Art Journal | Inspiration Station

It’s time for a project from another Inspiration Station challenge, where my sister and I select a theme, and each of us creates something inspired by the theme.  It was my sister’s turn to pick the inspiration this month, and she made a mood board for us from the pictures that inspired her.

Inspiration Station | Jun inspiration

We also created a logo for our challenge because, why not? (And because we were bored one day.) 😉 We used a project from each of us for the sections.

Inspiration Station logo

For this month’s Inspiration Station, it was the content that interested me more than the colors – circles, patterns and flowers – and I intended to make an art journal page with them. For the longest time, I kept thinking of a design with patterns along the left half of the page, and some poppies on the right half. But the design just felt off, and I kept postponing my project. In the end, I thought I’ll just create some gel prints first, and see where it takes me. I ended up going with the flow, and this is what came out of it –

Art Journal | Inspiration Station | Anita

I already this teal-hued scrap page from my earlier gel printing attempts. I made gel prints along the left and top edges, and at the bottom-left edge. I then added some strokes of pink paint over it. The background appeared too heavy for the poppies, so I added a thin layer of white over it. The design looked good by itself, but the more I worked with it, the more I felt like poppies wouldn’t fit in well with it. Time for me to abandon my plans. 🙂

Art Journal closeup | Inspiration Station | Anita

So I used the circles from the picture as inspiration, and picked up a Spirograph to make a design that would be the base of a mandala-like doodle on one side. As I doodled, I found that the doodling was overpowering the gel-print background, so I started working on the background too, bringing in elements that stuck with me from the inspiration picture. I probably could continue doodling and keep adding more, but I felt this was a point where I could stop so I can still see something of the gel print background.

Art Journal closeup | Inspiration Station | Anita

I found that I like the diagonal placement of the finished content better, so that’s how I’ll store the page. And I’ll incorporate poppies in an art journal page someday. I didn’t watch a bunch of poppy-painting videos on youtube just to drop the idea. 🙂

As for my sister’s project for the challenge – check out her magnificent pen holder! I’d love to have it on my table, actually, but she’s already called dibs on it, so I guess she’ll have to make one for me someday…

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Green, Stripes, Polka Dots | Inspiration Station

Continuing the theme-inspired creativity challenges that my sister and I throw at each other, our Inspiration Station, it was my turn to think of a theme. One day, looking at my sister stand near the curtains asking if I’d come up with a theme yet, I rattled off the three things that came to my mind from what I was seeing – Green, Stripes, and Polka Dots. That’s one way to figure out a theme, right? 😉

Actually, it might be a great way to come up with a challenging theme, since it’s completely random. Neither of us was getting any ideas right off the bat this time. (Hehe…) Eventually, after a long time trying to visualize the general design of what I wanted to create, I took some gel prints on pages from an old manual, using a 15cm (6″) square gel plate.

1.

Green, Stripes & Polka Dots - Inspiration Station | Anita

Yellow-green polka dots, white stripes

This was actually a later attempt. I needed to use the negative from this polka dot print on another print, but then I liked the polka dots here and decided to print white stripes over it. (The white paint is drying, and I want to use it as much as possible before I bin it.)

Green, Stripes & Polka Dots - Inspiration Station | Anita

I struggled with the text here, since no color would show on this print. I’d have really liked green, glowing text, but in the end, I had to write in gold for some visibility at an angle, at least. Fine, I’ll take it!

2.

Green, Stripes & Polka Dots - Inspiration Station | Anita

Dark and light green polka dots, pink stripes

This was my first print, where I wanted to see if green and pink would work together. They don’t look bad at all! I used two stencils of different polka dot sizes for this.

Green, Stripes & Polka Dots - Inspiration Station | Anita

The text here was a bit difficult too. I thought shocking pink and purple would be pretty visible, and it is, but not as much as I’d hoped for. It’s still an improvement from the earlier one, I suppose. I added some silver lining to the text, and I’m happy with this effect.

The print looks kinda vintage, doesn’t it?

3.

Green, Stripes & Polka Dots - Inspiration Station | Anita

Green and yellow-green polka dots, dark green stripes

This was mostly from negatives of the other prints. It’s a bit tricky to get the negatives to work, since for the positives, you start with light background and work your way to the dark foreground. For the negatives, depending on the amount of negative space in your stencils, the darker negatives could overwhelm the earlier lighter ones. This time, it turned out well since I finished with a lighter negative.

The text was a breeze with this print – the white worked perfectly. I should try some stamping next time.


I’m happy with all of the prints – they turned out truer to my vision than any of my earlier gel-printing attempts did.

Sis’s card is very different from my prints. It has clean separation of the stripes and polka dots (I love that polka glam!) and she’s represented green by some greenery, which I think is awesome.

A Shadowbox Begins

Wow, did this month fly by or what! It feels like only yesterday that I thought the Art Elements theme of the month, Repurposing, was perfect for a project that I’d been thinking of, and it’s already reveal time. Many thanks to Lesley Watt for hosting this theme, since it turned out to be the spark that got this project started.

We’d taken out a new set of teacups a few months ago, and since then, I’d been holding on to the styrofoam container they came in, because it was perfect for a shadowbox!

Styrofoam Shadowbox: WIP

However, I’ll add some emphasis on the first statement of this post, because I couldn’t complete as much as I’d thought I would. To compensate for the lack of creative time last month, I think I put my fingers in too many pies this month. 🙂 So I’ll just list the few steps that I’ve completed in the project as of today. So far, I have:

  • Decoupaged the styrofoam surface with newspaper
  • Added some texture by crudely adhering cheap toilet paper onto the surface
  • Applied gesso over the surface
  • Brushed some yellow / orange acrylics over it

All of these steps were interspersed with a lot of waving around of a heat gun, and then, because the surface still seemed a bit springy to the touch, letting it dry overnight and get some sun through the day as well.

I like how it looks so far. Next, I’ll add more acrylics of orange / red / brown shades, and try out some ideas for decorating the shadowbox with other material. Hopefully by then, I’ll have figured out what goes into the shadowbox, because let’s leave the most important stuff till the end! 🙂

Coincidentally, some of my other projects this month fit the repurposing theme too, but they’re not a part of this reveal, and I’ve already talked about them. Though I couldn’t complete something for the reveal, I had a lot of fun this month, and it feels great after the crafty scarcity of last month!

More repurposing: a trinket box made from packaging cardboard base, scrap clay, and paper from a manual; and a shawl (which I’m still working on) using yarn reclaimed from an earlier project.


This is a blog hop, so if you’d like to check out what the other guests and the Art Elements team have repurposed for their artsy projects, do head over to their blogs linked below!

Guests: Tammy Alysen Evie & Beth Karin Hope Divya Anita (you’re here) Sarajo Kathy Rebecca Martha

AE Team: Niky Laney Cathy Caroline Jen Jenny Sue Claire Lesley

Jewelry/Trinket Box | Inspiration Station

It might seem like my sister and I have forgotten about our Inspiration Station challenges, but that’s definitely not the case. It’s only that March got a bit lighter on the crafty side (because life!) and I just couldn’t work on any challenges. Not to fret, we’ve both managed to finish our respective artistic projects now. Here’s the inspiration that my sister chose –

Inspiration Station - Feb inspiration

Inspiration Station – Feb inspiration – Modern, eco-friendly greeting cards from Seedlings (with actual seeds embedded!), mentioned on Paper Crave

I’ve wanted to make a trinket box for my mom for a while, and I decided to do that for this Inspiration Station. My original idea was to use polymer clay and make a round, hinged box, the idea then turned into a square box, then became a gel-print based box, and finally, in its completed form, it’s a cardboard box with polymer clay embellishments. Talk about twists and turns! 🙂

Jewelry / Trinket Box (Mixed Media) | Anita

This project was split over many, many days – even put back into a drawer since I wasn’t working on it – and I’m glad it came together well in the end. Due to so many changes to the project’s design, I eventually just used the colors from the inspiration, though I’d picked more elements earlier.

I started this project with thick cardboard from packaging material, making a box and a lid from it. On the inside of both, I glued some floral gel prints that I pulled using texture plates on a gel plate – I never thought texture plates would work so well with monoprinting! I had to dilute the paint a lot, though – it almost looks like a watercolor.

Jewelry / Trinket Box (Mixed Media) | Anita

From our acrylics stash, I picked blue, green and a bit of black, and painted the outside of the lid and the box.

For the embellishments, I picked various molds whose designs would work for the rococo / ornamental theme I had in mind, and used scrap polymer clay to make a number of pieces. I used 3D matte gel to stick these pieces on the walls of the box and of the lid, and to the top of the lid. For some added interest, I adhered sand over some of the still-blank areas using soft matte gel. I applied more blue / green / black paint over these for added depth.

Jewelry / Trinket Box (Mixed Media) | Anita

I brushed metallic coral acrylics and then applied brass / vintage gold wax onto the relief. I intended to finish the piece(s) by applying soft gloss gel, but the gel remained tacky upon drying. So I applied clear gesso over it – it seemed to fare better than soft matte gel – and though I gained a better surface to the touch, I lost all the sheen. 🙂 I brushed more wax on the pieces, but let’s face it, it’s never the same. However, I don’t have any regrets about any of the choices I made, and that’s saying something. 😉

Jewelry / Trinket Box (Mixed Media) | Anita

My mom loves her new jewelry / trinket box, and so does my sister. Now that’s what I call a satisfying ending to a project!

Speaking of my sister, you’ll want to check out the oh-so-colorful underwater scene in her card. I just love, love, love the fishies, and the background is absolutely fantastic! She nailed the theme.

Art Journal: Birds of Prey | AE Challenge

I’ll admit, when Cathy came up with Birds of Prey as the theme for this month’s Art Elements Challenge, all I could think of was making owl polymer clay beads and use them as earrings. Not that there’s anything wrong with owls, but I’ve already made owl drawings, owl doodles and owls in macramé, and I just really wanted to give other raptors a try. So I gave my newfound interest in art journaling some nudges, and finally used some new Gelli plates that we’d bought. After what seemed like a long time, I ended up with this –

Birds of Prey - Art Journal Page

The background

I started out with a background painted with light-blue acrylic colors, to whose borders I added brown and black. On this, I used a chevrons-patterned stencil for some gel prints. I think I’m learning to work with the unpredictability of my gel prints, because I wasn’t disgruntled from all the times they didn’t turn out right. 🙂 The Gelli plate that I used was a new one that is smaller than my A5 page, and I’m still figuring out whether to trim the page for my next session, or try to make the border work with it somehow.

The tags

I used waste paper from my gel printing sessions to die-cut some labels. I used another chevrons-patterned stencil to add subtle background patterns on the labels, and then a circular Gelli plate to add the sun/moon shapes. I also used a mandala stencil with the gel plate to add light (and some not-so-light) patterns over the suns/moons. I then trimmed the sides and bottom of each label to get my tags.

Birds of Prey - Art Journal Page Detail

The sketches

I read a lot of raptor material and looked at quite a few pictures, and then used a gel pen to messily draw a falcon, an owl and a vulture from memory. (I know, I succumbed to the owl’s magic and couldn’t resist adding it. But at least it’s amongst other raptors. 😛 ) I don’t think the falcon turned out quite right, but I’m not aiming for perfect! 🙂

The ’embellishments’

I stuck the tags to the background page, and then experimented with shading to form some shadows around the tags. It involved painting a short line outside the edge of the tag and smudging it before it dries. It took a while, but I like how it turned out, and I wouldn’t mind following the process again next time and improve on it. I used a white gel pen to write some words and draw some simple designs, and then drew some ‘jump rings’ at the edges of the tags, just because I felt like doodling a bit more.

Birds of Prey - Art Journal Page Detail

I had a lot of fun with this page, and even though it seemed to take forever (I worked on it in spurts across two days), I’m happy that I tried stuff that I hadn’t before. What a wonderful opportunity the challenge provided – thanks, Cathy!


This is a blog hop, so head on over to these blogs to check out more inspired raptor creations!

Guests: Tammy Beth Cat Anita (you’re here) Kathy Alysen Linda Rozantia Jennifer Hope Sarajo Melissa Sarah

Team Members: Caroline Cathy Claire Jen Jenny Karen Laney Lesley Lindsay Marsha Niky Sue

Inspiration Station: Art Journal Page

My sister and I have started a theme-inspired creativity session between us this year – our ‘Inspiration Station’ – one of us picks a theme of the month, and each of us makes something inspired by the theme in any media we fancy. Last month, it was my turn to pick, and I had just seen some incredible handmade bowls featuring electroformed crystals by Sabri Ben-Achour on Colossal – so I chose this as our inspiration.

Inspiration Station: Jan inspiration - Ceramic+Crystal Bowls by Sabri Ben-Achour

Inspiration Station: Jan inspiration – Ceramic+Crystal Bowls by Sabri Ben-Achour, showcased at Colossal

My creative session included a little bit of salt painting with watercolors, a little bit of gel printing, and a little bit of doodling. I started out with the salt painting first, and then added the gel printing when I felt it would complement it. I’ve finally collected my random doodles and gel printed sheets into an art journal, and I’d thought I’d use this as a cover page. When I was done, I didn’t feel it turned out cover-worthy, and it has now joined the other pages in the journal.

Art Journal page inspired by Ceramic+Crystal Bowls

The salt painting: I painted the top left half of the sheet in two shades of blue watercolors, and while the paint was drying, I sprinkled table salt at various spots. Once dry, I gently brushed away the salt, leaving beautiful patterns that remind me of the crystals in the inspiration.

The gel printing: This involved multiple prints. First, one gel print using brown acrylics at bottom right, with crumpled plastic and a ‘Faceted’ stamp providing textures reminiscent of the crackled ceramics. (I should probably use an actual crackled finish for this, which I’ll try next time.) For the central diagonal strip, I cut out a rectangular stencil-mask pair from paper, and gel-printed white on the strip and a bit of black around it. I’d intended to hand-letter the ‘cover title’ within the strip, which was dropped later since this is not a cover, and I didn’t want to write something random.

The doodling: The white on the strip turned out very patchy (since some of our paints seem to be drying out and thickening) so I decided to doodle around the patches with a silver gel pen. Impressed, I continued to doodle with other colors at other places too. I drew sharp shapes and round ones to symbolize the harmony between crystal and ceramic in Ben-Achour’s work. To add some additional interest, I scratched around at parts of the edges with a yellow gel pen to give a greenish tinge to the blues and browns.

Art Journal page details - inspired by Ceramic+Crystal Bowls

The details in the blue and the brown, and the oh-so-difficult-to-photograph silver!

 

I liked both the process and the results of this project much better than my attempts at plain gel printing. I think I may have found what works for me!

Sis has made a texture-filled flowery card that somehow reminds me of mini-gardens in hanging baskets and in slotted containers – do take a look!

Inspiration Station: Cosmetics Holder

My sister and I collectively work on quite a few arts and crafts, and we thought we’d try out a theme-inspired creativity session between us once in a while – our ‘Inspiration Station’ – one of us picks a theme, and each of us makes something inspired by the theme in any media we fancy. We’d like to do this every month, let’s see how it pans out.

Sis chose our very first theme last month: a mood board from Butterfly Reflections, Ink which is in turn inspired by Pinterest. I’d wanted to make a short, squat cosmetics holder for some time, to put eye/lip pencils and sticks in. The mood board was perfectly inspiring to get me started on this project!

Inspiration Station: Dec '18 inspiration

Inspiration Station: Dec inspiration – a mood board at Butterfly Reflections, Ink.

To start with, for the squat cylindrical wall of the container, I used a thick cardboard roll left over from used-up tapes. For the base, I used two circles cut from a chipboard – a smaller one that fits within the inside of the wall, and a larger one whose size matches the outside. I adhered the circles to each other and to the wall’s base.

I then glued striped paper, which I cut from envelope covers, onto the inner and outer surfaces of the base and onto the rim. To make them fit well, I cut them larger than the required size and snipped notches at regular intervals outside the ‘borders’, which proved useful to grip adjacent surfaces as well as to ensure that there are no gaps showing in the finished product. While all this dried in the sun, I moved on to gel printing.

Inspiration Station: Cosmetics Holder

Inspiration Station: Cosmetics Holder

The paper for gel printing was, again, from a thread-reinforced envelope, and it provides wonderful texture, both visual and tactile, which I love in containers. I used stamps with circles and patterns for my interpretation of the shapes in the mood board. The gel printing went better than I hoped (but still not exactly like I wanted to – the blues turned out too bright, and pinks are supposed to be flowers and dandelions. 😀 ) However, I just love the outcome! I cut the paper to size and glued it to the outer and inner walls, with the thread still intact.

To set the surfaces and finish the holder, I used matte transparent gel. (Thanks, Sis, for the idea! I think you’ve finally succeeded in making gel ideas stay put in my mind, ready for access at the slightest nudge. 🙂 ) I’ve already started using the holder, and I’m delighted that it’s just the way I wanted it to be!

Sis has made a pretty card for our theme, and you’ll want to look at the cute flower motifs and the background!