Saturday, July 9, 2011

Art Is Where You Find It

It is, you know. Just take a look around, and you will find amazing things that could translate into art. A clutch of leaves in an interesting pattern, a crack in metal with rust around it, paint you put on paper--things like that.

I've been on a texture kick lately. I have taken my little point-and-shoot camera everywhere, and made a pest of myself in friends' houses; I have climbed into park flower beds to shoot birch bark, delayed leaving a restaurant to shoot some interesting wood, and taken pictures of glass vases through shop windows. My family and friends have laughed indulgently, knowing I was on another one of my crazy kicks. But I notice that after I have taken a few pictures, they begin to point things out to me--"Did you get that?" my daughter asks, pointing at a piece of interesting wood on the beach in Fairhaven, and when I complain that the footing is a bit iffy for a person of my advanced age, she offers to get the shot. Which she does. It's catching, you see.

Here's a good example of the kind of nutty thing I look for. Who would guess that this is the layer of crackle paint on a page of a book I am working on?

Compare that to this shot of white bark peeling.
That's the sort of thing I have been up to with my camera.

But that isn't the only thing I have been up to. On most Fridays I go up to Open Studio at ArtWorks in Edmonds, where I teach, and do stuff that requires spreading out, something that is hard to do at home. Also, at ArtWorks there is good company and it is fun to see what other artists are doing.

This past Friday, I was working on an Art Journal. Now normally I wouldn't waste my art-making time not making art but journaling about it. I have a hard time "journaling" about anything, although I have a lovely collection of blank books to journal in, should I find a reason to do so. I am actually surprised to find myself blogging, because this journaling thing kind of intimidated me. But I guess this is different than blank paper. I have a hard time making that first mark on blank paper.

Anyhow, I decided that for this Art Journal, I would make some frottage pages. I took some blank pages out of my journal--it is wire-bound, so that is easy to do--and set about doing the rubbings, using some texture folders I have and Prismacolor pencils. I had already made the title page at my friend Ami's on Tuesday, using oil pastels, both water soluble and not, using different textures from my "ooh, that piece of plastic would make a great texture" collection. I like frottage, both to make backgrounds and to define particular spaces. Frottage is the fancy word the Dada folks made up for rubbings. Personally, I think they could have come up with something that didn't sound like soft French cheese, but that's just me.

So, here are some of my Art Journal pages. They use frottage, mostly, but there is some stenciling; I also have sealed everything with clear gesso since I got them home. I am not sure what I will do with the pages from now on, but this is a start. At the end is a page I did over gesso for a book I am working on. I used plastic letters intended for scrapbooking and such as a stencil, and water colored over it. Incidentally, I only use artist quality water color, because the results I get are more satisfactory with those. But I do use crafty paints and all sorts of acrylics for a lot of the stuff I do.

Hope you enjoy the examples! Cheers, Nan

This is the title page, using oil pastels

This doesn't have much on it, but I like it; I used a Tim Holtz texture folder

Here I covered the whole page with frottage clocks and gears by Tim Holtz

Here I used a stencil made from lacy scrapbook paper and water color and spray dye.
This used the Tim Holtz plastic letters as a stencil; not part of the Art Journal

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