Art Journal Page: Brave Choice

This Monday, the art journal session at The Studio has the theme ‘perfect palettes’. For this journal prompt, I picked a colour chart from the ever fabulous design-seeds.com and did my best to match the palette. Of course, this was a little harder when printing out the image – the printer colours aren’t a good reproduction.

And here’s the resulting page (and don’t forget that the colours changed again when I scanned it in…). So the palette isn’t exact, but, as with all journal prompts, it’s what sparks the rest of the page. I also chose the theme to help those who struggle to know what colours might work together.

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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: Beautiful Art

The first Monday of the month sees my monthly art journal evening at the Studio, and next week the theme is ‘never been used’. I’ve asked studio guests to bring something from their crafty stash that they have never used, and we’ll be incorporating them into our beautiful art journal pages.

In prepping my sample for the session, I came across an embarrassment of unused kit deep in folders, drawers and baskets. I think I will need to do more of these! I know I’m not alone, so what do you think – anyone fancy a ‘never been used’ challenge blog?

Here’s my show page, worked in my very first art journal from 2011 on a background that I’d not yet used:

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Art Journal Page: ATC Art Gallery

It’s my monthly Art Journal Session on Monday evening, and for this month’s theme we’re tackling ‘ATC art’. I’m not one for making artist trending cards most of the time – for the uninitiated, ATCs are 3½” x 2½” pieces of artwork that are designed to be swapped between crafters – and I thought it was time to revisit the format. I’ve sneaked them into  my art journal timetable, and here’s the sample page. BTW – the frames are one of my first forays into the world of 3D design and printed here in The Studio.

ATC gallery art journal page

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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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Bas Relief Deco Rose

For February’s Studio workshop, we’re going to be playing with adding dimension by using paperclay to create bas relief centrepieces for your cards/scrapbook pages and mixed media projects. Here’s an example I’ve just finished:

Not sure if I have got the balance right between the vase and the roses, and may be an ivory card for the sentiment might have worked better too. But that, after all, is what playing is all about…

If you’d like to come to the workshop on 4th February, there are spaces available. For more details, see my workshops page, or email me to book your space.

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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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