Monday, October 22, 2012

Going Steampunk

My page theme this month for the Honolulu Altered Book Swap was Steampunk.  I know it's popular. And yet, I've never done anything in this style. My husband was my best resource to learn about it.  He explained that Steampunk a kind of retro-futuristic style, with wildly-imagined inventions and anachronistic technology.  And the retro part is usually based on the Victorian period.

So my page is based on that description and all the image examples he showed me (including a movie or two).  I found my two main images on Graphics Fairy, and used my Cricut mini to make the beautiful wings (aged with Ranger black soot distress powder).

I hope my book partner will enjoy receiving it as much as I liked making it.

Left side

 Right Side

I used lots of metal here

and here

And die-cut some beautiful wings.

It's fun to get out of your comfort zone now and then.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Distressed image Alfred Stevens

I've been playing around with distressing photos in Photoshop.  I found a great little tutorial here:  

Here is my first effort.  The image is a painting by Alfred Stevens. I uploaded it original size, so you can grab it for yourself, a freebie from me to you.  I'll be doing more of this distressing. So much fun!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Art is You

Last weekend I joined a group of fellow artists at the Art is You workshop in Stamford, Connecticut.  It's a first for me -- I have attended selected classes at various locations, but I've never had 3+ days solely devoted to classes with various artists of my choosing.  Let me just say that I was in heaven, and I have ever intention of going again next fall.

Many of the instructors at the event rarely teach on the East coast, so I knew I had to find a way to make it work.  I took not one but two encaustic wax classes with Serena Barton. Although I've worked with beeswax before, I've always wanted to learn to work with encaustic medium because the resin mixed in causes it to dry to a much more solid consistency than plain wax.  The first class we took was to actually paint portraits with the encaustic medium -- and since I love portraiture, this was right up my alley.  We brought some photos for inspiration, and though the painting below doesn't look a whole lot like my inspiration photo, I love the final outcome (especially the crackly, crusty finish!):

In the second encaustic class, also with Serena Barton, we took an old, discarded book and enrobed it in wax, lace, vintage buttons, velvet bits, fragments of old papers, and a carved niche with a frozen charlotte doll nestled in a blanket of raw lambswool.  Strands of sari ribbon and pearls cascade from the center of the book.  Can you tell that I'm in love with it?

See the frozen Charlotte doll?  She's not an original -- they sell for anywhere from $20 - $2,000.  But she still looks lovely in the niche, don't you think?  

The pendant on the left page is something I made at Key's 4 Art last February. 
It was perfect for this book.

 This is the back of the book, which is just as beautiful as the front.
I wanted it to look like it was just unearthed from an attic.

I love the texture and color the resin imparts to this piece.

The book was a tome by Charles Dickens, but I couldn't resist 
layering on some vintage Farmers Almanac papers I picked up recently.

Those black diagonal lines are a process called etching. Texture is carved into the
wax with a sharp tool, and oil paint is applied and partially removed.

More etching, this time as faux handwriting.

I will be doing a lot more of this, for sure.  In fact, I'll have a hard time stopping myself from covering everything within reach with encaustic.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Altered Ancestors

I belong to an art exchange group whose newest project is to invent ancestors for ourselves and create a journal with photos (altered cabinet cards).  We each start it and then pass it around so other members can add to our story.

I started my journal off with an altered photo of a seamstress.  She owns a couture house and learned sewing from her mother and grandmother.  The book will feature members of her "family" and friends, all modeling garments from her collection.  When this book is passed around, other members will create additional pages to add to her story.

If you've ever watched House of Eliot on PBS, you'll know exactly where I got my storyline.

My seamstress ancestor.

And here is the beginning of the story...

The outside of the journal has an exposed spine with a chain stitch binding

I'll post again when the journal returns home in a year!