Art Journal Page: Experiment

I recently took delivery of a new Dylusions art journal – the 8×5″ landscape format – and last night I took the opportunity to experiment with a 3×5″ Gelli plate and some DecoArt fluid acrylics. Bubble wrap of two sizes and a mosaic stencil added a bit of pattern, and then rubber stamping with acrylic paint added the highlights. Finally, some cut letters as masks and a sponged layer of acrylic paint finished off the page nicely.

Experiment art journal page Continue reading

Art Journal: Piano Hinge Travel Journal

For my next trip abroad, I wanted to make another travel journal. I have previously handmade a small hardback pocket journal and a fold-out accordion journal. This time I decided to make a handmade journal using a piano hinge. This, for the unfamiliar, uses tabs and cylindrical objects (in this case bamboo skewers) to attach the pages at the spine. The benefit for a travel journal is that every other spread is the depth of the bamboo skewer, which means there is plenty of room for additional items of collage and other ephemera, and pockets to store memorabilia. It’s also possible to easily disassemble the book at the hinge to work on individual pages, or remove and add pages as required.

Constructed from canvas textured acrylic paper, I knocked back the white using an off-white chalky finish acrylic paint. I added a darker shade at the base of each page, using the same paint to stencil the building outlines. Overprinting with various travel oriented stamps using archival ink completed the decoration. It seems that the convention for piano hinge books is that the spine is visible, and the skewers extend from the bottom and the top. I wanted a more traditional book appearance as well as a protective cover, so I constructed cover pages before covering them with lokta paper which resembles old leather. A few coats of soft-touch varnish added to that illusion as well as protecting the paper. Adding this type of cover does restrict the addition of further pages. As I intend to use this on the flight as well, I thought it wise to trim the skewers… Some care needs to be taken to keep the pages vertically aligned, but in practice friction seems to keep the posts in place.

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Art Journal Page: Illuminating Letters

illuminated letter

The next art journal session in The Studio is on Monday, and this morning I’m prepping my samples. We’re going to attempt to create an illuminated letter. I’ve put together instructions for a basic Celtic arched lettering, but this is my take on a more Gothic Celtic style of illuminated lettering.

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Altered Art: Transparent ATC [Pick A Stick Challenge]

ATC

A recent craft magazine article showed some Artist Trading Cards (ATCs, 2½” x 3½”) made of clear acrylic sheet. By decorating the front and back, there was depth added to the whole image. I loved the idea, so got hold of some pre-cut acrylic ATCs from That’s Crafty. All being well, I’ll be cutting my own soon enough on one of my aforementioned machines.

Anyhoo, the makers of the Pick A Stick Challenge FB group (for art journalers) have come up with a new challenge – the Pick A Stick ATC Challenge. Instead of ten prompts, ATC Challenge has just three, but they still have to be done in order. This month, the steps are:

  1. Use ink
  2. Add tissue tape or masking tape
  3. Use something transparent

What a chance to use a transparent ATC! But that was the last step… what to do? Work out a new technique of course! Continue reading

Altered Art: Tealight holders

I’m prepping samples for workshops leading up to Christmas at The Studio to include on my Workshops page and in a future newsletter. First up, in October, we will be altering MDF tealight holders using mixed media techniques – basically anything sticky, inky or painty is a go!

The purpose of this post however, is to demonstrate a bit of behind the scenes work that goes into preparing a workshop. I’m not really an artist that meticulously plans what I am going to do on paper… I’m much more a wade in and see what happens (admittedly having thought about it for a while in between other things). Most times, the work turns out as I’d like. Other times, there’s something that niggles.

This is the starting point – a MDF block with holes drilled in ready for the tealights. Quick gesso undercoat to seal, and then I layered up paint and varnishes to create faux-granite.

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So – above is version one. Ornamented with frosted glass stars the granite finish looks fairly convincing (the metallic flecks show up better in real life). But the frosted glass flame shields just didn’t seem to work. Too informal? Too tall? After a little more pondering I decided to create a new flame shield design, with simple lines to give a more formal look. The result below shows a much more cohesive end result, with a 1920s feel, and one which I’d be happy to allow to leave The Studio for pastures new.

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Altered Art: Frosted Glass Vase

I’m exploring different mediums available to me via the DecoArt Helping Artist Program – and yesterday had time to experiment with their Americana Frost Gloss Enamels. These are paints that create a translucent etched glass appearance, and stick to most smooth surfaces. Application is fast and easy, dabbing on with a fine sponge, and relatively quick touch dry time allows layers to be added without too much waiting. After curing for four days, the items can be baked in the oven to make the frosting dishwasher safe. Just one note: the finish is not food safe. Wash up is easy – just rinse with water. And if you go horribly wrong, I’ve found recently applied enamel can be wiped off with rubbing alcohol.

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Altered Art: Dream

Dream

I chose to keep this little piece of altered art under wraps until I’d featured it on my DecoArt TV shows on Hochanda early last month. I’d also left the originals with John the floor manager/set designer to use, and had to make a second set with what was left of my prepped demos. Building on the 6½” high paper-mâché letter forms, I’ve used a lot of mixed media tricks to make this home decor piece. Continue reading