I decided to do a little "How To" this week, in addition to my normal musing post. I've been slightly obsessed with making these ATC's over the past couple of weeks. When I was moving I kept finding bits and pieces of "stuff" that I put in a pile for later. Then I started following an artist on Instagram that I loved her mixed media creations. After searching on Pinterest (which believe me, there was tons to see and read and discover), I sat down and started creating for my own.
1. It starts with a 2 1/2 by 3 1/2 piece of cardboard. These originally were made by re-purposing playing cards. I found a stack of perfectly cut out cards in a box of forgotten art supplies. As you can see from my photo, whoever cut these out, they used recycled boxes.
2 & 3. Two coats of Gesso covered the bright colors of the recycled boxes.
4. This batch, I decided to us a Gel Medium to create texture on some of the cards. I have a variety of stencils that I used in a class last semester. It was easy to place the stencil down on the primed card, and spread with a palette knife the thick medium. I then peeled up the stencil and it left an impression as you see in the photo. I made sure to let it dry for several hours before moving on.
5. I used those same stencils with paint too. I made my own alcohol spray paint in a couple of dollar store spray bottles. It's a squirt of acrylic paint, two-parts rubbing alcohol and one-part water. Shake, shake, shake. You can see how this looks on the cards to the left in the photo "First Paint". I also did multiple layers of this technique in the two cards in the bottom of same photo.
6 & 7. Next step is more paint. I use all acrylics on these (with the exception of my spray concoction in step 5). Some paints have a bit of sparkle to them. Some are more transparent than others. In the photo "Composition & Design", you can see I painted the cards that I had applied the gel medium to (all-over flowers and half brick wall - this is shown in next photo "Starting to come together"). They took paint beautifully! This is perhaps my favorite step in this entire process. Trying to make something from bits and pieces of all kinds of stuff. It's called ephemera and I have tons that I found. Vintage photos and buttons. Scraps of paper and lace and ribbon. Beads and stickers. Card making kits. As long as it can be glued to a card, it can be used. That's the beauty of all this....THERE ARE NO RULES!
Learning that I don't need to follow any rules and spend time playing with these cards has helped with my more formal paintings. Immensely.
8. The next several photos show the finished cards. All different. Some a simple collage of random pieces that become a picture. Some just a thought. Sometimes when I'm creating, I think of a particular person who I will send the card to. One of the things that I read over and over is that these ATC's are meant to be given (traded) and not sold. That comes from using bits and pieces of other people's artwork (stickers, photos, parts of magazines - it all falls under trademark laws for creating revenue) to create the finished product. Truly what has been the best part is creating a special little envelope to tuck the card in to and then mailing it off. I mean for them to be instant smiles through snail mail. I want to share a little something I created, and if it brightens someone's day? Perfect.
I showed my first batch of ATC's a couple of posts ago (look for post 7/2/16). They were a bit simpler. I didn't use the gel medium and used more of my vintage photos to create whimsical designs. I sent them out and they were well-received. Shared smiles. This week I'll send out more. I hope they are met with smiles as well.