Art Journal Page: Large Scale Layout

In tonight’s art journal session, we’re going to look at using large scale layouts. Though we will be working in our normal journals (mine is A4 spread), we’ll be using 12×12″ stencils and very large stamps to build our layers, only adding detail towards the end. This exercise is designed to encourage the breaking down of large patterns into manageable chunks… a lesson for life too!

Large format layout

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Art Journal: Gelli Tag Book

It’s been a while since I have played with my Gelli mono printing plate, and inspired by the work of Birgit Koopsen and the latest copy of Somerset Studio featuring tag art, I set to. Twenty or so monoprinted tags later, I had the basis of a new art journal – a Gelli Tag Book.

With a quick cardboard cover, book binding tape and a few quotes (and several days later) my journal is complete. Overprinting and underpainting, outlining hand drawn typography create a cohesive whole.

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Commission: Castle Series, no. 1, Caernarfon

I’m having fun in the Studio, actually playing with paints and canvases for a change. It’s also been a little while since I have had any commissions. This is the first in a series of six canvases, each requested to feature a Welsh castle. The main colour of the room is grey, and the accent colour is purple.

I’ve loved the ‘purple twilight’ type photo treatment, and there’s nothing more striking (I think) than a castle’s silhouette. It gives a much more solid appearance, and given most castle’s prominence on the horizon, a real immenseness.

Caernarfon CastleMy first is that of Caernarfon Castle. It took me a couple of tries to get the tonal shades right – my first go didn’t have enough contrast between the grey and black.

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TV: Sneak Peeks [for That’s Crafty!]

It’s been a bit hectic here at The Studio, prepping samples and show demos for my TV appearance on Friday, on Hochanda (16th June, 8am & 2pm). That’s Crafty! have a huge new release including their own shimmer paints, lots of laser cut embellishments and the new giganTAGs. As usual, I’ve been a bit quiet online as I’ve been hard at work offline! So, here’s a quick peek of the project I’ll (hopefully) show step-by-step beginning to end in the first hour:

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Art Journals: using acrylic covers – part 2

I promised to share my ‘now you see me, now you don’t’ technique for acrylic covers that didn’t quite get finished on air during my last Hochanda shows for That’s Crafty!. Below are some instructions along side the pics I took prior to the shows, and below those is a short video I have done to try and explain it a little more clearly! Apologies for the outside noises on the video – they’re wind chimes and a radiator warming up, if you’re wondering.

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Art Journals: using acrylic covers

I was on Hochanda this week demonstrating techniques for using the acrylic covers effectively, for the A4 and A6 journals from That’s Crafty!. As always, there is too little time on air to fit in all my ideas, and only just enough time to fit in all I had planned! What follows below are photos and quick explanations of how to do your own. I really need to remember to take step-by-step photos as I make so that I can do a proper tutorial post! First is an unbroadcast cover, then the mirrored cover that didn’t go so right when rushed, and last for this post is the bubbling water effect shown in my first hour.

  • Peel off the protective film from the reverse of the cover
  • Work on the reverse side for all the following steps
  • Place the snowdrop stencil in position and fill in using Posca pens
  • Dry, then place the TIME stencil upside down and sponge through ivory paint
  • Dry, spritz with gold mister, dry
  • Meanwhile, print texture stamps onto large Rizla papers using Chartreuse archival ink
  • Heat set the ink, then using decoupage glue/multi medium glue overlapping layers of the printed papers
  • Once dry, any paper over the edges of the cover can be sanded off

  • Peel off the protective film from the reverse of the cover
  • Working on the reverse, add alcohol inks until you are happy with the coloured layer
  • Place the JOURNAL stencil upside down and sponge a layer of Jet Black archival ink through onto the alcohol ink
  • Remove the stencil and then rub away the black in with a clean cloth/kitchen towel
  • Repeat inking steps if you want to remove any more of the alcohol ink
  • Now spritz with a water-based varnish (e.g. Pentart spray varnish) to seal the ink
  • IMPORTANT: allow to fully air dry, do not heat. Repeat varnish layer
  • Spritz with Pentart Mirror Mist and heat dry immediately to stop the mirror mist weakening the varnish beneath
  • Seal the mirror mist with the same varnish and finally apply a layer of black acrylic paint
  • Peel off front film to reveal your results

  • Peel off the protective film from the reverse of the cover
  • Working on the reverse, and using the word stencils the wrong way up, sponge your main colour onto the acrylic; heat dry and repeat directly over the top.
  • Next, sponge your shadow colour through the same stencil, slightly offsetting from the first colour
  • For the water effect, first dilute some white gesso/primer
  • Working quickly, cover the whole sheet with a layer of watery paint and then dab isopropyl alcohol into the wet paint – it will push the paint away and start the effect
  • When you are happy with the effect, heat dry in a well ventilated room
  • Repeat with a light shade of blue, and then another darker shade of blue
  • This technique will work over any sealed surface, but does rely on the paint being thinned and still wet
  • Try adding text to the front of the cover as well, this time starting with the shadow colour and working over the top with the main colour

Bonus post

Later this week I will do a separate post explaining my ‘now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t’ technique that was a wee bit rushed at the end of the second show:

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Art Journal Pages: Colours

Regular readers won’t be surprised to learn that I have been spending quite a lot of time making samples and prepping demos for my shows on Hochanda last Friday. It’s one reason that there have been very few blog updates recently, as there’s always a media embargo on sharing things before the shows go out. Now that they’re over though, here is one of the 8×8″ journals I decorated for the occasion.

Each spread uses the Pentart Matt Acrylic Paints in a baby-wipe swiped layer, stamped and stencilled, to give a tone-on-tone effect. Some worked well (purple and orange), others not so well (mentioning no names, green). The fine applicator nib is great for painting outlines and letters, as I demonstrated on air.

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