Friday, February 17, 2017

Studio Saturdays: Mixed-Media Vision Board

How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions so far? I’ve been trying to keep up with my goals, but somehow life gets in the way. Just in time, mixed-media artist Rae Missigman has created a vision board that’s perfect for staying inspired, no matter what you want to achieve.

Her project is featured in the January/February issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, in the article “A Vision Board: A reminder to create every day.” I love this board for a number of reasons: It’s creatively satisfying to make, can be customized, and is a piece you’ll be proud to display.

Vision board

I decided to make one for myself when I realized that since the start of this year, I’ve barely worked in my sketchbooks and art journals. I know that even 15 minutes a day can make a difference in an art practice, but I haven’t been carving out the time. A vision board was exactly what I needed to get me motivated.

For a substrate, I chose a discarded book cover, and painted it with off-white acrylic paint. Although the back of the vision board may never show, I still wanted it to look nice, so I stamped over it with some damask stamps in turquoise and dark magenta paint.

A discarded book cover serves as the base for the vision board.

I repurposed a discarded book cover to use for the base of the vision board, then painted and stamped it with acrylic paint.

I added a few more stamped images and aged the cover with a burnt umber glaze, then sanded everything back a bit. I painted the interior off-white, but you can art it up any way you like with paint, collage, stamps, etc.

Book cover aged with paint and sanding

I aged the cover for a more vintage look.

I wanted this vision board to be something that I could change as I set new goals. I created a quilted fabric piece to hang over the inside of the book cover, so I could clip and pin things to it, altering it at will. Rae’s substrate is made from pieces of natural muslin and linen fabric that are free-motion stitched together. I sandwiched a piece of cotton batting between two pieces of washed canvas duck that I ripped, instead of cut, to get ragged edges.

Preparing the fabric and quilt batting for the vision board

The board itself was made from two pieces of canvas duck and cotton quilt batting.

I’m no expert quilter, but I eyeballed the lines for a diamond pattern, spacing them about 1″ apart. Don’t look too closely at the stitching. I figured if I messed up, I’ll be covering up most of the piece anyway, so no harm, no foul. Sometimes you just gotta go with it.

Attaching the vision board quilted piece to the book cover

After quilting the pieces, grommets were attached, and the fabric piece was attached to the book cover with a hanger.

Holes were punched in the top corners of the book cover, and matching holes and grommets were put in the quilted piece. I laced a braided rag handle through all the holes for hanging. One thing to note: The piece will buckle if you try to place it on one hanger, because the book cover is not stiff. I created mine this way because I want to be able to fold it up when it’s not in use. If you want the book cover to be stiff, glue heavy chipboard to the inside cover.

One of Rae’s most fun techniques for her vision board is dyeing paper and ribbon with spray inks; the paper can be used for art journaling or sketching, and the ribbon for tassels. To do this, spray some inks into a shallow pan. I used analogous shades of pink and purple. If the color is too concentrated, mist some water in the pan as well. Place sheets of watercolor paper into the pan and let them soak up the inks for a few seconds. Remove, flip them over, and let them dry.

Dyeing watercolor paper with spray inks

Paper was dyed with spray inks to create colorful backgrounds.

I like allowing the pools of color to dry naturally, rather than speed the drying time with a heat tool, because I like the way the color saturates the paper. When the papers are dry you can add complementary colors without getting a lot of mud; I oversprayed some with shades of green and blue, and wiped another across a non-stick craft mat that had some color left on it.

Watercolor paper colored with ink sprays

After the papers have dried, you can add more spray inks to them.

If you have any leftover ink in the pan, grab any scraps and dye them: book text, ledger paper, watercolor paper, envelopes, tags, fabric scraps—I guarantee you won’t regret it. Try wrinkling some papers before you place them in the ink. I dyed some ½” strips of muslin; wetting them before placing them in the ink helps them absorb the color better. I used them to create a tassel, a la the one Rae creates in her vision board article.

Dyeing fabric strips for a tassel for the vision board

Grab any scraps you can find and color them with leftover dye. I used fabric strips to make a tassel for the vision board.

When I thought about how I’d attach the pieces to the board, I envisioned the usual suspects: clips, pins, etc. While gorgeous ready-made clips are easy to find, altering and embellishing my own seemed like a better idea. I gathered some boring bulldog and binder clips and straight pins and went to work. I glued scraps of paper and fabric to the binder clips with a glue stick. Alcohol inks were brushed onto the bulldog clips and heat set, and I glued round plastic epoxy stickers to the handles. Straight pins were glued between ½” punched circles of decorative cardstock. Mini wooden clothesline clips were painted with acrylic paint and decorated with a black permanent pen.

Handmade vision board clips

Embellish your own clips for your vision board, using office and sewing supplies.

I used a couple of the inked papers as backgrounds for sketches and art journaling techniques and clipped them to the board; these help me remember what can be accomplished in 15 minutes. I also drew a pocket watch as a reminder about those 15 minutes. A hand-stamped piece that reads, “Progress, not perfection,” prompts me to not get intimidated or stymied by thinking everything I do has to be a gem. A few other key elements include a couple of magazine photos that I can use for sketching practice, a vintage paintbrush just for its beauty (attached with embroidery floss), and a vintage photo, which I sometimes like incorporating into art journal pages.

I have this vision board hanging in my home, and so far it’s done its job–I regularly steal 15 minutes and do a sketch or work on an art journal page. It’s made a huge difference in my art practice, and I’m already thinking about my creative goals for March.

Mixed-media custom vision board

I can add and subtract to this vision board, changing it as I add new goals.

I hope this inspired you to take a look at Rae’s article, and also to check out other resources from the North Light Shop that will make a difference in your creative life!

Rae Missigman's vision board featured in the January/February issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine

See Rae’s full article on making a vision board in the January/February 2017 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.

Cloth Paper Scissors presents Art Inspiration digital download

Get inspired to create with the great columns and essays by artists in this Art Inspiration digital download.

Cloth Paper Scissors Art Lesson Volume 6: Nature's Stamps by Rae Missigman

Get more of Rae Missigman’s techniques in the digital download Art Lesson Volume 6: Nature’s Stamps.

Creative Strength Training by Jane Dunnewold

Encourage your artistic genius with Creative Strength Training by Jane Dunnewold.

Cloth Paper Scissors Workshop video Artful Lettering with Joanne Sharpe

Add some hand lettering to your vision board with techniques learned in the video Artful Lettering with Joanne Sharpe.

Creative Freedom by Maggie Price

Overcome your creativity blocks with the ideas and prompts in the book Creative Freedom by Maggie Price.

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