Saturday, 26 January 2013

Cat page + tutorial

When I signed up for the New Year’s Eve Streamathon, I knew I had to do a test stream to see if
A) my new webcam is working properly (i.e. I installed and set it up properly), 
B) I was capable of talking to myself in a foreign language while painting.

During my "test" stream, I found out three things:
1 – The webcam works.
2 – I can talk to myself (actually, I do that very often), even the foreign language wasn't a problem.
3 – After streaming for 3 (!!!) hours I was sure I wouldn't be able to finish a page in my assigned 1hr slot during the Streamathon.

This is the page I started painting online (and didn't finish in 3 hours):

[quote by Nan Porter]

And here's a little tutorial: 

Supplies used:
  1. distress-inked deli paper (or tissue paper), stamped with Staz-on 
  2. outline paints (Glas-konturen Paste (Outlining Glass Paste) by C.KREUL, Relief Paste by Marabu)
  3. 3D varnish (Potch 3D Effect by C.KREUL, 3D Lack by Nerchau) - something to create a three-dimensional texture 
  4. metallic paints (Lumiere) 
  5. acrylic paints (Docrafts Artiste) 
  6. sponge (I use regular/cheap kitchen sponge) 

Note on supplies: 
  1. Most of the paints and art supplies we get here are from Germany. I'm sure there are similar products on your market. 
  2. 3D varnish: The two I use are intended for “dĂ©coupage” (napkin technique). Both are opaque when wet, transparent when dry. So they can be used to create a “glaze” effect (similar to Glossy Accents) on a finished piece. 
  3. Outlines: Both of these are intended for glass art - to create an outline on glass or porcelain which you then colour in with paint. But because they are water based, I use them in my art. I tried Enamel Accents but the consistency is too thin for a detailed outline. Stickles might work too... 

Cat-page step-by-step:
  1. Sketch your image and outline it with something that will stay dimensional after drying. Gesso the page (if you must). 
  2. Glue the inked/stamped deli paper (or tissue paper) down with your preferred glue (I use one similar to Claudine Hellmuth Multi Medium). 
  3. Start sponging the paint (I use light colour first) around the glued paper to cover the white paper in the background. (note: The sponge should be dry. If it gets soaked with paint, replace it.) 
  4. Add some colour to your focal image – again begin with the lighter colour... 
  5. ... and add darker colour. 
  6. Gradually add darker colours, blending with the lighter ones. 
  7. Add even darker paint. 
  8. Then blend back with lighter colours. Sponge a bit of black or dark brown around the edge of the page – it will make it pop a little. 
  9. Outline the raised lines with white paint.

Later, I added the quote and a little bit of shading around the cats (with Faber-Castell PITT brush pens).

Friday, 25 January 2013

Lots of (happy) mistakes

This background was a mistake till I added my finishing touches. It was reworked several times and it's come to a point I wanted to give up on it completely. But... there was a painting on the other side I liked and couldn't throw away just like that. So I added more layers, gesso, more colours, gesso again, some drippage and it was still bad. When I added the final layer in a really coarse structure paste there was no turning back. Out of desperation, I splashed some paint over it and – a miracle happened – it finally looked not only good enough for me to be satisfied but it also had this WOW effect for me. A series of not-so-happy mistakes produced a really fine result. [note to myself: Don’t give up, add more paint!]

[quote by Epicurus]

Birthday page

Ever since I discovered the “13th sign of Zodiac” theory, my life wasn't the same. I never seemed to fit the Sagittarius characteristics completely: impatient, fearing responsibility, self-indulgent... YES, but sociable and optimist? NO WAY.
But when I learnt the Ophiuchus's personality traits, I was like: “wait, that's me”.
Constantly trying something new … hates routines … has a lot of creativity … constantly comes up with newer things to explore … has great love for languages and the arts … doesn't do well with rules … is impulsive … might give in to procrastination. 

I knew I had to include this Ophiuchus in my painting. Especially that part about rules and procrastination...

So, the “official” part of the page is all about the good old Sagittarius...

[quote by A. C. Clarke]

... the hidden part is honouring the Ophiuchus in me:

Journal cover

I resisted tampering with the cover of my WoW Journal for about 10 months. To ruin a piece of paper is no such a big deal; you can always throw it away and start anew. But the possibility of ruining a journal cover was so discouraging that even a mere thought of starting to work on it made me shiver.
But then, one day, on my way home from work, I got a clear vision of how the cover should look like. For about two days, I was resisting the temptation, until I'd finally given in...
I chose this year's favourite technique, which I developed/discovered/repurposed for this particular journal so it's only fitting that it would be featured on the cover. I also added a little bit of drippage.



It's my greatest accomplishment this year to have finally mastered the art of drippage... LOL

I added a title to the front with a mini-quote and a proper quote on the back.

Happy place!

Mysterious statistics

I don't usually get many views here on my blog or on my Flickr. Normally, I get about 5 to 15 views on my photos/pictures, more when I tweet it. I'm not complaining, I'm not used to sharing my art and no comment is always better than a negative comment (though, no comment also means no feedback for me and that's not very motivating either). But one of my journal paintings is receiving a lot more views than others. That provoked my curiosity and I even decided to switch the Flickr statistics on. But it didn't provide any answers...

It's this particular page:

It has no extra tags, it isn't in any group, I didn't tweet it – I don't even consider it exceptional. It is a 2nd version of the same concept (as you might know from one of my earlier posts, I decided to repaint it) and the first version is a bit better (in my opinion).

So, WHY is this one viewed more than other pages??

[and yes, you can go to my Flickr to upset the statistics even more...]


I had a spare cut-out from when I was cutting one of my stencils. When creating my stencils, I design the pattern on my computer (in Corel Draw) and print it on a piece of paper. Then I attach the paper to a piece of acetate (or anything else I'm cutting my stencil from) with scotch-tape and cut along the lines with my craft knife. Sometimes I keep the paper cut-out for future use.

[quote by Oscar Wilde] 

What really made the difference in this case is the white outline – it made the pattern pop out and unintentionally created a Celtic knotwork.


In November, I took part in an online course called “Mining your Muse” taught by multi-talented artist Barb Owen. 
In one of the classes, we were doing Painted Muses and Barb gave us templates to use – but being a person who doesn't (like to) follow instructions, I drew my own Muses. Well, I admit, there was some cheating involved. I drew a picture back in 1998 that I shelved and almost forgot about. Barb's templates reminded me of this particular drawing and I decided that it was time to revisit my long-forgotten Muses and make them right this time. 

One of the most valuable lessons I'd learnt from Barb is that eyes are actually in the MIDDLE of the face – it changed my life considerably... LOL Now, I was able to add faces to my Muses (and correct the size of their heads too). I drew them on a sticky-back canvas first, coloured them with watercolour pencils (not a very clever idea on sticky-back canvas). They were originally meant to go on a piece of cardstock and stand alone but then we had this little conversation:

... and I made a page for them in my journal. The background is simple – acrylic paints applied with a brayer. Then, I wanted to spray it a bit with a diluted white paint but the nozzle of my not-so-mini-mister was clogged and all it could do was spray just one narrow jet of paint - an unexpected but happy mistake. 
[quote by Saint Bartholomew]

Wonderful life

There are two versions of this page – one I detest greatly and one I don’t like much. 
I think I did a good job in both cases with the background. There was one version in-between but that one didn't make it past background.
What I don't like is the handwriting. In this case, it's way-too planned and organized. (and the black stripe is where I made a typo...)

When writing on my second page, I made sure the text was a bit more “random”, but again, the only part I like is the “wonderful” part. I guess, there's too much text and the composition isn't great. I fought with the urge to recreate it again, but I invested so much time in this and I somehow learned to like it in the end.
[the quote is from my horoscope]

Great power

Again, I had a clear vision how this page should look like and it doesn't. But when I look at the final result – and not think about all the mistakes I made and had to “correct” – I think it turned out pretty well. 

[quote by Beatrix Potter]

You can’t fix stupid

It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument. 
- William G. McAdoo -

This page is to remind me not to argue with stupid people – you can never win such an argument and you lose a lot of energy in the process. 

The background is a Prima paper toned down with paint. The letters are cut out of a piece of paper that has been sprayed with various inks and stamped randomly. 


This page started with some texture paste leaves in the background and a tissue sewing pattern glued over the whole thing. And then it remained waiting for inspiration for several weeks.
Then I bought two bottles of Glimmer Mist by Tattered Angels – the only two bottles available in my country at that time. I fell in love with this product and wanted to spray it on everything. So the page got a fair dosage of Glimmer Mist combined with Dylusions. It created awesome background which I ruined when I wanted to apply glossy varnish to seal it. The brush would take away all the Glimmer Mist but I managed to save the day by applying the varnish with a sponge. But the nice sprayed patterns vanished.
[quote by Richard Buckminster Fuller]
It seems I'm repeating myself – I forgot I used the word “invisible” only a couple of weeks ago. Never mind... but somewhere at the back of my head someone is telling me to remove the quote and find a new one... [sigh]


After painting several vibrant orange/reddish pages, I needed something more “pastel”, less distinctive. The colour combination I decided to use in the end isn't something I would normally choose but I'm really surprised how well it all came out.

[quote by Salvador DalĂ­]
The background is done again using my favourite “stamped tissue/deli paper” technique. I stamped the images with my new favourite stamp set “Architectural Trims” by Tattered Angels.
Several months ago, I tried the caught-in-crystal technique. I admit, I re-purposed it to my needs and to my supplies (I was never good at following instructions anyway and we don't have the floor polish you are supposed to use). So I had several “crystal” circles which I originally intended to use on my Christmas cards as baubles. But I think they look good as flowers too.