Among Trees: In The Style Of

Good Morning!  Marilyn here, with an experiment from Alchemist Jo.  Jo was inspired by an artist she read about and decided to create something “in the style of” that artist.  She’s done a bang-up job and the result is an awesome piece of artwork.  Jo, show us how it’s done.

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I wanted to complete a project using a paper napkin background and chose a very striking black and white paper napkin from the Paper Napkin Art Kit .  While very striking by itself, I wanted to see how it would look sprayed with some vibrant color (using Dylusions Ink Sprays – mmmmmm, yummy), which I liked.  So, I stuck the napkin onto a cardboard base using Mod Podge (although as you can see, I’d torn it a bit small!).

Paper napkin background

OK, I’d gotten my background, but now what was I going to do with it?  Hmmmmmm (** thinking face**).  I had a few ideas but nothing that was exciting me.  So, I picked out one of my ‘Stuck Sticks‘ (a previous Gauche project) and it told me to study an artist and have a go at creating something in their style.  Good idea (if I do say so myself).  But first, coffee!!  I took myself off to my local coffee shop and sat with a “medium cappuccino to have in please” and the Mar/Apr 2012 issue of Somerset Studio.  As I’m leafing through, what should I see?  An article by Mary Beth Shaw who, wait for it, studied an artist and then created artwork inspired by that artist.  Wow!  How serendipitous!  The artist she’d chosen to look up?  A Viennese artist named Hundertwasser (1928-2000).  I’m ashamed to say I’d never heard of him.  His artwork, full of detail and colour, is STUNNING.  I’m in LOVE!  Back home, I carefully studied the main elements that make up his artwork and picked out several to create something which nods to his style but doesn’t copy it.

Napkin Collage Punchinella

On one side of the paper napkin background I smeared black gesso over some large hole punchinella from the Punchinella Variety Pack .  Once dry, I used the ends of pens and paintbrushes to add neon bright acrylic paint dots (I was inspired to use neon colours by Alchemist Michelle’s stunning layouts and photographs).  Using black Staz-On, I stamped a Claudine Hellmuth line circle image onto paper which I then cut out and painted with neon acrylic paints.  These became my trees.  Once they were stuck on, I painted their trunks.  Often in Hundertwasser’s paintings you can see the trunk of a tree through the ‘foliage’ of the tree in front, so I replicated this by using charcoal pencil.

Background Gesso Paint

The finished piece includes a Hundertwasser quote,  which I’ve handwritten.  I initially wrote it with a white paint pen but it didn’t look very good so I painted over it with neon yellow paint.  Better.

I learned such a lot from this exercise.  From Mary Beth Shaw,  I discovered a new (to me) artist.  I REALLY enjoyed experimenting with a style totally out of my comfort zone.   From Alchemist Michelle I got the confidence to try using colours that I would NEVER previously considered using.  From myself, I learned that I can spread my little arty wings and try something new without fear of failure.  Have I created perfect artwork?  NO!  Did I enjoy creating it?  YES!  Will I do this exercise again with another artist?  DEFINITELY!

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Jo, what a truly beautiful work of art you have created!  Thank you for showing us that experimenting is good for our creativity, can bring us enjoyment, and that we should never fear the unknown.  All it takes it that one “AHA!” moment and we are off on a new adventure.

Until later…………
Smiles~
Marilyn

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Layering Techniques for Paper Crafting, Part One

Good morning everyone!  Marilyn here, with a brand new video from Alchemist Amy.  Today, using elements from the Moshi Moshi Kit, Amy is going to give us her take on the technique of layering and demonstrate for us how to get started (we also get a sneak peek at the final product-LOVE!).  So without further ado or to-do, Amy, show us your stuff……………….

Thank you Amy.  Extremely enlightening and easy to understand!  I loved the part about using a horizon line to give you a starting point and help draw the eye, through the use of layers, to the main focul point (the picture or subject).  This is something I never considered and a definite “must do” my next time in the studio.  It will make layering sooooo much easier!

Folks, hang around because on Wednesday, May 16th, Maggi is going to share with us the second installment of Amy’s layering technique and on Friday, May 18th, Jenn (aka Scraps) is going to share the third and final installment.  Now, I’m off to find my scissors, glue, and paper.  It’s layering time people!

Until later…………………
Smiles~
Marilyn

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Blended Paper Backgrounds

Greetings and salutations! Scraps, here, with a fantastic technique two-fer from Alchemist Jo!

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Jo: One of my favorite backgrounds is a blended paper background.  I learned the basic technique from Mary Green when I took her online classes–“Your Vintage Gluebook” and “Collage Coterie”–and have further developed it to suit my style.  I’ve prepared two 4″x6″ postcards to show two variations on the theme.

Firstly, I covered both postcards with pieces of book pages, torn and randomly stuck to the postcards with a gluestick.

blended_paper_collage_background1

Map pages are good, and handwritten letters, receipts, and postage stamps add interest, too. Gauche Alchemy has fab packs of  foreign text paper which would be perfect for a project like this!

For the White Gesso Background

Over the basic blended paper background I added a coating of white gesso.  This can be thinner in some places than others and it’s great to allow some of the background paper to show through.  Remove any excess gesso with a paper towel.  While the gesso is still wet, stick on some pieces of masking tape, making sure it’s well adhered by smoothing down with a bone folder or similar tool.

blended_paper_collage_background_gesso_image_transfer_1

Allow to dry.  No, don’t just count to 30 and then carry on–walk away and go to bed.  It’s best to leave it overnight otherwise when you try and remove the tape it’ll take all the collaged paper with it, which is NOT the effect I think you’ll want!  So, once totally dry, peel off the masking tape which will remove some of the gesso and, hopefully, the top layer of some the paper.  Don’t be too gentle when removing the masking tape, think of it as taking a plaster off a cut knee! [Scraps: That’s a band-aid to those of us in the States 😉 ]

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Mmmm, this looks so scrummy, I love it!  I then roughly smeared Distress Inks round the edges (Dusty Concord and Peeled Paint).  Where the gesso has been removed by the masking tape, the Distress Ink will be a much stronger colour.

Using your normal everyday inkjet printer print out your chosen image.  I often use The Graphics Fairy, who has a wonderful selection of images which are free to use.  For this postcard I chose a wonderful moth image.  Remember to flip the image because when it is transferred it will be a mirror image.  Especially remember this if there is writing or numbers on the image that you want to be the right way round.  Allow the ink on the copy to totally dry, not overnight this time but I would allow about half an hour.  Cut out the image and, using a paint brush, coat the IMAGE SIDE of the paper with matte Mod Podge (or similar).  Stick this face down onto your background, making sure there are no air bubbles and, if possible, brayer firmly to totally stick it.  Try and avoid getting the Mod Podge on the back of the paper as this will make it harder to remove later (actually, virtually impossible!).

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IMPORTANT: ALLOW THIS TO DRY OVERNIGHT!

Now comes the magic bit!  Wet the back of the image with clean water (I use a wet paintbrush).  With your finger, gently rub in a circular action.  The image’s paper backing will start to lift in small rolls of paper.  It’s quite messy, but keep with it, adding more water if it starts to feel a bit dry.  Even though you are being careful, some of the image may lift with the backing paper.  That’s OK!  If you wanted a perfect image you’d have simply stuck down the picture, right?  Leave it a few minutes; if there is a white fuzz on your image, then just wet the image again and rub gently, more backing will be removed.

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As you can see I lost a bit of the moth’s wing, but I’m quite happy about that :o)

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I used a quote by Sara Teasdale, rubber stamped onto old book paper and edged with Distress Inks.

For the Clear Gesso Background

Taking the basic blended paper background, I brushed on a coat of clear gesso to seal the background and to provide a decent ‘key’ for the image to adhere to.  The background will, this way, show through clearly.  I dragged Distress Inks round the edges (Dusty Concord and Peeled Paint).  Once dry I cut out my chosen printer copied image (again from The Graphics Fairy), brushed a coat of matte Mod Podge onto the image and put the image face down onto the blended paper background.  Ensure good adhesion by firmly brayering it.

LEAVE IT TO DRY OVERNIGHT.

blended_paper_collage_background_clear_gesso_image_transfer_postcard_1

Wet the image with clean water and gently rub the image backing.

blended_paper_collage_background_clear_gesso_image_transfer_postcard_2

The background is clearly seen through the image, giving rather a dreamy,vintage and/or ghostly effect.

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I drew with a charcoal pencil round the image, smudging it with my finger – this adds some depth (another tip learnt from Mary Green‘s classes).  I also used the charcoal pencil around the edge of the postcard and around the title, taken from an old book.  I used rusty wire to attach the old rusty key to the card.

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I usually go for the instant gratification projects, myself, but this techniques shows that the old saying is true: good things come to those who wait!

~Scraps~

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Behind the Scenes of Misty’s Show Stoppers Mini Album

Hi there! Scraps back with a closer look into some of the details of the mini-album from Alchemist Misty!

Last week we took a page-by-page peek into the mini-album Misty created with the new Show Stoppers Mixed Media Paper Craft Kit. Now we’re going to take a look at 2 of the techniques she used inside the book.

Collaged & Distressed Background Pages

collaged base page
You’ll need:

Show Stoppers Kit
Gesso
Mod Podge
Mists
Sovent ink pad
A straight-edged tool of some sort

Misty: Prepare the backgrounds for all of the inside pages (Sav[ing] the front cover for the last step).

collage

To prepare the pages, cover with Mod Podge, then create a collage by gluing down random sections from the magazine pages.  Then top off with another coat of Mod Podge.

distress gesso

Once the glue has dried, use a straight edge tool like an old room card or credit/gift card and distress the collage by scraping bits of gesso over the top.

distress stamp

After that has dried, ink up your ticket stamp with a solvent ink like Stazon, and then randomly add stamping.  Since we are using this as a distress technique try not to get a perfect stamped image.

close up stamp distress

A close-up of the distressed and stamped background.

Paper and Fabric Flowers

You’ll Need:

Show Stoppers Kit
Scissors
Paint Brush
Glue
Mists
Heat Gun
Fabric
Button

The flower is made out of large heart shapes cut from the pattern paper in the kit.

heart flower supplies

First, I cut out the heart shapes, and then with the end of a small paint brush I curled the edges under.

Scraps: When I first learned to make these sorts of flowers, I had a bobby pin handy and used that on the petal ends, sort of like a quilling tool. It makes awesome, tight curls and then slips right out without having to uncurl the petals!

heart flower petals

Once that was finished I started to assemble the flower by gluing the hearts together at the ends, slightly overlapping each other.

flower assembly

Keep adding layers until your flower looks nice and full.  Then mist in your color choice, scrunching the flowers slightly towards the middle (you may have to curl some of your edges again).  Then use the heat gun to dry…this will urge the “petals” to curl up a little more.

paper ribbon flower

Then add a middle.  Here I used a bloom from a rose ribbon and added an elegant button that came in the kit.

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You know, I’ve always started my paper flowers from the center and worked outward. That way does make it easy to stop when you’ve got a full-enough flower, but you end up with the problem of a stem end to deal with if you’re not making a bouquet. I think it’s pretty genius to work from the bottom up if you’re planning to place them on a page, what about you?

~Scraps~

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Misty’s Puchinella layout

Good day!

Michelle here with a great mixed media scrapbook page from design team member, Misty.

Misty is not afraid to try new things or develop her own techniques by exploring without a final product in mind. It’s a wonderful thing to have as a designer and the primary reason why I admire her talent.

Case in point:

Oh. SNAP. !!! Check out the texture on that baby! Amazing! Love the magenta and black color combo as well. The newsprint squares peeking though is an awesome detail!

So we’ve established why I’m a fan.

I’ll let Misty explain what she did:

“This is a page about my sister and her family. I started on the background by grabbing a piece of card stock, some book pages from the Acme Subscription kit and Mod Podge.  Once dried, I lightly covered everything with white acrylic paint and misted some black, magenta and bright pink colors which I let drip or wiped down until I got the effect I wanted.  It’s been a couple of layouts since I broke out the heavy metal so I used the metal eyelets and wire from the Black Out Mixed Media Kit along the side of the page. ”

Some detail shots:

The Scrap FX chipboard has been embossed and inked for a metal look. Here you can really see how Misty dripped the paint or wiped it away to emphasize the texture.

“I then added black punchinella and magenta lace for a border and behind my photo. Since  I was using the “Family is a Circle of Love” chipboard piece from Scrap FX, I thought I should use a circle as a matt for my photo.  So I cut, painted and misted a circle from ouchless cardboard.  I decided the page still looked a little plain and needed more metal so I added a chain and charm along the bottom (from the Black Out Mixed Media Kit), some fabric rosettes and FINALLY it felt done!

Thanks Misty. Your fearlessness is truly inspiring.

Have you tried using metal or painterly techniques in your scrapbook layouts? Let us know by linking us up or posting it on our Flickr group– who knows! You might be featured on this very blog!

Have a crafty day!

Add Gauche Alchemy to your social circle!


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Cheryl’s takin’ a walk

Hello there!

Michelle here with a wonderful new step by step process video from Cheryl.

I am currently undergoing the arduous procedure more commonly known as “Project Life” where you shoot and journal every day life. I am already “cheating” by journaling only 2 days a week (if that). What I really love about Project Life or Project 365, a similar 1 photo a day version,  is how it forces me to pay attention to every day details.

Cheryl has taken the much more HUMANE approach by documenting 52 walks she will take this year- one for every week.

Here are a couple of images from week 5 and 6:

Image from week 5. I like the more abstract nature of Cheryl's photos.

This photo is stunning. I. can't. stop. looking! I actually started walking in my neighborhood after I read Cheryl's post about 52 walks on her personal blog.

Now a brief pause while we check in with Cheryl as she makes the binder cover for this project:

And a quickie shot of one of the pages she recently worked on. She used stamps from Sassafras Lass and items from the Blue Streak mixed media color kit.

Please excuse the admittedly imperfect lighting. Cheryl was very gracious to provide this as she was literally on her way out the door for a week long trip to Dublin. But I'm not jealous! (much)

So how are you tackling Project Life or Project 365 or any other year long art project? Let us know by commenting here or linking up your work to the Gauche Alchemy Flickr page!

Check us out on the social networks mi gente!

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Music to Create By

Hi everyone! Maggi here!

So what’s going on in the background while you’re creating? Sometimes I have the TV on, I catch up on shows while my kids are taking a nap or if they’re still awake I’m probably gluing things together while listening to the kiddie chaos that is a three year old screaming along to Barney or The Wiggles.

Some artists prefer to create in silence, with only their thoughts for company. Me, well I’ve got too many voices in my head for silence to be relaxing so I always reach for music to get me in a creative frame of mind. 😛 So here’s a small sampling of what I reach for in my more artistic times. I also listed some project types you can work on while listening to them, although any of them would be great while you’re making anything. 😛

An American Prayer by Jim Morrison with music by The Doors

An American Prayer is an album that was put together after Jim Morrison’s death containing some of his poetry (recorded by him in previous studio sessions) with added music by the surviving Doors members. I have to say that this is one of my all time favorite CDs and it sets the creative mood perfectly. I find it so inspiring every time I listen to it.

Perfect For: Art journaling

Temptation by Emma Wallace

I’ve been a big fan of Emma Wallace for a few years now. She describes her music as “modern ragtime” which is a perfect phrase for her style. Temptation is one of her more recent collections and I find it so soothing and inspiring. She’s got a voice like no other and I can’t get enough of her poetic songs.

Perfect For: Painting and collage

Complete Best by Perfume

If you have not discovered the world of Jpop (Japanese pop music) yet, you are MISSING OUT HARDCORE. There is nothing that can get my paint brush bopping like the sugar coated fun that is Jpop. And Perfume is one of my favorite groups. You can’t help but smile and create something sunny and fun when you’re listening to Perfume.

Perfect for: ATCs, scrapbooking and staying sane while you’re fussy cutting. 😛

Cat Stevens Box Set

Any album by Cat Stevens is worth having but the Box Set of Cat Stevens is truly amazeballs. I first fell in love with his music when I saw Harold and Maude. (My mom would force me to watch it when I was a kid because it was “so great”. It wasn’t until I was older that I truly appreciated the mastery of this movie.) Cat Stevens did the entire soundtrack for the movie and this box set contains everything Cat.

Perfect For: Art journaling, collage, painting

With Teeth by Nine Inch Nails

Oh boy, this was a toughie. I love me some NIN but I had a hard time choosing between With Teeth, a more recent NIN offering that is truly awesome or Pretty Hate Machine which is a freakin’ NIN classic. But in the end I chose “With Teeth” as it really gets my creative blood pumping.

Perfect For: Freaking out when you’ve messed something up. Also art journaling, image transfer, stamping

I’ve got to stop now because if I don’t, this post will be 2,000 CDs long, I love creating to music that much. 😀 Thanks for taking a peek at my favorite music to create by! Now I have to know, what music do you have to have when you’re creating and what are you making when you listen to it???

Let me know in the comments and then go glue something awesome onto some awesome something!

Maggi 😀

**All images from Amazon.com**

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