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Collage, Take two

String Bean.jpg

Like I said before, there are many kinds of collage.  This is less abstract and lots more fun than the ones I showed you in my last post.  This one combines lots of things I have learned.

It does have some cut and paste.  The beans are from New York magazine (a subscription made with airline miles).  Every month they have a column about an in-season veggie.  The photos are big and beautiful, so I save them.  The green figs came from another magazine ad.  The purple flower came from a third.  The hand came from a Somerset Publishing mag.  This is the kind of collage I did in high school.  Cut the pictures and put them together to say something.  Some people do wonderful things with this technique, but I have not yet really been successful at it.  So I did a bunch of things.

First I divided the paper into different size squares and rectangles.  I just painted them different colors.  The top left is a page from Steve’s old calculus text that I painted with yellow watercolor.  Most of the piece is watercolors because I like them.  The bottom right corner, inside the black and white checks, is a bit from the magazine article that defines a string bean.  I painted yellow watercolor over it.  (Would you be surprised to know that I always run out of yellow long before I run out of any other color?  It is such a happy color.)

I used my reverse tissue paper writing for the bottom left corner.  Just glued it on and hit it with a hot pink.  Top right corner is the lettering and more paint.  The beans are glued on but not in the middle.  Not real fond of symmetry in art.  I even wrote “No straight lines in Nature.” between the beans.  I added the figs for the color.  Then I added a piece of cloth.  Just beside the yellow bean is a piece of batik fabric I had on hand which has been stenciled with a Jane LaFazio stencil that I won.  I drew the bean plant (I have no idea what a bean plant really looks like, so just trust me here.)

Finally I filled in with mostly Zentangles which are so soothing to draw.  If you haven’t Googled Zentangles yet, do it!!!!  This is a fad, trend, whatever for everyone.  It is meditation that can be done anywhere, even crowded subways–if your town has subways.  There are no rules and no mistakes.  What are you waiting for?  I know you did something like this in the margin of your high school notebooks during boring lectures.

The finished piece  is kind of bizarre and very colorful.  Steve liked it enough to hang it in his kitchen.  Just like my knitting, I am not very emotionally attached to the finished product; I just like the fun involved in the making.

Psst!  I have been knitting, but I can’t talk about it yet.

Some other fun stuff.

Garden collage base

Garden collage base

Add some flowers and stuff that I drew and painted

Add some flowers and stuff that I drew and painted

Some tape with messages, some tangling and and drawing to connect the images.

Some tape with messages, some tangling and and drawing to connect the images.

The base for a piece done in an online class with Cathy Bluteau

The base for a piece done in an online class with Cathy Bluteau

The final collage.  Mostly cut paper, and pics of Bella and Jake.

The final collage. Mostly cut paper, and pics of Bella and Jake.

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It’s been a long time . . .

I actually feel guilty that I haven’t blogged, but life has been family issues and you don’t need to hear about it.  The knee is better.  That’s my good news.

I’ve been making and making and making.  I have a new collage based on a scan of my grandmother’s wedding picture.

We have no idea who the woman in the back is.

We have no idea who the woman in the back is.

I painted the paper with watercolor and stencils.  Then added the pinkish color with pastels.  The definition is from an old dictionary we once received because we donated to the local PBS station.  The lace is from my MIL’s sewing box.  The flowers were waiting for me on the clearance shelf at Michaels, and the purple beads I sewed into their centers have been around here forever.  I did spray a fixative on it when I finished.

I tried several things here and they all worked.  Wish it were always that way.

Gift from the girls about 1981.

Gift from the girls about 1981.

This is my favorite mug.  I start every day with coffee in this mug and I think about my girls.  I broke it.  I cried.  I wrote an impassioned letter to both of them about someday replacing it. Meghan brought this back from Chile when she went to visit her sister.

It is very thin.  Really fine workmanship.

It is very thin. Really fine workmanship.

I look forward to visiting the gallery where she found it when I go to Chile.

One stitch at a time.

One stitch at a time.

I’m still knitting the hat I’m designing for my pharmacist.  It is the challenge I love, but I need to work on it more often.

Steve and I at the game.

Steve and I at the game.

My BFF Jennie gave me tickets to the Steelers-Panthers exhibition game last night.  She knows I like to go and lust after Troy Palomalu even though he never plays in an exhibition game.  Doesn’t matter.

He stands wonderfully.

My favorite defensive player

My favorite defensive player

During the interminable TV timeouts, I drew these.  Beware—some strong opinions here.

Beer and B____s

Beer and B____s

Just my opinion . . .but it is a strong one.

Just my opinion . . .but it is a strong one.

Hope you are making something, too.

More later–

Art, Family, Thoughts

Z goes to school in Vina

Family first.  The folks are in Chile.  The other family goes to visit Friday.  I wish I were there.

Here is the American boy in the British school in Vina del Mar, Chile.  He is doing so well with the adjustment.  Has his first futbol (soccer) game is today.  I’m sure the team is glad to have him.  The school has welcomed him so warmly.

Unusual travel fact.  In Chile, heating is not necessarily part of the rental agreement.  We’ve been warned to bring winter pajamas.

More-Collage-Paper

More-Collage-Paper

The October Collage workshop will be here soon and I am preparing.  More Citrosolv papers to share.  I said I would update you about the National Geographic search.  I went to Sleepy Poet, a local antique mall, and found some—well, lots.  The guy that worked there had these for sale:

Note the brown boxes

Note the brown boxes

Seven years worth–in lovely boxed sets.  Total $10.00.  It seemed ridiculous to ask how much for one or two.  I bought them all.

Then I found the two from DSIL2.

Then I discovered that I really liked the size and weight of the ones I was creating with my ESPN mag.

Ain’t life funny?

The Sea

The Sea

This is #1, The Sea, in my collage prep series.  I have made a collage before, but always just sticking pictures together with no real purpose.  I read about using  a small sketchbook to do a collage a day.  The idea is that if frees you to explore.  This is a 6X6 sketchbook I bought at Arrowmont.  I like the size.  Not too much pressure.  I used some pearlescent watercolors, a greeting card, a magazine photo and a stamp.  I like the subtleness and the purple.

My Brain

My Brain

This is #2, My Brain.  This really is my brain.  I used pastels, washi tapes, the phone book, music paper scrap and a drawing of a brain.  Yes, the pink thing.  Then I wrote in some of my worries.

The “Everyday” thing doesn’t work for me, but that is okay.  I do like using a quote as a starting point.  I also have a collection of words snipped from magazines that could serve as a theme.  Anything to keep me focused.

hunger games pin

I’m doing a 30 day free trial of Amazon Prime.  Free shipping and free videos of movies and TV for $80 a year.  There is also a free book rental each month if you have a Kindle.  I watched The Hunger Games last night.  It reminded me again of how much fun it would be to teach that trilogy.  Then I reminded myself that students do not always see in literature what the teacher thinks they will.  Once, when I taught To Kill a Mockingbird to Juniors, I discovered that the dominant theme to many of them was Child Abuse, not Racism.  I think that shows how the world has changed.  It certainly supports the notion that responses to literature should be essays, not multiple choice questions.

Knee still wonky.  Don’t want to talk about it.

More later–

Citrasolv and National Geographic Mania

The Miracle Art Product which will also clean your tires.

The Miracle Art Product which will also clean your tires.

Do you make cards or scrapbook? Do you do collage or art journaling?  Do you wrap packages or just like making a mess that surprises?  If yes to any of these, you need to know about Citrasolv.  Citrasolv is a solvent that will dissolve certain inks and make wonderfully subtle patterns out of magazine pictures, not just any magazine, but a National Geographic magazine is what you really want to use.  Not even a new one, but the older style.  They have changed the clay based paper ones for a cheaper printing cost.

Well, I didn’t have A National Geographic magazine, or at least, I couldn’t find the one that my son-in-law had given me, so I just grabbed what was around.  I used some calendars, magazine covers,
some slick dark magazine ads, even some of that day’s junk mail.

A freebie calendar from a favorite yarn shop.

A freebie calendar from a favorite yarn shop.

First, I used Citrasolv on a few pages and I tested it right away. See the fingerpainting on this particular calendar print.  Once I saw that it would dissolve this ink, I began to play. I just put it on everything I had and waited to see what would happen.

The three-finger painting technique

The three-finger painting technique

I wasn’t sure anything was happening so I used my fingers to smear around on this W Magazine.  I thought it looked like really cool finger paint.

Note: My manicurist always says to wear rubber gloves when you paint like this. I didn’t. Had to scrub hands for a long time. Suggestion: wear gloves.

Pour then stack--or close magazine.

Pour then stack–or close magazine.

Second, after smearing the Citrasolv over the various papers, I stacked them and smushed them, and rubbed them around a bit.  If the ink wasn’t dissolving, I just trashed the page.  (The orange smell was nice.)

Smush and Pull

Smush and Pull

Then, even better, I peeled them apart and got these fabulous effects as seen above.

Purple marble page

Purple marble page

Finally, I saw that I had some neat blends and effects, sort of like marbleized paper, only easier to make.  Hmmmm, I can use these in bookmaking.

Old Vogue Patterns cover drying on the porch.

Old Vogue Patterns cover drying on the porch.

Anyway, I took the papers out on my porch to dry overnight.  Once dry they are ready to use.

ESPN magazine cover

ESPN magazine cover

I am going to explore what will write and paint on them.  I do know that alcohol inks work well, and many scrapbookers use those.  They also do well as a collage base.  I would even use the purple one for the front of a card without doing anything else to it.

Text page

Text page

Can you still see the model underneath it all?

another mag ad

Now, grab a friend or relative and try this.  The only hard thing is to find the Citrasolv Concentrate.  I looked and looked in cleaner sections, even the auto parts store.  I could find the spray, but knew I needed the Concentrate.  Finally, I ordered it from Amazon.com.

Next day I walked into Binders and it was sitting on a shelf.  Try your local art supply store.

Dang, this always happens.  So it stands to reason if I buy an old National Geographic, the one I have will show up.  Well, that’s a story for another day.

Great reference video is here.  Cathy Taylor does a great job. There are 5 parts to this series to show you other ways to play with this.

More later–

Sewing them together—Who knew?

Zen-with-sewn-stringThis is my new tangle piece.  The cool thing about it is the paper I used.

I’ve seen a bunch of travel journals that were just accordion books of pockets, very flat and purse friendly.  Inserted into the pockets were tickets and pamphlets and sometimes cards with journaling.  Since I am going to Chile this fall, I wanted to create one that would hold notes on what I get to see and sketches done on the way.  If I don’t keep a travel journal, my ADD brain will forget what I saw.

I have a lot of paper (understatement) and I wanted to combine some to make a heavier weight piece that would hold up under use.  I failed paste in first grade and have never recovered.  Well, once I discovered Yes! brand, I improved a bit.  Gluing them together would only give me a wrinkled mess.  I decided to try sewing them together.

Voila.  A piece of an old tablet that Cristi brought me from Sock Summit and a piece of lovely cardstock from a sale at Fedex.  I discovered that if I sew the paper together, I don’t get wrinkles or any other mar to the surface.  All kinds of paper projects have now opened up to me.

I grabbed a bunch of papers, like drawings that were not very good, painted backgrounds that were going nowhere, a map of the world from an elementary school text company, and I started sewing.  I cut them in different sizes, even cut them with tabs to help find things.  Why?  Haven’t I taught you that is a useless question when it comes to art and craft?

To test the results in action.  I took the first piece and decided to tangle on it.  But instead of drawing a string  to define the areas, I sewed it!

Sewn-stringHere is what the back of the tangle looks like so you can see the string.  I will tangle on this side as well—two for one.

If you have never sewn on paper, it is easy.  I like a smaller needle like I would use for sheers.  The paper will dull that needle quickly, but that doesn’t create a problem unless you try to use it for cloth.  You can drop the feed dogs as you would for machine quilting, but I didn’t.  The paper is so slippery that I could move it around any direction without doing that.

Another small advantage of this is that the narrow list-type pieces that I made don’t get lost in my purse.  They are sturdy enough to not crumple into a ball, but not so inflexible as a notebook is.  Also, they are pretty.  I like pretty.

My daughter who reads my blog is shaking her head right now thinking, “Oh, Mom, you need a job.”  But deep in her heart she knows this is how I stay sane.

Started a new knitting project.  WA-HOO.

More later–

An Austrian Journal made by me

I’ve been making some small notebooks and have learned to sew signatures to a cover to bind them together.  I really like this, but most of all I like making the pages that go inside.  Not the paper itself, but embellishing the paper.  Trying to have a theme of some sort.

My son-in-law Paul is always so supportive of my art attempts.  I decided for his birthday to make him a journal to take with him to a conference this summer in Vienna.  I slaved over this because I wanted it to be perfect.  I want him to be a bit amazed, a bit flattered, and a bit eager to write in it.  Some things were bought, some made, some stolen.  But I am so proud of it.  Somewhat like I felt about Winestains, the afghan I created from old swatches.   Here it is.  I will try to limit the photos to those that have something unique about them.  But I did photograph the whole thing—lovingly.  I hope you like it, too.

Paul is left handed so this notebook opens opposite from what we normally see.  Therefore the front cover is on the left side.  This is some purchased cardstock.  You can see the stitches for the three signatures in the journal.  I spaced them apart so he can add bulky things if he wants.Inside the cover I made a pocket and place the purple cardstock there so he would notice it.  The next page is a vellum piece with some pictures I stole from the net:  a map, an Austrian stamp and a vintage postcard from Austria.  The painted rock appears in the photos only to hold down the page.  (No, there is nothing I won’t Zentangle.)This shows one of my hand carved stamps made from an eraser.  The Austrian stamp features the actress Hedy LaMarr and the quote is one she said about American men.  You can click on the pictures for a closer view if you want to read the quotes.   Did you know that Hedy LaMarr holds a patent for a guidance system used to aim missles?  Go figure.

The woodgrain stamp I carved from a white eraser using some Speedball carving tools I bought online.  The left hand page features a picture of the National Art Museum and below, it’s name and the name of another museum of art.  When Steve and I went to Vienna, we went mainly to see the art of Schiele and Klimt.  Every single canvas was either in storage or on a tour of the US.  We wish Paul better luck.

This was printed from Printable Paper.net.  It is like the places where you can print free knitting graph paper only it has a huge selection of styles.  This is the landscape lined college rule paper.  Perfect for the center of a signature.  I used grey paper here.

I used a photo from a history magazine to get a picture of some 18th century handwriting.  Then I put it in Photoshop and made it more transparent so you can do your own writing over it.  There are several pages like that in the book.

Pockets are always insecure, so I included an envelop with a closure.  This particular one was used to ship some beads to me from China.  The leaf stamp was carved from a white eraser, and if you look closely, you can see the traces of some foam stamps carved with a ballpoint peeking through from the other side of the page.

I love using the brown wrapping paper.  The stamp at the top is another carved from foam with a ballpoint that I did.  The other pictures were borrowed from the net.  All of the quotes in the book are from Austrians and were hand lettered by me.  Most are in a sepia ink from Micron.

Freud had to be included as did my cathedral window stamp.  The painting is Steve’s favorite Schiele, a print of which hangs in our den and which is the one thing he went to Vienna to see.  She was in America.

The end page is another of the historical writing pages and I created another pocket inside the back of the journal.  The cover and it’s lining are sewn together by machine with a zigzag stitch and plain black thread.  The top is trimmed with Washi tape.  The corners are all rounded because I love rounded corners and because that is the only punch I own.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour.  Every thing I learned for this project is free online.  If you have questions, just ask.  Bookbinding  can be a great activity to do with kids and doesn’t have to cost a bunch.  Google folding books and have a go.

More later–

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