Friday, June 22, 2018

No Mud, No Lotus

When I saw this color palette of blues and pinks, I thought I would do this pop-up lotus flower.  I painted the background (140 lb. watercolor paper) with cerulean blue acrylic.  For the flower, I used ink pads and an ink blending tool to color sheets of vellum.  I followed this tutorial to make the flower:

I chose this quote from Thich Nhat Hanh which states "No mud, no lotus," and finished the edges by stamping with a mandala stamp.  I can't remember where I got the beaded dragonfly, but it complimented this page, so I put it on a gold cord and will include it when I send my page. 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Turquoise, Teal and Olive

Another beautiful palette to explore this month!  The colors immediately brought to mind peacock feathers.  I debated whether to use actual peacock feathers in my spread but ultimately decided to use my peacock feather stencil.

I had fun pulling out all of the supplies that I had in these three colors to help me decide how to make my pages.  I had acrylic paints, glitter paints, embroidery floss, Glimmer Sprays, Dylusion Sprays, Distress Inks, glitter glues, Perfect Pearls, markers, gel pens, Inka Gold...dizzying, huh?

Next, I created several swatches to see which products gave me the truest colors.  I liked the look of the Blue Teal Glimmer Spray for the background.  On top of that, I added a light coat of Blue Ice Glimmer Spray for a little more shimmer.

I had not played with my Inka Gold in quite sometime.  In fact, I discovered that a few of my pots had dried out, so while I had them out, I sprayed some distilled water into the pots to moisten them back to a creamy consistency.  I pulled the Turquoise and Greenyellow (which looked more gold than olive green).  Since I did not have the Inka Gold in teal, I used a deep blue glitter paint instead.

When the feathers were done, I added a little bling for embellishment.  I chose this brief quote by Henri Matisse about creativity (probably because the recipient of these pages is a very accomplished artist which sort of intimidated me!)

I also made a peacock feather bookmark to compliment my pages.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Box o' Bliss

This month's Mindfulness cards are playful, tongue-in-cheek.  Although not a traditional mindfulness prompt, "Chocolate" made the list by popular vote.  I knew it was only a matter of time before I would tackle this prompt. 

I admit that I borrowed this idea from a spread I did in an altered book round robin several years ago.  That book's theme was "My Imaginary Vacation."  I envisioned my Imaginary Vacation to involve loads of decadent chocolates and Johnny Depp.

For these chocolate cards, I found an image of a box of chocolate truffles and cut them down to 4x6 size.  Through painstaking trial and error, I created a template for a 3-D looking box to house the truffles.  .

I had already asked my swap partners who their celebrity crushes were, so armed with this information, I scoured the internet for photos of their celebrity crushes.  Now, this is where the fun comes in.  I sized the heads of the various celebrity crushes to fit the chocolate truffles.  Then, I created pull-outs with their heads!

Johnny Depp still remains a celebrity crush of mine, but I had also had to include Pierce Brosnan in my Box o' Bliss!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Penny Leis for Graduation

It's graduation season again and in Hawaii, we honor our graduates by giving leis.  I have made various penny leis over the years.  The pink and iridescent cellophane lei in the top photos were made for a family friend graduating from college in Colorado.

The red and black cellophane lei in the middle is for my nephew who graduated from the University of Hawaii at Hilo.  Red and black are their school colors.

The red lei in the bottom photos is for my niece who is graduating from high school.  At her school, each class votes on a class color that will be associated with their class throughout high school.  Her class color is red.  Since she is petite-sized, I wanted to create a daintier lei that would not overpower her.  I experimented by making this lei with glittered tulle (3" x 3" squares).  I like the way it turned out.  The size turned out just perfect for her!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Turquoise, Pink and Orange

I cycled through a lot of different ideas before I finally arrived at this page (above).  I love the color palette, so I was surprised and frustrated that I couldn't easily figure out what to do.  I think part of my struggle was that many of these color journal pages will be bound in a Midori style journal (elastic cord binding).  The size is 8 x 8 with a fold in the center.  This is a surprisingly small size for me and it required some scale adjustment on my part.  Also, some recipients want the work to be flat.  Talk about a challenge!  My style tends to be chunky, embellished, interactive.  I find that my "go-to" techniques often require the structure of  an actual bound book (which is why altered books really appeal to me!)  So, outside of my comfort zone I ventured.

The creative process began with this idea of Kandinsky-inspired circles.  I made a mock up out of concentric felt circles, but once I saw it, I wasn't loving it.

It took me a long time to reach the decision to abandon this initial idea and start anew.  So, once back to the drawing board, I began to make a connection between these colors and Bollywood.  This palette reminds me of India and knowing that Jen loves music, Bollywood seemed a logical choice.  Easy and inspiring, right?  Or so I thought. Beginning to feel the time crunch, I forced myself to just START.  While pulling stencils that gave me an "India" vibe, I thought I might try playing with these new layered stencils from Altenew (Dahlia).  Using Distress Stains, I chose orange for my background color. For the first stencil, I applied a pink Distress Stain with a felt applicator (I was too lazy to find my sponge daubers).  I applied a turquoise Distress Stain through the second stencil.  Some of the colors started to bleed into each other which gave it a soft, water-color effect.  I was fascinated by this layered technique.  This is how it turned out:

Interesting, but it didn't feel right for these color journal pages.

Next, I pulled out my Dylusions sprays and started playing with some of my other stencils.  This background was created with orange and pink Dylusion sprays.  I added another layer applying turquoise acrylic paint with various plastic lids and Q-tips.  I was happy with the bright and energetic look that was emerging.

As fun as this was, it really needed something more.  I toyed with the idea of adding silhouettes of Bollywood dancers.  Or a Buddha image.  Again, none of this was really grabbing me.  I think that's when I started to move toward a Boho page.  I imagined colorful ribbons decorating the page edges. 

 Yes!  But, it still needed a focal point.  I found a quote about music that seemed fitting.  I printed it out in a 3 x 3 square and framed it in turquoise paper (using my new Frame punch board from We R Memory Keepers).

Despite the early struggles, I am very happy with how this page turned out and think Jen will love it too!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Bargello Leftovers


Look at the pretty cards I made with my washi tape bargello leftovers!!

Acrylic Pours

I have been watching a few different acrylic pour techniques but never tried it myself.  I had the opportunity to get my hands dirty when I signed up for an acrylic pour class at a local craft store. 

We used a variety of materials in the class. To start, we used a mix of Liquitex professional ink with pouring medium.  The class had pre-prepared a different squeeze bottle for each color.  Just by eyeballing it, the bottle was 3/4 full of pouring medium and about 2-3 dropperfuls of ink was added. You can add more ink for a more intense color, but the volume comes from the pouring medium which is not cheap.

Our work stations were equipped with a shallow box (large enough to hold your canvas) lined with parchment or wax paper.  And gloves.  And an apron.

For the first piece, we proceeded to squirt our canvas with different colors.  You can see I used magenta, turquoise and gold.  Once the color is on the canvas, you tip and turn the canvas to move the color on the surface.  Gravity takes over.  Where the turquoise and gold ran together, it created a green color.  I kept trying to get complete coverage but the way I was squirting the mixture and/or the amount I was applying left these openings exposing the canvas below.  The design sort of began to grown on me and I figured I could always go back and fill the space with another medium (ink pen doodles or glitter accents?)

For the second piece, we did the "dump" technique.  This is where you take a cup (we used 7 oz dixie cups since this was a larger canvas) and start to layer your colors for the pour.  We used a combination of Liquitex Professional inks and Color Shift acrylic paint for our colors. As with the inks, pouring medium is added to the acrylic paint.  It was roughly one part acrylic paint to 4 parts pouring medium.  I started with the black acrylic/pouring medium as my base color.  A little goes a LONG way with black, so I tried to use it sparingly.  To the base color, we added about 8 drops of liquid silicone.  Instead of buying liquid silicone, you can take a can of silicone spray and spray it into a non-porous container.  Stir.  I had heard that the more you stir, the smaller the cells.  The less you stir, the larger the cells.

Then you to add your colors into the cup right on top of the base color/silicone mixture, one at a time.  I added a metallic lime green (acrylic paint), turquoise and gold (inks).  This is called a "dirty" pour because it contains a mixture of inks and acrylic paints. 

We inserted push pins on the back of the canvas frame.  This lifts the canvas off the box and allows the paint to drip down the sides.  To start, place the canvas face down on top of the cup and flip over.  Remove the cup and watch the paint start to flow.  We tipped and turned our canvases to stretch the different colors and create new patterns.  I scooped up some of the excess paint and applied it to the empty parts of the canvas for more coverage.

As time went on, bubbles started to appear.  This is the effect of the silicone.  We experimented by quickly passing a heat gun over the surface to further activate the silicone and create more cells.  I don't know why I did not get too many cells.  Maybe I needed more silicone, because even after applying a fair amount of heat, I still but didn't get too many cells.

I found the process very relaxing and hope to be able to try it again--the next time with glitter!