Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer Fun!

Guess where I've been??

If you guessed Guadalajara based on the photo above, you can be forgiven, but I've actually been in Florida on a much-needed vaccay with my husband!

First we hit Key West.


And then Miami. We were so busy in Miami that I barely got my camera out and took photos. However, we did a little drinking at the Eden Roc bar...

... and a little gambling at the Hard Rock Casino...

... and won 1000.00 at 3-card poker! So yeah, it was a great trip.

But now it's back to reality, and back to the studio. I left the place in a complete shambles before going on vacation, and when we got home, sunburned and exhausted, it took me a week before I could even open the door and face it. But after a full day of reorganizing, throwing things out and putting things away, it's clean, it's clean, it's clean!! 

Before leaving for Florida, I had gone a little bananas with an online, 50% off coupon (plus free shipping!) and did a little paint shopping. While browsing the site (I wish I could remember which one it was, but it was either Michael's or JoAnn's), I came across some of these cool paint bottle toppers that allow you to use the bottles as paint "writers". With my obsession with painted Stacked Jouranling, the fit seemed obvious. 

I also dashed over to and bought some spray bottles with the intention of using them with Golden's hi-flow acrylics. This whole haul cost me about 50.00! 

Usually, I'll admit it, I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to the paint I use. I prefer to use the best paint I can afford in my paintings- which usually doesn't include "craft" paint- because I feel that those who invest in my work deserve it. But when it comes to painted and monoprinted Stacked Journaling, the expensive, high-pigment load paints just aren't necessary, and all those lovely little bottles of vibrant color are so hard to pass up.

Of course, I needed to store all that paint, and that was suddenly a problem. After a lot of wrangling of my supplies, and a lot of rearranging, I finally dedicated and entire drawer to these little bottles of love.

While cleaning the studio, I banged up against an ongoing issue for me: how to easily store my handmade stencils. For so long, these babies have been sitting out on my workspace, getting shifted from this end of the table to the other, because I just haven't found the perfect storage solution for them.

But as I uncovered layers of supplies and materials in my clean-up, I ran across these sheets of paper that had arrived in the box of a very inexpensive shelving unit my husband bought a couple of months ago. There was a stack of them, and my husband, by now well aware of my loathing for throwing out anything that has a potential use in my studio, asked me if I wanted them. 

They're large- 11" x 15"- and I thought they would make an interesting journal. There must be 20 of these sheets! Clearly, the packing machine in the factory went a little gonzo and accidentally dumped them all into one box. Fortunately for me, that box found the right home. 

Looking at their size and at the smaller size of my collection of stencils, I realized that I could make a quick folder to hold my stencils out of two of these sheets and some washi tape.

First, I grabbed some of my painted papers and collaged on top of the sheets, to give them more stability and strength. Then I just taped them together on three sides.


 Presto! Instant stencil storage!

I love simple, free storage solutions!

But wait, there's more! Some actual art really did get made this week, too. I know, I'm Wonder Woman, it's true; you can stop applauding, now. No, really, it's embarrassing. Oh, ok, I'll wait, go ahead and clap.

My husband has been transferred to yet another location (thank freakin' whoever that this transfer didn't require a move!) and his new office has several rather empty walls. So I went to work and created this piece for him, another in my series of altered Stacked Journaling.


This piece started as much of my current work does: with a wooden cradled panel to which I've adhered a piece of printmaking paper. I paint the paper, then add monoprinted SJ to it, and then using a refillable marker with more Golden hi-flow acrylics in white, I outline the negative spaces. (The entire process is detailed, with lots of photos and instruction, here.)

This process fascinates me no end, and leads me to my next project.

Remember when I bought these beasties a few months back?


The plan was and is to mount paper onto them and then paint on them, but it took me a while to find and have shipped to me artist paper this large (30" x 40".)

Well, I have, and it arrived today!

I obviously haven't unpacked it, yet, but it's a beautiful printmaking paper by Canson. Mounting it on my cradle boards will take four hands, so my husband has agreed been cajoled into helping, and once that is finished, I'll post here to show how we did it. 

In the meantime, create a happy summer!
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