July 31, 2008

Using Bleach as Ink

Posted in Art for beginners, Art samples, Beginner's art, Crafts, Learning art, Papercrafts, Rubber stamping, Techniques (art) tagged , , at 10:04 pm by amateur-in-art

I had wondered about and then read about using bleach as a type of “ink” for rubber stamps, and finally thought I’d give it a try. Here’s how my first attempt turned out. One large stamp, and then a smaller border-type stamp. Obviously – and perhaps I should make this a formal disclaimer – there was no attempt at “perfection” here, but I figure everything I do at this stage in the game is experimentation and learning. So I try to give myself a lot of leeway to make mistakes.

I was surprised when I got a yellow result from this. I was expecting either a lighter shade of olive or maybe even nearly white. I did read somewhere that “newer” bleach was better – mine is several years old, so perhaps that had something to do with the results. But then again, maybe the bleach just brings out the “base” color of the paper, whatever that might be – in this case, maybe, yellow.

To do this, all I did was to take a paper towel, folded fairly thick to sort of make a stamp pad, put it in an aluminum foil tray, like you get at the grocery, douse it with some bleach to get the towel good and moist, but not too soppy, and then used that for my ink pad. After inking the stamp, I placed it firmly on the paper and held it in place for between 20 and 30 seconds. I think the longer I held it on there, the heavier the impression, though it may just be that I got more ink on the stamp to begin with. You’ll see several places where there is a noticable ridge or lack of impression – my guess is that I just didn’t get the stamp good and inked at that point; maybe there was a dry spot on my makeshift ink pad.

As you’re doing this, it also takes about an additional 30 to 60 seconds, after you lift up the stamp from the paper, for the air to hit the bleach and start really giving you an impression. It is light at first, but gets bolder as it is exposed to air.

I like the results I’ve got, here. Kind of reminds me a bit of an old-fashioned Victorian wallpaper. I’ll definitely use this technique again. I like the look, and I also like the surprise of not really knowing quite what I’ll get (like the yellow).

© amateur-in-art, 2008

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July 13, 2008

My first attempt at ATC’s

Posted in Art, Art samples, Artist Trading Cards (ATCs), Beginner's art, Learning art tagged at 11:18 am by amateur-in-art

Once I realized the altered book was just too big – and that I was far too ignorant of even the basic methods and techniques necessary to produce something on that scale that would be meaningful and satisfying to me, I decided I needed to scale back. I’d try making just a single page.

Then I found out about Artist Trading Cards, or ATCs, and that seemed like the perfect way for me to take some baby steps and do some small experiments in methods, techniques and materials. For me, these are “artist training cards”. 😀

Here are my first attempts. They’re modest, but they’re a start. I had fun making these, and I like that they are simple, easy to do, and can be done sometimes in as little as an hour. Some of the details didn’t seem to scan well – (there’s thin white script on the black bars).


Obviously I still have a lot to learn, especially when it comes to scanning and posting. But like anything worth doing, I’ll just have to practice more!

© amateur-in-art 2008

July 12, 2008

So what is this blog about?

Posted in Art, Collage, Uncategorized tagged , , , at 11:54 pm by amateur-in-art

I’m the first to admit, I don’t have any idea what I’m doing. All I know is that I have suddenly and inexplicably become obsessed with a style of art, or collage, or expression, or whatever-you-call it – that I’m sure must have a term, but one which I’ve not yet discovered. “Vintage collage” – “scrapbooking with a twist” (scrapbooking it is not – but yet it seems to have many similarities, at least in tools, techniques, and methods), “altered art” or something else I haven’t yet determined.

My interest was first piqued when I went to a workshop about altered books – and since then, I’ve been absolutely hooked. As I’ve explored more through looking at books and websites, I’ve learned more about what I like, what I hope to produce, and I’ve gained a general sense of where I want to go with this “artistic enthusiasm.”

After struggling with the altered book (and peacefully setting it aside “to be continued”) I decided to scale back. I also started hitting the craft store all too frequently (as my previous post will attest) and acting like a scrapbook maniac on overdrive. I know that what I’m interested in is not scrapbooking per se, but it does seem like the kind of art I want to do bears some similarities.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this blog, nor where I’m headed with my “art.” This blog may be just a short-lived affair, or it may be a way for me to follow this particular muse at this time in my life. We’ll see.

I put art in quotes, above, because at this stage, it deserves quotes. I’m not an artistic type in any way, though I do consider myself creative and until I know I can produce something, I consider myself on the level of a third grader. I can’t even draw a convincing stick-figure!

But I think that’s part of where the appeal of this type of collage-type art comes in for me. Cut things in pieces? Paste and layer in place? Use pre-printed pictures? Rubber stamps? Pretty papers? OK! I can do that!

And so I shall try.

© amateur-in-art 2008

July 11, 2008

How to Spend Too Much Money at the Craft Store

Posted in Art, Art supplies, Crafts, Fun & frivolity tagged , , , , , , at 9:32 pm by amateur-in-art

1) Buy one item that’s on sale – This Week Only!

2) With money saved in #1, now you can buy more items not on sale.

3) Buy something unique and unusual that you see that will coordinate with #1 & #2. You must purchase it now, because you won’t remember later, and besides, you have the other items with you, which enables you to see how fabulous it all looks together.

4) Shop in sections of the store that you don’t usually go to. Find nifty item there that coordinates with #1, #2, & #3, which you must buy today for the same reason #3 was justified.

5) Find another item on sale, preferably one you’ve been waiting on buying for a long time. You’ve restrained yourself in the past just so you could buy it today, when it was on sale.

6) Since you have done #5, you now feel better about your purchases in #3 & #4. So you can afford to pickup several items that are just $2-$5.

7) Shop the dollar bins. Buy things you don’t need, “just in case.”

8 ) Because gasoline is so expensive, buy another item you might normally be tempted to wait on. This “saves money” because you won’t have to spend another $5/gal. to go to the store again later.

9) Decide at this point, you’ve accumulated enough purchases that another $2 or $3 won’t hurt, & pick up a few more stickers or papers or pens.

10) Realize you are now far over your spending limit, originally set for item #1 only, so you decide to use your credit card. This means you can spend money you don’t have! Proceed to do so.

11) Leave store with the weight of guilt and debt on your shoulders – but at least you have your scrapbooking supplies to assuage you! Decide to stop for ice cream, chocolate, or coffee (or all three if you spent more than $100!), to make yourself feel better.

12) Repeat next week, if not sooner.

13) If you can’t wait for #12, suddenly remember another item that is “essential” to your current project, that you forgot to get while you were at the store. Return to store, begin again at #1. Give yourself bonus points if the item you remembered in this step is on sale – you now have a bulletproof excuse to repeat the process!

© amateur-in-art 2008