On My Desk: Rich Layers

It has become painfully apparent to me, in recent months, how far behind I have fallen in my mail art correspondence. My list of folks to whom I owe mail is growing daily and I found myself stressing as to how I might catch up.

Working in series is not a new concept for me. Rather, I have done so almost from the beginning. Most times my series are limited to twelve pieces or fewer at a go.

It occurred to me that were I to create one large background piece, I could cut it into multiple postcard sized pieces. From there, I could either embellish further, or post in the raw.

The place to start? My local art supply dealer. I found this twelve sheet Strathmore Watercolor Pad (18″ x 24″) for half price! Gotta love that! Some quick math brought me to the conclusion that I’d get eighteen pieces per sheet. The pad would then yield 216 postcards! I was sold!

Strathmore Watercolor Pad (18" x 24")

Back in the studio, I used a common background layering technique. I began by laying in color with with acrylic paint in my chosen palette. Layering stencils over the color, using a spray ink came next, followed by bubble wrap and square punchinella applied with acrylic paint and a stencil brush. I used a large background texture stamp and black Staz-on ink overall and then added a large numeral stamp using red Staz-on ink here and there. Using a cylinder dipped in black acrylic, I stamped out a pattern diagonally across the sheet. Finally, I stamped a rich turquoise acrylic paint using a foam stamp of circles in the center area of every four black cylinder markings.

Whole sheet, rich layers

The above photo shows the final product. Below is a close-up cross section of the sheet prior to cutting.

Close-up rich layers

This view gives a better glimpse of the rubber stamping.

Once the sheet was completely dry, I carefully cut it into the eighteen postcards pictured below.

Sheet (18" x 24") cut into 18 postcards (4" x 6")

Here’s a close-up shot of the postcards, showing the rich detail of the layers.

18 Postcards Detail III

I’m not quite sure where I am headed with these. I’ll sleep on it and see what the ‘morrow brings….

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

On My Desk: A Li’l Bit of All Hallows Eve!

Most recently, I have been working on more seasonal pieces. A bit of spooky ghoulishness, if you will.

Retro Cafe Art Gallery (www.retrocafeart.com) ran the Gothic Tombstone ATC swap again. This was my first time participating and I had great fun with it.

Tombstones in progress

Tombstones in progress: humble beginnings

A bit overzealous, much of what I originally planned to include, ended up being swept aside for another time.

They turned out well, I think. Though if I’d had more time, I’d have experimented more and created two sets.

Finis

Finis

Here’s a closer look at each one:

Just yesterday, Kristin Hubick of Retro Cafe Art Gallery posted her photo of my pieces. It’s the best one by far, so I thought I’d share it with you here.

Retro Art Cafe's pic of my 2014 Tombstones

Quite flattering, I think. And I love her use of the stacked carpenter rules!

Mail art was not forgotten in my creepy antics. Quite the opposite, really. Using 6-pack carriers, I cut out twenty-six 4×6 pieces and went to town! This is the result…

Nosferatu (4)

Nosferatu (4)

Sadly, there were only four of the Nosferatu postcards. Bummer, ’cause they’re my favorite!

Saranac Old (6)

Saranac Old (6)

I had two different designs of the Saranac Pumpkin Ale carriers.

Saranac New (8)

Saranac New (8)

Finally, Magic Hat’s Wilhelm Scream carriers, with curved top edges, allowed for odd-shaped postcards.

M.H.W.S. (8)

M.H.W.S. (8)

Look for these to land soon, in a mail box near you!

Not sharing the backs, there’s gotta be some kind of surprise, right?

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

 

 

 

Studio Chaos!

Seth Apter (http://thealteredpage.blogspot.com/) has challenged us to share our studio work tables in all their messy glory in his collaborative effort, Studio Table Reveal!

Deciding to take the plunge, I knew I’d be in good company. Pop on over http://thealteredpage.blogspot.com/2014/09/studio-table-reveal.html to see in excess of eighty different artist work tables in various stages of artistic goodness! It just goes to show that creativity is a messy subject… you have to get in and get dirty!

My work table (an old farm table) rarely exposes a work space larger than eighteen inches square. Arty clutter surrounds me despite my attempt to follow the rule, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”

Studio Work Table in the Raw

Today, you can see several projects in various stages of completion, along with the supplies I’m using, scattered about the work surface.

In addition, I have a U-shaped work table that tends to accumulate art supplies, as well as serve as my sewing station.

Horseshoe Work Table in the Raw

Note the random drawers hanging open to the left of the sewing machine and the stack of supplies on top of the stool below… chaos suspended in time.

This challenge got me thinking about cleaning… I mean, when was the last time I thoroughly cleaned the place? But… I’m simply too busy creating!

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

On My Desk: Two Women

Mail art calls are a great way to stretch myself, to let go of my inner sensor and just run with the first thing that comes to mind.

It’s the most freeing thing I do in the studio. Suffice it to say, it doesn’t happen as often as I might like.

This week, I finally had some time to get down to work on a mail art call from Moan Lisa, whose theme was Two Women.

The imagery of the collage came together quite serendipitously. As you can imagine, I was ecstatic over that development and my mind played as I cut and glued, coming up with a tale to accompany the piece. Combining my two strengths in this way happens far less than you might think. Below, you’ll find the result of my efforts. Your thoughts are most welcome.

Two Women Descend A Staircase

The story is micro-flash fiction, that is to say it’s less than one hundred words in its entirety. Enjoy!

TwoWomenIII

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

On My Desk: Trial and Error

It seems, to me, that folks don’t just want to read about artists’ successes and their perfect projects. They want to see their crap and their mistakes, not to mention; their epic fails. So here I am to share a bit of that with anyone who cares to stop by.

Artists are an experimental bunch. We are continually inspired to see what happens when we use an art supply in a new way or when we use an ordinary, every day item as an art supply. In so doing, we make plenty of mistakes, throw away or rework numerous pieces often to no real end… Except, that in our attempts and failures lies the key to better art. We learn what works and what doesn’t. We push the proverbial envelope in search of new techniques, ultimately seeking that one piece that speaks to our soul….

My Trash Bubbles were born of this kind of curiosity… I call it the WHAT IF? mentality.

Over the weekend, after I finally let go of my glow-in-the-dark paint thing, (if you are unfamiliar with my dilemma, read more about it here: https://trashbubblesandlifeslittlebits.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/the-folly-of-hoarding-art-supplies/ ) I decided to add dripping blood to the top edge of my piece for the Dreadful Project.

It was easier said than done.

Specters in the Dark

Specters in the Dark

My background being black, I needed a medium than was red, would show up on the black and not blend in, that was thin enough to run, but thick enough that it would congeal quickly and not run down the entire page. That’s a lot to ask from any ordinary art supply.

Red acrylic ink and fluid acrylic paint were considered and dismissed because of their thin consistency. I thought about watering down an acrylic, but that seemed like a great deal of pain for something that would be very tempermental.

That was when it hit me! Why not use red candle wax?! It would be the right consistency for easy control and would set up quickly! So long as I had a rich, deep  red that could be seen atop the black gesso layer, I was in business!

I was so excited that I went straight to work! I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel… in this case, that meant the completion of my contribution to the Dreadful Project.

This is what it looked like when I finished…

Wax Blood on Specters in the Dark

Wax Blood on Specters in the Dark

It was pretty cool, except that the droplets were peeling up off the page, leaving them vulnerable to being broken off in transit or by handling.

Peeling Blood Drips on Specters in the Dark

Peeling Blood Drips on Specters in the Dark

Can you you say, “Epic Fail?”

I have since scraped the wax off and am back to square one.

Back to square one....

On a more positive note, I DO like the look that the Antique Linen Distress Ink Pad gave the specters. (Used in lieu of glow-in-the-dark paint to soften the bright white page showing through the black gesso.) I also like that my black on black Jane Hancock in the lower right-hand corner is readable.

Back to the drawing board… the deadline is looming!

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!

On My Desk: Go Bananas!

Go Bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S! Go Bananas!

Some of the folks at IUOMA really are Bananas, myself included. Once a year or so we exchange banana themed mail art in celebration of one banana holiday or another. This time, we were celebrating World Banana Day on February 21st and National Banana Bread Day on February 23rd.

In the tradition of my Consumer Consciousness series, I created the ‘Dole Banana Mandala’ and ‘Peel the Love.’

Can you Peel the Love?

Can you Peel the Love?

Twelve color copies of the mandala were made for recipients far and wide. Each piece was inked by hand in yellow which created the variations in shading. The original mandala became a birthday greeting for Anna Banana, who turns 74 years young this month. Peel the Love is an original, one and only. No copies were made.

Also mailed out in celebration was this little gem…

Paper Mache Banana-gram

Paper Mache Banana-gram

So far, I have received five pieces of return banana mail, the first of which hailed from Greece.

Banana Mail from Katerina Nikoltsou

Banana Mail from Katerina Nikoltsou

Banana Mail from Katerina Nikoltsou Side B

Banana Mail from Katerina Nikoltsou Side B

Banana Mail Mini Book from Rebecca Guyver, UK

Banana Mail Mini Book from Rebecca Guyver, UK

Banana Mail from Alicia Starr, USA

Banana Mail from Alicia Starr, USA

Banana Mail from Angie Cope, USA

Banana Mail from Angie Cope, USA

Banana Mail from Jennifer Phillips, USA

Banana Mail from Jennifer Phillips, USA

Hope you all had a very Happy World Banana/National Banana Bread Day!

Happy Trash to you, until we meet again.