Category Archives: Art

It’s All Here…

…if you’re searching for a one-stop resource for everything and anything to do with Art & Crafts, and more specifically (in my case) Mixed Media, go directly to Interweave’s site here. Yup, they are the people that produce the bi-monthly eye candy called Cloth Paper Scissors.

Everything, and I mean even the kitchen sink, can be found on that site. If you want to learn how to carve your own stamps. If you’re curious about encaustic art. If you want to invest in some Gelli plates but don’t know where to start. If you’re curious about this thing called a “Sizzix Bigshot machine”. If you want to know the differences between watercolour, watercolour pencils and colour pencils. If you’d like to know the true capabilities of a Sharpie. If you’re after tips on making books by hand. If you want to learn how to do an emulsion lift transfer. If you’d like to know how to recycle household items into useful items. If you’re curious about Transfer Art Paper. If you want to know about Golden’s Ground Medium. If you can’t decide between Art Journaling and Collage, or want to do both.

It’s all here.

The magazine Cloth Paper Scissors embodies all aspects of Art and Crafts that utilise its namesake. I’d seen this bi-monthly magazine at my local newsagents, but they ran out of copies before I decided to buy it. The only reason I hesitated was because of the price – not Interweave’s fault, but rather the hefty profit margin that the newsagent slapped on.

Luckily, just as providence would have it, Interweave sent me an email (I’m on their mailing list) offering 50% off digital downloads of past copies of Cloth Paper Scissors. (This offer would have expired by the time you read this post, so I won’t bother with the link here. But don’t worry, there are other exciting offers on all the time). So, instead of paying nearly AU$20 per copy of CPS, for the sum of around US$79 I bought the links to download every single copy of CPS from 2004-2013. Yay, Happy Days!

But hey, you don’t have to buy anything from their site. There’s even a ton of FREE stuff you can download. Below is just One example from many.
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And, Interweave doesn’t just do Mixed Media. They also offer everything under the sun if you are into sewing, knitting, crotchet, beading, quilting, weaving, jewellery making etc. And they also do paint and paint techniques. The list goes on.

But don’t just take my word for it…those of you who already know about this motherlode of knowledge about Art & Crafts, will be nodding your head sagely. Those of you who don’t – why are you still reading this? Go online already and check out Interweave for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

From Interweave’s own “About” page:

Founded in 1975 by Linda Ligon, INTERWEAVE, part of F+W, is one of the nation’s largest craft media companies with businesses in magazine and book publishing, interactive media, broadcast programming, and events for art and craft enthusiasts. Interweave’s mission is to inspire, encourage and support creative self-expression.

Interweave features:

18 craft-enthusiast subscription magazines and many more special interest publications.
More than 250 books in print and annually publishes about 40 best-selling, how-to craft books on the same subjects as the company magazines.
An extensive Internet network of more than 30 websites, including the popular online communities KnittingDaily.com and BeadingDaily.com, which bring together the best content from the company’s magazines and TV shows with free e-newsletters, how-to articles and patterns, with an emphasis on community.
Several major events for fiber and bead, gem, and jewelry making enthusiasts, including the Spin-Off Annual Retreat and Bead Fests in locations across the country, attracting thousands of consumers and industry manufacturers and advertisers.
A PBS television series, Knitting Daily TV and major sponsorship of Beads, Baubles and Jewels TV and Quilting Arts TV.
The company is headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Project Palimpsest/Butterick: Some Art I Just Created

Following on from yesterday’s Freebies, and in line with my recent obsession for mixed media art, here are some examples of Art that I’ve created using close-ups of my Project Palimpsest/Butterick canvasses.

The images on the left are of the close-ups, and on the right are the results after blending. There is some discrepancy with the size of the originals and the results – this is because I have resized the final image.

The App I use most for blending images these days is called Photo Blender. Not the most imaginative by name, but it offers the highest number of blend modes than any other App I know of. I really enjoy playing with the different blend modes until I come across one that I like. All effects are tweakable by simply swiping your finger across the screen.

Here is the link to Photo Blender: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.primary0.photoblender

You can click on any image to see a full-page version of it. Enjoy!

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P/S: I think I just might put these up for sale on my Society 6, RedBubble, Zazzle and FineArtAmerica stores. Hmmm…:-)

Project Palimpsest/Butterick: Part III (FREEBIES!!)

I’ve taken some close ups of sections of my 2 Palimpsest/Butterick canvasses, and am sharing them here now as FREEBIES.

If you wish to, you may download them to your device or computer and use them as elements for your own collage or mixed media projects. These are JPGs, but you can easily convert them into PNG format to suit your projects.

Enjoy!

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Project Palimpsest/Butterick: Part II

Okay, continuing from yesterday’s post, I’ve decided to add just a few more details to this project. (Not too much, as I was working concurrently on another Palimpsest/Butterick project and muddied things up by adding too much, too soon…and now I have no choice but to gesso over the whole lot and start again).

So, this is how my 2 pieces ended up:

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I added some blue to the first, as an afterthought, as I didn’t want the other canvas to get lonely. I also added a bit more blue to the second canvas, around the lower right edges.

These look almost Australian Aboriginal to me, with the dressmaking lines, red and blue paint dots, and circular stamps serving as representations of rivers, people and watering holes (billabongs). They also remind me of Ordnance Survey maps.

Now all that’s left to do is to paint the sides of the canvas black, then seal the whole thing with a couple of coats of spray varnish. I use a gloss car varnish, if you must know…after much experimentation with art store spray varnishes, and much disatisfaction with their results, I have finally found the varnish I like, and I’m sticking to it. Unconventional, I am! 😄

I just got an idea, I’ll take close-up photos of these and save them to my phone’s camera roll. That way I can use them as backgrounds for future projects. Clever, eh? ;)

Project Palimpsest/Butterick: Part I

This project is called Palimpsest/Butterick because it uses the technique of covering over an existing artwork with gesso, and then adding other elements over it, in this case pieces of vintage Butterick tissue paper sewing patterns.

I started this project with a view towards Abandoning the artwork in a public place for people to find and take home. But I like the 2 pieces I’m working on right now and might keep them…☺.

The 2 canvasses I used had identical images of one of my early teacup photos adhered to them. I’d printed the image onto tissue paper, then adhered them to the canvas using acrylic gel medium. But I hadn’t been satisfied with the images themselves, for some reason.

To prepare the canvasses, I simply applied gesso over the images to hide them behind a layer of white; I didn’t mind at all if any or some of the colours seeped through. As you may already know, I love randomness.

image This picture shows how I’ve gessoed over one canvas, with the other awaiting the same treatment.

image Next, I took 2 pieces of a vintage Butterick sewing pattern, which is printed on tissue paper, and used an acrylic medium to stick them over the 2 canvasses. As you can see on the canvas on the right, the teacup’s colours are showing through.

image In this next step, I brushed on some more gesso.

image Then I took some acrylic paint and applied them randomly over areas of the canvasses. I let the Butterick pattern guide me as to where the paints should go. At this point, I have no idea what I’m doing. LOL.

image Next, I dusted off some alphabet and number stamps, and stamped some letters and numbers randomly onto the canvasses. I also used some circular floral stamps to add more detail and interest to the overall composition.

image Close up of one canvas.

image Close up of the other canvas

I really liked how these were looking already. But I decided to add a few more details.

image To add the coloured dots, I did the lazy thing and applied the red and blue paint tubes directly to the canvasses, gently squeezing the tube so a minute daub of paint came out. These dots will lend some texture to the composition. I also diluted some yellow paint with watered down gesso, and applied a wash to parts of the canvasses.

Now to wait for the paint to dry before I add anymore elements. I will keep you updated in tomorrow’s post.

Art Abandonment # 3 : Rockingham

For our 3rd Art Abandonment exercise, the Kid and I decided to drop some Inspiration Cards I’d created and printed, into random letterboxes around our neighbourhood in Rockingham. (For American readers, this is Australia and it is NOT illegal to post unstamped, unaddressed letters into mail/post/letterboxes. Local politicians and real estate agents do it all the time. Even Australia Post workers post brochures and other junk advertising mail into people’s letterboxes).

The Art used this time was from my Inspiration Deck, a set of cards with inspirational sayings that I’d created on my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and then sent off to be printed as 3.5 x 5.75 inch cards. I’ve already posted about these cards in an earlier post.

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Hope the folks who get these unexpected surprise cards appreciate them. The Kid and I enjoyed our “Reverse Robbing” exercise, even if we got rumbled a couple of times by people coming out of their houses or twitching their curtains at the windows.

Art Journals

As a digital mobile photography artist, I love how my medium is clean, with no mess to tidy up, no paint splashes to mop up, no brushes to clean or pencils to sharpen and put away. My chosen medium suits me to a T, really, especially as it’s the ultimate portable studio in a pocket. And also especially as in real life, my drawing or painting is at kindy level. 😄

Over the years, I’ve found myself drawn (excuse the pun) time and again to collage, altered art, altered books and art journals. Maybe it’s because I love colours, layers, textures, strange juxtapositions, mysterious scribbled handwriting, ransom-note-style lettering, ephemera, stamping and vivid washes of watercolour. Maybe it’s because these are artforms that anyone can achieve, with some imagination, passion and practice. It’s not high brow art, it’s accessible art and an expression of one’s creative soul, being highly personal.

The other day, while lurking about my local scrapbooking store (Made With Memories in Rockingham, Western Australia), looking for creative ideas and inspiration, my eyes lit upon an Art Journal sitting on the shelf behind the counter. Having never come across a real life Art Journal before (I know, sad, huh), I was naturally curious about it. So I asked if I could take a look at it, hands on.

Made With Memories holds courses on scrapbooking and journaling, aside from selling scrapbooking papers, stamps, embossing equipment, inks, decoupage kits, washi tape, art paper, glue, pins, brads, all manner of twee adornments for journaling etc.

This particular Art Journal belonged to one of the teachers, and had notes on her courses in it, as well as examples of her work. Some of the pages were held together by bulldog clips, which I dare not disturb in case anything were to fall out. The journal was heavy in my hands, filled with flashes of emerald greens, blues, yellows, bits of paper sticking out here and there. I caught glimpses of stencilled on text, intriguing stamped and embossed symbols, glued on birds and flowers, pieces of twine were dangling from between pages, there was even fairy dust. The book was so thick it couldn’t even close properly.

Oh, it was a glorious mess.

I loved it.

I’m not sure if I will ever make my own Art Journal, but I might give it a try. I found this book up in town, and it’s really motivating me to get started. And I don’t mean digitally, I mean the really-make-a-mess-and-clean-up-afterwards-hands-on kind of activity.

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Art Journal Art Journey: Collage and Storytelling for Honoring Your Creative Process https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1440330077/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_ESO2ub0TSWPRQ

Meanwhile, I can dream, right. And drool over these examples of Art Journals and altered book art, that I’ve curated from Google:

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I think I just might take on this challenge. I have dozens of failed tissue paper prints of my digital artwork that I can use as background colour, and several old dictionaries that I can tear pages out of, lots of washi tape, stamps, ephemera, stencils etc that I can use.

Okay, I’ve convinced myself…😄

Artist Inspiration : Marney Ward

Ahhh, an artist after my own heart. Canadian artist Marney Ward loves flowers, as do I. She loves to paint them, I love to edit my photos of flowers to make them look painterly or artistic. I wish I had a tenth of Marney’s talent with a paintbrush and watercolours.

Here’s Marney’s website.

Marney describes her love for painting flowers, on her site.

I have always felt a deep spiritual connection with flowers. In my work, I seek to reveal not only the essence of the flowers I paint, but also my own spiritual interconnectedness with the natural world. For me, watercolour is the perfect medium, with its spontaneous flowing qualities and its clear, transparent colour. With watercolour, the light comes from within the painting, transformed by layers of pigment the way a flower transforms the light of the sun with layers of petals. I strive to infuse every painting with the tangible presence of light.

You can see more of Marney’s beautiful, photo-realistic flower watercolour paintings on her website. Here are some of my favourites, that I found on Google Images:

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Marney is an esteemed member of the Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA). You can read her artist bio and list of accolades and exhibitions on their website here.

And she’s also on Facebook here.

Now excuse me while I go wipe the drool off my face…😄.

THE INSPIRATION DECK

I wrote about my INSPIRATION DECK Project a short while ago, in the post “The First Twelve”. Since then, I’ve completed 25 different card designs, all with inspiring phrases on them. And I’ve decided that they should be part of a deck that’s expandable. So, the first deck of extra large (3.5 x 5.75 inches) cards will have 50 different designs. And any subsequent “booster” packs will have the same back designs, so one can simply shuffle the new cards into the old.

I’ve gone ahead and ordered a deck with 2 of each design. Now, here’s the method to my madness:

1) the printer’s templates offer a maximum of 54 cards per deck. The price is the same regardless of whether your deck has 1 card or 54. So, it makes sense to double up on the designs and use up all the card allocations, for the one price.

2) I’ve sent off for a deck now because I’d like to be able to let my adult cousins and my Uncle and Aunt choose a card for themselves over our annual Chinese New Year Reunion Lunch at my 2nd Uncle’s. Like a party favour. I’m the “poor” cousin, and good for comedy effect as well as entertainment value LOL. CNY 2015 is on Feb 19th, which is mid-week, so I guess our family reunion will be the weekend after.

3) I’ve promised The Kid that we’ll have the cards ready before Easter. We intend to pop the cards into envelopes with Art Abandonment tags or labels on them, and then randomly drop them into people’s letterboxes around our area. Might make someone’s day, who knows?

It’s going to be such fun!

Anyway, here are some of the 25 designs, which I’ve collaged together into a frame, for ease of uploading to WordPress. See, this old dog can learn new tricks still! 😄 When the deck arrives from the printers, fresh off the press, I’ll be sure to photograph them all and blog about it in a later post.

Meanwhile, enjoy!

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Pack Lightly, Travel Far

We all have periods where we may get obsessed about something (or someone), and spend a good proportion of our time and money going about accummulating information/books/items/memorabilia/paraphernalia in relation to these things.

Some people develop one obsession and stick to it their entire lives. For example, my husband’s been obsessed with Tangerine Dreamand its founder, Edgar Froese, since he was a young teenager. That’s more than half his life now. He has over the years accumulated thousands of CD albums, badges, posters,  backstage passes, photos, tribute albums, t-shirts etc all in relation to Tangerine Dream. Now that Edgar Froese has passed away, hubby knows the value of these items will rise and rise. But he’s not letting anything go, no way, Jose! 😄

As for myself, I’ve run through a gamut of obsessions. They range from teddy bears, to teacups, cheesemaking, angora goats (yes, really, though I did not get quite as far as purchasing my own flock), handmade handbags, handmade paper, handmade books, soapmaking, felting, needle-felting, raising worms for composting (That did not work out too well), creating recycled art, assemblage, Steampunk, just to name a few.

I believe in the principle of Total Immersion. LOL.

Lately though, I’ve had an Epiphany. And I lament the thought of all that money gone to waste feeding my obsessions. I don’t begrudge the Time and Effort spent searching for these items, but I do the Money.

For you see, now I realise one major flaw in human nature: the need for Ownership.

If you think about it, really, we never own anything. Nothing really “belongs” to us completely, it’s always temporary. You can’t take anything with you when you die. Not a single thing. Zilch. All those years of buying and hoarding stuff…nope, sorry, you won’t be able to take it with you up to Heaven.

But I can leave it to my children and my children’s children, right? Nope. You may be able to pass your stuff down to them, sure, but if they have the same attitude of hoarding them, and not being able to enjoy them right now, then it’s a wasted exercise. Plus, the time will come when They realise that it’s only Stuff, and they can’t take Stuff with them when it’s their turn to die.

The solution? Simple. Pack Lightly, Travel Far. Stop accummulating Stuff. Or, if you really have to, do it in the name of Research and Product Development (if you’re an artist like me, you may understand the need to get your hands on some tangible Art or books on artists and techniques, so you can study them in depth and learn from them).

And afterwards, Let Your Stuff Go. Do not keep them or hoard them with the hope that they will bring you lots of money later, when their value has risen. Because, I can guarantee that when that time comes, you’ll not be wanting to sell them, but instead you’ll be thinking that if you keep them just a wee bit longer, they might fetch just that little bit more later. And a little bit more even later. And then you will never be able to part with them at all. Ever.

So, with that in mind, these days I travel light. Admittedly I do have a small and growing collection of fortune telling cards – Tarot, Oracle, Lenormand and a few other esoteric oddities. Yes, it’s tempting to hold on to them and hope to sell them at a premium later on. But, the main difference between me 10 years ago and now, is that now my intention, after having studied the artwork and little instructional booklets that come with most decks, and taken inspiration and ideas from them, is to put them up for sale…Not to make any profit, but just so I have less Stuff cluttering up my home.

I don’t, and You don’t, need all that Stuff. All that food at the supermarket? Leave it there til you really need it, after all they have better fridges and bigger freezers than you at home. All those lovely clothes you could buy and wear perhaps once, maybe twice? Leave them on the shop’s mannequins, and enjoy looking at the mannequins wearing them until the fashion breeze changes 2 weeks later. All those beautiful items you’ve just seen at a home decor store? Enjoy them while they’re there on display, feast your eyes and savour the memories. Do you really want your home to be so cluttered? Next month, visit the store again, and enjoy savouring the new displays as if they belonged in your home…only you won’t have any tidying up or dusting to do.

So, pack lightly, and travel far.
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