Category Archives: Techniques

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 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…😄.

Artist Inspiration : Ann Baldwin

Just today I was reading a wonderful book on mixed media art, Creative Paint Workshop for Mixed-Media Artists and I got curious about the author and artist, Ann Baldwin. So I decided to look her up on Google.

On Ann’s website she explains her transition to photography after many years as a painter:

For several years I have been making the transition from painting to photography.

I was a mixed media painter for many years, selling through galleries, art fairs, and my studio. Luck was definitely with me when in 2008 I was asked by Quarry Books to write a book on Mixed Media painting. ‘Creative Paint Workshop for Mixed Media Artists’ was published in 2009. One chapter focuses on the use of photography in paintings. By then I had become a full-time closet photographer! Once the book was launched, I made the decision to give up painting and ‘come out’.

Some of the fine art photos you see here use the same approach of multiple composited images and (digital) paint that I used in my paintings. Only now it’s all done in my camera and in post-processing with Photoshop and Nik software. I am a passionate picture-maker!

Currently my husband, Mike, and I are co-Presidents of the Berkeley Camera Club, which keeps us very busy and inspires us to try new things.

As a mobile photography artist dabbling in mixed media, I can totally relate to Ann when she talks about transitions. For Ann, it was a move of mediums from mixed media to digital photography. For me, it was the other way round…my medium has always been digital photography, but in my quest to give my photographic images texture and dimension, I’ve been experimenting with magic mushrooms mixed media and paints.

Funny how things go round in cycles.

If you’re curious about mixed media art, I highly recommend reading Ann’s book, and experimenting with the techniques and materials discussed within. Only through trial and error will you find your own “voice”.

Here are some examples of Ann Baldwin’s works, both mixed media and digital photography. The difference between the 2 mediums is primarily that in mixed media, with the addition of ephemera, heavy paint bodies and glazes, you get interesting textures. With digital photography and printing, the image is 2D.

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Interview by Kess InHouse – AlyZen Moonshadow

I was honoured recently to be interviewed by Sara Gupta (now Sara O’Neill), co-founder of Kess InHouse designs. Kess were kind enough to take a chance on me and offer me an Art Licensing contract for my mobile photography art. I have a number of pieces with them, and continue to submit more. Kess’s products include duvet covers, pillow cases, shower curtains, fleece blankets, place mats, desk mats, cutting boards, rugs and pet products, including dog beds, pet bandannas, feeding mats and bowls.

Answering Sara’s questions was an interesting exercise in retrospection. I never realised how far I’d evolved from the starry-eyed ingenue behind my first iPhone in 2010.  It was a walk down Memory Lane for me, and reminded me of my various experiments and love affairs with different Apps, filters and effects. Has it really been 4 years since I started my mobile photography adventures?

Here’s the link to the interview,
http://www.kessinhouseblog.com/artist-spotlight-alyzen-moonshadow/

And here’s the transcript:

KIH:  Your artwork has a fun blend of mobile phone photography and graphic design flair.  When did you discover your passion for photo manipulation?

AlyZen Moonshadow: I bought my first iPhone 3 in 2010, shortly before I emigrated from Ireland to Australia. Whilst job-hunting in Australia, I decided to experiment with photo editing on my iPhone. I started out with some Apps for Lomographic effects, then got into textures and grunge, and the whole thing snowballed from there. I practised a lot in the early days, averaging between 5-10 manipulated images a day.  The more I practised, the better I got, and also the more selective about effects and filters. In 2012 I discovered some graphic design-type Apps, and for a while I was really into Swiss-style graphics. I even designed some mock CD album covers using these, and some t-shirts. In the same year, I switched from the iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy S3, and discovered Android Apps. These days I use my Samsung Galaxy S4 and my iPad 2 for my photo manipulations, so I really have the best of both worlds.  

KIH:  Your pieces are very colorful and use unique color pallettes.  How do you find color effects your art pieces and how do you develop color choices while making a new composition?

AlyZen Moonshadow: I usually start by uploading a photo to an image editing App on my Samsung Galaxy S4, then just playing around with various filters and effects. When I find one that appeals to me, or that I think merits further processing, I then move on to the next step, which is finding other elements to add to the image. Sometimes if I’m not satisfied with the colour scheme, I will edit it again to change the hue or saturation, until I’m happy with the result. I went through a brief phase early on in 2011 when I tried faded, vintage, old postcard styles, but found I’m more drawn towards bright, vibrant colours. This may come from my love of flowers in natural surroundings. If I have a favourite colour, it would be turquoise. Whenever I find a filter that gives me the colour turquoise, I try my best to keep it in the final edit. I like colours that are translucent rather than matte, so whenever possible I try to create my pieces with a sense of depth in them. I also like an element of randomness in my work. I have a folder of colourfield backgrounds that I created using photos and a very simple Android App called “Impressionist Fingerpaint”, which gives me the colours I need. It’s perfect for giving me 2 things – a sense of depth and translucency, and the element of randomness when blended with other images.

KIH:  Your latest collection of art pieces showcase stacked teacups as an homage to Alice in Wonderland.  Where did your interest in this subject spark?

AlyZen Moonshadow: I’ve always been fond of Alice in Wonderland since I was a little girl, and I got the idea of stacked teacups from surfing Pinterest online. I had a couple of teacups and saucers lying around, and some real and silk flowers, and I posed them together and edited a number of images. The flowers soon fell by the wayside, as I decided the teacups and saucers made very interesting subjects in themselves. I went through a phase buying vintage teacups and saucers on Etsy, then stacking them up higgledy piggledy for staged photoshoots. I had the idea of creating my own Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (I spell my series The Madhatter’s Teaparty), so an entire series of 100 images was born in 2012.

KIH:  What is your favorite piece (on KESS)? How did you develop the composition?

AlyZen Moonshadow: It would have to be images from my Madhatter’s Teaparty. For the photo manipulations, I used predominantly Photoshop Touch, especially the “Difference” filter to bring out the colours and to introduce an element of serendipity, as I was never sure what the results would be using that filter. Before Kess InHouse found me and my Madhatter’s Teaparty, I’d printed 35 of the images onto stretched A3 canvasses, varnished and all…in case I ever held an Art exhibition. I like to think that Alice herself would’ve been proud of my teacups!

KIH:  Your artistic process generally starts from your mobile phone.  What do you enjoy the most about utilizing cell phone cameras and applications when creating your artwork.

AlyZen Moonshadow: I think the best part is the portability of it all. I have my entire Studio in the palm of my hand, literally. No expensive paints or equipment to buy, no messy paintbrushes, no splatters on the carpet, no clearing or cleaning up to do. If I make a mistake, or if I don’t like an effect, there’s the handy Undo button, or even in extreme cases, the Delete button. I can transfer my work between my Samsung Galaxy S4 and my iPad2, or even to my desktop Mac for resizing. I can work almost anywhere, anytime – on the bus, on the train, while waiting for my coffee to percolate. Every now and then I download an App and test it out; if it adds anything to my creative process, I keep it and use it. If not, I uninstall it. Some of my fellow mobile photographers like the idea of having thousands of Apps to utilise, and bemoan the fact that the Android platform does not have half as many Apps as Apple iOS. However, my personal view is that in reality, you only need a dozen or so decent Apps to be able to create a wide variety of effects. The magic is in finding the right combination of effects. Sometimes less really is more.

KIH: Many of your pieces have abstract textures and psychedelic imagry to build up the subjects of the piece.  Where did you pick up this artistic style and what other artists made an impact on your work?

AlyZen Moonshadow: Colour is important to me, followed closely by depth and texture. I like to introduce an element of the surreal into some of my pieces. An early series that I created in 2011 is titled “Dalienutopia” and is based around photos of the Baigup Wetlands near where I used to live in Perth, Western Australia. The title is a combination of my homage to the artist Dali, and the words Alien and Utopia…and the images are surreal and weird. Another series titled “Surrealism” in 2012 came from when I was experimenting with strange objects and juxtapositions. I learnt about Dali and his contemporaries funnily enough in Music History when I was a student at college, and the ideas just stayed with me. Another artist that inspire me is Georgia O’Keeffe, you can see her influence in my photo manipulations of flowers. When I was creating my flower photographs, some friends told me my images reminded them of Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings.

KIH:  Where do you do most of your work?

AlyZen Moonshadow: My trusty workhorse, the Samsung Galaxy S4, is rarely out of my hands, and it is also my portable Studio. So basically, I can and do work almost anywhere. For printing purposes, I have my printers (an ink-guzzling Epson Artisan 1430 and a mellow Canon Pixma MX870) in the spareroom/storeroom, which during the summer months is shared with an ongoing succession of baby Japanese Quails, that I incubate, breed and sell. The room is too small for a proper worktable, so I simply spread butcher paper over the carpet on the floor, lay out my prints on that, and do any gluing, varnishing, etc right there. It’s easy enough to tidy away again afterwards. Someday I hope to have a traditional gypsy caravan installed in my front garden, where things can be more permanent.

Couple in Love(This is my “Couple in Love” image, available on Kess inHouse here)

Artist Inspiration : Rob Gonsalves

When I first saw Rob Gonsalves’ art on a friend’s Facebook Wall, my first thoughts were of Dali and Escher. There was a distinctly surreal look to the artwork, and being a fan of all things weird and surreal, my interest was piqued.

You can find Rob Gonsalves on Facebook here: https://m.facebook.com/RobGonsalves.Official

He even has a Wikipedia entry, how wonderful is that? Read it to understand his intriguing thought processes and techniques, and where he’s coming from with his paintings. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rob_Gonsalves

Here’s an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry, which explaims the difference between Dali/Escher/Tanguy/Magritte’s Surrealism and Rob Gonsalves’ own unique brand:

Although Gonsalves’ work is often categorized as surrealistic, it differs because the images are deliberately planned and result from conscious thought. Ideas are largely generated by the external world and involve recognizable human activities, using carefully planned illusionist devices. Gonsalves injects a sense of magic into realistic scenes. As a result, the term “Magic Realism” describes his work accurately. His work is an attempt to represent human beings’ desire to believe the impossible, to be open to possibility.

For me, the best parts, of course, are the paintings themselves. (Images curated from Google Images). Enjoy!

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