Monday, 31 December 2012

New Year Circles

The theme at Thee Muses this week is circles.  I've been busy playing with techniques but wanted to do something for the last challenge.  So I made an 'out of this world' piece.
Happy New Year
I think it looks like the craters of the moon, hence the 'out of the world' reference.  It began as white card stock with a thick layer of gesso applied.  Into this I pressed various circular objects, bottle tops, pencil ends, paint brush ends etc.  Once dried I painted the whole piece black and then covered that with a blue / green gold.  Next came many, many layers in ever lightening shades of viridian paint using a dry brush technique, until the final layer was just zinc white (almost translucent).  In all I believe there to be approximately 25 - 30 layers.
I really wanted to use this piece for something so decided to take a photo into photoshop and add a seasonal greeting.  This is where the hard work began!

Becoming more and more frustrated that I couldn't make the words appear as I wanted I threw a hissy fit.  Captain Slow to the rescue....  he took the file and manipulated it as I wanted it and then gave it back to me (so technially, this isn't all my own work).

This piece now feels more like leather than paper but I don't know if it's due to the gesso, the paint or both.

Thank you everyone, for taking the time to look at my work this year and for leaving such wonderful and encouraging words.  I wish you all the very best for the new year and hope that it brings you everything that you would wish for yourself.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Let's get industrial

At Sunday Postcard Art today they have an open theme, which means I have the opportunity to play with my Christmas gifts, even though there is no relevance to the season.

Welcome to my industrial playing
Oh hello rust!
For Christmas this year I got some amazing stamps and embossing folders, many of which relate to grunge, industrial and steampunk.  Although one of the stamp sets randomly is Circus - a theme I don't care for too much.
I was playing around with a rust technique I found on the net and I love it.

It isn't my technique so I won't describe the process but instead I will recommend Andy Skinner, who is a genius :)

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Hope for the New Year

The Three Muses challenge this week is the Queen of Hearts.  My collage is a stylised Queen of Heart with my sincere hope for a New Year full of Peace and Happiness.
Hope for the New Year
 A fairly simple piece today because it's Christmas and also because I have the flu and have been in bed most of the day :(
Background is midnight blue card stock with hand drawn twinkling stars using a Sakura starburst pen.  The lower portion of the page is bead gel, for no other reason than I think it's pretty to look at.
The heart is red card stock painted with Deco Art Quinacridone Gold and then sprayed with sparkling sealant.

The wings and crown are grunge paper die cuts from Tim Holtz, painted bronze and the crown has red diamante attached.
To finish I attached a Tim Holtz 'Hope' ticket dusted around the edges with Vintage Photo distress ink.

Best wishes to you all this festive season, no matter what your faith:  Peace, Love and Happiness!

Thursday, 20 December 2012


I entered an ATC swap with the theme of 'Text'.  Any content was acceptable so long as there is some text on the card.  It was a very long turn-around (approx 2 months) before I could post these but finally, they are in the hands of their new owners and I can share them on here...  Hurrah!

Who's sending me txts?
 This one has a base of vintage text which I cut into random shapes and then glued to the substrate in various directions.  The design of the card was meant to be crisp, so I cut the paper rather than tear.  Then I applied paint to the edges, I think it was antique lined distress ink but I could be mistaken.
Next came three 1" squares that I painted with variously shades of yellow, orange and red.  The letters are chipboard covered in copper embossing powder and then clear embossing powder layer over the top.

 I found a quirky quote in an old Punch magazine and decided to make this the basis of the ATC.  The background is Dylusions spray ink in bubble gum pink and 2 shades of blue with a salt technique(draws in the ink to leave spots).  Next I stamped a row of little houses on vintage text and coloured them with Twinkling H2Os.  I masked the houses and then applied overlapping circles in bronze paint below the houses.  The word showtime uses individual stamps that I punched out from white card stock using a tiny circle punch.

I love this one.  The background is painted with various shades of orange, burnt orange and bronze.  I then splattered some turquoise paint across the card from my paint brush.  (I watered down the paint to flicking consistency first).  Next I applied a very thick layer of Viva Croc medium on vintage paper.  It took ages to dry but the effect was brilliant.  I then carefully applied Broken China Distress ink to the heart and pounced it until it worked down to the paper (I should have just done it on the back, but hindsight is a wonderful thing).
The print is from my computer, edged in vintage photo distress ink and the whole lot glued to the substrate.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Frosty Christmas

Last week I saw freezing fog for the first time in my life, it was stunning.  white covered everything including cobwebs in the trees. The sun shone but looked watered down or filtered through gauze.
I used this memory as inspiration for the Sunday Postcard Art challenge this week where the theme is Blue and Silver.
Song sung blue.....

I used a direct to paper technique with Tumbled Glass Distress Ink, and then smooshed it around with some dry foam.  Next came some music paper, for no reason other than I find sheet music feels festive :)  Stamping the stylised Christmas tree in Versamark, I then applied silver embossing powder and heated it.  Once everything was dry and cooled down I applied Rock Candy distress crackle over part of the tree and the music.  It takes a while to dry, which is why I'm late with my post today.

I applied more distress ink around the edges in Broken China and then in Chipped Sapphire.  Then I dripped some pretty large drops of water on the background.  I applied more distress ink to the cracks in the crackle glaze and dabbed on some white picket fence stain here and there.  I finished the whole lot off with a few random dots of Stardust stickles and a lovely silver bow at the top of the tree.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

You little sew and sew

A month or so ago I entered a swap to create a printers tray from a used Graze box.  (recycled boxes used to ship dried fruits and nuts)  We were each supplied with a used box and challenged to create a printers tray in the style selected by our partner - my partner chose vintage sewing.
Sewing / Vintage sewing isn't my favourite theme and I have no stamps or ephemera associated with it.  Not to mention that the Graze box horrified me and I couldn't see how anyone could make anything remotely attractive from it.
Top of the printers tray
I threw away the entire content of the Graze box, cut off all flaps and anything that stuck out!  (These things are all fold and tuck).  I then covered with sacrificial paper, just to add strength and cover the nasty brown recycled box.  I bought some chipboard sewing ephemera and used a tailors dummy on the lid.  I used pink in the centre and brown on the edges although it looks green in the photo.  The paper on the outside of the lid is gorgeous although I can't remember the make
Inside Lid 
On another tailors dummy I applied shabby pink embossing enamel and printed out a sewing image I found on the net plus some buttons.  The edges here are covered with Tim Holtz tissue tape.

I had thrown away the inside but made divisions using poster board and my hot glue gun before covering the edges with tissue tape in pink. The base of the tray compartments are some of my favourite papers and one I made myself.
Inside Printers Tray
I filled the compartment with various ephemera and images I found on the net, except for one item.  I went to an antique fair and found a real vintage packet, containing real needles so I bought this and added it to one of the compartments.  Needless to say I didn't glue it into place.  My swap partner has received it now so I am able to share.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Full steam ahead for Christmas

I've had a great time creating this piece but unfortunately taking photo's of it has proved very difficult.  I've included an extra photo to try to capture it, but even that doesn't do it.
The background is white card stock, dry embossed with watch parts and gears.  The whole piece was painted in acrylic paint in brown.  Once dry, I dry brushed with Veridian mixed with interference green.  Over that, I dry brushed with copper and once that dried I dry brushed with bronze.
Steampunk Christmas wishes to you!
I just couldn't seem to take a photo that really showed the colours and texture.  Above is without flash and below is with flash.  Imagine a combination of the background below and the tree above.

What a flashy little tree :)
The tree was create in four layers.  Each cut out originally in green card stock and then covered with aluminium tape (Not the same as kitchen foil).  For each layer I created marks to represent rivets and some patches to indicate it's not new.  All was then glued to a final base layer before I applied Mars black paint to distress and knock back the shine.

To finish it off, I painted some press studs with black paint to represent wheels and then sorted through my stash of watch parts to find brass parts to glue to the tree base as tree ornaments.

I hope you get as much pleasure from looking at the pics as I did making it.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

I have strayed from my path again!

I was well underway for my entry to the Three Muses challenge this week.  I had the background made and the primary image worked out, then my Craft Stamper magazine arrived and the front cover showed a lovely Gothic image, I thought it would be fun to try.  I not sooner began the technique than I started to change it and do it differently.  This is now absolutely nothing like the example in the magazine, but I'm happy because it's now 'my technique'.
A different technique than originally intended
The background is Dylusions spray inks in Lemon and Lime.  Then over stamped with Archival monarch orange (I found some children's texture stamps in HobbyCraft and bought a pack - did the small and mediums dots brilliantly)
Then I over stamped the background again with London Fog and a wallpaper background stamp.  I over stamped again with London fog and a pattered heart stamp.

The Gothic Arch window is an Invoke Art stamp that I stamped in black on white card stock and then cut it out.  Next I covered it with Versamark embossing ink and Tim Holtz Black embossing powder (first deviation from the magazine instructions).  Then I applied pearlex powder in copper around the edges and a mint colour in the centre.

Next came more Versamark and this time clear embossing powder (next deviation from magazine) Then I decided it makes it look like old distressed copper and at this point I completely ignored the magazine :)
Applying another 2 layers of clear embossing I let it cool and then over stamped it with Moonlight White ink using a 2nd impression (stamped once off the image to remove ink) and then a second stamp on the image.

I mounted it to gold Miri board and then attached it to the substrate.  The red heart is punched from a magazine picture and glued to the window.

This is a technique I will definitely continue to play with but my deviation from the magazine directions made me think of the Albert Einstein quote - which I printed from my computer and then attached.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Christmas Bauble

Years ago (15 approximately) I used to love drawing in Corel Draw and creating digital images but slowly my interest waned and it was always more fun to work with real substrate and mediums.  I've had Photoshop for a long time and have only used it to sharpen up images, adjust lighting and remove red eye.
I was lucky enough to receive a Wacom tablet for my birthday some months ago and thought I should put it to use today.
You won't see this often, but here is my first attempt at digital art!  (I'm cringing already)
I still have clean hands!
All images are just random from the net and I manipulated them in Photoshop Elements 11.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Hat's off to Paris!

I had to go to Paris on business on Sunday and have returned tonight (Tuesday).   While I was away I was thinking what I could do for the Hat's challenge at Three Muses and decided, in honour of Paris, to do a Zetti type person wearing the Tour Eiffel.  Content sorted, I just had to finish the work I had gone to do, come home and paint it.

Imagine my utter surprise when I opened the Air France magazine on the plane home and found - a photo of a woman wearing an Eiffel Tower hat!

Paris is as lovely as ever - tres magnifique!

I decided to change my plans and rather than draw her, I would put her in my art journal.  So today there is no painting or close ups, what you have here is a Zettie style art journal page, with a lady in a hat.  It's my art journal page of my trip to Paris this week.
The other collage elements are all from the Air France magazine and the background is sprayed with Dylusions inks in bubble gum pink, turquoise and lime green.
Doodling is with Sakura Gel pens and Sakura Souffle pens and also with a Sharpie, permanent marker.

Thanks for taking the time to look at what is basically my journal!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Rainbow Trout

Over the last week or so I have been playing with a negative space technique and have used it on this piece.  What it means is that I didn't paint the fish, I painted the space between the fish.  If that makes any sense.
The fish I didn't paint!

This is an A5 piece painted on high quality card stock.  I covered the entire substrate with various colours of translucent Golden Fluid paints.  I chose bright colours and, because the paints are translucent, they show the colour underneath when you paint over them.  (let them dry before you paint over)
As you can see below, it was really an exercise in covering the paper without creating muddy colours

Once it was dry I used a French handwriting stamp across the whole of the page in Archival French Ultramarine blue.  Using a pencil to draw the outline of the fish, I then outlined again in white paint before applying lots of Gesso to fill in the space between the fish.  I built up lots of texture but it's hard to see from the photo's.  In real life the white seems to have the texture of water swirling around the fish.

I then outlined the fish with a black permanent marker and applied some white dots using the end of my paintbrush.  

Most of my art is bound into books, but I really like this one so I framed it for a while. 
Credit to Andy Skinner for a video that got me playing with this technique.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Look into my eyes

For the last few weeks I have been working on a recycled mini book for a swap I entered.  It's been a lot of work but I've loved every minute of it.  The only thing missing was the cover image and so decided to use the Three Muses theme for this week - Eyes.

Recycled mini-book
 There are so many techniques and pages I won't go through them all here, but for those who would like to see all the pages you can view them on the Flickr slide show here:

The book is 1.5 inches wide, 2 inches tall and .75 inch thick.  It has 3 signatures of 2 pages each which has been hand sewn to the outside of the cover using waxed thread.  In addition to the book, is a book holder which is made in matching style also with an eye impression.
Inside Cover
The book is made from a frozen pizza box, off cuts of various papers, some scrap fibres and pieces of canvas.  Also included were some tiny pieces of art I had left over from making inchies and ATCs.  The book cover and book holder are made from printer paper, sprayed with inks and then collaged with tissue paper, stamped with an eye.

One of the inside pages showing the binding.

Book with open pages and the book cover
I also made a YouTube video of the book and describing each page that you can see here

Monday, 19 November 2012

My little Christmas angel

The challenge at Take a Word today is angels.  I always have such great things I want to do but time conspires against me.  I bought an artificial Christmas tree on Wednesday and we were looking for an angel to put on top.  This is my inspiration for my piece today, which I had lots of fun creating.
Oh Joy! I haven't had so much fun since last Christmas

The background is covered in 3 shades of water soluble wax crayon in green and then I sprayed over the top with some pearlex pearl powder in water to give it a shimmer.  Then I applied some Titan white golden paint through various stencils and stamped a checker board pattern in Ranger archival ink in coffee.
Next I did a direct to paper dragging across the whole piece with Distress Ink in Iced Spruce.

For the tree I stamped with Forest Moss and added Stickles in festive berries and starburst.  Next I stamped the wings on white card stock and coloured with Inktensils and also sprayed with the pearlex water.  Once the wings were dry I applied a little Golden Gel medium on the top and sprinkled on some DecoArt Glamour Dust to give a little sparkle.    I stamped the Stampotique boy onto the background in StayzOn and stamped him again onto white paper.  Using the Stampotique boy as a guide, I glued the angel wings to the background before colouring the white card stock version of the boy with Inktensils and gluing him over the top of the other layers.

The Christmas lights across the top are hand drawn with Stickles in Festive berries for lights.  The text is typed on my computer before being glued to the background.  I finished up by attaching a small red bell to the top of his hat!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

A Swarm of.... what!

I was looking forward to lots of challenges this week and had lots of ideas, but as the days went by I became so busy at work there was no time for art.  For the  Three Muses Challenge where the subject is animals,  I had wanted to do a painting of a King Penguin, but knew I wouldn't have time this evening, so I went the quirky route and did what else...  a swarm of zebra!

I wonder if a swarm of zebra make the 'bzzzzzz' noise
My aim was for a pictured book style and painted the background in watery acrylic paint and tried to do some layers but hadn't used water colour paper, so the paint layers are not as many as I would have liked to do.

The baby zebra image was found on a wild life site and I printed out 13 of them in different sizes before colouring their white stripes yellow.  The wings are painted in Lumiere Halo Pink Gold,  cut out and glued to the background.  I thought the stamp 'Think and Wonder' from Artistic Outpost was the perfect match and completed the piece by stamping it in Ranger Coffee Archival ink.

It was dark last night when I had finished and I couldn't take photo's which didn't have big shadows on them.  Even at 8 am this morning there are still shadows from my lamp so apologies for the very bad photography.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Peek a boo!

I have always loved tribal masks and own a few that I hung on the wall.  A few years ago I decided to do a painting of a tribal mask from the Pacific Islands  (I lived there most of my adult life).  This is a piece that I've had hanging at home and I decided to post this, rather than do a quick painting of a mask for the challenge at Three Muses today.
I can see you!
The piece is painted in student grade acrylics on stretched box framed canvas and measures approx 60 cm x 50 cm.  I should print him out and use smaller versions in my journal pages!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

I'm all heart today

I recently entered a jumbo ATC swap and I chose to do the theme 'hearts'  I produced three different types of techniques and put each one on a jumbo ATC.

The first heart is the faux metal / gold technique I further adapted and used in a recent piece.  I've have fallen in love with the burnt orange / turquoise colour combination lately.  So stunning in real life.  Here I used Golden fluid acrylics to mix up the colours before applying to the Matt board.

The second heart is rust technique, which isn't faux, it's real rust.  Its created by painting the heart with iron filings and then applying vinegar.

The third heart is faux tin, that I've also used on a piece recently.  It's a simple heat embossing technique that has the shine taken away by distressing with black acrylic paint.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Having a cracking time!

The challenge at Three Muses is Timepieces so I decided to post a piece I made for my partner.  The piece has been created in a smash journal, which is ring bound with various types of paper.  This piece is on high quality print paper (hence, there is no paint!). 

My grandfathers clock was too old for the shelf so it stood 90 years on the floor
 I started by drawing a rough shape of a long clock with a black marker.  I then drew a circle where the face of the clock would be and coloured it with very dark brown distress ink.  The whole background is coloured with Tim Holtz distress inks in various colours from the brown / blue range.  I used a blending sponge most of the time but also used direct to paper technique.

I had the clock face in my scrapbook paper stash (I think it could be Tim Holtz) which was the perfect size.  I cut it out and then applied a VERY thick layer of Tim Holtz distress crackle paint.  It was incredibly thick but didn't run off the edges.  Putting it somewhere it could stay undisturbed for 24 hours as I watched  it curl and buckle.  They straighten up once you crack them flat again

The clock face was edged with brown distress ink and then glued to the background.  The wings were stamped, embossed and have a metallic paint effect applied prior to being cut-out and glued.

The base of the clock has chains and little penny farthing bicycles to represent the weights with a coin as the centre weight.  All the metallic elements are glued using glossy accents to prevent them coming lose.

The various quotes and sentiments about time are all printed on my computer using Albertsthal Typewriter font and then glued to the page.

For those wondering, yes he does sometimes use the smash book to stick 'guy' stuff in: beer labels, strange diagrams I don't understand, and he writes the weather in it sometimes too - go figure!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

My heart was broken

I learnt a valuable art lesson today with this piece.  When things go terribly wrong with a piece, don't throw it away, just keep working it until the problem is resolved.

I am so pleased I did.....

My heart is full of hope
Because this piece went through a major rework, it has a ridiculous number of layers.  I'll omit the error layers in the description, so as not to confuse anyone.  The first layer was gesso, followed by high build molding paste through a stencil.  Then came golden fluid acrylics in red, white,  yellow and my new favourite Iron Oxide (it sparkles).
While that was drying I used a gel medium transfer technique on the cherubs to put them on canvas (worked really well).  Then I used a scrap of canvas as a stamp and randomly stamped with heavy paint.
The wings are grunge paper, painted brown / black then embossed with silver, then again with UTEE to give a look of tin.  Distressed them with black paint to knock back the shine.
The large heart is a technique I've been playing with for a few weeks.  Card stock with high gesso peaks, texture paste, bead gel and high lift molding paste.
Next I applied paint techniques using burnt umber, fine gold, fine bronze, teal, white and some more iron oxide.

The heart shape was torn from orange card stock, painted it with Lumiere paints and then glued it to the base card before stamping with a crackle stamp.  It was finished off with some random stamping and my trusty oil pastels.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

I shouldn't scare myself like this.....

I usually avoid scary movies, scary books and scary Halloween!  This week on Three Muses the theme is 'Something wicked this way comes'.  I started with a piece but it was too scary for me so I started again with the piece below.

Deciding to take a less horrific approach, I painted up some white card stock with Lumiere Halo Blue Gold paint and then stamped and embossed some skeleton keys down the right hand side using distress ink black embossing powder.

How lovely to see you darling!
Using artists canvas I painted a half a face with Golden Liquid paints.  I discovered that if I mix the paint with Windsor and Newton Matt Medium, it forms a great crackle, so I used that on the hair.  

The eye is orange with a red shadow at the top.  The text was edged in festive berries distress ink and then I dribbled cranberry alcohol ink down in a couple of spots to represent  blood.  I finished off the end of the dribble of blood with some glossy accents to make it look still wet.
For those who have a love of all things ghoulish and horrid, I have put the unfinished piece I did below.  The monster / ghoul thingy is a transfer technique using heat resistant acetate.  I will probably delete it from this post after Halloween because it's just not my style.  If anyone would like this postcard piece, I'd be happy to send it to you (or else my shredder!)

Sunday, 21 October 2012

It's halloween!

The challenge at Sunday Postcard Art this week is Retro Halloween.  I'm not really a fan of Halloween and always struggle with art for this holiday.  However, it wouldn't be called a challenge if it was easy, would it :)

I'm such a lonely pumpkin!
I coloured white card stock with both yellow and orange water soluble crayons and then wiped it with a baby wipe to spread the colour.  Next came some quickly hand drawn buildings on a hill.  For some reason I painted them with Mars black rather than colour them with a marker, which would have been much quicker.

Next came stamping across everything in Archival Sap Green ink and a cobweb stamp.  Then stamping again with the same stamp but with Monarch Orange Ink.  I notice it looks silver on the photo where it overlaps the Mars Black paint.  (Might have to play with this as a technique)

I drew a pumpkin and coloured him with Inktensils in orange, yellow, dark brown and light brown, then applied a little water to spread the colour and blend.  I drew around the outside of the pumpkin with a deep blue inktensil and applied water to give a soft outline.  The moon was hand drawn on white printer paper and painted with silver paint.

Finally I stamped around the bottom edges with a leaf stamp, first in StayzOn Black and then my favourite London Fog.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

A little bit vintage

This weeks challenge at Three Muses is Vintage but I struggled with any real clear concept of what I wanted to do.   After some playing around this is what I eventually came up with.
What about a Pimms darling!
The background is white Neenah card stock, with an open flower design stamped and embossed in white detail embossing powder.  I put some Vintage photo and Broken china distress ink on my craft mat and then spritzed it with pearlex powder mixed with water.  Then I dragged the paper through the various inks.  Drying the paper between each dipping.

Next I inked up some Claudine Hellmuth sticky back canvas with Antique Linen distress stain and left that to dry while I stamped an coloured the Vintage lady.  Once everything was dry I assembled as you see here and to finish I stamped the word Vintage at the top and a definition of Vintage at the right hand side.

Unfortunately you can't see the fabulous shimmer coming from the pearlex powder in this shot.  In real life it sparkles with silver.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Time for the movies!

The word at Take a Word Monday is Poster, to represent a crime move poster.  I wasn't sure what I would do with this until a thought struck me.

This is the first time I've ever done a mono-chromatic piece and I have to say I did enjoy it once I got started.
I'd love to see this movie 

I started out by making a mask for the door and then used tape to mask the lighted area through the door.  I mixed Mars Black and titanium white and painted the walls and floor.  A quick search on the internet found me the silhouette of the man, that I tweaked in Photoshop to get him the right size.
Removing the masking I attached the man in the doorway, painted the light shining through the door with a little, black, white and some silver.  The shadow is black and white with a touch of red.

The words were always going to be a challenge, so I fussy cut the word WHO? and added some red to represent blood.

No texture on this piece, which is rare for me but I do like the starkness of it.