Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What are you up to wednesday - part 22

Wednesday again already. This fast moving time is getting ridiculous! I'm starting to suspect foul play or something. It cannot possibly be the end of August already? Obviously my calendar and all calendars in the world have been set wrong! It's a time conspiracy! But I'll play along...mostly 'cause I can't fight forces more formidable than me. ;-)

Oh well, lets look at my worktable! Here it is:

Huh? An empty worktable? Yup! All cleared up and nothing to see but the cute little babushkas on my table cloth. Right at this moment there is nothing going on in my studio! The table is rarely this empty, so I thought you might enjoy the view of all that space! Isn't it pretty? ;-)

Now, before you start thinking I'm slacking off, let me guide you down the stairs to the ground floor and show you where the real action is:

This is where I'm working right now like crazy! My art journaling table looks like a bomb exploded there. There's even stuff lying on the kitchen floor, 'cause there was no room left on the table. Bet you can guess why. Exactly, it's because I'm still working on the tutorial. On the table you can see a spread in progress of the little journal I am making especially for it, so I can show you the entire process of my current journaling. It's almost done. I only have to do the cover now. And after that of course there will be the writing.

I have decided to make it a three parter tutorial. Part one will be about backgrounds and surfaces to work on. Part two will be about collage and embellishing. And part three will be about writing. All in all this fabulous idea of mine to do an art journaling tutorial is way more time consuming than I expected. Me and my big ideas! And here's the really bad news: it will not get finished this week (yes, I'm groaning about that too, so please don't be angry with me).

I had completely forgotten to take into account the big festival that is being held on the island this weekend. It's called Into The Great Wide Open and it's absolutely fabulous. But it does mean that I will be away from my art tables for three days. I hope to have time to do some sketching during the festival though, so I won't be completely idle. My friend Monk is coming over, so it should be extra fun.

So, bear with me, my artsy friends. The tutorial is in the making and it will come, but again later than promised. I am so sorry, but you are all really nice people right? And you understand, right? Right!

Hope you're all having a fun Wednesday and are up to something good!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book review: Creative time and space - Ricë Freeman-Zachery

I thought it might be a good idea to do some reviews of books I read in the not so distant past before I had my blog and posted artsy book reviews online. I have quite a collection at home and maybe there's some things in there you might enjoy also. So, here's one I read in spring of 2010.

Title: Creative time and space: making room for making art
Author: Ricë Freeman-Zachery
Info: 144 p. - 2010
Rating: 7,5 / 10

I love Ricë Freeman Zachery. She's one of the most outspoken bloggers out there for one, but she also wants to get into the heads of artists and see what makes them tick. Her interest in creativity is boundless. Before this book I read her wonderful "Living the creative life" that explores how artists live and generate ideas (I can totally recommend that one). This book is kind of a follow up on that, but you can read them seperately easily.

In Creative Time and Space it's all about making room for art. Not just the physical space (although that is adressed too), but also the mental space and space in your busy schedule. How do artists do it? To get to the bottom of this Ricë has interviewed a group of mixed media artists and their answers are as diverse as their work. Of course there is no one size fits all answer to the question of how to make room for art, but the ideas and suggestions given will definitely make you think about your own routines and preferences and maybe help sort things out.

The book has some exercises in it as well that may help you prioritise and look at your own way of dealing with finding time/room/head space for art. If anything this is a wonderful book for people who just want to know how artists think and what they are about.  Maybe next time someone doesn't 'get' you, you could lend them this book. ;-)

As with Living the Creative Life this book is a nice square format with beautiful eye candy of the work of the contributing artists. A definite little gem to keep and reread every now and then. I know I have.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Atlas continued

Here are some spreads from the atlas. It still is doing a great job as my current everyday journal. I love its size, I love its paper and I love the spreads I'm doing in it. It's sort of a new approach for me and it will be the approach I will teach you in the upcoming tutorial!

What I like about it is that I can do most of the work up front and then just write in it when I feel like it. I don't have to consider the entire page spread when writing. I write early in the morning before work and I just don't have the time then to also think about how I want it all to look. I just want to write then.

What I also love is the use of all those stacks of magazines I have collected over the year. Every now and then I sit down with a couple of them and just cut out pictures so they are ready to use when I need them.

I also get to use all those little funt art supplies that accumulate over time, like stickers or rub ons or pretty tape and even stamps. It all gets used in this journal. There's no pressure of making unique art, it's just play play play and it feels more like decorating than anything else. ;-)

I was supposed to do this post yesterday, but for some reason this is one of those weeks where nothing goes as planned. Nothing serious going on, so don't worry, it's mostly my mind that's on overtime and I'm just really tired the last few days and spent most of the late afternoon yesterday napping instead of blogging or doing anything else that's considered...ehm...useful. Of course napping is very useful when you need it, so I still consider it a few well spent hours. ;-)

Another thing I am engrossed in right now are Suzanne Collins Hunger Games books (the Dutch translation is Hongerspelen for those who want to look them up). It's the kind of reading I did as a child. You know: where you were in bed and your mother said you had to turn off the lights, but you whined for 'one more chapter' and then went on and read three more instead. You know what I mean? I don't want to do art, I just want to read! Just one more chapter, please? ;-)

Well, that's all the spreads I have to show you for today. It's weekend again. Outside the second thunder storm of the day is passing over. I just escaped one on my hike this morning (after getting soaked in one last thursday), so I guess I'm lucky I'm inside now. We are having a very fall like summer here in The Netherlands. I don't mind so much, since I'm not a summer person anyway, but I feel a bit sorry for all the poor tourists that are vacationing here on the island. This must be one of those rare summers where the studio did not get too hot to be in, which is quite unique. (of course summer's not over yet)

On another note: please let me know how you like the changes I'm making on the looks of the blog. I've added tabs and extra pages and would like to know if everything works according to plan. Please let me know if something is off. It's still a work in progress...

I'm also open to any suggestions you might have for possible improvements (if it's within my power to do them of course, I'm no blogging goddess). I'm loving this blog more and more and want to make the most of it.

Wishing you all a wonderful artsy weekend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What are you up to wednesday - part 21

Another Wednesday, another look at my worktable. Here's how it looks right this minute, but to be honest I left it like this a few days ago and haven't had the opportunity to return to it yet, so this is a what-were-you-up-to-and-didn't-put-away-yet post. ;-)

What you're looking at is a spread from my studio book, the sketchbook I use to play and try stuff out in when I'm in the studio. On the left of the spread are notes I took for the art journaling tutorial while I was working on it, mostly to write down the supplies I use. About the tutorial: life gets in the way sometimes and I will not be able to finish the tutorial as I hoped this week, but hopefully next week. It is fun working on it though. I had planned to post it this Friday, but for now you will have to be content with some more journal spreads then from the atlas. Oh'll live, right? ;-)

The right page is what I was working on to take a break from the tutorial a few days ago. It's a letter drawing of a quote I like by Erica Jong. Here's a close up:

I used gouache for the background and the hand (which is simply a tracing of my own hand), drew in the details with a drawing pen and colored them in with a new set of markers that you can also see on my worktable photo. It was fun to do, but I think I would choose more contrasting colors for hand and background next time, so the hands stands off from the background more.

I do hope you are all up to something artsy today!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Book review: Nature inspired - Tracie Lyn Huskamp

Title: Nature Inspired : mixed media techniques for gathering, sketching, painting, journaling, and assemblage
Author: Tracie Lyn Huskamp
Info: 112 p. - 2009
Finished: 14 August 2011
Acquired through:
Rating: 7 / 10

If you love nature and want to incorporate it into your art, but don't know how, this book is a good way to start. It's not necessarily a book for beginners, but more for people who are already a little into mixed media and want to add the natural aspect to their work. I think at some points the book expects you to have a certain experience into working with art materials.

Huskamp gives good information on gathering natural elements and preserving them, but also on using photographs and drawings or turning photographs into drawings. She shows some fun and interesting techniques and the projects shown vary from single page pieces to journals to assemblage. She uses a lot of fabric in her work too. This is very much a Huskamp book, in that you have to like her work to like this book, or you should not get it. Some books show the works of other artists too, but this is not one of those.

The book is definitely worth while for nature loving artists and it's full of Huskamps beautiful art work, includig a gallery at the end. It's not the best mixed media book out there, but much better than some. This is not a book for those who want a general look into art making or mixed media, but I suppose the title already discloses that.

A nice book to add to your collection, but not an essential one. I liked it though.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Some free prints for you!

A couple of years ago I started on this series of art cards that were altered magazine photos of women in mixed media. The plan was to make a series of 18 cards. Why 18? Because that's how many fit in the little album they are stored in! ;-)

I still haven't made all 18, but some are kind of cute and I thought you might like them too.

So today I offer you four cards in this series for your own enjoyment. You can click on the image and that will bring you to the original file on flickr.

The file is scanned at 300 dpi, which should be enough for a reasonable quality print. Just download it to your computer and choose some good sturdy paper, like maybe watercolor paper.

Print at 300dpi and the image should print at postcard size. They do make nice postcards, but also nice art prints. I often include some of them in art trades as a little extra and they are usually appreciated.


This is my way of saying thank you to all of you for your feedback and support, you make this blogging experience an amazing one! I hope you like them and enjoy them!

Wishing you all a wonderful artsy weekend!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What are you up to wednesday - part 20

After some down time with me mostly drawing and doodling outside of it, the studio is in full use again! Yay! Looks like my little rut is over and ideas are all over the place. But one thing at a time and right now that's all about making a tutorial for all of you!

Here's what my worktable looks like at this very moment:

I am making a 16 page journal out of a newsletter and am currently cutting images and texts out of magazines to use for collage items. The tutorial will give info on prepping pages, on decorating them and on writing on them. I don't know yet if it will be a small series or if I will put it all in one large tutorial. For now I am just working on putting it together and taking photographs of the process. Hopefully sometime next week I can turn it into something worth while for the blog.

Hope you're all having an artsy wednesday too!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A big thank you and some sketchbook pages

Before I show you some pages from two of my sketchbooks I wanted to take the time to thank each and every one of you who took the time to respond to my last post, whether in the comment section, through yahoo groups or by other means. I was blown away by your honest and open replies and by the fact that my personal little (well, not so little) hang up was speaking to a lot of you. It made me feel I'm not alone out here.
Writing that post was very liberating for me and I feel now as if I have made things a lot clearer for myself as to how I want to proceed. I have been thinking some more about it this weekend and I think what is important to me is making stuff and sharing stuff, more than marketing stuff, selling stuff or making a big name for myself (or any name at all).

For now I have decided not to open an Etsy shop, because I simply don't want the hassle that comes with it. I have instead decided to use this blog as my main forum for showing my work and for sharing information (tutorials for instance) and even giving some of my work away (freebies you can print out or original pieces you can win). I have to think about it some more, but I am far more interested in spreading my work to those who like it than I am in selling it and this may be the way to go about it. We'll see how it goes. For now I have some freebies lined up for coming friday and I will spend a lot of time this week working on a tutorial on art journaling. I'll keep you posted. In any case I'm excited about my work again!

High time for some actual images!
I wanted to show you some pages from two sketchbooks, my outside-of-the-studio-book and my watercolor sketchbook that's usually in my backpack for when I'm away from home.

I love the size of my out-of-the-studio-book! It's 25x25 cm (I have a preference for square books for some reason). Unfortanetely that also means it won't fit on my scanner, so pictures from it are far from ideal. But you get the general idea, right?

In the above spread I was testing out some derwent graphitint pencils. They are beautifully colored graphite pencils that are also watersoluble. I bought a small set of six of them and wanted to see how they worked, so I filled two pages with them. I liked the colors a lot, but in all honesty, as for performance I'm not sure how they are different from regular watercolor pencils, so I don't think I'll invest in any more of them.

The next spread is me just playing around a little. These are the kinds of things that happen when I'm watching tv and want to do something creative at the same time.

On the left some doodling with a drawing pen on a random watercolor painted background and on the right a heart drawing in watercolor pencils that were wetted afterwards. Now I cannot do this kind of thing if I really want to concentrate on what I'm watching on tv, but it's perfect for reruns of Law & Order! ;-)

As you know I have also started zentangling, oh no, tangling (sigh). I made four zentangles on one page and drew them on different colored backgrounds.

I like the effect of the different colors. I am still very much in the learning stage of this as you can see, but it is a fun way to doodle. Now I have done these four I am working on a large one that will fill an entire sketchbook page. I will show you that when it's done.

On to the watercolor sketchbook. This one is a lot smaller. Pages measure about 21x15 cm, which is A5 size. It's a very portable book. I'm not all too happy with the paper. It's very workable for watercolor, but it has a little too much structure in it for my taste. Still, it's perfect for taking along on walks or if I travel to the main land and want to doodle on the road.

First an example of what I like to do when I don't know what to draw. I just draw shapes and color them in. It's abstract, but without any meaning or plan. Just playing with materials, in this case watercolor pencils.

I have these really cheap watercolor pencils that work quite well actually. I've had some more expensive ones that wouldn't react to water as well as these cheap ones. I don't know the brand, it's not on the pencils, and I threw away the box, but what I'm trying to say is that more expensive isn't necessarily always the better choice.

Of course no sketchbook is complete without some little houses in it. In this scan you can see how the paper effects the result and I'm not too happy about that. But oh well, it's only a sketchbook.

The sentiment here is that there's no place like home, ain't that the truth? Speaking of little houses, I have recently received one of those moleskine japanese books with the harmonica pages and I intend to fill it with little houses. That should be cool.

Finally a little pen and watercolor sketch I did last saturday on one of my walks. The island is at its most idyllic right now (also at it's most busy, tourists everywhere, can't wait for summer vacations to be over) and even on a rather gray day like saturday the heather brought an overload of purple to the view of a small valley and I just couldn't resist putting it on paper.

It's a very quick sketch, but I was going for impression, not perfection. The air was rather moist and it took forever for the page to dry. It was fun drawing on a walk again though, I really should do it more often.

Hope you liked this peek in my sketchbooks and hope you will have a nice and artsy week!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Doing what you love (and not allowing the money to follow)

Dear blogreaders, this is a very long post that has been roaming in my head and heart for a long time. I hope you take the time to read it, because it's something I feel strongly about and I needed to get it out. Thanks for listening. No pictures this time, just words...lots of words ;-)

Every now and then the question comes up. "Wouldn't you like to make a living with your art?" or "Wouldn't you like to be a professional artist?" or "Have you ever thought about selling your stuff?". I guess loosely translated the question is if I would like to make a living doing what I love. This question has haunted me for years now and I am just now starting to unravel it's true answer and what it means for me.

The question often comes from people who have seen some of my art and like it or who have merely heard I am a creative person. There seems to be this consensus that if you're good at something you have to make money with it. And yes, I have thought about it, in fact it is the question that constantly pests me in one way or another and won't let go of my ego. And my ego is very much involved when it comes to this, which is also the big stumbling block in truthfully answering this question. But I'm going to try...

It is flattering when people love what you make. It's even more flattering when they want to pay for it and it's even more flattering than that when you haven't made anything yet and they will pay you to think up something for them. That feels like a vote of confidence in your abilities as an artist. Don't get me wrong, by no means am I constantly being offered payment for my work, but I have sold a few pieces, be it all in the small circle of my friends and acquaintances or the people attached to them. I have gained enough confidence to maybe wonder if I could make at least part of a living with my artsy endeavors if I put my energy into it and I actually think that I might be able to. It sure is true that I love nothing more than making stuff. I love putting things together. And wouldn't it be a dream come true if you could make a living doing what you love? Of course it would!

The essence however for me is in the words 'doing what you love'. I know that it's a wonderful idea and often said that if you just do what you love the money will follow. I don't believe that's true at all (wish it was). I believe you can turn what you love into something that might bring in the cash, but you will have to do a lot more than just make things. You have to market it, price it, find an audience, keep up a shop, maybe teach or write articles, etcetera etcetera. All sorts of things that will get you noticed and bring attention to your art and yourself as an artist. You have to think of your buyers and/or students, whether you like it or not, for they are your customers and the suppliers of your income. That is simply how it works. I have read enough books and blog posts on the business side of art to know that it is hard work and I am not so naive to believe that if I just sit in my studio and make art the money will automatically follow. But...unfortunately for me keeping a business is not doing what I love. In fact it is turning what I love into something that I mildly hate and resent. It would turn this one thing that is completely my own into a means for making money and that simply won't wash with me. 

Before you become angry with me, let me say that I am not one of those people who has some principled belief that art and commercialism don't go together or that it's wrong to turn (and maybe slightly adapt) your art into a business. I know there are some who think this is selling out. I don't. In fact I have a great admiration for people who can do it. There's some very good examples out there who just blow me away. Why some of them are on my ever growing list of inspiring blogs! I think Kelly Rae Roberts' enormous success is the perfect example of a dream come true (to name just one). It takes a lot of courage and persistence to try to make it as a professional mixed media artist and I bow my head to any of you who have done it or who are trying it or aspiring to it. You should be worshipped for following your dreams.

But I have wondered about my dreams and they don't add up with what the professionals are doing, no matter how much it attracts me in theory. Yes, making a living doing my art indeed seems like a dream come true, but it is actually not my dream. My dream is just making art (sans the money making or building a name for myself).  My dream is a quiet life surrounded with books, nature and art supplies (and possibly a couple of cats) away from the busy world, not so much in it. In a perfect world I'd live in a nice secluded house in the country or near the ocean and just scurry about writing, making art, reading and going on long walks. Yes, exactly the things I do now if I'm off work. Boring to talk about, but what a wealth for me inside my head and heart. My life is not exciting for others, it's only fascinating to me, and that's fine with me! ;-)

Let me give you an example of how my mind works. I love to read. Love love love it. Nothing makes me happier than to curl up with a book and a pot of tea and just escape the daily grind or learn something new. But here's the strange soon as for some reason I have to read something I start to hate it. For instance, to graduate from high school we had to read loads of books for our language exams. Good beautiful novels. I hated it! As soon as there's a list of requirements and a grade attached to it, reading becomes a chore, it becomes work. It no longer matters if the novel is wonderful, it only matters that it's mandatory. And mandatory and I don't go well together. I don't want to be tied up! It's as simple as that. When and where and how and what I read has to be completely up to me. If it's not, it's tainted. It's no longer really mine. I cannot do it. (Hence I only read part of the required list at high school, so much for the educational system.)

The same thing goes for anything else that I love doing, including art. When it becomes work I cannot love it as much. It's too tied up with expectations, requirements, demands or the need to make profit from it. It's no longer free and enriching and so it becomes a burden. If there's one thing I don't want it is for the thing I love to become a burden, 'cause then I can't love it freely anymore.  And that to me is the bigger dream really, I need to be free in the things that I love doing and free from expectations and demands. I need to experience the joy of simply doing, not so much the joy of accomplishing and producing (even though I'm as much a perfectionist and control freak as the next person and my ego loves all those things).

The problem is of course that expectations are all around, even in my own head. And the way our western world works it is highly strange to just do something for the love of it and nothing else. This always brings a conflict inside of me and it's easy to be swept away by all the wonderful examples in the art world of women who are doing it, turning their love for their art into a viable business, and of course there are a thousand times more people who would love to try it, if they only could figure out how. Sometimes I think I am one of them and I start thinking about it and planning it. I ask myself questions like: What would my business look like? How would I go about it? Hey, there's a reason I read so many books on the business side of art! But what happens then? I'll tell you what happens: the minute I even go mildly into that direction I get seriously grumpy and mildly unhappy and ... I loose the love. It's gone like it never was. Art becomes a job and I somehow cannot stomach it, not even in theory. Sigh.

I even notice it when I mention to people that I may be starting an etsy shop by the end of the year. They immediately start to bombard me with advice on how to market my stuff whether on or off line. But I am simply looking for a way to allow people to acquire something of mine that they might like outside of my direct surroundings. There's only so much you can put up on your own wall or give away to friends and every now and then I do like to make something on canvas or loose paper (outside of the books I prefer to work in). I can't count the amounts of times I've been asked to join the local art fair, but I keep telling them that I have very little to sell, that most of my stuff is done in journals and books and that I have no intention to produce in order to sell at some market.  But it's hard not to be tempted.

I think yes, I am an amateur at heart, but art is yet by no means a hobby for me! For me art is an absolute priority, a necessity if you will. I cannot not do it.  If I don't do it I also get cranky and miserable. I pretty much do it on a daily basis (unless I'm in a little rut like last week) and not in a shy way. I work full time in an office and have to keep up other obligations too, but I try to be in my studio every day for several hours. While taking my art in itself really seriously is a sure killer of my love for it, taking the practice of my art seriously is an absolute must. And that is exactly what it is to me, a practice. It's all about self development and personal expression, about building skills and learning new things, about getting my hands dirty with paint or meticulously drawing or writing. It's all about the doing, about the love of making. I think in the end that's also why I keep this blog: to keep up my practice and to share the love.

On my personal profile it says: "I love making art. I love reading books. I love going on long hikes across my island. I am happy as long as I can do those three things." That is not me sharing a little tidbit about myself, that is me sharing my essence! I know this sounds dramatic and maybe it is, but those really are the things that are my priority in daily life. It's all about love and wonder and unfortunately those don't pay the bills.  That's what the job is for. This has and will forever be my eternal frustration and is what keeps me being tempted to be one of the thousands who want to be professional artists. I just don't think it would be good for me to give into this temptation and that's what this post is all about. I needed to clarify this for myself.

I hope I'm not the only one out there who sometimes struggles with these questions and even more I hope that I am not the only one out there who tries to stick to the practice instead of going for the profession.

For those of you who are still with me after all this lengthy writing, thanks for listening.
I would love to read your input on this, you can do so in the comment section, but if that's too public for you feel free to e-mail me. My e-mail address is in my profile on the sidebar.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What are you up to wednesday - part 19

Wednesday again! Seems like it was Wednesday just yesterday, but I guess that can't be right. ;-)

Today no view of my studio table, since there's not much going on there right now. But I have plenty of other tables in the house and today I'm showing you two of them, or rather I'm showing you what's on them right now.

Here's table number one. It's my art journaling table in the kitchen downstairs. Every time I realise I can work all over the house I get this, boy-am-I-spoiled-or-what-feeling. ;-)

This is my current journal spread in the altered atlas. I still need to fill the right side with writing.

I had a lot of lovely comments (thank you), both here and through other means like flickr about my atlas spreads. I've been thinking about doing a tutorial about how I build these pages. They are so simple that to me it's almost ridiculous to be praised for them, but maybe somebody would like to know how they're done anyway? I'd also like to say a little more about writing in a journal, because I have the feeling that some people are completely mystified by it (What ever do you write about so much?). I'm curious to know if you artsy blog readers are interested in such a tutorial about easy peasy journaling. Let me know and I'll get to work on it!

On to table number two. This is not really a work table, well, except for the fact that it gets used quite a lot when I'm watching tv or something. It's my coffee table.You can't see much of the table itself, but what's on it is what this is about anyway.

Yes yes yes, I have started zentangling! And yes yes yes, I know that's not how you call it. You're supposed to say 'tangling', sigh, I like 'zentangling' much better. Here you see my first two efforts and a third one is in the making. On the left you see the book I'm using for it, which is quite nice, be it that I think this whole zentangle thing is a little too commercially oriented. I mean, come on, you HAVE to use special zentangle tiles? I'm not falling for that one, people! ;-) All in all I find it more difficult than I thought. Making a pattern in itself it not so hard, but to make an attractive zentangle is. I'm hoping to improve with practice. It is fun though, that's for sure!

Finally, I have jumped the bandwagon of Pinterest! I'm still in the beginning stages, but you can see my first pins here. I have also added the link to my sidebar. I like the idea of having an online scrapbook / inspiration board and it's super easy to add to.

All in all I'm in a period of little studio time, but plenty of entertainment. I'm enjoying it now that I've given myself permission to do so. It's like a little vacation from myself ;-)

Hope you're up to something nice too!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Some more Drawing Lab

Despite my little artsy ebbing I have done a couple of drawings from the Drawing Lab book by Carla Sonheim in the past week. And since they were all about the imagination I had some fun with them too. See, I haven't lost all my artsy enjoyment! ;-)

Let's start with Lab 34. Now this was a cool one. You had to randomly pick two numbers and those numbers corresponded with two things you had to combine together in a drawing. My two things were: a rabbit and sunglasses. Odd combination? You bet!

Lab 34 - Numbers game
I decided on Blind Beggar Bunny! He needs to protect his eyes with big sunglasses and he's in desperate need of friendly donations of passers by. Later on I thought that I could have made a really cool bunny too like FBI Bunny of Men in Black Bunny, you know with a broad shouldered black suit and very smooth sunglasses. I may still draw that some day!

Lab 35 was another chance at being silly (let's face it, Carla's book excells in silly exercises). You had to combine collage with a drawing. In itself not necessarily funny, but I happened on two different bird images and decided to make this:

Lab 35 - Collage
I turned the big standing bird into a really strange one with a human face and a golden hand for a wing. Of course the other birds would start gossiping about that. I bet right after that they said something like "Who does she think she is?". Pesky birds!

The last lab I've done so far was difficult for me even though in itself it was a fun exercise. You had to invent machines. There were some pretty cool examples in the book, but I just don't seem to have that insight into machinerie somehow. Still I came up with three machines that might come in handy.

Lab 36 - Machines
The first one is my favorite. It's a mechanical tree hugger! You know, for those lonely trees in your garden that just don't get enough attention? On the right of the page you see some notes I wrote to come up with my machines.

Here's the other two:

Lab 36 - Machines
On the left you see a mechanical botanist. For those of us who don't have the time, but would still like to start a beautiful collection of dried flowers and plants.
On the right is a very practical instrument that I call the china breaker. That's for all the ugly unused dishes and cups and other china you have lying around that you actually want to replace with something new, but you feel bad about it, cause hey, it's still good and you got it at your wedding or something. Now you can honestly say you broke it all and it just had to be replaced!

I really like all these exercises that make you have to go an extra mile to think up something yourself instead of just imitating other people's art or drawing from life (no matter how challenging the latter can be). I had no idea I could think up these funny things. I don't know if they are good drawings, but I like the ideas I came up with anyway.

On a final note I want to thank everyone who has been supportive of my little artsy down time feeling. I really appreciate your words and kindness. I'm feeling a bit more into it all already and I have decided to try some new things and put my current projects aside for a while just to take a breather. I'm going to try to learn zentangles (I even bought some books about it) and I'm going to try to learn to work with colored pencil as a medium (just because I want to). I think I will enjoy learning something new and then I will gradually get back into the groove of mixed media art. It will all work out!

Wishing you all a wonderful artsy weekend!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What are you up to wednesday - part 18

Well, I did finally go up to my studio last night. I did some drawing lab drawing, which I will show later, but after that it was time to get all that negativity out somehow, 'cause it was seriously starting to be a drag. And what better way to do that with some art as well? Art is expression, right?

Here's how my worktable looks right now:

What you see are a load of markers and pens and my little signature journal that I started a while ago and that was supposed to be all nice and colorful and cool. For some artsy therapy I have decided to completely ruin it! ;-) That is to say I write over the collage several times and after that I will put big words on it with a big black marker. The point is just to get it all out and move on! 

Sometimes a little vandalism isn't so bad...;-)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Artsy ebbing (includes some spreads from the atlas)

It's been one of those weeks where nothing gets done and nothing comes out of my hands. I have been busy with other things, but it's not like I didn't have time to do art. It just...I don't know...sometimes it just won't work. I'm trying to get back in that artsy groove again, because I hate feeling so detached from the things I love doing most.

Of course 'nothing' is an overstatement. I have journaled (be it less than usual, also a sure sign that I'm feeling a little 'off') and I have sketched a little in my sketchbook (just to keep from feeling completely idle). I do try to keep my hands busy every now and then, but I just don't have that excitement going right now that you can have when you're really working on something that moves you. I suppose everything has its ebb and flow and I just need to ride it out. I guess I'm 'ebbing' right now. ;-)

This also explains why I haven't blogged since last wednesday, I just haven't felt like it (sigh). It seemed like just one more chore I didn't want to do. Usually I don't feel like that at all about my blog, I love keeping it up.

In my experience there's only one solution to this thing and that is just to keep going and doing my 'chores' whether I feel like it or not. I have dragged myself to my computer and am doing a blog post.
Better a whiny blog post than no post at all, right?

And tonight I will drag myself to my studio again, which will be the first time in six days. The artsy stuff I have done, I have done outside of the studio, to sort of make it easier to take that first step, if that makes any sense? Unfortunately that also made me feel like I was just trying to escape the 'real' work. Really, I don't know why I'm so critical of myself sometimes. (another sigh)

I guess this kind of feeling happens to all of us at times (please say 'yes, it does'!). There's nothing really wrong, I'm not seriously depressed or anything and it's not like I'm unhappy. I'm just out of sorts somehow, not in that wonderful flow of things that I love so much, where idea after idea comes at me and I just get excited about all of them.

Funny, I look at the above picture and it has the word "Winterslaap"  on it. That is the Dutch word for "Hibernation". Maybe that's all this is, a little artsy hibernation, even if it is in the midst of summer. I kind of like that idea.

I wonder, dear blog readers, if you ever suffer from these artsy ebbs and what do you do to get back out so things can flow again? For me, like I said, it is usually a matter of keeping up my routine, even if I don't feel like it. I can't always get myself to do that when I'm in this mood, but it is in the end what works best for me.

What works for you? I'd love to read your input on this.