Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Dying to be home again

Goodness. It has been so long since I checked in here that I can't even think of anything to say. 

While I wait for something brilliant to cross my mind ... I'll add a photo or two of the latest experiment to come off the work table.

It all happened when I decided to make a home version of Portillo's chopped salad. As I was opening the composter to add all the veggie scraps, I noticed the stiff outer leaves of the red cabbage. So ... in the same noble way I rescue books from a dumpster, I pulled the purple leaves back from the composter. Fifteen minutes later they were ripped into pieces and immersed in boiling water.

Red cabbage = blue water ... a lovely gray blue that is soft, beautiful. I strained the water into a glass peanut butter jar (I love Smucker's). While the liquid cooled, I ran through the house looking for paper that might look better with a blue bath.

I am sad that I couldn't get the true blue that came from this dye. It truly is beautiful and I can't wait to find a way to use it on a card ... or a collage ... or a book! Hopefully that will happen soon!

So nice to be here again. I've missed you, little blog. content with such things as ye have: for God hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5

Monday, February 26, 2018

Life marches on

It happens, while life is zipping along, that death knocks at the door and stops all regular activities. By legal arrangement, I have been the life-detail-overseer for an elderly friend. It seemed like the days were going well, but in the midst of my sense of well-being, she gave up.

And that was the end of that story.

So I have been away from this quiet little corner of my world. Although the details of last year still hang over my head, before it becomes a fact that I have missed 4 months of blogging, here I am.

A bit more than 4 months ago, I was working my way through the Image Transfer Workshop. As I looked ahead at the untried transfers, and back at the transfers completed, I decided to stop where I was. The rest of the book required the purchase of pricey materials that were too experimental for me to invest any more money - or time - to complete.

This was a great adventure for me. There are a number of transfer methods that I love to do and I will use again. It is rewarding to know that the books I own are actually expanding my how-to knowledge.

Until I decide which book will be next, I am doing what I love - painting paper and making ... sometimes just a mess. But my heart is happy and that's good.

So I'll post a picture of the latest little painting. It was a mess no matter how many layers I added to bring some order, to find something to like about it. And then it happened... one more layer, one more color. Today it is a card - already doing it's best to add to birthday joy. I love it.

Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!
 Psalm 107:8

Friday, October 27, 2017

Blender marker transfers

Blender markers ... I was really looking forward to this section of Image Transfer Workshop . The transfer seemed so easy and perfect. I tried two different transfer materials - one suggested in the book, the other a why not? attempt at something different.

The necessary materials for me were:
  • several toner-based images  
  • Chartpak colorless blender marker (a Copic blender will not work)
  • rice paper
  • background surface
  • soft gel (gloss)
  • scissor handle for burnishing the image
I cut all three images fairly close to the edges. The instructions suggest rice paper (or gampi), so I tore a piece of rice paper slightly bigger than the image. I placed the image toner-side down over the rice paper, using a small piece of tape to hold it in place. Because the blending liquid dries fast, I covered small sections at a time, then burnished vigorously. (The marker turns the paper with the image almost transparent, so there is no mistaking where you need to burnish.) I repeated this until the entire image had been covered /burnished. (I have to offer a warning - the fumes! Be sure to do this in a well ventilated area. It's really strong!) When the transfer looked right and the rice paper was dry enough to work with, I cut the excess paper away. I was really happy with the results thus far.

I repeated the process once more with another image. When the two images were dry I chose to use background papers that had been collaged with pages torn from an old dictionary and then painted. Following the instructions, I made a soft gel "sandwich" - gel on the background, rice paper image, soft gel on top of that.

Everyone always promises that tissue paper and rice paper will "just disappear into the background" when you glue it down with gel medium, but that has rarely been my experience. I was really disappointed with the very obvious border around the image. Yes, I could try to cover it up with paint ... or dream up some other way to hide the edges, but for me, that defeats the goal of a transfer.

 The second rice paper transfer - closeup. All I could see were the white papery edges around the leaves.

For the third attempt, I decided  to skip the rice paper and go direct to background paper with the image and blender marker. This was a little better, but for me results were not worth the effort.  

To end this beautifully, feast your eyes on a sunset sky from a few days ago. It is incredible how gorgeous the sky can be. 

SOOC - amazing, right?

The Heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Psalm 19:1

Saturday, October 21, 2017

I am ready to jump ahead ...

Continuing through the Image Transfer Workshop this week brought me to the section using the Heat Tool. The authors noted that if you didn't own a heat tool that an iron would work just as well.

I do have a heat tool. I printed several toner copies of items that would make interesting transfers, heated up the tool, read the directions and got busy. The directions were simple. Place the image face down on background paper, apply the heat with slow circular motions, and check the progress of the transfer by lifting a corner of the paper.

The first few attempts produced nothing ... the paper was warm, but there was no transfer of toner at all. I changed the background paper and the image, and produced three transfers that were acceptable. I even got a "ghost" image using one of the line drawings twice. (bottom right)

So, for the next two transfers I tried similar weight paper that had been stained or very lightly sprayed with ink. I circled the only place that the transfer worked - even though I kept moving the heat tool for a very long time.

The last attempt was even less successful. The only part of the image that moved to the background paper was the base of the fan. Again, I was very patient and spent a long time with the heat tool trying to make something wonderful happen.

The results were disappointing. And in the midst of all the circling of the heat tool, I asked myself, What is the point of all the steps?  For me, this is not a process that is worth all of the extra effort.

The next five transfer examples in the book that use heat involve - fabric, iron-on transfer sheets, liquid polymer, plastic wrap, and finally polymer clay. Yes, I do have the necessary materials involved in each project. No, I'm not interested in any of items produced with these techniques.

So ... I am moving ahead. The next section of the book explains how to use solvents for transfers. The first one is the blender marker. I'll do these while the weather is still nice enough to have open windows! *cough*cough*

 ... be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  Romans 12:2

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Bummer ... twice!

Moving into the heat transfer section of the book, Image Transfer Workshop, has been disappointing. The first heat project was with fusible web. That was in my sewing stash, so I was all set to go. I followed the directions exactly, put the taped webbing into the inkjet printer, hit print and immediately I knew there was trouble.

I figured out how to pull the mangled mess out of the depths of the machine and on the spot vowed never to try that again. Never. I vowed.

That took such a brief time that I decided to move right in to the next heat project, fabric crayons. Again the sewing stash provided the goods and I got busy laying paper first on a stencil, then on texture plates and rubbing with the fabric crayons.

Following directions again -
  • iron -no steam, medium heat
  • towel on ironing board, covered with parchment paper
  • crayon covered shapes - face down on selected background paper 
  • another layer of parchment paper
  • iron away!
The results were disappointing. Especially with the red to yellow colored crayons. The blues and purples showed up much better. And still, the overall effect was not worth the extra steps.

the best of the red-orange-yellow patterns

The best of the deep green-blue-purple patterns

Eliminating possibilities is so much better than constantly wondering, would this transfer improve my artwork? The tips that are included were helpful. I tried many different surfaces for the transfers. The ones pictured are the best.

Onward I go. Can't wait to get into the next pages.

I will praise thee O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvellous works. Psalm 9:1

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Transparency and glue - do I like it?

The final experiment in the Glues and Mediums section of the Image Transfer Workshop is the transparency glued on. This method is uncomplicated...
  • print image(s) on transparency
  • cut the desired size
  • apply gel medium to the background substrate
  • lay transparency print side down on gel
  • smooth out the image with your hand or a brayer
  • wait until it's dry
The hardest part for me is always choosing the image to use. I finally decided on a black leaf shape in two sizes. Because I am using a transparency for ink jet printers, I needed to let the print dry for 30 minutes and then spray the printed side with a workable fixative. This picture is the (textured) printed side after the fixative has been applied.

I applied the images to three different surfaces - a small piece of cardstock with multiple layers of book paper applied, a  60 lb. piece of painted paper , and a contents page from a vintage atlas (slightly heavier than the 60lb paper).  The process worked perfectly. No air bubbles. No shifting ink.

L to R - painted atlas page, 60 lb. painted paper, collaged cardstock

After waiting a day to make sure the gel was completely dry, it was time for an honest evaluation.

I didn't care for the glossy sheen that made the transfer the center of attention. I tried the suggestion of painting the image with gesso/water mixture. That did help to tone down the shiny area.

On the lighter weight paper, the transparency caused the paper to curl. It would definitely be an issue to remember whenever planning to use this process.

My favorite is the collaged cardstock. That is something that will be a usable piece with some more tweaking.

The conclusion? I am quite sure that this method will not become a vital part of my bag of tricks. The author's sample included in the book is interesting, but it just isn't a technique that appeals to me.

The next section of the book covers Heat.  Hmmm - should be interesting!

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Transparency with gel ... disaster is thy name

I do have pictures ... just so that I will never say to myself, Self? Give that method one more try...  

Transparency with gel is the heading for this transfer process. I tried it twice. The first time was with 2 images on a Grafix ink jet transparency sheet. They printed perfectly.  I followed the instructions step by step (except that I used regular matte gel and not gloss gel ... oops).

And this was the better of the two! The second image of a door was so bad that I didn't bother taking a picture.

When I discovered my error in using the wrong gel medium, I decided to give the process another try. I printed three images on an older transparency sheet, hoping that maybe the modern version of transparencies for ink jet printers was just too sophisticated for the method. The printout was fine ... the results were much the same as the first trial.


Such a small amount of ink transferred to the paper that it wasn't worth the effort. I did promise myself that I would not skip any of the projects in this book and I'm glad that I tried this. However ... there is nothing that will draw me to try this again. 

Next process - transparency glued on. It looks interesting ... like something that could add another dimension to a collage. 

The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. Lamentations 3:25

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Transfers using paint

This turned out so much better than I expected.

I was unsure about color and subject and background ... would the color be too dark/light? would the image show up through the paint? where, oh where could I find an interesting image? In the end, I went for a couple of background papers on the table, a random magazine page with plums, and paint that was color wheel approved. It is just an experiment after all!

The magazine photo - shown here - was simple. Carefully spaced plums on a near white background.

For both samples, I used watercolor paper that had been stamped with watercolors. A few weeks ago, before I decided to work my way through the Image Transfer Workshop book in organized fashion, I had added a dry gel transfer to this first trial piece. Over all of that, I applied blue acrylic paint approximately the same size as my magazine cut out, applied the same paint to the magazine piece, brayered the two together and waited for the required drying time.

The procedure was the same for the second background (similarly watercolored paper only, but with gel skin transfer pieces added). Acrylic paint sandwich, brayer and wait for it to dry. The came the usual sand lightly, mist with water, and rub with fingertips.

I don't understand why ... so far it's a foreign language, but I like these. I love the way the transfers are clear and sharp. I am looking forward to trying more, with different colors and subjects. Maybe even BIG! Now that might be interesting!!!

Next up - Transparency with Gel.

Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6