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.

 

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©

Art Journal Page – The “to-do list”

I completed this journal page on Sunday, November 10.  It had been a busy weekend and there was a daunting list of things to complete before heading out on a little trip this week.  The list was making my head spin and I needed to work through the anxiety and see the forest for the trees…completing the list meant I could do something of the more important things on my life to-do list – spend time with family friends and have a little time to myself.

I started by prepping the pages with gesso and tape the seams.  Then I pulled out a supply I hadn’t used in a long while – dry wall tape.  It provides great texture and is easy to use.  I added some stickers (still trying to use them up) and then sealed all of them in with some matte medium.

I started to add some colours, first using Tim Holtz paint daubers, but found I wasn’t achieving the depth of colour I wanted, so I switched to some Golden Fluid acrylics which worked much better.  By the time I was done with the paint, I was worried I’d created a “hot mess” but pushed through and took a step back.  I actually found I liked where things were headed and was pretty happy with the product.  I added some birds and journaling and I was done.

art journal page to do list start© art journal page to do list stickers© art journal page to do list hot mess© art journal page to do list complete©

Art Journal Page – Alcohol Ink Poppies

I’ve been watching lots of tutorials on gelli plate monoprinting over the last week and somehow my mind went to alcohol inks.  So I decided that this week I would try a journal page using this media.  To prep the paper, I gessoed the page and then added a coat of varnish.  I think the varnish was a bit of a mistake – the ink seemed to be slow to dry and was rubbing off.  Fixative made things run a bit, but it did seal everything in the end.

I started the page with some large drops of different coloured inks (butterscotch and cranberry) and then dropped some alcohol to help spread the ink around.  The rest of the ink was apply with a felt-tipped tool – dabbed and twisted the rest of the  ink and got amazing texture and colour so quickly.  This was the best part of the page – how fast it came together.  I started to see some shapes in the colours and defined poppy shaped and stems using the fine tip of the bottle.  A little definition with a gel pen and a tag with a quote and page was finished.  I will definitely continue to experiment with alcohol inks – next time, I’ll skip the glossy varnish and try matte medium instead.

Enjoy the images.

art journal page alcohol poppies start© art journal page alcohol poppies first layer© art journal page alcohol poppies complete©

Art Journal Page – Words, October 27, 2013

Sunday night is art night and facing an incredibly messy table in my studio and not many ideas I decided that a good start would be to use some of the materials scattering the top of the table.  I added some stickers that I’m trying to use up and an interesting collage started.  After that I took out some cheap craft paint (that I’m also trying to use up) and started adding some more colour.  Purple seemed to catch my attention this time around.

 

After working on the background of the page, it was time to find a focal point – so, I decided to cut out this image of a woman and add it to the composition.  You make recognize the pose – I used this as my reference photo for the Red Umbrella page last week.  Once she was laid down I found her dress dark and depressing, so I thought that I would add some colour and texture.  I thought about moulding paste and opted instead to go with gel medium with glass beads.  I haven’t used this medium in a really long time and I thought it would add the texture and light that I was looking for.

 

After being extremely impatient waiting for the medium to dry (and cooking it with my heat gun) I was able to add some purple paint (a nice Golden fluid acrylic).  After some journaling and some more letter stickers, the page was completed.  Enjoy the images of the process.art journal page words start© art journal page words collage© art journal page words glass beads© art journal page words complete©