Thursday, January 24, 2013

Where do you scratch your pet?

Where to scratch your pet:

For the cat lovers...

...and the dog lovers.

Until a few years ago, the only pet I'd ever owned was a dog, and another dog, and another dog and, oh yeah, another dog.  You get the picture.

I've never liked cats, and that's the truth of it.   When I was 7 years old I got scratched up pretty badly by a cat I'd intended to bring home for a pet.  Since then, cats have known I despised them.  Even normally docile cats ran in fear from me.

So five years ago, when my dad passed away and his 15-year-old Himalayan cat was left behind, I was sure someone else in the family would take it in.  They all know my story.  But as it turned out, no one else could take the old boy in.  What could I do? Can't put a senior citizen up for adoption.   Reluctantly, I took him home.

It's a good thing my husband like cats, because I didn't even know how to clean a litter box or where to dump the doodoo.  (I made the mistake of throwing it in the toilet. Bad move.)

Five years later, I not only still have dad's cat, but I have another one, a ragdoll. Yeah, they grew on me.

So when I saw those diagrams of where to scratch your pet, it suddenly struck me:  I know cats almost as well as dogs, and I like them almost as much, too.  (Notice I said almost...)  Does this make me a cat person?

How about you?  What kind of pet do you scratch?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Tutorial - Image Transfer onto Sticky-Back Canvas

The floral "tape" at top is image-transferred onto sticky-back canvas.

Someone asked me how I do this, and while I was typing out the instructions I thought I'd post them here as well.   There are two methods I use, so I'll list them both.  Keep in mind that an image transfer is meant to be imperfect -- it has the look of an aged and tattered image.

The first method requires sticky-back canvas and an image.  Laser or toner-printed photocopies work well (remember to print in reverse if image includes writing);  or you can use a magazine image (I use images from old copies of Somerset or CPS) or  even pieces of scrapbook paper.  Claudine Hellmuth makes sticky-back canvas.

Cut the canvas to whatever size you wish. Remove the adhesive backing.  Press the image, print/image side down, onto the sticky side of the canvas.  Use a bone folder or other object to burnish (or press) all parts of the image firmly onto the canvas.  Now that you have the image down, it's time for the transfer.

Use a spray bottle to wet the top of the paper, then rub the surface with your fingers until pieces of the paper start coming off, at which point your image will be revealed. This step takes patience and is a little messy, but fun.  Be careful not to rub too hard as this can remove your transfer altogether. Continue until all the paper is removed and the image is completely visible/

The second method uses gel medium.  In this method, you are transferring the image to the right side of the canvas, preserving the adhesive side. You'll need the same materials as above, along with gel medium and a paint brush.  (Liquitex or Golden are the two gel mediums I've used.)    Completely cover your canvas with gel medium, using a medium coat. (This is something to experiment with.  Too light and the image won't transfer; too heavy and it will become blurred.)   Burnish the image onto the canvas and allow to dry for several hours or overnight.

After your image is completely dry, use a spray bottle to wet the top of the paper,  then rub the surface with your fingers until pieces of the paper start coming off, at which point your image will be revealed. This step takes patience and is a little messy, but fun.  Be careful not to rub too hard as this can remove your transfer altogether. Continue until all the paper is removed and the image is completely visible.  Cover your canvas with one more coat of gel medium to seal and protect the image, if you like.

And here is the rest of that tattered Valentine heart, which I made for someone in my yahoo group art swap:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Another Lacebook - this one for Karen

The next Lacebook installment is my pages for Karen, in Alaska.  Karen's theme is the artwork of pre-Raphaelite painter John William Waterhouse.  There are so many Waterhouse works of art to love - I truly enjoyed the research!  

I chose his well-loved painting, "Gathering Flowers," for these lacebook pages,  and I thought the image paired perfectly with Robert Herrick's early 1600's poem, "Gather Ye Rosebuds."  I included a pen nib because Herrick would, of course, have written that poem with an ink pot and pen nib.

I especially enjoy being part of round robin art exchanges because I'm always expanding my horizons and learning new things.  The pre-Raphaelites (Rosetti, Millais, Hunt, and Waterhouse, among others) were an interesting group.  Founded in the mid-1800's, they wanted a return to the intense colors and complex compositions of 15th century Italian and Flemish artists, like Michelangelo and Raphael.  Pre-Raphaelites wanted a return to the spiritual and artistic integrity of the Renaissance.  Sort of sweet and a little sad, this glance backwards just after the heyday of the Industrial Revolution.

Where would we be without the passion and ideals of artists, wherever that may take us?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

For my baby, on her birthday

My birthday letter from a few years ago has never been more true than now. Never accepting that you might not become pregnant two years ago, you climbed a HUGE mountain to conceive our Liam.  And your first birthday as a mommy finds you  (ssshhhhhh - no one knows yet)...with another little one on the way!!!

Your birthday letter is as true now as it was when I wrote it several years ago...

My Mallory,
Another year and I'm not sure where the time has gone. I'm not sure where any of the years have gone, because it seems like only yesterday when I was lying on the delivery table hoping for a girl, thinking about plaid pleated skirts and knee socks.  Who knew you would be wearing fireman hats and high-heeled jellies in three years?  I loved to dress you up and fix your hair and watch how happy you were with your special outfits. I loved all our movie nights and special outings.  My life would have a huge gaping hole in it right now had I not been given the gift of your light in my world. 

From the beginning you have been fiercely loyal to those you love, and most especially to your big brother who never seemed to do anything wrong in your eyes. I’m not sure who protected whom more, but you two are quite literally a match made in heaven.

You have always been a little harder on yourself than you are on others (maybe because you couldn’t do the things you thought you should be able to do when you were younger, like buttoning buttons) but you are always there to help others when they need it.

Ally, for Ben and Daddy and Lou and me, you are our princess in every way imaginable. Never forget that you are a cherished member of this family. Remember, too, that you have a divine and extraordinary place in this world and never stop seeking your passion and purpose in life.  Remember your beauty is not just on the outside but on the inside as well. Don’t ever underestimate your ability to move mountains when you have the desire to do so. Never doubt that the world is a better place because you are in it. And this above all else: never forget that I adore you - the little girl you will always be and the young lady you have become. 

Forever and always, Mama

Friday, January 4, 2013

I love trying products to see if I can come up with new effects or uses for them, and recently I was thinking of how to alter a photo to give it a unique vintage effect.  I found that, by starting with a photo printed on glossy paper and scratching the outer parts that aren't essential to the image, you can then use some of the Ranger silver metallic alcohol ink mixed with some extender and rub that onto the sanded areas.  It gives the effect of viewing a photo under a vintage silver mirror, where part of the photo is showing through.  (A little hard to show in this photo, but I tried to capture it.)

The other side of the page spread is a story about the girl in the picture. This is for a round robin group where we are creating imaginary ancestors for each other.  So much fun...

A handmade, shabby flower from vintage fabric.

A tattered button

And a sweet dove

Creating these pieces for my friends makes me so happy!  I'll add a little tutorial for the shabby flower in a few days.