Monday, 16 January 2017

Wanderlust week02: Making Magic with Mary Wangerin

We had a wonderful lesson this week on Wanderlust by Mary Wangerin, which was my first introduction to this lovely artist. This is exactly why I take these classes: to be exposed to a wide variety of styles by different artists around the world! Mary created a piece of intuitive art with a focal point of a mandala in the middle. My picture turned out quite different from hers, but I adopted the circle focal point idea. I worked on a large piece of cardboard, and I'm thinking of redoing  this lesson in my journal in a different format.

First, I'll show you my completed project and if you scroll down, I've posted a progress slideshow as well to show you how my layers built up. Unfortunately, I couldn't take photos of the last few layers, as it got dark on me, so there's a big step at the end, but you'll get the idea.

If you want to make similar animated GIFs, here's a link to Giphy

Enjoy your week! 

Friday, 13 January 2017

LifeBook Week02 (Part 2): Song of the Hummingbird

This is the second bonus lesson of this week's LifeBook offerings, by Tamara herself. We've certainly been kept busy so far this year and I'm just glad to be able to keep up with all this amazing inspiration!

Tam's hummingbird lesson involved collaged feathers cut from patterned paper, each representing a positive affirmation. The biggest challenge for me was the choosing of the papers. I auditioned several sheets and even cut shapes out of each, only to settle on this simple two-way design. I decided less was more in this case.

Drawing the hummingbird was quite simple, but I still managed to mess up - this is my second version. Yes, it still happens, but I'm quite happy with it now. I like its colour harmony and simplicity. I added a few drops of stickles too to make it a bit sparkly and special. Again, with glitter, less is always more!

Wishing you a lucky Friday the 13th!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

WOYWW #397: Altered book cover redone

I was hoping for a quiet, relaxing morning writing this blog post, but it wasn't meant to be! My son announced five minutes before he had to leave for school (still in his PJs!) that he couldn't find his phone, which apparently is cause for an  existential crisis in a pre-teen's life. I offered to look for it while he got dressed, frantically turning everything upside down, even considering slashing the back of the sofa to have a look in case it fell down inside it (it's destined for the scrapheap anyway) - but no joy. So he left huffing and puffing and not in a very good mood. As soon as he left, I spotted his phone, on charge, where he normally charges it! Urrrggghhh!

Anyways, after a major clean-up session prompted by the horrors I had discovered behind the sofa, here I am ready to share my desk on WOYWW! I have not one but two shots of my desk to show you. Remember that altered book cover from last week? I decided that it didn't match the style my book was moving towards, so I completely redesigned it by covering it with a piece of batik. And no, I didn't feel sorry to see the previous cover go. I have the photos to remember it by. Here I am, trying to decide which fabric to use. (OK, I'll admit it, this shot was totally staged, just so I could show you the first spread in my book, which you can find out more about here.)

A little while later, Oreo appeared on the scene, overseeing the proceedings, like he always has to. He (in)conveniently settled on top of my batiks. (In case you're wondering what's in that snowmen box - it houses all my washi tapes. It's screaming out for an alteration, isn't it?)

And this is my new book cover shown from different angles. It will inevitably get splattered with paints and inks, but I don't mind. The messier, the better. I plan to use this book for my Wanderlust journal spreads throughout the year. 

Oreo had another photo shoot. I have to grab the camera whenever the opportunity presents itself, as it's not something you can plan for. 

And finally, here's a little cat cartoon from my hubby's Engineering and Technology journal, of all places! (I realize it's copyrighted, but perhaps I can get away with it in the name of sharing with just the handful of people reading my blog!)

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

LifeBook Week02 (Part 1): Affirmation Cards

The second week of LifeBook brought us not one but TWO bonus lessons - each a full lesson in its own right, if you ask me. We're so spoilt! The first lesson was by the lovely Andrea Gomoll whom I first met on LB 2015. Andrea created a deck of affirmation cards to help us keep positive throughout the year. These type of affirmation cards are commercially available as well, but what could be more fun than to create your own!

I used a sheet of A3 watercolour paper and splashed some acrylic inks all over it, diluting them with water. I don't know whether it's because of the kind of inks I used, but my page didn't look anything like it was supposed to. However, once I cut it into pieces, I quite liked the effect. I've got 8 cards out of the A3 sheet. They are about 6" X 4" in size. These were the colours I used on both sides of the sheet:

Once I cut my cards and rounded off the corners, I splattered some white gesso over them and added some collage elements. They are all daVinci girls printed from the Internet. I thought they matched my colour scheme, but now I realize they may not match my theme that well as they all seem rather sad and gloomy, but hey, maybe these ladies just need some positive affirmations to cheer them up! I added my sentiments and some outlines and borders as finishing touches.

As a by-product, I ended up with these inked kitchen towels, which I actually rescued from the bin after absentmindedly chucking them away. When will I learn?  I'm not sure what I will use them for just yet, but it would have been a shame to throw them away.

This deck of cards will fit nicely in a pocket inside my LifeBook. It can also be expanded with cards of the same size, but with a different colour scheme. I felt very inspired by this lesson and would create more cards right now if I didn't have another great bonus lesson to work on this week. I'll be back with Part 2 shortly! 

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Wanderlust Week 01: Journal Page Creative Confidence

This is my second year on Wanderlust. Even though I didn't have time to complete all the projects last year, I felt I got plenty out of the course to justify signing up again this year. Plus, I couldn't resist the alumni offer and the amazing artist line-up this year! So here I am again, with the first assignment: a journal page about my artistic goals this year.

Kasia gave us some pointers and prompted us to write down what we hope to achieve in our artistic journey in 2017. Then she asked us to identify the key words and construct a title. I came up with "to grow in creative confidence". I stamped this with a mixture of upper and lower case letters to make it look more groovy, similar to her page.

I also applied Kasia's technique of incorporating collage elements by glazing them with the same colour as the background, which was Prussian Blue for me. The only other colour I used was Glorious Gold by DecoArt. I've had this paint for years but I never liked it, as frankly, it hasn't got good coverage, so I tried mixing it with gesso and, wow, what a transformation! It wasn't a poor quality metallic gold any more but this beautiful greyish taupe colour which I absolutely loooove! Here's a photo of it:

I also really liked the idea of using stencils as stamps by rolling paint over them and stamping with them. You get a very different effect this way than if you were to use them in the traditional way. I decided to put this spread in my new altered book  and I will probably continue to use it for all my Wanderlust pages. Which made me wonder whether I should change the cover to suit this style of journalling more? I might just do that - watch this space!

Here are some photos of my first spread. (Two of the collage images are famous daVinci sketches and I downloaded the doorway image from here - I'm just hoping they don't mind - I really should start using my own images, so then I wouldn't have to worry about copyrights.) See what I did with the house number? Clever, huh? That's my doorway in to 2017!

Thanks for visiting and Happy Sunday!
I'll be back next week with a WOYWW post!

Friday, 6 January 2017

LifeBook Week01: Star Girl

Another year, another LifeBook. This is my third year running and I'm not ready to give up any time soon. It has become a bit of an addiction, but what better thing to be addicted to than making art, hey?

The first week brought us the customary warm up lesson with Tam where we chose a word that will accompany us during the year, followed by the main lesson, Star Girl.

I chose my word 'evolve' back in November and stuck with it for the time being. It signifies the process of development in my life as well as in my art. It's similar to my 2015 word 'progress' with the key difference of it being less intentional. I've realized that I was putting too much emphasis on goals and aims, whereas evolution is a natural process. This year I will let my future and the direction of my life and art unfurl naturally. Come to think of it 'unfurl' would also be a good word for the year ahead!

This is the page I created to support my intentions, along with a symbol that will be featured in my art throughout the year.

The main lesson included journalling of all the things we want to leave behind from last year, covered by collage and paint for the background. The main figure, Star Girl is bringing forward all the good things and memories we want to keep. For me they were art, family and happiness. They are all in the basket next to her. 

When working on lessons, it's a bit tricky to bring your own voice into them. Sometimes I deviate so much that my project becomes unrecognizable, but with Tam's lessons I always feel compelled to follow the composition closely, perhaps because they're always so pretty! I did manage to smuggle in a few of my own ideas though. I added mica flakes for star dust, painted the stars and bows metallic gold and used real twine for the handle of the basket. I think these personal touches are important to make the project a little bit mine too, even though the girl is clearly recognizable as a 'Tam' girl. Here she is:

Good start to 2017! I'm also doing Wanderlust and hope to juggle the two courses side by side, while working on some projects of my own at the same time, whenever the fancy takes me!