Wednesday, February 27, 2013

An ode to my assistant

Just before Christmas 2011 I adopted my wonderful (be it not so helpful) assistant Peer (pronounce 'pair').
He has been with me for over a year now and we have become very good friends. In the beginning he was totally hyper when it came to food and it has taken a lot of patience to calm him down, but it is paying off and he is just the sweetest most adorable cat. 

Of course like any cat he is always in the way and tries to get involved in just about everything I do. While I'm sitting here typing he constantly pats his paw against my leg to tell me I need to give him some attention.
I also don't think there is one piece of art in my house that does not have at least one cat hair on it. He just sits on it all.

I am very happy he came into my life and like I've said before: if you are thinking about getting a pet, please do consider adopting one from an animal shelter. There are tons of wonderful animals just waiting for a new home. Some may require a little patience and tact, but they are so worth it!

I recently have been taking some photographs of just about everything in my house and on the island for a profile another blogger will be doing about me (will tell you all about it when the time comes) and of course Peer had to be in them too. So this seemed like a good opportunity to share his cuteness again with the world.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy Wednesday!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lost in the White Book (and a moleskine spread)

At the end of last year I started the White Book, my new square 25x25 cm (about 10x10 inches) journal.
I had it all figured out. I was going to continue on the journaling road I had walked on for the past two years or so with my altered atlases and ROD-journals. The only challenge being that I would work with a white background, hence the name 'The White Book'. I looked forward to it. I really did.

Trying to replace small writing with big words. Mwah....

What happened? Well, my christmas/new years vacation, that's what! When I worked in the Quinn Book I did my writing on a separate writing pad and just added that writing with home made envelopes. And I rediscovered my love for writing. I know that those of you who have seen the spreads in my Moon Journal and my first Altered Atlas (the US Postal Book) may think me crazy now. After all, don't I already do like tons of writing in my journals? Yes I do, yes I do, yes I do...and still...

Emulating other people's style. Left Carolyn Sewell, right Kelly Kilmer.

What was starting to trouble me was that the decorated pages limited my writing to the space that was left open for it. I used to just keep written journals and just write until I was done. Now I was done, because the page told me so. In my vacation I rediscovered the joy of just writing without boundaries. And I knew that I wanted to keep a solely written journal again. And so I have. And I love it!

This was a lot of fun by the way. It's not me, but I had fun playing with the made up fonts.

I am writing so much that I have filled nearly a hundred pages in my writing journal so far! I write pretty much every morning and I don't have to think about the layout of the page or prepping anything to make it ready for my stream of consciousness writing. I. Just. Write.

This is a bit closer to my own style, but messier than I like.

Now however I'm left with my White Book and my more artsy journaling practice. What to do about that? I do still have a need to keep a visual journal that is different from my  sketchbooks or artsy books. I consider a journal a very specific reflection of my day to day life and so I wanted to continue this as well in images and colour. But how?

The process of this one suited me a little better. Watercolour background instead of decorated papers.

I have become so accustomed to my own style of journaling that now I am a little lost in my own journal. And that means that I am experimenting right now to find a style that suits me. I'm looking at other peoples work. I'm imitating peoples styles, just to get a feel for what I like about it and what not. I have yet to produce pages that really look and feel like me. In this post you can see some of my efforts.

This is not the White Book but a Moleskine sketchbook. I tried to make this word doodling more my own.

I cannot say I am very pleased with all these pages. Don't get me wrong. They look nice enough, but the process just didn't feel like me (except for the moleskine one). I'm kind of feeling my way through this and it's making me very uncomfortable. I did want to share this process with you all though, because I think it's important to show the struggles as well as the highlights. I will keep trying and at some point a new adapted personal style will emerge, I'm sure of it.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy week!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Photography Friday

Time for another photography Friday to show you some highlights of what my camera phone picked up the last few weeks, mostly wintery scenes!

The local church which is also used for music performances. It's a beautiful building.

How can one lose a shoe and not miss it?

Winter came back again with snow.

I took lots of pictures like this, they looked like abstract paintings to me. Just snowy branches.

My assistant being very alert.

A tree...of course...

And more trees, the snow made the world almost black and white.

A cosy home for cold birds.

In winter most benches are lonely and abandoned, a bit like the island itself.

I loved the straight lines these tree stems made.

Everything becomes so quiet in winter and so beautiful.

More line work by left over tree stems with snow on one side.

The big pond near my house. Can you believe that in summer this is often dried up?

All the snow is gone again now. People are longing for spring, but you know me, I'm hoping winter will make a few more appearances. It's not too late, it's only February after all. Spring will bring it's own wonders, I know, but nothing touches me like the desolate nature of winter where the only birds you hear are crows and the world is oh so quiet and solemn. I just can't get enough of it.

Hope you enjoyed these winter pics and wish you a wonderful and very artsy weekend!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Busy Bee

I've been a pretty busy bee lately, but very few things are finished, so I thought today I would give you a peek into the things I am working on right now, so you know I'm not lazing about. All of these little teasers will become blogposts sometime in the future, I promise.

I've started keeping a solely written journal and am trying to find a new sort of style/way to journal in the White Book.

I have several drawings in the Outside of the Studio Book that still need to be coloured in.

I'm working with the book Journal Fodder 365 in a big Moleskine watercolour book. Out of my comfort zone journaling.

An unifinished page for the colouring book zine that's still in the making.

A contribution to the Sketchbook Challenge that still needs to coloured in.

I'm working on sets of patterned papers. They will become freebies for you all too of course.
The artsy book I'm currently reading, which of course will be reviewed here.

I'm putting together a journal. On the left the inside cover and on the right the signatures.

And this is the outside cover in progress.  I am beading to fabric for the first time in my life!

All in all I am enjoying many productive hours inside and outside the studio and I'm loving it and learning new things. I'm looking forward to showing you some finished projects soon!

Hope you all are busy bees as well and wishing you a wonderful and artsy Wednesday!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Book review: Sew Wild / Alisa Burke

Title: Sew Wild - Creating with stich and mixed media
Author: Alisa Burke
Info: 144 p. - 2011 + 60 min. DVD
Rating: 8 / 10

I love the blogosphere and the many creative people we can find there. But some people just seem to be in a league of their own and Alisa Burke is definitely one of them. This woman is so creative and inventive it just puts us all to shame, but she does it in such a way that it's impossible to be jealous or feel inferior. I think it's because she's so generous in what she shares on her blog. She has her very clear own style and seems to like nothing better than to inspire us to find our own style as well. She even offers a free e-course about finding your Muse. So naturally I was curious when her book Sew Wild came out and I was not disappointed.

Sew wild is a book and dvd set about creating artful fabrics and then stitching them into interesting projects.
So this is not just a book about stitching some things together, there's also a ton of information about surface design.

You can create custom fabrics with paint, markers, stamps, stencils and many more techniques and give them extra interest by doing free motion stitching on them. I like how for instance she puts paint on fabric that already had a printed pattern on it, that would never have occurred to me!

There's of course a chapter with ideas for easy projects to do with these decorated fabrics and even though they were not all to my taste I liked the possibilities with which I could make them my own. This is not a book where you are invited to copy the projects of the author (although you could), but to take the ideas she gives further and make fabrics and sewn projects in your own style. I liked that. 

The dvd that comes with this set really ads to the content and is not just a repetition of what's inside the book. In it she combines several techniques and gives some extra project ideas. It's very enlightening to actually see how she puts some surface designs together. It makes you feel like you could pull this stuff off too. ;-)

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even if her style isn't always my taste. The ideas were building up in my head because of it and that's much better than just having a book where you ooh and aah over the pretty pictures. It's a book that makes you want to get your hands dirty and make some fabric of your own!

Friday, February 15, 2013

A beautiful lady and some sketches

My practice of drawing beautiful ladies in beautiful dresses continues, with the wedding magazine as my constant provider of models. Here's my latest effort:

I decided to show you the model this time as well. I wanted to do a drawing in graphite pencil and just leave it at that, but you know me, I crave colour, and I just couldn't let her be. So after I drew this lady in a 4B graphite pencil I took out some pan pastels and coloured in the background. I do like the effect. I'm quite pleased with the lady herself, but what you cannot tell is that I have a hard time (always) fitting a model on a page and this time was no different. So her feet are not on there! Sigh....I so struggle with proportions. I will keep trying though!

After this lady was done I had a little time left over so I decided to do a few quicky sketches with a thick brown graphite lead (meant for a mechanical pencil, but I didn't have that on hand, so I just held the lead in my hand and it worked fine. Again I'm adding the models from the magazine so you can see my reference.

I really like the last one. I also liked the feeling of working fast with a very tactile material straight from my hand. It felt very 'direct', hands on. The sketches are pretty big, which was also a nice change from how I usually work. Good practice!

Hope you enjoyed this peek into my continuing effort to get these pretty ladies on paper and as always I wish you a wonderful and artsy weekend! 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Stolen Ideas Project #5 - textured backgrounds

In 2012 I started my Stolen Ideas Project. Here's how it works:  I put the titles of all my artsy books in a box and draw one and then do something inspired by that book. Also I am not above taking an idea from the internet or a magazine. The point is to expand my horizon or just try something new. On this blog I will report on what I did and hopefully inspire you to get out of your comfort zone every now and then too.  Despite the title of this project it is not my objective to actually copycat ideas and works of others, I like to take something and make it my own.

The book I drew from the box was Claudine Hellmuth's second Collage Discovery Workshop book. Love it!

One of the first chapters is about textured backgrounds. No need to look any further. I'm your girl!

As a substrate I chose these left over canvas boards. Three squares and two rectangles.

The first technique I did was about crackle. Claudine shows how to do this with Elmer's glue.

I didn't have that, but I did have actual crackle medium. So why not use that?

I later added some foam stamped stars. How about all that neon paint by the way?

The second technique I tried was masking. I used sticky back plastic instead of contact paper.

I really loved the effect of the circles.  I added some dabbed paint afterwards for even more texture.

I think this is my favourite of this project.

This one is not from the book! It's just something I had bought a while ago and wanted to try.

It's like a metal comb with four sides for making diferent textures in paint. I painted one layer and let it dry.

And then another thick layer which I worked on with the different sides of the 'comb'. Cool!

This texture was done with tissue paper.

You put tissue paper on wet paint and move it around a little.

Let it dry and paint over it with another colour.

The last one was done with cling film. Put cling film on wet paint and let it dry overnight.

Then take offthe cling film and you have a very interesting pattern.

I added another colour of  paint after I removed the film for some extra interest.

It was interesting to see how these different techniques lead to different backgrounds, although I think the last two look rather similar. And now I have five canvas boards all ready to do a little collage or mixed media on.

And there's a little bonus too. Whenever I use many different colours of paint I dab off my brush on a tear off palet and not one to waste too much I then use that palet to print on pieces of paper. This left me with three index cards with backgrounds too!

That should make some interesting mail art some day!

And that concludes my fifth project in this series. I hope you liked it and try some backgrounds of your own.

If you want to see the other projects  you can just click on the label 'stolen ideas project' on the side bar.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy Wednesday!