Sunday, 29 January 2017

Wanderlust week03: Journalling with Flowers

I'm running late with my Wanderlust lessons as I spent so much time trying to get my LB portraits right. Luckily, this week we only have prompts and challenges, so I have time to catch up. Last week Wilna Furstenberg showed us three ways to create floral journal spreads. I deviated from the lesson a little bit in that I used stencils and acrylic paint to make my flowers, but I adopted the idea of journaling extensively with a white pen on a darker background.

My journalling is deliberately illegible - only I know what's in there. I think I first saw this type of journalling done by Effy Wild - it has the advantage of not having to worry about your handwriting being pretty and also you can make a very personal piece public this way. This journalling is only meant for the present moment, though - years from now I won't remember what it says, but that's ok.

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

WOYWW #399: Blog revamp and motion portrait

Don't you just love numbers ending with 99? I think they're much more exciting than the round numbers. The big #400 of WOYWW is just around the corner, but I thought what better opportunity to revamp my blog header than in celebration of  #399! I've been meaning to do this for a while, but having lost my original Photoshop template, I was putting it off, knowing that I had to do it all over again from scratch. It's ready now and I even gave myself a new favicon to replace the generic Blogger one.

There's not much on my desk at the moment. All week I've been working on portraits for a LifeBook lesson. I've made five of them, not really satisfied with the results. Anyway, it's all part of my journey and good practice. This shot of my desk was taken earlier in the week. Oreo is blissfully asleep on top of my art journal while I was working on my paintings.

These are the five portraits I've made with varying success, in chronological order. If you want to read about my struggles in more detail, just check out my previous post

Last night I started paying with an online app called Motion Portrait. You can upload your photos and animate them. I'd known about a different version of this, but now they've made it even better with the head moving towards the cursor and the facial expressions changing ever so slightly. It is quite magical (and more than a little weird) to see your own creations come to life like this. Of course, you can use a photo of a real person as well, just make sure it's a forward facing headshot. You can't download the file, but I was able to film the screen and put it on YT to show you. 

That's it for today!
I'm learning to keep my WOYWW posts short and sweet!
I'll be around visiting shortly! 

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

LifeBook Week03: Portraits (attempts 3, 4 and 5)

This is my third, fourth and fifth attempt at cracking the "painterly" portrait style in this week's LifeBook lesson. Please bear with me, while I get this out of my system! My previous attempts can be found here and here.

Attempt No.3 started as a paint-over collage. I thought it would help me loosen up if I had some guidelines to follow. Nope, not really. It turned out ok but nowhere near the style I was going for. Halfway along I gave up and reverted to my comfort zone - without even realizing it! Her hair's got a golden shimmer to it. Well, if it's whimsy, let's do whimsy properly!

Attempt No. 4. has actually failed but I'll keep that a secret. I did something I hadn't done in years: I ripped up the page! Gasp! But then I immediately moved onto the next try and painted over a sketch I did last year of my son. It was originally a LifeBook2016 lesson (drawing in a grid) but I didn't include it in my book as it had no colour. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to paint over it, however, I failed to achieve that elusive "painterly" look once again and it looks more like an illustration. I'm still proud that I had the courage to paint over the original, though.

Straight onto attempt No. 5 - I don't give up easily, do I? I used a photo of myself as reference (as per the lesson), I didn't try to recreate my features (as per the lesson) and I only used acrylics and a Stabilo pencil (as per the lesson) - so far so good! I desperately tried to keep "loose" but looking at it now, I think I overdid the outlining with the black pencil and the blending of the skin tones. So yet again, I failed on the painterly front. Oh well! At least, I didn't try to make her look "pretty". 

My quest for achieving the painterly look continues, though I'm now seriously questioning my ability in this regard. Perhaps I'll never get it, but at least I'm trying and I've got five more pages in my LifeBook to show for it!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

LifeBook Week03: Portrait Retake

This is a retake of the LB lesson I posted yesterday. I was inspired by all the bravery in our Facebook sharing group and decided to jump in and try to create something more "painterly" with just acrylics. The only other supply I used was a Stabilo pencil. I made the face much bigger - I think it's easier to work on larger faces rather than small ones. I'm still not sure I managed to attain the class objectives but perhaps I got a bit closer.

This is how it turned out after much sweat, blood and tears. I even had a full blown tantrum along the way, when I gessoed over the whole thing and then SCRUBBED it all off in the sink. Yes, you've heard that right! One thing for using good quality watercolour paper is that it withstands a lot of abuse. The paper even pilled a bit, but I was able to save it with a bit of gesso on top. 

This is where I brought the piece back from. I really thought it was a gonner! How is that for art resuscitation, LOL!

I'll leave this lesson for now and move on. I did the best I could. Apart from my little tantrum, I actually quite enjoyed working on this and despite the fact that it's not quite what I wanted to achieve, I still like it and will proudly include it in my LifeBook.

Friday, 20 January 2017

LifeBook week03: Portraits with Misty Mawn

This week on LifeBook we had a portrait painting lesson by Misty Mawn titled 'The Person I Know Best'. It was supposed to be a self-portrait of sorts, without the constraints of having to make it look like ourselves. I didn't use a reference photo of any kind - I just randomly drew a sketch and let it evolve to what it wanted to be. It hasn't got the painterly look that I was originally going for, which is still something that escapes me, but I think it has the "mixed-media" look. I just did what I felt comfortable with. Not very brave, I know, but that's what felt right at the time. I just went with the flow. I'm sure there will come a time when I want to be more experimental, brave, etc - but this wasn't the time. I think I still just want to create "pretty" at this point and I'm just happy that I finally got the symmetry right (sort of).

I started out with this sketch:

and then kept painting until I ended up with this:

OK, that's enough photos now, thank you - we get the idea! I realize my portraits look a bit "samey" but perhaps that's just my emerging style. Quite similar to what I was already doing two years ago, but perhaps a bit more refined. Anyway, it is what it is, and I quite enjoyed working on it. Tam always tells us, we have to paint what makes our heart sing - and at the moment, this is it.

Thanks for stopping by! I'm off to watch Trump's inauguration. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next four years. Let's be cautiously optimistic - we've got no other choice!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

WOYWW #398: Make Your Own Magic

Looks like we're only two weeks away from the big #400 on WOYWW! Having missed #300, I'm determined to make this milestone that only comes around every hundred weeks. WOYWW must be one of - if not THE! - longest running blog hop in internet history. Come along and join if you can - just take a photo of your desk and show us what you've been working on.

My desk photo was taken on Monday evening and for once it's not staged. I was working on a journal page in my altered book inspired by this week's Wanderlust class. I blogged about the main project in my previous post. This is a spin-off piece for my journal based on the same imagery that I just felt compelled to make as an extracurricular activity. It's all bright and happy!

I took these photos of my completed page the following morning when I had better lighting. 

Well, this was an uncharacteristically short post from me, but I'm in a bit of a hurry this morning. I'll be out most of the day, but will make sure to do my rounds when I'm back and promise to visit everyone who leaves a comment. Before I go, I can't help sharing this photo of Oreo birdwatching from the window - that's like his favourite thing in the world (other than sleeping, LOL)!

Enjoy your day!

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!