Art Journal: American Adventures [Travel Journal]

It’s taken some time, but I’ve finished the journal I handmade last year and finally got round to taking and editing the photos of the finished article. I intended to journal each day before going to bed, but got a little behind whilst in New York as our room was so small that there was actually nowhere to work on a flat surface, and there was no communal area I could use either. Consequently, by the time I got to Boston, and there was space to work, I was already five days behind. Then life on the road for the final few days also meant I was doing other things at the end of each day. So it meant finishing off the work once I got home, but that brought back good memories of a lovely, and much needed, holiday.

As a format, the piano hinge worked very well – I was able to slide out each of the sticks in turn to work on the pages individually, which was far easier. The fold out sections added a little more space, and the wallets somewhere to put the various bits of ephemera that I collected along the way. With techniques from collage to napkin decoupage, hand drawn typography to watercolour illustrations, it was fun to put together. I would have liked to do more urban drawing, but for speed, mini-photos had to suffice.

Sit back, with a cuppa of your choice, and holiday¬†vicariously as you work through the journal ūüôā

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Art Journal Page: Deep Waters

It was a ‘watersolubles’ theme¬†at Art Journaling last night. In between diagnosing a broken Mac (it was one of the RAM cards that died) and having the car serviced (it was a VW diesel engine…), I grabbed an hour or so to do an inspiration page:

It reminded me that all watersolubles are not created equal, with some water-soluble wax crayons barely moving when wetted, even on watercolour paper, and others wandering off and doing their own thing quite happily. It also is worth noting that, to get best effects, you should gesso or otherwise seal your journal page unless working in a watercolour paper journal.

In the above example, I used the blues on watercolour paper before drying and cutting out the letters on my Silhouette Cameo. The background is a combination of colour and graphite watersolubles over gesso, overprinted with acrylic paint. Handwritten text and outlines finished off the layout.

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Bas Relief Roses

At today’s bas relief cards workshop, I did the unthinkable (for me at least) – worked on a technique and a sample alongside a workshop guest, without trying it first weeks before. And despite the gung-ho attitude, we both ended up with, even if we do say so ourselves, a cracking outcome. There was something rather pleasing about making a 2D stamped image a little more 3D, smudging and smoothing paper clay into place before letting the stains and paint do their thing.

Bas Relief Rose Card

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Stained Glass Window Arch – for That’s Crafty!

Following my TV appearance a fortnight ago, I do apologise for not getting a tutorial done earlier as I promised – I came down with a humdinger of a cold the week following the shows. Between the lethargy, the laryngitis and other stuff, I didn’t get to do what I wanted in The Studio. ‘Tis done now though, so grab a cup of your favourite beverage and start reading!

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I thought I would show you how I created my stained glass window arch using the fabulous Arch Upright from That’s Crafty! since I didn’t get the chance to show it off on air. Mixing different types of ink (alcohol and Distress) and paint, and making full use of a Dinky Stencil, this window brings together a number of techniques to complete a mixed media mediaeval masterpiece!

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BTS [Behind the Scenes]: Product Prep

Sometimes I go quiet on here… Regular readers will know that I’m always up to something (holidays are infrequent), and often can’t share my makes until after a ‘press embargo’ has been lifted. Happily, Hochanda seem to be less restrictive than a certain other channel I’ve done work for: keep your eyes peeled for sneaky peeks at the end of the month. Oh, and in passing, if you haven’t found the TV menu option above, that’s where you will find the latest information I have as to when I’m next on your screens.

Back to the point – I thought it would be fun to share a photo of my studio workspace as it appears right now. I’m in the middle of learning new products and prepping samples from which my show demonstrations will be developed. Whoever said that men can’t multi-task? I must be an exception as there are three different projects on the go at the moment – as I am waiting for one to dry, I’m working on the others.

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Don’t worry about the naff lighting – that’s done in Photoshop so that I can hide the piles of stuff still waiting for their permanent home. So there’s glass paint, acrylic paint, crackle medium, varnishes, acrylic pieces, MDF pieces, a brayer, brushes and sponges, frost effect paint, Posca pens, scissors, a screwdriver and Gorilla glue, various polymer stamps, archival ink and not nearly enough tea. It does however support the adage that men typically do not clear up after themselves… But by tea time tomorrow, all has to be tidied away for another night of crafting with my studio guests.

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Mixed Media Plaster Panel

Over the last ten days or so, I’ve been playing with cast plaster panels. I used all the techniques I learnt at college to mould, soap, build clay dams, pour and pull a plaster of paris piece. Unfortunately, despite all that work, I completely forgot about overhangs. I ruined both the plaster mould and the panel as I attempted to separate the two with a screwdriver.

Undaunted, though slightly miffed, I went back to the drawing board and tried again. This time I pressed items into a clay slab and took a direct cast from that.

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Art Journal Pages: Pockets, Flips and Flaps

It’s been a little while since I posted anything art journal related, what with one thing and another. One thing being completing the Creative Chemistry 103 course – definitely worth the investment. Another being design and installation of a new sand filter for the studio so that I don’t have to empty a stinking waster container prompted only by the stink as it overflows. It’s a simple enough idea – grey water goes into a tank of sand and gravel, filters out the large particulates and then drains out to my irrigation sump ready for watering the garden. No more overflows!

Sand filter

Another another was the creation of a water feature which is just outside the studio.¬†I’d gone to look at the self-contained fountains/water features at our local garden centre, and somewhat astounded by the price tags was asked ‘surely you can do something yourself?’. So with a bit of thought, a quick shopping trip on Amazon, a tube of mastic, and some terracotta pots, a plan came together. Throw in a watering can previously belonging to my grandfather and a personal, upcycled, repurposed water feature now trickles away in counterpoint to the gushing waterfall that has just been installed in a neighbour’s garden.

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But, back to the point! It was raining today, so I got to work in my art journal with the intention of putting together the next art journal session samples ready for September. The theme is ‘pockets, flips and flaps’…

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