Back to the dark side

Tim Holtz unveiled the latest colour is his Distress line today, Prize Ribbon. Love it! Watching the reveal video, with all the makes, reminded me how much I enjoy using Tim’s products. I’ve been very focussed on the Dylusions and Dina Wakley range for a while now.

Tony was home for the day from the rest home and had brought his Paint by Numbers with him, so I grabbed a fresh journal and a pile of Distress Oxides sprays and Distress paint. I made a stack of backgrounds, then went back and added splatter with Distress Ink, Distress paint and DWM white gloss spray.

Once that had all dried I hauled out Tim’s paper dolls, the new wallpaper range, quote stickers and other bits from his range, plus some paper dolls I’d made recently inspired by Niamh Baly on YouTube. The paper dolls used Tim’s etching heads as a starting point.

Tim Holtz often mentions the dark side … referring to grunge and using browns in your art, rather than bright and cheerful. Although I didn’t go fully to the dark side, I used Walnut Stain, Black Soot, and Ground Espresso on every layout.

It was fun to do something different, and break out some old favourite supplies – I’ll be sure not to neglect the, for so long from now on.

Art videos

While I’ve been off work recuperating, I’ve watched hours and hours of art tutorial videos by Dyan Reaveley, Dina Wakley, Niamh Baly and Tim Holtz. Sometimes I learn new techniques, or new ways to use existing products, other times I’m reminded of things I used to do. It’s always good to find new ways to use existing products. And, yes, I’ve bought quite a lot of new stuff too 😉

I’d had one of Dina Wakley’s small white journals before and loved it, so bought another one recently so I could practice what I was seeing in her art videos in an accessible format. I’ve been playing with creating abstract figures using her acrylic gloss spray, different ways of creating backgrounds including using her black gesso, and experimenting with colour combinations. I’ve found the wee abstract figures are great for playing with colour combinations and think this journal is going to be quite full of these quirky characters!

Getting down the bones

Sometimes all I need in my art journals are the bare bones in order to remember an event or feeling. Other times I write a lot; how readable it is depends on the content. I’m generally very open with what I share, but there are times when I can’t have other people reading the text. The ‘feeling let down’ page was one of those rare moments, so the story behind the page is on the back of a tag. I can lift it up and read if I want to, but probably won’t. Getting it written down was enough. Cathartic!

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Colour my world

Today’s journal page is in my Dina Wakley mixed media journal; there’s only a few pages left it in, and I can’t get a new one till lockdown finishes. This was done on a canvas page that I put a good coat of gesso on, then scraped on paints, and layered on mark making with my fav Tim Holtz stencils. I used a Dyan Reaveley mask for the person, then wrote round the edges with a Uniball white gel pen. The page was inspired by Niamh Baly, who I follow on YouTube.

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A little art time

I haven’t posted for a fortnight because I’ve been busy with other things, although still doing my art. I’m doing Dr Duc Vuong’s Leap Year Challenge. He’s an international weight loss surgeon but this is about ‘whole of life’ improvement.

It’s very challenging, including timewise, and I’m learning so much. He has an ‘accept no excuses, cut the bullshit’ approach. I have to speak with my Accountability Partner every day – thanks Penny! I’m documenting some of that learning in my art journals, aside from taking notes.

I’m also preparing to teach some more art classes in Greymouth in early April, so am sitting in the evenings cutting out over 350 stamped images for the class packs. I just shouted myself a new pair of Tim Holtz Tonic scissors 😉

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The sacrament – and my process

I was away last weekend and didn’t work in my art journals, but did get plenty of art time to work on more Hokitika Gorge paintings. But I miss the freedom that comes with an art journal, where the process matters more than the outcome. I’m not sure I’ve ever documented my process for a layout like this, so will try to capture it.

 
Before I do though, this is another song by HIM, with Ville Valo singing. HIM disbanded a while back and Ville has moved on, but I still love their music. The lyrics, often quite dark, really speak to me. Villa reads a lot, including poetry and classics, and his writing frequently includes references to religion and Edgar Allan Poe’s works.

 
This layout was done in my small Dylusions journal, which means there’s no need to gesso the pages as they’re really strong and colours generally don’t bleed through.

 
Using ink blender foams I put down Dylusions paints in Polished jade, Lemon Zest and Vibrant turquoise. Using the same colours and the ink blenders, I stencilled using Dylusions Teardrops, Squares and Diamond in the Rough – I use each colour, and each stencil, in all three sections.

 
Once that was dry I used Distress Collage Medium to glue down the magazine cut-out, leaving a medium strip of gel medium around it. Next, I blend a shadow in once the gel is dry, using a walnut Pitt Big Brush Pen to outline the collage. The slickness of the gel means you can blend out the pen, which is India Ink, if you work quickly.

 
I write out my words – often song lyrics or my thoughts – and print double spaced. I insert a line at the top of the Word doc so I know how wide each line can be and adjust my font size to fit; for the small journal 10.5cm works well for me. I roughly cut out each line and use a foam blender and Black soot Distress Ink to ink the edges to take away the harshness of the white paper.

 
I put them aside and use Archival ink in black to stamp the title with Dylusions Dy’s alphabet stamp set and Stamper’s Anonymous Tim Holtz Tall Text stamps. While the lettering is drying I use Tombow glue to adhere the text strips; I’m not too fussy about lining them up, spacing etc. Once they’re down and the stamping ink is dry, I use a broad tip white Signo pigment ink pen to add highlights to the stamped letters.

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Music of my life

I have music on most of the time – at home, in my car, in my office… music keeps my brain busy so that I can concentrate on whatever I’m doing. I know that sounds odd – but it’s common with addicts, including food addicts like myself.

I listen to a wide range of music from opera to rock and hip hop. Favourites include HIM, Queen, P!nk, Meatloaf, Kiss and Nickelback. I often record the lyrics in my art journals. Why? Because my journals are about the things in my life and in my head – and music is a big part of that.

Dylusions – Paint: After midnight, Calypso teal, Mushy peas. Stencils: Diamonds in the rough, Shutters, Squares. Stamps: Dy’s alphabet. Other – Pitt big brush pen, Ranger collage medium, Distress black soot ink, black Archival ink, white gel pen.

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Art is good for me

Spending time creating is good for me. Sure, I can go for weeks without creating, but I’ll get a bit ‘down’ and restless. The solution, especially if I feel tired and like it’s all too hard, is to create regardless. Pretty soon I’m sparking again!

This weekend I have spent a lot of time at my art desk and it’s perked me up. I was feeling ok, but now I feel rested even though I’ve had no actual rest…

I won’t describe products, journal etc – it’s my usual mix of Dina Wakley, Tim Holtz, Dyan Reaveley and Ranger.

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Distress Oxides & Micro Glaze

I’ve been binge watching videos about Distress Oxide techniques and one first Tim Holtz then Jennifer McGuire shared really appealed to me. I ended up combining it with some other techniques and it’s produced some great card backgrounds.

This works best with Ranger gloss card stock (needs to be gloss) as photo paper tend to go sticky when wet. I did multiple layers of Distress Oxides using my craft mat and spray bottle, and added pattern with stencils to lift off colour, add colour, seal with Micro Glaze to protect the underneath colours or heat emboss the wet ink with clear embossing powder, and finally added flicks of colour with the Tim Holtz Splatter Brush.

Here’s what I ended up with once the layers were done:

As you use more and more layers and water the colours get very chalky, which is the point of the Oxides and it’s a lovely effect. Here’s the thing though – if you add a thin layer of Micro Glaze to the dry card then burnish it the colours brighten up and glow, and somehow all the individual layers show. It’s quite impressive. Here’s how they looked once I’d added the Micro Glaze and buffed them (not the same cards but you get the idea I hope):

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(These photos were taken in bright daylight and there’s lots of shadows – sorry about that!)