Saturday, 21 January 2017

LifeBook Week03: Portrait Retake

This is a retake of the LB lesson I posted yesterday. I was inspired by all the bravery in our Facebook sharing group and decided to jump in and try to create something more "painterly" with just acrylics. The only other supply I used was a Stabilo pencil. I made the face much bigger - I think it's easier to work on larger faces rather than small ones. I'm still not sure I managed to attain the class objectives but perhaps I got a bit closer.

This is how it turned out after much sweat, blood and tears. I even had a full blown tantrum along the way, when I gessoed over the whole thing and then SCRUBBED it all off in the sink. Yes, you've heard that right! One thing for using good quality watercolour paper is that it withstands a lot of abuse. The paper even pilled a bit, but I was able to save it with a bit of gesso on top. 

This is where I brought the piece back from. I really thought it was a gonner! How is that for art resuscitation, LOL!

I'll leave this lesson for now and move on. I did the best I could. Apart from my little tantrum, I actually quite enjoyed working on this and despite the fact that it's not quite what I wanted to achieve, I still like it and will proudly include it in my LifeBook.

Friday, 20 January 2017

LifeBook week03: Portraits with Misty Mawn

This week on LifeBook we had a portrait painting lesson by Misty Mawn titled 'The Person I Know Best'. It was supposed to be a self-portrait of sorts, without the constraints of having to make it look like ourselves. I didn't use a reference photo of any kind - I just randomly drew a sketch and let it evolve to what it wanted to be. It hasn't got the painterly look that I was originally going for, which is still something that escapes me, but I think it has the "mixed-media" look. I just did what I felt comfortable with. Not very brave, I know, but that's what felt right at the time. I just went with the flow. I'm sure there will come a time when I want to be more experimental, brave, etc - but this wasn't the time. I think I still just want to create "pretty" at this point and I'm just happy that I finally got the symmetry right (sort of).

I started out with this sketch:

and then kept painting until I ended up with this:

OK, that's enough photos now, thank you - we get the idea! I realize my portraits look a bit "samey" but perhaps that's just my emerging style. Quite similar to what I was already doing two years ago, but perhaps a bit more refined. Anyway, it is what it is, and I quite enjoyed working on it. Tam always tells us, we have to paint what makes our heart sing - and at the moment, this is it.

Thanks for stopping by! I'm off to watch Trump's inauguration. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next four years. Let's be cautiously optimistic - we've got no other choice!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

WOYWW #398: Make Your Own Magic

Looks like we're only two weeks away from the big #400 on WOYWW! Having missed #300, I'm determined to make this milestone that only comes around every hundred weeks. WOYWW must be one of - if not THE! - longest running blog hop in internet history. Come along and join if you can - just take a photo of your desk and show us what you've been working on.

My desk photo was taken on Monday evening and for once it's not staged. I was working on a journal page in my altered book inspired by this week's Wanderlust class. I blogged about the main project in my previous post. This is a spin-off piece for my journal based on the same imagery that I just felt compelled to make as an extracurricular activity. It's all bright and happy!

I took these photos of my completed page the following morning when I had better lighting. 

Well, this was an uncharacteristically short post from me, but I'm in a bit of a hurry this morning. I'll be out most of the day, but will make sure to do my rounds when I'm back and promise to visit everyone who leaves a comment. Before I go, I can't help sharing this photo of Oreo birdwatching from the window - that's like his favourite thing in the world (other than sleeping, LOL)!

Enjoy your day!

Monday, 16 January 2017

Wanderlust week02: Making Magic with Mary Wangerin

We had a wonderful lesson this week on Wanderlust by Mary Wangerin, which was my first introduction to this lovely artist. This is exactly why I take these classes: to be exposed to a wide variety of styles by different artists around the world! Mary created a piece of intuitive art with a focal point of a mandala in the middle. My picture turned out quite different from hers, but I adopted the circle focal point idea. I worked on a large piece of cardboard, and I'm thinking of redoing  this lesson in my journal in a different format.

First, I'll show you my completed project and if you scroll down, I've posted a progress slideshow as well to show you how my layers built up. Unfortunately, I couldn't take photos of the last few layers, as it got dark on me, so there's a big step at the end, but you'll get the idea.

If you want to make similar animated GIFs, here's a link to Giphy

Enjoy your week! 

Friday, 13 January 2017

LifeBook Week02 (Part 2): Song of the Hummingbird

This is the second bonus lesson of this week's LifeBook offerings, by Tamara herself. We've certainly been kept busy so far this year and I'm just glad to be able to keep up with all this amazing inspiration!

Tam's hummingbird lesson involved collaged feathers cut from patterned paper, each representing a positive affirmation. The biggest challenge for me was the choosing of the papers. I auditioned several sheets and even cut shapes out of each, only to settle on this simple two-way design. I decided less was more in this case.

Drawing the hummingbird was quite simple, but I still managed to mess up - this is my second version. Yes, it still happens, but I'm quite happy with it now. I like its colour harmony and simplicity. I added a few drops of stickles too to make it a bit sparkly and special. Again, with glitter, less is always more!

Wishing you a lucky Friday the 13th!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

WOYWW #397: Altered book cover redone

I was hoping for a quiet, relaxing morning writing this blog post, but it wasn't meant to be! My son announced five minutes before he had to leave for school (still in his PJs!) that he couldn't find his phone, which apparently is cause for an  existential crisis in a pre-teen's life. I offered to look for it while he got dressed, frantically turning everything upside down, even considering slashing the back of the sofa to have a look in case it fell down inside it (it's destined for the scrapheap anyway) - but no joy. So he left huffing and puffing and not in a very good mood. As soon as he left, I spotted his phone, on charge, where he normally charges it! Urrrggghhh!

Anyways, after a major clean-up session prompted by the horrors I had discovered behind the sofa, here I am ready to share my desk on WOYWW! I have not one but two shots of my desk to show you. Remember that altered book cover from last week? I decided that it didn't match the style my book was moving towards, so I completely redesigned it by covering it with a piece of batik. And no, I didn't feel sorry to see the previous cover go. I have the photos to remember it by. Here I am, trying to decide which fabric to use. (OK, I'll admit it, this shot was totally staged, just so I could show you the first spread in my book, which you can find out more about here.)

A little while later, Oreo appeared on the scene, overseeing the proceedings, like he always has to. He (in)conveniently settled on top of my batiks. (In case you're wondering what's in that snowmen box - it houses all my washi tapes. It's screaming out for an alteration, isn't it?)

And this is my new book cover shown from different angles. It will inevitably get splattered with paints and inks, but I don't mind. The messier, the better. I plan to use this book for my Wanderlust journal spreads throughout the year. 

Oreo had another photo shoot. I have to grab the camera whenever the opportunity presents itself, as it's not something you can plan for. 

And finally, here's a little cat cartoon from my hubby's Engineering and Technology journal, of all places! (I realize it's copyrighted, but perhaps I can get away with it in the name of sharing with just the handful of people reading my blog!)

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

LifeBook Week02 (Part 1): Affirmation Cards

The second week of LifeBook brought us not one but TWO bonus lessons - each a full lesson in its own right, if you ask me. We're so spoilt! The first lesson was by the lovely Andrea Gomoll whom I first met on LB 2015. Andrea created a deck of affirmation cards to help us keep positive throughout the year. These type of affirmation cards are commercially available as well, but what could be more fun than to create your own!

I used a sheet of A3 watercolour paper and splashed some acrylic inks all over it, diluting them with water. I don't know whether it's because of the kind of inks I used, but my page didn't look anything like it was supposed to. However, once I cut it into pieces, I quite liked the effect. I've got 8 cards out of the A3 sheet. They are about 6" X 4" in size. These were the colours I used on both sides of the sheet:

Once I cut my cards and rounded off the corners, I splattered some white gesso over them and added some collage elements. They are all daVinci girls printed from the Internet. I thought they matched my colour scheme, but now I realize they may not match my theme that well as they all seem rather sad and gloomy, but hey, maybe these ladies just need some positive affirmations to cheer them up! I added my sentiments and some outlines and borders as finishing touches.

As a by-product, I ended up with these inked kitchen towels, which I actually rescued from the bin after absentmindedly chucking them away. When will I learn?  I'm not sure what I will use them for just yet, but it would have been a shame to throw them away.

This deck of cards will fit nicely in a pocket inside my LifeBook. It can also be expanded with cards of the same size, but with a different colour scheme. I felt very inspired by this lesson and would create more cards right now if I didn't have another great bonus lesson to work on this week. I'll be back with Part 2 shortly!