Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What are you up to Wednesday - part 43 (woyww 151)

I know, it's been forever since I did a what are you up to post. I posted on my blog on several past Wednesdays but never really about my workdesk, so I didn't think it fair to jump on the woyww bandwagon. But this week it's time for a good old work desk picture. Yay!

What you're looking at is a piece of A3 paper and two boxes of gouache. The top box is pretty much empty and has fewer colors that the bigger box on the left. I know, you can't really see it's a bigger box, but that's because the other layer of colors in underneath the layer you see.

I'm working on more decorative paper for the doodle book I'm planning to make. I showed you the acrylic papers last Friday. When these papers are done they will also be cut up and made into book pages and of course I will offer them as a freebie. It's fun playing with paints like this where the outcome is not really very important, because it's just supposed to be a background to further doodling in the future.

Remember how I got some gift cerificates for my birthday from my family? Well, some of you wanted to know what I got for them and it just so happens that everything arrived today. So here's my gift cerificate stash!

I got the Cloth Paper Scissors Book, which on first sight seems absolutely marvelous. I also got a box with eight colors of fluid watercolor (Ecoline), a tin of 12 Graphitint pencils (they are watersoluble graphite pencils in beautiful dark tones), a black Pan Pastel (I recently bought a small five color starterset and just assumed black would be in there, but it wasn't) and my favorite is the 24 color tin of aquatone pencils (which are like watercolor pencils without the wooden shell). All these materials are luxury items to me that I might not have gotten if I had to pay for it all myself, so I'm pretty happy with this non-splurge. ;-) That's what gift certificates are great for I think, for getting stuff you do really want, but don't really need, haha.

The next picture is a little splurge on my own money though. I have been trying spray bottles of paints by buying just a few samples of glimmer mist. I do like them, but find them rather expensive. Then I saw that one of my favorite suppliers carries these paint sprays for fabric that are less than half the cost and have more paint in them too. I figured they might work on paper too so I bought a set of ten bottles.

I also got a set of 3D liner in ten colors, just because I had been eyeing them forever already. All those arrived today as well, so I haven't tried them either, but they sure look nice sitting together like that, don't they? We'll consider it a bonus birthday gift from me to me. ;-)

And that about sums it up for today: a worktable and way too many new supplies. ;-) I'm one lucky artsy lady!

Hope you are all having a wonderful Wednesday too!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sketchbook stuff

When I carry around a sketchbook it is usually this landscape format watercolor book that measures 15x21 cm (approx. 6x8 inches). It's a bit like a watercolor moleskine book, but a lot cheaper. I started this book last year at Easter and now have about six pages to go before it's fully filled.

I feel this book is filling very slowly and that's mostly because sketching and watercolor and the like are not things that I do all the time. Every now and then I will get totally into it and then I will leave the book lying again for weeks or even months on end. Today I want to give you a peek at some stuff you haven't seen yet.

The first one is a sketch I did last August while on a walk. It's a simple line drawing of the beach.

I don't often sketch on my walks. I prefer to take photographs. The simple reason being that taking a photograph takes so much less time with a much clearer result. But of course nothing beats the charm of an actual sketch. I wish I had more patience for this.

The next one is a bit of nonsense that I did to try out some cheap watercolor crayons. I have the expensive caran d'ache neocolor II, a huge box of 84 colors and I love them to death, but a big box like that is not easy to take with you when traveling, so I bought a compact cheaper brand box which still had a nice color selection (Reeves I think).

Of course the quality does not even compare, but for on the go they will do just fine anyway and I'm not sorry I got them. They are still nice to play with. I wouldn't recomment them as a viable substitute for the real thing though.

The next one is a quick watercolor sketch that I did on another walk last Easter. I felt I just had to do something in this book on Easter because of how this book got started last year.

While I was wrapping up this sketch some tourists came by (I was sitting on a bench in the sun) and this woman asked if she could see it. I said okay and she started talking about this painting class she had taken. I could tell she wasn't very impressed by my skills (she didn't say anything straight out, it was more implied). This made me smile, because it never is my intention to do photography with paint as some people seem to want to do. I just like doing little impressions and let those speak for themselves. Not everybody gets that though. ;-)

Last week I had to do a lot of back and forth travel on the ferry and since the trip to the main land lasts about an hour and a half it's a good time to play in the sketchbook and that's what I did. The first one is a little flowerlike mandala and some writing about where I was going (a meeting for work).

If I didn't need to write so much (and you can see in my journal how much writing I need) I would love to do my journals like this, but a page like this can take up to an hour to fill and there's hardly any room for writing at all. It is just to frustrating for me to have so little space to write on. But for once it was fun to do. It would be nice to do a technique like this with quotes or poems though.

The other two I did while on the ferry are just some patterns in watercolor.

I love to do these. They are easy and relaxing and don't really require any thinking on my part. I just play with shapes and lines and colors and let the picture happen. They would make nice collage papers I think.

The last two pages I want to show you I did last Saturday which, as some of you may know, was another international sketchcrawl day. I was originally supposed to go to Gouda again to join my friends Monk and Loes for some serious sketching, but I decided to cancel. Not so much because of the sketchcrawl itself, but because I had been having a very full weekend and week before that and this week and coming weekend are no different. To go to a thing like this when you live where I live costs me three whole days and I just knew it was a little too much for me. If I don't have some serious private time on a regular basis I just become exhausted and cranky. Still, I wanted to draw at least a little that day....

So I filled these two pages while sitting on my couch. The flowers are fake flowers. I have lived with cats too long to have any living plants in the house and I have to admit I like the kitchiness of fake flowers. The above picture is the whole thing in the pot and below is a close up of one flower done twice, once in pen and watercolor and once in colored pencil.

Colored pencil is so incredibly difficult! Watercolor is a way more forgiving medium and of course I have such a limited experience in colored pencil and it shows. But it was fun to do. I'm thinking maybe I could try the same flower again sometime in watercolor pencil to see how that looks.

All in all this sketchbook is slowly filling up. I'm not too crazy about the paper in it, it has a little too much texture for my taste, but I do want to fill it completely before I move to another one (that's already lying in my studio stash for later use). I do hope you enjoyed looking at my sketchy endeavors. ;-)

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy week!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pretty paper freebies

I love nothing more than making books and I love nothing more than playing with paints and paper to create backgrounds or patterns. So it's only natural that every now and then I will take out my paints and just make what I like to call 'pretty papers'.

Not so long ago on a rather dreary day I decided to get some color going and just started putting acrylic to A3 sheets of Fabriano artist's paper. After the first layers of color were applied I started adding details with a smaller brush. I had so much fun!

I think they are so cool they could be abstract paintings all by themselves, but of course I have another purpose for them and that has to do with the book making love.

My intention is to cut up the sheets into four pieces and make them into pages for a ring bound journal/doodle book. I have painted five sheets on both sides so that should leave me with 40 pages in total.
After I have cut them up I will draw on them with paint markers. Right now I'm thinking flowers and other fun colorful stuff. I want it to be a playful colorful doodle book.

Once I had finished the acrylic sheets I couldn't help but long to do the same thing in gouache, so as we speak I am working on five sheets in opaque watercolor and it's amazing how much of a different look a different medium can give even if the concept is exactly the same! I'll show those when they are done so you can spot the difference. ;-)

I also took many photo's of details of the sheets before I cut them up, because they are little pieces of art in themselves and could be used as inspiration for either painting or be printed for collage.

And I made photocopies of the sheets, both in original size and downsized to use as collage fodder. And that's where the freebie part of this post comes in.

I would like to share these papers with you! So I've made scans of the downsized version of the color copies. I had to, because I don't have a scanner big enough to scan the original A3 paper. This means the scans are a little less vibrant than the original, but I still think they are pretty colorful.

I uploaded the scans unto flickr and you can find them there in my 2012 freebie set. They are licensed under 'creative commons'. To me this means you may use them in your art as you see fit.

The originals are pretty big files of approximately 10MB and will print at 300 dpi at A4 size. It was a little mistake actually that they ended up so big, but I figured that those of you who work digitally might actually appreciate that since bigger files are usually more forgiving to digital manipulation. So yes, you may alter them digitally as well. However, if you want a smaller file, flickr offers those automatically if you go to the different sizes.

I hope you will enjoy these papers and find a use for them. As said I think they would make wonderful collage fodder, but maybe you have brilliant other ideas for them. If so, I would love to know about it. You don't have to let me know though if you use them. They are free for all.

When the gouache papers are done I will probably offer them as a freebie too, so stay posted!

When the book I intend to make comes into being I will of course let you know about it too and share some pics. Until then I will sign off by wishing you a wonderful and very artsy weekend!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A great weekend and a giveaway winner

I wonder if some of your are holding your breath right now to see if you're the winner of this:

I know I am always excited to find out where my artsy stuff is going to end up. It's like a little private lottery. This journal could end up in so many places, because you all come from all over the world. That's what fascinates me and inspires me too. Before the internet how would I ever get my stuff to someone in New Zealand for instance? But then again, my niece Kim responded as well, so the journal might stay within the family. Let's find out shall we?

First I'll write down all the names of the aspiring owners of the Artsy Journal on some scrap paper.

Then I will cut up the paper in strips and crumble each strip to small scrungy thingies and put them in a basket.

Then a completely unbiased person will have to draw one of the pieces of paper for a winner. Hmmmm, no unbiased people around? Well, I'll just have to do it myself then and hope you trust that all went fair and square (it did!). Drum rolls please!

The lucky winner is:

Here's what she had to say:

Congratulations Dawn! The Artsy Journal is all yours. I'll try to contact you for your snail mail addy and you may of course contact me as well through c.m.j.winkelman[at]home[dot]nl. Hope you enjoy this journal very much!

For all you unlucky non-winners (I almost wrote losers, but that seemed a little too harsh, haha) all I have to offer is more stuff to make you jealous. See, I had my family over for the weekend to celebrate my birthday and they left me with this:

Loads of pretty papers and embellishments for journaling and collage. Also a beautiful folk art calendar and a huge gorgeous coffee mug that will probably get to live in my studio. But the best part is at the bottom: gift certificates for art supplies and books. Oh my, I already spent all of them online! I was one spoiled artsy girl this weekend, that's for sure.

Finally, just for the heck of it, a picture of me, my cousin Thea and my oldest sister Anita (unfortunately my middle sister couldn't make it), some of my favorite people in the world. We so seldom photograph well that this image may be considered a truly memorable one and I just had to share it with the world to prove we are in fact quite normal! ;-)

Good memories were made, lots of good food was enjoyed (the photo above was of course taken in a restaurant) and there was loads of laughter too. And the weather was sunny and bright, so we could do lots outside. It was a great time.

Now however they have left again for the main land and life as we know it has begun again. My birthday is now definitely over. Well, until my online orders start to arrive of course, then I'll have myself a little private party!

Hope you are all having a wonderful Wednesday!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Scenes from the studio

That's all, just some scenes from the studio. Why? Because I love my studio, that's why! ;-)

If you have some pictures of your studio on your blog, please tell me about it. I can't get enough of studio pictures or art supply pictures. It's almost as good as the real thing. Almost.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy weekend. I'll be having family over, so won't be doing much creative stuff myself, but I will be receiving birthday gifts and be in great company and that makes up for a lot! ;-)

Meanwhile I am really enjoying the responses to the birthday giveaway. There's still plenty of time to participate, so if you haven't yet, grab your chance and head on over to my previous post. Thanks for all the good wishes and kind words, I really appreciate it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Presenting the Artsy Journal - a birthday giveaway

Happy Birthday to me! I'm turning 42 today and I'm ever so pleased about it. No aging hangups for me, no siree!

 I want to celebrate this occasion by doing a  blog giveaway for you all. Well, technically I guess only for one of you, but you all may 'compete'. ;-)

It may come as no surprise that the giveaway consists of a journal handmade by me, myself and I. I worked on it all Saturday before Easter and when I say all Saturday I mean all Saturday. The making of this journal took about ten hours in my studio and sewing room! The things I do for you guys! ;-)

Nah, don't worry, I wasn't suffering, I was having way too much fun putting this baby together. I'm calling it the Artsy Journal and it looks very different from any journal I've made so far. It's a littly grungy and hippie-like in my opinion, not so slick. Let me give you a tour of the journal.


On the cover are images of art supplies (taken in my studio) that were transferred to fabric and then sewn onto the cover fabric. The lettering was stamped on fabric as well. There's different color ribbons on the cover and the edges are trimmed with pompons.


The front inside cover is made of thick paper. A paper pocket is sewn onto it and attached you see three pretty paperclips for you to use inside the journal. Inside the pocket are some labels and tags from my stash for you to use as well.


The journal is full of beautiful printed papers in all sorts of colors. The journal consists of about 40 pages (that's counting front and back of the papers) and is bound in one signature.


Some of the pages will have this weird fold on the corner. There's no deeper meaning to this, it's the result of a really stupid retailer where I ordered the papers. They were presented in the package in such a way that you could see all the papers and the only way to do that was to fold some of them. I don't know what they were thinking.  Silly or not I think it ads to the grungyness of the journal. We'll call it extra character! ;-)


The papers are all printed on only one side. That means sometimes the back is an off white and sometimes it's colored. When the pages were empty I added some stickers or other elements. I did however choose to ad as little as possible, because I want you to use this journal and make it your own. Feel free to remove the stickers if they bug you.


In the center of the book is a half page spread and attached to it (with yet another cute paperclip) is a little zip baggy with some left over fabric and trim to use in your journaling. If you look closely you can see on the right page that the journal also has a few handmade tabs attached to it.


An example of another pretty printed paper and of the color of some of the back of the papers. So not all papers are white or cream on the back. It's a very varied selection of papers. I always like that a lot.


The inside of the back cover also has a pocket attached to it. In this pocket are some loose pieces of paper to use for collage. You can also see I signed the journal and attached my name in big stamped letters.


And that's the back of the journal. Again with photographs and lettering spelling some good advice to whoever receives this journal. ;-) The spine of the journal is bound with a selection of beads and has some ribbons attached to it. It's the first time I used beads in a binding and I'm pretty proud of it. ;-)


And finally a look at the journal standing up to give you an idea of the variety of papers in it.
The journal measures 18 x 26 cm , which is about 7 x 10 inches, a very nice size to work in and to take with you on your journaling endeavors.

I hope you like this journal enough to want it for yourself. If you do all you have to do is leave a comment on this post. You can do so until next Wednesday, April 18. I will announce the winner sometime that evening by doing a draw from the participants. All I ask is that you do indeed check to see if you've won. It doesn't have to be on Wednesday precisely, but at least sometime next week. I spent weeks on my last giveaway trying to track down the winner and I don't want to do that again. If you leave a way to contact you in the comment, be it through mail or  facebook or your blog that would be great, but otherwise please check back. Thank you.

Well, that's it. Can't wait to see who wins this journal and gives it a happy creative home! For now I wish all of you a happy and artsy Wednesday!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easy as one two three

Often during my vacations I don't really spend that much time doing art. I do always work in my journal of course, but that's such a habit to me I hardly consider it anything special or artsy anymore (weird, but true). And I always take pictures, which I don't consider that special either (really, I should have my head examined and give myself some credit for the things I do).

But the last vacation actually had me drawing and sketching again for the first time in ages, which I've already shown you here and here and I even spent some time making a small series of art mixed media cards that I would like to show you today.

The base of these four cards is actually one of my ribbons and circles drawings that I did on a piece of paper with gouache and a drawing pen. Then I cut the paper in four card sized pieces (10x15 cm / 4x6 inches) and did some stamping with some foam stamps and watercolor and some spraying with glimmer mist. I love foam stamps by the way and hate that they have gone so out of style, so they are now hard to come by.

After all that I really didn't know what to do for a while until I remembered I had bought some big number stencils a while ago that I hadn't tried yet. I put a number four on the cards with a paint pen and outlined it with a glaze pen.

For some reason these fours made me think of the expression "Easy as one two three". I found it funny to put that expression next to a big four. I like a little humor and irony in my art. So I punched the line "easy as one two three" on one of those letter punch thingies (really people, what do you call those in English?) and stuck the words on the cards. Some signature dashes to outline the cards and... Presto!

The cards will probably go to some unsuspecting recipients as a little RAK (= random act of kindness, or should I say random art of kindness?). I hope they will like them and I hope you do as well.

Wishing you all a wonderful and creative week!

PS: keep your eyes open for my coming Wednesday post, it's my birthday and I'll be doing a giveaway!