Monday, June 11, 2012


To start, I gesso most everything.

I've been told that gesso is a good primer and stops buckling.  I'm doing most of these backgrounds for my calendar journal which comprises manila folders so that's what I'll be illustrating.

I use acrylic craft paint and this is the second layer.  Too thick I think!

I tried to drop alcohol on and I'm wasn't impressed.  I tried the alcohol ink and it was a bit better.  I spritzed with water and that was more exciting.  I think I need to study inks or something!

Now I'm already learning that spreading acrylic with a plastic card works pretty good but if I want texture a dry brush on a few drops works slick!

Then I shook some watered down acrylic unto the pages.

I did this several times and the last time I also added some dots to the lower left page with the end of the brush.  I'm kinda into dots!  These were a little thicker and as each new layer should dry I decided to go ahead and try some bubble wrap on the right page.

That turned out pretty cool!

Then I brushed acrylic onto a stamp I'd made with a foam circle glued to cardboard.

I want to point out that the left hand background was started on another day.  My calendar pages are two page spreads and they should somewhat relate.  So I am using common colours and shapes to tie them together.  I'm not really wanting matchy matchy, though.

Ink:  I was up for trying ink again!

I removed the wrapping from my pen and nib and dipped into orange ink and wrote a day of the week.  So far so good. I decided to outline some circles.  This could have been edgy but...  I was raised in the school era where you had to master the straight pen before you could load up with the fountain pen and it was a few years before they allowed ballpoint.  It is like riding a bicycle.  You never forget!  lol  I may have to find a caligraphy book.

A few stamps. 

The yellow is going to be too subtle but Burnt Copper stands out.

Back to acrylic.  Who knew that toilet paper rolls were so cool!

Or the side of a plastic card!

My next try was to stamp first.  I also collaged some bits of torn paper which I adhered with gel medium.

Then I added first one colour of acrylic and then the other.  These are dry brushed.

Then I stenciled on some glimmer mist onto the left page.That is the positive image.  I flipped the stencil onto the right page and pressed the stencil down so the negative image would be on the right.  No waste!  This page is not finished but I am learning that they don't all need to be done in a slam bam manner!  lol  Let's just say I'm thinking!  ;^)

Now that turned out so well that my first journal page is not looking so cute anymore. I should have done more thinking!!!   I first viewed the adding of many layers to cover up previous layers as a bit wasteful!  But not everything goes as planned and that is why there are paper towels or baby wipes available to remove, soften or blend.  This time I won't even batt an eye! 


Jo Vandermey said...

Your who knew a toilet paper roll could be so useful made me laugh. At a class I took on printing on fabric one of the coolest looks I got on my fabric that day was making a shape from the top of a antiperspirant container and using a potato masher. Who knows what will work?
That's the fun part!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I feel a bit like you that adding layers can be very wasteful. However, if you want depth, that is the only way to achieve it.

I'm totally in love with the backgrounds you are making and agree that the negative stencil image is probably as much fun as the positive stencil image. I do that every time I use a stencil. Sometimes I even prefer the "flip side" better.

I don't believe I've ever used AIs over gesso or paint before. I have only used them over metal. I like that you experimented with a product one would not normally use. BTW, I never used a calligraphy pen in my life. I felt lucky when I graduated from pencil to ink pen (grin).

BJ said...

Elle, you could join in the Summer of Colour with your first page as those are the exact colours for this first week.
Super backgrounds - BJ

Dawn said...

Fab colourful and expressive backgrounds Elle, can see you had lots of fun experimenting my lovely. Thanks for sharing.
Hugs x

Createology said...

Elle these pages are each so beautiful. They really reflect the new calendar girl that you are this year...beautiful and brave! Thank you for sharing your photos and techniques as it helps those of us who do not know what they are doing. Blissful...

SandeeNC said...

Awesome work on your calendar pages, they are beautiful backgrounds, I really enjoyed seeing all the different but basic stuff you used like the toilet roll, and the bubble wrap was just exceptional! I know I will try some of them the next time I play with paint! waving hi from the hills of North Carolina :)

Gina said...

Wonderful pages and thanks for sharing your steps; those layers really add great depth. I like how you used the toilet roll!

HollyM said...

It looks like lots of fun! Leave it to you to find something else you need to study(ink).

Margaret Applin said...

I think your pages are quite SUCCESSFUL!!! I love the pink and yellow ones!!! Just seeing all the collaged elements in black and white on those last pages made me want to jump right in!!!

Marjorie's Busy Corner said...

you're having way too much fun Elle,,,lol looks great.

Susan J Barker said...

I have always enjoyed the process of exploring new things and I can tell you are having a great time with making the journal pages!

Anonymous said...

Lots of fun in the studio! I love how you experimented and the colourful results with unexpected materials! How are you going to put all these pages together?

Dolores said...

Looks like you're having wat too much fun.

Susan said...

Love your toilet paper roll stamp! Great idea!