Posts

My Etsy Shop Reboot

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope all of your holiday plans are coming together.  I am super behind this year- I haven’t even finished decorating my tree yet!  And we won’t even talk about the fact that I have no idea what to give my husband… sigh. Part of the reason I’m so behind is because I’ve been working so hard on my new line of mixed media jewelry I’m selling in my Etsy shop.  I’ve done a reboot and now, I’m using the Etsy platform to sell only my new line of mixed media charms.  What do you think?!

 

etsy shop

Getting Specific about my Etsy Shop

I opened my Etsy shop in 2012 as a way to sell my mixed media art, but I never managed to make it work.  I was too scared of everything, I suppose- shipping especially.  Shipping can be confusing anyway, but add in so many different sizes, the cost of packing materials, and constant anxiety that my pieces were going to arrive in pieces (see what I did there?  I’m hilarious, right?), I ended up paralyzed and as a consequence never had any sales.  So, I decided to give up on Etsy.  There were lots of other ways to sell my work, right?  I showcase in a local art store in Wilmington (Going Local), I’ve recently started doing art fairs (another post that will becoming soon), and I’ve done a few commissions.

It wasn’t until I began making mixed media jewelry that I started thinking about Etsy again.  I knew that if I wanted to be successful on Etsy, I needed to simplify my shop.  The jewelry I’ve been making was the perfect solution!  They’re small and light (which makes shipping so easy and inexpensive!), I can complete each charm quickly, and selling only my jewelry keeps my shop clean, neat, and specific.

 

Etsy Shop Charms

 

So, I’m giving Etsy another try, and I have to say, after selling 5 charms within 12 hours of my first listing going live, I know I’ll be able to be successful at it!

 

Future Plans…

I have a lot of awesome plans in the works, plans that I hope will be as exciting for you as they are for me!  First of all, I’m working on a line of in depth projects and tutorials that are project based and filled with basic instruction, money saving tips, and fear-blasting encouragement.  Youtube tutorials are necessarily short- around 15 minutes in my case.  I speed things up to fit them in this time frame, but in doing so there are a lot of details you might miss, and consequently, there are still a lot of unanswered questions.  I will still be posting those videos to youtube, but now I will also be slowing things down and adding a lot of instructions and tips within the videos, as well as having some kind of printable guide for you to use and refer back to when you need it.  Awesome, huh?  Stay tuned for those coming in the future!

 

Etsy jewelry

Abstract Encaustic Maps with Layers of Color

There are so many artistic possibilities that are unique to encaustic painting. Achieving these kinds of transparent layers would be difficult, if not impossible, with any other painting medium.  It’s the main reason I love encaustic painting so much.  These encaustic maps have grids that are layered on top of one another.  They appear to be floating almost, and are noticeably at different levels within the painting.  Love it!

By the way, if you’re interested in purchasing this set, it’s listed here.

 

img_3392-compressor

Abstract Encaustic Maps

If you read my last post (also about abstract maps) you’ll know that I love the idea of the history behind the streets and grids that maps display.  How each city developed into what it is today fascinates me- the changing neighborhoods, the forgotten infrastructure, and all the hidden stories that these lines represent were constantly in my thoughts as I created these pieces.

Have any of you ever seen those shows that take you underneath the streets of a city?  They show you catacombs and sewers, modern infrastructure and historic, hidden places.  I love watching those shows, and I always wish that I was there with them.  The idea of touring beneath the streets of some of the most historic and famous cities in the world, learning the history and imagining the lives of the people who once stood where I would be standing, is so fascinating to me.

 

img_3387-compressor

 

Although these small 6×6 encaustic maps are not representative of any specific city, I imagine those hidden streets and sewers each time I see these pieces.  I created them organically, drawing the lines and shaping the grids quickly without references.  They really just represent possibility- how everything is created a piece at a time, and is constantly evolving.  Once thriving places will decay and be forgotten over time.  Maybe in the next life I’ll be able to understand the truth of what happened in so many of these places.  That would truly be awesome.

 

encaustic-maps-mock-up-compressor

Interested in purchasing this set?  Click here!

Square Quilling in Mixed Media Art- “Building Blocks”

Boy, it’s been a long time since I finished a project!  Two weeks… that’s an eternity. My husband and I are both in a local musical- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and it is taking up A LOT of time.  (I’ll be making some gifts and scrapbook pages related to the show, so stay tuned!!)  However, I’ve been wanting to try square quilling shapes, and so I decided to put them to use on a piece in my “Colored Splashes” line of artwork, this time using square cookie cutters instead of circles.  (For my first in the series, visit this post.)

square quilling mixed media art

Square Quilling and Ink Splashes Video Tutorial

  • I used a set of square cookie cutters, brushed india ink onto the edge, “stamped” it onto the surface, and then spritzed the wet ink with a bit of water.
  • Don’t go too crazy with the water- you only want it to feather a little bit, and you should still be able to see the square shape.
  • I use multiple colors and stamp all the shapes I want while the ink is still wet.  You can let things dry in between applications if you wish, but this way the colors blend together a little and adds more interest to the piece.
  • After the ink dried, I used the same cookie cutters to cut out square holes in a scrap piece of paper.  These were my masks so that I could use stamps on the surface, but only in certain places- the paper caught the unwanted ink.
  • I had some leftover chipboard frames from some Scrapiniec chipboard pieces I had used in other projects (This chipboard is so awesome- the layered pieces especially!) I made sure all the edges were white by painting them with gesso, then adhered them to the surface.
  • Now, for my quilling pieces!!  I use Gel Medium matte to adhere them. I also stacked a few on top of others.  I’ve never done that before, but I love it!
  • The last step (which I should have done a few steps before… oops!) was to take my calligraphy pen and my ink, and sketch a few lines over the squares and around the piece.
  • Finished!!

square quilling abstract art square quilling art square quilling art with india ink square quilling abstract mixed media art

This piece is for sale here.

So, who else has fallen in love with square quilling shapes?  🙂  I thought so!  If you try any of these techniques, please leave a link for me.  I would love to see them!!

PearlEx Calligraphy Art- “Rivers of Truth”

 

PearlEx CalligraphyHi everyone!  I hope you all had an awesome Halloween.  🙂  I have a new video for you today showcasing a technique I experimented with this weekend.  I shared a little bit about it in my last post.  A calligrapher I know on instagram shared how she uses pearlex powders to create bright and colorful inks that work perfectly on black backgrounds.  I couldn’t wait to try it, and though I will confess that I made mistakes and need to practice this technique quite a bit more, I had so much fun and I hope it inspires you in the same way I was inspired by colorsofchrist.

I’ve had these black canvases for awhile, and I had actually started several paintings on this particular 6*6 canvas.  They all looked terrible- I just couldn’t make my vision a reality with the paint and the ink I was using.  So when I saw how well these inks stood out against black, I painted over what I had done before with black gesso, and started fresh.

  • I built the background by adding 3 torn pieces of Tim Holtz’ tissue wrap, using matte gel medium to adhere the pieces to the canvas.
  • I wanted to dirty them up a bit, so I splattered some black india ink, spritzed it with water, and let it dry.
  • Now with the text!  I concentrated my writing in the crevices between the paper pieces, varying the size of my writing and using three different colors.
  • I made quite a few mistakes-  there were several times my pen blotted a large amount of ink in places I didn’t want them, and trying to clean them up just made those spots worse.  I was able to clean them up a bit by painting over them with black paint.
  • When I do this again, I need to be careful of how much powder I add to the water.  I think when I had too much powder was what made it harder to manager.  Also, not overloading the pen nib would help, as well.
  • I added some modeling paste over the paper, in specific directions.  I let it dry overnight before I began to write on it.  Once it’s completely dry and set, it’s much easier to write on.
  • Since this ink is fairly easy to smear, especially if it gets wet or damp, I sealed it with a coat of Krylon crystal clear acrylic coating.  Now I can rest easy.

 

 

I’m looking forward to trying this pearlex calligraphy ink with lots of different color combinations, and hopefully improving my calligraphy skills a little bit, as well.  I definitely need to work on not overloading my pen nib, being more patient so I can achieve a better result and not splatter and leak all over the place.

pearlex calligraphy mixed media artpearlex calligraphy art

 

Thank you for reading!!  Do you like adding calligraphy or text to your art?  What do you think of this technique?  I’d love to see your projects!!  Leave your links in the comments!

 

Why it’s Important to Keep an Art Journal

keep an art journal I love history.  Old journals, documents, newspapers… they all tell stories that otherwise would be lost and I’m fascinated by them. I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I love keeping journals, especially art journals.

Keeping a personal history is important, though I will confess that keeping a personal history was not what I thought I was doing when I began art journaling. In the beginning, I thought of it as a way to practice new techniques, and then it became a means of inspiration to create when I was paralyzed by fear.  Now in hindsight, art journaling has taken on a new meaning for me.

As I’ve been working on making my art journal a daily habit, I’veseen my progression as an artist.  My first pages were pretty terrible and unimaginative as I was trying to figure out the how’s and why’s of what I was doing. I used to be embarrassed by those pages, but as each blank sheet of paper metamorphoses into something colorful and full of texture and layers, I can see reflected in those pages the changes I am going through as a person.

There are a lot of qualities I see in other successful people that I just do not have, but I want to develop. I’m not a morning person.  I am easily distracted, and I give in to my fears way too often, sometimes without even realizing it.  I get frustrated with myself a lot because of these things, but when I look through my art journal, I can literally see my progress- and not just as an artist, but as a person.  As I flip through those pages they serve as encouragement for me on days when I’m feeling overwhelmed.  I am progressing as a person.  I am making changes and I don’t need to be frustrated with myself.  My art journal has come to serve as a reminder for me to have patience with myself and to keep working, no matter what. I still have a long way to go, but I will get there.  It may take me longer than it takes other people, but that’s ok.  I’ll get there. And when I doubt that, all I have to do is look in my art journal.

I know that I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed by my weaknesses, or frustrated when I compare myself with other artists and come up short.  Were all human, and we all feel this way sometimes, to one degree or another.  But if you keep a record of your progress, you will be able to see how your hard work pays off and it will help you realize that you are making progress.  Even if it’s a tiny step at a time, that’s ok.  We can make our dreams come true!

These two pages are a couple of my first art journal pages ever.  They are pretty terrible, obviously, but I am grateful for them.  They are bricks in the foundation of my art, and represent the time and hard work I put into becoming a better artist.

keep an art journalkeep an art journal

These next two, plus the first one at the top, are the newest pages I’ve created.  I still see a lot of weaknesses in each page, but they also show new techniques I’ve been practicing.  A calligrapher I know on Instagram (colorsofchrist– she’s fabulous!) showed how she uses pearlex powders to create bright colored inks that stand out wonderfully against black backgrounds.  I didn’t waste any time!  I had to try it, and though I need to add a bit more powder to get the same richness of color, I loved adding bright text and splashes to my black pages.

keep an art journal

I created the background for these bottom pages with modeling paste and acrylic paint, but it was still missing something, so I decided to use my calligraphy pen to sketch a bit on the surface.  In some spots I used a lot of ink to create thick, spontaneous lines.

keep an art journal
Thank you so much for reading.  I hope I’ve helped you remember that art is a process, and that if you struggle with fear and frustration like I do, keep an art journal.  It can really help you remember your progress and motivate you to keep working.

Altered Planner Cover- lots of texture!

altered planner

I have a confession to make- I hate planning.  HATE it.  I don’t really know why, but every time I try to get organized I lose interest, and just end up doing- I don’t know- not what I need to do.

Anyway, I recently found a new way of planning that uses bullets on graph paper. It actually seemed like it could work for me, and since I already had an empty graph journal I’d bought for like 2 dollars at Borders and never used, I’ve been working on my planning for the past week.

Of course, the journal I’m using needed a new cover.  Black is just too boring, am I right? Ok, it’s not always boring- I actually like black a lot, but this journal needed something else.

 

  • I began by sanding the faux leather surface.  I knew I was going to be adding a lot of layers, and I wanted as much for them to adhere to as possible.
  • Then came layers of gesso, cheesecloth, muslin, and texture paste.  I specifically formed the muslin to create a pocket for a pen, so wherever I may take my planner, I’ll have a pen with me as well.
  • I sealed them all with gel medium for extra strength before I added anything else.
  • I used several stamps to decorate my textured surface.
  • Then came lots of metal embellishments, along with a chipboard clock that I cut in two.
  • Once they dried in place, I painted them with gesso.
  • I added ink with a “controlled splatter” technique I learned from a recent video by Mireille Binet- she ink brushed on plastic wrapping to apply droplets of ink to the surface of her project, and I replicated that here.  Thanks Mireille!
  • Flowers and beads came next, with a few splashes of ink for the petals.
  • The last thing was to add the chipboard sentiment.

 

Hopefully I can become more organized and better able to plan my days with the help of this altered planner.   I think this yummy cover will help, don’t you?

altered planner close up

altered planner cover with mixed media elementsaltered planner cover

altered planner back cover

Thanks for reading!  Don’t forget to subscribe for more tutorials and projects- I’m brainstorming a lot of awesomeness for the blog, so stay tuned!!