Sunday, September 16, 2018

Playing with Mixed Media in an Altered Book “Myths and Legends”




In May, I signed up for an online art journal class called “21 Secrets, The Best of 2014 & 2015.” Inspired by Catherine Anderson’s class Media Remix I decided to alter a hardback book for my experiments.

Using craft acrylics, I laid a background base. Then added magazine images, sometimes just the silhouette, and worked the pages with Caran d’Ache Neocolor II water soluble crayons as well as using Sakura Gellyroll Moonlight markers. On some spreads, I also added highly textured objects (my handmade stamp or my hair band clip) and did some rubbings with the crayons; that worked terrifically.





I really like using these different media on the page spreads. In the past, when trying to use a hardback book and artist grade heavy bodied acrylics, I would get frustrated because the paper just couldn’t stand up to that kind of paint. But craft acrylics is perfect since there isn’t a lot of thickness to it and not much pigment. The kind I used--DecoArt Americana--looks very matte on the page when scraped thinly with a plastic card or palette knife. And with the addition of the crayons, there was no chance the pages would stick together.




The original title of the book is “Myths and Legends of Ireland” so I’ve called this art journal “Myths and Legends.” Because I’ve started it with this distinctive style, I’m inclined to continue doing page spreads with these same ideas. Do you ever do that? Does it make it harder to change it up? Why do I feel every spread has to echo the previous ones? If an art journal a place of experimentation why keep everything the same? It does add to continuity to keeping a theme. Another altered book I did—and finished!—used only collage images; my tools were a sharp scissors and a glue stick. Tell me what your art journals are like.



Saturday, April 7, 2018

Printmaking with Book and Calendar Transfers on a Gel Plate




Loved the idea on the Gelli Arts blog that shows the imperfect experiments of Birgit. She used various magazine and book images to transfer an image on the plate and, once dried, pulled a print. Other artists have jumped on the idea and have shared their results.

Yesterday, tried it. Since Birgit mentioned she didn’t have much luck with heavy bodied acrylics, I went out and bought some craft acrylics. But, I had no luck with them and on my third try, I switched to my favorite Liquitex heavy bodied acrylics and had my first success.





98 lb. Strathmore Mixed Media paper 


Although I had a huge stack of possible magazine and book images to try, I stuck with what was working—black & white, high contract images from a photo book about John F. Kennedy.





140 lb. Fabriano Artistico hot press watercolor paper






140 lb. Fabriano Artistico hot press watercolor paper




Before stopping, I used some smaller, high contrast calendar images from Susan Boulet (1990 and 1991!) and they turned out well, also.


60 lb. Strathmore Sketch paper








98 lb. Strathmore Mixed Media paper 





Your result may vary. What worked for me:

Images
Lots of contrast of darks and lights
Both black & white and color

Paper
98 lb. Strathmore Mixed Media paper (from the coil-bound Vision pad)
140 lb. Fabriano Artisitico hot press watercolor paper

Paint
Liquitex heavy bodied professional acrylic paint
Some Golden fluid acrylics-- if mixed with the heavy bodied ones (they dried too quickly)

Techniques
Rub book/magazine image on plate firmly with a brayer and a bone folder

Still curious how and if the craft acrylics might work, how and if other book, calendar, and magazine images might work, how and if other papers might work (especially printmaking ones), I will continue experimenting.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Two Colorful Leather ID holders


With our department move last summer, we need access to doors using our campus ID cards. I made one for myself and recently two more for friends. 

First, I looked through my leather supply of scraps and larger pieces and found expressive embossed parts for the fronts. Thinking of my friends, I wanted a green and brown garden theme for one and a red flower theme for another.




Painting the raised designs with artist grade acrylic paints and a small paint brush, I then wiped off some excess paint and let them dry. Next was hand sewing the bottom section of metallic snaps. 


Experimenting with upholstery thread on a scrap leather piece, I used my new sewing machine with a size 18 needle. It looked good on the front and awful on the back, so I switched to a navy polyester thread, going very slowly. Encouraged with the results, I sewed the two holders together with good success. I still have a lot to learn about sewing a straight stitch, but I was happy with the results. 



For the red flower one, I selected a bit of embossed leather for the top flap with plain leather for the back.







On the green holder, I needed to hand stitch the top snap two different times until the snaps worked well. To hide the stitches showing on the top flap, I scrounged around for a button or such and found a small metal leaf with holes on both ends. It tied in well with the garden theme.




Later, I added two eyelets in the back and a length of leather cord so one of my friends could wear the ID holder around her neck.

Really loved the way these turned out!