Ice Melt

March, when days are getting long,
Let thy growing hours be strong
To set right some wintry wrong.
~Caroline May, 1887

March, a fickle beast.  Ice, Ice Everywhere and snow.  You know the product that you scatter on your sidewalks for quick-melting dangerous ice to lessen the risk of falling and breaking the majority of bones in your body?  Well it occurred to me we could load that stuff up in crop dusters and spray the city with it!  My husband warned me not to take that idea to City Hall!  Can you believe that!?   I have the answer to hazardous driving conditions and he just shakes his head and mutters something about 'acid rain'. 

                Attention:  I am actually going to lock my silly-self in the closet for a moment and be serious, for I have some news to share:  I have been chosen to be a Design Team member for Mixed Media World.  I am very much looking forward to creating with a wonderful group of talented people.

My introductory piece, Ice Melt, is for the Mixed Media World March Challenge. I created this altered bottle, Ice Melt, to celebrate the coming of Spring, incorporating the theme and colors in the moodboard - melting ice, renewal, blue sky and sunlight.

In this spirit of renewal, I have altered an orange Halloween glass bottle!   The first step was to coat the glass surface in black gesso.  When the gesso was dry, it was time to 'get cracking': I applied a heavy layer of Prima's Art Basics White Texture Crackle to the upper part of the bottle and allowed it to dry overnight.  Few people have ever described me as a 'patient person', but I cannot stress enough how much patience is important with achieving a good crackle texture.

The next morning, I was ready to add another layer in the form of lace.  I was just gifted a box of gorgeous vintage lace from a wonderful lady named Susan.  I chose several beautiful pieces that seemed perfect for my theme: the 'melting droplets' of lace on the top of the bottle stopper, the 'icicles' at the base of the bottle neck, the 'blooming spring flowers' wrapped around the center of the bottle and the last 'snowdrifts' of lace just above the diamond pattern.

I built upon my lace layer by adhering string, cheesecloth, art stones and stung beads followed by wood embellishments of a butterfly and a decorative scroll motif.  I chose a heart charm out of my stash and a chain to create the locket embellishment on the bottle stopper.  I applied a coat of white gesso to the entire bottle except the crackled areas and then painted over that with DecoArt's Chalky Finish in 'Revive'.

The 'icy' color was achieved by spraying several different shades of blue, gray and beige and finishing with Tattered Angels "Dazzling Diamonds" Glimmer Mist. I dry-brushed white gesso to soften the look.

While the sprays were drying, I made the handmade flowers from old book pages.  I am an avid reader and there is an event in my town each year that sells used books.  The proceeds go toward university scholarships for women.  I always attend the first day to gather the books I want to read, and the last day to rescue books that will go to the landfill (GASP) if not sold.  These are the 'death-row' books and pages that I repurpose in my art.  So, back to the subject at hand, I began with the old book pages and flower punches in two different sizes.  The large flowers have eight layers and the small, six.  I dyed the edges with distress ink and then secured the layers together with a brad through the center. I allowed the flowers to dry overnight before adding them and a brass key to the bottle as the finishing touch.

Product List

Prima:  Art Extravagance White Crackle Paste; Art Basics 3D Gloss Gel; Art Stones & Mini Art Stones; Color Bloom "Chrome" Spray Mist

Lindy's Stamp Gang Starburst Spray:  "Creme Brûlée Creme", "Clam Bake Beige", "Down the Rabbit Hole", "Frozen Jack Frost" and "Whale Watch Blue"

Shimmerz Coloringz:  "A Shade of Gray"

Tattered Angels:  "Dazzling Diamonds" Glimmer Mist

Ranger:  Distress Inks "Faded Jeans" and "Tea Dye"

DecoArt: Chalky Finish Acrylic Paint in "Revive"

Black Gesso, White Gesso, Lace, String, Cheesecloth, Bead strand, book pages, flower punches, brads, wood embellishments, heart charm, chain

Eye Of The Beholder

It’s true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
— Margaret Wolfe Hungerford, 1878
It is only with the heart that one can see clearly, for the most essential things are invisible to the eye.
— Hans Christian Andersen, The Ugly Duckling

The other day I came across a picture of a Brahmaea Wallichii.  What's a Brahmaea Wallichii you ask? Why it's a beautiful moth typically found in parts of Asia.  According to the article, it does not fly away when disturbed, but shakes fiercely...much like myself when bothered before my morning coffee.  The distinctive 'eye spots' on its wings are striking as are all its intricate markings.  It's like a flying Zendoodle!  

Now you know the belle of the ball in the insect world is the glamorous butterfly, gliding on a gentle breeze and flitting gracefully among flowers .... rather than beating herself against a lightbulb like our lowly friend, the moth.  Maybe the allure of the nocturnal lightbulb is the moth's attempt to be in the spotlight for once, instead of hiding out in the shadows while the butterfly wows the crowd.  

So, without further ado, here is my latest canvas in which I showcase a moth, for beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


I began by constructing my moth.  Having no experience in moth making, I decided to make a template which I used as a pattern to cut the cardboard. I made a mirrored sketch from one wing to the other and used embossing powder over the pencil lines.  Before I began painting the moth's patterned wings with acrylic, I scrunched some paper scraps and glued these around the wing edges.  The moth's body is also made out of cardboard, but I added some cut up yarn to black paint for a fuzzy appearance.  My two finishing touches were melange discs over the wing eyespots and the antennae made from tiny springs.


Moving on to the canvas, I coated the entire inverted surface in black gesso followed by modeling  paste through stencils for the initial texture layer.  The second layer consisted of crumpled tissue paper, string, thick felt circles and more stenciling.  Another coat of black gesso was applied (I really need to buy stock in gesso).  Layer three of texture included the corner floral section, mélange discs in various sizes and art stones.  Anybody care to guess what came next?  That's right!  Black gesso!  


Now for some color, albeit dark color:  black, blue and brown were my choices for the nocturnal background.  However, I also wanted a strong contrast to bring attention to the moth,  so the fourth and final layer was done in light tones.  This montage in the center was composed of twisted paper rolls, inked scrapbook paper, punched paper, a disassembled wooden birdcage and dyed cheesecloth.  I splattered a bit of white paint and sprayed some Lindy's "Whale Watch Blue" before adding my moth to the middle.


More dyed cheesecloth and bronze micro beads were added here and there followed by the final embellishments:  a lightbulb, magnifying glass, the domed word 'moth' and the phrase 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.'



So, I'll be honest, I created this piece after I saw the challenge at More Than Words to create an entry with the prompts Beautiful and Butterfly.  I'd like to enter my piece in that challenge fully knowing I'm bending the rules a bit....However, butterflies and moths ARE from the same family, Lepidoptera ;)  

Go Underdog!

Also, I've just discovered the fun-tastic moodboards at DeeDee Catron's Our Mixed Media Moods.  Their latest board was a great nocturnal inspiration for my project.

And lastly, my favorite little steampunk corner, SanDee & Amelie's. I know my moth with his spring antennae will feel so at home there.



Product List

Prima:  Art Basics Modeling Paste and 3D Gloss Gel; Art Alchemy Métallique Acylic Paint "Steampunk Copper"; Art Ingredients "Bronze" Microbeads and Mélange; Art Extravagance Art Stones and Mini Art Stones; "Cherish" Stencil

Tattered Angels:  Bare Metal "Weathered Copper" Naturally Aged Paint System  

Lindy's Stamp Gang Starburst Sprays:  "Whale Watch Blue", "Frozen Jack Frost"

DecoArt:  Dazzling Metallics Acrylic Paint in "Worn Penny", "Champagne Gold" and "White Pearl"

Folk Art Metallic Acrylic Paint:  "Sequin Black", Color Shift "Black Flash", Brushed Metal "Brushed Gold"

Ranger:  Dylusions "Black Diamond" Stencil; Distress Ink in "Black Soot", "Walnut Stain" and "Vintage Photo"

TCW:  "Mini Netting" Stencil


16" x 8" canvas, white and black gesso, tissue paper, string, felt pads, artificial flowers, cheesecloth, patterned paper, cardboard, tiny hole punch, magnifying glass, wooden birdcage, springs and lightbulb.



Brush Strokes

I love paint brushes!  I have well more than I need and generally pick the same old favorites to create with, while others are simply 'bench warmers'.  One evening, after working many long hours on a canvas and feeling a bit punchy, I gave a third stringer a chance after I thought I heard it say, 'Put me in coach, I'm ready to play'!  Ah yes, everyone loves those uplifting sports stories where the underdog finally gets a shot at the big time, wows the crowd AND gets the girl!  This, however, is not one of those stories... Yes, that's right, this young newbie paintbrush lost it!  Lost it big time, coughing up bristles all over my wet canvas!

Newbie couldn't cut it as a player, but guess what, he got a second chance!  In all his technicolor glory, Newbie became the leading actor in my new canvas, "Brush Strokes"!  Don't you just love happy endings!

I started with applying white gesso to three 4" x 5" mini canvases.  I wanted to build up layers, so I began with modeling paste through stencils, drywall tape and yarn, followed by cardboard, string, thread, cheesecloth and torn pieces of a teabag. I add a little more interest with a script stamp and Sepia Archival ink. Art stones and mini art stones were the last base items added prior to beginning my monochromatic background tones. 

I sprayed, misted and dropped dots of several colors in the the Lindy's Stamp Gang Starburst spray line and in Prima's Color Bloom Spray Mists.  After achieving the color effect I wanted, I set my canvases aside to work on the focal brush.

I often work in monochromatic and neutral tones, but I must say, painting the brush in it's vivid colors was like going to a party:  I need to get out more, color-wise! I started painting the bristles first, those troublemakers I mentioned earlier, and then I worked down the brush handle, merging one color into the next.  I finished by splattering paint on the brush...and myself and my workbench and my stool which I also sat in.  Like I said, it was a Party!

Gluing the brush onto the three prepared canvas secured them together.  I added some accent around the brush with bronze micro beads.  The canvases were then wired onto a metal rack I had picked up at a thrift store.  


Lastly, the final touches:  the letters for the phrase Brush Strokes and two additional 'aged' brushes, all of which, after being altered, were wired to the background rack.

The wood letters were gessoed and triple-emblossed in the following order -  First: clear distress ink and Vintage Photo Distress Embossing Powder; Second: Vintage Photo Distress ink and clear embossing powder; and Third: Black Soot Distress ink and a mix of clear and gold embossing powder.

The two 'aged'  brushes began as brand new, shiny-white dollar store brushes.  I applied white gesso followed by Lindy's Steampunk Sepia Starburst spray and gave the handles a blistered finish with the heat gun.  I dabbed some of my homemade rust paste on the ferrules of the brushes and painted a heavy coat of DecoArt Media's Crackle Glaze onto the handles, leaving it to dry overnight.  The next day, I sandpapered some of the glossy finish off the crackle glaze and coated the brush handles in antiquing cream, wiping off the excess with a soft cloth.  I was happy with the result of the aging process, especially the fabulous deep crackle of these two brushes in contrast to the colorful focal brush - our rising star, "Newbie".

Smiles all!


Product List

Prima Art Basics:  Modeling Paste, 3D Gloss Gel; Prima Color Bloom Spray Mists: Frost, Worn Leather; Prima Art Alchemy Acrylic Paint Metalliques: Fresh Orange, Emerald Green, Rusty Red; Prima Art Ingredients: Art Stones, Mini Art Stones, Micro Beads Bronze; Prima Cling Stamp: So Happy Memories with You.

Lindy's Stamp Gang Starburst Sprays: Clam Bake Beige, Steampunk Sepia, Creme Brûlée Creme, Down The Rabbit Hole.

Ranger Dylusion Paint: Fresh Lime, Lemon Zest; Ranger Distress Inks: Clear, Vintage Photo, Black Soot; Ranger Tim Holtz Vintage Photo Distress Embossing Powder; Ranger Dylusions Stencil: Black Diamonds.

DecoArt Media: Crackle Glaze, Raw Umber Antiquing Cream, Titanium White Antiquing Cream

TCW: Mini "Art Is" Stencil

Folk Art Acrylic Color Shift Paint: Pink Flash; Blue Flash

4" x 5" canvases, white gesso, string, thread, yarn, cheesecloth, teabag, wire, paintbrushes, drywall tape, cardboard, metal rack, gold wire, clear embossing powder, gold embossing powder

I will be entering this canvas in the Scrapki-Wyzwaniowo February Challenge - BRUSH! 

I also would like to enter the Stamps & Stencils Challenge: Texture, Crackle and Paint

And lastly, the February Challenge at Creative Embellishments, spreading my love for art!