Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Break

Well actually I'm going on a way-before-christmas-and-well-into-the-new-year-break!

It's not christmas yet, but I'm taking an early break because my house is in chaos! My bathroom is being completely redone (I've had leakage since september and they couldn't find the source, so now they are just going to redo the entire bathroom) and who knew that one small room being redone would give so much mess in the entire house? Everything is upside down! My kitchen is now my bathroom, there are grains of dust and stone everywhere, I've had to move several pieces of furniture to make room and I have no running water upstairs so painting in my studio is troublesome at best (and yes, I am using it as a stupid excuse to do nothing, sigh).

If all goes well things should be finished before christmas and then I'll be having a two week vacation (and a brand new bathroom). Yay! I want to limit my chores during those two weeks, so I am going off line on most of the mailing lists and groups (I will be checking my e-mail every now and then) and I am taking a break from this blog. I'll be back somewhere halfway january. I wish all of you a very merry christmas and an exciting and wonderful new year!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Search

Every two years the small local museum does an art exhibit of local artists. Two years ago I participated for the first time and just recently the current exhibit opened. Last time each artist could enter two pieces and I had already decided on framing two of my works on acrylic paper. But then I got word that you could only enter one piece and that somehow would not work for what I had in mind. So I decided to put up another piece entirely.

(sorry, the photograph's not very good)

I made this mixed media painting last march when I did not have a blog yet, so you haven't seen it up here yet either. It was originally made for the local church during lent season. The reverend wanted to use works of local artists in his services and I was asked to contribute. I am not a member of the church, but I was kind of honored to be asked.

The painting is called 'The Search' and is about how we look for peace of mind and satisfaction in all the wrong places. It contains lyrics by both Alanis Morissette ("Would not come") and Jewel Kirchner ("Hands") and is full of contradictions. You can't really see it all on the photograph, but the thing has I think about ten layers, one of my favorites being the fake play money.  The painting measures 60x60 cm.

Attached to the exhibit is always a little contest where the public can vote for their favorite painting. I don't expect to win this, because the rather sad truth is that most people that visit are tourists and they expect paintings of sea scapes and beaches and other idyllic local scenery since this is an island after all.

But what I did enjoy last time were the comments made in the guest book about my work. Those really made my day, especially the ones made by children! The exhibit will run until april, so I'm looking forward to see if I get any response this time as well. And maybe...just maybe...I will sell it!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

From the heart journal

I enjoy working in my new heart journal very much. This spread is based on an assignment from a dutch book on creativity and art (Creativiteit, geen kunst). The idea was to use eyes from magazines as a base for a journal spread.

Winter is here! We had the first snow on november 26, which was not much yet, but I had to take pictures of it as you can see at the bottom of the following spread. As I am writing this a lot more snow has fallen, but it all is turning into ice and getting to work is a risky business, since I live on top of a dune and always have to go down hill to get anywhere.

I love living on an island, because I always wanted to live by the sea and as any island we are surrounded by it. These pictures were taken of the Wadden Sea which is to the south of our island. The print turned out so blue not because of photoshop editing or freaky weather conditions, but because the printer ran out of magenta ink! I like the effect a print has when not all colors are available.

This is a small series of self portraits. Well, except for one, can you guess which one? ;-) But even that furry one is a part of me somehow.
Here you can also see the effect of the lack of magenta at work. The pictures turned out very yellow.

No journal is complete without at least one spread dedicated to my 'dorrebomen'. I did a post on them a few months ago. These are drawn with neocolor II crayons.

I am putting way more photographs into my journals than I used to, but then again, since I have a compact camera I am taking way more photographs than I used to. These are all pets of family members. Are they cute or what?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

New perspective

I am currently reading Lix Lamoreux book 'Inner excavation' which is a pretty cool book about exploring the self through photography, poetry and mixed media. It is full of interesting exercises and even though I haven't really done any of them yet they do make me itch to try some elements from them already.

One of these was trying to use a new perspective when using my camera. The following three photo's were made on a beautiful and cold winter's morning last sunday. The idea is to put your camera on the ground and shoot. Because I was on the beach I just held my camera and rested my hand on the ground (don't want no sand in my new camera, thank you very much). I like how this changes the photographs you take.

The last one was not done from the ground, but from my normal perspective, but I kind of liked it, so I'm just adding it as a bonus-good-for-nothing-but-being-pretty photograph ;-)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Monks little book

A couple of years ago my friend M., who is nicknamed Monkie or Monk, and I visited a gallery in Rotterdam where we saw the incredible work of Jean Tinguely. Look him up on the web, he made fantastic enormous sculptures that look like intricate machines, except they have no purpose but be art. It's wonderful to see those machines actually move and we had a wonderful time admiring his work.

Next to all these huge machines were of course smaller bits and bobs of his. Photographs, sketches, films and...letters. It was the letters that caught our attention, because they were pieces of art by themselves. He sent these beautifully illustrated notes to friends and other artists often containing sketches and a very loose handwriting that we really liked too.

Being the creative gals we are we of course were both inspired by this and before we even left the building I think both of us secretly decided to send the other some mail art. That was the start of a correspondence of art that's been going on ever since. We have no rules and no deadlines or anything. We just send something when we feel like it's about time we send something and that works just fine. There's no pressure.

I often use my mail art to do little experiments or to use materials I hardly ever use just to get a feel for them. It's a lot of fun and of course it's a lot of fun to receive Monks works of art as well. I hope we will keep it up for a long time!

As I told you in my previous post recently I received a small but lovely booklet from her containing her sketches which were mostly done during a sketching class she took and since she doesn't have a blog I asked her if it was okay to show it off on mine. So here we go!

Is that cool or what? I love handmade books and if its filled with so much personal art it's even better. So thank you again Monk!

If you want to see more of her work or her photographs please check out her flickr (which she should update more often, grumble) and her fotothing. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Collage Sampler

Isn't it strange how you can be in tune with friends even when you don't realise it at the time? Makes you believe in things like telepathy. I have no idea if that was the case here, but as you know I had been working on a gift for a friend who had her birthday recently. It was going to be a booklet full of collages that I have called a 'collage sampler' because I just wanted it to be all about playing with collage without any other goal than that.

While I was still very busy working on it I received a package from her as part of our ongoing mail art exchange. And what do you know? There was a booklet inside that she had made for me! Not with collages, but with sketches and writings. We had never sent each other self made booklets before so you can imagine my surprise when I found out we were both secretly working on one to surprise the other!

I think hers deserves a post all in itself, but I still have to take good pictures or scans of it so I am going to try and do that for my next post. For now I will just show you my side of this coinciding art ;-)  I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves:

Most of the materials used were scraps left over from other art pieces or just stuff I had lying around. The photographs are all my own as well and were also left over from other projects. It was fun making something from all these left overs and it also relieved some of the pressure of having to make something 'pretty' or 'good'. I know my friend is not really into pretty pretry and cute ;-)

Taking the above pictures of the sampler was quite a challenge by the way. Guess who wanted to be in every picture I took? 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

First pages in the heart journal and blogger annoyance

Well, the heart journal has officially started, so I will show you the first pages I did in it. I am just working in it randomly which is really difficult for me as I am a total control freak. A part of me wants everything neatly in order and chronological. I compromise by dating every input and by keeping a chronological written journal on the side. Working outside of my usual box is always a little scary.

Here's the first page I made. Well, to be honest it's not really the very first page. The first page I did is a hommage to Teesha Moore's new journaling style, but I don't want to break any copyrights by showing you that. Just check out her blog (a link is on the right) to see it for yourself. No one does it like Teesha (though half the journaling world certainly is trying!).

So here's the first page with just my own stuff in it:

It's a page where I tested some new pencils, derwent inktense. They are like inks in a pencil form. Watersoluble, but after they dry they become waterproof, which is pretty cool. I just wanted to get a feel for them, so I made this little drawing of shapes and a tree branch. I love empty tree branches, the way they meander into smaller branches and twigs. Beautiful.

The first entry was just a one pager, but the second is a full spread.

It's a very different format when you are using a landscape oriented book and that's quite interesting to work with. The hands are photocopies of my own hands. It was hard for me to stop adding things, I wanted it to remain rather simple and uncomplicated, but I always have this tendency to want to fill every empty space! I think I did okay with this spread though! ;-)

Now for something completely different: am I the only one who wants to smack the blogger people for the troubles with uploading images? Assuming of course I am not the only one having these troubles? Just putting these two images in today is costing me years of my life. Why can't they just fix this stuff? I've even had to put this post on hold because I couldn't get the pictures uploaded the first time. It should not take an hour and a half to do a small post like this. This is driving me crazy, blogging shouldn't be this annoying!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More background love

I keep working on the backgrounds in an A4 sketchbook that I am turning into some sort of art journal. I've already shown the first pages in one of my previous posts and today I want to show you some more.

I could just make these all day long (if only I had the time and no other artsy loves). All the paper used is by K&Company. I still have about 10 pages to go in this sketchbook and then I have to decide what exactly I am going to do with it. I know it will be some kind of journal, but that's just about all I know right now. We'll have to wait and see where the muse takes me ;-)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Scenes from the everyday journal

As promised here are some spreads from the everyday journal that I just finished. About 90% of the journal looks like the first two spreads. Lots of writing with my photographs pasted in. Sometimes instead of photogaphs I'll glue in postcards I like or magazine pictures. But using your own photographs does feel more authentic.

Sometimes I just need to blow of steam. Be it in a negative or in a positive way. Then you get pages like in the next two spreads. Ugly, but very functional ;-)

And sometimes I will just fill a spread with pictures or a collage of pictures. This happens rarely, but it looks nice when it does.

And just every now and then I will actually do something that may be considered somewhat artsy in my journal. Like this random collage I did of remnants that were left at my work table after working on a project:

Well, there you have it. The everyday journal in all it's glory! Hope you enjoyed it ;-)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New Journal

It's hard to believe but the everyday journal I started a little over two months ago is filled already. I haven't shown much of it, because my everyday journal is usually a lot of writing with photographs and pictures in between. It's not really an art journal, but more of an illustrated writing journal. However I do intend to show you some spreads in one of my next posts. I have already shot some photographs of it, but still need to downsize them in photoshop before posting.

I am still working on a little gift for a friend which is quite fun to make but top secret so while I am quite busy I have little to show for it right now. But...a filled journal means starting another one and this time I have chosen a combination of two journals! One will be another moleskine cahier with no further embellishments (hence I won't show it to you, cause there's nothing to see). This one will be meant for writing only. The other one is a dummy sketchbook that measures 26x18 cm in landscape format. Would you believe I bought this sketchbook over seven years ago when I still worked at a school for visual arts? That's how long it can take sometimes before I use a blank book I  purchase!

This one is meant to be for visual journaling only, so my photographs and drawings and other artsy stuff will go in there. It's a bit of an experiment to see how I like working with two everyday journals that kind of complement each other.

Anyway, since the second one is to be a visual journal I have decorated the cover with some collages.
The front cover looks like this:

As you can see I made a little play on words in the title, calling it a 'heart journal' instead of an 'art journal'.

The back cover looks like this:

The papers used in these collages were made by myself as well. They are color copies of paper I had painted to use in collage. The darker purple parts are transparencies that I also color copied on. It's a pity it doesn't really show on the scan, but they are pretty cool ;-)

I am curious to see how this journal will look when it's filled! Will keep you updated on it from time to time.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Collage experiment

Back after a wonderful, be it somewhat rainy, 10 day vacation. Part of it was spent on my own island and part of it was spent on a neighbouring island called Schiermonnikoog. I took lots of pictures and of course I wrote in my self made journal that I showed you last time. I also bought postcards and cut them up to use in the pages or just to add to the journal as a whole. I have not added the photographs to the journal yet, so I am not going to show it to you yet either. It may take some time to really finish that project and there is just so much to do! I may show you some of the photographs I took in one of my future posts.

For now I want to show you a project I started before I went on vacation and that I finished yesterday. I love artsy books as you may know and I am really into books on collage right now. A lot of them are nice, but the one I am reading right now is really inspiring. It's called 'Collage Journeys' and written by Jane Davies. What I like about her book is that it's not a step by step description of different collages (I think I am passed those kinds of books, although I like the work in them I don't really want to recreate somebody elses work) but she talks about the elements that make up a collage, the techniques you can use and also how you can incorporate your personal style and thoughts/feelings and find inspiration for your original work.

Inspired by this book I thought I'd try a little collage experiment. I printed out a vintage photograph of a girl I found on the internet three times. My intention was to make three completely different collages with the same photograph by using different techniques and colors. It turned out to be a very interesting experience! All collages measure 20x20 cm (8x8 inches). For some reason the repetition of three times the same girl as a focus made me think of that song "Three times a lady", so that became the theme and title of the collages. All the collage's contain the words "Once twice three times a lady" like the song lyrics go and each one has a different number on them, 1or 2 or 3.

So here's the first one:

For this one I covered the photograph with gesso and drew it back in with colored pencil. Usually when I use this draw or paint over technique I will use my neocolor crayons, but I wanted to practice working with colored pencils a little more anyway since I have so little experience with them.  I used different decorative papers, acrylic paints and a mechanical pencil in the background and chose pastel colors in pink and blue.

The second collage looks like this:

For this one I tried out an image transfer technique on acrylic gel medium. It's kind of comparable to the technique where you use packing tape, but instead of packing tape you put four to five layers of medium over a picture. Then you let it dry overnight and wet the paper and rub it off until only the ink remains on the medium. After that you get a transparent picture that you can glue to your background. I liked the result, but I think the original picture was just a little too vague to make a very clear transfer. It gives this collage a dreamy atmosphere, but it also meant I really had to tone down all the other elements in the collage or you simply would not have seen the girl at all.

The third and final collage looks like this:

I think this one is a complete opposite of the second one. Again I used a draw over technique, but this time I used felt tip pens and markers straight on the picture without first applying gesso. The result is so bright and colorful that of course the background had to match that. I like the vibrant nature of this collage.

What I loved about this project is how you can take a picture, alter it and create completely different atmospheres. I also liked experimenting with techniques I hadn't tried before. I learned a lot making these. Fun!