Friday, January 31, 2014

Brutally Honest Craft Glue throwdown: Newspaper decoupage/mache

A decoupage heart. A glue throwdown: Mod Podge? Collage Pauge? Or go eco retro and use wheat paste?

So I wanted to get a layer of 100 year old newsprint onto some foam hearts for some fast gratification, and I decided "hey, you...let's test out different methods of doing this to see which works best!"

This newsprint is OLD and crunchy, so initially I thought soaking and wheat paste were not on the table.  Don't worry, nothing of major cultural interest was harmed here, just some meh pages from the ad sections of papers I bought for this kind of purpose. I'd use a flyer from a certain middlebrow grocery chain if I had one on hand, you don't have to be a vintage paper fascist like I am!

So we've got ONE step of ONE project three ways.  For your consideration.

Technique - using water and mod podge, a combination of soaking, massaging brushing, tearing - in order to coat the subject.
SMELL: Grade School Craft table. Elmers-like.
MESS: Meduim-low.
CLEANUP: medium annoying.
VERDICT: Fail. -200 points. Do not pass go.

Oh everything started out smooth sailing. I was sure that Mod Podge was going to clearly outshine all other options - the paper went on silky, clean, straight and nice. Then, at about the three minute mark, all those tiny little strips began to stick to my fingers. And I mean stick.  And then the frustration commenced. Gahhhh!

I do not recommend this to anyone as a way to do this effect. It really looked like it was going to be today's winner, but as you see, I got fed up and stopped bothering. I'll be pulling this one apart and doing it over. I was honestly NOT expecting Mod Podge to bring the fail to this party, but for this application, I'd avoid it altogether. This doesn't mean that mod podge isn't ideal for everything else you can think of, just not THIS.

CONTENDER 2: COLLAGE PAUGE (Aileens Tracy Bautista branded)
Technique - using water and collage pauge, a combination of soaking, massaging brushing, tearing - in order to coat the subject.
Smell: Like acrylic gel nails at the nail salon. Not that I go often, but it's definitely THAT smell, kinda. Meh.
Cleanup: Same as Mod Podge
VERDICT: Surprise Win. This process is annoying so win is relative.

 Ok, it's not perfect, and I really don't like those little crumbly things that start to work themselves up as you handle your item at about that five minute mark of doom.  If this scarecrow had a brain, she'd paper mache one side of all her hearts let them dry and then flip them, but this is about getting a move on if you're an etsy seller or an impatient floozy like me, not someone who's gonna chill out with some rose petal tea in a vintage teapot while it dries.

Verdict: initially I wasn't feeling it, but relative to everything else? I am pleased. And I'm actually not surprised - I've NEVER been disappointed in an Aileen's glue since I was 11 and gluing pompoms to various cardboard crappacchino, capische? 

Aileens glues generally perform exactly as they say they will on the box. Collage Pauge is one of their less thrilling products, in my opinion, but it still pretty much does what it sets out to do! Yay!

CONTENDER 3: WHEAT PASTE (Your kitchen and an optional dash from your stash)
Technique - using water and wheat and acrylic medium , a combination of soaking, massaging brushing, tearing - in order to coat the subject.
Smell:  Vaguely like newsprint and cookies.
Mess factor: High.
Cleanup: Easy peasy.
ACHIEVEMENTS UNLOCKED: Eco soundness and cost.
VERDICT: Better than a poke with an embroidery needle, but I'll take Collage Pauge, thanks!

Less than thrilled with A and B, I thought we needed a good control, so I whipped up some wheat paste with water, added a squirt of Blickcrylic gel medium to bind things, and away we went.  This won the speed round, but in my opinion kind of looks it.  The only really awesome part of this is the text that visibly says "behead an Englishman."  You're not going to get that from Tim Holz reproduction papers.

So what do you think? Did I miss something? Is there some tip to Mod Podge that I overlooked to keep from sticking to my project enough to want a glass of sherry at 9 am? I hope this helps you in your teeny weeny paper mache moments.

NB:  At this point in time I am paid by nobody and given product by nobody, and if I continue with BRUTALLY HONEST reviews, I imagine I won't be! If you appreciate this, do consider some facebook LOVE as a little favor to me, eh? Thank you!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

40 - lost your way? Art Journal Page - Art Journal Every Day

A good time to reflect on your mortality. Keeping it upbeat and valentine-ish though. Vintage label scans, acrylic, distress inks, tattered angels mist in some kind of pink color. I included a wry little reference to "The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock." The meanderings of the narrator as a contemporary list.

1. part hair from behind
2. eat peach.
3. mermaids. wth?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I draw him so I can talk about you without talking about you - Art journal Every Day

Acrylic, acrylic ink, poscas, washi tape (a little)

I used a wooden embellishment from Michaels as a mask, and went over my background with Tattered Angels spay in "cork."  Also some distress ink around the borders.

The sparrow is a print and cut from my own work - I drew him freehand from an 1860 or so ornithological reference picture. Then when I liked the stage the sketch was at - you guessed it - scan and print onto computer paper, cut and paste and paint over the sketch, used as an underpainting.

Monday, January 27, 2014

llustration Friday Find:

Via RoksanaRobrok.

liquitex Acrylic Inks and Journaling.

Hi friends.

I love to shop. I love to buy things as much as the next person.  Hence my expanding stash. Ever ever expanding.

But I am also pretty hard on products for the mixed media market.  I'm kind of a manufacturer's design team nightmare, but the one who takes me on and gives me good product will love me forever.

I've actually got more formal training than I'd like to discuss, and I tend to compare crafter's products to the things I used in school - and usually they do ok.

But in the case of pens, they often come up short. Pens, what gives?

Wanna know the *only* pens that get me hot and bothered?
1. Uni Posca. Good luck finding these babies, but when you can get them in a 1 mm tell me you're not in love.
2. Uniball signo white. But it was a bad ro-mo-ma-ha-ha because it has gummed up on a dry ground that had a tiny bit of watercolor crayon in the mix.  ET TU SIGNO???
3. PITT - but generally for lick your finger and intentionally smear that stuff applications only.

I don't like seeing people caught up in the hype of product wasting money over and over.  OK I'll speak for myself -  I feel like I did, when it came to pens which are either not archival at all  (sharpies, gelly rolls I have doubts over) OR they're just cranky and terrible to use and you go through a hundred nibs. (Sharpies! A million sharpie carcasses ALL OVER. Copic likes to die a seven dollar death over any kind of paint or medium. Coloring stamps has to be the ONLY great use for a Copic, or under watercolor or something really transparent and inky and washy and too pretty for me to have made, ha!)

 Like a lot of art journalers, I'm often on the quest for a better pen.

One that won't dry out. One that won't gum up and make you cry the second it might touch wet paint. One that you don't have to shake like a maniac.  One that covers. You hear me pens? COVERS.

 One that is KIND to my left handed chicken scratch inscrutable handwriting. Blah.

Well, I found my pen! Actually what I found are my inks - Liquitex acrylic inks, to be exact.  I use a good ol' dip pen. Why?

Control is terrific - if you're a lefty like me, you have to watch out for smearing, but other than that, your line quality gets 1000 times more interesting in just one easy installment, ha.

The white ink (how I love it) allows you to mix opaque pretty colors with great coverage - and you can get the exact shade you need without having to run out and get another six dollar pen that is only going to die the second it encounters gesso (I'm looking at YOU Copic!)

Honestly, don't be intimidated by brush and pen and ink - really. The simple speedball set which comes with a tiny crowquill pen is the way to go, for me, but I'm probably going to want some calligraphy tips too.  The sets are about 9 bucks, and the ink is about 20 in a primary color plus brown black and white set - but the life that you get from this setup seems MUCH longer than a lot of the journaling pens I've collected, all of which disappoint me except for Uni Posca.

What do you think? Have you played with traditional pen and ink? Any mileage with the liquitex inks?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A is for ALOUETTE - Simon Mondays

Paperyum presents: A is for ALOUETTE.

I knew right away I wanted to do ALOUETTE for the letter A project over at the Simon Monday blog!

It's such a funny thing, that a song about plucking songbirds has come to stand for all things charming and Francophile. Trouble is, ALOUETTE is literally a Lark and I couldn't find a great lark image at the vintage source blogs - I settled for this random songbird from The Graphics Fairy as the starting point for what was going to be a stamped, painted and embellished mini cushion.

The first step: A little painting. A little stamping! I used lumiere inks and a fiskars border to create a distressed swirly texture to work on, in a copper on cream colorway:

Netxt: print the bird graphic directly onto some June Taylor cotton and heat set that puppy with my heat gun.

Then embellish, layer, stitch - basically I put the project into an embroidery hoop and treated it like I would a mini mixed media canvas! Everything is hand sewn.

Et Voila!

Alouette, gentil Alouette, Alouette, je te brocherai!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

New Art Journal Page - Also Available as ACEO

Got to play again the other night - I'm not a huge fan of cold press paper, but she was done on cold press. You can see the texture of the paper. Undecided on whether I like that.

It's going to get cold again, after a balmy couple of above-30 days. Blergh.  This is me, trying to cheer myself up.

She's available as an ACEO for now @ my etsy shop. 
You can request a full size print if you want!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Heart Stuffies - Victorian neo crazy quilt heart shaped mini pillows

I've been playing with digitally printed fabric! 

First I printed out some vintage images in a smallish scale.
Then I lightly fabric glued them down into an arrangement on some cotton duck stretched onto an embroidery hoop, tracing around them with a heart template.  

Then I painted and stamped a bit - I used my lumiere paints and fabric compatible metallic inks, and a little liquitex fiber medium with some acrylics.   

Then I dug into my collection of vintage lace, beads, millinery flowers, czech beads and  freshwater pearls! Embroidered fun ensued.

All of these are hand sewn - I find it easier than digging out the machine just for this small a piece. 

I can't wait to try some other things with the printable paper, some art dolls, some flat dolls, some ornaments! Have you had any results with printable fabric? Do you worry about the dye fastness, or are you pleased with your results? What printable fabric do you prefer?

Illustration Friday Highlight: theme BEGINNING

Isn't this great? She's a find from illustration friday at Joana Voa Voa.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Raptor Release Spring '13 old photos

I'm a victim of the bird trend, I guess, only I've always been one as long as I can remember. I found all these photos from the spring on a compact flash card I'd forgotten!

The MN Raptor Center is an amazing organization - this is from their raptor release day.

These animals are not wildly endangered for the most part. The value of saving an individual hawk or vulture is debatable in a world full of bigger problems. But somehow the minuteness of the gesture - saving one Cooper's or Red Tail - makes it seem even more important. There is no compelling reason to do it except for the goodness of repairing one thing we caused. Whether with a car, a window,  or a horribly misguided pellet, because some people still resent their fellow hunters that much.

And when you think about it, it's an incredible thing - to repair hollow avian bones and terrified wild muscles and tissues, to maintain enough distance to maintain the desire to leave the rehab environment - to be able to put a hawk back into the sky.

These animals are not cute, they are not their own best press and advocates to people who love baby bunnies, but we do need them in the ecology of our immediate surroundings, and we do need to look up and see the Hunters and not just clouds of House Sparrows spun out of control.  Anyway, photos!

Educational Red Tailed Hawk - this bird is injured past the point of rehab, and is one of the educational Raptors for schools and events like this one. The Education birds have been conditioned for the demands of human contact and closeness.
Another Red Tailed hawk in the education department: the coloration of red tailed hawks varies a lot within the species.  It's often confusing to ID these birds from the underside!
Nobody's favorite? Turkey Vultures are SO underrated.  This bird is older than I am!  In the seventies it was a valuable part of a California Condor conservation project, and the University has maintained responsibility for this individual ever since. His/her gender is still uncertain. Because the bird has no idea how to be a Vulture in the wild, it's got to stay put.
Eagles are a common sight on my drives to Joanne or Michael's for those last minute craft runs! I feel so privileged to live in a city with these birds as neighbors. Eagles are so different from our projections onto them - timid with smaller threats, social with other Eagles (including lots of stealing and squabbles) - I think Eagles actually ARE good places to see ourselves reflected in nature, but not in the ways we usually do it!

Biggest threat lately? Lead poisoning - that's part of what happened to this individual, and she was lucky to recover, though not enough from her bone breaks to go back to the wild. I don't have a problem with hunters. The plastic fork I might use on a vegan falafel is a much worse thing. Just don't use lead shot and/or be sure to bury your offal, sportspeople, and you and I are copacetic.

A friend in need.  I'll shamelessly admit that the tiny Kestrel is my favorite raptor. This male kestrel has nothing physically wrong with him.  He was taken in as a chick by well-intentioned people, but this was done incorrectly, so he imprinted on human beings. A bird whose eyes are first focusing is in an imprint stage and will imprint on humans if exposed to them. Moral of story : ALWAYS call a pro from a Wildlife rehab facility.  He has no idea how to be a Kestrel, so he'll live out his life as an education bird, at least cared for and admired and hopefully teaching people not to do any wildlife rescues of baby birds themselves.

But most of the Raptor Center's patients, the VAST majority, do not wind up as education birds - most are released into the wild once again. Here's a red tailed hawk leaving the hospital after a car-related rehab:

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wax On - Mixed Media wax finished collage art

I'm having a blast covering things with wax! Recognize the background images? I love to use up all of my various printer misfires - you never have to waste good paper!

First, I cut them up and tiled them into a background for this girl.

She's also a print out of one of my paintings - the painting is actually in a progress state, and what I'll do is scan the image before I do something silly to it. Every time I hit a stage of the painting that I like, I'll stop what I'm doing and scan. Then, in the event of a problem, I at least have an underpainting I like, or a record of the work when it was at a stage I thought sort of worked.

Anyhow, after collaging her onto the piece, I painted over her to change the hair, painted over the background, drew over things, stamped some butterflies onto her dress, sealed off the work, and added a layer of beeswax for that misty integrated look that I like. I rounded out a few things with sennelier oil pastels over the wax layer.

Would you consider a piece like this a print or an original? I think of it as an original - it's a mixed media piece with collage elements printed out - the collage elements happen to be things I've drawn and painted in the past in a lot of cases.

She's available for sale, and only one person will have a shot at her, clearly.  Visit my Etsy Shop . 
Use the code SHIPFTW and you'll get free shipping (it adds up on art!) worldwide - until Valentine's day!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Mini Print Quartet

I have all of these 4x4 masonite coasters, which I love using as a small format. They have rounded corners.

I made a suite of collages directly onto 4 of them, then printed the collage - and then applied the prints to more coasters - voila, miniature prints.

Not content to stop there, a coating of misty looking beeswax and a little german glass glitter makes these a little more special.

I like propping these up in random shelf spaces - they're so cute, and I had such a good time painting, stamping, image-transferring and inking these into existence!

Oh - these also are available in the shop. You can get them with wax only, or no finish if you want. Only $21 for all four.