Tuesday, November 26, 2019

An Urban Tapestry

This art journal page was created inside a friend's book as part of a swap for the Australian Art Journal Swap group using the theme, Nature. 

finished and cropped to a square, the artwork by Jenny James
I've created my art journal page using a sheet of beautiful rice paper from Stamperia featuring two hands inspired by Michelangelo's Creation of Adam. Together with Tim Holtz rubber stamps and Idea-Ology Collage Paper, I've grown a wild urban tapestry filled with tiny creatures.

- all arty treasures used are available at the 'Art by Jenny' online shop -

How to create layers with tissue...

using Ranger gel matte multi medium to glue down Stamperia Printed Rice Paper
Working inside the small Dylusions Mixed Media Journal, I trimmed the Stamperia Rice Paper Sheet to size and glued it down with a gel matte medium using my trusty flat wide paintbrush.

overview of gesso white wash over the Stamperia rice paper print
Once the gel medium was dry, I mixed a small puddle of watered down white gesso to use as a wash over the background areas of the rice paper to calm down the contrast of the printed words.

Tim Holtz Stamps called Urban Tapestry printed onto tissue paper using Archival Ink

For this page, I thought I'd have a play with Tim Holtz's White Collage Tissue Paper using Ranger's black Archival Ink and a few favourite stamps. The idea was that the paper would disappear into the background and leave the printed image behind.

The birds, quote and grunge spatters are all from the Tim Holtz Stamp Set "Urban Tapestry". I love the typographic style of this quote. It says :
"The creative is the place where noone else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and venture into the wilderness of your intuition. You can't get there any other way, only by taking risks and by not quite knowing what you're doing. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself."
closeup of the printed tissue being enhanced with white Prismacolor pencil
After stamping onto the tissue, heat setting the ink and trimming to size, I then coloured some areas on the back with white pencil. The white would help the reversed and outlined words show clearer on the background.
Gesso would do the same thing but pencil doesn't crinkle up the paper or need drying time.

adhering printed tissue onto the Stamperia Michelangelo Rice Paper background
I used matte gel medium to glue down everything, both under the tissue and over it to seal all the edges.

stamping Tim Holtz birds and branches onto tissue paper with Archival Ink
The birds were also stamped onto tissue paper and heat set before being trimmed and glued down with the gel matte medium.

overview of stamped branches - art journal page by Jenny James featuring Tim Holtz Stamps
All the branches were stamped straight onto the page with black Archival ink after the birds were dry.

closeup of a bird - art journal page by Jenny James featuring Tim Holtz Stamps
Above is a closeup of how the tissue paper blends into the background. Sometimes. If you're not looking for it, you can't see it...! lol :) Still a fab technique for collage when you don't feel like cutting around every single feather, beak and foot.

Colour was applied to the birds using watercolour pencil (red and brown) and a waterbrush.
Being a translucent tissue, I was able to flip one of the birds to face the other way (perched on the hand facing left) without losing too much detail. Then coloured over him with black pencil to give his feathers more definition and darken the image.

creating the background of the page using Tim Holtz Stamps
The birds needed something to hang around with, so I stamped more branches in the black Archival Ink, then some spatters of grunginess in black and stonewalling in brown (Tim's background stamp "Slate and Stone").
The brown Archival Ink was only applied to small sections of the stone background stamp and pressed onto the page without an acrylic block, to give it a more rustic appearance.

art journal page by Jenny James featuring birds and insects from Tim Holtz Stamps
Black Archival Ink was used for all the beetles and ants from Tim's stamp set "Entomology". They're crawling all over the place!
I coloured the beetles and some of the ants with brown watercolour pencil then once dry, I drew on the white highlights and gave them a covering of Ranger's crackle medium.

closeup of wet paint - art journal page by Jenny James featuring Tim Holtz Stamps
The bees were stamped onto tissue paper using the black Archival ink, dried with the heat tool and then had their bodies coloured with yellow pencil on the back of the paper.
After being glued onto the page with gel matte medium, I painted their wings with an iridescent medium to make them shimmer.
Their black stripes were enhanced using black pen and highlights drawn on with white gel pen.

closeup of an ant - art journal page by Jenny James featuring Tim Holtz Stamps
Above is a closeup of an ant after the crackle medium had dried. The quote was made into a wallhanging with nails drawn on with black pen and brown pencil.

finished mixed media art journal page by Jenny James featuring Tim Holtz Stamps
Lastly, I blended in a tiny smattering of blue ink around some of the edges of both pages.

Thanks for reading my blog post. Hope it helps you smile and inspires you to make time for arts, crafts and creativity! Enjoy every moment :)

Happy Creative Day!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

A Bucketful of Art

My Bucket List is art, art and more Art!

A bucket list isn't something I've ever really thought about until now. It turns out that dreams are just like a bucket list and I've had plenty of those... as you do! They've changed over the years but there seemed to be a reoccurring theme... Art. I guess you're not surprised :) lol

Art by Jenny mixed media journal page artwork featuring the theme Bucket List
Have an art gallery and studio, guesthouse B&B for art retreats, online and real world classroom, and little shop. Creating, sharing, teaching, inspiring, healing and helping. By the seaside, anywhere in Australia. I'm getting there, one tiny ant sized step at a time I'm managing to create a Life Less Ordinary through art, art, art and more art :) Why not!

So this is what I've created for Meg's journal that's travelling around Australia with the theme "Bucket List". A few thoughts about art. Its more like a sampler the way it got created but art doesn't have rules or must have any particular look. You can see all our other journals at the Australian Art Journal Swap Blog.

List of Treasures Used...

- Mixed Media Paper
- Dylusions Acrylic Paint
- Ranger Mini Ink Blending Tools and Foams
- Tim Holtz Tonic Studio Mini Snips
- Ranger Embossing Powder
- Darkroom Door Stencils
- Tim Holtz Layering Stencils
- Tim Holtz Foam Stamps
- Tim Holtz Collage Gel Matte Medium
- Tim Holtz Idea-Ology Transparent Wings
- Tim Holtz Idea-Ology Quote Chips
- Tim Holtz Stamps "theories"
- Ranger Archival Ink Pad, Jet Black
- Dylusions Acrylic Journaling Block
- Finnabair Paint Brushes
- Masters' Brush Cleaner
- Tim Holtz and Dylusions Stickers
- Dylusions Glue Stick
- Chipboard Letters
- An Old Paintbrush
- Wooden Sticks (for the pencils)

All available online at Art by Jenny

Start with a background...

Make sure you're using a good quality paper that withstands wet and dry visual arts techniques. You can find mixed media paper in so many brands now, but my go-to papers are still Dylusions by Dyan Reaveley journals (made by Ranger) and Strathmore's Mixed Media and Watercolour Papers (and journals and artboards)... use what you have and when you run out, try these. Yes I sell them both, but I only because I love and use it all myself :D

I've used Dylusions Acrylic Paints for all the background and overpainting... its such a beautiful smooth, quick drying paint. Perfect for journals.

creating the background for Mixed Media artwork by Jenny James featuring the theme Bucket List
Smoosh, swirl and blend Dylusions Paint in Mushy Peas and Calypso Teal over your whole surface using one of my fave little tools, the Mini Ink Blending Tool from Ranger.
The easiest way to start is to take a spot of paint from the jar (and put the lid back on straight away), and press it onto your craft mat or flat paint palette. Swirl it into your foam tool in a circular motion (it spreads it evenly through the foam). Smoosh (spread, blend, move in any direction) the paint over your page.

I've used a spirally circular pattern this time. The pattern changes with the mood, weather and paper so let the hand and foam do whatever it wants at this stage. Just enjoy the blending of colours.
The stripe down the centre is a white washi tape as I didn't want the paint going through to everyone else's pages. Sometimes this disappears under all the layers of paint and collage.

Don't forget : Add a spray of water into your jars of Dylusions Paint to put back the moisture that evaporates while you have the lid off. Even in Winter but especially in the Aussie Summer!

The ink blending foams are washable but wash them before they dry out! The end of the day is fine, it doesn't dry that fast on foams :)
The easiest way to clean foams is to use up all the paint on future backgrounds, journal pages and paper that can be used in collage (smoosh it around until its all gone), then wash the foams with soapy water (I use Master's Artist Handsoap for my hands and stencils, Master's Artist Brush Cleaner for my foams, brushes and gel printing plates).

creating the background for Mixed Media artwork by Jenny James featuring the theme Bucket List
The large Darkroom Door "Crackle" stencil above was used to add a bit of Dylusions Lemon Zest (yellow), and the Tim Holtz "Grime" (my new favourite) and "Splatters" Layering Stencils were used with the pretty Calypso Teal blue acrylic paint.

I've blended paint through all the stencils using the same foam tools, one for white, the other for everything else.

creating the background for Mixed Media artwork by Jenny James featuring the theme Bucket List
When using stencils, its up to you which part of it you wish to use... the whole design, part of it, upside down, back to front. If you want to add more, add more. Want to leave it simpler, go for it - its art, there are no rules or mistakes :)

an overview of the background for Mixed Media artwork by Jenny James featuring the theme Bucket List
The above photo is an overview of what was starting to look like a pond or river. Initially I thought I might make a bucket list on kites, clouds or lily pads - none of which happened but I really love these colours!

Add more layers...

more stenciled layers on the background for Mixed Media artwork by Jenny James featuring the theme Bucket List
Once all the background base has dried, add a layer of Dylusions White Linen Acrylic Paint using your favourite words stencil. I've used Darkroom Door medium sized stencil called "Creativity".

painting in featured areas for Mixed Media artwork by Jenny James featuring the theme Bucket List
Once this was dry, I added Maisie, a Dylusions by Dyan Reaveley stencil and mask set (this one's the middle child), also using Dylusions White Linen Paint. Then using a paint brush, I add extra white to create definition in her hair, skirt and boots.

Art is the Window to the Soul, view of the art journal page through the stencil
Above : Art is the window to the soul ... I saw this as I lifted off the Maisie Stencil after painting her basic shape - so of course it had to be photographed :) The border or rather, window, is the actual stencil of her head. Seemed perfect at the time! lol :)

Making Pencils...

art journal page wip showing how to make pencils with collage by Jenny James
In the past I've used skewers and tooth picks to make pretend pencils and paint brushes. Usually I'd colour them with markers, paint or pencils, then for the brushes, squishing the ends with pliers to make into faux bristles.

This time I've used skinny flat sticks (wood spatulas or thin iceblock sticks) and cut to shape using Tim's strong Mini Snips (micro serrated 5" scissors).
I added a bit of colour with the Distress Crayons, then blended the waxy colour into the wood using my finger (no water).
I wanted shiny 3D pencils, so gave each a coating of Ranger's Glossy Accents then left them to dry somewhere flat and level.

Of course the second I put them down, I forgot they were on my book and put something down on top of them! whoops. Didn't matter, they still dried shiny :)

Once completely dry (ie, the next day in case I dented them again), I glued my new pencils and vintage paint brush using gel matte medium. They needed a hand to stay put, so I held them in place with pots of paint.
Had to leave that for a while cos each time I tried to do something else, I moved the brush.

Heat Embossing with Mixed Media...

I much prefer using embossing powders for abstract art and creating raised layers. Its certainly much easier than how they're used in cardmaking and scrapbooking. Plus, if you get spatters, it doesn't matter!

Embossing the Alphabet :
1 ... Apply some embossing ink, glue, paint or gel medium to your die cut shape (I smoothed out the squiggles with my finger but for something different, they could be left as they landed).

heat embossing elements for the Mixed Media artwork by Jenny James featuring the theme Bucket List
Ranger have a fantastic ink called "Emboss-It" Embossing Ink and its available not only as an inkpad, reinker and set of pens but also as a dabber bottle! Perfect for mixed media and abstract artwork :)

If using glue or gel medium, the powder does seem to melt better if left to dry but its not absolutely necessary.
heat embossing elements for the Mixed Media artwork by Jenny James featuring the theme Bucket List
2 ... Fold a sheet of dry paper in half and unfold, pour on some embossing powder. At the end, the crease in the paper helps guide the excess back into the jar.

heat embossing elements for the Mixed Media artwork by Jenny James featuring the theme Bucket List
3 ... Dip your sticky shape into the powder. I jostled it around a tiny bit and lifted and patted it into the powder, making sure a really thick amount was stuck.

4 ... Pour the excess powder back in its jar and repeat the process with the next colour.

heat embossing elements for the Mixed Media artwork by Jenny James featuring the theme Bucket List
5 ... Once you've got all your letters / shapes dry and ready to melt gather them onto a heat-proof surface. Using your heat tool (also called a hot air gun - not a hair dryer, its too blowy and not hot enough), gently hover over the powdered piece until the colours melt and blend. Be careful, it gets really really hot!

... slightly off topic : Did you know that next year, 2020, is the Year of the Rat? Australia Post's stamps and coins featuring native Aussie mice as well as rats are so adorable!

heat embossing elements for the Mixed Media artwork by Jenny James featuring the theme Bucket List
Careful not to get the hot air too close or stay in one spot too long as it might scorch the paper - but then, charcoal is a nice colour too!
You will need to use something like long tweezers or pliers to hold the piece as you're heating it, so you don't burn your fingers. Let everything go cool before handling!

Embossing Maisie's Boots :
Maisie's boots were created in the same way as the alphabet with only a slight difference.
I painted the gel medium directly to the page and poured on some of Ranger's Speckles Embossing Powder, pink for the boots, yellow for the trim - at the same time.

I then lifted the page to gently shake the excess powder back onto the folded sheet of paper and put back in the pink jar (there wasn't much yellow so all went back in the same jar).

When cardmaking, it helps to warm the paper from underneath to get an even coverage and help stop the heat tool from blowing around the powder over the rest of the surface.

heat embossing boots for the Mixed Media artwork by Jenny James featuring the theme Bucket List
This is how I heated Maisie's boots... firstly from underneath then over the top, waving in a way that any stray powders would be blown onto the boot and not all over the page.

painting the scenery for the Mixed Media artwork by Jenny James featuring the theme Bucket List
I always get splatters of embossing when working directly onto a surface anyway but with mixed media, its easily fixed. I painted over the unwanted spots using Dylusions paint in Mushy Peas and Dirty Martini (both are beautiful greens) to create a carpet of green ground.

Additional Elements...

adding other elements Mixed Media artwork by Jenny James featuring the theme Bucket List
While the ground was drying I added some words of wisdom around the page and one of Tim's Idea-Ology Transparent Wings (a gorgeous butterfly) in Maisie's hair.

All the sayings were stamped onto plain paper using Tim Holtz rubber stamps "Theories" and Jet Black Ranger Archival Ink Pad. The words "to do" and "important" are stickers from Dylusions Dyary collection and the "Create Art" banner is a Tim Holtz Idea-Ology Quote Chip embellishment. All glued in place using Dylusions Glue Stick and for the butterfly, double sided clear tape.

adding other elements Mixed Media artwork by Jenny James featuring the theme Bucket List
The flowers are hand painted with a paintbrush after using Tim's Idea-Ology Foam Stamps "Funky Flora" to create a guide. Using stamps to for the initial placement of flowers helps me stop overthinking where I want them to grow.
All the spots and dots and splatters are from the ends of my brushes and tools being dipped into paint. I've used Dylusions White Linen, Lemon Zest and Pure Sunshine.

finished mixed media artwork by Jenny James featuring stencilling, heat embossing, painting and collage.
I forgot to mention all the words "art" - some are stickers, some are painted with white paint, some are stamped with Tim's foam alphabet stamps (and paint), and the arrow is a Dylusions sticker too.
Add whatever words you want to say and make it your own.

I'm always around if you need a hand or have questions! Enjoy every creative moment.

Have a happy creative day!

Creative Supplies for Mixed Media, Journaling and Visual Arts

Creative Supplies for Mixed Media, Journaling and Visual Arts
Australian stockist for arty treasures from Tim Holtz, Dyan Reaveley, Dylusions and Darkroom Door plus essentials by Sizzix, Ranger, Pink Ink Designs UK, Strathmore Paper, Prima Marketing Finnabair, Kelly Creates, Posca and more. Buy online at 'Art by Jenny' for your acrylic and watercolour paints, pencils, crayons, inks, sprays, cling stamps, stencils, paper and card, journals and planners, Distress range, Idea-Ology, embellishments, stickers, embossing powders, die cutting templates and embossing folders, craft tools, storage essentials and accessories.