Saturday, May 31, 2008

Soap Bubble - O - Rama Backgrounds

Okay, so here's a new technic I've read about, in art books and online, but never tried before, until today. Today, our local book arts group met, which we do once a month, and this was the technic taught and tried. It was loads of fun, and actually quite addictive. We met for four hours of art fun and play, and when the four hours were up, I didn't want to stop playing and making cool backgrounds.

Actually, these pieces could be framed as they are, and be great art. Or several framed as a set, and be great art. And like, who knew??? I sure didn't....until today. And am so glad I was introduced to this technic -- a very easy, simple, and cheap technic. Thank you so very much Laurie, for introducing me to this technic.

It involved a recipe of water, dish soap, and tempera paint. We used wide mouth plastic cups for the paint, and basic straws with which to blow the bubbles. And then, once the bubbles are blown, you take your paper and touch it to them, and this is the amazing result. Not terribly difficult, eh? And loads of FUN, that harkens back to childhood play. It's no more difficult or involved than that.

So, here is the recipe, as I'm sure you'd like to know it.


1–2 tbsps. Tempera Paint

1 tbsp. Dishwashing Liquid

½ cup Water

So, you mix it all up, and then insert the straw, and start blowing bubbles. What we found was as time went by today, the result kind of changed, to where there were tiny bubbles around the rim of the the plastic cups, and the paint on the background papers got darker. Also, it seemed to me the bubbles got larger, except for around the rim, the longer we used the paint/mixture.

I'm very happy with how these turned out. It was really great, and fun, trying a new technic. I can see me using these backgrounds in various ways. If you're inspired to try this, good for you. I love being a source of inspiration to other artists, as I appreciate being inspired myself by other artists. So go to it, and try this out yourself. You'll be happy you did.

(Scroll down to my last post on Nature Art with a Twist to see how I used caulk and a real leaf. I posted that yesterday.)

Nature Art with a Twist

I finished this piece today. Yippee, I finally got some new art done I can post. I used my usual for the base - frozen pizza cardboard, of course. Then for the background, I used crumpled, then uncrumpled, glossy magazine page. I can't remember if I glued it down, or used double sided tape, because I did that part about a month ago. I think it could be done either way. It's the first time I've ever tried this technic, using magazine page. It gives really great texture.

Although I can't take credit for this technic, I didn't come up with it myself. I found it online at the Trish Bee Design Studio website. Here's the link to her website: . It's a wonderful website with a wealth of tutorials for many different technics. I was thrilled when I found it. Thank you Trish for your wonderful site and all the great tutorials. I'm sure I can learn a lot from your site. It's oh so inspiring!!!

Now, back to my piece. I punched the shapes out of entree cardboard, then frosted them with caulk (the poor man's modeling paste). On the larger circle, I stamped into it for the design. I used the underside of a vinyl carpet runner for the stamp, which has a swirl pattern.
On the other shapes, I frosted the texture onto them. For the painting, I used black acrylic paint, and then rubbed Lumiere gold over the textured parts with my finger. I love the look of black and gold, it looks so elegant and rich to to me.

Now for the leaf. It's a real leaf from my yard. I preserved it with gel medium on both sides and let that dry. Then I used a paint brush to paint caulk onto it. After it set up a few minutes, I used a toothpick to make the leaf veins. After it was dry, I painted with Lumiere gold, let that dry, then rubbed on Lumiere rust with my finger over the textured parts. After that, I used my finger to rub on some black, to get more contrast. To finish it, I sealed the whole piece with Future Floor Finish (FFF).

I had all the shapes done and ready to glue on, when the idea came to me to use the leaf. I've used real leaves before in some of my art, and love them. And gee, they are free from my yard and so accessible, now that spring is finally here. But this is the first time it occurred to me to use caulk on the leaf, to give it more texture. That's why this is titled Nature Art with a Twist. The leaf is totally natural, but putting caulk on it isn't. But even so, I like the way it turned out. I keep sayin' I LOVE that caulk!!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Using paper casts in art

This is a spread I did in my first Altered Book, back in the spring of 2004. The main reason I'm posting it now is because I'm entering a blog give-away on GPP Network Street Team, having to do with paper casts in art, and so I need to post this piece on my blog. And also because I haven't been making much new art lately, due to increased work days and hours. I did create a spread in the AB of a friend from my local book arts group this week, but I haven't taken a digital picture of it yet, so I can't post that. And I haven't been posting much on my blog lately, so I figure at least posting something is better than not posting at all.

Thank you, Michelle Ward, for your great tutorial on paper casts on your blog, and for the give-away you are having. You have a great blog! I didn't know about it until recently, when an art friend pointed me to it. I'm so glad she did.

Okay, so now a bit about this particular piece. I was a total "newbie" to altered books and altered art, when I made this. However, I like it -- although my art today is different and not what it was four years ago. And that's a good thing, because hopefully, as artists, we are constantly learning and growing, right?

On this piece, I used a sheet of my handmade paper that I made on the left page. I used purple copy paper and coffee filters for this handmade paper. I made the paper pulp in a blender, and didn't blend it very long, so the white coffee filters would show up in the paper sheet. I used the border of a woven table place mat, and yarn unraveled from a sweater, on that page also, along with a button and some flowers cut from a necklace.

On the right page, the main background is a piece of sheer fabric from a fabric sample book, and of course the painted strips of corrugated cardboard. Those are more buttons at the bottom of the page. The women's faces are the paper casts, painted with metallic purple paint. I lucked out and found the plaster mold for these at a thrift store. I've never seen another mold like it, and I really like these faces.

So that's how I made this piece, a conglomeration of "things" I had on hand. I still have the plaster mold, as well as two others I bought that day, and I'm thinking maybe I should get busy and make some more paper casts. I have lots of different molds, some I've never used. Most are the plastic candy molds, but I also have some flexible molds for polymer clay, and some terra cotta cookie molds. And I have lots of unmounted stamps that would work for paper casting, as shown on the blog mentioned above.

I wouldn't say this piece ranks in the best art I've ever done, I know it doesn't, but I think it's not bad for when I was a total newbie to altered art. And it does speak well to using what I had on hand when I made this piece. And lately, I've been thinking about using paper pulp in my art, or at least experimenting with that. I haven't made handmade paper in years, mostly because I still have piles of it left over from several major marathon paper-making sessions I did years ago. I haven't used my handmade paper much in my art, and I think I need to do that too.

So in closing, if this post encourages any of you to make handmade paper or paper casts, that's great. I hope it does. I know it has caused me to reconsider using them more in my own art. Whether or not that actually happens, I'll let you know.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Regarding my beeswax collage (posted below)

I thought I would mention what I used for the base in this piece. (And no, it's wasn't frozen pizza cardboard, amazingly enough -- since I use that so often as a base for my work. I doubt that would've worked well for this kind of collage.) I used a flat piece of styrofoam, which was packing material for something I bought. I think it was a half inch thick, or maybe 3/4 inch thick. I cut it to the size I wanted, and then frosted wallboard joint compound over the top and let that completely dry. I tried to make it as smooth as I could, but it did have some minimal texture to it. That's what I took to our group meeting for this project.

I wasn't totally sure it would work, but I thought, why wouldn't it work?, and took a chance. I think all the other members who made collages that day used either stretched canvas or canvas board. But I know no one else used what I used for a base.

Thankfully, it worked just fine. The technic we used is featured in one of Claudine Hellmuth's books, I think her first book. We used melted beeswax, melted in potpourri pots, and then quilting mini irons (with the long handles) to keep melting the wax when we needed to, after it was painted onto the base and over what we put on our collages. Basically, it was a simple technic, not too difficult, and a great technic. Thank you, Claudine!

I was very happy with how my collage turned out, but as I said before, I got some much needed help from other group members. Had I been left alone to do this, I doubt it would've turned out as well. That's why working in a group can be advantageous, and also lots of fun, and I love my local group.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Memorial Day Remembrance

Memorial Day is coming up soon. An important day to that honors those who have served in our fine Military, over years and decades and even centuries, and have risked their lives, even sacrificed their lives, the absolute ultimate one can give, to protect us and our freedom and our country. This is dear to my heart, because I'm an American Patriot, and am proud of my country and the military that has fought for our freedom. I thank God, often and sincerely, that I was blessed to be born in this country, blessed to be a citizen of this fine country, blessed to be an American. Because the fact is, millions and even billions of people out there were not blessed in this same way. And I did nothing to deserve this amazing blessing, but I'm grateful to my very core for it.

This artwork is not something recent, but was done 3 1/2 years ago at my local art group meeting. It's a collage done with beeswax, the first and only time I've used this technic. It just came together rather easily, surprising me a lot. But I happened to have the right supplies and items at the right time, and some help and input from other group members also. So in the span of four hours, this is what I created.

I gave it to a dear friend of mine, Donna, as a gift. She's in the Navy Reserve, and I felt she would appreciate this and relate to it, on a level maybe other people wouldn't or couldn't. I didn't start out making this for her, but once it was completed, I knew I wanted to give it to her, and was meant to be hers. She then took it to be framed, and it's hanging in her livingroom. So even though I no longer own it, I do get to see it when I visit her, and that makes me feel good.

I'm grateful and proud to be an American, to my very core, and my heartfelt and sincere thanks go out to all members of the military and their families, for the honorable and incredible sacrifices they make for my country, and for me personally. God bless America and please keep us safe, and God bless our troops and please keep them safe. Amen, and amen.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Sheesh, where does the time go??? My goal, related to my blog, was to post at least twice a week, on Sundays and Thursdays. And I did that consistently -- for a while -- but.....then I slacked off. Well, life doesn't always go as planned. I've had to work more days and hours in the past five weeks, because my work schedule suddenly changed. And I'm not sure how long I'll have to work this new schedule. But one thing I do know is that it has limited my time, for making art and posting to my blog, and doing other things as well. Grrrrr! Oh well, such is life, I guess.

Regarding this Doodle Page, it's my first real attempt at doodling, from start to finish. I've never had the urge to doodle, quite honestly. But I had a few very slow days at work, and I was getting bored out of my gourd. Normally, I do paperwork when it's slow. When I finish that, I generally read, mostly non-fiction. I love perusing art books, for ideas and inspiration, that I mostly check out from the library. And I did that, looked through five art books, and still had time on my hands. So I grabbed a piece of green cardstock, a black ink gel pen, and just started doodling, mostly out of boredom and frustration that it was so slow at work.

However, once I started this page, and it started to take "shape", (pun intended), I kind of got "into" it, and it helped relieve the boredom and frustration. I would estimate that it took me at least 10 hours to make this page, probably more. Which hardly seems worth that amount of time, but since I was bored, and it gave me something creative to do, in that sense, maybe it was worth the time. I would've preferred to invest that time in the kind of art I normally do, but that wouldn't be possible at work.

So anyway, I tried my hand at doodling, in a serious way here. And I must admit, I'm happy with the end result. Although I have no idea what I'll do with this piece. I did scan it, and could always use it as a background for other art pieces. Whether or not I'll attempt to do any more doodling during slow times at work remains to be seen. I don't know about that, I'm hoping I'll be busier at work so I won't have to make that choice. For all you serious doodlers out there, who love to doodle, I can now appreciate just how much time it takes!

I have been working on some new art lately, at home, of course. But I can't post it on my blog, because it's a collaborative project that will be submitted for publishing. I've never had my art published, nor submitted any of it for publishing, so I'm excited about this project. Hopefully, it will be accepted for publishing -- I'd really love that. There's no guarantee, of course, but the other two artists I'm collaborating with do great art work, so hopefully our work will be accepted for publishing.

Meanwhile, it's a beautiful spring day here in the Denver metro (CO) area. And yet, it snowed here Thursday, and was very cold and windy yesterday. I'm loving the weather today!!! And debating with myself about making a run to Hobby Lobby and to Joann's with some coupons in hand. Like yeah right, I need more "art stuff".