Monday, March 19, 2018


Detail of Forest #4,  30x40 cm,  art by mary m payne

Millefeuille literally means a thousand sheets and is the same name given in France to the pastry we call a "Napoleon" in the States.  Here is my art project results based on the theme of "layers"....  but without cream.

 In this project I was asked to work using materials that were transparent and to build them up using a minimum of 3 layers .  Materials could include glass or plexiglass; papers such as tracing or tissue papers; plastic and its derivatives; scotch tape, or gels and glues that dry to transparency. 

  I chose to work with the plastic we call rhodoïd  in France.   Some of it can be purchased in office supplies and is mainly used for printers as film for overhead projectors. 

 I found that with my own ink-jet printer the ink on ordinary plastic used as a substrate just stays on the surface.  I could only use that wet ink layer by transferring the ink onto a paper in the method of monotype ( mono printing).   There is also a rhodoïd made specifically for ink-jet wherein the ink stays on the plastic and so for these works I used both kinds of plastic.  I also did use the mono prints taken from the transferred wet ink onto paper in forests # 2 and 3. 

Forest #1 , art by Mary MM.Payne, 30x40 cm framed in beige mat

Essentially these works are composed of three layers of plastic, paper or the transparent non woven polyester fabric sometimes commercially called "Gossamer". 

 I have taken photo images of trees I found in "shutter stock" and used them to build my "untouched forest" settings.  I say untouched as in wishful thinking.  I hope there are a few forests of the world where no one has been but it wouldn't be the ones photographed here.  Still I found comfort in the images that exposed no humans, just majestic trees and their ecosystems. 

 The distinct layers have ½ to one centimeter of space between them, held apart by black "gator board" a kind of display board characterized by an inner core of foam.  It has a wood fiber veneer and is waterproof.  These pieces therefore, stand about an inch from the wall when mounted. 

 Forest #2 , art by Mary M Payne, 30x40 cm framed in black passe-partout ( mat)

Forest#3  art by Mary M Payne, 30x40cm framed in grey mat

Forest # 4 ,art by Mary M Payne

In this photo detail you can see the textures. It is the only piece where I used cut-outs.   The first layer is cut away plastic with traces of the photo, the second layer is paper backed plastic with non woven fabric adhering to it.  

The background layer has not been cut out and is also covered with translucent "gossamer".  Various mark making tools.... including a hand made rubber stamp of a tree were used to enhance the composition.  

 These pieces remind me of fold-out books of childhood.  I have to say, they are better "in person" than in the photos.  

Forest# 4 , art by Mary MM.Payne, 30x40cm framed in black mat

Friday, March 16, 2018

Be what you are....Journal page

Journaling Friday... "Do not wish to be anything but what you are and be that perfectly".  

St Francis de Sales ( a French catholic priest born 1567)

Journal page by Mary M Payne

Included in the mix:  Joss paper , stencils, stamping, paper words, translucent printed craft paper , acrylic paints, gold inking pen,  acrylic gel, I used the outlines of jars and bottles to make the white circles.  

Journal page by Mary M Payne

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Adventures in cotton rag paper

Journal pages, Mary M Payne

I found a new empty journal book in an artsy shop in Nice called "L'arret creation".   It was just calling out to me.  
This smallish book is about 8.5 inches square
 ( 22cm.) 
 I liked the deckled feathered edges which are one of the signs of handmade paper.  And the price was about 12 euros which is good for handmade paper. 

Journal pages, Mary M Payne

It is from the Khadi mill in south India...made from recycled cotton rag. 

 The book, though is quite fragile. In fact the spine came off early on and I had to tape each page by the end of the work to make the book hold together.    These journal pages can be watercolored or inked but not much else. 

Detail of stencil , pens and handmade rubber stamping , journal page by Mary M Payne

The rag paper doesn't really like glue but I have forced the issue and each collage page is "bumpety rumpety".  The different gram weights of paper collage and glue make the book fatter and more interesting somehow. 

collage journal page, Mary M Payne

Tissue type papers and gel glues were the most successful collage materials I found. 

collage journal pages, Mary m Payne

Some pages like this one just didn't work as the paper didn't really take a layer of gesso to get back to "square one".  The gesso made it almost impossible to outline with pen afterwards so that part looks pretty clumsy.  

If you don't crack the shell, you can't eat the nut,  journal pages Mary M Payne

 Really, I shouldn't be so precious about it all.  It's a journal for "christsake" ....meant to be about spontaneity.  

journal pages, Mary M Payne

But hey, 
the game of journaling, like most of life,  is all about process and discovery. 

Even if I am not really proud of the results of this little journal,  I am still attached to the stuff I learned...

 so yes,  I will show you the rest of it later. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Let's try an " image transfer"

Journal page by Mary M Payne

Journal Page by Mary m Payne

One of the new techniques that I have't quite mastered is "image transfer".   I showed it to you in the last post but really this post was written first and put into my drafts.  So here is a bit of an explanation.  

  The idea is to take an inked paper such as piece of magazine or a print made from either laser or inkjet and transfer it to another page rubbing off the moistened paper with your fingertips after you have glued it down and it is dry.  This should leave  only the ink on the page. 
 Easier said than done.  There are a variety methods to try this.  Most include gels or special glues. Some even use Vodka. 

Here I reduced a photo of a large sketch I had done of a nude years back and tried to transfer it to my page.  It didn't work, possibly because I used an "inkjet"printer.   I resorted to outlining the transferred image in pen.   But even that added a 
"je ne sais quoi" that worked all right. 

That bright colored card is a laser copy of an inked page I once did.  It ended up in my scrap box.  The  butterfly and music note scrap are from a commercial paper that I now feel is too "crafty" for me but it does have just the right translucency for gels.    I prefer to find stuff in flea markets, old books or compose bits myself but I still fall back on craft supplies sometimes.  I am at heart, impatient and dare I say, lazy.  

The stamp pad lettering is the only set I have ever found of children's letters that doesn't leave a huge smudge around each letter pressed.  I found it years back in Seattle and the set has finally come in handy.   I have given at least two other sets I bought recently to kids I know who aren't fussed about smudged results. 
 And yes, I suppose stamped lettering is "cheating" too but I love the primitive look of it.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Paul Coelho quote

Journal page by Mary M Payne

Journal page image transfer:   Mary M Payne

  I found congruence in the simplicity of Paul Coehlo's directive and made that the base note. I threw in some stencil work, acrylic washes and an image transfer.      

This is a spread from my second journal, maybe the 3rd attempt with "image transfer" from a photo printed on an inkjet printer.   I am getting a bit better transferring the ink, even though I had to touch this one up quite a bit.    My photo was taken from an image by Danielle and Olivier Follmi in their book called Wisdom.  

I am starting to dare to use my own lettering on these pages.  It's surprising how scary it is for me  to mess up the page with my personal lettering.  If I were to need to start over it would be hard to correct the page without another layer of Gesso to obscure the "mistakes".   
    I guess creative lettering is another discipline altogether for those art journaling with words.   I can't seem to get away from my "school teacher" writing, but the wavy lines helped me to get creative here. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Japanese Landscape: Third of a triptych

Before I go wandering off down other pathways, let me show you the third in the intaglio series I call Japanese landscapes.

At the end of my printmaking classes, I was still working on this acid etching in a series of three.  I only managed to finish a few of this one with the parent and child. 

    I did a couple with  the "chine colle´" technique  (a piece of Japanese paper glued to the receiving page) as the one below.   

 Again , I tried out my Chinese "chop" that I had hand carved in soapstone by Feng Zhuo, an engraver who boasts to be from Confucius' hometown.  His email is and his ETSY ID is  Chineseseal. 

One of these stone seals says "pervasive moonlight".   The other has my name spelled phonetically.  

Friday, February 9, 2018

We interrupt this program:

By special request, I am leaving last years "academic" work for a bit and going back to my first journal pages. 

 I think free-form art suits me more than prescriptions from others but I need both my own explorations and the class.  

art journaling page,  mary m payne

Here is a page from my first explorations of journaling.  

That black and white line that pops ?  That's a black felt pen and some bandage adhesive. I love intensity of the black and white together. 

  I added a "found" motto  to the corner of my spread :" Embrace imperfection".  

These two words were waiting for me in a 4 page spread of random adhesive stickers I found in my first exploration of crafty items.     I found these two words on separate pages.  

 That's the fun of collage collecting. 

Art journaling page by Mary M Payne