Tag Archives: express it

Tonight’s art journal

Not much, but didn’t want to keep the writing on these pages visible. Don’t even remember what it was anymore, just know it was pretty vulnerable so I covered over it (left was written yesterday, right was written just before I colored over it).
Also, inspiration can come from literally anything. The spiral is directly inspired by a piece of hair that had fallen into the bathroom floor this morning… the faceless woman is just… faceless. I couldn’t get the features right, so I didn’t do them (correction, I scratched them off and colored over it so you can’t really see the mess-ups). Both done in oil pastel and set with fixative. I missed them. I don’t use oil pastels nearly often enough.

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And this is an artist trading card I did for an Alice in Wonderland swap (convinced a friend to sign up for the swap just because I wanted to do it but didn’t want to register at the site). My original idea had been a paper cutting, but it wasn’t working out correctly so I ended up with this. The rabbit is based off one of my favorite childhood stories: the velveteen rabbit. I had a stuffed toy version that had the same shape, but I lost him a decade ago…

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Art journal prompt: mess up a page when you like how it’s going

I was turned on to a set of journal prompts by the teacher of the workshops. I read through them (there are 10 in this set, only about 4 are actual prompts, the rest describe her process, so a good starting point for journal)…
Anyway, this particular prompt was to start a page, then when you were liking how it was going, mess it up. Paint over it, smear it, do something totally different than what you started liking… it didn’t mayer if you hated it or loved it in the end, but it’s supposed to get you in touch with the discomfort of changing something you are happy with.

I had kinda liked where the original page was going (distress stains and embossing), but I figured I’d take the risk and “mess it up”. I have to say I like the end result way better than the direction it started in. I’m finding as much as I like the concept of the the words in the pack I purchased, they just don’t have the words I’m really looking for. I guess that could go along with the “limit yourself” prompt from the set of 10 I mentioned, but… I’m finding I’m simply using them for implying words more than the actual ones on them. Anyway, I’m distracted.

It was a fun prompt. “The places you will go when the years start to flow”.
Guess I wish I could cry and get the release from the tears. Hoping the healing kicks in again whenever that happens…

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Where secrets live (it’s about the journey, not the destination)

Didn’t really have a direction for this piece when I started other than wanting to try some techniques I’d seen in a tutorial the other day (I spent the better portion of a morning watching various YouTube art journal tutorials. There are still several more I would like to try, but I have to figure out how to MacGyver some supplies because I just can’t afford to go out and buy them).

This piece wasn’t working out as nicely as it had for the YouTuber that posted the tutorial, but I was able to make it my own.

I picked up “purple” distress paint yesterday (woohoo for 50% off coupons and the honoring of competitor coupons). I thought it would be more purple… it’s really mauve. Oh well, live and learn. Anyway, I picked it up and got to work on the base coat. I still have to learn how to work with it better, because I wanted a different background texture but it dried too fast in some spots and way slow in others. I also have to figure out how these distress stains work with the paints. The stains come out super dark on paper, but not so much when used over the paints (should have remembered they have a “resist” effect on the stains). It’s ok though, because the stain I used muted the horrifically bright background.

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It took a bunch of digging around, but I finally landed on a decent silhouette from which to create a mask (reverse of a stencil) for the figure on the right. [Useful tip: those plastic page dividers work well for stencil-making. I would suggest ones that are slightly thicker than the ones I snagged from the dollar store though, because these are pretty floppy and flexible. Just trace or draw out your design and cut with an XActo knife]… I started by tracing around the mask with charcoal, but it didn’t stand out enough. I tried to fill with gesso, but then disliked how light it was. Finally I covered it in black paint (ahh… so much better!). By then though, I had gone outside of my lines quite a bit and it looked like the black sludge creature from the first season of ST:TN that killed Tasha Yar… yes, I’m a huge Trek geek, but that wasn’t the look I was going for. I put the mask back into place and decided to try to give the woman a “glow” (or in this case, a shadow?). I painted over the edges of the mask with am antiqued bronze color. I kinda wanted her to look like she was draining light rather than emitting it (like a black hole). Again I lost the definition of the figure, so once the paint was dry I outlined her in white charcoal. She kinda ended up with a glow, but it reminded me of backlighting, so it worked.

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I added the drips and spats. I added more washi tape (new-found appreciation for the stuff), and then I added the words. I was limited by what was on the stickers I have. It took me about 40 minutes to settle on the ones I did use, but then I ended up disliking what it said, so I covered over it. First I tried writing other words over the stickers, but I didn’t like those either. Finally, I settled on ink drops to totally obliterate the words while keeping the boxes… I kept the words inside the silhouette, but had written over them as well, then removed the writing. You can still see both the original words and my own if you look at them hard enough.

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Much playing, tweaking, and waiting-for-things-to-dry later, I ended up with this. I try to be lighter in both color and content sometimes, but it’s just not me. I also found I really am not feeling this mauve color much. I’m sure L will end up being the one to use it more than I do… branching out in my art just doesn’t work with me when it involves stepping out of my color-pallet comfort zone. Oh well.

Aside: I think I write so much about the process for these journal pages not only to remind myself it’s often a frustrating and imperfect process, but to show that, while pieces don’t always turn out the way you want, they can still end up decent. One of my biggest challenges is dropping the notion of needing “perfection” from my work. I tend to have a picture in my head that I want to create. I’m slowly becoming ok with the result being different from that picture. One of the things that the woman who teaches the journal workshops always reminds us is to just keep going. Even if you think it’s ugly, just keep adding and tweaking. Eventually you will love the result… it’s more about the process anyway.

Most artists (people) don’t admit the blunders and frustrations of the process (life), they simply show the (happy) end result. Art (life) is rarely that neat and tidy. There are lots of bumps and dips and spins along the way. Projects (goals) start out one way and end up totally different sometimes. That’s just how it goes. We need to remember that. And that it’s ok…


To the World & On the Outside – Final

I finished this today…

I wanted to keep the tissue paper with words visible, so I did the left side in charcoal and crayon. Turns out it also works for the concept of not having “the full-color photo” when you only see what someone presents to the world. You have to see the darkness as well as the light to be able to see the real picture. Seeing just what’s presented to the world is lacking in substance…


2014 100-Theme Challenge #46 & #47 (WIP)

I’ve been trying to catch up on my theme challenges lately. I also saw (again) the art therapy prompt to make a mask representing what you show to the world, and what goes on inside (similar to last year’s “inside-out box”). I liked the idea of the duality, but didn’t want to do an actual mask. I decided instead to do a single piece with a face split down the middle (combining two of the 2014 theme challenges: #46 – to the world & #47 – on the inside).

wpid-20140920_232157.jpgI tried to sketch out the basics first. I kinda like the way the right side came out (the “inside”), though I still need to work on my color-shading skills and painting skills in general for faces. I can get more inanimate objects painted well, but facial features elude me… Anyway, I wanted to make the inside kinda gross and zombie-ish, because it’s how I feel most of the time (and pretty much always like that deep-down). I would have prefered a more realistic look to it, but I’m going to say it’s ok because my painting skills have never been on par with my drawing skills (back when I could draw better). I added the words around the image to convey more specifically my inner dialogue… Needless to say, my self-esteem is below pond-scum most of the time (though with my continued practice of art, it’s growing a bit at least around my artwork).

to the world; on the inside IP)I wasn’t sure what to do with the left side. I thought of trying a painting of a happy face with a happy, confident, and calming image in the silhouette and then marker in the features, but I couldn’t decide on an image I wanted to use that would convey all the stuff I project.  I remembered I had found some cool “inspirational” tissue paper on clearance at the store the other day and had yet to find an art application for it. I tried that for the bg of the “outside” half of the face. I forgot tissue paper gets pretty transparent when glued, so the words are sadly not easily read (had to use multiple layers and over-lapping pieces). I have yet to decide how to do the rest fo the face… There will be positive words around that head, ones that represent all the stuff I display to the world so they don’t see what’s really there.


art journal progress, new coupons, and more paper cranes!

Been playing a lot with art of late. I tried out 3 image-transfer techniques. I did some more therapy coupons, and I added to the crane invasion yet again.

wpid-20140918_160109.jpgFirst up, the image transfers. I used generic materials that I had at home already, no need to buy their products or anything… I tried the packing tape technique first (she’s quite a bit more anal than I was… I like the imperfections, bubbles, and wrinkles).  1. Put overlapping pieces of packing tape directly on the image/words you want to transfer. 2. Soak in/with water untill the paper is saturated. 3. Rub off the paper fiber, this may take a bit of working at it to get it all off, but it can be done. the image will remain on the tape, and in theory, the tape will remain sticky (mine did not so I “glued” it down using acrylic gel medium. you could also probably use modge podge or any more flexible glue that dries clear). 4. Apply the tape with the image to your desired background. Keep in mind the image will be somewhat translucent, so you will be able to see the background underneath it.

I wanted to do more with the piece, so I sanded the tape slightly to give it “tooth” for anything I may choose to put over it (there were some words I wanted to cover up). I then gesso’d the spot I wanted to cover. I thought this was a good opportunity to test out the gesso image transfer method. I made sure to apply enough gesso so that it would stay wet as I applied the image (face into the gesso) I wanted transferred. I smoothed it out and applied pressure to make sure all of the image stuck to the gesso. I waited until the gesso was (almost) completely dry (should have been more patient, but… well, I wanted to keep working), then saturated the paper. Once the paper was sufficiently soaked, I rubbed off the pulp. The image transferred really well, and just as vivid as the original photo because the gesso gives an opaque white bg. Had I been patient and waited for the gesso to try completely before removing the paper pulp, I should not have the “holes” in my image where I wiped away the gesso base as well as the paper pulp. oops! That’s ok though, because it goes with the feel of the rest of the piece.

wpid-20140917_095321.jpgI really liked the results of the gesso image transfer, so I decided to do a layered version. I needed a clear medium for transfer so that the bottom later could be seen. I think I had heard mention fo using gel medium to do transfers. I have a bunch of the stuff, so I decided to try that. I made sure to gesso the journal pages with at least 2 layers before applying the thicker coat of gesso for the transfer. Had I been more careful here (more layers, letting it dry completely), I would not have ended up with large chunks of the image missing. Anyway, I applied the background image (picture I found on the web) with the gesso transfer technique, and managed to rip my pages as I rubbed off damp gesso with the paper pulp (lack of patience on my part).

wpid-img_20140918_101340.jpgI covered over that with two layers of gloss gel medium (needed to make sure I covered the exposed paper and make it all more water-resistant again). I then did the same technique as the gesso transfer, only using the gel to grab the ink off the image… For this layer, I wanted some writing. I copy-pasted lyrics to some songs I like into a word document, formatted the way I wanted them to appear, then saved a screenshot of the text. I took it into a photo editing program (Sketchbook Pro), and flipped the image so the text printed out backwards (it will end up the mirror image of it once transferred onto the gel or gesso). I smoothed the image onto the thicker wet gel medium layer and set aside to dry. I was determined to do it without ripping the base layer or more of my page this time. Once it was completely dry, I soaked and peeled the paper. I purposefully left some imperfections in the transfer (bubbles, brush marks in the gel, uneven gel layer) all to give a more worn/grunged-up look to it.

 

wpid-picsart_1411093792890.jpgI finished it off with some painting… De would note here that the blanketed girl showed up again. She’s in a lot of places… The dog is also a recurring character (both from a shadow-puppetry piece I never really finished) and is based on the puppy (his silhouette makes for easy-to-interpret art). I decided to keep this piece monochromatic. I don’t think it would have had the same feel with color… Anyway, I figured this worked for the 2014 100-Theme Challenge #14 – Heaviness.

I liked the way it all worked, and much prefer the gesso or gel methods to the tape method, though the tape gives a cool transparent look to the image…

wpid-20140919_211058.jpgwpid-20140919_211136.jpgI was having so much fun with the image transfers, I decided to try it on some of the coupons. I think they turned out better (practice makes perfect when you are trying to get just the right imperfect look to the piece). I also had tried my hand at stamp carving (I had supplies on hand from L, who was big into the letterboxing thing a few years ago. They would carve their own stamps). I used the new peanuts stamp on a few of the coupons. I also just painted a few of them. Over-all, I had a lot fo fun trying out new things for the past week! (remind me to extol the virtues of gelatos some day… for right now, I’m too tired to explain them. Faber-Castell makes them, you can look up more info if you are too curious to wait – which honestly, may be a better choice as I fear I may forget to come back to them)

wpid-wp-1411184192029.jpegFinally, some updated pics on the crane invasion. There are now 315 (I can’t add this late and shorted myself by 10 when I made up the pic)


More art

Therapy on Saturday did not accomplish what I had hoped, though it was an ok session. I was in a good space, and TL went with it. I had wanted to tell her something, an explanation, but it felt like I would get shot down or ridiculed if I mentioned it (not necessarily her style, but she was pushing a topic that is connected to the dissociation. The way she spoke about it made me feel like it was not the right moment to bring up SJ and the other sides of me). Finally, at the end of session, I was able to tell her there was something I had hoped to talk about, but we didn’t have enough time to get into it. I told her I had it written down, but she wants me to say it. Good luck chicky. She will have to read it, then we can talk afterwards about it all…

wpid-img_20140825_024222.jpgAnyway, on to the art. I was messing around tonight trying to put that hesitation on paper in a way that was easier to explain then having to stumble over words. I started with the concept of the woman on the right with the thoughts floating in her head, but unable to make it out of her mouth. It felt unfinished, so I added the left side (the words are what I had wanted to tell TL in session). The overlay represents all that I end up talking about that masks what I really want to say; it’s the darkness and the light that takes over and hides the real things I need to address. Let’s hope I can show it to her next Saturday. I had mentioned that I also really want to show her my art journal but that I have trouble bringing it up. She said she would try to remember that I had stuff I wanted to get to in session. She agreed to try to remind me. I have gone in with lists for my reference to no avail, so I hope she can help me get around to this stuff finally.