Thursday, August 30, 2018

rock tumbling for beginners

While I know a lot of you come here for art and creative inspiration, I have a some hobbies behind the scenes that I thought might be fun to share with you once in a while! One of my all time favorite hobbies is "rockhounding". Rockhounding is hunting for minerals, rocks, semi-precious gems, petrified wood and fossils. Living on the Oregon Coast, there are all kinds of places to go where there are exposed beds of agates and stones and I will spend HOURS crawling around on the beach looking for jasper, moonstones and agates.

While my favorite part of the process is the hunt, this summer I've really enjoyed my rock tumbler! A tumbler makes it possible to smooth and polish those rocks over time. We have a the Lortone Model 3A rock tumbler and a rock tumbler grit kit

After I've spent time hunting for rocks, I spend just as much time sorting and trying to identity a lot of those rocks. 
This is actually one of Lucy's favorite things to do! We try to sort everything either by color or by the type of rock. 

Then we select a mixture of of different sizes of rocks that will get tumbled.

Next we fill the tumbling barrel about half way full.

The next step is to add a coarse grit and water to the tumbling barrel.

Grit is silicone carbide abrasive that is added to the tumbling process. The rocks roll around in the tumbler in the grit and water and over time, the grit shapes, smooths and polishes the rocks. 

There are four stages of grit-
Course grit which does the rough shaping of the rock 
Medium grit removes scratches and produces a smooth surface 
Pre-polish smooths the rock even more 
Polish shines those rocks 
 Rock shops typically sell all four levels of grit.

We tumbled the first grit for about a week or so. The result was rocks that were quite a bit smoother.

After the first tumble is finished, it is really important empty the barrel, wash the rocks and the barrel and then start the next stage.

The tumbled three more times for about one week with each grit and it ends up REALLY smoothing those rocks! But they are not yet polished.

The last stage (4th stage) is to tumble those rocks with the polish- aluminum oxide for another week. 

The result is AMAZING! Beautiful smooth and shiny rocks!!

The entire rock tumbling process takes about 4 weeks and it is SO hard to wait during that time! But the end result is so worth it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

5 ways to add texture to your surfaces

When it comes to painting, especially colorful and messy layers, texture is a super important part of my process. And today I've got 5 really simple (and fast) ways to add some texture to those painting

1. Bubble wrap is one of my favorite things to use for adding texture to those payers of paint. 

2. Use a crumbled up paper towel or rag and dip it into paint and dab it all over the surface for unique texture.

3. I love using a palette knife to scrape and scratch into wet paint.

4. Dip anything, I mean anything from nature into paint and stamp, drag and press it onto that surface.

5. Press tissue paper into that wet paint and then paint over the top of it. The paint will highlight all the folds in the tissue paper. 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

end of summer SALE this week!

Happy Monday friends! This week I've got my annual END OF SUMMER SALE happening over in the shop. Details below!

                       Head on over the shop HERE

There are many online workshops out there at different prices with different content. Back in 2009, when I decided to offer an online learning option, I set out to create a structure that is similar to taking a "live" class from me.  My mission is to provide an affordable class with a learning environment where you are watching lots of demos, learning techniques and then creating on your own art.

  • My classes are a combination of video learning (with demos, techniques and me talking) and lots of photo steps outs of inspiration, techniques and process.
  • All classes are all filmed in my studio. Since 2009 I have been tweaking my gear and my process with the hope that video/photo content gets better and better. My #1 goal is to provide inspiring lessons and visuals that are easy to understand.
  • My classes do NOT have a required supply list. Instead I share the supplies that I like to use and then give you a variety of options and inspiration to use supplies that work best for your process and your budget.
  • All of my classes have unlimited access which means that once you register you can create and access at any time and work at your own pace. Whenever I "release" a new class- I release each lesson "live". Many people enjoy working in this format, as the lessons are posted each week but once all information gets posted there is unlimited time to access everything. I have found that some people prefer to work along with the live format when I release a new class, while others will wait months until they have the time, money and the schedule to register for the class. Either way works- just know that once you are in- there is no deadline or pressure to create.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

cardboard turquoise rings

If you are a long time reader, you will know that I LOVE getting creative and turning simple materials into something really fun! And cardboard is one of my favorite things to create and craft with. My parents will even tell you that when I was a kid, I would go through the trash looking for cardboard to use in my art projects. Cardboard is super versatile and it takes layers of paint really well. So well that you can even create jewelry with it. Today I thought it would be fun to share some turquoise cardboard rings that I created for my online class Camp Wanna-Create. This project is super simple but ends up being really dynamic!

I started with cardboard from our recycling bin and cut it into shapes. I collect turquoise statement rings so I cut my shapes a little larger.

Next I gave that cardboard a few thick coats of paint. While cardboard will never be waterproof, painting it will seal the surface from everyday wear.

After those layers of color dried, I used a rag and began dabbing different shades of turquoise, white and black onto the surface. My goal was to create a turquoise inspired look.

I continued to build up those layers of color with both a rag and a brush.

Then with a tiny brush I added a few details to look like veins in turquoise. 

Then I used gold acrylic paint around the edges to give the look of a soldered bezel.

Once the paint was dry, I gave everything a thick coat of polyurethane.

Last, I glued the cardboard to a ring back.

The result are some really unique turquoise rings that were made mostly from materials in our recycling bin!

Monday, August 20, 2018

lucy's room makeover

As many of you know, it's become a tradition to redecorate and paint a fresh mural in Lucy's room every couple of years. Her room is tiny and as she's gotten older, her style and interests are always changing and evolving. And this year, together we decided on a Matisse inspired wall. Lucy's middle name is Matisse and it seemed appropriate to at some point in her life create a Henri Matisse inspired wall. The best part of was planning it out and spending time painting together. Here is a little peek. 


I painted this butterfly mural back in 2016. 

Looking for a little more inspiration when it comes to using paint and creativity to transform a space?


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