Friday, December 26, 2014

Tissue Paper Page Spread

To hide the sewing on the previous page, I tore up tissue paper and adhered it with gesso and medium, splattered blobs of gesso around, let it dry, and then painted it. It's kinda weird but cool. I like the peeks of orange and the touchable texture.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

3-D Elements Galore

This spread has a piece of fabric previously pressed into thick acrylic paint. It is paired with a similarly-dipped acrylic leaf sewed onto burlap. I had used a toy sewing machine on this piece years and years ago. Some thin white bookbinding thread is used to sew the burlap to the page. The left blue section is gloss medium mixed with Cerulean Blue paint, with marks made while it was still wet.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Abstract Landscape Spread

As usual, I didn't have any idea when I started this spread but it wanted to be a coastal landscape so I obliged.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Art Journal Spread

Some collage (old articles about writing), some more Lumiere metallic acrylic paints, some white gel pen and some journaling in this spread. I decided to flip the spread to portrait view when I added the grass above. I was thinking about my past dreams of being a writer were now fertile compost for my current artistic life and projects.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Glimmery Journal Spread

Trying to use up supplies, I tried some Lumiere metallic acrylic paints on this spread. In some sections, I scraped back in some areas for texture.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Art Journal Spread

Here's a spread in my "Lost & Found" art journal. I'm trying different media and trying to use 3-D elements also. This spread has light modeling paste, a piece of weaving mesh, and acrylic inks.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

New Notebooks

When I needed a new notebook for myself, I made a batch of them!

Currently, I'm using this one:

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Hill Flowers

Full spread
This week I played in my Lost & Found art journal. This experimental piece was an exercise in negative painting. I went back after the first stage and used opaque colors and also layers some transparent ones. This was fun and I learned a lot. 
Close up of some flowers

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Free Online Strathmore Workshop

The newest workshop over at Strathmore is "Watercolor Sketching & Journaling" with Gay Kraeger. While you're there, you can also catch-up with the previous classes from this year. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Foto Friday

Got a new pocket camera and really love it. I'm snapping the familiar and then abstracting it further. The camera has very cool settings such as fish eye, toy camera, vivid color saturation and monotone.

Do you find it difficult to see anything new or different when viewing familiar settings? Isn't travel great for seeing the new and then capturing it? What about working or living at the same place for decades? With this compact camera, I'm seeing with new eyes and enjoying making the familiar unfamiliar.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Photograph Printing Tests and Journal Covers

New journals using my Irish photos.

Can you tell which of these new journal covers were printed on canvas or watercolor paper? Or which got some digital ground coating?
Ever since an art friend talked about using her photographs on journals, I’ve been thinking about using photos as book covers. My first thought was that printing on glossy paper just wouldn’t work because handling the journal would create fingerprint smudges. But a while ago I dedicated a weekend to experimenting.


90 lb. watercolor paper (above) and 140 lb. w/c paper (below).
Both have digital medium; the 90 lb. has one coat,
 the 140 lb. two coats.

Feeling like a scientist, I decided to test various substrates to print upon and designated one group would get two coats of Golden Digital Ground medium white matte while another identical group got none. Afterwards, I created a chart of specifics and results.

Here are the “papers” I used:
  •   90 lb. Fabriano Artistico watercolor
  •   140 lb. Fabriano Artistico watercolor
  •   Strathmore Canvas Inkjet
  •   Fixxon Ultra Premium Textured Canvas
  •   Lutradur Mixed Media sheets, 70 grams
  •   Jacquard Cotton Inkjet Fabric Sheets

Two cotton sheets, one with digital medium (top), the other without.

I was surprised that even one coat of the Golden Digital medium (on the 90 lb. Fabriano Artistico watercolor) made for such a sharp image. Some of the lighter materials buckled badly when the medium was applied but printed well. I’m impressed with this product and would use it again. I have another bottle of the clear version that I haven’t even tried yet. It prints transparently, so it would interesting to print on all manner of already-printed or patterned papers.

Two Lutradur sheets, one with digital medium (top), the other without.

For photographs, I choose ones taken on my last trip to Ireland. Some were designated for full-bleed 10” x 7” with a focal point on the right side, some I printed as 5” x 7” images. It was also a test of my relatively-new printer (Epson Artisan 50) with archival inks. The watercolor papers had some light blurring at the end of print end yet some of the lighter-weight ones were hard to feed into my one-pass printer. Overall, I was pleased with the printer but, of course, now wish I’d bought the wide-format version so I wouldn’t be so limited to either letter (8 ½” x 11”) or legal (8 ½” x 14”) papers.


Canvas sheets, one with digital medium (top), the other without.

Deeming an overall success to the tests, I went on to create a few 5” x 7” journals from those full-bleed photos (now available in my Etsy shop).


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Small Travel Journal

I made this small travel journal for a friend going overseas. The cover is 5” x 7” with an acrylic painting I did on 140 lb. watercolor paper.

From scrapbook papers, I made four pockets. Two are high and sewn with linen thread (a first!).

The other two have double-sided paper held with eyelets.

Inside is 80 lb. paper to write up the adventure.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Spreads in the "Lost & Found" Journal

When I made my "Lost & Found" journal, I challenged myself to use usual and unusual materials in the page spreads. All have acrylic paint.

This one has two tea bags--staple, string, tag, and tea removed--adhered to the page; it has great texture. 

This became a landscape, perhaps a crossroads, with an exciting (fiber) sky.

Here are five pieces of aluminum foil floating in a watery world. I like the details the crumpled foil holds.

This is an abstract eclipse with painted corrugated cardboard on the edge.

There is always a sense of discovery with paint and paper. You never know what will turn out, especially when you don't plan out your design.

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Little Teaching & A Little Painting

Recently I spent a lovely afternoon in a fellow artist’s studio, showing her and her friend how I make my little art notebooks. Jennifer Martin wishes to make some larger versions featuring her wonderful photographs.

So, we played with paint for a while and then created some 5” x 7” notebook journals. Here's the one I made. 

The next day, I realized that I had missed playing with paint…so I did.

Misty Mountains above the Lake
9" x 12"
acrylic on paper

Friday, April 18, 2014

Some New Journals

Been wanting to bind these up for a while.

This is a mixed-paper journal using the last of those old 1879 book covers. Inside are odds & ends of calendar, scrapbook, pastel, cardstock,  and watercolor papers. I covered the front and back in a heavy upholstery fabric I love. It's a sewn-over-tapes journal using light gray leather strips.

This is another sewn-over-tapes binding with green leather strips. I painted canvas boards using some light modeling paste.  Inside papers are Fabriano Artistico 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper and one of my painted pockets with a leaf painting.

8" x 6" canvas board covers

With both of these, I forgot a few things and did them ahead of time instead of as the last things. But, they are only for me so it's just cosmetic.

Love the details on this journal!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Celebrating My Irish Ancestress

St. Patrick’s Day may be over, but it’s always a grand time to celebrate your Irish heritage.
I hand-sewed this green velvet heart with a photograph of my great-grandmother who crossed the great ocean with her family to settle in America. I have this hanging in my studio to inspire me.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Free Online Workshop

Strathmore has a free online workshop going on right now. I am learning a lot watching Earnest Ward, an excellent teacher, in his “Back to Basics” class. He explains drawing in a very relaxed and logical way, dispelling any notion that it is some mystical craft only some people can understand. When his tutorial ends, there will be two more workshops later in May and September with different topics and instructors. All classes remain open until the end of the year.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Irish Patchwork Fabric Journal

After seeing a patchwork jacket in a Yuletide catalog, I could not get patchwork off my mind. The idea of using scrap bits of fabric and making a whole piece of clothing appealed to the recycler in me.
This gradually morphed into making a fabric journal cover, using remnants and embroidery thread. Teesha Moore has a lovely patchwork journal tutorial using two-sided fabric. I decided to try something a little different. Using a piece of primed canvas as a base, I hand sewed various swatches on and added a bit of poly fiberfill.
Experimenting with some Jacquard cotton ink jet sheets, I printed my photograph of cows near Doolin, Ireland. With an Emerald Island theme, I was off. I recruited a faded old linen tea towel with the Book of Kells animal imagery, some Celtic knot fabric, a Celtic button, along with colors and textures I associate with Ireland.

Soon I’ll sew in watercolor pages with a long stitch, possibly with lime green eyelets on the spine…I haven’t quite figured that part out yet.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

Fabric Adventures

Happy Valentine's Day!

I made these sweet little velvet puffy hearts, inspired by an article from Cloth Paper Scissors. Stay tuned for more of my recent adventures into fabric.

Hope you have a lovely day!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A New Year, A New Art Journal

Here is the new art journal I made recently. It’s a nice size, 8” x 10”, with only 56 pages (back and front) filled with my favorite hot-press Fabriano Artistico watercolor paper.

The cover is a tyvek painted envelope wrapped around canvas boards, distressed-looking leather tapes, and a cool rusted metal object I found in a Hobby Lobby parking lot. Adding some black brads through the four holes, it takes on the appearance of an old label holder. So, I add “lost & found” and that’s also the theme. Each page or spread will have some kind of found object.

End papers are previously-painted pieces of watercolor paper. I forgot to do two things—glue the first page to the cover, and to sew the tapes to the cover before adding the end papers. Because of that, it’s a bit wobbly when opening the first page but it also lends to the rough-edge “lost & found” feel. All mistakes or imperfections will continually add to this. It’s like a built-in set of excuses! To play without rules!