Collaged Sketchbook

Just wanted to post a picture of my new sketchbook. I've decided to collage both covers on it and finished the first one today.

For this sketchbook, I wanted one cover to be full of inspiring words and phrases. The other cover will most likely have a Hawaiian theme, as this is the sketchbook that I will be using for my trip to Hawaii in December. :-)

I had fun with this. And since we get so many magazines from my sister, who works for a magazine and book stocking warehouse, I have a huge stash of magazines to comb for material. I'm going to continue to design my own sketchbook covers. It means a lot to me to be able to personalize my sketchbooks.

I've also been working hard on a new sketch, but since this is for my sis for Christmas, I'm not able to post any pictures. ACK! I especially hate not showing it to her, I'm so used to showing her everything I do. But so far, I'm happy with how it's turning out. And I can hardly wait until we celebrate Christmas in January. We've decided that instead of buying presents this year, we're each going to make each other a piece of art. How awesome is that??? :-) So I'll finally be able to post the picture of the completed mixed media painting here and on flickr after the holidays.

I can hardly wait!

Acrylic Transfers

I decided to start off my second post on this blog by talking about the acrylic transfers that I've been doing. I joined not that long ago, which is a site where people can sign up for swaps of just about anything handmade, etc. It's awesome!

One of the groups on swap-bot that I joined is the Viva La Frida group. I'm fascinated by Frida Kahlo and her artwork. This was the first group that caught my eye. Each group can hold their own swaps and sure enough, this group had two of them that piqued my interest... one was for a Frida Christmas ornament and the other was a mixed media Frida painting.

I have to admit, I've never really done mixed media, but I have a sister that LOVES it. I started out using acrylics, but once I found oil paints, I felt like I was in heaven. But I've kept my acrylics just in case... and so I decided to take the plunge and jump into this mixed media Frida swap. I started out by finding a photograph of Frida and sketching it. This is the photo I chose:

This is the sketch:

I had planned on using the sketch as a guide to do an acrylic painting of her. That's why I didn't really do as much detail with the hair and flowers, etc. But the thing about acrylics is... I DESPISE using them for portraits! That's why I was happy to find oils. And the pressure was on because I have to actually send this to someone! Then, upon the recommendation of someone in the group, I bought this fabulous book called "Altered Surfaces" by Chris Cozen.


That led me on the path to discovering acrylic transfers. And I've been obsessively experimenting with them ever since, trying different methods with different materials. It's been about two weeks, I believe? And finally, last night, it clicked. I found the right combination and the right way to get the effect I wanted. Still not 100% perfect, but I'm pretty happy, though I still have a sneaking suspicion that I'll be making more changes. *g*

I ended up going with the technique that uses transparencies and gloss gel medium. First I started off by taking a picture of the drawing. Then I loaded it into Adobe Photoshop Elements, edited a bit, and played with the coloring so it was more sepia than gray. Then I printed it out as a mirror image on an inkjet transparency. I applied the gel medium then carefully placed it on the canvasboard and burnished it. Had to be careful, because I'd end up messing with it too much and goobering it up. *g* But then I'd remove the transparency carefully, let it dry and put a coat of gel medium over it to protect it.

Here's the final results:

It took a lot of fun experimenting and redoing the picture for a second time to get this effect. Here's a few other ways it came out:

That really horrifically red version in the middle of the bottom row? That was the first edited version of the photo. Once I got a better handle on what I was doing, especially when it came to the coloring, it really made a difference to go back and start over with the original photo!

Now I'm ready to start the rest of the painting. And because my sis and I had an art day last Saturday, where I ended up creating a mock up of how I want to do this painting, I'm now ready to sit down and finish it up. So much fun!!!



So... It occurs to me that I should probably introduce myself in the first post, just in case someone other than my best friend/sister reads this. :-)

My name is Julie, nickname Jewels. I'm 35 years old and live in Alaska. I work as an Administrative Support Assistant (basically receptionist with lots of extra duties.) Despite the fact I've been working jobs like this since I was 18, it's most definitely NOT what I want to do when I grow up! For me, that will always be art. And finally, I'm admitting it and making it a priority to incorporate art into my life on a regular, constant basis. And I'm contemplating and pondering just how I want to integrate the arts into my future career(s). But while I'm trying to figure all that out, I plan on just experimenting, digging in and going for it, trying all sorts of things and learning what it is I really love and what my style is and growing along the way!

In this blog, I just plan on talking about the projects I'm working on and posting pictures of them, etc. A modpodge of whatever I feel like posting about. I figure it'll make a convenient place to send my friends and family who want to see my artwork and someplace where I can blather on incessantly about one of my favorite subjects.

Enjoy and thanks for reading!


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