Thursday, February 21, 2008

I've been a good little "art do-bee"! Remember Romper Room?

Yes I have! What is a "do-bee"? Does anyone remember the TV show Romper Room from the 1950's? Remember Miss Gloria, the show's host? It was on here in Denver, I'm not sure if it was just a local show or not. Anyway, a "do-bee" was a good little kid, who got things done. Good things.

So I've been a good "do-bee" today, regarding my art. And getting a new art work done. Beyond that, doing something totally different from what I normally do. It's been on my mind lately, call it an urge, to do something with wallboard joint compound (JC), which is somewhat similar to spackle. Don't know why that "urge" cropped up out of nowhere, but it did. So today, I followed it. Beyond that, I didn't have a clue what I wanted to make.

But I was out in my yard, so I started picking up "nature" items, thinking I could use those in my art today. And so I did. I also used cheese cloth that I recently tea dyed. And I used walnut ink crystals in the JC, to dye it brown or sepia, because I didn't want to have to paint the JC.
That worked out well, although maybe I should've added more, to make the JC darker. Because once it dried, it came out lighter than I expected. I also sprinkled some walnut ink crystals on my piece, to make some areas darker.

And once I started on this piece, with the natural items to inspire me, my muse jumped in and things moved right along. The idea to add the cheese cloth to the back, and then wrap the piece with it, came at the end, out of nowhere. I do love using cheese cloth in my art though, and even more so now that I started tea dying it. Today I also put some in walnut ink, to see how that comes out. Hopefully, it will come out a little darker brown, whereas the tea dyed cheese cloth comes out a sepia color. But until recently, it never occurred to me to dye cheese cloth. However, I read a tutorial on the net that included doing that, so I tried it.
Sorry, I don't recall where I read the tutorial, or I'd give credit to that artist.

Anyway, as one idea leads to another, and one idea can inspire other ideas, this is where I ended up today. I chose a small piece for today, but hope to use this conglomeration of technics on a larger piece soon.

Regarding the Romper Room thing, as an aside here, I actually got to meet Miss Gloria when I was in my 20's. It turned out that a new girlfriend I made was her daughter. And so she took me to meet her mother. I have to say, it was a thrill to meet Miss Gloria, 20 years after I used to watch her on TV. And practice being a good "do-bee"!!! And never being a "don't-bee". (Like yea, right. I'm sure my own mother would have something to say about that!) Ahhh, the memories from childhood.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Slideshow of my Melange Book

TA DA!!! I finally got my Melange Book posted online.

This is the first time I've posted this whole book online. A few pictures were included on my artist profile on Layers upon Layers last November, but the whole book, cover to cover, hasn't been posted anywhere online. Now that I have an art blog, this is the time and place for me to post it.

So, here it is. This was a group project of my local book arts group, the
Mile High Book Arts group, here in the Denver metro area. Karen Campbell is our very artistic and talented group leader (aren't we lucky?), and she presented this project along with another member, Terry Ross, last summer. We worked on it for two months at home, and then during two meetings. The Melange Book was featured in an altered art magazine first, where Karen got the idea to do it as a project for our group. Sorry, I don't recall which magazine it was in, it was one that I don't get.

Anyway, this was one of the best group projects we've done so far, in my opinion. I got very psyched up about making this book, and worked diligently on my pages at home until I got all 10 of them done. Putting it together wasn't terribly difficult, because I got good instructions from Terry at our meeting. I did, however, run into some problems on my own, and had to figure out how to correct them. At first I panicked, then settled down to troubleshoot and finish my book.

This is indeed one of my most, most cherished altered books. I worked very hard on this, and am very proud of the results. I doubt I ever would've had the nerve to attempt to make this book on my own, by myself, though. That's one of the many wonderful advantages of belonging to MHBA. I was excited and motivated to do this book since it was a group project, and I knew I'd get instruction and help.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

One more new postcard

Gee, I seem to be on a postcard kick, don't I? Oh well, I can get one done in a few hours, so it's kind of like instant gratification. This one might be for a swap....I haven't decided yet. It's a good thing I have a bountiful stash of rusted found objects.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Another new postcard

I didn't think I'd have any new art to post today, but last night at 8:00 I started playing around with some technics. And this is what I ended up with. I punched circles and a square (then cut in half into triangles), out of a frozen entree box. I also cut out some strips. Then I glued them onto the base, a piece of frozen pizza cardboard (my old standby). Then I crumpled up white tissue paper, uncrumpled it, and glued it on top. Then I brushed lots of gel medium over that, in different directions, because I wanted to give it more texture. After it dried, I painted the whole piece with Moccasin Brown acrylic paint. After that dried, I used my finger to rub on different colors of Lumiere metallic paints, to highlight the shapes and the texture. To finish it off I painted on a coat of Krylon Triple-Thick Crystal Clear Glaze, which made the colors pop and further highlighted the texture.

I'd like to experiment more with this technic, but I think I'll glue fabric over the shapes and see how that turns out. Maybe some light fabric such as muslin, so the shapes will be well defined. I like how this postcard turned out. I've always liked using crumpled tissue paper for texture.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A fabric postcard for myself

I say this is for myself, meaning it 's not for a swap or trade. Most of the art I've done in the past year, regarding 5x5s and postcards, has been for swaps. Which is great, because then I get wonderful art from other artists, which I love getting. But sometimes it's nice just to make art and keep it for myself. I feel some of my best art was done for swaps, and I must confess that sometimes it's difficult to part with my favorite artworks.

The fabric I used here for the background is batik-like, and one I love. I found a remnant at a thrift store and was drawn to it, so I snapped it up for $1.50, half price that day. I got at least a yard or more, I haven't measured it. That's enough to be useful for a lot of art. The hearts are cut out of my "rusted fabric" (scroll down for samples below).

I love, love, love rusted fabric, or rusted anything. As you can see, I glued on three rusted found objects, scavenged from the parking lot of my local truck stop. I cut out strips of paper from National Geographic magazine, from pages that would make a good background, and glued them down on the fabric first. Then I tea dyed cheese cloth, and glued that down over the strips of paper.

Then I glued down the hearts and the rusted found objects. I frayed the edges of the fabric, and used those threads on the piece also. The more I work with fabric and fibers in art, the more I love them. The base to this piece is frozen pizza cardboard, which I use often for postcards, 5x5s, and ATCs.

One thing I don't like about how the photo came out though, is how the cheese cloth looks more white than sepia. Because it is sepia, due to tea dying it. Although I wish I'd left it in the tea dye longer to make it darker. As a matter of fact, I have more cheese cloth tea dying right now, that I plan to leave in the tea for several days, to see how dark it will dye. The cheese cloth on this piece was soaked in the tea for only a few hours,

Another option for me is to dye some cheese cloth in walnut ink, which I think I'll try too. That should come out a lot darker than tea dying. I have walnut ink crystals, that I can use for that purpose. Hmmm, I might just do that after I post this to my blog.

Fabric postcard for CyberFyber trade

The first photo is of a postcard I just finished for the trade for the Cyber Fiber Exhibition. The second photo is of the postcard I'm trading for. I don't have it in my hot little hands yet, but it should arrive in the mail soon. I can hardly wait!!! It's so beautiful I can hardly wait to add it to my art collection.

You should check out this wonderful trade that artist Susan Lenz is putting on. Use the link above and read about it. You might just want to join. I encourage you to, especially if you like to make or receive fiber art.

Regarding the postcard I made, I used some of my "rusted fabric and lace" (scroll down to see samples below). Then I added some rusted found objects, scavenged from the local truck stop parking lot. I tea dyed some cheese cloth, and used pieces of that too. I'm very pleased with how this postcard turned out, and it will be a little hard to part with it. But it'll be worth it, regarding the beautiful postcard I'll get in return.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Rusted fabric and lace

These are photos of various fabrics that I "rusted". By that, I mean that I rusted them myself with two 12 by 12 inch steel sheets I bought at Ace Hardware. No, I wasn't the originator of this idea, I read about it in a book. I bought a sheet of non-anodized steel, which is supposed to rust, and indeed it does. One sheet came in the size of 1 foot by 2 feet, so I asked the salesman to cut it in half for me, which he did. So I ended up with two one foot square sheets, for approximately $9.00.

Then I sprayed each sheet with white vinegar water in a ratio of 1:1 and sprinkled table salt generously over that. Then I put down a piece of off-white, cream colored fabric on each sheet, and then sprayed them with the vinegar water also. Then I put the two steel sheets together, one on top of the other, with the fabric sandwiched inbetween. And waited for the rusting to begin!

When you start out with new steel sheets, it takes a while for them to commence rusting, at least overnight or even a few days. I just kept checking them every few hours, and kept spraying them with the vinegar water and sprinkling more salt on them. Once they've started to rust, and after you've used them a few times, it doesn't take nearly as long for the fabric to rust.

This technic can end up being rather messy, so it's good idea to put down newspaper or plastic under the sheets to prevent your table surface from rusting too. Last fall, I used our picnic table on the patio, and inserted the sheets in plastic garbage bags and twist tied them. That kept the moisture in, which helped the fabric to rust faster. And it helped minimize the mess. Also, you should wear plastic gloves when handling the sheets, if you don't want your hands stained with rust.

Everytime I did this, the results came out a little different. I used different kinds of fabric, such as muslin and burlap, and other kinds, and the results all varied. I also rusted paper this way, mostly plain old white copy paper, but also map paper from atlases. That came out very cool, and maybe I'll post some photos of that at some point. You can basically rust anything that will lay flat between the steel sheets.

I hope this encourages you to try this technic. If it does, please leave a comment and let me know about your experiences with this technic. Better yet, post your results to your own blog, and leave a link, so I can view them.

Three Artists Trading Cards (ATCs)

These are three ATCs I recently made for a swap. The squares on two of them are inchies I made out of caulk. It's the first time I've used my caulk inchies in my art. I like the way they look and plan to use them more in my art. I love using caulk in my art, it's one of my favorite art supplies. It's cheap, gives great texture, and is fairly easy to use.

Issues with my new blog

Well darn, I seem to be having "issues" with my new blog. I'm still trying to learn how to use it. I tried to copy and paste text from my Yahoo 360 blog, which is also new, and now I can't edit or delete my last post on this blog. It didn't come out the way I wanted or expected. Well, at least I learned not to copy and paste text from my other blog.

I don't really care for the look of my 360 blog, so I chose to start another blog here. Hopefully, I can delete my 360 blog, but I'm not even sure I can do that. So anyway, please bear with me, as I get used to how this blog works and how to post the way I'd like to. Mostly what I've learned so far is what NOT to do.

An Art Slump

Okay, so this is my second post to my new blog. And maybe I shouldn't start out with confessing to a recent total art slump, for two months, where I did no art at all. Through December and January. It really bummed me out, and I kind of lost my way for a while, as an artist. But the good news is, I recovered from that a week ago, and created an art piece I'm happy with.

Although my "dry time" was for so long, it really had me worried. Who knows why we get into these art slumps??? Why or how? Although it does seem to be fairly normal, or something that happens now and then, at least to some of us. I'm just happy I seem to have come out of it, and have produced some art in the past week or so.

So I'm posting that piece of art, which is a fabric 5x5 piece. I used my old standby, frozen pizza cardboard, as the base, and glued the batik- like fabric to that. Actually I attached the fabric with gel medium, which is one of my favorite adhesives. I stamped on part of the fabric with black acrylic paint and a grid stamp but it's kind of hard to see.

Then I pulled out a piece of rusted fabric, that I rusted myself, and cut out some strips, a rectangle, and a heart. I proceeded to fray the edges of all but the heart, because I love the look of frayed fabric in art, and glued those down. I often use the threads from fraying in my art too, which I did on this. I painted a strip of netting copper, and glued that down, and glued hearts punched out of a paint sample on top of that.

I used a stamp on the heart on the left, and a three heart stamp on the rectangle, outlined with a gold paint pen. Last I glued down the buttons, the rusted wire, and the gold heart.

So that's how I created this piece, and I'm pleased with it. Most especially when I didn't have a clue or any ideas when I sat down to make this. I did have the batik-like fabric though, that I'd just bought at a thrift store, so I started with that. (I was really drawn to this fabric as soon as I saw it at the store. I love the pattern and the colors, and that it's so batik-like.) And once I actually got STARTED, the other ideas just came to me, and rather easily too.

Once I got started, thankfully I didn't have to agonize over what to make. Hopefully, that's a good lesson for me -- that when I want to do art, but don't have any ideas or direction to go in, I should just pull out some art supplies and force myself to start on something, and then maybe the ideas will materialize! At any rate, that approach worked for this piece, and propelled me out of my long art slump.

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Sunday February 10, 2008 - 11:37am (MST) Edit | Delete | Permanent Link | 0 Comments

My first blog entry

Woohoo! I just started my blog. Finally, finally....after just "thinking about it" for over a year. Today, I finally got around to actually doing it. I'm so pleased I did this. I'll be posting some of my art soon, so stay tuned.