Saturday 30 September 2017

Meanwhile in Maine...

I just wanted to point you all to this video from my YouTube friend Mrs Weirich aka Lindsay The Frugal Crafter - not only is it a beautiful layout of a mermaid and some jellyfish, it's also a fantastic narrative of the reality of art journalling - we're not really all Vicky Papaioannou lol! I adore Vicky's work and aspire to it. The vivid colours of this piece of Mrs W's though are just amazing. Brilliant use of a vibrant pink with a teal (pretty much a complement thereof) - so alive and so much light. Wow.

Thursday 28 September 2017

Doctor's Orders....I'm not even sorry....

Yes, I know I did a haul post yesterday but EVEN MORE stuff came today... This is a mix of stuff from Amazon UK and from Art From The Heart - I've organised the post by the line it's from, rather than from where I got them. I DO want to do a big shout-out first to the lovely people at Art For The Heart. I've not placed many orders, but they've always been prompt, and super-helpful when you ask about anything. I've shown you previously the cute red tissue and heart charms they wrap everything in, which is a lovely touch. Today though, they had done something else that made me really happy as I do like nice surprise - so I'll tell you about that. At the bottom of the box, under all the little packages wrapped in red tissue, was one of Dyan's postcards [from this set], which I flipped over to find "Enjoy, Dyan" on the back - lovely and totally unexpected - always a good combination. 

There was, however, a small problem. I always say "you find out who your real friends are when the chips are down", and I do think you find out how good a company really is in terms of how they handle a problem. It's only a small problem and I'll add an update to this post once it's resolved to say how it went as I know it's useful to potential customers. Short version - I'd ordered a particular colour of ink spray and they must've picked up the wrong bottle as they sent something else. To be honest, I would usually just accept it and not care too much but I really wanted that colour damn it! I emailed them outside of business hours today, so we'll see.

UPDATE: within 3h of my emailing them, Ben (Mrs R's son) emailed me back (at 2100h!) to say he'd ship me a bottle of the missing colour first thing tomorrow - can't say much fairer than that!

Ranger Dylusions ink sprays in:
   Pomegranate Seed [BUY NOW: USA, UK]*
   Vanilla Custard [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
   White Linen [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
   Vibrant Turquoise [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
   Rose Quartz [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
   Melted Chocolate [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
(* this was the one that Art From The Heart slipped up on, hence the photo shows the Ground Coffee [BUY NOW: USA, UK] that they sent in error]

Some of these are re-stocks, some of them are new to me - including Vanilla Custard and Rose Quartz from the deliciously pastel Sept 2017 release of 6 colours. I've only got these 2 as inks and I have 2 more as paints, and I've not yet got the blue or the brighter pink.

These are from Amazon UK and were dirt cheap - it's a bag of book-rings in mixed sizes [BUY NOW: UK] and I wanted them for storing my Ranger and Stampers Anonymous stamp sets as I don't want to put them into binders, not to mention keeping my stencils tidier, and for displaying tags.

Tim Holtz Idea-ology Tissue Wrap in:
   Postale [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
   Melange [BUY NOW: USA, UK]

These are quite good value as you get a 12" wide roll that repeats a roughly 15" pattern 15 times over, so that's a lot of tissue at a low price. It's uncoated so perfect for use in mixed media where you may want to add something over the top.

Dina Wakley Media Scribble Sticks [BUY NOW: USA, UK] - these are sticks of pigments without wax and with minimal binder - you get 12 sticks - White, Black, Umber, Blackberry, Night, Sky, Turquoise, Lime, Lemon, Tangerine, Ruby and Magenta. I've had a super-quick play with them and I'll post that in due course.

Ranger Archival Inks in:
   Tea Rose (Wendy Vecchi) [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
   Dina Wakley Mixed Media Palette (Ocean, Tangerine, Night and Ruby) [BUY NOW: USA, UK]

As you can see below, the Mixed Media palette from Dina is four full-size ink pads so it works put pretty economical actually. I love Dina's 4 colours so it's really nice to be able to use Archival over her paints (which I already do) and have more coordination.

Dylusions Creative Flip Journal (Small) [BUY NOW: USA, UK] - I use a similarly sized (8" by 5") sketch book of the same kind of shape a lot, and I thought this might make a cool alternative, plus it gives me the means to make smaller layouts too I guess.

Tim Holtz Idea-ology Found Relatives [BUY NOW: USA, UK] - these are a quite large selection of 24 useful 3" by 5" cards with reprints of old playing card backs on one side and reprints of old 1900s-1950s photos on the other size. There used to be a greetings card line in the UK some 15 years ago that was similar photos to these and would have pictures much like the girl on the bottom right with the dog with the caption added saying something like "Beryl beats up little old ladies for fun" and the one in the middle of the couple would say something like "Sally hoped Isaac was as heavily into anal as she was" or something similar - I'm basically going to use a few of them in similar ways, but other ones will be used in softer and more beautiful layouts.

Sizzix Tim Holtz Bigz Tattered Leaves Die [BUY NOW: USA, UK]. This is a steel-rule die set, so it will cut through anything really - I don't have any leaf dies and I love the Sizzix Bigz range as they're actually quite economical so I thought I'd get one in time for autumn.

Ranger Dina Wakley Media Heavy Body Acrylics 1 fl. oz. in:
   Blushing [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
   Sky [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
   Lemon [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
   Lime [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
   Tangerine [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
   Umber [BUY NOW: USA, UK]

I have loved the 3 (Night, Blackberry, Rosy) that I already have and I wanted to get a primary triad and went with a CMY set as they make for bolder, more synthetic-looking colours and would be awesome for mixed media - I did want Magenta but Art From The Heart were out of stock, so I got Blushing which is much too warm for mixing but I can get Magenta at a later date. Given I already had a violet, I got 2 more secondaries - Lime and Tangerine, and Umber felt like a good neutral. Elephant may be my next! I love the thickness, ease of use and versatility of this line.

To go with my Wendy Vecchi bags from my last post, here are the Ranger Dina Wakley Media Bags [BUY NOW: USA, UK] - very economical for a pack of three and perfect sizes for storing basic small items. I talk about my motivation for these in particular a bit in that last post so please go check it out.

Dylusions Journal: My Love And I In A Small Cafe (Part II) - working towards the foreground

I posted recently a gessoed paper that I then used Dina Wakley Media acrylics and mica sprays from Ranger on - and I was loving the colours. I've since attached it into my Dylusions main Large Creative Journal that I used for just random things. As I've just obtained the Dina Wakley Media Circle Patterns stamps I couldn't resist adding some foreground to that background!


"My love and I in a small cafe" acrylic on gessoed paper background previously prepared.

Ranger Wendy Vecchi Archival Inks in:
   Buttercup [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
   Cactus Flower [BUY NOW: USA, UK]

Ranger Dina Wakley Media Circle Patterns Stamps [BUY NOW: USA, UK]

STEP 1: I selected the stamp that looks like a pen outlining a circle, as I want to put a similar motif in acrylic paint as the focal point at a later date.

STEP 2: I applied some stamps without a block down the righthand edge of the page, using Buttercup - Archival Ink goes on so well over acrylic that it's a great ink for this kind of project!

STEP 3: I then did the same using the delicious Cactus Flower - it reminds me so much of the Schlumbergera truncata Lem. (Christmas cactus) that my late Grandmother had and the beautiful magenta-violet flowers that seemed magical to me when I was a little boy and we went to visit her - the colour has stayed with me and after all these years - that vibrant colour standing out from the north-Bristol council estate browns and greys that I could see out of the window where the cactus was kept. I love this colour! I added a bit more of this colour in other areas on the page just to help join the foreground and the background a little more. There will be a focal point coming up in Part III! I've shown some close-ups below where you can see the 'fire' from the blue and red mica sprays and how cool it all looks!

Wednesday 27 September 2017

Doctor's Orders: Oooops? #arthaul

So erm...well...what can I say? The worst part? This isn't even all of it - there's at least 5 more instalments to come...! It's quite a big haul because there have been some fabulous discounts on at Amazon and at Art From The Heart! Everything herein is from Amazon UK.

The Ranger Wendy Vecchi Mica Sprays (BUY NOW USA, UK) - at long last! Ranger released Mica Spray sets of 3 colours for each of their 4 signature designers some time ago - Tim Holtz (Brushed Pewter, Antiqued Bronze, Tarnished Brass BUY NOW USA, UK), Dina Wakley (Ruby, Lapis and Evergreen BUY NOW USA, UK), Dyan Reaveley (Bubblegum Pink, Crushed Grape and Vibrant Turquoise BUY NOW USA, UK) and, of course, Wendy Vecchi (Buttercup, Pearl and Forget-Me-Not) - I've struggled to get hold this set from Wendy but I love her palette - I also love Dina and Dyan's ranges but Tim's have not appealed to me because they're more or less the same as the metallic Distress Spray Stains. Wendy's Pearl excites me - there is no Pearl in the rest of her line of Archival Inks or Embossing Powders or Enamel Accents - and the name doesn't "fit" with her tradition of garden-related-words - Snowdrop would have been better, I think. I am now living in hope they'll release some more Pearl items from Wendy as a nice off-white to sit nicely with her other colours would be awesome!

I've posted on Twitter recently a lot of mini-monoprints I've been making (post on those coming soon!) and I decided getting a little gelli plate would be really worth it for a lot of techniques - I researched online and found this Gel Press Reusable Gel Printing Plate, 6" by 6" (BUY NOW: USA, UK) - they make a lot of different sizes and it's actually a faux gelli plate. It's a vegan-friendly mineral-oil-based reusable gelli plate, and it has a wonderful service. My YouTube Friend Mrs Weirich (aka Lindsay The Frugal Crafter) used a very similar one of these some time ago, and she got lovely results, which has made me want to try one for some time now. I've used normal gelli plates made of gelatine before but I like the very perfect surface of this - it really appeals to me - plus it's quite stiff so you can pick it up and use it like a stamp.

These Derwent Techniques Brushes (BUY NOW: USA, UK) were a bit of a whim item really. I was looking for something else and they were heavily discounted to just over £8 from £17, and I do want a sword suited to acrylic painting (check) and a rake for use when monoprinting (check). I'm sure these will come in useful!

A little bit of restocking! You can never have too many Ranger Dylusions Size 10 Journaling Tags (BUY NOW: USA, UK) and I have used a lot lately. Likewise, I needed to restock my favourite embossing powder - Ranger Wendy Vecchi Watering Can Embossing Powder (BUY NOW: USA, UK) - this powder is a deep, warm grey and thus a lot less harsh/cartoon-y than using black. I really enjoy how it looks and like all of Wendy's line, it is an ultra fine detail powder and just beautiful - blending it with other powders makes a nice bit of texture, even with beautiful bright colours like the vibrant yellows and purples.

Mwahahaha I struck a bargain here ;) I've wanted this Tim Holtz Idea-ology Clippings Stickers (BUY NOW; USA, UK) pack for a while for use in mixed media, cards and art journalling...and when I ordered it and paid for one, two packs arrived yaaay! So for just £3.98, I got almost 600 stickers, 2 of each of them. Lovely!

Another item I've wanted for a long time - this Ranger Dina Wakley Media Circle Patterns stamp set (BUY NOW: USA, UK) looked so useful for mixed media and for framing elements like collaged images. I love circles and how even crappy patterns or bits of waste artwork look brilliant cropped into circles with a punch or die and then stamped with a pattern - try it - it really looks great!

So I have to say, these were SO economical and I wanted something to keep my stencils and pens etc tidy and to hand. I also wanted to have some of this artwork to hand, because these beautiful Ranger Wendy Vecchi Designer Bags (BUY NOW: USA, UK) of course feature Wendy Vecchi's beautiful artwork - I have shown below the larger two that you can't see properly in the above image as I think they're so pretty. I've got the Ranger Dina Wakley Designer Bags (BUY NOW: USA, UK) on order too. Each set gives you a large, medium and small bag as a set (just over £13 when I bought these) and they're pretty useful sizes. I'm also hoping that having Dina's beautiful, bold and expressive mixed media work around me will inspire me somewhat to loosen up a bit when doing mixed media - which I find hard! 

Monday 25 September 2017

Large Dylusions Journal: My Love And I, In A Small Cafe - acrylic on paper background

I was not feeling very good on Sunday and I wanted a nice, relaxing project that would not take too long and that would take me out of my comfort zone. I decided to make a background very, very loosely inspired by a video of Dina Wakley that I saw on YouTube ages ago making a wet-into-wet acrylic background. As I was working in my Dina Wakley Media Journal, I decided to use my Large Dylusions Creative Journal...but I knew the gesso for this technique would take ages to dry and I wanted to do another layout, so I used the Dylusions Journal Insert Sheets I obtained a few weeks ago in one of my absurd number of art hauls. I started out with the same three Dina Wakley paints I've been using for ages, and one of my regular 3/4" cheap golden taklon brushes - but after the overnight cure, my beautiful Dina Wakley Media Short Handled Brushes arrived, so I used the 3/4" one to finish this off.

As for the title of the background "My Love And I, In A Small Cafe"? It's a line from the 1957 Patsy Cline song "Three Cigarettes In An Ashtray", and it refers to the three stepped vertical lines in this background.

"My Love and I, in a Small Cafe" - acrylic and mica on gessoed cardstock (NB: this is just a background, not a finished layout)


Ranger Dylusions Journal Insert Sheets (Large) [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
(I used one of the mixed-media cream pages from this pack - you could just work direct in the Dylusions Creative Journal (Large) [BUY NOW: USA, UK], obviously, which is the exact same paper)

Prima Finnabair Art Basics Clear Gesso [BUY NOW: USA, UK]

Ranger Dina Wakley Media Heavy Body Acrylics in:
   Night [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
   Blackberry [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
   Rosy [BUY NOW: USA, UK]

Ranger Dina Wakley Media Mica Sprays in:
(these are from a pack of three - you can't get them individually - but they're quite economical and last ages [BUY NOW: USA, UK])

3/4" Golden Taklon soft-bristled brush
(this was just a really cheap one - I really don't spend money on acrylic brushes for crafting as for fluid acrylics, it really doesn't matter!)

Derwent Spritzer [BUY NOW: USA, UK]
(obviously you can use any mister but I really like this one as it's economical and has a decent volume, maybe 20 mL)

Palette knife

Ranger Dina Wakley Short-Handled Brushes in:
   3/4" flat
(this comes from a set of 4 brushes [BUY NOW: USA, UK] and arrived part way through the project so I decided to use them)

Container of water


STEP 1: I deliberately worked with the paper landscape and such that the spine of the journal would be at the top once stuck in. I painted the majority of the surface in gesso, but leaving some gaps around the edge. I left it for 10 minutes until it had started to thicken and dry, and then spread on a relatively thin layer with a palette knife, just thick enough to have some texture - I made sure this didn't go all the way to the edge of the painted gesso so that I basically have three "tiers" - paper, painted gesso, impasto gesso. I then left it for about 12h to dry completely.

STEP 2: I spritzed the paper with water and then added a decent blob of Blackberry and made a few bold strokes with my soft golden taklon brush - I tried to vary the texture and ensure there were thick parts, thin parts and impasto parts (aka really thick parts). The paint bleeds beautifully into the wet paper. I also ensured I covered all three "tiers" with some paint.

STEP 3: I added some Night at the bottom (so the outside edge of the page once in the journal), and spread it to make a thick and dense area, and made some strokes from it around the page.

STEP 4: I then did the same with some Rosy, concentrating on keeping it thin as it's more impressive that way, and then worked pretty fast to try and get the next stage done before anything began to dry at all.

STEP 5: Working from the opposite diagonal corners, I sprayed on 2 blasts of each the Lapis and the Ruby mica sprays - one colour from each corner, so that in the middle of the page they made a colour purple effect. The mica hitting the wet paint did make some interesting effects, kind of like when you put salt into watercolour. I then left it to dry for 24h.

STEP 6: At this point, I moved to my Dina Wakley Short Handled 3/4" Brush, and applied 3 blobs of Rosy about 25% in from the righthand edge of the landscape page and worked each one to make a 3/4" wide stripe from that point to 3 different lengths - one almost to the end of the page and the others in between - I wasn't aiming for precision at all. Et voilà! I won't use it for over 24h, and I will re-attach it to the journal before I start adding some collage elements.