Thursday, June 27, 2013

ARC selection for June

It's time to join Darcy's ARC, or Artful Readers Club in case you forgot, for our June entry.

The book I'm reviewing this month can be found on Amazon or

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: North Light Books (August 12, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581806787
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581806786
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.5 x 11 inches 

on my work table.  Note  I have pulled out Hellmuth's first Collage Discovery book, also.  Both were given to me by my friend Kathy.

The table of contents documented the various projects.  I counted 16 numbered techniques, too. 

Once again, I find no correlation between the written descriptions of the tools and supplies, and the images the author chose to show.  To me, it looked like a hodge-podge of Golden products and ephemera.  I know some of you prefer the author skip this entire section, while others find it as insufficient as I.

Hellmuth begins by giving us collage creation tips.  She intersperses those with "lightbulb moments" (from a cat) like they were breadcrumbs dotting the pages.

One of the things she insists on is using Golden gel medium to adhere all images.  Now if you are "rich"ly reimbursed like Hellmuth, that might be possible.  But for the majority of us who are NOT selling our art, any glue of your choice should work.  I've never felt I could justify the cost of gel medium for average projects, samples, or techniques I am trying out.  However, if you are selling your art, any good gel medium should suffice.  And those of you who don't live in the States might find other gel medium easier and cheaper to purchase.

By this time, I was ready to learn a few new techniques, especially since I'm a background junkie.  Just peruse my old tutorials and you'll see what I mean.

Elmer's glue crackle?  I've done that one on several occasions.  I've done it with Elmer's white glue, I've done it with UHU clear glue.  I've had good results with both.  I first created this technique in 2006 and show it here as part of a book I made for my friend Kathy.

Plastic wrap crinkle?  I made those a long time ago, and even wrote a tutorial of how I made mine in 2009.

Layered masking tape?  I have created backgrounds using masking tape that I colored with shoe polish, paint, or ink.  I have also layered masking tape with paint and magazine images.

Rinse Aid Resist?  I heard about this technique years ago, so even went out and purchased some Rinse Aid, even though I don't own a dishwasher.  I couldn't get the technique to work then, and I see no reason it will work for me now.  Depending on how much time I have, I may try, though.

Tissue paper layer?  Been there, done that, too.

Contact paper shapes?  Never made backgrounds using those, but I have ironed freezer paper to my substrates (both fabric and paper), which seems to create similar, albeit easier-to-remove, effects.

Next, Hellmuth shows us how to put some of these techniques to use by featuring her Poppets, which are supposedly the stars of the book.

Using painter's tape, Hellmuth showed how to lay down strips, then paint over fabric.  This looked like an easy thing to accomplish.

Next came the color photocopy transfer that Hellmuth described on an earlier page.  She showed two ways to achieve the technique, one of which used a pasta machine.  

On page 109, Hellmuth challenges some of her art friends with this:
"They say that creativity craves challenges, and I have to agree!"

She got some heavy hitters to join her collage challenge, called Accessories and Necessities, too.  First up was Leslie Riley of True Colors fame.

This one belonged to Nina Bagley, called Bedrock TV.

Martha Lent, whose name I wasn't familiar with, made these perfect girly accessories. 

Lynn Whipple, another True Colors author contributed her Dress-up girl and dress.

And here was Claudine's entry.  Note the hats and crown.

A view of the gallery showed the Poppets with their hats, over-sized clothes, and bunny ears.

Although I was unable to create the photocopy transfer because I didn't have several of the needed supplies (such as alum and other ingredients), this became my inspiration piece.

Of course I wasn't about to hand stitch the pieces together, or

leave the backing uncovered so one could see the mechanics.  That is just sloppy, unfinished work, in my opinion.  It was at that time, I also decided to use paper instead of fabric for this month's inspiration art. 

Although I had read the book and photographed a few relevant pages earlier in the month, I simply couldn't get motivated to make the art.  Seems I left it till nearly the end of the month and had to scramble to finish it.

I began by mixing gold and bronze fluid acrylics to the paper substrate.  You can glimpse my chosen image in the back of my desk along with a hotel card, and more fluid acrylic

I turned the image over and marked where it would eventually sit.

I used index cards (found within easy reach of my desk) and taped a mask over the outside of the painted substrate.

I added a good amount of Elmer's Glue-All.  For those of you who don't live in the States, this is simply PVA glue and any good white glue will work.

I spread the glue liberally around the unmasked area.

Next I added the gold and bronze fluid acrylics to the still wet glue,

then spread everything around with my old paint brush,

and left it to dry.  When dry, I removed the index cards.

I cut a used plastic bag at the seams.  I used this instead of clear cling wrap, which I demoed in 2009.  And the plastic bag was FREE (after all, I am known as the Queen of Free), while the cling wrap is not.

I once again masked off the remainder of the frame,

applied gold to the unmasked area,

and scrunched the plastic over the wet paint background.  Then I waited until the paint was completely dry before I removed the bag.

When the paint was completely dry, I removed the mask and added the image.

I've cropped the original images in different areas so you could get a close-up view of the background techniques.  I realize I'm a wus, or however you spell it.  But that was as inspired as I could get.  That baseball cap I cut from colored and painted deli paper was a bit large. 

The crown didn't fit her head, either.

AH, the dunce cap made her look smart.

And the best image of all was the sun bonnet I found on a collage sheet.  Please don't laugh at my interpretation.  After all, you still have to read my review.

So what did I think of this book?  I was totally disappointed.  There was only one technique I had never heard of, or used, and the time for crowns and hats has passed.  Some of my friends struggle with their weight, and Hellmuth makes a point of taking thin people/faces and turning them into fat over-sized blobs with hats, pointy noses, or bunny ears.

Her first book was well written, and versatile.  This second book showed everything that was offered by looking at the book cover.

I admit, as someone who normally has to read some artists' instructions several times before I "get it," Hellmuth's detailed instructions, coupled with ample photos was a joy to read.  And reading the book was easy, too.  It's too bad there was nothing of value in it!  Again, IF and ONLY IF you are new to mixed media, you might enjoy this book.  However, her first book was so much better, I can't see why anyone would want to buy the second one.  For that, I must give her ONE star.  I was only going to give her 1/2 star, but the instructions were so well written, I felt the book deserved at least one star.

For July, I'm reading the much anticipated

Patricia Cornwell's Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper - Case Closed

Please don't forget to visit Darcy and the other ARC participants this month, too.  I know they will appreciate it as much as I do.

28 thoughtful remarks:

Krisha said...

Well, that was really a GOOD review! I am with you on almost all the techniques are old ones. I have been at this long enough to have tried almost all of them, but the one that takes a dishwasher. What is this?
Thanks for sharing this information.

Little Messy Missy said...

Awesome!!! Love love love the finished product. I may have to try this one!

Rebeca Trevino said...

you are amazing.
you are into so many things.
i enjoyed thia post, all of it. (ps: i liked the dunce cap the best)
and your review was fair.

did you get a new camera? the photos look great.

Virginia said...

Thanks for a great review, I don't own the first book so might give that a whirl in the future! Loving the interpretation of the artwork!

Helen said...

Thanks for this review, I know what not to buy now!! Your interpretative art is fab though. Looking forward to your review for next week, I am a fan of Cornwell's novels so will see what her Ripper book is like.

Gina said...

Fabulously honest review...I could feel your frustration and disappointment from the start. I'm guessing you have forgotten more techniques that the rest of us will ever know, but glad you still strive to learn something new :D
Love the gold and bronze frame you created for your image(which is so cool), and look forward to seeing what "Jack the Ripper" inspires mwahahahaha....:D XXX

Sarah said...

Well, I guess to be fair, the techniques do seem old-hat but the book is 8 years old, so they wouldn't have been so old then, maybe?

Although I did buy this book at the time, and I remember not liking it as much as the first one either

Your artwork, though, I do like, that frame you have created is so rich and lush looking

Sarah said...

PS I have had that Cornwell Ripper book on my bookshelf for years and haven't opened it yet, so I very much look forward to your review!

Magaly Guerrero said...

First, I should say that I might be in love with that Bedrock TV from the book. Sooo lovely.

Then, I will point out that I really want to touch your art piece. It looks warm and it seems to be inviting me to feel it's texture. I would even wear a hat ;-D

abby j said...

Have this book and felt the same way! Good, fair review and loved your artwork...very effective background technique!! :)

San @ Made in Hem said...

Wonderful Art-piece! ♥
Too bad this wasn't a golden oldie... :-)

Corrine at said...

Good review, I think there is soooooo much out there now that it is hard not to have a been their done that book anymore.....loved your interpretation of the FREE materials....always good to use what's at hand that doesn't cost. I do like using a good gel medium for work for sale, but you are right - heck many glues including Elmer's work just fine and will probably last as long as some of the way more expensive mediums.....xox

Monica said...

In the middle of reading the review the cat walked on keyboard. He was extremely persistent and now has settled down. happy I found the post again. Love this book review as most reviewers gloss and ogle over everything. I am fed up with technique books where it is old stuff, high priced supplies and absolutely loathe pointed hats, wings and crowns. Claudine is a good teacher but the urge to publish seems to drive them to repetition. Often the second book is poor and lists of supplies and how to use the annoying as sometimes they take up half a book.

best review I've read in a long time and in some ways explains why I prefer magazines to books.

Craftymoose Crafts said...

That was a very thorough review. I often have the same problem with the supplies page--that is, trying to match what the author says to what they show.

I went to your earlier blog post showing the house book you gave Kathy & I must say it is awesome! Makes me want to go get one of those coiler machines!

Have a great weekend!

Andria said...

Thanks for a thorough and honest review with your perceptions of this book. It is always interesting to see different people's opinions of books I have on my shelves.

Halle said...

I'd have to agree with your review...I got that book from the library and was thoroughly unimpressed. So glad I was just borrowing it instead having bought it.

Rita said...

From what I could see, I totally agree with your review. Seemed like old news.

DocAngi said...

I totally enjoyed your review and the plethora of photos to support your ideas. Thank you for the fabulous details in your art process and super sense of humor.

Dianne said...

Even though you weren't inspired by the book, you really created a beautiful piece of art with one of the techniques! Gorgeous piece, and I find your review spot on. looking forward to the next one, for quite a different style book!

Julie Ann Lee said...

This is a brilliantly trenchant review! I have to confess that, although I am fascinated by collage, I AM very, very new to every single technique so it might help me with its simple instructions! But then it would seem I would be better off reading the first book, anyway! I love the warmth of the beautiful piece you created and how - although unimpressed by Hellmuth's book you produced a lovely,witty piece of art. Julie Ann xx

Jen said...

Very useful review, not much new from what you say. Do like the step by step guide to your art work piece and your finished piece so so clever. Fabulous rich colour.
Jen x

~*~Patty S said...

I agree with you Elizabeth... her first book was much much better.

I do concur with her Love of gel medium...
it goes a long way, has no odor and works like a charm adhering most everything and can be bought with a 40% or 50% big box store coupon which really makes it a great value. Personally I would not want to do without it.
your various hat selections sure were fun for your very creative technique piece!

Leialoha said...

I'll give you 5 stars for this great review and step by step photos...I just want to reach out and touch all the texture...I think the lil' bonnet was the best choice too!

voodoo vixen said...

Great review E! I guess I won't be buying that book any time soon... could just spend my money elsewhere and read your blog for any techniques!!

Janet said...

Excellent review! Thoroughly enjoyed reading it and glad I haven't wasted my money. Your artwork with its step by step photos is equally excellent. Why don't you write a book? I will review it for you!

Janet xx

Dawn said...

I also have the first book and thought it was very good. I totally agree with your review about the second having seen what was on offer. Your poor friend really tried to give you something you liked as well after the first one being so successful.

Great art work, and I have read your book for July, looking forward to seeing what you think of it. Dxx

Jez said...

Good review, in fact very good review and great artwork. I always enjoy seeing the progress of a piece of artwork and the thought processes, like your decision on headgear.
Like you I am always very disappointed to find a book consists 90per cent of things I already know.
Personally, I feel cheated a little to find many pages of a 'gallery' of other people's work, when I want a solid book. So many books now, particularly US ones fill a book in this way. But, having been a writer in my past life, I know that so much of a book is determined by the publisher, so it's not always the author's fault.

Carmen said...

Elizabeth, thank you so much for your lovely comment on my ARC this month.

Wasn't me though who said about this book as have just come to see your review after your comment. (Have been a bit behind the last couple of months)I do agree with absolutely everything you've said. I must admit - Amazon has recommended me this book but, although I am getting into collage lately, it's never really tempted me. I do think it's because of the points you've mentioned and to that end her art (that I've seen) has just never appealed to me that much - I like grungier and darker as you know.

That's exactly what I liked about the book I read - that they said to experiment and find what works for you but the reviews I had seen slamming them made out that it read like a GOLDEN textbook and it doesn't.

LOVE your art on this - I have often wondered what Elmers was and now I know - great idea to use the carrier bag ;) I loved the dunce hat - made her look almost regal!