Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sunny Day at the Beach

Sunny Day at the Beach
Jo Reimer
Collage on board
12” x 12”

I'm experimenting with new ways to add images to my collages, this time using my own photographs. 

It proved to be quite simple. In Photoshop I went to Image>Mode>Grayscale and increased the contrast via Adjustments. Then I sent the image through my Laserjet, and cut it out close to the edges of the image.

The next experiments with be image transfers using acrylic medium which is a technique I used 20 years ago to transfer photos to fabric. What goes around comes around, doesn't it?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Traveling Artist

Caran d'Ache Neocolor II watercolor crayons
For some reason I simply can't toss a few things into my suitcase and be confident that I'll have all I need when I get to my destination. I have to make lists upon lists to be sure I haven't forgotten something important... and this from a woman who used to teach workshops about planning and packing a travel wardrobe. But to make packing easier I keep a packed sketching kit ready for the road.

Jo Reimer's traveling sketch kit

The case is a tri-fold cosmetic case, found at AAA a few years ago. I've seen similar ones at the drugstore. Here's what's in it...
  • my small Moleskine journal, a tiny watercolor paintbox made from a mint tin, and a waterbrush. These live in my handbag at home, every day.
  • Winsor Newton travel palette with 12 basic colors.
  • a second waterbrush
  • 4 other rather small brushes with shortened handles,
  • a tiny spray bottle for water,
  • a tiny bottle of Indian Red ink and a dip pen for drawing, 
  • several half-sticks of Caran d'Ache crayons in a little plastic bag,
  • my collage/watercolor journal and a few extra bits of watercolor paper,
  • 2 UHU gluesticks and a small jar of acrylic medium with a spreader,
  • small children's scissors,
  • pens and pencils,including a couple of colored pencils
  • eraser and tiny pencil sharpener,
  • a tiny sea sponge,
  • several paper and plastic alphabet stencils,
  • a film container for paper clips and brads with masking tape wrapped around the outside,
  • a roll of clear packing tape that tears easily to use for magazine transfers.
  • small pad of watercolor postcards
  • a 2" S-hook, a carabiner and a large safety pen 
This all fits into the folding cosmetic bag. 
Tri-fold kit with left compartment folded inward
Kit opened all the way

On the airplane I position the S-hook or the safety pin somewhere in front of me on the airplane, hook the carbineer to the handle of my travel kit, and hang from the S-hook so my equipment is handy as I work.

Between trips this kit lives in my car where I also keep a spare, larger sketchbook.

What do you pack? What sort of packing case do you use? 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Painting Collage Papers. a tutorial

Ironing painted paper
My friend laughs at me for ironing my papers. But ironing them makes the paper flatten back out after they're painted and they're easier to store and use.

I spent an evening recently painting some papers in the color range that I need for a planned collage. It takes time to do paint my own papers to build my palette but it's necessary for my process and lots of fun. 

Painted Papers, ready to use in collage

Here's one of the methods I use to prepare some of my painted papers.

I start with plain white paper: blank copier paper and paper from laser printers (not ink jets), washi, printmaking papers, art tissue, tracing paper, pages torn from discarded books, and music  from old song books and hymnals, pages torn from old phone books and dictionaries. Just about any papers can be used except for cheap papers that fall apart in water (toilet paper, paper towels, regular tissue paper, tissues). I've saved some of the colorful paper towels that I use in the studio but rarely do I use them because of the rougher texture, though some people use these with great success.
 I use watery mixtures of acrylic pigments including fluid acrylics, acrylic inks, and airbrush acrylic (aka Golden's Hi-Flow).

And here's how it works for me:
 Mix the pigment with water, about 1:4. about 1-2 oz total should do the trick. Wear rubber gloves.
  • Work on a large tray of some sort. I use several old school lunchroom trays.
  • Place white paper on a sheet of plastic and get it fairly wet by spraying with water.
  • Using a pipette or straw or brush drop the color onto the paper, spraying and brushing to encourage the paint to flow over the paper. I like random rather than all over solid color.
  • Cover this paper with another sheet of plastic. Repeat the above steps. Repeat and repeat, building up the layers of paper and plastic.
  • Set aside for several hours or overnight to allow the colored pigments to flow over the paper, to settle in creases, to form patterns of color.
  • Before unwrapping the papers/plastic spread out large sheets of plastic over floors and furniture on which to set your painted papers for drying.
  • Wear rubber gloves.
  • Peel each sheet of paper off the plastic and set over on your drying surface. If there's pigment left on the plastic you can blot it up with another piece of absorbent white paper such as washi.
  • Once all the paper has been transferred to the drying surface it's a waiting game. The paper dries very quickly outdoors in warm weather but it takes overnight to dry indoors in winter.

 Ironing has been completed and paper is ready to use.

If you, dear reader, make some papers using this method, please send me a photo so I can brag on you.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Jo Reimer: Excellence in Craftsmanship

Perhaps I should change the name of this blog since my posting schedule has certainly not been One A Day.  But really, I never intended to post daily, just to be creative daily, and most days I am, even if it's creating an interesting meal or flower arrangement instead of a work of art. And that daily commitment to creativity through this blog has made a difference in my approach to being creative. I'll continue writing about my days, if only for a personal record.

Imbalance is a small piece, 6 x 6" on cradled panel, composed mainly with pages from old National Geographic magazines treated with CitraSolve. The solvent dissolves the printing inks giving unusual and unexpected, unplanned results. I've used these papers for several collages and like them quite a bit because the paper doesn't wrinkle like some of the thinner papers I sometimes use. 

In my work I aim for excellence in craftsmanship. That comes from my background with fabric and thread and tying up any loose ends so the result doesn't have that "loving hands at home" look. Is that the difference between art and fine art? Excellence in the creating?  I want the work to be well made, the labor to look effortless, for the buyer to know that they've purchased something of value.

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