Thursday, December 26, 2013

Art Journal Thursdays: Monochromatic

When I sat down at my desk, I had no preconceived notions about what this journal page was going to look like. I knew that I wanted to do a page honoring this old picture that I found. There she was, among a number of old family pictures, with no name or notation. Family friend? Long lost cousin? The one that got away? Who knows. But there was something captivating about her, so she became the page’s focal point.

The QuicKutz 'Adornments (Victorian) Die is in the corner and it does a nice job of directing the eye toward her face.

I wondered about this woman. Who was she? I liked the picture because her lips slightly parted as if she had just finished saying something. Maybe it was, “Let’s this done because I need a drink!” or “I have to pick up my kids” or “What a dry summer…you have no idea what it’s doing to my peonies!” She was sitting in her black dress against a gray background, eyes alert contrasting the stiffness of her body. It just seemed to me that using a monochromatic palette was the right thing to do.

Using watercolor paper, I glued down some random pieces of book pages to create a little texture. Then I laid down a thin layer of gesso. Using Anita’s Metallic Black acrylic  paint, I brushed a generous layer on to the dry gesso. I removed some of the paint with baby wipes, sometimes scrubbing down to the gesso or paper.

I added a little black burlap under the tags so make them "pop" a little more.

The next step was finding the right pattern to give the journal page some more interest. I chose the K&Co. vellum border since their pattern reminded me of the wall paper this woman might have. I applied the border to plain white tags and then added a little white Faber-Castell gelato to the edges. They ended up looking a little plain so a few mother of pearl buttons were sewn on. I wanted to the tags to be “bound” to the larger piece so I found an old notebook page in my ephemera stash and glue it to the photo and then ran the strings through the holes.

I removed all the paint in some areas so that the gesso would add a little texture.

The side panel was made by gluing three book page scraps together. I punched out some flowers. Again, it seemed too plain on the page so I decided to gesso the panel and then added some more black metallic paint. Again, baby wipes were used to get rid of the excess paint. I added the vellum borer to a scrap piece of cardstock and glued it behind the windows of the panel.

Lastly, I added a little random poetry from two phrases from different books.

What I found challenging about this layout was the play of values. Since I didn't have different colors to add emphasis or texture, it all had to be achieved using color values. It actually required a little discipline to grab a red just to give it punch, but I resisted in the end because that would have stolen my lady’s thunder.

What challenges have you found in your art recently?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Art Journal Thursdays: I Breathed Again and Listened More Deeply

Even though the Winter Solstice is still a few days away, winter is truly here. The sun is less brilliant, usually hiding behind wispy clouds, shedding cold light over brown grass (which inspired this art journal page). While that seems like it might be depressing, and I know it is for some, I find it peaceful. It seems that everything is at rest.

Acrylic paint roughed up by using the paint brush handle.

I won't say that winter is my favorite time of the year, but it has it's advantages. Winter is a time for short days, full of introspection. Nights by the fire, hearty soups or hot chocolate in hand. Knitted scarves, woolen socks and gloves, and bulky's like wearing home when your are out. Everything slows down.

A Tim Holtz "ledger" rubber stamp was used at the top of the page and then gessoed over it with my finger.

I used random cut out words from a large print book. These words jumped out from the pages...they captured exactly how I was feeling about that day.

Paper scraps, other ephemera and rub-ons with gesso over it.

A hand-drawn tree in winter.

The focal point of the art page is a tree that I drew one afternoon. I copied it, using a laser copier, and then transferred it on to the page using matte medium. I applied the matte medium to the image, turned it upside down on the page and then used an old credit card to smooth out the bubbles. I then used a hair dryer to dry it quickly and then wet the paper and rolled it off with my fingers. It is a great way to incorporate my own hand-drawn images without having to carve a stamp.

What season inspires your artwork the most?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Art Journal Thursday: He Himself is Our Peace

Life has a lot of stuff to it--work, family, relationships, experiences and on and on. It's all those things that make us who we are, right? We all have lovely bits--talent, generosity, compassion, intelligence, etc. We also all have our sucky bits--envy, contempt, irritation, and so on. We can't help it because we are imperfect beings in a fallen world. If I am left to my own, there is no peace. I cannot make right the things that are wrong. I can't do things over. I can only move forward trying to minimize the uncaring things I do and find ways to positively impact those around me.

Multiple layers of acrylic paint applied with a palette knife.

So today's journal page is about layers. It began with scraps of book pages randomly glued to the substrate. Then I began with layers of paint. I began layering several colors of paint and then decided that I didn't like them. So I mixed some black with some gesso and started over.

Gesso and thinned acrylic paint applied to the die cut flowers.

I liked the layers because the it had such a messy quality. But I wanted to add something a bit more joyful to offset the overall darkness of the piece. Using a Tim Holtz Sizzix Bigz die, I cut out several flowers and then adhered them to the page.

Use a Pitt brush pen, size B, to journal and add lines to my flowers.

Sunflower yellow acrylic paint, applied with a palette knife, was created as a background to journal on. I added one of my favorite scriptures. It is a reminder that I cannot obtain the peace I seek alone.