Friday, October 17, 2008

Swaps and an Assignment for Play

I'm sure all artists are the same. We create little works of art that speak to us and have so much fun making them, that we make another...and another...and another. At least that's what happens with me. I participated in an online swap decorating a skinny page that featured a row house as the main element. We were to decorate front and back with a size close to 3x6. Easy project, easy guidelines. I made one and it was such fun that I made another, and so it went for several weeks now.
The best part for me was digging through all the backgrounds I've accumulated, trying to color coordinate the different elements of the pages. Then I got to choose the stamps I wanted to use and you know how I love shopping through all my images.
Of course I wound up with a stack of "favorite" backgrounds, and then I began stamping lots of images on them. So when assembly of the little pages started, I had far too much to choose from, so I decided I'd make two. And so it went. Why it was like eating potato can't stop with just one.
And the biggest surprise of all: I mailed the one with the least amount of stamping! Me, a stamper of 28 years! What's up with that? Of course I used inked backgrounds, and that counts, yet it was a shock to my system.
When you look at the photo above I'm sure you'll recognize one of the ATC's I posted yesterday has now become the roof of my house. I just loved the way I was able to find a perfect use for it. The body of the house is a sheet of ledger paper dated back to the late 1800's. Everyone is always shocked that I rip them out of the book, slather them with ink, and cut or tear them into bits. But they speak to me when I've played with them far more than they ever could if left in that old leather book.
When I began this little page I thought of this as the front, but who knows what the recipient will decide once it's in her hands. The little strips running along the right-hand side make me think of ticker tape tossed at parades. I bought 2 boxes of these strips at Art & Soul and I continue to find numerous ways to incorporate them into my work. On these two, I added crystals between the words for a little bling. And those of you who've taken what I lovingly call my Motherboard classes over the last few years will surely recognize that the houses on both sides of this page were created using that technique.
Now I have an assignment for you. This weekend, or next week, when you find time to play, I hope you'll make lots of backgrounds. Start with 3 colors of ink or paint and do several small pieces. Now remove one color and replace it with another. Everything changes as you lay them out side by side. Remove another color and replace it with a new one, and again, make several small pieces. Continue making them, but keep at least one of the original colors from your palette throughout this exercise.
Once you've got lots of backgrounds created using only ink, let's begin the transformation. Use some of the Ranger Dabbers with foam stamps. Introduce white or gold acrylic paint with stencils. Go back and apply one of your original inks using mesh.
Make at least a dozen background pieces, but two dozen would be far better. Use white cardstock, sheet music, pages torn from yesterday's newspaper, the menu from the local take-away restaurant, a receipt from the bottom of your purse, an old to-do list page you've dug out of the trash, envelopes from your junk mail. Simply look for surfaces that can be inked and use what you have on hand.
Collect all these "finished" pieces in a sheet protector, manila folder, large envelope, or a plastic storage container. Label it and everytime you have a few minutes to play, create more to add to your stash. Next week I'll reveal some of mine and then over the coming weeks, I'll give you new exercises for using them in your art.
It's time to play! Start gathering your papers, select your inks, dig through your stencils and other pattern-making supplies. The fun is about to begin.

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