Sunday, August 06, 2006

August Monthly Exploration

Yahoo has a huge variety of Art groups to explore and learn from. I used to be a member of a good 40 or so but have cut that number to just a handful and currently, I am very, very careful about what groups I join. There is a variety of reasons for this caution, some of which are censorship, an inordinate amount of rules, egos, or just plain nastiness. Because there are so many art related groups, I still join new ones but I give myself a trial period, deciding at a later time whether or not there can be a mutual benefit. One such new group that I joined is called Art Explorations : I joined this group at a tumulous time, one of ownership change. Change has never been an issue with me, change can be good. The new owner seems to have a clear idea of where this group will head and so at least for now, I am happy to check out all the fun things going on.

One fun exercise is called the Monthly Exploration. If I understand the concept correctly, a technique or theme is voted upon, a member shares instructions, and then we create whatever the explortation is and share with the group. The exploration for August is ATC backgrounds. The instructions for this particular background technique were clear and concise with a tutorial and pictures. Since I have an ATC swap due at the end of August (with another group), I decided to complete the exercise.

Large sheets, 8 1/2 by 11, of either heavy weight cardstock or watercolor paper served as substrates for the backgrounds. Our instructions were basically to mix acrylic paints with a acrylic medium such a a soft get, coat the surface of the substrate and then to create texture, use a paper towel and or plastic wrap. One can find the full instructions to this technique by joining Art Explorations. The two samples here are my finished papers. While I am not new to this technique, it was nice to have two new papers ready to go for my ATCs.

The red toned page was made using 80lb burgundy card stock and I included a swatch of the original paper. This paper would not be my choice for this technique because it does not hold up well to the layers of acrylics, water, etc.. I rarely follow instructions but here is what I did: The card stock was first coated (using a brush) with a mixture of Goldens tit. white mixed with glazing liquid. I used the Goldens glazing liquid to give more body to my paint so that when I added texture using plastic wrap or paper towel, it would hold the patterns better. After that dried, I applied yellow ochre mixed with glazing liquid followed by plastic wrap and paper towel. After that dried I used Quinacridone crimson/glazing liquid followed by the same texture effects. Finally I toned down the colors using a wash of gesso. Before the gesso dried, I patted with paper towel. The texture is visual which is what I was looking for. This will make it easy to stamp on as well as collage. I can go either way.

The second page, done in a variety of green and blues, was done on 140 lb water color paper (Arches), which is by far a better choice for this background technique. Using glazing liquid as above, I made mixtures of Cerulean Blue Deep ( applied to the paper with a brush and texturized), cobalt turquoise, chromium oxide green, cadmium yellow medium plus white, and the final glaze was watered down gesso. After each color was texturized it was dried before applying the next. The watercolor paper does not buckle and is very sturdy. I did use some plastic bubble wrap to give texture as well. I will use a variety of items to add interest to my backgrounds. Some of these include magic mesh, screenig, cheese cloth, and wax paper. In addition, I have done similar backgrounds using matte board as a substrate and 300 lb watercolor paper. These are more typical for my work as of late. For ATCs though, 140 lb watercolor paper is more than sufficient.

Next I will cut each page into ATC size "cards" and make my ATCs. These backgrounds can be enhanced when the art work is underway, or left to stand on its own. ATCs soon to follow.



Kari said...

I understand your concern about joining too many Yahoo Groups. I am guilty of joining, having a spate of posts, then feeling unable to leave - feeling inpolite, LOL! I recently cut down my groups, but still belong to more than I can cope with.

These backgrounds look great - I find it useful to have a stash of ready prepared background papers so I think I may try out something like these too.

Hope you are going to show us the ATCs!


Kathy L said...

Hey Kari

Thanks again for your kind comments. I enjoy hearing from you! I am a big fan of your work!


Altered Belly said...

Love the ATC backgrounds. Wish I could touch the textures. I did not agree with the ownership change of Art Explorations. Anyway, life went on. I like your blog.

Kathy L said...

Altered Belly

Thanks for the comment on my blog. I enjoy being able to post my thoughts and feelings without fear, "censorship", or threats of legal action. It is a cheap alternative to therapy, lol!

It is always hard on yahoo groups. But I give my self permission to leave once the nastiness starts or if the group is not benefitial to me. And life does go on :)