Archive for the ‘Daily Art Initiative’ Category

stencil overlayHi there. Lest you think I have turned into a Big Cheater, I haven’t. My Daily Art is drying. In the meantime I decided to show you this.

I was minding my own business after having applied light modeling paste to a piece of Rives BFK® printmaking paper. The experiment today was to use the modeling paste on a paper that could handle watercolor paint. Now, I’ve used spackling paste in the past to swipe over stencils to create texture. I have the light modeling paste which is better. It’s smoother and lighter and easier to spread, but it is also much more expensive. And I mean that from the bottom of my wallet.

I picked this fern stencil because I seriously love ferns. Ferns, to me, are the primary representation of endurance and survival of the fit. The fern family are some of the oldest life on this planet. It’s just science. Plus, there is the marvelous unfurling of the frond. Much is made of the rosebud opening to blossom, but what about those tightfisted fern buds?

When I applied the paste, I noticed some ink began to color the paste as I swiped. This was The Accidental Stencilists first Fortunate Event. It was fortunate because the color was very fern-y. Obviously, my lack of housekeeping the last time I used the stencil was paying off today. By the way, had I wanted to color the paste before coloring the background, I could have left the stencil in place, waited for the paste to dry, then spread acrylic over it or sprayed it with ink.

The modeling paste dries fast (so does spackling paste). Now for the next step. I wanted to use watercolors today. I have a bunch of tiny tubes of Cotman Water Colours® that I bought at a thrift for next to nothing. The good thing is that watercolor paint, even if it dries in the tube, is usable. You’ll have to destroy the tube to get at the paint, but it is doable. I’ve done it. Anyway, I put out Indian Red, Rose Madder, Sap Green and Cerulean Blue and went to it. I used a tiny brush to get into the fine fern branches and a medium sized brush to wash over the background. I am not happy with the background application of this piece. It is not as muted as I wanted. I tried to lift some paint but I didn’t have time. As the clock ran down, my final action was to throw some salt and dry rice on the page, which, hopefully, will diffuse the hard lines between colors.

I am not a proficient watercolor user. My love for it does not indicate any skill. For me, watercolor is a hard way to get good results; it  demands learning techniques and practice. Strangely, I am better with inks which are just as difficult but more predictable with spreading and blending. The ink is the same amount of wet, whereas, watercolor is different amounts of wet on any given brushstroke. There is likely a better descriptive word for this, but I don’t know it.

The Accidental Stencilist struck again by having a messy work island. A collaged canvas board has been loitering on my desktop for too long a time. I don’t know where to put it. As I was moving through the Daily piece, I cleaned the stencil and laid it on top of this other art. I glanced up and for a minute I didn’t know what I was looking at. In fact, I thought it might have been the wrapper for the stencil (as if it would still be in it’s original wrapper, silly girl!). It took a second for me to realize that I was seeing the other art beneath the stencil. It was real purdy. While I’ve talked about putting stencils over found papers, it never occurred to me to put it over my own art.This particular stencil would involve some severe fussy cutting, but other stencils wouldn’t. Just experiment laying stencils over your previous art, then lay them on the copy machine and voila! a custom collage element.

I thought the two accidents would be of more use to you than showing the Daily art today. I’ll forget the Accidents if I don’t share them now. I’ll show today’s art tomorrow–a twofer!

da1-5-16The Daily Art Challenge police would have no trouble spotting the crime here–1/4/16?? It’s 1-5-16–busted! Yes, after signing this today (in permanent Sharpie™ of course) I realized the correct date.

But, moving on to this odd fellow. The lettering is a stencil alphabet that I traced onto transparency in 8.5×11 size. Then I cut a light colored scrapbook paper to 8.5×11 size and copied the alphabet by running the paper through the printer tray. That way, instead of having to buy stickers or stamps, I can print any of my alphabet stencils into any paper. So, if you are following along with my Make Do Initiative, and I know you are, this is a creative way to make your supplies and tools more versatile and also you have stuff that nobody else has with no further financial investment. How cool is that?

For sure you remember the Dollar Tree stencil sets I’ve been bragging about. The big leaf gnome body is a stencil from the Sea Life set, cut out from an old map. The legs, arms and hat are cut from a botanical print. The tree and acorn were sketched in with a Stabilo-All®  Water Soluble Pencil (brown) and wet very delicately and smeared, which is where this pencil excels. I outlined the gnome and letters with Prismacolor® pencils. The face is from a stencil of four different cherubs.

I thought I was using Rives BFK Arches printmaking paper. During making, the paper was behaving UnBFK-ly; it was buckling. I held the paper to the light and discovered it had an Allstate watermark–it is half-sized paper I found at an estate sale and bought for it’s cotton rag content. This paper is not suitable as a collage foundation. Not sure how, but this piece was in with my pre-cut BFK supply. A tip and reminder: any foundation you use for collage has to be heavier than the paper you are applying.

I may have taken longer than an hour. It’s been a weird unpredictable day. Several business matters needed to be done during normal studio time. An installer is coming to put in some equipment. There’s been unusual unavoidable interruptions. My work was intermittent and I forgot the timer. The dog ate my homework.



da1-4-16Time passes, and to prove it, I now have a new folder entitled Terry Work 2016. Today’s Daily Art offering is a stamped feather image made by an eraser I carved. The foundation is cardboard. Somewhere on the Internet I described soaking cardboard for a few minutes and separating the layers. Well there you are, I just did it again. It’s really that simple. Poof–free paper. Ever since I saw the work of Hanne Matthiesen I wanted to use cardboard but I was sure it wasn’t as easy as she described. It is, just do it once and you’ll be hooked.

My Daily Art Initiative involves making a 5×7 paper foundation piece in one hour. I did this one in about 45 minutes and most of the time was spent trying to find some weird text to use. I had already carved the stamp several months ago. I was trying to carve a simple feather shape and do not ask me why, I have no idea. It was very important at the time, important enough to hand carve this stamp. As I said, I started out for a simple feather and got really carried away. This is sort of a quill-y affair, like Edgar A. would use. I think I used one of those I MADE A BIG MISTAKE erasers from Dollar Tree.  I like the I MADE A BIG MISTAKE eraser because they can be cut up easily for a high yield.

I do find carving stamps to be meditative. Developing good working habits is a must. It is easy to cut yourself badly, no matter what implement you are using. If you can, brace the block so that you don’t have to hold it. If you hold it, hold the bottom and always cut away from yourself. The implement will slip or jump, it is just a matter of time. Learn to be careful when you start to learn.

Most carvers move the block more than they move the cutter. This develops a good rhythm and brings you into that meditation. There are plenty of videos and articles on the web to show you how to carve. Just basic stuff and you can start. Practice makes perfect. In fact, you don’t have to do it much before you are good at it, if you have good eye-to-hand skills, and you are able to firmly grip the cutter.

If you had an idea to get into carving, a Daily Carving challenge would be very advised. Think of the benefits! You’d be an expert carver in a month, and have hundreds of unique stamps after a year. It’s very doable.

Back to this piece. Cardboard, stamped feather. A book on European birds listed a picture of each bird (too big to use), a physical description of the bird, nesting habits, habitats, food choices and vocals. The way the author described the vocals was delicious. It was hard to decide which one to use. One bird with an audacious name like Wood Hunting Worm Hole Jelly Breasted Nuthatch or something had a vocal “like a raucous crow ending with a harsh guttural explosion.” I am not making that up. Well, actually I AM making that up, but it was very close to that–too close. I made a harsh guttural explosion when I read it, I am not making THAT up.

The blue border was a piece of nifty paper that I get for free, the source to be nameless lest it get someone into a fix. It is WASTE paper, stuff that gets pitched in a place that does not even recycle. Don’t get me started. What would go in the trash gets given to me and I am grateful because it is very nice paper. Sort of like cotton rag old school typing paper, back when manual typewriters came with a special eraser that looked like a pencil and had a nasty bristle brush on the end of it to brush away the eraser crumbs. Only the bristle brush would get ink on it from brushing away inky crumbs, then you ended up with nice rag white typewriter paper with black inky streaks on it and had to RETYPE THE PAGE. My, how I long for the good old days. Oh, the fun we had, waving our inky pencil erasers over clean paper and scrubbing away inky streaks until we put a hole in the paper and had to retype the entire page. We did this, youngsters. And we liked it, we liked it just FINE, because it beat writing with the quill-y type pen like E.A. Poe was stuck with. Him, a fine author whose mind went, no doubt, a million miles an hour while his poor clenched hand scribbled, dipped, scribbled, dipped, scribbled, dipped all the way through the Masque of the Red Death.

Just in the 60 years I have been alive, information processing has changed in astonishing ways. Here I sit, ranting and raving like poor mad E.A. on a blog nobody reads, with spell correcting and digital images illustrating, neatly left aligned. Now a crumbly pencil eraser sells for $75 on Etsy. Oh, the things I have seen.

Well, the paper was painted with navy acrylic. The top border with the red was added at the last minute just because the red popped it a bit. Then I clipped out the vocal description and glued it down, strangely, it kept coming up. I wonder if it was the clear gesso I put onto the cardboard? The paper was very old and porous, it surprised me the text kept lifting, in fact, you can see where it lifted and some letters escaped. I had to write them in. With a pencil.

I used a permanent fine tip marker to write the bird call on the border, signed it and done. I like it, I like it just fine.

begin to date

Here’s my Daily Art for the first day of 2016. Happy  New Year!

Today I started with the 5×7 Rives BFK printmaking paper. I worked with navy acrylic yesterday in different piece and I felt good about this color. It’s not been a favorite of mine in the past, even though it so represents the clear night sky. I wet the paper so that the acrylic would wash the paper and be less opaque. The fan helped to get it dried in time to meet my one hour time limit.

I have Sharpie Paint Pens™, both oil and water-based. The oil-based are transparent, the water-based are opaque. Usually I go for the water-based; they do a great job over acrylic paint and not all pens do. But I wanted to try the oil-based because it’s been a long time since I’d used them. As I thought, the paint went on looking somewhat opaque but it faded as it dried. I continued to write “Begin to Dare, Dare to Begin” over the navy and all that showed was the barest grey letter outlines. I then switched to the white water-based opaque pen and began adding viewable text.

If you are unfamiliar with asemic writing, it is writing that is without content. Asemic writing resembles mark-making; it compels one to look and look, trying to find words that can be made out, to construct a meaning. It’s handy for me to enjoy the look of asemic writing because my handwriting doesn’t enhance my artwork at the level I’d like it to, especially in this era of carefully and creatively hand lettered journal pages. When I do hand letter a piece, I’m not aiming for highly decorative or readable text; rather, I work to my weakness (strength?) of indecipherable messy lettering. But in contrast to asemic writing, rather than being without content, my content is simply unreadable. I have a Pinterest page where I collect asemic images, if you’d like to explore it.

I began to encircle the center image with white Sharpie™ water-based pen. At first the navy shape inside the white center looked like a long-haired female with an arm outstretched. But I also saw trails like a comet, so I went with that idea, which seemed more expressive. I didn’t want to write with black, so I found a Sharpie™ extra-fine pen in purple. I thought purple looked more like the cosmos. I wrote with it in a different size in order to create greater contrast to the white writing. At this point, the image looked as if it needed more gravity on the page, so I did imperfect circles around the center. The empty center and outer circles created a mandal; a Begin and Dare mandala. I signed and dated it which is another “rule” of the Daily Art Initiative.

The subject matter of “daring” relates to Lisa Sonora ‘s current 30 Day Journal Project that began today. The prompts today were about achievements and what had to be dared to accomplish them. My journaling was about commitment and beginnings, so I brought those ideas into this piece. It’s possible that this 30 day challenge will inform other Daily Art projects.