Thank you for all your fabulous cleaning suggestions yesterday, I think we need to do a whole week on cleaning because perhaps all this playing with products that artists use has grown on you and you want to take it to a different level? Well, that's what has happened for some of us at WCS in the past few years.
Fellow WCSer Paula and I had our ah-ha moment around the same time, for a while, we'd been discussing how we wanted to do something a bit different from our scrapbooking, but we hadn't known what our next creative adventure would be. We were at CHA and happened upon a table piled high with paint and mist and gesso and molding paste and stencils. Sitting at the head of the table, looking like a mixed media goddess, was the lovely Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. Julie had just released her first line of stencils through the Crafter's Workshop and she wanted us to play with them. Paula and I sat down, but we weren't alone. Guess who else was there? Marnie Flores and Ronda were also there. We had a blast!
That delightful day opened up a lot of possibilities for me. Julie led us by the hand to create tags using all those fun products. I got to just play and when I made a mistake, Julie told me to embrace it and just add another layer. She was right! There is no correct way to do art, it's not about getting worried that something isn't going to meet the approval of some amorphous authority. It's about trying, the "Let's see what happens" philosophy. And my friends, it's about FUN! I will always be grateful to Julie for this day.
Ronda had been threatening to take me to Meiniger, an art supply store here in Denver, for months. We finally made a date of it and off we went. I don't believe anyone could walk out of that store having spent less than $50. Candyland for the artist! I am now the proud owner of my own set of watercolors, but not the 8 pan palette of my youth. I bought a nice 12 pan set of opaque watercolors from Grumbacher, nothing too spendy, but a fun way to dip my feet back in the artsy world.
The colors are really intense and I fell in love. I've played with them a few times and I won't say everything I've created I loved, but 75% love is pretty good. Here's a card I made using embossing powder, a stamp from Cocoa Daisy, and watercolor paper. I love the irregularity of color as the paint dries. I'm having fun exploring the medium.
Paula has made a concerted effort this past year to get messy, she's been far more dedicated at playing than I have. Here's her story:
I've been scrapbooking for almost 10 years and consider myself as a simple scrapper. I generally shy away from techniques because I don't like when things don't turn out exactly as I've envisioned. I've loved art and crafts since I was a little kid but I've been intimidated by the whole art journaling movement. Until I went to CHA last summer and was lucky enough to sit at Julie Balzer's make and take table for her Crafter's Workshop stencils. Julie is so much fun and encourages everyone to be messy. Julie's philosophy is that there is no such thing as a mistake, just happy accidents. I had such a good time the first day I went back for more on the second, and the third day! I vowed to pick up a few stencils and spend some time playing with my supplies. It wasn't until this year (February) that I decided to spend some time every day (~15 minutes) playing with art journaling.
I found a lot of tutorials around the web that gave me ideas on what to do and I've had a lot of fun playing. I even tried an online workshop called "She Art" where I made some girls (see below).
I've used the odd technique here and there in my layouts but I've learned that sometimes it's just fun to play without having to produce a layout at the end of the day. My art journal has turned into an experiment book where I play with paint and ink rather than journal about my deepest, darkest thought and I'm ok with that.
I took the class to see if art journaling was something I wanted to do. I also thought it would be fun to get a little messy and break out of my straight line - minimalistic style. As you can see, I did just that! It is really hard for me to use mediums that are messy. I have a box filled with art journaling supplies, but have not put gesso to paper in many moons. I just can't find the time to fit it into my life right now. I'm happy documenting our families memories in scrapbooks. Of course, who knows what the future will bring. I think if I were to pick it back up, I might delve into digital art journaling - no mess and an undo button!
See? It's OK to try things and then put them aside! Here's an example of what Celeste created:
Karen has been doing her art journaling for a few years now and if you'd like to read about her journey to this medium and learn about her process, she's shared her thoughts here. Karen is a good example of make it work for you. She was taught you had to paint the background a color, she doesn't typically work with anything but white backgrounds. She tried painting the background but it didn't feel right until she was true to her style and started on a white background. There are no rules, make it work for you!
I hope you've found inspiration this week, perhaps even attempted a little messy-ness yourself? I was going to give you an exhaustive list of supplies to get you started, but a conversation with Paula changed my mind. Use what you have, if you want to try a new technique and product out, build a little at a time. Make due with what you have and if it's not working, do some exploring on the web, there are lots of tutorials, lots of inspiration on Pinterest, lots of classes you can sign up for, and there are lots of artists out there who would love to share what they know. Check out Ronda's blog, she shares her work, answers questions, and is so willing to teach. Here's a peek at one last piece of her artwork. Thanks for joining us this week!