Monday, March 21, 2011

Journal Backgrounds with alcohol

No, that does not mean I'm drinking while painting (though you can achieve some novel effects that way!). I read about how watercolor painters sometimes spray alcohol on wet paint to get an interesting effect. I decided to try it with watered down acrylic. Pretty cool.

This one had a base coat of dry pink paint. I went over it with watered down blue acrylic and quickly sprayed rubbing alcohol on heavily. After it sat a few moments, I tipped it up to get some drips. Very moody, eh?

This one had an orangey red undercoat. I coated it with watered down yellow, and sprayed a fine mist.

Here's another cool way to use alcohol for your journal backgrounds.

These are interesting, but if you try them, use your common sense about not breathing any mist, etc. Have fun and be safe :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Vintage Ephemera Packs

As many of you know, I get to go to a lot of auctions in my role as an antique dealer. I love the old paper stuff and use it in my art journal, but I'm getting buried in great old paper! I made one pack up for a friend, and then I just kept going, so I could put some up at the antique shop. Now, I've decided to resurrect my etsy shop. I'll probably be adding some each day for a while.

These packs contain vintage paper of all kinds. No copies. There are game pieces, clips and advertisements from 1920s and 1930s magazines, vintage book pages, trading stamps, sales tags, playing cards, children's book pages, old bank checks, ledger pages, foreign phone book pages, maps, dictionary get the idea....lots and lots of great stuff!

Each pack has over 50 items, and I try to make each pack something that I would like to receive...I want you to be excited when you open yours!

So if you want to add to your collection or if you always wanted to try art journaling, but didn't want to get buried in paper (like me), here's your chance :D

If you are local, just stop by Old City Hall Shoppes in Pontiac, IL.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

How to Make a Packing Tape Image Transfer

I've been having fun making these image easy and so fast! I love art techniques that are fast...I'm not the most patient artist. The transfer above is layered over some of my handwriting, so you can see how the image is now transparent and your background will peek through. This technique works using photocopies, magazine images and text, newspapers...just about anything printed on paper. Just remember, those images are owned by whoever created them so keep that in mind when you are creating...use them in ways that don't violate anyone's copyrights. The best thing is that you can use your own artwork and photos and make photocopies, like I did in a journal page in a previous post. You know you own your own stuff, and can use it however you please!

My sister tried making some last night, so I took pictures to share with you:
You'll need some clear packing tape, a baking dish of water, a bone folder or spoon or something to burnish the image, scissors, and some magazines or photocopies to use for your transfers. Ink jet prints smear if you get them wet, so I think you need toner based copies.

Put the packing tape over your image...carefully...try to avoid wrinkles.

Cut out the tape covered image, cutting away any unwanted background.

Burnish the tape nice and tight to the image.

Then put your image in the pan of water to soak. Go work on taping up some more images, or eat some cookies...let it soak a bit so that the paper on the back gets nice and soft.

When the paper is soft, start rubbing the paper off the back. You will see that the inks are now on the tape, and you can just rub all the paper away.

Here she is part way done...keep rubbing until there's no paper left.

Your image will still be on the tape, and it will be transparent. You can glue it down with acrylic medium, attach it with brads, or whatever you dream up, and your background will show through.

Here are a few that we did last night. You can see on the bottom one that I had to use two pieces of tape to cover the image. That's ok, just overlap them a little so it all holds together.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Odell Gas Station on Route 66

This is the Standard Oil Gas Station in Odell. It's just about 10 minutes north of Old City Hall Shoppes on Route 66. It's beautifully restored, and if you get a chance you should pull up and have a picture taken of you and your car!

I'm trying to learn to make decent image transfers so I can get that transparent look while still using my drawings. This one is a packing tape transfer. It turned out pretty good.  At certain angles, you can still see the edges of the packing tape, and I'm not crazy about that, so I have a couple other methods I'm trying also.

Here's a picture of that gas station back in the day:

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Playing with the Printer

I'm playing around with some drawings I've done in the past. I want to use them to create some Route 66 post cards and also some art for the wall on little canvases. The original is can see that it's a pretty good sized drawing for's on 10x12 paper.

I'm glueing some vintage book pages to print the gas station image on. I know if I was a whiz with computers I could do all this digitally, but I'm not, so here I am, worrying about running this through my new printer. Yikes! Afer I glued it down, I knocked the text back a little with some creamy/umbery, watered down acrylic.

It worked! The old paper soaks up the ink differently than new paper so I lost some detail (you can see the difference below). That might actually be OK though, for what I have in mind for the canvas. I may have to learn to do the layers thing for the postcards though. Sigh.

Friday, March 04, 2011


Remember when you were a kid and you could call, "Do-over!" whenever you needed to try again? That's one of the great things about art get a do-over anytime you feel like it. I liked the drawing and the border on this page, but not much else, so I'm working on adding some layers of collage and maybe some new journaling and we'll see where it goes!

I'm back! I used some of the goodies I get in boxes of paper at the auction. I like this better now, but I'm not sure I'm quite done yet. It's getting there though. The papers in the pocket have the stages of grief and also some more joyful contentment, peace, joy, and generosity. Life is a complicated mix, isn't it?

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


Using one of those pages from yesterday, and a quote from Emerson. The moth is out of a vintage children's dictionary, and some child had traced around it so many times I didn't even have to cut it out. I just pulled on it and it came free from the page! I picked up the clock face at an antique shop.

And I have a fantastic video to share with you. It was made by Irina Dakeva...animated with 2000 handpainted watercolors. Amazing!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Play Date

My sister, Jennifer, and I spent the day playing around with the paints. I did a couple of canvases...backgrounds for some journal style illustrations.

Then I played around with some paper and paints doing backgrounds for art journal pages. We were just generally having a fine time creating a big mess! Fun!

Jennifer worked in her "Wreck this Journal" and created a zentangle that happens to match the yellow background I was working on (to the right).

I also tried out some spray ink that I think I'm going to like. I sprayed it over some old tractor feed paper and got some cool borders with it. Can't wait to get started on that bottom canvas...that one is stirring up some ideas!