Wednesday, 30 November 2016

My November with That's Crafty

Hi all,

I've not blogged for ages! It's very remiss of me, but I have been busy and doing things. 

I was invited by Laura Holland to be Guest Designer for That's Crafty for the month of November this year. I was really pleased to be asked and jumped at the chance. Opportunities to get your work seen by lots of people must not be overlooked.

I will tell you about my November, but I'll try to keep it brief as the full blogposts and instructions on makes are on That's Blogging Crafty. So, without further ado...

Week 1 - I started big. Maybe I should have left it for a grand finale. I took four of the very many MDF storage boxes and, rather than decorating one, I did a big old design on all four.        


   


Week 2 - Every year, the press warns us of a really heavy snowfall on the way at least three times every winter. Most years, they don't even come close and this year, so far, they're wrong again. Thank goodness. Freshly fallen snow looks beautiful, but that's where it ends for me. In my heart, I hate snow. It's dangerous, goes hard and grey after a day and it's excruciatingly cold. So my second project reflected this.  


 


Week 3 - I was in a flurry of card making and I thought the best thing would be to create a card. After all, cards appear to be one of the most popular makes these days.




And finally, in Week 4, I was desperate to play. I've been taking direction from some of Kate Crane's online courses, Journal Soup 1 & 2 and Marvellous Miniatures. They are so addictive and they are the perfect way for me to relax and unwind. You may be different. I love to get messy. So I just wanted to play. I didn't really know where I was going with it; the only plan I had was to make 'Soup.' 




As it turned out, the last one was my favourite. I hope these posts inspire you to try something different. Don't do the same as everyone else. Be yourself. You're the best you there is.

Love and peace,

Wendy x

Monday, 29 August 2016

'Fauxdori' With Dangly Bits

 

This blogpost is one of 'firsts'. I'm not a stranger to making handmade books and journals but there are many different techniques and types of journal. When my friend, Karen, asked some advice on making a cover in the style of a Midori (an Italian, leather-bound travelers note book, not the melon flavoured liqueur), I decided it was time that I gave that style a go. I must add that she wasn't hinting and didn't expect me to make one. She just wanted some advice.   

Because this type of journal is in the style of a Midori, it is commonly called a 'Fauxdori'. I asked Karen lots of questions about what she uses her individual, stitched notebooks for and she told me that she draws out weekly diaries, finances, birthdays and events etc. She has a lovely style of creativity herself and I'm sure she is perfectly capable of doing this herself, which was her intention. She doodles toadstools and circles and was prompted to ask me about a Fauxdori after seeing my Bubbles notebooks.

Obviously Paperartsy sprang immediately to mind, and JoFY stamps in particular. I brayered Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylics in all of the blue and turquoise shades over an A3 sheet of Strathmore mixed media paper. I darkened it when it was too pale and lightened it when it was too dark. I carried on brayering in this way until I was happy with the look. Then, because Karen had liked the bubbles, I used my favourite Donna Downey stencil, called 'Bubbles', funnily enough. I lightly stenciled Antarctic through the bubbles using a makeup sponge, then Snowflake through JoFY's Bloom and Grow flower stencil (PS008) and finally, Guacamole through the lettering. I stamped a selection of JoFY stamps strategically all over. I left it to dry and turned my hand to making some things to dangle from the journal.


The current Paperartsy challenge on their blog is Beads, Charms and Dangles. (That's handy, isn't it?) There are some YouTube videos on the blog to inspire you amongst all the other inspiration there. One is the Leandra Bead and another is European Paper Beads. I had a strip of paper trimmed from the Fauxdori masterboard which meant that I could make dangly bits that perfectly matched the cover in colour. I really enjoyed making these beads (except for the time when I dropped a molten bead on my hand... Oh and also the time when I dropped another on the carpet!) 


 The Leandra Bead 


        European Paper Beads

I couldn't guess the measurements for the cover so I stitched 5 single signatures, each with 6 sheets of A4 160gsm paper. Then I marked on the inside of the journal where the scorelines should go for the spine. I added 5 eyelets on each end of the spine. This is when I realised that I had measured from the wrong end and had to trim some of the stenciled lettering away just to make it look even. 


I threaded some elastic that complemented the turquoise shades through the eyelets on the spine. This forms a secure attachment for the signatures. I chose a larger eyelet and some more elastic in the same colour for the closure. I attached the beads so that they dangle from the top of the spine. A large knot wasn't adequate to keep the beads attached and it disappeared up the central core. A small jump ring threaded over the elastic fixed this issue and actually looked much neater than a big, scruffy knot.

Then it was just a matter of finishing touches. 


I used a combination of Sakura Gelly Roll pens (Glaze, Moonlight, Stardust Galaxy and Metallic), Dylusions paint pens in black and white, Fresco Snowflake and Sherbet, and even a thin swipe of Diamond Ice Stickles over the dragonfly. Basically, anything that I could put my hands on.

And ta-daaa!


Love and peace x


I'm linking this up to Paperartsy's 2016  Topic 16: Beads, Charms and Dangles challenge

Friday, 19 August 2016

Controlled Infusions


This week, quite serendipitously, I saw a blogpost with video tutorial by the very fab Kim Dellow in which she used Paperartsy Infusions with Versamark Ink.

   

Paperartsy Infusions are a dye pigment that can be used on paper and fabric. They come in a small glass bottle (you only need a smidge) and react with water. Along with the dye pigment, they also contain brown walnut crystals, setting them apart from similar products on the market. The walnut takes longer to react with the water and so allows you to choose between real vibrancy and a more vintage look. For vibrant colours, simply apply a heat tool to dry your artwork before the walnut kicks in. Anyway, I digress...

Kim produced two really quick and really easy examples using stamps and stencils with Infusions and Versamark. By stamping or stencilling a design with Versamark, the infusions crystals will stick to it (with a little persuasion from a paintbrush). I quite liked these stamps without the water at first...


But then, when I spritzed a mister over...


...POW!

I used circle stamps from Kim's EKD01 set and also some from Emma Godfrey's EEG15 set, both of which are from Paperartsy's Eclectica range of stamps.

I just tried this out in an art journal. It's not perfect, but it's not bad for a first attempt and I'll certainly use the technique again. Also, it's a pattern, isn't it? I know I'm using circles yet again, but I'm not even sorry. 


Love and peace x



I'm linking this up to Paperartsy's 2016 Topic 15: Patterns challenge

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Go Away I'm Marking


This one is a bit different. Working on wood is a first for me, but I wanted to make something for my daughter, Danielle, that was a bit different from the last sign I bought her! That one read "Piss Off I'm Busy". Not really appropriate for a music teacher, but I thought it was funny at the time. You had to be there...

Anyway, out came my Paperartsy Fresco Chalk Acrylics. Obvs. I covered the sign with Little Black Dress and then ran some alpha dies through my Big Shot machine. I used Bigz Extra Large Die Word Play by Tim Holtz for 'Go Away', Just A Note Thinlits Alphabet by Jen Long for 'I'm Marking!' and then added the ink splat from Scribbles and Splat Thinlits die set by Tim Holtz for good measure. I tore some manuscript bits from some Tim Holtz tissue because Danielle teaches music.   

After all of those fiddly bits were stuck into place, I covered the whole lot with some Crackle Glaze, waited for it to dry, then I painted over with Purple Rain (*nods to Prince*). There was some amazing texture happening, just like magic...


I had to make it all pop a bit more, so I played with Chalk paint, pens, rubbing the paint back again, but it still looked all wishy washy and not at all me.


I squidged a warm grey Faber-Castell Big Brush marker around everything. Then sponged Little Black Dress and Chalk over the splat and 'I'm Marking!' I loosely scratched around the lettering with a black pen, trying to grunge it up. It did help to lift it from the background, but I asked my lovely PATwits family on Facebook if there was any advice to be had from here...


... and the wonderful Siobhan Brignull encouragingly said that it was fab, then constructively suggested I add some Treasure Gold. Now, I haven't got around to the Treasure Gold yet, but I do have a selection of Creative Expressions gilding wax in several colours. I rubbed some Pewter around the edge and highlighted the sticky up bits (technical term) with it. It was much better, but I still wanted more oomf (another technical term) so I highlighted everything with a white Posca pen. 
Finally!...

The good news is that Danni loves it. But then, would she dare say that she didn't? She seemed pleased that she had a sign that was suitable for children to see, anyway. 


Love and peace x

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Painted Fragile Paper


I have another pattern for you. This time I painted layers onto fragile paper, in this case tissue. I used the brayer technique with Paperartsy Fresco Chalk Acrylics, as is my wont.


I started with 4 layers of paint (Haystack, Pumpkin Soup, Tango and London Bus), Haystack being the only opaque colour. In the beginning, the tissue felt very fragile indeed, but by the end of this stage it already felt tougher.

I decided to use the stamps that I handmade several months ago. Incidentally, to make my stamps, I drew an image of my own design onto some Speedball Speedy Carve, carved it carefully with lino cutters and mounted each one onto EZ Mount. Mmmm... circles...


I stamped onto the tissue using the fours colours in the background. I felt it needed a bit of a punch so I brought in some Claret. Here is a selection of photos taken through different stages of this process. 



Now it was time to knock it back. I used Snowflake with the largest script stamp that I had at the time, Paperartsy Eclectica 10 (ESN10) by Sara Naumann

And there we have it...


Love and peace x


I'm linking this up to Paperartsy's 2016 Topic 15: Patterns challenge after being inspired by a YouTube video which is featured on Paperartsy blogpost 2015 #1 Box Canvas (by Leandra)







Tangled Escher Pattern


Maurits Cornelis Escher, the master of pattern and print. I've always been fascinated by his work and my pattern is based on one of his most recognisable pieces. The boxes could be pointing upwards or, with a focal adjustment by the viewer, downwards.

I filled an evening by doodling tangly bits on each side, keeping the corresponding horizontal faces the same to ensure continuation of the pattern theme.


Then a surge of colour was needed. Looking at the Paperartsy Fresco Paint colour chart, I chose three tones from a single swatch; Limelight, Banana and Southern Skies. It was important to choose translucent colours so that my hard work was still visible.

 

Although the colours are clearly translucent (see what I did there?), they muted the black marks of my tangles. Time for my black and white pens again. I never really need an excuse to doodle. The Southern Skies was the biggest culprit. I didn't go over everything again, but I did add something to each face.

Ta da!


Love and peace x


I'm linking this up to Paperartsy's 2016 Topic 15: Patterns challenge, having been inspired to fill the boxes with Zentagles by Paperartsy's 2015 Topic 16: Circles challenge, strangely enough.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Puppy Pattern

There's another challenge going on! Paperartsy's current topic is patterns.

My childhood doodles were exactly that. Patterns. There's something very pleasing and reassuring to me about symmetry. The Oxford English Dictionary defines pattern as 'a repeated decorative design'. I've drawn quite a few designs for this challenge and, today, I started the important bits.

I was a portrait artist for many years and preferred to work in black and white. I worked from photographs and, although my work was very well received, it started to leave me a bit cold. Technically, in most cases, there wasn't very much difference between one portrait and the next. Of course they looked different, and I do have my favourites, but I almost went into autopilot to paint. I just painted what I saw. Precisely.


Now, I embrace colour. I also embrace mistakes, wobbly bits (!) and things that are in my head. I still have to consciously paint and draw in a loose style, but I'm getting there. Apart from colour, the other important element in this challenge is Paperartsy products. In this case, they amount to the same thing. I had messed about with circular patterns and, being a huge dog lover, I came up with this...


I chose the most delicious Paperartsy Fresco Chalk Acrylic colours - Vanilla, Caramel and Toffee - and painted away. These paints blend beautifully; they're as smooth as butter. Anyway, here's the result. And it might turn out to be my favourite...


It may seem indulgent to you. I love dogs. And, like it or not, it is a pattern. Although, from a distance, if you squint, it could look like a cat's bum.

Love and peace x



I'm linking this up to Paperartsy's 2016 Topic 15: Patterns challenge, having been hooked after watching the Friday 5th Feb 2016 demo from Leandra - New PA Products (Feb 2016) Fresco Chalk Acrylic Paints.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Bubbles Books


In my last post, I made a masterboard using Paperartsy products. Every masterboard deserves a 'forever home' so I made the bubbles into two notebooks. I actually cut them too short so I used the strip that I'd cut off into two bookmarks with the addition of magnetic strips. I chomped the corners to make them look more finished and did the same with the book covers.


I didn't really want to add any further stamps to this piece as it may have destroyed the bubbles (and I would never let anyone burst my bubbles!), so I added the quote, 'There is no angry way to say "Bubbles"'. Then I did my usual doodly doo-dahs around them. Oh, I do so love bubbles and circles. Do you find that weird? Guess what? I don't care. Bubbles rock!

I added a lavender coloured eyelet with the help of my crop-a-dile and then I threaded carefully chosen glass and metal beads onto (probably too much) purple embroidery thread to form the wrap-around closure.


For the actual notebook bit, I made three signatures, each with 8 pages (4 x A4 sheets scored and folded in half). With the simplest long-stitch binding, the inside was soon finished.


Aah, if only I could leave well alone there. I carried on tweaking the cover and the bookmark, added the URL of my blog and forced myself to stop before it was overworked.



Ta-daaah!


Love and peace x

Friday, 29 July 2016

First Night Nerves

Evening all. Thanks for bobbing in.

This is my first post for Wendy's House and I'm more than delighted that it will mainly be about Paperartsy Fresco paint. I've definitely discovered my go-to medium.

Initially, I saw a YouTube video of Vicky Papaioannou creating a journal page using Fresco paint with a brayer. I loved the way that the paint skimmed the paper. This was a look that I constantly tried to achieve in uni. Instead of using sandpaper, screwdrivers, wire wool, bread-knife, anything else to scratch back, I should've just brayered the paint on really lightly. It would have avoided the 'over-worked' look and given my illustrations the free and loose feel that I craved.


I started by ordering the colours that Vicky had used in her journal. When they arrived, I painted 12 ATCs (artists' trading cards) with them, just using a tiny amount on the end of my finger. I find this is the best way to get a proper feel for a new product. They were so smooth and chalky and they dried  almost instantly. I was hooked already!

Then I discovered a gem that Leandra Franich, from Paperartsy, had uploaded...

 

I used the paints that I already had and started playing.

Using Winsor & Newton Artists' Water Colour Paper, I brayered happily away. I probably overdid it, but I used Cheesecake, Guacamole, Mermaid, Caribbean Sea, Dolly Mix and Sour Grapes to lay down the first few layers. They dry so quickly, that it's almost impossible to make 'mud' using this method. I very lightly applied the paint with a brayer and only stopped when I was happy with the colour combinations on the paper. 


Next, I used the darker tones of Captain Peacock and Plum through several Tim Holtz mini layering stencils. I knocked back the darkness with some of Darcy Wilkinson's lovely bubbles (PS031) and more Dolly Mix.



This then spurred me into getting out my favourite Donna Downey 'Bubbles' stencil.  I gently sponged Snowflake bubbles all over the A3 sheet.






I decided that the bubbles weren't 'bubbly' enough and needed something to make them pop (s'cuse pun!) Out came my Derwent Inktense pencils and a water brush. 



Finished off with a little white highlight here and there et voila! 


Overall, it didn't take as long as this blogpost! I promise to keep them a little shorter in future.

Love and peace x