Sunday, March 30, 2008

More Grunge Painted Fabric (muslin)

More Grunge Painted Fabric (muslin)

More Grunge Painted Fabric (muslin)

Grunge Painted Fabric (muslin)

These six photos are of muslin painted by my local group, the Mile High Book Arts group here in the Denver metro area. We had our monthly meeting yesterday, and this was the art project we did. Karen Campbell, our talented and fearless leader, spread out yards of muslin fabric across several tables, and then each member picked a section to start painting on. After several minutes of painting that spot, we all moved to the left, and started painting on that section, on top of what had already been painted. And so, we went around the table that way and kept moving to the left until all of us had painted on every section of the muslin. Then when it was dry, Karen cut it into many pieces and we each got to take home two pieces.

Of course no two sections on the fabric were the same. We used brushes, stamps, and stencils for the painting, as you can see. Some people used unconventional items for stamping, such as a toilet paper tube for the black circles. Some people used stamps they had carved themselves. The point was to fill up the whole fabric piece with paint, layering paint on top of paint. I guess that's why it's called Grunge Painting.

As a group, we've done this before on paper, and we all love doing the Grunge Painting and then taking home the neat results. But this was the first time we did it on fabric, and of course the results are the same as on paper. But we plan to make a fabric book this year or next year in our group, so we're thinking of ways to create great fabric backgrounds at some of our meetings.

The neat thing about the process of this technic is that multiple artists paint the same section of fabric and do their own thing, and also the amount of layering done. We all painted quickly and spontaneously, without planning it out or thinking about it, or fear of covering something up that was already painted. So the result really does end up being spontaneous and serendipitous.

Obviously, to do this technic involves more than one person, and preferably many people. Although it could be done with just two people, I suppose. But if you're in a group, this is a very fun and easy project to do with great, and unique, results. Because no one else in the whole wide world has two painted fabric pieces exactly like mine!!! And these will make great backgrounds for my fabric book, when we work on that project.

So, is anyone game to try this? Do it with an art group, or invite a few art friends over for a painting party. Or, if you can't get another person, paint, go out of the room, come back in, and pretend you're someone else. Oh well, just a suggestion.

Thanks so much to all of you

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your caring thoughts and prayers and condolences regarding the death of my mother on March 17th. It was only two weeks ago, but it seems much longer. Your condolences touched my heart, and helped me to deal with this sad and painful loss. They truly did. And I know the prayers helped a lot too. I'm doing better now. Life won't be the same with my mother gone, but it's a reality I must accept. I know that God will comfort and sustain me in my hour of need.

Thank you again for your love and caring. It meant, means a lot to me. Peace and love to all of you. And may God abundantly bless you.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Paper and fabric woven postcard

This postcard was made for a swap on a yahoo group. The theme was a technic theme, this month doing weaving. I've seen this type of weaving on art, but had never tried it myself. I chose to use my crumpled rusted (copy) paper and then some fabric for the weaving. It was not as difficult as I thought it might be, but also not as easy as I wished it to be. It took me an hour to weave this 4 x 6 inch postcard. I had the option to paint over the weaving, and do more layering, as some people did for this month's swap....but I liked the way it looked too much and didn't want to cover that up with paint or glaze. You see, I kind of have a fear of "layering" like that, because I have to cover things up, and that's hard for me to do. I think I need to get over that fear, because I love the look of layered art. And it takes guts to do!

The image of the woman was printed on transparency film in sepia ink, then tranferred onto a paint chip or sample. When it was totally dry, I rubbed brown shoe polish over the image. The hearts were punched out of the crumpled rusted paper. And in the center I stamped Lumiere metallic rust paint with some new swirl stamps that I like a lot.

I almost forgot to mention the piece the image is glued to. It too, was a sample I picked up at Lowe's, a sample for window shades. Something I hadn't seen at Lowe's before.

I think I'd like to try the weaving again, perhaps with two pieces of fabric. I like the way the weaving looks, but to be honest, actually doing the weaving is kind of a pain in the zorch. But that's just me.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A very sad week indeed!

Hello everyone. I'm not posting any art today, because it's been a very sad week for me. I learned on Monday morning, St. Patrick's Day, that my 81 year old mother died in her sleep. At that age, death shouldn't be unexpected, or come as a shock, however, it did for me. My father is still with us, and 83, so I've never lost a parent before, and this is a totally new reality to me. I was a total basket case on Monday, but I'm doing somewhat better now. I realize this is a process, over time, to learn how to handle and deal with. And yes, it's very painful now, but I think in time the pain will lessen. I just thought I should share this with all of you.

I hope in time, to create an altered book as a memorial of my dear mother, Clare Foster. She has been cremated, so I will get a small urn of her ashes. I'm thinking there's no better place to keep the urn than in an altered book dedicated to her memory. There, it will be very safe, and displayed in an artful, respectful manner. (If anyone who reads this has done an altered book like that, please leave a comment or email me about it.)

Your prayers for me and my family would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


This is kind of another happy accident, regarding the texture. I used box (corrugated) cardboard for the base, because I figured that would be sturdier than the frozen pizza cardboard I usually use for these smaller pieces. This piece is a 5x5. Then I spread on some wallboard joint compound and textured it the way I wanted with a butter knife. I wanted it to look more like plaster. And when it was dry, it did look like plaster. However, the moisture from the JC had seeped down into the cardboard, and even though the JC was dry, the cardboard was still damp, and therefore not stiff but somewhat flexible. At that point my muse Bonita jumped in and whispered in my ear....what if you bend the cardboard a little here and there, what will that do to the JC and the texture? So I bent it, before I could even second guess myself (or her), and discovered the "what if" of doing that.

Since JC isn't flexible, it flaked off in the bent areas, adding more interesting texture. It didnt change the look a lot, but enough to give it a different kind of texture. I need to backtrack here though, and say I painted it before I bent the cardboard. And I didn't use paints, I used - get this - beet juice from a can of beets I ate that day. I also dyed some cheesecloth and some yarn in the beet juice. After I painted on the beet juice, I sprinkled on some wallnut ink crystals, misted with water, and then turned the piece in different directions so the brown color would run down the page.

I punched the circles out of entree cardboard and frosted and textured them with the JC also. And sprinkled the ink crystals on them too. On the left side, I used some tea dyed cheesecloth, and on top of that the beet dyed cheesecloth. After I glued down the circles, I looked at it and thought, gee, this kind of looks like a moonscape. So then I wrote the word on some tea dyed muslin and frayed it and glued it on.

I like the look of using two colors of cheesecloth, which was a new idea too. Now, I'm trying to think of other ways to dye cheesecloth. I'm wondering if food coloring would work. I know I could use store bought dyes, but I'm trying to think of other ways to dye it. Any suggestions would be welcome.

Unconditional Love

Well, it's Sunday again, (where does the time go?) and time to post some new art. This one I made a few days ago, for an online art friend, Brigitte Pugliese. She's making a chunky book for a fund raising auction for the Greyhound Rescue & Rehab Organization. This is a good cause, so please visit their webite for more info. Brigitte emailed me and asked me if I would make a 5x5 page for the chunky book, so I of course said yes. She then emailed me some photos of rescued Greyhounds to use on my page. I chose this dog, whose name is Alex. Isn't this a great photo of him? He looks happy and healthy, thanks to this rescue organization.

I decided to keep this page simple. I used some rusted (copy) paper that was crumpled up before rusting to give it more (what else?) texture. I used frayed fabric on the right side, one of my favorite prints, a thrift store find. I cut/punched the heart and tag out of paint samples. Then I used a rusted utility knife blade and etched the name Alex on it. I used an electric etcher I have, another thrift store find, for the first time, and discovered I'm not very good at etching. The name is crooked, but oh well. At least it's readable. I used some neat new swirl clear stamps for the first time on the left side, and really love those.

This was a simple, easy, fun page to make. (I hope Alex likes it!)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Mega-Texture My Way

These two pieces are not recent artworks, but rather were done over a year ago. However, since I've been posting about texture, I thought I'd post about these. I call them Mega-Texture, because these are more dimensional than my other textured work.

This is how the first one, the framed one, came about. A member of our local book arts group, Mile High Book Arts (MHBA), asked our group members to make artwork for a charity auction she was involved with. I said sure, and then came home and thought about what I would make. The idea of making a very dimensional texture piece popped into my mind, out of nowhere. (Well, it was probably my muse whispering in my ear). So I decided to go with that idea, and basically just "wing it", since I'd never done a piece like that before.

So I can honestly say I developed this technic for myself, because I didn't learn it from a book or a workshop or anything online. I had a framed picture I bought at a yard sale, the kind with no glass. I pulled that out to use as my base. Then I just started gluing down all kinds of things that would give dimension and texture. At that time, before I was introduced to gel medium, I used Matte Mod Podge to glue things down. If I do this again, I'll definitely use gel medium.

Some things I used here were crumpled/uncrumpled tissue paper, used dryer sheets, gesso, fluffy yarn, string, twine, plastic mesh veggies come in, fluffy seed pods, other seeds, silk leaves, and used tea bag grounds. (Real leaves preserved with gel medium could also be used.) And of course my little friend, the lizard. As you can see, the list is endless and you can be very creative in what you use on a piece like this. As I recall, with the dryer sheets, I dipped them in a flour and water mixture, the kind used for paper mache, and tried to drape or fold them onto the base for that extra dimension. I suppose wallpaper paste would work for that too. It takes at least overnight for those to dry.

After everything was glued down and the piece was totally dry, I painted white gesso all over it, and let that dry. Something I didn't do was dribble gesso onto it, which is also a way to get some texture. Then I started painting it, which was a long, time consuming process, due to the dimension and all the nooks and crannies it produced. I mean seriously, it takes a long time to paint something like this. It would be much faster to spray paint it, which I would probably do in the future.

I honestly can't remember if I sealed this with anything, but I think I probably did, since there is glare from the flash on the digital picture. I most likely used Future Floor Finish (FFF), which is a great glossy sealer I use a lot. It's very economical too.

The second piece is a tag book I made, hence you see the fibers from the tags hanging out on the right side. I think I used frozen pizza cardboard for the base for this piece. Sorry, but sometimes my memory isn't so good. Pizza cardboard works okay as a base for this kind of technic, especially if you're just playing around and experimenting, but something thicker and less flexible would work better, such as heavy corrugated cardboard or chipboard. And of course, canvas board and stretched canvas would work well for this technic. If I did this again, I doubt I'd use the pizza cardboard for this kind of technic. You need something substantial that will lay flat when it's done.

I added most of the same things to the tag book cover I used on the first piece, and then I also added glitter after I painted it. That really added some pizzazz, but it's kind of hard to see the glitter in the photo. This piece was sealed with FFF.

Now that I'm posting on these, I'm thinking maybe I should revisit this technic, and come up with even more "stuff" to use for texture and dimension. God knows, I'm overflowing with "stuff". Well, isn't that the true mark of an altered artist??? Anyone interested in trying this technic? If you have suggestions for other things that could be used in this technic, by all means, leave a comment with your suggestions. I'd love to hear them.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

More Texture!!! With Caulk this time!

Well, Sunday is a good day to do blog posting. I've gotten some requests to post about using caulk in my art, so that's what I'm posting about today. These six pieces are all made with caulk, and again, my main goal was lots of texture and dimension. I use latex or acrylic caulk that you can buy in the tubes (used with a caulk gun) at home improvement and hardware stores. They are easily accessible and also cheap, around a few dollars. Family Dollar stores also sell it for a buck. You don't want to get the kind of caulk that has silicone in it, because that kind is stickier and messier, and I've heard that it can ruin rubber stamps.

This technic is basically very simple. I spread the caulk in a thin layer over the base. I want the layer thick enough to imprint, but not too thick. For the base, I often use frozen pizza cardboard, my old stand-by. However, it can and does curl after the caulk is applied, so I apply water to the back with a paint brush before I spread the caulk to minimize curling. I apply caulk to the image side of the cardboard, after sanding it down to give it tooth. When I want a stiffer base, I generally use box (corrugated) cardboard, but the pizza cardboard works fine for smaller pieces. Even if they are slightly curled when the caulk is dry, it's very flexible, so the piece can be flattened out. After the caulk is spread, I take an old credit card to smooth it out evenly.

I use WD-40 as a release agent on the edge of the credit card, and on the stamps and tools I use for texture, so they don't pull up the caulk. Also, it's better to use sparingly, so I spray it on waxed paper and use my finger or a foam brush to spread it on stamps and tools. It works well, but smells bad. NOTE: on thinner unmounted rubber stamps, it can cause the edges to flute. On the thicker unmounted rubber stamps, it has no effect (that I know of). I've also used it with clear stamps, and haven't noticed any detrimental effects. However, long term, I don't know if it could damage stamps. I always wash off the WD-40 right after I use the stamps. There might be other, better, release agents to use. I'm thinking that vaseline would probably work, and need to try it next time I use caulk.

Once the caulk is spread, I give it 4 or 5 minutes to "set up", and then I start stamping and texturizing with various tools. Any tool can work, so be creative, because what you're doing is imprinting into the layer of caulk. You don't want to press too hard though and smoosh the caulk, you just want to get a good imprint. If you make a mistake, no problem. You can just smooth it over with the credit card and start over. But you have to work fairly quickly while the caulk is still wet enough, so it's a good idea to have all your stamps and tools out on the table for ready access. If you're doing a large piece, it would be better to work on small areas at a time.

Not only can you stamp and texturize the caulk, but you can also embed things into it, because it acts as an adhesive, whereas spackle and joint compound don't. In the bird postcard, you'll notice I embedded a puzzle piece into the caulk. So, use your imagination!

Once your piece is the way you want it, set it aside to dry. Caulk can dry in a few hours, but I generally let it dry overnight. Once it's dry, you can paint it, or not. Or rub brown shoe polish over it for a more vintage effect, over the white or painted caulk. That's what I did on the patriotic piece, and I really like the effect. I used the shoe polish as an afterthought, so now I know shoe polish works well on caulk.

So, that's pretty much the whole technic. Pretty simple and easy, right? And very inexpensive to boot. Caulk can also be used for neat dimension with stencils. Just frost it over a stencil, let it dry, and voila, you have instant dimension. When dry, it's very flexible and doesn't crack or flake off, which spackle and wallboard joint compound tend to do. I use both products for different effects. Sometimes, I want cracking and flaking, sometimes not.

For the caulk inchies, I do the stamping/texturizing on a larger piece and then cut it up into inchies when dry. I draw a one inch grid on the back of the piece before I start, and use a utility knife and a metal ruler to cut them out. I make up a bunch ahead of time, and then just pull them out and paint them when I use them in art pieces. I paint the inchie first with a brush, then use my finger to rub a different color over the elevated parts.

So there you have it., don't walk, to your nearest store to buy some caulk, and start caulking. Have fun and please let me know how it works out for you. BTW, caulk also comes in clear, so there are possibilities for that too. I'm trying to come up with some.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Rusted map papers

I had mentioned on a previous post, the one titled "rusted fabric and lace", that I had also rusted map papers from an atlas, and that I might post them soon. So here they are. I really love these, but haven't used them yet, even though I rusted them six months ago. One of these days, I'm going to have to find a way to use them.

At any rate, they'd make great background papers, don't you think? I love maps and I love anything rusted, so I love these. If you want to know how to make them, please scroll down to the post on "rusted fabric and lace" and it explains what to do.

As soon as spring arrives, and it isn't so darn cold outside (like it is here in Colorado right now), I should make more of these out on the picnic table on the patio. (Regarding the cold weather, I don't think I've EVER been looking forward to spring more than I am right now. It's been a rough winter here, and not what we're used to.)

I encourage those of you who love rusted stuff to try this, you won't be disappointed. If you do, let me know how they turn out and how you like them.

Here's a toast to anything rusted!!!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Roadmap to Texture

The goal of this piece was texture, in a different way than I've done before. It kind of looks like I used caulk, and some of you may think it's caulk, since I use caulk and love it. However, I used wallboard joint compound (JC) on this piece. This wasn't exactly the look I was going for when I started, but it's how it ended up. Anyway, it looks more like caulk since I painted it and used a gloss finish on it. I used Future Floor Finish (FFF).

I cut strips and punched circles out of pizza cardboard, and after I spread the JC, I tried to embed them in the JC, thinking it would act as an adhesive, (which caulk does). Oh, silly me, that didn't happen. I could've glued them in after the JC dried, but instead chose to pull them off and use the piece as it was. In a way, this ended up being a happy accident.

Then my next big issue was what colors to use. I kind of just played around with that part, although I like how it turned out. I might try this again with watercolor paints and see how that looks. I'm assuming, or thinking, the JC would absorb the watercolors to some extent. Not sure about that either, but I guess it's worth a try. I used acrylics on this piece.

Another heart postcard

Yes, another one. Well, the dimension is 4 x 6 inches, which is the size of a postcard, so I'm just calling them postcards. On this one, the hearts on the left and the strip in the middle are cut out of rusted fabric. The threads are what came from fraying the fabric strip. I find that I like using the threads almost as much as using the fabric. As you can see, that's cheese cloth on the right side. I used that technic again of cutting or punching shapes out of cardboard, gluing them down, then gluing down crumpled/uncrumpled tissue paper over them. In this case, I used tan tissue paper. Then on the right side, I glued down the cheese cloth over the tissue paper.

This cheese cloth was tea dyed, so it was sepia color, but I chose to paint it with Moccasin Brown, and then rubbed Burnt Sienna over the heart and circles with my finger to get some contrast there. I added the buttons last, and like them on there. Up to that point, I felt it wasn't finished, it needed something more, but was having a hard time deciding what. I tried a few other things that didn't seem to work, so then I raided my button stash. Fortunately, I had some buttons the right colors.

This is most likely going to be for a personal swap. I haven't decided for sure yet, but I think so.