Wednesday 30 March 2016

WOYWW #356: Failed pages transformed

Hello Deskers! I missed last week's WOYWW - the first time since I returned back in September. I got stuck in a creative rut, full of self-doubt with a string of "failed" projects behind me. I'm not completely out of it yet, but I feel a lot more positive about things now as I try to get back on track.

Here's a photo of my desk a few days ago. What you can see on the left are some cards I cut out from my doomed pages. If they had been just pages in my journal, I would have been happy with them but because they were created for a specific lesson, they fell short of my expectations. I like them a lot more now that I had cut them into pieces. I will slap a quote on each and bob's your uncle!

You can also see some pallette papers, home-made stencils and some new purchases on my desk and if you're eagle-eyed, you can spot my son's practice SAT papers as well. He's more likely to work through them if I keep him company on this side of the table. But you're not here to practice maths, so I'll show you what I did with my failed pages. They look remarkably similar, proving that I was well and truly stuck!

The first one I cut into cards that happen to be the same size as my Angel Cards, so I can include them in that stack. They're just waiting for a suitable quote to complete them. I got three of them out of the A4 sheet. I used my trusted corner rounder tool to round off the corners.

"Fail" No.1. (A4)
Three cards cut from Fail No1.

I cut the other sheet into nine ATC-sized cards. These are a lot smaller, so I'll probably just put a word or short phrase on each. "Failure is not an option" comes to mind!

"Fail" No.2. (A4)
Nine ATC sized cards cut from Fail No.2.
Next time you find yourself discarding a project, stop and consider cutting them into pieces instead. You might just give them a new form of life!

I'll leave you with a video clip I took on Easter Monday while visiting Dewstow Gardens in Wales. It's well-worth a visit if you live within striking distance.

Hope you all had a lovely Easter and are now getting back into the swing of things.
Thanks for visiting! I always visit everyone who leaves a comment!

Sunday 27 March 2016

LifeBook Week 13: Layers of Love

Boy, I really struggled with this lesson, and I'm not sure why. Perhaps because my previous intuitive painting project already challenged my belief in my abilities and dampened my spirits. I've hit a rough patch on my creative journey in the past few days, so I haven't posted anything on my blog or on social media for almost a week. I even contemplated stopping for a while, to regain my mojo and gather my strength. However, having visited a few blogs and the LB Facebook group this morning, discovering that other people struggle just the same from time to time, I've decided to press on!

This was my third attempt at this lesson by Rae Missigman, titled Layers of Love, which turned into a Labour of Love for me, it seems! I still struggle with letting go of control and loosening up artistically. I keep falling into a familiar routine and repetition, or in other words my comfort zone. I find it so hard to let go of control and start taking risks. I feel there's not enough variety and randomness in my art because I always want things to be symmetrical and consistent.

I ended up feeling frustrated and emotionally exhausted after both my previous attempts at this lesson. I cut a few new stencils yesterday on my Cameo, hoping that they will encourage me to create more variety and be more impulsive. I think that worked to some extent and I managed to create something that I can include in my LifeBook. Not without blood, sweat and tears though. I kept covering up my pervious layers, so I lost the initial black ink and stamp marks which would have been important to achieve the look I was aiming for. So this is a little different from the lesson, but the best I could come up with.

I plan to do something with my two "fails" in order  to salvage them somehow. 
Perhaps turn them into ATCs or something. I do like some parts of them.
I'll blog it if it works and keep it secret if it doesn't!

Update: you can see what I did with my fails here.

Thanks for visiting today!

Wishing Everyone a Happy Easter!

Tuesday 22 March 2016

Wanderlust Week12: Intuitive painting with Flora Bowley

I first came across Flora Bowley's name last year on LifeBook and I was so impressed I immediately bought her book about the intuitive painting process. I was really happy to see her again as one of the teachers on Wanderlust this year.

Flora's process looks deceptively easy - on the surface of it, she appears to be putting down random paint marks, however, in the end she always manages to build up the layers into something visually striking. Even though she makes it look so easy, I am convinced that this sort of painting method is the most difficult to master.

I have tried making intuitive paintings several times before and I always end up falling into the same old practice, which produces tight, calculated and uniform pictures, not at all similar to a genuinely intuitive, loose, diverse painting. Even though there's no right or wrong way of doing this, I find it really hard to let go and come up with something remotely similar to an intuitive painting.

I'll share two of my efforts here, one in my journal and one on canvas. While I don't actually dislike these, I feel I have failed yet again to find my intuitive voice. I think it will be a long process before I can learn to unfold, but hopefully I have now taken the initial steps in the right direction.

Here's effort No.1 in my 12X12 inch spiral journal:

Effort No.2 on a 12X9 inch canvas with a similar colour palette. Even though both of my projects started out with a very different-looking first layer, I gravitated towards the same teal/violet combo in the end. I just seem to favour cool colours to warm ones - at the moment, anyway.

Both these project have several layers of paint underneath the final layer. You won't believe if I show how I started out because they are so different from the end result. I can't help thinking that I wasted a lot of paint before I arrived at my destination, but Flora did warn us that sometimes it might take up to 20-30, even 40! layers to complete a painting. Some paintings, however, might fall together a lot quicker than that.

Here are my first layers for each project. You can just about recognize the placement of some of the elements but the original colours have been obliterated.

 Thanks for visiting! 
I encourage you to have a go at painting intuitively.
It is quite fun but can also be frustrating if you don't like what you end up with.
The lesson here is not to have any expectations before hand!

I'm linking this post to Carolyn Dube's Let's Play party this week.
Carolyn is also teaching on Wanderlust later this year!

Let's Play!

Sunday 20 March 2016

LifeBook Week 11: Trust

I'm running a week behind with my LifeBook pages. This lesson was released last week by Tam. As usual, it was very in-depth, complete with meditation and step-by step guidelines to help those of us who need them. I find I need the instructions less and less as I progress on my journey, but I still rely on them a great deal.

Perhaps faces are not my forte, but I'm hoping that my skills are slowly improving. I know I will never be a portrait artist, nor would I want to, but I like drawing these Tam-style whimsy faces. Maybe some day, I might even find my own style.

This lesson was all about being grounded in the present and embracing our feelings. Tam encouraged us to write a free form poem about how we are feeling in the moment. We then used bits of this poem in our artwork. This made this project very personal to me. My poem was about trusting that everything works out for the best in the end. You can see bits of it hidden in my picture.

Thank you for visiting! 
Hope to see you again soon!

Friday 18 March 2016

Wanderlust Week11: Wall Hanging

My classes are really keeping me on my toes this year! I can just about keep up with them and sometimes I even have to take shortcuts, like I did with this Wanderlust lesson. Kasia gave us some great tips on how to make a simple and quick wall hanging decoration. I already had some nice pieces of palette paper, which I decided to use for this project to speed up the process.

I started out by cutting a good length of synthetic cloth that I salvaged from a shoebox. I'm not sure if you've seen these before - this one came with my new hiking boots. I tinted it with some fluid acrylics and ended up with this distressed looking ribbon. The texture of the material made it look like it was polka dotted!

The next step was to cut some squares from white card about 9cm in size and some from thicker black card/board slightly larger at 10cm (4" approx). I didn't have any thick black card so I painted some greyboard with black acrylics. Then I stapled my ribbon to the black squares and stuck the white cards covered with random pieces of my pallet paper on top, hiding the staples. This will become clearer when you see the photos below. As a finishing touch, I added some words that are related to my art journey. 

This technique looks as impressive as it is simple. I was done in about an hour and I really like the results. I'm so proud of it I even posed with it! (I'll have to remember to make my son stand on a stool next time though - shooting upwards is not very flattering!)

The bits

The process
The individual tiles

The finished product
Proudly hanging on the wall

Thursday 17 March 2016

My completed Play Journal

I've been regularly sharing pages from my Play journal and now that it is complete, I decided to do a round-up of all the pages in a video slideshow.

My journal started its life as a regular, cheap notebook with thin, ruled pages. I removed some of the pages and stuck every second of the remaining pages together with gel medium. I think it worked extremely well, proving that you don't need an expensive, branded journal for doing something like this. It even has my favourite rounded corners and an elastic band for closure! 

I first introduced this journal in February last year, and then I didn't touch it for months. When I found it again in October, I decided to alter the cover and I have been filling the pages ever since. 
Here's a collage of 25 of the 30 completed pages, along with some shots of the journal itself. You can find the video at the bottom of the post. 

The pages in the video are shown in the order as they appear in the journal, and they are roughly (though not strictly) in chronological order. I can actually see how my techniques and style matured and evolved over the months. I'm particularly proud of the last page!

I'm linking this post to Carolyn Dube's Let's Play linky party. 
Why don't you share your play this week?

Let's Play!