Tag: mod podge transfer

Visual Journal Page 7: What I Need to Teach

Visual Journal Page 7-What I Need to Teach

For the first two years of my art education career I struggled to get the supplies I needed to teach my classes.

For two years I begged, traded, sought out donations and grants, I even sold baked goods at lunch to raise money for my art program. Each year I found a way to scrape by. My students were still exposed to drawing, painting, and a bit of clay when the budget allowed. Occasionally, assignments had to be altered in the middle, when supplies began to run low. My sculpture class turned into a drawing/painting class towards the end of the semester, when I could no longer afford the supplies. But, we made do, and my students still created amazing works of art.

While the experience was frustrating at times, I did teach me an important lesson in conservation and waste. Suddenly, every sheet of paper was precious. When students hit the point of crumpling their paper in frustration, they would learn a lesson in perseverance. Instead of being thrown away, their paper was flattened, and they had to continue on.

In addition to learning how to conserve, re-use, and extend supplies, I also learned who the resourceful people in school were. A nice smile, a thoughtful gesture, and going out of your way to ask someone how their day is, is a simple thing to do, and it comes with its own benefits. By the time I left my school I had the janitors on the lookout for items I could use, teachers sending over random assortments of bottle caps and wire hangers, and I had the notoriously difficult to please bookkeeper on my side. While every person who sent over a stack of paper or extra supplies played an important role in keeping my program alive, the bookkeeper was the reason my final year there was a success.

I remember the very first day I started at that school. I was assigned a mentor teacher to show me the ropes, explain the grade book process, attendance, expectations, everything I needed to know to get by. While each of these pieces were essential to surviving my first year, one of the most important things she introduced me to were the school politics. Who you needed to be sweet to from day one, whose toes not to step on, and who really held the power in the school. I learned quickly Mrs. Bookkeeper was not one to mess with. People were moved to her bad list on a whim, and she was definitely the blood supply of the school.

From day one I was sweet to her. I always read her instructions twice, immensely apologized if anything went wrong, and made sure to get to know her, rather than just ask for favors. Over the years I learned she was married, with no kids, but loved her nephews as her own, was a big supporter of all the school sports, and was kind despite her tough exterior.

My third and final year I walked to her office, dreading the budget conversation. Each year my budget was reduced a little more, it went from $750.00 to $300.o0, for supplies to cover 150+ students. Rumors of further budget cuts were already in the air, and I expected them to say I couldn’t spend any money. In the back of my mind I already had pencil and paper only projects on hand.

We sat down, she shuffled some papers, and I couldn’t believe what came next. She explained she knew I had a tough couple of years and I had done a good job staying within my allotted budget. She knew I was extremely low or completely out of basic supplies. She said to make a wish list of everything I want, covering basic supplies and additional supplies I could never get before. She told me to hand over the list, and she would see what she could do. It was scary to think I may get some or none of my requested supplies, but I felt confident she would help me out.

I put together my dream wish list. I added everything I thought was feasible, and had nearly $2500.00 in supplies. More than double any budget given to me in the past. I prioritized the items and submitted it, keeping my fingers crossed that I would maybe get half. A few days later Mrs. Bookkeeper called me into her office yet again. “We are getting you everything on the list,” she said. I almost fell over.

Finally I had the tools I needed to teach my students the way I wanted to teach them. Finally I had the support I needed and the supplies I needed. Mrs. Bookkeeper played a very important role in making my final year at that school a good one. I didn’t go out with a bad taste in my mouth, full of resent for the public school system. Instead, I went out feeling like I saw a glimpse of what the school should be.

Thank you.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Scissors
  • Mod podge
  • Paint brush
  • Laser printed images
  • Blue tissue paper
  • Ripped up book page
  • Black sharpie

HOW TO

Although this page may seem simple at first glance, this was a very long process. I decided I wanted to print pictures of all the supplies I ordered, and do a Mod Podge transfer directly on the book page of each item. This meant I had to plan ahead for what image would layer what, if dark colors would cover up lighter ones, and how many to do at once.

I started by printing out all of my pictures on a laser printer, a must for a successful Mod Podge transfer. I had to reverse all images that had text on them, Mod Podge transfers reverse the original image. I then cut each image out using scissors. Next, I began playing with placement. Because Mod Podge transfers create semi-transparent images, I had to be careful if any image overlapped. I had to place light colors together, and space out dark colors. Once I had my placement down, I began the Mod Podge transfer process.

First, you paint a  layer of Mod Podge on the front of each image using a paint brush. Allow the layer to fully dry. Paint a second coat, allow it to dry. Paint a third coat, and while the Mod Podge is still wet, place the image face down, and rub the back until it is completely stuck. After it dries on the page, wet the back of the image with water, and begin peeling off the white paper. The ink from the printer should stick to the Mod Podge, dried onto the book page, and all the white paper should come off. This creates transparent areas where there were light or white colors, and semi-transparent areas where it was dark.

Because I had to complete a transfer before layering another on top, I had to place images away from each other, finish them, allow them to dry, before putting the next image near them. It turned into a multi day visual journal page. When all the Mod Podge transfers were finally complete, I realized a lot of detail was lost, and a lot of the images blended together. To help bring the detail back in, I outlined certain images with black sharpie.

To finish the page I glued a strip of blue tissue paper with a strip of a book page on top of the background. I added the text using sharpie.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page about a person who helped you through a tough situation or a pleasant surprise. Use at least one Mod Podge transfer in your page. Interested in teaching visual journals to your students? Check out my visual journal lesson plan here and bundle pack here.

Visual Journal Page 3: The Wrong Way Down a One Way Street

Visual Journal Page 3- The Wrond Way

Pre-planning had officially begun. Another summer passed by in the blink of an eye, it was time to go back to the grind. It was the start of my third year teaching high school art. I couldn’t believe two years had already passed. I had survived, so far, with only a few hiccups along the way.

The start of this year felt different than the rest. I suddenly felt like a veteran. For the most part, I knew what to expect. I recognized at least half of the names on my roster, I knew what I needed to accomplish in the week before students arrived, I already knew what my project timeline was for the entire year. However, despite a new feeling of confidence, there was something else brewing underneath.

I already felt exhausted. Not even two days had passed in the school year, and I wasn’t sure I would make it to the end. Two years of begging for supplies, tripping over backpacks and students in my 35+ student classes, dealing with unnecessary meetings, testing, and other complete wastes of time. Despite my attempts to find another job the previous year, I was returning to my school, my classroom, and the same issues.

I wasn’t sure I could deal with it all again. I wasn’t sure I could make it to January, only to find myself scouring job listings, sending in applications, going on interviews, only to be let down once again. This was not what I had planned for this school year.

I envisioned the start of something new. A closet full of supplies, a classroom with a reasonable number of students, everyone is happy, everyone loves art, everyone works hard. Wishful thinking, I know, but I wanted to love my job, and this school would be the end of my art education career, not the driving force behind it.

However, here I was, standing in my classroom once again, and the only thing I could do was get back to planning and make the most of a disappointing situation. It felt like driving the wrong way down a one way street.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Mod Podge
  • Scissors
  • Paint brush
  • Water
  • Old book pages
  • High quality magazine iamge
  • Black paper
  • Silver sharpie

HOW TO

One day, while flipping through a National Geographic, my favorite source for high quality images, I found this interesting image of a car driving towards an obviously flooded road. It appeared as though the water was closing in behind the car, but there was nothing for the car ahead of them, only more water. It made no sense, they seemed stuck in an impossible situation, yet there they were, persevering.

I felt like there had to be more to this picture. An inspirational story, a devastating circumstance. It peaked my interest, and I ripped it out and added it to my visual journal folder.

A few months later, the perfect page came along for this picture. I was starting another school year with a less than positive attitude. While flipping through my visual journal folder, I discovered it once again, and felt it summed up my situation. I was stuck, just like the car, driving to an inevitable end. Whether that end was a new career, a new school, or yet another new year, I had no idea, but I had to continue moving forward to find out.

I wanted to put focus on the image, so I opted to create a neutral background by layering ripped up book pages. I used rubber cement to glue the pieces down. Once I had a solid collaged layer, I created a mod podge transfer of the car picture, which created a semi-transparent image. To create a mod podge transfer read the instructions here.

After the transfer was complete, I glued a strip of black construction paper gong across both pages. This created a space to include text, which I wrote out using a silver sharpie. Check out my visual journal lesson plan here and bundle pack here.

CHALLENGE

Create a page about a time in your life when you were stuck in a rut.

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Visual Journal Page 72: Being Your Lady

Visual-Journal-Page-72--Being-Your-Lady

I have the most wonderful marriage of fours years, he is my hub and I am his lady.

Four years of marriage, preceded by five years of dating, nine years of being together, and I am happier than I was on day one. Before meeting Nick I was a bit cynical when it came to dating, marriage, and all things love related. My former relationships, none lasting more than 3 months, always seemed to fizzle quickly. I always knew after a date or two, a few hours of chatting, that this person was not my meant to be.

My mom always told me she thought my first long term relationship would end in marriage, because I always knew exactly what I wanted. I suppose I have to give her a little credit, because she was right.

I met Nick my sophomore year of college. We immediately hit it off at a mutual friend’s birthday party. A week went by, we hung out again, another week brought another meet up. Suddenly we were seeing each other almost everyday, and he would call me just to talk. A month went by, and I still felt butterflies when his name came up on my cell phone.

By the time we crested the three month mark I knew I had found my future hub.

Although in the nine years we have been together we have hit rough roads, had good times, and bad, my belief in our lasting relationship has yet to falter. Sometimes I think about what makes us work so well, what makes our relationship so strong. I wonder why I knew he was the perfect one for me, despite dating other perfectly nice boys.

After thinking it over I realize it is pretty easy to pin point all of the reason why we fit.

We compliment each other. He is outgoing, loves people, and doing things. While most days I may choose to stay home and read a book rather than galavant in Atlanta, he does encourage me to get out more than I would otherwise. My soft meshes with his loud, his opinionated personality balances my people pleasing. We are opposite in so many ways, and it keeps us balanced and life interesting.

We share similar interests where it matters. We love dogs, trying new things, playing outside, working to make our home, our home. We love food, music, and exploring our city. We love cuddling up and watching movies, cooking dinner in, and building fires. We love each other and we continuously work to find ways to remind each other of that.

We never fight over little things. What is the point in arguing over who unloaded the dishwasher last, or fed the dogs? Arguments are inevitable, but they should be saved for the important things. When we argue it is meaningful, and we come to important decisions together because of them. When I spend time with him I want it to be fun and relaxing, not filled with snide comments and nit picking, and we both make a point to enjoy each other.

Although all of these things add up to a very healthy relationship I think the one reason I am happier with him than anyone else is because he treats me like a lady. He not only refers to me as his lady, but he also shows me through his actions. He is proud of me. From the minute we started dating he always proudly introduced me as his girlfriend, and later his wife. He makes me feel good about myself. He takes care of me. If I am sad, he cheers me up. He always puts my needs before his own, and I know he will always be there for me. I never have to question his motives or actions, because I know he is always looking out for the well being of our relationship. I can trust him because he shows me everyday how much I mean to him.

As we celebrate our fourth year of marriage I have no doubt it will be followed by a fifth, sixth, and fifty-sixth year of marriage. Happy anniversary, and thanks for making me your lady.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Scissors
  • Rubber cement
  • Sharpie
  • Colored pencil
  • Laster printed image
  • Mod podge
  • book pages

HOW TO

For this visual journal page I started with a concept and had to find the perfect way to visually represent it. I knew I wanted to make a “lady” page for Nick, and I needed to find a way to show that. After some brainstorming I decided to base it on a traditional style painting, and soon after I found the perfect Rococo style painting.

Once I found the image I decided to do a mod podge transfer to create an even more dream like feel. To create the image transfer I ripped a page from my book, set it aside, and printed the image on a laser printer. Once I had the image I painted a layer of mod podge on top of the image, and let it dry. I then painted another layer, let it dry, then added a final layer. While the mod podge was still wet I laid it face down on the book page, and rubbed the back until it was well stuck, and no air pockets were left. After it dried onto the page I wet the back of the image, and carefully peeled the paper off. The end result was the ink stuck to the book page, leaving light areas semi-transparent.

After the image transfer was set I decided to make a fancy frame to go around it. I roughly sketched it out with pencil on a separate sheet of paper, then colored it in with colored pencils. I used various shade of yellow and orange to create a three dimensional feel. I then emphasized the shape with a thin sharpie, cut it out, and glued it on top of my image transfer.

I used rubber cement to glue the book page onto another left side page still attached to my book. On the right side page I glued layers of ripped up book pages. In the center I wrote the words “I love being your lady” in sharpie.

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page about an important person in your life. Use the mod podge transfer technique.

Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog and read todays post. Help me spread the word by sharing with others, commenting, and subscribing. I couldn’t do it without your help! Thanks for stopping by.

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Visual Journal Page 27: Discover Beauty in the Unexpected

Visual-Journal-Page-27-Beauty-in-Unexpected-Places

As an artist it is my job to create visual representations. Whether this means using paint, clay, collage, or photography, is realistic or abstract,  I am presenting an image to my viewer. As an artist it is my goal to bring light to my subject matter and in turn enlighten my viewer with my ideas and intent. What I love about art is the ability to turn the wheels in people’s brains, to watch their expression as they take in a piece, and hear what interpretation they have tacked onto my image. I do not believe a successful work of art requires immediate understanding. I also don’t believe a work of art can be created without intent. Even a Jackson Pollock splatter painting or a Mark Rothko color field has intent. They chose those colors, inspiration was evoked, ideas sprung to mind, movements were made, emotion was laid down, and with every choice they made intent was spilled onto their canvas. Intent can be an emotion, it can be nonrepresentational, it can even become the unknown.

I believe every work of art has a purpose, however intent is often what I struggle with. People ask questions, submit their interpretations, and wait for your explanation. An explanation is always required, I suppose it’s our basic human curiosity that demands the question why. I am guilty of it myself, I am always asking why, and yet I often cringe at the question. I have a difficult time defining my work. With every piece I start with a concept, an idea, and I explore it through my material. I put emotion into my work, I put meaning, and purpose. But when it comes time to explain I stutter, stumble, and BS my way through it.

Perhaps I find it difficult because I am not a deep, dark, brooding artist, struggling with depression, and my own creative genius. Part of me yearns for that torment, for just a taste. Perhaps my art would be easier to define if it had these attributes, if it came from inspiration I could easily pin point. However, I must remind myself if all artists pulled inspiration from the deep, gloomy, corners of their souls, all artwork would look similar, and a trip to the art museum would turn into a very depressing affair.

I have pondered this question of purpose over the years. Writing about my journals has given me a space to explore this, to re-think the reason why I created in the first place. What I have discovered is that every part of me plays a role in my work. My curiosity, need to experiment, happy nature, impatience, and spots of melancholy all contribute to a finished work of art.

As an eternal optimist I have discovered I always strive to present something beautiful in my artwork. In my ladies in gowns body of work I took women, put them in ornate dresses, and set them in ugly or unusual situations. Broken glass, awkward body positions, and dark backgrounds surround these prime and proper ladies (lady painting:Alcoholic Haze). I put a spin on a rather grim situation, trapped in a cage, by including typically beautiful objects such as flowers and birds in my pieces Trapped and Caged. Discarded items such as forks, spoons, and door handles are re-purposed in my series of experimental mixed media. Although each piece is different, they all carry a common theme, I am in a constant battle to try to find the beautiful in the ugly.

Perhaps this visual journal page visually reflects my artist statement. This photograph of an abandoned garage. Graffiti covered the sides, it looked like a terrifying building to enter, a structure created with purpose, only to be deserted and left to rot. This was a building I often passed, but it wasn’t until a trek through the snow for a day of sledding that I truly recognized it’s beauty. The city was covered with a blanket of white. The pristine snow covered the details of every street, building, and house, except this one. This abandoned, barred up building came to life against the white. The yellow, green, and red popped and suddenly it felt inviting. The bright red door shone through the black grates, beckoning me in yet blocking my entrance. It was a moment I had to capture in a picture and transform into a work of art between the pages of my journal. This was a moment of intentional clarity, I had discovered the beauty in the unexpected.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Scissors
  • Rubber cement
  • Mod podge
  • Book pages
  • Packaging tape
  • Newspaper
  • Colored Pencil
  • Sharpie

HOW TO

To create this visual journal page I did a lot of layering. I layered a mod podge transfer of the photograph I took and tape transfers from a newspaper. I started with the mod podge transfer, and decided to transfer it onto extra pages I removed from my book, and glue it back into my book. Once I had my book page to transfer onto I printed my image on a laser printer and began painting Mod Podge on top. To create a Mod Podge transfer you must paint two layers of Mod Podge on the image, allowing it to try in between. After the second layer dries you paint a third layer, and place it face down the paper, and again allow it to dry. Once dry, you wet the back of the image and peel the paper off. The ink sticks to the layered mod podge, which sticks to the page. The end result is a semi transparent mirror image of the original photograph. To read more specifics about a Mod Podge transfer go here.

I typically do my Mod Podge transfers on a separate sheet of paper, then glue it into my book. I do this because sometime I have to re-do a transfer if something happens in the process, and you have to add water to the back, and I did’t want to end up with a wrinkly, warped page in my book. Once my transfer was complete I carefully ripped along the edge of the image, placed it in my book, and traced around the edge to create a guide for the background. I wanted to wait to glue down my transfer because I knew I was going to add a tape transfer to the background, it’s always better to work from the back forward, it will make it easier to layer.

For the background I did a very easy tape transfer using packaging tape and newspaper. All you do is cut off a piece of tape, lightly place it on top of newspaper, and rip it off. The ink from the newspaper easily transfers to the tape, and you end up with words stuck to a clear background. I did this with newspaper and slightly yellowed book pages to get a mix of gray and brown in my background. After I had my transfer complete all I did was stick it to the page. Because I drew an outline of where my Mod Podge transfer would be glued, I knew how far down to tape my transfers.

Once my background was complete I glued my Mod Podge transfer on top. Last but not least I wrote “Discover beauty in the unexpected” on a separate sheet of paper using sharpie. I then colored on top with a brown colored pencil to help it blend in with the brownish background. I ripped out the words and glued it down to finish the page.

CHALLENGE

Try out the new tape transfer technique! Grab packaging tape, a stack of newspapers, book pages, or both and get to work. Incorporate it into your next page!

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Visual Journal Page 18: My Mom

When I look at this photograph I imagine a twenty-something-year-old wandering through an abandoned barn, enjoying a spontaneous afternoon outside. I visualize humid air weaving through the open doorways and cracks in the siding. I imagine a couple having a picnic, snapping a few pictures, and enjoying an afternoon the way most twenty-something-year-olds do, wasting the day away. This person is foreign, yet the photograph carries a layer of deja vu as I sense recognition just out of reach. I look at this picture and catch a glimpse of my Mom. I see the curly, brown hair, the familiar profile, but the familiarity lasts only a second as it disappears into a time when my Mom wasn’t my Mom.

This image is my Mom even younger than I am now. It’s difficult to image my parents young, dating, being spontaneous, and irresponsible. It’s difficult to conceive, this young model and photographer as my Mom and my Dad, yet there they are frozen at a time I will never know them.

I remember being blown away when my parents would get out their old photo albums, pointing out close family members disguised by their youth. Hearing them swapping stories, reminiscing, while pointing at yellowed, muted photographs that could have only existed “back then”. There were my parents, dressed up for parties, making silly faces, having fun with their friends. The album was a flip book, changing as the years passed.

Years later, as my Dad began scanning in all of their old photographs into their computer, I discovered a set of more artistic, special photographs, portraits of my Mom, taken by my Dad.

They had a completely different feel about them. I could feel emotion emanating from the photograph. Such care was taken to find the light and crop it just right. My Mom was beautiful, young, and incredibly mysterious. It evoked inspiration, and I quickly loaded the now scanned and digital copy of the photograph on my thumb drive.

I later found myself at the art store, looking at canvases, devising ways to transform this captured moment into a painting. I started layering oils and encaustic to recreate the peeling walls of the barn. I carefully selected fabric and re-constructed the stripes on her shirt. I got lost in the painting, I was sucked into the unknown of my Mom before me, the Mom that existed only as Anne. I wondered about her friends, activities, and hobbies. I imagined her in my stages of life, and how my children would feel the same about me as I do about her, perpetually stuck as Mom.

Mom is only three letters but it is a big word. Mom means love, hugs, cookies, laughter, tucked in at night, art lessons, inspiration, caring, kindness, travel mate, confidant, chauffeur, problem solver, shopping partner, chef, friend, and molder of me. Mom is a loaded word, an endless word, that grows with every passing year. She is responsible for my semi-green eyes, slight dimple chin, square feet, poor vision, addiction to ice cream and Cheez-its, goofiness, laid back attitude, forgetful mind, urge to travel, love of books and the beach, artistic ability, and kindness. The list could go on for days, with so many more traits I haven’t even discovered, perpetually making the list longer.

My Mom tucked me in every night, took me to the library to pick out books, and she showed me how to create. My strongest connection to my Mom is the creative nature she gave me and fostered in me as I grew up into a mini version of her, two art teachers swapping stories, driving around in our Mini Coopers (my blue Rupert with her red Bert). She brought home art supplies for me, she provided me with coloring book after coloring book, she never hesitated to sit down and show me a new technique. I still constantly go to her with questions and advice about my artwork, or life in general.

She is soothing. I have never met someone who could be so calm in stressful situations. She is my rock. As soon as I am in her presence after a stressful day, I feel calm. I vent to her, get advice, and move on from issues I thought would keep me up that night. I call her at least once a week just to hear that calm, cool, and collected voice before I tell her about my day.

My Mom is the greatest Mom because she is mine. She knows me inside and out, she knows just from the tone of my voice what kind of day I had. I may not know who she was pre-Mom, but I know her now. I know she and my Dad did an amazing job raising three kids, and I can only I hope I do half the job they did.

This is only a small thank you for giving me life, raising me, and turning me into the person I am today. Thanks and I love you.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual Journal
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue sticks
  • Mod Podge
  • Paint brush
  • Laser printed picture

HOW TO

This visual journal page is a reflection of my Mom as well as the painting I painted of the photograph. I used the leftover pieces of fabric from the painting and glued them down using a hot glue gun to create the base. I didn’t want to entirely cover the page, so I decided to glue the fabric all the way to the edge on the right side page, but cut them short and fray the edges before I glued the fabric on the left side page. I started at the bottom, and worked my way up, and overlapped the strips of fabric just slightly.

Once I had my base I decided to do a Mod Podge image transfer on top (to read how to create a Mod Podge transfer go here). I painted the Mod podge on the image, let it dry, and repeated this again. I painted another layer, placed it face down, and let it dry. I was excited. I had never done a transfer on fabric, I just knew it would look amazing… however it was a semi-failure. The image didn’t stick, most of the colors were overpowered by the fabric, and I was left with pieces of white paper stuck to my beautiful fabric… I had no idea what I would do to fix it.

I really wanted a semi-transparent look so you could see the fabric underneath, so I went to image transfer plan B, a tape transfer (to read how to do a tape transfer go here). I placed the packaging tape on the image, burnished the back, put it under water, and peeled the paper off. It looked perfect, but would it cover up my Mod Podge fail?

As I placed the image down I realized why this was only a semi-fail. While the Mod Podge transfer didn’t work, it did create an interesting texture behind my tape transfer. The white walls of the barn suddenly showed up, and I could see a lot more detail. Initially I tried using rubber cement to glue the image down, but it wouldn’t adhere to the fabric. I ended up placing a few dots of hot glue and carefully sticking the image down. If you use hot glue wait for it to dry just a little, to prevent the tape from melting.

CHALLENGE

Create a dedication page to your Mom. Whether your relationship is good, bad, or unknown, reflect on your Mom.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post! Please help me spread the word about my blog by sharing, liking, tweeting, digging, and subscribing. As always, please comment if you have any questions, concerns, or opinions! Thanks for stopping by!

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