Sunday, April 9, 2017

Song Lyrics and Me

Hello again! I am sharing the latest art journal page in my Little Book of Wisdom quotations journal today. The reason for this page was to participate in a challenge that happened back in December, Marit Barentsen's annual Top 2000 List. Lucky for me she keeps the Facebook page open all year, so I was able to finally participate, lol. But I enjoyed working with song lyrics that speak to me so much that I have a few more pages in process. No eta, though - I'm slow. :-)

Took some progress shots, and thanks for those comments telling me you like to see that, I will try to oblige. I began with this background already waiting, a multi-layering of blue acrylics on gesso, painted, sponged, palette-knived:
I then took a Crafters Workshop 6x6 stencil and some Liquitex Dioxazine Purple Heavy Body paint to make the mountains in the distance. I love how that heavy paint made ridges in the mountains. Here's a close-up of it:
Now, since my stencil was 6x6 and my page is wider, I was left with gutters. Instead of painting that out freehand, I thought of using up some washi tape as a frame (the facing page is framed as well). It's just what I went with. For some reason, it looked strange to me otherwise.
Then it was off to painting the ground. I'm trying to use up my oldest paints, so I just began picking up bottles and shaking (found a few dried-up ones to throw away). I settled on this nutmeg color for the desert floor (really old Making Memories paint - ha!). Then, I tried my hand at some cactus rows after googling some images. I did use 3 shades of green and some of them look pretty good. As usual, I overdid it, but as you will see, it might have a good thing I did that because most of it ends up covered by deli paper. I should have probably used my pen and made cactus pricks but I was lazy at that point.
I attached the washi tape around the edges with Sukwong tape so I wouldn't have to worry about it unsticking. Then, it looked really white, so I got out some Archival Tree Branch ink and stained it.
Onto my collage pieces. I could have searched for just the right images to convey the story, but the  more I looked at the Artistic Outpost stamps I already had from their Wander and Dream set, I wanted to use what I had. Colored and fussycut them out, then I edged them a bit with Smooch Midnight ink. I wanted Desperado in big letters so I turned to my QuicKutz Washington font dies (which I love but never get to use because they are huge).
Cut them in white cardstock, then I colored them with Smooch Copper and outlined the edges with an Indian Red Faber Castell Big Brush pen.
I then ran them all through my Xyrons and adhered them to my page. Next up, my lyrics. I wanted to show the lyrics that reflected the scenario I'd created from the song. And I wanted them to cover up and mute out the cactus a bit, so I went into PSE as I often do. Scanned in the page, then created an additional layer for my text and typed it on just where I wanted it on the page, this is what it looked like on the screen:
Then, I closed the layer visibility on the background and printed out only the top text layer. I printed first time on my copy paper, then taped my deli paper to cover that text with my low-tack artist tape, and printed again. I LOVE how that works!
I have been a fan of the Eagles since my college days and I have seen them live twice, both in the 70's. I love their music (that progressive country-rock thing back then set my tastes. I was 18 in 1974.)  But it's their lyrics that have kept me a fan. My favorite songs are those written by Glenn Frey and Don Henley (songwriter Hall of Famers indeed!). In addition to Desperado, I'm talking about Peaceful Easy Feeling, Witchy Woman, Lyin' Eyes, New Kid in Town, Hotel California, Tequila Sunrise, Life in the Fast Lane, Best of My Love, Victim of Love, and Take It to the Limit. They all tell stories: poignant, real, organic tales. So, this is why I was drawn to this song. And in doing this page, I discovered that I really enjoyed art journaling with snippets of good lyrics because I love to tell a story on my page.
I am participating in a few more challenges with this page:

1. Art Journal Journey's April challenge Magical Mystery Tour - my connection to the theme is that Desperado's Lyrics talk about the same things as the MMT album songs All You Need is Love and Hello Goodbye, just think of them set in the historical American West, which still maintains its own magic and mystery to this day.

2. Paint Party Friday Week 5, Year 7 - this is basically a share what you painted challenge with open themes. Many people share actual acrylic paintings here, and one day maybe I will as well, but for now if I used acrylic paint, I'm participating. I think a multi-layered painted background is a work of art all on its own! In some circles they are called abstract paintings. ;-)

3. Mixed Media Monthly Challenge #35 What's Your Superpower? theme - I'm a non-cusp Pisces and my intuitive side is my superpower. It really connects me passionately with history, my genealogy, and their stories. This page is an example of what I key into intuitively and how.
Well, that's all for today. Thanks to each of you who stop by to visit and comment. I've been having a bit of a confusing tech problem replying to each comment lately, but please know I read and appreciate them all. See you again real soon!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Culture Shock, According to Plato

Hello again! I'm popping in to share another art journal spread completed in my Wake Me When It's Over journal. I am participating in the March Art Journal Journey Challenge with the theme Out and About. And I will also link this up to Paint Party Friday on Friday (Week 4, Year 7).

Forgot this time to take a photo before I began of the background that I'd created a long way back, so long ago that I do not remember what was involved other than what I can see, which are very many layers of collaged scrapbook paper bits and acrylic paint and glaze. It ended up being really bumpy and textural, and frankly a pita to adhere to, but I managed mostly with sookwang tape and xyron for the alpha stickers and word strips. The car was from a magazine cover and was a bit thick, so went on well with gel medium. I painted the roadway and white striping with Posca paint pens.

Now, about the spread itself and what I am conveying here. Those of you familiar with Plato's Republic may remember his description of life in what he called Late-Stage Democracy. People remember it most for the political meanings, but that is not what I'm addressing at all on this spread. I'm only documenting 2 of the cultural behaviors in that time, with trending examples from today.

I will also explain that ever since I read Plato in college (last century), I have called Late-Stage Democracy Plato's L.S.D. Trip. Yup, the acronym was just too tempting for me to ignore, lol. The yellow handwriting is in my own words how Plato sees culture in any phase.

The two examples from today are behaviors that I think are over the top, particularly the one about parents and children. I see far too little respect given elders. Everyone who is lucky enough will become an elder and so will it be for the young who do not seem to realize that by phasing out elder respect, they will not get it either, but by then it will be late. Some say the current elders killed it during the 60's and that argument has some merit, but I personally never approved of that and taught my child to honor the traditional. Alas, when a culture appropriates the teaching, this is what happens.

As for the animals, while I do not currently have a pet, I've had several and loved them dearly. But because I have allergies to their dander, they were always outdoor pets. What I find a problem is that places like hotels are always up in arms about cigarette smoke, but hey, pet animal dander and fluids, no problem! To someone allergic, it's equally offensive, and sometimes medically more dangerous to stay in a pet-friendly hotel room. From my perspective, it's now pets are the rule, no pets the exception in culture...and I see a parallel to back 40-50 years ago when people could and did feel free to light up anywhere and everywhere and objecting was the exception.

So, I decided to document these and then see how they evolve over time. This is why I left the bottom open space on the right hand side, because I will probably have something to observe at a later date.

This represents me (as do all my pages in this journal) because it's an example of what I read and think about. Plus, I cannot lie, I had that cool winged car image, lol. Mashup! ;-)

Thanks for visiting and see ya again soon!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Toxic Zodiac Art Journal Page

Hello again! What's been going on with you? Today I'm here sharing an art journal page I created to participate in Mix It Monthly March Challenge with the theme of water zodiac signs (Cancer/crab, Scorpio/scorpion, Pisces/fish). Also going to add it to the mix at Paint Party Friday. ;-)

My page is quite personal to me so I journaled on paper that is tucked into the back cover...still haven't decided if I'll add any journaling to the page itself but left what open space I could. 

I began with this background starter in my Wake Me When It's Over journal, which has kind of an About Me theme. I tell a few stories and record memories in it. I wanted to focus this page on a specific friendship I have and that examining it through our zodiac signs actually helped me understand our history better.
(Left - test print on copy paper; Right - deli paper taped to copy paper)
So, I found appropriate digital images that I could print out in black and white and then color by hand. I pasted them all on one sheet to print in PSE, but I wanted to print it out on deli paper.
So I got out my 3/4-inch wide Low Tack Artists Tape that works in my printer beautifully.
Here you can see the deli paper laser print after I removed the tape. Now to color and fussy-cut.
On to work that background more. I got out my beloved Platinum Carbon Pen and a couple of The Crafters Workshop 6-inch stencils. Also, some acrylic paints and some sponges. After several sponged layers of paint, I stenciled on some seabed plants and pods. I outlined most of the plants with the pen which has carbon permanent ink and the nib writes/draws beautifully on paint.
Then I arranged my images in order to hunt through my alpha stickers for a color match on my title.
My final step was to create the look of toxicity or pollution, and I did it with my Derwent Inktense india ink pencils. I wet the title first and then drew the drip lines downward with a Tsukineko brush-tip Fantastix (like a pointed q-tip that doesn't wimp out and can be cleaned to re-use), which then set the pencil ink. I used Navy Blue first and then Payne's Gray.

Of course, the moment I said Done, it occurred to me that I should have done the stenciling and the collaging on a separate piece of paper, then attached it to the page like a pocket. Then I could have inserted the folded up secret journaling. {WHACKS SIDE OF HEAD} Yup, story of my life, lol. Oh well, live and learn. Important thing is, I documented a very personal memory that I want to remember. Additionally I am able to participate in my favorite art challenge groups on my terms. I love it when what was gonna get made anyway fits a challenge, as this did perfectly.

Thank you for visiting and I will see you again real soon!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Paint Party Friday

Here I am again, popping in to share what I painted at a recent Painting With A Twist activity with some dear IRL girlfriends. This was my first time to do PWAT and I was nervous, even though I have painted in my hobby art for years. My friends had been before, but are not hobby artists. And I'd only ever done a complete acrylic painting in my art journal, so this was a first for me on canvas.
Interesting evening. You can see the reference painting on the easel in the left side of the above photo. Wonky perspective of the Eiffel Tower, huh? As I was drawing it (with my paintbrush!), I was thinking, wished I'd picked an easier night, but I went with it and actually worked pretty loosely. And fast, compared to the rest of the class of about 12. LOL, I also brazenly did my own thing on some of the steps, and I didn't worry about being perfect. In fact, I even added to my tower's wonkiness and enjoyed it.
Anyway, it ended up being a fun activity for us and my painting was chosen best in show for the night by the students. I don't know if I'll do it again unless the painting is super easy, though. I feel like I lucked out on this one because it's not that easy to do for a beginner, lol.
I'm joining Paint Party Friday's 6th Birthday Celebration Week with this painting. If it applies to you, remember to Spring Forward one hour tonight! Back again soon, I'm starting to miss blogging again, lol. ;-)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Back in the Saddle in a New Direction

My attempt at a lesson in Carla Sondheim's book, Drawing Lab.

Hello again! I must confess, it has been about 4 months since my last post, and I have no good excuse. I remember the usual oppressive heat of summer making me lazy and my health just being blahhhh. I took another downward turn with my Arthurs. They've been causing me a lot of grief ever since, in my hands, back, neck, shoulders. Then, during election season, I took a little longer break as it was so contentious (my Facebook timeline is just as bare) and I pretty much shut down as to sharing anything.

But I have not taken a break from art. My rheumatology physical therapist told me that I needed to work my fingers, especially my pincer grip. She knew I was a long time paper collage card maker and that I felt I could no longer make them (get the layers made and put on straight, etc.). She also knew my struggle with the deadlines. She also knew about how lost and melancholy it made me feel not to have an art niche anymore. I was gluebooking and So she suggested drawing, sketching, painting - just for fun. At first, I was like, no I can't draw, are you kidding me? I mean, I have drawn a few decent things in my life, but I always felt like I just got lucky with them. Then she said, LEARN.  Well, lol, I couldn't argue with that so I said okay and left, but wasn't convinced.

I looked into it and discovered for many artists it is simply PRACTICE. Over and over and over. At first, I spent several weeks sketching objects in my house, from photos, etc., always keeping it very simple. I didn't suck at it, and that made me feel better, but I realized that the sketch journal books I own seemed too advanced. I even considered taking an online class. Then I realized I did have one book that might help me: Carla Sondheim's Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun . All fun, no pressure. So, I've been working my way through it, and it does make drawing fun - ha! It's not a formal training by far, but as I took basic college art classes back in the day, what I learned formally I still remember for the most part, if rustily.

 I have also learned some important things through trial and error that have and do help me now that I've been drawing for a few months. I will share them in case they might work for others:

1. The biggest key to learning to draw is to BUILD CONFIDENCE that I can, in fact, draw, by choosing safe subjects ("I know I can draw this") and then throwing in at intervals some risk ("I don't think I can draw this"). Here's one of my safe ones, to which I did add some risk by using a pen - no safety net, but it was only because I was pretty sure I could do it, lol:

And here's one of my risks. You can see it is quite far from perfect (I have always been afraid of anything spherical), but I went with a loose, sloppy sketchery style and I like it a lot! I used a Platinum Carbon Desk Fountain Pen - the very same pen as Jane Davenport's Epic pen. It really IS epic, just holding it loosens up your wrist. HIGHLY recommended.
Colored with J. Herbin fountain pen inks Gris Nuage and Café des Iles.

2. KEEP IT SIMPLE and QUICK. Don't take on a subject that will take me days to draw (and I did just that a few times and learned it was wise advice). Choose to draw something every day that takes only 15-30 minutes. This helps build it into a habit (and builds confidence). What also helps is a smaller canvas for drawing -- I would be working against myself if I were trying to fill a 9x12" page every day, because that takes more time...and my finger joints dictate otherwise! My daily quick sketch journal is 4x5". I made it by cutting a 9x6" wire bound bought one in half and decorated the cover:

How I made my Quik Sketch Journal.

3. PRACTICE is the means and the end: Do not look at what you are drawing as a finished product in the making. I do scan and save every sketch. This actually helps, when the Finished Product Monster in my head rears it's ugly puss. I know I can always print out what I've sketched / drawn (I use these words interchangeably) on better paper for a finished product, just not right now. Or, I tell myself increasingly more, I can always re-draw it. More confidence builds more confidence.

An example of what not to do at first.  It took me a week to finish and messed up my daily simple and quick thing. Now that's it's done, I love it, but while it was ongoing I realized I had bit off more than I could chew.
Following these 3 rules, I have been able to succeed! Success is not measured by what my drawing looks like, day to day. It's measured by how, now, I'm jazzed to draw every day. I feel confident enough to do it...and to TAKE THE RISK, because there is no downside because I'm JUST PRACTICING. Is my goal to become a famous or well-regarded sketch artist? NO. My goal is to become better than I was, to get to DECENT. And to find pleasure in drawing instead of anxiety. That's it. I've always felt that I have some talent but that it wasn't quite enough to get to decent, and that's that. Now I know that my mistake was thinking you are either talented enough or not. No, if you practice, you get better. You develop the skills that make up the talent.

I will leave you with a never-before-shared card I made for a special loved one's birthday back in 2014. It's not a Thanksgiving Day card (I have not made one of those since 2011 and showed them already on the blog), but it does feature a cousin to a turkey:

Supplies: Clear Dollar stamp, Tim Holtz Rays stencil, distress inks, Pink Paislee Old School paper

Hope you have an Arty-Lectable Day!