Happy Mistakes

“Live in the field of possibilities.”

I have a number of canvases I have worked on and left and keep going back and looking at them and with this one I finally decided that I really didn’t like it and it was time to recycle the hot mess it had become by covering it up with Venetian plaster. I should have taken a picture of it first but I really like the transformation.

The original canvas had a couple of paper circles that still showed through the plaster so I made them into some colourful abstract flowers instead. To give the canvas lots of texture I used a stamp when the venetian plaster was still wet.

Be Kind

Be Kind

The blue paint I thought was acrylic and I was adding water to it and trying to dab it off in places and then realized that actually I had mixed in a tube of oil paint with my acrylics and that is what it was, but in the end I really like the contrast and how it went onto the canvas.  So it was a happy mistake as often art turns out to be.

The quote BE KIND I had painted onto the original canvas and I decided that I wanted to keep it in view on the revised piece – it is a reminder to always choose to be kind.


Art Outside the Box

art box1 I was looking for ways to prop my art canvases up for a display I am going to do and thought why not use some old boxes as substrates and collage them to lean the canvases against…..kind of art on art. I took a contact solution box and covered it with some recycled paper and tissue, using gel medium and then added some clear gesso.
art box front
I used one of my face drawings and traced it onto artist tissue and adhered it to the box as well and then proceeded to paint the box with acrylics and oil pastels, add stamps, etc. and this is what I ended up with.

It was interesting using a 4 sided substrate and to see what I could come up with – this works great for leaning a canvas against as well. Recycled Art Box

Think art outside the box using recycled materials and voila.


Spice bottle repurposed into a vintage-look vase

I recently was searching for a vase for the bouquet of coffee filter roses I had made and was having trouble finding something that would work well size-wise and also highlight the vintage look of the roses.  I purchased a couple of vases but they just didn’t do the flowers justice so I thought why not make a vase.   I had recently finished a large Costco size bottle of cinnamon and decided to repurpose the bottle into a vase as the opening was the perfect size for the stems of my handmade roses (coffee filter rose instructions in an earlier post) and it wasn’t too tall.

I cleaned the bottle out and then when it was totally dry I started off by wrapping it with masking tape and then I proceeded to attach old ripped book pages randomly with soft gel medium.  Once the bottle was totally covered paper mache style I went over it with another coat of the gel medium to seal it.  Next I did a light glaze of gesso mixed with a little water to allow the text to still faintly show through and to give it bit more texture.  Next I added some colour with a mixture of 50/50 water and Liquitex soft acrylic – Bronze Yellow and painted over the whole bottle to give it a vintage look.  Next I used some distress ink to add a more aged look.  I thought it still needed something else so I took some string and wrapped it around the mouth of the bottle and then made a heart on the front side, attaching with soft gel medium.  After it was dry I used some distress ink over the string so that it would blend in.  The results were just what I wanted and I liked how the roses looked in the vase.

Now I have started another vase from a mayo jar, only this time I used wallpaper tape.  I will let you know how it turns out.

Til next time, look around and see what creative way you might be able to recycle a jar, box or whatever into some art.


Drawing takes a lot of practice…

I love creating art pages, it is a great way to practice various art techniques and if you do something you don’t particularly like or mess up then you can either gesso over it or start a whole new page.  It allows me the space to be fearless and develop my skills as I go along.  The last couple of weeks I have been practicing a lot of face drawing which is one of the skills I want to develop – I have to really work at trying to get proportion right even though I am not trying to create a life-like face but a more whimsical one.  I find I have trouble with eyes so I decided to just draw some faces with the eyes closed  and practice shading and see what developed.  Still need to work on face shapes as sometimes they look a little weird but I am a work in progress and if I continue to practice I will soon find it easier and will be able to create faces with more ease that  I can incorporate into my mixed-media collages.

Here are a few of my recent whimsical type faces I have done in the past few days.

Afterwards I decided to add some collage ephemera to the pages and then added som pan pastels.  I was so excited when I went to Opus the other day and found that they now have pan pastels in the store so I  could not resist buying a few new bright colours.  Next  photos are how the pages progressed into a collage.  I recently watched Pam Carriker`s tutorials on recycle art journal pages which  were a big influence in my face drawings.  http://pamcarriker.com/

Til next time, happy creating


Re-using Handmade Art to Create a Digital Collage

I have been experimenting further with Photoshop CS3 and digital collage over the past few weeks and I am feeling more comfortable with some of the tools.  I scanned a lot of my handmade art to use and have created a few pieces now that I am really liking.  I have done a few now incorporating a sepia vintage look and also just completed one using my scanned art. 

Only as much as I dream

In this collage I used a number of different layers which included a photo I took on vacation – the  flower.  I did a mask so that I could erase the layer and get the pink flower to show through to add a bit of colour to the sepia tones.

In the next photo I used only mixed media I had created and scanned, (except for the umbrella which is clip-art) to create the collage.  I really like the colours – it makes me happy. 
Dream – Believe

As much as I am enjoying the digital collage process and learning all these new techniques, I am getting impatient and want to be able to create with paint and glue and just get messy again.  My hand is improving and I have been challenging myself to some drawing exercises but it is a slow process getting the mobility back after surgery.  I am grateful for the creative outlet that digital collage has given me to keep me sane….lol.

Til next time take some time in your day to do something creative!

Canvas and recycled cardboard

I am going through creative withdrawal this past couple of weeks as I had to have surgery on my right hand…I am right-handed .  So I have this cast on my hand and arm allowing me very little mobility, so no messing around with paint and collage for a while.  I have a cast on for 6 weeks!  So I’m  trying to find other ways of being creative.  I have been checking out various artist blogs and storing  inspiration for when I am able to paint again.One of my favorite artists right now is Donna Downey http://donnadowney.typepad.com/ She has some wonderful art journal tutorial videos.

Seek the Power Within

Just prior to my surgery I went on a creative frenzy trying out painting and collaging in squares of unstretched canvas.  I found I really enjoyed this process and did a few in just a matter of days.  Then the question of what to mount these canvas pieces on and I decided to recycle some cardboard, applied some gesso and then painted with various colours to coordinate with  my canvas creations. 

Pure Joy & Bliss

I then  mounted the canvas to the cardboard  using embroidery cotton and some recycled raffia I had just to add a bit more interest to the frame.  Afterwards I roughed up the cardboard with some sandpaper to give it a more weathered look and then used a bit of distressing ink.  I really like how they turned out and can’t wait to make some more. 

Until I can actually use my hand again I am going to try doing collage digitally in photo shop….need to have some creative outlet for the next 4 weeks otherwise I may go crazy….

The pics I have include are not the best as I scanned them and they were a bit bigger than my scanner. Hopefully it won’t be long before I can hold a camera again.

Happy creating to you


Recycled Baby Board Book into Birthday Book

My daughter celebrated a special Birthday yesterday and I wanted to do a little walk down memory lane in the way of a Birthday Book.  So I decided to take a bunch of pictures of her growing  up and incorporate them into a recycled baby board book. 

Recycled Birthday Board Book

I got the board book at Value Village, they sell little bags of kids books for $0.99.  I painted gesso on all of the pages to cover up the original pages and then added acrylics to the pages.  I printed copies of the photos in colour then cut them out to fit on the page and attached with soft medium gel and added some text and stamping to the pages. I also added some of my art journal pages that I copied and some other ephemera on the back pages with some beautiful quotes to follow your heart.  

Where ever you go - go with all your heart!

To finish it off I covered each page with modge podge to seal them.  It didn’t turn out exactly how I envisioned it – but I do like it and my daughter thought it was beautiful and I learned a lot about the different mediums I was using and what doesn’t work and that you need a lot of patience especially when it comes to drying time. 

Birthday Board Book

What did I learn from the process – I probably should have roughed up the pages with some fine sandpaper to get the paint to adhere better to the pages so that the paint does not chip off; that chalk ink pads smear when you try to cover with gel mediums so does the black gel pen I used to do some of the text, spray varnish is hard to control and takes a long time to dry so that the pages don’t stick together. 

I have a few more board books to use in the future and will try adjusting my techniques to see if I get better results.  It is all a learning process…..

Until next time happy creating!