Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Occasional ATC #ATC # #Watercolor #Zentangle

For a couple of years, I was heavy into ATC trading, and did hundreds of them (I never do things in half measures, lol).

Eventually, I got tired of the small format, keeping track of trades, and paying postage so, as most  do, I moved on--to Zentangle.  Occasionally, though I find an unused ATC card, and decided to use it.

This makes me think of a temple or adobe-type dwelliings.  Maybe the building in the background is where the temple staff live.

Thursday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

How to draw tanglepattern Alaura
Ben Kwok template-Jellyfish (must belong to Facebook group Ornation Creation)

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
Journal With or Without Words

How To Draw a Straight Line Without Smearing With Watercolor
Courageous Corrugated Cardboard
How to Make an Eerie Tale Mini-Album

Free seat in 28 Cards in workshop
Blick "Fall for Art" $25 Gift Card Giveaway (Facebook)
Giveaway: Enter for a Chance to Win a Free Book-Ultimate Body Art (must be a member of the Art Colony)
Tangle Stitches and Zentangle pin cushion Giveaway with Zentangle Quilt label art (for more information about the book, see my review from earlier this week)

 The Autumn Issue of RubberStampMadness is OUT!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The MorgueFile-Free reference photo gallery #MorgueFile #ReferencePhoto #photographs

Have I ever brought the Morguefile to your attention?  It's a site where people can upload photographs for artists to use as a reference without expecting credit or payment.

It's a easy to use site, tons of photos of purt near everything, and it's free!  You'll see a row of buttons near the top.  Make sure Morguefile is selected, because the site is linked to other sites where you can buy photos for use.  WARNING: This site is addictive.  Did I mention the tons of photos? I could get lost for hours, and am tempted to download everything!

I found the reference photo for this fella, who has I painted in watercolor on Kilimanjaro Natural, Cold Press.

Wednesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Tangle Patterns: How to draw CURL
Stuck Up

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
Play Mixed Media Layout

Painting Realistic Animals: 4 Key Tips for Painting Fur
File Folder Art Journal How to Tutorial - video
Make your own stamping plate

Pigma Micron Giveaway-59 Piece Pigma Artist Gift Set
Imagine Crafts/Clear Scraps Blog Feature-Prizes all week (Facebook)
Graphic45 giveaway- $35 prize pack of Time to Celebrate Scrapbook collection

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Journal52 Prompt-Week 34: Alphabetical #Journal52 #ArtJournal #ArtJournaling

Now I know my ABCs!  An idea for this prompt came pretty quickly, though it didn't work out quite as I'd planned.  That's pretty common, lol!

For those interested, my process is written up below.

Before I start the process, I thought I'd explain a couple of the concepts that I used to help in my decisions regarding colors and the supplies I used--temperature and Opacity vs Transparence.  If you're familiar with these, just jump right to step 1.

Temperature: I was going for an icy look, but think I achieved more of a neon glow.  This is partly because of the temperature choices I made, using mostly cool colors-greens, blues and purples.  But the cool colors are all on the warmer end of the cool spectrum.  Confusing?

With color, temperature refers to how hot or how cool a color seems to be.  On one end you have fire, and on the other end you have ice.  Reds, yellows and oranges are considered warm and blues, greens and purples are cool (you'd think it would be 'hot and cold', but the color terms are 'hot and cool').  However, it gets tricky because some pigments are never pure.  Some reds tend to yellow and some to blue, so you might have a cool red.  But a cool red will probably still be warmer than warm blue. Then you have the neutral or earth colors, the browns and grays which can go either way.

One of the prevailing theories is that warms colors seem closer, while cool colors are more distant.  Many artists prove this isn't always true, but it is something to keep in mind.  More importantly, you can give a composition, a layout, more cohesion by having both cool and warm colors with one or the other temperature being dominant.  Cool is dominant in this journal page, the metallic brown being the only really warm color.

Opacity vs Tranparency:  I chose white for my ABCs because it is opaque.  I chose the colors I used for the background because they are transparent or translucent and would allow the stamped background to show, and provide contrast for the opacity of the white.

With pigment (vs light) the main thing that causes opacity is white.  The more whit in a color the more opaque it is.  There are other factors--watercolors are inherently more transparent than oils or acrylics, for instance, but all three still have some color that are transparent or opaque (for the purposes of my explanations--translucence and semi-opaque are more or less the same thing).

A color that has tranparency--is transparent--can be seen through.  It can be as clear as glass, or translucent, where you might see text or other color underneath, but it is shadowy and indistinct. An opaque color completely covers what is underneath.  If you cover a blue with a transparent yellow, the blue stays the same or changes very little.  If you cover a blue with a translucent yellow, you get a green because you still see some blue as well as yellow, and the colors mix visually.  If you cover blue with an opaque yellow, you get yellow, even though the blue is darker.

The Daler-Rowney Graduate Acrylic paints I used in the background are extremely transparent. They also have a metallic sheen which seems to up the feeling of warmth in the color.

So enough of the tricky stuff, lol.  The steps I took were actually pretty easy.  That's often the way it is. If you know enough about your mediums, so you know how to choose, the steps are easy.  If you still screw up--as I did somewhat here--you can switch gears easily enough.


1. I have this alphabet stamp sets that I picked up cheap somewhere.  I left them in their box, inked them up and then turned my journal page-side down onto the inked set.  That made it easier than trying to stamp individually or keep the stamps from falling out, if I turned the box upside down.

At this point, I wasn't sure what mediums I would use so I used StazOn, a solvent based stamp pad.  It works well with almost any medium except alcohol markers like Copics or Sharpies.

I did know that the stamped characters would be covered over, so I didn't worry about getting the images perfect.

2. I chose Daler-Rowney Graduate Acrylic paint (Metallic Green and Metallic Brown).  I chose these because they are very transparent--see how well the stamped characters show through.  I also picked one that was cool and one that was warm.  As soon as I put them down though, I realized both were warmer than I expected (my mistake--I use these a lot and should have known).  Easy enough.  Instead of icy I went more for neon.

3. After penciling in (you can see the indentations from the pencil) and then outlining with a Pigma Micron pen, I used Antique White acrylic paint to fill my ABCs.  I chose a white that had a touch of yellow (warmer) and that seemed to complement the metallic brown in the background.  If I had still been trying for icy, I would have picked a zinc white.  Zinc white is more blue than this antique white and more opaque than titanium white.

4. Before the Antique White had time to try, I began added some Sky Blue.  I mixed it with the white on the page.

5. I used the same blue to paint the shadows, and then added a metallic purple from Folk Art, that is more opaque than the Daler-Rowney Graduate.  Again, I mixed the two colors on the page.  At this point I let the paint dry.

6. Once the paint was dried I did some detailing using a Turquoise Copic Doodl Pack. I used the BG13 Mint Green Ciao Marker, Turquoise atyou Spica Glitter Pen, and Multiliner Pen in Gray to add some separation between the ABCs and their shadows, and to pick out some of the stamped characters in the background.  I didn't use the BG10 Cool Shadow Ciao Marker.  It's very light and very transparent, so it wouldn't have shown up.

7. I hadn't drawn the shadows very well, and I wasn't happy with them.  I thought I'd try making them darker and change their shape a bit, so I used a Faber-Castell Big Brush pen (Cold Grey III).  These are India Ink fabric-tipped markers with a wide tip.

8. I still didn't like the shadows.  It came to me that I could obscure the shape.  Even though I had moved away from the idea of ice, I decided to go with part of my original idea.  I added more of the Antique White in swirls, like frost coming off of ice.  In real life, the frost would break up the shadows, so that gave me an excuse to blur them.

9.  I quit taking photos at this point, because I was adding a little of this and a little of that.  I played with the direction of the brush-strokes and making the shadows seem lighter by darkening the area around them. I'm still not completely happy, but after 2-3 tries, it is always best to walk away for a week or two.  I may come back and play some more, or I might find I'm quite happy after I forget the vision I had in my head to start with.

Tuesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Ben Kwok template - Hamster (must be a member of Facebook Group Ornation Creation)

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
 Kids Art journal prompts
Prompt #1126 Visual Prompt of the Week – Wheels

Watercolour Comparisons 8 - Blues
Easy Acrylic Skins with the Gelli Plate & an Art Journal Page - video

Scrap Addict's Attic-100,000 Page View Giveaway
VLVS & StencilGirl Blog Hop-win $25 worth of rubber from VLVS! and $25 worth of stencils


Monday, August 25, 2014

Review of 'Tangle Stitches for Quilters and Fabric Artists' #JaneMonk #Zentangle #TanglePatterns

A while back, Jane Monk,, a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT), contacted me and asked if I would like to review her book, ''Tangle Stitches for Quilters and Fabric Artists: Relax, Meditate, and Create with Rhythmic Stitches'.  Of course I wanted to!  But I had to admit that I don't sew.

So while this book is obviously aimed at the Zentangle® enthusiast who is also a fabric artist, I'll be reviewing it from the standpoint of someone who is primarily into the paper arts.  So let me flesh that out a little bit.  I did do a little embroidery when I was young (centuries ago!).  I don't remember the stitches, but can pick them up again pretty quickly.  The sewing machine, however, is my mortal enemy.

I did a mock-up of the Journal Cover project. I'm not showing my results for fear someone will look at the photo and not read my mock-up explanation.  I wasn't actually trying to make a journal cover.  

My aim was to evaluate the quality of the instructions.

I've gone out to buy supplies for a project in the past, and then ruined them because I couldn't figure out what to do.  So for this evaluation, I worked quick and dirty, hand-sewing only, and used supplies I had available-watercolor paper, yarn and a bookbinding needle, instead of the supplies that Jane recommends. I just wanted to see how far I could get, and how confused I would get.  I didn't really expect my mock-up to succeed.

Sure enough, the large needle and thick yarn perforated the paper as though I were doing a cut-out.  I switched to bigger stitches and just did squares after that.  The paper wasn't flexible enough to turn inside out completely but it was good enough to tell me what I wanted to know.

Jane's instructions were clear enough that I was able to:

  • figure out how to do the necessary stitches by hand\
  • measure the paper to fit
  • put the pieces together properly
  • decide which tangles would work best for my needs

My cover did fit, though it was very tight where it hadn't quite turned all the way out.  It looks like I ran over it with a lawn mower, lol.  Having said that, I actually think I could make a nice journal cover using paper, if I used a different thread and needle, and expanded the measurements a bit. Rather than adapting, though, I'll buy the right supplies if I decide to try again.

Meanwhile, I went the traditional route and made a Zentangle-Inspired drawing using some of the tangle patterns in the book.

So, what about the person who doesn't sew at all?  What about the fabric artist who doesn't tangle? Does this book have enough of interest for both?  The answer to that would vary according to mileage.

Let me list some of the features:

  • there are forty-one tangles--some traditional and some of Jane's own tangles (see list of tangles below)
  • it's light and sturdy enough to carry on my travels
  • has beautiful photographs
  • makes a great coffee table book as well as a tangle reference
  • doesn't quite lie flat, but will stay open
  • is printed on high quality paper

Much of the Zentangle information in this book is standard, such as the basics for creating a drawn Zentangle tile.  Many of the forty-one tangle patterns are traditional ones that have been included in other books and online.  But the book also includes many of Jane's own patterns, which even experienced tanglers may have never seen.  The book has enough basics for the newest of newbies, and eye-candy to delight the most experienced.

Even with my limited sewing skills, the information on sewing seemed straight-forward, and I never found myself going 'huh'?  With each project, Jane gives measurements for a specific size or tells you how to measure. The book also includes a formula for resizing.  Instructions are brief, but heavily illustrated with photos and are easy to understand (they were for me, anyway).  The tangles she uses in each project are identified within the instructions.  Any stitches that must be done by hand are illustrated.

I've listed the chapter titles and the names of the tangle patterns below, and that may help you decide if this is a book you need for your library.

Cover: Paperback
No. of Pages: 128 pages
Size: 8.9 x 8.4 x 0.4 inches
Weight: 1.1 lbs

Introduction: What are Tangle Stitches?
PART ONE: The Basics
     Tools for Drawing and Stitching
     Transferring Designs to Fabric
     How to Draw with Tangle Patterns
     Tangle Patterns
     Tangle Stitches for Longarm Machine Quilters
PART TWO: The Projects
     Pin Cushion with a Twist
     Bag Tags and ATCS
     Quilted Names
     Hand-Stitched Journal Cover
     Felt Jar Covers
     Mini Quilts
     Tangled Trio Table Runner
     Tangled Nine-Patch Quilt
     Quilt Label
About the Author

The Tangle Patterns (patterns with an * are Jane's)
Crescent Moon, Rick's Paradox, Msst, Chartz, Echoism, Pokeroot, Zinger, Printemps, Sedgling, Berries & Leaves*, Tortle Flower*, Quilted*, Mooka, Mooka Pods*, Nouveau*, Fern*, Fescu, Flux, Pipeflower*, Pokeleaf, Ennies, Jetties, Bumper, Knase, Slates*,Shattuck, Rivit*, Scrumble*, Onomato, Eke, Meer, Static, Cadent, School*, Bones*, Schway, Rain, Peeks*, Strata*,Truffs*, Squid

To sum up: The book is softcover printed on high quality, durable paper with beautiful photography. It is light enough to carry around, though a bit large for most purses.  It would make a good coffee table book as well as a reference for Zentangle patterns, and a sewing project book.  It's a pleasure to flip through.  I really enjoyed seeing what Jane had made, and I might try some of the projects for real.  Or not.  Either way, if I were looking for a Zentangle book, I would consider this one.

You can see more of Jane's work at Jane Monk Studios.

Monday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Weekly Zentangle Challenge #182 

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
25 Amazing Art Journal Theme Ideas
The Documented Life Project - Week 35 Challenge:  Draw, sketch, paint, doodle a face or cut and alter one from a book or magazine

How to Paint Watercolor Postcards in Vintage Style - video
Tutorial Thursday - Parcel Card
Halloween Face Paint Tutorial: Skele-dog
Creating colorful bookcovers for Back to School

Prima Marketing Flowers Contest - Instagram
Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint, Stencils and Brushes
Imaginisce blog Giveaway-mystery prize

Design Team Call for Anything But A Card Challenges

Friday, August 22, 2014

'The Room' a Buffy fanfiction drabble #BuffyVampireSlayer #drabble #fanfiction

Once upon a time, long, long ago I was myfeetshowit on LiveJournal and I wrote Buffy the Vampire fanfiction.  Mostly drabbles, short stories that are 100 words no more, no less.  Those who've known me awhile know that I was prolific at producing ATCs, and then Zentangles--not so many know how many drabbles I cranked out in my time, lol.

I haven't posted or been active there in ages, but last night I received an email telling me that one of my drabble series had been nominated at the 'No Rest For The Wicked Awards'.  Ah, the memories!

This particular series was one that I was particularly proud of.  I was reading the Edda, a book of Icelandic mythology, it was shortly after the Angel series had ended on a cliffhanger, and I wanted something wrapped things up, while having an epic prose feel to it (it's not poetry).  And I decided to do it in 500 words--no more, no less.

It won't make a bit of sense to anyone who unfamiliar with the Buffy and Angel series, and if you're a shipper it might drive you insane.  I'm not a shipper, but it might look that way to some.

If you're interested, the drabbles are still up at my LiveJournal blog - The Room

Short-necked Giraffes #KDAllegri #Watercolor #St-Armand

The second African sunset that I did in my watercolor class features the rare short-necked giraffe.  These animals are so rare, they only exist in this painting!

I used the St-Armand watercolor paper again.  It's a very challenging paper, but I'm starting to see what it does best and what it doesn't do at all, lol.

My teacher tried a piece and she made it sing!

Friday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

LIGHT AND SHADOW - Helen Williams new E-book available Now

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
The Journal Project 2014 – Week 33 – Art Camp for Women - Art Prompt:  Find a shape that thrills you  and try to draw it (I learn by drawing from photos); Writing Prompt: Write about what things in nature capture your heart and humble your soul

 Stamping How To - Cling Film Trick - video
Refuse To Create Refuse- ReCycle Your Bad Watercolor Paintings
How to Mix Colors

Enter to win Semikolon 'Il Creativo' Notebooks
OfficeSupplyGeek Giveaway-Architects Wallet

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Polar Lizard & Sunset #Watercolor #KDAllegri #Shizen

In last week's watercolor class we were practicing African sunsets, but we started off by finishing the paintings from the week before.  I had finished mine at home, so I decided to do a quick study warm up, and just to be contrary, decided to use cooler colors.  My little lizard was done using Cobalt Teal, Opera, Phtahlo Blue, and Lunar Blue.  The branch is a mix of the color and the background is all Lunar Blue.

Even though I used bright colors, he looks decidely chilly next to the sunsets I did later in class, so I decided he's a Polar Lizard.  Very rare.  Mine may be the only one in existence, lol!

Actually, I mistakenly picked up Alizarin Crimson instead of Naphthol Red, so even my sunsets are a little cooler than intended.  I guess I was just feeling chilly that day!

Wednesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

I have limited computer access this week, so I did up my lists ahead of time and they'll be a little sparse.  Still some good stuff though!

Weekly Zentangle Roundup #138 -  Zentangle roundup from a year ago!

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
Journaling, is it worth it?

How to use Citrasolv - series of videos
Improve Your Painting: 3 Tips For Capturing Shadows in Painting


Ornate Painted Dragons Based on a Single Giant Brush Stroke

Wednesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Tangle Patterns: How to draw INCHWORM

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
 CSI:Color, Stories, Inspiration case file:A Happy Life Layout

Painting Hydrangeas in Watercolor 
Art Journaling ~ Boundaries (Tutorial)
Encaustic Basics Part II: Preparing Substrates, Fusing, Adding Color
Exercise 29: Back to Basics-Shadowing

Blue Fern Studios giveaway-paper collection, Montage
Crafter's Companion USA giveaway-Spectrum Noir Markers and more
Jerry's Artarama Sktchy Contest - Win over $300 in Art Supplies 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Kudu #Watercolor #KDAllegri #St-Armand

I'm taking another watercolor class from Kathy Delumpa Allegri this month and the theme this time around is Africa.  I decided to try a Kudu.

I was trying a different kind of  watercolor paper, St-Armand, a handmade paper.  The sizing on the paper is supposed to resist water, so I was surprised at how much it did absorb.  Possibly, I was using the wrong side.  I have more so I'll see how it goes.

The Kudu needs a redo, so I'll probably try it again on a different paper.

Tuesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Ben Kwok template - Ram's Head  (must be a member of Facebook Group Ornation Creation)

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
Create Journal Fodder-things to collect

Coloring a Manga-style Character Part 2: Eyes
Enhance Your Paintings with the Dry Brush Technique
How to make a geometric painting

A Challenge for your Inner Critic - and a giveaway
Heat of Summer Copic Coloring Contest
BasicGrey giveaway-entire Vivienne Scrapbook Collection


Monday, August 18, 2014

Journal52:Week 32and 33-Gratidude Pizza #Journal52 #ArtJournal #ArtJournaling

I decided to combine Journal52 prompts 32 and 33.  One was gratitude and one was Favorite Food, and I'm truly grateful that food is plentiful in my house, when so many struggle for their daily nourishment.  The two ideas just seemed to go together.

I ended up with a Gratitude Pizza.  As usual, for those interested, my process is written up below!

1.  I used a flat spline, a flexible rubber strip that you can bend into shapes and use as a guide for your pen or pencil (aka as a flexible curve or flexible drawing guide), to pencil in the circle for my pizza.

2.  Then I penciled in all the wording.

3.  I used a Shock Yellow Montana Acrylic paint marker to color the area around the pizza.  The color in these markers is transparent so the penciled letters still showed through.  I've discussed Montana Markers before--how the 15mm tip allows you to cover large areas quickly, but I don't think I've mentioned that the colors are bright, but matte.  That means there is no shine or glimmer to them.  Acrylic paint is essentially gel medium with color pigment added, which means that usually they are sticky, and often pages will stick together even after the paint dries.  But this varies considerably depending on what is added and how the paint is formulated.  The acrylic paint that comes with a Montana Marker is very fluid, flows easily, dries almost immediately, and is NOT sticky at all.

4. I used a Shock Orange Montana Markers for the words outside the pizza, and then colored food items on the pizza using the same two color as well as Shock Lt Green and Shock Kent Blood Red.

5. I used Kuretake Brushables, in Apricot, Pure Orange and Butter, to color the rest of the pizza.  Brushables are waterproof markers with two tips.  Both tips are the same color, but one is a 50% tint of the color in the other tip.

6. I finished up Classic Gelly Roll pens, outlining the large letters with Royal Blue, writing the words within the pizza with Black, and shadowing the food items with Burgundy.  The whole thing took about 45 minutes, with the bulk of that time in the penciling in, and the outling with the Gelly Rolls.

Monday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Weekly Zentangle Challenge #181
TanglePatterns String 118

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
What to Write and How to Write it in Art Journals

Quick Tip: Fetch those buttons - video
The World of Watercolor: Color Value In Art
Let Yarn Textures Help You Make the Most of Your Stitches

Docrafts Goodie Bag Giveaway (Facebook)
Prismacolor Premier Mixed Media Set + enrollment in an online Craftsy art class of their choice (Facebook)
Papercrafting Product Release: Prima Marketing & A Giveaway

Friday, August 15, 2014

White Elephant Bathing in a Bowl #Watercolor #Elephant #KhadiPaper

Yep.  This is more or less a waterdoodle of the negative kind.

I got these cool heart-shapes made of Khadi paper--which is a handmade paper from India, with an interesting texture.  In the past, I've used Shizen, which has a very rough texture.  The Khadi texture is also rough, but has a more even surface.  Normally, I wouldn't buy heart-shaped paper, but the price was right and I thought I might make some interesting Christmas cards with them.

Wondering how the paper would do with watercolor, I decided to use up some left over paint and find out.  The paper's excellent for a dry-brush, scumbling effect.  The darker streaks in the background are from me scratching into the wet paint with my fingernails and then painting over once dry.  The paint lifts well too.

The paper is a little more absorbant than I like, so you either have to keep applying layers or use a whole lot of pigment for darker values.  But that also gives you a chance to get very subtle layers of color, and build up.

All in all, I think I'll be getting some of this paper in a non-heart shape--it's cool (did I already mention that?).

Friday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Tangle Patterns: How to draw POMX2

How to draw tanglepattern Auraknot - video

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
Art Journal Ideas: Two for the road

Creating Mixed Media Hair Tutorial
Tutorial: Little Black Hen in Watercolor

Jetpens Giveaway-Wood Pen holder, Fountain Pen, Pens, Pencils and Notebooks
Craftaholicsanonymous giveaway-5 Silhouette digital cutting tools


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

WATERDOODLES #Watercolor #LifeImitatesDoodles

There is an ongoing struggle that all watercolorists must face when they begin using watercolors.  To clean or not to clean their palette.

Watercolor paints, especially good ones, are not cheap.  If you get a good mix of colors, you want to use every last drop.

On the other hand, it's easy to lose track of what colors are what.  What colors, exactly, did you put into that mix?  Where can you put down fresh color without it getting messed up?  How do you keep your pure colors from getting contaminated?

Many seasoned painters don't worry.   They wipe off the contaminated areas or live with the contamination.  They develop a system so they know what paint is where and they never clean off their palette.  Other masters are exactly the opposite.  They clean off their palette after every painting, so they approach each one fresh and they have complete control over the purity of their paints.

I suspect neither system is better than the other.  It's just part of the personal style each artist develops and each artist must learn for themselves how best to manage their palette.

Surprisingly, I, the messiest person I know in this world, am falling on the side of the clean palette. I want to start each painting with fresh color and a clean (if unavoidably stained) palette.  On the other hand, it kills me to wash away perfectly good paint.  So what to do?

I've been using the left over paint to practice washes and make charts between paintings, but when I don't want to actually work at it, I've been doing WATERDOODLES!  Easy, and it's fun.  Plus you learn brush control.  That's my story, anyway, and I'm sticking with it!

I think the photo is self-explanatory.

I use cheap watercolor paper, and paint on both sides.  I may stop that though, because it might be fun to cut these out and use them in my art journal.

Tuesday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Ben Kwok template -  Chameleon (must be a member of Facebook Group Ornation Creation)
Weekly Zentangle Challenge

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
Random Art Prompt Generator

Watercolor Background with Spray Inks-video
Tutorial: Botanical drawing with pencil and watercolor

Zeus & Zoey Fabric Flower kit giveaway
Bic Back to School Giveaway
Win A Pilot Pen Prize Pack
Snowman & Father Christmas Giveaway-open to residents of the UK and the following countries who are over 18 years of age: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Republic of Ireland, Switzerland, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Gibralta, Greece, Italy, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Winners of the Schut Noblesse Watercolor Block

I used the True Random Number Generator to pick three numbers.  The qualifying emails sent to me were numbered in the order they arrived.  Emails with numbers that matched were the winning entries.  These belonged to:

12-Barbara Aronis
34-Judy Maurer

Congratulations, all three.  They have been notified and responded.

Thank you to everyone who entered!

Monday Links to Tangles, Tutorials and Giveaways #zentangle #Giveaways #ArtJournal

Weekly Zentangle Challenge - Will be posted on Tuesday

Art Journaling Prompts & Inspiration
41 Summer Art Journaling Prompts

Wet street painting with reflections
Frequently asked questions- sketching supplies and process
Painting a Garden Is No Secret! How to Paint a Water Lily in Mixed Media

Jetpen Pen Perks: Pinterest D.I.Y. Wedding Giveaway
Coolpencilcase Review + GIVEAWAY - video
Enter to Win a Lamy Safari, a Bottle of Lamy Ink, & a Lamy LZ24 Converter

Mehen, an Ancient Egyptian Game DIY

Journal52 Prompt Week 31: Friendship ‪#‎Journal52‬, ‪#‎ArtJournaling‬, ‪#LifeImitatesDoodles

My definition of Friendship is: a relationship with someone so close that they are part of you.

When I saw the Journal52 prompt of Friendship, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.  A bit weird perhaps, but I think it makes the point.

As usual, for those interested, I've written up my process below.  This was a fairly quick one.  It took me about 1/2 an hour including drying times.

No. 2 Pencil
Watercolor-Hansa Yellow Lt; Quinacridone Rose; Phthalo Blue
Pentel Color Brush-Black Ink
Inkssentials White Gel Ink Pen

I used the wet in wet method for this piece, which means I wet the areas to be painted thoroughly first, until it shines all over.  When the shine is starting to fade, I add the paint and let it flow onto the page.  Unless I shake the paper, the paint will stay in the wet areas.

I also used the method of charging, which is blending colors by adding wet paint into wet paint.

1. I lightly drew the two profiles on the page with the pencil (so lightly that I couldn't get them to scan).
2. Going from light to dark, as is wise with watercolor, I painted the left profile with the Hansa Yellow Lt.  I left the page to dry.

You can tell if your paint is completely dry by touching it with your fingernails.  You can touch with your fingertips, but then you leave oils on the paper.  If the paper feels cool, it is still wet.  It doesn't need to feel warm, just not cold.

I let the paper dry because I wanted to mix paint where the profiles overlap, but only where they overlap.

3.  I carefully re-wet the yellow where the profiles overlapped, and then wet the unpainted areas (except the area under the chins).  I added a very thin wash of yellow to the overlapping area. then started dropping in some Quinacridone Rose at various points and let it flow. I used the brush to guide the paint around rather than tilting the page and letting it drip, because I wanted a more even flow, but I was careful to keep the blending of color where the two profiles overlapped, and not let it go into the other areas.

4. After dipping my brush in clean water, I used the side of the brush and brushed short strokes along the edge of the yellow profile, using the side of the brush, and lifting away some of the rose to add a little more emphasis.

5.  I painted the area beneath the chins with the Phthalo Blue.  After dipping my brush into the water I barely touched it into the blue, and dropped it into the still partially wet yellow and rose paint to create the eyes.

6.  I used a Pentel Color Brush pen to outline both profiles, the eyes and to add a little detail to the faces.

7.  To finish up, I used a white gel pen to lighten the eyeballs and add subtle highlights along the nose, cheeks and lips.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Another Quick Study--one I'm sheepish about! #Exaclair #Schut #ArtGiveaway

This week I'm sharing work done on Schut Noblesse watercolor block.  For a review of this paper, please check out my Monday post.  If you are interested in purchasing Schut Papier's fine art papers, check out the Exaclair website for a list of retailers who sell the Schut  Noblesse Watercolor blocks and sheets.

I feel a little sheepish about this one (Sorry.  I can never resist a pun!).  I've been trying to break away from using only local color and loosen up my brush strokes, so this study was aimed at doing that.  This is a great method for the quick stuff, because it lends itself to being fast, and it seems to me that using colors and brush strokes like this gives you more of a sense of freedom.

"REPEATING Motifs" a.k.a. PATTERNS!!! Anything But a Card Challenge #38 #AnythingButACard #AmazingMoldPutty

I'm the guest designer at the Anything But a Card challenge blog today.

The theme for the August Challenge is "REPEATING Motifs" a.k.a. PATTERNS.  This can be any craft or work of art that uses a repeat design.  Anything from a Zentangle® tile to a patterned clay tile, a journal page with repeated designs to a piece of cast resin.  Anything with patterns---as long as it isn't a card.

For my challenge piece, I glued string to a manila tag, using the Zentangle® pattern Hibred.  Of course, this is also a pattern of great antiquity that you may have seen decorating walls or used in quilting or gourd painting.  But the Zentangle pattern breaks it down into nice, easy steps so anyone can draw it.  The steps worked well for my tag.  Instead of drawing a line, I just glued down a piece of string.

To prepare, I marked three even spaces on each side of my manila tag, and used them to draw the initial triangles for my Hibred pattern.  I measured the length of each triangle side and then cut six pieces of twine to a bit more than that length.  I gathered up string, but didn't cut it at this time.

I glued the twine down on the drawn lines.  The reason I left each piece long was because twine often unravels when it is cut.  I drenched the edges in glue and once it dried, I trimmed them to the edges of the card.  The glue kept the twine from unraveling.

This would correspond to the second step of the Hibred pattern.  I more or less skipped step one because the edges of the manila tag create the border lines.

I measured a length of string from the card edge to place where I wanted it to meet the twine for the third step, cut six more pieces that length, and glued them down.

I repeated this step, measuring from the edge of the tag to where I want the second row of string (vs the twine) to meet the first row.  I then repeated one more time so that I had three lengths of string within each triangle of twine.

I could have stopped at this point or gone a different way and painted or tangled another pattern between the strings.  I had something I wanted to try though, so I pulled out my Amazing Mold Putty and Amazing Casting Resin.

Just the manila tag alone would have created a very shallow mold, so before going further, I cut a piece of foam core to the size of the manila tag, and glued it to the back.  I also put a dot of glue over the tag's hole.  Easy enough to carve it back out once cast, and this gives me the option not to have the hole.

To make sure that nothing would stick to the mold putty, I coated the tag and strings lightly with vegetable oil.

I pulled out enough of Part A and stretched it to see if it would cover about half of the tag.  I added more until I was satisfied it would, and then pulled out an equal amount of Part B.  After rolling them, to get the putty even, I mixed the two putties together until both were a solid yellow.

Moving quickly at this point, so quickly that I forgot to take a photo, I stretched the putty around the tag, working it over the sides.  Then I flipped it over, and pressed it gently down so the bottom would be flat.  Amazing Mold Putty sets in about 3-5 minutes, depending on temperature and humidity, so I only had to wait a few moments and I popped the tag out.  Now I can create patterned tags whenever I want!

I was totally experimenting at this point.  I wanted a collage look, with paper scraps--text, photos, etc.--filling in the areas between the twine, but bisected by the strings. I had originally thought about using Amazing Clear Cast Resin, but I didn't have any on hand, but I began to wonder what would happen if I embedded the paper scraps in the Casting Resin, which cures white.

I poured a small amount of Parts A and B, using the TSP measurement of the cups that come with the Casting Resin, and then mixed them together, thoroughly until the mix was clear.

Pouring carefully, I filled the deeper parts of the mold.  I used a toothpick to help guide the resin.  I thought about wiping away the resin that spilled over, but this was an experiment, so I decided to just let things happen as they would.

I took some paper scraps--pieces torn from an art supply catalog, the wrapping around a ream of printer paper, and from printed art tissue--and cut them into triangles that would fit between the large triangles of the pattern.  I cut two triangles from each kind of paper and lay them, picture side down onto the mold.  I lay them out so that each kind was equidistant from itself, which means they created a repeating design, aka a pattern.

Then I mixed up another, larger batch of resin, about 2 tsps of each part, and poured it over the scraps.  With the popsicle stick that I had used for stirring, I kept pushing the paper scraps down, trying to keep them as flat as possible.  The idea was to let the resin coat them, but not completely cover the front of them.  I did this until the resin started lumping, and a little beyond that point.

Amazing Casting Resin sets in about 5 minutes.  I pulled it as soon as I could.  The resin was very lacy in some areas, translucent in others, and totally covered the scraps in some areas.  I used an exacto knife, while the resin was still soft, and cut away holes in some of the thicker areas just to add more 'lace'.  I also cut out the 'tag' hole.

At this point, the tag made me think of Christmas Trees, I thought of painting it that way, but the theme for this challenge is Repeating Motifs and I wanted to bring the pattern out a little more.

I painted the lines of the Hibred pattern with Iridescent Gold and Metallic Purple.  That brought out the pattern nicely, but took away from the frost-and-lace look, so I wiped off most of it with a paper towel, just leaving a tint.

I can think of several things to do with this, but I think it's going to be a suncatcher.

Next time, I'll do things a little differently.  I kept flattening the paper too long, and the back of the tag is lumpier than I like.  I'll try paper with brighter colors that are a little heavier.  The fun part is that I don't know if that will make things better or worse.  I love surprises!

I hope you enjoyed my how-to and that I've inspired you to head over to the  Anything But a Card challenge blog to enter a piece of your own.  Remember, it doesn't have to be as complicated as mine was.  It just needs to use a repeated design and NOT be a card!


Manila Tag 6-1/4 by 3-1/8-Inch

Foam Core 6-1/4 by 3-1/8-Inch
Twine - 2 ft, to be generous
String or cord - 2 ft, to be generous
White Glue
3 kinds of Paper Scraps
Popsicle Stick
Metallic Purple Acrylic Paint
Interference Gold Acrylic Paint
Paper Towel
Exacto Knife

Ginger Horse #ZentangleInspiredArt #FountainPen #PenAndInk

You know how sometimes a work just fights you while you're trying to draw it?  I had an idea tickling my brain, a desire to combine styl...