#21embody – a selection 

I’m pleased with keeping up with the challenge despite the vertigo and actually the limits of the vertigo probably meant I used different approaches and techniques which helped push me creatively.

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Art goodies!

art stuff

A trip to Hobbycraft today let to a few impulse buys… They had a sale, I have no self restraint, it was inevitable…

So… The Windsor and Newton Promarker pens should have been £19.99 but my whole stash of goodies came to £21.25 overall!

Four shades of Daler Rowney Graduate acrylic paints.  A year ago I bought a large set of little Daler Rowney Graduate acryclic paints and I now have a better idea about which colours I like and use.  The sale was a good chance to pick up some of my most used colours in much larger tubes.

Posca paint pens; a 0.7mm black to replace one that’s running out and a 1.8-2.5mm bullet purple one.  I have lots of these in different colours, they are smooth and fit nicely in my hands and are easy for my poorly hands to hold.

And some half price gesso, of which I use a lot.

 

 

 

Image transfer

After years of seeing it on blogs and pinterest I finally attempted an image transfer myself. Mostly because it came up in last weeks wanderlust class.

Apparently it works best with a photocopy or lazer printer and gel medium.

I had pva glue and an inkjet printer.  But it turned out OK except the tail. I think it probably had too much glue or too much water on.

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Very quick how to:

Cover your image and the page you’re transferring to with a thin layer of pva. Stick the image image side down and smooth out any air bubbles. Leave. I left mine about ten minutes. Spray the image with water and start smooshing it with your finger, the paper will start to come off. In my case a lot of ink also came off but there is enough left on the page to satisfy me. Perhaps leaving it longer would result in blacker lines. The image I used was darker than the outcome but I like this faded vintage worn look.

Mediums

Before wanderlust I didn’t really know anything about mediums other than online crafty people used this thing called gel medium in much the same way that I’ve always used pva glue… I’ve been using gesso for about eighteen months now but that is the extent of it.

Now, I’m only just starting to realise how much there is that I don’t know about them.  we had a lesson about some of the main types of mediums, including why we might use one over another and a second lesson where Kasia took us through the process of creating a piece using different mediums.  Both have really helped me get a better understanding. There’s lots of info out there (which I’d never bothered looking at before) so this isn’t going to be a post about the why’s, how’s and what’s of mediums.

Realising there are so many different types and not knowing which ones to start with, I treated myself to a golden starter kit which helpfully came with a wanderlust discount. It contains:

Extra heavy gel (matte)
Regular gel (semi-gloss)
Soft gel (gloss)
Light molding paste
Coarse pumice gel
Clear tar gel

My starting point was to grab a piece of card and add a bit of each, playing with creating textures, peaks etc and then seeing how it look and held its shape once it was dry – a lot of the mediums dry clear and its obviously useful to know which before you slap it onto your art. Once dry I played with adding a layer of paint and seeing how that went on.  alongside this I also mixed each medium with a bit of paint to compare the results. I’m obviously picking things up from wanderlust because this kind of experimenting and testing and comparing is not something I’ve ever done before!  Normally I just start using things and learn as I go along.

I then got started with my project for this week – creating a mixed media landscape including different mediums.  As I got working I realised that as well as the different effects you get by applying paint with and over mediums, you also get a different effect by putting the medium over the paint. And it’s good to know which dry opaque in this case!

I don’t think photos will ever do this justice because of the importance of texture but left to right we have paint with heavy gel on top, paint mixed with heavy gel and heavy gel with paint on top. Top to bottom we have dylusions turquoise, dylusions crushed grape and white opaque ink. Chosen mostly because they were what I saw first on my art table. I’d be interested to have a play with other things such as gelatos, chalk pastels and paint pens.

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On the right, where colour is over medium, you get more obvious shadows where the nooks don’t get paint cover or in the case of the ink, it pools into the nooks. The middle, where medium and colour are mixed, offers a more solid cover. On the left, medium over paint, you get a mix of texture, that of the paint and that of the medium. The medium has the effect of pushing the paint backwards in the image.

Conclusions

If you like working with texture and haven’t seen dabbled in mediums, try a taster set like the golden one so you can compare different ones, find your favourite and learn what works well for different things.  And whilst I’m normally all for jumping in and just giving it a go, I think there’s value in doing some comparison first – you can always cut it up and use it in your piece later.

Wanderlust review so far

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(My take on week 15 which is about painted memories and led by Kasia Krzymińska featuring my Grandad as a young man)

We’re on week 15 of wanderlust and already it’s been a fantastic investment! Definitely well worth the price. I’d quite easily pay more for it. As well as techniques we’re learning about tools, materials etc

One of the sessions was hosted by flora bowley. I really admire her work and approach so it was great to have her teach.  She’s all about process not outcome and managed to explain some basics of colour theory really simply. But all the teachers have been fantastic.  And it’s all really well explained. Pitched as if you’re a beginner but not at all patronising.

I’ve been introduced to new artists, techniques, materials etc as well as given a chance to link with creative people all over the world.  Everyone is at a different point in their journey and it’s lovely to see how supportive people are being.

My highlights have included learning about acrylic paints (which is something I’d never really thought about before…), Flora Bowley of course, Mystele who introduced me to a grid approach to working (I love it!) and Kate Crane who gave us four videos of doodling and book making guidance.

One of my absolute favourite bits of the course is the five minute collage. One of my principles behind my creativity is that it shouldn’t be stressful and there are no rigid rules. On the course, people are saying they’ve done prompts wrong or can they use this instead of that. For me, there is no wrong, substitutions are great (the best tool or material is the one you have) and to become an artist you need to experiment.

Predictably I’m not managing to do all of the projects and follow along with all the challenges but I’m loving getting the inspiration and ideas and knowledge for the future.

Getting my mojo back!

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It’d been about a month of okish, it’ll do, kind of pages in my journal. They weren’t especially inspired or exciting but the outcome isn’t the reason for keeping an art journal. That said, when I managed to create these pages this weekend I was pleased/proud/relieved. Relieved because a month of so so pages was starting to feed the voice that says I’m not creative, I can’t do this etc. Some pages, not necessarily the most attractive pages, feel right. They make your heart sing a little. This is how I feel about this weekend’s pages.

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These pages were in response to a wanderlust prompt: what do i see in the mirror. My face was a photo printed in grayscale, glued onto the gesso and covered with gesso, paints etc. Much easier than trying to draw it and far less painful for my hands.

And if that wasn’t enough, I even unpacked (yes, I’ve moved house, whoop! But that’s another post) my scanncut machine to make a few cards.

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Art to heal

The idea of this piece is to work through a difficult situation or experience.

Stage 1:: gesso your surface.

Stage 2: cut out and glue down words which are related to your situation, experience or things you have lost. My canvas is about leaving work. I have applied to retire due to ill health which, at 29, is a very difficult thing to accept.

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Stage 3: cover the canvas in dark blue acrylics and modelling paste

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The idea is to cover the words but maintain some of the texture from them.

Stage 4: cut out stars and write on them what good you want to come from your situation. Paint them and glue them down, word side down. These are the shining lights in your darkness.

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Stage 5: this is probably more guided by the nature of your issue. In my case, it’s either about a huge ending or a huge beginning. And I’ve chosen to represent this using a crescent moon. Other suggestions include a full moon, large star, shooting star, planet. Think about what symbolises your situation or what it will look like once you’ve started to move on or through your issue.

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Stage 6: words. Perhaps there’s a particular word or phase which resonates or brings you peace. Use paint pens to add this to your picture. You might want to paint the edges of your canvas if they show.
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Stage 7: hang it somewhere you’ll see it regularly.

Nb, this isn’t about ignoring those hard feelings. They are there and ignoring them or forcing yourself to move on too fast is not helpful. Instead this process is about acknowledging the pain, and also acknowledging that it will not be this way forever.