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Tree Specimen Book Continues

Tree Specimen Book Continues

I haven’t shown my tree specimen book since March. The main reason for this is because I got a bit discouraged. The book has plaster coated pages on canvas that were meant for sketches. But the pages are very rough so I needed to get more gesso to apply on top. I also decided to get some charcoal to use for a bit more “rough” sketching.ย  I got my supplies, painted all the canvas pages with gesso, let that dry for a while and then tried a sketch.

Handmade book open to a page with a sketch of a pine branch in charcoal.

The pages are still very rough and are difficult to sketch on. I was disappointed with my sketch and really didn’t enjoy the process. So that discouraged doing any more sketches. The book sat for quite a while with nothing added.

 

Then when I was painting other things, I had leftover paint. I hate to waste paint so I decided I would start painting the canvas pages. Then I could add more on top and there wouldn’t be that intimidating white page (that I didn’t like the feel when sketching).

Handmade book open to a page with a print of a tree and definition of tree collaged on top.

I showed you this one before but I added the definition of tree to the bottom. The fun thing about this book, is that you can keep adding as you go.

Handmade book open to a page with a print of a thicket of trees.

Here’s another print of a thicket of trees that I added.

Handmade book open to a page with a print of a tree stump and cut out leaves.

And this one is a print of a tree stump and some little blue leaves that I got from one of my friends. Thanks Christa!

So I haven’t given up on my book. I’m not sure it will ever be “finished”, but that’s OK. I will continue to add bits and bobs as time goes by.

 

 

Bad “art”

Bad “art”

If you’re anything like me, you’ll find it very hard to stick to one hobby alone. After all, there are too many temptations out there, and each creative endeavour fuels the brain differently – it’s fun to discover new materials to play and interact with, and see what comes out of the experimentations.

I rediscovered the love of journaling last October, and have since then filled two notebooks of ramblings, ideas, memories and opinions. As I progressed in my writing however, I noticed I was also very attracted by the notion of doing something visually creative with paper and stationery.

Now, I must add a disclaimer here: I don’t think the pages I filled are special. They’re not particularly beautiful or unusual, and that’s definitely not a negative thing – I started doing collages simply for the joy of playing with images and colours, and these were the space for me to have some non-commercial, creative fun. It was my way of relaxing and letting go of expectations, of “what will others think of this,” of any idea that one’s creative endeavours must always be amazing. I just wanted to get messy with glue and glitter.

A closed notebook on a white wooden surface

This is the cover of my A5 size notebook. It’s decorated with some leftover fabric (featuring cats, obviously) and the artwork from a tin of… Sardines? Cod? I might add more stuff to it as I go along, since I don’t consider any of the pages here “finished.”

Side view of my notebook, with all the wavy and textured pages

This notebook came with different types of paper, so I play with it depending on the “canvas” I want. As you can see, the middle pages have been used the most, and apparently I’ve not much love for plain white paper.

Open notebook, showing two pages of a collage

I tend to go by colour and texture, more than whether the things make sense together. My brain seems to enjoy adding stuff to paper until it looks filled enough and has things to make the eye wander.

Another two pages of my collage notebook, on a white wooden surface

Fabric scraps and teabags are game. See the eye on the lower left corner? I stole that from my husband’s studio, he’d removed it from one of his paintings – does this count as artistic appropriation?

Two unrelated pages of my collage notebook open

Collages made using medical information leaflets and other bits and bobs

If you can’t read the weird Balzac quote above, it is as follows: “No man should marry until he has studied anatomy and dissected at least one woman.” What a weird fellow he was (and I hope no one followed his advice!)

Collage using glitter, ink and paper

Collage in oranges, yellows and reds

I say this again proudly: none of these collages are groundbreaking or particularly good. What they are, is FUN. I loved making them with no end game in mind, no agenda and, until I decided to share them here, I was perfectly convinced none would ever see the light of day. It’s very liberating to create with full freedom from our inner critic and, if you’ve never tried, I urge you to give it a go. It might even fuel your creativity for the more “serious” stuff you make.

How many hobbies do you have? Are they all fibre- or textile-related? Let me know what’s tickling your crafty mojo lately in the comments section.

 

 

Handmade Mixed Media Tree ‘Specimen’ Book

Handmade Mixed Media Tree ‘Specimen’ Book

I have been continuing to slowly add bits and pieces to my tree ‘specimen’ book. You can see most of the ‘blank’ pages of the book in this post and some pages that have had ‘specimens’ added to them here.

This is definitely a ‘slow’ project that I am working on very intermittently. It’s been fun to pick it up again and just add a few things here and there without pressure to finish it or make it look perfect.

Mixed media book, front page painted watercolor background, machine stitched moss glued to background and definition of mossy torn paper glued down.

I added some more machine stitched moss to the first page and a definition of mossy.

Mixed media book open to left page painted cracked plaster on the left and torn sketchbook page with 'pine needles' on the right.

On this page spread on the left, I had one of my plaster coated pages but it had cracked significantly. I need to get some gesso to paint over these pages but since I haven’t ordered it yet, I decided to try something different. I layered different colors of paint on the cracked surface. You can click on the photo to enlarge it. The page on the right is a torn piece from one of my small sketchbooks. It kind of reminds me of pine needles. It was originally screen printed and I added colored pencil to enhance the look of the pine needles. Torn and messy is the point of this book so I ripped the sketchbook page and glued it down to a lightly painted background page. You can see the dark edges of the next page which is next up.

Mixed media book open to a page spread with an eco print of leaves and buds on the right hand side.

The page on the right is an eco print on paper that my friend Paula created. She has a big stash of these papers and kindly let me use a few.

Mixed media book open to page spread with blank plaster coated page on the right and back of eco print with cut out frame of painted paper and tea bag machine stitched skeleton leaf on the left.

This is the back side of the eco print above. I cut a window out of the painted background so you could see more of the backside of the eco print. I added a machine stitched tea bag leaf as well. The right side is another plaster coated canvas pages that needs to be gessoed and then drawn or painted on.

Mixed media book open to page spread with blank plaster coated page on the left and green painted paper background and stenciled/painted brown pine cone on the right.

This pine cone on the right was stenciled ages ago. I pushed some kind of thicker medium through the stencil to give a relief effect. It didn’t work all that well and got a bunch of bubbles in it. I painted it green at some point but didn’t like that either. I got it out of my paper stash and decided I needed to finish it. I added walnut ink, sepia marker and matte medium to get it to a point that I was satisfied with it looking like a pine cone. It also needed more strategic cutting out than I had done previously. I glued it down to the painted background letting a little bit of the pine cone stick out over the edge of the page. This is a testament to never giving up on a piece of artwork!

Mixed media book open to page spread with orange feathers woven into a gridded hand made paper on the left and an eco print glued to a dictionary page on the right.

Next to the feathers that I had shown you in my last post, I glued another one of Paula’s eco prints down on to the dictionary page. I can’t decide if this page needs something else but I will just leave it for now. I do want to leave more simplified areas where the eye can rest.

Mixed media book open to page spread, blank plaster coated page on the left and painted skeleton leaf on the right.

This one on the right is the last page that I worked on this time. It was originally a deconstructed screen print on paper all in the brighter green. When I was looking through the book, this page caught my eye as I saw a leaf in the middle of the page. I used Inktense pencils and then water on a brush to make the darker leaf appear more strongly on the page. I hope you can tell I am having fun with this. It is a very freeing process not worrying about the final outcome.

 

100 Day Collage Challenge

100 Day Collage Challenge

My local art group doesn’t meet over the summer but we decided to do a collage challenge. The challenge was to create a collage every day using at most 3 pieces of paper and to only take 12 minutes to create the collage. I started the challenge on May 24th and reached my goal of 100 days on September 5th. The hardest issue I had with the challenge was the time restraint. Even with choosing my paper in advance, I had a hard time completing a collage in 12 minutes. So I ignored the time limit but tried to keep it under 30 minutes. No waffling around on how it went together.

Today, I’m showing you some of my favorite collages. There were some that turned out good and others, not so good. But it was a great way to work on color studies, composition and to do something creative to start out my day. If you would like to see all 100 collages, you can check them out on my Instagram account here:

Ruth Lane Instagram

In case you’re wondering, I have a huge plastic tub filled with paper that has been gelli printed, screen printed, hand painted, printed with block prints and whatever other techniques I have done in the past. So I have a wonderful source of papers to use for collage. If you are thinking of trying this challenge, you can use whatever paper sources you have. Many artists use magazine photos, open source online photos, wrapping papers, or whatever they have on hand.

So here are a few of my favorites. You can click on the photos to enlarge if you’d like to see them closer. I had a great time searching through my papers and creating a different collage every day.

Have you tried this type of daily challenge? We’d love to see your results and hear about the challenge. Let me know if you’d like to write a post about a challenge you have participated in.

And speaking of challenges, our third quarter challenge using botanicals as a theme is over at the end of this month. I think a few of my collages meet the guidelines! If you have something botanical to share for the challenge, please submit your photo here.

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