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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Commission: These Boots

Building on my recent commissions, I’ve had another commission to do a further painting. This one is to distract from the side of a cupboard installed in a boot (utility) room. The picture will be face-on as you enter the room from the kitchen area.

So when it came to subject matter, it seemed obvious to use the boot as a theme. Wellingtons aren’t particularly in keeping with the area, but being on the edge of Snowdonia, walking/hiking boots seemed very apt. I’m fond of the recent trend toward including typography in images, and a classic lyric popped into my head…

commission: these boots

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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 Page: Deep Waters

It was a ‘watersolubles’ themeĀ 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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Art Journal Page: Diamond Glints

DiamondGlintI started this page layout on Tuesday night as my teaching sample for my ‘Christmas Crackle’ art journal session on 7th November. Building up layers and techniques, I was very happy with the resulting background. I then spent just as many hours searching for the perfect ‘winter’ quote. Eventually I settled on this excerpt from ‘Do not stand at my grave and weep’ attributed to Mary Frye.

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Art Journal Page: Secrets

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It’s no secret that time flies when you’re busy! Lots of prep going on behind the scenes ready for my TV return next week, and a weekend away in the Lakes wasn’t exactly a rest, but it was a lovely break with lovely friends. But back to the here and now, and I’ve rustled up another art journal page. It’s been a while, but I have to make an example for Monday night’s art journal session in The Studio!

The highlights of this page are: brayer layers, and the newly available Molotow Liquid Chrome pens. These are alcohol based markers in various nib widths, and on a smooth surface, they really are impressively flat and mirror like when dry. I’ll let you know if they perform better than Krylon leafing pens after a couple of weeks of non-use. And I’ll let you know when and where you can get them – I’ve been sent samples to play with šŸ™‚

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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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