Wednesday 18 February 2015

creating dynamic backgrounds

A while back I said that I would write a blog about possible supplies 
for creating a background in a painting or an art journal page. 
As I set out to do that today, I realized that the possibilities are endless!
So, I picked some basic ones to show here and I will list more ideas
at the bottom of the page.

Creating backgrounds with many layers is not only a lot of fun, 
but it gives your work of art a great deal of depth and interest.
It is a great way to experiment,
so be creative: cut, tear, crumple, form your supplies!

One of the great things about layered backgrounds is that there really are no mistakes.
Anything you don't like can get pushed into the background and made to fade away,
which simply creates more beautiful depth. 

Here are a few of the things that I use to create a background:

 Handmade paper: this paper is often art just the way it is!

Napkins/Serviettes: There are so many designs out now. One great place to shop for this is your local Dollar Store as they often have an inexpensive selection.

Tissue Packs: like napkins, you can find many patterned tissue packets 
and they layer beautifully in any artwork.
(Hint: for both napkins and tissues, 
peal away all the layers expect for the top patterned one.)

Every craft and art store sells patterned paper! 
I have found that I personally tend to prefer the smaller sized paper pads 
(around 6"x6") as they tend to have finer patterns on them.

 I use doilies both directly on my artwork or as a stencil.

Thrift stores always have old clothing patterns.
The paper is nice and thin which is great for layering. 
Sometimes I cut out the lines on the pattern and simply lay those down on my backgrounds.

Practise paper and test paper: save all of these! 
They are usually filled with colours you like, 
and are a wonderful way of making your background 
even more personal!

Gift tissue paper: so may colours and patterns to choose from.  
Like napkins and tissues, this paper is very thin 
and is great for adding translucent layers.

Acrylic paints, watercolours, guache, daubers, inks and sprays. I don't think there is anything more versatile for a background than paints and inks.  Be aware that some (like acrylic and many inks) are permanent when dry. Others, like watercolour paint, will bleed and move when any liquid is applied. To make water-soluble supplies permanent, 
seal them with a sealant (like this) before adding your next layer.

 Stamps, stamps stamps! 
These are soooo great for adding texture to the background
(and the foreground) of a painting.
Again! Remember to seal your layer if you are not using a permanent ink pad like this!

Oh my! I love washi tape and am *somewhat* addicted to it!
I bought the sheets of washi from Christy Thomlinson's on-line store (Scarlet Lime)
(Confession: I'm not showing you all the washi tape I have, 
and I haven't stopped buying it!
Hmm... I wonder if my husband is going to read this post!!)  

So, this is just a start. Really it is! 
There are sooooo many other things that I use 
(and that I don't use, but you might!)...

• sheet music (I use this a lot!)
• newspaper
• magazines
• wrapping paper
• wall paper
• post cards
• greeting cards
• postage stamps
• envelopes
• ephemeral of all sorts
• on-line images that you print 
(*you can can glue these directly, 
or use a transfer technique to put the image onto your artwork)
• pens & markers
• inktense blocks and coloured pencils
• mark making tools of all sorts
(perhaps that will be another blog post)
• gel mediums to glue papers on and to add texture 
(such as: this or this or this or this or this)
• book pages 
(yup, I have some books that I rip the pages out of 
which is an accomplishment for someone like me who loves books!)
• paper towels
• rub-ons 
(I usually leave these to the final stages of a painting or journal page, 
but they certainly could be used in a background)
gelli plate mono printing techniques

I'm sure there are other ideas out there ... if you use something that I haven't listed, 
please comment below. I'd love to hear what you use.

Happy art-making folks! 


Monday 2 February 2015

celebrate progress // try something new

One of the things I've wanted to do for a long time is try my hand at stamp making.
While I have been pretty busy with some new initiatives around art
{which I'll certainly share when I am able to!}
I decided to give it a try.

In a world of Pinterest and perfection
trying something new can be intimidating
to say the least, 
but forcing yourself to step out
bit by bit
will open new doors, 
and illuminate parts of yourself
that you may have never seen.

Here is a truth 
that God whispered to me one day
when I was fretting about areas of personal struggle:

"Look for progress, 
not perfection. 
That way you can celebrate 
any small advance."

So, with that I mind,
I tackle new things,
and I celebrate small advances in my life.

I have had a high density rubber block for quite some time.
It sat in a drawer, 
patiently waiting to be used for just over a year.
Today I pulled it out and carved my first rubber stamp.

I did not remember to take a picture of what it looked like before I unpackaged it,
but here is the chunk that remained after I carved into part of it.
{my carving tool, self-healing cutting mat and the product label are included 
in case you want to try it yourself.}

I made a simple leaf pattern and drew it directly on the block. 

For more complicated patterns,
I think I would draw the image on a separate paper 
and then use transfer paper to get the image to the block.

Here are a few pictures of my process and the result:

It is very simple and flawed, but I don't care.
It was totally fun!!
I'll add this to my stamp collection 
and use it in other art initiatives.

I'll leave you with this quote I saw today
{author unknown to me}

"Embrace imperfection, 
its a sign that you are not afraid 
to try NEW things."