Monday, November 3, 2008

Own Art challenge: Part Two!

Hi all,
This is part two of my interpretation of the Own Art challenge. I have included full photos and instructions so YOU can have a go too!

In part one I started with my chosen subject of Wisteria vines and worked it into a sketch in my journal. I decided that I then wanted to try it represented as a textural sculptural piece.

Here is my result!:

This is wood base sculpture approx 6"x 12"

My goals for this piece were to
  1. Produce a 3dimensional representation inspired by my sketch and photos.
  2. Work in a textural medium
  3. Maintain a color washed effect
As I have reached these goals I am labeling this piece as complete in my mind however I ideas for further working it. More likely though, I will explore those ideas in another project.


1. First up I wrapped a block of wood in a piece of white tissue and baby muslin, hot gluing it securely to the back of the wood.

2. I then hot glued chunks of Floracraft Styrofoam onto the base in the general shape of my subject. This gave my piece height and stability for the detail to come.

3. Once the main shape was in place I started to cut into the foam to create more defined areas.

4. Using my sketch as a guide I continued to cut into the Styrofoam base with a scalpel and started adding a surface of Paperclay. Paperclay is an airdry clay that is receptive to detail. It dries fairly quickly so ideally it is best to start and finish this step in one go. If you need to leave your project during this step be sure to cover securely with plastic wrap to slow down the drying.

5. This photo shows the sculpture now covered in Paperclay and I am just working up the detail in shapes. My main emphasis here is to maintain the fluid motion of the shapes. Cutting lines into the background helped me visually differentiate between the background and forground as well as adding texture.

6. Once the Paperclay was dry I individually added small squares of baby muslin to the surface with Gel Medium. Using a pushing/dabbing motion with my paintbrush I could push the muslin into the cracks and creases. The baby muslin adds interesting texture and dimension to the piece as well as making the overall sculpture stronger. (much like a plaster cast! - and yes it does look like an archeological discovery!)

7. Using an old French dictionary I tore tiny pieces and used the gel medium to apply to the surfaces that would appear to be in shadow.

8. I then applied a coat of white gesso to the entire surface (going very light over the text) and allowed to dry. This is to even out some of the tones where the wood showed through and also give a good surface for applying color.

9. To add color to the piece I used the Derwent Watercolor pencils I had previously worked with in my sketch. Applying the pencil to the areas I wanted the most intensity of color then using my water brush to lightly bring subtle color the the highlight areas.

This was continued over the whole piece using a neutral color in the background.

Detail showing the coloring

Thankyou for following my process! I welcome your questions or comments and would love to see your Own Art results!

take care

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Own Art challenge: Part One!

Hi all!
Clara put up a great challenge inspiring us to use our own drawing, words and images. Right up my alley! I am dividing my my contribution into two parts to show how I decided to explore this challenge... here goes!

Selecting a subject
Sometimes I find this the hardest part. I find if I look too hard I get overwhelmed with the options. Inspiration is as close as your front door, kitchen, library, family... close your eyes and see what comes to mind and don't second guess!

Here in New Zealand it is Spring and I am always inspired by the Wisteria vines that come out into bloom. It astounds me how their beauty is here for such a short time. To me they represent the onset of Spring and the hope of Summer, elegance in their drapey shapes, life in bees and perfume, and vibrancy and sheer surprise of their purple colour. While away recently I took some photos of these beautiful flowers and they became the source of this project.

Wisteria photos taken October 2008

Starting the sketch
The first thing I wanted to capture is the elegant flow of the flower shape. Wisteria has a very distinctive curve so using a grey fine tip pen I drew the main lines in first.

Grey lines showing the curve and direction of the image

Next step in my sketch was to start adding detail. This is a working sketch where my main focus is to explore the shapes and patterns within the flower that can later be interpreted into a textural piece. I also added some colour.

My focus was to capture form while paying careful attention to maintaining the flow of the flower.

To emphasise form, highlights and shape try observing the negitive space - that is, defining the space around the subject.

Rather than overworking the flower, here I define the form by adding grey and black shadows.

Further exploring the subject
As this is a study piece rather than a finished composition I picked out pieces of the flower that I felt were characteristic shape and detailed them to assist me when I come to do my textural piece.
Detail showing the flower shapes.

Testing colour balance
Finally for this sketch I added more colour using Derwent Watercolor Pencils. Here I was experimenting with where I wanted to add the most depth of colour without losing detail. Note the tiny colour swatches on the left side are colour tests and also to use as a colour dip rather than applying pencil to areas I wanted to be kept very light.

Subject study sketch complete with watercolour addition

So that was my process for working with my chosen subject. Stay tuned for Part Two where I will share how my sketch was then interpretted into a dimensional piece.

I would love to see your sketches, or if you have any questions - feel free to post in the comments!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Play Day!


I recently had the chance for a play day with three of my art buds. Aside from the red wine with flowers in it and the yummy lunch, we made ART. Yeeehaaaaa!

Project fabric paper commence!

Ann, Diane and Wendy - making art fun

Some of the completed fabric papers drying

I can't seem to get away from RED!

Except for when it comes to wisteria images

Love the stripy result in this one

Here's the process:

  1. Start with a work surface you can easily transport to your drying area. We used these kitchen oven trays. We then overlaid them with a sheet of clear plastic to further aid with moving the completed designs.

2. Lay two pieces over baby muslin cut to your chosen size. Baby muslin is a general name for fine open weave muslin. Surgical muslin would be suitable. We cut our pieces to fit the full size of the tray to allow for the most options later in creating.

3. Create a mix of approximately 1/3 white glue to 2/3 water then using a foam brush, sponge the glue mix into the muslin.

4. Lay printed tissues, plain tissues, the top layer of serviettes, flat items such as leaves, fabric and lace onto your muslin surface. Saturate further with the water/glue mixture.

5. Spray selected areas with inks of your choice. We mainly used Adirondack Colorwash Inks from Ranger. Further mist with water to blend if necessary, then set aside to dry.

This is my completed piece ready to be embellished, hung, cut into, stitched onto, used to cover - SOMETHING! Just not sure what yet!

The best thing about the resulting paper is that the muslin backing makes it super flexible and strong just like a piece of fabric.

Be sure to let me know if you have a go - I'd love to see what you come up with!

Bye for now.


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Altered Book Meeting - a hive of activity!

Aside from the wonderful opportunity I have to contribute to Altered Arts magazine, I also have a scrapbook and paper crafts store here in New Zealand. It keeps me (mostly!) out of trouble. :) And as you know I have a passion for altered arts, therefore it's something we do a lot at NZ Scrapbook. For the past 4-5 years (I forget!) we have been running an Altered Book Meeting where we get together and share our creative endeavors of the last month, and any techniques we have been experimenting with. We then busy ourselves on our current projects - usually for me that means TALKING! lol. I am notorious for not doing any art! However I DID do some art at this meeting - some packing tape image transfers. I was too busy taking photos of everyone else and their lovely art; I forgot to take some photographic proof of my own!

Anyway, this is a slight repost from our NZ Scrapbook Blog...but since it's all altery (I'm sure that's a word!) I thought it might be of interest here too.

This is Liz and a collection of her lovely decorated boxes. Note the heart one on the lower left - she is ready for Valentine's Day.

Lorraine, Adrienne and Cheryl

Paula pretending not to be in the photo. See the lovely compartment box she's working on? Plans for that involve vintage sewing supplies and notions - I can't wait to see how that turns out.

Wendy getting creative with a growth chart and serviettes. Given that it is going to be a horizontal folding book by the time she's finished, we joked she will need to eat more pies to get growth width ways!

Diane pictured here is a school teacher. Part of her requirements is to keep a record of the year's activities with her students. Not being one to keep an ordinary binder of events, Diane creates her own journals and then creatively cuts photos, images and handwritten notes and scans throughout. By the time she's finished, the book is virtually exploding with content. We think that if she ever gets a teacher audit she should fill it with loose sequins, glitter and expanda foam!

The Garden Book above was created by Diane Brewer (another Diane). A few of our members have created or are currently working on one. By the end of our meeting Diane's book had a rope pull closure and plans for some further shading. This one below is being worked on by Cheryl. You can see how she is cutting and gluing it piece by piece to create windows into the next page.

They are quite a delight to browse and create with - each page feeling like a path through a garden. Somewhat addictive in our meeting, I have a feeling we will end up with a whole garden tour!

Donna spent her evening working on a mini-book created from a children's board book. Donna also creates amazing wall mounted torsos among other things!

The books above are by Andrea. It's hard to see it in the photo, but each letter is made from chipboard and beads have been filled in the recess. A very pretty and creative way to use scrapbook paper to cover notebooks and diaries.

Look at all this wonderful purple! Adrienne's current project is; you guessed it - a purple book! She thinks by the end of it she may well be OVER purple.... I dunno, it's coming together great. Check out the tiny purple jandals on that purple page on the left. So cute!

So that's our Altered Book meeting for the month. Not forgetting to mention Paula's daughter and Anne who had super secret B.E. competition entries under wraps, Linda busy downstairs, oh and me - I did art I promise! I have witnesses!

Cya cya!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Design Principles for Altered Artists - part one!

Heya all!
I just thought I would post a little heads up on my current series that kicked off in the current Altered Arts Magazine (Jan/Feb 08). It seems that design principles can be a topic that mystifies many - I would like to say that learning and using design principles just comes down to practice and observation.

This months article explores the topic of Pattern and if you love paper and stamps (don't we all?) this could well help you!

A note about my example featured in the article: Some of you will be familiar with one of my other passions in life - Bodybuilding! The affirmations are intended to be read prior to training to develop the champion mindset. Credit for those words go to Pete Siegel, USA's foremost sports and peak performance hypnotherapist which was accidentally omitted from the article. If you are interested in reading the full eight performance enhancing affirmations they can be found in this article The Peak Performance Mindset.

Have a great day!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Sneaky Studio Peak!

Weeelllls Happy New Year! Hope yours is starting exactly as you wish. I am so fully confident that 08 is going to be a great year - I have a number of events and personal goals lined up and it is very exciting!

I thought today I would continue with my little studio tour. Yes, if you have read my early posts I usually call it a workroom but since I wish to live the life of my dreams having a studio is such a step up! LOL :)

I SOOOO love colour, I love little boxes, I love collections... so you know then I am bound to have a weakness for stamp pads right? A girl can not have too many little boxes of pure colour pleasure! and yes you have permission to tell your husbands that! This is my stamp pad station. I could say stamping station but since I tend to spread out the actually stamping tends to take place on my work bench. Also my acrylic blocks, unmounted stamps and wood stamps are hiding somewhere else!

This is the top part of that kitchen unit I talked about in my adhesives draw blog entry it is situated basically in the center of my studio. The adhesives draw is immediately under this bench top and then there is another drawer under that which holds ribbon.

The plastic drawers you can see hold my embossing powders and re-inkers with the rest of the space being used by stamp pads. Each stamp pad is stored by brand and type and if you look real close you will probably notice some favorites there: Stampin Up, Colorbox, Chalkink, Versacolor, Tim holtz to name a few.

The plastic storage box on the top holds lesser used stamping tools like stazon cleaners and masking tools. That's my daughter in the photo - shes 6 now!

To lay my hands on just the right pad I will either grab the closest one - ooops! I mean I will refer to my handy dandy stamp pad index. Each page is grouped by colour and then I will look through to find one in the shade and qualities that I need. I find using my index spreads the usage of my pads around more rather than reaching for old favs also sometimes memory and the colours on the top of the pads are not so accurate so by referring to an actual stamped image gives a true result. My stamped index is simply using a shadow stamp to give a solid block of colour.

Now I know I'm not the only one with a weakness for ink! Do tell!
Have a great day :)