Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hot hot hot

Well it's been a warm couple of days and it shows in my productivity (minimal). My studio is located in a part of my house which is right under the rooftop and the sun shines (burns) on it all day making it feel more like a sauna than a studio really. I've been spending a lot of time just sitting quietly in the back yard reading, not trying to do too much. Uhm, I just realized this sounds like I do nothing all day, but I do work full time in the office and try to get my chores done. Wish I could be that lazy though, I so enjoy reading!

Even my usual love for long hikes across the island is diminished with this kind of weather and I have to admit it's not even that bad here where we still have the nice (relatively) cooling influence of sea wind. But today my guilt overtook my dislike for warmth (really I am a winter person, just move me to scandinavia or northern canada, I'll be fine). Time to put some things on my blog!

I have been doing some art (one can never go completely without) and I thougth I'd also show you some pages from another book that were finished some time ago. Hope it's worth the wait ;-)

First I must adhere to my obligations to my niece and show the trilogy. There was a little private panic in my studio when I couldn't find the quotes I had collected to put on the canvases! Yikes! So instead I started to work on the hills on which the trees are going to stand. And that looks like this.

See how I've done the two things I thought could not possibly be done? I integrated pink AND green in the work! Nifty right? I also have the good news that I have found the quotes at last and will be able to put the text on soon (whew).

I also finished another spread in the ALMBH journal (for those just tuning in: A Life Made By Hand-journal for a class by Kelly Kilmer). Here it is:

It's not after a prompt of the class though. It is just about my impatience for things to happen, like finally being able to just make art. It made me think of the beautiful song "Seasons Change" by Corinne Bailey Rae which is about just this subject that all things happen in their own time and we must learn to be patient (in theory this sounds really nice, in real life it can drive me up the wall).

Finally I thought I'd show you a few spreads from my 'Coffee Table Book'. This is a cheap blank journal with rather annoying paper (it sucks up fluids like a paper towel) that lies on my coffee table to doodle and play in when I am watching tv or just doing nothing sitting on the couch. I sometimes put pictures in it too or just notes of things. I don't really consider it a journal, just table book for my own enjoyment. Since I have very limited supplies downstairs the style is very different from my art journals. I kind of like the limitations and it also leads to funny things like using the top of a container of potatoe chips as flowers and stuff like that. Anyway, here are some examples from that book :

In most of the spreads I use either colored pencils or neocolor crayons, a glue stick and some pictures or loose papers. No paints or fancy pens here. But I will be glad when it starts to cool down a bit and I can get to my beloved acrylics again, I do miss my studio!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Back to work!

Well, nothing seems to get me going like having only limited time! On regular work days I try to spend at least two hours a night in my studio. Of course this doesn't always work out. Sometimes there's other stuff to do, sometimes I just really don't feel like it and sometimes time just gets away with me and there's none left for art. But to me it is already a great accomplishment that I show up in the studio at all! Until just a few years ago I talked a lot about art and I thought a lot about it, but I hardly got anything made. Art trading, the internet, flickr and some artsy discipline has really made a difference to me. I still have my off times when nothing comes out of my hands, but they're the exception now and not the rule and if I end up in a rut I know I will get back on track again.

Vacation time is over people and I have been working again for two days now and here's what I've been doing.

First another art journal spread. It seems I have little interest in other stuff than art journaling these days and that's fine with me. Everything always seems to come in waves and why not enjoy what I feel like doing instead of forcing myself to do other things? It's another spread in my ALMBH journal. The prompt was about where you are and I felt like I was in a good place since I got to make art and was in my favorite room in the house, my studio. The spread is therefore called "In a good place".

I really liked adding the broad organza ribbon with metallic stars. The ribbon lies loose on the page except for on the top and bottom where it's stapled down. What I enjoy about this journal is most of all the fact that I've finally given myself permission to use all the things I have collected over the years in collage sheets, stickers and ribbons, fibers and tapes. When I do art I always feel a little bit like a cheater if I use other peoples images or magazine images, but hey, it's a journal so who cares? It's for my own enjoyment, not for creating masterpieces, haha.

I also finally (and I say this with a little red on my cheeks) returned to my trilogy. Thank god my niece is a patient young woman. I added the painted doilies to the black surfaces and here is how it looks now:

I really like how the pink contrasts with the black. It looks really cool! I am thinking I may not add the flower pictures I talked about before after all, or maybe in a later stage. I kind of like the clean finish of the doilies like this. I think I will add text next with a white paint marker (I love white paint markers with a vengeance, one cannot have too many). I have collected a bunch of quotes about trees that will go nice with the theme of the paintings, which will be trees, even though you can't tell right now.

Aah, it's good to be back in the art trenches and get my hands dirty and busy!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Too much free time

Sometimes I wonder if it's better to be in the routine of work and everyday life than to have time off. When working in the office I can't wait to scrape together some hours to play with my art supplies and things actually get made. Now I had a whole week off and what did I do? Next to nothing! Well, art wise that is.

I did go on many many long walks across 'my' island, I got sunburned, I stared at the ocean, I enjoyed the view, I read books on my e-reader along the way, I took pictures with my phone, cause I forgot to bring my camera over and over again. I was in a wonderful vacation mood. I also spend two days with family and had a wonderful time.

But art? Oh my, hardly anything got done! I am almost ashamed to say I only did one spread in my ALMBH journal and that was it. And with no art, there was no artsy blog either. But...I guess I should at least show you the one spread that I DID make. Here it is:

The prompt was about how our actions affect others and the spread is about how the smallest things we do can have a major effect on the world around us, often without us even knowing about it. You know the cliché about how a butterfly spreading it's wings can cause a hurricane on the other side of the planet. Hence the title "When a butterfly..."

Well, the vacation is over. I'm back to work at the office and therefore (how strange) back to work in the studio. Hope to have some new stuff to show you soon.

Finally a very thankful thank you to my subscribers. I know compared to the famous bloggers in this world it's nothing, but I feel so happy I have four followers already. Thank you again and I hope you stay with me!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Some art journaling on a sunday

Two days of travel, taking classes for work and living in a hotel in a beautiful city (Groningen) that I hardly got to see for lack of time. One day of just getting over all that (boy, I needed to sleep late!) And today I am finally back at my work table to actually make something! I don't know what it is about trips to the main land but they totally mess up my system and biological clock. Living on an island has its perks, but the long travel time to get anywhere can be tiresome. That doesn't mean I don't like traveling. Au contraire! I love being on the ferry and the trains. It gives me so much time to read and write. And I love staying in hotels too and when your employer pays for it it's even better, haha. Still I am glad to be back home  and get back into the art groove. And that I will have plenty of time for the coming days, because I have a week off from work. Yay!

So today I worked on two spreads for the life-made-by-hand-class I'm taking. It was fun, but I do need to get used to this type of journaling.

Here's spread number one:

I'm afraid the picture's not so great, too much reflection from the flash and the spread is too big for my scanner. But it gives you an idea. The prompt for this spread was "What are your gifts?". I made a little list and talked about the responsibility that seems to come with gifts. After all what use are our gifts if we don't DO anything with them?

And here's the second spread:

Again the flash thing. Sigh.
Here the prompt was "What are you not letting go of?". I talked about self doubt and how by sticking to it, you can totally sabotage yourself and your work. I am slowly starting to learn that making art is something into itself. It's not up to me to decide whether it is any good or not and definitely not if I am any good or not. Being doubtful about our art is the job of critics an onlookers. I am here to make stuff, not to judge it. Doubting my art making skills will prevent me from making any and that is a luxury I cannot afford, because I love to make art and want to do it for the rest of my life whether it sucks or not.

I also learned a lot from being around photographers. Have you ever seen one of those contact sheets? They are chock full of little photo's  the photographer's been shooting for hours on end and in the end only one (if it was a good day) gets picked for actual use. I think fine arts is just the same. You make a lot of junk and every now and then something really good comes from it. Or not. But who cares? It's the doing that's important. The cliché is true I am afraid: it is all about the process.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pretty in pink

On to the next phase of my trilogy. Well, it's not really MY trilogy is it? It's my niece's, but as long as it's still in the making I suppose we can sort of share it for a while ;-)

When I got the assignment to make something for her wall my niece liked the idea of black and white with the added spice of pink or green. I tried several things in sketches, but nothing really seemed to work. However, now that I have used paper doilies for the background that gave me an idea for the next phase of the foreground of the panels. I decided to use these paper doilies as decorations!  I wanted to paint them first and what better color than some vibrant pinks? Problem solved! So tonight I spent painting paper doilies in three colors of pink and here's what they look like now:

Of course they're all warped from the paint, but a little gel medium when I put them on the canvasses will fix that right up. I love these colors and think they will stand out beautifully against the deep black of the background.

The center of the doilies still seemed a little boring to me, so my next intention is to fill them with something else and for now my idea is to paste over them with color scans of fake pink flowers that I have in my studio. I have used these flowers in journals and art works before and they work quite well. I took a picture of them to give you an idea of what they look like:

They come in three or four different color combinations, but all pinks. So they will go very well with the doilies I think. That part will have to wait for a later time though. The coming two days I am so swamped I will have absolutely no studio time. But the trilogy will continue after that, dear niece, I promise!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Trilogy goes black and ALMBH journal cover

So it's time to move on with the tree trilogy (which still has no trees on it whatsoever!). I covered the layers of collage with black gesso. Yes, I decided on the gesso. For two reasons really: first of all it has such a wonderful matte finish, this will make the glitter, sparkle and gloss that will fill the other elements (to be put on later) really stand out. And second: no paint is blacker than black gesso. I swear it's like putting a big black hole on canvas, all the light just gets sucked right in!

Anyway, this is what the panels look like now:

You can see how the structure of the collage items still shows through. Of course it doesn't get any prettier this way, I kinda liked the light on light colors. But trust me, it will all be okay in the end, I promise. ;-)

I also started the Kelly Kilmer A Life Made By Hand class. First I looked at all the materials and the video's, just to get a feel of things and then of course it was time to get to work myself. Originally I wanted to make a journal from scratch, but then I remembered this square sketchbook that I still had lying around  and the minute I did it started screaming at me: "Use me! Use me!". Who am I to refuse desperately screaming blank books? So I went to work on the cover with collage and pens and I covered the thing with sticky plastic. And this is how it turned out:

I also added a ribbon on both sides so I can tie it closed as it gets thicker and thicker. The hardest thing was punching the holes through the thick cover. Sometimes this artsy stuff girl could really use a big strong male. Oh well....fine...I'll do it myself! And so I did. I like how it turned out and I can't wait to get started on the inside. Kelly provides I think something like a 180 prompts and lots of collage layouts, so this will be a wonderful opportunity to get to use all that lovely decorative paper I have lying around, not to mention the enormous stack of magazines I have collected over the years. This should be fun!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

art card

Last year and the year before I was really into art trading. Especially when it came to atc's. But so far this year has hardly brought any trading at all. I am simply too busy with other stuff. However, last week I read the book "Good mail day"  and it got me thinking about mail art again. So I couldn't resist making a little art card. Here it is:

It was simply fun making it. I may send it to someone or keep it to make prints of. But would it then still be mail art I wonder?

Friday, June 4, 2010

New spread

Yesterday I finished the first spread of the second signature journal. I am more pleased with it than with the front cover. The rest of the journal (six more spreads and the back to go) is already collaged, but still needs many finishing touches.

This style of journaling is somehow difficult for me, but that's what makes it a challenge I suppose, it gets me out of my comfort zone.

Speaking of challenges: I have today decided to enter an online class with Kelly Kilmer. She absolutely rocks and I would love to see her techniques and ideas to bookmaking and journaling. Want to know more about her? There's a link in the blogroll to the left. I checked with some journaling people first on the several yahoo groups I am a member of, to see if anyone had done her classes and they were very enthousiastic, so that should be okay. Looking forward to learning new things!

So now the weekend has come and that makes me happy, because: no office time required. Will not be creating tomorrow though as I have plans to go shopping with a girlfriend, but sunday and tonight are still wide open for me to be productive and artsy. And in the back of my mind the ideas always lurk, whatever I'm doing. Creative doing may be put on hold once in a while, but creative thinking never stops!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Next phase in trilogy

Yay, I had some time to continue working on my little commission. I am calling it my 'tree trilogy' because it will consist of three panels with trees on them. Today I added two layers to them. One was a layer of doilies and the other was a layer of stamps that I did with gesso. Here's how they look now:

Now all these first layers are just for extra structure and substance. They will not be as visible as they are now in the final painting, because at some point I am going to go over them with black paint or black gesso (haven't decided yet). After the black layer these layers will simply show up as shapes and forms. After the black is where the 'real' painting will begin. I'm getting really excited about all of this and hope to be able to continue soon.

Where I live

One of the responders to my blog wanted to see some pictures of the island I live on. So Ellie, this is especially for you! ;-) I will just let the photos speak for themselves. It's truly a privilege to live here.

For more pictures of the island and my other photographs (among others of London and several beautiful places in The Netherlands) I would like to refer to my fotothing site where I have put many photographs over the past years.