Artist in training…

Because I’m clearly not happy unless I have nine million irons in the fire at once, I decided to participate in the Art Elements theme challenge for January, the subject of which was the moon. (Quick backstory: I became familiar with this group because my fabulously artistic and talented sister-in-law Jen Cameron is one of its members. When I saw the theme challenge announcement, I was overcome with optimism, and before I knew it, I’d signed up. Never mind that I’m more “word-artsy” than “art-artsy,” I decided kicking off the new year with something different and outside my usual boundaries was exactly what I needed to do. So here I am.)

Before getting my hands busy with my project, I stalked reviewed the other artists’ pages, and was instantly amazed by the talent, creativity and depth of their work. “I’m going to stick out like a sore thumb,” I mumbled, fighting off the apprehension I felt creeping up on me. However, I refused to bow out of the commitment. I forged ahead during my free time on my project, which I knew would be paper-based. I had recently begun fumbling around with paper-making, and thought it was pretty interesting. The idea that stuck in my head was four separate note card-sized papers, with some kind of moon image, and the word moon written in four different languages, because words are my thing.

First on my list was making the paper. I’d used newsprint in the past, and while I loved how the different words and typefaces mixed & mingled in the finished product, I wanted something plain for the background (I’ll explain in a moment.) I used an ordinary, brown paper shopping bag, tearing it into strips and letting them soak in water a little before blending them into pulp. I added a few pieces of construction paper to break up the monotony, and this is what I ended up with:

My original concept was going to have ripped newsprint sort of collaged into a partial moon, filling the bottom left corner of each card (which is why I stayed away from using newsprint on the card itself). I talked myself out of that, though, opting instead, to sit down with some watercolor paper and paint to see what I could come up with. After playing around, I had a full page of this white-gray, mottled pattern, which I let dry and came back to a few days later. (No picture of that, because I’m new to this and forgot to get a shot of it.) At first, I cut a full circle and played with that against the cards. To me, it looked too perfect against the rough edges of the cards, so using a guide, I tore the paper into circles, and liked that better. Apparently, I can’t leave well enough alone, because I dragged out the watercolor palette again, and fussed around with different colors to highlight the moons — because leaving them to resemble the actual moon felt too … I don’t know… expected? (Again, forgot to photograph this part of the process. Sorry.)

I knew when it came time to write out the words, it HAD to be in silver, and it turned out exactly as I’d hoped.

My first instinct was to use “moon,” and “luna,” so I stretched further choosing lune (French), mond (German), lua (Portuguese) and mane (Swedish). I’m also new to the hand-lettering trend — which is weird, because I absolutely LOVE handwriting — so these aren’t super pretty, but I feel like it’s passable. I affixed the more colorful moons, weighting them briefly, because of the uneven surface of both papers made it difficult for them to lay flat.

And then, they were done!

Even though these cards are pretty basic, I was happy with how they turned out. I’m glad I stuck with the challenge, and now that I’ve done one, I’ll probably try and participate most, if not all, months in 2019.

All participants and group members are listed here, and I highly recommend you check out their projects/websites/artwork. It’s amazing, and maybe you’ll even find yourself inspired to jump into an Art Elements monthly challenge in the coming months!

Jenny Melissa Kathy Sarajo Hope Sarah Rebecca Divya Anita             Rosantia Cat Evia Alysen Beth Tammy

Art Elements Crew:
Claire Laney Caroline Cathy Sue Niky Jenny Jen Lindsay


22 thoughts on “Artist in training…

  1. Those turned out great! I haven’t tried paper making yet and now I totally want to after seeing this and also your previous papers. I’m glad you decided to join us this month and look forward to seeing what you do in future months.

  2. Oh my goodness a word smith.. HELLO!! I am a frustrated word smith and paper artist too so please do more challenges with the team I would love to see more and words and stuff…. Love your moon paper pieces.. off to stalk your blog now! ps hope I haven’t scared you off!

  3. I am so glad you stuck it out to participate in the challenge! I love how you shared the process of making the cards and I love that you used different languages for “moon”. I love the cards and I think they turned out perfect!

  4. First of all, I’m the sore thumb, so there was no need for you to worry 😀

    Secondly, I really like what you did there. The contrast is beautiful, the lettering is very pretty, and I love the idea.

  5. Please don’t consider yourself not art-artsy. First, writing is indeed an art. Second, this is GREAT! I’ve tried several times to make paper unsuccessfully. So, I love the fact that you did that in itself. Your use of words in these to bring more of yourself and your style into them is fabulous and well-thought-out. You did a great job. I can’t wait to see what else you have up your sleeve in future challenges!

  6. I absolutely love the textures in your paper, and the rough-cut moons are perfect! Your lettering makes me want to try regaining a good handwriting that I’ve lost to years on a keyboard…

  7. I think these are great cards! I have only tried papermaking once when my daughter was young and we didn’t blend the paper into a mushy enough pulp. Needless to say the paper was so thick it was more like cardboard. I may have to try it again.

  8. I made paper decades ago and forgot about it. Thanks for reminding me. I make cards and love paper. Yours paper turned out lovely.

  9. First of all: Welcome! 🙂 I have to say, I really enjoyed reading about your thoughts and process and you made me smile several times (the part of the water color, spot on! 😉 ). Your cards turned out wonderful! I also have to say I can’t get enough of the paper you made. It creates a “wannahave!” moment! I am so looking forward what you will create for the next theme challenges 🙂

  10. YAY! Bravo! Those are the only 2 languages I know…. I think your creations turned out superbly! Glad you took a chance and looking forward to seeing you in February. You Go Girl! Alysen

  11. I’m so glad you have decided to play along with us this year! And I just want to put out there…writing is an art too. You could easily make these theme challenges into a writing challenge and still play along! That being said, you definitely found the perfect way to wet your feet and incorporate some making into your word art. I can’t wait to see what you do next month!

  12. I love that Art Elements has evolved into much much more than just jewellery, and I’m always fascinated by the art and inspirations of everyone else in these challenges. That paper makes me want to reach through the screen and touch it, because it looks so textural. Fabulous!

  13. Making my own paper was a dream when I started crafting not very long ago but then I started making jewelry. That’s why I particularly like your post 🙂 Everything goes with Art Elements inspirations and that’s exactly what we all love about them. Love the cards! Thank you for describing your process!

  14. 1. 9 million irons… ha! Me too! 2. Words are welcome here! Thats one reason we expanded our focus – to dabble, to encourage, to be more inclusive. 3. Hand made paper is the best. Yours is chunky and textural and organic. 4. Love it all! 6. Ill add a language for you: Moon in Gaelic is “gealach”

  15. Welcome to the fun!! I’m so glad that you stuck with it and joined the challenge this month! It was interesting to see and read about your paper making process… I’ve never done that. I hope you’ll continue to play along with us.

  16. I’m so glad you joined the challenge and shared your beautiful art with us. I find handmade papers incredibly attractive, they have such depth to them. Yours are lovely and look just like the surface of the moon. Your handlettering is beautiful – love these mini cards!

  17. I love that you made your own paper, I have tried this only once and made such a mess everywhere that I have not ever attempted it again and your lettering is lovely!

  18. I enjoyed reading about your process for the paper and the moon. Your lettering is so lovely and the cards overall are beautiful. So glad you decided to join the challenge. And I learned a new word for moon!

  19. I have made paper long ago but it did not come out so well. I have never tried it since. Yours looks strong and smooth for a tag. Great. Here are 2 more Moon words for you – Nila (in Tamil feminine) Chaand (in Hindi, masculine)

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