Process.

Interior


One of the things you will find as you read through my new book is a collection of canvases that open each chapter. While I was working on them early last year I took some photos of the process so I could share how they all came together.


Supplies


I started with blank 8x10 canvases that you can get at any craft store (your local scrapbook store may have some too) and a bunch of different colors of acrylic paint and some foam brushes.


There were a few things I knew from the beginning:


1. I wanted to work on them all at the same time - meaning I wanted to see them all as individuals and as a group. The dining room table turned out to be the spot I could spread out best.


2. I knew that each one would have a theme and that I wanted to have some consistency between them (ended up mainly being size and a bit of color). I also knew that I wanted the creation to match the theme at least a bit.


3. I knew that I was going to need to be flexible and open as I worked through the process - experimentation was the name of the game. That some of them I wouldn't like as I was working on them and I would need to be ready to change, adapt, or start over (on top of the same canvas).


Stepone_2


I started off by painting each of them a base color - two coats. An easy first step. And as you can see above I like to just pour some right out onto the canvas.  


Blankcanvases


Next I started working on the individual canvases. Most of them came together in bits and pieces. I would work on one, adding this and that, and then switch to another one. I liked that movement.


For some of the canvases I used found (junk) pieces to create patterns. This is a left-over after a print job that I picked up at a store in Vancouver, Canada.


Circlesample1


I also used scrapbook items such as a Heidi Swapp mask or circle punches with patterned paper.


Butterflies


For the patterned paper (and paper such as this below) I used gel medium to adhere it to the canvas. Here's some info about using gel medium. I first learned about it from Claudine Hellmuth's book Collage Discovery Workshop.


Textsample1


I liked having them all laid out together and working on them all at once. I think it is similar to why I like to stand-up to scrapbook - I like to look down on the work at hand and have a view of the whole from above.


Fulltable


In addition to paints and papers and templates and masks I added rub ons, letter stickers, acrylic accents, stamps, and handwriting with black and white pens. I kept things consistent from one to the next with bits of color added here and there. 


Lots of layers. Lots of moving from one to the next. Loved the process. Hope to do some more again sometime.


In the meantime I am super inspired by this guy: Rex Ray and this book: Artist to Artist that I found in the kids section at the bookstore. Some great words of wisdom in there. I loved Cathy's post about her 25 Most Played: my top song is Time After Time by Cindi Lauper + Sarah McLaughlin and my #13 is Jackson by Johnny Cash & June Carter. And you may already know I am a fan of Zen Habits, but I really loved his simple post yesterday: The Four Laws of Simplicity. So many of us seem to have simplicity on our minds (I definitely do after putting all the holiday stuff away today).


And finally, I loved one of the comments yesterday on the really long word post about taking all those words + using them as the basis of some sort of project. Maybe a journal, a word of the week, a prompt for something creative. Definitely something to consider.

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123 thoughts

  1. Janice says…
    01/07/2008

    WOW!! Thanks so much for sharing. I love the canvases and it is inspiring to see your process.

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Lisa Goodell says…
    01/07/2008

    I was so excited to see this post, I just bought your new book last week and have been enjoying those canvases you did! Plus, I am proud to say I finished a scrapbook page using your Christmas card idea on 64-65! It was helpful to remember "embrace inperfection" and "choose what's essential."

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. Mary Rogers says…
    01/07/2008

    Thanks so much for sharing the process Ali! love the book - dh got it for me for Christmas.
    xoxo

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Amazon says…
      01/14/2014

      Thanks so much Ali! The whole book is great but I especially enjoyed the canvases. Thanks so much for what you do.

  4. Hillary Chybinski says…
    01/07/2008

    LOVE the fact that my word "simplify" was the opening picture of your post!! You never know where that positive reinforcement is going to come from. . .I'm seeing a vision of small (6x6??) canvases - one for the year's word, next year's etc. . .building a mosaic in my room. . .hmmmm
    Thanks for the inspiration -
    Hillary

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. jmbmommy says…
    01/07/2008

    Like the canvas process...I find the big white kind of intimidating...I like that you did a bunch at a time. THanks!

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. melissa w says…
    01/07/2008

    Thanks so much Ali! The whole book is great but I especially enjoyed the canvases. Thanks so much for what you do.

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Lisa says…
    01/07/2008

    Wow...so cool! Thanks for sharing your process with us. Sadly, I do not yet own your book, but I plan on getting it.
    Lisa

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. interlacings.blogspot.com says…
    01/07/2008

    Thank you for the Zenhabits site--i need to simplify and de-clutter my life. i am a caretaker for my 88-yr old Mom and my husband and i moved in with her--sooo two houses became one, and for the past 3 years those boxes and that "stuff" all over have been inhabiting the pit of my stomach, if you know what I mean... this is a great help and a feeling of serenity overcame me when i read this your linkspot--i really enjoy your daily blog, Ali-and own and love all your books...am trying to scrap our heritage and keep up with recent pix..Julierose

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Sandra says…
    01/07/2008

    I loved those canvas pieces in your book, and was hoping you were going to make prints off them and sell? With the instructions in today's post, I guess we are supposed to make our own....oh well. :) Thank you!
    Sandra

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Debby says…
    01/07/2008

    This is great. Thanks for walking through the process and giving such helps. I just got through doing something that frustrated me because I made it hard. Simple is a great word!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. Erin says…
    01/07/2008

    Thanks for sharing your creative process in your book. I have loved your new book, and was wondering what/how you came up with the chapter pictures. I love the colors, and the common threads through all of them.

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. heather prins says…
    01/07/2008

    Oh thanks for sharing that!! How wonderful to see it all!! Is the auction coming soon?

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. claudine hellmuth says…
    01/07/2008

    these are beautiful!! always a good idea to work on a few at time that way if you get stuck just move to the next one! LOVE these!!
    xxxox

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. dr berry says…
    01/07/2008

    Fantastic!! Love that you documented the whole process & love even more that you shared. I did one for the CK Contest & really had fun. I found a quote by John Lennon that seems to fit my Life well.
    Think I'll try documenting the process of creation myself. True that a picture is worth a thousand words.
    Thanks for your inspiration!!!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Suzanne says…
    01/07/2008

    Thanks for this post Ali. Simplify is my word for 2008, so it's very fitting. I ordered a pendant from Lisa and can't wait for it to arrive. Thanks for your daily inspiration! I can't wait to be able to find your new book here in Calgary.

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Michelle says…
    01/07/2008

    Thank you so much for posting this...I love your new book and love how you put these canvases together!

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. Michelle says…
    01/07/2008

    Thank you so much for posting this...I love your new book and love how you put these canvases together!

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Shanie says…
    01/07/2008

    Ali...thanks for sharing your process; it is very inspiring. Also, I have seen that book too (Artist to Artist) and I love it! I wish I had it when I was little! ;)

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. angie aubrey says…
    01/07/2008

    I'm another avid reader whose word for 2008 is "simplify" so I loved this entry.
    I'm also looking forward to reading your book.

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. Susan Gilman says…
    01/07/2008

    OOHHH...thanks for sharing. LOVE these kinds of posts with the step by step process (and especially the editorials and tips)....one question...on the yellow one--did you set the text right onto the canvas, or was that done in the laying out/graphic designing of the book?

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. evalyn says…
    01/07/2008

    Thanks for sharing this! I'm re-reading your book right now feeling totally inspired again!

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Jennifer says…
    01/07/2008

    Ali - if you like Time After Time...try the version by Eva Cassidy. You will NOT be disappointed! She had an amazing voice.

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Jennifer says…
    01/07/2008

    Two more things...just checked out the book link. The Eric Carle (love his books) Museum of Picture Book Art is in MA and each July he does a book signing event if you're interested...google it and check out the site. Also, you have me thinking about doing something with some of the other words....interesting thought someone had.

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. noell says…
    01/07/2008

    I've always wondered how you come up with the art for your chapters, in all three of your books. Do you already know the theme of the chapter and then base the art on that? I especially wondered this about your previous books, since they're actual scrapbook pages.

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Amy says…
    01/07/2008

    Thank you for the link to the Zen Habits Four Laws of Simplicity. I'm printing it out and adding it to my journal/diary so I can remember it and reference it later.

    Reply 0 Replies

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