Currently Browsing: September 2009 36 articles

A Pop-up ATC from Terry Garrett

My friend Terry Garrett sent me one of his recent ATCs (Artist Trading Cards), and it's a pop-up with a cool surprise inside. I wanted you all to see it but my friend Ricë, who is also friends with Terry, saved me the trouble of photographing this little gem. See it on her blog Notes […]


More Collage with Ephemera

Above: another page spread from my "Ephemera" journal of February 2000. I took a moment to review this journal for its nostalgia while scanning the spread I showed you yesterday. Before leaving this journal I thought I would share the above spread. These two weeks in February 2000 I was a bit annoying, to say […]


Ephemera Collage Map


Above: Page spread from an “Ephemera” journal I kept for two weeks in February 2000. Size: 16 x 10 inches; rubberstamps, paper scraps, receipts, etc. (There’s a scanning artifact at the base of the image—the spread was scanned in two segments.) Click on the image to view an enlargement.

In yesterday’s post on collage I wrote about using collage in journals to create “something wholly new, abstract or concrete, which has meaning for you, even if its meaning lies only in the fun you had playing with those materials.”

But I also mentioned another aspect of journal collage: including bits of ephemera from your day. That’s what today’s post is about. In the above image I used bits of ephemera I picked up on my errands, along with scraps of decorative paper and rubber stamps, to create a map of my day.


Collage—Some Thoughts


Left: mixed media collage explained in today’s post. Journal 8 x 8 inches, handmade with 140 lb. hot press watercolor paper. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

When I posted my bantam chicken with people one reader wrote in to say, “I've haven't had much success with collage (I never seem to be able to figure out what to put where), but I have accumulated lots of collage stuff over the years. This piece is inventive and fun. Maybe I'll sift through my stuff and give it another try.” 

I’m glad she’s going to give it another go, and I thought it would be a good idea to write a post with some resources for everyone in a similar position—ready to give it a second chance. Keep it fun and just go with your instincts.

To begin, we can of course ask ourselves "why collage in the first place?" But I think that’s a silly question. I think humans by nature acquire bits and pieces of stuff. If you are inclined to keep a visual journal those bits and pieces are going to make it into your journal, either as ephemera from your day, or as something wholly new, abstract or concrete, which has meaning for you, even if its meaning lies only in the fun you had playing with those materials.


It’s Official—Chickens Are Popular!


Above: Guinea Hen study in Holbein Gouache in my current journal which has Gutenberg pages, page spread is 13 x 8 inches. This study was painted over a prepainted background. Read more about this painting in the post below. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

This study of a white guinea fowl is based on sketches I made at the 2009 Minnesota State Fair. (You thought you weren't going to hear any more about the Fair didn't you—Ha, I live the whole year off my Fair visits!) I painted it on a prepainted background that I wrote about earlier. The morning after I painted this study I opened my New Yorker Magazine (Sept. 28, 2009 issue). I found a delightful article by one of my favorite writers, Susan Orlean, about the rise in the popularity of raising chickens. I love it when serendipity slaps you in the face!


The Sullen Hen: This Time a Border

Above: As the text on the page says, a very sullen hen. Shown here because I wanted to make a comment about making borders on pages. Stabilo Tone over a Pentel Pocket Brush Pen Sketch. 13 x 8 inches on Gutenberg paper. Note there is a vertical line near the gutter on the verso page. […]


Calling all Minnesota Artists: Minneapolis Institute of Arts Foot in the Door Show

Above: journal sketch using Stabilo Tones on page spread of Gutenberg Paper (13 x 8 inches approx.). This isn't related to today's post, it's just a continuation of my on-going discussion of Stabilo Tones. This started as a quick gesture sketch of a bird too small to see clearly, made with the Pentel Pocket Brush […]

“Brick City” on Sundance Channel

Sundance Channel is airing a 5-part documentary on Newark, New Jersey called, "Brick City." (I am behind in my television viewing because of my cold, or I would have mentioned it earlier.) I just watched the first two hours and have to mention it. (Sundance has the times listed for replays and other new episodes. […]


Backgrounds and What Goes on Top


Left: A mixed-media page spread (the journal is turned so the head and tail of the book are at the right and left, making the image 8 x 13 inches). Read below for more details about this spread. Click on the image to view an enlargement. When you do you'll also be able to see the lovely texture of the Gutenberg paper.

I’ve been showing you backgrounds I’ve made while I’ve been recovering from a nasty summer cold. Today I’ve posted a spread with background decoration that was actually used for journaling already. It represents the return of my ability to concentrate, a happy day.

Here’s a Breakdown of What I Did
1. I started this page spread with flat brush strokes of Turquoise FW Acrylic ink around all the edges. Then I took a soft sumi brush and trailed Indigo FW Acrylic ink through the still wet strokes. And while things were still wet I spritzed everything with clean water to spread color even more. I let it sit for a couple weeks because I had a cold and because I wasn’t on this page spread yet.


To iPhone or Not To iPhone


Above: Tom holds his iPhone and shows how he marked the location of his favorite Cinnamon Bun stand at the Minnesota State Fair using one of the map apps available for this phone. Click on the image to view an enlargement.

Something happened to the world that I knew in August. Almost everyone I knew went iPhone crazy—or so it seemed. A group of 4 other women with whom I correspond regularly as a group, started breaking out in iPhones like a rash. I admit it is awfully fun to get short videos of them out and about on their travels, but I wondered about all the chatter about apps. There seems to be an ap (or is that ap? I'd know if I had an iPhone) for everything. Frankly it amused me (and continues to amuse me no end) but it also seems dangerous. A lot of time seemed to be going into the selection and learning and application of these apps. These are all sensible, hard-working, highly productive women so I wasn't worried about them, but I did worry about what black hole I might get sucked into if I were to buy an iPhone.

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