Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Overpainting a Photo

Day 18 - Since I was painting over photos anyway, I decided to try a larger format 10 x 12 inch experiment.

First I prepared the background with painted deli wrap and then found an interesting photo in a catalog and glued that in place. 

And then I started to make changes.  First I painted over the face with transparent Claudine Hellmuth paint.  Using this paint instead of other acrylic paint meant that I could see through the paint in order to draw over the features.  Then I added part of a green wreath from a catalog as hair, more deli wrap and printed paper as clothing, a deli wrap butterfly and additional layers of stamps and paint. 

Turned out sort of weird don't you think?  But a worthy experiment to try to actually USE a lot of the previous days' lessons.

I had an interesting thought this morning.  It may be that many 100 Day Project people have this thought right about now.  I was wondering if there were enough collage projects left in my brain for 80 more days???  Then I remembered that I don't need to do something DIFFERENT each day - I just need to DO something each day.  That made me feel better.

I worked so long at this project yesterday that I considered taking two days credit for it.  But I don't want to cheat the process so I am going to sneak in some studio time today.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving - maybe I will make a turkey collage.  Or not....         barbara

Monday, November 25, 2013

Strange Paint Over Technique

Day 16 and 17
Soooo there was this technique in one of my collage books - and I wanted to try it.  You take a copy of a photo and paint over it to make it look sort of like a painting.  Sort of.

This first one was awful and gross.  But I learned a lot.  The directions said to use acrylic paint but that was too heavy and covered up all the details.  And the photo was printed in sepia which made it less clear.

So I tried again.  This time I used a slightly larger photo (5 x 7) , black and white, and used Inktense pencils with water instead of acrylic.

It worked better because you can see more of the details of the original photo.

Unfortunately I tried to make the little eyeballs look better and that did not work well.  Oh my.

So I picked a different photo.  I really like this photo.  I even like the way it turned out.

But - I don't really understand how this is better than just cutting out the main part of the photo and gluing it down to a background. 


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Wings and Agnes is Elevating and Balancing

So I decided to start working on images for collage instead of just backgrounds.

Day 14 and 15    The challenge for these two days was to look in catalogs and find images that could be altered and made into something a little different.  This one is pretty simple but I do like the addition of the sparkly wings.

This one started with a photo of two vases (one large and one small).  The large vase is the "body" of this fine lady.  The smaller vase was sliced into skinny long arms.  And the hat was part of a very Moroccan looking hanging light fixture.  The hair was sliced from a red pepper wreath.  I like her a lot.  Perhaps she deserves a name..... Agnes!  Yes!  Agnes is Elevating and Balancing!


Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Face Appears, Crackles and a Dog!

 Day 10 - I enjoyed this one.  Not sure what do attempt so I just took torn bits of painted deli wrap and used gel medium to glue it down.  Also medium over the top.  Great fun and I always love to see faces appear in my work!

The deli wrap is such a great collage material because it disappears when it is glued with medium.  AND if you use the right medium, you can easily write or draw over it.  The trick is to use a medium with enough TOOTH.  Who knew???

Day 11 and 12 - It doesn't look like much but this is Distress Crackle Medium.  It took two days for this because the first area where I applied the medium (on the right) it was too thin to crackle effectively.

So I glopped it on thickly.  And it worked really well.

OK.  So I admit this little guy is strange.  I saw his picture in a catalog and just knew that I needed that cute little face on a card.  I didn't have any cards with the right color - so I used an entire layer of painted deli wrap to cover the background and then used gel medium to attach Mr. Dog.  And his strange little body.  I did learn that magazine photos need to be applied more carefully because he is sort of wrinkly.
But I like him anyway.
This was Day 13.

On Day 13 I also did mono printing on the Gelli Plate.  I am having a LOT of fun with this and creating scads of paper to use in collages.  I print over old sketchbook pages and on deli wrap and am having fun trying new stencils.

I wonder what is next?   Hmmmm.....


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Applying texture thru Stencils

 Day 9 - I had time to actually experiment.  Some experiments were a success - and then there was this one.....  YUCK!

I applied black and white gesso thru a stencil using a palette knife.  The black was just ugly - and not because of the color.  The designs were just not crisp.  But the white gesso did an interesting thing - along the edge extra gesso went under the stencil but feathered out and made it look like I did something complicated.  But still nothing that I would do again.

Since I don't like to fail at something, I tried the gesso again.  I was trying to use a different angle with the palette knife.  Still looked awful.

But then I tried using a makeup sponge to apply the gesso and it worked a lot better.  The circles on the bottom are the ones applied with the sponge.

So then I tried Modeling Paste applied thru a stencil with a palette knife.  It worked great.  Very lumpy but a clear design.  On some areas I smoothed the paste, on others I tried to make it lumpy.

I have no idea how I will use this - but it was fun to try.

Again with the SPARKLES!!!  My favorite thing!  This is gel medium applied thru a stencil with a palette knife and then cheapo glitter sprinkled on.  And it seems very stable.  And fun.  I didn't try applying the gel medium with a sponge but that might make the circles more completely filled.


Saturday, November 16, 2013


 Day 7   It is hard to tell from the photos but this experiment was using a foam pad to apply Perfect Medium thru a stencil and then adding Perfect Pearls.  The result is wonderful a shiny design that seems very sturdy.

 Day 8   Another product to try for shine.... Inka Gold applied thru a stencil with a foam pad.  Comparing the two ways to accomplish such similar results - I would definitely choose the Perfect Pearls.


Thursday, November 14, 2013


 Stamping with acrylic paint and using a variety of sprays to add color.  Before the spray dries, I wiped off the excess to reveal the stamped pattern.
The purple and green card stamped with corrugated cardboard is my favorite - probably because of the color contrast.

Even though I am not specifically focusing on color right now- I am learning a LOT about what I like and don't like.  Mostly I don't like the ones that are boring....  No surprise!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Masks and Stencils

On Day 5 I used masks and stencils.  It was fun to see the difference and really fun to try to combine both on one card.

 I can really use this in my journals.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Learning New Things

The 100 Days project, for me, is all about learning new things.  My project focuses on collage.  My initial focus is on creating layered backgrounds for my collages.  This includes using lots of NEW products and techniques that I have never tried before.  Scary!
I prefer working IN my comfort zone where I usually can succeed.  This project is OUT of my comfort zone.  And - surprisingly - I am really enjoying it.
I find that I am hesitant to try certain new things but once I start - I am totally involved and enjoying the process.  So I guess my 100 Day Project is a success so far - even if what I am creating is at times dorky and clumsy.

So here are some of my attempts to learn new things:

Day 2 and 3 - the green one is a mask, the red one is a stencil.  I was trying to really experience the difference between them.  

Day 4 - OK this one was very disappointing.  I used acrylic paint on a stamp and then used distress ink over the top and used a damp cloth to remove the ink from the white stamped image.
This is an example of a resist.
The idea is good - but I found out that some of the products (like the distress ink pads) are WAY OLD and no longer work like they are designed.  So I need to revisit this technique with other products later.

Day 5 - I made a triangle stencil and mask and also used a purchased stencil and played with them on two cards.  Fun.  It requires thinking to figure out what order to add the various layers.

Day 6 - Played with corrugated cardboard as a stamp.  The initial layer was the cardboard with acrylic paint.  Then I used various spray colors (ColorWash and Dylusions) over the initial layer.  Then wiped off the excess to reveal the stamped pattern.
Learned a lot - including the fact that some colors are a lot better than others and that contrast is good.
The spray is fun to use but since it is water soluble you could not layer paper using gel medium because the medium would dissolve the spray and color what you are adding.  Good to know.

This is my favorite one of the day because of the different directions of the lines in different colors.

Looking forward to more adventures in the next few days..... and weeks.....  uh huh!!


Saturday, November 9, 2013

100 Day Project

Welcome to Day 1 of my 100 Day Project!  I was inspired to start this by a post on my friend Linda's Facebook page about a gallery exhibit in Marquette MI.  Nine artists worked every day for 100 days on a project and then displayed the results.  It was impressive and started me thinking.... wondering if I could do something similar .... and then really asking the question "What would I work on?".

The guidelines are simple:  Select a simple idea that allows for exploration, keeps you excited or curious and fits into your life.

The project I have selected is:  Collage with paper, paint, fibers, glitter and more.  (Of course I included GLITTER!!!)

I plan to experiment with color and texture and start by making a 4" x 5" card each day.

Soooooo...... today is the first day.  Day One.  I woke up several times last night excited to begin.  And then I got into my studio and felt overwhelmed.  Sort of funny - it is just playing with paper and paint..... I had already cut some wonderful mixed media paper into the right size so there they were....these little white pieces of paper STARING at me.  Harrumph.

Of course they needed COLOR!  So I squished out some paint and used a brayer to paint four cards and some scraps.  And some deli paper to be torn and collaged.  And used a little bottle to stamp some circles.  And a little stick to make some tiny dots.  OK.  Feeling much better now.

It was really fun to use the deli paper to soak up the extra paint and now I have great thin paper to collage.  So I picked one of the cards and then glued on deli paper scraps to add to the design.

One of the DVDs that I watched recently about collage and creating backgrounds talked about the importance of using paints and adhesives with "tooth" in order to be able to write on the background that you create.  So I am using a new product (for me) - Pam Carriker's Mixed Media adhesive.  And it worked great.  Way expensive but I got a bunch on sale.  Also important regarding "tooth" is the type of paint that you use.  Today I used cheap acrylic paint and that has binders in it that make it perfect to write on.

So I wrote on it:  RELAX.   Seemed like a good word for DAY ONE of my new project.  I can't wait to see what this leads to.....           barbara

Friday, November 8, 2013

Love at First Sight

I drew these two little critters quite a while ago.  When I found them recently I just knew that they needed to be in a quilt together. 

Putting TWO critters on a single quilt posed some real design challenges. 

This was my first attempt.  I really liked the dotted fabric that I initially selected for the startled critter (let's call her Juliette).  And I chose other fabrics to go along with her. 

I couldn't think of ANY fabric that I could use as a background except black.  And I enjoy working with black - but - they seemed to be just floating instead of anchored to a floor.... and what would I put in the large black area behind them? Hmmm.... maybe it was time to change gears completely.

So I abandoned Juliette's fabric choice.  And this opened up a whole new world of backgrounds.  One of my favorite background fabrics is this HotHouse fabric that has dots close together and then farther apart. 

I like the way that Juliette and (you guessed it) Romeo seem more anchored by the  compressed design at the bottom.

So I was content with the fabrics.  Next thing I needed to do was to find a way to fill up the space above Romeo and Juliette.  I decided that Romeo needed to be sending a visible loving message to Juliette since she looked so startled.  Heart shaped balloons seemed like a good choice.  This is my first layout.  Still too much empty space.  What to do?  What to do.....

Wouldn't it be better if Romeo actually had the balloons in his mouth?  Like a present?  Yes!!  That was the answer!

More photos as soon as I finish the quilt.....

October was a Crazy month

Isn't it strange how some months get just crazy with activity?  We had visitors, went on a trip and then there was the Hill 'n Hollow Quilt Show.  All fun things - but so much in a short span of time.  So - that is my excuse for not posting on the blog.
But - I am back and I have all sorts of new projects started and news to share.

The quilt show was the best show ever.  Such beautiful quilts by so many talented people.  It was really a joy to walk around and study them.  And to listen to people as they reacted to the beautiful designs and colors.

I entered four quilts and got some ribbons so I am a happy camper.  The judge's comments were excellent and will help me as I design new quilts.  And our Renegadeville village got a First Prize ribbon and a larger award for Best Original Design.  It was great fun to talk to people and tell them about the project.  Maybe we will even try to get the project into a magazine..... barbara

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


So my friend Jan showed me some silhouettes that she had cut from magazines (ladies in interesting poses) and used as stencils and masks in her journal.  This was a few weeks ago.  It made the page look complex with a very simple design.  Thanks Jan!!

And as I was looking for a new project - sort of dancing and humming my way around my studio - I remembered the silhouettes.  And wondered how I could use the idea with fabric instead of paint and paper.

Hmmm.  I had saved some little catalogs from Black and White because I liked the model's poses.  Maybe that would work.  I found the catalog, taped and cut out the silhouette and then realized that I could just trace the shape and didn't have to cut it out.  Silly me!

Sooooo - I found a silhouette that I liked of a model with her hands on her hips.  And the cover of the catalog had butterflies - a really huge one that looked good behind the model - and tiny little ones.

 I was set.  Found some fabric and got started.  Here is a picture of the quilt fused and sewn.

And here she is with the quilting completed.  I used a fancy stitch on my machine that reminded me of the wavy way that butterflies fly - in a large version for the radiating designs and a small version for the binding.

I like her so far.  Next step is to add beads.  That should be a lot of fun.  I will post a photo when that step is complete.

I am thinking that silhouettes might be the theme for a series of quilts.  We'll see.       barbara

Friday, September 20, 2013

Spa Day for My Bernina

I just took my sweet sewing machine for a Spa Day in Springfield Missouri.  And yes that is a long way to drive.  But it is the nearest place with official Spa Facilities for Bernina machines.

AND the store where it is located has beautiful fabric that I do not get to see around here.  And yes, I did buy some.  Can't wait to use it.

So when I brought my machine home and started to use it - guess what?  It purred!  Yes it actually did!  It sounded smoother and happier than before its tune up.  Ahhh - I guess it is worth it to take good care of my tools.               barbara

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Getting Started Again

Is there such a thing as TOO clean and organized?  Nope.  At least I didn't think so until my studio was super duper clean.  And then I went in to try to create something in this lovely CLEAN space - and found myself stumped.  Could NOT find my muse anywhere - maybe I swept her out when I was cleaning????  Oh no!!!!

But - I went to my fail safe fallback project that always works.  I made a new group of tiny faces - all 4" x 6" and all complete little quilts.  Here are the pictures....

I like the hat on this one.  Lots of patterns but they work together nicely.

And I really like the hat on this one - can you see that it says "shoes"?  Lots of sparkles too....

More little ones.  Can you tell that I was working from the same stack of fabric?  All pinks....  That way I can just keep working and not have to put stuff away.  And I can use the same thread over and over.  But the backgrounds are all different because they seemed to NEED different things....

OK.  This poor little guy.  He is sadly a failure.
Oh my.  TOO many different patterns.  Looks crazy and you cannot really see his facial features.

But he is very important to me - because when I teach a class he is an excellent example of what NOT to do.  So he will actually stay with me a lot longer than the other little faces.

I guess he needs a name....

Ahhhhh  --- feels SO good to not be stuck anymore.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Is a CLEAN studio really important?

A good question to ask every couple of years.  For the past couple of weeks I have been cleaning  my studio.  Going through every single box and drawer and actually considering whether or not I should keep things.  I hadn't used some of them in several years - but would I maybe NEED them someday?

OK.  Too be truthful..... I had a hard time doing this.  If I spent real money on a "thing", I was hesitant to give it away or throw it away.  Just because I didn't even remember ever buying it was no reason to get rid of it - - - was it?  Well finally common sense (and perhaps a sense of needing more space) got the better of me - and I packed up a lot of things to give away.  Wonderful supplies NEED a better life than to be tucked in a box somewhere.  They NEEDED to be used....  Uh huh.

Harder than I thought.  And a lot dustier too!  Could you hear my sneezes????

But I am almost done.  And I only LOST a couple of really good UHU glue sticks - I know that I bought them - - I remember seeing them - - WHERE did I put them???  I guess I will have to be surprised when they suddenly pop up......

AND - here is the exciting news.  I found some drawings for more Farkleberry critters.  I had completely forgotten them.  I think they may need to become quilts.... What do you think?   barbara

obviously this little guy needs to be turned..... but isn't he cute?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

More Creek Lady Parties!!

(You may be wondering what I have been doing the past month or so - well I had a project.  To complete a dozen beautiful little quilts.  Here is the story......)

So what the heck does "creek ladies" imply?  Women who muck about in the creek?  NO!  Wonderful Creative Ladies who get together and Create Art!  In a house that just happens to be on Mill Creek --- which is very near to Piney Creek --- which is where I live.

So these ladies - some who I knew and some who were new to me - got together on July 13 for the pure and lovely purpose of making ART.  I brought the supplies, they provided the space and the food and the wine.... and we had a great time.

The focus of our activity was to make some lovely little fused faces.  And I was dazzled at the results.  I agreed to take the basic little fused faces and make them into finished quilts.

Well - little did I know how challenging and interesting that would be.  Several of the designs requested hats that completely ignored all common sense and poofed out above the binding.  Other hats demanded to be puffed up into three dimensional shapes.  Some of the hair was not content to stay flat - no!  it needed to be dimensional!  And of course there were the little bows that had to drift off the lower border of the quilts.

SOOO - I learned a LOT of new things.  And enjoyed every minute.  Here are the dozen beautiful creations of the Creek Ladies.   I am one LUCKY artist to get to work with these creative and fun ladies......     barbara