Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Backgrounds in the White Book

I was asked by some of you about the backgrounds in my daily journal The White Book. I guess when I stuff the pages with writing and collage, you can't really see them all that well, but they do seem to bring up questions, so I thought today I would share my current way of doing backgrounds. Mind you, it's my current way, so it could just change any day. ;-)

It's pretty basic really. I use a small piece of household sponge, some gouache (pans) and these:

That's right, stencils stencils and some more stencils. I love me some stencils! These are all 15x15 cm (6x6 inches) or a little bigger, which is the most practical to work with inside a book. I basically either keep the page white or fill it with a layer of colour (again using the sponge) and then I pick a stencil and a matching colour and sponge the patterns on the background.

That can give results like these: 

The cool thing about this technique is that it doesn't leave razorsharp patterns and edges, but makes everything a little more grungy and less perfect. After this I may or may not add some patterned paper or other details before starting the collage. But this is usually the base right now.

Hope this clarifies things. If you want more ideas for using a sponge and watercolour, I have an old tutorial on it in the tutorial section, or you can just click here.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy week!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Magazine portraits

As you may or may not remember I like to draw after magazine images to practice my drawing skills.

The next two portraits were done in a big A3 size sketchbook with a manga brushpen. I have no idea what brand it is (the writing is all in Japanese), but it has two tips with very nice sturdy 'brushes'. I liked playing with it.

The first one didn't go exactly like I wanted, but I'm pretty pleased with the second one. The thing is that I apparently have a strange way of drawing portraits. I didn't know it was strange until I took some art classes a few years back. We had to draw each other and everybody started with the shape of the face except me, I always start with the hair above the forehead and the eyes and such and work downwards from there.
I have no idea why I work that way, but I just do. The first drawing was an experiment to try the other approach and draw the shape of the face first. I noticed immediately after that that I couldn't fit the rest of the face in the shape correctly (the eyes, the nose etc.).
The second one I did in my own way and it worked a lot better in my opinion, I'm kind of proud of it actually, especially since they are both directly drawn in marker and there was no way to correct anything.

The images both came from the same wedding magazine from which I steal my beautiful ladies series. One magazine can go a long way, haha.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy weekend!

PS: there's a mini-interview with me, myself and I on the Featuring website. You can find it here

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

From the Composition Book

Nothing like a little artsy play with pieces of paper and a bit of paint and that's exactly what my Composition Book is all about. It's a book for small collage compositions. They are easy and they are colourful and they are fun and I feel they help strengthen my compostion muscles. Don't ask me where those muscles are located, I just know they are good and strong because of stuff like this:

It's fun to see how far one can take a simple idea as this. I'm thinking up more variations in backgrounds, shapes, colours etc. It's like a series within a book and I like how that is turning out.

I'm also thinking about maybe doing a tutorial on these, but I wonder if they are even worthy of one. What I mean is, these things are so simple I think you can see how they work just by looking at them. So my question to you: would you be interested in a tutorial on these kinds of collage compositions or do you think it's not necessary? Let me know!

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy Wednesday.

Monday, October 21, 2013

More watercolour nonsense

You all know how I like to play with my watercolours and call it 'watercolour nonsense'. No no no, you don't need to tell me it's not nonsense, because it is and that's exactly why I like it.

I especially like to use my most expensive watercolours for this and I totally encourage you to do the same. Don't waste time postponing using the good stuff until you have something that you consider worthy. That day will never come. Play with the good stuff and it will free you from that kind of ... eh... nonsense. If you can't play with it, how are you ever going to be able to work with it when it counts?

Here's four pages from my big (A4) moleskine watercolour book.

All I do with these is draw an outline in a 4H pencil and then colour it all in. I love colouring stuff in, it's meditation on paper. Really, if you can't draw, just shapes and lines will do. And if you're afraid of those, get yourself a colouring book, they make amazing ones for adults. Or wait until a miracle happens and I finally finish the colouring book I'm making for you all, haha. It will come, some day, I promise, some day, really really....;-)

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy week!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Photography Friday

Time for another Photography Friday so you can peek through the lens of my camera phone, but also simply through my eyes as I walk the paths of my island. Enjoy!

The Wadden Sea at sunrise. The sky is orange.

A little mist and sun....

...just leads to the most amazing....

...light effects in the forest.

Mysterious and eerie and so beautiful.

View from Vuurboetsduin. In the distance the North Sea.

One lazy bugger.

Wadden Sea at low tide.

A boat still barely in the water.

Trees on Vuurboetsduin. In the distance the Wadden Sea.

Same place, different trees.

I love how the beach sometimes reflects the sky. North Sea.

A dam. Also North Sea.

And yet more North Sea beach. Well, I can't help that it goes on and on...;-)

A boat surrounded by truckloads of sea gulls. Wadden Sea.

And there is the entrance to the marina from the Wadden Sea.

In case you're curious: the North Sea is on the north side of the island and Wadden Sea is on the south side. The North Sea is bigger and wilder, the Wadden Sea is more shallow with lots of floods (at least I think that's what you call it, when part of the land surface come exposed at low tide). The area is just stuffed with incredible nature and beauty. And birds, lots of birds!

The whole Wadden Sea area was accepted as part of a whole series of special places in the world called 'World Heritage', which means it's considered an area that needs to be preserved and protected for a long time to come for the generations that come after us. You can read about that here.

Coming February I will have lived here for ten years, but never never can I take this amazing place for granted. At every walk I take I am in awe of where I get to live. Never in a million years would I have thought in the past I could be so lucky. It still humbles me.

So I just must keep taking pictures over and over again, sometimes of the same places, because the ocean and the beach are never the same and as the seasons change the island changes with it and I must document it. I. Just. Must. And since I have this ol' blog I must share it too! ;-)

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy weekend!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

From the pattern book

My moleskine sketchbook full of patterns is an ongoing source of pleasure for me. I love leafing through it to see all those bright colours and shapes staring back at me. I love how these drawings have no purpose whatsoever and yet make me completely happy. Hey, maybe that IS their purpose! (duh!)

Here are some of my latest entries into the pattern book:

The last two pages are part of a new experiment I'm calling 'symmetricals'. I divide the page with a ruler in symmetrical shapes and lines and then work from there. It makes me think of mosaics and puzzles.

As always these are done in Pitt Big Brush markers and they totally validate my splurge on them about a year ago for the whole set. Love them! ;-)

Hope you are experimenting and playing wherever you are and wish you a wonderful and artsy Wednesday!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Catching up on the Sketchbook Challenge - July

As you may or may not remember I am participating in the Sketchbook Challenge this year and as you may or may not remember I am falling way behind. But in the past few weeks I have been trying to play catch up and this time it was July that I had to give a go.

The theme for July was 'Into the woods' and this immediately reminded me of a type of drawing that I used to do all the time and that I call my 'dorrebomen'. The word stems from the coat of arms of a town on the west side of our island that no longer exists. Actually the town is now about two miles from the coast covered by ocean. Spooky huh?  Anyway the coat of arms has a barren tree on it and that is called a 'dorreboom'. So when I started drawing barren trees in sort of weird alien landscapes years ago I couldn't resist naming them after that. You can see some more about this in an old post of mine over here.

I hadn't done any of these drawings in more than a year and it was fun to return to them for this occasion. I made two:

They are fully done in neocolor II watersoluble crayons, all wetted with a paintbrush of course to get out the beautiful bright colours and velvety surface.  These were done in my Studio Book which measures 25x25 cm (10x10 inches), so they are nice and big.

I've never understood where these drawings came from and they keep fascinating me. I'd love to walk through these colourful landscapes and see what's behind those hills.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy week!

Friday, October 11, 2013

From the White Book

The last few weeks have been somewhat slow for me on the artsy front. Too many appointments, too many trips to the main land. Nothing serious, a lot of fun things actually, but also stuff that takes me away from my own personal rythm. Especially now I'm working less it seems more and more important to me to be able to stick to some routine and when I can't I sort of loose my momentum and the studio is visited less and less even on the times when there's plenty of opportunity.

But one thing always continues and that's the journal of course. The journal is like the baseline of my artsy endeavors. It's always there and the White Book is patient and available no matter what's going on in my life. Here are some of my latest spreads:

Looking at the amount of pages in the White Book that are still left, I'd say I have about two to three months to go before this book is finished and I'd love to finish it before the year is over, but this is one of those things that you just can't force (nor do I want to).

After busy times I now have a whole four day weekend to myself and I'm ever so pleased about that. Hoping to get back into my artsy groove, do some play and get my hands really dirty. ;-)

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy weekend!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Doodle Camp

In July I took part in Dawn Sokol DeVries' Doodle Camp. This was a short online class about doodling. It only was five days (although of course people can still post and talk about it in the facebook group). It was...okay. This has little to do with Dawn or the class and everything to do with me, myself and I.

I sometimes wonder if I am the right person for online classes. In theory they always sound really nice, but the truth of the matter is that I would much rather just do my own thing without given instructions or other people's ideas and prompts. There you also have the reason I'm behind on the Sketchbook Challenge, I'm just no good with prompts. It's not that I can't work with them and I like what I've done so far. It's just that they always feel a little bit like homework to me.  The only online class I have really enjoyed until now was Mary Ann Moss' ROD class, because it taught me something really new and out of my comfort zone. (And well let's face it, Mary Ann is way cool, haha.)

But I digress,  I was looking forward to spending a few days completely focused on doodling and it was cheap, so I thought 'why the hell not?'. And I was very curious about Dawn's process and I thought it might give me some insight.

In the class we learned to make simple book with duct tape in the binding (ruined my awl, thank you very much) and there were prompts and ideas for filling the book. To challenge myself I decided to do the whole book in black, red and white. A very sophisticated colour combination in my opinion. ;-)

So, without further ado, here's the Doodle Camp Book!

The book is nowhere near finished (I think I'm almost halfway through), but I do like how what I have done has turned out. I have no idea if I will ever complete it. Even though I love how it looks, I was kind of fed up with working in it. Like I said, too much like homework. Still, it might make for an interesting book to finish. We'll see. If I ever do I'll let you know. For now I'll just consider it a temporary an unfinished experiment.

I think this book shows an interesting point. No matter how good something looks, if you have only limited enjoyment in making it, it's just never good enough. It's not about it being hard or challenging, I like a challenge, it's about pleasure in the work. I can move mountains if I just feel it's worth it and somehow this book just doesn't do it for me. Maybe sometimes it's good to just let things go.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy Wednesday.