Monday, May 15, 2017

Circles and Walls

In my last post I mentioned that I was taking a class by Tammy Garcia at Daisy Yellow Art that was introducing me to new products and techniques. I have loved painting with my fingers ever since I started painting circles (see post here and tutorial here). So when Tammy introduced her technique called The Wall, and she did it with her fingers, I was hooked! I thought I would share a few insights and tips on the pages I made from this technique. I didn't plan on doing this post so I didn't take pictures along the way. I also will not share many details of the actual Wall technique in order to not infringe on Tammy's class material.

This was my first attempt at The Wall technique:

I loved the grungy look that resulted from the technique, but I don't think I used enough paint on this one. In figuring out the differences between the heavy body acrylic paint I was introduced to in this class, and the craft acrylic paints I usually use, the opacity of the heavy body acrylic requires using it a bit more and in layers to achieve the look I want. I tend to like the text of my background paper to peak through the paint. I usually get this effect by painting the paper with gesso before I paint it with color. However, it was recommended in the class that for these techniques that we NOT use gesso. At some point, though, I will experiment with gesso and the heavy body acrylic paints.

The next session added circles on top of The Wall technique. Now, if you have followed me for a while then you know how much I like circles. They pop up often on  my art journal pages, often without any forethought or planning. So, I was all about this project!

As I played I decided to put my own twist on the project - also no big surprise for me! But I think that is the beauty of taking classes or using tutorials - we learn new techniques and then add our own unique styles to them, rather then making cookie cutter copies of the artist's original. In the class we are using an altered book art journal for our class projects. I decided to do this piece on a loose piece of paper. One of my favorite types of paper to use to make background pages for my art journals is index pages from older atlases.

There a few reasons why I like this particular paper:

  • It's large - anywhere from 9x12" up to 12x16".
  • It's heavyweight, especially those from the older books. The weight of the paper holds multiple layers of paint well. And I enjoy building on layers of paint to achieve the types of backgrounds I enjoy.
  • The text is tiny, like in a dictionary, but dictionary paper is usually fairly thin. Tiny text makes for a wonderful subtle background. 
  • The older books generally used a cream paper, which ages to a nice tan-ish patina, while newer atlases use a brighter white paper. I'm sure it doesn't really matter too much what color the background paper is since I cover most of it with paint, but in my mind I think that the whiter paper affects the paint color. I'll have to test that theory at some point. Besides, I just like the patina of aged things!

I played for a long time, layering the paint, until I achieved the look I wanted. Then I tore the finished Wall page into strips and glued them slightly out-of-line onto a page in my class art journal. Although it's subtle, I like the effect of the torn, out-of-line strips on the background. I then added my circles using my favorite types of vintage ephemera, and used both a black Stabilo-All pencil and a black Neo-Colors II watercolor crayon to get the shading around the circles. The finishing touch was spattering paint in black and white.

I was quite happy with the results, and for a change, I didn't add any words to this page. I think words would actually take away from it rather than enhance it.

I had enough of the Wall paper leftover to make a background page in my Traveler's Notebook.

As always, you can find packs of ephemera papers in my Etsy shop. I may even create packs of vintage index pages since I have SO many atlases! Give me your thoughts on that in the comments below.

Thank you to my friend, Diane Kundrat, for encouraging me to write about some of my techniques and tips on my blog. Diane lives in Arizona and we have been online friends for 5-6 years as a result of my blog. A few weeks ago we finally got to meet in person in Cleveland where we spent an afternoon art supply shopping together!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Creative Brainstorming

It's been said that creativity is like a muscle, the more you use it the more it improves. I continually join different classes and groups to keep my creative muscle in use and improving. Recently I joined two groups led by artists who have different styles and use different art mediums than the ones I usually lean toward. It's good to stretch my creativity out of its comfort zone and experiment with new products. 

I joined Tammy Garcia of Yellow Daisy Art to give heavy body acrylic paints a try. Her class, Groovy Grunge, is also stretching me to try new techniques and a different style. The class uses an altered book journal, which is one of my favorite types of journals. My first few pages from the class:

Some observations from the class so far: I love using the heavy body acrylics. They are thicker than the craft acrylic paints I'm used to. They are more transparent also, so more of the background shows through. There are also not as many colors to choose from so I'm getting some lessons in blending colors as well. I am following Tammy's lead and using my fingers more than a paint brush, which is always a favorite with me! I tried some writing using a paint brush and I think it needs a lot more practice.

I am keeping up (kind of) with The 100 Day Project making scrap collage on 3x5 Rolodex cards.The smaller size challenges me to get creative with a limited amount of items and words! Today is day 35 and I am through day 32. 

The other group I joined is an online art community led by Roben-Marie Smith. She offers different challenges and prompts and a place for art journalers to connect with each other. I have not done much with the prompts yet.

And finally, the first page in a new Traveler's Notebook insert. My sister and I introduced our littles to how to go to a different town and have a day of exploration and adventure. Great fun!

Are you keeping your creative muscles flexed and in use?