Saturday, May 27, 2017


6x9 inch gel print with some Celadon paint added

Enhanced and more paint added, with the black collage pieces

Gel print with some touch-up done, but more to come
I have found I really, really enjoy working on paper. It sets you free, knowing that you aren't "ruining" a canvas. Although I have painted or collaged over many a canvas in my time. But there is just something about the paper, and how the paint spreads on it. Having fun.

I am also taking my time with this lesson, not rushing into anything. Yesterday I spent over an hour going back over Jane Davies's work. I watched several videos because it fascinates me how she reaches a completed project. Sitting on the sidelines, I would have stopped at 5 steps ago when she keeps painting over, lifting paint, making marks, covering those, etc. Everyone has their own method.

It is Memorial Day weekend. In Indiana that means it is Race weekend. But it would be nice if everyone just took a moment to remember those who have fallen for this country. A minute of silence and reverence. Perhaps it is my age, but boy do I get sick of hearing Memorial Day Mattress Sales! and Indy 500 NEWS! To those who served and never returned, I thank you for that service. Bless you.

Thursday, May 25, 2017


Large tag for the 4th of July

The start of a 6x9 inch collage

Start of a 8x10 collage
We are now in the last lesson of the Jane Davies class online. And I am still struggling. My problem is using the gel plate in a different manner than what I have done before. Old habits die hard. I am so used to printing an entire sheet of paper, then overlaying the entire sheet. In this lesson, Jane tells us to consider partial printing. It is effective and can be quite stunning in your work. So for the first time last night, I used other sheets of paper to mask off what I didn't want to print. Two collages immediately went into the waste basket after 3 pulls off the plate. I know, I know. Maybe they could have been salvaged. Or maybe they were just hot messes that needed to go bye-bye.

After the initial printing, we are to paint, add collage, add line work, whatever. But this is our starting point for every piece. Yeah, boy.

The tag: this is a heavier large tag, approximately 4 by 8 inches. I painted the red, white and blue stripes, then adhered some vintage looking Tim Holtz paper on the bottom. Used a Holtz number stamp for the "4" on the sideways smaller tag, cut the girl's photo down to size and matted with black card stock. Buttons, to me, represent old fashioned or a vintage look in crafts. So added a button to the ribbon at the top, and 3 across the bottom. The stars were punched from card stock. My plan is to make a few more this weekend and get them in the Etsy shop. This is my relief from working on the collages. Just saying....

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Special Order

From early in November until last week, I had a variety of art and some crafts for sale at the Artisan Marketplace in Plainfield, IN. Molly is closing the store due to lack of interest, but I gained a wonderful customer. She purchased my small Christmas house last December, then asked if I would make a Spring/Summer house. Did that, then she asked for a Fall house as well. Try to find autumn decorations at this time of year. The only ones I could come up with were scrapbooking embellishments. And the rusty stars from my stash of metal pieces. She didn't want any large metallic areas, but I did a little edging with Golden fine gold heavy body paint. It just needed something.

Another rain day. Yep. Never ending this year, so spending the morning cleaning the house and then starting the last lesson with Jane Davies. Dang. Reflecting back on the six weeks of lessons, I fully realized what a great teacher she is. She took us in baby steps leading up to this point, and I am now feeling comfortable enough to try a series of gel print collages on my own.

I have another 2 online lessons to finish after this. They will wait until we lose access to Jane. The access is worth it not just for my work, but what she says about the other students prints. I have learned from everyone. Love it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Advancing in the Lessons

Gel plate, then collage, then gel plate and touch up

Same order as above

Gel plate printing 3 times, then collage, then gel plate and touch up, pen work

Collage, gel plate, and a ton of touch up

Hot mess. Collage, then gel plate, then gave up

collage, then gel plate, then repairing a lot
The six papers above are what I submitted for review to Jane Davies for Lesson 5 in her Gel Plate collage class. I have to tell you, this class has made me stretch myself, go beyond my comfort zone and want to keep trying. It is not easy. I only like one of the above a lot, and that is number 3 down from the top. Oddly enough, that was one of the pieces I considered trashing before the final gel plate application. Once I started to play with it, I fell in love with the design and colors.

The process that Ms. Davies is teaching us is long. This is not a quick "do a journal page" type of work. You have to think about placement on the plate, what you want to mask or save from paint, how many layers of paint, etc. Once you get to the end of printing, there is touch up and a lot of it. For example, in number 3, I did NOT have a clear white ground behind the 3 masked shapes. So out came the Golden Fluid Acrylic white paint, and I kept laying that down until satisfied. I knew I wanted to retain the ladder image to the left from a Stencil Girl stencil. That had to stay muted, but visible. The 3 shapes still were not popping out. Jane told us to stick with the same palette throughout our pieces, so it appeared to be a collection. One of my colors was Quinacridona/Nickel Azo Gold. It is transparent and a gorgeous shade of gold brown. What I discovered is that paint can intensify the colors underneath. In number 3, the lines were a medium blue cut from a previous gel print. The paint turned those broad lines into a subtle blue/green that just pops.

I will be doing more of these. Bought some of the Strathmore Mixed Media paper pads on sale. This is 140lb. paper, and holds up to repeated printing well.

One note. In the last piece above, the darker papers are from a Hungarian book that Klara sent me last year for use in my work. It is very old, and I put down a good layer of Matte Medium from Golden to adhere the paper. On top and on the bottom, and let it dry overnight. The antique paper came up, 3 times, on the edges. So. If you have collage papers you want to use that are extremely dry and fragile like this was, one coat of Matte Medium is not going to hold it. I now know to layer the medium on, and let it dry between applications. Learn from my mistakes. (Hi Klara!)

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, May 22, 2017


2 3/4 by 6 inch tag
I love working on tags, all sizes. It sets up something in my brain that this project is short and sweet, and you can quickly move on.

I had grabbed this tag to mask out a collage from class with the gel plate, so it was completely covered in Golden Fluid Acrylic Teal, but had picked up a few nuances from the gel plate. Put it to the side to dry while I was working, and the more I looked at it, the more I wanted to do something with the new Tim Holtz Ideology figures. Cathy had just left and gone through the package of vintage photos with me. It's one of the things we both like to work with in our art. The card with "girl" on it is a Tim Holtz Journey card. The "Be Brave" chip board is a new Tim Holtz collection, and the washi tape across the top and bottom of the girl card is also Tim Holtz. Rusty star is from Hobby Lobby when they have their Christmas craft supplies for sale. They carry a line of primitive rusty elements that I have used on so many, many projects.

A happy tag that came together quickly. Now back to the real work on the collages....

Sunday, May 21, 2017

And so it goes

Back wall of the garage. Cathy does the yard hangings to the right

Some of my canvases on a grid

Mishmash of scrapbook mini albums, canvases, collages

Cathy paints these adorable landscape edgers

More yard hangings
Never trust Mother Nature. Never. We had to make our decision whether to hold the arts and crafts sale on Monday, because I teach classes at the rec center Monday through Thursday, and wanted to hand out flyers. "Clear" until "late in the day" the weather people said. They lied.

It was chilly, but the forecast was still for a high of 81. The rain started, with the temps at 60 or there about, by 10:30. The wind picked up, and within 15 minutes I had no choice but to lower the garage door. The storm was whipping around and came back at us from the east, which is the direction my house faces. Really? Water everywhere.

By "late in the day" when we had closed up and packed it all in, the sun was out, it was 80 and humid. Go figure.  Should anyone be interested in any of Cathy's yard hangings or painted edgers (the campers are so cute!), please contact me via email on the sidebar. I will put you in touch with her.

Because we had a lot of time to talk (no customers), we discussed selling online. I am expanding what is in my Etsy shop gradually. I will also be posting more photos on Instagram and Facebook, but under a new Facebook page called appropriately enough, GracieandJake. There are links in my Instagram profile to the Etsy shop and back to this blog.

I think, and so does Cathy, that you should do what makes you happiest. We are both happy creating odd little projects. Mine are completely different from hers, but people seem to like what we do. I did sell one of my newer abstracts yesterday, and that made my heart sing. So if I can sit at home and create, then place it on the internet to sell, that suits me. Neither of us want to pack all of this up and go to a craft show. Been there, done that. I was a lot younger, like 20 years younger. It is back breaking hard work, and just not possible today.

That's our story and we're sticking to it. Enjoy your day.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Where did my week go?

12x12 cement paver on my work table, with my feet below. Just realized that. DUH!

2 more pavers

This was one of the collages from Lesson 4 that I just added more elements, and some black scribbles
I take all of my photos with my phone, and pay Dropbox annually to upload those photos automatically. That way I don't have to worry about where they are. Unfortunately, there is a problem. Dropbox, in the past 8 days or so, has slowed down to the point that photos are not uploading until much later. Not sure if it's my phone which is now 2 years old, or if my memory capacity on Dropbox is almost full. I take a ton of photographs. I apologize for missing more than a few days, but I really need to get this worked out. The other scenario is that the Mac desktop is 8 years old and very tired. I have never come close to filling the 640gig hard drive, but it is me.

This is what I did for the pavers: buy cement pavers in your choice of size and dimension. Clean them off, let dry completely, and pick a flat side to paint. I base coated each with a cheaper gesso to seal it. Then used whatever craft paint I had on hand. These were painted with Americana, the base coat allowed to dry, then put large stencils over it. I rolled the contrasting color onto the base with a foam brayer, the type of roller you would use on the walls for trim. Press down on the stencil so it does not move when doing this. Let all of the layers dry at least overnight, then sealed with a heavy coat of Mod Podge.

Will make great garden decorations that are unique, and you can say "I did that!" Enjoy yourselves.