This was the class I was both most looking forward to and most nervous about. Unlike many scrappers and crafters, my own exploration of mixed media crafting and art journaling had, until this class, been little more than dipping a toe in the water, so to speak. I knew who Donna was, had seen some of her videos and tutorials and knew a little bit about her product range, but boy was this class an eye opener!
I was pre-warned from people in the other classes that it didn't matter where we sat as Donna was a move about the class room kind of teacher... a plus in my book. So with all my goodies on my desk I sat patiently waiting for all the fun to start.
The first thing we had to do was pick one of Donna's signature journals to create in. These have a fabric and canvas cover, hand sewn, with the hugest big button on the front and an elastic closure to hold it all together.
Opened up, these are what all the pages looked like. The Bazzill cardstock is all pre-cut to 12" x 9", so when folded in half the album size is 6" wide and 9" tall.
The first two pages we created were to compare the results of Faber Castell Gelatos on backgrounds with and without gesso. We had to chose either a warm or cool colour palette and use 2 or 3 colours from that palette to experiment with how they blended differently on the background as well. We coloured the two pages with the various shades of gelatos, then spritzed with water and blended with our fingers... time to get dirty!!
This page didn't have any gesso on it. It really soaked up the gelatos and water mix so gave a more subtle and even blending of the different tones of colour. However in doing this I found that I had to be careful not to over blend the colours as then the paper itself seemed to separate and bits were coming off into the colour mixing which I then had to remove. Of course this may have been because it was the back side of the paper as well.
This is with the gesso on the background paper. Of all the exercises this was the one I didn't really get or see any difference. I'm not sure if it was because I just didn't get it, or because the acrylic paints I used were cheap craft quality and not a good quality artist acrylic paint.
This was the next page we did. Finger painting!! Such a revelation, it was like being a kid again!
This time was finger painting with acrylic paints. We had to pick either a warm or cold palette once again. This time I went with a cold palette using light blue, green and purple together with white. Using our fingers only (quite liberating I might add), we covered the entire background page. The emphasis this time was on blending the colours to create new colours and new tones as well as a texture though the technique.
Once this layer was dry we then drew a shape or image using a 6B charcoal pencil. From the cool coloured background I had painted I could see almost like a underwater scene, so this provided the inspiration for my image. I drew some (very) abstract coral. Around the coral images I then finger painted over the top using the same technique but this time using a warm palette.
The final step (to get to this stage) was to go over the drawn lines once the paint had dried, though instead of using the charcoal pencil again, I used Indian Ink. I still haven't decided if I am going to do any more to this page or not. Part of me is saying yes it needs more, but I also really love the colours just the way they are.
This exercise was about how to add depth and shading/shadowing to give a three dimensional look to an image/item. Over the top of the painted areas around the inside of the heart (and outside of the heart on the background) we added the Crayola Water Soluble Oil Pastels which we blended together with a spritzing of water.
I really like the way that the texture of the canvas and the background cardstock show through the colouring and shading. I still want to work on the shading a bit, but I'm sure this will continue to develop with time.
The next exercise was to adhere some mini tags to a page. The entire page was then covered in gesso. Once this was dry we then added some blobs of paint across the page before smearing them over the page using a palette knife to highlight the texture of the background.
The final step was to attempt to add some additional texture using an image transfer technique to copy the text from a page of text from a book. I used a matte gel that Donna hadn't tried before, so the unsure result was untested as to whether or not it would work. Donna explained two techniques, so I gave them both a go to see which would work best. One worked... the other didn't, though even the one that worked still needs some refining.
This particular class was the one that I had to buy the most new products for and I think the class that had the longest bring to class list. I know for some this was an issue (there were one or two quite vocal about it), but these did tend to be the people who felt the least comfortable about the class content. I had no problem at all buying these products and I know I will continue to use them again and again... I already have used them again.
By the end of the class I think I could safely speculate that the people in the class were polarised into one of two extremes - they either totally loved the class and couldn't wait to try more mixed media creativity or they really didn't like it and intended to never try anything like this again. I'm the type of person who believes don't knock something until you have tried it as you never know if you will like something or not until you have actually tried it. I can safely say that thanks to the terrific teaching of the lovely Donna Downey, I am definitely a convert and I will be trying more very soon!
I had to do the obligatory photo with Donna, but to be different I wanted to take a "Dirty Hands" picture even though our hands weren't that dirty as we had both cleaned them during the class (several times).
Thank you so much for the wonderful class Donna!!