TRY THIS: Gelli Plate Texture

Try this on your Gelli plate!

This is Glade Press ‘N’ Seal. When you scrunch it up, it makes very interesting textures when dabbed on a Gelli plate.

I love the lines and wrinkles produced on the paper.

I’m going to be experimenting with more random items to see how they come out on the Gelli plate, and I’ll post the results here for you to enjoy!

The paint must not DIE

I am a hoarder. Not a hoarder where there are mountains of newspapers and Tupperware and Readers Digests and Hubble figurines and a dead cat underneath it all…. Rather, I am a hoarder of craft supplies, and of anything that could possibly be used as a craft supply.

This means that when my love of wine produces a ginormous pile of those long skinny paper bags from the grocery store, I can’t simply throw them in the trash… That would be sacrilege!

Instead, I made them into an awesome book!

(And I have no clue what is up with these photos. The papers look a helluva lot more YELLOW in the second photo than they do in the first. Thank you camera phone…)

After folding them in half, I used the forever-awesome coptic stitch to join the bags together.

The fabuloso thing about this book is that half of the pages have that bag opening, so I can store things in there, or sandwich some cool papers in between, or just write a secret on a piece of paper and hide it in there.

My ultimate intention with this project is to have a place to put the extra bits of paint left over on the palette. A puddle of half-used acrylic paint must be painted somewhere. It begins part of its life cycle being squeezed out of the bottle, after then it begs to be used, to be picked up by a brush and smeared over a canvas or in an art journal or on another worthy project.

This is the paint’s purpose for existing. To let the paint dry into a hard disc of color stuck to the palette does not honor that purpose and is, again, sacrilege.

If you are as much of a wine lover / hoarder of “stuff” as I am, please do use this simple idea! At the very least, it’s a good way to learn simple bookbinding. The worst that could happen is you tear a paper bag you would have thrown in the trash anyways.

Happy crafting, my lovelies!

The One Where I Post A Picture And Say Stuff About It

So, this is the blog post where I put up a picture of a page I did, and I talk about it and stuff.

I have no quirky name for this “type” of post. Maybe I should come up with one like Happy Fun Journal Sharing Time or something. And there are rainbows and 8 bit music and jet-pack-wielding kittens in the background or something.

This page was done in the Green Umbrella journal, and I’m rather proud of it because I did so much of it in one sitting.

My “creative endurance” is usually different in that I don’t do one page from start to finish all at once. I tend to do a little bit on several pages of several books (which is conducive to the fact that I have so many ongoing journals), and so a single page could take months to fully come together.

The Book of The Microcosm (the original art journal, to be featured here at a later time) was started close to a decade ago and I STILL go back and add little things to the pages.

Doing all (or most) of a page at once is a newer process, but one I’m forcing myself to try more often. I also am taking the opportunity to remind myself not to sweat too much about what’s happening. Don’t worry about the end product. Don’t plan and design and make it into a project… It’s just a flipping art journal! Just do it!

So, this page developed organically, one element at a time, and I feel proud that I was about to concentrate in that manner. I found something, glued it down, found something else, did some painting stuff, then all of a sudden it was a cohesive picture. Holy crap, I even balanced out the colors nicely.

I’m also immensely proud of my usage of the black and white china markers. If you don’t have these things, then go get them. They are kickass. They are INVALUABLE tools for shadows and highlights. I tried them out on the circle stencil and BOOM, I have orange bubbles.

I finished the page and stared at it for a good five minutes, thinking this is so awesome, I’m going to grin until my face hurts. I love when playing around comes together like that!

This is the true essence of the name of this blog, the ART LAB. That’s all I’m really doing, is throwing stuff around and getting messy and learning how to let go and be free. All of my artistic endeavors satisfy my ultimate goals of 1) learning more technique, 2) learning how NOT to plan, 3) learning to let go and shut off the anxiety, and 4) one day elevating my art beyond the level of an amateur. This is my therapy.

I’m shutting up now. Look! A jet-pack-wielding kitty!


(I did not draw this… Google Image Search is my friend.)

This one’s for you, Sis

My sister and I didn’t get along in previous years. We drifted when we were younger and didn’t have much in common. There was a stiffness to our conversations for a good long while.

She was the daughter who listened, who the family could rely on, and I was the younger sister who was loud and obnoxious and threw tantrums.

She joined the military, had her two boys J & E, and she eventually moved back to our hometown. Now she’s in school to be an engineer and makes office chairs. I moved several states away from said hometown as fast as I could, got married and had my Little One, got unmarried, and now work a normal 9-5 while being an artsy hippie on the weekends.

She likes country and Nickelback (why?!), I like electronic and rock (Nickelback is not rock… Nickelback is an abomination.) She voraciously reads romance novels, I read science fiction and fantasy. I don’t know that she’s ever seen Star Wars, and I can quote the Original Trilogy (an attractive feature for my first husband). I’m a gamer and the last game I remember her playing was the original Super Mario Brothers.

I’ve felt lonely in my creative pursuits for many years, not able to connect with many who understand the fire inside (and most of whom run the other way when I show my enthusiasm for color and form).

But in the best twist of fate ever, I have discovered that my sister is as much of an art nerd as I am! And she has proven to be an unexpectedly invaluable resource to me ever since.

  • She has introduced me to supplies I had never tried before, like the Gelli plate, Faber Castel gelatos, and hand-carved stamps (to name a few).
  • She has tried out an exponential number of art supplies and is able to tell me what not to spend my money on, for which my wallet is eternally grateful.
  • She has handmade two of my current art journals, Red Mini and “the awesome brown one” (it doesn’t have a name yet), helping me build the foundation of my work in a unique and memorable way.

But most importantly, she has given me the best thing anyone in the world could give: advice, complete acceptance and love, and a place of zero judgement in which to show my artful experiments. She’s given me the foundation for my artistic confidence. I would be remiss if I did not raise a glass to her influence.

This is proof that I’m not just a weird aberration… Rather, I come from good stock. And she and I share those Good Genes.

My name is Obsessed. What’s yours?

So, I counted, and I have 8 active art journals. Maybe 9…. Well, I may officially now be at 10. My number may be off a bit… I mean, what specifically are we counting here? What counts as “active”?

Clearly I need to simplify… Let’s stick with 8. I have 8 active art journals that make up the “core” of my work. I have a few additional mini journals that are good for a quick 5 minute play session. (Yes, the picture only has 7. Who can keep track of this many books?!)

And I have a shelf of books and journals and sketchbooks I’ve collected over the years because I’m ever so slightly obsessed. Do you go to the bookstore and open all the blank books to feel whether the paper is thick, crisp, floppy, or soft? To see whether the book has lines, and if so, are the lines thick, dark, faded, straight, or slightly wonky? And how far apart are the lines spaced? And how does the book open, and does it stay open on its own, and do I feel inspired to write something in the book? Because these are important questions.

Surely I am not the only one with this fascination. And hopefully I am not the only one with a shelf full of blank books which have satisfied my gauntlet of requirements for that “perfect book”.

I have this lifelong goal where I want to be 80 years old and my grand kids come over and look at “Grandma’s Awesome Book Collection”. I would love for visitors to see the overflowing bookcase absolutely FILLED with my work.

I want that to be my legacy. The awesome grandma who is always covered in paint, surrounded by fabric, and neck-deep in unfinished projects (and still starting more!) Well, that and being Tough As Nails. I don’t intend to leave this world frail and boring.

“She was Tough As Nails. And she painted books a lot. She was cool.”