Thursday, May 30, 2013

Experimenting with Different Mediums

Last night, I had such an itch to paint and draw. I cleared the area where I usually do this which resulted in me not drawing for over a week. I tried to satiate the urge by watching a few art tutorials on YouTube, but finally in the wee hours of the night, I gave in. In times like these, I turn to my trusty altered book.  It has become a "safe haven" for me to try different techniques and mediums without inhibition.

In my art school days, I accumulated various supplies, and two of these items, Acrylic Fluid Matt Medium and Acrylic Fluid Gloss Medium, struck me as an interesting start. I have 2 oz. bottles of each, made by Windsor & Newton which were included in my art school supply kit. I also had a mysterious liquid in a baby jar that looked like watered down white acrylic paint.

First I applied the runny paint to one page to test my theory.  It was exactly what I had guessed. It just soaked into the page and made it damp. On another page, I applied Acrylic Fluid Glossy Medium with some white acrylic paint straight from the bottle and after it dried, I tried drawing on it with a mechanical led pencil, but it was too slick for my liking. On another page where I applied Acrylic Fluid Matt Medium with white acrylic paint and after it had dried, the pencil glided smoothly and eventually a doodle formed in the shape of a mermaid.  I was also able to erase my stray marks with ease.

After erasing some stray marks (I wasn't too concerned since it's just my altered book after all!), I used a black Bic pen to trace the main shape. I used a watercolor pencil inside the mermaid after wetting the page slightly. The water stayed on the surface of the page, allowing the color to be blended without soaking into the page. Then I continued drawing some doodles with the watercolor pencil in the background. After it dried overnight, I used my Koi watercolor pallet paints to darken the area around the mermaid, then after a few minutes, used Bic pen to doodle in more swirls. I outlined the mermaid with a white Gelly Roll pen but wasn't pleased at the opacity of the pen.  Using a thin brush and white acrylic paint would have worked better.

I'm pretty pleased with how the Acrylic Matt Medium made the book page sturdy and prevented the paper from pilling (when the paper fibers flake off). It also allowed the watercolor pencil and watercolors to be workable without soaking in to the paper. I will definitely be using this technique in the future! 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Letter from "Kid" Yoshida

Letter from "Kid" Yoshida, La Grande, Oregon

Saturday, I received a lovely letter from a fellow La Grande inhabitant. I enjoy the black line art he hand drew on the envelope, simple steno notebook paper used as stationery, and a flier inviting us to listen to him on the East Oregon University radio station. 

Kid is also a frequent Farmers Market shopper and a loyal Earth to Girl customer.  He especially enjoys my cards with ocean creatures. Kid, thank you for attending my Party in a Post Office Box

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Party in a Post Office Box!

In a sleep deprived stupor, I decided to not be a birthday grinch this year and post an event online, mainly via Facebook, but now I've decided to post it for more to see!

Party Invitation: 

Who: May Beltran
Where: PO Box 1092, La Grande OR, 97850, USA
When: May 28, 2013
Details: It's my birthday! Since I'm very far away from most of my friends and family, to celebrate "Snail Mail", and in lieu of the usual Facebook wall posts (I usually take my Facebook offline for my birthday so I don't have to read all these, sometimes I'm a birthday grinch!), I'm extending a warm invitation to a party in my Post Office Box. In order to attend, send a snail mail birthday greeting! This can be in the form of a postcard, letter, birthday card, or even a package.      
This is your chance to show me how creative you are! Include a picture, write a story of what you imagine a Post Office Box Party to be like, or try your hand at mail art decorating the outside of the envelope. If I know you via any online social network, please indicate your handle/username with your greeting.     
If you would like a handwritten, hand crafted reply, please write or enclose your return address legibly! Photographs of the party will be posted online with last names and addresses blurred or hidden. 
Late attendees and random drop-ins are welcome. There's room for everybody!
If you'd like to go the extra mile, feel free to purchase something from my Etsy shop and put "Happy Birthday" in the comments, so I can send you a surprise as well. :)
I've already received a big package of candy from my friend in England! Here's my 2 year old boy holding the canister.

I will be posting more party attendees as they arrive! Cheers!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Owls in my Mail Art

The mail art continues! Since March, I've been sending out mail art with my doodles and illustrations on the front. Since I draw so many little owls, I figured I will share my original illustrations by sending them out into the universe along with personalized letters!

At times, I only have a small pad of paper in my purse and a few minutes to sketch, so I quickly draw the owl.  Later on, I get back to it, tracing it with a black pen, preferably a Sakura Micron.  Then, I take a tiny brush and wet it and use the tips of my watercolor pencils to add color. Because of the tiny size, minimum water and color is used.  Despite how small these illustrations are, it's quite fulfilling seeing the end result.

Made from scrapbook paper doodled with a teal Sharpie, washi tape, and plant sticker.

Made from a magazine ad, doodled with a black Sharpie.

Above, I used a white Gelly Roll medium pen to trace around the owls to make them stand out. Since it was on glossy magazine paper, I had to go over it a few times to get a layer of white that I was happy with.

Made from scrapbook paper.

The above envelope was made from a piece of scrapbook paper that was originally a faded out yellow color. I used some inexpensive Crayola watercolors to make the blue background, since my son was right next to me playing with them. :)  The dark blue swirls on the bottom left are also Crayola watercolor.  I cut out the owl with my tiny surgical scissors I bought on eBay years ago. Next, I added some collage elements: lanterns, garden globes, and snow cone, all taken from a Bed Bath & Beyond summer sale catalog.  I used white acrylic paint and a tiny brush to add the dots and the white liner around the owl.  Then, I added the stamp and washi tape and used Sharpie to write on the washi tape.
Friday, March 22, 2013

Writing My Blues Away

Watercolor Doodles made into an envelope from a template. 

In the past couple of months, I've noticed my severely dipping moods due to a somewhat harsh winter.  It hasn't helped that there would be some hope in the weather warming, then the snow would return the next week.  For example, today is the 2nd day of Spring, yet it snowed on and off during the day.

As a former Californian, the lack of sunlight in this East Oregon life has caught me off guard and I now know the true effects of the Winter Blues, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  This caused me to step away from the whole social scene, dropping off of my usual online channels, social networks and my virtual world of choice, The one thing that I have been able to focus my lacking energy into is writing letters, and creating mail art.

I drew Sad Clown, cut him & his word balloon out, stuck on a surf magazine page.

It seems like quiet activities that don't require electronics have been ideal for me lately.  The touch of paper has a strange soothing effect.  Along with letter writing, I've also been writing more and more in my journal, and slowly getting back into painting.

In a post I wrote in 2010, it looks like I was going through similar symptoms and withdrawing in the same way.  Read about it here.

How do you handle the Winter Blues? I'm curious to know, so please comment below, or better yet, send me a letter!

May Beltran
P.O. Box 1092
La Grande, OR 97850