Friday, 21 April 2017

Be the best version of yourself

It's been ages since I did a journal page just for the heck of it - something that wasn't a challenge or an assignment. While I enjoy taking classes, I think it's important to stay in touch with your own creativity and find inspiration all around you. I was watching an interview with a young tennis player the other day and she said something that stuck in my mind. She said she wanted to be the best version of herself and I immediately thought this would make a great journal spread!

I didn't plan this page, but I expect it was inadvertently influenced by a lesson I completed earlier this week on LifeBook.  Again, I took one of those half-finished backgrounds in my altered book and it evolved from there. I added stamping and collage pieces to the background before playing with some colours on top of all that, followed by some white stamping, lettering and doodling. You can follow the evolution of this page below:

Random painted background

collaged tissue paper and stamping

Fluid acrylics blended 

Detail of coloured background

Detail of coloured background

Stamping and circles added

White lettering and doodling added

Details of final page

Details of final page

Details of final page

Final page from a perspective view

I hope you like the evolution of my page and feel inspired to become the best version of yourself!

Monday, 17 April 2017

LifeBook Week15: Happy

Last week LifeBook brought us a fantastic bonus lesson by Jodi Ohl titled 'Honouring Your Story'. It was one of those relaxing, meditative doodle projects which I have always enjoyed doing. It started out with a random painty background I'd found in my journal - you know one of those backgrounds we all have and never know what to do with. This page happened to be in my altered book that I use for Wanderlust, but it doesn't matter. I felt it was more suitable than starting on a blank piece of paper for my LifeBook. It's all part of my body of work and I don't mind if there's some overlap between my books.

This is the background I created a while ago with leftover paint:

After muting it with some gesso, I randomly drew some shapes and wrote my story in those shapes using different lettering techniques, complete with doodles all over the page. I love this style of journalling  it's so freeing and relaxing - I should be doing more of this! It's a great way to transform those dead-end backgrounds and you only need a limited number of supplies (a few pens and markers) to complete the page. This is how it turned out in the end:

Happy Easter Everyone! 
We're going on a day trip today -
I'll be back later!

Friday, 7 April 2017

LifeBook Week13: Essence

The last LifeBook lesson I completed was for week 06, so you could say I fell off the bandwagon. It's not the first time this has happened and probably not the last. I'm not worried about it though. LifeBook is not a race and it's not an obligation. I call it paint as you go: I do the lessons as I go along at my own pace. It's ok to skip some - I may or may not come back to them later.

This particular lesson is from last week by Annie Hamman, whom I adore! Annie's got real talent that I can only aspire to. I love her expressive, painterly portraits. She makes the process look so easy!

This one started out with a layer of collage from all sorts of sources: patterned papers, magazine cut-outs (or rather tear-outs!), a tea bag and a printed music sheet. A layer of thin gesso followed to mute the background a little. I then sketched a face with a charcoal pencil. This is what it looked like at this stage:

Next, I added shading with charcoal and blended it with gesso. 

I forgot to take photos of the next few steps, which involved adding colours with watersoluble pastels and more collage pieces, including some washi tape and images printed from the internet. I tried to keep the colour scheme simple: muted browns and greens. 

The crown was torn from a magazine image of a handbag. I think it looks very striking and matches my colours scheme - a lucky find! Here's a little trick: if you're not happy with some parts of your painting, cover it up with some collage paper, like I did here with the ship and the clock face, Clever, huh? They can cover up a multitude of oopsies! The word 'essence' was just lying on my desk and I thought it matched my sentiments. Here's a closer look at the finished page:

Thanks for visiting today.
It feels good to be back in the saddle and I hope I will 
have the opportunity to catch up with some more arty lessons 
over the upcoming Easter holidays. 

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

WOYWW #409: Erosion bundle sneak peek

I missed two weeks of blogging again. I seem to be preoccupied with house hunting at the moment and I'm just not in the right frame of mind to create anything. I fell far behind with my classes and only manage WOYWW every other week, just to keep in touch. So here I am for this week's desk hop on the Stamping Ground. I haven't created anything new but I remembered my erosion bundles left out in the garden a few weeks ago and couldn't resist a peek. I only opened one of the three parcels, took some photos, added a few bits and pieces and put it back in the garden to let it erode further. This is all inspired by Evelyn Flint by the way, who has some amazing photos of textures on her blog. Here's some of mine so far:

Random imprint of some textured paper on the back of something else

Dictionary paper with turmeric and ink stains

A stained doily

Another doily

These stains are a combination of inks, coffee/tea and turmeric spice. It's so exciting to discover what textures develop over time all on their own! It's like opening a special present! A word of advice though: open your parcels outdoors - you never know what creepy crawlies have taken residence inside. Mine had three earwigs in them - yikes!

In other news - what do the towns of Chepstow and Weston-super-Mare have in common? You'll never guess this, so I'll tell you. We looked at houses near both these places in the past two weeks, but we had to reject them for various reasons. The good thing though is that we can turn our house hunt into family days out, so we don't feel it's wasted time. Here's a family portrait we took in Chepstow Castle and a couple of others inside the castle:

And here's a photo of the old abandoned Victorian pier in Weston-super-Mare. It's so much more intriguing than the new pier! 

Thanks for visiting! 
It's good to touch base once in a while, even if I'm not very active these days.
I hope to return to blogging soon and hopefully I can catch up 
with some of my lessons as well.
Happy WOYWW!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

WOYWW #407: Painted mini buckets

This is my first blog post in two weeks! I've been slacking partly due to the fact that I have to keep our house clean and tidy for viewings and partly due to laziness - there, I admit it! We've also had problems with our internet connection - this is something that happens periodically and there's nothing we can do about it. It seems to be back up again and I've tried to visit everyone who left comments two weeks ago. If I had accidentally missed any of you, just give me a holler!

I skipped week #406 for WOYWW, but here I am for #407! No desk shot though, as the dining room table is now empty. I moved to the kitchen to paint these mini buckets I want to show you today. I gessoed them first, followed by a coat of Paper Artsy Fresco paints over a layer of crackle glaze. When that was dry, I added a layer of Prussian Blue acrylics, which I then partially removed to create a distressed look. This is what the process looked like:

These are the paints I used. I only have these three Fresco paints. I chose them carefully to complement each other.

Here are some close-ups of each bucket. I left the insides painted plain with the Fresco colours.  I'm not sure what I will use them for. They're very small, only 1.5" tall. I will probably keep beads or paper clips in them. Or perhaps plant a tiny cactus in each!

I have fallen hopelessly behind with my classes, but not to worry. I can always do them later. I hope to be able to visit lots of desks today - fingers crossed my signal stays strong! Happy WOYWW! :)

Oh, no, I almost forgot! I took this video of Oreo sitting on the window sill, happily swinging his tail!


Wednesday, 8 March 2017

WOYWW #405: Faux leather and stamp storage system

I wasn't sure if I was going to take part in this week's WOYWW as there's absolutely nothing on my desk at the moment.  With the house on the market, we have to keep it tidy and clean for viewings so I haven't been able to do much lately. Plus I hid my stuff from view all over the place and I can't remember where I put things!  I fell behind with my classes as well. (sad face)

Then I remembered that I had made a piece of faux leather last week right after visiting Annie Claxton's blog. You know that feeling when you have to try something immediately, just to see how it works? It's almost like a burning desire - I just had to try this! Luckily, I had all the ingredients available: TPR (toilet paper roll), moisturizing cream (in lieu of liquid glycerine) and a range of distress ink pads. See the exact instructions on Annie's post here. This is what mine looks like, front and back without any embossing:

It got torn in the process, but it doesn't bother me, What a great technique and it looks remarkably like real leather! 

Instead of my desk today, I'll show you my state-of-the-art, patented stamp storage system (S.S.S.) -tada!

Yep, it's a plastic box where I dump all my stamps. Some of them are still in their original packaging, others just hang loose. And I never clean them (unless I use them with acrylic paints, of course). Most of them are background/texture stamps so they don't need to be pristine and I usually just grab one at random. So that's my dirty little secret out in the open.

Just to make this ad-hoc post complete, here's a video I shot of Oreo drinking out of the kitchen tap. We left it dripping on purpose, but when it's not dripping, we saw him suck it - seriously! Now I have to disinfect the tap every day. And for the record, he has TWO bowls of fresh drinking water available at all times! 

Thanks for visiting today. 
Happy #405!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

WOYWW 404: Ecoline and Pancake Day!

Hello deskers all over the world! Another Wednesday has come around, so it's time to show you what's on my work desk, a.k.a. WOYWW. I snapped this photo yesterday afternoon while playing with my new Ecoline watercolours. I made a random grid with some masking tape and used those four colours shown on my desk to make all these other colours. It didn't take long for Oreo to come and sit right on it LOL! You can also see that I gessoed those three mini buckets, but that's as far as I got, I'm afraid.

Colour play with Ecoline

Oreo arrived on the scene

Colour swatches

It was Pancake Day yesterday! Did you make any? I made three batches, one for each of us made to order. I put oats, apples and cinnamon in mine, drenched it with golden syrup and lemon juice. They were lovely! Here's a pic and yes, I ate them all and didn't even worry about the calories.

Pancake Day!
Well, this must be my shortest WOYWW post ever! Now, I'll have to spend most of the day tidying as an agent's coming tomorrow to value our house, but I promise to visit everyone who leaves a message, if not today than later this week. Au Revoir!