Dienstag, 30. April 2019

"Repurposing" - Art Elements Theme Challenge

This month's theme over at Art Elements was "Repurposing". Lesley chose this wonderful theme that was (should have been) perfect for me! I love to use anything I can find simply because I like the shape, the color, the texture... or the weirdness.

This is a picture of my work table... and this is nearly the clean and orderly state since you can see some wood of the table! But in a lot of the small vessels and dishes are found objects and other strange pieces that I love to use for my work. Repurposing is a big part of a lot of my creations.

I had a lot of ideas and plans... nope... didn't manage most of them. But I did finish my tin can book! I showed how I made the book covers in my blog post for this month (here). 

I painted a little bit more on the edges (and will go on with this, my sketch books are ever eveolving things) and chose my favorite red thread for the binding. I love the contrast!

This will be a wonderful sturdy tine wee book.

I went for a selection of different water color papers. I got a lot from different companies to try them out.

Since the pages are often quite thick, even cardboard like, I had to use a single page binding stitch.

It really took some time to find a stitch that worked for me. I watched a lot of tutorial videos, I have some books on bookbinding... in the end I played so long until I had my own way for stitching single pages.

Just for today, I even played a little bit!


The first row is still uneven, I was in the "figure it out" phase but I love how the other rows look.

And I made a second new sketch book with single page binding. At first I thought... mh... not fitting the theme... but then I remembered that I always use the leftover cardboard for my book covers. I don't think of it as repurposing although it is. I simply use what is available.

I finally used one of my favorite monoprints ever! I try not be a hoarder... but it is hard!

Again, the first row is a little bit uneven, maybe I have to fix the book better doing the first row.


In this bigger one I enforced the ends with washi tape. Since I used three different kinds of paper I also used the washi tape to color code them.

Since I am doing monoprints, most commercial papers lost their appeal.

By the way... the company already color coded the pages! I just didn't see that.

This was of stitching allows the book to lay completely flat when open. But of course it is also more flexible in all directions. If you don't like that in a sketch book, then I would not recommend this kind of stitching.

I need to make more monoprints like this!

 I also had some lose water color papers that I used for testing. I keep them as reference.

Can you see the different thickness?

Aaaaaand a lot of them!

So I went through my paper stash and repurposed some packaging cardboard for the back to make a little cover.

The papers are not fixed, I a not sure whether I want to bind them or not.

The outside... 

As a last point I wanted to show you my latest tools I use for monoprinting. Because in the end monoprinting is the perfect repurposing method! ;) A package piece that creates wonderful lines, two trash plastic pieces that from the lab, and another package piece I cut down to have this wonderful eight figure.

This was a wonderful challenge even though I didn't manage the projects I had planned. But so is life and the project will be done at some time. I know myself.

Thank you for joining us and please have a look what everyone made!

Sonntag, 31. März 2019

"Luna moth" - Art Element Theme Challenge

This months theme for the Art Elements theme challenge was chosen by Jennifer - " Luna moth". I have to say this was a difficult theme for me as much as I love these insects (and insects in general are simply stunning creatures!). Maybe it was simply the fact that I got ill, there were a lot of deadlines, I spend some long days writing grant applications, and also went to a conference. Sometimes a too literal theme stuns me in the beginning.

I know, I could have simply taken the colors alone as inspiration or create an abstract pattern but once your brain is stuck... it is not easy to get it working again. The only way that works for me is actually to start creating something even without inspiration or any idea. So I tried to sketch a luna moth to get a better feeling for the shape, pattern, size and overall shape. The upper wings are not wide enough but it helped.

If you follow me here or read my blog post at Art Elements, you know that I don't like most commercial available water color sketch books and started binding my own ones. I still wanted to try out the Moleskin one. Although I am not such a fan of the art sketch book, I have to say the water color book works really good! I was pleasantly surprised. The only downside? It is so damn expensive... 

When I am stuck, I love to create color swatches. They are so relaxing, to see the colors flow has something so beautiful and joyful. It lead to another try to pain a luna moth. It is okay but I am not in love with it. Just a... meh...

But you know what? This kind of challenges where I am stuck in the beginning can be the best! Because it forces me to think. Jennifer shared her carved stamps in the last theme challenges and just showed her tiny sketchbook made with tiny wee carved pattern stamps for the sketchbook project (have a look here). The last time I carved anything is a year ago and I thought maybe I should change the medium.

I simplified the shape of the luna moth...

....and I wanted to add eyes. I don't know why but the image of eyes, the moth and the moon kept coming up in my head.

If you want to mirror copy a stamp, simply stamp it with watter resistant ink on the rubber. Now you can carve it. If it should be the same orientation like the original one, simply to it again with the mirror image stamp. Yes, they will be a little bit different but in the end it should still be a handcarved and unique stamp.

I tried out several shapes and pattern for the eyes. In the end my favorite was the one with the tear drop that I copied to have a pair to be combined. The only thing I changed in the mirror stamp: The light reflection should come from the same side!

I played with the stamps and water color. Just playing...

This pink card was a birthday card for a friend. The moth is maybe a little bit too big for cards. 

I also created several test prints on high quality paper.

I think this one is my favorite with a single eye on top. Maybe I will add a moon / circle in the background.

I also need to play more about how I could incorporate the eyes. 

By the way, if you want to add metal effects in your water color, I really can recommend Aqua Bronze from Schmincke. It is made of metal powder and not mica. It comes in a powder form that includes a kind of glue. You have to wet it with water (every time fresh!) and then you can apply it as paint. It takes some experimenting with the ratio and paper since the metal particles can be easier rubbed off than pigments. Depending what you want to do with the finished piece you should fix it.

But it looks so stunning! No other paint ever came close, it has an effect like metal foil! I also have a silver version. 

As always... shimmer and shine is difficult to capture on camera.

In the end I actually had another go at a luna moth painting. This time it worked for me and I like the finished piece. The trick was to go for different colors. There is still green but combined with turquoise and not anymore this neon like light green. It may be not the true color of luna moths but somehow it looks more real to me.

As much as I struggled in the beginning of this theme challenge, I really love where it lead me. My absolute favorite? The eye stamp(s) with the tear drop! I think this may become one of my favorite and most used stamps ever!

Thank you for joining us and please have a look at the ideas and creations of everyone! :)


Art Elements Team:
Claire (you are here)

Donnerstag, 28. Februar 2019

"Birds of prey" - Art Element Theme Challenge

This month's theme was chosen by Cathy - "Birds of prey". I already knew it would be a stressful  month and I still struggled with my lung, but I took the chance to at least sketch, paint, and experiment with styles a little bit. 

I love how both of this sketches turned out although they are so diffeent in style! I will definitely play more with that. 

Also I try to incorporate more bold color contrast quite often. I am not drawn to realistic images but rather to expressionistic ones. Still, I have to work on both before I will get close to what I would love to express ;)

Not all turned out well... but I will show you all here!

And I don't enjoy repetitious work like feathers from wings. Nope.

I get messy with it and I don't like that... but at least I gave it a try and I know that I don't enjoy it. I don't want to spend too much time with that... but before you can get lose, you have to know how it is build up... and I don't want to!

But I so love the face of this one! You see the difference if I enjoy painting a part? I pay attention to the details, shadows and form... NOT true for wings. Ugh.

All of my coptic stitch sketch books really hold up wonderfully to a lot of "abuse".

Nature is sometimes just weird. But I love it!

I also mixed water color and goauche quite a lot.

...as well water soluble pen and a water brush with diluted white gouache I made myself, it creates wonderful effects!

To the left whit gouache with a water soluble black pen and on the left only water colors.

I love her! With the pink eyes and the mix of details and lose colors! This is the direction I want to go to more.

By the way: The best water color sketch book I have used until now is really the handmade one with high quality water color paper. I use the back ides for mixed media and the right side only for water color. If you are struggling with water color sketch books, I really can recommend binding your own one. Saves a lot of nerves!

Thank you for joining us for this month's theme challenge and please have a look at everyone's creations! :)


Team Members: 

Claire (you are here)


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