Tag Archives: art

Thank You WordPress, You Have Changed My Art

Thank You WordPress

Thank You WordPress!

Dear WordPress,

I began this blog about two years ago. This will be my 40th post on this blog that you were so kind to provide for me, so obviously I am not a prolific blogger. In spite of the fact that I don’t blog a lot, as of today you’ve brought me 84 followers and an average of 25 to 30 views a day. Thank you!

What I find most exciting, is not the number of followers or the number of views, but where my views are coming from.

In the last 90 days, I’ve had people from over 70 different countries visit my blog. I find this absolutely amazing. This has changed the way I think about my art, because it makes my audience global rather than local.

Because you have allowed me to reach a global audience, I have decided to make my art available digitally. I am moving my blog to a self-hosted site and am changing my blog name to My Paper Arts (www.mypaperarts.com). Please visit and subscribe to my blog there.

In addition to my blog I’ve started a new Facebook page and my a Pinterest account. I will also be setting up a new Etsy shop where everything will be sold as digital downloads so there will be no shipping fees and my art will be available worldwide.

Thank you. And thank you, everyone who has subscribed, followed, and commented on my blog. Please join me at My Paper Arts and make my next two years even better.

Many thanks, Candy

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DIY Decorative Gift Container

What started out as a tin for my tea has been transformed into this beautiful decorative gift container.

What started out as a tin for my tea has been transformed into this beautiful decorative gift container.

It’s easy to make your own decorative gift container. All that is necessary is a container, some decorative paper, double sided tape and a craft knife or scissors. Just follow the do-it-yourself instructions below.

From left to right: the tin my tea comes in. the tin with the paper torn off (sticky stuff still showing), tin cleaned, De-Solve-It which really takes the sticky off my tin.

From left to right: original tea tin. tea tin with paper torn off with sticky residue remaining, tea tin cleaned, De-Solv-it which takes off the sticky residue.

I love to use cylindrical containers like the ones that tea or hot chocolate or oatmeal comes in. My favorite is the metal tins in the photo on the left that contains Double Green Matcha Tea from The Republic of Tea.

First I empty the contents from my container and clean it as best I can. For my example I have used my tea tin. I first remove the paper label. There is usually an awful sticky residue and some paper left behind. To clean this I use De-Solv-it which is organic, biodegradable, environmentally friendly and works like a champ to remove all sorts of sticky stuff.

Paper cut to the height of the can and enough to overlap about an inch.

Paste paper is cut to the height of the can and enough to overlap about an inch going around the can.

Once my tin is ready, I measure the height of the tin. I cut a piece of decorative paper the height of the tin and about an inch longer than its circumference. I have found that using a fairly light weight paper works best. In this example I am using a piece of paste paper that I made. For information on how I make my paste papers, see my posts Making Paste Paper: Part 1 and Making Paste Paper: Part 2.

Here I am trimming the double sided tape to the height of the paper.

Here I am trimming the double sided tape to the height of the paper.

Now I attach a strip of double sided tape to each of the ends of the paper. Be sure to apply the tape to the wrong side of the paper. I put the tape as close to the end of the paper as possible and overlap the tape on top and bottom on to a cutting surface. Then  I cut the tape as close to the height of the paper as possible without cutting the paper. See the photo on the left. The double sided tape is just one I picked up at a local stationary store. You don’t need a special type of artists tape.

The photo above shows one side of my paste paper has been attached to the can.

The photo above shows one side of my paste paper has been attached to the can.

Now I attach one side of the paper to the tin. I carefully line up the paper on the can and press to attach the paper to the tin. I roll the tin slowly while making sure the paper fits properly. If I am off, I unroll the tin and carefully reposition the paper and start rolling again. When I come to the end of the paper it should overlap a little and I push to attach the end of the paper. Now all I need to do is to add a gift.

My finished gift container.

My finished gift container. Note that the seam is facing you in this photo. It’s hardly noticeable at all.

See, it’s easy. I love finding ways to re-use things that would normally end up in either the trash or recycle bin. Once I give a gift in this container, I am sure my container will get used over and over again.

Enjoy, Candy

Courage Inspiration Book

Accordion Courage Inspiration Book closed

Accordion Courage Inspiration Book closed

This tiny accordion Courage Inspiration Book was a custom order from an artist friend. It is going to be a gift to an amazing woman who is going through chemotherapy. My friend supplied the quote and I made this tiny accordion book for her.

The cover of the book is a scanned image of one of my paste papers. We decided that courage was red/maroon. I picked this paste paper design for the cover. The circular impressions were actually made by pressing a cork into the wet colored paste.

Accordion Courage Inspiration Book open

Accordion Courage Inspiration Book open. It says, “Courage is not the absence of fear or despair, but the Strength to Conquer them.”

The little book is closed with a toothpick inserted into a piano hinge. I made the twisted cord to match the colors of the cover of the book. The text inside was done in Adobe Illustrator and printed on my archival printer.

Hugs and courage to all, Candy

Eco Friendly Earth Paints

Non-toxic water-soluble Earth Paint kit for children

My friend Leah Fanning Mebane has produced kits of non-toxic water-soluble paints for children and kits of non-toxic oil paints for adults and professional oil painters.

Leah, herself, is a professional oil painter. She found out she was pregnant with her first child at the same time she was invited by a local gallery to hang the largest one-person show of her career. She needed to create 25 new large-scale oil paintings. Being pregnant, she did not want to be breathing the fumes from toxic paints every day throughout her pregnancy. Luckily she had already begun researching natural paints and eco-friendly oil painting techniques for environmental reasons and had already started taking steps to reduce these toxins.

Leah got rid of all her toxic solvents and resupplied her studio with natural clay pigments and walnut oil. Turpentine, paint thinner, mineral spirits and varnish emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) as they dry, so out they went. Long-term exposure can lead to cancer and damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system.

Leah painted with her non-toxic paints throughout her pregnancy. She even went out and dug up clay to make some of her paints. Her show was a success and the reception was a week before her due date.

Django and Leah painting with water-soluble Earth Paints

After Leah’s son, Django, was born, she discovered that most commercial “non-toxic” kid’s paints contain biocides such as pesticides and fungicides. Some paints contain formaldehyde to extend the paint’s shelf life and yet are still called “non-toxic.” She also learned that conventional paints may contain hundreds of different chemicals, many of which contain carcinogens or neurotoxins. After more research she was delighted to find out that natural earth paints are not only eco-friendly, but have a far better track record of quality, archival durability and UV-resistance than any synthetic paint on the market.

Leah found that other mothers were asking where they could find truly non-toxic paints for their children. She realized there was a market for safe, healthy paints for children as well as adults. Thus, she launched Earth Paints.

Painted Hills in Eastern Oregon

Earth Paints are created in much the same way that our ancestors made their paints. The clay pigments are collected from the ground, and they are crushed, sifted, and sieved into a very fine powder. There are a surprisingly large range of earthen colors in nature, including blues, greens and violets. Look out your window as you’re driving down roads that have been cut into the earth. You can sometimes see the layers of colors formed over millions of years. I was reminded of Leah’s Earth Paints when I took a trip through Eastern Oregon this past summer and stopped at the Painted Hills.

Mothers can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that only the simplest and safest earthen paints are touching their child’s skin.

Leah’s children’s paints can be used on rocks, paper, fabric, wood, shells and more. They have a creamy, tempera-like consistency that is easy for toddlers to use. Unlike many other children’s paints on the market that are transparent or dull because of added fillers, preservatives and low quality pigment, these are very high quality, opaque and can be enjoyed by older children and adults as well.

Earth Paints oil painting kit

Leah’s Earth Paints Eco Oil Painting Kit is designed for artists from teens to professionals. Included in the kit is a booklet that tells how to eliminate every single toxin from the oil painting process.

To find out more about Earth Paints, nature-inspired art projects, DIY natural art supplies, recipes and move, visit Leah’s website at www.NaturalEarthPaint.com.

Enjoy, Candy

2013 Lotus Flower Calendar

2013 Lotus Flower Calendar
showing the individual pages and the stand that comes with the calendar

My 2013 Lotus Flower Calendar is here. Each month has a photograph of an actual paper lotus flower that I made. I made lots of lotus flowers throughout the year and photographed my favorites. I ended up with about 50 photos and had to narrow them down to just 12 for the calendar. Not only did I need to narrow the photos down to just 12, I needed each lotus flower to represent its month in some way.

October 2013 from my 2013 Lotus Flower Calendar

October’s lotus flower is made from a marbled paper I found at Paper Source in Portland. It reminds me of a pumpkin. July’s lotus flower is made from a paper I found at the U of O Bookstore in Eugene. It is red, white, black and gold, but it reminds me of the American flag (think 4th of July here). For February’s lotus flower, I did a graduated wash on the petals. They go from pink to pale pink to white on the tips. April showers bring May flowers. Each flower was carefully picked for its month.

2013 Paper Lotus Flower Calendar cover

It was a labor of love that had great results.

Click here if you are interested in seeing the steps involved in making a lotus flower.

You can purchase my Lotus Flower Calendars at the Ashland Art Center.

Enjoy, Candy

Making Paste Papers: Part Two

Paste papers drying

If you haven’t read part one yet, you can find it here Making Paste Papers: Part One.

Once I’m happy with the way my paste paper looks, it’s time to let it dry. I transfer it to another nonporous surface (and clean up the one on which I made the paste paper). To save space, I set up a drying rack in the bathroom to hold the paste papers on their drying boards (see above photo). Why the bathroom? Because the bathroom floor is linoleum. Cleaning colored paste off a carpet is not easy, just take my word for it!

While the papers are drying, I have to regularly lift up each paste paper to make sure it doesn’t adhere to its drying board. Failure to do this results in a ruined paste paper, which is just one more reason why I prefer making them in the summer. The drying time, as well as the constant checking and lifting of each paste paper, is a lot shorter than at any other time of year.

If you’ve ever had to dry out a piece of paper, you know that it warps as it dries. Paste papers are no different; once dry they need to be ironed flat. I like to iron them on a wooden board, with a piece of an old sheet on both sides of the paste paper. This protects both my iron and the board from getting color or paste on them, just in case. I use a dry iron, and I iron both sides of the paper.

Two books I made which have paste paper covers.

Now, I’m finally ready to make art with my paste papers. I originally made paste papers for bookbinding, either as end sheets or as covers for books. Now I use them for all kinds of paper crafts, and I keep finding more!

Three boxes made out of paste paper.

If you are interested in learning more about paste papers, my favorite book on the subject is The Art of Making Paste Papers by Diane Maurer-Mathison. It’s currently out of print, but you can find it on Amazon for around $40 used. That’s pretty expensive for a paperback, but it’s the best book on making paste papers that I’ve ever come across.

Enjoy, Candy

Making Paste Papers: Part One

It’s Summer, which means I get to pull out my paints, cook up some archival paste, and play for days making paste papers. I only make paste papers during the summertime, because they dry so much quicker. Since I have a limited amount of space in which to work, the faster they dry, the more I can make.

This is what I use to make my paste.

I usually work with two paste recipes. The first is simply methyl cellulose and distilled water, which I use when adding gold and silver highlights. I get powdered methyl cellulose from www.danielsmith.com. Getting it to the right consistency takes about two days and lots of stirring. Once made, this paste can be used for months. The second recipe consists of wheat starch, rice flour, glycerin, tincture of green soap, and distilled water. This requires cooking, cooling, and running the paste through a sieve to remove any lumps. Even when refrigerated, this paste only has a shelf life of a week or less.

Here I am painting yellow paste on wet paper.

Once the paste is ready, I put it into small containers and add acrylic paint until I get the intensity of color that I want. I generally use Golden Acrylic paints because they’re highly pigmented; ‘a little dab’ll do ya’.

Here I have added more colors of paste and am blending them together on the paper.

If you’re working with children, and you want a simple, kid friendly recipe, you can make the paste from flour and water and use tempera paints to color the paste.

Before painting with the colored pastes, the paper needs to be wet. I have a shallow plastic storage container partially filled with water in which I can dip my paper. Now the real fun begins. After putting the wet paper on a non-porous surface and smoothing out any bubbles, I apply the colored pastes, usually with a large brush. Then I make marks, patterns, and textures in the paste with all sorts of objects. I’ve used combs, bottle caps, brushes, rubber stamps, chopsticks, various found objects, and anything else that happened to be around at the time. I also sprinkle metallic powders on some of the paste papers.

Now I am adding texture by stamping a bottle cap into the wet paste.

My favorite paper to use for this is Mohawk Superfine, which I use in a variety of weights, from text weight all the way to cover stock. It all depends on what I plan to make out of the finished paste paper. For my non-porous surface, I use glass, plexiglass, or a piece of laminate.The first day I make paste papers usually feels like a warm-up. By the second day, however, I find myself making some absolutely fantastic paste papers. Since I only do this once a year, I try to make sure the color combinations I use cover all four seasons. It feels weird to be making a ‘Winter’ paste paper on a hot summer day, wearing a tank top and shorts.

Paste paper laid flat to dry.

We’re not done yet! In Part 2, I’ll tell you what comes next, and I’ll show you some of the new paste papers I’ve made this summer.

Enjoy, Candy

P.S. Click here to view Making Paste Papers: Part Two.