Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Art of Painting Your Own Bag

One of the best looking bags I've been attracted to in years really, I believe I first saw this bag in a magazine, and then I found on pinterest.

Created by Close2MyArt, Michelle, created this handbag to hold her own personal art supplies, so you will not able to find this same bag anywhere.   She describes how she created this bag in this blog post, but I must say that the idea of painting my art on a handbag that I hauled around was extremely attractive to me.

The problem was finding the right bag to paint on.  I looked everywhere.  Michele found her bag at some big box but I was not able to do so.  You need the right kind of bag.  Something made of canvas or some other material that can easily absorb paint.  Something light of enough that your artwork will shine although I've seen great art on a darker canvas background, it takes a different set of paints than I possess at the moment.

I eventually purchased a masonry bag from Amazon.com and painted this to hold my art materials, and my laptop when I needed to carry it.  It had a logo imprinted on it, but I painted right over it.  It's still a work in progress, and the bag is quite is heavy so I don't carry it often.

I went back to Amazon to look for what I wanted exactly.  I wanted a plain canvas unbleached neutral colored handbag that I could paint.  I didn't want to pay a lot of money for it.  After a couple of days, I ordered this bag

and this one from Amazon.

They weren't exactly cheap and they weren't made in America, and they weren't exactly what I was looking for but they were a start.  I must say that this is an untapped market.  Every person should be able to find a handbag that they can make their own through art.  These bags are coming from overseas so it might be a month before I see them.  In the meantime, I decided to make a bag for this purpose, which is the subject of another blog post.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


I saw a really cool looking stamp for Haloween that I really wanted but couldn't afford at the time.  The stamp is called the Pinup Queen, and I saw it really well used on the Kathryn Wheel blog.  I also wanted to use this image in a painting in a much larger size so I decided to see if I could render my own version of this image in a painting.

Drawing freehand is difficult for me, and the human form is challenging for me to render exactly.  I used an old canvas with a painting that really didn't come out well. and started with a base of white gesso, and then proceeded to add arcylic paint, alcohol inks, stamps, and acrylic silk glazes.  My painting is 2 feet by 18" in size and I put her in a short dress of my own design.  I like the bootilicious look.

I also liked adding a distressed edge to sides of the painting.  I cut strips of paper, which I secured with old brass nails and glue.  It just really has a put together look that I'm going to complement with some other haloween crafts that I'm making for the front foyer.

September's Calendar

I wanted to try my hand on a calendar page in my art journal for the month of September which has been a rainy month in deed.

It has a lot of colors that I would associate with spring which is what this rainy September reminds me of, but I've used some fall color too like the purple and orange, and brown stamps.

Mondo - A Study in Head Painting

Six or seven years ago, Steve and I went to Honduras to see my brother who was there for a Peace Corp assignment.  While we were there, we backpacked and then took a dugout canoe to an isolate village where Tony often visited to help with economic sustainment activities.  There we met a carver who made these wooden heads.  We bought one and stuffed in my backpack and took it home and I put in on my dresser and there it stayed all this time until last month when I decided to paint it.


I was tired of staring at his plain wooden face.  I wanted to bring some life to his vacant wooden appearance.

After a few weeks of working on  him, there he joined the other masks and ethnic souvenirs that we've collected over the years.  We have like one wall where we display our collection.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Wise Woman

This is shot of a painting I made for a colleague who was leaving for another position.  I love my coffee cup paintings.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

My Kalilah - Stained Glass Art

I became interested in stained glass art after reading an article in November/December 2012 Stampington Studio's.

I scrolled through acres of flicker photographs of traditional stained glass art panels, and then went on to view other mediums for stained glass.  I also downloaded free patterns for stained glass, and finally selected one to practice on.  I tried a traditional stained glass panel project, and it went ok, but I wanted to do something really different with a stained glass affect.  

I took a nice picture of my sister Kalilah.  We had gone hiking along the beach in Penrose Park and Kalilah is standing on the rocks against the background of Puget Sound.

Then using PhotoShop, I cut out my sister's head to use as the central focus for this artwork.   I then converted it to a black and white photo.  I then used my light box to trace my sister's face on a blank journal page.  After I got the journal outline down, I placed a sample of stained glass fracture over a portion of my sister's face in the black and white photo.  From that area, I was able to freehand the stained glass affect over the entire paper.

I painted the initial art with just a wash of watercolor and then I went back in and added more depth and detail.  Obviously the result was not a perfect reflection of my sister's face, but rather my rendition as seen through stained the stained glass medium.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Creating Fab Backgrounds

I love creating backgrounds on mixed media paper.  It's the perfect relaxing activity.  Occasionally after work, feeding my family and taking care of some chores, I hustle off toward my studio and spend the rest of the evening creating background papers, half a dozen or so at a time.  I used to make them using acrylics, but I have migrated toward using stencils, watercolors, tim holtz distress stains, alcohol inks and my own recipe of alcohol dye spritzes and sprays.

The problem is that I usually fall in love with my backgrounds and then I don't want to use them.  I wonder if anyone else has that problem.   I have tried scanning them but scanning using my equipment is not the same as the actual background paper.  It doesn't look the same, doesn't feel the same.  But I decided to get over my problems with using my own artwork when producing other artwork.  I scan as best as I can, and then I start chopping up my home made background papers.

Monday, July 29, 2013


I've gotten into watercolor.  I've been inspired by the work of Gina Kim and Eden Gasior.  The desire to explore more watercolor techniques kind of crept over me while I was into art journaling and maybe I won't completely take off into a new direction of watercolor but it's something that I'm doing now and I thought I would share with you what I've learned.

First, it does matter what type of paper you use.  Good journal paper, even most mixed media paper (with notable exceptions) is not the same as good water color paper.  I had the most irritating experiences with water color in my first art journal.  If you use a lot of watercolor on a page, and don't use gesso, which has it's own impact to watercolor, then the paper will begin to disintegrate.  Bits of paper will start to appear at the end of your brush not to mention how the paper will began to wilt and buckle.  Since,  I'm at the end of my first art journal I decided to purchase my next journal with my watercolor work in mind.

By happenstance, I actually purchased two Strathmore Journals at the same time.  The first journal I purchased from Amazon.  It is a watercolor journal cold press 140 lb.  The second journal I found at Michael's and purchased with a 50% coupon.  It too was a Strathmore, but Mixed Media 400 Series, 140 lb vellum finish.  Each had the same amount of pages and book board like covers, but for some reason the Mixed Media 400 Series feels a bit better to work on and each page feels a little more substantial.  Either way, I purchased each for less than $15.  When you consider that you'll be working on a journal for 3 to 6 months or longer, this is a reasonable price to pay for a journal.  And if you hurry, you can purchase the Mixed Media 400 Series for $6.60 at Jerry's Art Supplies, a bargain in my opinion.

Next, there was the matter of the watercolor paint.  While there are all kinds of watercolor paint, I have my favorites for both portable and stationary watercolor exercises.  For portable watercolor activities, I prefer buying a cheap set of watercolors.  There are 36 colors in the Artist's Loft Watercolor Set, which you can purchase for about $5.  For stationary activities, I prefer to use a wide range of colors including Winsor & Newton, Prang, and some more exotic choices like Tim Holtz's Distress Stains, Twinkle H2O's (love them).

After that, would be the choice of brushes.  I use the water pens for portable watercolor and real watercolor brushes for stationary work.

Finally, for inspiration, I browse through other artist's work, as well as selecting the odd photo from Flicker.  Here's a sample of my latest work.

I designed this pattern after watching a youtube video.  Each pass of green and olive darkened the coloring.    I also saw someone on Youtube doing something similar using a flower stencil and H2O's.

The right watercolor was an interpretation from the Mercedes Cortes watercolor in the Pattern Book.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tim Holtz's Distress Stains and Distress Paints

To be honest, I don't have much practice using Tim Holtz's Distress Stains and Paints.  The few times I've used them, I've just slapped them on the medium I was using and didn't think anymore about it.  Then I watched a Youtube video from Tim Holtz, Distress Stain Basics, explaining how to use both and decided to experiment in their use in my own art journal.

As it turned out, the effect was quite interesting.  Following Tim's instructions, I laid down a few stripes of Distress Stain with the dauber top and then sprayed water and fell in love with the interesting water color effect.

It's particularly useful if you move the page around, allow the water and stain to roll off the page or even use a two inch paintbrush to create puddled and mottled effects as well as to ensure even coverage.

Next, I tried to opaque paint daubers and love those as well.  Great coverage, can thin in out with wet brushes.  Love it.

The most useful technique was to use the stain and paint directly from the dauber top, by taking a wet brush, getting a little stain on the brush, and then painting with it in my art journal book.  I had more control over coverage and could get some really fine detail work done using the great stains and paints. I'm definitely stocking up on Tim Holtz.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Whimsical Girl

I downloaded the class "the whimsical face" by Jane Davenport, from the Interweave Store and found this class to be a priceless edition to any art journalists study of techniques.  Here's a sample of my work in progress.

Not quite finished.

The Initial painting on a acrylic background.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Coffee Cup Art

I've found myself fascinated with painting pictures of coffee cups the past week or two.  You can really stretch your imagination when you limit yourself to painting a single item.  Coffee cups have a basic shape that you can utilize, give a personality.  Here's a sample of my work.

Supplies Used:  Watercolors, Black PITT Pen Medium, Memento Dual Markers,White Montana Marker.

I was inspired to paint the next two coffee cups when I saw some coffee cup art from Brandon Ortwein.

Supplies Used:  Acrylics, Markers.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Stencil Fascination

I really enjoy working with stencils in my art journals.  I've started to collect quite a stash and this post addresses what I've learned about stencils.  

First, you can purchase for really cheap, stencils for use from JoAnn's.  Prices range from $1.29 to $2.99 for the bright yellow type.  And Martha Stewart has some higher priced stencils available.  These are, what I would consider, to be "kitschy" type of stencils.  The traditional type of stencils that have always been available, and there's a place for that type of stencil in my art work.

The second type of stencil that I generally use are cut-outs from my Silhouette machine.  There's a wide range of graphics that lend themselves to stencil work available from the Silhouette online site that I can download, and also I can use my art work in the cutouts as well through the use of the Silhouette studio software.     Still these templates are cut out using card stock, I use good card stock, but still there are limits to how often you can  use the same stencil in your art journal.  I'm going to try using chipboard and other materials to see if I can create more sustainable stencils.

I love using stencils to mask areas on my art journal.  Here's an example of how I use the checkerboard stencil I cut out from Silhouette, the star, the heart, the flower, Today, and the coffee cup.  In the coffee cup's case I used the cutout as both a mask and a die cut on another page.

And finally, there are the stencils that I draw and cutout myself.  Typically, these are stencils that I modified from former paper stencils that I really like and want to use more often on my art journals.  I draw them on mylar or plastic sheets with a Sharpie pen.  Then cut them out using a exacto knife.  The more intricate cuts take a lot longer and I usually save this work while I'm watching television or on the phone.  It gives me something to do with my hands.  But I'd like to find a quicker way to accomplish the same thing, so I'm practicing now with a craft cutting/soldering iron.  My first trial was a bit rough so this will take some practice so I'll keep you informed.

Art Studio 04-26-2013

I have decided that there are a few things I can do to consistently document my experiences learning and practicing new art techniques.

  • As much practical, organize my work space at the end of the day, so that my last activity is either clearly captured, or my next craft project is clearly outlined.
  • Take a photograph of art projects I am in the process of have completed at least every day.
  • Document my experiences working with art techniques or tools, as often as possible.
Last night, I arranged my latest art project, while in process, before I turned out the light in my art studio and went to bed.  I like to dry place collage art on my canvas to test colors and possible locations.  I'm also working on my collage faces so I'm trying to dry test which collage face I'm going to use with this particular canvas.  I've been practicing some different techniques with my collages faces which I'll document later.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Shawna's Wedding Invitations

When my sister told me she was getting married, I was quite happy to volunteer to help with the wedding invitations.  I have so many craft supplies and I thought this would be the perfect time to test many of these products out.  To start, Shawna and Lon came over one weekend and spent some time selecting a card layout from the Silhouette website (card fancy occasion by Samantha Walker), the color of the cardstock, the font they wanted to use on the invite (Harrington), and the actual card layout.  It was a lot fun.  She and Lon are having a small wedding and really she just needed a few cards. :-)  Here's what the final card looked like.

So I learned a lot from this experience.  Let's start with the actual card layout.

If you choose a card layout with a lot of detailed cuts like this one, be prepared.
  • Make sure you use good card stock.  I used Bazzill Cardstock Basics.  Buy in bulk.  In you're in a craft store, you can pick these up for .60 cents a piece, but if you buy in bulk, you can pick up 25 sheets for as little as $9 or 100 sheets for as little as $26 plus shipping.  Shawna selected Majestic Purple Dark and Wisteria for her color scheme.  Be sure you have extra card stock.  You will waste some.
  • Have extra blades and mats on hand.  Change the blade and/or mat as needed.  You will still be able to use the older blades for other types of cuts, but a good clean sharp blade is essential to making detailed cuts with lots of fretwork happen with minimal issues.  Chances are that if you start to notice a lot of tearing or the card not completely cutting out all the way through to the mat, you need to change the blade.
  • Place the textured side of the card stock face down onto the mat.  This will minimize the amount of scratches and make it easier to pull the card up from the mat.
  • Once the cut has been completed, lift the large pieces by hand.  Be careful when lifting so you don't accidentally tear the card.  Use the spatula to clean the smaller pieces.
  • Have a exacto knife with plenty of fresh blades and a craft cutting mat on hand.  This will help you finish cuts that weren't cut all the way through.  Don't be too hard on yourself here.   Cutting a little off the decoration to deal with the tear will not be all that noticeable in the scheme of things when you're sending out cards.  Use your judgment.  This is a diy craft project and you're not using a laser cutter.  You can still do a neat job while getting an overall great appearance.
  • Bend the card along the perforations over the side of a hard stiff surface like the edge of your table or desk.  Use a bone folder to assist with the bend.
  • Test your initial design on cardstock you don't need or don't intend to use.  This is how I got rid of my least favorite colors.  I ran several test versions to make sure that I knew exactly where the card would print as well as the additional accessories.
  • Printing on card stock can be problematic.  I had both laster and ink jet and in both cases, even when feeding by hand, there were occasions when the ink would smudge slightly.  Another reason to have extra stock on hand.
  • Make sure when you're working this project that you have a totally clean area, and clean hands.
Here are some pictures of the work in progress.

As you can see there was a slight tearing of the design when it came out of the cutter.  In most cases, there was only minimal tearing if any at all.  Nothing that I couldn't deal with using an exacto knife.

However in this instance there was more than a little bit of tearing and this told me that it was time to change the blade.

Here are the pieces that were cut as part of the card.

Just used a little glue stick to apply the frame to the invitation and I actually ended up making the frame a little chunkier in the end product since we had so much on the printed invitation which we printed on vellum.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A New Crafting Space

As many of my friends know, I craft all over the house.  I sew in the tiny bedroom, I paint and work on jewelry in the garage, I knit and draw in front of the television, and I art journal in the kitchen.  This past year, I've spent a lot of time in the garage, and the heating bill began to reflect that.  It is awfully hard to heat an uninsulated garage with a cold garage floor.  Finishing the garage became the holy grail for dealing with the issue, but we had so many home projects ahead of this one.  Then a month ago, the young man who does work on our house and our garage, told us he would be starting work fulltime within the next 10 days.  Usually Matty begins work in the spring until late in the fall when building construction tapers off.  With so little time left, it was due or die, and so I made the decision to purchase the building supplies from whatever combination of cash and credit I could manage, and pay Mattie from my tax refund.

Here's what the garage looked like before.

Here's what the garage looks like now.

At face value, the change might not seem that much different unless you were here.  We raised the floor a foot, insulated it, exchanged a garage door for a wall with two windows, and carted out a lot of junk.  We still need to bump out the outside walls another two inches, insulate them, and maybe throw up a coat of paint.  But at the moment, I don't care how long that takes.  I am so happy to have light and warmth, and plenty of work space.  This sanctuary has gone from Teresa's garage to Teresa's Art Studio.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

New Art Forms

I've decided to explore new art forms this year.  The main reason is that my left hand had problems so I could no longer rely on it's strength and dexterity, and wanted to save any use for practical tasks or work.  So I'm exploring drawing, art journaling and crochet this year and I took the opportunity to use my vacation in Minnesota during December to spend a little bit more time doing this kind of work.  I purchased some books about cartooning, drawing manga, and art journaling.  I watched quite a few art and youtube videos.  And I've been scrolling through Flickr to see what interests me.  My first page was a little awkward.  I was celebrating an evening that Steve and I spent with my brother watching the latest Bond movie.

I focused on the use of neutral tones, while highlighting the movie ticket ephemera that I had kept from the event.  I used collage techniques, pencil, white pen and alchol inks.

Before we left for Minnesota, I had prepped many pages of my art pages with gesso and watercolor surface treatments. I had also packed a wide variety of markers and pens and art supplies. I started off slow.

My second page set was a little more put together.  Like I said I had prepped my pages before hand, and had a number of cuts I could use in my collage.

I did this page while we were vacationing in Minnesota.  It was bitter cold there and I was wishing I was in Arizona. I used a combination of watercolor, collage, cut-out shapes from my silhouette machine, and marker.

This next page started off as an art form called Zentangle. With each page, I learn something different.  Here I simply focused on the use of markers, but I continued my work on the returning flight and accidentally unloaded a large amount of white paint onto the left side of the drawing. 

Note to self.  Don't open pens with a lot liquid in them on airplanes.  Be prepared for disasters.  Particularly don't open white paint pens from Sakura or Sharpie.  It took quite a bit of patience and work to clean it up and repair the damage, and it's still not perfect.

Finally, here's a self drawing of myself.  Still needs some work around the mouth and nose but it's a start.