First Light of Winter


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What were  you doing on October 18, 2017? I was celebrating the first day of 'Book Nerd Holiday'. Actually, that's my name for the annual 2-week long AAUW Book Sale that I have attended almost every year since I was a wee nerd...I mean, child.  My bosses even let me leave work early to go treasure hunting among the shelves and shelves and stacks and stacks of books!  I pay my early bird admission fee and shop the first night to acquire certain sought after titles and collectibles for my library.  Then I go back on Half Price Day for more literary gems.  And finally, I brave the frenzied hoards of fellow book nerds on Sack Sale Day, aka 'Book Rescue Day' - again my name for it.  But, rightly so as any left over books are tragically taken to the dump! I escaped being trampled again this year and arrived home with three huge bags of orphaned books including (just to name a few) a Thai dictionary, a ragged book of poetry missing its cover, an electricians' handbook, a shorthand manual and an algebra book.  Many of their tattered pages will be introduced to each other - not in my library, but in my art studio where they will begin a new life on canvas.

November 1: Winter came way before it was invited this year, arriving with a blustery wind, dropping temperatures, snow and ice.  I accepted it stoically.  I just lied with that statement. Could you tell?  Truthfully, it made me the definition of cranky.  A cozy chair by the fireplace, snuggly dogs, a fuzzy blanket, hot coffee and a new book to read was just what I needed to warm my frosty mood.  

And then the sun came out!  The snow laced Autumn leaves, still on their branches, were bathed in a golden light.  That visual became the inspiration for my latest canvas, First Light of Winter.

After gessoing my canvas, I began adding torn book pages with matte gel medium. The terrific mood board at Mixed Media World had inspiration elements that are among my favorites: old paper, writing and rust! 

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I love the look of encaustic and look forward to taking a class called Layers of Light by Laly Mille.  In the meantime, I decided to make my background 'look' like it was encased in wax as I had with an earlier piece called She is of Nature. I set out some of my favorite DecoArt Media mediums and began to apply layers, alternating with more pages, pattern pieces, stamping, stenciling, pen writing and doodling.  I also added some clear ink and UTEE after seeing MixedMediaJenn demonstrate her technique on YouTube (check out her video here).  I took down the shine factor by applying DecoArt's Ultra Matte Varnish.  I applied muted tones of color using Lindy's Stamp Gang sprays.

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I decided to build my assemblage on a piece of cardboard that I treated with more DecoArt products including Crackle Paste and Texture Sand Paste.  I love how it has a look of old, weather tree bark.

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When my background layers were finished and dried, it was time for a play with my found object stash.  I have recently had the pure joy of meeting a most wonderful retired couple.  I feel like I've known them forever and would like to begin adoption paperwork immediately :)  Bill and Bonnie have been bringing me rusted and random old treasures from a cleanup at their rural property. For this piece I selected several of their offerings for my canvas' focal assemblage including a star, a bulb and a chain.  Using an X-acto knife, I remove the negatives from a 35mm film strip and painted it with matte brown acrylic. Color was next.  I knew I wanted to incorporate yellow-gold tones into my assemblage but couldn't decide on the rest of my color palette. When I came across Lindy's Stamp Gang's color board for November, I knew I had to use each and every color on it!  I sprayed, brush painted, dripped and splattered.  And I was so happy with the result; I never would have thought to use purple on this piece, but it worked perfectly.

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I finished my canvas with some die cut pieces, cheesecloth, excelsior and art stones.  

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Product List

DecoArt Media Mediums:  Gesso, Modeling Paste, Texture Sand Paste, White Crackle Paste, Ultra Matte Varnish and Matte Medium

DecoArt Fluid Acrylics:  'Yellow Oxide'

Lindy's Stamp Gang Sprays:  Flat Fabio - 'Sandra Dee Sepia', 'Danny Zuko's Denim', 'Sidewalk Chalk', 'Greased Lightnin' Green'; Starburst - 'Rusty Lantern Lime', 'California Poppy Gold', 'Steampunk Sepia' and 'Urban Amethyst'

Prima:  Elementals Harlequin stencil, Art Stones, 'Guave Peony Brahms' and 'Coventry Rose Printery' flowers

Penny Black:  'Spread Cheer' stamp

Sizzix:  'Decorative Flourish' die cut

Liquitex:  Clear Gesso

Ranger:  UTEE and Clear Embossing ink

Signo:  White Uni-Ball Pen

11 x 14 canvas, cardboard, book pages, sheet music, pattern paper, silk leaves, natural wood pencils, excelsior, old film strip, wood plugs, cheesecloth and miscellaneous found objects.

 

Knighted


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She wasn’t waiting for a Knight
She was waiting for a Sword
— Atticus

Welcome to my Kingdom! Today I would like to share Knighted, a canvas I have created for the blog at Mixed Up Mag featuring Sin City Stamps!  

When I begin an art project, I usually have a theme or subject in mind, and though colors and assemblage choices may change throughout the process, the end result still retains most of my original plans.

Not so with Knighted!  

When I began this canvas, my intent was to create a whimsical 'Day of the Dead' piece. I had in fact already made my colorfully embellished sugar skull that was supposed to be the focal point.  Then my background happened, and it was magical!  I didn't want to cover the mystical kingdom that seemed to glow from the canvas. 

Two weeks passed.  I had set the canvas aside with no idea how to finish it.  I pondered.  How's that for a 'knightly' word?  But pondered I did. By chance I came across this poetic phrase by Atticus, 'She wasn't waiting for a knight...She was waiting for a Sword', and I knew I needed to create an empowered female subject, a Knight, for my canvas.

I am excited to invite you to the blog at Mixed Up Magazine so I can share my process of creating Knighted with Sin City Stamps. Follow the link above to see more photos, steps and a list of products I used.  See you there!

Leslie

 

The Idea Box


If you are having trouble thinking outside of the box, get inside the box.
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Well, hello there! You found me...inside my Idea Box.

I was having one of those days where my 'creativity' was mad at my 'imagination' and my 'imagination' was not talking to anybody.  Come on you two!  Let's work together here! I hate trying to keep the peace when these two fight; if only I had an Idea Box to go to - LIGHTBULB MOMENT!  

Thomas Edison had 1,093 U.S. patents and 2,332 patents.  He must have had a gigantic Idea Box!  He once said, 'I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.' I didn't need 10,000 ideas, just one, so here is my Idea Box - my latest creation featuring DecoArt products.  I created this Design Team Inspiration piece for Mixed Media World's October Challenge 'Use or Imitate Glass'.  

The base of my project began as a faux marble and wood block made from resin that I had purchased to alter.  I could hardly wait to cover up it's manufactured ugliness with some black gesso and brown acrylic paint!  Next I added a light coat of crackle paste and set the block aside to dry while I worked on the embellishments for the box. 

My embellishments were an assortment of purchased elements and my own makes.  The purchased clock face, mason jar lid, letters, mini padlock and key were treated with DecoArt Texture Sand Paste and 'rusted' with acrylic paint. From a sheet of chipboard, I cut, treated and painted the brackets, arrow and caution sign.  

Back to my box, I chipped away some of the crackle pieces before adding a stenciled number and paint.  I then attached my prepared embellishments to the top of the block and on the four sides to complete my Idea Box.  

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Product List

DecoArt Media Mediums:  Modeling Paste, Texture Sand Paste, White Crackle Paste and Ultra Matte Varnish

DecoArt Fluid Acrylics: 'Quinacridone Gold', 'Transparent Red Iron Oxide', 'Burnt Sienna', 'Blue Green Light', 'Pthalo Turquoise', 'Raw Sienna' and 'Yellow Oxide'

DecoArt Antiquing Creams:  'Patina Green' and 'Raw Umber'

DecoArt Media Stencils: Andy Skinner's 'Industrial Elements'

DecoArt Americana:  Acrylic Paints in 'Dark Chocolate', 'Bittersweet Chocolate', 'Burnt Sienna', 'Antique Gold', 'Burnt Orange', 'Tomato Red' and 'Aqua Sky'.

Kaiser Craft: Roman Clock Face Wood Flourish

Black gesso, 12 x 12 chipboard sheet, wire, miscellaneous found objects.

  

Heart Mender


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There's a machine for that, right?  

Art is my bandaid.  Heart Mender, my new canvas for Mixed Up Magazine featuring DecoArt products, is proof of that.  And, it is the first in a found object assemblage series I have planned called There's a Machine For That.

I haven't had a lot of time to create (or be present on social media lately).  The last thirty-something days have been a complete blur.  In the midst of planning a wedding, I had to plan a funeral.  But, as it is said, life goes on.

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When I was maybe six or seven, I began designing crayon-colored machines made of paper and lots of tape.  I remember so clearly coloring and cutting out the sort-of-circular coins to give to my parents and grandparents to insert in my paper 'vending' machines. When they put a coin in the slot, I would drop a 'prize' for them to pick up off the floor.  Soon, they gave me a puppy...  Looking back, my family probably thought I needed something to occupy my time.  A lot has changed since way back then, but this remains the same: I still love 'making machines'!

If you want to see a step by step tutorial for making a machine that mends holes in hearts, head over to the Mixed Up Mag Blog and read my post about the Heart Mender.  I have also included all the fabulous DecoArt Supplies that were used on this project!

Thanks for stopping by,

Leslie

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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!