Sunday, September 30, 2012

Studio Sunday



Well, it is Sunday and it happens to also be the last day of my vacation :(  I took this week off to relax before the new fiscal year at work kicks in and my workload gets even heavier.  I had the best of intentions of finishing up my on-line workshop, but I guess moving at a slower pace and with many distractions, best of intentions didn't quite cut it.  There were a lot of good GREAT things that came out of this week though and I really feel like I was living the life of a full-time artist!!!


One of the things I have been playing with are paper/Tyvek stencils and masks with the Thermofax screens.  I'm going to be doing a lot more of this to dig deeper into layering and collage.  It is a lot of fun and if you have some extra Tyvek or freezer-paper sheets lying around (maybe even deli paper) you should try this technique with the Thermofax screens! 


Doesn't it figure that as vacation fades away, I start producing more artwork??!!??  I swear I work better under pressure, but no one wants to work that way.  I was creating this radical (for me) super graffiti page last night and I love the way it came out.  I was layering Thermofax screen printed deli papers with paint and screen printing directly onto the surface as well.  The colors have been changed here as it could potentially be a sample piece for something really BIG!!!  I've got a secret and I will spill it very soon!!!!


Anyway, I love all the distressed textures and bold black markings!  I'm finding it better to work on a larger format and this watercolor paper is 11" x 15".  Not quite the super huge 18" x 24" but still a great size.  


The picture above was created using Electric Pink craft paint and Thermofax screened deli paper and some direct screening.  This layout screams PINK but you can't tell from the awful picture.  You get the idea though.  

Probably one of the hardest things I have ever done was taking my little Daisy and Dylan to the local animal shelter.  I can't talk too much about it or I will start crying all over again.  Needless to say, Wednesday was a complete emotional washout.  I loved these little furry creatures like nothing else and it killed me to leave them.  Ferrets...who knew?  They said that they had a good rate of ferret adoptions and all I can hope for is that they end up in a very loving and caring new home.  Here come the tears...


Goodbye my babies

Have a wonderful week and look for my BIG SECRET reveal this week!!!

Margaret

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Making of a New Thermofax Screen and FREE GIVEAWAY!!


Last night, I was working on some videos for my upcoming Creating Personal Imagery 101 workshop (that won't be ready by the end of my vacation, sorry to say) and I wanted to share a cool way of creating designs and images for Thermofax screens that I used to create the cool new designs below!  

Swirls and Leaves-1      and      Swirls and Leaves-2

A part of this fun was working LARGE!  The original image was created on a piece of watercolor paper size 18" x 24".  If you haven't played this large before, it can be very freeing so give it a try.  You will need:  a variety of brushes, India ink and black acrylic paint.  I did not prepare the surface of this paper before painting.  This is a great way to design your very own custom screen!  (hint, hint) LOL



  1. Using a small foam brush, use the India ink like it is watercolor and create some large sweeping strokes until you have filled the entire paper with swirly-like vines. 
  2. Now use the same brush or another of your choice and create your leaves. I created my design with open leaves.  You can fill them if you would like for a different affect.  Try creating 2 layouts each with different leaves or flowers, filled or open.
  3. Now, select a brush that would be somewhat smaller than the swirly vines you created and with your black acrylic paint (I use Liquitex heavy-body paint from the tube or jar) go over the lines you painted in ink with the black paint.

    The idea is not to cover the ink marks, but to create another layer of depth or shade for added dimension.  In looking at the image above, you can see where the black paint was applied and not on every ink brushstroke. 


In Photoshop Elements, I experimented with the Levels adjustment to somewhat deteriorate the image and then applied the Stamp filter. 


To create the reverse image, I simply used the Invert adjustment and then applied one of my solid shape brushes to mask the black area I did not want to burn out on the final screen design that created those nice distressed edges.


Since autumn colors are beginning to reveal themselves here in the northeast, I was inspired to play with some Raw Sienna, Red Oxide, Yellow Oxide and Deep Violet by Liquitex.  The actual print is much darker than it is shown above and feels more like the darker muted tones the leaves take on when they have been on the ground for some time.


Of course, I had to play with some pastels as well!  Mixing Color Hue dyes with Barbasol shaving cream (original), I screen-printed away with what was left of my dyes.  I can't say enough about Color Hue dyes and shaving cream screen-printing!  It is an extremely forgiving screen-printing application and the shaving cream just floats right along the top of the screen and doesn't over saturate the design with multiple passes.
You can purchase Color Hue dyes at Joggles.com seen here.  

If you do create a design that you would like to make into a screen, I can take care of all the digital horseplay so that you don't have to!

FREE GIVEAWAY!!!!!

Ok, now for the FREE GIVEAWAY!  So my new giveaway includes one of each of these new screens, Swirls and Leaves-1 and Swirls and Leaves-2.  How can you win these screens????  Simply add a comment to this blog post by the cutoff date, Saturday, October 6th by midnight, and I will get my trusty random number generator going and reveal the WINNER on Sunday, October 7th!!!!

Make sure you take some time today to be creative!!!  See you Sunday!

Margaret

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Journaling a Feeling


(digital manipulation of journal page pictures using Dark Strokes filter in PSE)

Isn't vacation great!  This is what happens...I am able to slow down enough to actually think.  To get back in touch with my soul instead of riding the fast track from one moment to the next.  This is when the words come to me.  I could write a book right now and fill it soulfully.  Feelings that have been supressed due to pace of life and just getting from one day to the next.  Supressed because if you stopped and thought about it all, you would become stagnant and frozen within the overwhelm.  

This is the best time to let those thoughts and feelings come pouring out onto a page of visual journaling.  If I didn't have so much to do this week, I would have time to put together a radical journal! 

Have a wonderful and creative day!
Margaret

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dina Wakley Art Journal Workshop



DINA ROCKS!!!  Yes she does!!!  I had a blast in Dina's workshop today (took a day off from work for the important stuff LOL).  I thought she was hysterical, with her pet names for a variety of things, and a great instructor.  Dina's workshop was structured in a great way.  She planned for us to complete 6 pages, if possible, and kept us moving from one step to the next using different techniques on each page!  We completed our journals (including binding)!
 

The thing I loved about Dina's workshop the most was her generosity in sharing so much with us.  She was actually at Ink About It for 3 days of workshops but this was the only one I could take.  Everyone has loved her and many have taken more than one workshop with her (lucky ducks!)


Now you know how I am about personal imagery, so it was a little hard for me to force myself (ya, ok) to use the Crafters Workshop stencils but I managed to work in some screen-printed deli paper and a few of my own stencils and stamps into the mix.  


I'm unhappy to report that my last pair of decent jeans that I could wear to work on Fridays is now embellished with Bubble Gum Pink Dylusions Spray Ink.  I guess it is time to do a little artwork down that leg!!!  It will be a pain to screen-print.


Because I am such a geek, I had Dina sign my journal :)  See the left side.  OK, OK, don't throw up yet!  The page below...not so good.  In fact...down right UGLY!!!  hehehehe  Too bad because the first application of color was awesome, but I went ahead and messed it up!  That is the last page!!!


The cover was sort of finished in a flash but I expect I will continue adding stuff to it!


Thanks, Dina, for a wonderful class!!!

Margaret

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New Thermofax Screens in my Etsy Shop

I pulled out an old image that I had created digitally months ago.  As soon as I saw it, I knew I needed to do something more with it.  Does this happen to you?  Do you become re-inspired by  a project you were working on and then a lot of time goes by and you have moved beyond what you were doing originally and you become inspired yet again to apply your current likes and desires to it?  I love when this happens.  I think I have to go back through my piles more often.

This was the inspiration for this new Thermofax screen I called Branches in Leaves.  This screen can be cut in half so that you can use it in the same direction without having to flip it around and risk getting paint  everywhere.  Of course, you can print it exactly as it is.  I'm thinking borders :)



The next new screen is an image that so many people incorporate into their art so I figured that I might as well make one up.  I think that it would make an intriguing background print to layer over.  This image was taken from an original from 1889 that I purchased.
And lastly, another super messy grungy background that I cannot wait to play with especially on deli paper!! It's kind of busy, but I like that you could print this to fabric or deli paper and rip it up to add some additional interest to a collage or quilt.

That is it for tonight.  There is a lot of wind and rain coming this way tonight and I can already hear it whistling through the window.  Have a wonderful week and I'll see you Friday!!!

Margaret


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Studio Sunday and Meeting Fantastic Artists

There has been lots going on this weekend and though I have gotten a lot done on some things, I have yet to get other, just as important things, done as well.  Yesterday, Suzanne Abrams (who lives here on my floor) invited me to join the Lowell Fiber Studio while they had a regularly scheduled "Fiber Feast"!  Everyone brings something to eat and they all sit around a big table, chat, eat and show current projects they are working on.  

First - Thanks Suzanne!!!  I had a great time and thanks for including me!!  (check out Suzanne's site)
Second - Thank you Lowell Fiber Studio! It was wonderful meeting all the women who were there yesterday and learning more about their art, their process and inspirations!!  
Third - Again, thank you for letting me talk about my process and my art!!  
Fourth - I am slowly discovering the amazing ways that Western Avenue Studios is enhancing my own self-discovery and how embracing all that it has to offer is one of the greatest gifts I've ever had!


I had to move the furniture around yesterday as I am trying to create a beautiful entry way for when I open up to the public.  The ferret babies are now hiding behind my big closet design wall (yes in my bedroom) and I've had to piece together a wall of particle boards in order to keep them within this area.  They seem happier down here than near the door so I guess it's ok.  I no longer need an alarm clock as these guys are on my timetable and want out of their cage at 6:30 in the morning (even on the weekends, ugh).  I think they may sleep later as it stays darker in the morning longer.

So here are some new pics.  The studio area is kind of a mess right now while I am still putting things away after shifting stuff yesterday.  One thing I realized was that I was trying to reserve specific spaces within this open plan for my living room, dining room and bedroom when it occurred to me that I had not sat at my dining room table nor had I relaxed in my living room since I've been here.  So I blew open the floorplan and I like it much better.  There is more flow.


The dining room table is now right off the kitchen.  I put the expansion section down to make the table smaller which makes more sense.


Studio floor is messy as I had to shift rolling storage and push my fabric into the studio away from the bedroom windows.  The ferrets would have a hay day if left to their own devices.


The former dining room is now my massive desk and computers.


I set up a new table for my sewing machines as I started to use them again.  You can see way back above the kitchen that I've been able to store boxes above the bathroom  after my wonderful brother-in-law set the plywood up there.  You can see it if you go looking for it but I don't mind that.


Everything is much more open and blended.  It will definitely make for better presentation to the public (when I get the darn studio straightened up again).  I'm starting to visualize how I want to hang artwork on the outside in the hallway as many other residents already have their art hanging on display.  I need to create some backdrop with paint near the door inside and outside.  I wanted to be ready for October 6th to open but then I realized I will be down in CT at Art Is taking a workshop with Seth Apter.  I guess I will have until November 3rd to get ready and set up my sales area.

Time to take a shower and get going!!!  Lots to do here!  The good news is I will be on vacation for a WHOLE WEEK September 24th.  CREATING PERSONAL IMAGERY 101 is the priority as I intend on finishing it up COMPLETELY and launching the workshop!!!  Has it really been 6 months since I hoped to have it done????  I'm inspired, energized and focused and I've purchased a pack of Red Bull for the 7-day ride!!!

Have a great weekend and I hope you are nurturing your own creativity!!

Margaret

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Rockin' Design Board

Well, my design board closet wall couldn't have come out better! The paint was still wet in the first picture but I am really, REALLY happy with how it came out.  


So, in the end, I didn't waste the money on those plywood sheets.  I seamed them together with another board 1" x 4" the same length and the power drill didn't peter out on me as I sunk a bunch of screws into those babies!!!  I wish I could join the two closets but I'm fine with how it is.  I turned this bohemoth closet structure into a fully-functional part of my studio!!!!


Then, with some handy dandy eye screws I ran two lengths of wire across both closets and I had picked up some of those tiny hanging clips by Recollections (made for those little stands to hang small pictures from) and now I can hang my projects as I stand back and observe.  I'm glad I painted black as everything stands out really well.  Unfortunately, I had to block out the images because it is current WIP for QA.

Anyone need a free-standing closet/design board built??? LOL
Have a great week!!!!

Studio Sunday This and That

Well, my fuzzy ferret babies are up for adoption now but no takers as of yet.  I was at the pet store yesterday picking up supplies and they had some brand new ferret babies so I had to touch and hold.  Funny how I never would have expected to like these animals but they have grown on me.  However, knowing how much work they are and how many little ferret  hearts are broken because people give them up, I found myself preaching to the crowd in front of the store workers against buying them unless they really understood how much work and care they take.  So, before they threw me out, I got in line, paid and left!  Then I get home and see this and my heart breaks again.


My new space will constantly be a work-in-process!  Today's project is to cover the back side of my makeshift closets in wood so I can paint it and use it as a design board.  I relocated my closets from the entryway over  against the bedroom as I realized it did make sense to kind of block that off (since I'm really bad at making my bed) and will allow me to cover the back sides of them (both 48" wide by 72" high) and cover it with paint or cork board to really use it.  I'm in desperate need of a design wall as everything is ending up on the floor.  I've had the wood for a couple of weeks now (yes, these were the pieces that cost me $60) but I finally figured out a way to make them work even though I had to cut them smaller to get them into the car.  I've got my drill charged and lots of hardware so WISH ME LUCK!!!


I've been working really hard this week because Quilting Arts Magazine contacted me last Friday about putting together a quick article for the January issue!!!!  I am PSYCHED!!!!  So all my free time has been spent exploring the possibilities on the artwork.  Also, I've been playing a lot with my Thermofax screened deli paper and I think my favorite way to use it is with black paint as I love the graphic impact it makes.





Of course, the pastels always work for me :)


The day has just begun so there is plenty more opportunity to be creative today!  It's cooler today as some heavy storms moved through last night and I'll be able to open the windows.  I hope everyone is enjoying a productive weekend!!!

Margaret

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Studio Sunday Labor Day Weekend

Just what I needed!  A long productive weekend!  Whether you are out enjoying the last summer weekend before school resumes or you are in the studio creating, I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!!!  I was burning up the deli paper last night doing a whole bunch of screen printing and my studio floor is strewn with dried prints just waiting for me to rip up for collage!
 

a few colored ones...


some new screen prints...


my screen drawers are overflowing...


and will soon be re-organized in my new used flat file.


Then I started painting some fabric!  On the piece below, after the initial paint had dried, I went back in and screen printed with the new Grid screen, lifting and repositioning as I printed.  I love this!


So, in challenging myself to paint some backgrounds on fabric that were similar to this (below)  painted background on paper,


I attempted to capture the same look and feel on fabric. 
 

I think the key to this is letting the paint dry before layering more on top after some blending on the first layer.  Anyway, I'm coming close to what I had hoped for so I will keep trying!!  This one (below) incorporated more water in the application and it does have a cool look but I think I need to go back over with more dry paint effects.


Then, I incorporated stamping over my painted backgrounds.  I kinda like it!! 


This one is cool but needs a little more green to make it pop.


I had made a goofy stamp and printed on top of some wet fabric to see how the design looked.  I probably won't be making much of this print but it is cool in small pieces for stitched collage.


NEW THERMOFAX SCREENS ARE COMING!!!


These are some of my favorite floral images and I decided to make them up larger for quilting and home dec.  These images are a full 10" - 11" tall.  Below, I printed on on paper that is 9" x 15" and you can see how much of the page it took up.  These will be available this week so check back!



Enjoy your weekend!  I still have two full days left to create!!! Yay!!!

Margaret