Friday, June 5, 2015

Well, it's cut out!

It actually took me less time than I thought it would to cut that out!  I ran a test page today on some construction paper (my normal test papers don't run to 12x12, but this works fine).

I have to say, I'm ABSURDLY pleased with myself.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

On Stencils

I've been playing a lot with stencils--they're pretty awesome, and you can get some really neat effects with them.  I love them, and I've acquired... more than I'm entirely comfortable thinking about, really.  Which reminds me, I've just gotten some new ones that I need to make sure are properly put with the others and indexed so I can find them and I can quit anytime I want, really!  I don't have a problem!

..Actually, that's wrong. Turns out I do have a problem, and like many problems, the solution is to be found at the end of more work than I originally planned to put into it.

See, I love stencils.  They're awesome, and as I play with them more, I realize there are really two kinds--stencils, where the paint you put through them is the picture, and masks, where the paint you put through them DEFINES the picture.

This is the clearest example I have--the two are quite literally the reverse of one another.

 There are options in between, of course--patterns, for instance, where both parts make up the idea, an the like.  And all of them are sold as 'stencils'.  For clarity's sake here though, I will refer to them as separate things, because that difference is important. 

Because, in general, I like masks better than I like stencils. I like the idea that I can get as crazy and creative as I want on the bottom layer, and then just black out everything that's not the picture I want.  And quite a lot of what you can just go buy is stencils, not masks.

And suddenly I want options that I just do not have.

Well, that's okay, I can make stencils, right?  Sure I can! I even have blanks!

And so I made my very first real stencil (well, okay, the *very* first one was a cut-out heart to test things, but as it didn't require the exacto-knife, I'm kind of not counting it.)  I wanted a leaf pattern for a 4x6" post card, and I didn't have anything that would do the leaves the way I wanted them, as a mask rather than a stencil.  So, fine--I have trees!  (oh, do I have trees!)  I grabbed three different sizes of leaf off one of my sweetgum volunteers, traced them out, and got to cutting.

And it was a pain in the ass, but I'm pleased with how it came out, and I learned a lot in the cutting.

Sweetgum mask, obviously having been used a few times

First test print on a 4x6" index card

That gave me what I was looking for--a nice pretty print of leaves, repeatable, where the pattern on the leaves would be whatever I did first, rather than trying to lay down my colors and complexity through the plastic.  (I left a frame around the 4x6 cutout area, so I would have something to hold onto to keep it still while applying paint.  I've done this twice now and I think in future I need to just carry the pattern out to the edges of the plastic to allow for holding, rather than cutting a frame; I just don't have as much room as I'd like for layering.)

This is the final product that I cut the stencil for.  I am absurdly pleased with it.
Since then I've done a few free-form masks, cut at least one more with a frame (again, probably the last one), and planned out a piece for the fall guild show.  I want it to be leaves, too, but it's going to be a larger piece.  So I started planning out what I want, and of course, there still aren't the leaf options I want in commercially available stencils and masks. 

So last night I drew this out.  I... I've got a lot of cutting to do.

....What on earth have I gotten myself into?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

paper swap again!

First off, turns out process pictures are hard! Or at least hard to remember, because I have to grab my camera in the middle of creating.  And then do it again, and again, and somehow I always get caught up in actually making things and forget to take the pictures.  So, there you go.  Do I have process pictures now? well, not so much, although I'm working on it.  Will I in the future? Hope so!

Second, the guild is doing another paper swap, so I'm having fun both making papers and digging through my stash for this.  And digging through my stash leads to more things I want to make, and then I forget to take process pictures.  I'm sure y'all can see where this is going. 

So for the next meeting, I need to: Make some sweet treats, prepare samples for my demo, prepare in-process bits for my demo so I don't have to wait for everything to dry between each step, make sure I've got my best fun hat on to help with the kids, hopefully have a write-up on how to do my demo (complete with process pics if I can EVER MANAGE TO TAKE THEM!) and make sure I have a nice fat packet of papers for trade. 

I may have bitten off more than I am entirely comfortable chewing.  Just possibly.  On the other hand, if I can make it through May, June will be a piece of cake!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Classes and new things to try

I'm expanding my repertoire, playing with new things.  My current passion is stencils, and I love my stencils, but they kind of require a lot of upkeep if I'm going to keep them clean, and sometimes you just don't want to go through all that. 

So I've taken a couple of classes, to help me expand myself and learn to just put something on the page.  I took one in Art Journaling with the incredible Ophelia, and one in Collage with Sharon DiGiulio of DiGiulio Studios.  (I'm still not sure I entirely get collage on a 'sure I can just do this' level, but I'm a lot closer than I was). 

And everywhere, we used pretty papers.  Book Papers, magazine papers, homemade painted-and-stamped papers, all kinds of papers. And now I'm playing with some random papers I have around the house, and I am having SO. MUCH. FUN.

Pics are going to have to wait til daylight, I think.  But I'm going to take some, and post them here.  Maybe even some process pics, because I'm REALLY enjoying the results I'm getting right now.

For now, though, I'm off to evening ablutions and bed.  The sleepy train is chasing me down at this point.  But I just took a look at the papers I did today (finally, FINALLY dry!) and was too excited to wait til daylight so I could forget to post on this.

Y'all have a great night!

EDIT, Friday:  here's a picture of the completed, dry papers:

Two tries, two color palettes--I like the blue one best for its depth and because it's my color palette, but I like both of 'em pretty well.  I need to be a little more generous with the color for the muted oranges next time, I think.  But I'm really excited about them!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

aaaaand holy crud, it's been YONKS.

Spring is starting to peer at us--not opening its eyes yet, but just peeping a bit and waving at us to shut the blinds, no really, five more minutes.  One of the roads in my neighborhood is lined with bradfords, and they're not in bloom yet, but by golly they're gearing up to it.  The buds on my saucer magnolia are fat and fuzzy and I expect pink to start popping there any day now.  The tree we transplanted last spring is popping out leaves (still no buds, but flowers are showy and biologically expensive, so I'll forgive it for that given the hack job we had to do on the roots to get it moved).

So this season of rebirth and renewal and reminding ourselves that so much that looked dead is coming back to life... this seems like a good time to pick this up again, dust off my writing skills, and get back to it.

Watch out, world, the sap's gonna rise again.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

spatial orientation is your friend

Today, after weeks and weeks of not arsing myself to continue work on my fabric wall hanging, I continued work on my fabric wall hanging.  I'd been putting it off because I didn't like one of the fabrics I'd chosen when I laid it all out, so I needed to replace those pieces, and there's been enough going on (hello, everyone I know who is moving!) that hauling out the ironing board just seemed like a monumental hurdle sometimes. 

But today, I did it.  I got up and started work on it--interrupted by trips to the thrift shop and the grocery store, and a few things like that, sure, but I got to work on it.  I very carefully laid out and traced the pieces on the new fabric.


That's right, all of the new pieces are mirror-images of themselves, because I am officially a Doofus. 

Welp.  Here goes again.

Friday, May 16, 2014

aaaand I missed April entirely, didn't I?

And now half of May is gone as well. Life gets busy and makes fools of us all.

I have been enjoying playing with my art, although I've also been enjoying the art that is all around me as the weather warms and the plants come out to play, from the early

to the slightly later

That second one, with the deep purple petals on the bottom, didn't bloom last year.  This was the first year I knew I had it planted (the bulbs were given to me in a literal mixed bag the previous fall).  I'm beginning to want to plant my entire sad little yard with irises, just for those first incredible weeks of spring when they unfold into glory.  I'm noticing them more as I travel around, and some of the colors I've seen this spring have made me half-consider nighttime commando raids on neighbors' iris patches, just to be able to plant some in the glorious colors that seem to be everywhere.

That's probably a bad idea, and I'm not going to actually go steal anyone's irises.

But a girl can dream.