Archive | January, 2011

Strathmore Journaling Class

29 Jan

Though I haven’t been posting here in quite a while, I have been doing art. It seems like when I’m on an internet “phase” I really don’t get as much art done. Anyway, I want to share some of it with anyone who cares to have a peek, so here goes:


Spread Your Wings

This is a project for an on-line art journaling class I’ve been participating in over at Strathmore Artist Studios. You can sign up for these classes too if you like. They’re free, and are being offered to promote the Strathmore Visual Artist Journals, a new product of theirs. They come in several different kinds of paper (I chose the 140lb watercolor paper ones in 9 x 12″ size), and are beautifully spiral bound with quite a lovely cover. It’s very nice not having the typical sewn or perfect bound book format although the spiral binding makes a break between the pages you might not like if you’re doing a two-page spread. It’s worth it to me not to have the pages sticking together and coming unbound at the juncture between them, and the paper is so nice and stiff.

As you can see, I blurred the writing because it’s all personal and stuff. This is a picture of my daughter that I took of her a couple of years ago in her Halloween get-up. I painted it in acrylics, then made a copy for this journal page and cut it out, then went over it with oil pastel. Because it is cold in my art room, I heated it up as I was going with my little hair dryer and found that this seems to have hardened the pastel and made it possible to work over it with some colored pencil and other media. I sealed it all with acrylic matte varnish, which you aren’t supposed to be able to do over oil, but it worked well. Maybe because of the hair dryer? Anyway, I am now in love with my Sennelier oil pastels and intend to buy a portrait set.


River of Life

Another journal page for the same class. We were really only supposed to be working on one page, but I kept thinking that my choices weren’t working for the tutorial, so I ended up with a total of four pages for the four weeks. Really, you needed a figure of a person (like the one of my daughter) to make it work, only more of a pastel thing than any of the pages I ended up with.

We started by photocopying some of our old artwork either in color or in black and white. This one was in color; the one of my daughter was black and white. Then we arranged it on a journal page with some torn strips in the background and glued under and over everything with matte medium. Some people used Mod Podge, but they later complained that the next step (using oil pastels) didn’t want to go down, so I’m glad I chose to use the matte medium (though I expected either to work).

The next step was to add some shadows with charcoal pencil to indicate a light source and give the collage some visual depth.  After this, we added color and more shading with oil pastels. The oil is important because it was to act as a resist for paint in the next step. So I suppose crayons or wax-based colored pencils would also work at least to some extent.


Day of the Lord

After adding the resist, we covered the whole thing with diluted gesso. I ended up diluting it by putting a big puddle of water on my palette, dipping my brush in the gesso, and then mixing it in. Otherwise it was too thick. The resist wasn’t as successful as I had expected, and I had to wipe quite a lot of the gesso off with a damp paper towel. In the end, it made for quite a nice effect, though.

Next step was to go back over everything with oil pastel, graphite and charcoal and brighten it back up. I didn’t find that the charcoal or graphite worked real well, though. Too messy for me. I ended up using black Faber Castell Pit Artist pens (waterproof after drying) and Derwint Inktense Pencils (water soluble but permanent when it has dried) to punch it back up.

This scan doesn’t do the colors justice. It looks a little washed out here, and I tried to fix it up in my image editing program but I suppose I should just have photographed it to begin with. Anyway, you get the idea. 😉

Puppy Under the Mushrooms

This one is actually the first page I worked on. Instead of copying the cloudy background strips I tore up an actual watercolor painting — a practice one with only sky — and pasted it down with YES! paste. I used this instead of matte medium for this whole picture, and it worked quite well, but I didn’t paint over the top of the papers. I did, however, make liberal use of a workable fixative both for the inkjet prints and the watercolor strips in all of these journal pages. I found that the red inkjet colors tended to move a little bit when I painted over them with the acrylic matte medium.

I think I have a previous post of the puppy (our new little lab/golden mix who is now significantly bigger) and the mushrooms. They’re both ATCs reproduced quite a lot larger than the originals. I printed them out on plain computer printing paper and it was a little lightweight for this project, especially pasted over strips of 140lb watercolor paper. I would probably use 80lb card at least if I were doing this again, but it worked okay.

In the next step we were supposed to add some stenciling and little details. I took some diluted acrylic paint and added in the rectangles. I punched up the shadows again, this time with gray pit pens, brush tip. I also added shadows to the rectangles. For the dots on the mushrooms and around the fairy, I used paint pens — Hobby Lobby’s store brand for around $3 each — cheap for buying them in an actual store as opposed to on-line, which is what I usually do.

I enjoyed the class, and I think you can still sign up for it if you’re interested. It’s finished, but you should still be able to access the videos. It will be better seeing all the videos at once anyhow. That way you’ll be better able to make choices as to which of your previously created artwork you’d like to use for this particular technique. There are two more similar workshops scheduled for the next several months and they’ve been very popular. Maybe I’ll see you there!