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©

Sometimes it doesn’t have to be rocket science…

I’ve finally got back in the rhythm of Sunday night painting with Strombo (if you’ve never listened to the show, check it out.  Great music, insightful and fun interviews).  I’ve been seeing hollyhocks in bloom on my way to work for the last week or two – I’m not sure why, but I really love them and decided it was high time they became the subject of an art journal entry.  So, here it is, summer simplicity.  The background was achieved with light modelling paste tinted with Naples yellow and then scraped on the page with a palette knife.  I toned it down with a little gesso scraped on and then wiped off.  Finally some finger painted flowers and journaling and the page was done.  Simple, just like a beautiful summer night.

simple summer background© simple summer in progress© simple summer almost complete© simple summer 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.

 

Rambling girl…

Just when I thought the hectic pace of the spring had finally slowed down, I spent a good chunk of the month of June travelling.  I’ve been lucky – I’ve visited some of the most beautiful places in Canada in – yet I’ve found myself on the road on my dedicated studio nights, so I’ve been playing a game of catch up for the last little while.

In early June I visited the Bruce Peninsula to attend a birding festival and was able to take lots of amazing photos while I was there.  One in particular served as an inspiration for this art journal spread.  The song “Fearless” by Cyndi Lauper seemed to pop up on the iTunes shuttle quite a bit during this time and the lyrics really resonated with me.  Here is the combination of inspiring music and inspiring landscapes.

 

fearless composite

Art Journal Page – my Christmas wish list

The last month has been very busy – as December typically is.  I’ve been trying to spend as much time in the studio as I can and have managed to keep my Sunday night art journal date throughout the month – I wish I could say the same for updates here.

My mind has been on birds in particular this month as is it Christmas Bird Count season, and this art journal page was inspired by the count at Point Pelee which took place the morning after I completed this page.

After cleaning out my studio, I found all kinds of treasures I’ve been squirrelling away and not I’m trying to use some of them up.  I found some chipboard mini-albums in the shape of Christmas tree balls and that’s where the first page’s inspiration came from.  This page was a little more challenging to complete and keep cohesive as it had the gap between two signature, so I wanted some big and bold that would make the space disappear.  I decided to make ornaments of my Christmas Bird Count wish list – including Varied Thrush, Snowy Owl and Evening Grosbeak.  The ornaments were fun to make – I used acrylic paints and a clear, glossy crackle paint to give the effect of a vintage Christmas ball.  And I did get one of the species on my wish list….Snowy Owl!

art journal page wish list blank page© art journal page wish list bird balls© art journal page wish list branches© art journal page wish list 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©