Saturday, January 17, 2009

Repurposed ink and paint holders, or how to make ugly household items quite fun

These are actually some projects I did last year ("That is sooooo 2008...") but since I never did get around to posting it here, I'm going to claim it's part of my "simplify" campaign of 2009. Self-deception is getting me everywhere - tee hee!
I had been coveting our wall-mounted spice rack for ages and ages (at least six months) because I'd realized it would the perfect thing for keeping all my cheapie acrylic paints where I can see them. And presumably, use them. I have my Golden paints (hardly cheapies) in there as well, for a bit of class, but as you can see, it's mostly the 50c jars from JoAnn's. I love em actually. Being a visual person (and what artist isn't) it definitely helps to have your stuff out where you can remember you have it. It took a bit of convincing the husband that I could put the spice rack to better use than he could, and the purchase of an expensive new spice rack (they don't make this design anymore that I could find, which is sad. Now you have to go much more expensive.) When he finally relented and said I could have it, I whipped it off the wall in the kitchen (there are still bare nail holes) and screwed it into place (it's a bit heavy) before he changed his mind. He marvelled that I had actually hung it myself. I marvelled that I had hung it straight.

Along the same lines I also went to a local thrift store (now sadly going out of business - not sure what it says for the economy when even the grungiest thrift store is closing - does that mean nobody's buying cheap? or that nobody's even spending for junk?) to find the above item. What is it, you say? I can't take credit for this idea, but I had read a few years ago that a great way to store your inkpads (for rubber stamping) is to keep them in an old cassette tape holder. A few of you may remember these ;-) They're generally made from pressboard, you probably threw yours out in a "simplify" campaign of your own at least a decade ago. I did - which is why I had to go to a thrift store to buy another one! Thankfully I found one, classed it up with my favorite Basic Grey Motifica paper and some artful applications of "aging" dark brown chalk ink and paint. Et voila - an inkpad holder!

The paintbrush holder is the bottom of a cannister that held a whisky bottle - sawed in half, covered in paper, rubber stamped on (stamp is fro m Stampers Anonymous Michael de Meng collection), painted on, doodled on. I am quite fond of it!

So, we're reusing, reducing, recycling and simplifying here. Now if only I could think of something to hold all my little tiny "cats eye" shaped inkpads...the quest continues.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Weaving our Dreams da da...something..morning liiihhhtt...
Well, actually this post has nothing to do with a song from the 70's that I can only remember part of the chorus of (it just amused me) - it has instead to do with this week's exercise from the Soul Journal group on weaving our dreams.

Rather than intentions, and resolutions, and all that stuff that falls by the wayside two weeks after new year, this is about focusing on our dreams. Maybe they'll happen, maybe they won't, maybe you wouldn't really want to do them but the idea is lovely. This little project gives all of them a place of honor.

Also, I felt this went well with the "use what you got" part of the whole simplify thing - my word for the new year. So, I cut 16 strips of paper (you can make yours whatever size and however many strips of paper you want) from my scrapbook paper stash, my leftover bits of art journal backgrounds, etc then wrote some dreams of mine on them. The writing uses my almost-never-used group of letter rubber stamps (oh goodie-using my stuff!) , different colors of ink, and some are just handwritten.

My favorite strip of paper is the green and orange one (my own handmade background - it's cool) - it says "Study art with Nick Bantock", and then there's "Go to Art and Soul retreat" and "Raise lavender on a herb farm in North Carolina" and "Travel to Turkey, Morocco, Thailand, and Indonesia..." - actually I have no idea where Indonesia came from...I want to see the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, not Indonesia. Huh..what am I supposed to see in Indonesia?

Oh yeah, then there's the big one - be an artist!

What are your dreams, maybe for this year, maybe for sometime, maybe just for silly but fun? Write them down!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Soul Journaling homepage art!

Just a quick post to say thank you to Christy and my Soul Journaling companions for selecting the posting below (the picture with the lavender in gesso) for the group's homepage! I am very thrilled to be a part of this fine group, and I thank you all very sincerely for the honor :-)

I am also truly touched to be the recipient of a remarkable piece of assemblage art (and a Teesha Moore print) from the inspired and genius hands of my friend the truly talented BNA (big name artist) Cindy. Seriously readers, you need to go look at her blog and see this awesome piece! Go check it out :-) You'll want to have one yourself, I promise. She is now accepting commisions...

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Soul Journal #13 - Textured Background

I live in a place that hasn't received snow since 1977, which of course renders the idea of snow in a romantic, peaceful, and worth-a-12-hour-drive to experience it kind of way.

My Soul Journaling sisters had a prompt on textured backgrounds I decided to stay with the theme and keep mine in the winter whites. The idea is to use gesso to coat and glue down items on your journal page. This creates textures that appear almost fossil-like in the background of your page. The plaster element of gesso kind of binds it all together, and it actually comes out quite beautiful.

The picture below is of my grandmother taken back in the early 1980's, with lavender from last summer now encased in a blanket of snow and ice (courtesy of gesso). In my grandmother's letters, she would always enclose a few sprigs of lavender from her garden and smell being what it is, it would transport me back to the summer before. When I was drying the gesso, the heat tool brought up the sweet and slightly spicy smell of the lavender as though it had time travelled me back 30 years...

I hope that you have an art-filled New Year full of possibilities and joyous flights of delicious fancy!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Gesso Resist Challenge #25 - GPP Street Team

I completely missed the deadline for posting to Michelle Ward's Green Pepper Press Street Team - November challenge (11/30/08) but it's never too late to show your results - definitely some interesting backgrounds that are great for my favorite artistic endeavor - visual journaling! For instructions on how these were made (if you're interested) please click the hyperlink above and look for "Crusade 25."

The point of the exercise was to use gesso (normally used to prep paper and canvas to hold paint) for "resists" meaning that you create a background with gesso, then paint over it. The gesso remains somewhat visible in the background and creates special effects. This is definitely a mixed media approach - I don't think that a classical painter would ever quite venture that far out of the box with gesso.

This page was done by stamping with black gesso (not the usual color, but Golden paints makes it) on the left onto pages torn from an old book, and using the same stamp, with white gesso. I then used cheapie acrylics over the gesso, and made all the blue swirlies by painting with blue interference paint (Lumiere HiLite Blue) over the stamped lines. I sat with this page for weeks until I needed something to journal on, and well, this page came in handy. After all, backgrounds are just that - backgrounds.

You can also use gesso on rubber stamps as I used above (note: wash the gesso off the rubber quickly, or the plaster that is part of the gesso's makeup will stick like glue. I wish some of my glues held this well.)
The best example of the resist with gesso is now my new banner for my blog (see above.) Cool, huh? I definitely got some Teesha Moore inspiration on that one too.
My favorite use for gesso though is still for clearing my mind and warming up for art. I love to just paint a coat of it on everything I do from canvas to paper to assemblage. I'd say thats what I use it for most. Just slapping it on paper and clearing my head.

Thank you Michelle for another inspirational crusade - sorry I missed it!