Category Archives: mixed media

Wanderlust 2019, Typography: Week 2

This week’s lesson (Imperfect/Perfection) was presented by Athanasia Papantoniou, from Greece. Athanasia’s page included chipboard letters randomly placed in the center with another chipboard word, Perfection. She made a tag with the letters “IM” and placed it near Perfection to indicate IM Perfection. You can read that as I Am Perfection or Imperfection.

Step 1. We started by priming two pages, one with white gesso, the other with black gesso.

p1140386Athanasia keeps white space around the perimeter of her pages and since this was going to be a 3D page, I left a margin toward the center of my journal.

Step 2. Add torn pages and stamp/emboss your own stickers. I’m still experimenting with making my own acrylic misters and covered up most of the stamping/embossing–used them anyway. Stamp the page, including some lines for journaling. Use a permanent stamp pad. It’s on my list of supplies.

Step 3. Add your stencil, using light modeling paste. Let dry (and dry and dry). I used my heat gun but finally let it dry overnight.

Step 4. Paint your chipboard letters in white and place them down the center. Not having letters, I used some wooden shapes, painted them white and glued them down with white glue. I weighted down the page at this point.

Step 5. Make dots of white glue, sprinkle with fine glitter and then coarse glitter. Shake excess glitter off page; save. Vacuum studio.
p1140397Athanasia is not a fan of glitter, so she covered most of it up with white gesso. I’m glad she added this step because I often like to use glitter.

Step 6.  Stamp over everything again. I used paint this time.

Step 7. Use a dry paintbrush to drop small amounts of mica powder; spray with water. Not having mica powders, I experimented with fiber reactive dyes and used them on the page. I had already been practicing spattering.


Step 8. Paint your word (Perfection) in black and place atop the white letters. I skipped this step.

Step 9. Make a tag from vellum. Use a painted reinforcement sticker around the hole and add some yarn as a tassel. Carefully glue to page. I actually used the tag for my word of the year, BALANCE, adding the “im” to indicate imbalance. I practiced with calligraphy pens; none were permanent. I practiced with a bottle with special metal tips–the next day I couldn’t make a fist and the results were shaky. I ended up using my Pitt brush pen. Do not use hair dryer or heat gun near vellum. Do over.

Step 10. Spatter the page using a paintbrush and thinned acrylic and add some journaling. I am the world’s worst spatterer, but this method actually worked well for me. Not so much with toothbrushes and a special spattering brush. Below is the finished page with detail.


NOTE: Athanasia likes to staple things down. I wasn’t keen on this idea, but I did use a little craft stapler with bright pink staples to staple down the tag so that no glue would show through.


In the interest of keeping balance in my life, I will make the dark page at a later time. I am working on finishing a quilt for entry in a local quilt show. I’ll write about that in a future post after it is finished. Till next time…



Artist or imposter?

Or maybe just student. I started an online mixed-media class, Wanderlust 2019.

I have occasionally dabbled in mixed-media art but have saved up more things, from ticket stubs to found objects to bits of electronics, than I will ever use. I gathered up all of my art supplies and bought some more. I got so busy at the end of the year, I didn’t have an art journal and hadn’t made any background pages. Last Friday, I just dove in and didn’t quit until yesterday. Now it’s time to get back to other tasks like The (Neverending) Photo Project and The Monster List. That Balance thing again.

Typography (Kasia Avery) was this week’s theme. I did two pages and plan to make one more about my word for the year (Balance).

Typography 1: Spray background with analogous colors, let dry. Tear words from dictionary (or print from internet) that depict your initials; I ripped out candy, calligraphy, and paper. I ripped papers and included an old business card I found the other day. Stencil on some designs with white gesso. Add some blotches of white gesso and scratch out your initials or name before it dries. Write in random thoughts.

give me a home with paint, paper and glitter

dictionary: use for weighing down stuff or collage

pen, mightier than the sword, it is.

where’s the fabric?

a day w/o glitter is just a day

some pens are the Pitts

scratched out cccp what?


Typography 2. Paint backgound with analogous colors. My red came out of the tube in a huge splotch. I could have scooped some of it up into a little jar, but just went with it and used a Catalyst contour tool to break up the monotony. I was going to add a complementary green paint so I sealed the page with clear gesso. Changed my mind, added green papers and cheese cloth and some glossary pages from an old dress pattern. Next I stamped the alphabet and words starting with “typ,” including atypical.

When I sealed the page, the stamped letters ran where they were on top of the clear gesso. I think it adds interest and you can still read the letters/words.

Here are some of my background pages (from Kasia Avery) which will be used in future lessons.

Misty Layers: White gesso (dry), spray four analogous colours (dry), spray one complementary colour (dry), sprinkle with water.


Tape and Paint: Tear random strips of low-tack tape, spread acrylic paint using analogous colours, let dry; rip off tape, place in different areas, paint; repeat. I pretty much covered up my previous tapings on green/yellow, but it’s an interesting background.

Peeled Paint: Thin layer of black gesso, dry. Spread metallic paint with cosmetic pad (cotton), wipe off with a wet cosmetic pad; repeat. I only had one metallic paint (other than black) so I used some glitter paint.


Doily Masking: Use spray mount to hold doilies in place; apply thin coat of thick gel medium with metal spatula. I purposely filled in the larger holes but should have left them plain. Peel off doilies (wash, do not dry); apply soft, dry pastels with paper towel (European term: kitchen roll). Seal with fixative.

Doily Lifting: I applied a doily to a dry painted background. The doily did not wick up color. I tried a thinner store bought doily; no luck.

Thread and Texture: Apply thin layer of clear gesso with metal spatula, place string/thread randomly, push down w/palette knife, add more gesso if necessary. Sprinkle on fine glitter, let dry; spread with thin layer white gesso. I used threads that I save up when sewing plus some small fabric confetti I save for landscapes.


Next week, the theme is Perfectly Imperfect. Woohoo. Till next time…


Let’s Play

I guess it’s been two weeks since my last post–I needed to fly up to Minnesota for a family emergency.  It was 30-below windchill when I got there and not much warmer when I left.  In fact it has been bitterly cold or sleeting/snowing here in NW Arkansas.  I hope this last snowfall is the end of winter here.  At least the sun is shining!  Well actually, the moon is shining but sun is forecast for the second day in a row.


I didn’t know what to work on when I finally felt like doing something–my work table was covered with art and bookbinding supplies.  I’ve been trying to get to a book about Halloween, requested by my sister, but just can’t seem to get started.  Whatever–I decided that I needed to organize my supplies just a little better so I could actually find things.  I saved three mailing boxes last year that I think will suit my needs, but of course I cannot just throw stuff in the box and label it.  Oh no, I have to decorate it so what better excuse is there to try new techniques.  My daughter and I were going to take a pastel drawing class.  I already had a box of soft pastels and then purchased pastel paper. Alas, the class was cancelled because not enough people signed up–rats.  Here are the supplies I used.


I forgot to take a picture of the first step, but I used the long sides of the chalk and covered my paper with whites, then starting in the center with the lightest to darkest, used all the neutrals (greys and browns).  Then I again started in the middle and blended it all with a blender stump until it looked like this.


Next I covered the entire piece with Golden Acrylic Ground for Pastels.  I used my metal spackling spatula because the brush was not working so well–I did about one third of the page at a time, spreading it vertically and then horizontally.  At the end I needed to catch the corners and left a little bit more texture.  I let this dry overnight but before I quit for the day, I free-cut some letters from a coffee cup sleeve from a place not Starbucks because the color was perfect and I loved the texture.  I used a toothpick to paint the edges to give them a little definition.  The paper is curled somewhat for this project; otherwise, I could weight it down after it dries to flatten it.


This morning at an ungodly hour I proceeded, mixing a little bit of brown acrylic paint with water in a mini-mister.  I set up a cardboard paint booth, laid down some wood gears, and sprayed.  Too much water, so I mopped it up with paper towel and then mixed up some black/water and used a brush to add some speckles.  Load a round brush with the paint mixture and tap the handle with another brush.


I try not to angst about my work, thinking that I ruined my pastel page–by the time I put the lettering on and whosknowswhatelse, I will have a nice cover for my supply box.  I have two more boxes to cover so I can try, try again.  It’s all good.

Here I have Mod Podged the lettering down.  Tomorrow (or maybe later today) I’ll decide how to finish the page and adhere it to the box.


Have a great day–may it be sunny and full of creativity.  When in doubt, make art.

How do you feel when you run out of coffee?

Depresso.  And I am depressed.  Winter is hanging on.  The bronchitis is gone but I have no energy.  I am overwhelmed by everything I need to do.  Okay.  I have a solution.  Let me know if there is anyone out there who delivers chocolate with a maid/chef/personal trainer attached.  That’s a start!

I should have read my last post to see where I was but we’ll just start fresh by finishing up that black heart.

I wanted to add some small heart beads to the end of the streamers but even the 1/8-inch ribbon was too wide.  I cut the ribbon tail in half, threaded half in the bead, and then just moved the heart up and tied a knot in the end.


Next I glued rocaille beads around the edge using Beacon 527 Multi-Use Glue.  This worked well but you have to hold each bead for a little bit until it’s ready to adhere on its own.  I used the same glue to insert the I-pin.  I was surprised at how well this held–I yanked on it with my pliers when my daughter mentioned using this as a purse ornament.  Well I didn’t get it done in time for her Black Hearts Ball but it will indeed hold up as a hanging ornament.  Next I knotted some more ribbon and twisted it around the doily, gluing the knots with the old handy-dandy glue gun.  To finish, I threaded on a ribbon hanger and added a mushroom hummingbird for a little color.  One of my daughter’s nicknames is Humminbird and I always glue something to the bird mouths in my projects.  Here it is, all finished and delivered.


So on one of the days when I thought I was better, I ventured out with my daughter for art and lunch.  While she was at the chiropractor, I went over to the 21c Hotel in Bentonville.  21c is no ordinary hotel–it also houses art from all over the world–the owners have three hotels and rotate items from their extensive art collection about every four months or so.  Alexx mentioned that one exhibit we had really enjoyed was back.  I have some photos from a previous visit with my point/click camera and they are not very good in the dim light but you’ll get the idea.  Unfortunately, this particular exhibit was closed for a private party so I need to get back there next week for better photos.  There are four trees, covered in fabric and flowers representing the four seasons.


The “ground” at the base of each tree is comprised of miscellaneous pieces of clothing and textiles.  I did manage to get some photos of other art and I’ll include those in my next post.  I’ll leave you with a photo of one of the mascots.  These are scattered around the hotel; you can request one in your room if you stay there, and sometimes you’ll find one outside your door in the morning.  And lunch?  Comfort food and tea at the Crumpet Tea Room.  Have a wonderful weekend.  I would really like to take off for Aruba or Tenerife where there is heat and sun but that’s not happening so I’ll look at my photos from Puerto Rico from a few years ago and turn all the lights on for awhile.  Be safe and healthy till next time.


Black Heart Ornament

If you’re local and so inclined, it’s time for Back in Black: The Return of the Black Hearts Ball at Crystal Bridges, Feb. 15, 8-11:00p.  Free for ArtInfusion members, $25 otherwise.  It’s kind of an anti-Valentine’s event.

My daughter wanted me to go with her but uh, no, it’s not for me.  All of her friends are coupled evidently.  Regardless, I have been thinking about the Abandoned Art Project and since I don’t have time to do anything for Valentine’s Day, I decided to make Alexx a black heart ornament.   First I traced around each crocheted heart for a template.  Then I cut out a corrugated cardboard heart and then cut out a duplicate.  I made a pencil mark on the insides so I wouldn’t reverse one side.  I did not worry about symmetry or perfection.


Next cut some strips from a roll of E-Z Form Plaster Cloth Wrap.  Be sure to only dip one strip at a time in warm water, run your fingers down the length of the strip and apply to your form.  Use your fingers again to rub across the strip to remove the holes and smooth it out.  This is a little messy so I only stopped to take one photo.  Next time, I’ll do a video.


Here I am starting on the second side.  Overlap and criss-cross the strips.  Again I was not concerned with perfection or smoothness but If you want your form to be smooth, add another layer using wider strips.  I only applied one layer here.  This was not dry after 1-1/2 hours and the hairdryer wasn’t enough to dry it either, so I dried it in the microwave at 2-minute intervals for 6-minutes.  The heart became puffier in the process.  I forgot to place a ribbon hanger between the two cardboard shapes so I used 527 glue to insert an I-pin and let it set up overnight.  I yanked on it this morning and it held, which kind of surprised me.  Next, I tried a method of transferring print to the back of the heart.  Basically, you apply some Mod-Podge and burnish your torn printed piece, lift up and the text will remain (backwards of course).  This did not work for me. Either I did not apply enough Mod-Podge or the surface was not smooth enough.  I will try this again in future.  I was using an article from the Parade on marriage and really would have preferred it to be a mirror image but hey, it had a grey background so I just collaged it instead.   In the meantime, you can give it a try.  Here is the link for Print Transfer Technique:  Let me know how this works for you.

I used Folk Art Metallic Sequin Black to cover the remainder of the heart, sponging around the text to soften the edges.  This did not want to dry either so once again, I used the hair dryer and let it set up overnight.  I wanted more sparkle, so I overcoated the entire heart with DecoArt Ultra Fine Glitter Paint (Ice Crystal Glamour Dust).  This needs to set up for 24 hours.



In the meantime, I dug in the old button box and added some ribbon to the crocheted heart.


Tomorrow I’ll be back to finish this project, so until then, have a creative day.  I’m venturing out of the house today–I need to pick up some pastel paper for a class and run some other errands.  The bronchitis finally seems to be letting go–I have coughed for over three weeks and have been isolated for way too long.  I’m off (way off).