Altered Art - Decoupage Boxes~

As I anticipate Spring, I spend lots of time in my cozy, office studio dreaming, planning & working. Quite often, I have no idea what the projects I've started are going to look like. Some of the details, yes, they are thought of, or inspired by someone or something until they are finally figured out. It's interesting how the creative process can take on a life of its' own & how your mind sorts through the possibilities, mistakes, techniques and progresses to the fruition of unique objects. Looking over projects, many times there is a tell-all signature that embodies what is important to you as an artist -- leaving a small fingerprint of yourself to share with others here or with loved ones.

NOTE: Close Up Images Color More Accurate ... I'll try to update photos tomorrow afternoon.

Interestingly enough, two of the *Embellishment Boxes* I've been working on (frustratedly so) have morphed into unique little treasures I've grown attached to, imperfections et al.

Remember the box that I referred to as closely resembling a Rain Forrest snake? This is it! Before I finished it, I had my daughter take a look at it. Whenever I work on a project, I will usually ask my family, "Hey, so-and-so? What do you think of this? ... Do you like it? ... Does it look cool? Is it pretty? ..." And since I'm not a faux painter or artist, I had gotten a bit frustrated with the process. Layers and layers of paint, glaze, gold leaf & sealer. Waiting impatiently between each coat drying, sorting through altered art images, Googling hand painted furniture and decorative boxes on the Internet searching for answers was getting dull. Since my first-born child is very particular, detailed, as well as artistic, I had a feeling that she'd concur with me about Box I. I wasn't completely finished and had left the 4 small centered boxes void of anything. So I asked, "What do you think of it?" "Well, you can definitely tell {at this point I thought she may actually say something positive & perhaps like it} it's the 1st one you've done..." Jacq sweetly & straightforwardly commented. I laughed at her honesty! She was right! The stripes are very bold, crooked, smeared and turned out nothing like the fabulous idea I had hiding in the depths of my mind somewhere! But I was determined . . .
I felt I was getting somewhere, even though my *artistry* lacked. I had made a good decision to use altered art images that were earthy and a bit tropical in style -- like the woman with the parrot in the lower left corner, the green butterfly, the tiny images of lilies and fish. These images forgave the bold pattern & rustic stripes! But! It still lacked zip! Then, returning to the drawing board, I noticed the 4 small boxes in the center that I had worked around & decided to stamp in 4-letter words. I immediately thought of LIFE, LOVE & KISS. Naturally, *LIFE* worked well with this particular design - Nature. I tried stamping the words in gold. It was too subtle & painted black acrylic on the stamps to use instead. Loved It! It tied in the garish black stripes. Color plays an important role in developing the *emotion* of a piece. As an interior decorator, paint color is the most critiqued & discussed phase of a project. Subtle variation of shades can immediately change a room's look & people's mood. The black lettering looked exotique & finished off the inside beautifully - IMO. Then, still feeling it needed more, used some ornamental stamps as accents in areas around the letters and around the images. They are very subtle, but I like the gentle effect.

BOX II - If I were an artist, I would have painted PARIS FRANCE on the face of the box with swirly fleur-de-lis in the lower corners. I had even lined up some metal mold alphas, as an option to painting this. As the interior of the box progressed, I felt less was actually more. The Parisian theme was romantic. And although it looks easy to do, I spent a lot of time positioning and selecting the images to use, as I did the 1st box. Paris - the City of Love - won the title *LOVE* in the center. This time, I had used a darker, blackish glaze and stamped the letters in gold. To add interest, I decided not only to gold leaf the edge of the top, but to also gold leaf the top edge of the interior compartments. I base coated in red brick, then applied adhesive leaving small areas free of it so the red would show through & topped it off with the blackened glaze.

This close-up is much more accurate color wise than the others. And details are overall a bit richer than the camera captured tonite. {I now need art & photography classes!} The lighting up here is awful, especially when I try to photograph things in the evening. I really enjoyed gold leafing & leaving some of the edges exposed to look more distressed. This project was frustrating at first, but now that I've done a few, it would be much quicker to do others & I've learned a few shortcuts along the way. There are very rustico vs. French chic! Still a bit romantic with the edgy altered art look that provided inspiration this month.

BOX III - {saga to be continued} ... Still formulating ideas.
p.s. Georgie Loves You!

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  1. Beautiful! I wish I had the time to do this kind of things! I love your creativity. All the details. Great job!

  2. Like me, you are much too hard on yourself. I love your boxes and can tell you put a lot of time and thought into them.

    You know, I haven't tried doing it on a project yet, but have thought of it and plan on it and your mentioning of the Paris, France and scrolls made me think of it again. You know how people use their printer and transparency sheets to create their own rubons? (I've done it several times on paper or just have to be careful so it doesn't smear.) I was thinking, cause like you I sometimes want something on something and though I paint, I'm hesitant because of the detail or what it is, why not use a light colored ink and the transparency to create the guidlines to paint over? It's really no different than transfer paper but would allow us to create the exact size through whatever editing software we're using. I am likely to try it on some upcoming altered art projects I want to do.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on the idea. Like you, I just have to experiment and see where those ideas get me. Most anything I do is self taught so it all comes with the little road bumps along the way, lol.

    Oh! Or I just thought on your lettering! I don't know if you have a Cricut or other electronic cutting system, but stencils could be made, even by hand. Tedious but if it's what you really, really wanted... (I sometimes have to ask myself if it's worth the tediousness is why I say that, lol.) Ha! You're giving me all sorts of ideas so I'm gonna leap out of your comment box since it's already a novel. LOVE, LOVE the post and the gorgeous boxes too. I don't think the stripes are that bad...yes, bold is life and nature..and you know...I keep going back and looking at it (cause the inside is perfect...LIFE was a spectacular addition to tie everything in, the three diamonds, it all just flows well and the stripes sort of draw the eye round and round like the circle of it movement)...I'm just thinking as it ages and they become a little less intense it'll be absolutely perfect! I dunno, I just see it..sorta worn, beat up kinda..

    I think you did an incredible job, especially for the first time doing it. Much better than many of my "first times", MUUUCCCH better, lol.

    Keep up that creativity!


  3. @Mermaid Lullaby The details did turn out very nice & transformed it into something unique! I'm a bit pleased that it did wind up looking more rustic because of the altered art images. If it had been pristine, I don't think the effect would have been the same. Thanks~

  4. @SparkofWhimsy Angelique! We should exchange phone numbers, so we call each other & commisurate! I had thought of using a transparency to decoupage & also the thought of creating a stencil for the lettering from a favorite font. As it progressed, I thought the front would take away from the contents. I was relieved with this conclusion because I knew hand cutting stencils would be *yet another 1st* and very time consuming. It's funny you mentioned getting a Cricut machine, the thought crossed my mind! lol The rub-on idea is great! How do you get the ink not to smear??

    Thank you for the encouragement! Looking forward to your next project, girl, get bizzy!!

  5. I think you are way too hard on yourself too. You are clearly a perfectionist because I lvoe the rustic, romantic look of the boxes you have done. Perfect for storing little treasures. I dont think with art there can be any right or worng way either. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Keep going as you clearly have an eye for design and you will just keep getting more and more comfortable with the process. If I lived near you I would drop over and join in!!

  6. @Lilly'sLife Thank you, Lilly! I made these to put scrapbook embellishments in {like brads, eyelets, tags, etc...} but now I just want to stare at them! That would be so cool, if you lived nearby. We'd definitely have lots of fun & I would treat you to some delicious Tex-Mex & margaritas!

  7. The boxes are awesome Juls!
    I need to spread my wings past cards some day!

    Kisses to Georgie!

    Peace and Luv,

  8. @Jeannie You'd be great at it, if ya did. Georgie sends his *luv*!


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