Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Faux Postage

I love making faux postage! Many artists who create these little gems add all the text and numbers like they were real stamps. I will do that occasionally but usually mine are all graphics. This set originated with a piece of beautiful handprinted Tibetan paper (the bold black and red designs). I created some kaleidoscopes from my own photos and drawings in Kaleidoscope Kreator ( ) then printed them at various sizes and cut them out. I glued 18-20 of them to the Tibetan paper to create a large collaged sheet. Then I made mylar templates for the inside dimensions of my faux postage and used it to draw around interesting parts. I cut out all of these rectangles, being careful so I could use the "waste" paoper background for another project. Each little piece was then layered to another contrasting piece of paper. These layered pieces were then arranged and glued to the faux postage sheet. Use a block of them together or as individual stamps to add to your artwork. These were part of a project for a decorated card set. I get my faux postage blanks ( with the dotted perforations like real postage ) from . If you've never made faux postage it's a great way to make a bunch of great collage parts for your stash. It's so much fun, I like to do it between big projects or when I'm stuck. Use paper scraps, stamps,clipart and tiny embellishments- whattever is laying around your studio.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Crazy Newspaper Antics Part 2

Continuing with yesterday's post, here are more newspapers colored with India ink and fluid acrylics. Start with a layer of ink- just drop it randomly on the paper and fold and press. When that layer is dry, do the same with fluid acrylics. On these pieces, gold metallic webbing spray was added as a final step. Find it in the spray paint section at your craft store. If you've never used it, it's a blast! The effects are totally random but beautiful. My art buddy Lynn and I discovered the magic of webbing after a day of making ink dyed papers. Some of them were incredibly ugly so we just went wild with webbing and voila- they were magically transformed. As I scanned these papers in today, it occurred to me to use the Hue/Saturation function in Photoshop to play with the colors. I love the new colorways and will print them on nice paper to use in collages.
A note on the archival quality of the newspaper. Before I use any of these papers, I will coat both sides with acrylic medium. That will keep the acidity of the newspaper from affecting other papers in the final art and help with the yellowing process newspaper is infamous for. The acrylic will not prevent all problems, so if you are a stickler for archival this may not be the technique for you.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Crazy Newspaper Antics Part 1

Our local newspaper company did a 2 week free paper promotional to try and increase sales and suddenly I found myself under a mountain of newspaper! I glanced through a few and then just started stacking them up to bundle for recycling. Then, it hit me. It was PAPER- lots of free paper to experiment with. So on a sunny afternoon I took, newspaper, inks, paint and webbing spray out to the driveway and had a free-for-all. I just had fun dumping paint and folding the paper to get patterns. I started with colored India inks for the really saturated color then added white and interference acrylics. I wanted to see the underlying text and colored photos as pattern only so I tried to obscure areas that would distract the eye. There were colored papers all over the driveway and colors all over me as a breeze kicked up right in the middle of everything and I chased wet papers all over the yard. Now I have a big stack of gorgeous paper to further embellish. Here you see one piece after the initial step and 2 I've started doodling on. I want to create really complex and interesting background papers so I will doodle, use webbing spray, gold leaf and crayons to add more pattern and texture. More to follow in future posts.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fuchsia Lilies

Don't be afraid of strong colors!! Even if you generally shy away from intense, saturated colors like this fuchsia, they are fun to experiment with. Both of these cards are based on a scan of a lily drawing rendered in Prismacolor pencils. I intensified the color a little in Adobe to really pump them up. The card on the left uses the yellow in the flower center for its color scheme. I hit my paper stash and starting stacking textures and color for high impact. Notice the marble paper? That is another lily drawing that was "liquidfied" in Adobe. It's a quick way to make marbled papers in exactly the color scheme you need. The second card plays off the purple/fuchsia tones and adds black accents. Its darker feel accents the lily in a much different way from the lighter, brighter orange version. Both of these cards were quick and fun little color studies and think of the smiles they will bring when the recipient pulls them out of the envelope.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Realistic Kaleidoscopes

In a previous post you saw some great kaleidoscopes made with Kaleidoscope Kreator ( ). This quick and easy software allows you to take photos and artwork and create amazing kaleidoscopes. In many of the earlier examples, the colors and fractured images made it hard to tell what the original art looked like. Above are examples taken from drawings and clipart that are easily recognized but still so cool! The spider is my favorite but the mouths, women and skull are neat too. These black and whites can be colored with markers or pencils to use in your art or manupulated in Adobe to create a new color- like the blue mouths. Use this software to really extend your personal images and photos for more material to use in your art.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Warm Colors on a Gray Day

It's a cold gray day and I long for the warm sun and hot colors. This is the corner of a mood board based on the color wheel. It was so much fun collecting papers, ephemera and doodads to express the character of each color. I love having the board in my studio for inspiration and to spark ideas when I'm in a creative funk.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Using Photos in Collage

If you are a scrapbooker, the photos are the main focus of your compositions. If you want to use your photos in artwork and still have them as the focal point, you need to do more than just paste them on the page. On the top example, a photo was color enhanced in Adobe and then torn and pasted to printed paper. Then, a heart shape was cut. The photo is integrated into the piece and adds interest without looking like a snapshot. The moonflower at the bottom was cut out to eliminate a distracting background, edged with blue pigment ink and a clipart image added to the center. The purple flowers were cropped to concentrate on the flowers and then a large stamp was used over the edge. This stamped element integrates the photo into the work.

In the bottom example, the red poppies were changed in Hue/Saturation to better fit the color scheme. Close cropping and torn edges focus on the flowers and soften the rectangular shape. Black rub-ons and stamping used across the boundaries of the image bring it into the composition instead of allowing it to float on top. Additional paper and inchies (1"x1" pieces of art) continue the color scheme and exotic feel of the technicolor poppies.

Use your photos like art by changing the color in a computer program or handcoloring over the image with markers or paint. Then, use them in innovative ways as your own personal imagery. Your work becomes more meaningful and much more original.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Doodle Mania

We all do it- stuck on the phone with a pen in your hand you start doodling. I'm a spiral and square in square doodler and I bet you have a certain motif you repeat too. Harness that accidental creativity for your artwork. I like to do something art related everyday but sometimes I'm just too tired to care. That's when I get a stack of paper and my Sharpie and doodle while I watch TV. I try to fill a whole page with a pattern but creating a more realistic composition is fine too. Stop thinking so consiously and just start putting marks down. Once I have a good collection, I scan them into Adobe. There I can change the scale, color, etc. and print the patterns many times. They make great backgrounds when painted with transparent acrylics. Cut them in strips and glue to a base for a great patterned paper. The top illustration here shows doodles that were cut into pattern pieces for the turkey wing then painted with acrylics. Additional painted tissue and gold leaf were added to create texture. In some places, the doodles barely show, but they give the whole piece continuity and interest. You don't have to be an artist to make doodles and they can become a great personal vocabulary of images for your artwork.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I am addicted to ATCs- Artist Trading Cards. They are cool little pieces of art that must fit in a 2.5" by 3.5" format. I don't trade them - just make big batches to use on cards and in collages. These 5 share a really girly, frou-frou look with their pink and blue colors and dressmaker details. The pink parrots are a closeup of a kaleidocope (KaleidoscopeKreator) printed on fabric. Using the shape created by the kaleidoscope, it was easy to add beaded embellishments. The next three are fabric scraps from a crazy quilt experiment. I have no problem cutting up projects that weren't successful! I isolate small parts that work and incorporate them into another piece. A little artistic recycling! These scraps include embroidery (one of my designs for my company Embroidery Studio), several fabrics and a lingerie scrap. More recycling- when you "outgrow" pretty lingerie, see if you can reclaim lace or trims to use elsewhere. These crazy quilt scraps were sewn to a paper ATC card then embellished with pretty rhinestones and ribbon flowers. The final ATC includes a scrap of yet another recycled collage and 3 pretty trims. Don't toss those tiny little snippets of trim and lace. They make great embellishments for these little art cards.