Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Back from my break and it's up to nothing wednesday!

It took a little longer than expected to get back to my blog and I completely blame it on the very short heat wave we had until today, although of course I was simply still in vacation mode and do-nothing mode. I started work two days ago, but my time at home was still spent reading and just sort of hanging around doing nothing too useful. ;-)

But now I'm back and wouldn't you know it: it's wednesday! This would be the day to show you what I'm up to, but as you may have guessed, I'm up to nothing yet. Tonight will be the first time after 12 days that I will be working in the studio again. Of course there's still projects lying there and of course I have plenty of ideas, but as for anything to show you about them...nah.

So I've decided to just show you a few pictures I took last week so you can at least see what I was up to then. As stated in my last post I went to my sister's house for a free vacation. The only 'cost' was to feed and watch her dog, which was actually just a bonus. I mean... come on...look at him:

Meet Casper, my foster dog.
Is he cute or what? He's a very old and very sweet beagle. He's not one of those petting dogs, he likes mostly to be left alone. Except when he's scared and he gets scared by thunder storms and hard rain. When that happens he likes to be comforted and lie really close to you. I felt quite flattered thinking this dog saw me as a comforting rock of safety ;-)

Staying with my sister also meant enjoying her beautiful garden which was in full bloom. For someone with no gardening skills or desires to gain any her garden was a sweet haven. (I have a jungle in my back yard and I expect wild monkeys to move in any time now to replace all the cats that call it their paradise.) I took many many pictures of all the flowers and here's just two of them.

Stokrozen (no idea how to translate that)

Enormous lillies
She also has a lot of trinkets in her garden, you know, little statues, little decorations. Here are some of her stone birds. I took this picture because the perspective made me smile.

They look like a couple of chatty birds to me.

But the best part of where she lives is that it has a beautiful country side. It's mostly farm land with lots of grass, trees and fields full of corn or potatoes. And many of those fields were in bloom too. Here's what the Achterhoek (it's in the east of the Netherlands) looks like:

An old barn next to a farm.

Another farm.

A beautiful white house. I could live there!
Sometimes it was like walking/biking inside a postcard. The funny thing is that I live in a beautiful place myself and can almost forget about that when I see countryside like that. I sometimes wish I could live in several places at once!

I am especially drawn to this countryside because it was where I was born. I guess it makes me all nostalgic.  My father used to have a farm there. I only lived there for the first six years of my life, but just look and see if you wouldn't remember it well:

Yup, that's the house I was born in!
The farm is long gone, but the house still stands. Every time I'm in the neighbourhood I just have to ride past it. I haven't had the nerve yet to knock on the door. I would like to, but I think I would also like to keep my memories unspoiled. Oh well, maybe one day I will...

On the last day I went for a long bike ride and what did I spy in one of the fields?

It's a stork!
I never saw a stork in the wild. It was so cool! Unfortenately it was too far away to get a really good close up, but I stood there for quite a while observing it and enjoying it anyway. It didn't seem to care I was there.

Well, there you have it, my vacation in a nut shell. Next to biking and walking I went to the nearby city's market and bought lots and lots of fabrics to take home with me. There was so much to choose from that I wished I lived closer so I could go more often. I also bought some ribbons and paper.

I didn't do much art. I did some doodling in a sketchbook and I kept up my journal, but that's about it. It's okay, today I am going to get back to the work table and get back into my artsy groove. There's lots to do and it's high time I did some of it! ;-)

Friday, June 17, 2011

The giveaway winner, a freebie, some atc's and a little blog break

For all of you that have been holding your breath all week long: it's time to tell you who won a sad girl (now there's a thing you don't say every day)! I used the random number generator and here's what it said:

Now I have to admit that this almost feels like a conflict of interest to me, because I happen to know the winner personally and even worse: he's the mayor of our island!  But I'll swear an oath to the death that he won fair and square and no bribery or blackmail took place, that's why I made a little screen print of the random number generator to prove it. ;-) Anyway, Yorick, the sad girl of your choice (Helen) is yours, or rather it's for the person you want to give it to. Hope she will like it. You'll have to wait for her for about ten days though. Why that is will be explained at the end of this post.

For those of you who didn't win I have a little consolation prize in the form of another freebie sheet. Here's the collage sheet I worked on this week for my handmade book al finished and colored in. If you click on the image it will take you to my flickr where you can download it in different sizes.

Hope this eases the pain just a little. ;-)

When the sad girls were done I had some paper left over and I didn't want to waste it, so I did something I hadn't done in ages: I made some atc's! Four of them. They are like the counterpart of the sad girls. They feature four girls too, but these girls are smiling wide. Hopeful isn't it? ;-)

Like the sad girls, these were drawn with a pitt pen and then colored in with colored pencils. If you want to trade for one of these girls please leave a comment or mail me (my addy is on my profile). I would like it if all four went to different people, so I won't do a 4/4 trade with these.

Now a little blog announcement: I will be away for the most part of about ten days. I have a long week off and a big part of that week I will spend house and dog sitting for my sister who lives in a beautiful part of the Netherlands known as the Achterhoek. I will have access to the internet and the mail and stuff like that, but I won't be doing any blog posts and will hardly be in my studio.

I will probably be back on this blog on June 27 or somewhere around that date. Until then I'm signing off wishing you a wonderfully creative weekend, a wonderfully creative week and another wonderfully creative weekend! Bye now!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What are you up to wednesday - part 13

It's wednesday again and I'm up to all sorts of stuff, so let me show you my worktable first:

Yesterday I started working on a little collage sheet that is handdrawn with a pitt pen and colored in with inktense pencils, which are then wetted. The colors are really bright, which I love, but maybe a little too dark for my taste in the project I'm making this for, but my choice is limited since I only have a small set. But still, it's starting to look quite colorful. My intention is to copy this sheet onto sticker paper when it's done and then cut out the elements to use in the handmade journal that I am constructing, of which I will show you more further on in this post.

On the left of the picture you can also see a load of tubes of acrylic paint. I have started working on prepping the altered atlas again and have switched from gouache to acrylics for a while, because the effects of the colors are a little bolder and because it gives a waterproof surface. The atlas rests on my other studio table for now, see?

The effect of the paint when using this 'technique' (it's a silly trick really) is almost like creating a moon landscape with craters in it. I like it a lot like that. I use watered down acrylics, so the pages won't stick to each other.
On the right of the atlas lies the Drawing Lab book on top of a book with nude models in it for figure drawing, because that is the subject of the labs right now. I have no access to a live figure drawing place.

And here's a view of my sewing room table/cabinet thingy. This is what I've been working on for the past few days: my fully handmade journal/book. I put five signatures together with my sewing machine and used the elements/tags/labels/border sheets that I showed in previous posts to embellish them. I still think they need a little more and that's why I'm making the stickers that are now a work in progress on my work table.

I still have no idea how I want the cover of this little book to look. I have some fabrics that I really like, but I've also been thinking about just painting white cotton and making my own decorated fabric. Not sure yet. I'll tackle that problem when the signatures are fully done.

Just to show you what has gone into this book I'll show you a view of my work table of last weekend. I spread out all the elements that were to go into it, just because I thought it looked so cool ;-)

I just love all those bright colors! I'm also proud that every little bit was made by me, myself and I. A lot of work is going into this thing and I don't even know if I will ever really use it as a journal or not. I just get a kick out of putting it together. It's also a learning experience for me, since I've never done anything like this before.  I've made some books and booklets from ready made paper, but never from my own decorated paper.
Hope your wednesday is full of artsy stuff too!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Drawing Lab June - the first results

As I've stated before, my June studio warm up will be about drawing, just like in May. But instead of using the EDM list, this month I want to draw from Carla Sonheim's book "Drawing Lab". If you don't have this book and think drawing is a drag, you really should get it, because it's full of fun exercises, and although sometimes it focuses on drawing from life, there's also some really silly (as she would call it) stuff in there. It helps you loosen up about your drawing and not take it too seriously while still working on the craft. I like that.

Without further ado let me show you what I've done so far.

I started with drawing lab 3 in which you had to do gesture drawings of your pet. Well, I have no pet anymore, so I used youtube, which was far from ideal, but hey, it's only practice right? can pause the video, so that helps. I was never able to pause my cats when I still had them, that's for sure. ;-) 

I made four pages of these, but am only showing two. They don't make great drawings, and I think you get the idea. What is amazing though is that even with such fast drawings you can make out that they're cats and what they are doing. So, it's good practice.

Next I did drawing lab number 6, wich was about drawing multiples. I love love love all these doggies. I used a picture in a book as a starting reference and then just drew the same dog over and over again. This was a really fun exercise.

It's amazing how with the same reference, when you draw a little loosely, you can still come up with 20 different images, that are connected, but not real copies of each other. I like the effect of all of them together. I guess it's true what I read in a book about home decorating with junk items:  one is junk, three is a collection. ;-)

I guess you can also tell I'm not doing all the labs. This has to do with practical reasons (I cannot create a coffee shop environment in my studio and draw the people sitting there) and preferences (I just don't like monkeys, so why should I draw one, bleh).

The next is lab 8, which was another silly one. Making up creatures from paint blobs. I came up with some very strange ones indeed, but are they cool or what?

After this came lab 9, in which I surprised myself. It was about drawing with your non dominant hand. I saw some of the examples and thought: wow, I can never do them that good, but they didn't turn out half bad.
I used some images from an ad in an old newspaper as reference.

For lab 12, which was about semi blind contour drawing (drawing the outlines without looking, but taking some peeks every now and then), I used some old vacation shots of a vacation with my family. On the left is my middle sister holding a hand puppet and on the right are my two sisters and my cousin sitting together on some steps in Berenkastel (Germany).

And finally lab 12 amazed me again. I have drawn many eyes in the faces of the girls I have drawn my entire life (like the sad girls in my give away), but I have rarely really drawn an eye up close and was a little worried I could not do that. The aim was to draw the same thing realistically four times with different materials. I didn't have all the materials Carla suggested in the book on hand, so I improvised with different ones. I like how different media can give different effects to the same thing. I think the colored pencil one is my favorite.

All in all I am learning a lot from these exercises and I am really enjoying them. Hope you liked looking at my progress and I will keep you posted on how this June project continues.

For now I'm signing off by wishing you a wonderfully creative week!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Book review - Masters: collage - curated by Randel Plowman

Title: Masters: Collage
Author: curated by Randel Plowman
Info: 335 p. - 2010
Finished: 10 May 2011
Acquired through:
Rating: 8/10

Few words and an overload of inspiration, that's how I would describe this wonderful feast on the eyes.

I've had this book on my coffee table for about half a year before I completely finished it. It took me that long to get through it, not because it's no good, but because there's simply too much to see and my mind couln't cope with all those beautiful images at once ;-) And now that I'm all through, I might as well start over again, cause this is one you can come back to again and again.

This is not a book about artists and their process, this is not a book about the meaning of collage in the art world, this is not a book to gain information on techniques or materials. What it is, is like a huge (and when I say huge I mean enormous) collage museum in a book! 40 collage artists are presented through their work. A very short introduction is given to each artist and some short quotes of what they say of their work are spread through the presentation. That's it, that's all, and that's more than enough.

If anything this book shows just how diverse the medium of collage can be and if you don't at least get 100 ideas from it, you must be blind ;-) I loved it. The only drawback of it might be that you cannot look at the works in their actual size. I would have loved to see some of them up close and see how the different layers were done, but that's the limit of dealing with a book instead of a real museum.

Still, if somebody out there wants to build a collage museum that has all these works in it, I would definitely move right in and never go out again!