Friday, January 27, 2012

devil kitty

Came home from work today to find a mason jar full of turquoise dye spilled all over my work table, chair, and floor.

whose fault?
this guy:
paper eating evil beast
dumper of buckets
spiller of liquids

He knows I'm pissed at him so he's being ingratiatingly cute:
In the basket with the stuffed studio mink
In the scrap box under my work table
PLEASE don't be mad at me!
(I love that he's laying in the middle of Cameron's black kitty paintings)
(and no, Cam, your paintings are not still laying on the couch after all these months  - this is just an old picture)

Like most of us, he's a study in contrasts.

I've been messing around with my new Inktense pencils (LOVE!!!!)
and altering a creepy black and white picture of myself.

Here's one of my own contrasting sides:

Here's another:

I think I like this view best:

Linking up to the "Opposites" theme over at the Butterfly Effect, where we are ALL pretty ALL the time.
Go see for yourself.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Journal pages and el-cheap-o pen storage system

I could stay up all night trying to write insightful or pithy remarks for this blog post, or I could just show you my damn journal pages.
Here's what I've been working on -  one finished, one in progress:

Oh, how I love me some circles.

But really, you came here for the brilliant and FREE pen storage system I rigged up over the weekend.
Here's my old pen storage system:
It was problematic, to say the least.
Here's my new pen storage system:
Why yes, yes it IS toilet paper tubes hot glued into a shoe box.
I don't know about you, but I am glue gun IMPAIRED.  I love hot glue and all you can do with it, but I always make a huge mess, and ALWAYS burn my fingers a thousand times.  You'd think after the 6th or 7th time (in a row) that I burn myself I'd figure out a different strategy.  but no.

Which reminds me of a little guy at camp last summer.
He was only 5, and really really wanted to help build this:
But you have to be in 4th grade to use the glue guns.  Everyone else gets tacky glue.
And we try to keep the glue guns at a safe distance, really we do.
 and we kept warning him that the glue gun was really really hot and he shouldn't touch it.

 he touched it.
and as he cried, he wailed "You told me not to touch it and I touched it"
that's me and glue guns in a nut shell

BUT, did you know that you can get rid of all those stringy spider-webby bits of glue without painstakingly picking them off one by one all the while swearing under your breath?
You probably already know this, but I was so excited to learn this from the resident craft queen at work.
or better yet, heat gun.
a quick blast melts them all away and makes them disappear.
Now if only she can teach me NOT TO TOUCH IT.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

homemade alcohol ink with Sharpies

So, as I mentioned yesterday, I made some homemade alcohol inks.  I THOUGHT these were going to be amazing, and then I did a bunch of testing and thought they were a  complete failure, but then I did some more testing and decided maybe I have a place for them in my art after all.  And since living with a 5th grade boy makes me think and speak like a 5th grade boy, I sum up the experiment this way:

I first heard mention of this in a facebook group a few weeks ago and put it on my list of things I should look into.  Then I read about it again on TJ's blog and decided to actually do it. So I found this video on You-Tube (which I watched just enough of to get the basic idea of how to do it and then turned it off.  given my mixed results, maybe I should have watched the whole video and followed it up with her part 2 instructions)

The bullet points:

  • break open a sharpie and soak the inky insert in some rubbing alcohol.  
  • done
I bought cheap travel sized spray bottles and a big bottle of rubbing alcohol and raided my abundant stash of sharpies (many of which were inherited when my office closed a few years ago so I didn't pay anything for them)

It was quick and easy (and smelly and a little messy) and the colors were VIBRANT!

So then I set about testing them on a bunch of different surfaces.  I took a file folder and attached various papers and tapes and started spraying.  TOTAL DISAPPOINTMENT.  The colors were muted - some almost non-existent.  And the SMELL.  Man-oh-man it smelled like a hospital ward.  For hours. (Oddly the cat was fascinated by this and hovered near the smelly papers all afternoon).

Here are the results of my experiments:

Clockwise from upper left:  water color paper, cereal box covered in gesso, plain cereal box, book page, copy paper, card stock

 Clockwise from upper left: Tyvek (which has been ironed), masking tape, aluminum tape, clear packing tape.

I called it a day at this point and nearly dumped them down the drain in disappointment.
But I took up the cause again this morning and had better results.  I noticed that the colors were most vibrant on bright white, smooth, not-too-absorbant paper, so I started there.

Here's a test palette on some mixed media paper (with the corresponding sharpie color for comparison)

I tried it with some stencils on cheap copy paper.  Not bad:

Then I tried yellow, orange and red in a cheap sketchbook and filled it up with notes on what I'd learned.

dries quickly
easy to write over it
permanent - doesn't smudge when reworked
overlapping colors blend well
gives a nice effect with stencils

colors are muted 
bleeds through to the other side of most papers
beads up on plastic and metal surfaces.  it dries and leaves the color in little droplets
did I mention smelly?

Final assessment:  not what I'd hoped for, but if I can tolerate the smell I will use it to create some interesting background effects.

If any of you have experience with homemade inks leave me a comment.

Friday, January 20, 2012

book-altering, literature-quoting, weekend-loving geek

How cool is this?  Just one of the fabulous things I've learned in the altered book class is how to make alternating doors in a book.  Seriously - Natasha and Amy have some really great FREE video tutorials over there on Flutterbye.  I've got lots of other book-related things to show, but tonight I'm showing my  doors because this is what I used for my QUOTE (another last-minute link up to the weekly butterfly effect theme).

What's behind door #1?
Art is the only thing

that can go on mattering

Once it has stopped

"Art is the only thing that can go on mattering once it has stopped hurting" - Elizabeth Bowen

Look how nice and flappy that is.  I've been geeking out over this for days.
 (Plus look how ORANGE it actually is.  My scanner made it look much more red)

And speaking of quotes - I'll leave you with the best Friday quote ever, courtesy of my son Max, age 10, as he got home from school today.

“There’s a new movie coming out and it’s called Max’s Free Weekend and the best part is it takes two days to watch and the even better part is there are no homework scenes”

love that kid.

The postcard making spree continues

I've also been trying new bookbinding techniques, making little books, working in my book of days, trying out all the very cool altered book techniques offered in Amy and Natasha's free altered book class, and working on Life Book projects.  (how many times can I say book in one sentence?)
oh yeah - and I made my own alcohol spray inks last night.  Documenting this creative spree has NOT been one of my accomplishments.  The predicted snow storm for tomorrow will be the perfect excuse to stay in my studio all day.  (like I need one!).  I promis to take pictures.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Things Forgotten

Linking up to this week's theme at the Butterfly Effect.
After quite a few failed attempts at turning this into something else,  I'm posting my original sketch.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Post Card Mania

While I ponder whether my fictitious post card writers will be able to pull off some correspondence this week, I have been a prolific post card maker in real life.

I've got TWENTY, count 'em, TWENTY post cards (and two wee packages) addressed and ready for the post office.  Here are a few highlights:

Boy, oh boy, do I crack myself up.  It's a shame I have to sleep once in a while because I'm on a roll!