Big problem, but I got it covered . . .

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My nifty new ultra-cheap ultra-cool floor covering in the studio workshop room

So when I moved into the new Studio, two of the rooms had wood-grain floors that I was really afraid of messing up with paint and glue and art stuff. I tried a drop cloth, but kept tripping over it and saying bad words. I tried plastic sheets, and that was worse. Think Attack of the Saran Wrap Monster.

In desperation, I went to Home Depot and asked a nice guy named Dave what might work. He showed me this fantastic indoor/outdoor carpet that is a perfect solution!

I’m sharing this with you guys in case you need something cheap and durable for your workroom floor. It’s called Elevations Indoor/Outdoor carpeting, and it comes in 12″ and 6″ widths. They cut it for you with a giant machine to whatever length you want. I got enough to completely cover two big rooms for less than $100. I kid you not.  Cheaper than canvas drop cloths.

This is where I taped a seam together with clear packing tape - works great.

This is where I taped a seam together with clear packing tape – works great.

The sheets of carpet lie flat and are light enough that I could lay them down by myself – I moved half of the furniture to one side of the room, lined the carpet up and rolled it out part-way, moved the furniture back on that half, then – well, you get the picture. No glue, no tape – when you move out, you just roll it up!

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You can see how nicely the edge of the carpet meets the door – it’s not glued down and it still lies flat.

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It has a tightly-woven grain – not bad looking at all!

 This carpeting comes in four colors – I picked “Stone Beige”, of course – Neutrals ‘R’ Me – but they also had a pretty blue, a grassy green, and a nice gray. It’s worth the purchase just to see them cut the stuff with the 20′ long cutting machine. Rowwrr.

And that’s your Studio Tip for the Day, kids – by the way, don’t you just love the way Home Depot smells when you walk in? It makes you feel all strong, like you really want to buy a chain saw or a flat of Sheetrock. Yeah!!

Elevations at Home Depot – great for art studio floors – yay. Hmmm, wonder if they’ll give me a discount for this free advertising  . . .?

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September Spirit Dolls

Lyn's workshop demo spirit doll

Lyn’s workshop demo spirit doll, “Leafwing”

There’s something about a Spirit Doll workshop that gives me goosebumps. I think it’s because in just three hours, a group of willing people trust their creative instincts to combine some sticks and clay and cloth and build the most amazing mysterious little beings. It’s really magical!

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You’ve seen my Spirit Doll workshop videos before, and every group is special – this one was particularly memorable. It may have been because of the mix of people, several of whom had come from far away and had never been to the Studio before. There was a lot of welcoming and bonding before the three hours was over.

So this time, I have two videos to share with you. The first one shows the magic of the group pulling together their Spirit Dolls one by one.

And the second one is for YOU. It shows you step-by-step photos of how I made the prototype for yesterday’s workshop just in case you get inspired and want to try this for yourself. I hope you enjoy them both.

Ready to make your own? Here are the basics (especially if you’re a visual learner)!

Finally, if you want all of the Spirit Doll tips and techniques and variations that I have ever tried, I have a DVD called The Magic of Spirit Dolls from my two-hour Artful Gathering class. Just sayin’ – if you missed the workshop, you can capture the “spirit” of it on video! Just click on the image for the link. End of commercial break – have a happy Labor Day!

 

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Pale and painterly papers

A collection of pale papers by Lyn and Lesta

A collection of pale papers by Lyn and Lesta

Lesta Frank and I are teaching a workshop this month called Whiter Shades of Pale. Recently we got together at my studio to play with surface design of all kinds and create papers that have subtle painterly textures and intriguing variations of the palest tints.

The workshop has been sold out for a while, but I thought you might like to see some of the results from our pre-workshop experiments.

The first idea, below, is so simple – you just do a reverse stamp onto tan kraft paper (like a shopping bag) using a white stamp pad or white acrylic paint soaked into a damp piece of felt. Another variation we did was to roll white acrylic paint onto a textured placemat and print the design onto the tan paper.

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Below, tissue paper has been painted with clear acrylic matte medium, which causes the paper to wrinkle a bit, and then it was sprayed with walnut ink. It’s almost like tinted glass!

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This is one of my favorites. Lesta stenciled white acrylic paint onto deli paper using a small paint roller, and after it was dry, soaked it briefly in strong coffee to “age” it.

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This is an easy “cheater-ly” way (below) to make multiples of subtle designs for ready-made custom collage paper. We just lay various pale papers on a scanner, scanned them in to the computer, and then printed out 8.5″x11″ composite-designed papers. Lesta tinted the face on the example below with Portfolio oil pastels.

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Cheesecloth can be used in so many ways to add interest to collages with pale papers. You can Gesso it and let is dry, then cut it into fragments. You can use Gold Gesso as well. You can also add it as a layer over textures, then paint over it with light tints of acrylic paint.

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Finally, don’t forget that you can lighten images with your printer using MS Word – here’s a Renaissance face with its contrast decreased, printed on a plain piece of inkjet paper and mounted to matboard. I punched holes and will attach this to a collage as one of the final layers – hmm, and maybe cover it partially with tissue?

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If you want to play around with pale papers, here are some materials you might want to try.

I hope you have a chance to use some of these ideas – you can make just a few pale papers and collage little 3×5″ creations for cards. Or whatever – pale is pretty!

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Tissue techniques and encaustic exploration

15We had a full house for yesterday’s Wax and Tissue workshop. Everyone was particularly interested in how to print images on delicate tissue paper. If you do an Internet search, you’ll find all kinds of methods to do this.

Most of the methods involve taping or tacking the tissue on all four sides to a sheet of regular copy paper. I just cut the paper slightly smaller than the copy paper, put two pieces of clear tape at the top, and run that sucker through the printer. So far, so good – I printed about 25 sheets for the workshop and had only two of them crunch up in the printer. Not bad odds considering how thin tissue paper is.

In my example below, you can see how the bird image, printed on tissue paper, becomes translucent when wax is applied over it. It’s always interesting to see how unpredictable the translucent images appear when wax is applied over them. Different kinds of tissue yield different results. I use just plain old wrapping tissue and I iron it first to get the creases out. Works like a charm.

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Lyn Belisle, demonstration piece done during wax and tissue workshop

You can see in my demo piece, above, that the bird image, which was printed on plain white tissue, has a translucency that conceals and reveals elements of the collage above and below it. In the workshop, we started with two opaque “anchor” images and then added layers of wax and tissue to build up our narratives. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience – everyone was experimenting and developing the best stories as the process evolved. Here’s the video – what do you think? Pretty cool, right?

If you’d like to see what the supply list looks like, you can go to Roses on my Table, a site developed by the fantastic Zinnia from Artful Gathering. Michelle Belto and I have an online class there on Wax and Tissue, but you don’t have to register for the class to get the supply list. You can just click on the Material and Supply List link to see both sources and “ingredients” for this project.

Encaustic Month at Lyn Belisle Studio ended on a high note! And mark your calendar for next Saturday’s Show and Tell from 2-4 pm. Happy Monday!

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Waxy weekend, comfortable camaraderie

Saturday and Sunday I taught two encaustic workshops at the Studio – both were what’s become the signature class called “Behind the Veil.” We work with vintage photos, learn about the AB3s of composition, and create lovely little mixed media stories that have depth and mystery.

On both days, everyone was relaxed, happy and spectacularly creative. I thoroughly enjoyed the company! The video shows happy smiles and super-nice work.

If you weren’t able to be there with us but would like to try this, I’m giving you a couple of handouts that we used in the workshop. Both are from my eBook called “Behind the Veil.”

Page Four has a list of materials that you’ll need to do this project along with some great tips on image sources, and Page Five shows you how to set up your workspace and gives you wax and safety info. Help yourself to these, and if you’d like to download the whole eBook, you can get it here.

Happy Monday!

Rainy day re-discovered books, and FF winner

Does this sound familiar? You’re looking for a particular book in your overcrowded art book stash, and you find one or two that you forgot you even bought. You check them out – hey, wow! These are good! Just what you were looking for and didn’t even know it! Serendipity strikes again.

That just happened to me on this rainy stay-in morning, so I’m sharing these with you – the first one is Mixed Media Books by Gabe Cyr. It is a treasury of mixed media ideas, and not just for re-imagined books.

The Tools and Material section alone is worth the price of the book, including a great page on adhesives with a chart comparing and contrasting different ways to stick stuff to other stuff. And the photos are drool-y.

Mixed Media Books by Gabe Cyr

Mixed Media Books by Gabe Cyr

 

It's about more than just altered books

It’s about more than just altered books

 

There's a nice section on collaboration

There’s a nice section on collaboration

 

The second is a book published in 2010 by Annie Lockhart called Objects of Reflection: A Soulful Journey through Assemblage. Annie Lockhart’s recent work is based on Soulful Painting, but this is all about collections and construction.

This book is wonderful for anyone doing assemblage because it has maps and legends of the components. And it has another invaluable section on joining things together. The book is printed on tan paper with monochromatic photos – interesting.

Prompts and inspirations

Prompts and inspirations

A legend of components

A legend of components

Objects of Reflectin by Annie Lockhart

Objects of Reflectin by Annie Lockhart

One big fat request: I’m giving you the Amazon links so you can “look inside” but if you want to order these books, please PLEASE check first with your independent book store and see if they have them or can get them for you!!  If you’re in San Antonio, here’s a link to The Twig Book Shop.

And now – tah dah – the winner of the Cat Starter Kit Friday Freebie is – – – – – Carlos Haun. Carlos, email me about how to collect your Shaman Kitty kit.

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Indigo Blue, Take Two

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The magic of indigo never gets old, even to novice fiber artists like me. Sunday’s workshop was flat-out fun – many thanks go to Mary Ann Johnson, whose expertise in shibori and dyeing greatly enhanced our experience. The weather was perfect – our fabric dried quickly in the breeze and the sunshine on our makeshift clothesline.

Here are the basics of how we did it:
The fabric is tied, clamped, rusted stitched, crumpled – any or all. Then it is submerged slowly into the indigo vat for about a minute. The bound fabric is gently removed from the dye bath, avoiding  splashing or dripping into the vat, as this introduces oxygen back into the dye. The fabric looks green when you first take it out of the bucket. This is when the magic happens (or to be more precise, chemistry). Indigo develops its color when it is exposed to oxygen. Once the fabric is in contact with the air, it starts changing color and turns from green to blue. You can see some of this happening in the video, below.

If you are new to this process, I highly recommend that you start with the Jacquard Indigo Kit. It has everything you need to make true indigo plant-based dye. The video below, from Jacquard, shows how to do it.

Things to watch out for – holes in rubber gloves!  The biggest danger, though, is addiction to indigo dyeing, particularly when you realize it can also dye paper and yarn.

I can’t wait to cover some journals with my indigo fabric, and perhaps combine indigo-dyed paper with encaustic. It’s true blue indigo love!

 

 

Composition Camp – transferring ideas

In yesterday’s workshop at the Studio, we explored composition through a mixed-media collage process using Ebony pencils, watercolor pencils, stencils, graphite transfer paper, white tempera paint, TAP heat transfers and digitally altered images. This non-traditional combination of tools led to some pretty spectacular results!

Image transfer, whether done with graphite sheets, TAP paper, gel mediums or any other method is simply another way of selectively inputting and arranging images on a substrate. It’s neither “cheating” or “tracing.” Even if drawing is not your forte, you can use graphite media to produce striking lights and darks in a classic drafting  style. Look at some of the work by iconic painter Larry Rivers to see how a master uses this technique.

We had some poets and prose writers in yesterday’s group – always a good sign for cross-genre inspiration! And our post-workshop critique was one of the best I can remember. There were lots of dream images and personal insights floating around. Fascinating stuff! Here are a few photos from a very rich and productive afternoon! Thanks, All!

I’m headed to Boston tomorrow for a few days so I can see the family and come home with a renewed appreciation of South Texas temperatures (it’s supposed to be 17F while I’m there – yikes). Now, y’all go outside, smell the Mountain Laurel, and bask in this lovely weather!

Texas Mountain Laurel - scratch and sniff :)

Texas Mountain Laurel – scratch and sniff 🙂

 

 

I screen, you screen . . .

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Lisa Stamper Meyer, “Mysterious Miasmas” Acrylic on Paper

What a treat to have the multi-talented Lisa Stamper Meyer at my Studio yesterday teaching a workshop on Silk Screening for Mixed Media Artists! Lisa is amazing – You can see her work at The Gallery at Gruene Lake Village. She’s a patient teacher, generous in her expertise.

I have to admit that I wasn’t ready to add one more thing to my repertoire, but – wrong! This process has so many possibilities. Everyone who participated said the same thing. The inspirations for using this idea on fiber, on handmade paper, with encaustic are unllimited – I’m sold!

Take a look at the video, and then do some exploring on the EZscreen process with the links I’ve listed at the end of this post – many thanks to Lisa for an amazing afternoon.

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ikonicsimaging.com

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Calligraphy Guild, a project for YOU, and a Friday Freebie – or two . . .

10Last night, I visited the San Antonio Calligraphy Guild to show them how to make a pretty paper pocket purse/pendant project (say that three times fast) and a folding votive screen card. Calligraphers are nice people! I can’t wait to see how they take these projects and adapt them to their own many talents.

Here are some photos – there were 30+ participants, all cutting and gluing and having fun and following the directions (mostly!)

ppppI thought that YOU might like to have the directions for the pretty paper pocket purse, so as the first Friday Freebie, I’m giving you a link to the downloadable Pocket Pattern handout that I gave the calligraphers last night. All you need is 9×12″ construction paper and 8.5×11″ decorative paper, plus some ribbon and such. Easy!

And to sweeten the deal (after all, it’s getting close to Valentine’s Day), I’ll give away TWO Friday Freebies, the little purses pictured below, one to each of two lucky SHARDS subscribers. Just be a subscriber by Sunday at midnight – winners announced Monday morning. Good luck, and happy weekend!!

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Gaisha

geisha