31 July 2009

I Painted! It was Really Fun!

A.'s suggestion for proceeding with my water nymphs piece was to do a series of acrylic washes on the canvas rather than using a collaged paper background. I thought that sounded like fun so set to work tonight. Put the canvas on my new desk easel (I am such a sucker for new supplies!) and applied washes of Cobalt Blue/Titan Buff/Titanium White, Green Gold, Raw Sienna, and finally Quinacridone Red (all Golden Fluid Acrylics). I stayed with the same oval movement of the brush as I had with the original background of Cobalt Blue.

One of the most fun things is that once I was done with the wash, I applied the remainder to pages in my new moleskin journal (someone's suggestion for getting into art journaling--stamp ink of rubber stamps onto a journal page instead of scrap paper, dry brushes off on the pages, etc.--then you have a built-in background for journaling). They were ungessoed so will probably wrinkle, but you know what? I don't care! It was fun! I used different brushstrokes to apply the washes and enjoyed seeing how that came out. Since I am coming to this so late, I don't even know which brushstrokes I like, how they interact with each other . . . it's all so new and so thrilling to discover. Anyway, using up the leftover washes in my journal was at least as much fun as painting on the canvas itself.

I also used the leftover QuinaRed wash on a mini canvas that got assaulted during my time challenge piece and has lurked in my unfinished pile ever since. I'd tried inking it with Distress Ink first but that looked terrible (and I realize now I may not even have gessoed the canvas first), and I then ended up experimenting on it with Golden Crackle Paste. Then it was dimensional and kind of interesting in that respect, but it was also gray and thus ugly. I sprayed it with the LuminArte shimmering red spray, and that helped a little but not a lot. Painting over it with the red acrylic wash has helped to make it more interesting, and the shimmer from the LuminArte spray is still there, which is nice. I know it will go somewhere in the end; I just don't know where that is yet.

29 July 2009

Truth Project Progresses

Tonight I'm on my own as DH has left on work/family trip to England for three weeks. We're all tired and missing him, but I thought I didn't want to give in and not doing anything creative after the kids' bedtime, and I'm so glad I did something!

I have been waiting to decide how to adhere my truth quotes to the frames I made, and tonight it was so obvious that I should just use Matte Accents on the back of the frame and then lay it down on top of the quote. Voila! Worked beautifully and I did all twelve in probably twenty minutes.

Of course, after I'd done three, I realized it would have looked pretty slick to first adhere a square of acetate or clear transparency sheet first and then the quote, so it would look like glass, but that's all right. I am still pleased with what I've got, and now I'm on the last step--deciding how exactly to mount/present the darn things. If I am patient, the answer will announce itself, just as it did with attaching the paper to the frame.

I love love love having my workspace set up. I think it's only because I finally have my things out, accessible, and arranged in a logical fashion for how I work that the Matte Accents answer presented itself to me. Having my computer here is also just as wonderful as I thought it would be. For one thing, it makes it easier to do posts for this blog!

28 July 2009

Thoughts on Making my First Pendant

I have learned two important things: you can't reheat Glossy Accents with a heat gun in the hopes that it will smooth out, but you can remove the entire contents of a pendant blank and start again! I poked around the edges with the sharp pin I use to clean out the tips of glue bottles, and it all just lifted out and peeled away, even the paper I'd put on the bottom, and it was as though I'd never put anything in it.

So, what did I like and not like about my first effort? I liked the paper, but it needed something dimensional, I felt, so I sprinkled clear microbeads on the Glossy Accents when it was still wet. That didn't turn out too well. The detail of the picture disappeared, of course, so instead of seeing three red flowers one just saw three red blobs. If I'd had one of those lovely glass red roses from Alpha Stamps or something like that to add, it might have been okay, but I didn't have anything suitable. Also I think I simply put too many microbeads in.

Whether that contributed to how the Glossy Accents dried, I don't know, but it had a lumpy surface on it that was displeasing to me. (That prompted the experiment with reheating it to smooth it out. Works with beeswax--not with GA! It bubbled and probably gave off some horrible noxious gas too.)

When I started over with the newly blank pendant, this time I began with the dimensional accent rather than the paper backing. I found that one of the little armadillo charms I had fit perfectly in the bottom of the pendant, so then I just needed an appropriate background for it. Couldn't find any Texas-style paper (with all the papers I have, I couldn't believe I didn't have the right one) with bluebonnets or cacti on it, but I did eventually find the border to a punch-out card that I got in England last year looked quite nice behind it. I cut it down and adhered it to the blank with a few dots of Diamond Glaze, then I put DG all around the edges and bottom. The armadillo went in next, and out of frustration (couldn't get the tip of the DG unblocked for more than a few seconds at a time) I removed the tip and just poured DG in straight from the bottle. I had to do this carefully and slowly at first so I could prick some bubbles I saw coming out, but I think that may have worked out better than doing it from the tip since it was such a large quantity I needed. It's still drying, but it looks very smooth on top, and I think I'm going to be very satisfied with it.

Note to self: add picture once finished.

21 July 2009

More Thoughts on Moving Back In

Even after doing this for some time now (a couple of years), I still find the beginning almost paralyzes me. I have read so many magazines, looked at so many sites, thought so much about things I want to make, and yet when it comes time to actually BEGIN, I find I remember nothing about how I should start. It is one of the most courageous things I do, every time, to pick up something--a blank canvas, a piece of paper, a wood panel--and start to change it by painting, sanding, gluing, etc. Some of it is process--should I gesso first? should I use gel medium to adhere background papers? what color should I start with? It can be so overwhelming.

And part of that is in my mind about moving back in to a space somewhere in the house now that it's off the market until next spring. When I get my stuff, or at least most of it, back in and around me, will I know how to begin?

20 July 2009

Getting my Space Back!

It looks as though no one is going to buy our lovely house, so this week we will take it off the market. It will be so nice to have our house back to ourselves and not have to always be putting things away all the time! My job now is to figure out a more tasteful way to bring my supplies in from the garage and create a workspace that isn't as overwhelming as it was before we moved everything out. That space was like that famous house in California (I think) where the owner just kept on adding rooms, wings, staircases that went nowhere--I just kept getting things and having to stuff them somewhere. Of course, my husband won't want to spend any money on anything, but it's either that or I take over the dining table again, which I would really prefer not to do.

Good thing I've been spending some time thinking about how to set up a new area. I think the most important thing for me right now is to have a large, flat workspace. I think just getting a 6-ft. table and putting it in front of the dining room window, then putting the paper caddy next to it (which I may clean out a bit), the coffee table underneath the main table to stack things on again, and maybe one bookcase for magazines, books, and things I'd like to see out. The utility cart that I got from Costco will need a home, but I think I can do without the round sidetable and just put the stamps on the 6-ft. table and the bookcase. I'd love to get a rug for underneath it but suppose that can wait.

Thoughts on Christmas 2009 Gifts


Lessons Learned from Stamp Zia workshops