Art Journal Fairy Princess

ATT00004This week, I continued playing around with my spray bottle backgrounds, and using spray paints and junk mail to make paper dolls and cutouts for my journal.  I like the crisp definition a cutout brings to the image.  I also like the 3-D pop-out effects like with the flower.  I want to experiment more with pop-ups.  I would like to try my hand at a dinosaur or dragon.  For now, I’m just playing around with flaps.

ATT00007As you can see, in this entry a fairy princess is hiding inside a flower. This gives me all sorts of ideas for spring entries or even a painting or two.  For now, however, I am content to continue working in my journal and creating youtube videos.

ATT00001I bought another webcam and downloaded software that lets me film Picture-in-Picture!  I will have to work on a better way to mount the cameras, though.  For now, they are hanging by wire hangers and guitar strings.  I will continue to make improvements to my video studio because that is the area that I’m most interested in right now.  I would like to create and sell a series of How To videos based on the classes I am teaching at the local trade school.  I will probably have the first of those online after the first of the year.  In the meantime, I will continue to learn this new medium!  You can see the video of this week’s journal entry at or watch it in the embedded viewer below:

Art Journal for Veteran's Day

morethanwarHello Peoples!  Another week has passed here at The Artistic Biker, and I have uploaded another video on YouTube!  I REALLY enjoy making those videos almost as much as I like making the art journals.  This week, as you can see, I did a very “Americentric” tribute to veteran’s for the upcoming Veteran’s Day holiday.

Snapshot(0)I always start out by spreading gesso on the pages.  Not only does it prep the paper so that the watercolors and acrylics don’t destroy it, I LOVE the texture and the leathery feel it gives the paper.  I use a LOT of gesso on this and just about everything else I work with now.

Snapshot(1)Then I use my watercolor crayons to lay in the hues and overall lighting effects I want for the piece.  With the transparent acrylics I use, this saves a lot of shading at the other end of the piece.  By putting these colors down first, I can build layers on top of them and not have to worry about where the lighting is going to fall.

Photo0189I drove through the neighborhoods looking to take some reference photos.  I found several flags, but incredibly I chose a day that the wind was not blowing in Oklahoma.  I’m sure that is one of the signs of the Apocalypse.  Ultimately, I selected this shot for the “furling” it has.

Photo0182I also cruised over to the local recruiting office to get some photos of our service men and women in uniform.  I still feel a deep sense of pride when I greet the people serving our country today.  It brings back so many very emotional memories of when I served.  There is an aura of professionalism around most of them that you just can’t fake.  I got a few great pictures and chose the one on the right of this young man saluting the flag.

Snapshot(2)Using my reference photo, I sketched the flag onto the journal page with a blue watercolor pencil.  The pencil washes away with the acrylics and helps to add a shadow to the bottom of each seam of the flag.

Snapshot(3)I put the reference photo away and begin laying in the colors.  I won’t look back at the photo from here on out.  Photo realism is cool, but not really what I look for in my art.  By the time I get to this point, it’s all about how it makes me feel.

Snapshot(5)I printed the photo of the soldier on a transparency sheet and tried to do a gel medium transfer.  I’m pretty sure I used the wrong type of gel medium because it didn’t work out the way they demonstrate it in all the youtube videos out there.  However, it did transfer a NICE silhouette of the soldier’s salute.  I darkened the whole thing and then went back in with some highlights.  I left the back edge of the soldier transparent as it looks as though the colors of the flag are reflected light on his uniform.  Sometimes, the mistakes give you better results than perfect technique ever could.

Finally, I went around the edges with black acrylic paint and did a spatter effect with red, white, and blue paints.  If you have any questions, please feel free to post them here, or e-mail them to me and I will be happy to answer what I can.  So, without any further ado, here is this week’s WIP video:

Artist's Trading Cards

passmeknottAnother area where mixed media art is really fun is on Artist’s Trading Cards.  This started as a way for forum members, like all the folks over at wetcanvas or scribbletalk, to work up a little memento for each other.  You would make a couple dozen of these and share them with others.  Eventually, you would have an entire collection, some of which may actually be famous artists.

atcprepI have been making some of these recently and I thought I would share them with you.  On Twitter the other day, my friend and fellow golf enthusiast, Hack, asked me about doing a little piece for him as a new avatar or just to spruce up his site.  We never really discussed it much more than that, he mentioned he was interested and I made note of it.  Later, however, I had an idea of what I would paint for my golf enthusiast buddy.

10ofdiamondsI don’t know if there is an accepted size for these things, but I like to use standard playing cards.  They are 2.5″ x 3.5″, just right for a shirt pocket, a key chain, a door hanger, or for display in a matte frame or baseball card case.  I just shuffle ’em up and pick one to start.

underdrawingAfter two coats of gesso, I used mod podge to glue a piece of junk mail to the front of the card.  This was mostly just to conceal the ten of diamonds.  I layed out my underdrawing with a gray watercolor pencil and began mixing my paints.

spraystuffAfter painting the greens green with acrylic poster paint, I used my spray bottles to add depth and texture.  A yellow mist in the front and blue in the back gave the grass some depth with atmospheric perspective.  It also added in the hues for the reflected sunlight and sky line.  An extremely light mist of black from the bottom and then dry brushed side to side put shadows into the grass.

girl2snackingAfter painting in the trees, golf ball, putter etc., I sprayed it down with a few coats of acrylic sealer.  I love the matte finish it creates and keeps the acrylics from being sticky.  Girl2 ate her lunch outside with me as we enjoyed working in the afternoon sun.

backsidemessThen I coated the back and adhered my contact information.  Like many others, I print my own business cards.  Here, I cut them up, glue them down and add layers of paint to give a “finished” look to them.  I have decided to use spray glitter every time I do this.  I just love it. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!  And then I sealed it with clear acrylic sealer.

killingtimeI usually spend entirely too much time on these things.  They are just supposed to be quick little projects but they end up taking a few hours to complete with the different layers and effects I try to use.  Girl2 plays with my camera while I kill time playing guitar.  We sang Puff the Magic Dragon while waiting on a layer to dry.  Most of the time, I use a hair dryer to speed this process up, but sometimes you have to let it dry naturally to get the desired effect.  The thing to remember is that it is the PROCESS that we are enjoying so if it takes a little while longer, that’s fine.

Ultimately, I ended up with a pretty nice looking card to give to my friend.  Here is the final card, front and back, along with a card I did for my mom’s embroidery shop, Pass Me Knot Embroidery, and a Calabaza for my pumpkin because she wanted one too.


Rainy Daze

03OCT2009messWow!  What a busy weekend I’ve had.  We got up early Saturday morning to go to Girl2’s soccer game.  Then we spent the day at Rose State College for Global Oklahoma.  We came home just in time to watch a close, but disheartening OU football game.  We got our art on in our journals.  My li’l pumpkin made a really cool background that looks sort of marble.  She was just scribbling in watercolors, but we’re going to figure out how to do it on purpose.  Then, after the girls got back from (or would have been back from, if they’d gone) church, Girl2 and I spent some time trying to figure out how to make spray foam pumpkins to carve!

I’ll try to post about all of that throughout the week.  For today, I’m just going to post this week’s art journal entry, “Rainy Daze.”

03OCT2009backgroundFirst, I gessoed the pages to give them a nice thick texture.  Then I broke out some new toys!  I bought some *La Cheapay spray bottles at Wal*Mart.  I put in about a tsp of acrylic poster paint and filled them the rest of the way with tap water.  I mixed up yellow and blue to give a background effect similar to that of a “rainshine” day.  At this point, I got excited about the effect and ease of the spray bottles that I forgot to take pictures of the next few steps.  I painted large circles of gesso in the upper left and lower right corners and used a dry brush technique to try and blend the edges with the background.  Then I used white acrylic poster paint to make a smaller circle inside and used the same technique so that it would spotlight the pages.

spraybottlesThen I began using watercolor crayons to draw my window with the cups to catch rain water, and the 100 year old wallpaper that surrounds it.  I painted a leafy bush from outside and a closeup of one of the leaves.  I have no idea what kind of plant it is, but it’s a lot like trumpet creeper in that if you don’t trim it back, it will take over your entire house.  Once I had those painted, I decided to mix up a black spray bottle to darken the borders of the page.  I LOVE this effect.

junkmailI keep those little cards I get in the mail advertising specials, inviting me to political meetings, advising me to pay my water bill, and I use them to mix paints.  After I have one used up, I throw it into the recycling bin.  I really like to use those little paper party plates.  After someone has used one to carry around her snacks and left it on my table, I can simply wipe it down and reuse it for paint mixing.  As it is, we haven’t entertained in a VERY long time so I don’t have any.

waterdropI mixed up some various blues all from the acrylic poster paint set.  Then I painted a water droplet.  I am EXTREMELY proud of my water droplet.  I have never before attempted to paint one with acrylic paints and I am very pleased with the results!

Once I had that done, I added my text entry and *wallah!

It won't stop raining! My 100 year old house is not standing up well to the rain. The plants are quite happy: Plenty of rain, plenty of sun, & I can't MOW!

It won't stop raining! My 100 year old house is not standing up well to the rain. The plants are quite happy: Plenty of rain, plenty of sun, & I can't MOW!

*Because I like to make fun of France.

Experimentation Final!

2oz Glue Moistener

2oz Glue Moistener

For the past few weeks I have been posting on Monday’s Discovery about my attempts to turn a glue moistener into a large waterbrush.  Then intent was to be able to shape the sponges and fill them with the color paint I wanted to lay down quickly.  In playing with these, however, I have found another application that I rather like.  When sketching in the field with a water brush, it is difficult to lay large amounts of color down, like sky or grassy fields.  Filling one of these with a blue mix for sky, or just using it to lay the backround wash seems to work fairly well!

WCtreesIII1Last week, I cut open the cap of this sucker and packed it with polyester batting to help control the flow of water.  With out that, the water just streamed out of the moistener and washed the color away just as fast as it layed it on.  Once the rubber cement dried to hold the batting in place, this thing worked like a charm!  Being that the sponge is synthetic with no natural pits or shapes, I will have to take a pair of scissors to cut and shape it into something more interesting.  But it holds paint pretty well and it was able to lay the colors down with some interesting patterns.

I threw this together just to demonstrate it’s effectiveness.  I ran out of patience because this is the only thing between me and a beautiful road trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas on the bike!