Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Pulse

Today is Sunday, so that means it's time for another edition of The Pulse. The Pulse is a survey in words and pictures of the online artist community organized and presented by the talented Seth Apter over at The Altered Page. This is the 5th edition of The Pulse and my first time as a contributing artist. Each Sunday I look forward to a big dose of inspiration along with my morning coffee as I meet new artists or get to know my favorites a little better. Check it out for yourself. You'll be glad you did.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Junk Journals from a Journal Junkie

What do you do when you're a paper hoarder lover who can't bear to throw out a single scrap of paper that is visually interesting? You sew those scraps together and make junk journals out of them, what else? Can anyone ever have too many journals? I think not.

Larger scraps and other fun paper become the journal pages. How many junk mail envelopes do you throw away in any given day? Put those suckers to good use.

My scrap paper bin holds endless amounts of paper: book pages, wrapping paper, wallpaper samples, candy wrappers, brown paper bags, envelopes, maps, paper projects gone awry, and anything else that I can recycle and reuse. It's endless because I throw paper in there faster than I can possibly use it up.

There are days when I sit at my sewing machine for hours randomly grabbing paper out of the bin and sewing it together crazy quilt style. It's just another way I like to relax. (When I'm not sewing little felt hearts or making marks with gouache.) It's almost hypnotic in a way.

Sorry, Mom. I'm sure you never intended for your sewing machine to be used in this barbaric way.

Yesterday's output. OK, it was really, really hot and the basement is so much cooler than the rest of the house.

Pretty little snips of thread.

So pretty that I like to keep them in a jar. (Hmmm. I'm beginning to think I may need help.)

After many months plus hours of trial and error, I've figured out a way to turn the sewn scraps into journal covers that I'm happy with. I've also used this method to make postcards and now I'm experimenting with little junk boxes.

I even made a few bitty junk journals with signature scraps left over from a few coptic journal projects. Even a take-out Chipotle bag found its way in there. I'm telling you--nothing is off limits when it comes to junk journals.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Halfway Point

I'm a little late in posting my halfway reflection in Pilgrim. It's hard to believe that 2011 is already half over. It's even harder to believe that I've managed to stick with this project for six months!

Once again, I dedicated a page to my reflections on participating in The Sketchbook Challenge. This time I thought about what has changed since my last reflection at the quarter mark. I think the biggest change has been in accepting that this book is a place for experimentation and I care less than I did before about whether or not I like every page. I also am not as bothered by drips, smudges, and overspray. I'm not as protective as I was in the beginning and now those imperfections just feel like part of the process.

Here is a page that went "unfinished" for quite a while. I've recently been very inspired by street art and graffiti and used that inspiration to add more to this page.

This page started out with inspiration from another one of my book sale finds--a book about Paul Klee--but then it took on a life of its own.

It's done with pencil and gouache over a sprayed background.

I think I would classify this as geometric doodling with gouache.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you're having an inspiring, art-filled summer.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Holiday Play Day

For me, holidays usually mean long, uninterrupted studio time, also known as a play day. This weekend I decided to work on something that I've been wanting to do for a while...something messy involving paint and paper. I have a big stash of paper that's been hanging around for, I don't know, maybe 20 years? It goes back to the days when I worked at a design firm and paper samples were plentiful and free. I've been slowly using it up over the years and most of what's left is dark with a linen or textured finish. It's too dark and rough to use for journals so I thought I could use it to make paper for collage or for artist books.

I also have a bunch of craft paint that I'd like to use up so I can trade up to Golden fluid acrylics. I need big girl paints!

I started off by using wax paper to make Rorschach monoprints. You simply blob some paint on the wax paper, fold it in half to make the design, then place your paper to be printed on top of the wax paper, and roll the back with a brayer. It's fun. It's random. It's instant gratification.

Check out this cool tool I found at the thrift store last week. It has a wooden brayer at each end and a handle in the middle. I have no idea what this tool is for, but I knew as soon as I saw it that it would make a handy studio tool.

I sometimes repeated the monoprint in different colors once the paper was dry. After that there was a lot of spraying, splattering, dripping, and stamping that went into each sheet of paper. It was a virtual free-for-all of good, clean (I mean messy) fun.

One technique that I really enjoyed is something that I read about somewhere--maybe in Cloth, Paper, Scissors--maybe not. I applied glue from a glue gun to the wooden roller above in random squiggles. Then, I inked it up with paint and rolled it over the monoprints. You can also do this with an old rolling pin. The best part is that the glue can be pulled off when you're done and you're ready to go with a brand new design or to use the original brayer. I really like the way it came out looking like some kind of a secret language.

The wax paper is good for a number of prints. You simply add more paint and start again. Afterward, it's pretty enough to be used in another project.

You can still see some of the original dark green paper that I started with. On this piece, I used black fabric paint to draw circles, then made a monoprint onto another piece of paper. I  put the second sheet on top of the first and used the brayer to flatten and transfer the image. I added the white and red circles by stamping with ordinary objects like plastic caps.

As usual, I'm not sure if any of these are finished or if I'll go back and work on them more. I still have a big stack "in process" that I'll most likely work on tonight and tomorrow while the studio is still a big huge mess. The results remind me of graffiti and I'm happy with the way they turned out. I hope you're having a fun-filled weekend wherever you are!