Friday, 30 January 2015

WOIW: Acceptance

Time for another Word of Inspiration Wednesday post, courtesy of the Kraafters Kommunity on Google Plus. This week, the inspirational word is ACCEPTANCE.

When I researched this word, I found countless references on Google relative to its meaning and usage in inspirational quotes. Going through the quotes, one thing quickly became obvious, namely that they can be divided into two groups: acceptance of your circumstances and self-acceptance.

Luckily, I've never had any issues with self-acceptance. Not that I'm a confident person, far from it, but early on I realized that I am my own best friend and I don't need justification from other people to be able to accept myself the way I am. I like myself and I know that I am worthy. I choose to surround myself with people who reinforce this belief, but I'm pretty much self-sufficient in this regards. I think a lot of introverts feel the same way. It's a life skill that I'm trying to instill in my son as well. Amazingly, if you like yourself, and accept yourself unconditionally, other people will do as well.

Where I do have issues, however, is accepting situations that I cannot change. Acceptance doesn't mean giving up, by the way - it just means that you learn to make the best of every situation and try to be happy despite unfavourable conditions. If you CAN change an unhappy situation, by all means do! However, if that's not possible, you can still find happiness in acceptance. I've gathered some affirmations for my page as a reminder of this.

I started out with a gelli print, which I stuck down with gel medium. I shaded the edges with a purple Gelato (the colour 'grape' which is my current favourite). I stamped on the background with black acrylic paint giving it a distressed look. I cut a heart shape out of a toilet paper roll and textured it with gesso. When the gesso was dry I coloured it with the same purple Gelato and stamped some dots on it with black acrylics and shaded the edges with a black gelato. I printed the affirmations on regular copy paper and cut it into strips, which I glued down along with the heart. The heart also has a piece of masking tape with the word 'acceptance' stamped on it. I quite like the overall look of this page.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

WOYWW #295: Busy, busy, busy

Yet another Wednesday has come to snoop around other people's work desks. If you would like to join in the fun, just head over to the Stamping Ground where you'll find the phenomenally successful weekly blog hop called What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday.

I took this photo just after I had finished my new LifeBook project and tidied up the fallout. Perhaps I should have taken a photo before the clean-up operation, but I thought I'd spare you the agony. Now my desk is nice and neat, waiting for the next project. Let me show you some of the projects I worked on last week along with some other bits.

  1. I know I'm not supposed to buy any more art supplies for a while (i.e. until I find some type of income) but these journals were practically a giveaway at just £1.49 each. I couldn't possibly leave them behind. They have a lovely embossed cover and rounded corners, which I adore. Although the paper inside is rather thin and lined, I've seen people use these types of regular notebooks as art journals by gluing two pages together and strengthening them with gesso. I thought I'd give it a go and if it doesn't work, I can always use them as regular note books.
  2. Encouraged by the success of my upcycled toilet paper roll pen holder (top left in the photo), I decided to alter this Cadbury's Hot Chocolate tin (it's not really a tin, but I don't know what else to call it). I simply stuck a piece of gelli print on it and now it houses my binder clips. Very useful and still smells of chocolate!
  3. My Word of Inspiration Wednesday journal has a new entry in it for the word Abundance. You can check it out here if you're interested. 
  4. Ditto for my Documented Life Project journal, which you can find here.
  5. Last week I showed you the initial sketch of my ballerina for week04 of LifeBook. This page has now been completed. You can find my post here.
  6. I've also managed to complete my LifeBook project for week05, a dreamcatcher! You can find more photos here.
As you can see I've been busy, busy, busy! 22 posts so far in January - by far the most I've ever done, thanks to all the challenges and classes I'm taking part in this year. Realistically, I'm not sure I can keep up this level of activity, but I'll see how it goes. I'll continue as long as I enjoy it and as long as time allows. I'm not working at the moment but that might change quite soon, and then I won't have this much time available. On the plus side, I will have more money to buy paint though! 

Thanks for visiting today! If you're popping in from the Stamping Ground, please leave your link number so I can find you! I return every visit! Happy WOYWW!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

LifeBook Week05: Dreamcatcher

This week's LifeBook lesson taught by Rachael Rice is all about dreamcatchers! I'd never heard of dreamcatchers before and I was fascinated by Rachael's introduction into this Native American tradition. If you're wondering what dreamcatchers are just check out these images on Google.

We didn't make a physical dreamcatcher, we created a representation of one for our art journal using a doily and some pretend feathers cut from paper. The words and symbols on our dreamcatcher represent our intentions for the year. For me this is progress, positive change, moving in the right direction and trusting the journey.

I used gelli prints for my background, as well as some music paper, number stamping and white and copper acrylic paints to distress it. Instead of a real doily I chose a paper one and altered it with copper paint and gilding wax.

I used a purple Gelato (grape) to shade around the edges of my page as well as under and around the doily to make it stand out more. I used the same Gelato for colouring the paper shapes and blended it with Gesso. This made it possible for me to write over the Gelato layer with a white pen. I edged the feather shapes with copper gilding wax to give them dimension.

The dots for the chain to "hang" the feathers were done with copper Stickles. Finally, I added some real feathers and trims to the layout to make it truly mixed media.

I really enjoyed working on this lesson. You can see some photos of my process below, as well as some close ups of the finished project. (Click on the first image to open the gallery.)

Gelli print collage with white and copper brayering

Music papers, stamping and additional brayering
The completed page

Sunday, 25 January 2015

DLP Week04: Words with friends

This week's challenge of  the Documented Life Project was to create something with writing with the prompt 'words with friends'.  I decided to do a page with the quote 'A friend's silence hurts more than an enemy's harsh words' because I find this to be very true.

I started my page with three different Gelatos (bubblegum pink, mango and lemon) which I blended with my fingers directly on the paper with a tiny bit of gesso. The gesso helped move the pigments easier and also toned downed the brightness of the colours and made the Gelatos a bit more permanent.

Bubblegum pink, mango and lemon Gelatos blended with gesso 

Next, I added some texture paste (extra-fine Polyfilla aka joint compound from the DIY store) through a Crafter's Workshop stencil and let it dry thoroughly.  The Polyfilla, unlike most other texture pastes dries almost instantly and produces fantastic results, as you can see below.

Stenciling with extra-fine Polyfilla (joint compound)


I tore some words out of an old dictionary, which I thought matched my sentiment: friend, understand, support, loyal and stuck them on my layout after inking the edges with dark grey archival ink. Much as I hate my own handwriting, I wrote my sentiment on a piece of torn paper for the sake of the challenge and inked the edges the same way. As a finishing touch, I splattered Payne's Grey acrylic paint over the page to grunge it up a bit, reminiscent of a tarnished friendship, where a friend fails to be supportive. Here's my final page. Perhaps it's not my most brilliant project to date, but I find it quite meaningful and expressive.

The page without the splatters

The final page with the paint splatters


Friday, 23 January 2015

WOIW Abundance

This week's word for Word of Inspiration Wednesday is ABUNDANCE.

Definition: an extremely plentiful or over-sufficient supply of something. In other words, more than you need. We all know there's often a difference between what we want and what we need. And also, the more we have, the more we want. Which means, we're never really satisfied, because as soon we get something we want, we want something else.

If we start differentiating between our wants and needs, we soon realize that we already have what we need. We just have to make the most of what we have!

I chose this week's quote for my WOIW journal page with this sentiment in mind and I wrote it as a reminder to myself, represented by the silhouette figure. Well, a slimmer version of myself, lol! I used acrylic paints for the background through different stencils as well as rubber stamps with white acrylic paint.

I'm definitely getting bolder with my journalling and try to work quickly without spending too much time on details. It's by no means a perfect page, but I'm hoping that some of the energy and confidence I felt while creating it comes through.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

LifeBook Week04: Tightrope

Week four of LifeBook was supposed to be a 'Bonus' lesson, less demanding than a 'Main' lesson. However, it turned out to be a full-blown big project for me. For inspiration we were shown a fast forward video by Patti Ballard, who has a unique whimsy style. You can see more of her work on her website.

The video depicted a girl on a high wire with the sentiment "courage, dear heart". We were left to decide how we wanted to build up our collaged backgrounds. I chose a piece of scrapbooking paper, which I stuck onto my 9" X 12" watercolour paper. On top of this I collaged pieced of French music paper (printed from the internet) and Chinese book paper (kindly sent to me by a fellow blogger) and a raffle ticket with the number 369, which holds personal significance to me. I brayered some white acrylic pain over this to tone down, distress and unify the background.

This is what my project looked like after these steps:

At this point I debated with myself whether I should paint the figure directly onto my backgroung or draw it on a  separate sheet of paper, instead. Since it was a rather light background, I thought I would try working on it directly. I transferred the same image presented in the lesson with the help of some carbon paper. It's a little trick I use until I'm more confident to draw my own figures. I figure, when you're a student, this is allowed.

As soon as I started  paining over my sketch, I noticed that the scrapbooking paper had lifted from the watercolour paper in several places, including the face, which was caused by not enough adhesive (gel medium) used in some areas. I almost abandoned my project because of this but used a desperate measure to solve this problem and it seemed to have worked!

If this ever happens to you, this is what you can do! Get a sharp craft knife and very carefully slice the top layer where the air bubble is, making sure not to cut through the bottom layer. Take a small piece of paper and place some gel medium on it and slide it into the opening, pressing the opening shut as you remove the piece of paper, depositing the gel medium in the process. Smooth it out making sure there's no air trapped underneath. There will be just a tiny cut visible, easily covered by subsequent layers of paint. Problem solved!

Solution to air bubbles!
This project was a bit of an experimental piece for me because the instructions didn't call for any particular supplies to be used. I decided to try Portfolio water-soluble oil pastels on the face and I quite like the results. Because these pastels are watersoluable, they blend well with gesso too.

After painting my figure, I added a few elements that were not part of the lesson to add a personal touch. For example, I put a bird in her hand instead of a heart, I added a real bow instead of drawing one, I collaged some butterflies cut from napkins, I added some stamping to the background, I wrote 'tightrope' on the line and changed the sentiment to 'be extraordinary'.

Here's the completed project. I'm quite proud of it, especially that I managed to divert disaster when my background started bubbling!