Lessons… a bit of give and take

Life is one big lesson, I’ve learnt! Every day I learn something new, usually the lessons are a pleasure, sometimes not so and some days I am able to share a lesson with someone so that they can learn something new.

Lesson one….

When awarded a blog award, use the usual “real life” courtesy and respond immediately with gratitude and thanks.

I do not mean to sound trite by saying this. If only the lovely, lovely India could have heard the squeals of delight from here, she would have known how excited I was, and still am, to have been the recipient of a shiny, shiny “brilliante weblog premio 2008” award. Unfortunately a combination of events over the past 4 days have prevented me from spending any time on the computer and it is mainly for this reason that I have not offered my thanks and passed this award on. I have learnt though that, despite the fact this is the “not so real” world of the internet, it still involves genuine people and their real life feelings and expectations. I am truly sorry India for not sending you even a quick msg of thanks, this was such a lovely surprise!

I will continue by saying that I would like to pass on this award to Katie because I am always, without fail, inspired by every single entry on her blog. Katie practices her art from a place deep, deep inside her soul and when art is produced in that manner how can you not be inspired? To Sarah, who in the past month has inspired many, many bloggers to begin a “soul journal”. To Jude of the Spirit Cloth blog, who is trying to push the creative boundaries of quilt making and despite the fact that I am a brand new reader of her blog, I am already addicted and am happily dreaming of the day I can start my own “what if” block. To my friend Mandy, just cos I love her and I truly, truly appreciate her friendship. True friends don’t come along regularly and when they do you have to keep hold of them and NEVER let them go…. sometimes not letting go can be a good thing (xoxox). To another friend Penny who makes me laugh out loud when I read her gorgeous posts about life with two kids, a dog and a husband. This blog world has reconnected us – we went to school together and haven’t really had much contact since. It is so nice to be able to read about her family and to hear her very familiar sense of humour coming through her writing! To Misty who I miss muchly and just wish that there was such thing as a time machine so we could zip back and forth for tea each day! The last goes to a website of blogs rather than one individual blog and it specifically goes to the amazing lady who created the soul food cafe. SFC is THE place to visit for all creative beings – it is a labyrinth of wonderful, incredible stuff!

One of the rules of this award is to post the award link to your blog – I don’t know how to do it, so until I can work it out, the award remains invisible!

Thanks again India, it really was appreciated.

Lesson two….

Give your camera to a “nearly 3” year old and see what happens.

that would be the ceiling

not such a great angle for double chin shots

This one is great though! I especially like the smudgy, blurry bits in the centre of the photos….

Lesson three….

A couple of days ago, I received a lovely email from Jocelyn who had purchased a tub of acrylic medium from me a number of months ago. I had briefly explained the photo transfer technique that I so love using in my artwork that is by no means a “samm” original. She wrote to me in the hope that I could remind her of the technique so rather than type her a long winded, wordy explanation, I thought I’d photograph the process and post it as a bit of a “lesson” for others to share too. This is the first time I have done such a thing and i only hope that it is useful to you all. Please remember that this is my take on someone else’s discovery so there are probably other ways of achieving the same result.

I have numerous books on my shelf that outline this same technique, one of the most comprehensive being this one. If you feel like the real thing, visit Misty at http://www.mistymawn.typepad.com to see where she’s holding her next workshop and you might want to ask her which one’s will incorporate the technique or, you could drop me a line, if you’re in Australia, and ask me when I’m next holding my technique class…. enough promotion and on to the good stuff!

Photo transfers using acrylic paint medium

from left to right, the products I used for this “lesson”

210gm paper – these pads are an Art Spectrum product, available at most fine art supply shops (here in Victoria anyway). I used this paper today only because I am having a bit of a love affair with the pads at the moment. The paper is sized to cope with both dry and wet media and therefore can handle a little bit of abuse. I would normally use a heavier weight watercolour paper – 300gm and 100% cotton is the best and this technique also translates well to fabric. You have to have a bit of a play around to find what you like and what will suit the project you are doing.

Acrylic mediums – I am not faithful to a single product, I unashamedly admit this! I find that each product has it’s strengths and weaknesses and I like to play around to get the best for the particular project on the day. Photographed are Golden’s soft gel (thank you dear Misty), Liquitex Gloss varnish and medium and both the Gel medium and Polymer Gloss Varnish by Matisse. For this example I used the Liquitex product – It dries quickest and gives a nice “thin” finish.

Images for transferring – You can transfer many different types of images. Black and white toner copies, both b&w and colour laser copies, inkjet images and some magazine photos (the cheaper the paper, the better the transfer). Try anything! I have been known to say that this is not a “perfect” process and that the resulting image will not be a clean and perfect mirror image of the original – I have had one person prove me wrong though, so by all means, manipulate the technique to suit yourself.

Depending on your ideas for the final piece, you may or may not want to prepare your surface a bit for the image transfer. I had an idea for a painting so I roughly sketched an outline of the larger window that I would add to after transferring the original photo. The image I have chosen for this example is a b&w laser copy of an original photo. (Be conscious of copyright issues here. Make sure to chose images which are copyright free or use your own photos or scanned artwork).

I add the medium with anything that’s nearby, including my fingers! Today there was a foam brush handy!!! The photo on the right shows that the medium is added and you can still see the image underneath. When you use a gel medium, the medium will appear a little more cloudy. You ultimately want to provide a “sticking” surface.

Place the coated image face down on your receiving surface and rub so that all of the image makes contact with the paper/fabric underneath.

I make sure I leave an edge or corner free so that I always have something to pull away when the time comes.

After a little while, and unfortunately I can’t be more specific than that as drying time will vary depending on many many factors (weather, product used, image type, paper type etc), slowly start to peel back a corner or edge and you’ll see the top surface of the image paper separating from the image itself. If this doesn’t happen, place the paper back and keep rubbing with your finger. The photo above shows you what you’re looking for…

Once you have removed the top layer of paper, it is important to then leave the transfer to dry completely before removing the rest of the paper. Speed the process up with a hairdryer if neccessary, you’ll end up with holes in the image if you try too soon!

The image is now dry enough for you to rub and rub and rub until all the little bits of paper are gone! Sometimes you may not be able to remove them all, accept and embrace them! I use my finger, a stippling brush with a bit of water works really well too.

holes of impatience!!!

The finished transfer – ready to be altered to your heart’s desire!

The following photos are some transfers that I’ve done as examples for my workshop attendees.

colour laser copy on calico

to prove that straight lines are possible (if you want them!!)

colour laser copy on 300gm watercolour paper

And just a reminder that things can get a bit out of control if it’s always all about me….. xoxoxo

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9 Responses to Lessons… a bit of give and take

  1. Lori says:

    Thank you. I did this once years ago in an art class and have since forgotten. I am bookmarking this!

  2. Heather Blakey says:

    Thanks for such a wonderful, positive, gratitude filled post. I love it all. Like you I am enjoying the first spring days and my spirits have lifted along with the weather. The escarpment is radiant, clothed in a delightful rich blue gown. All the birds, bees and blowflies are buzzing around and the cries of the raven remind me to check in and find out what my flock are doing.

  3. Penny says:

    You, my dear, are too too kind.
    Thank you so much, though I am pretty sure I don’t know 7 people to send it on to, I’m generally an anonymous lurking blog reader.

    I’m glad I could make you laugh though and I’m extra glad to have found you again too. I am in awe of your artistic talents and that you’ve taken a life step in the direction of your dreams.

    You’ve inspired me with these photos to have a go at some transferring myself… like I need another hobby ;o) will have to sneak it in somewhere.

  4. misty says:

    i am laughing about the holes of impatience. nah, it’s just a source for the light to shine in. 🙂
    thank you, thank you! you are so sweet and i am so pleased you added me to that beautiful list of creative, kind, and giving souls, thank you. if only we could all get together for coffee/tea/anything.
    coming here and seeing your photos and reading your words is always a joy, but now it always brings up feelings of wishing and longing for a place i fell in love with so easily and people that became dear to my heart instantly. they are good feelings! oh how i love seeing you and
    Mandy here, but can hardly wait until it is in person again! missing you!
    hope you are having a wonderful weekend! much love to you. xoxo

  5. Jenni Jones says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful technique. I did something similar years ago with “sculpy” but ended up with more of a plastic effect. I have to go to work this morning, but as soon as I get home this afternoon, I am going to play!
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for sharing.

  6. Jacky says:

    Congratulations on your wonderful award Samm and I am about to go and check out the blogs you have given awards. I know Spirit Cloth…. one of my absolute favourites!!!! Do not know the others so off for a visit, thanks for the links.
    Your tutorial on transferring of images is fantastic. I always approach this technique with much trepidation (and therefore have not done much of it). Your tutorial has given me the confidence to have another play with the transfers. (Would love to see a class list of where you teach if one is available).

  7. jill says:

    This is brilliant Samm…thank you. I have seen instructions for this technique before but none so clear or so entertaining as yours. It is now bookmarked, thank you 🙂

  8. mandy says:

    ohhhhh. See now I just popped by because I hadnt even turned on the computer in a week and here i am famous and i didnt even know it and really not for doing anything particularly special because hanging out is just so much fun with you but ofcourse now I’m not sure what to actually do with this award, unaccustomed as i am and all that…do i just…. can i link back to you, does that even count ?

  9. Nic Hohn says:

    HI Samm, I have an award for you!if you would like to play. I love reading your honest words..thank you for sharing.

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