Saturday, March 31, 2007

Putting backgrounds to use.

I made a few ATCs today with the new backgrounds. Here are some samples. I used the contact paper transfer technique that Jackie taught at the Mixed Media Group meeting , over acrylic paints and webbing sprays. The images and text are all from a fashion magazine.

Computer glitch

What a pain. I realize how much I depend on the computer when it starts acting up. Right in the middle of a print job, it decided it had the wrong cartridge in the printer - after printing right along for several pages. So, I have tinkered and prodded and hope it is resolved. Wish me luck.

Friday, March 30, 2007

spring in the garden

Spring has definitely sprung. Winds, sunshine, everything growing with gusto. Here are some pics.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Web spray background with stamped image

I found out it's easy to stamp over the web spray. Here's one I like. But, I need help, please. What would be a good caption or piece of text to use on it? After I stamped it I used acrylic paint thinned to a glaze to painted over the whole thing. I think it gives the look of kids watching a sunset.

Crumpled plastic grocery bag technique

I'm not sure now well I explained this earlier, but since I'm getting questions - I'll spell it out for those of you who want to try it. This was a strange technique. I often press crumpled plastic grocery bags (I prefer them to Saran or other wraps) over wet acrylic abstracts to get a textured effect, let it dry a bit and then pull it up. I do this multiple times. I reuse the bags for several projects so they often get wonderul colors on them. If the paint is still wet when I lift it - I'll press the bag onto another painting, or blank paper to transfer the texture again. This time, eventually the plastic bag looked so interesting that I figured there must be a way to use it. So, I just cut it into big pieces and glued it to watercolor paper with acrylic gel medium, and rolled it with a brayer. The painted side was facing down. I wasn't sure it would adhere - but it did. Then I cut them into ATC size cards. That's all there was to it. I just hated to throw away something that I liked so well. I hope someone else tries this and will share their results.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bird on plastic background

This collage piece was done by art pal, Jackie on a crumpled plastic background that I had done recently. Her choice of image transfer is beautifully suited to the background - and allows the background to show through.

Collaborative work

Recently I sent some of the new background ATCs and cards to my art pal Jackie. She surprised me yesterday by sending them back - but altered. She collaged over them. These are a few of the results. I am wowed by how good they look, and how they took on new life with a second pair of hands. Thanks Jackie!

One of the problems with making my own backgrounds is that I fall utterly in love with them and then I'm stuck. I can't seem to go that next step and "use them" to make other art. I'm so glad Fearless Jackie just jumped in there and brought them to another level.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

White grid in background

Other artists have been so interested in the web spray paint, I'm glad to help bring it back to the art scene. Some people asked what I used for the white grid on the background. I had a plastic "thing" - I think it originally came with fabric trim wound around it. I use it to spray through usually, but this time I wanted a grid look without covering the background. I painted gesso on it with a sponge brush. Then to make the impression I covered the plastic "thing" with deli wrap, and rolled over it with a brayer on top of the background paint. I had to really push hard because the paper is stiff.

Studio sounds

If I want to listen to something other than the birds in the yard, I usually listen to Public Radio when in the studio. I like to keep informed and like the interviews. Terry Gross is my favorite. She has introduced me to lots of interesting people, including musicians whom I never would have found on my own. Like James Hand. And Mariana Montalvo.

Well, today I heard other sounds. Muffled growling sounds under my floor. Apparently the dogs chased a cat under the studio and it's not planning on coming out until it's good and ready. Buddy keeps going in and barking, but the cat just growls back and holds its ground.

I keep a CD player and a TV with VCR in the studio also. When I've been out there a long time - I may switch to one of those. The public radio station I listen to likes to play jazz certain times of the day, and I can't stand it! I've just got to have a melody. That's when I turn to the CDs. I have a few video tapes of art instruction, and a bunch of old movies and British sit-coms. But, today I have a growling cat to listen to.

Web spray sources

For those of you who wrote in to ask, in my town there wasn't a single source for all the colors of Krylon Webbing spray. I got the gold at Michael's. But, although I tried everywhere, I could not find the black, white, or silver. So, I finally ordered them from Joanne's online. I purchased mine a year or so ago, so maybe it is more available now. I hope you can find them, it is a fun product for a unique look.

Friday, March 23, 2007

New backgrounds for ATCs and 4x4s

This afternoon, I reworked some old acrylic backgrounds and then took them outside to spray them with webbing paint. After they dried, I cut them into the 2 1/2 inch by 3 1/2 inch size for Artist Trading Cards, and also some 4x4 sizes. I've already tried doing some transfers over a couple of them and it works only fairly well. So, I think they are more suitable to use collage and embelishments. I also did a bunch of inchies with the scraps.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Headed for the hills

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Natures peace flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drip off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature's sources never fail."

-- John Muir

My heart is in the hills; I gravitate back to the Sierras. This is my new hang-out. Views show the trailer, the screen room where lots of art things will be going on - as well as naps - and the view looking up drive to the office.

Art day today

I've been experimenting with odd things while I'm cleaning the studio today. The first photo is of some ATCs that I made with my old grocery plastic bag that I use for texturizing acrylic paints and for moving paints from one painting to another. I decided I liked it well enough to make an art piece out of it, so I glued it to watercolor paper with acrylic gel medium. When it was dry I cut it into ATC size pieces.

The second photo is of an old watercolor painting that I painted over with white paint. While it was wet (and I had to move fast) I scratched into the surface. Then I thought I'd go over it again with a glaze and scratch back to some of the white. Here are the white birches that appeared.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Background experiments.

Acrylics, strips of floral paper napkin, glazes and paints over top. They remind me of white birch trees.

Inchies and ATCs for swaps

The inchies are collaged and rubber stamped in a floral theme and bordered with gold leaf pen. The swap is in the ClothPaperStudio online group.

The ATCs are for a technique swap. They were done with fluid acrylic paints, layered and stamped with chunky stamps. Some of them are then glazed with acrylics.

One group is done with strips of floral printed paper napkin strips collaged over an acrylic painted base, with gel medium. Then other acrylic paints were used to age them.

Scrapbook cover

This photo album was recently given to me by a classmate in SICL. I'm posting the cover so you can use it in your art.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Weekend in Pleasant Hill

I had a most enjoyable weekend visiting with Jill in Pleasant Hill. She took a carload of friends to see Ross Hanna's group perform and we ran into other Hanna family members there too. We had wonderful food and the music was delightful. The Phirehouse Philharmonic Band and the choral group both outdid themselves. Here are some photos from the weekend. Jill and I did a little exploring Sunday morning to see the Spring blooms and to visit her horse (this photo was taken last year). Those two lumps on the couch are Max and Lily. I came home relaxed like I had just had a nice long vacation.

Inchies for swap

These are for the ArtTechniques group swap. They are on acrylic painted backgrounds, done in layers. Either the coin is raised with crystal clear laquer or the entire piece is glazed with the laquer. The picture really doesn't do them justice.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Exhibit of Book Arts

A good friend and incredible book artist, Wendy Jordan, is showing one of her works at the following exhibit. For information follow the link: The name of the exhibit is Effects of War: Altered Lives, Altered Books. go see it if you have a chance. It will alter the way you look at books and WAR.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Altered book - picking a theme

One of the questions today in the SICL class was "how do you pick a theme?" This is a really good question. Usually themes pick me. Maybe the title of a book will suggest a theme. Perhaps it is the lyrics of a song that sticks in my mind. Maybe it is a quote that means something special and that can be illustrated some way. Sometimes images themselves suggest a theme. Maybe it's a mood. Love? Tenderness? Anger? Political injustice? War? Family reunions? There are more themes floating around out there than there are artists to do them justice.

My suggestion is to make a practice book first and not be tied to a theme. Just play with it and have fun. It may develop a theme by the time you are through playing with it. Pay attention to what images you want to use in it. Maybe a color can be the theme. Maybe it is the construction that will become a theme. Windows? Doors? Tunnels? Folds? Any of these can be themes. They can be as frivolous, or as serious as you want them to be.

Once you have a theme established in your mind, be open to where it will take you. Say you pick windows. What do they suggest to you? Look for images, quotes, embellishments that you can use. Start to collect things associated with your theme. Weaving them all together is where the artist in you will get to stretch and play. I like my altered books to have a message. But that is just my style. You will find your own style. Maybe it will be a story you want to tell. Maybe it will be a book filled with your favorite images. Maybe it will be filled with poetry. Maybe you will write in it like a journal. It can be anything you want it to be.

After you are playing with a practice book, you probably will start looking around you for things you can use in it. Sally talked about this in class. Nothing is safe! You'll save scraps, tear apart magazines, pick up leaves and twigs, and know that they can be used in your art.

Since there are no hard and fast rules for making altered books, you can make it up as you go along. If you dont' like a page you finished - tear it out. It's just paper. Try again.
Or, if tearing it out is not an option for some reason - then collage over it, or paint over it.

I often work in several sections of a book at one time. I don't always start at the front and end at the back. Again, that's just my personal work style. It may not work for you. I usually have a general idea of where I want something to fall in a book. I like to lay it out and tuck things into it - long before I start structural changes. That way I can see how the text works to move the reader from the beginning to the end. It helps me find what images I want to use and what I need to do research to find.

I hope this helps you get started. You probably will make more than one. You will soon know if it is "your thing". I haven't stopped painting, or doing my other art and needle work, but while I'm intensely into constructing an altered book, everything else takes a back seat until I need a break.

So grab an old book and start tearing, cutting, pasting, painting, and having some fun with it. Let me know if I can help. You can email me at

SICL art class

I've been posting photos from our classes, so you will have to go back in archives to see earlier photos. When you scroll to the bottom of each page there is a place to click to go to older posts. The photos I posted today were taken today. I hope you enjoy them. Janene

More SICL photos