Thursday, April 28, 2016

Next Stop: France

The Amazing Race Art Journaling Challenge's second stop was France.  It has been awhile since I did a Marie Antoinette themed piece.  Although I chose her as my subject for this leg of the race, I wanted to do something a little different with her this time.

As I studied this familiar image, I began to envision her hair as 3-D coils.  I dug out some French text and started cutting the pages into thin strips.  I then coiled the individual strips around a barbeque skewer.  When I had a handful of these coils, I began to arrange them onto her head.  Row after row, her hairdo took shape.  I was really happy with the end result.

I struggled for a time finding the right materials in my stash of lace to use for a collar or necklace.  This combination of gold organza and antique lace seemed to compliment her hair instead of overpowering it.

I had several ideas for what to put on the opposite page.  A stamped image of a chandelier?  A framed portrait of her beloved husband Louis XVI?  An urn filled with colorful flowers?  Since Marie is my focal point, I chose to use her MA monogram, glittered in gold, of course, to finish my France spread.  Now it's off to Italy!   

Altered Awkward Family Photo Chunkies

Even though this month's "Altered Awkward Family Photos" chunky theme was my brainchild, I admit that I too, had a difficult time deciding what I would do.  One night while playing with a tree stencil (see middle photo), the idea came to me.  I would create a Family Tree!

I used some 4x4's that I had previously made out of pages I had removed from a book to be altered.  These pages were created by tearing the pages down to 4x4 size and then glueing about 7-8 pages together.  This would be my chunky substrate.  I then took my tree stencil and Distress Ink pads (Vintage Photo) to create my tree, adding branches with various parts of the stencil, .

To give more dimension, I added tree branch die cuts that I had created from scrap papers.  The ones I chose to incorporate had the same color tones as the stenciled tree.  I did not have a proper sized leaf punch, so instead I used a small circle punch to cut out faces from the Awkward Family Photo Calendar pages that were the inspiration for this theme.  I then shaped the faces into more of a leaf shape by folding the circle punches in half and cutting into a crescent shape.  Fortunately, the borders of my calendar pages were green, so as not to waste them, I made leaves out of the green borders and added those to my "Family Tree."  Though unintentional, the crease down the center of the "leaves" made them appear more life-like and added even more dimension to my chunky pages!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The Amazing Race Art Journaling Challenge Kicks Off!

I signed up to participate in Susan Lazar Wojtkowski's "Amazing Race Art Journaling Challenge."  Over the next several weeks, Susan will post the name of a country from which we will draw our inspiration.  She tosses in "detours" which gives us a choice to try a new technique or learn something new.  She even provides fun facts (arts, music, food) about the country we are visiting to get us fully immersed in the challenge.

Although I am not an art journaler, I have been craving doing some art for myself lately.  I  decided to treat the challenges as prompts for my own altered book.  You can imagine how excited I was to begin this journey!  However, when the first destination was announced, I found I had a challenge of another sort on my hands. 

The first destination announced was China.  I know that many people are intrigued by Asian motifs and themes.  I am not one of them.  I have very little in my stash that is Asian.  So here I was ready to begin this journey with little material to work with.  What would I do for my China page?

When I am stumped for an idea, I find that just starting often helps get me through my block.  Here, I grabbed an old book with a sewn spine (didn't even prep the pages).  Next, I pulled out my stash of gelli prints and thought this brick pattern in red would make a nice background.  This particular print was made with a brick patterned embossing folder on deli paper.  I went to my foreign text stash and found some Chinese text and selected two pages to use.  I selected ink pads in reds and oranges and applied color to the columns of text with a make up sponge for a diffused, blended look.  Then I glued those pages over my gelli print.  Now what?

I few years back, I had experimented with a pop-up flower in a friend's altered book I was working in  for a round robin.  I loved how it turned out, and always wanted to have one in my own book.  A pop-up lotus flower would be the centerpiece of my China spread.

I created this flower out of 9 sheets of vellum.  I love how the flimsiness of the vellum gives the petals a more natural feel.  finally, I had watercolor crayons that I had never played with before, so decided to use them to add just a hint of color to the petals.

Now, onto the next leg of the race:  France!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Marbling Paper with Shaving Cream

At a recent playdate, I wanted to experiment with marbling paper using the shaving cream technique.  (Thank you Teri for sending me a link!) What absolute fun!!  You basically take a shallow pan (I used an aluminum pan) and fill the bottom with a layer of shaving cream.  You don't need too deep a layer of shaving cream--just enough to cover the bottom.  You can use a spatula to spread the shaving cream into the empty spaces.

You can use food coloring or acrylic paints for this technique.  I thought the food coloring would bleed too much so I chose to I use cheap acrylic paints.  I chose three complimentary colors and placed drops of paint sparingly onto the layer of shaving cream.  Using too much paint will smear.  Now comes the fun part.  You take a mark-making tool ( I used a skewer stick) and begin to move the paint around on top of the shaving cream to gently mix the colors.  I found that keeping peaks in the shaving cream yielded the best results.  If you smooth out the shaving cream till its flat, you will not get the pretty marbling effect.

When you are satisfied with the pattern, place a sheet of paper on top of the shaving cream.  Gently press the paper into the shaving cream for full coverage.  Lift the page and let sit to dry for 3-5 minutes.  If there is enough paint left, try to pull a ghost print.  After the page has dried for 3-5 minutes, take a squeegee and remove the excess shaving cream from the page.  What you have left is a beautiful marbled page!