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Taking a Class During Vacation

One day here in Arizona, while Becca was at work, I indulged my vacation status and took a craft class. There’s a great artist co-op in Old Town Casa Grande called In a Pear Tree.

We wanted to take a class together, but the class schedule didn’t let us. That just meant we’d have to re-create some similar projects together later, and you’ll see at the end of the post that we’ve made a good start!

We chose a class which was billed as a monogram plaque – 6” x 12” size canvas featuring decoupaged letters. Of course, I wasn’t planning this for anyone’s gift, nor am I that in love with my name or my initial G that I wanted to feature those (it was close, though ;) ).

Having to come up with something on the spot, I chose the word “create.” I probably would have settled on that word anyway — it’s a favorite :)

I also had to choose a color scheme ahead of time so that the right paints, sprays, ink pads and pens would be available. My answer to any color question is always green, but considering I will hang this on my “Get Creative” wall in my ~studio~ I chose the teal and fuchsia of my decorating scheme. Not everyone interprets those colors the same way, but I am always ready to adapt… or mix paints :)

On class day, I felt terrible. I had caught an awful cold just before leaving home – you know the one!
Blech! But I wasn’t about to miss the fun, so I guzzled some Airborne, and sporting a cold-meds hangover and a bad night’s sleep, off I went.

My teacher, Dira Reeves, had studied the mixed media art of Christy Tomlinson, whom I greatly admire. When I found that out at the beginning of class I was thrilled! She proceeded to walk me and my fellow student through the project.

Creating the background layer was fun! I did a little color mixing – yay! – a little fingerpainting – yay again! – and some spritzing and blotting. You might be able to tell from my palette plate that I was able to take a little dusty green paint and some bright royal blue paint to create a happy-making teal tone, and I used a brilliant yellow-lime color to create some contrasting streaks that ended up coordinating with my letters well.

After drying our painted canvasses, we layered in some texture stamps (both ordinary and stamp rollers) using StayzOn ink pads, some negative stencil images with dye sprays, and some normal stenciling with the acrylic paints. I also printed some loopy images with a plastic doily – I want to get my hands on some of those!!! The pink paint hearts I tried to stencil don’t appear very heart-shaped, but their warm-hued blobbiness still added interest and color to my cool-hued background.

I took it outside to the sidewalk for a picture in natural light…

Our instructor had cut our words out of heavy paper using a Cricut! I recognized my old buddy, the George cartridge, right off the bat. Love George’s font!

After sealing the painted canvas with Mod-Podge, decoupaging the letters down and sealing those, we used ye olde black fine point Pitt Pen to scribble around each letter … (halfway done below — it makes a difference!)

… and then semi-transparent Pitt markers to put a shadowy halo around each one. It works a lot like the “Drop Shadow” feature Sam and I use with our logo on each photo we post here.

Then back in with some stamping. . Also we added some bubble wrap printing, some texture and shading on the letters using some of the same techniques from earlier, edging the edge…

… a bit of rub-on madness and some scribbles… and you know what? It’s hard to know when you are done! :)

Headed home to Becca’s. Different light. Better camera. Couldn’t put it down. So you have to suffer get to enjoy ;)


Note the bottom right corner – Dira had just the stamp for me: {create your living canvas}


My finished project. Can’t wait to get it home and hang it in my so-called studio :)

I’m quite happy with mine!

About an hour after this self-indulgent photo shoot, I picked Becca up from work and we hit the craft stores! Goal: buy today, as much of the right supplies and items to get started on our own creations! On a budget!

Becca and I hit the two major craft stores in town and bought stuff to make our own as planned. She had just been tagged to provide a donation for a fundraiser, so one of our 3-pack of canvasses will go to the fundraiser, but one will be a Welcome sign on her door.

We got very creative with texture-making value finds, such as the rick-rack and ball fringe in a package of some scrapbooking accents, and tiny crocheted doily flowers. Once they are coated in a layer of dried paint, they make great prints and stencils. We love the value-priced rubber and vinyl stamps!

Here are some WIP photos …

I started out aiming for something not quite so … IDENTICAL to my class project. Since there’s still some work to do on this green “relax” canvas, I am hoping to make it a bit more relaxing to look at. The orange/pink/yellow below…

… this orange blend is what I started with, then realized it wasn’t going to be a good base for the word “relax” :/

It needs a word! You could help with that, you know. Comment section is right below!

Some in-progress shots of “relax.” Without any Pitt pens, just one Micron marker, a purple StayzOn pad,  and acrylic paints, I still got the lettering highlighted/shadowed!

Here they are with only the RE and part of the L outlined.

I mixed up some greens, black, and white to make a shadow outline with a script liner brush, smudging it in with my finger…

… plus you can see that I did some tinting and shading on those way-too-baby-pastel-aqua letters.

We’ve got plans for a weekend away in Tucson so these projects are on hiatus. One thing I know is this needs to be tamed! Especially after the accents I put on the top of the letters… *alarmed look* Not so relaxing! It’s only my second project, so some surprises are normal, I think.

So it’s a good time to take a break from the project and come back with fresh ideas about how to calm it down!

Take my advice and CREATE… in color! We 2Create in Color everyday. Better make that  “We 3” in this case :)


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