Back in the saddle again

Well, it’s been a little while since I’ve actually created – and I didn’t realize until I picked up the paintbrush again this week the impact it has. I’ve been feeling drained and uninspired for the last few weeks – work has been challenging and I’ve been travelling a lot and art has been put on the back burner.

I hit my studio last Sunday and tackled a painting I’ve been wanted to do for a while. My mermaid art journal page has been begging to become a painting to hang on my wall and she finally found her way to the canvas. The skin was really challenging on this piece, put I stuck to my guns and pulled out some unexpected materials and I was extremely happy with the final result. Here is the painting from its spray ink start to finish.
mermaid spray ink layer©mermaid painting gesso layer©

 

mermaid painting skin layer©mermaid painting complete ©

 

I also played in my art journal this week – it was all about texture and colour. I had no idea what direction I was going to go this week. I just decided to use up some scraps, play with a new stencil and use some of my favourite colours. I was a great way to get back into the groove and start to feel inspired again.

sirens art journal page start© sirens art journal page collage© sirens art journal page paint © sirens art journal page scribbles© sirens art jouranl page complete©

Creative birthday presents

One thing I’m very thankful for is my creativity – especially when it’s someone’s birthday and I’m struggling to find the perfect gift or card.  Hand-made cards are a long-standing tradition in my house.  From an early age, my Dad would craft amazing birthday cards for us.  I always looked forward to the envelope enclosing the heavy watercolour paper, anticipating the masterpiece I would receive that year.  I’ve carried on the tradition from the Lego character my nephew loves to a mythical characters from a Star Wars cartoon all been featured on cards I’ve given in the last year.

I’ve also been fortunate to have friends who appreciate and enjoy my art.  They have all been supportive of my budding art career, so at birthday time, it’s an easy choice of what to give.  Of course, I like to personalize gifts as much as possible, so that means a new, original piece is on the block for creation.

Evenings this week have been occupied with going away parties and appointments, which left yesterday afternoon for studio time.  So, several hours before the party I set to work on a 20×20″ canvas, priming my palette with colours that reminded me of my friend and let loose on the canvas.  A couple hours later, I had a great painting that I was happy with and more importantly she loved when I presented it to here last night.  Here is the painting from start to finish.

birthday present progress1© birthday present progress2 birthday present progress3© birthday present complete©

Journal 52 – Week 28

This weeks’ prompt for Journal 52 was technology.  I started by Googling technology and pinning some images that I found inspiring as my leaping off point.  (You can check out my Journal 52 Inspiration board here).  I was particularly drawn to a woman with technology surrounding her head and then leap to wearing a technology like a crown.  My journaling on the page was about using technology as a tool and not a crutch – not to wear it as a crown that made you royal, but a way to enhance your ability to connect and express yourself.  Here is the page from preliminary sketch to completion.

technology sketch© technology face painted© technology crown© technology complete©

Intuitive painting

As I mentioned in a post, I recently read “Brave Intuitive Painting” by Flora S Bowley and decided to take a couple of canvases that were sitting around my studio unfinished to play with.  The first (Shiny Medals) started out as a birch tree composition and the second (Intuition) was a yellow background I’d started for another painting and then decided to go in a different direction.  The idea behind intuitive painting is to follow your gut and just put paint where you feel it should go.  It was an interesting process and very freeing –  so much of the work that I do requires some precision, and this was about instinct.  I really enjoyed making the paintings, but I had to sit with each of them for a couple of days until I was sure that they were finished.  I put together a composite of Shiny Medals in progress as it took a while and I tried to get images in most stages, while Intuition came together much faster.  I will definitely continue with method of painting, along with the other type of work I love to do.

Shiny Medals

shiny medals compositeshiny medals complete©

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intuition

intuition progress1© intuition progress2© intuition complete©

Journal 52 update – Weeks 19 to 27

As I stated in my last instalment, I’ve been away from the studio quite a bit in the last two months.  And of course this means that I have been getting behind on my Journal 52 project.  I’m happy to say that with a couple nights of regular studio time, Canada Day and a lovely day off yesterday spent painting, I’m back on track with this project.

I’ve really been enjoying the themes and have been surprised where some of them have led me.  The courage prompt stands out in particular.   The prompt challenged me to create a page about what courage means to me.  Through the process, I came to the realization just how much the definition has changed for me, especially in the last 5 years.  Before, courage was about putting on a brave face and continuing on, even when things were broken inside.  It was about supporting everyone else and not asking for help when I needed it.  Courage used to be about sticking with a situation or relationship, even when it was toxic, because the unknown was too scary.  Now, courage is about asking for help, moving into the unknown confident in who I am and what I can do and turning my back on situations that aren’t good for me.  This is a really big shift in my thinking process.

So here are the last few weeks of the Journal 52 prompts, starting with the most recent.

 

 

nostalgia complete©

Week 27 – Nostalgia

This week’s prompt took me back to the summer of ’88.  That last “perfect” summer before everyone started going their separate ways.  Dancing on Thursday nights at the Elephant and Castle, making mixed tapes and generally having the times of our teenaged lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

under the sea complete©

Week 26 – Under the Sea

I decided to revisit the mermaid theme that I tried out in my very first art journal.  While I was generally satisfied with the first attempt, I always felt that there was room for improvement.  So, I used the same background technique (spray inks and gesso) and created from there.  I was thrilled with the result.

 

 

 

 

 

 

inspired by nature complete©

Week 25 – Nature Inspired

If you’ve followed my work at all, you know my main inspiration is nature.  So, I decided I needed to break away from the birds and try something new.  This one was a struggle at first, but in the end it all came together.  (to see all the images, check out my Facebook album)

 

 

 

 

 

 

courage complete©

Week 24 – Courage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

passion complete©

Week 23 – Passion

Birds are my passion.  Everything seems to stem from birds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

travel complete©

Week 22 – Travelling

I’ve been out west (to Banff) as well as the Bruce Peninsula – Indian Paintbrush connected the dots between the two places.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mandala complete©

Week 21 – Making a Mandala

Mine was inspired by the native orchids we have in Ontario

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

book inspired complete©

Week 20 – Book Inspiration

I read Brave Intuitive Painting and used one of the exercises as my prompt for this page.  Not my normal colour palette, but it was fun to get messy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photography complete©

Week 19 – Photography

One of the many photos I took on my travels (the famous MacGregor Elm) used as a photo transfer for this page.

 

I have still been creating….I promise

Well my friends, it has been quite a while since I’ve posted anything to my site.  I’ve found that work/life balance little askew of late and while I’ve still been making time for art, I haven’t been doing as well with sharing it.  So, here is a little taste of my art journal over that last couple of months.  I finished my third volume and have moved on to the fourth – with a new binding style that I’m finding much easier to work in, as the pages stay flat when opened.

Here are my last pages in the third volume…

art journal page odd out owl complete© art journal page snowy owl dream complete© art journal page owl circus complete© art journal page best intentions complete© art journal page neurons firing complete© art journal page scavenger hunt complete© art journal page falling complete©

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Followed by the first few pages of the fourth volume – there have been a few Sundays missed due to birding and work commitments, but I hope to get back in the routine again.


precious complete©art journal page 4 complete©kiss me again complete©hatching new schemes complete©change in the air complete©merganser morning complete©vintage complete©spring tree complete©spirit bird complete©believe complete©make something happen complete©

 

 



 

Art Journal Page – Big Ideas (or fun with Gelli prints)

I love Sunday nights – have I said that before?  It’s my time to be creative for no reason other reason than the sake of being creative and trying to work out some of the big ideas that have been rattling around in my brain throughout the week.  I get to play – try new ideas or technique and not worry about whether or not it would be something that I can market or sell.

I set out with #Strombo on the radio, this week featured the first 50 songs of the Strombo Hundo and started to play with my Gelli plate.  I’d picked up the medium sized plate about a month before and this was the first chance I had to play with it.  I used a variety of Golden paints (including the high flow and open acrylics) and all kinds of fun stuff to make texture and pattern on the plate.  I ended up with 6 prints in addition to the ones I used for the plate – I had to cut it off, so much fun, but I wouldn’t have completed a journal page if I’d kept it up.

The yellow and purples print (aptly described by a friend as a crazy octopus) was the basis for the page and I used the colours on the page as my leaping off point.  I used the other print photo as collage elements on the page – the colours worked well together and in the end the octopus comment led me to an ocean theme and then came the small mermaid.  I was feeling  little dwarfed by all my thoughts and ideas of late – wonder how I’d be able to get them all out – and the colourful chaotic mess is the result.  I’m very energized with this page and feeling a little more focused because of it.

art journal page big ideas gelli plate© art journal page big idea purple and yellow gelli print© art journal page big ideas gelli prints© art journal page big ideas print placed© art journal page big ideas almost done© art journal page big ideas complete©

Art Journal Page – The Christmas Card that wasn’t…

The Sunday before Christmas found me desperately trying to finish gifts, wrap presents and above all else, stay sane.  I took a break from all the creating to play in my art journal – which was a very good move on my part.

Among many things that were dropped from the agenda this year, including many handmade gifts, were Christmas cards.  I had wanted to make a holiday card with my own art to send out this year, but time was not on my side, so this page had to serve as my holiday greeting this year.

With the massive influx south this year, Snowy Owl seemed to be a great species to play with.  I always love to see them and when they are sitting on a fence post in a snow drifted field, there is a sense of peace.  Building on the piece from the previous week, I refined my snowy owl and was fairly please with the result.  So much, that I’m going to work this one up on a panel, to use for a holiday card next year.

Here is the page from start to finish:

art journal page peace backround© art journal page peace fence© art journal page peace complete©

Art Journal Page – Pretty in Pink

Despite my love for Molly Ringwald and a good John Hughes film from the 80s, I am really not a big pink girl.  When I was asked what colour I wanted my room painted when I was small I said “red!”…I got pink and was never very happy with it.

Fast forward a good number of years later and I have a great appreciation for pink and use it a lot in pieces, but it is rarely the dominant colour….until this page took me to a hot, pink 80s revival.

I started the Sunday night ritual with coffee and my friend #Strombo on the radio (it was a repeated episode, but my art was mentioned in the opening of the show – still giddy thinking about it) and not a lot of ideas.  I’d spent the day before doing all my Christmas shopping and then working an overtime shift until midnight – I was not feeling energetic or inspired.

So, I pulled out a bunch of tags I’ve had for years – always like the patterns, and decided to use them as the base for the piece.  It was then layered with pattern tissue, gesso and some molding paste through a feather stencil.  I really struggled with what to do with the feathers.  They weren’t popping from the page in the way I’d hoped.  I tried some glazes, white paint and graphite and nothing was really working – so I pulled out the magenta and took a leap.  I added some book text with a bird silhouette and I was done.  While I’m not entirely convinced that the page doesn’t look like it was inspired by Pepto-Bismo, I’m also not entirely unhappy  with the results.

Sunday night fast approaches and I really hope the muse is not in a pink mood again this week.

art journal page pretty i pink start© art journal page pretty in pink ink blots© art journal page pretty in pink molding paste© art journal page pretty in pink complete©

Art Journal Page – Under the Sycamore Trees

I’ll admit it – I was (and still am) a little obsessed with Twin Peaks.  So when you find another person that shares that kind of passion for your geeky obsession, you can’t help talk about it….at length.  I just spent a very fun weekend doing just that – talking passionately about all my geeky obsessions.

Sunday night rolled around, the Strombo show was wafting from the speakers and my mind went right to the song, “Under the Sycamore Trees” from Fire Walk with Me (the Twin Peaks movie for those who have not yet been initiated into this world).  The song was haunting and creepy, reflecting the ideas that David Lynch was portraying in the film.  When it was time to start journaling, I already knew the direction I would go – the entrance to the black lodge, when the backdrop of the forest became red velvet curtains and everything turned upside down.

I started the page with some texture, achieved with layers of red tissue paper over the gessoed background.  I added layers of crimson paint in different shades and tones to create the highlights and lowlights of the backdrop.  Then to add the ghostly trees in the circle around the pit…thank you to the internet for the great reference photos from Twin Peaks.  If you’ve watched the show, you’ll know what an important symbol the owl was – so of course I needed to add one to the scene.  I worked out a loose painted sketch on paper, which I cut out and then adhered to the page using matte medium.  The owl probably should have been a little paler (given it was a west coast bird) but I was really happy with the look and intensity of this owl.

Finally, I added the lyrics of the song and some journalling reflecting on my weekend and the page was complete.  I’m extremely happy with the results – and have no idea what I can do next week to top it.

art journal page under the sycamores start© art journal page under the sycamores background© art journal page under the sycamores with trees© art journal page under the sycamores owl detail© art journal page under the sycamores complete©