April 19, 2009

Soul Journal – Day 20 – Bookmark

Posted in Art, Art for beginners, Art journals, Art samples, Beginner's art, Collage, Learning art, Rubber stamping, Soul Journal tagged at 9:37 pm by amateur-in-art

Also as part of Day 20, we are to make a bookmark. In the original Soul Journal, the bookmark was part of a swap, but that was many months ago, and I’m not sure I’d want to give away mine anyway (it has its flaws, but it’s mine).

Actually, I ended up with two bookmarks. The first one I started by doing a photocopy transfer using acetone (fingernail polish remover). I had already torn up my photocopies of Day 6 and so I did the photocopy transfer using strips from that page.


It is a really simple technique. Just lay the photocopy face-down on the page, dab the back of it with acetone, burnish – and there’s your transfer! You can see the area where I transferred the orange/yellow panel with a pattern just above it in this picture. Here’s a picture of the final version, below.


I didn’t like the “stripe” that showed up in the middle of my tag. It is some sort of aberration in the paper or something, I think. Maybe it has to do with how they were manufactured. Overall I like this tag, but clearly it needs more work and is just a beginning. I wasn’t sure what to do or where to go to next with it, so I just tossed it aside and started afresh.

This time, I took torn bits from Day 18 and covered a tag. I used the stamp that is my avatar (the half-face of a woman) but because the surface was uneven, it did not stamp well.


Undaunted, I pressed on. I had just seen some fabulous new stamps from Tim Holtz at the store, and knew I wanted to use the flying bird image and the “Soul/Journey” phrase on my new bookmark!


I decided to give embossing a shot. I had gotten a heat tool and some embossing powder a little while back and had not tried it yet. This was all new to me, but since I had already made one mistake I wasn’t happy with, I figured I had nothing left to lose. So I did that, and although the image turned out much stronger with the embossing (an important lesson) – it still did not stamp correctly, due to the uneven surface of the different bits and pieces of paper glued down together. I was really disappointed that the “The Journey Awakens the Soul” phrase did not come out well.

But onward I must go. I wasn’t sure what to do about the really messed-up stamp in the lower right, but decided to use a piece from a collage sheet, add some ink to distress it, and use it to cover up the bad spot.

Distressed next to original

Distressed next to original

Positioned and outlined with dyed string from tag

Positioned and outlined with dyed string from tag

Now, to work on the back. I still used torn up bits of paper from Day 18. Then some letter-stickers spelling out “Soul Journal” and a tag-type sticker, cut in half then reattached so it would not be so big, where I wrote in the years. Then I outlined them both with a thin-line marker.


Then I added a pink ribbon at the top, with two jewelry charms from (love the name) Heart & Soul. One is a key and the other says “Trust in Your Dreams”.


Here you can see the details on the charms and you can see the other side of one of them says, “Be Free.” A few other things to point out in this detailed view. Before adding the ribbon, I also dabbed on some pigment ink around the reinforcement around the hole, on both sides of the bookmark. I took my heat tool to dry it – but I think the heat may have made the color shift just below the hole in this picture – where the two red lines are, see how it goes to black in the middle of the green, just underneath the hole? Finally, one other detail. As a finishing touch to the whole piece, I used some yellow watercolor and edged the whole bookmark, on both sides. It really gave it a nice look, overall. (You can compare the difference by looking at the back of the bookmark, and the picture preceding it which is the front, without the yellow trim.)

I definitely like this bookmark much better than my first attempt, and although I wish the “Journey Awakens the Soul” part would have turned out better, I still really like it, overall.

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© amateur-in-art, 2009

April 7, 2009

Creativity as an act of faith

Posted in Art, Art for beginners, Learning art tagged , , , at 10:17 pm by amateur-in-art

I’m reading Letters to a Young Artist by Julia Cameron, and the part I read just recently I found very inspiring. In it, she says, “creativity is an act of faith.” Creativity requires courage, the courage to take that first step forward, write that first line, paint that first stroke, and proclaim to the world “I am.” The rest of the world may say what we do is foolish. That perhaps we shouldn’t even try. But we do it anyway.

She also writes about our “inner critic” who declares our work boring or irrelevant. Our analytical side wants our creativity to go in a straight line – but creativity seldom flows that way. It is a meanderer, wandering from here to there like a dog leisurely sniffing out the neighborhood. Sometimes, creativity wanders so far away, it strays into a dead end. But what Cameron says is – that “creative cul-de-sac” may be leading you somewhere. Follow it, and see what happens. And if you do so, it can never be boring.

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© amateur-in-art, 2009

April 5, 2009

Soul Journal – Day 20

Posted in Art, Art journals, Beginner's art, Collage, Learning art, Papercrafts, Soul Journal tagged at 5:00 pm by amateur-in-art

At last! It’s been a long while since I posted about my Soul Journal. I’m still doing it, just moving very slowly. This is actually good news, though – it means other areas of my life are also picking up, creatively, and so I’ve been working on a lot of other endeavors, off-line.

Enough with the intro. Today’s assignment was to use our photocopies of previous SJ pages that we made on Day 19 in our artwork today. I was stumped for a long time on this one – I just didn’t know what to do. I wasn’t even sure what to do with the background, to even get started.

I had bought some spongy foamy letters with the idea of using them as stamps, so I decided to try that.


I didn’t really like how this turned out – silly me, again stamping or trying to bridge the gap on the center of the book. And wasn’t sure I liked the color on either of my pages, but shrugged it off and kept moving.

I had kept the latex glove I wore when I traced my hand on Day 17, with the idea of using it at some point in some future art project. I wasn’t even sure if I’d use it in my Soul Journal or not. But I did like the look of it, and I decided this would be the place and time to use it. I put it on the right hand page (resulting in an unintentional pun), I think because of the weird way-out color I used. I thought the glove would “go nicely” with that page color.


Once I did this, I really started being able to move ahead on this page – at least the right side. I slipped some paper inside of the glove to give it a little color and subtle interest, using polka-dotted paper down in the fingers, and paper from photocopies of Day 17 inside the wrist part (which aren’t that visible here). I used a small circle punch and also tore up some bits of photocopies from Day 18, and used these as like “rings” and “fingernails” on the hand. I added a photocopy of the button-“ribbon” from Day 18 as sort of a sleeve cuff or bracelet, and put a heart from Day 17 on the middle of the hand. I like it!


I still really wasn’t sure at all what to do with the left page. I tried a few things – using a paint spreader with “teeth” (which turns out, looks just like “fork painting”) using a small stencil with hot pink paint (I still don’t know how to stencil well), and spread a little here and there, too – it reminded me of blusher!


I still really didn’t like this. I took some “Pewter Gray” paint and spread on top – it came out too strong so I wiped off. I didn’t like this too much, but I did really like the overall effect that this gray had on things. It toned it down a lot, and softened the colors very much. I will have to remember to use this color in soft wipe for future when I want to tone down the overall color of a page or even just make it look old and distressed.


Meanwhile, I had remained pretty stumped on what else to do with my photocopies. Finally, I decided just to weave them together. I used some from Day 18 and also from Day 17. Day 17 is what I ultimately ended up using.

Starting to weave

Starting to weave

Finished weaving

Finished weaving - copies from Day 17

I laid this down on my page to see what it would look like – and really didn’t like it. Ick!


Finally, I just decided to scrap the whole thing (the left page, that is). I realized that although I had a lot of different colored paints, I didn’t have just your basic black. So, when I went to the store to get that, I also saw the great strong green color, like the ink I had used on Day 18. I thought this green would be fabulous on a black background, so I decided to just go with solid black with some “skips” of the green. I used a craft stick to put on the green.

(Bad news though. Some of the black got on to my Day 18 page, around the corners. I guess I got some on my wax paper that I had underneath the page – and didn’t realize that it had seeped under to where it would get onto the previous page! Argh!)

I had done more weaving, and decided the piece I had (shown above) was too large for the page. I had another piece, that was more rectangular, and decided to use that. I also felt using a small piece of purple paper sort of as a mountboard and frame would help unify it as well as set it apart. Yeah! I like this much better! It is so much stronger!


While at the store, I had also come across some of Tim Holtz’s Grungeboard. I got the “elements” pack because I really liked the swirls and flourishes, as well as some of the other items included. I didn’t realize when I got it, though, that it was not chipboard. Instead, it is more like leather or soft suede. I like it, I just didn’t think it would be as flexible and pliable as it is. I found that even the intricate details were well cut, making punching out easy. I thought I’d use this large flourish across the page.


I decided this was too big, though, and that some of the smaller flourishes would be better. My intent was to use the remainder of the grungeboard as a stencil, after I punched out the items, and I wanted to try it on this page. Like all of my stencil work, I had only limited success, but that is not the fault of the product but rather, of me, because I still have difficulty keeping the stencil smooth to the surface and getting a clean impression. I had to do some touching up on the image.


But I like the result in the end, and I like the way both of these pages turned out!

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© amateur-in-art, 2009