Sunday, 18 August 2013

Some things don't change

This was taken by my Dad in July / August 1972 on holiday in Looe in Cornwall.  Its me, my brother and my baby brother who was 6 weeks old. Apparently my Mum had been to the hairdressers hence the very beautiful coiffured hair.

The base canvas had stone and cream acrylic paint added to it and some old Frayed Burlap crackle paint on top.  (I was clearing out old paint and couldn't quite get rid of the neutrals). I also added some ripped bits of Tim Holtz tissue paper stuck down with Gel Medium and some Tinned Peas green added in places. 

The fabric layer was made up of an oblong of cotton that had some Fresco stencilling in green dots and lot of layers of silk strips, merino wool, stitching in different variegated threads to make the vertical stripes. I then sliced it up (big deep breath to do this but it was worth it) and stitched it back together.  the horizontal stripes of fabric and lace where added to give loads of texture.  This was then sewn onto a base layer of felt to give some strength to the fabric and just raise it up a bit from the canvas.

The photo was photocopied and then transferred onto water colour paper using PaperArtsy Satin Glaze.  I also sealed it with Gloss Glaze after I'd sanded it a bit to distress (hence my rubbed out brother bottom right!). Edges roughed up and Vintage Photo Distress Ink added.  This was attached to some kraft card that had strips of ripped Crunchy Waxed Paper sewn on and more stitched added everywhere!

I have always loved this picture, I don't remember it being taken (hence the into a memory stamp from Sara Naumann Eclectica 6) but it looks so serene and you can feel the love from my Mother looking into the lens and the love my Father has because my Mother is completely in focus whilst us children are slightly out of focus.

I look at this picture and so many thoughts and questions come into my head of my family, of me, where I came from and where I am.

But one thing I do know is that I still smile like this and I still stand like this with my head to one side, some things don't change no matter how old we get.


Sunday, 11 August 2013

Salty corrosion

Decayed, distressed, peeling, shabby, no I'm talking about me as I creep towards OAPdom (when I do get there I will be doing it elegantly even if bits are falling off and failing!), but about textures I really love and adore. Those gorgeous natural textures that happen over time as the sun, wind and rain (lets not talk about chemical erosion shall we) batter wood and metal from their pristine newly painted / created state.

I've had this photo of a mussel shell for over a year. I took it on holiday in Southwold last July when I went for an early morning stroll along the beach (husband was till snoring in our classy shabby hotel and we've been married too long for me to attempt to wake him for some romantic adventure). The flat east coast light as it came over the horizon was superb and I spotted this and immediately thought it looked like a heart.  Experiences like that for me are like topping up my natural battery of happiness, storing away the feelings and memories for days when the battery of life seems a bit flat.

I've manipulated the photo slightly with some blue colour saturation on the PC and printed it out on photo paper.  I distressed the edges with a tonic tool, added some rock candy over the top and then some distress embossing powder and walnut stain on the edges to grunge it up a bit more.I took a scrap of kraft card crumpled it up and put walnut stain round the edge then used some staples to attach the photo to the card. The my heart sentiment was from the Sara Naumann 7 Eclectica plate.  I stamped it on piece of balsa wood that came with some canvases - you know the "bits" in a plastic bag stapled to the back of a canvas (what are they for???). Sandpapered the edges and did the same thing with a bit of kraft card.

The middle layer is a piece of mountboard that has been thoroughly painted to look distressed! I intended to use really bright colours to remind me of our recent holiday, the expanse of saturated blue sea against swathes of clean yellow sand was so intense. So a first layer of Brown shed to act as a base and then layers of South Pacific, Beach Hut and  Bora Bora were added. Then some thin layers of Cheesecake and Vanilla, followed by some more layers of the blues.  Finally a layer of crackle glaze and some more Cheesecake and Vanilla, thickly in places, less thick in others to get different grades of crackle. 

Round the edges I used Brown Shed, Walnut Stain and rusting powder to get the weather beaten look I was after. Once I'd sprinkled the powder on, spritzed with vinegar (ahh chips) I tilted the board to let it drip down and carry some of the powder with it and left it to set.  the longer you leave the powder the "redder and rusted" it seems to go. I added some stamping in Coffee Archival from Hot Picks 1201. My new screw brads were added in the corners.

The frame was another old one knocking around, the old art taken out and the frame revamped with Beach Hut, South Pacific, Brown Shed and Stone.  All really thin watered down layers, sometimes left to pool in places other times dripped down the frame.  You have to be really patient and trust what you are doing and that the paints will dry much softer than they look when you use them in this very wet fluid state.  Lots of sanding to reveal some old texture paste underneath and finally some fish / sea related stamping in Black Archival from Hot Picks 1111 and Hot Picks 1202 

This took me quite a while to make but I am really pleased with the outcome. For me making art is a relaxation, not a job with deadlines (although I'd possibly quite like to make it a job and I really should start thinking about attempting to sell some of my art if only to make space for making more!), so slow contemplative creation works for me, just like decaying and rusting!


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Shabby bunnies

Some things just make you really happy don't they?  Well this does for me.  

I've loved this stamp Crafty Individuals Alice Palace Crowned Bunnies stamp ever since it came out and it took me ages to find it (very popular it must have been) and for a couple of days once I'd parted with hard cash for them I just looked at them and sighed (and occasionally stroked it has to be said) .

But then I plucked up the courage to use it. 

I took some fabric and scraped some Grunge Paste over it and let it dry.  On the reverse I added a thick layer of PVA to strengthen the fabric.  When that was dry I turned it back over and stamped those lovely bunnies with WOW Pepper embossing powder. Added some text stamping using the lovely Mini 26 with Cinnamon fresco paint.

This was stitched onto some crunched up PaperArtsy crunchy waxed craft paper that had some Snowflake added over the creases and I also added some grungy staples. This layer was then stuck onto some distressed Kraft card that was edged with Walnut Stain Distressing Ink.

The frame was an old one I had knocking around.  It had already got some sort of texture paste (Grunge Paste would do it) on it that I'd stamped into.  Originally it had some green Inka Gold on it so I added a couple of layers of Concrete to cover that up.  Then I added some thin layers of Mocha Mousse and lots of sanding to distress even further.  It looks sort of blue because I think the original Inka layer is showing through but it looks fantastically distressed I have to say.  Finally some more stamping with the same Mini 26 around the frame.

I think these gorgeous bundles of loveliness may have to come to work and sit on my desk so I can gaze at them in times of stress (that's most of the time then).


Sunday, 4 August 2013

Wise owl says ....

... a lot of things including: you really should finish some projects, your craft room could do with a bit of a tidy up, did you really need to buy more stash last weekend and  it doesn't matter how many layers of paint on a canvas there is, keep going until you are happy.

There is a lot of layers on paint on this canvas because I couldn't quite get the effect I was looking for - an old tree with lichen and moss subtle toning but bright not dingy. I take loads of pictures of trees when we are out and about.  On a regular basis my husband will find me smiling at a tree, stroking it and have my camera lens as close to the rippling peeling bark as I can get it.  So when I saw Helen Chilton's Barn Owl on the PaperArtsy blog this week I thought I'd spend Saturday creating my interpretation using some the techniques and ideas.

To get the dark brown background colour that I kept returning too I mixed Cinnamon and Little Black Dress to get a really dark shade, the chalkiness of the Fresco give a really matt finish which strengthens and deepens the colour a lot. 

I used grunge paste through the wood grain stencil to add a layer of texture, not too much as I didn't want deep lines. When it was dry I also gave it a light sand.

Then the fun began in terms of adding layers and layers of colour. I tried:  Concrete (like this but I needed a different background), Mocha Mousse, Cinnamon, Beach Hut, Mermaid, Guacamole and Tinned Peas. All weren't quite right and ended up looking too dingy and muddy and not quite the effect I was trying to get.

I started again this morning with a dark brown layer and this time I lightened what was left on the craft sheet with  bit of Concrete and gently wiped that on with Cut and Dry.  I didn't put too much paint on the Cut and Dry and wiped it on a bit of kitchen roll to get the excess off as I wanted a light shading of colour not a full opaque coverage. Next I added in places very watered down Honey Dew to look like lichen staining.  Finally I added embossing powder to the wood grain lines to highlight them. The embossing powder can stick everywhere so I use a brush and my fingers to brush away what I don't want.

Wise owl was stamped on tissue paper and thin layers of Honey Dew added to the back. He was stuck on some corrugated card with added grungy staples and a bit of thin string.  I wanted him to look like a notice stuck on a tree rather than living in the tree if you get what I mean.

So I'm now off to follow more of wise owl's saying and finish some of my other projects on the go!