Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Virtual Travel Journal & Altered Book Progress

I am so very not happy with the results of my altered book experiments. The gesso isn't drying well, the pages seem sticky, and my image transfers have a pretty low success rate. I've been trying gluing several pages together before adding gesso and leaving the pages open to dry before putting clean waxed paper between. This seems to be working better than what was happening previously.

I have a couple of 2-page spreads to share, but they are not what I would call "good" pages, but I am trying desperately to convince my inner critic that this is my practice book and that I am learning by doing. I will try a couple more today and will try to be more careful with things. As you can see by the hot air balloons below, the image transfers didn't work very well. I am thinking that maybe the humidity is keeping the gesso from drying completely and that is interfering. Is that a reasonable conclusion?

I didn't gesso the right hand page. I saved some words about hot and spicy ginger nuts and then used Neocolor IIs to add some color before gluing on some accents.

I did have success with Omni-Gel transfers. I used that on both the pillow and the guest tag. With Omni-Gel, you add a layer onto the image side three times, once horizontally, once vertically, and once diagonally, letting each layer dry in between. You then soak the image in water for about 15 minutes before gently rubbing the paper off the back of it.

While letting some gesso dry on my next two pages, I went for a walk out in the world with the "little yellow man" from Google Maps, and decided to begin a new Moleskine as a Virtual Travel Journal.  I must tell you, I get my ideas of where to travel from the blogs I read. I am especially enchanted with the travels and photos of Nina at The Other Side of the Ocean.  But, I've also visited Denmark, thanks to greg/regan of Three Years in Denmark, and Caatje of Caatje's Artsy Stuff. Here is what I have to show you so far. I am intending to sketch in pen, but the doorway in Ceret was a bit tricky, so I opted for pencil (Yes, I know, that is a cop out and I'll try not to let it happen again).

I went to my conditioning class yesterday and then came home and jogged for about 35 minutes before settling into my art room. I've been going through supplies in the guest bedroom closet that I haven't used in quite a long while (since the last time I was trying collage, in fact). I am participating in an Artist Garage/Bake Sale this evening at Ella Sharp Museum in Jackson, and am hoping to move some of the long unused supplies along. I will be selling my Pan Pastels; many stamps; an entire encaustic kit with iron, several tips for the iron, papers, and waxes; some fixative sprays; some embossing powders;  and an assortment of gewgaws - many from Maya Road in their cute little tins. There may be more than this - I'm not done sorting yet. If you are in the area, come in and visit and see what you can find. The sale begins at 7 pm.

I'm pretty sure my day will be spent alternating between working on pages in the altered book and preparing for the garage sale. What do you have planned for today? Does it include time for yourself and your creativity? I sure hope so!!



  1. Good for you for trying new things! Also, I think using pencil is perfectly acceptable. Don't feel bad about using it! hugs, nancy

  2. Good for you for trying new things! Also, I think using pencil is perfectly acceptable. Don't feel bad about using it! hugs, nancy

  3. What's the concept of using gesso in this project? I'm not following the procedure, so I am not sure what to say about it!

    But don't criticize yourself when you draw! just remember your inner artist's only a little girl, and you need to talk to her kindly and encouragingly!

  4. The gesso might have too much liquid in it. I read somewhere, sorry don't remember where or by whom, that if you put some gesso in an uncovered container and leave overnight some of the liquid with evaporate. If that's not the problem, maybe you are putting too much on the first time. Try using a credit/library/? card to scrape the gesso on. It should dry faster and then apply another coat if needed. You could also use a hair dryer to speed the drying. High humidity is a toughy. As for transfers, they are unpredictable......just go with it. Pencils are great for drawing and figuring things out. You are not in a competition, you are discovering your world. Love what you are exploring.

  5. What are you using to do the image transfers? I've found that Golden's regular and heavy gels give a much better result than soft gel, while white glue, if you put on enough layers, also does pretty well. I agree with Cynthia about the credit-card smears - you can get a really nice thin layer (with lumpy bits for texture), that allow you to put multiple layers down. Watch out for the heat of the hair dryer, unless you want a bubbly effect - it heats up pretty quickly. What's wrong with pencils?

  6. I have never tried an altered book. I wish I could offer help. I must say that it was interesting to read about your process. It's so frustrating, but the good part is that once you have it figured out, you'll be able to help others.