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Abstract painting- “Master Plan”

Ok, confession time- this had been a rough week.  I won’t go into all the details, but suffice it to say that the past few days have not been pleasant.  So, I headed to my studio and started painting.  I had no idea what I was doing, I just started working and let this abstract painting take shape on it’s own.

IMG_2961-compressorAbstract Painting Tutorial

I love this style of abstract painting because the way the paint and ink blend is so soft and spontaneous.  I can control the way it looks, and yet at the same time, I can’t control it.  Learning the way the paint and ink behave and allowing them to work the way they’re designed to work is so essential and powerful, and really easy.  When you let things go, the result can be fantastic!

In fact, since I just worked on this abstract painting without any really thought as to the finished result, I find it a little ironic that I named it “Master Plan”.  Perhaps it’s the gridded lines and squares and the map feel of the piece that makes me think of designed streets and a master planned neighborhood.  I guess not all good things have to be planned to the hilt.

And I have to say something about the purple- it was definitely therapeutic, working with my favorite color.  The different shades and brands of paint worked beautifully together.  I find it fun to use different brands of paint when I work, because they each have different qualities that are fun to watch and work with.

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Creating abstractly, especially when you’re not sure what you’re trying to create, can be a bit terrifying.  Don’t worry- even if you end up painting over what you’ve done, you still learn something in the process, and it’s exhilarating and so satisfying when you see where the piece has led you.  So throw aside your fears and give it a shot!!

Altered Covers for Journals from the Dollar Bin

I was recently asked to serve with the Young Women in my church.  It’s a big job, but I’m so excited to see them progress in their testimonies!  It has become a tradition in our congregation for the leaders to bake a super awesome, individual sized cake for each of the young women on their birthdays.  This tradition has lasted for years, but as new leaders, we did not want to have to continue doing something that wasn’t really necessary.  And yet, we couldn’t not do anything, either.  So, what did I do?  I volunteered to do some altered covers on some dollar bin journals, so that each young woman can have an altered journal on her birthday.  I have to say, it’s a lot more fun for me than baking a cake, if still a bit time consuming…  🙂

altered covers with texture paste and embellishments

Since I’m going to be doing so many of these, I’ve come up with a quick step-by-step formula so that I can create unique, colorful, beautiful journals quickly and not spend hours on each one.  The part that takes the longest is the drying time for any texture paste or ink.

I created a free printable so you can quickly refer back to these steps if you want or need a blueprint for a quick project.  Click the button below to subscribe and download the sheet, then tack it up to your wall while you work.

Click to download

Essentially, you work from flat to raised elements to build up the surface bit by bit.

  • Sand and gesso the surface to prepare it for all the stuff you’ll be adding, and to help cover any crazy printing on the original surface.
  • The first elements to add would be patterned paper/tissue wrap.  Use gel medium to adhere it to the surface. (You can also use modge podge, but I don’t like modge podge.  It’s too sticky. Gel medium is waaaaay better, and worth the extra expense.)
  • Add some texture to the surface by taking some texture or modeling paste and applying it to the surface with a palette knife or through a stencil.  You can also adhere some fabric, cheesecloth, or even paper towels, napkins, or tulle to the surface for some fun texture.
  • This is where I usually add some stamped images, especially script stamps.  I stamp lightly in certain random areas so the stamped image doesn’t show up completely, but compliments the surrounding texture and elements.
  • Time for some color!!  I am such a fan of india ink splatters misted with water.  The ink spreads in such a fun, organic way, and the colors blend in variegated, awesome ways.  Of course, there are so many types of colors and ink out there- anything goes!!  The techniques are literally endless.
  • Time to embellish!  Metal pieces, chipboard, flowers, paper, etc.  Go crazy.  I use gel medium to adhere my pieces.  It’s firm, dries clear, and I don’t worry about anything falling off, even metal.  Be generous.
  • Finishing touches- go over your cover one more time and decide if it needs anything else- more color?  microbeads? a bit more stamping?

And that’s my process!  The longest part is waiting for things to dry, which is fine because I can start the same process on a few of the other journals while I’m waiting.

altered covers with flair altered covers- chipboard altered covers- paper flowers

I hope you’ve enjoyed this altered covers project and tutorial today!!  I’d love to know how you use the process to create some altered covers and if you alter the steps, what steps you add, etc.  Let’s keep inspiring each other!!

Don’t forget to subscribe so you can download the printable!

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altered covers- back cover

Christmas mixed media canvas

christmas mixed media paper art

It’s December!!  I’m so excited for Christmas, I’ve been decorating and diy-ing like crazy!  Not to mention, playing Christmas music 24-7.  🙂

Amidst all my decorating, I found this amazing set of tissue paper at Tuesday Morning- red and black and white with Christmas text.  It’s perfect for the decor that I have going in my basement, so I decided to create a christmas mixed media canvas as an artsy touch to match my theme.

I am in the midst of creating a video for this, but I’ve run into technical difficulties. Hopefully I’ll be able to restore some corrupted files.  But I wanted to share this with you anyway.  I was so worried in the early stages that it wasn’t going to turn out well, but it did and I’m so happy I have to share!

christmas mixed media artwork

  • I added several layers of tissue paper with gel medium
  • Tim Holtz has an amazing line of washi tape- using 3 0r 4 of his designs, I added them outward from the middle of the canvas.
  • Stencils and texture paste were next- adding some texture to the surface in the shape of clocks and calligraphy.
  • I added ink in several places- distress ink and india ink to dirty things up a bit and highlight some of the stenciled bits.
  • Several christmas papers, mixed with a bit more tissue paper, formed the layers of paper in the middle.  I used gel medium and foam tape to adhere them together.
  • Chipboard!!!  I painted the bigger pieces with white gesso and then highlighted them in red.  For the smaller stars, I adhered them to the canvas first and then painted them.
  • I used snow effects paste to add more texture the the chipboard and various places on the paper.
  • A few splatters of some fluid acrylic paint, and it’s finished!

christmas mixed media art

I have never done any christmas mixed media pieces, or any holiday themed art pieces for that matter, but I love it!  Have any of you created any pieces for Christmas?  I’d love to see them!

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

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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!!

Deluge- Abstract Calligraphy Art

Ok, I have to trumpet my own horn for a just a second- I just made my first video!!  I cannot begin to describe how stoked I am about this.  Yes, there are some things I need to get better at.  You always have to keep learning.  But I don’t think I did too bad, for my first time.  🙂  What do you think?

There something about words and the way that they’re written that fascinates me.  Words are symbols that we ascribe meaning to, in order to communicate.  By themselves, words are simply combinations of lines and curves.  But given meaning, we are able to make combinations that communicate ideas, build relationships, and form the foundation of civilizations.

In this piece, I used calligraphy to create what I had pictured in my mind- a river of words and meaning. Perhaps that meaning is negative, perhaps positive, but really it is a combination of the two.  Sifting through the mess to find the truth underneath is difficult and takes skill and practice, but it’s essential to try.

mixed media canvas art with calligraphy text

Watercolor Journal Page

watercolor journal pageThis is another page from my blessings journal- another experiement I should say.  I used watercolors this time- a medium I need a lot of practice with, but they are so fun to use.  I used a pencil to draw a swirl over both open pages.  I kept the different blessings on different pages, but joined them by the watercolors I used and how I blended them.
I used charcoal to outline the lines of the swirl, and I used Krylon Gloss acrylic coating to seal everything.  Now the next time I drop my journal in the grass as I’m trying to open my screen door, I can be cool and collected instead of dropping all my groceries in a panic.  (I could avoid situations like this altogether if I could just leave my journal at home, but for some reason, I’ve grown quite attached to it.)
I will create another watercolor journal page in the future, and try using larger words and doodles and perhaps keep it all black and white.  Or… maybe not.  I have to say, I am loving the freedom this journal is helping me find.  I am creating every day, being inspired to work on other projects, and counting my blessings all at once.  I can’t wait to see where the next pages take me, the blessings that await me, and the progress I will be making.