Bear on a Tricycle Art Journal Page

This art journal page featuring my handpainted bear on a little red tricycle, was originally created inside a friend's Vintage Circus journal as part of a swap. The original post is here at the Australian Art Swap Group's blog. My recreated page (see below) has a few differences, mainly the placement of the bicycles and it doesn't include the vintage poster.

List of arty treasures used ...

- Watercolour Paper
- Watercolour Paints
- Tim Holtz Distress Oxide Inks (inkpads, reinkers and sprays)
- Tim Holtz Stamps
... I used Theories and Handwritten Thoughts
- Fine Black Marker (click here for all pens and markers)
Dylusions Mini Collage Glue Stick
- Acrylic Journal and Stamping Blocks
Paint Brushes (link is to all paint brushes)
Tim Holtz Distress Sprayer Bottle
- Ranger Ink Blending Tools
Ranger's Ink Blending Tool with Mini Round Foams

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Instructions ...

To create this page, the first thing I did was scour the internet looking for vintage circus ideas. But while searching through the really old photos, I found myself getting angry and teary at all the abuse and neglect the animals suffered (at the hands of people who should have cared for them). I printed out a few pictures and attempted to start... but the more I was scribbling and drawing, the worse I felt. Its not that I didn't know about it but didn't have it at the forefront of my mind.

It wasn't fair how they were all treated... its now all in the past but it will always be remembered. Thankfully, more and more people and organisations are looking out for animals and their rights. I know you all agree, animals deserve our love and respect. Always.

Scribbling ideas with the bears (above) holding hats and signs saying "Free the Bears" didn't help my mood. I wanted the page to be a happy one, positive and uplifting. So it was put aside for a while...

<3 br="">A few weeks later, with a fresh mind I refound an image I'd seen online and used it as a reference for my own bear on a tricycle. He's drawn freehand on Strathmore Watercolour Paper with pencil then inked with fine black felt tipped pen.

I erased the pencil marks before adding colours with watercolour paint. I used the spots of paint from a sample swatch of Daniel Smith Watercolours (saving for the tubes now!) and my trusty waterbrush. The bike frame was painted red, then the wheels in grey, all while reminding myself constantly, to let areas dry before going further. Watercolours won't layer properly if they're not let to dry, they'll just blend into each other (fantastic for galaxies or background washes).

The photo with my painting is what I found in a Google search. I'm not sure who owns the actual picture as it was shown a few times in various locations with no name. Thank you to whoever it is :)
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Once the bear's basic colours and shading was completely dry (the next day), I used a very fine paintbrush (and the same colour brown) to paint in some fur structure and deeper shading. Just before I cut him out for the page, I added highlights using a white gel pen. 

<3 br="">To make the background for the bear, I stamped images and then blended over the background colours. Doesn't really matter which way round you do these steps as the Archival and Distress inks work well together.
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<3 br="">Using Ranger's Archival Ink in dark brown and black, I stamped images and a quote from Tim Holtz Stamp Sets, Theories and Handwritten Thoughts (always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder). Tim's antique style engravings are perfect for a vintage themed page!
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The backing base colour was made using an Ink Blending Tool (foam blender) with Tim Holtz Distress Oxide Ink Pads.
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<3 br="">Patchy clouds of Antique Linen (cream) and Tea Dye (light warm brown) were blended around the sides of the page, then splattered and splashed with water (I like to use Tim's Sprayer Bottle) before being air-dried with the heat tool. Next, Tumbled Glass (pale blue) was blended over the page using the same process (blend, splatter with water, dry with heat). Lastly, to give it a bit of a border, I added Walnut Stain (very dark brown).
The next step was to add some interest into the background (ie, give the people something to stand on). I've used stamps from Tim Holtz's Psychedelic Grunge Stamp Set with Distress Oxide Ink Pads. The faded dots across the base of the page were stamped using Tea Dye first, before stamping the larger circles using both Tea Dye and Tumbled Glass (ink the stamp with both colours at the same time).

While the inky background was drying, I cut out my bear with fine sharp scissors and used a craft knife for inside the spokes.
The above photo shows my bear placed loosely on the page to see how he'd fit. He seemed happy enough so I continued, adhering him to the page with Ranger's Dylusions Glue Stick.

<3 br="">To finish off the page, I used a couple of stamps from Tim's Tiny Things 2 Stamp Set (mini sheet music and a gramophone) and Theories (bicycles). The sheet music is along the "ground" for the bear to ride along and I've "tied" the gramophone onto the high-wire with a brown fine, felt tipped pen (so it won't fall off of course!). All were stamped using the Distress Oxide Walnut Stain Ink Pad.

The end result is a good one... my bear seems content while peddling along his musical path as the circus world carries on around him.

Thanks for reading! Hope you find time to have a go, its good fun to get ink on your fingers! I'm here to help if you need a hand.
<3 br="">:)
<3 br="">Jenny