Spring is here…

Where has the winter gone??

It seems to have passed by so fast, I can’t believe the magnolias are in bloom (I always think every year I want to take a photo of magnolias actually blooming, and never get around to it…maybe this year?). We had snow just last week, and I have never been in snow before so excitement abounded (though perhaps if commonsense had, I would not still be poorly with the flu! :))

This week I have been following Connie’s Total Alignment series. I have only done the heart opening so far, and wow. WOW.

I have done BIG and so I am a HUGE fan of Connie already. That course was life changing art wise for me.

BIG and Paint Free by Wyanne are top of my recommendation lists for online art classes. Not for the technique hungry or learning to paint abc like xyz, but both of them for helping you to get in touch with your self and how YOU paint. Tapping into your own creative source and both of these classes literally changing my life, but before I go off on that rant I am going to stop. Because that is a post in itself, that is on my to-be-written list, under class and book reviews.

Suffice to say, check the classes out and do them.

But I have decided to do Total Alignment this week (because I am not behind enough in the other things I am doing??) and this is my page for Opening the Heart.

I wish I had taken progress shots for this page, cause this started as the biggest mess, not sure what is going on page, with purple scales plonked in the middle and oh my gosh, not sure what to do next, and I just gave in to that feeling, and stopped myself wanting to “fix” it and then the face started to emerge, eventually, after thinking about 12 times I just want to start again cause I don’t know what to do now or where to go.

And then I got out my pastels cause I love them at the moment. And love how they feel. And then she was done…for now.

And I am linking to the Butterfly Effect with this post.

1. Because I am not sure I will post something else this week (read: sick and whining still!)

2. Because after witnessing the GLORY of this little link, everything else is overshadowed :)

3. Because I can.


Some exciting news…

I was meant to share this last week, but in between nursing my beloved with the worst flu I have seen for a while, (knowing that this was the case because he is NEVER sick, even when he is and he took sick days, three of them! for the first time in 5 years. And then getting the flu myself (to then know it is the worst flu that has gone round for a while (and knowing my immune system is rubbish from the chemo, I did my best to avoid it, but no such blinken luck it would seem), so I sit here clogged up, headachey, shivery, cold, no voice, achey…etc etc, and none of this post has anything to do with that whining…instead it is something far more exciting…

For a couple of years I have read Seth’s The Pulse, and learnt a lot, discovered new sources of inspiration and generally loved it, and this year when he put the call out I put my hand up, and got something in…and last week I was on….

HERE!!!!!! :)

OH MY GOSH exciting…to be featured with the other world famous artists was very happy making, and thrilling to see my painting on another person’s website, a series that is used as a resource for other artists…oh my good gracious…flu shmu, what flu??

I was on the Pulse!!

Painting processes

This is the process of the one of the paintings I did in my journal for the Elements class with Effy, exploring the relationship of air and yellow…

And because I can, I am also going to try and get it linked up with the Butterfly Effect…because it started kind of abstract, and the idea is kind of abstract…and I can also feel like I have accomplished something on my to-do list even though I have been feeling rubbish for much of the week…

Yesterday I said I had documented the process of this spread. Turns out I didn’t start documenting the process until a couple of things had happened, so I first want you to imagine a few brush strokes of yellow paint in the middle of the spread, from some leftover paint I had from the night before (knowing that I was going to explore yellow on that spread). And then I want you to imagine book pages torn up and gel medium-ed all over the spread. And then because I had the intention to explore yellow and air I then went to get some paint to put on the page…

I had gone to get yellow, but actually I was drawn to the cobalt teal and paynes gray. Did some smooshing around and scribbling with the end of a paint brush.

I then went and grabbed some more paint…again I went in to get some yellow but that is not what I came back with…

After smooshing the green and crimson around I did have some minor oh my gosh moments that I was meant to be exploring yellow, and I was taking photos of this. But I went with it. At the end of this stage I decided to dig out my oil pastels and go on a hunt for some shapes and see what I could find (the abstract?!).

Having found some shapes to play with and explore I splattered a bit of white paint around…

Which did not splatter as I wanted it to, so I smushed the pages together…

Which really did not have the desired effect, and so I “calmly” took the photo of the smushing and started smooshing and smudging the white paint a bit on the page (also secretly wondering if this photo shoot was ever going to see the light of day).

Here a couple of close ups, you can still see some book text but not a whole lot of yellow!

I finally remembered what yellow paint looked like…

And added a bit more white and shading to the faces, starting to find the details of it a bit and see what I could see…

And yet more refining…just listening to the painting, and following my instincts, and sometimes forgetting to take photos :)

And wondering if I was ruining the painting and should just stop, and write it off, but pushing on through the ugly and oh my gosh I suck phase…realising it is almost done and feeling called to my oil pastels again. And then thinking about if I wanted to write anything and wondering if it was laziness that I wanted to let it speak for itself…

But in any event calling it finished.

And feeling pleased I actually thought about documenting the process despite the flu fog I am in at the moment. :) And quickly pushing publish and linking it up and going back to bed…

Air week…and my elements journal cover…

This week was hard for me. More the doing…the ideas came and then I procrastinated away, putting it off. I am loving the elements course, that is fast approaching it’s final week even though I am only just done with week 3 (so there are some benefits for procrastination). A self-directed Elements of Art Journaling course is opening up soon and I really recommend this course if you are feeling called to it. There is such a lot of information in it about the elements, as well as art journalling. I am not so much into doing courses anymore where I can learn how to draw or paint exactly like Ms. X, but one of the good things about this course is that you can entirely interpret the elements your own way and do your own thing, taking from the course what you need.

I did three spreads for air week. Again, none were directly modeled after Effy‘s page but were based around my own relationship with air. I really think it would be worthwhile to work through all these again and see how the pages and interpretations change, based on where we are in our lifes.

The first spread had me journalling out about my depression and where I am at the moment in my important relationships. Filling the pages and turning the book over and writing some more until I was out of writing. It was what was taking precedence in my head, so out it came, and once that was done, I covered the page with some neocolours II and then acrylics. And then my script stamp, and some smudgy water and then I started drawing with my pastels. Seeing shapes that came out. The page is quite rough and ready but I like that. It looks sombre, but when I look at it, I just feel such a sense of relief that it is out of my head. It is ironic to me that in journalling about not having a voice, and sometimes feeling like I am walking on eggshells not to offend people, so much so that my soul sometimes feels like it is crumbling, that I have literally lost my voice at the moment. Signs from above or getting so excited about the snow that I was out there for an hour with barefeet!? :)

I journalled a bit more on the other page and then I covered the page with clear gesso so the pastel wouldn’t smudge all over, and I like it. It did smudge a little, but I was feeling smudgy, so it works well for me. I was going to add some more paint, but I just wanted to leave her as is, so I listened :) And I like that my original journalling is still visible a little, not completely silenced…

My second page…I did the journalling prompt suggested in the class and what came out of the journalling was the image of a concrete wall covered in graffiti, and the strength of the wall under the chaos on top. And that for me my concrete wall that I need when life is messy and crazy and I am feeling all over the place is my to-do list, and my timer. I need a plan and to just start moving in some relatively organised way to start coming back to myself where I can find some space to breathe. To start bringing order to what is immediately around me first gives me the space to start looking at the bigger picture. Rather than getting overwhelmed and then procrastination stopping me from moving anywhere.

So that is what I did and I am crazy in love with this spread. The journalling exercise was done on this page and then to get my concrete wall I put on some modelling paste and pushed some through a stencil. After that dried I did a bit of sanding, and at this stage I was going to leave some of the writing underneath visible, but after I started painting, I realised part way through the page was covered, and such is life. I did a bit of painting with a bamboo skewer and investigating shapes left in the background and I love this page. The texture looks and feels stunning up close. I took a lot of close up shots of this page! :)

The last spread came from my intrigue when Effy said one of the traditional air colours was yellow, this isn’t a colour that immediately comes to my mind when I think air. I wanted to explore that a bit and not have any preconceived ideas about this page at all. Just to play and explore, especially after the heaviness of the past two spreads, and I am in love with this spread as well. I was going to put some words on the page, but it turns out I didn’t want any. AND, I mostly took photos throughout the entire spread so there is a post coming on the progression of this page.

Now for the journal I have been working in…The cover is cereal box, covered in book pages and paint and varnish and then the front of the cover I glued some old cut jeans onto it. I loved these jeans and wore them to death, and have been using the fabric for different projects and I liked the idea of a pocket on the cover so that I could add stuff into it if I so desired. I painted the cover up with acrylics and some stamping with punchinella and my texture stamp I made, and then a bit of doodling, and I gave it a couple of coats of varnish.

The paper is a mix of Canson XL mixed media that I ripped out of a sketchbook and cut to size and some 300gsm watercolour paper that I had and wanted to try that as well. So far I am really happy with the Canson paper, and no spreads have been made on the watercolour paper yet…(it will be the next element that gets that experiment!:)).

This is my first handbound journal I am actually using as an art journal and I am loving it. I attached a plastic tiki I had lying around from another project and when the journal is finished, I may well add some more dangly bits, but didn’t want to add too much now in case it got in my way.

Open Cover

Front Cover

Back Cover

Doing this course with my own handmade journal is just adding to the whole experience for me. I smile whenever I see it. There are things I would do differently next time, but on the whole I love it.


Today there is no snow and now it is just icy to your bones cold
There are no pictures with this post
I am sick with the flu and no voice
I hurt all over
My littlest one is home with a tummy bug
I love lemon, honey and ginger
I love fires
I am organising my rss feeds and my email inbox (previously I have just used the mac mail application, and my favourites came to my inbox, but favourites change, and my email was getting cluttered and my procrastination needs no encouragement. I am moving to google reader, which I am undecided about, but it has been good forcing me to take stock and really declutter all my rss feeds which were becoming out of control and half of them were never read.
I am loving evernote
I am loving my smartphone
This post feels very whingy, but this is where I am today, in front of the fire, watching childrens dvds, drinking lemon and honey, with a box of tissues and aching all over if I move. And mothering to the sick when required.
Somewhere in there I need to watch some art videos I am behind in…
This is my today.

We have snow, we have snow, we have snow…

Oh my goodness. Snow is a once in a life time even in my parts…according to the news, and considering we live 10 minutes away from the sea…but oh my goodness, snow storm last night, and snow storm this morning…right now in fact. I am going to type I am in a blizzard, because I am not sure I will ever get to repeat that, but somehow back in reality I am not sure that people who really have blizzards would call this a blizzard!

And so far not a lot is hanging around, but I hope never to forget the magic of looking up into the sky late yesterday afternoon, with snow all around me and see all the snow above waiting to fall. And the feeling of having real life snowflakes dancing all around and in my hair. So excited that I went running out in bare feet, and it wasn’t until an hour later when I came back inside and my feet began warming up that I realised how freakin cold it was and how numb my toes were.

…And I am back, I went back outside just now to experience what heavy snow felt like, because it is unlikely we will ever have heavy snow warnings again, and it feels like such a winter wonderland magical time. I almost feel guilty for sending the children to school, but the deal was that they could only stay home if there was snow on the ground, and this morning there was none…

But this post has gotten way laid. I actually intended to talk about wet felting. I took a class last year with Emily and Nicole and only got finished a brooch for my son’s teacher for Christmas. But in the interests of finishing up some unfinished projects, I took the supplies out determined to at least finish a cover for my phone. I left my phone on a bus last week, and it was really a beat up piece of junk, that could only hold a charge for about 4 hours, but it had all my contacts in and no one handed it in! I am still ever hopeful, just for the contacts, but it was a good reason to finally upgrade, and I got a bargain on a smart phone. Not the iphone of my hearts desire, but a smart phone none the less. And can I say what a new world has opened up to me. It is so incredibly time wasting, and a show of my true colours that I downloaded phone apps before I even learnt to drive the phone sufficiently enough to be able to answer it when it rang! :)

But, when I went to get a cover for my phone I found my options were limited to one case, as compared to the hundreds that seemed to exist for the iphone. And then I remembered one of the felting projects was for a pouch of some kind, and so I came home motivated to do some proper felting. And oh my goodness….LOVE! It is so much faster than knitting, and I love my pouch, there is a spot where it is a bit weaker, and I only know cause if the light comes on my phone it shines through a bit, but really, overall…it is perfect.

And I know my bead came out not wonderful, and I was going to do another one, and then I thought it looked kind of floral and I liked the imperfectness off it. And I love that I made the little tie, and I just love the whole case. It makes me happier than the phone! :)

And then after the phone case I was in the felting zone so I made a neck scarf or scarfette…I love the colours and the photos I took do it no justice at all. The back looks like the ocean, and the other is a brightly layered gorgeousness. I love the holes and how perfect they came out and the fabric is so strong from wispy wall…and the speed compared to knitting…perfect winter activity. And thankfully I got a couple of packs of wool, so I have plenty to make some more things with.

And while I was getting the packs of wool I got a nuno scarf set as well, and so I did that as well, and it is absolutely beautiful, though again photos do not do it justice. It needs an iron, and next time I would do longer tassels, I had plenty of wool left for them, but the colours and the drape of the fabric…I had such a good weekend and feel like I accomplished a lot, now having less to do projects to finish as well. And I just want to say how clear all the notes I took from the classes were, and the instructions…it was wonderful, I would completely recommend any classes they have in the future. And as for the supplies and products that Nicole sells at her etsy shop…glorious. The colours are divine, and she is truely lovely to deal with.

If only I could figure out how to join the class flickr group, I could share my little creations! :)

Added to the snow (which is still snowing by the way! :)), I just really refilled my well this weekend. And with my beloved, sick as a dog with the flu, I was expecting a whole other kind of weekend, so my expectations were pleasantly completely wrong. In a place where I have been wondering whether I need to go back on anti-depressants (and hoping I can self care my way through this) it was really nice to be so blissed out for most of the weekend, free from outside worries.

Elements of Earth and Soul

I have taken a course run by Effy Wild over at Wild Precious on the Elements, and also have been reading the Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd and Anam Cara by John O’Donohoue. It has all transpired to have happened during the trying times of June/July and the reading, and my own experiences have somewhat clouded my pages for the Elements course. And I am dreadfully behind, because although I am a Fire Person, I got very stuck on Earth, surprisingly for me. Clearly lessons I needed to learn. There is journalling on all these pages, and none of them are finished, but they are what I am working on currently. And the realisations I have had from them have been much needed to stop me sinking into overthinking and making up stories.

So there are three spreads I have worked on for Earth Week (or month as it happens to be! :)).

The first spread, has been through a few changes and she is very unfinished but I am also enjoying the rawness of where she is now.

The second spread is also unfinished, I am really happy with the progress, even if it has taken a while, but there is no rush to finish the page. It will happen in its own time.

The last spread I have done for earth is very personal to me. The snake has journalling in it from when my beloved and I decided to separate (which didn’t end up happening), and my feelings about what was happening. And then the snake got covered in transparent paint, so you can still see close up that there there is writing, but oh so therapeutic. And then the Russian Dolls, Matryoshka Dolls, I was thinking about myself in realation to my mother, in relation to her mother and so on, and myself in relation to my daughter, and I saw the image of the dolls. And I went back through each of us…I am Natasha, Daughter of Karen, Who is daughter of Elizabeth, who is daughter of Thelma, who is daughter of Lillian, Who is daughter of Laura…it was very powerful, and I love this page.

All of them have happened quite organically. And I realise as I write this that I have taken no photos of the journal I am working in, so I will get that. It is my first handbound art journal that I am actually arting in, and I am happy with it. I do have online classes to finish in terms of binding, but this was very simple and I love it. :)