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A hard fought art journal page…

I had a page on my desk and things were NOT going well. I got there in the end, but because it was such a struggle (at one point I literally wiped away a whole bunch of paint to start again from the last drying point) I took virtually no photos. Ah well. Here is the page:

I wish I had maybe left the middle of my guy’s face a little more bare, but the fronds were the dried layer, and the point where I was happy. What I wiped away was a large stenciled face:

that just did not work at all. I played around with a couple of other stamps as well, none of which worked either.

I tried to wedge in some collage collective bits, and didn’t like them either. While the leafy frond stencil might look a bit like the (discontinued) Dina stencil that is similar, this is my own version, cut YEARS ago from heavy card and still very usable.

So it’s a weird thing. I joined a FB group for Dina Wakely products. I posted my page from yesterday and apparently I ran afoul of the single rule of the group: If you use a Dina product (and you must or they delete your post) you have to SAY what the thing you used was, if it isn’t obvious. On that page what I used was the asemic writing stamp, within the blue circles. As I was feeling a little playful, I mentioned in my post that I had used a Dina product, it was subtle, guess what it was…One of the moderators slapped me down on that, referenced the rule and said I had to say, not ask them to guess, or my post would be removed. I was ok with that, cause I know how blinkin’ hard it is to moderate a forum (or a FB community) and added the info as soon as I saw the comment, but it really reminded me of a simple fact – FB pages like that one are not really about the people on there sharing their work. They are about both providing inspiration by sharing work using a specific set of products, and getting people to see the possibilities of those products. Equally (more so?) they are about promoting the designer and ultimately about product sales. Which is fine, I get it. But I think how it all ties together with THIS post is that I tried 3, no 5 different Dina products in an effort to finish my page. WHY? So I could share it not only here, but there as well, and not get slapped down, I guess. Well, that’s stupid. No doubt, I am a fan of Dina’s style. And I like her products. But I cannot fall into the trap of thinking that I have to force something DW into every page I do, just so I can share it someplace other than here. That makes my pages less about me and makes me more a shill than an artist (gosh, even typing that makes me feel like a pretender. Working on that….)

In the end my own stencil worked far better on this page than the original one. And my own leafy frond worked every bit as well as the stencil I have looked for and cannot find. I am now officially stopping my search. I did try something with another Dina product, just cause it was out on my desk from a different try – the tissue paper words.

Some of the little text snippets are good, they often resonate with me pretty strongly. But I am never keen on using them cause they really disappear into the background, and my backgrounds are usually pretty chaotic. But applying the tissue with gel medium over white or cream card turns them into something far more usable for my style (the no-white-space-left-behind style LOL!) and worked well on this page. I will do this again, I am sure.

So in the end, I think it was a valuable lesson to learn. Will I share it “over there?” Probably – I’ve satisfied the terms & conditions so I might as well. But I am going to be a little more critical in my choices in the future. After all this is MY art journal. The stuff I buy to use when making a page should not be the driving force, my own thoughts and words should be. Will be.

Now day 23! Next milestone is day 30, or ONE MONTH of the 100 days:

I am coming down to the end of those crackle letters (SO old) and I needed to trim them to make them fit. I added the little snippets in a few places, just cause I didn’t want to throw them away. Also I am at the end of my trimmed number tickets. I used both of the 21, 22 and 23 tickets at some point in the past and I was NOT going to buy a whole new book so those three were 121, 122 and 123 trimmed down. Now I think I am golden for 24-100! I am also branching out, having found other sorts of journaling spots other than the tiny notebook. It’ll add a bit of variety for a bit.

Phew. That got long. Sorry.


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I got so sidetracked – new stencil storage that I LOVE!

Sorry if you were expecting the follow up to the painted papers post from yesterday. I meant to do it today, but my desk is an almighty mess and before I have the room to work I really have to tidy it up. And I am doing another Roben-Marie class called Printmaker Pro: Press, Stitch & Stash that means I need to get my stencils in order, sharpish. They have been in a variety of storage solutions, none of which actually work for me. I have some in a bin, some in a binder, some in one of the old Crop-in-Style 12×12 Paper/Sticker binders…just chaos. Too many places to look so in the end I tend to just use what I can reach or what is already sitting on my desk. It is NOT workable in any way.

I mean really.

So I was looking at it all and thinking How the heck am I going to sort this out? It was treadmill time so I decided to search YouTube for stencil organization. Yeah. 90% of the hits were…what I did. In binders, in sleeves, in tubs with dividers… But then I saw the Stencil Girl video using this what LOOKS like a professional shop display. The stencils were clipped and hanging and although she mentions that the product she used was mostly no longer available, she did link at the end some other people with similar ideas. And of course that gave ME a few ideas. I played around with a few construction-oriented things, using stuff I had hanging around, then my eye fell on a paper bin. it was wire, with two little bars on each side to hold hanging folders…you have never seen a bin dumped out onto the floor so quick! The rest was just finding the curtain clips (old Ikea ones work – the newer ones clip the wrong way) and pulling out all my 12×12 and A4 stencils. An hour or two later and:

Now I can look thru my stencils with ease. and this rack sit nicely to my left, within reach of my gel printing space. I have room to hang rings of the smaller 6×6 and even smaller assorted sized stencils from the sides, hooking BIG rings thru the wire then hanging smaller rings (with similar stencils grouped together) from those. Sorry for the crap photos but I took them yesterday evening.

I have one more small bin of assorted 6×6 ones that I suspect are in that bin cause they are my most used ones. I am considering a different method for those. We’ll see… I think this is going to be a game changer. I looked at stencils I barely remembered either buying or making! Once I saw them I had 100 ideas for how to use them. I am 100% convinced that I will never use what I have if I don’t KNOW what I have. So As this is my desk at the moment:

I have to beg your indulgence for another day until I get this mess sorted out! Once my space is clear I will carry on making the painted papers then link all the posts in each post so you can find everything no matter where (and when) you land on any of them.

I know a lot of people will be less than happy about the new lock down, but honestly? I think it was about time they realized that the partial lock down measures were NOT working against this very virulent new strain of Covid rampaging thru the UK. I just hope it can break the transmission chains and slow things down till the vaccine roll-out can really get rolling! Until then, stay home, say safe and craft away.


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Unique Art Journal supplies – handmade, from unusual sources

Happy New Year!! I am scheduling a few posts this week so I can enjoy the family time we have blocked out, before normal life resumes.

Regular readers (I do have a few of them LOL!) will know that I always strive to create art journaling tools that are unique to me. That could be by altering an existing item (like I did with the Dina Wakely face stamp a few posts back, or with the Janet Klein Housewives stamp set the other day) OR by creating a version of something in my own way. My goal was something a bit like this stencil:

I saw this book and mentioned I had it on order.

A bit of a cheek on the part of the seller when they say “a book of stencils” as this is NOT a book of STENCILS but a book of stenciled IMAGES that you are free to cut and use. Humpf. Luckily since discovering a documented issue with the driver on my ancient Sure-cuts-a-lot software and newer versions of Mac OS, and sorting that (thanks to my tech support guy, the Hubster) my Cricut is working just fine again (OMG – touch wood immediately lest I curse it!) So scanning the images and creating stencils was easy enough. The stencils are, in some cases, pretty basic – only the mere hint of the face they depict. This one of a French anarchist, Louise Michel, could be anyone, frankly.

On the other hand, this one of Mother Jones is pretty detailed:

and stencils pretty well

So I scanned a bunch of the faces and edited the stencils to focus on just the facial features. I love I can re-size them so they fit a very small or a very large journal, depending:

I cut a sort of face-shaped holey stencil too. My plan was something like this (and FYI, those faces are Anna Mae Aquash, Brigitte Mohnhaupt and Vera Zasulich), with the heads on blobby bodies.

I changed that idea as I was working. Having just done the little group of ladies with the Housewives stamp, I didn’t want to do another page so similar right away. So I ended up with floating heads instead – this is my last page of my experimental techniques journal, except for completing the Good As Hell page that is creeping towards its final reveal! So funny on this week’s WOYWW post Helen (who’s work I love and who is often right on my wavelength, or I on hers!) did a page that looks so similar, yet different.

I have been loving my gold acrylic inks and my dip pen, although I need a bit more practice with both, but once I scribbled and dripped some of that onto the page, and found this quote, the page came together nicely. Note I took my own advice and used one of my old frame stamps around the quote. And there is another weirdly serendipitous element here. My daughter loves watching beauty videos on You Tube, and she has always loved an influencer called Michelle Phan. We often get roped into watching these videos with her, as she wants to share. Lucky us – and in this case, I kid you not. We saw a video where Michelle gathered up a few other people and did a set of Galaxy inspired things. I think one person painted on cut-off jeans, one did make-up, one did nails, and one maybe … hair? I forget. One of them doodled little crosses and dots to give the effect of stars. I grabbed that technique and ran with it!

I love the look of mark-making on journal pages, but it isn’t something I feel I excel at. But 2021 is a year for moving forward, in all aspects of life, even as we are forced (hopefully for not too much longer) to stay indoors till vaccinated. So I am choosing to shine, even if it isn’t yet to shine brightly. With time, I might get better, but not if I refuse to even try, right?


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Saving a page in my art journal

It is totally heartbreaking when you make a background for a page that you LOVE and then have a so-called brilliant idea that you think is going to do justice to that background and instead it totally bollocks it up. Remember this background?

Love it. almost just left it as it was for a bit longer but I got a new stencil I was DYING to try and I was pretty sure it would look stunning over this. Yeah, not so much….

Maybe you can see that I tried to salvage it by drawing around the stenciled areas with a white paint pen, hoping that might make it pop out from the background a bit better, but it didn’t help. What to do but weep.

I had seen various videos about salvaging a page by masking off an area then painting out the whole background black, so just a bit of the ugly page showed thru, but that wasn’t really what I wanted – I loved every inch of the background, it took ages to do over multiple days, and I didn’t want to sacrifice any more than I had to. I considered painting the whole image area black them stenciling over it with white, but wasn’t sure that would look like I wanted. Then I had the idea to cover the stencil with one of the colours from the background and then stencil over it with black again.

Bingo.

I wish the pink, which I mixed, was slightly warmer, to better match the pink in the background – it is more obvious in the photo than in real life, I think. I already know 100% that I need better lighting in my craft room. The combo of it getting dark early, my aging eyes, and the rubbish lighting means no crafting after dark if I want anything like a good colour match LOL!

Still slightly obsessed with the election, and trying to hold the words on the page to heart….


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WOYWW 596 – am I good as hell?

Happy WOYWW y’all.

Well, I am pre-typing this cause it is likely I am going to be up all night watching election results, just to get an idea of where things are heading. The election isn’t over until all the votes are counted, so unless the results are overwhelmingly obvious, by the time this posts I’m not sure I will know if I am, in fact, Feelin’ Good as Hell or not. I prepped a stencil just in case.

and closer – can you tell that is actually Lizzo?

The only difficult part was adding all the bridges to ensure the text didn’t have big open areas – which I like for some things, not for this. I am in process, testing a few stencils. I have about three stencil books – this one was a tip off from a WOYWW desker, but I’ve forgotten who now. This stencil might be the other option if things go the wrong way… 

I am testing the image on deli paper so I can lay it on a page to check for size, etc. and also testing a stark white and subtle shading effect. I also cut a few other stencils – cause I am still on the look out for the best face.  This one is stark and simple and might fit the bill:

I have had this next image for a while and at this point have no idea where it came from – it might have been from a now defunct stencil site or just some random image I liked.  But I do like it – a lot.

Not sure if I will add them on the deli paper, or book paper or if I will stencil directly on a page.  I also snapped a photo of the deli paper page from the other day, all stuck down.  I almost hate to cover it with anything, it’s so pretty!

And very lastly, I have some stamps I ordered from the USA.  Sadly, no UK seller has them and and no one was willing to order them for me.  Luckily the seller, Rubber Moon, does ship internationally.  It took about a week or maybe 10 days to get here.  I can’t wait to use them.  I add the ink pad so you can see they are actually pretty big stamps!

So that’s me for this week.  Hope you are all weathering the lock-down OK and are keeping your spirits up and still making art.  I’ll be making my visits, as many as possible, today.  Looking forward to both the distraction and the inspiration in equal parts!

(and ps. At the moment I am most definitely NOT feelin’ good as hell…)

 


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Interesting art journal techniques

I made a page where I tried out a couple of odd things.  The first was an I wonder…? thing.  I wondered if tinting water with acrylic ink might alter the effect of water-over-Distress ink.  Simple enough to test.

I smudged the ink over a bit of paper – not particularly carefully, or blended particularly smoothly.  Just decent coverage

I added a drop or two of acrylic ink in white to a small mister bottle.  I misted the left with plain water then the right with the white-tinted ink. Only managed to remember to take a photo of the white side.  Doh!

After letting it sit, and blotting off the excess you can see there is a slightly more…opaque look, I think, to the white mist side.

I agree, it is not a starling difference, but it seems like the stencil outlines are more defined and less, well, distressed I guess.  I also added a drop of a teal colour and also a bit of white to another mister and did a different area:

This resulted in more of a halo in the darker teal at the edges.  Again, subtle, not dramatic.  Interesting and well worth playing with to refine the concept.  I also saw a thumbnail on YouTube of a hedgehog painting using a snipped-in-strips loo roll tube as a paintbrush.  I thought it was a pretty neat idea, had a loo roll or two I could rescue from the recycling bin, and gave it a go. I tried it in dark Payne’s Grey, and used it in white on my page.

One is snipped quite closely in very fine shreds (dark) and the other is snipped a little wider.  I expected to like the thinner more, and I ended up liking the fatter more. Or maybe it is the light vs dark that pushed me that way,  time will tell. Here is the page:

Since he text is a stencil I cut, what I SHOULD have done was re-cut it laid out so I didn’t have to line up the words – something I am clearly not good at.  But otherwise I am pretty happy with the page. 

Overall I am happy with the way it is going in this experimental journal.  Finding my way again, trying new techniques as they occur to me, playing and having fun.  Frankly I need the distraction, and it is kinda working.

Lastly, I noticed that the image of the stencils that I have multiples of was missing from yesterday’s post. Happy to consider any trade of an item you have multiples of, not just stencils. I’ll probably re-post this for next week’s WOYWW – or maybe offer them as giveaways for the 600 week Zoom Crop. Now that’s an idea….


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WOYWW 595 DIYing like mad

Howdy Y’all and Happy WOYWW again.  After a pretty tiring week up in Salisbury, I am now playing the waiting game to see how much of an improvement I get from the treatment.  It wears me out, but probably just the early rise, long drive, and stress of leaving the house LOL!

Let’s see.  What is on my desk this week? First let me show my head-swap from last week.  Quite pleased with the results.  Hard to read but the stamped image says Your Artistic License has just been revoked.

MOSTLY what is all over my desks are bits and pieces of various things I have been creating. It isn’t very taxing or time consuming, so easy enough even when I don’t feel up to doing much. I grabbed a few magazines at the hospital shop, and cut out a few silhouettes that I think will work on journal pages.

I am always looking for an interesting outline that I can use.  The ladies faces are line drawing I converted into stencils.  I’ve used them, they are OK, once you fill in the bridges (gaps in the lines) that keep the whole inside from falling out in one blob.

Here is a trio of pages where you can see one of them

Both quotes (Hey, hey, hey now don’t be mean and Mystery is the source of all true art and science) are from a movie, although as the tiny little line of text says Einstein expressed the sentiment, but Buckaroo (Banzai) said it better. Love that movie SO MUCH. You will also see another movie line in the stencils I cut here:

No matter where you go, there you are. The blacked out bit is another quote, Creativity takes courage.  Matisse, not Banzai in this case! Another conglomeration of stencils.  I have used the weird arcs and the glyphs and the globe and the quote.  I have a plan for the circuit board too – oh and the cluster of roses I used on the journal cover.  

I cut some stamps out of fun foam, from a die. What I love about that process is depending on whether I cut from the foam side or the backing paper side, the stamp orients a different direction. So every time I can cut a mirror image if I want.  Looking forward to testing that out!

Looking forward to testing this one out as well.  I think it is going to look fab. 

Lastly, anyone want to swap for a stencil?  I ended up with FOUR of these (don’t ask) and while I do really like the images, I do NOT need four of them.  They are 5×5 inches. Got a mistakenly bought duplicate you want to trade? Leave me a comment, and I’ll get in touch. 

 

I did well last week, visiting every desk, commenting where I could, and saw lots of fun and amazing art.  I have missed this and am glad I have been able to join in. Here’s hoping the IVIG really takes and I feel like dancing in a month. Will there be dancing on the WOYWW 600 Zoom, I wonder?  Oh dear!


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Confetti is not a victimless crime

Finally done with the hospital, although it is likely to be a month or so before I really feel the benefit of the infusion.  Based on the last one, I expect it’ll be a coupe of blood tests before I can see a drop in my CK levels and a real return to strength.  I had to crawl under my desk the other day to re-connect my mouse and I was in fear I would not be able to stand up unassisted!  Ugh.

The week has been stressful and tiring but I managed (over a few days) to make a page in my journal – pretty much sums up how I am feeling.

 

I created the text from a few different things. 

The little Confetti is not a victimless crime stamp is from a long ago grab bag.  Lots of good ones in the bag, actually, but this one was my absolute fave.  The other bit is from a Jane Davenport stamp set and if you look at the link you can see I cut off a couple of bits, top and bottom.  The I am and but are from different alphabet stamp sets, one def. from Banana Frog and one from a Scrap-a-go-go kit (?) or maybe retreat goodie bag, can’t recall.  Wondering if AND rather than BUT might have been better….The globe-like thing I cut as a stencil.  I wish the confetti had stamped clearer, but my archival ink pad needs re-inking.  Typical.  I HAVE the ink, I just didn’t remember it needed that.

Again with the stencil cutting.  I DID buy some mylar sheets, and they do work with a deep cut (60 degree) blade.  BUT buried in my stash was a HUGE stack of HiTi dye-sub printer sheets with labels on them. 

 

Seriously.  I must have over 150 sheets. They are labelled as either 4×4 or 4×6 but the size of the backing is about 5 3/4 x 6 inches.  And they are wipeable and reasonably sturdy.

I hate to waste stuff and I hate to buy stuff if I have things that will work.  This is pretty exciting. cause it means I can just play around with any design that strikes my fancy! I think I could even tape 4 together to create a big stencil, depending on the design placement.  Of all the things I have tried, this one is by far the best.  I have one more Idea I want to try , to see if it works, and if it does, I’ll report back on it.  While I am well aware that there are not going to be many people who have this sort of resource tucked away in their craft room, I just think it bears mentioning, because you never know what you DO have that might work!

Back to finish my WOYWW visits now!


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Odd stencil material

Thank you so very much to all the commenters who suggested that I print my journal and sell copies. If there were time and I had any method of doing it, I would, and donate the money to one of the great causes at Crooked Media, like VoteSaveAmerica. But I am just not one who sells my “art.” And in point of fact, I very much hope in a few more weeks it will be irrelevant. It would take me that long to organize it. But thank you, All the positive comment (at least as of when I typed this) outweigh the naysayers. That give me hope.

Many, MANY years ago I was at a local place that sold house and Office clearance stuff. We bought many a book case from them. Many. I used to buy all kinds of oddball things from them. I bought some weird foam stamps, possibly since disposed of or donated to a school, some magazine racks and desktop dividers, and once, I bought this transfer film.

I think I’ve used it before, by printing on to it and sticking it over…something.  Maybe a set of ATCs? Not sure.  I don’t think it worked brilliantly, but I tend towards hoarding, so I’ve kept it.

The other day I wanted to cut some stencils.  I cut some from transparent sleeves, like I have done in the past, but they are so thin, they work less well than I would like. 

I usually add a cardstock or duct tape frame but my supply of duct tape is running a little low right now. Probably hard to really see, but I think you can imagine, the film is floppy and it can be a struggle to keep it still while using with paint or ink.

At some point I thought about the Transtext film.  Not the FILM, which is basically a very thin, self-adhesive, fragile full-sheet sticker, but the BACKING.  That stuff is like release paper.  It can be wiped off (unlike paper) and cuts really well on my second-hand Cricut (Thank you Scrapdolly!) with SCAL.  I love the use of faces in art journal pages and I love the feminine but very simple silhouettes. They come from a service I pay for, which lets me use them for both personal and commercial use.  I had cut the page protector version (giving me both mask and stencil) but wasn’t happy.  I was VERY happy with the version cut from the Transtext stuff. I bought the pack I have for like 50p but they sell it now on Amazon.  Not sure I would recommend it at that price!

The release paper will NOT stick to the Cricut mat, but the back of the film will.  Which is OK because when it does stick (and it is dang hard to fully remove) the upwards facing bits are, well, STICKY.  So I just use the one mat always for this. Look. Ugh.

You can scrape it off, and I do, every few cuts, but it hasn’t impeded the cutting so I don’t worry about doing it every time.

Some of the stencils:

I still have to be a bit careful of things like the curl of hair, but that’s fine. I cut LOTS for that art journal project.

Some are stencil-ized photos, some my own design. Oh, and the blades for the Cricut work amazingly well.  I love the 60 degree one – I assume equal to a “deep cut” blade?

Obviously I need a better solution.  I have seen that there is thin stencil film you can buy, an maybe it would cut OK, but at the moment, I am OK with this material. I would be very interested in what other people use. Also if there is interest in the .SVGs of the ladies silhouettes.  Still not sure how best to share them other than going back to good ‘ole Dropbox, if I can even remember how to use it! Anyway, LMK on both topics please. If you have a got-to item for stencil cutting do share!


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Artistic Flair Crafts – coupon code for YOU!

I got a lovely email from a new UK company called Artistic Flair Crafts.  They offered me a coupon code to try out a few products.  It was the perfect excuse to drag out my Gelli plate, as some of their main products are stencils!  I do love a good stencil.

I selected a range of them – 4×4 inch ones

2afstencils

6×6 inch ones – and yes, either by me clicking wrong or by a glitch in the ordering (combined with me not double-checking) I ended up with two of the same design!  DOH!

3afstencils

and A4 sized ones. And something they call TABS.  Loving them and wish I had more time to perfect the use of them.

4afstencils

I tried scraping the pain thru the stencil, but was a bit careless cause I was rushing.  And scraping thru, without a bit of light adhesive to keep the stencil in place, was a bit silly.    I know they will be fab with sprays or sponging thru them, for art journal pages or layouts.

7afstencils

Another unique item is the cake topper stencil.  I got small cupcake ones but they have a nice range of bigger ones (8 inches) too. And cake SIDE stencils are Coming Soon.

afstencils

So cute.  Obviously I don’t make cakes, but with a little surgery I converted one of these for Gelli plate use:

5afstencils

I think they would work nicely with the round plate  – I like the fact that the stencil is designed as a circle, radiating out from the centre, so the effect is not just a regular stencil in a circle. IYKWIM.

6afstencils

I only had a few minutes to play, so my samples are not hugely inspiring but everything is still all out all over my desk so I may try to find a bit more time and carry on.  It was fun!

They also have a range of cute little wooden shapes, if stencils aren’t your thing. Aren’t these adorable?

Most importantly, here is a code you can use at checkout to get 20% off for yourselves!

SCRAPPYSTICKY

Let me know what you buy!