a "fly by the seat of my pants kind of artist" most of the time. AS IN NO PLANS, NO RULES, NO FOUL! That's what reeled me in, regarding doing "altered art" in the first place. The idea there were no rules, so I could do whatever I wanted to do. If it hadn't been for that, I doubt I would've had the daring or courage to even try to do art, or see myself as an artist. That part of it was so appealing, and so freeing....it gave me "permission" to just jump in and play around. Not that I still don't have doubts and fears and angst, a lot of the time, when I approach doing art, and also posting it. And I wonder if that will ever change??? And if I didn't have a blog, and post my art on my blog in a public forum, if I'd feel differently about it.

Well, I do have a blog and do post my art, so it is what it is. And I'm happy it is what it is. Even though I keep waiting for it to become easier!!! Clock ticking, crickets chirping....waiting, waiting. It's still not easy, after all this time.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

An art gift for my niece

This is a new piece I created on Sunday. It's a gift for my 16 year old niece for Christmas, to go along with a gift card to a bookstore. Her name is Shannon, and she's a fine young lady who has a voracious appetite for reading books. She's been an avid reader for many years now. She is also a fine writer, and has been writing and journaling for years also. I've read some of her writing, and am so impressed with her intelligence and talent. She's a darn good writer, and I believe has the potential to be published at some point.

Well, I was an avid reader and writer at her age, so I can relate to her in that way. I think I can relate to her very well. And I'm so proud of her and I love her, and am lucky to have her as a niece. And so I thought it would be nice to make her a small piece of art for Christmas. I wanted to make something to encourage her in her writing. At least that was the goal of this piece.

This is a 4x6 inch postcard format, and the base is frozen pizza cardboard. The background is a multi-colored piece of scrapbook paper glued down on the base. Then I used gel medium to glue down a piece of dyed cheese cloth on the left half of the piece. I cut some quotes on "Authorship" out of a book, crumpled it up, then rubbed brown paste shoe polish over it, and glued that down over the cheese cloth. The hearts were punched out of paint chips. The circle and triangle shapes are vinyl paper clips. I wrote the text with Bic permanent markers, and then rubbed the shoe polish over that whole part, including over the paper clips. I sealed the whole piece with Acrylic Floor Finish. (You can find it at Family Dollar stores.)

This was a fun, simple piece to make. I hope the message will mean something to Shannon, and that she'll find it encouraging. Because I really want to encourage her to pursue her writing, I think she is that good.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

“Marie Antoinette…A Real Person…A Real Award”


Oh my goodness, I've been given another blog award. This is my third award, and I feel the same way I did when I received my first one.....honored, thrilled, appreciative, and humbled. It always means a lot to me to receive an award for my art and my blog, no matter how many times it might happen. This award was given to me by Nancy at Never Enough ATC’s — More than enough Grace blog. Thank you so very much Nancy, for thinking of me and giving me this award. I certainly treasure it and greatly appreciate it. I am so glad that we are online art buddies. To link to Nancy's blog, and see her beautiful and creative ATCs and very interesting blog, just click on her name.

Now I am to pass on this award to seven other deserving artists. It's always hard to narrow it down, but these are my seven choices. Click on their names to link to their blogs. Please go to view their beautiful art and enjoy their interesting blogs.  

The people I chose here are supposed to post the award on their blogs, link to the person who awarded it to them, and then pass it on to seven other bloggers, and link to them.  Also, email or leave a comment on their blogs regarding the award.  Congratulations, all you fine artists.  Now it's time for some recognition for all of YOU!!!


Zeborah -- who creates beautiful art, especially her abstract work

Gravitee at Sense Engaged -- who creates amazing digital art

Trish at Artistic Journey -- who does wonderful sketching and encaustic work

Pat at Artrix -- who has a fun and interesting blog and much beautiful, unique art

Christy Grant at Art Chickadee's Reflections -- who is an amazing artist and you can learn a lot from her blog

Mary Schweitzer at Green Woman Creating -- who has stunning and innovative art on her blog

Rachel Murphree at Art Spirals -- who creates very unique and beautiful fabric/fiber art

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I've been tagged -- again.

Yes, Elizabeth Golden at The Last Door Down the Hall tagged me a while back, and I'm just getting around to following through on it.  Thank you so much for thinking of me Elizabeth, and for the really sweet thing you wrote about me on your blog.  I appreciate it so much.  Click on Elizabeth's name to link to her very interesting blog and beautiful art.

On the one hand, it's fun, and an honor, to get tagged.  On the other hand, it's rather time consuming to follow through on it.  So I changed the rules a little to make it easier and less time consuming.  Instead of writing six things about myself, I write three.  And instead of tagging six other bloggers, I tag three.  So here are three things about me.

1.  I am very short.  I didn't even make it to 5 feet tall.  Nooo, I stopped growing at 4'10"!  Well, I didn't stand much of a chance, because both of my parents were short also.  At any rate, I've always wished I could be taller, as in around 5'4" tall.  That would be so fine with me.  I dislike always having to hem my pants, and sometimes my sleeves, and stand on my tip toes to reach things.  And I'm not getting any taller with age, in fact, I'm shrinking.

2.  I've always had an interest in learning how to draw, something I've never persued.  I can't draw worth a darn.  I've checked out some drawing classes offered through our county, but have yet to sign up for any.  Perhaps sometime I will.  

3.  I started watching the Food Network channel on TV a few months ago.  It wasn't planned, I was just channel surfing.  And I found I liked some of the programs.  I think my favorite program is Iron Chef America, and then Bobby Flay's Throwdown.  The problem with watching these programs though is that they make me hungry.  Go figure!

Here are the three bloggers I am tagging.  Just click on their names to link to their blogs.  They have blogs well worth visiting, and I encourage you to take a look at their wonderful art.

Sanna at Sanna'sArtMind

Dove at Morning Dew

Julee at HeArt Collective

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Shapes collage

This is a new piece I started last Saturday.  However, I wasn't liking it that much and it didn't feel done to me, so I set it aside for a few days.  Then I came home from work on Wednesday and decided what I needed to do to finish it.  I was happy to be working on art in the evening after work, because I haven't done that in a long, long time.  Most days, when I get home from work, I'm so tired I don't feel like doing much of anything.  Perhaps some of you can relate that?

After I added the shapes to this piece, I found I liked it much better.  This collage was done on an 8x10 piece of chipboard.  Normally I use frozen pizza cardboard for most of my bases, but with this being a larger collage, I wanted a sturdier base that wouldn't warp.  First I punched out various shapes out of junk mail cardboard -- the ads that aren't in envelopes, and glued those down on the base.  (I started out with a different idea of where this piece would go, and soon enough, realized it wasn't looking that way at all.  Does that ever happen to you?)  I was going to cover the shapes with a piece of crumpled tissue paper, but instead used a piece of scorched paper made with copy paper.

I made some pieces of scorched paper a long time ago, and never used them.  So I decided to use one on this piece.  Scorched paper is easy to make.  You just take regular copy paper and scorch it with a vintage iron.  This piece was crumpled and then scorched for more texture, but you can scorch uncrumpled paper also.  I use a vintage iron because it gets much hotter than the irons made today, and it's necessary to use a very hot iron to get the scorching and brown color.  I found my vintage iron at a yard sale for $2.00.  Lucky me!

After I glued down the scorched paper with matte Mod Podge, I then tore up a napkin and glued down parts of that, and also torn music paper.  Then I stamped on the scrolls, birds, and text.  Then I rubbed brown shoe polish (the kind in the round tin) all over the piece.  I wanted even more texture, so I brushed on gel medium thickly in random directions.  After that dried, I rubbed more brown shoe polish over the whole piece.  At that point, I set it aside for a few days.

Then I came back to it and finished it, by adding the shapes, the heart, and the key.  For the shapes I punched them out of paint chips.  The green shapes were distressed by sanding and using an awl and a dress pattern tool, then rubbed with brown shoes polish.  I really like the look distressed paint chips give.  I outlined the shapes with a paint pen and a black Sharpie.

You can't tell in the scan, but with the real piece the outlines of the shapes glued down first, under the paper, show up in a sublte way if the light shines on it right.  Anyway, the steps used in making this piece were simple ones.  I was happy to do stamping on this, because so often, I forget to make use of my stamps.  And I have far too many neat stamps that I have yet to use even once.  Isn't that crazy?  Unfortunately I tend to collect them more than actually use them.

So all in all, I'm happy with how this turned out.  And for the most part, I enjoyed making it and it wasn't a struggle.  I think setting it aside and coming back to it later was helpful and the right thing to do.

  

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I am grateful

Yes indeed, I am.  It's 12:30 am, and I'm still up and on my computer.  Well, thankfully it's Friday night, and I have the next two days off, and don't have to get up early tomorrow to go to work.  Although I tend to wake up early anyway, whether I want to or not, due to my work schedule and biological clock.  But that' okay, at least I have tomorrow off, which is such a relief.  TGIF I say!

I am so grateful for all of my online art buddies out there, for all of YOU, who visit my blog and leave comments, and who also have art blogs.  You all mean so much to me, you really do, more than I can adequately express.  Tonight, I was scrolling through my blog, and rereading all the comments left on my blog.  I do that occasionally, now and then, to remind myself of how lucky I am to have those of you who visit my blog and leave comments.  To have your feedback and support and encouragement.  Wow, it always has amazed me, and still does.  And it always does my heart good, and renews me and refreshes me, to go back and read your comments.

I love my blog, and am so glad I finally decided to jump into blogland last February 10th, 2008.I had been vaguely thinking of doing that for some time, before I finally got proactive and just did it.  And I'm glad I did, and don't regret it at all, but I must also say I feel it's a responsibility.  That sometimes weighs heavy on me, when I'm struggling with my art, or with my life in general.  As I'm sure all of you can relate to, when you have a public blog, it's all out there for anyone to see.  I mean there's no privacy with a public blog.

Consequently, I only share myself to a certain extent, because it's more than a bit scary to share more deeply on a public blog.  At times, I might be tempted to share more, but I mostly pull back from that, fearful of exposing myself too much and of being vulnerable.  I wish I could be braver about sharing my true self, and have more courage to do that, but it's a difficult thing for me.  Then again, I think being or feeling vulnerable, open, exposed, is difficult for most people, don't you?  I think that's a pretty common human reaction.  Afterall, one definition of "vulnerable" in the dictionary is: capable of being wounded.  And no one wants to be wounded, right?

I have to confess and admit that this year, 2008, has been a rough year for me.  A number of things, unexpected and unwanted things, have happened, that have thrown me off course in a number of ways.  I have often felt somewhat lost and discombobulated due to those things happening in my life.  Well hey, that's life, it's never safe or predictable, and all we can do, the best thing we can do, is take it one day at a time.  I rely on God, my faith in Him, to see me through.  To hold me in his hand, and heart, so to speak.  

My art means so much to me, is so important to me.  I'm not even sure why, I just know it is.  I believe God gives each of us certain gifts, and that art is one of my gifts.  I didn't ask for this gift or do anything to deserve it.  And he gave the same gift to all of you, so I think you understand what I mean about that.  And so, I feel compelled to use my gift and appreciate my gift, which doesn't always come easily.  Sometimes it involves pain and angst, frustration, dry times.

But I thank God for the internet, and for our online art community, because it's a huge part of my art experience.  I feel I wouldn't be the artist I am today without the net, and the art community I belong to in my yahoo groups.  I also thank God for blogs, and for the opportunity to have my own blog, and for all the blogs out there I can visit and be inspired by.  We are all in this art journey together, are we not?  Yes, I think so.  And I am so grateful for that, and for all of you who visit my blog, and leave comments, and encourage me and hold me up when I'm faltering.

I just felt the need to make this post tonight, and share these thoughts and feelings.  Thank you all, for being a part of my art experience.  I truly appreciate it, and it means so much to me.  I often think it would be so wonderful for all of us to meet in person, and have a huge, happy party!  That would be a great party indeed.  I love you all.  Thank you.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Art with a Vengeance

Oh my, did I really title this piece that? It sounds kind of dark and forboding. Yes I did, and for good reason, to my way of thinking. I fully think this is NOT one of my best artworks. But that doesn't matter to me, that's okay. What mattered, when I created this piece yesterday, was my frame of mind and the weird mode I was in. Because I really didn't care how this piece turned out, I was just desperate to make some art, compelled and obsessed with making some art. I had to, I needed to.

The frame of mind I was in was FRUSTRATION!!! At a number of things. Being in a major art slump, things going on in my life right now, and things going on in the world and my life in general. I was hot under the collar, and needed to make some art, and didn't really care how it turned out or even if I liked it. I suppose in a way, that's a certain amount of "artistic freedom", I'm not sure. I've never really felt compelled to convey a message in my art, but lately that seems to be the case, whether I like it or not.

I have to confess when I worked on this piece, I felt like I was in a frenzy. I pulled out a bag of scrap pieces I've been saving, most cut off the edges of my art. I just dipped into the bag, and pulled out various pieces, helter skelter and randomly. And madly (crazily) started gluing them down on this piece of frozen pizza cardboard, 5x7 inches in dimension. Well, first of all, I glued down a few pieces crumpled/uncrumpled yellow tissue paper, with matte Modge Podge. Then I rubbed over it with brown paste shoe polish. Then I madly started gluing down the scrap pieces with gel medium. Then painted over them with gel medium, or rather glopped it on thickly.

After it dried, I rubbed over it again with brown shoe polish. Then I used my finger to rub over it, on certain parts, with gold metallic glaze. Then I wrote the words on it with a gold metallic paint pen. But that didn't show up very well, so I wrote over them with a black permanent ink Sharpy. Then I sealed it with Acrylic Floor Finish, and flicked gold Pearl Ex over it while it was still wet from the AFF. The last thing I did was glue on the very cool old, vintage key, obtained from ebay.

Up close, the words on this piece are easily readable. But in the scan they aren't, and yet they are important to this piece. From top to bottom, the words read: Get it done! , Passion, ART, Fever, Do it. I added those quickly, based on my frame of mind at the time. I didn't stop to think about them, I just wrote what I was feeling. I really wish they showed up better in the scan, but they don't.

I don't think I've ever made art this way before, regarding how I felt and the frenzy I was in when I made it. And I'm wondering, is that good or bad? I mean like....making art is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, right? But in making this piece, I can't say I enjoyed it. It felt good, but not in the sense of enjoyment. I guess mostly in the sense of "glopping" it all together, with a "devil may care" attitude. Kind of like....take this, and take this, and oh yeah, here's some more"! It felt like a way to release tension and frustration, get it out on the table, and then heave a sigh of relief.

Wow, even as I'm writing this post, I'm not sure I want to actually post it. But I know I will anyway, and hope for the best. Hope that my artist buddies out there who read it can relate in some way. I love my online artist buddies, I really, really do. You all mean so much to me. I so, so appreciate the people who visit my blog, and leave comments, and connect with me regarding art. I LOVE YOU ALL!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

New art I just finished

Yes, I actually got off the computer, and made art today. In like about two hours, this is what I created. I used colors that I like together, burgundy/wine and yellow/orange. These are some of my favorite color combos -- I just love them together. And believe me, I have no knowledge of how to use colors together, I barely know how to read or understand the color wheel, even though at times I've tried to study it and learn it. But I didn't get very far in that persuit. I really don't know much about color, or how to use colors together....and sometimes that bothers me and intimidates me. On the other hand, I mostly just use color combos, colors together, that appeal to me and that I like personally. And in the overall picture, I think that works out well enough.

As in often the case with me, when I sit down to do art, I don't have much of an idea of what I want to create. There are times that does happen, and it pleases me, and I go with it, but it's not something I can expect or depend on. I truly wish that was more often the case, where I knew what I wanted to create and had a plan, and then executed it....but no, that only seems to happen now and then and randomly. Then again, on the other hand, I feel some of my best art is pulled out of a hat, spontaneously, and not planned at all.

I have to say, most of the time when I create art, I fly by the seat of my pants! That is usually the way it goes for me. I'm not even sure I should admit that....it sounds rather "unartistic". I have to admit, I've been in a strange and unwanted state lately, regarding my art. And I haven't done much art at all in the past two months.

Well, it is what it is, and as I've often said here on my blog, I'm always happy when I get new art done, and can post it on my blog. The thing about having a blog is that if I hit a dry period artwise, and have no new art to post, it's not just a private matter between me and my muse. It used to be that way, before I started my blog. But now that I have my blog, and other people visit it, if I don't create new art, or post, over a period of time, others know it, and it isn't just between me and my muse. And yes, I find myself feeling guilty about that and bad about that. It's a bit hard to admit that, and yet it's true. So, is it just me, or do other artists feel the same way?

Geez, I'm not sure if I should write about all this on my blog. I feel the need to, but then again, it's kind of scary to put it out there on my blog, for all to see. Yes, I do consider myself an artist, but then there are times when I feel like I must be an imposter, and fooling myself as well as other people. Well, please forgive me, I'm just in a weird, crazy state of mind right now, and have been for a while.

So, I'll get on with explaining how I made this piece. The base is frozen pizza cardboard, my usual with most pieces. First I glued down, with matte Mod Podge, a piece of grid fabric. Then I crumpled up, then uncrumpled, then glued down with MP fuschia and yellow tissue paper. Then I rubbed over it with brown shoe polish. Then I distressed a piece of yellow paint sample, by sanding it, then scoring it with an awl, then rolling over it with a dress pattern tool, then rubbing over it with brown shoe polish. I must admit, I really, really got into distressing the paint sample, to the point where I was taking out my frustrations on it!

After I got it all distressed, I punched out the various shapes with paper punches. Before I glued them down, I used paint on swirl stamps to stamp the piece, then glued down the shapes. Then wrote on them with permanent brown marker. Then glued down the very cool old key, which I got off ebay in a key lot. Then I used a metallic gold paint pen to mark the edges of the piece, and the edges of the shapes. Soooo, that's how this piece was made.

I don't often use text in my art, so I must've felt like I had something to say here. Probably because I've felt "distressed" and stressed lately. I find that interesting, that I chose to do that. Kind of like it came out of nowhere, for me to convey an actual message in this piece of art. I seldom convey, or try to convey, messages in my art. I must've felt, or my muse felt, that I had to convey this message. I think mostly for myself.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Book made at Lynn Perella workshop

Well, I messed up on the way I posted this book. Instead of it posting from front to back, it ended up from back to front. And the text part of this post, introducing this book, is at the bottom instead of at the top. Oops!!! I hope this explains my mistake. So just keep scrolling down to the introduction and first page, and then scroll up to see the pages in order. I hope next time I try something like this, I'll get it right. My bad!

Continuation of book


Continuation of book




Continuation of book




Continuation of book




Book made at Lynn Perella workshop


I attended this workshop over a year ago, and it was a totally great workshop. Lynn Perella was a wonderful instructor, and I was proud to come away with this book. This is the first time I've posted this book online, and I thought it was time to do so. It's been sitting on a shelf in my bookcase all this time, and I almost forgot about it. So it's time to bring it out and post it on my blog.

This is a crazy, nothing barred collage. I wasn't totally comfortable with doing this at the workshop - it was all very new to me - but hey, that's why I took the workshop, right? To learn new ways to make art, especially regarding collage. It was a fun day, and I was pleased to come away with this book. After I got it home, I did more work on it and improved upon it, in my opinion.

We started out with a very large piece of rosin paper. It can be bought by the roll at certain home improvement/hardware stores, and also online. I'm not sure exactly what it's used for in that regard, but it can also be used for art, so Lynn Perella used it for her workshop. It's a very sturdy paper, and comes in a pinkish red color. You can see that in some of these photos.

At the end of the workshop, Lynn helped me fold my large collage into this book format. These pages are 9x12 inches, and I scanned them. I had to scan each page twice to get the whole page, top and bottom, due to the size of my scanner. I suppose I could have, perhaps should have, taken photos with my digital camera, to get photos of each page whole, but I didn't do it that way, I chose to scan instead.

I'm not going into detail on how this collage was made, because mostly I forget. Shame on me, but it's true. Well, when you do a collage like this, you just start painting and then gluing all kinds of things down. And since this started out as one large piece, and then later was folded into a book format, I had no clue how it would look as a book. That ended up as a big surprise, but a good one, I think.

So here it is, and I hope you enjoy it. Just continue scrolling down to see the whole book, it includes a total of 16 scans. Well, I mean scroll down, if you're up for that. I've never posted this many scans in one blog post before, but this is the only way I know how to do this.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I've been tagged again!

Yep, for the third time this year. So I get to reveal some things about myself. My online art buddy, Christy of Average American Girl blog, is the one who tagged me this time. Thanks Christy, that was sweet of you to think of me. You can click on her name to link to her blog, and see the wonderful art she does.

I'm supposed to list seven things about myself, and then tag seven other artists, but.... I am once again changing the rules, to make this more manageable, and less time consuming, for me and for the people I choose to tag. I am changing it to listing three things about myself, and tagging three other artists, okay? The other artists I tag can either do the seven thing, or else the three thing, the way I'm doing it. My guess is, they'll probably go for the three thing also.

Okay, so here are three things about me.

1. My dad was in the Air Force for 22 years, so I grew up as a "military brat". We moved around a few times, and we even lived in France and Germany from 1964 -1968. I was a teenager, and remember everything. It was fun, in a lot of ways, and not so fun in other ways.

2. I have five brothers and one sister. One of my brothers has quadruplets, two girls and two boys. Thankfully, they were all healthy, and are now 15 years old. They are great kids.

3. I am a true blue cat lover, and have been since I was a little girl. I've had a cat, or more than one at times, my entire adult life. Right now I have one cat, a black and grey tabby. His name is Oliver, and he's 2 1/2 yrs. old. He's pretty cool, but also pretty feisty. He often attacks my legs, which I don't like at all.

These are the other artists I am tagging, and passing the "torch" onto. Have fun gals! Click on their names for a link to their blogs, and please enjoy their great art.

Mandy at Pearl Maple blog

Dawn at Gold Betty Boop blog

Eileen at Boca Babe Art blog

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Shapes and Texture -- an abstract art piece

Here is my newest and latest art work. And geez -- I'm thinkin' it's about darn time!!! I've been out of the "art loop" for far too long, much to my surprise. I was on a roll there for awhile, and feeling really good about that. And then....the bottom dropped out, and I dropped out, which totally blind-sided me. I guess that brought me up short, and taught me that as it goes with life in general, it can go with life as an artist. What bothers me the most is that I've let my blog go, and have hardly posted in almost two months. Yes indeed, that really bothers me. I feel badly about that, and just hope those of you who visit my blog can forgive me.

Okay, so now, onto the present, and this new piece. When I sat down today to make art, I felt lost and unfocused, not having any remote idea what I wanted to do or make. Sooo, I just jumped in, somewhat half-heartedly, not expecting much at all. And ended up trying something new, regarding the theme of "SHAPES", what I consider very abstract. Not that I don't do abstract art, or at least to some extent, but today I was so bereft of any specific ideas or direction, it seems all I could do was pull out a few of my paper punches and my old standby, frozen pizza cardboard.

This piece, by the way, is an 8x10. The base is also frozen pizza cardboard, and this size format is new to me, a larger format for me. Most of my work has been done on 5x5 art squared, or else 4x6 postcard size. Recently, I ventured out of my comfort zone and worked on 5x7 format a few times. Which gave me courage to expand beyond that, to this 8x10 format. Perhaps the size of the format doesn't matter that much, I don't know for sure. Then again, I think it's good to try new and different things and ways of doing art. I think I felt, with this larger format, I could include more on this piece. And since I had no idea what I wanted to include, or do artwise, it gave me more latitude and flexibility.

I also want to mention that this time around, with a larger format with the base being frozen pizza cardboard, I chose to glue, (with gel medium) two pieces of pizza cardboard together for a sturdier base, hoping that it wouldn't warp. And thankfully, that was a good idea and it didn't warp.

Okay, so I punched out various shapes from pizza cardboard, and glued them down onto the base with glue stick. Ahh yes, trusty ol' glue stick, which is a great adhesive. Sometimes I forget how well it works, and that it never warps. After that, I used fuschia tissue paper, crumpled up and glued down with matte Mod Podge. Another old standby of mine, that I use quite often. Then I crumpled up some yellow tissue paper, and tore it, and glued that down with matte MP. Then I pulled out my brown shoe polish, and rubbed that over the whole piece. To accentuate the texture, and tone down the tissue paper, and give it more of a "vintage" effect. The brown shoe polish is something I use a lot, more and more recently, in my art.

Then I painted on gel medium, rather thickly, in different directions, for more texture. When that dried, I rubbed brown shoe polish over the whole piece again. And then I rubbed gold art wax over the whole piece. Then wrote the text on with a black permanent marker pen. Then I sealed the piece with Acrylic Floor Finish (AFF), which can be bought at Family Dollar stores. It has a satin (not gloss) finish effect, as opposed to Future Floor Finish (FFF), which does have a gloss finish effect.

I scanned this on my computer, and unfortunately the color isn't totally true. In the real piece the gold and the texture shows up much better. I am happy with how the shapes showed up in this piece, on the scan. And I'm also very happy that I made some new art today, and tried something new, and just played around with a new idea. On days like today, when I desire to make art, feel compelled to make art, and yet feel lost and unable to focus or decide what to do, I generally tend to do something new and different, or at least somewhat different.

So anyway, that's what I did today, and so here it is. Regarding "abstract" art, it does appeal to me, I must admit. I'm not sure if that's a cop out, or a good thing, or whatever. Some days, just making any art at all is difficult, and a challenge. On those days, if I can accomplish making art, I feel good.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Nature in Threes

This is some new art I made today. I guess I can say I recently took a brief sabbatical from making art. Don't ask me why, I'm not sure....maybe I just needed a break. It really felt good to make art today though.

I didn't have anything specific in mind when I started this piece. This is 5 x 7 inches, the base is frozen pizza cardboard. I used wallpaper from a sample book for the background. Then I distressed three green paint chips, by sanding them and using a sharp awl on them, then rubbing brown show polish all over them. The leaf on the middle paint chip was made by spreading gel medium on the back of a real leaf, and then stamping with it. When it dried, I rubbed brown show polish over it. I used a punch for the grasshoppers. The middle grasshopper was punched out of the leaf I used to stamp with.

The other two leaves are real, glued on with gel medium, then coated on top with gel medium, so as to preserve them. When dry, I rubbed them with brown shoe polish also. Then I glued tea dyed cheese cloth on the top and bottom corners, then rubbed it with....guess what? Yep, the brown shoe polish. The "three" is stamped caulk, painted with Gold Lumiere paint when dry. I outlined the middle paint chip with a gold paint pen. The seeds at the upper corner are from my yard.

And the key is one I got on ebay, that came in a large lot of cool, vintage keys. I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE those old keys, and should have enough now to last me a while.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Oh my gosh, I've been remiss.



Gee, I cannot believe that I haven't posted on my blog in three weeks, and I feel bad about that. Good grief, this is the first time this has happened. I don't quite know what to say, except that time got away from me and I haven't made any new art lately to post. Nothing major or bad happened in my life, I just took some time off from making art. So for now, I'm posting these art pieces, that I made a while back and never posted on my blog, except for being in the slide show on the side. The first two were for swaps, and are no longer in my personal collection. Which is a good thing, because my personal collection of my own art is getting quite large. Thankfully most of them are small pieces so I still have space for them.

Hopefully, soon enough, I'll be posting new art. And hopefully, I won't go this long between posts again.

A New Award!

A few weeks ago, I was emailed by Jo Anne Owens of Paper Cat's Page that she nominated me to receive this wonderful award. Oh happy day, I feel very honored and I accept. Thank you so much, Jo Anne, for honoring me with this award and for thinking of me.

In accepting this award, I agree to:
1. Display the logo and link to the one who awarded it.
2. Nominate at least 7 blogs to receive the award.
3. Add links to those 7 blogs to my blog.
4. Leave the nominees a message that they had been nominated to receive the award.

These are the names and links to the seven artist/bloggers I choose to nominate. When it comes to something like this, it's often hard to make choices and narrow it down. I choose these artists because I think they have great blogs, and do beautiful, inspiring art work, and would like to share their blogs with you, and to extend this great award to them. I totally think they all deserve this award. I love being inspired by other artists, and these artists definitely inspire me.
Please visit their blogs and enjoy their art works. The number of artists who inspire me is greater than seven, but I could name only seven for this award. Click on these names and that will take you to their blogs. Once again, thank you so much Jo Anne, for this award. I truly appreciate it.

1. Heather Robinson at Creative Solace

2. Marva at Purplepaint's Muse

3. Nancy at Never Enough ATCs

4. Linda East at Timeless Treasures of Least

5. Mandy at Pearl Maple

6. Michi at Michi Rhymes with Peachy

7. Julee Herrmann at HeArt Collective

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I've been busy making art -- woohoo!



Yes indeed, I've had more time to make art lately, and have devoted it to that end. Which pleases me because I don't always accomplish that. This top piece is a layered collage postcard, 4x6 inches. I used dress pattern tissue paper, gold wrapping paper, napkins, and paint sample. I used the paint sample distress technic for the shapes, which I explained in my August 20th post. I've only used napkins a few times before in my art, and I think I need to get them out and use them more often. They aren't doing me any good stuck away in a drawer.

I used light spackle on the second piece. Since it has very little moisture, and is harder to work with than caulk or wallboard joint compound, I chose to add some water to it with a spray bottle. I didn't add a lot of water, but enough to mix in with it and make it spreadable. Then I spread, or frosted it on with a plastic pallet knife on one area, but not all over the whole piece. Then I stamped into part of it with a heart stamp, cut from vinyl carpet runner. I bought it at a yard sale, and it has swirls on the under side, so I cut it into different shapes for stamps that work great for stamping into caulk, joint compound, and spackle. I also used a swirl stamp with paint on the left upper side.

The small heart in the center of the swirl heart just happened when I pulled the stamp up. (When stamping into caulk, jc, or spackle, you have to use a release agent. I use Armor All protectant, which works well and has no odor to it.) It looked like the shape of a heart, so I outlined it with a brown marker. I embedded the key into the spackle, but it didn't adhere when dry, so I had to glue it on. I used brown acrylic paint, brown shoe polish, and gold Lumiere paint on the piece. I also used an awl to distress parts of it, the parts without the spackle. I used tea dyed cheese cloth on the lower left corner. I'm happy with the texture on this, but not so thrilled with how the colors came out, especially on the scan. The parts that look almost peach are actually gold. I suppose I could repaint it, but don't know if I will.

I have a new needle felt piece posted below, that I made a few weeks ago. So yes, I've been working on art more than usual, because I've had more time to do it. I'm happy about that.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Needle Felted postcard

I'm switching things up a bit here, as in not posting a collage. This is something I made, gee, over a month ago. And I wasn't happy with it. Well, I was fine with it, except for using an orange paint pen to outline and make marks on the hearts. That was the last thing I did back then, and felt like it ruined the piece. Which really frustrated me, since I liked it until I did that, and went too far. So it sat in my work room/studio all this time, because I didn't like it and didn't know how to "fix" it, and didn't want to post it on my blog.

Then today, in a bored state of mind, I picked it up and thought gee, I think I'll sand these hearts, punched out of paint samples. And then rub brown shoe polish over them, and see if that improves this piece. So I did that, and liked the result. Then I did the same to the small squares, and liked that too.

I know in the scan, the outlining of the hearts looks pink, but no, on the piece it's a light orange. I find that the true color quality in scans can leave a lot to be desired, at least on my printer. So anyway, I like the result now much better than it was before, and am willing to post this piece.

The main feature of this piece is the needle felting onto a piece of cotton fabric. This is my second real art piece, using the needle felting. And I love how that part turned out. It took a while to fashion a heart out of the yarn, but I stuck with it and was able to make a heart. I really enjoy doing the needle felting, but haven't done any since I finished this piece. I need to get back to felting soon, or maybe not. There are simply too many choices and options in what kind of art to make....and I tend to get overwhelmed by that. Nothing new there.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Two more collages


These are my most recent works, and just happen to be collages. I'm so proud to say that, because I believe I'm making some progress on this front. These are 5x5s, the art squared format I like so much, and feel very comfortable with. One of these days, I hope to make a book with all my 5x5 art pieces that I've been making and saving for quite a while now.

In the first collage, I punched the hearts out of paint samples. The small frame is also cut out out of a paint sample. Then I sanded them with sand paper and used a very sharp awl to distress them, then rubbed brown shoe polish over them. (My oh my, but I do love that brown shoe polish!!!) I used the awl and shoe polish on other distressed areas too. The "J" is light spackle packed into a stencil. I've learned it's more difficult to frost light spackle as I do with caulk and wallboard joint compound, because it has a lot less moisture. So I can't frost it over a stencil, but can pack it into a stencil.

This is the first time I've used an awl to distress with, and I'm kind of liking the result a lot. However, you have to use brown shoe polish to get a much more cool distressed look. Good thing that shoe polish is cheap and accessible. The idea of sanding and distressing paint samples in my art just kind of jumped out and bit me on this piece. I'm thinking my muse was paying close attention and making herself available -- which is not always the case. So now, I'm glad I have a lot of paint samples in my art stash. Woohoo for that. I plan to use this "distressed paint sample technic" again and often, and maybe try to expand and perfect it.

In the second collage, I used images torn from a book for the sea creatures. And some tea dyed cheese cloth, but then rubbed over it with blue glaze. Then I added some rusted screen and a rusted washer. Oh right, I started out packing the light spackle on the piece in various areas.

I pretty much used the same technics I've explained before with these collages. If I try something new, I explain that too. The distressed paint sample/awl technic is new.

These are not for a swap, so I get to keep these. And hopefully incorporate them into my own book, at some point. Hope you like them, I do.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Key to Your Wish collage

Gee, I'm shocked, shocked I tell you. That I'm actually WANTING to do layered collage, as opposed to avoiding it like the plague. Who knew I'd ever get to this point? I know I sure didn't. So yes, this truly does shock me, but also pleases me very much. Hmmm, perhaps it really is true that we must face our fears in order to overcome them. That seems to be working for me so far, in doing these layered collages. And I'm thrilled about that.

This is something I "threw together" yesterday in just a few hours. (That's amazing to me also.) It's for a personal swap with an online art friend (Hi Linda!). She suggested we do a swap about a year ago, but I had other art commitments at that time, and couldn't do it then. I told her maybe we could do it sometime in the future. So, the future is here, and we both agreed it was a good time to do a swap. And gee, I haven't done an art swap in many months, so I was very pleased and motivated to do this one. And I didn't even have to agonize over what to make. I love it when art happens that way, don't you?

This piece is 5x7, which is a new format for me. I mostly work on 5x5 art squared formats, or else 4x6 postcard formats. But I was game to try a different size and format, and am glad I did. There are similarities with this piece to the last two collages I posted. I glued down a piece of light blue fabric (dimensional) from a fabric sample book onto frozen pizza cardboard. Then glued down a poem torn from a book, music paper, and a definition of Precious cut from a dictionary. Then I rubbed brown shoe polish on the whole piece. Then I used brown acrylic paint sponged onto swirl stamps, and stamped a few times.

Then I painted wallboard joint compound on with a brush in certain spots. After that dried, I rubbed blue glaze on with my finger in certain areas, and rubbed brown shoe polish over them again. I was mostly going with the brown/blue color theme. Then I remembered that recently, in my local art group, I had dyed some cheese cloth blue and purple, so I pulled that out and used it on the lower right side. And also used a piece of tea dyed cheese cloth on the upper left side. I used some brown netted fabric over the blue cheese cloth, and a strip of it towards the top.

Then I cut a strip (the brown embroidered piece) from a blouse/frock I found at a yard sale a while back, and glued that down. The hearts were punched out of a textured paint sample. The key is one I got in a lot of keys off ebay. LOVE THOSE OLD KEYS, AND KEEP LOOKING ON EBAY TO SCARF UP A GOOD DEAL ON MORE. HOWEVER, THEY DON'T GO FOR CHEAP. And the "wish" part came last, and fit nicely on the key.

And I sealed the piece, once again, with Acrylic Floor Finish from the Family Dollar store. When I used it in the past, it gave a non-glossy satin finish, as opposed to the glossy finish that Future Floor Finish gives. I really liked having the choice of using a satin or glossy finish. But now, I'm almost out of the AFF, and using the last few ounces, so it has thickened, and now it's giving a glossy finish. Don't know what's up with that, it's a surprise, but I think I need to buy a new bottle of it. Well, I've had this bottle for a few years now, and perhaps it changes over time?

So anyway, this is the art I ended up with, and I'm pleased with it. I really enjoy using paper and fabric together in one piece. And gluing down a dimensional/textured fabric piece as a background ends up interesting, because it provides lots of texture right off the bat. I've learned that when I do that, I don't have to add a lot of texture, even though I tend to anyway, to a certain extent. The cheese cloth is always a good way to add texture, and I love it. I love texture so much, sometimes I worry if I add too much texture to my art, as in over-kill. But I don't worry enough to stop doing it. And I don't normally use much text or words in my art, but I'm reconsidering that, and thinking I should do that more often.