Lettering Short-Cut

I love to include words, quotes and text in my art but, despite some instruction and practice, I’m not always thrilled with the way my hand drawn letters turn out. This little hack is a favorite of mine and I thought you might find it useful as well! This was just an impromptu, messy fingers project that popped into my head one day. The first step was to add acrylic paint to the board I was painting. Somedays my favorite paint tools are my fingers, and this was no exception.

I have accumulated a large selection of fonts on my computer (there are many resources for free downloadable fonts available online) and have fun using different ones in digital creations, advertising and such. They are especially handy when lettering on artwork! Some of my batik work is done on Unryu paper which is transparent enough you can actually just trace the letters onto the paper as they are visible when placed underneath.

“Psalm 11:7”
Batik art, three steps – lettering, adding ink, after the batik process

If I’m working on wood or canvas I have a way of getting the letters on my art that works very well. First I measure the space where I want the words placed and create a blank file in Photoshop Elements that is the same size. Then, using the type function I type, resize and arrange the letters to suit my project. This is what the file looked like for the project I am showing you:

I printed it the exact size as the file (which meant it had to be printed in two sections) and then taped together the pieces. The next step was to turn it over and take either pencil or charcoal and cover the back of the paper where the letters were printed.

You want to cover it fully, the pencil or charcoal is going to be used like copy paper to make outlines of your letters onto your art. Turn it over and position it where you want the letters to be on your art and then take a ball point pen and trace the outlines of each letter. I get excited and always want to rush things so come to find out my paint wasn’t as dry as usual, I ended up lifting some of it from the wood when I applied the marks. It still worked!

Now that I had the outline on the artwork I could use markers, paint pens or a really steady brush to add the colors and outline for the lettering and any details I decided to include. I decided to just handwrite the “hello” portion of the lettering and kind of wish I’d have traced that too. Oh well! Here is the final piece.

Let me know if you try this technique for adding letters, I hope it’s inspired you to get creative!

Your randomly creative friend,


Stamp it up!

blog 20150110_161534
Last weekend in the studio I decided to do a little side project while I was there. I’ve got a nice stash of scrap wood from the studio construction that I’ve squirreled away so I dipped into it and pulled out a selection of different size pieces. I spent a few minutes with my hand sander knocking off the rough edges (I hate getting splinters!) before I continued.

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Then I rounded up the rest of the materials I’d need:

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A sheet of block printing foam, white glue

Pen, ruler, scissors, hole punches

Exacto knive/Cutting mat

The first step was to trace around the blocks of wood on the block printing foam and cut them to size, at least for the first few.blog 20150110_115936

For the larger two stamps I created the designs with a pen, the rest I just kind of “winged” as I went along. After drawing the design I marked out the pieces I’d be removing from the foam with the exacto knife.

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I kept all the removed/marked pieces to use on the second large stamp. I felt like I should seal the wood somehow before adding the foam so I sprayed the wood block with some clear spray paint. After assembling that stamp it dawned on me that by covering the entire surface with glue that was probably enough of a seal so I skipped that step on the rest of the pieces. One or two already had paint on them so they were going to be fine anyhow. The gluing was easy and straightforward, the drying time always takes the longest!blog 20150110_122115

For the second stamp I used the cut-aways and arranged them randomly. With the pen marks they leave a fun print! The next few stamps were all random lines and curves to fit the sizes of the stamps. blog 20150110_141306

The last two stamps I brought out a few hole punches. Circles, holes, dots, squares and rectangles, all just willy-nilly random fun.blog 20150110_142822

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I ended up with eight new stamps for just a bit of work, a few materials and a little time. The best part? No one else has one like them. 🙂 Later this week I’ll share some of the prints I made with these new stamps and a gelli plate that added the fun colors you see in the top image!




Photos of Artwork: A How To

Just for fun I thought I’d share with you how I take photos of my artwork. (Disclaimer: The photos I’m sharing here were taken with my cell phone and would not be the ones I’d submit for shows, etc.!) Since I’ve set my website up to have all the images on a black background that is how I always photograph them. Occasionally I’ll do them on both black and white backgrounds if one just really needs the white to look good. I don’t keep my photography backdrops, stands, etc. set up in the studio so I pretty much drape the black cloth over whatever I can find. Depending on the size of the art I’m photographing some creativity might be needed to get it large enough to surround the artwork. Here’s ares pictures from this morning showing both the front & back of the set up.

blog 20141031_103319blog 20141031_103536

As you can tell from the shot of the back this is one of those “creative” set ups since a few of the pieces were over three foot tall. As long as it works no one (normally) sees how it’s put together so who cares? I placed it up on the table so I wouldn’t be bending over so much to get the pics, plus there was more available light coming in through the windows & doors at that height. Unless it’s a late-night desperate situation I prefer to take these shots with natural window light instead of room lights or using a flash. Today was cloudy out so it was perfect conditions…not too dark but no hot spot of sun shining in to deal with.   Here is a pic of a new art piece sitting in the photo area:

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Doesn’t look too spectacular at this point but, as I said earlier, this was taken with my cell phone so I didn’t have a lot of control over the amount of light, etc. that was being captured.

One of the hardest parts of photographing square or rectangle images is to get the perspective correct so they actually look like squares or rectangles. Aiming your camera at the center of the piece and keeping it parallel with the artwork helps a lot, plus just being aware of that it’s not skewed when you shoot helps too. (Multiple shots up the odds as well!) If all else fails you can straighten while you’re making adjustments to the image with your computer, but that’s extra work so I try to get mine lined up correctly when shooting.

This final image was still on the cell phone but was taken closely to the art and then I also tweaked the lighting/color in photoshop before I uploaded it here. It’s an improvement over the previous image!

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currently untitled, mixed media art (carved wood, painted stones, driftwood, paint) on 6×16″ wood panel © Lynne Medsker

The one taken on my Nikon will be even better than this! Since this is a semi-flat (it hangs on the wall, anyhow!) piece of art with black borders on it I didn’t care that it blended right into the black background. With more dimensional pieces I try to place them with a space between them and background to help emphasis the depth and give them some separation.

So that’s that…

I’ll be sharing more new work as I get a chance, heck I’ve still got a couple of pieces from this summer I haven’t gotten on the blog yet.

Busy, busy,


Web Presence for Artists! Thursday, June 6th, 2013

blue hands

An Introduction to Web Presence & Social Media for Artists

Presented by Lynne Medsker

Date:                  Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Time:         12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (bring an afternoon snack if you wish)

Location:         ArtSplash Gallery, 111 West Main Street, Suite #140, Carmel, Indiana

Cost:                  $45 per person

Contact:         Lynne Medsker @ info@lynnemedsker.com for more information or register online at: http://www.lynnemedsker.com/online-registration.html


This class is to introduce and encourage artists to use the available social media and online outlets to present and promote their work.  It will be broken into two sessions, the first session covers basic information on presenting your work online, including:

Basic information all artists need to promote their work: Resume, artist statement, bio

Photographing/Adjusting/Resizing your images for the web

Watermarking & copyright for your images

What information to include with your images

Being consistent in your efforts

Connecting with other artists, art lovers and potential clients

After an afternoon break we will spend time talking about specific sites and ways to promote your art, some topics covered will be:

Facebook Pages



LinkedIN, Branched Out, Google+, etc.

Etsy & eBay

Blogs and blogs vs. websites

Image hosting sites

Online resources

You will receive multiple handouts as well as access to links & information via the internet after the class. I will be available after the session to answer any specific questions that you may have about your art, Facebook Page, blog, etc. and to schedule one-on-one tutoring sessions for those who are interested in further assistance. If you have a laptop please bring it with you!

Tutorial: Adding an “Interest List” on Facebook

So this morning I woke to find this message appearing on my Facebook feed from several different sources. Perhaps you did too?

Although it lists the steps to do this I always find it easier to learn things visually. If you are a visual learning (or just need a bit of help getting through these steps) I’ve taken some screen shots of the process and added a few notes on how to create and add pages to your “Interest Lists”. Please note that this only works on your personal profile and you can only add business pages, if you have a business page there is currently not a way to create these lists there.

First things first, you have to have already clicked “LIKE” for the page(s) you’d like to add. You can follow these steps on my business page by clicking here: www.facebook.com/lynnemedskerart – the page will pop up in a new window so you can go back & forth between this tutorial and my page easily. Remember the first step is to click “Like” if you haven’t already done so. (Surely you have!)

There are two different ways that you can access the controls to add a page to you list. First you can go directly to that page (like you did in the step above to access my page), you’ll get a full screen of the page and can locate the “Like” button at the top/right of the page, under the header image. If you already have “Liked” the page you can also access it through your own page by going to your personal page and clicking on your “Likes’ list. It may be one of the boxes under your header image or you may have to use the drop down menu to find it. Here’s an image of my personal page (yes, I am that goofy) with the “Likes” circled (the drop down menu is right next to it):

(click image to see larger version)

After you’ve either location your “Likes” page or gone to the actual page you’d like to add you will need to hover your mouse over the “Liked” box to access the options that will let you add the page, just hold your “pointer” over that box for a moment and wait for the options to pop up on the screen.

(click image to see larger version)

Here is an image of how the drop down menu should look after you hover over it:

(click image to see larger version)

You will click on the option that says “Add to Interest List”.  Once you have clicked on “Add to Interest List” option another drop down menu will appear with options for which list you’d like to add it to. In the image below I’ve created a list of local artists and art organizations that I have added pages too. (You can have multiple lists, with each being a different topic.)

(click image to see larger version)

The first time that you add a page it will give you the opportunity to create a list, you can see the “+ New List” option underneath the list I had already created (to add additional lists/categories  you would click that option as well). Once you’ve clicked on it  you will be asked for a title for the list  so choose one and then type it in the box.

Congratulations! You’ve started your first Interest List! Now just follow the same steps to add any other pages that interest you. Be sure to select the list on your home page from time-to-time to make sure you’re getting all the latest from the pages you like! You can find it in the left hand column of when you are on your home page:

Thanks for reading my blog and for your “Likes” on Facebook, I appreciate you support & interest!


Step-by-Step Mixed Media Collage

"we must dream", mixed media collage, 48" x 24" (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

Today I am going to share with you photos and details of the steps taken to create the mixed media collage shown above. I’ve been working on smaller pieces for a while and I just felt the need to let loose and “go large”! The canvas for this piece measures 48″ x 24″, and after creating so many little 5×5″ and 5×7″ collages lately it seemed even bigger.

To begin I penciled in some rough guidelines to follow while painting the background with acrylic paint. I often go for a color blended and texturized paint style when creating a background but this time I wanted to use a more geometric pattern. The other thing I did differently was to limit my color palette. I selected neutral gray, bright white and cool mid-tone blue. These images show the blocks of colors going on the canvas:

work in progress, image #1 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

work in progress, image #2 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

work in progress, image #3 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

As you can tell by the third image I did some blending of colors in each section and also went into some spaces and added extra texture for some interest & fun. After that I needed to select what papers, clippings, images and photos I wanted to include.

work in progress, image #4 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

As you can tell by this image, I pulled a large group of items and made my selections from there.  I always find it interesting when I look back & see all the things I thought might work that didn’t end up in the final image. Let alone the things I hadn’t even thought of yet that came to mind later in the process! The next step was to just start randomly adding paper to the background paint. I try not to get too wrapped up in this step because many times it’s covered with so much else not a lot of it will end up showing at the end. I did get overly excited about one image (the darker rectangle, furthest away in the image below) and, due to my enthusiasm & early application, it ended up not being the focal point I had originally hoped. I find it hard not to get carried away when I’m busy creating!

work in progress, image #5 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

As soon as this layer dried I began the next layer, which had smaller, more detailed images and patterns…including some splashes of black to add some contrast to the softer background colors.

work in progress, image #6 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

close-up, work in progress, image #7 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

When that layer had dried I mixed some white acrylic paint with some clear glaze and spread it over the pieces. I covered some parts lightly and  other were covered more heavily plus, since the glaze mixture wasn’t totally opaque, as it dried parts of the underneath layers began to show through randomly. I made it a point to leave lines and texture as I layered the glaze on and when it had dried slightly I also went back in with some rippled cardboard and lifted part of the layer off in places.

work in progress, image #8 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

close up, work in progress, image #9 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

Now it was getting down to the final details…and the decision as to when I was done! I had several old printmaking projects that were mostly just color with texture and I decided that two of them complimented the piece well.  Since I’d used the square/rectangular shapes to begin with I thought throwing in some round shapes would be fun.  Well, at least I thought that until I had to cut all of the pieces out! 🙂 I also had an older digital art print that included this butterfly in it.  Part of the print had been damaged so it felt good to be able to salvage the butterfly and let it come to life in a new piece of art. I also had a sheet of quotes and words, most of them centered around the topic of dreams and dreaming…my favorite! So I clipped single words, snippets and entire sayings from that and arranged them on top of the acrylic/glaze layer. Then I began playing with the layout of the circles.  It went through several transformations (like image #10 below) before I was pleased enough to permanently adhere them to the piece.

work in progress, image #10 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

After everything was attached to the canvas (I use clear acrylic gel as a bonding medium when I collage & create mixed media) I let the piece dry, propped it up on an easel and let it sit where I could see it every day.  And let it sit. And sit. And sit some more. Finally I decided that there was nothing else I wanted to add to it so I declared it finished.  (Well, except for painting the edges of the canvas!) I titled it “We Must Dream” from one of the phrases that’s included on it, the finished image is at the top of this post. Here is a close-up of a finished section too:

close up from "we must dream" mixed media collage (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

I hope you enjoyed seeing the steps used to make this piece and that it inspired you to go be creative!



Photo Art: Part 2 of 3

Yesterday, in Part 1, I introduced some steps to create art from a photograph. Today I’m going to show you how all these new layers and images can blend together to create yet more art. As a reminder, here are the layers that I am working with:

original photo/background image for art (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

1st layer, filtered (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

2nd layer, filtered (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

3rd layer, filtered (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

4th layer, filtered (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

To see each of these new layers blended with the original image be sure and visit the previous post! This next photo shows the “Layers” window on the screen in Photoshop Elements with all of the layers visible.

"Layers" window

With all the layers blended and visible (layers are visible in your art when the “eye” on the left of the layers window next to it is visible) the final image looks like this:

"not dealing with reality" photo art (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

In part 3 of this demo I will show you what can be created by making one or more of the layers “invisible” and taking it out of the image.

More tomorrow!


Photo Art: Part 1 of 3

After looking through my earlier posts about digital/photo art I realized I hadn’t ever done any kind of “how to” posts. Well, that ends today! 🙂 I’m going to do a show & tell of fairly simple steps you can take to change a normal photo into something more artistic. I’m starting with an image I took of leftover collage scraps.  I like that they have lots of bold colors & lines. Plus I’m just a sucker for words so that didn’t hurt anything either!

"not dealing with reality" photograph (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

For this demo I am using Photoshop Elements. I am sure there are other programs out there that use filters & layers, which is all we’ll need for this exercise. The first step I took was to make a duplicate layer of the same image (this can be done by right clicking on image in the layers window shown below or by selecting “duplicate layer” in layers tab at the top of the screen). I then used a filter on the duplicate (the first of the following three images) to create a new image.  The filters tab is at the top of the page, when you click on it there is a drop-down menu with a large selection of filters for you to experiment with. The filtered layer was then combined with the original layer, which I’m using as a background.  There are many different blended tools available to combine the layers of an image, I chose the “overlay” effect to blend the two together, which in turn created another new image (the last of the three images shown below).

(c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

Next I made another copy of the background layer/original image. I applied a different filter to that layer, creating another new image and then – like the first new layer – blended this new image with the background/original.

(c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

This is a photo of the layers window that shows each of the individual layers in the “Layers” window. The one that is highlighted is the one that you are currently editing (background copy 3 in this case). In this photo I clicked on the blending modes so you could see all the different options available for blending your images. I routinely try most of them to view how they blend before deciding which version I like best.

blending changes in Photoshop Elements

After the second layer I added two more layers with different filters, effects and blending tools, shown here:

third layer

forth layer

I know I’ve thrown a lot out all in one post but I didn’t know how else to divide up the steps! Part 2 of 3 will show how all these layers come together into one image and beyond.

Click, click, click,


GO! Make Art! Handmade Journal with “Recycled” Cover

Finished Journal 10/20/09 (c) Lynne Medsker
Finished Journal 10/20/09 (c) Lynne Medsker

There are lots of ways to create a journal! Today I am going to share how to make journals using recycled materials for the cover.  Here is an image of the materials before I began (coffee optional!):

materials used
materials used

This is made with pretty basic, simple stuff that everyone has access to!  Several sheets of plain white paper for the pages (folded in 1/2 and trimmed to size), an empty cereal box for the cover (trimmed to size), and a piece of decorative paper.  Although I used writing paper you could use blank sheets of copier paper, lined notebook paper or a variety of other types of paper to create your pages.  You could also create your own decorative cover with paint, markers, cloth, stamps, ink, crayons, tissue paper collage or almost any art medium you chose.  Just be sure it’s thick enough that the cereal box design doesn’t show through – unless you want it to! I used a bone folder to slide & press along the folds and make sure they were nice & flat but there are many household items that would work as well – the flat edge of a ruler, a butter knife – just get creative! The paper for the inside pages are trimmed about 1/4 inch smaller on all sides than the cereal box.  Remember that you are folding them in half so they need to be twice the width! Cut your decorative paper slightly larger than the size of your cereal box.  Spread a thin layer of PVA or clear acrylic gel (even rubber cement, white glue  or modge-podge if that’s what you have) on the outside of the cover.  Center the decorative paper over the cover and smooth it from the center out to the edges.  Turn it over, spread glue around the back edges then fold the excess paper over and secure it with clips.  I used binder clips but clothespins or even paper clips will work just as well.  Wipe away any excess glue that squirts out the edges and then set it aside to dry for a few minutes.

decorative paper added
decorative paper added

While the cover is drying you can create your “signature” (which is the fancy term for the bound-together pages inside your journal). Most signatures use about 10 pages, folded in half, for a 20 page journal.  You can always use less, using more may make it difficult to work with, but not impossible.  Once you have the pages folded and lined up neatly, take a ruler and measure to the center of you fold and mark this spot then add evenly spaced dots outward from them.  Use an awl (or other pointed tool) to make holes through all the pages where you placed the dots.

make the holes to sew through
make the holes to sew through


Using a bookbinders (or blunt tipped) needle with a couple feet of thick thread (there is specific bookbinding thread or use whatever you happen to have, embroidery thread or hemp for jewelry making are both good options) begin to sew the signature together.  I left the end threads, tied together, on the outside of the signature so they will be hidden within the binding once it was finished.  Another binding method is to sew your cover on as you bind the signature together – you can even leave extra thread on the outside of the journal and hang decorative beads on it, like this one:

handmade journal, recycled cover (c) 2009 Lynne Medsker
handmade journal, recycled cover (c) 2009 Lynne Medsker

Once the outside of the cover has dried you’ll probably want to glue a cover on the inside for a more finished look.  I used just a plain black sheet of construction paper to line my journal but, just like the outside cover, the sky’s the limit on how you will want to finish yours!

ready for inside cover
ready for inside cover

Once the inside of the cover is dry then line up the signature inside the cover.  Using a small hole punch (or an awl, etc.) make holes through the entire journal.  Insert decorative metal brads.

putting the brads in
putting the brads in

Now that they are in place you’ll probably want to cover the back of the journal where the brads are spread open. I used a strip of the same decorative paper on mine but you could get creative by using ribbon, tape or other items.  Glue and clamp that down until it dries and you are almost finished!

covering the back of the brads
covering the back of the brads

Although the pretty paper and sparkly brads were nice I felt like it needed just a little “something” more.  There are all kinds of options for embellishing your journals from whimsical to elegant.  I have small boxes full of  “treasures” that I collect but ultimately decided to use one of my favorite materials, metal wire.  After bending and twisting it into shape I felt like it need one small focal point.  Back to the treasure boxes to discover the small silver heart.  Perfect!  I attached the wire & heart with some clear acrylic gel and it was done.

last step
last step

So, now that you know how, GO! Make Art!


GO! Make Art! is a series of instructional posts to encourage EVERYONE to experience the joy of creativity.  Look for more posts soon!