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Oh that thin, thin paper again!

I was warned, yes, of course, and I really TRIED to take not and use very little water but…

It isn’t just that the paper is so thin it buckles, but even the lightest touch seems to make the paper pill and almost dissolve.

Don’t get me wrong, I do really like the last one, for example, all misty and sea-foam-y, but it’s challenging to get full sheer cover without having to use too much water. I did have an idea, to use watercolour for mark-making, to kinda combine two lessons in one. I liked that pretty well, a totally different feel t the mark-making with acrylic.

Now, to be fair I didn’t layer the marks in quite the same way but with acrylic, you can start dark and layer light over it and it’s fine. With watercolour, you really need to move from light to dark and try not to obliterate the light by the end! Or leave enough of the white background that you can add a layer of light later and still have it show. Here is another more layered page that I really like:

I am getting to the point I will have filled every page with an initial layer. Not sure how I should have proceeded thru the lessons, maybe watched them all and grouped them in a way I found helpful, rather than just going in order. Whatever. The next post I’ll combine two lessons, neither I’ve ever seen before but I really like both. I may watch a few over the weekend, although I think I did book in to a couple of taster weekends/weeks so not sure hoe to best allocate my time…hope you will bear with me while is figure it out.

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Art Journal? Neuro-art? Knitting? Too many things swirling around in my head!

I have so many projects and things I want to do and I seem to be in a phase where I am jumping from one thing to another and can’t seem to settle my brain. I started a piece based on some work I saw about Neurographic Art, where you begin with a distinct drawing of something – the ones I saw most often were hearts, although I’ve seen quite a few of tigers lately – apparently it is the year of the tiger, so that explains that. That gave me the idea to do a piece using the year numbers. If any year needs the “corners rounded” I think 2022, the third year of the pandemic, is the one. My base piece looks like this:

And I then scanned that so I could print out copies to play with before working on the original (micro pen on watercolour paper) and messing it up. And I did two-a-page so I could test a few things.

I am still not a lover of coloured pencils abut they do seem to be the medium of choice for a lot of neurographic art. I thought I would have another go. Problem is the print I did was on my coated cardstock, and that really doesn’t work great for pencil blending. The larger piece is the coated paper while the small piece is watercolour paper:

The other bits you see are Copic markers, which worked only OK on the coated cardstock, and watercolour markers, which were tragic, at best!

So there you go. A lot of time spent and not a lot accomplished, although I did learn a few things. But I am no closer to getting that piece done. I will think on it a bit more, I guess.



Neurographic Circles

I have been finding that I love the circle part of the neurographic art best of all. I had the idea to throw the therapy part and the neurolines out the window and focus JUST on the circle part. I also was finding that making the nexus quite fine, and not thickening the lines up a lot, gave me something I preferred.

I also liked breaking up some of the odd shapes and making them more circular added a lot more interest. Better to see in this sample:

I was thinking I might use a different method for colouring and as Keren used watercolour markers for her original I decided to use those. I have a set of Chromatek markers with lots of choices

Note the website – the tutorials are quite handy and well worth a look. I was trying to make it so that when two circles overlapped the colour would be a blend of the two. I went a bit wrong with the blob of pink in the middle LOL! I also went a bit mad with the dotting, although I do like it overall.

Now I have another experiment to try and we’ll see if that comes to anything useful or not. I have an appointment at the hospital tomorrow and then (fingers crossed) a treatment next week. I’m feeling weaker every day and a bit wobbly with it so sitting at my desk and drawing like this is one thing I can do for sure. Nice to have a fall-back plan IYKWIM.


This and that – Saturday Play

Well I blew the idea that when my CK levels are high, my back is impervious to clenching up on me. I have been taking painkillers and lounging about since about Tuesday. Can’t tell from my posts because I had a few scheduled. Today I am able to do a bit, but not much as you will see from this post. Hopefully by tomorrow I will feel up to more.

I have been playing with some Lynne Perrella stamps and trying to work out what I want to do with them. The first play was comparing colouring with watercolours and with Copics.

Not a lot in it really, and both bleed outside the lines. Paints left, Copics right.

Then I tried stamping them on some Collage Collective paper. I had an idea but in the end I think I picked the wrong paper, because I think the cut-out words aren’t quite right.

I mean, they’re OK just not striking, or inspiring. I might finish them off, not sure yet. I want to play with stamping them on white card and colouring them then cutting them out. I’ll see how that works. I also wanted to show my version of the pressing device a lot of people use on stamping platforms to get good even pressure all over it. Mine is not as swish as some, no big doorknob or drawer pull on the top, just a simple block wth a furniture pad on it. But it cost me nothing, since I had both of those things hanging about.

Took me a total of 5 minutes to find the bits and assemble. And it works perfectly. I think the bit of the Grand Calibur embossing mat that I cut and stuck on my (cheap) stamp platform helps a LOT. I suspect sticky back fun foam would do similar.

That is a single pressing, not a double one. Not bad at all.

We’ll see what all of this play turns in to. Maybe nothing, maybe something. I’ll share if it’s something …


Watercolour ATCs – a struggle

I had an idea for making a set of ATCs using my watercolours. I enjoyed the swatching process a week or so back and thought it might provide a nice base for some cards

Keeping the lines straight was the first challenge! Once I had the whole sheet full of blobs of colour I used an ATC sized window to audition areas. The swatches were all a bit random so just cutting them to size as a grid was not really going to work. And at least one card ended up being seriously wonky to the point of being unusable as a base. Once I cut the cards, I doodled a bit with some white gel pen, ome black Micron pen and some gold ink and a dip pen.

But then I really struggled with the toppers. Would it be just text? and image? would it be stamped over? I did photo two of the most promising options:

I liked the birds as they were watercoloured as well, but in the end the quirky people spoke to me louder LOL!

It isn’t obvious, but the words were available as…well, WORDS, but I preferred them as LETTERS so, yeah, I cut them all apart, inked all four edges of each letter block then stuck them back together as words. Cause that’s how I roll…. LOL!

Now what next? I don’t know but I have some ideas….

Some of my traded ATCs have begun to land in the USA – I have yet to receive any back yet. I hope I do soon. I am anxious to see that international mailings are problem free….

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Another great use for that coated paper – watercolouring images

I often complain about inkjet printer ink and how it reacts with water. As I was considering an ATC series that I had in my head, I decided to test a theory. The coated papers I mentioned for printing digital collage images worked perfectly for this set:

The images are ones from past instances where people wore masks – pandemics, flu outbreaks, etc. I wanted to watercolour them but wasn’t sure about the inkjet ink running or smearing. It does not, at all, on this paper!

I am thinking now that I should try out alcohol markers on this, but even if they don’t work, knowing that watercolours DO, I am tempted to try printing digital stamps and colouring them that way. One issue is that if you lay down colour, you cannot blend it away like you would on watercolour paper. Looking at this image, you can see that sort of purple-y blotch in the upper left?

I wanted to blend a little purple into the blue sky but once it hit the paper, man it STUCK. No matter it works OK, but it certainly is something to keep in mind.

The state of my desk at the moment is pretty terrible. I really have to tidy up a bit and then I’d like to feature some of the ATC cards and coins I’ve received as swaps. I am tempted, too, to add a page with all the leftovers from series I made then traded. I have one or two from many of them and nearly all from a few more. If anyone fancies a trade, do get in touch!I really am enjoying a nearly daily delivery of the happiest mail ever.


What colour is YOUR rainbow? LB 25

I am determined to get better at watercolours. I still struggle but at least the struggle feels like it is helping me get someplace. I decided to tackle one of the LB classes called What colour is your rainbow? and it is really all about playing with colours. One of the first things the teacher shows is a swatch thing she did with her watercolours. I had a goo but crikey – with 42 colours (leaving off the metallics) that would be over 800 combinations. I did make a start, with just one line along the left edge and every colour not from that line in the grid. It is no way all the combos, and I focused on the combos I thought would be worth doing – so four shades of yellow is a lot to swatch if two are very similar and the other two are at least close IYKWIM. And I didn’t bother with white or the colour + the colour. Duh.

I did not have a compass to draw he rainbows so I had to wing it, after the first couple of arcs.

I have tried so many pencils, drawing as light a line as I can, but I still have no luck rubbing out the lines with any of the erasers, even ones suggested, or recommended by watercolour artists. I just must have too heavy a hand. While I liked the final rainbow

those pencil lines bugged me. I had recently gotten some manuscript ink (gold) so I added fine lined of that over the pencil marks. Liked it a lot!

Slightly shaky but organic, so OK by me. I never aim for precise cause I could not achieve it. All it needed was the perfect quote:

and the shot to show the glistening gold:

I have done four classes now, and while most of them have been a bit of a challenge, I guess I am learning. So that has to be a good thing, right? My only complaint is that I am not focusing on the art than comes entirely from me. My idea. My execution. Because I own the classes I don’t HAVE to race thru them. I can take my time and dip in when I need inspiration. That sounds like a plan….

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Watercolour texture challenge – such fun!

I have been doing the Mixed Media Emporium challenges from a Facebook group and it’s been interesting. I had rather let my watercolours sit ignored and it was fun to drag them out again. The Watercolour Texture challenge really got me playing and I thought I would share my samples. The one I liked perhaps best of all was a disc of heavy watercolour paper that I sponged with a bit of iridescent medium using a sea sponge. It gave a really cool texture and a bit of a glimmer, and once I sprinkled on a few grains of brown and black Brushos (each made up of a multitude of individual grains of many colours) and a drop or two of alcohol, it was quite magical – not sure the photos really do this justice,

I tried angling it in the sunlight but still not as amazing as it is IRL.

More Brushos, with some larger alcohol drops to disperse the wet watercolours and some more colour

So then I had to drag out some old supplies, like those damn Silkies and spatter a bit of those over the Brusho sprinkles, wet and then dried:

And then another favourite – I tried the technique of sprinkling water on the paper, then adding embossing powder (which clings to the water and if you are fast, and have pre-heated your heat tool, you can emboss it before the water dries and the powder blows away) first Distress Embossing powder:

Then some very old gold UTEE – which gave very distinct dots, as it is so chunky.

The green one also has an interesting addition – I mixed a tiny bit of yellow Brushos with a few drops of alcohol and dotted that over the green (I misted it with water so the wet paint could react with the alcohol+Brushos) and I love how that turned out.

Don’t mix up too much and work quickly before the alcohol evaporates. I kinda feel like these could be nice ATC (Artists Trading COINS rather than CARDS) but not sure how to finish them off – too much would hide the yummy texture and leaving them plain isn’t really appealing for a trade. Maybe I will see about making some sort of sample book, as someone suggested, so I can keep them.



Watercolour play

I am so keen to get better at using watercolours so I am following the lead of a few of my WOYWW mates and having a go at some of the tutorials on CreationsCeeCee but the problem is there is so much good stuff there I have no idea what to try first!

I had a go at making some squovals (square circles) in a limited range of colours. I am using decent watercolours, crappy brushes from Lidl, and the wrong kind of paper (this is the cartridge paper pad I mentioned a fair few posts ago) so had pretty low expectations. It actually turned out a little better than I thought it would!

The tutorial uses rectangles but I like circles so the squovals are a compromise LOL!

I like the variation of colour within the colour, from adding more paint again over a dried layer. I should have left well enough alone and watched the videos again, but not, impatient as always, I jumped in to doodling and it all went horribly wrong. The pens I have are not super fine, and I fear some of them are not as waterproof as they should be. There are a couple of blocks I really like, at least one I abandoned when it went so wrong there was no recovering, and a few that are OK, but Meh. Probably best it’s a bit blurry. Doh!

Not giving up, just recognizing there is a long way to go before I get anything like proficient, let alone good at it. But it IS fine, and that is kinda the point too. My next step is to identify the right pen to be using and practice the lines a bit. Mostly identify the ones that are NOT waterfast – look at those smears…

Day 39 – although it is thicker, I am trying to use up some efemera.

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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.