Gessoed Flowers and open doorways

Kristin Dudish has a new tutorial tryout each week and this week was the abstracted gessoed flowers by Carla Sonheim that can be found here.

I am an absolute fan of Carla, I love her work and her books.  I remember doing this tutorial when I actually saw it (one of the few that I did right away, I suspect it was when I was experimenting with making my own gesso), but I cannot for the life of me find where I did it the first time.  I remember I was not that impressed with my page last time so I am glad I had this opportunity to redo the idea and play with it because I LOVE how this spread came out this time.

Here is the finished spread:

The doorway

Over the weekend I was making some spray inks, and while I was trying to get the intensity of colour I wanted I was spraying onto this page with my homemade stencils. When I went to turn to an empty page for this prompt, I thought I may as well gesso over the ink and then reuse this page, the ink underneath if it showed through would just be an extra layer. I then painted india ink over the dried gesso and then painted more gesso on as per the tutorial.

I decided to add a bit of colour to the page to make the flowers pop out a bit more. And then while I had my folder of text out making these, I decided to use some found text on this spread as well.

The doorway - Page 1

The doorway - Page 2

Some super close ups of the found words:

The doorway close up (part 1)

The doorway close up (part 2)

I generally use cheap gesso, I have some Golden Gesso, but it costs and arm and a leg by the time it reaches the bottom of the world, so I am quite stingy about using it, but after my first coat of gesso when I painted in the flowers, I decided to break out the good stuff for a slightly better coat on the background, which I am pleased I did. This was a fun spread to do, as it sat open on the table beside me ready for when I had scraps of time to work on it.

Oh how I love gesso!!


Making postcards


The last couple of weeks I have had postcards on the brain.  I joined Hanna’s postcard swap, and Tammy suggested doing an extra 10 so that you could send a postcard to those who send to you…extending the happy mail joy, so I did an extra 10…and then a few more besides.

The backgrounds were all finished last week, some were shown here, and the other three backgrounds are here:

Painted background
Painted background
Painted background

This week I have cut the backgrounds up:
Painted canvas

Cut up cardstock for postcard backs:
Decided my original idea to sew the lines on the postcard backs was a stupid one (and stressful), much happier with free-styled lines! #DIYpostcardswap

Glued the canvas onto the cardstock and then decided to do found poetry on the front so I went through my book text pile and glued on my found poetry (which also means I am joining in with Aimee’s Glue it Tuesday, because there has been A LOT of glue this week, and she suggested it was about existing work rather than working new prompts, so I figure this counts).

So here are the finished cards:
The way is clear
I don't believe
Unexplained facts
Giving orders
Looking down
Telling the truth
It is winter
Listening for love
Pastel shades of disappointment
The eye of the beholder
There was love
Smiling lips
Defaced symbols
Summoned up
Iron gates
No doubtsCourage
Your hat
Rusted time

Next week they will all be written, addressed, and posted!  :)

Artist’s Way Challenge Check in: Week 2

Yay for finishing week 2! Still no money to be sent out!!! hahaha

My morning pages were completed every day, and I had forgotten how much more organised and productive I am when I have them. Maybe it is the constant writing down each day of everything I still need to do, that keeps everything present and ticking along!

The stand out quotes from Julia Cameron for me this week were:

The essential element in nurturing out creativity lies in nurturing ourselves. Through self-nurturance we nurture our inner connection to the Great Connector.

Your crazymaker is a block you chose yourself, to deter you from your own trajectory.

In creative recovery, it is not necessary that we change any of our beliefs. It is necessary that we examine them. More than anything else, creative recovery is an exercise in openmindedness.

The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.

This reinforced motivation is allowing me to dive deeper than I have previously which is surprising and very motivating to continue (though I am only on week 2 so that is easy for me to say now!!!)  :)

This week I added some more imaginary lives to the page:

Imaginary lives

I made a background that I thought I would use, but then none of the tasks called out to use it, so it is now an intermission! :)


Looking at my sacred circle and the issues that I am careful about who I talk to. Again in my journaling I am much more fulsome, than my representational images. Also there were some people who had limited access to the circle for some topics and not others. It was also interesting some of the people for whom I realised that I would say nothing of any real meaning to. I felt clearer about some of my boundaries than I have for a long time, so this was a useful exercise.

Sacred Circle

Looking at my “Life Pie” was next, so looking at exercise, spirituality, romance/adventure, friends, work and play.

Life Pie

My exercise I am really happy with at the moment: Walking/jogging 5.5kms at least 5 days a week and then the fitness group I have joined where I have been doing exercises like 100 push ups, a zillion lunges and freaking awful burpees (this week’s challenge) every day. So tick, in fact as I look at it now, I wonder that I didn’t actually score that higher! Spirituality was one of my lowest, I realise I haven’t read any of my dharma books for a long time, or meditated consistently, so I am making an effort to do that every day. There is no excuse for when the children and my beloved go off to church on a Sunday either that I can’t do more to refill my spiritual well. So that is on the agenda.

Romance and adventure I am happy with, but who couldn’t do with more adventure if the opportunity arises! :) Friends is the same, I have some really good friends around me in real life and online and I am grateful. So really that score is reflective of me being a better friend and connecting more, than any needs I have. Work I felt let the side down, and I don’t know if I play enough. So I am going to take the time to play more, or take time to do things for no set purpose.

It doesn’t look so flash, but I wonder if I was a little harsh on my scores because I was actually surprised at how happy I was for most of the sections!

Twenty things I liked to do for fun was easy. I could have kept going! Some of the things that came up surprised me, but I wrote them down as they came to me without thinking too much about them. Part of the exercise was also to record when we last did the activities and I was pleasantly surprised that for the most part, things have been done relatively recently. Go me!

Fun activity evaluation

Ten changes I wanted to make, was also quite easy. Particularly in light of the Life Pie exercise.

Changes I want to make

My artist date this week was to take the time in amongst everything else to make an Easter Tree and an easter nest:
Feeling the Easter spirit. #eastertree

The outside of the nest...

Completely not what I had on my to-do list but two things that bring me so much joy when I look at them. I had so much fun, and was completely catapulted into the Easter spirit. :)

I have had a couple of people mention the “God”, or high spiritual nature of the book. I haven’t found it a problem, although she does mention that aspect relatively often. In the Introduction, Julia Cameron actually alludes to not letting semantics to get in the way of what you take out of the book, and that you can substitute her use of “God” for any concept that works for you, whether that be “in the flow” with “Spirit” etc, etc. I have not found it off putting.

I don’t have any bad experience with “God” or the church though, and I live in a house of Catholics (:)), so I take from it what I take from it, and carry on, and that works or me.  I don’t know how useful that is to those who have asked about that aspect of the book. But speaking from Week 2, that is where I am and what I would have to say about it.

Re-evaluating #3/52 cards

Last week I emptied out an old wish jar (because I needed the giant jar for another project! :)) and as I was pulling out my old wishes that had been in there for a few years I realised how most of the wishes were not what I would wish for now. It surprised me the difference in three years, and the work I have done to know who I am and what my wishes would be now.

I suspect back then I just made stuff up because I thought I was meant to wish for that stuff. Progress has been made clearly when I can recognise that!! It made me think of re-evaluating our wishes and taking the time to take stock off our old dreams and reassess if that is still matching up to our core values.

Which brings me on to this card: My #3/52.

#3/52 cards

I made it completely not thinking about the above moment, at least not consciously. In fact I was kind of surprised that this became my card this week. It seemed to me, to come from no where really.

And then I sat down to write this post and thought of the wish jar and it all made so much more sense.

Funny how that happens!

The journaling reads:
I don’t know sometimes if I am on the right path or dreaming. Is there some sign post I am missing? At what point do I take a deep breath and look for new paths and when am I giving up too soon? Or is it giving up? Divergent paths – or part of the same story?

Rocking my world last week…

I am running ridiculously behind in posting.  It is now Tuesday night, but it was a good week last week and I want to record it or I will forget it.  Besides we are edging ever closer to Winter and when I need pepping up I will be able to look back at these posts and remember life is not as gray as the weather outside!  :)

RYWLinking up at Virginia’s place as always, the gracious hostess of gratitude and rocking your world moments!

A couple of weeks ago I was talking to a good friend of mine and she asked what I was doing for Easter, in light of the Christmas celebrations we did last year.  I remarked I wasn’t really feeling Easter and left it at that.  We met up for lunch this week and she treated me at the most delightful place.  The food was LOVELY, a few little dishes and one of my favourites fresh Vietnamese rolls.  YUM. She let me whine about the trifling details of what was going on and get that out of my system.

Then we went to a shop she wanted to take me to, where she got me into the Easter spirit.  She bought me some Easter decorations more or less with love (there were not a lot of choices involved), and I realised how flat I had been without realising.  How much the normal humdrum of life had a little bit taken over, and I had forgotten the magic.  Problem solved I suddenly got a burst of Easter energy, and made an Easter tree and a nest out of burlap and yarn.

Feeling the Easter spirit. #eastertree

Here is the nest…
The outside of the nest...

Children were very excited and I am happy whenever I look at it. I have plans to make new Easter decorations, hopefully in the next couple of weeks. I am SO grateful for good friends who can hear that I am flat even when I don’t realise. It wasn’t until my well was filled and I was in the Easter crafting spirit that I realised how flat and mired in the hum drum I had been.

Also I love this note that Victoria left me, she had had a massive meltdown and stormed off to her room, about ten minutes later she called out to me and shut her door again. This was left outside her door. It gave me pause to take a deep breath and recover from the almost constant bickering that has beset her and her brother at the moment.

Magnadoodle left outside her bedroom door after a meltdown.

I know we are in drought conditions and badly need water, but it is so hard to wish away the sun. Especially now that we are going camping this weekend, when we go back to my family Marae. I am grateful for the sun, and the ability to take my cup of tea outside and feel the warmth of the sun on my face.

I am also grateful for my Beloved and am so grateful he is such a hands on father and has the ability to sense when the children are pushing me to the edge of the cliff with their arguing and is able to step in and let me have some peace.

Gathering my reference pictures together

I have a new ideas book that I made completely inspired by Julie Prichard in her Mixed Media Variety Hour and I have been wanting to begin filling it, but it has remained on my to-do list.  I have merely been slipping things into the book to be stuck in later, or sketched out later.

Then I saw Aimee was instituting “Glue-it Tuesday” and I thought to myself what better motivation do I need.  No pressure but sijmply gluing things into my idea book for later inspiration and whispers.

I have gathered some reference pictures for a couple of pieces I am currently working on and this is an image I am quite drawn to and want to keep investigating so I wanted to keep my reference pictures.

Over top I made a little wand with some vellum and stuck a portrait by Chris Ofili in that I have saved for quite a while and love.

Reference pics

Reference pics

Reference pics

Reference pics

I love that I have a page I can flick to quickly when needed for quick inspiration, and also the potential of adding new images over the top using the same idea I had for sticking in the portrait by Chris Ofili.

Experimenting and some gold leafy goodness!

Kristin Dudish has a new feature running at the moment on her blog called “Tutorial tryout”, where rather than just book marking all those online tutorials we intend to do one day, we actually do them (and I have saved more than just a few and then never gotten anywhere near them!).

This week was on stenciling resists, which I thought sounded like a great idea, and has the added advantage for my never ending to-do list at the moment that I could use the results as backgrounds for my postcards for Hanna’s DIY Postcard Swap!  :)

I decided to do the Christine Adolf’s stencil foil resist painting.  I did not have the Krylon sprayshe recommends however, but given you were almost melting that into the foil as an adhesive I did have some plastic varnish spray that I thought may do the trick.  I also didn’t have any foil, BUT I did have some gold leaf which was as shiny as the foil looked, and rather than use watercolour paper (which I suspect may have worked better), I used my canvas pad instead…a complete experiment!!

I used my home-made stencils and sprayed the varnish through the stencil.  I gave it a reasonably heavy coat since I wanted to be able to melt it and stick something to it.  I used my twinkling h20s once the varnish was dry and that was a good resist, that I suspect would have worked a whole lot better with watercolour paper.  As you can see from the photos I did 3 sheets of the paper, and the watercolour pooled a lot on the canvas paper, (which one may have thought about had they thought this through a bit more!), I did end up making a paste-ish type application with a lot less water and scrubbing it in a bit .

Experiment 1 - Stage 1
Experiment 2 - Stage 1
Experiment 3 - Stage 1

At this stage I was not sure what they were going to be like when they dried, and so I did think about using a light acrylic wash or ink, but decided to wait until it dried.

Once it dried it wasn’t too bad, and I knew I was probably going to add on a few more layers afterwards anyway so I decided to just leave it as is.

I put on the gold leaf and with some paper over top (because I did not fancy the telling off my beloved would give me if I gold leafed our good iron, and I couldn’t find my craft iron), I ironed over the gold leaf. I also ironed the back of the canas as well. It did stick to the resist, but I had to brush off the gold leaf from the paper and in some places I was a little too rough and ready. I found the geometric patterns worked a whole lot better than the circle stencils I used as well.

Experiment 1 - Stage 2
Experiment 2 - Stage 2
Experiment 3 - Stage 2

Because I was intending to chop these up for use these as backgrounds for postcards, i put a wee bit of gel medium on top because I didn’t want the gold leaf flaking off in the mail. In some areas the technique worked really well for me, in spite of the substitutions. I want to try this out again in my art journal, and try different paints and see what the result is like.

As my top layers I decided to do some airbrush acrylic drips and here they all are. Waiting to be cut up with the other backgrounds I am making.

Next week is this tutorial which I have made before (one of the few I have actually done!!), and I am excited to do them again. I loved how well they come out. I highly recommend Kristin‘s on a Tueday!! :)