Billie’s Craft Room – FREE online workshops

My friend Billie is hosting a series of online workshops, completely free of charge this summer, called Adventures in Acrylics! Be there or be square!

Billie has been making video tutorials for Youtube for a long time now and she’s cool, calm and collected! She delivers her tutorials in a no-nonsense, fun way and has lots of practical advice to share. So, if you’re having a “staycation” this year and want to have some fun with your acrylics, which will only cost you time and materials… here’s where it’s at:

Millie-mou…

I have an eclectic family and, par for the course, equally eclectic pets. We are competitive, combative, crazy and fiercely loving, so woe betide anyone who upsets any member of the clan! Family comes first in my house – and that includes the dogs, the cat and the parrot, after the humans.

We have, in order of who was first to join our family: Shadow – black British Shorthair tom cat, aged 15 – rescue cat who measure 100cms (39″), standing on his back legs; Thor – German Shepherd Dog, long-haired, very large, weighing in at 38kgs. and 10 years old; Millie-mou – Yorkshire Terrier cross, with a deformed (short) lower jaw (which is why her tongue hangs out on the right side of her mouth constantly), aged 9 years; and lastly, Gizmo – a South African Grey Conure parrot (that’d be the big ones), aged 6 with an ever-growing vocabulary.

For Kim’s Texture Tuesday today….

Your image must contain at least one layer of my ‘and then some’ texture.

Methodology: Pics taken with my Samsung Monte mobile phone – just until I get a “proper camera”!!

“And_then_some” – soft light, 100%; copied – colour burn, 65%

I also used Jerry Jones’s Vintage Bokeh (70%); Frosted Bokeh (76%) and the OMS-4 mask from his October Mask set with screen 100%.

Font: “A bite”

It is very easy to get lost in the wonderful images shared on TT… but so worth it! 🙂

Red – TT

I am loving this journey into textures and layers, learning about Photoshop and what you can do with it. Today, at Texture Tuesday, we are to use at least one of Kim Klassen’s textures and the colour red. I watched “Little Red Riding Hood” starring Anna Seyfried earlier this year, so that iconic cape sprang immediately to mind. Hence this picture:

Image courtesy of D&C Films;

I used – “and then some” with soft light at 100%; copied that layer and used multiply at 76% opacity; I removed some texture from her face and the branches; I then used empty page with color burn at 85%. I added the text and used multiply at 39% after adding shadows and bevel & emboss effects.

Thanks to Kim for such luscious textures. See the other participants’ photos here.

Petr and his dreams…

Do you think polar bears dream? What do they dream about, I wonder… Could it be big, juicy salmon or the thrill of a chase? Or maybe they dream of finding a mate? Dreams are doorways into our subconscious, are they not?

The image is a transfer from a National Geographic magazine, into the dreaded Khadi-paper journal! I used 2 shades of Inktense pencils to colour the background, scrubbed with water and brush (or blended, if you prefer, though it was a lot quicker and less technical than that!!); I had to dry the page with my heat gun as I intended to write on it…

However, having taken a liking to hybrid art and being very protective of my transfers and backgrounds, I decided to scan it into Photoshop and play with Kim Klassen’s textures and layers, which I have just learnt to do!

I used Ugg love – changed the colour to blue to suit my palette – and the painted music texture from the Textures in Ten Class. Thank you so much Kim – you have opened my eyes and taught me to play again! ♥

For The Three Muses – Doorways – this week. And for Petr, and all the other polar bears out there, looking for love…

The wagon lit…

Or sleeper car? Mix that with the rhythm of a train travelling through the night and you get a rocking, almost melodic sensation that lulls you to sleep… in theory at least! I found the image, transferred to watercolour washed khadi papers, in an old National Geographic advert for American transcontinental trains. I liked the gentle, caring pose suggesting excellent service, as the man turns down the covers. At this angle, with the staves in the background, he could almost be conducting music!

It’s a mere flight of fantasy, but… I like this way of creating. It’s very enjoyable to paint backgrounds, transfer a few images and then play with them in Photoshop. I am enjoying the “hybrid” experience, whilst I work on my classes, etc.

Lynn, of Celebrate Green and Green Halloween, has asked me to do a blog interview for them, as I still recycle most of the items I use in collages and recycle my own artwork to make collage sheets, etc., so I shall submit that later this week! Busy, busy!! 😉

Red+Blue=Purple

A little something inspired by Created by Hand this week. I receive the Quietfire Design newsletter – I love the calligraphy stamps and some of the lovely products too! The red+blue struck a chord with me because I use the colour purple quite a lot.

This is the first art journal (book), I ever made thanks to Julie Prichard!! The only thing wrong with it is the Khadi papers. Great texture, too absorbent for me though, but the edges are cool! I use red and blue a lot in this little journal!

The image is a transfer from a Boots the chemist free magazine. The woman was on one of the “agony aunt” pages, with the lead title of “We talked it out…”, etc. She’s a clean image so I decided to use her for a quickie transfer. I’m taking Quinn’s Workshop – Raw Art Journalling – and I have given myself permission to make RAW art – imperfect art, because I can get very hung up on perfection… No, really, really control-freakishly annoying to myself!!

You see how there are a few spots where I rubbed too much of the image away? Not perfect… I can live with that, because it sort of goes with how “smug” I find articles like that! The speech bubble says: “We talked it all out… we felt a lot better although nothing changed.”

I also enjoy writing around an image, just for fun, to see how the words flow, or not! I drew the little flowers with red and blue Inktense pencils and blended them with a waterbrush.  I also bought a very cheap pack of pens recently -2 black and 1 red – simple gel pens, for 99p, and surprisingly, they’ll write/sketch/doodle on almost any surface! They probably won’t last long because they are so handy!!!

Just one little tip for people who struggle to get rid of the white “fuzzies” of paper left over when you have rubbed to the image on your transfer: Using your finger, apply a very small amount of mineral, vegetable or baby oil to the image transfer and watch the image shine out. It’s “magic” and I must give credit to Bev Wauer and Lesley Riley of the Inkjet Transfers Yahoo Group. I’ve been a member for about 4 years and they are so helpful and friendly! 🙂

Weavings…

I’m taking Quinn MacDonald’s Raw Art Journalling Class and discovering strange things about me, myself and I! Hopefully I am not turning into a stalker, but I have been visiting Quinn’s blog (and a couple of others) very regularly lately. For instance, yesterday I linked to the paper-weaving tutorial Quinn had posted.

Maybe I have been a bit cynical, but I never realised how cool the simple acts can be… I cut up 2 backgrounds I had made – one from the last time I was carving erasers, so on thin foolscap paper; the other was a Fabriano watercolour card that had printed out wrong and thus been used in an experiment with 3D paint -writing (don’t ask!). So, different texture and weights of papers became this:

I didn’t think it’d work at first as the colours are a bit similar, but I swapped them around a bit and taped down the heavier watercolour strips first. They aren’t even, although I did cut them out with scissors, I just didn’t do it too precisely! I then took strips of the lighter-weight paper and wove them through the downward strips.

Of course, having discovered that I have a control-freak gremlin – came as a bit of a shock, actually – I couldn’t just be happy with the weaving, no! I got the black and white pens out and started to doodle… But, I think the weaving is now much better and more appropriate for inclusion in (one of) my art journal(s)!

In my jobs and in my home, I know that I am a bit of a perfectionist. I may not be “Mrs. Tidy”, but I am clean, and fairly well organised; I do tend to be a bit impatient – hate waiting for ‘other people’ to do stuff, when I know that secretly I could do it faster/better myself… so I guess I do have gremlins after all. 😉

Of fabric ATCs and Millie

I have been busy sewing ATCs for the Summer Camp swap. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but it has been quite a while since I made ATCs for pleasure, with just a theme, and not for a challenge. I thought I’d share a few things that I do with these, as it’s such a labour-intensive process.

I use craft or pelmet (heavy-duty) vilene, or interfacing, for the base of ALL my fabric cards. This enables me to “lay down” initial designs without having them slide around a table or cutting mat. I don’t use Misty Fuse, I just stick a couple of pins in and start machine-stitching! I like to cut some fabrics and rip others, for extra texture.  If I’m making a batch of ATCs, for example, this is an example of how it begins:

The piece on the top is a triple ATC, waiting to be cut into 3. It consists of base, fabric scraps attached with white zig-zag stitching and a rectangle of stamped linen in the centre. That bit has been ironed to heat-set the stamped words. On the top is more ripped fabric strips, attached by machine-stitching and a bit of turquoise netting for texture. It all adds to the “touch-factor”. My pieces are always untidy but I do try for a tactile end-product!!

Two things and two people I have to credit here – Belinda Spiwak (Crazy Art Girl) was the initial inspiration a couple of years ago when I first saw some of her wonderful, mixed media, textile artworks. Then, if you apply the same recipe of paper, layers, colour and textures to a card base – no fabric – you get Lisa Vollrath’s “serendipity” backgrounds for ATCs – check out the Ten Two Studios – Projects – website for ideas and tutorials, because she never stops coming up with ideas!!

I did say these were labour-intensive, didn’t I? But, they can be made in stages. The bases for half of these were stitched a few months ago… Above are 6 ATCs awaiting the faux leather, seaside embellishments I have made for each one!!!

I won a set of collage stamps from Shelia Oliver a few years ago (she was decluttering to raise money for a worthy cause) and they happened to be seashore-themed. That fits perfectly for me with the Summer Camp theme – I always equate summer with the seaside! And I chose the colours of my scraps for the sun (golden yellow), sand (oatmeal linen base), and sea (vivid shiny blue fabric) to fit that theme.

The embellishments were stamped onto heated up fun foam, pressed down hard and removed when cooled. I then cut round them and attached them to each ATC (or I will do…!!). I have another issue with neat fabric ATCs – the backing! This time, instead of hunting for yet more fabric and having  to cut bits up, I decided to back them with old book pages. Some of my old books are quite small in page size, little more than a large postcard, so they will make 2 backs per page. They are thick soft paper, stitched into the book-blocks, so they tear really easily…

You can see the serrations in this pic where I have stitched an ATC to the page and then gently torn it out afterwards!! Finally, I print out my ATC labels using a Dymo (address) label printer and stick them to the back. It means that

  • no-one has to struggle to read my writing if they want to get in touch;
  • I can include all the info I want up to about 6 lines
  • I don’t have to write out 14 labels
  • they all have the same info on them!!
Here are a couple that are finished, waiting to be labelled and posted!
Hopefully, you’ll find some of my process useful if not exactly “interesting”!! All the steps I take are the result of research and mistakes. Truly! I never undo anything or unpick stuff – life’s too short. I either add another layer or paint over it! 😉
Speaking of “trial and error”, I took this pic of Millie to remind myself of how she should look after I have clipped her:

Chrysalis emerging…

For Sunday Postcard ArtThings with wings!

This is a hybrid postcard – my altered painted background (previously used in sepia tones); the face I finished painting this evening was sketched earlier this week; and lots of brushes and layers on Photoshop. I also found a great site where I learned how to draw basic wings… HERE.

 

 

SPA – summer…

As they said, it hasn’t been very summery here this weekend especially… and laid up with a sprained foot, I have been frustrated by the whole situation. Having said that, I did spend a bit of time yesterday evening, playing with watercolours and drips and stuff…

The background started out more blue in hues, and of course, I have been carving small eraser stamps too! So this piece of paper was the foolscap sheet of lined white that I used to check my carving, that I then painted over!

The fun part was then scanning that into my PC, changing the hues and then playing with a new set of brushes which were presented to us over at Digital Whispers ning group. These are quite advanced files as I only have CS2 and when I downloaded them originally, I couldn’t open them! However, being married to a “web guy”, I offered to share my new toys with him and he opened them for me and sent them back so I could play too! (Doesn’t that sound complex??? Lol!)

So today I made this hybrid postcard for Sunday Postcard Art’s “summer” theme… using a few of the lyrics from Club Tropicana by Wham!

This is my promotional postcard for my new beach bar – Club Tropicana – which will open for business when I have the funds in place!!! 😉