Monday, March 31, 2014

Friday Fun at John's

My friend John invited me for lunch and art time at his home last Friday.  It was a spectacularly fun day.  John suggested that we play the "prompt game" that he has used before with other art journal friends.  John would give us each a prompt to do in our journal and set a time limit for working.  Then I would come up with something and a time limit.  Back and forth we went.  By the end I was using a list of prompts that John has compiled as I ran out of ideas.  It was great fun and very freeing to work that way and with a time limit.  I felt free to try things I would not ordinarily do.  John, as always, did a wonderful spread, which he didn't think he'd finished when we finally decided to stop.

It was surprisingly tiring, this having all this fun!  By 4 PM I was done in (and I'm sure John was more than ready to get rid of me!).  I like what I've done in my journal.  I think it's finished....but maybe not.

Partial List of Prompts:

  1. add gesso and use a roller with a design carved into it to make texture on the page (I used black gesso) on a page I had previously preprinted yellow
  2. write in black Sharpie on your spread---either just words of a haiku (5/7/5)
  3. stencil a border around the spread
  4. use metal tape (the sort used in heating ducts---I have no idea what it's called but it is adhesive backed and you can get it at your local hardware store)---and tear out shapes to use on your page, then use black paint to antique them
  5. use a credit card to spread two colors on your spread
  6. use fiber paste on one side in three places, then fold your spread in half so the fiber paste spreads onto both sides of the spread---when dry, sand and then color with a spray ink
  7. find three photos or three words, or a combination of both, from a magazine and paste onto your spread
  8. stamp a repetitive design with a stamp or your fingers onto your spread
  9. use an image of an animal
  10. tear shapes from wallpaper and use
  11. thin gesso and then pour onto the spread, turn the spread and allow the gesso to drip---do this in more than one place
  12. use graphite pencil 
  13. use a white pen to follow shapes
  14. use a postage stamp
  15. add something to be the focal point(s) to the spread
I highly recommend trying this to free yourself to trying new methods in your journal or sketchbook. I learned a lot by doing this (and watching John work!).  

Thanks, John!  I had a wonderful time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

An Artful Journey Retreat

The Presentation Center
 I was lucky enough to attend the 2014 An Artful Journey retreat at the Presentation Center in the mountains near Los Gatos, California.  This is the second time I have been able to attend and it was, again, a wonderful weekend.  Lots of familiar faces, great teachers, beautifully organized by Cindy Woods, this retreat is among  my most favorite art workshop experiences.

my little, light-filled cozy room in Lower Saint Anthony
 Once again I took a journal class from one of my favorite instructors, D.J. Pettitt.  D.J. is one of those incredible people who can take something quite complicated and time consuming and teach you how to accomplish it in short time, with wonderful results!  How does she do it?

D. J. Pettitt explaining how she paints nests for our projects

She had wonderful photos of birds for us to use for our covers, but I had to use my own photos (of course....never pick the easier way, oh, no!  Not me!!!).  Besides being a truly talented painter, D. J. is also an amazing photographer.  The photos of the raven and the hummingbird that she generously shared with us were beautiful.

front cover, Indian fish eagle
Back cover, African wader of some ilk

I managed to create this journal in three days.  I finished at 3:54 PM on the last day, just six minutes short of the end of the class.  Of course, I had returned after dinner the night before and did several more hours of work on day two to make it possible for me to meet that deadline.

There is quite a lot of sewing involved in the construction of a journal ala D. J.'s style.  You sew your pages to a fabric hinge and then build the signature with these fabric hinged double pages.  You can wrap your signatures in what D. J. calls a "signature wrap", which is just added fabric pages that you collage together and then wrap around one signature or all of them.  You could make signature wraps for each signature, if that was your choice.  I also made fabric collages for the inside of both my covers.

Some pages have added fabric detail, some just have stitching to add texture.

All my pages were gessoed and then were washed with thinned acrylic paint, textured, combed, distressed....all sorts of various techniques were used to make the pages more interesting.

The spine of the journal is made of fabric and the signatures are sewn onto it and secured with buttons.  These are Victorian brass buttons I found on eBay or etsy.

detail of the front inside signature "wrap" and the first page of the journal
detail of the inside front cover and the outside of the front signature "wrap," which is cut from a piece of vintage quilt
D. J. Pettitt photograph, filched from her blog
Here I am in a photo from D. J.'s post on her class at An Artful Journey.  You can read her entire post here.
hallway in lower Saint Anthony cabin
 I loved every minute I spent in class, but to be totally honest, it was the camaraderie with friends old and new that made my weekend at the Presentation Center so remarkable.  My "roomies" in lower Saint Anthony, Jenny Messerle and Glenda Hoagland are women I already knew and loved.  Being assigned to the same cabin with them was the extra special frosting on the cake.  Both are delightful souls---kind, generous, open, wise and beautiful.  Besides, they are both amazing artists and I find being around them and their art truly inspiring.

Tres amigas
It was a magical weekend, from start to finish.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Results from Encaustic Printing Class

I took another printing class today at the Schack Art Center in Everett.  The instructor this time was Deborah Kapoor, who regularly teaches at Bellevue College.  It was a great class and I had a great time experimenting with encaustics and mark making on paper.  I have only done a very little work with encaustics and what little experience I have was with cold wax encaustic.  Working with hot wax today was a totally new thing for me and lots of fun.

I am not sure how I feel about any of the pieces I did today.  The one thing I am sure of is that it was fun!  I expect I will be trying encaustics with print making again soon.