Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Personal Piece of Art



Today, I wanted to share a commissioned piece of artwork that I did for the graduation of my friend's daughter. The brief was something Celtic-inspired that included the child's name. I adapted this tree image that originally included a Celtic knot as the roots of the tree. I then added the name in relief. I also added the stained glass background.

I colored the image as a mock up. The reds and oranges represented the sunrise/sunset, the blue represented the sky, and the browns represented the earth. The green for the name represented her Irish heritage.

When I presented the rendering to my friend, she balked at the colors. She said that it wouldn't go well with her daughter's color palette for her new dorm room. The daughter's favorite colors where shades of purple.  So this is what the final version looked like.


I decided to make some homemade wrapping paper to present the gift. I used a Celtic Knot stencil for the paper. I specifically left the paper unadorned so the daughter could color it in and then use it for a decoration in her dorm room. Maybe she could color in the sheet with her new roommate and they could create something together.


To finish the wrapping, I simply used a double belly band in two different colors and weaved them together. I tied two bows in sheer chartreuse ribbon and I was done.


Monday, August 21, 2017

More Mail Art



Today is dedicated to postcards. There were cards that I sent out as part of various swap challenges. The first card is a version of a screen printed card that I had in my stash. The theme of the challenge was Mostly Purple. The card is made from duplex heavy paper. This has a Columbia Blue reverse side. The images were printed with my Gocoo Printer.


As you can see, I was in a NY state of mind. The above card was a sender's choice. I had some bits and pieces leftover from a subway map reprint. I glued it to a blank watercolor postcard. I then cut out a larger version of the Statue of Liberty stencil in the first card and then used it to hand color the image. I also used an NYC stencil in the lower left hand corner.


This swap was an interesting topic--Altered Text. The goal was to take a printed text and make a poem out of the the words by indicating which existing text should be read. We were to use the original text as the basis of the design. I found an old book that was being thrown away outside of a second hand store. Most of the pages were brittle and water damaged so I salvaged it for this swap. I stenciled over the page with two separate stencils in red and blue.  The poem ended up reading: trying to remember, Mother's hands, she smiled a wonderful smile, There was no one like her, Nana died, gently, sweetly, as an old lady.


The reverse side was stenciled with the same two stencils, in red and blue, but opposite from the front. I always like to clearly delineate the salutation section from the address section on a handmade postcard. I just find that it is easier for the letter carrier/post office to know how to process it.






Friday, August 18, 2017

Coloring--Day Five



For the coloring book swap, we are required to send our coloring book to each artist in the swap. Since I provided a small book for my swap, I decided to give each of my swap partners, an uncolored envelope for themselves to keep and one to send my book through the mail. They could either leave the envelope uncolored or send it colored through the mail. I thought it would be fun for each of the swap recipients to receive something fun in the mail. I also provided labels for each swap partner to use.


Of course, the first artist in the swap was the luckiest in that they got to chose what they want to keep and what they wanted to color.






That's all for another week. Have a great weekend and I look forward to share more things next week.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Coloring--Day Four


I refuse to send out a plain envelope in the mail. It really takes very little effort to fill up an envelope with color. This is my rent check envelope. This is the back of the envelope. Here I used Tombow markers and detailed with a extra fine tip Black Sharpie.


This is the front of the rent check envelope. To say the least, my landlord knows when my rent check arrives and has expressed his appreciation of the extra effort. His office carefully opens the envelope and has collected them over the 10 years that I have been sending them. His secretary teases that she is going to have an exhibition of my rent check envelopes.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Coloring--Day Three




I have been sending out a lot of mail for my swap-bot challenges. This was the envelope that I used to send out the coloring book to next artist for the coloring book swap. I decided to keep the front of the envelope plain because the artist had such a long name and the city name was long as well. I needed as many lines as I could fit in so there was little room for any extra decoration.


The back of the envelope was decorated with a mod 70s vibe. I used Sharpie markers to fill in the all of the blank spaces.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Coloring--Day Two



This is the second page of the coloring book for my first partner. This page was filled in with Tombow dual tip markers. I used a subtractive method on this page. First, the page is filled in with markers. This method works well because Tombow markers are very heavily pigmented. The page is then lightly misted with water. The final step is to take a paper towel and place on top of the wet surface. Press down (do not wipe since you don't want the ink to spread). Lift the paper towel and continue to blot the page (do not re-mist) until you reach the level of coverage you desire.

This technique mutes the colors a little, especially if you use bold colors like I did. 


The above image is the blotted paper towel. I am sure that if I used an absorbent artist's paper that I could have used this blotting image as a basis of some other artwork.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Coloring--Day One



This is week will be dedicated to coloring. Different people have different definitions of coloring but I simply go with the most basic definition--adding color to something. I am participating in an adult coloring book swap. We have three other partners and we are required to color two pages in our partners' coloring book.


When I color, I always color on a smooth surface. I usually enlarge my coloring surface by using a piece of foam core. I like the smooth surface of foam core. The problem with coloring directly on a surface is that you can transfer the texture of the surface onto your coloring page. Since I normally don't want to do this, I work on foam core. On top of the foam core, I usually place a piece of newsprint to capture all of the bleed through and so I can make any notations that I want.


This page was colored using Copic Markers for the background. I always keep my colors (regardless of medium) out until that particular phase of the coloring is completed. I used the markers for the background only. I use the newsprint to sample the colors that I want to use and to make notations of the colors should I need to reference them later.



The foreground of the page was filled in using Sharpie Extra Fine markers. Granted this is a non-traditional style of coloring. This is more like a mix of coloring and doodling.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Snail Mail3


Envelope Front
I refuse to let an envelope leave my apartment without some type of embellishment. This was a hand delivered note to a friend of mine in Manhattan.

Envelope Flap Side
I don't know why people make such a fuss. This literally took me ten minutes to do. The outlines were done with a stencil and a fine tipped Sharpie marker. It was then "colored in" with extra fine tipped Sharpie markers.

A little effort results in an outcome that the recipient always appreciates.

That's it for my return this week. Have a great weekend and I will see you on Monday.



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Snail Mail2


Most of my time lately has been dedicated to Mail Art and envelopes (either making or decorating them). The brief for this was flowers, 70s and butterflies. This is the outer envelope for a coloring book challenge that I signed up for in swap-bot. The backgrounds are done with my alcohol inks. Stencils were used to make the designs and the designs were filled in with Copic markers. The black boxes are the areas designated for the postage meter strip and the bar code meter strip.


The back of the envelope was dedicated to butterflies and a giant sunflower. These stenciled designs were filled in with fine tip Sharpie markers.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

First Wax Seal


Here is another of my wax seals. This was the first one that I ordered. It is a custom order from Get Marked.  This is a double R in a overlapped script R. The wax is from a local store called Paper Presentation. Unknowingly, I purchased wax sticks for glue guns and they melted fine in a regular melting fashion.

Plain Seal
Seal with PearlEx powders
Seal with Gold Pigment Ink

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Wax Seals--My latest obsession 




It is my nephew's fault I got involved with wax seals. He is eight going on thirty. He wanted a Harry Potter themed birthday party. He told his parents that Uncle Russ needed to get involved with the preparations this year. I have always been enamored with wax seals but never really experimented with them. Years ago, I tried but I found them too messy and the seals broke too easily in the mail. Things have changed drastically over time and the process is much cleaner and less stressful. The above image is the sample page in my wax seal book. It is easy to take the book around to show clients how wax seals work.


The above image is the simple wax seal with no adornment.


The above image is the wax seal with silver highlights. The highlights are created with stamp pad pigment ink. Rub your finger across the stamp pad and then lightly rub the image on the seal.


The above image is the seal in relief with an inked background. This uses a pigment ink stamp pad as well. To accomplish this look, the brass seal is dipped onto the stamp pad and then placed in the melted wax.


The above image illustrates two techniques: highlights using PearlEx powders and wax seals with ribbon.

For my nephew's project, we used the gold background technique (next to last photo) on the outer envelope. Each "student"/guest will go to the  sorting hat to get assigned to a particular house. Once assigned, they will get a scroll of assignments . At the end of the party each student will graduate and get a diploma signed by the headmaster and sealed with a ribbon.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Smail Mail


Since the demise of the Iron Craft Challenges, I have returned to Swap Bot to try and find a creative outlet. Most of my swaps have been affiliated with Mail Art, Postcards, and Envelopes. This is a postcard for a swap called Mostly Green.

When I read the recipient's profile, she was a fan of postage stamps and Monet. The color palette was inspired by Monet's Water Lilies series. The card is made from cold press watercolor paper. The paper was laminated with a scrap piece of decorative paper and the remnant of a map. I chose stamps that had the green and mauve theme of the Monet palette.


The obverse of the postcard was treated with my handmade alcohol inks. I like the pointillistic look of alcohol inks in a spray bottle.



Returning (Hopefully)





I really haven't been away but was finding it tedious to upload pictures to my computer and then format them and then post to blogspot. I was sharing a lot of my projects directly to my Instagram account (russromano). I could take a photo and directly post it to IG and it was much quicker to get everything out in the world.

I am now going to see how things post to blogspot directly from my iPad. If things format correctly and look presentable I might provide more posts.

Here is my first experiment with posting. If this posts well then I will return tomorrow with more details.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Hobonichi 20_21


I received a Hobonichi Techo 2017 as a gift. I received it on 20 January after a mail forwarding fiasco from December. It was a heartfelt gift given to me by someone but I really didn't know what to do with it. For some reason, I thought the journal was going to be a different size. The size is an A6 journal which is about 4 by 5.5 inches.

There are a variety of Pinterest and Instagram hashtags regarding this journal. I decided to fall through the rabbit hole to try and find some inspiration. The pages work well with pens, fountain pens, and  Tombow markers without too much bleed through. It does not work well with Sharpie markers because of the bleed through.

I will be sharing a two page spread every other day as I complete them. I have decided to use a marker legend to coordinate thoughts and notations. Yellow will highlight commentary/thoughts. Orange will highlight work related items. Pink will highlight creative items and Purple will highlight miscellaneous items.

These past two days feature the inauguration and its aftermath.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Sketch Book Challenge 2017--Page 1


This is the first page of my Sketch Book Project. This is the first of four pages. The theme of the book will be repetitive design. My book is called OCD Doodling.

The overall size of each sheet will is 14 by 19 inches. The page will be folded from top to bottom once. The page will then be folded twice toward the center. Therefore, each page in its folded form will be 4.75 by 7 inches.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Happy 2017

Happy New Year. I am still recovering from the absence of the Iron Craft Challenges. I decided to find other avenues to fill the gap. I have signed up for The Sketchbook Project for 2017. I have two ideas and I might do two different journals. The journals are due March 31, 2017 so I still have plenty of time. The first project is a recreation of some of the hand lettered inspirational quotes from last year. I got through six months of daily quotes. This year, I might finish the project as well. The project would be a re-visit to some of the quotes and recreate them in the journal they send. The second idea is a series of fold out pages that will be large doodles using repetitive patterns. One of the themes for this year is repetitive patterns.

Another Iron Craft void filler is a revisit to swap-bot challenges. In these challenges, you swap out projects based on curated and moderated themes. You can sign up for the ones in which you want to participate. I am looking at the different paper swaps--envelopes, post cards, journals, etc.

The first one that I am participating is a post card challenge called D is for ____ Postcard swap. These challenges aren't always handmade items although I will be doing all handmade projects. For this challenge, I was assigned three partners. I decided to do three separate postcards based on a daisy. Each of the cards is based on a daisy stencil that I have.

The first card is a single daisy on a alcohol background.


The second card is a group of daisies on a plaid background. I used my Copic markers for coloring and the plaid background. The black outline was done with a Sharpie fine tip marker.


The third card is the same group of daisies but everything was colored using alcohol inks. The black outline was done after the inks dried. First, the daisies were stenciled using the inks. Second, the background was filled in by ovespraying the entire card with alcohol inks. Once the card was drying, the stencil was put over the daisies and the black outline was drawn using a fine tip Sharpie.


I hope that my swap partners like them.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Iron Craft 2016 Challenge #26--Infinity Scarf


For our last challenge in 2016 and in general, I wanted to pay homage to Kat (and Susi) who had the forethought to create something spectacular called Iron Craft Challenges. I am happy to say that I have, once again, participated in all 26 challenges this year.

To pay tribute to Kat, I wanted to try and knit. Granted, I needed a project that I could complete in two weeks and I knew I wouldn't be able to properly knit something on needles (believe me, I have tried in the past). I did a quick search on You Tube for Infinity Scarf.  I found this video called Arm Knitting (this like will open another window on You Tube).

I had two skeins of orange bulky yarn that I was hoarding, so I decided to give it a try. The hardest part was keeping the tension consistent throughout the project. I did have to start over several times. I also had difficulty sewing the ends to finish the project.

I lost track of the number of rows and was too lazy to count them so I just "knitted" until I was finished. Granted, my scarf was a lot longer than anticipated but I didn't mind that because I hate feeling like I am choking when wearing a scarf. So my last Iron Craft photo will be me modeling my scarf.


Thank you Kat and Susi for a wonderful platform to share our art (and crafts). I am forever blessed to have met such a supportive group of fellow artisans and crafters. Sending you love and well wishes for  all of your future endeavors and a art/craft-filled 2017.