Wednesday, 26 October 2016

WOYWW #386: A book, a collage and some awesome papers

Hello again on this dark Wednesday morning! It was still dark in my neck of the woods at 7.30 this morning. I look forward to the clock going back an hour, but of course it means it will get dark sooner in the evenings. Oh well, time to get those fairy lights out again to make the darkness more bearable.

The photo of my desk for WOYWW was taken on Sunday. I was working on a collage, auditioning different pieces. As you will see, it ended up looking quite different in the end. This project was inspired by a book titled 'Storytelling with Collage' that I saw on my friend Jackie's blog just last week and, of course, I had to have it! This technique is perfect for using up bits and bobs and scrap pieces that I have lying around. The finished collage includes pieces of a tea stained kitchen towel, a stamped tea bag, a test piece of polymer clay with an image transfer, a skeleton leaf, a piece of ribbon and bits of cardboard that I used as underpaper for my paintings.

The collage was built on a piece of handmade Khadi paper, which comes in different weights. The heaviest is 640 gsm, which feels almost like a canvas board and even the 320 gsm weight feels very sturdy. This paper has a lovely textured surface and deckled edges. Don't even think about cutting it with scissors as that would ruin the effect. I trimmed my piece by wetting the paper with a brush along a ruler to soften it and carefully tearing it, so the lovely fibers created a feathered edge.

I've discovered another wonderful product called lokta paper at Anglesey Paper Company. It's very similar to mulberry paper with natural fibres. It's made in Nepal from the bark of the lokta tree, which is a renewable resource as it regenerates itself when it's cut. That's always good to know! When you look at these papers against the light, you can clearly see the yummy fibres in them. This particular type is sold as gift wrap but it will work great as collage paper. Here's my collection so far and some closeups to show them against the light.

I hope you enjoyed your visit today and found something of interest!
Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Wanderlust Week 42: Soft pastels over acrylics

Rachel Urista's Wanderlust lesson was published last Friday, but I didn't have any wood panels to try it immediately. I received some 6X6 inch MDF panels yesterday and had a go at this lesson. Rachel showed us her technique using soft pastels and graphite over acrylics and created an intuitive piece on four square blocks, which also stand alone as individual pieces. I didn't quite manage to achieve this goal, as I kept my pieces pretty abstract and geometric, but I still had fun experimenting. I'll show you my process:

paint and collage elements added
graphite and white chalk pastels

more chalk pastels and white acrylics added
This is what the individual pieces look like:

I think I started out ok, but then I got myself into a tight corner that I couldn't get out of - this always happens to me when I attempt making intuitive art! There's something blocking my creative process and it happens EVERY time, so I half expected it to happen again. It might be the compulsive outlining and doodling! As a  result, I ended up with something completely different from what I vaguely envisaged, though I still almost like it. I'll keep these panels for a while but I plan to use them later for another project. I like reusing by canvases unless I get too attached to them, but I can't see that happening with this piece. Good practice though! Have fun creating, everyone!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

WOYWW #385: More practice with intuitive art

Brrr, it's rather chilly this morning. Welcome to another round of What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday. I haven't done much since last week, but I've been watching plenty of videos. Yesterday afternoon, I finally sprang into action and created a piece of intuitive art, partly inspired by a Wanderlust class and partly by a new book I bought, which I'll show you later. While waiting for some wood panels to arrive, which the Wanderlust lesson called for, I decided to try Rachel Urista's pastels over acrylics technique on paper. This is what my desk looked like in the middle of this project, and for once it's not staged!

My practice sheet is in the top right corner - I was just randomly testing different pastels, but I quite like what it turned into. I might use it as collage paper in future projects. On the left hand is my background for my main page, which I called Lifeboat after it emerged. It symbolises how art has become my lifeboat. I sealed the pastels with hairspray, which worked great in lieu of a proper sealer. They don't smudge at all now and smell nice too! This is a little cheat I learned early on in my mixed media career. Here's my completed page:

I'll show you a close-up of my test page too. This is just on regular copy paper that I used to test my new paints and some pastels. It's totally random!

I used these Toison d'or soft pastels, that I bought last year, but never used previously. They are really creamy and well pigmented and, if I remember correctly, were quite cheap. 

Part of my inspiration came from this book by Alena Hennessy titled The Painting Workbook. It contains 52 intuitive-style projects for inspiration. I really like it! 

Instead of an Oreo photo (he's hiding somewhere in the garden), I'll share this Face Swap pic that my son took of me last night. I thought it looked very funny, if slightly weird and perhaps a little bit in bad taste. Next time we might try Donald Trump, LOL! Thanks for visiting! Happy WOYWW!

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

WOYWW #384: Derwent XL, a mini journal and two pages

Hello again on this somewhat overcast autumn morning. Didn't we have gorgeous sunshine yesterday? That's the kind of sunshine I can appreciate. We caved in and turned the central heating on, after all three of us came down with colds last week. I'm all cushed up in front of the computer (my spell checker tells me "cushed up" is not a valid word, but it darn well should be, as in 'feeling cushy')! So here I am, taking part in this week's WOYWW blog hop showing you my latest projects and purchases.

As you can see, my desk is staged as I had to clear it for last night's meal. Believe me, it didn't look this tidy just a few days ago! I'm glad to see some of the paint stains are coming back! Once we move (who knows when?) this is going to be my art table, so I'm not worried about messing it up.

You can see my Wanderlust journal in the top left corner. Underneath is a mini journal I made out of a cheap notebook. Next to that are my new Derwent XL charcoal and graphite blocks, which I just couldn't resist! I'll show you all these items a bit closer.

I saw a video of these Derwent XL blocks and just had to have them! They're both watersoluble and you can even  mix the charcoal with the graphite. I made this page playing with them (the pink comes from an inktense pencil, as all the colours are more earth toned in these two sets). 

I made another page in this journal for the Wanderlust October challenge with the theme "something I want to achieve by the end of the year". I'm not going to disclose the exact terms of the challenge as it might ruin it for others, but suffice to say, there's a clever twist in the conditions, which I didn't see coming!

The last project for today is this mini journal I made from one of those notebooks I showed you last week. I think it was Shaz (Silverwolf) who asked me how I use these cheap notebooks for art journalling. I remove half the pages and stick two and two of the remaining pages together with gel medium to make them sturdier. You can then gesso the pages or paint on them directly. I'm not bothered by the lines as they give me extra texture. I ended up with 25 pages for this journal. You can decorate the cover any way you like. Here's how mine turned out:

If anyone's still in doubt about the meaning of the phrase 'cushed up', here's a visual representation:

That's it for today!
Thanks so much for stopping by.
The sun is peeking through the clouds as I type this -
perhaps I can put the laundry out, after all.

edit: I'm #22 three weeks running!

Monday, 10 October 2016

LifeBook Week 42: Secret weapon

I was super quick with this week's LifeBook page based on Pam Carriker's bonus lesson. I was working on it within an hour of it being posted. I really needed something like this to boost my confidence after having skipped last week's lesson out of fear of failure. (I will attempt it at some point in the future, I promise!)

This quick page consists of a layer of collage, gesso, fluid acrylics and stamping. The lesson called for stencilling but I couldn't find one to suit my page. Instead, I simply rolled some white acrylics on a background stamp with a brayer and got very similar results to stencilling.

The horse image was part of my collage - one of da Vinci's sketches, that I incorporated in the background and went over it with a pencil to make it stand out a bit more where it got covered up by gesso and paint. The title came from a magazine. At the time I chose it, I wasn't sure of the "meaning" in terms of my page, but now I think it means that art is my secret weapon. I can take life's curve balls when I have art in my life to fall back on and take inspiration from. I journalled this sentiment at the bottom of the page in white ink in a scribbly fashion.  As a finishing touch, I applied some black oil pastels to the edge of the page and around my title to frame them.


I'm happy with this page - it was so quick and effortless.
This is what Pam means by "art at the speed of life" I guess when she encourages us to art journal every day! I'd definitely like to do more of this style of "no-stress" art journalling in the future.
Thanks so much for visiting!

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

WOYWW #383: Mini Haul

Hello on this glorious autumn morning! I'm here again to join the crowd on the Stamping Ground for this week's WOYWW. I had to stage my desk this morning as there was nothing of interest on it, but I wanted to share my mini haul from Saturday. I took my son shopping with me in Stroud, probably for the last time, as Granny's house finally sold and the keys were handed over to the new owners on Monday. It is an end of an era for us, as now we do not have a reason to go to Stroud any more, having lost our base there. Even if we do go back, it will never be the same again. Here's my mini haul - the book actually comes from Amazon, but the rest from The Works and Home Bargains. I love cheap stuff, don't you?

I decided that for someone who's so interested in art, I really need to learn a bit more about its history. I never had any formal art education - we didn't even have art in school! So I bought this big book to learn all about it. I love it and I will dip in and out of it whenever I get a chance.

The other things I bought include these useful bits and bobs from The Works. I'm not sure what I will do with them yet, but they're good to have in my stash! 

I thought this large easel was good value at £3 especially that it came with a matching 9" X 12" canvas. These easels are great to display your artwork around the house or for staging them for photographs.

These two notebooks cost less than a pound altogether. The original price on the zebra patterned one was £8! Sheesh! I will use them as mini journals. 

Just so we don't forget, here's Oreo sleeping on the window sill right next to me as I type this, enjoying the morning sunshine, awww:

Thank you so much for visiting today and I'm sorry I had no new artwork to show you.
I needed a bit of a breather, but I'm planning on working on some projects later this week.