Wednesday, 31 December 2014

WOYWW #291: Looking forward to 2015 with excitement

Hello, deskers! Here it is - the last day of 2014 and the last WOYWW this year! I'll share a quick snap shot of my desk, and without further ado, I'll show you two of the projects I've been working on these past couple of days.

There's not much on my desk at the moment. It's ready for the New Year, eagerly awaiting the start of Lifebook 2015 tomorrow! That's my son keeping the seat warm for me. He said he wanted to be on my blog. Since I've got nothing else to show you on my desk, I thought he might as well make an appearance.

Project One: Calendar Page

I've finished my calendar page for January 2015, inspired by one of Tamara Laporte's classes: Lettering with Willowing.  It was part of the Honoring Your Present series (originally released as part of LifeBook 2012, I think).  I will fill this calendar in January recording my emotions/experiences in just a couple of words each day, thus honoring my present and practicing creative lettering at the same time.

If it goes well (and I have time), I might do the same for the following months as well. I really enjoyed creating this grid with 31 spaces for the days, and I can't wait to start filling it with words and doodles! For the first time in my life, I'm actually looking forward to the month of January! I'll post an update at the end of the month to show you the finished page!

Project Two: Art Journal Page

My second project started as a healing exercise, also part of the aforementioned Willowing class. Underneath the background is a whole page of hidden journalling. Tam walks you through a meditation process, which involves focusing on your body and identifying any negative feelings or discomforts. I had a lot of nervous tension in my body, caused by a feeling of apprehension about the future. By the end of the exercise this nervous energy miraculously transformed into a light fluttering sensation, much like you feel when you are excited! My page is representative of this sensation with butterfly and dragonfly wings and celebrates excitement for the future while letting go of apprehensions, so I can enjoy my present.

This is my second attempt at the background as I didn't like the first one I created. Luckily, I was able to save the face, which I copied from Tam's project and collaged over the background using dictionary papers, starting from scratch again. This pretty much obliterated my journalling layer, but it's enough for me to know that it's still there somewhere, which makes this page more meaningful to me. 

The instructions called for looking for shapes and lines within the image to fill with journalling. I wrote little positive messages to myself like "Let go of your fears" and "Turn anxiety into excitement". For stenciling the wings I used a 6x6" Crafters Workshop stencil with acrylic paints.

Have a wonderful time Everyone saying goodbye to 2014 and wishing you lots of excitement and creativity for 2015! 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

WOYWW #290: Braveheart

So what's on my word desk this Wednesday, December 24th? Absolutely nothing, as I had to clear everything away to make room for our Christmas dinner later today. The photo shows my desk (I refuse to call it dining table!) as it was on Tuesday night, though I admit I had to stage a few items to make it a bit more interesting.  If you would like to take a look at some other crafty desks, just mosey over to the Stamping Ground to take part in an international desk hop called WOYWW.

If you're not interested in reading all the "padding" just skip to the photos! I know, I don't always have the time/patience myself, so no hard feelings, I promise!

Here's a rundown of some of the things lying on my desk:

  1. I really needed a desk lamp to be able to see better when working after sunset, which is pretty much after 3 pm these days! This is a cheapo, collapsible lamp off eBay, which my husband modified for me with bright LED lights instead of the horrible, dingy halogen ones it came with. This lamp, along with the Christmas lights and the radiator makes my crafty corner rather welcoming on a cold winter's night!
  2. I've just received these new POSCA pens in the post. I didn't expect them to arrive before Christmas, so it was a nice surprise. It's a pack of 12 extra fine tip paint markers, which allow you to use paint with the precision of a marker pen. I've been using the black and white ones for a while, but decided to invest in some coloured ones as well. If you are interested, you can check them out here.
  3. This sketch is likely to be my next project. I don't normally make a composition first, but this time I thought it might be a good idea to plan ahead. I'll see how it goes and show you if it works out (and keep it secret if it doesn't)!
  4. This is a journal page titled Braveheart, which I finished a couple of days ago. I'm quite happy with it and I'll show you some closer images in a minute.
  5. A colourful calendar page for the month of January to record my feelings each day and practice lettering techniques at the same time. (I'll show you a closer look next week as it still needs some finishing touches.)
All three of these projects have been inspired by the tutorials and classes of Tamara Laporte of Willowing Arts. I'm taking part in LifeBook2015, which is a year long art journalling and mixed media course organized by Tam. I can't wait for the course to start in January, so I'm getting ready by completing some of her older tutorials. The Braveheart page is my take on her Collage, Paint and Soul class and I think I managed to put my own spin on it.

This project starts with a healing exercise and has some hidden journalling under all those layers of collage and paint. I find this sort of journalling very liberating because I don't have to worry about someone else reading it. It's just a way of expressing my innermost feelings and letting go of my anxieties. The image I created on top of my negative feelings is the positive outcome that I want to concentrate on: bravery and self-confidence.

Because this is a paid course, I'm not at liberty to show you step-by-step instructions, but Tam's got a free video which is very similar to this technique of painting over collage and magazine images. You can find it here.

However, I can tell you what I did differently: I printed the image of a lion from the internet, desaturated the colours and turned down the contrast a bit so I could paint over it with watercolours, without having to cover up the details with acrylics. Then I used a thin marker pen to outline some of the details to make them stand out more. I quite like how it turned out. My butterflies have been cut from tissue paper. The quote comes from the film Braveheart and I used a free font called 4990810 to print it.

Hope you enjoy looking at the photos below and I wish every one of my readers a Very Merry Christmas!

(Click on the photo for the gallery to launch)

Friday, 19 December 2014

Word of Inspiration Wednesday: COLD

This is my latest page for WOIW in the Kraafters Kommunity on Google +. I needed a larger surface than my journal, so I used a separate sheet of 300 gsm watercolour paper. When painting portraits, you really need good quality paper. Much as I love the craft card in my WOIW journal, it wouldn't have been able to handle this project.

The inspirational word this week is COLD. When I saw this, I immediately thought of Disney's Frozen, so I decided to draw Elsa and use a quote from the theme song of the film:

"Let the storm rage on, the cold never bothered me anyway"

There's an excellent tutorial on YouTube, which shows you how to draw Elsa. You can find it here. I first sketched the outline of her and then spent half a day shading it. I'm not kidding - there's at least ten layers of crayons, pencils and acrylics on her face. It's still not perfect but compared to some of the faces I did when I first started out a few months ago, it's incomparable. My son saw me work on this project and commented that she looked like Elsa from Frozen, without knowing that I was trying to draw her. The biggest compliment ever!

Once Elsa was done, I shaded the background with crayons and acrylics, which was a whole lot easier and faster! I printed out her castle and incorporated it in the page. I'm note sure if this works - I'm not too keen on the overall composition. I printed the lyrics using a free font called GF Ordnel, which I really like. It looks a bit like it was printed with a label maker. I framed the word tiles using white acrylic paint. It doesn't show in the photos, but the blue snowflakes are covered in mica powder and shimmer if you look at them from certain angles. I used Lumiere paints for Elsa's eyes, which also shimmer in the light. 

Here's my completed project with some close-up photos as well.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

WOYWW #289: Quirky Doodle Birds

Thank you for visiting my desk today courtesy of an international desk hop organized by Julia Dunnit on the Stamping Ground. Hope your week is going as well as mine!

 My desk

Here's a photo of my desk/dining table in all its messy glory just after I finished my latest project. Since then, I'm happy to report, I've managed to clear my work space, so it's ready to take me on another creative adventure. Let me quickly show you around:

  1. My current project is an accordion booklet with quirky bird illustrations (more about this later)
  2. My sketchbook with sketches of quirky birds to draw inspiration from
  3. Have you ever dipped your brush in your drink instead of the jar of water? I keep doing that!
  4. You may have seen these pots on my desk before. They're empty face cream pots that I filled with gesso and gel medium. This way, the large containers won't dry out - I refill these little pots when they are empty. It works really well - just make sure you label them so you don't accidentally put gel medium on your face!
The other bits and pieces you can see were all used for the Quirky Birds project: acrylic paints, water-soluble wax crayons, spray inks and lots of pens and paint markers.

 Quirky Doodle Birds

A couple of weeks ago I signed up for a bunch of self-study mini classes offered by Tamara Laporte of Willowing Arts. Quirky birds is one of them. I think it was originally part of LifeBook 2013. The lesson walks you through the steps of creating an accordion style booklet with a colourful background and some quirky birds for decoration, complete with journalling. Tam gives you some pointers about the characteristics of these whimsical creatures, which leaves you with a lot of freedom to create your own guys. I've also changed the format a bit (not on purpose but by accident - I cut the paper the wrong way) - but it worked out perfectly in the end!

The background is done with spray inks and water-soluble crayons. The birds are then drawn on the background and coloured with acrylics and crayons and finished off with some doodle patterns. The quote I chose is really relevant to me right now. It has to do with courage and faith:

"Sometimes you just have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down" 
by Kobi Yamada

Here are some photos of the accordion book. It's not finished yet - I need to complete the other side as well, but for now I'm all quirked out, so I'll put it aside for a while and do something else. Hope you like my quirky guys and are inspired to create some of your own! Thanks for visiting!

The background was done with stencils and spray inks

This one's my favourite!

But I like this one too!

And this!

The book will be folded like this. 

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Christmas Whimsy

Christmas Eve is only 10 days away and I'm definitely getting into a festive mood. I was inspired to follow a tutorial by Tamara Laporte of Willowing Arts called A Christmas Whimsy. I pretty much copied her ice skating girl, but I'm hoping that by changing the colour scheme and composition I managed to make this project a little bit my own.

This is also my entry for the weekly challenge of Word of Inspiration Wednesday by the Kraafters Kommunity on Google Plus, where the inspirational word this week is ICE. 

I chose a flat canvas board for this piece. I completely covered it with dictionary pages and patterned paper as shown below. Most of it disappeared under the additional layers of crayons, paints and stamping, but it still gives a nice underlying texture peeking through in places.

Starting point: dictionary pages and patterned paper
With crayons, paint and collage pieces added

I drew the skating girl on 300 gsm watercolour paper and shaded her with water-soluble wax crayons, then cut her out and adhered to the background with gel medium. The houses and the birdie were cut from the same card. The trees are gelli prints and the image of the moon was printed on regular copy paper. I completed the layout with white outlines, doodling, stamping and glitter glue accents. I also dusted silver mica powders all over the page, which gives it a nice shimmer, though you will not see this in the photos.

It may sound like a quick project, but I actually spent quite a lot of time trying to get it right. I added the bird as an after-thought as there was too much empty space in that corner. The drawing of the girl took three attempts until I was reasonably happy with her. I tried a red/green Christmas colour scheme first (as in the tutorial) but it didn't seem to work for me. In the end I kept the colours to an icy blue/green/white and I quite like how it turned out. I hope you like it too! Here are the photos of the completed project: (Click on the photos to see them enlarged in gallery view.)