Art Therapy

And the Art goes on…. Slowly…..  With the body still terribly misbehaving, I keep having more bad than good days, but I am feeling good that I have been able to get back to creating at least a little bit nearly every day again…. even if it is only for a few minutes.  This week I have taken over the kitchen table as an art space for playing with some of my new goodies from the ArtFire contest that I won and showed in the previous post.

Alcohol Ink Applicators- Made from small pieces of scrap lumber found in Ken's workshop.

Alcohol Ink Applicators- Made from small pieces of scrap lumber.

I tried the Adirondack Inks again, this time with some homemade applicators that I made from wood scraps from Ken’s workshop (I did have to cut them smaller- thankfully I am not too afraid of the chop saw). I glued on velcro and since I can’t find any arcrylic felt around here (I know I must have some Somewhere), I used some wool felt… Acrylic felt might be better??  From watching numerous videos and reading tutorials, etc. I know the inks do best on glossy paper or other non porous surfaces (like my buttons). The only glossy paper I have on hand is inkjet photo paper and some Crayola Sparkle paper. I also ended up with some “new” glossy paper to try… Just as I was leaving my quilting retreat, I was gifted with a bunch of 2012 calenders featuring guild member’s quilts with “My Dream House” on the cover.

Guild Calender Cover

Guild Calender Cover- Click link above the photo to see it in the right colors.

Yea, I got the cover, but the photo was awful… the color was totally off…Ikkk… I guess if you don’t know what it is supposed to look like it might not be so bad?  The calenders were to be sold at our guild’s show, Fall 2011 but flooding cancelled the show and lots of calenders are still lurking in boxes. There is a lot of glossy paper in these calenders to play with, but I  need to cover up the quilts first since I don’t want them as part of my art. I found using leftover white eggshell finish wall paint is working well as a primer without taking away the gloss.

Inks on Calender Paper in Greens

Inks on Photo Paper in Greens

The first paper I tried was the photo paper which is for inkjet printing. It is not the best because of the coating on the paper to allow for  the printer inks to work on them. If I worked quickly, the colors went on fine, but if I spent too much time in an area, the coating wanted to lift off. I also am using plain alcohol instead of a blending solution, so that might make a difference.  Using lots of alcohol with the inks helps to spread them.  The sparkle paper had the same problem with the surface coating for inkjet printing.

Multicolored Calender Paper with Shoe Stamps

Multicolored Calender Paper with Shoe Stamps

In the photo above, The blue and purple paper is a piece of the calender paper with inks applied with applicator and also dropped on, making the circles of color. The alcohol inks spread over the painted calender paper much easier than over the inkjet paper. I also spritzed this paper with alcohol, giving some more speckles. The white was done with the soles of a pair of shoes painted with an acrylic stain blocking primer… The alcohol ink colors bleed right through the primer, which is great for art, but not for walls, etc. The shimmer on the green paper is from some Pearl-Ex powder mixed with alcohol, water and a bit of metallic paint.

Art Therapy Shoes- Nothing I would ever normally buy or try to wear... These were purchased with modifying them in mind.

Art Therapy Shoes- Nothing I would ever normally buy or try to wear… I’m wearing practical shoes these days 😉 These were purchased with modifying them in mind.

Ahhh, the Art Therapy shoes… 🙂  A little diversion from paper and inks…  After seeing a post about the Kick off your Heels fundraiser on the quiltart list, I found some really fun shoe art that others have done. (Follow the link to see the call for Art Shoes that are being auctioned off to raise money for women’s heart care research, and some really neat shoes.)  Something clicked in my head and I found myself purchasing these wild heels to play with for some more art therapy (ideas are popping up everywhere again!). I am not sure if these shoes will be done in time to try to enter them into the auction, but time will tell.

Inked papers, including a calender page I did in the wee hours one morning when my body wouldn’t let me sleep, surround the shoes for their before photo above.  The calender page behind the shoes wasn’t primed first since I was just distracting myself in the near dark, and a quilt and lines for notes are showing through the lavender color. More layers of paint or whatever should do enough to hide the quilt, just leaving random little peeks of colors.

Art Therapy Shoes- Covering up those Leopard spots... The soles made fun stamped patterns...

Art Therapy Shoes- Covering up those Leopard spots… The soles made fun stamped patterns… I used an acrylic stain blocking primer since I don’t have any gesso. I used the papers I was playing with under them so they got white accents on them.

Art Therapy Shoes- Finally all primed... It took 3 coats to cover the spots well.

Art Therapy Shoes- Finally all primed… It took 3 coats and a couple spots barely show, but will be well hidden later…

I am pretty sure that the primer I used will hold onto the shoes well and allow further layers to stay… It was the hardest stuff to get off my hands if it dried at all… Gloves would have helped, but when using art as therapy, I tend to just grab a brush or whatever and go to it without thinking much… I really like the look of these shoes without their spots… I think there may be a layer of fabric or colored paint over the primer,  so the lurking spots won’t show…  I am thinking there will be lots of blue flowers on these… just not exactly sure how things will end up exactly… I will see where they lead me…. They are sitting on a couple paper towels that got colored with fabric paint while trying to rejuvenate a faded bathing suit. A favorite shade of mine.

Back to paper….

Green Papers and Fabric

Green Papers and Fabric- Top to bottom- Card stock with acrylic paint and bleeding tissue paper, cotton sateen with paint and alcohol ink, primed calender page with alcohol inks in green and golden yellow.

The papers and fabric above were done with this month’s Arts in the Cards theme- Kiwi, in mind.

Kiwi Art Card Materials

Kiwi Art Card Materials- Sparkle paper with rings of brown suede fabric, card stock with bleeding tissue, and the painted and inked fabric from above photo cut into strips with a bright yellow fabric.

Kiwi Cards with circles and rings cut using some of the new prize dies to cut them.

Kiwi Cards with circles and rings cut using some of the new Spellbinder dies I won to cut them.

My Kiwi art cards are quite a bit different from what I usually do… I use my new circle and scalloped circle dies from my prize from ArtFire. The brown is a suede-like fabric that made me think of fuzzy kiwi skins.  Just a touch of bright yellow was used to add a real pop of color, and some dotted tape I had added some “seeds”. To see what the others in the group have done, check out the Arts in the Cards Blog.

Art Therapy Table- There is a kitchen table under there somewhere....

Art Therapy Table- There is a kitchen table under there somewhere….

My kitchen table is pretty covered up….  Papers in various stages of play, loose calender pages I am using under things to catch drips, the Art Therapy shoes, and my paints, inks, pens and more are here, ready to be played with…. Keeping things out like this makes it easy to just work a few minutes at a time when I need an escape or need to work on a project  with a time limit.  Having the sink handy makes this a better workspace for these messy projects instead of my studio.  We just can’t use the table for it’s intended purpose for now…

Painted Die Cut Flowers

Painted Die Cut Flowers on a primed and inked calender page.

Something else I am working on is a project using a new craft supply for C&T Publishing… I am not sure how much I should show now, but here are some flowers I die cut and tried to color with the alcohol inks… that didn’t work, so I painted over with fabric paint I was using for another project.

Maple Tree Garden Panoramic- The only way to get the whole garden in one photo

Maple Tree Garden Panoramic- The only way to get the whole garden in one photo

This photo of the Maple Tree Garden was taken a week ago… there is no snow left now except for the little bits of new flakes falling here and there…. Garden Therapy will have to wait a while since it is to be really cold for the near future…  Maybe I can get Ken to get the ornamental grasses cut before things start to grow again…  Until things warm up, I will get my therapy from art indoors….   This post is linked to “Off the Wall Fridays”


I am a former textile artist and new pattern designer with a degree in horticulture, wishing to share my love of nature, flowers and gardens with everyone through my photos, sunprinted fabrics, and now pattern designs. Chronic Lyme Disease has caused major changes to the direction my life. I have to limit the amount of time spent digging in my gardens, and quilting has become more difficult. I discovered pattern design as a way to get art back into my life. I now use my gardens and photos to inspire designs that can be used on fabrics and print on demand items.

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4 comments on “Art Therapy
  1. Lisa says:

    Your art therapy looks like it was very successful! Nice work! I’m working on some shoes for Kick Off Your Heels too. I look forward to seeing how yours turn out!

  2. Nina-Marie says:

    Thanks for sharing all fun!!! I think its a good idea getting plain heels like that – can’t wait to see how they turn out!! I have a wood working husband too!

  3. Can’t wait to see how the shoes turn out – I just love shoes. Can’t wear those either, but do follow Sassy Feet on fb.

  4. sona says:

    HI Sue, will be curious to see what you do to those pumps! looks like fun.
    liked watching you work with the inks of Adirondacks.
    glad you like you eye glass case jusy for U of coffee filters, inks, thread and …imagination . I love vines!!
    be well, Sonja