Time is flying and book review!

It is now Friday and life has been so FULL! And I am grateful, it is productive full, panic-y full, am I enough full, and blessing filled full as well. All of it I am grateful for. But a lot of it is preparational stuff, getting backgrounds ready, paintings half finished. Committing to online shops, and still needing to list. Committing to stalls, and still needing to produce goods. And starting this post a few days before day and then not finishing it. :)

Exciting and everyday intermingled, because laundry still needs to be done, floors washed and vacuumed, children packed off to school and kindy and picked up, and friends popping in, and life is crazy busy and full. And good.

And because nothing is finished, or at a stage to be photographed, I thought about doing my first book review. And I chose to do the book that started everything for me.

Wreck this Journal by Keri Smith.

I read about this, and ordered it. Fell in love with it, and bought it for everyone I knew as their Christmas present in 2009. My son who was 6, loved it and I got him one too. And that summer we wrecked our journals. I don’t know where his is, but this morning I went and looked for mine and found it, and as I was taking photos I realised I still had plenty to finish. So I will start doing that again. For fun.

I have always been a book person. To intentionally destroy a book was challenging, but I found as I played with materials and art supplies, that that was where my heart was pulling me. I was so tired and ill and not well, and working through this book gave me a diversion and a chance to breath and reflect.

The first day...ready to mail to myself!

In amongst the craziness like throwing the book of a 100 foot cliff (though I started to climb it, my beloved (who ridiculed the book playfully at every opportunity) said that given my tendency to clumsiness he would climb the cliff and throw it) an where upon it broke in two. I think he was worried about my reaction as I went to pick up the pieces, but wrecked it was as the title said to do, and I made a new binding for it using my old paint rag.

I look through it now, and I see both how far I have come creatively and artistically, and also remember the madness that Sebastian and I shared as we did wreck those journals.

There are pages I want to paint over and do over, and my first face, that I really want to blank out.

Ugh!! First face.

I can’t recommend this book enough. For exploring your own creativity. In any form, painting, drawing or writing or sculptural or knitting. Just exploring. Creating. Having fun, and playing.

My first completed page!!

Learning washable markers actually wash out!!

Made using my hair!! tweezers and buckets of patience!

Second completed face...

Family!

Looking through this now, I see how it sparked ideas for me. And how taking that time to do something for yourself, that is not about completing projects or paintings or anything else but playing could spark more ideas. Refilling the well. Exploring. That is what I would recommend the book for. Using this book I discovered that I loved paint. Loved. And just create. And this book gave me permission to just explore all of that with no pressure.

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Mythical magical creatures come calling…

My goodness.

It is first things Sunday here and I have taken photos and now to get this post up before Amy posts at Butterfly Effect where I am of course linking.

Then on to make waffles for breakfast, because we have a sleepover thing going on and after spending most of ALL day yesterday cutting flowers. And much of the past couple of days…to cut over a 1000, because I had an idea about how I wanted my hydrangeas to look in my head. I am glad they came out how I saw them in my head, because otherwise I would be devastated.

But I am now out to recoup some mothering points so waffles for breakfast.

But first this post!

I first had in my head a Brian Froud type fairy, but I was procrastinating, because the idea terrified me, so I just drew a fairy with my non-dominant hand, to stop obsessing, and then decided to only paint her in watercolours. This is the first “proper” thing I have ever painted ONLY in watercolours.

I don’t have a lot of colours so there was a lot of mixing involved. Including all skin tones!!! I didn’t want to use even my watercolour pencils. I just wanted to stick to watercolour. I have only used them in my journal before now, as part of a background, so this was a good learning experience.

I was going to use some pigments and gum arabic in her wings, but when I went to get them I found my twinkling h20s I had bought of Trade Me (the New Zealand version of ebay) for a bargain.

And so I used some of those in the wings and the grass. I have used them only a couple of times and have not being that impressed with them, but I really like the very subtle shimmer that they left on this. So I don’t regret their purchase completely now.

Here is a photo with the flash on, so you can see the very subtle shimmer…

I am happy with her and how she came out. And DAMN happy with my hydrangeas.

Exciting new discoveries

OH MY GOSH!!!

Plaster of paris is the coolest thing I have ever played with. I have just started playing (thanks to Stephanie Lee and Judy Wise) and I had piece that looked like someone glooped some custard on it, and I painted it gray just as a first layer, because I had some on my palette that needed using, and a bit of plaster fell of the sides of the recycled mdf I am using, and I thought bugger it. I will take it outside and scrape of the sides. And bearing in mind the glooped custard look that was not very attractive, I wondered what would happen if I took my scraper to the top as well. I was feeling this was just an experimental piece, was never going, now I am loving it. Taking away the paint and stripping it back to basics has brought this piece to life for me and I love where it has started to go…maybe not so much just a play piece.

And some close ups to see the glorious gritty texture:

And then I came inside feeling chuffed with myself (though I need a couple of band-aids because my scraper skills are as good as my knife skills) and I saw another piece that I had liked more than the one above, but still was not completely happy. So I took it outside to scrape, just to see what will happen, and again…OH MY GOSH. Plaster of Paris rocks!!!

The scraping and peeling back layers have opened up a whole new world.

I had plastered these a couple of months ago and because I was not completely happy I just left them aside. But they are back front and centre. :)

And I am doing a soul slam course with Amy and I am using a cheap sketch book I had lying around empty. But the cover was uninspiring pink plastic. So with much experimentation and some lessons learnt about what not to do, I plastered the front of the book and now it has a cover I love on it, with my current muse of the moment right in front of me painted on plaster and beeswaxed.

Keeping it Simple

The other night I was listening to podcasts by Ricë, (I won’t mention how dreadfully far behind I am in listening) and I had in my head that I had to do something while I listened. (Hence why I am behind in listening to them, because I don’t know about other people but I cannot do other things and listen to podcasts at the same tiime. I get focussed on what I am doing and then I catch something I have missed the start off, or I notice ten or twenty minutes have gone and I need to rewind, and it is hopeless frankly. I don’t get any art done or podcasts listened to. I can art while I listen to music or there is other background noise, but to listen actively is not going to happen when I get involved in a piece and isn’t that what we all want, to be involved i our pieces??

So. I was listening to the podcast and heard the voice in my head that asked if that was all I was going to do, and I saw my art journal I made for the elements class nearby and my oil pastels and I thought I would play while listening. Not do anything involved. Or that required my attention. Just play and listen. I have just started to love my pastels, but I don’t think I use them as well as I could. And I thought about how I knew they can be diluted with a solvent, but I hadn’t had a play yet. So I went and got my odourless solvent, and started listening and playing.

And this page resulted. I will admit that I had to rewind, but only once. I just played and doodled and dissolved (what fun) and eventually the flowers starting forming and I went with it. I don’t know if I will do more, for now it feels very spring and nice and simple and I am happy to leave as is. I know whether I prefer dissolving the pastels with a soft rag or a brush, and I played with layering light over dark and dark over light. I like how the “roses” came out so may pursue that in something else.

But I am okay with keeping it simple. I have been looking a lot at some journal pages that seem to be layered just for the sake of layering. And while I am good with that, I love layering, sometimes I think the message gets lost in all the layers. And I read this article and just thought a big AMEN! Sometimes simple is enough on it’s own. You don’t always need a million layers and bits of texture for the sake of texture poking through to give depth. And in fact sometimes that all detracts from what you are trying to show.

And here is the picture I made for my sister’s birthday today. The first picture is the unwaxed view and now it is waxed. The actual shoe is on book text and I am imagining a few of these…sneakers, wedges, strappy sandals, all on different coloured backrounds. I love the ruby slipper nature of these though and I think she will love it.


Zombie love

A couple of weeks ago I had no idea there was a battle that existed between unicorns and zombies. And if I had known I would have gone for the unicorns to win. I have never been a fan of zombies, I don’t really do the zombie movies, and my children do zombie eyes at me sometimes just to freak me out, and I am not really a zombie kind of gal.

And then Amy announced her birthday celebration was a zombie vs unicorn paint off. And I thought I was going to join the unicorn side, and then I thought I would step outside of my own comfort zone and go the zombies. And this was settled when I told my son I might paint zombies and he said that any zombie I did would be lame.

Hmmmm, challenge anyone???

And so once I had taken my side, I didn’t want to do scary awful zombie. And so just with that knowledge in mind I started zombie number one. Painting over an old painting that I didn’t want anymore. And then I saw the rough outline of a zombie and I started to play. And then got stopped by my zombie number two, but I went back and have finished it now and I am happy with the layers on this piece and it is certainly much more traditional zombie, then my next one, and you can see how far the piece has come from the initial playing. Some of those layers are still peeking through and I love that.

Running from the City

But later that night I was thinking about something Kelly Rae Roberts had posted on Twitter, about another person having a gallery show with paintings that looked identical in some cases to work by Kelly herself.

And still with zombies on my mind I put the two of them together and thought of a Kelly Rae Roberts zombie, which is one of the most unlikely combinations, and the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was a stunning idea. And so I got to work. And I have spent hours on this. I did the long neck girl with her head tilted to the side, rounded body, butterfly wings, the patterned papers, pastel-ly paint and bubble wrap and book text, and even the writing and use of graphite. Just the ideas that came to mind when I thought Kelly Rae Roberts, rather than using any of her paintings directly as inspiration and away I went.

And oh my gosh.

I love how she came out. Literally many hours have been spent on her. And even more at the moment as I beeswax her. But Kelly Rae Roberts zombie she is. She is a zombie with love. No twee birds on her, but a raven by her side. I love her butterfly wings. She is a zombie. Lame…quite possibly, but I am no less in love with how she came out. :)

Zombie love

And so clearly pleased with her I took a lot of close ups!!

Both paintings now are undergoing the beeswax treatment. :)

Happy Birthday Amy. xx

And go team Zombie

Taking my slug medicine

A couple of weeks ago I was reading this post by Pixie Campbell and I thought again about animal medicine and what my animal guides may be (bearing in mind that I consider a lot of this silently in my house, as my beloved would think I was stark raving mad and tell me for the millionth time that I am a hippy).

For the record I am drawn to the wolf, snake and raven, but lately I haven’t really felt any connections to any animal.

But this post had insects as animals, something I had not even considered. And still thinking about that, I went on my way to start preparing dinner. And on my way to the kitchen I found a slug.

I intensely dislike them. I try not to hate anything, and I am not scared of snakes or spiders or anything. But I am terrified of sparrows. And I completely dislike very intensely flies, slugs and ants if they are inside my house.

Slugs are like snails without a shell, and you have to pick them up and they are slimey and ick and their slime is sticky and ick. And we are currently overrun with them. Honestly a few times a week for the past couple of weeks I am removing slugs. And I do not know where they are coming from or how they get in, but there they are in the middle of the floor. On the other days that I don’t actually find them I find their trails. EVERYWHERE.

So I sigh my exasperated sigh, think bad words, possibly say one, and pick up the slug and put it outside. And come back in annoyed with the slug population even more. And then I wondered if perhaps I am in need of slug medicine and that was why I was overrun. And then I thought that I couldn’t imagine anything worse than slug medicine and so I brushed it aside because surely those little slimy ick things don’t have any medicine to impart.

But five minutes later, needing to confirm that they surely had no medicine to impart I was doing a google search and I found some information and thought well, maybe slugs are it for me now.

And I read a couple of different pages and carried on. And as I went back to prepare dinner I found an ant infestation which tipped me over the edge very nearly and I did know that ants had medicine to impart because the post had said. So stuck with the glamorous (said sarcastically in case you are in any doubt) slug and ant medicine, I did some reading later that night and put it aside. Determined to give some consideration to it, but not actually getting very far in the days that have followed.

And then today. I have found EIGHT slugs inside. EIGHT. Unbelievable. And then I step out the front door and there are 12 on our porch. (Yes I counted)

So today 20 (TWENTY) slugs have made themselves known to me.

Surely that is a sign.

Or we have an overwhelming slug population ready for birds in spring (?)

Just in case, I am going in the direction of slug medicine for me.

So resolving to do some more research and reflecting tonight,I came across another ant invasion. So yes, thank you ants for reminding me, I am adding you to the research pile as well.

Yay. Slug medicine. There is a saying that the medicine that is the most horrid/bitter does the most good, or words to that effect, so I am taking my slug medicine.

And am off to do research and reflect on icky make my skin crawl slugs.

And ants. :)

Saturday Morning Confessions

I am addicted to art books. And art classes. But I have put a stop on both for now. Because there is only so much I can read, and only so much I can watch other people do art. I need to fit in some doing art myself as well. Not that my wishlist is getting any smaller, so when my book buying hiatus is over there are already some top candidates to get.

I am putting it down to my constant quest for new knowledge and expanding my own boundaries :)

But to make myself feel better and justify the purchase of all my art books (see photo above and note that I have noticed some were missing, like Traci’s Stamp Lab book, which is possibly on my art desk, and a couple of others that may be in the stack next to my bed! :)). I am going to do some reviews. And work on some of the projects in the books and show the results with the reviews.

And start to review art classes that I have taken.

Because not all books are created equal. And some are must haves. And some are good to haves. And some would be good to get from the library or borrow because you will only use them once and never look at them again. Some are laden with techniques, and some are laden with inspiration and really it depends on what you are after in any given time as to whether the book would be good for you or not.

Though I see art and book and my pulse starts to quicken :)