Archive for July, 2007

ATC Ideas

More ideas to document while inspiration is fresh so I can come back and see which ideas I am interested in doing.

1. I took a picture recently of a nearby lake on a calm day; the reflection in the water was a perfect duplicate. Try doing a minimalist watercolor spread over 3 cards. (Use a larger piece of watercolor paper and trim into 3 cards after paint has dried for a panoramic spread and a set of 3.) Maybe use a charm with a lake theme in the lower corner of each card. Charm could be an anchor, sailboat, fish, nautical wheel, compass… Or attach a sparkly threesome of jewels.

2. The planets have been especially bright on these clear summer nights. I was relaxing in my backyard atop a small rise, when I was treated to a lovely sight – two falling stars, about 10 minutes apart. Inspiration for an artist trading card, very simply done. Dark background (for night sky), yellow acrylic paint for the two falling stars. Add glitter to the stars using a gold glitter pen. Using small cut-out letters from newspaper, junk mail or magazine, add a two word description either going along vertical side or positioned around a corner. Some thoughts – twin shooters, falling twins, night show, night glory.

3. Another idea for a shooting star card. Ink drawing, either simple or detailed, of the stars. Perhaps add a ringed Saturn or a red Mars with its lakes in the background. Use ink on white or a wash of paint on watercolor paper or other heavyweight paper like cardstock to keep it simple. Try embellishing by sewing yellow seed beads onto background.

4. Continuing on the night sky theme, wtaercolor a background with dark color. While still wet, sprinkle sea or kosher salt (larger grains than table salt) onto the paint. Let dry and brush off salt crystals. Embellish with ‘night lights’.

5. Using black, gray and white pictures from magazines, cut paper into 1 inch squares. Mix squares and glue sets of four on several ATCs. Draw a black ‘frame’ around each ‘inchie’ or leave as is for the minimalists. Make a simple mark (a zig-zag, Greek or Chinese letter, hieroglyph, etc.) in a contrasting color on each card, a slightly different mark on each card. Good technique for making sets of 9 – the ultimate set.


Fishy Set of ATCs – Another 6 Art Techniques

6. If you’re talented with rubber stamps and can make your own, try this. Make an angel fish, complete with stripes on body. Using cardstock and a Versamark stamp pad, ink the image and emboss using UTEE. Heat set. Tear blue or green paper into wavy strips and adhere to part of card for a ‘watery’ background. Do a light watercolor wash if desired.

7. Use your own idea for the background. Make an angel fish, cutting or tearing silvery and related colors of paper into mosaic pieces. Add bits for black stripes and seal with matte medium.

8. A silly idea. Good to be silly – who knows where your imagination will take you. Put the angel fish on stage. Draw a simple stage and add color. Add microphone. Arrange a dancing, singing fish balancing on its’ tail. (at an angle) Add a ballet or tap shoe or whatever. Maybe a cane and top hat. Use your imagination.

9. Crazy ideas are fun, too. Use crayon resist for angel fish and do it crazy! Is the fish on a picnic or sitting on a park bench? Smelling the garden or flying an airplane? Sillier the better. Have fun with this one.

10. Chalk background and set with spray if necessary. (Use spray outside or very well ventilated.) Apply two angel fish about 2/3rds down the card. Use coral (or another color) fibers to make ‘coral’ to hide the fish. Or make a bed of reeds for them to take cover in. (Reeds are their natural habitat – read the article listed under the angel fish picture.)

11. Use markers, black pen liner and glitter glue stick to make aquarium with angel fish and a school of neon tetras.

12. Using three colors of cardstock, cut 1 inch squares. Approximately 4 will cover card when leaving space between them. Cut to make them fit leaving 1/16th” in between. You can leave enough space on the bottom and one side for small script if you wish to add words. Use any kind of mark maker to draw tiny angel fish in 3 of the blocks. Make them all the same or different. Whatever. In one of the boxes draw tiny blue/red neon tetras. Apply squares in a grid using matte medium. Using a metallic pen, inscribe words if wanted. You can write ‘angel fish and tetras’ enough times to fill the space or write a true fact about the fish, find a quote or write your own colorful description.

Twelve ideas for an angel fish set of ATCs. You could do nine of the cards to make a nine card set to fill a plastic trading card holder (binder insert). Or store them in a metal band-aid box decorated aquarium style or with a modern design of silver and black lines. (Sand first so paint will adhere to surface.) Then you can take them out and enjoy handling or sharing them whenever you are so inspired.

Fishy Set of ATCs – 6 Art Techniques

I’ve had much time to think of ideas for ATCs since I’ve spent a fair amount of time sitting in hotel rooms. I haven’t done any of these yet, but I’ll throw some of these idea seeds out in the next few posts to percolate. Later to browse and consider. Maybe a fresh idea will turn into a favorite ATC and you’ll be inspired, too.

I recently visited the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. What a marvelous experience! I came away with many ideas for art-making and scribbled them down while stuck in Dan Ryan traffic. Although I saw many species of lizards, mammals and fish at the aquarium, I was inspired by the regal angel fish and also the tiny neon tetras. Reminded me of the aquarium we had when my children were little. Such nice memories, perhaps I’ll immortalize them in artwork.

I plan to work on a new series focusing on angel fish adding a few neon tetras on the side for a bit of brighter color. So here’s a scatterings of ideas to consider.

1. First, an aquarium. Using dark cardstock, spritz with Clorox bleach. (Use gloves, protective eyewear, protect surface with newspaper and properly dispose.) Alternatively, use a gel dish washer product (dish washer, not dish detergent) and use a toothpick wrapped with a tiny bit of cotton to dip in gel and spot the background. This will turn the black paper one of a variety of shades depending on who manufactures the cardstock. I’ve seen brown, lavender and blue so far. Add bits of green and blue (try paper, string, fancy fibers) for plants and fashion a piece of sandpaper or a flat sheet of cork to make the bottom layer. Place a rendition of an angel fish as focal point — Photoshop-enhanced photo, sketch, cut-out, etc. With a toothbrush used only for art (obviously) spatter bits of red/blue paint for tiny neons.

2. Another aquarium. Collage a blue/green background using long, narrow strips of torn thin paper (magazines, gift wrap, specialty paper, whatever is available) laid horizontally and layered for the ‘water’. Cut angel fish shape from a geometric- patterned magazine picture or from black/silver paper and apply with acrylic matte medium. To add a little color if desired, use a standard hole punch on orange or yellow paper and distribute as ‘fish bubbles’. Coat with matte medium on both sides.

3. Do background by lightly sponging with blue, green, lavender acrylic that has been diluted by half with water. Using colored pencils, sketch and color an angel fish. Complete by adding several layers of matte acrylic medium.

4. Transform an angel fish into an angel. Transfer a copy of an image of fish onto paper using clear packing tape method. Cover image with tape, wet thoroughly, rub off paper backing until image is clear. Add wings and halo using found objects. Cutting wings from a metallic gold leaf skeleton (found in craft stores) makes a unusual set of wings with an ethereal effect.

5. Paint background in bright acrylic paint – any color. Add pix of angel fish. Adhere a piece of stretched and pulled cheesecloth (do not be neat about this; large random holes should be apparent) over fish to imitate netting. Dye the cheesecloth before gluing if wanted, though I stayed with a natural color. Use a spray adhesive for adhesion. VENTILATE. Use outdoors source when spraying if possible.

6. If you’re talented with rubber stamps and can make your own, try this. Make an angel fish, complete with stripes on body. Using cardstock and a Versamark stamp pad, ink the image and emboss using UTEE. Heat set. Tear blue or green paper into wavy strips and adhere to part of card for a ‘watery’ background. Do a light watercolor wash if desired.

More ideas to follow.  Give me a couple of days.

Visual Journal and Journaling

Once the background on the journal page is completed and your artwork in interspersed on the page, perhaps it is time to do some journaling. Whether it’s only a few words or a full entry, there are many techniques to use besides the “write it down in the blank space.” Here are a few I’ve used in my current visual journal.

1. Attach a small envelope on the page. Paint, collage, draw, write, whatever, on the front of the envelope. Write your journaling on lined notebook paper or an unusual bit of paper (perhaps handmade?) and slip it into the envelope. Don’t seal unless the message is a private one.

2. Affix a pocket (from old shirts, jeans, specialty paper, or new fabric) to the page. Slip a paragraph of journaling inside.

3. Journal using a bullet list. Make it an elaborate to-do list for the future (week, month, year?) if you wish.

4. Journal a dialogue, using opposite points of view.

5. Journal on vellum that is placed on printed paper, vintage papers, or photographs.

6. Write a letter, extolling the virtues of a friend or family member.

7. Attach an image from a photo to the page by the top edge only. If you have sewing skills, you can stitch the top with bright embroidery thread. Hide journaling under the flap.

8. Journal on a piece of vellum. Then place bits of colored paper on its backside to highlight important words.

9. You can always add the familiar quote or poem, perhaps using different colors or unusual mark makers, (perhaps crayon or conte pencils.

10. Use your computer to journal on a separate piece of paper using an old ‘typewriter’ font. (Or if you have access to an old typewriter, type it.) Print the journaling on an ink-jet transparency, vellum or a light shade of paper and use eyelets to fasten to page.

11. Choose a word that most describes the page you’re working on. Copy or cut-out a definition from an old dictionary or a list of synonyms from an old thesaurus and adhere to a chalked tag.

12. Draw lines (can be wiggly, at an angle, or freestyle) horizontally covering the page. Use a single color (or more) depending on your mood. Print journaling on some or all of the lines in black pen or other complementary color. Add doodles in between some of the words or on the edges.