Wednesday, 10 May 2017

WOYWW #414: Quick Update

Hello deskers on this bright, sunny morning! I can't believe it's May already! I haven't been around much lately, but I thought I'd check in with a quick update to let you know what's been happening around here. I've been pretty preoccupied with house hunting and didn't get much chance to create anything. We're ready to throw in the towel and stay where we are for now. Both my husband's job and our son's school tie us to this area and we just can't find what we want around here. We'll continue to look but will take our house off the market until we find something suitable.

However, I'm not here to moan about our housing situation, but to show you my desk for WOYWW. As I haven't made any new art, I'll just show you some things I've bought recently. Two art books to add to my collection, a battery operated pencil sharpener and a couple of fabric tapes from The Works. The pencil sharpener is especially useful, as it has two different sized holes and it can handle my chunky charcoal pencils as well. I've also found that it's good for sharpening soft pencils, which tend to break in a manual sharpener.

The following photos show some highlights of my family life since I last participated in WOYWW about a month ago. We went to the Haynes Motor Museum during the school holidays and got to sit this 1935 car. 

We had several outings nearby enjoying the Spring weather. This photo was taken in Dyrham Park, near Bath.

This one's on Selsley Common near Stroud. I love this landscape!

Closer to home is Cam Peak with bluebells in full bloom.

And even closer to home, just down the road from us, is this lovely deer park. That's the River Severn in the background. 

Oreo news: he's enjoying spending more time outdoors now that the weather has turned mild and dry. The other day he caught a mouse in the garden. Luckily, I had the patio door closed, otherwise he would have brought it in. Here he is, playing with the poor little fella. It was already dead when I saw it - otherwise I wouldn't have let him play with it. Ruthless killer! Afterwards, he pretended nothing had happened - he showed no remorse at all. It could have been Mr. Jingles!

Thanks for stopping by today!
I hope I will be able to show you some new art next week.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Be the best version of yourself

It's been ages since I did a journal page just for the heck of it - something that wasn't a challenge or an assignment. While I enjoy taking classes, I think it's important to stay in touch with your own creativity and find inspiration all around you. I was watching an interview with a young tennis player the other day and she said something that stuck in my mind. She said she wanted to be the best version of herself and I immediately thought this would make a great journal spread!

I didn't plan this page, but I expect it was inadvertently influenced by a lesson I completed earlier this week on LifeBook.  Again, I took one of those half-finished backgrounds in my altered book and it evolved from there. I added stamping and collage pieces to the background before playing with some colours on top of all that, followed by some white stamping, lettering and doodling. You can follow the evolution of this page below:

Random painted background

collaged tissue paper and stamping

Fluid acrylics blended 

Detail of coloured background

Detail of coloured background

Stamping and circles added

White lettering and doodling added

Details of final page

Details of final page

Details of final page

Final page from a perspective view

I hope you like the evolution of my page and feel inspired to become the best version of yourself!

Monday, 17 April 2017

LifeBook Week15: Happy

Last week LifeBook brought us a fantastic bonus lesson by Jodi Ohl titled 'Honouring Your Story'. It was one of those relaxing, meditative doodle projects which I have always enjoyed doing. It started out with a random painty background I'd found in my journal - you know one of those backgrounds we all have and never know what to do with. This page happened to be in my altered book that I use for Wanderlust, but it doesn't matter. I felt it was more suitable than starting on a blank piece of paper for my LifeBook. It's all part of my body of work and I don't mind if there's some overlap between my books.

This is the background I created a while ago with leftover paint:

After muting it with some gesso, I randomly drew some shapes and wrote my story in those shapes using different lettering techniques, complete with doodles all over the page. I love this style of journalling  it's so freeing and relaxing - I should be doing more of this! It's a great way to transform those dead-end backgrounds and you only need a limited number of supplies (a few pens and markers) to complete the page. This is how it turned out in the end:

Happy Easter Everyone! 
We're going on a day trip today -
I'll be back later!

Friday, 7 April 2017

LifeBook Week13: Essence

The last LifeBook lesson I completed was for week 06, so you could say I fell off the bandwagon. It's not the first time this has happened and probably not the last. I'm not worried about it though. LifeBook is not a race and it's not an obligation. I call it paint as you go: I do the lessons as I go along at my own pace. It's ok to skip some - I may or may not come back to them later.

This particular lesson is from last week by Annie Hamman, whom I adore! Annie's got real talent that I can only aspire to. I love her expressive, painterly portraits. She makes the process look so easy!

This one started out with a layer of collage from all sorts of sources: patterned papers, magazine cut-outs (or rather tear-outs!), a tea bag and a printed music sheet. A layer of thin gesso followed to mute the background a little. I then sketched a face with a charcoal pencil. This is what it looked like at this stage:

Next, I added shading with charcoal and blended it with gesso. 

I forgot to take photos of the next few steps, which involved adding colours with watersoluble pastels and more collage pieces, including some washi tape and images printed from the internet. I tried to keep the colour scheme simple: muted browns and greens. 

The crown was torn from a magazine image of a handbag. I think it looks very striking and matches my colours scheme - a lucky find! Here's a little trick: if you're not happy with some parts of your painting, cover it up with some collage paper, like I did here with the ship and the clock face, Clever, huh? They can cover up a multitude of oopsies! The word 'essence' was just lying on my desk and I thought it matched my sentiments. Here's a closer look at the finished page:

Thanks for visiting today.
It feels good to be back in the saddle and I hope I will 
have the opportunity to catch up with some more arty lessons 
over the upcoming Easter holidays. 

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

WOYWW #409: Erosion bundle sneak peek

I missed two weeks of blogging again. I seem to be preoccupied with house hunting at the moment and I'm just not in the right frame of mind to create anything. I fell far behind with my classes and only manage WOYWW every other week, just to keep in touch. So here I am for this week's desk hop on the Stamping Ground. I haven't created anything new but I remembered my erosion bundles left out in the garden a few weeks ago and couldn't resist a peek. I only opened one of the three parcels, took some photos, added a few bits and pieces and put it back in the garden to let it erode further. This is all inspired by Evelyn Flint by the way, who has some amazing photos of textures on her blog. Here's some of mine so far:

Random imprint of some textured paper on the back of something else

Dictionary paper with turmeric and ink stains

A stained doily

Another doily

These stains are a combination of inks, coffee/tea and turmeric spice. It's so exciting to discover what textures develop over time all on their own! It's like opening a special present! A word of advice though: open your parcels outdoors - you never know what creepy crawlies have taken residence inside. Mine had three earwigs in them - yikes!

In other news - what do the towns of Chepstow and Weston-super-Mare have in common? You'll never guess this, so I'll tell you. We looked at houses near both these places in the past two weeks, but we had to reject them for various reasons. The good thing though is that we can turn our house hunt into family days out, so we don't feel it's wasted time. Here's a family portrait we took in Chepstow Castle and a couple of others inside the castle:

And here's a photo of the old abandoned Victorian pier in Weston-super-Mare. It's so much more intriguing than the new pier! 

Thanks for visiting! 
It's good to touch base once in a while, even if I'm not very active these days.
I hope to return to blogging soon and hopefully I can catch up 
with some of my lessons as well.
Happy WOYWW!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

WOYWW #407: Painted mini buckets

This is my first blog post in two weeks! I've been slacking partly due to the fact that I have to keep our house clean and tidy for viewings and partly due to laziness - there, I admit it! We've also had problems with our internet connection - this is something that happens periodically and there's nothing we can do about it. It seems to be back up again and I've tried to visit everyone who left comments two weeks ago. If I had accidentally missed any of you, just give me a holler!

I skipped week #406 for WOYWW, but here I am for #407! No desk shot though, as the dining room table is now empty. I moved to the kitchen to paint these mini buckets I want to show you today. I gessoed them first, followed by a coat of Paper Artsy Fresco paints over a layer of crackle glaze. When that was dry, I added a layer of Prussian Blue acrylics, which I then partially removed to create a distressed look. This is what the process looked like:

These are the paints I used. I only have these three Fresco paints. I chose them carefully to complement each other.

Here are some close-ups of each bucket. I left the insides painted plain with the Fresco colours.  I'm not sure what I will use them for. They're very small, only 1.5" tall. I will probably keep beads or paper clips in them. Or perhaps plant a tiny cactus in each!

I have fallen hopelessly behind with my classes, but not to worry. I can always do them later. I hope to be able to visit lots of desks today - fingers crossed my signal stays strong! Happy WOYWW! :)

Oh, no, I almost forgot! I took this video of Oreo sitting on the window sill, happily swinging his tail!