Sunday 31 July 2016

LifeBook Week31: Sisterhood

The original title for this LifeBook lesson by Gillian Lee Smith was 'We all cast shadows'. This is my take on it from a different angle and call it 'Sisterhood' celebrating the sharing/caring nature of our female dominated art communities. This is probably as close as I can get to having sisters!

I love, love, love Gillian's muted colour palette and unique style of painting. She showed us how to texture and distress the background by using a rough, household brush for the initial layer of gesso and then scratch some scribbles in it with an embossing tool. I really liked how my background turned out. Luckily, I remembered to take a photo of it!

Gillian also gave us  a great tip on how to transfer imagery found online with use of carbon paper. This has really helped me build my composition. It gives you a rough basis to work with and takes the guesswork out of trying to get the proportions and perspectives right. I used these classic paintings by da Vinci to help me with my figures.

I also used some drawings found online for the windows and leaves. Although you could draw these by hand, I find it easier to use a template to match the size and placement of multiple elements. It just makes life easier! Here's my finished piece, complete with the imagery:

I really enjoyed this style of painting and would like to try it again in the future.
It wasn't as difficult as I first thought!

Friday 29 July 2016

LifeBook Week 30: Shadow Land with Jane Davenport

I'm running a week behind with my LifeBook lessons and even skipped a few. I really didn't want to skip this one from last week with the awesome, one and only, Jane Davenport.  I have her book Drawing and Painting Beautiful Faces, though I've never actually worked my way through it, just cuddled it for a while. I was a bit nervous to do my version of a "Jane girl" because the lesson called for watercolours and I know I don't always get on with those. I had to use some gesso on this one to save it - at one point I was convinced it was a gonner, but I managed to save it somehow - well, kind of.

There are some things I like about it and some things that need improving, I know. I like the colours in it and I think she's turned out quite pretty. On the negative side, my shading is still very tentative and my lines are too tight and controlled. I can't help thinking that a half-talented 10-year-old can do better than this. But hey, I had fun and I actually quite like her!

Here are some photos. I added the butterfly as an afterthought, but now I wish I had given her some pearls instead with the same colours as the flower. I think it would have balanced the composition better and I could have called it Pearls of Wisdom. Not to worry - there's always a next time!

Oreo photobombed my shoot
No problem, I was able to crop him out!
Thanks for visiting!
Hope to see you some time again soon! 

Wednesday 27 July 2016

WOYWW #373: Design your own fabric!

I can't believe it's that time of week again when we converge on the Stamping Ground to share a shot of our desk for WOYWW. Here's one I took this morning, followed by a shot of my outside table that is in stark contrast of the one I took last week, as the weather has turned cooler and wetter, but I think it's quite atmospheric:

On my work desk/dining table you can see the beginning of a background in my Inspiration Wednesday journal. There's also a new purchase in the shape of a pair of pinking shears. I refused to shell out £30 for a Fiskars one, so I bought a cheaper version on Amazon. They're pretty good - I can't fault them.

Also on my desk are some printed fabric swatches I ordered from Prinfab. You can design your own fabric and they will print it for you! You can also make your designs public and earn a commission if anyone orders it. I wanted to try this service so I ordered some 20 cm square pieces at 99p each with my own artwork on it. I'm pretty impressed with the quality! The colours are true to the original ones and the prints are nice and sharp. They also sent me a free sample pack of the available materials. Here are some close ups of the prints I received. I can cut these up and reuse them in tags, ATCs or on journal pages. Or I could sew them together to make quilts, pouches, bags, cushion covers, etc, which is something I still have to learn. The last two were digitally altered to make a seamless pattern based on parts of this piece.

I plan to use the smaller prints on ATCs. Perhaps I will stitch them on. They would look something like this:

I'm very excited about the possibilities of designing my own fabric! I have tried printing on fabric before, but I never got good results with my laser jet. Perhaps it would work better with an inkjet, but I doubt I would get such good quality prints as these. I would also like to learn more about fabric design as I find this field fascinating. I expect it's very similar to making digital paper, which I already dabbled in, so I have some ideas how it might work.

Thanks for visiting! Happy WOYWW! Somehow I managed to be the same number on the blog hop list as last week, #28! Oops, I almost forgot - here's an arty shot of Oreo in the garden:

Sunday 24 July 2016

LifeBook Week 29: Dance of the Shadow

This was last week's LifeBook lesson by Mary Beth Shaw, the founder of StencilGirl. Having thoroughly enjoyed Mary Beth's first LB lesson a few months ago, I was really looking forward to her second, bonus offering this year. It involved burning paper, and boy did I get excited about that!

Here's my page at its initial stages, which clearly shows the burn marks. A word of advice: do this when your other half is NOT on the premises (as he may not approve) and make sure you're well away from the fire alarm! It also helps if you're near the kitchen sink in case you get into a pickle! This process is not for the faint hearted as the paper can well and truly catch fire! I managed to get some nice burn marks and burned edges on both my main page and the collage papers.

Next, I added some gesso, paint and stencilling and even incorporated my used matches in the design to emulate the 'bridge' in my title. The colours are Golden's Raw Umber, Quin Nickel Azo Gold and Manganese Blue Hue, which go beautifully together. Here's the finished page, a glimpse of which I let you see in my previous post.


I know I need to take my own advice, as I tend to burn bridges behind my back, though as I get older I realize that keeping your options open is always a good idea. I really enjoyed this lesson and will probably do more burning in the future - under strict safety precautions, of course! 

Wednesday 20 July 2016

WOYWW #372: Heatwave!!!

Those of us who live in the UK have been enjoying a mini heatwave this week. I'm not sure "enjoying" is the right word, though. I have very low tolerance of heat and cold - a bit like Goldilocks - I like it "just right". Having survived the scorching 35C heat yesterday, I'm here for another round of WOYWW.  Julia is back this week (yay!) and Jan can breathe a sigh of relief having been entrusted with the responsibilities of deputy head desker for the past few weeks.

I have two desk photos to share today. The first one was taken on Monday afternoon. As you can see I have moved out onto the patio again for some al fresco arting. And yes, that's a drop of rose in a champagne glass. I like to do things in style, even at 3 pm, LOL! I could deny it and say it was just fruit juice, but that would be lying. Well, it is fruit juice in a way! The artwork you can see is a preview of a new page for my LifeBook - I will unveil it later this week. It involved burning (!) some paper.

My second desk shot was taken at quarter to nine last night. My son was keeping me company while I did some abstract doodling. I haven't done this sort of doodling for a while and it was so nice and relaxing to get back into it. It was lovely sitting outside while the air cooled down a little.

The inspiration came from an online tutorial that I saw on Creativebug, which works on the basis of a monthly subscription. It's only $4.99 a month, with a two-week free trial. You can watch as many videos as you like and save one to your library each month for forever access, even if you cancel your subscription. I'm still on my free trial - I signed up because I wanted to have access to a Flora Bowley video, but I've discovered lots of other interesting classes as well, so I might keep it going for a while. 

Some of you pointed out the absence of Oreo last week, so I'll make up for it this week. Look what I've found in the shop! They're heavenly!

And here's the real thing - Oreo, the cat, has taken residence on top of my drawer unit, inside my bits and bobs tray. He actually jumps from the floor - I saw him do it! I often find him there in the morning, so I expect he sleeps there all night. It doesn't look very comfortable!

Thanks for stopping by! 
I hope today will be less hot for those of you in the UK -
at least there's a nice breeze outside.
Enjoy your day, whichever part of the globe you're visiting from!

Saturday 16 July 2016

LifeBook ATC Swap

Last year I didn't take part in the annual LifeBook ATC swap, but I didn't want to miss out this year. I was paired with Cat from sunny California. Yippee! I'll show you the ATCs I made for Cat and the ones I received in return. The theme was rather loose: Healing, Transformation and Magic, Working with Inner Critic Wounding. My hats off to Gracie (Tam's sidekick) who orchestrated the swap with hundreds of people participating. Cat and I found each other very quickly and were able to swap without any problems.

I made three ATCs for Cat, which belong to the same series. We only had to make two, but I like doing them in threes! I used an image transfer technique for the dragonflies and added some metal charms as well. I also used my printed art stickers that talked about here.

I placed each card into one of my grungy gelli printed mini envelopes that I first showed you here and I sent it in one of my altered cardboard mailers.

Cat sent me two awesome ATCs and a lovely card in return. I love her watercolour techniques! 

It's been a lovely experience to swap - I'll definitely do it again next year! 
Hope you're all enjoying your weekend!

Wednesday 13 July 2016

WOYWW #371:Grungy gelli prints II and happy mail!

Yet another WOYWW week done and dusted! It went so fast! I've come to think of a week as Wednesday to Wednesday these days. That's when we gather on the Stamping Ground to share our latest projects and a photo of our work desk, no matter how messy! Temporarily, we meet at LLJ's FabricFrenzy until our regular hostess, Julia, feels better following her surgery. Best wishes, Julia!

Today I'm sharing a few things neatly arranged on my dining table, just to show you. Better cheating this way than showing you an empty desk, I'm sure you agree!

You can see some more grungy gelli prints similar to the ones I made last week. I was glad that I was able to duplicate that look, but this time I made the prints a bit more green/teal. I've also bought a couple of things: two books by Pam Carriker (they're both fantastic!) and a plain canvas bag from HobbyCraft for just £1.49! What a bargain! I'm not sure what I will do with it at this point - might try to gelli print it. 

Also on my desk are two lots of happy mail! One from Win Dinn all the way from Canada, who sent me some awesome ATCs, and the other from Anita of Itsamistry Design Studio, who sent me a goodie bag full of ribbons, diecuts, dimensional elements, beads and all sorts of stuff along with a lovely card. Thank you both so much - I feel so spoilt! 

Here are a few close-ups of some of the items on my desk.

Gelli printed regular envelopes

Gelli printed ATC envelopes

Gelli printed ATC envelopes- flip side

Gelli printed ATC backgrounds

Gelli printed ATC backgrounds

ATCs and other bits received from Win 

Goodie bag from Anita
Thanks for visiting today. Hope you could find something of interest in my post. 
I will be in and out all day, but will visit as many of you as I can! 
Happy Wednesday!