Monday, January 21, 2013

New Celtic Journals

Here are two new Celtic art journals I made.

This one is a small and cute sewn-over-tapes journal with tan Rives BFK paper.

The covers are book board painted with copper artist acrylic paint. The textured Celtic motif is a green patina-like color that is lovely to touch.

The other, a medium-sized art journal with lovely 140 lb. hot-press Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper.

It has a cool open Celtic conco that you tie around to close with a small rectangular Celtic charm on the end of the tan leather cord.

I created this stencil with an enlarged Celtic spiral within a hand shape. It is the first of my hand-painted pages with pockets. This one has 4 pages and 4 pockets scattered in the 60 pages, back and front.

Leaf painted pages and pockets, as the Celts love nature!

Triple spiral motif from a stamp I made of the famous Newgrange structure.

They are both now listed in my Etsy shop.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Getting Acquainted with Watercolors

For the last two years, Strathmore Paper has sponsored free online classes beginning in January. This year, the first class doesn’t start until March and I found myself revved-up with wanting to learn something new. But, I surprised myself by turning to a medium I’ve never quite explored fully—watercolors. Oh, before I learned about acrylics I played with little student kits with the big tins of cake watercolors, watercolor pencils, and thick watercolor crayons.

Maybe I was also influenced by my current reads, Journal Spilling by Diana Trout and Journal It! by Jenny Doh where artists praised watercolor use in art journals, since it’s not as sticky as acrylics.

Before my 2006 tour of Ireland, I ordered a small and nifty fold up case holding 12 Windsor & Newton ½ pans, a flat water bottle, a tiny sponge, and folding travel brush. It was very cute. But trying it out the first time, I hated the results and decided not to take it with me.

Last week I dug out the kit, took an unused commercial watercolor journal down from the shelf, selected a large round no. 14 synthetic brush, and played. Perhaps it was the tiny brush holding me back. I like large swatches of paint on the page, not dainty filling in of sketches. Opening up the kit, I removed all the tiny ½ pans so the big paintbrush could get in and around the paint. With no expectations I would like watercolors any more than I did the first time, I was just going to experiment and treat them, as Diana Trout says in her book, “as a coloring agent”.

I was very pleased with my results and continued to play with them all week. I definitely found a new challenge! I tried things I’ve done with acrylics, just to see if they could be done or would fail. Some things worked, some things didn’t. I’m not greatly impressed with using Art Alternatives “Pen & Ink” watercolor books. With 122 lb. paper, it warps a LOT, the perforations on every page allows paint to sink in to previous page spreads, and I don’t always want to work in landscape format. I honestly don’t know why every competitor wants to imitate Moleskine’s elastic band and back pocket, either. I’ll be making some of my own journals soon to try all kinds of watercolor paper I have on hand—hot press, cold, press, and rough press. It will be interesting to experiment and see if I like hot press for watercolors as much as I love it for acrylics.

But, I am enjoying my friendly acquaintance with this other water medium. I’m so curious, I ordered watercolors in tubes to discover the difference from pan colors and see which ones I like best. It is such fun to experiment. I’ll try using some mixed-media over the watercolors, also. I’m definitely going to use it in new art journals. But, that is another blog post!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Artist of the Month

This month, I am honored to be the Artist of the Month at the “Wandering Educators” web site. Thank you, Jessie Voigts, for introducing and spotlighting my work!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Leather Mini-Book Necklaces

Have you seen those mini-book charms as earrings or necklaces? I have long admired other artist's creations and wondered if I could make a few. Earrings seemed too tiny to start with so I went larger. Using Amber Smith's good tutorial from her blog Making My Rent, I altered it by substituting a few materials I did not have and crafting different designs.

My excitement of wearing the first one to work quickly faded as the book fell off within two hours—yikes! After consulting with the Queen of Jewelry Making (my sister, Maria) and researching several books, I removed my faulty handmade jump rings, having too great a gap, and substituted a wire wrap at both ends.

Now the book charms not only look great but are securely attached. Various necklace materials are leather cord, ball chain, and two different sizes of metal chain.

On most books I dangled tiny keys, symbolizing how reading can unlock so many portals of ideas and knowledge. These made great holiday gifts and I already have requests for more--one from my sister!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a creative 2013!

I made this small CD case calendar using my favorite photographs. This month is from Ballynahinch Castle. Our 2010 tour group ate lunch here and later walked the grounds.