Tuesday, October 30, 2007

AFC Pink Inchies

Here's my first step for the process of a new project I am currently working on: Pink Inchies - created for a charity art auction for breast cancer awareness via Art For Cures, which is run by the super talented, ever-creative, fount of seemingly endless energy Renmeleon (Ria) ...

I started with a 9x12 sheet of 140lb watercolor paper I prepped using my salted watercolor BG technique, using some metallic pan watercolor and a bit of red-pink tube color that I watered way down and used as a wash on parts of the front as well as the entire reverse of the paper, to give just a bit of color to the back of the pieces instead of leaving them white (I don't feel a piece is really finished unless I've done something to the back as well, so most of my paperart work will usually be arted on both the front and back in some way)

We're supposed to be using Ria's "collage 88" technique, in which you collage your entire work on one single 8.5x11 paper then cut it up into 88 inchies, and then add any embellishements or whatever. Which is actually the way I normally do a set of inchies anyway (paint, collage, etc an entire BG sheet, then cut the squares, then add "extras") I'm just using a larger sheet of paper, which should yield more inchies, right? Yeah well, we'll get to that later ... So I start collaging (now remember the color theme of this project is shades of PINK, with some minor black, white or silver the only other colors allowed) with pink shaded papers from my stash (some KoolAid stained sheet music and papertowel bits, some tissue paper and pink mulberry scraps) - and here's where I make a mistake right off the bat.

I end up almost completely covering my beautifully textured shimmery pink watercolor background! I shoulda (coulda, woulda) collaged on the BACKSIDE that had the plain pale pink, and let the pretty side be the reverse which would show nicely under the backplates but! Oh well, too late now, yeah? So I was kinda GRR'd about that for a bit but let's just move on ... Once I finished my collaging - and yes that last picture is it, I didn't do a whole lot of collaging as far as the actual design, more just a buildup of the background - I decided against any rubberstamping or doodling on the whole (though I had originally planned to splatter paint a little bit at this point, to help tie all the collagy-ness together a bit better - but, well, I just forgot. Woops.), so I went ahead and proceeding to the cutting them up stage:

And here's where mistake number two rears it's head. From a 9x12 sheet of paper I should get 108 individual inchies (88 to send in for the swap, plus a nice batch of extras to provide the host some more material for the auction goods) But for whatever reason, the last 2 strips or so do not come out to be a full inch wide. Did I make a mistake and cut a tenth of an inch too big on some earlier strips? Is the trimmer in need of a new (whatever the little rubber cutty-strip piece is called? and the answer there is YES, it is. I think I have maybe one good edge left on it before it's totally shot) Can I just not measure correctly? (also a yes.) So anyhow I'm left with approximately 94 inchies all told and not even all of those are compleeetley 1" square (grr.) so I just barely squeeked in my 88 pieces from that sheet. And here they are, remixed in no particular order:

So that takes care of step one - step two is the addition of my "goddesses" and any further embellishments and doodly funstuff. Which I need to get a move on with since these are due to Ria pretty much by week's end (!) And I'll post that process later ... maybe ...
~ gem ~

UPDATE - Here are the finished inchies!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Watercolor BG with Salt Technique

Finally getting this how-to done! Although the actual process pics and pages I am showing you today were made back in May, I am just NOW getting around to them ... but I am working on another piece right now that started with a "salted" watercolor background paper, so before I post any tutorials for that one I figured I better get the steps for the background technique posted first ...

I always use watercolor paper for these, but I will use anything from the nicer 140lb coldpress to just a sheet from a cheap discount store watercolor pad. I typically make these background papers in batches of 3-6 pages at a time in maybe one or two color variations, on days when I am bored or don't have any other pressing projects to do. (Some days just scream "make backgrounds!" you know?) Then I have a nice stock of papers to go to when I need to start a new project later. (I also do the BGs for several pages in my journal books at the same time, since I already have the stuff out. It's nice to open the journal and have a whole bunch of pre-colored pages to work on)

I assembled the supplies I'll be using and laid them out on newspaper:

Sheet(s) of watercolor paper
Assorted watercolors - tube paints, watercolor cakes in regular and metallic (Coloriffic Metallic Shimmering Watercolors are a poor-mans Lumieres / Twinkling H2O's!)
Paintbrushes - I'm using the 1" hardware store nylon bristle type for the tube colors, and a smaller half inch brush for the cakes
Pan of water and small spray bottle of water
Cuppa salt! I only use kosher salt (the kind you cook with) though probably sea salt or any course salt would work too. You can try table salt but I think all you'll get with that is some pretty sandpaper ; ) WHICH! could be cool in a project too, so - I dunno, try it!

I start by wetting my entire sheet of paper by spritzing with the spray bottle then spreading it with a brush. I apply my chosen colors either straight from the tubes onto the paper or (in the photo shown) by using the pan colors that have been pre-wetted. I just randomly add color with the brush in an abstract fashion, sometimes adding a bit more water, and letting the paints run and bleed into one another until I have the mix and coverage that I want. *With the direct from the tube method, I squirt small dollops of paint randomly about the page and then work them together and into the paper with the brush. I usually let this stage get jussst this side of dry, then I take the spray bottle and spritz a bit to add droplets that will bleed and blend the colors even more. THAT itself will add little waterspots (you can vary them by applying the spray in a fine mist and larger splat-drops - sometimes I get it dowright wet, just depends on my mood really) and if you want you can stop here and let it dry and that will be a very fine BG paper

But I like to get a much more marbled, waterstained effect so this is when I add my salt - while the paper is still a bit damp - just sprinkling small handfuls all around, 'til I'm satisfied with the amount. The salt crystals wick up the remaining "pools" of water, along with some of the paint pigment, in whatever little spot they were sitting. Wait until the paper is totally dry, then brush all the salt off and voila! what's left behind is a neat bunch of little dotted areas where the salt "ate" the paint & water, giving your page a dappled look, and refining and melding some of those areas where your paint colors met and maybe didn't look so blended before.

Here's the end result on the pages I made that day, including one in a journal (that one I didn't salt but used alotttta water in the paint and just let it pool up together - came out pretty cool) Be sure to click on it to view it at fullsize so you can really see the details.

This is my ALL TIME FAVORITE page background making technique, and I hope you enjoyed reading it (or at least understood what I was saying!) and are ready to get out your art supplies and make some BGs of your own ... Have fun painting!

~ gem ~

Monday, October 8, 2007

Piggy Bank for the Cure

Piggy Bank for the Cure
Originally uploaded by gemgirlart

I took this photo last week specifically to upload to the Passionately Pink for the Cure group at Flick'r:

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Yahoo! will donate $1 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, for each pink photo added to this Group from October 1-31, 2007 up to $50,000! This donation will be used to fund breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment programs.

Pick your Pink. Play Your Part. End Breast Cancer.

The group is already at just over 30,000 photos, so I would like to urge you to take a pink pic and put it up, please! Full details are available at the Flick'r group page. Thanks!

~ gem ~

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Soured on Swap-Bot



Swap-Bot decided to change / update some of their policies, one of which being that you now have to have a permanent and unchangeable username to log in to your account, rather than the old way which was you had a "display name" tied to your email address, and I dunno I guess that was changeable? I wouldn't know 'cause I originally signed up as gem and never even thought about changing it.

No big deal right? Except for the fact that the notice for this (and the few other changes) was posted to the Swap-Bot blog YESTERDAY and implemented some time this morning? Or overnight? I'm not sure exactly when, I only know that by the time I arrived at maybe 10 AM my time I was surprised to find this out (on my log-in screen, no less -- there was no announcement on the home page, and unless you make a habit of reading the blog or forums daily before you log in you'd never know about it until signing in), and

-moment of panic set in-
tried to claim the username gem
DENIED >> that name has already been taken

Normally something like that doesn't bother me too much - gem is a kinda common nickname around the 'net and I'm more often quite surprised when I manage to snag it than not - BUT. My major problems in this instance are these:

The timing from posting of notice to implementation : No real heads up given that this would be happening, most places give you quite a bit of advanced notice when they are going to be making major changes like this. And this IS a major change -- anyone who has been online any length of time knows full well how attached people get to their screen names and how difficult having to "reinvent" themselves with a different name can be. BOO to Swap-Bot for missing the boat here. I could be less bummed about it if they would have said a week ago "Hey people, on or around X date we will be making this change. If you want to secure your current name, please be sure to get here early" etc etc blah ... If I'd missed out because we all knew and I just didn't get in in time thats one thing, but because it was sorta a sprung-on-you thing, I wasn't even aware until it was too late. And that brings me to the other part, which almost bothers me more ...

I've used the name gem on Swap-Bot for over a year - since I first signed up. The person who now has PERMANENT claim on the name gem previously had a very similar name - I know this because we were both just in a blog link swap (not as partners though) and they also just as recently added me to their contacts in Flick'r. So, they were certainly aware that I went by gem over there, and I am not saying they "stole" "my" name since I obviously don't own it (I'm not that egomaniacal) but it came off as pretty rude / inconsiderate to me, someone who'd been there 6 months less and who very recently had some kind of contact with me, to have swiped the name out from under me, just 'cause they happened to get there first (see reason #1). Well, thats what it feels like anyway: swiped, stolen, hijacked. 'Specially since this person has a very cute Flick'r name that could have been used instead. SIGH.

It's just I am very heavily tied to this name and identity -- it's really pretty much become my name since I sign every piece of art and every posting and all email and online correspondance with it. And it's really who I am online. So, it kinda hurts to have it taken away in such a ... sneakish feeling manner. Glad I saved a little memento before they got everything updated:

I am now "gemgirlart" at Swap-Bot, not that I intend to be joining in any new swaps for the time being, I need to soothe my hurt (lets be real, huh?: mostly angry) feelings - besides, there's other places I can trade at where I'm still "me" so - their loss really, not mine. -wink-

~ gem ~

-= waves ya on through =-

Well, what a difference a day makes! I received an email from Rachel at Swap-Bot this morning that my username there has been changed back to gem ... She explained that they worked together with the other member and changed us both back to our previous names. How this came about I really don't know as I did not email Swap-Bot requesting anything be done about it - either they or the other member initiated it I guess based on this posting or the one on the S-B blog ... Either way I am really grateful to both parties, and I think it was just the right thing to do in this case. I stand by my complaint that the original process was badly organized, but the fact that Swap-Bot stepped up, unasked, and fixed this just proves what personal dedication they have to the site and their members. So thank you VERY MUCH! All's well that ends well, etc etc yadda.

*and for anyone who might be thinking "geez, get a grip, it's a name on a website for cryin' out loud" ... Yeah, I know. But like I said earlier, this IS who I am online in my little corner, so it actually matters to ME. Like I related to Rachel in my email reply, to me it felt much like if I'd logged in to my eBay account to find the name I'd used and built trust and recognition into for years and was still currently using! was suddenly given away to someone else, all because I didn't get up early enough to find out about it? Blindsided, to say the least ...

And with that - have a good day!

~ gem, again ~

Friday, October 5, 2007

Found Friday - Oct 5th

Found Friday - Oct 5th
Originally uploaded by gemgirlart

Been thinking of doing something weekly for the blog, and for some reason all the things I randomly found this week kept getting added to a pile on my kitchen counter, so -bing!- I got the idea to post my weekly treasure trove. (Don't you pick up all the random weirdliness you see lying on floors or on store shelves or on the street or in a book or wherever?) Eh, it's somethin' ta do ...

This weeks findings were kinda small:
A tiny black plastic toy gun my son found while I was cashing a check at the grocery store customer service counter ... A downy feather found on the trunk lid of my car after I got home from the grocery store (different day, different store) ... *I also found a really cool but weird teeny tiny NEON green spider crawling along the rubber gaskety piece of the trunk when I opened it, but even on macro none of the pics came out clear, so he don't count.
Cool leaf I found on the front walkway - it was this perfect little fall leaf shape and I liked the speckledish coloring, but it got way dry after I brought it in and it sorta flaked out on me ...
And my favorite one: a postcard I found in one of the books I checked out at the library today - they're the best for finding cool things in! This is was from Bridget (?) to Aveen hoping she's having fun on vacation (I guess?) and the front is a Disney scene from Sleeping Beauty ... if you can read the message it tells the significance of that. I don't know why that stamp on an envelope edge is stapled onto the postcard, but it's a cool stamp, so - good! *But using a Liberty stamp (currently 41 cents) to mail a postcard? yeeeesh. I buy the Lib's, sure - but I'm not using them as regular stamps yet. I'm waitin', like a smart girl. :D

And so now, I am off to read one or more of those library books.

~ gem ~

Monday, October 1, 2007

Pay It Forward

I've participated in PIF projects at other swap and mailart groups (PIF = Pay-It-Forward, which, in the arts & crafts world is basically: one person offers something up, maybe a small artwork like an ATC or deco or some type of supplies or scraps ... the next person to post claims it then offers their own 'whatever thing' to the next person, and so and and blahblah ) but this was the first one I joined via a blog, and I really like the idea and also liked Sparrow's art and lucked out that I was the last comment to snag hers :)

If you want the breakdown (and I knowww you do) I'm PIF'ing it from Sparrow's Tree, who got it from Blissful Mama, who got it from Not Cherry Pie, who got it from Danielle, who got it from Lori, who got it from Katie (whew!) and I'll pretty much stop there because Katie posts alot and I just couldn't track down the exact PIF thread in her blog ... I don't "know" any of those gals, but have a look at their blogs (AFTER you finish reading this, please, thank you. hehe, 'cause I get sucked away easily too, that's all ...) They all seem to make pretty cool stuff and have interesting things to say ... Anyway! onwards ...

First three people to comment to this post and also pledge to PIF themselves, will get some kind of handmade something from moi within one year (they all say that and I think it's kinda funny, but really - knowing how projects can go, it IS nice to have the leeway, haha!) I promise I'll try to be timely even though it's not my strong suit. And that's it kiddos, see ya later!

~ gem ~