Project Themes – visiting the past

“Nostalgia: A device that removes the ruts and potholes from memory lane.” — Doug Larson

Goings On

I’m a little behind on my posting this month. Not only have I been focusing on the art journal classes I’ve been taking, but Mike (my husband) and I have been analyzing places where we would like to live now that we’ve retired. It is not an easy task as no place really meets all a person wants or needs nor fits their lifestyle.

We thought we’d narrowed it down to Maine. It seemed nearly ideal – ocean, mountains, woods, small towns, beautiful and plentiful lakes, great artist communities, and cool summers. We’d almost convinced ourselves we’d do okay in the cold winters. The other drawback was it’s quite far from Florida where our kids and grandkids live and the property taxes are high. We had planned a trip last May to find land or speak to realtors but then Lockdown happened. We canceled and planned to go this May. But you know how plans seem to get side-tracked? Mike got an email from a land developer in North Georgia. Well, we had also thought about living in the Blueridge/Smokey mountains. So, we booked an appointment to go to the land sale.

So, we saw the land 3.7 acres in the woods with a view of the mountains – a gated community that provides electric, water, roads, security, and a clubhouse. We hardly ever make a decision spontaneously, but we did this time, and bought the lot. So we’ve been quite busy planning this month.

Art Project Ideas – Where do they come from?

I do have a new project for which I am collecting new ideas. Think of your favorite things such as books you’ve read, a movie you saw, sports you’ve enjoyed. Maybe you have an interest in history, or favorite people you admire that you would like to illustrate. Some artists like to focus on social issues of the day. Other people want to capture the beauty of nature. Really the sky is the limit if you use your imagination and just have fun. Some projects may take a bit of research, planning, or preparations.

I have seen the movie “Out of Africa” which resonated with me. I guess it is because I’ve always dreamed of going there to see the wild animals and meet the native peoples. I also have always admired the pioneering spirit that the movie portrayed. Currently, I am reading the book by Karen Blixen for whom the movie was based on. The book is memoirs of her life on the coffee plantation she had in Africa in the early twentieth century. The movie follows the book closely. Her descriptions are rich and poetic inspiring me to make some mixed-media art pieces based on these writings.

Gel Plate Transfer with Photograph

Another project I am continuing to work on is the scrapbooks of my mother and father. Here is a journal page I made about my maternal grandmother.

Grayce Ann Sharp, age 26

This journal page was created for one of my Wanderlust classes but I intend to make another print like it for the scrapbook I will make about my Mom. I printed a black and white photo of my grandmother. We used two prints one as a reference under the gelli plate and another as the surface to receive the gel print. This was to have an Andy Worhall style. Place a cut out of the photograph image face down on gel plate using the other image underneath the gel plate as a guide. Next paint using one or several colors with a brush or brayer around the template for background. Transfer by pressing the journal page or substrate onto the gel plate and rub it, pull it off. The paint should transfer to the leaving a blank area where the cut out was placed. Clean plate if you want. Choose a highlight color. Again, using the tracing paper under the gel plate as a reference, paint that color onto the highlighted areas showing through, directly onto the gel plate. Using the cut out print of photograph, place the paper carefully over the gel plate lining up the paper so images line up. Gently press then pull off paper. The paint should transfer over to that cut-out image in the highlighted areas. Continue the same procedure with the mid-tones and the dark-tones always transferring to the same cutout image. I found it useful to clean the plate between each layer. I did the light pink first, then the yellow, next the orchid. When the paint dried I embellished a little on the sweater with white and orchid. Next glue the cut out image onto the background substrate. I used a marker to journal and added some writing with a white paint pen and I outlined the portrait in silver ink. Add splashes and sprinkles with paint. It took me a couple tries to get it right. Experiment with bright and bold color schemes.


Thanks to Kasia Avery producer of #wanderlust 2021, who also gives some of the weekly lessons and suggested tapping into memories, books, movies, music to inspire ongoing projects..

Suppliers: Gelli Arts – gel plates, Arteza acrylic paints, Arteza journal.

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