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Interesting art journal technique – mask stamping

Once again, I’ll begin with the page and then tell you how I got there:

I’ll show it bigger at the end. I was looking at the page from yesterday and it was kinda a hot mess. No, that isn’t really right. I find that sometimes a large, close up photo of a page has a different impact than a more distance shot, with a little bit of breathing room around it. In any case, all the dark made me want to do a light and airy page. I decided to give myself a bit more space too – the problem with the junk journal is the pages are half-A4 size. Not huge. That’s fine for experiments, and two side by side pages equal A4, but I have maybe 10 pages (single sides) in my old paper bag journal and I was keen to finish it up. So I slapped on a bit of gesso at night so when I got to my desk in the AM it was dry and ready to go.

I began with some watercolours. Not my thing. My sister will remember gifting me a set of watercolours, goodness, 30+ years ago and me telling her Thanks, but no thanks. Shockingly ungrateful, I know. Anyway, I have gained a little more of an appreciation for them. I’m not GOOD at using them (YET) but playing with them is fun. The flowy, watery colour is different than even heavily watered down acrylic paint is.

Hard to tell, maybe, but this page is on the back of a page where I stuck a gel print that was on firmer cardstock. Can you see the defined edges of it? I grabbed another one of the circular masks, from the same set as yesterday and masked off with gesso. It was pretty insipid. You can kinda see it in the upper right corner below.

I also used my ink minis to stamp a bit of text and bits of the butterfly – a very old stamp but still a good ‘un. Then I had an idea. I liked the cascading foliage effect so I thought I could ink the back of the mask and use it as a stamp. I inked it with Versafine cause it was a juicy pad and stayed damp long enough for me to clean up the frame edges and still be able to stamp

Not rocket science, but when I tried it, the effect was…different that I expected. It had an almost ghost-print effect, not solid at all. And I had brayered over the mask to try to get the best contact I could.

The strange sketchy-ness of it was interesting. The brayer makes the mask skip about a little, so you get a slightly off double print. I really want to play with it more – I suspect it might give a different effect if I used the OTHER side of the mask – knowing stencils have distinct side, one being more smooth, I suspect this was the more rough side. I picked the side that matched the masking I had already done, which would have been, by default, the less flat side, if you follow my logic! Anyway, I inked and stamped (brayered) the mask on the page.

I like it!

Not perfect so far as placement, but no matter. I stamped the butterfly and coloured it with some purchased-but-never-used Lidl art supplies, watercolour pencils and markers, and aged it slightly with Old Paper distress ink.

Then back to my little text stickers to compose some words of wisdom to myself. 2021 is the year I push negativity to the side – it’s a battle, one I do NOT always win, but after a good 60 years of viewing the world as glass-half-empty, I hope I can be forgiven for taking a bit of time to accomplish that.

Perhaps a little cheerleader-y, maybe too much so? Or is it just my negativity, bleeding thru?

{sigh} It’s a challenge.


Art journaling – more old and odd supplies

I am still doing my best to try to being old, languishing as unused, scrapbooking supplies to my art journal play. And am trying to do a few new techniques, maybe in a different way. I wanted to use the tags from the last play and some stencils I bought and not really used. Maybe because in fact they are masks more than stencils. Once again, I will begin with the actual page then tell you how I got there:

Let’s see. The mask is from a set I got from Wish. Again, super cheap. I used one on the (as yet unshared) intro page to my get-back-into-it experimental journal. I wanted to have another go at reductive painting but NOT using BLACK or WHITE. I decided on green. It worked OK.

This is the mask and the mop-up page I was working on.

I actually quite like this mask. The tricky bit was covering the whole page when the mask is circular and the page is not. Overall I think it worked OK.

It needed a pop of something and I opted for a very old technique, dragging a loaded fan brush along the edges of the page to create a thick border of, in this case, metallic copper acrylic ink. Hard to capture the method when you need three hands! My Android phone has a great app on it that lets me use both hands and then frame the shot and take the photo by saying CHEESE. The phone in my craft room doesn’t have that. Yet.

As you can see there are also spatters of copper added as well!

It dries really thick and dimensional, with a lovely shine. I took more things out of my “vintage” box and when I went to put it back on the shelf to grab another one, I found my baking tray full of magnetic poetry words. Those damn things always get knocked off the shelf, fall on the floor and because I have both nice, quality os and super cheap crappy ones, they fall off and scatter. Why am I holding on to them? They can now be used for text in my journal.

I played around with a few to make a little found poem. I also found some copper circles that worked well with my page

Back to the final page:

The text works with the rub-on words, Refresh and Renew, and the whole page makes me long for Spring and the chance of meeting up with ANYONE outside for a couple of hours, socially distanced, but especially a best knitting buddy. We Zoom, but it just isn’t enough! Ah well….. soon. Soon.


Tag Play

I am trying to remember to make the first image the one that matters most. Seems weird to do it this way but I hear it is what people prefer. Who am I to argue? My final tags:

I was hunting thru some small drawer units and found my stash of cheap luggage tags and decided to have a play. I grabbed a selection of things to play with, including s limited colour palette of acrylic paint…

and a few more tools as well.

There is a RubberMoon stamp, a dip-pen, some cheap acrylic ink sprays from Lidl, some of my deli-paper masterboard, some ancient rub-ons, and a little tiny stapler from Tiger. THAT came in a little set tat cost me about £3, if I remember right – the Tiny Attacher is about £15. OK, to be fair it is more robust, and has a greater throat depth so you can staple further from the edge of whatever, but at that much higher price point. My tiny stapler worked great for what I was doing. The brush made me laugh – it’s from Lowes so it has to be at least 27 years old. The scraper is branded CRAYOLA, so also from when the kids were small. The LIDL spray is great, very richly pigmented, and I think the box of four was maybe £5 or so. Th spray nozzles clog quick but not if you clear them with water every time you finish a session using them. They work fab with the dip pen. Oh and also a scrap of plastic bag. I saw an artist on YouTube called Dan Tirels who paints entirely using plastic bags on some of his pieces. It amazed me. An ink pad and a pen. I started by swiping on some colour

then switched to the dry brush for the next colour

and finally had a go at stamping with the plastic bag.

I think the impact of that is hard to see but it is an interesting technique that bears exploring. Next, I stamped the swirl stamp, changing the orientation and placement

and then grabbed my big deli-paper masterboard thingie and chopped off a couple of strips to use for collage – I stack some bits on with glue and some I stapled with my tiny stapler. A few swipes and outlines with the dip pen and the Micron pen and…

Oh yes, forgot the rub-ons – no real rhyme nor reason to the selection of the placement. A close up here to save you scrolling back to the top:

I quite like them, and it was just the playful session I needed. Now I just need to figure a way to use them as a page focal point. But that is a play for another day.

After a hard week of early morning travel and a thumping headache from the fast infusion, I might just take the weekend off. This is my last pre-loaded post so if I go missing it’s just cause I am resting up and taking it easy for a bit.

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More letter sticker masking

If you aren’t keen on risking a nearly completed art journal page, but like the idea of the letter sticker masking I showed yesterday, this might be a better technique for you!

The technique is the same, more or less, but you do it on something other than your actual page, to add as a separate element. Begin with a gel print, some mop-up paper, even a bit of scrapbooking paper, and stick your letters to it

I decided to mask off above and below the letters so I could make use of the other areas for something else. The placement of the letters in the middle was just because of what was below them and what would be revealed when the mask was removed! This is the same brand of letter stickers, just a different font.

Again, I stamped over with a loaded gel plate, this time just white

and overstamped with another flourish once the paint had dried.

I am loving my flourish stamps lately! Peeling off the letter stickers and cutting out the band of white gives me the final piece to add to a journal page as text.

but it ALSO gives me the peeled off masks as letters in their own right – a twofer!

This particular set of letters has stacks of 20 or so letters in each of four colours. In this case you can slightly see the original colours peeping thru, but that is easily overcome – or you can choose to make it a highlight!

Tomorrow is WOYWW day and if all goes well I will be home for that, then back to the hospital for a final day on Thursday. Fingers crossed….


While I am away…

Morning all! I am away at hospital this week for another IVIG infusion, in an attempt to keep my myositis at bay. Sadly, each infusion lasts only a couple of months before things go south. My fervent hope is that at some point we will find the magic bullet that keeps it under control for longer periods of time. So I am going to schedule a few posts that I have dithered about adding, for one reason or another, but that may be of interest.

I played around a bit with ways of adding text to a journal page when you are not confident in your writing or hand lettering. This was one I felt warranted a little more play. Here is the final page:

I had a comment from a friend who expressed some annoyance that she could not pin the image she wanted to pin using the button under my posts. I tried – she’s right. It seems Pinterest wants to select the FIRST image in a post. If this is different for you, let me know in the comments. If correct, I will have to remember to make the most critical image the first one (usually the final page, not how it got there) and then go on to explain.

This page is in my small Roben-Marie junk journal. The background page was just black smears, really. But I came across about three packs of these sticker letters and had an idea

I stuck them over the background

and grabbed by small gel plate and built a background using transparent paints

After letting it dry I added a thin layer of heavy-bodied white paint and stamped that over the stuck on letters

When the paint layer dried, I stamped over this with a flourish stamp

I removed the letter stickers to reveal the background

I thought it was a really interesting technique, and could be done easily with any old letter stickers, not just these packs. This was done directly onto the background page, but will show you a twofer tomorrow that works well too! Also worth noting is that I used the journaling stamps her too, adding the Small Talk words on the lines. All of the stamped circles are in silver, the top ones that look white are only due to them catching the light!


Art journal text – an interesting technique

I mentioned in a previous post that I routinely scan the pages of my Tim Holtz word books, at 300 DPI, and print them out on cardstock. Then, I use the cardstock versions when adding text to my art journal. It goes without saying if you are doing this for an art piece you will sell, you should use the original stickers. But as my art journal is just for me, I like the flexibility of having multiple version of a phrase, of using just a word or two from a longer phrase, or changing the colours!

So the Clippings booklet has a very sepia tone to it. And the page I showed yesterday was a bit vintage, but it also had a lot of white on it. I auditioned the sepia tone Clippings and didn’t like it much. Instead I printed the scans in B&W and:

I liked that on the page a LOT better. I snipped a few words from here and there and was able to build a “quote” of my own. I think technically it is found poetry, but no matter. The focal point piece has stamped text on it that says the journey awakens the soul and I wanted something to support that.

I exchanged the smaller my from the Chit Chat phrase for a larger MY from Big Chat and with the change from sepia to B&W they all work together nicely!

A reminder of the final page, where I added a bit more text to the “quote”

While it may not make total sense to everyone, I feel like it expresses nicely what I am feeling lately about the winding path I am following as I try to find my way towards a more artistic life.

That was mercifully short, after a few excessively long post recently. But I hope you found it interesting.


Another AJ page from unearthed art – and camera complaints

I decided to make a page using the other bit of re-discovered art, and using my Inktense blocks. I swear the box looks untouched, although I am sure I’ve used them once before!

The missing wells are because I picked those colours to go with my piece.

I used the horrible old Creative Palette as a … palette, so I could make use of the inky pools.

Here is where the camera issues come in. I don’t have a “real” camera at the moment. My old one was giving me problems and as I am not really leaving the house I saw no reason to buy one. I had an old iPhone that has no SIM card in it, but I keep it in my craft room solely for taking photos for blogging. I can’t be doing with carrying my large actual phone around the house with me. Problem is it has been acting up a little, not actually seeming to store a photo I think I have taken, so if I don’t check, I may find, three steps down the line, that I have no record of a step I want to document. Annoying. That will be why this gessoed and scribbled-into page

seems to jump forward a few steps to this:

What’s missing is me daubing Inktense ink at the top, letting it drip down across the page, and me adding a little water to help it along. What you are SEEING is the step where I pressed a stamp into the puddle on the palette and stamped with ink. Keep up…. {wink}

…and then I brayered on a bit of that across the background

I like how the brayered ink works with the scratchy scribbles in the original gesso layer, catching on the raised edges:

and then stamping with various lids to make circles…or at least loading the lids. The stamping will magically appear on the final page.

Finally, I used the rest of the pooled ink to colour the edges of the art piece that is the focal point

I can’t really express in words the difference between the inked edge and what you would get if you used an ink PAD, but it is very different and really wonderful

It is…defined, somehow, I just can’t explain. Do it once and you will see what I mean! I added back in some more white, for highlight and brightness – and Abracadabra! Ink circles!

and finally used a weird tool I got in some long-forgotten kids Play doh set and rolled a little zig zag of gold across the page in lines – you can just about see one zig zag here, but the photo of the tool is missing. Doh!

I added text, cobbled together from the various word-books, and I have more to say on that but this post is super photo heavy and too long already, so I’ll save it for another day! Imagine if the missing photos had actually saved. Oh my. Here is the final page, with a last minute addition of some sparkle to support the gold zig zags, some small gold confetti circles dotted about:

I quite like it, again with an unusual colour palette that isn’t what I would normally pick. I keep saying that, and I think that it is misleading. I don’t think, at the moment, I HAVE a usual colour choice. I am just going’ with the flow and experimenting.

Having said that, I may feel the need to take a break from orange for a while, given the last four years of far too much of that orange face on TV…


Old blog posts and when they spark an idea

I had a comment and a flurry of hits on an old post about adding gilding flakes to embossing paste. You can read it here. Sometimes, I forget something I blogged about years ago, and follow a link back to my own blog to see what I said. Old age is creeping in, but at least I recognize it was ME that said it, so it could be worse!

That idea totally sparked the idea to use something else I realized I have quite a lot of an nearly never use. Embossing powders. I have a drawer full of them:

And I found it interesting that some of them still have a price tag on them!

MJD – or MJ Designs, was owned by one of some number of brothers (three, I think, one owned Micheal’s, maybe still does!) and went out of business in 2003 – the price tag is dated 1997! At least one of the other pots still had the shrinkwrap on it. DOH! I painted the page with some watery acrylic paint in pinks and blues, pale colours made paler by watering them down and NOT colours I would usually pick. Hummm. seems I added the blue after the modelling paste and embossing. Whatever. Here is a process shot – I didn’t do a very good job of capturing every step this page.

I picked two colours, a Claret Tapestry and a Worn Lipstick Distress powder – they work well together, I think

I found it a challenge to know when they had embossed, given they don’t go SHINY per se, but you can just see the change in a ray of light:

THEN I added the pale blue and lots of water. The embossing resists the paint but it pools a bit in the craters and valleys of the embossing.

More water spray, some drippage, and un-filmed steps of background stamping…. Will do better.

I found a stamp with a quote I liked (stamp by Teesha, quote by Andy Warhol) and stamped then embossed it (in for a penny….) and dulled the extreme shine slightly by brushing matte gel medium over it, which worked better than I thought it might.

I stamped another Teesha image, and puled together some of the black embellishments from my vintage box of yesterday and eventually got to here:

I love the double circle stamp, which is the roll from the tape I used when wrapping Christmas presents! Quite glad I noticed it’s uniqueness before I binned it LOL! A close up:

The attribution to Warhol was on the stamp but when embossed it turned into a block of shiny black. Oh well. I will go back and add a date stamp – I have one, I used to do it on every page, but lately I have been forgetting. I really love this page, despite it being in colours I wouldn’t normally use. I am totally going to figure out how to pry off that slightly wonky don’t and re-set it! It’s buggin’ me.

30 hours to go, give or take. WOYWW tomorrow!


Junk journal fun – highlighters and rub-ons? Really?

Yep. I am enjoying the hell out of my junk journal. It is pure experiment, no pressure, draggin’ out them old supplies and making use of them. It’s a blast. Because of the glossy pages I really almost always begin with gesso. Not today.

Instead, I collaged the scraps of my painted papers over the top – and you can see I STILL have some left. Will I ever use it up?? Remember, this is still from the first A3 sheet I made, from one each of the six colours of deli paper – I have two more sets of six to play with.

I had the idea to try the reductive painting technique, where you block out all but selected bits of a busy background. I grabbed a favourite magazine image mask and an old stencil I created and had a go.

This paint is not heavy-bodied. While I liked the fact a bit of the colour underneath is still showing thru, I feared too light a cover would not let the words shine. I had to go over the stencil a few times with the paint to get the cover I needed.

Even at that it needed higlighting. And that word rattled around in my head until I spun around and grabbed….

Highlighters. The fluorescent yellow was what I settled on. The combination of that and outlining the letters really made the text stand out. I recall seeing a video from Niamh Baly about the use of fluorescent paint and it stuck with me – I didn’t have the PAINT but the highlighters worked really well to do the same thing. Love the glow. Weirdly, the sketchy lines around the letters reminds me of the lettering in Rankin-Bass old TV shows. Must be from watching Frosty the Snowman etc. over the holidays!

I needed a title and … something. I thought back to the rub-on XOs and had a rummage. I picked a bunch of white flowers from a couple of manufacturers and a couple of bits for a title.

I ended up using the big JOURNEY, and both bits of the It’s a GIRL rub-ons for the title and then scattered the flowers about for a bit of an extra layer of interest.

I added a few paint pen circles as well

Realizing that even when struggling with your health, even when the world is in a state of chaos, even when all around you there are things that make you feel a sense of both hopelessness and helplessness, we all have things that bless us. They might not be big things, and there might not be a LOT of things but there ARE things to spark joy, if we let them. Realizing they are there, and accepting the joy they bring? It’s a journey.

Oops. Got philosophical there for a moment. Normal sark will resume shortly.

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Of Distress stains and other old things

I finished my page. In the end I decided that using very old supplies is a good plan in this junk journal. I figure I can try out ideas and then once I feel I am to a point that I can say “Well, yes, that works!” I can bring the tools, supplies and techniques to my proper art journal. I started my selecting a random box of stuff off the shelves yet to be organized.

An interesting conglomeration of scappy debris was what I discovered. I sorted thru it and picked out some stuff I felt would “go” with my weird page, with the faded and in some cases transformed Distress Stains.

I think most of it went colour-wise, rather than …. I don’t know, matching the FEEL of the page, which was (ha, ha) distressed and grungy. I further refined the selection and began building a collage cluster.

I liked that a lot but I wanted a way to incorporate the collage bit into the page a bit better. I toyed with somehow smearing a little gesso along the edges but didn’t want to detract from the collage itself.

I ended up adding some paint pen doodles to it, in the same colours as the background. That made it feel a little more in keeping with the background. I also doodled a bit on some letters I grabbed from my huge stash of chipboard alphabets and…

The XOXOs were rub-ons – good lord do I have a LOT of rub-ons, and they seem to work really well on painted backgrounds. I will sort them out sharpish cause I can see using them a LOT on future pages. I’m still not sure how well the cluster goes with the super-grungy background, but it is much more integrated that it was at first. Something to play with for sure.