The Road Less Traveled


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More Mica Magic

Mica Magic Continues!  Stamping on mica and using it over a collage image adds dimension and texture to a collage.  Mica Flakes around or underneath peek through.

Enhance any collage with mica tiles.  This is a wonderful image from June's wonderful collage images  - .   I used mica tiles in different sizes to accentuate the wings and to paint on them.  I used paint to accent the hair and make the lilac eyes stand out.

Mica Transfer is done pretty much like any type of transfer.  A color copy or laser copy is needed for this to work.  Spread PPA on the mica tile and lay the image face down onto the PPA.  Burnish and let dry.  Once dried, use your finger and water and slowly remove the back white paper layer of the copy.  Going slow prevents areas to totally remove - unless that is the look you are going for. 

The image shows through like a ghost.  Pre-coloring the background with mica powders or foil will help the image stand out even more.  Collage under or over the transfer.

Painting on top of the image as well can add some pop to the finished collage. 

Sometimes I like grungy art, and to express something I am feeling at the time.  Other times I feel whimsical and my art reflects that.  I do love nature the most, hence the design in the post from the 18th.  Experiment and express all sides of your personality!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Through The Looking Glass - USAQ DT Project #3

 Mica Rocks it says!!  And it does!  This may seem like an unusual product, but read on and see a wondrous project for using this remarkable product.

My age is showing because I've been playing with Mica Tiles from USAQ at least 15 years!  Versatility is Mica Tile's middle name.  Let your imagination go wild with ideas galore!!!

Did you know that mica is a rock??  You may be familiar with mica as it is used in makeup to make your eyeshadow or blush sparkle.  There are many colors and types of mica, many sizes, densities as well.  Mica is safe for the environment, virtually un-destroyable so it makes a perfect surface for art.  USAQ sells many types of mica from different shape sizes, home Decor shape (a beautiful rusted hue), Mica D'lights, Mica Flakes, and Mica Pigments.  Check out each type, you'll find you will need them all!

Fossil on the Forest Floor

Mica Tiles (USAQ)
PPA Gloss (USAQ)
Perfect Pigments (USAQ) or (Jewelz colors of your choice, PPA and Clear Perfect Glaze)
Perfect Brush (USAQ)
Leaf Stamp (Hero Arts)
Black pigment Ink (LSS)
Clear Embossing Powder (LSS)
Heat Tool (LSS)

Making your own Acrylics - Take 2 parts PPA, and 1 part Jewelz and mix together.  Add more Jewelz if you want the color deeper.  The consistency should be like cream.  If not, add a little clear Perfect Glaze.  Store in an airtight container. 

1.  Delaminate (splitting the mica tile), by using your fingernail or a pointed tool, and wiggle your nail into the edge of the mica tile.  Slowly you will find that the more you wiggle, the more you will be able to start to split the mica tile.  Try to split the mica tile so that the pieces you get are rigid enough that they don't bend easily.  You will need 2 pieces for this project.
2.  Take one mica tile and on the top, stamp the leaf image, sprinkle embossing powder on, tap excess off, and heat with heat tool.  Put this tile aside and make sure you have it design up!
3.  Take 3 colors of Pefect Pigments (or see above to make your own acrylics) and plop a small amount of each on the other mica tile.  Just a small amount of Pefect Pigments is enough, they will spread out when you put the two pieces together.
4.  Now make a sandwich and smoosh!  You do this by holding the mica tile with the Perfect Pigments on it (face up) and lay the first mica tile you stamped on top of the second - Remember you want the stamped and embossed image face up!!  PPA is an adhesive as well as a medium so when dried the two mica tiles will stay together.  Excess paint will come out of the edges, just wipe the extra off with a paper towel.
5.  Once dried, you have an element or embellishment to add to a card, art piece, or scrapbook page.

The larger tiles (with various rusted shading) are perfect for many projects including frames. 

More ideas to be posted in the next week so come back and take a look! Remember, more ideas from the USAQ DT are just a click away - see the links to the right and follow all the other DT's fabulous art. Also watch Sue's video on "Mica It Rocks" at the USAQ website.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Melissa from Oregon you have WON!!!  Congrats and have fun with the Lila stamp.  Melissa is inspired by many in the industry right now, but the one I really related to is - Harold and His Purple Crayon!!!  I read this book as a child, have the book as an adult and my sister even sent me the DVD.  He went out of the box, totally off the wall with his purple crayon imagining all sorts of wonderful adventures! 

I'm waiting for all Melissa's information, but as soon as I get it, her prize will be out to her.
Thank you everyone for your great comments, I really appreciate the input especially since my blog is so new. 

Stay tuned, on July 18th will be the next USAQ tutorial and I have 1 really fun and unique embellishment idea that uses something you may not have thought about or have been aware is available for creating with.  As always, be sure to check all the USAQ DT's blogs for different artistic ideas using the same products!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Let's Do Lunch - Decorative Napkin Collage/USAQ DT Project #2

(Leave a post for a chance to win a Lila image - post by July 9th)

I get strange looks whenever I go to a restaurant and see a cool coaster, or tea wrapper and I take it with me for my collage art!  Of course it was a part of my meal, ha ha. 

There are so many GoRgEoUs decorative napkins on the market, but I Never want to use them to wipe off food.   They are perfect for collage!!

I totally fell in love with USAQ's European Napkin Collection, a complete kit with napkins, PPA (Perfect Paper Adhesive), and Crystal Effectz.   While the napkin has a patterned design on it, the sky's the limit in the way you can create!  I find myself playing with color, glitz, and textures, ways to make my art heart soar!

Perfect Paper Adhesive (PPA) is a staple medium I use almost every time I create.  I even bring it for adhesive when I teach.  Every art form can use PPA because it is archival safe, and acid free.  I always mention the fact that PPA is UV Resistant - I can hang art up on the wall and the colors won't fade or yellow.  PPA is a full-body adhesive yet light weight, the right consistency, and easy to use.  There is both a matte and gloss PPA so the finish can reflect your personal preference.  Although I will talk about PPA as an adhesive for napkin collage, I've used it for years to make paint from mica powders.  Check out the specifics on this product here.  

A Birdie Told Me Trading Card Project -  
European Napkin Collection (USAQ)
Draw and Guild Kit (USAQ)
Flat 1/2" Snap Brush (USAQ)
Water and Water Container
Painter's Tape or Masking Tape
Perfect Pigments: Blue Pearl, Green Pearl, Magenta, and Metallic Lt. Gold (USAQ)
Mica Flakes (USAQ)
Excel  board White (USAQ)
Wax Paper or Palette/Palette Paper

1.  Squeeze out small amounts of Perfect Pigments on wax paper or palette.  Start with the gold and paint  the mat board.  While still wet, blend in the blue pearl and green pearl around various areas.  Let dry.

2. Separate the napkin (there are usually 3 plys, 2  of the 3 are white).  Sue's TipTake 2 small tape pieces (tap on clothes to make less tacky), put one on the front of the napkin and one on the back.  Pull the tape pieces in opposite directions and the patterned napkin will pull away from the white backings. Rip the napkin so that the bird and word "imagine" will fit on the mat board ATC.  Pour a bit of PPA on your palette and brush PPA on the mat board, then take the napkin piece and lightly dip into the water (YES another Sue Tip), and then place down on the mat board, smoothing from the center out.  The water helps so there isn't texture or lines on the finished piece (unless you want the texture).  Brush more PPA over the top to seal the image.  Add another coat of PPA.  While still wet, add some Crystal Effectz to the birds breast, and background as well as a couple colors of Mica Flakes.  The PPA will not only seal the project but work as an adhesive to hold the Crystal Effectz and Mica Flakes in place.  Let dry.

3.  In the well of the fine line pen (Draw and Gild Kit) and fill with lt. metallic gold Perfect Pigment.  Go over the word "imagine" a couple times and also highlight areas on the bird.  Color the top of the head and breast with a little gold and then with your brush add a tiny bit of magenta so you get a red-gold hue. 

Napkin collage lends itself to many surfaces!  Once I started designing, I went CrAzY finding surfaces and coming up with ideas!!!  Napkins make it easy for beginners or those who do not draw, because the napkin has the art work on it.  Add Crystal Effectz, Mica Flakes and other USAQ embellishments and you have created a beautiful work of ART! 

In the photo I have designed not only the ATC, but a bracelet, a matchbox trinket holder, and even an necklace!  USAQ has gold Sty'line stickers which are great to add to these projects and even on their own with mica watercolor palettes.

A wood bracelet is fun and easy to create with.  Rip the napkin to fit the front and a little over the edges.  The inside of the bracelet I collaged bits of the floral motif with the words.  Add flowers and string beads on wire for a finished decorative touch. Accent with Pefect Pigment acrylic as well.

If you look at the pears and leaves, I have gilded the pears and areas.  Also used the fine line pen for some outlining as well.  The box has a flap that opens up and I put a button to look like a drawer knob.

I loved creating lots of texture with this piece to create an antiqued piece of jewelry.  Using a mix of painting under and over with Perfect Pigment, not wetting the napkin before collaging with PPA, and adding Sty'lines stickers, and a wire circle just adds to the aged look.  The paint can be added sort of blotchy to build up texture and depth.