NiGHT-LiGHT: A Steampunk Inspired Assemblage

When I was a girl, I loved browsing the bookshelf at my Grandma's house.  She was an avid reader of Victorian Gothic Mysteries and I was fascinated by the book covers.  Not only were the titles enticing, but the cover art was a suspenseful mix of dark fog-shrouded cliffs and a beautiful woman (usually a young governess) running recklessly along the treacherous edge in a long, white nightgown.  Clearly some dastardly deed (or the 'brooding, but darkly handsome master of the house') caused this pretty damsel to dash out of the castle without a coat or a lantern!

So here I am, years later, creating a light source for those in need of escaping the manor, racing down hundreds of stone steps or plunging into the shadowy moors!  Please, take your NiGHT LiGHT with you!

Once again, I began my creation with a trip to the Thrift Shop, the Hardware Store and my own beautiful stash of cast-off treasures.  I love the inspiration I get from the Steampunk genre and tried to incorporate that style into this piece. I have created NiGHT LiGHT for the blog at Mixed Up Magazine.  I hope you have a moment to run over and check it out...but please stay away form the edge of the cliffs - venturing too close can be hazardous, especially if you trip on your long, flowing nightgown!

Wild Hearts

So, my husband came home after a long day at the office.  He couldn't believe his eyes.  I was in the kitchen and there was something in the oven!  Silly man, it's Art For Dinner!

But yes, I was in the kitchen corks.  I do enjoy the occasional (wink) glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, big and bold Italian Red Blends...what were we talking about again?  Oh yes I remember, corks!  Yes, I guess you could say I have a modest collection of corks (I do not wish to discuss an actual number).  So why not use some in my Mixed Media?

As you know, I like to deconstruct stuff, so I decided to break down some corks to add to modeling paste for some serious texture.  What did I learn?  I learned I have taken corks for granted apparently, defining them as 'that annoying thing that comes between me and my wine'.  I respect them more now.  They are tough little devils who aren't interested in putting up with any if my s#*t, pardon my French.  Speaking of French, I also love a rich and lovely Cotes-du-Rhone Rouge.  Whoopsie, I digressed again...

So anyway, back to those wily corks.  I was going to use my mother's circa 1978 Ginsu knife (remember the ads, they cut through a can for goodness sake!); the knife did cut through the cork, but it was a laborious process.  When in doubt, Google it!  This led me to a pin on Pinterest that stated steaming the corks in a mesh basket over boiling water was the key.  The article continued to boast that the corks would cut like butter.  Okay...what the heck kind of 'butter' are these people cutting?  I paused...and then....a lightbulb moment!  Food Processor!  I unearthed this appliance from the pantry and loaded it up with the rubbery (not buttery) cork slices.  The first few blade rotations made me hopeful, but then the machine emitted a howl like a feral cat at the groomers!  Shut Down!  Shut Down!  Drats! I refused to be defeated.  Ok you dastardly corks, I didn't want to have to do this but you forced me:  into the oven you go!  I began at a low temp of 250 degrees.  Are you kidding me!  No change.  I had had IT!  450 degrees.  Some of them started to brown and the house smelled like a wood engraving shop...kind of nice actually...(with a fruit forward aroma from the wine on the corks.  My husband actually thought I was baking a pie).  After slightly cooling, I dumped my freshly baked cork pieces back into the Cork Processor (formerly known as the Food Processor).  Finally!  I achieved smaller pieces and decided to reward my efforts with a small glass of wine.  I selected a bottle from our wine cellar (kidding, just a wine rack) and prepared to remove the cork.  It broke and crumbled...of course it did...karma I guess. 

Ok, now that the Never-Ending-Story of The Cork is over I will proceed with Step 2: Preparing the Canvas.  I covered a 7 x 14 canvas with black gesso followed by modeling-paste-stenciling and random crackle paste.  I then mixed the cork pieces into additional modeling paste and applied this mixture around the canvas.  Another layer of black gesso was applied.

While my base was drying I cut 3 ATC-size pieces of chipboard. I applied texture in the form of foil, modeling paste and glue. I colored the background with Paper Artsy Infusions and the hearts with DecoArt Media. I highlighted the edges and texture with DecoArt Lustre. A Stabilo pencil provided the look of shadows around the hearts.

Back to my canvas, I painted tones of light green, yellow, copper and brown and  highlighted with white gesso and lustres. I attached three cork slices to the center of the canvas to lift my heart cards.  Excelsior was added under the middle card.  The finishing touch was the cork slice that had the year 2013 printed on it.  How perfect, as this is a bridal shower gift to my daughter, who began dating her wonderful husband-to-be in 2013! 

I hope you enjoyed this post.  Do try using cork pieces in your texture, its lightweight and provides inexpensive texture interest to your projects.  If you find an easy way to reduce the cork to bits, be sure and let me know!  

Product List

DecoArt Media:  Gesso, Modeling Paste, 1 Step Clear Crackle Glaze, Fluid Acrylics in 'Quinacridone Gold' and 'Red Iron Oxide', Antiquing Cream in 'Titanium White' and 'Raw Umber'

DecoArt Americana:  'Celery Green', 'Black' and 'Worn Penny' acrylic paint

Paper Artsy:  Infusions in 'Golden Sands'

Lindy's Stamp Gang:  Starburst Sprays in 'Clam Bake Beige' and "Ponderosa Pines Olive'

Prima Art Basics:  3D Gloss Gel

Inka Gold:  'Turquoise' and 'Yellow Gold'

Ranger:  Glossy Accents

TCW:  'Mini Tile Mania' stencil by Gabrielle Pollacco

7 x 14 canvas, corks, excelsior, chipboard, black gesso, foil


Let Your Creative Juicer Fly

You've heard the phrase 'Let your Creative Juices Flow', but have you heard of 'Let your Creative Juicer Fly'?  Well, now you have.  This is my latest found object canvas.  I have featured a thing with wings that actually began it's life in 1950 as a Foley's Aluminum Lemon Juicer. I rescued this vintage kitchen cast-off at a thrift store for 60 cents and took it home to meet other wayward utensils in my stash.  I am sure most of you are thinking the same thing I did...this juicer needs wings and a crown! And for those of you who weren't thinking that, please let your Creative Juicer Fly!  

I have created this whimsical piece for Mixed Up Mag for July.  I would love it if you and your imagination have a moment to fly on over to the blog and check out my slideshow tutorial and supply list featuring Prima products, including some of the stunning new paint colors of the Finnabair Metallique line which I won in a Prima Marketing Giveaway!  (Me, winning a drawing is completely unheard of!  Unless you count my winning a yellow yoyo in Kindergarden...but then again, everyone in my class won one...) 






She Is Of Nature

Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am so fortunate to live near one of the most beautiful places on earth, Glacier National Park.  The mountains, waterfalls and crystal-clear lakes are beautiful to behold.  The hiking and horseback trails take you to viewpoints that are breathtaking.  To stand still in the woods and just listen to the deep stillness is good medicine for the soul.  I know it, I've done it. 

The title of this piece, She Is Of Nature, embraces the theme of nature's soothing solitude.  Am I the 'She' in the title?  Heck no! This is Grizzly Bear Country!  

Safe and sound in my art room (no bears for miles), I decided to try an experiment with my latest DecoArt products from the DecoArt Blogger Outreach Program.  I love the look of Encaustic Art and wondered if I could create a faux encaustic effect with acrylics and mediums. I knew I wanted to include natural elements which also happened to be the theme for July at Mixed Media World.  

After preparing an 8 x 10 canvas board with DecoArt Media Gesso, I added features of a female face using Andy Skinner's 'Baroque' stencil and black archival ink. The first coat of DecoArt Media Crackle Glaze was applied.  I immediately placed 3 freshly picked leaves on to the glaze and used a heat gun to set this layer.  Another coat of crackle glaze was applied. Upon drying, I worked DecoArt's Antiquing cream into the cracks, wiping back with a soft cloth. Onto this base, I added torn sheets of pattern paper, music sheets and book pages; stamping, stenciling, string and DecoArt Media Modeling Paste, and several layers of Matte Medium and Ultra Matte Varnish.  I sculpted the woman's hair with more modeling paste and highlighted with DecoArt Metallic Lustre wax.

I made a concoction of DecoArt Media Modeling Paste, Gesso and Sea Salt to create texture on my wood rectangle chips.  After curing, I added Crackle Glaze, Modeling Paste and DecoArt Media Antiquing Cream.  I 'rusted' 5 tiny nails and used them to attach my prepared wood chips to the canvas board.  

I just love the 'waxy' effect I was able to achieve by combining DecoArt Media products!


The final touches were circles cut from a dead branch, excelsior, a phrase from 7 Dots Studio and gesso highlights.

Below I have prepared a little slide show of my faux encaustic process.  

I hope you have enjoyed my experiment with faux encaustic.  I have included a product list below. Thank you so much for stopping by and don't forget to check out the July Challenge at Mixed Media World!  

Product List

DecoArt Media:  Gesso, Matte Medium, Crackle Glaze, Ultra Matte Varnish, Modeling Paste: Antiquing Cream in 'Raw Umber', 'Titanium White', 'Carbon Black' and 'Patina Green'; Fluid Acrylics in 'Interference Gold', 'Burnt Sienna', 'Transparent Red Iron Oxide'; Metallic Lustre in 'Champagne Ice'; Andy Skinner stencil 'Baroque'; DecoArt Stencil 'Button Alphabet'

7 Dots Studio:  'Dreamscapes' word sticker

8x10 canvas board, old sewing pattern paper, book pages, wood rectangle chips, nails, string, 






Acrylic Dream Chase

Summer and hot weather have finally arrived, and with it a palette of tropical colors like ocean aquas and the sweet shades of dreamsicles! So with these summer-lovin' colors in mind, I have a quick DT make for Mixed Media World's June Challenge:  'Anything Goes'.  My contribution, Acrylic Dream Chase, is a small mixed media canvas with a twist - Acrylic Poured Mini Tiles!  

I began by using a stencil and modeling paste to apply a tile design to the canvas. Wanting to keep the background simple and dark to accent the colorful acrylic poured tiles, I applied only a coat of black gesso and metallic black paint followed by dry brushing gold on the raised areas. 

I embellished the wood butterfly with a twisted wire body and antennae before gessoing and painting the vibrant colors.  More gold dry brush was added, followed by a sparkle varnish. The 'Chase Your Dreams' phrase was painted in the same colors.  I painted some decorative excelsior with more gold paint and attached it to the back of the butterfly. 

The final step was to add all my pieces to the canvas.  I used a heavy gel medium to make sure the ceramic tiles would attach firmly.

If you would like to see my video tutorial on how I made my mini acrylic poured tiles, please visit Mixed Media World.  This is my first, possibly my last, video...filmography is definitely not my forte, haha!

See you later,



Product List:

8x10 inch canvas, black gesso, wood butterfly, wood phrase, decorative excelsior, wire, four 2x2 inch ceramic tiles, white acrylic paint, plastic cups, Floetrol, water, 100% Silicone spray, stirring sticks, masking tape

Folk Art:  Color Shift Acrylic Paint: 'Blue Flash', 'Aqua Flash', 'Orange Flash', 'Red Flash' and 'Yellow Flash'; Acrylic Paint in 'Brushed Gold'

Prima:  Modeling Paste and Heavy Body Gel Medium

TCW:  'Mini Ceiling Tile' stencil