Welcome back! Happy 2010! The new crusade is inspired by the cold weather, and all the snow we've had recently. I realize there are creatives out there in the southern hemisphere who are experiencing summer, but allow me this....I am using snowflakes for the examples - you are welcome to use any image.
Sometimes I think it is just plain easier to practice a technique if you have an assignment. Take the Thinking out of it and get to the Doing. So let's play with some snowflakes, and revisit several painting techniques we worked on last year.
I call this crusade Braving the Elements because what I want you to do is make some tools - cut paper snowflakes - and use them to create textures, then actually apply the tool to your page. You will be making your own collage elements!
Often we spend time making fancy stencils or masks that can be used and re-used, or we spend some time carving stamps, or waste time hunting down the perfect *something* to go on a page when all we really need is within reach, and can be created at no cost. For instance, using copy paper, or any scraps you have nearby, cut a paper snowflake. You remember how to do it don't you? Fold the paper in half, press the crease, fold again, crease, and start cutting. But before you do that, get your stuff out.
Hopefully you have these things right on your work table. Gesso, acrylic paint, brushes, scissors, scrap papers, sprayer, towels, and adhesive. To make the most efficient use of your time coat the pages with gesso first. While they are drying you can start cutting some snowflakes. Four to six different ones is enough.
Make sure that gesso layer is super dry before you start the next step. If you only have a few minutes to work today then set your pages aside until later in the week. (I always leave my studio at night with a gessoed spread of pages drying so they are ready for me in the morning.) Remember when we first worked with gesso? If not, see Crusade No. 25. Swipe a light layer of acrylic color over the gesso and spray with water while it's still wet. Wipe with paper towel or scraper for a cool speckled effect.
If your page is still damp, swing it in the air for a few seconds. Next, start adding some brushy textures....to review, see Crusade No. 29.
Start laying down your snowflakes and brush over them. They do not have to be perfect. In fact, they are more interesting when you only see part of them. You can choose to only cover part of the image, or it may occur serendipitously depending on what color is on your brush and what is on the surface. We determined that we like portion vs. whole....see Crusade No. 28.
Keep going....be light handed with the paint. Dry brush on the color. Less is better, you can always add more. Too much paint gets everything too damp and leads to other problems.
Now you can apply those wonderfully messy snowflakes for a really swell two page journal spread, where you were practicing loads of painting techniques AND Making It Your Own using Cheap Tricks! (Crusade No. 31 & Crusade No. 8) HCIT?
Some optional steps - use masks with gesso over the gesso base. White on white to get a raised shape that looks cool after applying color. WAIT until all the gesso is DRY.
Another sample set of pages....making and using my own elements.
Add some journaling between layers of texture....
So that's it! Pick a shape....why not use snowflakes? Use your hand-cut elements to create backgrounds then apply to pages. Brave the Elements! A snowflake is unique and beautiful and short lived...so too will be your tools as you use them then incorporate directly into your work. The purpose of this crusade is to get you realize all the skills you already have, and that you have all the materials you need within reach to make cool pages.
To join us in the crusade just interpret the challenge in your journal. Photograph or scan your work...blog about it or upload to a photohosting site then come back here and leave a comment with a link to your post. I will put all the links into the sidebar under Crusade No. 36, newest will be at the top. Please come back often to click on the links and leave your valuable words of encouragement for those who go out on a limb to share. We all learn from one another when we try similar things during the month and it so much fun to see all the work, especially if we have tried it ourselves.
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Jackie Wood & Liz Ness
Regina Rooks (more)
Susan Sager Brown