Thursday, June 12, 2014

Control, Lack of Control, Results

It's a normal week in the studio when things move in waves- one day you're up, way up, and then the next, you come crashing back down again, and then you climb up again, and then you wipe out, over and over. Never, since the day I decided to make art a serious pursuit, have I had a week that just soared and soared and soared, nor do I ever expect such a miracle to occur. Balancing on top of that wave, allowing ourselves to regularly get soaked and even thrown into the deep water, is the job of studio artist.

Ok, enough philosophy for one week. These were some of my ups and downs, combined with a couple of good soakings.

First was my experimentation in lack of control. I've been using lovely, reusable paint markers lately filled with Golden High Flow Acrylics to accentuate some Stacked Jouranling on painted papers and cradleboards. They give me an extreme amount of control, allowing me to outline the tiniest of negative spaces. But this week, I'm trying out the idea of not having such tight control and letting things get a little loosey-goosey with some thinned white paint in a squeezie bottle.

I tried it first on gel plate printed and painted copy papers, some of which had an SJ background.


Next, I took the idea to a much larger piece created specifically to test out this new idea. This is 22"x30" and while it began with layer upon layer of Stacked Journaling, the emphasizing of negative spaces that I did with the thinned paint was on loose single-layer handwriting that was added last.

I kinda like it and will play with this idea more in the future.

Next up this week was some stencil creation. A few weeks back, I got a new desktop computer, and in the process, I upgraded from XP to Windows 8.1. Thank goodness I'm familiar with tablets and smart phones, because the interface is so much more similar to those than to classic Windows OS's.

However, while nearly everything went right back onto the new machine without a hitch and ran flawlessly, my Silhouette Cameo was more stubborn. Attempt after attempt to get it running failed, until finally, the only thing that actually worked was getting my printer and my P-Touch label maker set up and running. For whatever reason, the Silhouette liked the printer drivers better than it liked its own.

Anyway, it means that I can get back to experimenting with this machine, which is still very new to me. I purchased it to create my own stencil designs, and while I've yet to figure out how to do that, I've been buying designs from the Silhouette store and cutting them.

The stencil film I'm using, a suggestion from my friend, Lisa Chin, is Grafix DuraLar matte in .005" mm thickness. It's really nice, stable stencil film that the Silhouette seems to love.

The first cut this week was very successful.

I completely love this design and have been looking for one like it for several years.

The next cut was less successful, and it was all my fault. As I was sitting here letting the Silhouette do its magic, I glanced over at it and found that the mat, with the stencil film attached, had gone totally wonky.

Turns out that the reason is because I didn't take into account the difference between the stencil film size (11"x14") and the mat size (12"x12"). Once the cutter got to the portion of the stencil film that hung off the bottom of the cutting mat, it didn't know what to do. It tried to continue cutting, as I had instructed it to, but no longer had the mat to guild it.

Fortunately, this machine isn't as delicate as it looks, and is quite forgiving of boneheaded moves like that one. Panicking, I hit the "off" button, took several deep breaths, removed the stencil film with the mat still attached, and turned it back on again. No harm done, evidently, because the next cut was perfect.

I tried one more cut, something much simpler, which yielded a bonus- a positive and a negative!


Playing with them in the studio was a nice break from my more concentrated and deliberate SJ experiments.

These were done on both simple copy paper, as well as a few pieces of multi-purpose fabric thrown in for good measure. 

Obviously, I spent most of my time playing with one of my favorite color combinations!

Starting today, and for the next ten days, my husband and I are taking a 10-day staycation, during which we will be exploring the restaurants of our beautiful city, Houston. We'll hit some of our usual favorites, but we'll also be trying some new places. I might not be blogging during that period, but I'll be back when it's over!!

In the meantime, create without control!


Win Dinn, Artist said...

Love your stencil adventures - what beautiful results (in spite of the temporary glitch!)

Sue Marrazzo Fine Art said...

What an honest post! Thanks for sharing it all!
--GREAT layers in the work.

Robbie said...

Cool stencils and your work!!!

elle said...

I wasn't sure I liked the loose white paint but after looking and coming back... Yes! Oh, to have the ability to make ones own stencils. vbsigh! Happy staycation!

Stephanie said...

amazing work!

Shoshi said...

Great work, Judi. I love that you are making yourself work outside your comfort zone - not all of us have the courage to do this! I adore your stacked journaling and the beautiful effect it gives, and I love the way you've started to outline it. You are such a talented artist and such an inspiration. I love your new stencils too. When I get my Cougar cutting machine up and running again, it's stencils I'm most looking forward to making.

Keep up the good work!

Stella Nemeth said...

I've been enjoying looking at all of your new pieces.

The funny thing is that I just got my Cameo. Literally. The FedEx man rang the bell and delivered the box while I was reading about you just getting yours.

I, also, want to make stencils, and I'm going to start with the files Silhouette has online. Thank you for the advice on what to buy for cutting them. I need to do that.

Unknown said...

First let me say I LOVE your work! Do you make videos? I want to SEE you IN ACTION!!

I have been searching for stencil material that works well in the Silhouette. I found some but it is only comes in small sheets and isnt very cost effective. Going to try the one you told us about. What settings did you use on your Cameo?

~ Shelley