After spending the best part of a couple weekends assembling my Life Book last year, I bought a 9″x12″ Leuchterm 1917 journal for 2015 art class lessons. It’s good for just about all of the mixed media goodness my classes throw at it. Except water-based supplies as the first layer. Lately, my first layer is either Liquitex gesso or writing/doodling with permanent or alcohol markers.
I’ve tried using my Powershot S50, Samsung tablet, and Canon Rebel to get decent videos. They’re ok, but the problems ranged from low res to time limit per clip and file size and format problems. After some research, I picked up a Canon Vixia camcorder this week at Costco.
Yeah, I like Canon products. I’ve been using them so long that I know the controls and like the menu setup. No, that’s not a paid endorsement.
I wanted to use it in controlled conditions, so instead of taking it to the park for a hoop session, I recorded a short intro and this journal flip of my 2015 on-line class creations. As always, I edit with kdenlive and learn something new with each video. Still trying to figure some stuff out, like fast-forward and slow mo, but I’m getting pretty good at cutting. The camera itself is much simpler to use than the Rebel, plus it has features I haven’t tried yet.
I’ve got my vimeo settings to not allow embedding video, so please follow the link to my journal flip:
My next video will probably be a hooping video, since I’ve been adding new tricks. My next blog post…hmmm. not sure. Probably the next Life Book installment. Stay tuned.
Fly, be free, my lovelies.
Week 26. Inner Warrior Princess with Andrea Gomoll. I’ve been a tad obsessed with creating a Klimt-inspired Pallas Athena since I took Tam’s Magical Mythical Makings class. I’ve sketched a number of variations and tried again when this lesson came up. Klimt’s Athena was a bust portrait with her in a helmet. That’s a tad complicated for my skillset, so I propped her helmet on top of her head. I doubt Athena was a ginger. As you know, I have a thing for gingers, so mine is. Owls are often seen with her and she is the goddess of the arts, among other things. The text is ancient Greek and the very loose translation is “be fearless.” A little influence from Kelly Rae Robert’s Mantra class. I had some trouble with the shading, but I think I could go back and tone it down by doing more work on the Neocolor/white acrylic technique that Tam teaches. I was trying to do this with Gelatos and Inktense pencils, but as mentioned in the previous Life Book lesson post, this paper is not good with wet media.
Week 27 was an artist interview. Week 28. Layers of You with Tam. Paint over collage. Rather than use a selfie, I used some Vogue magazines. At this point, of course, I’ve lost track of the number of Tam classes, I’ve taken, so I feel quite comfy running with the technique and doing the pages my way. I like to swim, so my inner me is a Naomi Watts mermaid. Obviously.
Week 29. Tiny Story telling with Danielle Donaldson. My hands have recently been pain-free, so I’m hesitant to spend a lot of my art time with fussy-cutting elements. In fact, I haven’t put this lil gal in my official journal. She is in my Moleskin watercolor journal. But, she’s so adorbs, I had to paint her and give her a little phrase and include her here.
Week 30 with Flora Bowley. I enjoyed Flora’s lesson last year, but I still struggle with the free-form, intuitive painting style. Ideas come to me while I’m watching the video. I painted 2 pages and this is the one that came out. The other one is waiting to be finished. This one, Serene, was one of the ideas I had. Of course, the idea of having a plan is contrary to Flora’s style, but it was an urge and I followed it. I’m grateful that Flora included a real-time bonus video – I watched it twice and will go back to this technique to try and wrap my art brain around it. Perhaps that is what the other page is waiting for – unplanned inspriation.
After spending Saturday on Flora’s intuitive lesson, I needed to get back to familiar ground. I worked on Week 2 of Tam’s Fabulous Faces class, so you have those pages to look forward to.
In the meantime: fly, be free, my lovelies.
I have been a fan of Kelly Rae Roberts’ mixed media art for a while. Last week, in honor of her 40th birthday, she offered her Instagram followers a special price for her self-study course, “Hello Soul, Hello Mixed Media.”
Naturally, I couldn’t pass that up.
This is a rather long post because I share the class project, a class review, and a minimum supply list.
I spent the past 2 weekends working through the lessons. Once again, I’m so grateful for Effy Wild’s Ultimate Class Notebook and I have completely adopted her method of watching the videos first and taking notes before diving in.
This class really pushed my boundaries because it requires you to really let go and play and at the very end, bring the piece together.
Joining Kelly Rae for this course is Lynzee Lynx. For a bit of synchronicity, Lynzee taught a Life Book lesson on making your own stencils and I really enjoyed her lesson. Lynzee was playing the role of a class student. This is not her particular style so she was way out of her comfort zone and a stroke of genius for Kelly Rae to include Lynzee in this class.
One of the things I’ve struggled with is incorporating words into my art. Part 1 of the class is about digging deep and developing your mantras. Part 2 is a ton of techniques for backgrounds. I had a bit of an art orgy and made a bunch of canvases. My friend Marva gave me a bunch of canvases when she moved recently, and I used most of them to make this pretty mess on my studio floor:
a plethora of canvases
The background-making stage is a lot of fun: alternating different acrylic paint techniques and collage. This method is totally in my style because it’s all about filling the space with mixed media goodness. The pulling it all together stage of Lesson 3 was a bit tougher. Even though this project was in my area of art-making, it was a challenge to stay loose and in the moment. Also, I am drawn to dark colors, so I had to lighten areas up quite a bit to create contrast.
I chose “Trust Your Inner Voice” because I had to let go and trust the process to get this piece done. While watching the class video on bringing in the focal image, I thought of the Bear I made for Juliette Crane’s lesson, Week 13 in Life Book. I traced the Bear and glued him down then re-painted him. In Native American lore, bears represent, among other things, bravery and your hidden strength, which was appropriate to the lesson. The butterfly wings were part of the following joy and intuition. A bear with wings just makes me happy. I’m pretty pleased with the finished piece, although looking now at the photo, I think the horizon has gotten lost and whatever I decide to do with it will probably be the contrast I feel is missing.
Review of the Class
As a teacher, Kelly Rae is terrific. You feel like she’s there with you, she has a friendly teaching style.She and Lynzee work well together. Kelly Rae is the first teacher I’ve taken a class from who has no formal art training. This makes her teaching style accessible to beginners because she isn’t trained, she just loves to make art and it shows in her lessons and in her work. You see the art being made before your eyes, in (mostly) real time.
My complaints with the class are minor: 1) you can’t download the videos. I understand teachers do that as a measure of control over their content and I respect that; and 2) you have 6 months to access the lessons. I’ve been spoiled by teachers who offer a year or forever to access lessons. Limited access is the reason I soaked the class in over 2 weekends. I wanted to make sure I could watch, take notes, and get through the material at least once and still have time to re-watch any of the demos.
The price of this class is $247, and Kelly Rae offers a 2 payment installment plan. That sounds like a lot of money, but there are so many lessons (50?), a ton of information, mixed media techniques, and pdf handouts. With the limited access, I suggest you watch the lessons and take notes before you start. At the very least, watch the demos and make a list of the techniques to refer back to later. The price is comparable to Jane Davenport classes. If you can only take one class this year, splurge on this one because it’s suitable for any level and you’ll have a painting to hang up at the end of class. If you’re more experienced, this class will shake things up, while letting you create in your style.
A beginner with minimal drawing or painting skills can succeed in this course. If you can doodle, glue stuff down, and finger paint, you can rock this class. As for supplies, I think you could make a very successful first piece with a minimum investment in supplies. My minimum list is below.
If you’re interested in taking the class, you may sign up here: Hello Soul, Hello Mantra. Of all the mixed media classes I’ve taken, I think this is one of the best class for a true beginner because you can make a beautiful piece without the ability to draw faces, figures or whimsical creatures. Full disclosure: I am a Kelly Rae Roberts’ affiliate, so if you sign up by following the above link, I get a little something in return from Kelly Rae, which I’ll no doubt use for art supplies, so I appreciate your support!
Minimum Supply List
If you’re completely new to mixed media or you have non-acrylic paint supplies, here is my suggested minimum and least expensive supply list: large (9″x12″ minimum, really, this style is easier and more fun on a big scale) canvas board, regular gel medium gloss (gloss is vital), 2 or 3 colors you are drawn to, black and white heavy body (tube) acrylics, small paint brushes for doodling and writing, collage paper, a spray bottle, tools you can find around the house.
The cheaptest paint option is to purchase is DecoArt Crafter’s Acrylic.If you have a bit more to spend on paint or you just want more paint, I suggest Amsterdam heavy body acrylics. The paint itself is nice and the price per tube is good. You can water down heavy body acrylics to achieve the wetter techniques in this class.
For colors, I suggest you include a mix of warm (yellow/red) and cool (blue/green) colors. This will give you more color flexibility. If you’re drawn to neon (and who isn’t?), I suggest 1 neon because they tend to be less opaque than non-neon colors, which makes them good to layer but they get lost pretty easily as the layers increase.
You can make your own acrylic spray inks with whatever paint you have using 2 ounce spray bottles you can pick up in any drug store for less than a buck. You may download my pdf instructions for backgrounds and making spray inks – scroll to the bottom of this page for the link.
My next steps
I am excited to try more pieces using Kelly Rae’s techniques, incorporate words more routinely in my art. I’m also curious to find out what would happen if I use different art supplies, substrates. How will I have to adjust the techniques to use, for example, Neo Color II crayons? I’m very interested in making a piece in all water-based supplies. What would a page in this style look like in my art journal?
I want to find out and think Kelly Rae would grant me permission.
Trust your inner voice.
Week 18 was 2 bonus lessons; I did the 2nd lesson with Kristin Van Valkenburgh. I used fiber paste, stencils, acrylics, Dina Wakely scribble bird stamp, washi tape, Shiva oil pastels, collage, and more. It’s a many layer piece that the photo doesn’t do justice to.
Week 19 was with Jessica Swift. This was a personal art journal pair of pages, so I’m sharing a closeup.
Week 20 was with Jenny Doh. A very free, expressive lesson, which is harder to do than it looks. The background was done with fluid acrylics and acrylic inks. The angel was drawn with Prisma and Stabilo All pencils.
Week 21 was another 2 bonus lesson week with the very fun Lynn Whipple and painting an apple with Tam. At this point, I’m caught up with the lessons, so I did both.
This is another more personal journal page, so it’s another close-up.
While watching Tam’s How to Paint an Apple lesson, I had the urge to do a mixed media on wrapped canvas. The apple I chose as a model was an odd shaped one, and I spent a lot of time working on this painting. I like the way it turned out. Might take it to my new office.
Next up includes 2 lessons I am very excited about. I just finished the lesson with Jeanne Oliver and Tam’s lesson on drawing a male, front-facing portrait. You can see my first sketch for the lesson here.We have 2 movies left for SIFF 2015 and then, it’s a photo field trip to try out my new wide angle lens, so stay tuned and thanks for stopping by.
The theme for April is being present. In the moment. Tam had a terrific definition for being present, so I’ll save the Buddhist commentary for a moment. What the April lessons have in common is being present by following your artistic impulses, experimenting, playing. Remember how carefree you were as a kid drawing? Before some inconsiderate external critic suggested that your creations could only be loved by your mom?
I’d like to go find that teacher and kick ’em in the junk, but that’s not a very friendly thing to do but the idea does put my inner critic on my side for a change.
Being present. It’s bit scary posting this set of pages. They are not finished works, nor are they meant to be. They are play-time with personal words and symbols. Experiments with color and form with little regard for composition. Visual expressions of the moment, what I saw and felt on the days I made them, using colors that struck my fancy in the moment.
These are mixed media pages: acrylic paints in liquid, ink, spray, marker and heavy body formulas, Stabilo All pencils, Pitt Pens, Neocolor2s, Gelatos, Distress Stains, tissue, collage, pastels, watercolor pencils, colored pencil, graphite pencil, alcohol markers.
Week 14: Field Journaling with Alisa Burke. To be honest, I was having lunch at work, read the pdf and had ideas. I didn’t watch the video for this lesson. I’m sure I’ll go back and watch in order to take notes at some point. I like the color and elements of this page, but feel value is somewhat lacking.
Week 15 Little Things, with Tam. 3/4 face, two page spread. Tam’s definition of the present is pretty terrific and I’m mostly paraphrasing, but goes something like this: the present is real while the past and future are imaginary. Since I’m working in a large (9×12 journal), I decided to do the 2 page spread. And struggled with working more loosely, simpler face shading, more black and white. I had to set this aside for a couple days to appreciate it. I added more little black and white doodles after this photo. I also re-worked these pages in another journal because i felt the version here, in my Life Book art journal, the pages, well, sort of work together, but not as much as I’d like. I love Tam’s art so much and want to buy an original piece someday. In the meantime, for the Life Book lessons, I tend to copy her composition, in my style, doodles, writing, and darker color scheme, which brings different problems.
Week 16.Being Here Now with Alena Hennessy. I enjoyed Alena’s class last year. For me, I find Alena’s lessons are like Jane Davenport’s, with tools, techniques, and inspiration to create a page all your own. I may use some of her elements or maybe not. When I’m watching the videos and taking notes, I sometimes get ideas. I make note of these ideas so when I sit down, I can try them out. Alena’s lesson involved working 15 minutes, 10 minutes and 5 minutes, so I did 2 versions, 15 and 10 minutes, on 9×12 watercolor paper. I liked the first one so much, I taped it into my journal. When I finished the background, pan-galactic gargleblasters popped into my mind. I looked over the page and thought that the world must look like this page after having one. It made sense at the moment. Which is the point of the lesson, init?
Week 17 Feel the Moment with Jenny Wentworth. As I watched Jenny’s video, I had the urge to work the page in Quin Magenta, Payne’s Grey, and Pthalo Blue. Why? Cuz I love those colors. I gesso’d my page and started to work. Jenny used charcoal to sketch her gal, then activated it with a wet brush. My charcoal didn’t work very well wet, so I switched to my trusty Stabilo All pencil. Many layers commenced because I had to bring light to her face. Most of my heavy body acrylics are Amsterdam brand. I love the colors and most of the time, they work quite well for my needs. Today, though, we were having a struggle. Perhaps I wasn’t letting layers dry properly or perhaps I used too much water to thin them on the page, but I had a lot of trouble with them lifting off the page and behaving more like water soluable Neocolor 2s than acrylic paints. Her eyes are the color of the original background. This gal is growing on me. It’s been a long time since I created a face without mapping it out in painstaking detail – erasing, drawing, re-drawing. I worked very quickly on this page. Three of the pages were worked fairly quickly. It seems I spent a rather long time on Tam’s lesson, but it was a 2 page spread.
This sort of in-the-moment play-time is good for the soul. It’s liberating and expressive. Whether or not you share such pages with anyone doesn’t matter, but give it a try. A little expressive freedom just for you. But if you want to share, I’d love to see your pages.
I’m still experimenting with Teesha’s art journal collage style. This page just kept going. However, I like that I combined collage with text. Also, I am really enjoying my lettering.
I love this style and will continue to explore it. There’s something soothing about working these pages.
Edited with #aviary > http://avry.co/_getAviary_
I liked Week 34 with Cat Geller so much, that I am making an 11×14 wrapped canvas version. I’m using acrylics, oil pastels, collage, Pitt pens. I almost like her sans facial features but I won’t decide intil the current layer is dry.
Stay tuned to find out if she gets a face.
Edited with #aviary > http://avry.co/_getAviary_