Can you believe we are almost halfway through November already? Where does the time go sometimes?
A couple of weeks ago, I took a fabulous class in our Wanderlust 2020 course with Jennifer Pipe from Self Esteem Through Art. It was my first time trying alcohol inks and I had an absolute blast. If you are fascinated by watching things take on a life of their own, then I definitely recommend giving alcohol inks a try. It’s such fascinating fun to watch the inks flow and morph together, sometimes producing colours that you didn’t even use! It’s so cool! All my examples shown used a medium weight yupo paper.
To begin, I played with Ranger alcohol inks on the yupo paper. Then I let them dry fully for a day before I began my stenciling experiments. I took lots of photos as I went, and have included quite a few here for you to see the outcomes. If you have any questions, please feel free to pop them in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to reply to you.
For this page, I used stencil TCW899 Striped Mandala with TCW9012 Shimmery Goodness which dries iridescent. It gave this piece a translucent effect to the point that my friends were asking me how I got the alcohol inks into the mandala design (I didn’t, I just stenciled it over the top of the alcohol inks with a palette knife!). Doesn’t it look fantastic? This is definitely one of my favourite combinations.
My next experiment had me using the TCW924 Lush Petals stencilwith the TCW9033 Marcasite Silver Modeling Paste applied with a palette knife. Once the modeling paste was dry (the next day), I applied some mica sprays and finishing wax in silver to really make the design pop! I love the richness, dimension, and depth of the finished piece.
Next, I decided to use the TCW912 Wheat Stalks stencil with the TCW9037 Grecian Gold Modeling paste applied using a palette knife. To add a tiny bit of dimension, but not darkness to the wheat grains, I lightly applied some black stabilo all pencil to the edges of the stenciling. This helped the wheat stalks stand out from the background a little more. This is the perfect Thanksgiving combination and will make a beautiful greeting card.
For the last several pieces, rather than using a three dimensional modeling paste, I wanted to try tracing through stencils using Signo uni-ball pens. The names of the stencils are included in the captions below each photo.
Here in Kansas, fall is really beginning. Lots of leaves are falling from the trees, most of which haven’t had cold enough temperatures yet to start to change to pretty colors. However, I noticed this morning, the tips of some of the trees are beginning to turn to beautiful fall shades, which I adore and which inspire me greatly.
This week, I was trying some new techniques, experimenting with stencils and the wonderful ColorSparx powders. Before I joined the TCW Design Team, I had never used the ColorSparx powders, so I hadn’t experienced their beauty or their versatility first hand.
Since receiving my first ColorSparx powders about two months ago, I have been playing with them constantly, trying new techniques, learning what to do, and just as importantly, what not to do with them.
I thought this week I would show you some of what I tried, what worked, what didn’t, and what I learned during the process, all in the hopes that it will encourage you to experiment and try something new, too!
When you purchase ColorSparx, they come with a card of great suggestions to try. I definitely recommend giving those techniques a start. That’s how I got started. From there, I have progressed to trying the ColorSparx powders mixed into different mediums, such as modeling pastes, gessoes, and gel mediums. There are so many possibilities!
This week, I wanted to try some water techniques with the Colorsparx powders and stencils. Here’s some photos and narrative of what I tried, and how it turned out…
Recently, I learned a technique which intrigued me. After adding water to the watercolor paper page with a brush, sprinkle on the ColorSparx powders, lay the stencil on top and walk away. Yep, walk away. Let the page dry overnight.
Using this technique, the color pools under the plastic stencil, and clings to the edges of the stencil cut lines, leaving darker outlines of the cut out shapes. Once dried, I took a black Micron pigma pen and outlined the stencil shapes, and voila! One hot, and happening page! (if you turn the page upside down, it looks like flames! Good to know, right?).
My next experiment had me using the TCW192 Gingko Stencil with the Gamboge, Fuschia, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Orange, and Scarlet ColorSparx Powders. I used exactly the same water technique as the Moving Vines experiment, above. The Yellow Ochre and Gamboge powders have a touch of green sparks in them, and I really love how that green soaked into the ginko leaf shapes. For this page, I used the same black Micron pigma pen to outline the leaves. Then, I decided I wanted the leaves to ‘pop’ out of the page more, so I outlined the leaves with a white signo pen. In places, you can see where the white ink absorbs some of the color sparks pigment, adding unexpected tints! To make the tints more noticeable, I outlined the leaves one more time with the pigma pen. I really love the way the leaves look three-dimensional, and as though they are about to pop off the page!
This page was a good learning experience for me. I added too much water, when the modeling paste was not fully dry. I should have dried the modeling paste completely with my heat gun, then added the water and powders. Lesson learned.
The water soaked into the edges of some of the leaves, making the modeling paste dissolve overnight. When adding the water for the powder, I added too much water to the page, which caused some of the colors to blend together, turning an icky mud brown. Ooops, please, learn from my mistakes!
As a result, it took this page far longer to dry than the previous two pages, and the colors turned out much murkier and darker than I would have liked. Once dried, I used the same outlining technique for the stenciled shapes, that I did for the gingko leaves. In the end, it really didn’t turn out too badly, as you can see in the image below, on the right side.
I’m sure you’re probably wondering what the image on the left side of the above photo is. While I had the powders out, I played with just sprinkling powders on some other pages I had practiced on earlier with modeling paste. I left these pages to dry with the other pages shown above. When I came to look at the pages the next morning, they were all simply too gorgeous to not be used.
What I decided to do was take the off cuts from the pages above, combined with these other pages cut into what I like to call “moments of joy and beauty”. I then created a series of seven mini collages, each collage measuring approx.. 6″ x 8″, featuring a fall theme, using these ‘left over bits’ die and hand cut into pieces. I hand poured some resin leaves, painted them with TCW9002 Black gesso and finished them with waxes. One leaf was added to each collage as a three-dimensional element. I’ve included photos of the six additional mini collages, below, for you to see.
Hello! For this project, I wanted to really experiment using a combination of products: An 8″ x 10″ Gel Press Gel Plate, several different stencils, ColorSparx watercolor powders, and a myriad of mediums.
I ended up with 12 yummy layers of texture and dimension by the end of my experimental project.
To read my in-depth blog post for this artwork, please read my blog post on the TCW Blog, or check out the photos on my Instagram account.
I was selected to work with the otters by Topeka Zoo for their 2020 Roar and Pour fundraiser. Albert created some fantastic paw prints for me to work with and incorporate into the art work. Here is the final completed artwork, which is now delivered to the Zoo in anticipation of the Live Auction and event on April 25, 2020 at 6 pm. Hop on and join us for the excitement on the Friends of Topeka Zoo Facebook page!
In this first video, we go behind the scenes with Albert, his brother Tony, and their keepers, Shanna and Tracy. Watch as Albert creates his paw prints!
In this second video, watch as I incorporated Albert’s many paw prints into his dream work titled ‘Albert’s Steampunk Dreams’.