Monday, September 15, 2014

Pages from Flora

Flora, the current journal, is in full use. I love her size and I love her paper even though neither is ideal (too big, and not perfectly suited for wet media and markers). Here are some of her latest pages.

I have to smile when I see how when it comes to this journal I use words like 'she' and 'her' instead of 'it'. As if it's a person. I think it's the name, even though I didn't mean it as a girls name at the time. I just meant 'flora' as in the world of flowers, plants and trees. Oh well, the journal works in mysterious ways I guess. ;-)

Have a wonderful day all!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Good times were had last weekend

Good times were had the past weekend. Of course for me weekends are long and shouldn't really be called weekends. But I can't seem to stop doing that anyway. I'm off work every Friday to Monday since I started working less.

I spent most of Friday in the studio playing, among other things, with my masking liquid markers:

This weekend it was time for the annual ITGWO festival. ITGWO stands for Into The Great Wide Open and is a very popular music and arts festival that is spread out over several places on the island. It lasts for about three and a half days, but that's a bit too much for me, so I went for one. As islanders you can get day tickets, so that helps.

The stages are set out in the middle of nature. One was in the dunes for instance and another (below) was in the middle of the forest. Everyone sat down there and the atmosphere is beyond words.  Thousands of people come to the festival every year and when the tickets sell they are usually sold out within minutes. Luckily as an islander you can always get tickets and at a discount too! Islander privilege! ;-)

I saw several very good (and less good) performers play like Kris Berry & Requisite (a woman with a voice like an angel, I even bought a cd), The Kik (fun fun fun), Benjamin Clementine (a bit odd, but he grows on you) several others, but the reason I got the ticket for Saturday was Ben Howard. He was still quite unknown when he was here last time several years ago and he blew the entire audience away in a small performance hall near the camp site. Now he had center stage and an entire band, was a main act for the evening and people actually could sing along with his songs. I guess he has moved up in the music world. I still missed the magic of that performance from years ago though. That was something really special.

After all that walking around from stage to stage and standing for hours on end among crowds of people I really needed some serious down time.On Sunday I spent the day mostly napping and reading at home, but on Monday it was time to get out and about again.

I walked through the forest and dunes and then I decided to climb the dunes that lead to the North Sea and found myself a perfect spot on a sandy plateau right here:

It looks lower than it was. I was about halfway up a dune. It was one of those white clouds blue sky days with lots of sun and a nice fresh wind (it had been pretty windless the days before which is unusual for us). I brought a book and a sjawl to lay down on. I napped, I read, I stared into the distance and repeated this a couple of times until some time later I discovered four hours had passed!
It was one of those perfect afternoons that just kind of happen.

When I got home and had showered the sand off I was more relaxed than I had been in years and that is saying something. It's like my whole body let go of everything. It was wonderful wonderful wonderful (yes, I had to say that three times).

That night I closed off the weekend with a few hours at the journaling table. 

I wish I could be that relaxed all the time, but my personality won't allow it. I'm doing my best though, haha. In any case it was one of those weekends that is just good for the soul, especially those hours at the beach.

In the meantime some work days at the office have passed and now a new weekend has begun for me. Let's hope it's another wonderful and artsy one and I wish you all the same: good weekend all!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Walking sketches

It happens way too rarely that I will actually sit down and sketch during one of my walks. I take tons of photographs, but sketching always seems like just too much work to do while on the road.

These are piles of poles and planks to be used for the festival called Into The Great Wide Open.

I have a great admiration for urban sketchers and nature sketchers. You know, people who actually go out and about to draw and paint. I do draw and paint, but I always prefer the comfort of my own home to do it. I'm not uncomfortable with people seeing me or something, but I am uncomfortable for the sheer fact that I don't have a table to work on and put my stuff. I'm a luxury sketcher. ;-)

A little view from the dyke along the Wadden Sea. Those things in the field are horses by the way.

However recently I was inspired by the urban sketchers blog and last weekend during two of my walks I actually sat down and sketched. I brought a little sketchbook and my tiny watercolour box plus a waterbrush and a drawing pen. And it was...well...doable, haha.

Scene from a road through the dunes. Um...not so good with perspective, but I like the colours.

Now I realize that these aren't great sketches, but that is not the point. The point is that I did it. I took the time to do them and now I have a self made visual memory of some scenes I came across on my walks. I would really like to do more outdoorsy sketching. I don't care if the sketches are wonky, I just want to make more of a habit of it. Let's keep our fingers crossed I can make it work somehow.

Wishing you all a wonderful and sketchy day! ;-)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Watercolour mosaics

As you know I have been dabbling in what I like to call watercolour mosaics. By that I mean painting as if the painting was made up of little tiles. However I could not find the right approach yet. Even though I liked making these paintings they were still not quite what I had in mind. Someone suggested that might be because there was no space between the tiles I painted and she was right of course.

So now I have found the perfect little helper for that. It's called a masking fluid marker. Of course I knew of the existence of masking fluid, but only the kind you apply with a brush and that just didn't seem precise enough, so I never used it (I don't even own any). But when I came across these markers by Molotow I knew that they were meant for me, so I bought two, experimented a little and then I was ready for the big test: some real watercolour mosaics. Here's how that turned out: 

You can see the markers here above the book. They write in blue and work just like any ordinary paint marker.

I am very pleased with the result. You simply draw the lines with the markers. I use templates and a ruler to get my lines so straight by the way. Then you colour the shapes in and afterwards you can remove the masking fluid by rubbing it off. I suggest using a kneadable eraser for that, it saves a lot of mess. The marker I have comes in 2 and 4 milimeter width. They do take a little patience to use especially with a ruler and such, because you are basically applying a kind of rubber that sticks to everything and regularly have to wipe both the ruler and the tip to keep the work clean, but it's a small price to pay for having such a precise masking tool.

Here are the pages a bit closer up:

As always these were done in the Fodder Book, which is a big Moleskine watercolour sketchbook.

I will definitely be making more of these now that I finally have the means to do them as I intended! Hope you like them too and hope I've given you a little tip for an art supply that might come in really handy if you need to mask off precise lines.

Have a wonderful and artsy day all!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Introducing Flora (the new journal)

Let me introduce you to Flora, my current journal. She's a big girl measuring a little over 8x11 inches.

She's had a bit of a rough start. Here's how that happened:

About a year and a half ago I bought this big Dylusions journal at the Kreadoe art supply fair that I attend every year. I intended to use it as a journal sometime in the future, but after sitting in my cupboard for a year I still hadn't used it.

Then I became interested in botanical drawings and flowers and thought: why not use this journal just for drawing, doodling and making art about flowers and trees? So that's what I decided to do and the sketchbook was named 'Flora' to represent its subject of the plant world.

Well...that didn't go well. I did do a few things in it and decorated the cover, but somehow it just didn't take off the way I hoped it would. Putting too many expectations on a sketchbook is never a good thing for me and then I start to avoid it. So Flora was abandoned again.

Then last june I had this idea of seperating the visual journal from the written journal for a while and to use Flora as my visual journal while I wrote in a notebook. Guess how many pages that produced?....Exactly one! So...not a good idea probably and again Flora sat on the shelves.

Me and my big ideas! Sigh...

With all these false starts I felt kind of bad for the poor book. I know, I must be a little crazy to have 'feelings'  for books, but when I use a journal they become steady companions over a period of time and with Flora I felt like a disloyal treacherous 'friend'. This is a beautiful sketchbook/journal and it just felt wasteful not to use it.

So when I finished the Book of Luck and had to pick a new journal I decided to move on with Flora and I must far so good! It does mean that the first few spreads in this book are from months ago, but we'll just call that part of her special history. ;-)

Anyway, after this long intro, here are the first pages from Flora, my current journal:

Not all of the above is fully finished. I still intend to decorate the envelope on the inside cover and I also want to do a background on the wraith spread. When those things are done I'll of course show them to you.

In any case I am glad Flora is finally in good use. I do like her paper and her size, even though I do have to get used to it as well. She's not easy to carry with you I can tell you that! ;-) But at least I'm working in this book and enjoying it.

Just to be sure that I picked the right book for my next journal I asked my assistant and he tested it extensively.

"Yep! Very comfortable!"

Sounds like a keeper to me! ;-)

Have a wonderful and artsy week!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Doodles in the journal

My current journal (which I'll introduce officially in my next post) is quite big. This means that when I do one of my colourful doodle pages they take even longer than they took in previous journals to finish. But...what fun they are to do!

Here's two doodle pages with some close ups. The first is drawn with a felt tip pen and then coloured in with coloured pencils. In the second I did a background with shapes in gouache and then doodled over them with a felt tip pen.

I like how these two different approaches can both lead to interesting results.

Do you have a preferred way of doodling? Tell me about it in the comments and...have a good weekend all!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Let's go walking!

Let's go walking!

We'll go among the trees and through the dunes and cross over to the beach.
We'll take in the sights and the little details, some left behind by other walkers before us.
We'll enjoy the cloudy sunny weather in between the bouts of rain and feel lucky that we picked just the right time to go outside.

And we'll take pictures of course, 'cause that is how we roll after all...

After we come home we will fix ourselves a vanilla latte and put our feet up. And maybe...just maybe...a cat will come and join us!

Any day with a good walk and a nosy cat is a good day, I'm sure you agree.
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