Thursday, January 14, 2016

Off to the Sea...with Art-C Products

Okay, I'll admit's the dead of winter and I am already dreaming of summer by the sea. I can't help it! To help quench my desire for the ocean and all its wonder, I turned to my Art-C products for inspiration and creative fun.

I gathered my supplies; those I anticipate using. Quite often I change my mind as I go along and edit my supply list. First, I painted the 6" x 6" Art-C Wood Pallet with their Ultra Chalk Paint in white.

After an inky application through sequin waste, I reached for an Art-C stencil that reminds me of waves and thought it perfect for the background.

Some paint drips and an application of Art-C's Gel Stain in blue added some much needed blue to the piece.

Mark making ensued with bottle caps and bubble wrap.

I gathered elements from the Word Play Collage Kit from Art-C, added a message and along with blue burlap & some shells, my assemblage began.

Even as I look out from my art desk to a very wintry landscape, for a while I was warmed by the notion of the summer sea.

Products from Art-C:

- 6x6 wood pallet
- ultra chalk paint, white
- gel stain, blue
- word play collage kit

Additional supplies:

- burlap
- shells
- adhesive
- paintbrush
- Inktense blocks
- foam brush
- ribbon
- inks
- bottle cap
- sequin waste
- alphabet stamps
- vintage text

© Nancy Lefko

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Art Journaling by Somerset Studio ~ Winter 2016 and a GIVEAWAY!

From its inaugural issue, I've been a tremendous fan of Art Journaling by Somerset Studio; I've been privileged to have articles published in the magazine many times. It is always a delight to work with the magazine's editor, Amber Demien, who understands that art journals can be very personal and treats them with the utmost respect.

The most recent journal I submitted for publication is actually a series of four that were filled over the course of one year; a small journal bound and created for each season.

It was great fun to use colors, images and emotions based on the seasons and use the view from my art desk as never-ending inspiration.

One of the joys of experiencing an issue of Art Journaling is the exposure to the array of art journalers that make up our 'community.' There are countless styles and inspirations shared by a wide variety of artists; no two issues ever look alike. I use the phrase 'experiencing an issue' with intent; one doesn't merely 'read' this is, indeed, an experience!

I especially love the monthly column "ART JOURNALING at the Speed of Life" by Pam Carriker. In the interest of full disclosure, Pam and I are very good friends, albeit, long distance friends. When I read her articles I can hear her voice and the miles disappear. We also share such a love of art journaling that reading her take on the subject is a joy; not to mention, I love her style!

My favorite artwork from this particular issue is shared in the article by Mindy Lacefield, who also happens to be the Cover Girl. Mindy's work and her approach to her journaling comes straight from the heart. There is an honesty, sincerity and a soulfulness in Mindy's journaling. Her willingness to share her deep emotions in the magazine speaks to the respect that Art Journaling has for the artists and their very personal journals.

Any good discussion about art journaling offers up a journal prompt to the reader. Let me not fall short in that department! Let's take a page from Mindy's article entitled, 'Listen', and create a journal page of what we hear deep within our hearts when we take the time to LISTEN. I'd love to see what you create should you be moved to share. If you'd like to share a pic of your journal page on my Facebook page, you can do so in the comment section that accompanies the post about the magazine.

The marketing department of Stampington, Inc has graciously offered to send one of my readers a copy of this issue of Art Journaling. If you'd like to win a copy just leave a comment here, including a way for me to get in touch with you. Contest is open to U.S. residents only. Comments close on Friday, January 22nd.(If you have any difficulty leaving a comment here, just comment over at Facebook and you'll be in the drawing.)

Good luck & embrace your art journal!

© Nancy Lefko

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Saturday Fun with Art-C

As I am pretty well caught up on all things Christmas, I decided to take some time today to play around with more fabulous supplies from Art-C.

Using the Ephemera Collage Kit and a 3x5 wood pallet, this project was inspired by a very dear friend who is a consummate seamstress and uses her talents to inspire others and share her love.

I applied white chalk paint to the wood pallet and stenciled the scallop design with gold metallic paint using a sponge spouncer. I highlighted the edges of the pallet with chestnut gel stain.

Elements from the collage kit were distressed with chestnut gel stain and adhered to the wood pallet. The wooden 'love' element was painted with gold metallic paint and distressed with chestnut gel stain. Highlights were added to the ephemera elements with gold metallic paint.

A brass clip with silk ribbon was adhered to the bottom of the pallet.

Art-C Supplies:

-3x5 wood pallet
-ultra chalk paint - white
-metallic paint - gold
-gel stain - chestnut
-scallop stencil
-Ephemera Collage Kit
-brass clip

Other Supplies:

-silk ribbon

Many thanks to the folks at Art-C for providing such great supplies with which to create!

© Nancy Lefko

Monday, December 7, 2015

Fun with Art-C Products

When approached by Art-C to create a project with their supplies, I answered with a resounding "Yes!" I truly enjoyed their products while reviewing The GROOVE tool and welcomed the opportunity to explore even more.

When the products arrived, I gathered them together with some miscellaneous items of my own and soon a creative idea began to brew.

I began with an Art-C 6x6 wood pallet as a substrate and applied a dry brush application of their white chalk paint, followed by applications of chestnut and blue gel stains. I applied the gel stain with a foam brush, not needing much as a little goes a long way. I also used my fingers to blend the gel stain.

To create a splatter effect, I dipped a toothbrush in a bit of chestnut gel stain and flicked the bristles over the wood pallet.

Again with a dry brush, I applied the Art-C white chalk paint to a piece of torn corrugated cardboard. I added color to the edges and ribs with a foam brush and the chestnut gel stain.

Using a torn piece of decorative text paper from the Art-C Botanical Collage Kit, I applied chestnut gel stain to the edges and with a foam brush stenciled the word 'family' with an Art-C stencil.

I treated a 3x3 wood pallet with the same products (white chalk paint and chestnut & blue gel stains) and in the same manner as the 6x6 pallet. Onto that small pallet I assembled a gel stained doily and frame from the collage kit with a vintage photo and some tea-stained cheesecloth.

A cork sticker of leaves from the Botanical Collage Kit was highlighted with the chestnut gel stain and added to the assemblage.

After an application of chestnut gel stain to the edges of the postcard and words from the collage kit, I affixed them to the 6x6 wood pallet along with the corrugated cardboard and the 3x3 wood pallet assemblage.

The end result is a lovely & special tribute to family, all possible with these great products from Art-C:

- 6x6 wood pallet
- 3x3 wood pallet
- ultra chalk paint, white
- gel stain, blue
- gel stain, chestnut
- 'family' stencil
- botanical collage kit

Additional supplies:

- corrugated cardboard
- tea-stained cheesecloth
- adhesive
- paintbrush
- foam brush
- toothbrush

© Nancy Lefko

Monday, September 21, 2015

Journal Making

Yes, the last thing I need is another journal, and yet making them is so darn much FUN...I can't stop! I learned this technique for a cover from "Roses on the Table Journal Journey" and it's one I will use often as it yields a great looking journal in a short time. In just a couple of days, this journal went from start to finish. Filling the pages will take much longer, but that's irrelevant. It's all about the fun of book-binding.

After covering the cardboard cover with paper from a brown bag, I added design with stencils and molding paste. I settled a special word into the molding paste.

Watered down gesso comes next.

I used aqua and burnt sienna acrylic paint to give the journal an aged/verdigris look, then followed it up with a dry brush application of vanilla acrylic.

When the signatures and cover were ready, with holes punched, it was time to bind the book. Right now my favorite method is the long stitch but I hope to learn more techniques to vary the look of my journals.

I just love the way a hand bound journal feels in my hand...and the process of book-binding is great fun.

© Nancy Lefko

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Beginner's Luck

I've been playing along with The Documented Life Project - The Journal since the beginning of the year. The theme for September is "Journaling with Photos." This week's challenge is "Photo Transfer," and the journal prompt is "From Here to There."

I'll admit that when I saw the challenge I had an internal "ugh" feeling. I have always wanted to practice transfers; I even bought a book all about transfers, but never did anything more than the packing tape technique (which I never really liked anyway.)

Having read up on different transfer techniques many times over, I was under the impression that I needed a laser or toner copy to expect any success at all with the gel medium transfer technique. Given that all I can make are ink jet prints, I never tried. But with this transfer challenge staring me in the face, I decided to give it a shot anyway.

I coated the journal paper (140 lb. watercolor) with soft gel medium, then coated the image with the same. I applied the image to the journal page and burnished quite well with a bone folder. I let this dry overnight and this morning, with low expectations, removed the paper layer with wet fingertips. Well, I guess there really is such a thing as beginner's luck because the transfer came out pretty well. Not half-bad. It has the fuzzy nature I expected from a transfer, which given the vintage photo, I really do like. I believe I've just found a new way to enhance my art journaling.

© Nancy Lefko

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Groove: A Review

I was recently contacted by a representative of Momenta and asked if I might review the new GROOVE tool by ArtC. Always interested in new artful goodies, I quickly agreed. My Groove tool arrived along with an assortment of mixed media embellishments to use in future projects: tags, twine, stencils, etc. The box states that this tool is "for mixed-media exploration," so what better place for exploration, I thought, than my art journal.

I covered a journal page with vintage papers and gave them a coat of gel medium as I usually do before adding acrylic paint.

The GROOVE tool comes with four inter-changeable heads: brush, pad, fine gauge sandpaper and coarse grade. They are very easy to change; a simple push on/pull off. The GROOVE tool runs on 2 AA batteries (not included) and is operated with a simple slide switch: low, high, off.

I began with the brush tool and light blue acrylic paint. Wanting to cover the entire background with the paint, I found the brush needed to be re-loaded often and therefore the 9" x 12" area was more efficiently covered simply by using a foam brush.

After drying, I snapped on the pad tip to use with ink and the stencils provided by ArtC. I used a water-soluble ink, knowing that with only one pad tip I would need to be washing it out for frequent use with different color inks.

I used the GROOVE tool on the high setting and turned it on to load the ink. It gave good coverage through the stencils when I applied some pressure. At times it felt as if it were slightly "fighting" me as I moved it over the stencil, but nothing that interfered with the end result. I did find that as I was unable to see the back-side of the spinning pad, there were times when I went off the stencil and had ink where I didn't want it to be.

I found the ink tip handy for applying ink to the edge of a tag. Easy to do when held to the tag at a 45 degree angle.

Back to the brush tip, I used the GROOVE tool on low with acrylic paint and found that it worked quite nicely with stencils.

It worked best for me without a heavy application of paint. The heavier the paint application and the more intricate the stencil, the more likelihood of brush-unders.

When I backed off on the amount of paint, I had less of an issue with brush-unders. Again, using on the low setting worked best in this case. I think that with this spinning tool, adhesive backed stencils are really a must.

I tried both sanding tips and started with the fine grit against a card stock tag. It didn't seem to remove that much from the edge so I switched to the coarse tip , and on the high setting, it did rough up the card stock. I can see the convenience of having a sanding tool at the ready; I often sand the edges of Scrabble tiles to distress, and the GROOVE tool will be quite handy.

Once the card stock was distressed with the sanding tip, it received the ink with the pad tip that much more readily.

The brush and pad tips cleaned up easily with soap and water. The brush tip actually sat for quite a while, with dried paint, and still cleaned up with no trouble at all. I used the pad tip for more than one color before cleaning; it performed well and cleaned up with minimal staining.

My finished journal page represents what can be accomplished with paint, ink and this helpful tool. The GROOVE tool is easy to use, making it something that could easily be used by children and might especially appeal to young boys who love gadgets!

Overall, the GROOVE is a handy tool that's fun and easy to use. The brush and pad tips clean up easily, provided you use water-soluble ink and paint. The sanding tips give you easy access to sanding material without the nuisance of heading to the basement or garage for a piece of sandpaper; this feature also saves on the elbow grease usually necessary for sanding.

Although the GROOVE tool may not be a necessity in your creative arsenal, it does make the process fun and in some cases easier.

© Nancy Lefko