Monday 30 January 2023

2023 Topic 02: Tetradic Colours {by Jenny Maples} with Sara Naumann Stamps

Hi everyone Jenny (Pushing The Right Buttons) here with you today. The first theme of 2023, 'Tracks', immediately made me think of my home town which used to be criss-crossed by a network of brewery railway lines. You can walk a trail around the town and see the historic Georgian and Victorian industrial buildings which remain from those times. Flocks of birds are a familiar sight, perched on the spider's web of power lines which still connect the rows of terraced houses. These are very reminiscent of Sara Naumann's designs, and it got me thinking about creating a journal recording some of this architectural history.

I really enjoyed taking the time to walk around my home town taking photos of a few of the buildings and hope it inspires you to go out and do the same!

The part that often puts people off is the idea of attempting to draw/paint buildings and I totally get that; it can take time and even then you may be unhappy with the results. So I used a simple trick learned from an amazing artist called Brittany Soucy which makes the whole process much more achievable. Going forward I will definitely be using it a lot more for adding architectural elements in new journals!

My starting point for this journal was choosing the colour scheme, in this case a tetradic one based on the results from playing with a PaperArtsy Colour Wheel. I'd chosen one of Sara Naumann's newer PaperArtsy stamp sets and a couple of her stencils but confess to pulling out a couple of her older stamp sets too because they worked together so well. I would always encourage you to delve into the PaperArtsy stamp sets and stencils you already have in your stash whenever you begin planning your projects - you may be amazed by what you find!

If you haven't already, make sure to read the comprehensive introduction to the Tetradic Colours topic HERE; I was fascinated to find I've used this type of colour combination many times before - clearly it's intuitively a favourite! Do you find yourself drawn to certain colours too? After creating a colour wheel, I colour-matched the results choosing existing PaperArtsy paint colours close to my chosen 4 on the wheel made from Mustard Pickle, Mahogany and Blue Bayou.

I went with a 'slim rectangle' selection of colours partly driven by the need for a brick red shade for the buildings; this included PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paints in 'Waterfall', 'Blue Bayou', 'Brown Shed' and 'Autumn Fire'.

Now it's time to get some colour and texture on the pages of your journal. By spreading a layer of heavy body white gesso over a painted background it gives you the option to make some of your own marks with a wooden skewer (or similar) on each page; train tracks were an obvious choice for my journal but you could use other shapes, flowers, lines, etc. to fit with your theme.

Here's the clever bit if you feel less confident with drawing or are simply lacking time; trace over your photo with a permanent ink pen and cut out the image! You can choose to leave out fiddly details or change the drawing to personalise it even more. Once cut out stick your image onto the page. I used a gel medium but you could also experiment with a sticky glue stick, adhesive sheets or similar, making sure the tracing paper remains stuck down securely on your painted background.

You can always add those trickier, finer details directly on your page when your building is stuck down and painted.

When the glue holding your image is dry it's time to start painting. I added layers of  PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paint in 'Brown Shed' and 'Autumn Fire', making use of their translucency to make some shaded parts darker than other lighter areas. Use your original photo as a reference but don't be afraid to put your own spin on it!

Finish painting your building and add in any of the details you may have lost with the same permanent ink marker. I also decided to add a couple of neutrals into my colour palette, using PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic Paints in 'Blue Bayou', 'Slate' and 'Snowflake' to complete the windows, roof, doors and window frames. Paint pens with a fine nib/tip can also prove helpful with this bit.

At this point you'll have a set of journal pages with colour, texture and a focal point, but embellishment with your stamps, stencils and more is always going to add interest to the finished book/journal.

Start with your stencils and don't be afraid to combine images on the page for more impact. Here I used different parts of PaperArtsy PS090 Stencil by Sara Naumann to sit the bird on a telegraph pole. Later on I stamped a script image over the bird with a grey permanent ink.

Talking of stamps, that script image can be found included in PaperArtsy ESN51 Stamp Set by Sara Naumann and it was the bird from that set which found it's way onto the first page of my finished book. Sara's collage style stamp designs cleverly combine images which is why I love to use them on painted pages.

And remember how it's always worth diving through your stash for older stamp sets... sure enough, you can find another bird included in PaperArtsy ESN52 Stamp Set by Sara Naumann.

It was the birds on the wire from PaperArtsy ESN64 Stamp Set by Sara Naumann that was part of the original inspiration for this project and they combine beautifully with the measurement image from ESN51, in this case extending the branch image and replicating part of the bridge I had to look over to get the photo of this warehouse.

We've seen stencils used for adding images to the pages and now it's time to use them in a more decorative way.

At this point you have the focal points and additional images in place and these can begin to compete for attention. It's important to ensure the viewers are initially drawn to the main building when they first look at the page. One way of doing this is by adding extra stencilling around it using a colour which blends well with the background.

Don't just think of using paint with your stencils, particularly when they are a simple geometric design like PaperArtsy PS363 Stencil by Sara Naumann. I found a matching colour embroidery thread which could be stitched through the page following the stencilled lines.

With the pages almost complete it's time for those finishing touches.

Bind your pages into a book using fabric (as I showed HERE) or paper and add your covers. My covers were created in the same way as the pages and I tore away parts of the pages to insert a little glimpse of lace behind. It's at this point you finally get to see what your pages look like sat together as a book and I decided to add some extra trims to them. If you don't have the correct colours to hand try dyeing them with Paper Artsy Infusions. The 'Rusty Car' shade worked well, contrasting nicely against the aqua coloured 'Waterfall' background.

With the book complete it's time for a final flick through of the finished pages. Not shown here are the 'blank' pages where I've written a little about the brewing history of the town and some personal observations. And if you are wondering why I added the title '32 Crossings' to the front of the book that refers to the 32 level crossings which used to cover the town!

It's good to reflect on what you enjoyed (or didn't!) after completing a project to help steer you in the direction of future experiments. I for one will be taking what I've learned about tracing images into my future book/journal making adventures and hopefully you will be able to take some ideas from this post too.


Friday 27 January 2023

2023 Topic 02: Tetradic Colours {by Nikki Acton} with Tracy Scott Stamps

Hi everyone, Nikki (@a2acraft) here with you today for our Quadratic/ Tetradic Colour topic under the Tracks theme.

When I first saw the idea of combining the quarterly theme and the topic for each project I thought it might be a bit difficult, but now I love it. As as long time crafter I have quite a large selection of supplies - and I think this is sometimes a barrier to creativity. I find the focus that these challenges bring aids my creative process and enjoyment.

The theme of TRACKS made me think of routes and paths and patterns. But are these a conscious decision or could they be random?  Incorporating a random element into a pattern seemed a little risky as part of the creation is out of my control.... but I went with it.... and liked how it turned out.

My finished projects are two 6x6 inch wall panels. The pattern of the coloured squares was created using a random number generator (with just a little input from me as you will see later).

My inspiration for this was two-fold. Firstly, Tracy Scott's pattern play is great fun and secondly,  I have an interest in the philosophy of free will (that's a bit deep!) and the concept of incorporating chance into the creative process.

I selected 2 of Tracy's stamp sets - one with squares and one with circles. For the main pattern I have only used 2 stamps (shown above) - but used 2 more later for decoration. This idea would certainly work just with one stamp set.

As the topic is Tetradic Colours - I selected three PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylics - Tangerine Twist (FF92),  Bougainvillea (FF93) and Caribbean Sea (FF94) to build my colour wheel. Using a yellow/orange rather than yellow, a bright pink rather than red and a blue/green rather than blue makes the process more interesting and the addition of PaperArtsy Matte Glaze - Fresco Finish (FF52) added another dimension.... more later.

I created my colour wheel and selected four tertiary colours to use. The quadratic or tetradic combination of colours are those that form a rectangle or square on the colour wheel. My 4 selected colours form a rectangle and are shown below.

Here are the initial backgrounds I made by sponging 2 of the colours onto some card (doesn't look that great at this point - but more layers to come). I paired the blue/greens together and the red/purples. I was a little shocked to get these 2 colours using Bougainvillea! Bougainvillea + a little Tangerine Twist = red (or close enough to call it red.)

For my first layer on each of my backgrounds I grabbed a PaperArtsy Stencil by Tracy Scott (PS211) and sponged through with PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic - Chalk (FF83). I used masking tape to make sure I only used the bits of the stencil I needed.

I repeated this on both painted backgrounds.

For the stamping, I chose not to use a stamp platform - but used the stencil lines as a guide. As I was doing 2 identical designs I wanted them to be as similar as possible (as I knew they would be combined). However there are some areas in the finished piece where you can see this was certainly nowhere near perfect!
I used Tracy Scott stamp sets 070 (TS070 and 068 (TS068).

Backgrounds complete - now for the fun part...

Now it was time to 'merge' the blue/green with the red/purple to create the random pattern.  In order to do this I cut each background into 36 pieces. I carefully measured them on the back and marked each square with a number. You can't see it here, but if you do this, make sure you can distinguish your 6 from your 9 etc. - I underlined some numbers to be sure.

Here we go - 72 one inch square pieces ready and waiting.

As there are 36 pieces in each final pattern I decided one colour should be dominant - so decided to select 14 random numbers that I would swap. This gives 22 of one colour and 14 of the other which is very close to the Golden Ratio / Golden Number - often used for compositional design.

I used a random number generator to select these numbers. You can see below that one is duplicated so initially I only had 13.

When I started doing the swap I was shocked that I had a nearly full row of one colour. I know if I had chosen the pattern I would not have done that! There was also a corner with no replaced squares, so this is where I cheated a little and made 2 additions - adding numbers 5 and 12 - to give it a little more balance. (Note - my numbers run from right to left as you look at the front.)

I mentioned earlier about my fascination with Bougainvillea and Tangerine Twist. I got a little distracted and played with this further. By adding various amounts of Tangerine Twist and / or Matte Glaze you get some fabulous colours.

The addition of Matte Glaze gives increased translucency and longer drying time (more time to move the paint around). I had added to the backgrounds originally - you can see how the darker green shows through the lighter green.

The best laid plans! I had made my patterns 6x6 inches but when I measured the wooden panels I was going to mount them on they were a slightly different size. So I carefully adhered my pattern to black card - which then allowed me to trim off a few millimetres.

I prepared my panels by painting the border and edge in PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylic - Little Black Dress (FF19). I selected some additional squares to stamp from Tracy Scott stamp set 70 (TS070) to create a focal point. I played around with colours here (still using the 4 in the colour wheel). For the 'red' I used one of the examples shown above using Matte Glaze, as the pure colour from the colour wheel was too dominant.

See below where my patterns do not quite line up.

Once I had secured the main pattern to the wooden panel, I added my additional elements.

I hope you enjoyed this rather long post. To simplify, I created 2 identical patterns on 2 different colour schemes and then chopped them evenly into pieces which I numbered. I used a random number generator (you could pick numbers out of a hat) to produce the final pattern. This is my interpretation of our Tracks theme - producing a pattern I had no control over.

I am tempted to try this again with the actual pattern (stamped imagery) changing as well as the colours!

In addition this project included our colour theme of using Quadratic / Tetradic colours. I used a rectangle that gave me two sets of 2 colours - ideal for this design. I also introduced Matte Glaze to change the translucency of some of the colours.

What I really enjoyed about this numbers game was losing a bit of control over the finished piece - letting chance takeover! Fancy giving it a go? - I would love to see what you make.