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The one where I test out my teaching skills

2 Mar

Happy Sunday,

You my recall  that I hope to be teaching mixed media workshop classes at the Turnip Green Creative Reuse. I haven’t received official word yet, but a little birdie told me that it looks like I will be added to the schedule. YAY!!! In the meantime, I decided that I should practice teaching these workshops. After all, working in my art room by myself is very different than standing in front of a group of people and leading them through the various stages of a project.

So, I called upon a few friends who said they would be happy to be my “guinea pigs.” My overall plan is to teach folks to make their own art journal using recycled posters. Each time we meet, we will work on a new layout in the journal until it’s complete.

Here’s my art room all ready for the class:

Workshop1I did a simple saddle stitch binding on this journal. Well, I say simple. I was able to bind it on my own, but I flubbed a bit when I was showing the group how to do it. Needless to say, this is one area I will need practice!

Workshop9I decorated the cover to have a sample to share with the group. I used magazine pages and acrylic paints to create the focal elements.

Workshop2The group working on their journal covers.

Workshop4The cover I created working with the group.

Workshop7The group and their finished covers. Thanks, Jen, Marie & Breanna for playing student for the afternoon.

Workshop6I had the chance to teach a second class with another friend and here is the page I created (I’m not sure why I didn’t think to take a pic with her – Sorry Tina).

Workshop8I learned  a lot with these test workshops. I’m not used to starting and finishing a layout all in one sitting. Going through the process of working on a page, liking it, doing something and then hating it until I figure out how to “fix” it all a short period of time is a new experience. A bit uncomfortable to tell the truth. But I figured out how to overcome that. I’ll keep working on it for now. And I’ll be sure to announce my class(es) as soon as I get on the schedule.

Till next time,
Cheers,
Michelle

The one where I go back to my art journal

19 Jan

Happy Sunday!

I am continuing with my One Little Word, ACT this week by going back to my art journal. But first, here is my creative reminder to ACT:

ActI haven’t created in my journal since I went to the Estuary late last year so it was fun going back where this all started for me. I chose random papers to start and then covered the entire layout with gesso.

journal 1Next layer is some various shades of blue acrylic paints. J2I didn’t really  have a plan for this layout. I have been admiring Roben-Marie Smith’s work for a while so I think in the back of my head I had the idea to create something inspired by her.

J3I created this element using book pages and an old map.

J4The Nashville element was a leftover experiment from another art piece. I used Liquitex acrylic ink around the circles on the left side.

J5I added the little element at the bottom left using more book pages and washi tape. The border is Tim Holtz’ Distress Paint. I picked that one up a while back and hadn’t used it yet. I am happy to report that I LOVE it! The distress paint comes in a little tube with it’s own paint dabber. Super easy to use.

J8

J9I don’t think this layout is finished and I’m not sure where it will go from here. However, I’m really pleased with the it so far. Even more pleased that I took some time to create something for myself. I’ve been busy this week working on new items to take to  Atmalogy, so it was fun to work on something for myself. And I think that’s what I’m taking away from this week. I am working hard (ACT) to complete the steps necessary to make the move to being a full time artist. But all work and no play will quickly take the joy of being a full time artist away. So, moving forward, I will do my best to include some art play each week.

Till next time,
Cheers,
Michelle

The one where I visit The Estuary

8 Dec

Good morning,

You may recall that I was fortunate enough to get a space in Atamalogy in Nashville to sell some of my mixed media pieces. I went back earlier in the week to decorate my space and I’m excited to share that I have sold my first piece: Blue Whimsey!

Whimsical Blue Flowers

SOLD! Blue Whimsey

And here is what my space looks like now:

Studio Bukowski space in Atmalogy

Studio Bukowski space in Atmalogy

IMG_2301This week I’m working on new pieces to add to my space:

IMG_2348Yesterday, at the invitation of a friend, I had the pleasure of visiting  The Estuary. We participated in an art journal workshop led by an amazing woman named Larkin. Doesn’t this space look arm and inviting?

EstuaryFive women gathered to work on art journals. We began by writing what we wanted in our lives in our journals. After a while, Larkin led us through the layers to create our layouts. Of course, as we were working, we got to know each other, laughed a lot and had fun. It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning and I’m so glad I took the time for myself outside of my studio with some other creative minded women. If you’re in Nashville, I highly recommend checking out The Estuary!

I didn’t finish my journal layout, but here is what I worked on:

IMG_2353 IMG_2354

I look forward to finishing this layout and working on some more! What do you think?

Till next week,
Cheers,
Michelle

The one with little houses

7 Oct

Happy Sunday.

It’s been a gloomy day here in Nashville. We’ve been experiencing rain storms off and on all day and the temperature has been dropping. Quite a difference from the 80something degree sunny day we had yesterday but a great day to play in my art room!

Anyhow, my crazy work month is finally over and I am home again on the weekends. Which means I am back to painting on a regular basis! I can’t tell you how happy this makes me! Today, I’ve been dividing my time between the 3 foot by 3 foot canvas I’m working on for my friend and one of  my art journals. I finished the journal page so I’ll share that one.

J1A few layers of color applied with a pallet knife (well, a gift card being used as a pallet knife) started off the page.

J2While that dried, I painted a few book pages using acrylic paints (fluids and soft bodied). These pages will be used for my focal element; little house.

J3For the next layer, I added some stamps using white craft ink.

J4Using some of my recycled tools (bubble wrap, peanut butter jar lid, the plastic piece tape comes on and a cork), I added some texture and interest.

J5Each part of the each house was drawn on different papers (some of those painted pages and some scrapbook papers) and I glued them all down using soft gel medium.

J6The final element was adding “Home is where the heart is” in white drawing ink.

I’ve seen a lot of people use these types of whimsical houses in their art journals and I’ve been wanting to give it a try for a while. I’m really pleased with the way the page turned out so you will most likely see more of these little houses in the future.

I’d love to hear what you think so please leave a comment below.

Till next week,Cheers,
Michelle

The one where it’s my one year anniversary!

15 Sep

Happy Sunday!

I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since my first blog post; something I never thought I would do. In fact, the reason I started blogging was to hold myself accountable. I figured I would keep creating if I had to produce a post every week. And then I thought about it; for a long time. And kept putting it off.  I guess it was partly because sharing my art so publicly was a scary idea and the nagging voice in my head kept telling me that no one would care enough to read it. But I was talking about it a lot and one of my friends suggested choosing a date to launch and sticking to it. That was really good advice. Thanks Viki!

Over the last year, I’ve created a lot and tried to post every Saturday (and sometime on Sunday). I’ve received lots of good feedback and comments and it’s been more fun sharing than I anticipated.

So, I thought the best way to celebrate my one year anniversary would be to share some of my favorite pieces from the last year. Let’s start with the art cards:

art card 3

art card 6b

art card 6How about some of my favorite art journal pages:

J7

Challenge 11

LayoutAnd my favorite granola bar box canvas pieces:

canvas 9

C14

GB8It’s been a pretty amazing year. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve been developing my style. I’ve shared art journaling with a lot of people (on the blog and in person). I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for me.

Thank you for joining me on this journey.  I truly appreciate it.

Till next week.
Cheers,
Michelle

The one where I draw

1 Sep

Happy Saturday.

This week, I found inspiration on Pinterest (I LOVE that site).  An artist named Jessica Sporn shared a tissue paper and and stencil piece she created. I think what drew me in was her focal point, which was an angel she sketched using a paint brush. I love that she suggested loosely sketching the figure right on the canvas without fear of making mistakes.

Journal1I decided to use my symphony magazine turned art journal for this layout. A quick layer of gesso and I’m ready to start with tissue paper and some other random papers.

Journal2After that layer dried, it was time to sketch out my woman. I did use a pencil first, but I pretty much just traced over her with drawing ink. I did what Jessica said; I was loose with my sketching because I could always go back and “fix it.” Turns out, I was happy with my first attempt.

journal3Next I filled in the negative space around my figure using the technique Jessica shared in the video (linked below).  Basically, I applied my paint with a piece of plastic covered cardboard (I used a piece out of a snack box). I think it’s a pretty cool technique but one that you need to practice to have the amazing effect Jessica achieved. Again, I was happy with the way mine turned out. Remember, I’m looking for inspiration; not to copy someones work down to the last detail. I am sure as I play with this, my own artistic style will start to come through.

journal4

Journal5I used a quote from Tina Fey “Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.” Which I thought was perfect since for this is my first attempt at drawing a figure free form like this AND sharing it with you. She’s not perfect, but she’s not too bad.

journal6

journal7Another reason this appealed to me is because I’ve been trying to teach myself to draw faces. Not to do portrait art, but to draw whimsical faces to include in my pieces, like Jennibellie and Julie Fei-Fan Balzer.  I’ve been doing sketches here and there, but haven’t committed to real practice to find my style. Watching Jessica gave me the courage to just do it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll continue to work on faces in pencil, but I will also keep working on them in ink and paint. Cause practice makes “perfect”. Let me know what you think.

And here’s the link to Jessica’s video.

Cheers,
TIll next week.
Michelle

The one with alcohol and acrylics

10 Aug

Happy Saturday,

And before you ask, I mean rubbing alcohol, not the drinking kind! It’s been nice to finally get back in my art room and be free to create again. Between work and home renovations, I haven’t been able to paint in about 3 weeks. Way too long! So it was really nice this weekend to have the chance to work on multiple pieces (cause ya know, I have no patience for anything to dry!)

A good friend was kind enough to give me this:

Mag1I just love the size and shape of this mag! I decided to make it into another journal. Naturally, I started with the cover (and if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may recall I used these figures in my crayon wrapper layout recently – and thank you for sticking with me!)

I wasn’t sure what to do for the cover, but I remembered a YouTube video that shared a technique using rubbing alcohol and acrylic paints (the link is at the end of the post).

Mag2A generous layer of gesso…

Mag3Here’s my first layer of color. I blended Titanium White (Liquitex Basics)  and Manganese Blue Hue (Golden Artist Colors) and brushed it on.

Mag4Next is the fun part! I used an eye dropper to drip the alcohol (it was recommended to use 91% Isopropyl) onto my page. It was really cool to see the paint separate and form these free forms. Unfortunately  I had to wait for this to dry (see how having multiple projects comes in handy!)

Mag5For the second layer, I went with a silvery gray (I don’t recall what I mixed) and repeated the process. I have to say, I was pretty pleased!

Mag6A little more gesso to highlight the areas I wanted to draw on…..

Mag8I’ve been really having fun with flowers lately so it seemed like the right thing to do.

Mag9My cover is complete. I will share this tip with you: have patience and let your hand drawn with drawing ink image dry completely before you try to use soft gel adhesive.  Or you will end up smearing your sweet little butterfly like I did and have to go back once the adhesive really dries and draw it again.

Have you ever tried using alcohol and acrylics? Did you have fun? I’d love to hear about it. Hope you like this week’s creation. See you next Saturday!

Oh, and here’s that link (almost forgot) to the video: acrylics and alcohol don’t mix, do they?

Cheers,
Michelle

The one with my final journal layout challenge

6 Jul

Happy  Soggy Saturday! It’s been raining for three days here in Smashville (Nashville for you non-hockey folks) and it feels like there’s no end in sight. Good thing I paint indoors!

This week, I went back my art journal and began the final layout in my 5 layout challenge (read the original post here). This is what it looked like when I started:

journal 5This wasn’t speaking to me even a little bit. So, I covered both pages with gesso and started from scratch.

J1aI decided to do some image transfers and used these two pages. If you haven’t tried this technique, I highly recommend it (although it requires a bit of patience)! I used magazine pages (you can also use book pages, images printed on your home printer, photos – I think the possibilities are endless). You start by applying a generous amount of gel medium (I used Golden Regular Gel) to the image. You also apply a generous amount to the page.  Next, place the image face down on the  page and smooth out with a bone folder (this is called burnishing). After ensuring the entire image is burnished, let it set for a few minutes, (that’s where the patience comes in). Finally, peel the paper off and the image is left in the gel medium! This time, I was going for more color than image, so I did’t let it set up too long.

J2

I liked the colors and texture left behind, but it needed something….

J1So, I added a light purple color wash and I think it really made the background pop!

I wasn’t quite sure where to go from here, but I took inspiration from some of my other projects and decided to use my painted magazine pages to create flowers.

J3I had created these beautiful orange and purple pages for some cards and since I had leftovers, I went with that color pallet in my layout. I drew a bunch of different sized circles with my Winsor & Newton drawing ink, let them dry (very important or it will smudge!) and then cut them all out.

jOnce I had the configuration I liked, I used some scrap painted magazine papers for grass….

J4

Drawing ink and paint to create the stems completed the layout.

J8

J5Well, my challenge is complete. I started out with a single layout in 5 stages and now, they are completely different. Here are all five:

Challenge 11

Challenge 11

journal 4

journal 7

J4I think I like the blue one with the crow the best. Which one is your favorite? Share in the comments below.

Till next week.

Cheers,
Michelle

The one with glamorous whimsy

29 Jun

Happy Saturday!

Before I share this weeks project, I want to let you know I added some fantastic women to my blogroll. These women all inspire me in one way or another and I thought it might be nice to give them a shout out. In particular, my amazing cousin just started writing Scalarious; check it out if you ever wondered about living in blended family.

I’m always on the lookout for artwork that inspires me. One artist that always captures my attention is Teesha Moore with her fantastic use of color and the whimsical pages she creates. Using images from magazines, she makes extaordinary layouts that are a feast for the eyes. Since I’ve been upcycling magazine pages a lot lately, I thought I’d try using magazine elements as my focal point and create something a la Teesha.

I started here (and this time I’m working in my spiral bound journal which is 9×12)

J1They were in a pile of pages I’d pulled out of magazines because they spoke to me in some way or another. At this point, I had no idea where this layout would go. So, I prepped my page with a layer of gesso and then decided to use a sheet of tissue paper (which meant I could have skipped the gesso for once).

J2I added a wash of red watercolor which was too intense so I softened it with some gesso (and in the process, tore the tissue so I had to add more. Keep in mind when using tissue that it’s delicate to avoid this frustration)

J3I started cutting out my images and that is when the layout started to take shape. The diamond ring became her crown and the diamond pins became wings. The clock face was a natural backdrop for her.

J5I’m not sure what drew me to these elements; I don’t live in luxury nor am I dripping in diamonds but for some reason, all this silver glitter spoke to me. I do like how well they all go together; they are all in the same color pallet – black, white and silver. There’s no doubt what the focus is on this page.

J6

I added circles around the border of the page (repetition of the circle in the focal point) using 2 bottle caps and a wine cork.

J7I filled them in using various shades of red and white.

J8

J9I stopped here. I’m sure I could have added a lot to make this page really over the top. But I like her as she is. And sometimes you have to know when to stop.

All in all, I was really pleased with the way this page turned out. It’s not as fantastical as Teesha’s pages, but then, I’m not her.

I’d love to know what you think, so please leave me a comment!

Till next week,
Cheers,
Michelle

The one with art journal challenge #4

1 Jun

Happy Saturday.

You may recall a while back when I challenged myself to come up with 5 different designs from similar layouts (read the original post here). I’ve been working on the fourth one. It’s been a long process, but I finally finished it.

I started here:

J1Well, truth be told, I did tear off some of the layers of wrapping paper I had originally used cause it was just a bit much.

J2Last Christmas, my hubs and I made crayons for some of the younger kids in our families. As we were unwrapping crayon after crayon, I decided to save them  for, well, something. They sat in a bag for months until I remembered seeing a video where Donna Downey covered one of her journal pages in ribbon. So, I finally got that bag out and I loved the results.

J3I used Golden Soft Gel Medium to adhere the wrappers to the pages. And let me tell you, that was MESSY! But what’s better than being messy when creating something fun, huh?!

J4I love how it turned out but I let it sit like this for a long time since  I wasn’t sure what to do next. And then, earlier this week, I had the bright idea to add some circles (cause I love circles so how could it go wrong?)
This is what went wrong:

journal 1And how do you fix poorly placed circles? By adding more (sure, sure)

journal 2And since that is clearly not working, how about adding a second ink (an inferior brand that apparently will NEVER dry and makes me realize that I will never buy any other than Winsor & Newton again) to the mix?

journal 3So that when I got frustrated that a layout which had  started out so well, went south quickly, the inferior ink bleeds under the gesso I have added to fix my layout. I put this aside for a bit……. And when I was ready to try again, I flipped through one of my Nashville Art mags and found a few images I thought could help this page. Since it started whimsical with the crayon wrappers, it needed to finish that way. Once the images were found, I finally figured out how to salvage the layout.

journal 5I added (using the highly superior Winsor & Newton drawing ink) these whimsical curly thingies….

journal 6added stripes…

journal 7And these really fun musicians. And I’m back to liking this layout!

journal 8journal 9And as you can see, the crayon wrappers are still a vibrant part of this layout.

I’d love to hear what you think! Till next week,

Cheers,
Michelle