Thursday, 20 October 2016

Wanderlust Week 42: Soft pastels over acrylics

Rachel Urista's Wanderlust lesson was published last Friday, but I didn't have any wood panels to try it immediately. I received some 6X6 inch MDF panels yesterday and had a go at this lesson. Rachel showed us her technique using soft pastels and graphite over acrylics and created an intuitive piece on four square blocks, which also stand alone as individual pieces. I didn't quite manage to achieve this goal, as I kept my pieces pretty abstract and geometric, but I still had fun experimenting. I'll show you my process:

paint and collage elements added
graphite and white chalk pastels

more chalk pastels and white acrylics added
This is what the individual pieces look like:

I think I started out ok, but then I got myself into a tight corner that I couldn't get out of - this always happens to me when I attempt making intuitive art! There's something blocking my creative process and it happens EVERY time, so I half expected it to happen again. It might be the compulsive outlining and doodling! As a  result, I ended up with something completely different from what I vaguely envisaged, though I still almost like it. I'll keep these panels for a while but I plan to use them later for another project. I like reusing by canvases unless I get too attached to them, but I can't see that happening with this piece. Good practice though! Have fun creating, everyone!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

WOYWW #385: More practice with intuitive art

Brrr, it's rather chilly this morning. Welcome to another round of What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday. I haven't done much since last week, but I've been watching plenty of videos. Yesterday afternoon, I finally sprang into action and created a piece of intuitive art, partly inspired by a Wanderlust class and partly by a new book I bought, which I'll show you later. While waiting for some wood panels to arrive, which the Wanderlust lesson called for, I decided to try Rachel Urista's pastels over acrylics technique on paper. This is what my desk looked like in the middle of this project, and for once it's not staged!

My practice sheet is in the top right corner - I was just randomly testing different pastels, but I quite like what it turned into. I might use it as collage paper in future projects. On the left hand is my background for my main page, which I called Lifeboat after it emerged. It symbolises how art has become my lifeboat. I sealed the pastels with hairspray, which worked great in lieu of a proper sealer. They don't smudge at all now and smell nice too! This is a little cheat I learned early on in my mixed media career. Here's my completed page:

I'll show you a close-up of my test page too. This is just on regular copy paper that I used to test my new paints and some pastels. It's totally random!

I used these Toison d'or soft pastels, that I bought last year, but never used previously. They are really creamy and well pigmented and, if I remember correctly, were quite cheap. 

Part of my inspiration came from this book by Alena Hennessy titled The Painting Workbook. It contains 52 intuitive-style projects for inspiration. I really like it! 

Instead of an Oreo photo (he's hiding somewhere in the garden), I'll share this Face Swap pic that my son took of me last night. I thought it looked very funny, if slightly weird and perhaps a little bit in bad taste. Next time we might try Donald Trump, LOL! Thanks for visiting! Happy WOYWW!

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

WOYWW #384: Derwent XL, a mini journal and two pages

Hello again on this somewhat overcast autumn morning. Didn't we have gorgeous sunshine yesterday? That's the kind of sunshine I can appreciate. We caved in and turned the central heating on, after all three of us came down with colds last week. I'm all cushed up in front of the computer (my spell checker tells me "cushed up" is not a valid word, but it darn well should be, as in 'feeling cushy')! So here I am, taking part in this week's WOYWW blog hop showing you my latest projects and purchases.

As you can see, my desk is staged as I had to clear it for last night's meal. Believe me, it didn't look this tidy just a few days ago! I'm glad to see some of the paint stains are coming back! Once we move (who knows when?) this is going to be my art table, so I'm not worried about messing it up.

You can see my Wanderlust journal in the top left corner. Underneath is a mini journal I made out of a cheap notebook. Next to that are my new Derwent XL charcoal and graphite blocks, which I just couldn't resist! I'll show you all these items a bit closer.

I saw a video of these Derwent XL blocks and just had to have them! They're both watersoluble and you can even  mix the charcoal with the graphite. I made this page playing with them (the pink comes from an inktense pencil, as all the colours are more earth toned in these two sets). 

I made another page in this journal for the Wanderlust October challenge with the theme "something I want to achieve by the end of the year". I'm not going to disclose the exact terms of the challenge as it might ruin it for others, but suffice to say, there's a clever twist in the conditions, which I didn't see coming!

The last project for today is this mini journal I made from one of those notebooks I showed you last week. I think it was Shaz (Silverwolf) who asked me how I use these cheap notebooks for art journalling. I remove half the pages and stick two and two of the remaining pages together with gel medium to make them sturdier. You can then gesso the pages or paint on them directly. I'm not bothered by the lines as they give me extra texture. I ended up with 25 pages for this journal. You can decorate the cover any way you like. Here's how mine turned out:

If anyone's still in doubt about the meaning of the phrase 'cushed up', here's a visual representation:

That's it for today!
Thanks so much for stopping by.
The sun is peeking through the clouds as I type this -
perhaps I can put the laundry out, after all.

edit: I'm #22 three weeks running!

Monday, 10 October 2016

LifeBook Week 42: Secret weapon

I was super quick with this week's LifeBook page based on Pam Carriker's bonus lesson. I was working on it within an hour of it being posted. I really needed something like this to boost my confidence after having skipped last week's lesson out of fear of failure. (I will attempt it at some point in the future, I promise!)

This quick page consists of a layer of collage, gesso, fluid acrylics and stamping. The lesson called for stencilling but I couldn't find one to suit my page. Instead, I simply rolled some white acrylics on a background stamp with a brayer and got very similar results to stencilling.

The horse image was part of my collage - one of da Vinci's sketches, that I incorporated in the background and went over it with a pencil to make it stand out a bit more where it got covered up by gesso and paint. The title came from a magazine. At the time I chose it, I wasn't sure of the "meaning" in terms of my page, but now I think it means that art is my secret weapon. I can take life's curve balls when I have art in my life to fall back on and take inspiration from. I journalled this sentiment at the bottom of the page in white ink in a scribbly fashion.  As a finishing touch, I applied some black oil pastels to the edge of the page and around my title to frame them.


I'm happy with this page - it was so quick and effortless.
This is what Pam means by "art at the speed of life" I guess when she encourages us to art journal every day! I'd definitely like to do more of this style of "no-stress" art journalling in the future.
Thanks so much for visiting!

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

WOYWW #383: Mini Haul

Hello on this glorious autumn morning! I'm here again to join the crowd on the Stamping Ground for this week's WOYWW. I had to stage my desk this morning as there was nothing of interest on it, but I wanted to share my mini haul from Saturday. I took my son shopping with me in Stroud, probably for the last time, as Granny's house finally sold and the keys were handed over to the new owners on Monday. It is an end of an era for us, as now we do not have a reason to go to Stroud any more, having lost our base there. Even if we do go back, it will never be the same again. Here's my mini haul - the book actually comes from Amazon, but the rest from The Works and Home Bargains. I love cheap stuff, don't you?

I decided that for someone who's so interested in art, I really need to learn a bit more about its history. I never had any formal art education - we didn't even have art in school! So I bought this big book to learn all about it. I love it and I will dip in and out of it whenever I get a chance.

The other things I bought include these useful bits and bobs from The Works. I'm not sure what I will do with them yet, but they're good to have in my stash! 

I thought this large easel was good value at £3 especially that it came with a matching 9" X 12" canvas. These easels are great to display your artwork around the house or for staging them for photographs.

These two notebooks cost less than a pound altogether. The original price on the zebra patterned one was £8! Sheesh! I will use them as mini journals. 

Just so we don't forget, here's Oreo sleeping on the window sill right next to me as I type this, enjoying the morning sunshine, awww:

Thank you so much for visiting today and I'm sorry I had no new artwork to show you.
I needed a bit of a breather, but I'm planning on working on some projects later this week.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Wanderlust Week 40: Limited colour palette

I must admit I had never heard of Leslie Wood until her Wanderlust lesson this week and now I'm so happy that I have discovered her wonderful, quirky art. The lesson she taught us involved using a limited colour palette. She made me look at browns and greys in a completely different light. I do love my colours, as you know, but there's something really appealing to me about using a heavily muted colour scheme  as well.

Leslie's lesson included an Alice in Wonderland inspired character against a mottled background. The only colours I used, other than white, are raw umber and greyish blue. The mottled effect is achieved by spraying water on the background and then lifting off the top layer where the paint still wet. I also got some unexpected scratches from my brayer, which added to the texture. This is what my mottled background looked like:

I drew my character using simple shapes with a charcoal pencil and painted it mainly with white and raw umber mixed with white. I blended the charcoal with a paper stump. I added some hearts to balance the composition, but I kept it very simple, in line with the colour scheme. I thought of cutting the hearts from checkerboard patterned paper - I even tried it - but they seemed too harsh and took away the focus from my character. I like the simplicity and childish innocence of this page. This kind of style is definitely close to my heart! Here are a few shots:

I made this page the same size as my LifeBook and I will include it at the end of the year. It will fit in nicely with my other pages. Later, inspired by Leslie, I might even try creating a themed journal of these quirky characters - you can see hers here.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

WOYWW #382: Recycling your own art on tags

Happy Wednesday Peeps! The weather is definitely turning autumnal. I love this time of year, don't you? Christmas is already on the horizon, but we still have our memories of the summer fresh in our minds. Oops, I'm not here to get sentimental, but to share my desk on the Stamping Ground for today's WOYWW.  Here it is, looking like a battleground yesterday afternoon.

I was working on this week's LifeBook bonus lesson, creating "page wardens" as introduced by the lovely and super creative Roxanne Coble. These are basically tags used as bookmarks inside your journals to ward off self-doubt and your inner critic. Boy, do I need those! I machine stitched my own artwork to these tags on a watercolour background decorated with some washi tapes and doodling. They're all different shapes and sizes with a matching piece of sari ribbon. Here's my collection so far:

I've got a few more photos to share today. I took a snapshot of the birthday cake I made for my son last week. It's long gone now - we decorated it with M&Ms. We had to throw away a big chunk of it because we caught Oreo licking it (which makes me think, what else did he lick while we were not looking, ewww)!

In the next photo, Oreo is surveying the garden after the rain. I find it very atmospheric!

Finally, I was able to get him to settle on his new cat tree, though he still doesn't use it on his own free will, preferring to lounge on the dishrack instead! You can see both scenarios illustrated below.

Thanks so much for stopping by.
Wishing you all a creative week!