Thursday, 28 March 2013

What if?

What if that thing that has been niggling at the back of my head, that thing that scares me, that I've been trying to ignore, is the thing that I'm made for?

Linking with Creative Every Day and Art Journal Every Day.

What I am made for

This page started out with something that didn't work. The very first thing I did no it I didn't like. 

It sat with the first couple of layers for a few days before I looked at it and decided it was crying out for red circles. I don't know why, it just was. So I painted them in, not knowing where it was leading. 

The first lot of petals I drew in didn't look right. I tried with smaller ones and that felt better. 

Then I put white circles in the centre of the main flower. Didn't like that, so covered them up with red again.

Then the other circles were stamped on and it felt like I was finally getting somewhere. But they needed something else so I grabbed a pencil, dabbed the eraser end into my black ink-pad, and went dotty. 

But what should I write? What was on my heart?

Looking back at this process I can see that, just like life, there are plenty of things that we try out and find that they're 'not really me', but we learn things along the way. Doing what we are made for sometimes takes time to work out. It takes time to learn how you work, what your temperament is and your gifts and skills. But finally we work it out, and each thing that we do along the way becomes part of the end picture. 

And now I just want to share a picture of the rainbow that I could see out of my art room window yesterday morning at 7a.m. It was just so vivid and such a gift as I spent my quiet time with God.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013


Hi there, everyone. It's time to snoop around looking at everyone else's desks again. Join in the fun over at Julia's blog

I thought I should share the full glory of my art room as I have stuff I'm working on all over the room, not just on my desk(s). 

Here you can see my filing cabinet that was a great rescue item found by my marvellous hubby. The drawers are just the right depth to store bottles of ink and suchlike in single layers. There are bits of leather, papers, inks, ink pads, punches, and tools in there. Then there's a bookcase with art and craft and inspirational books. The ironing board is still out because I've been doing a whole bunch of sewing in the last couple of weeks - shirts, jeans, and a dress. 

You can see the pile of fabric I'm still working my way through in the centre. The black shape on the desk is a jumper I've just finished sewing together in readiness for the approaching colder weather. 

This is the other side of my glass desk. The knitting is my daughter's. On the raised shelf are papers arranged by colour so I can find just what I want when I want it. 

This is my other workstation. I stand at this one and do my journalling. 

This is the corner where things get dumped - a bag full of wool that I'm working my way through, and a bunch of wrapping papers. The other bit of knitting behind the iron is also my daughter's - a cat that she is now sewing together. 

So there you go. My desks and the work in progress. I'm off to see what everyone else has been up to this week now. Thanks for visiting!

Monday, 25 March 2013

old journals

I was looking through some old journals today, searching for a particular page, when I found my first ever art journal. This was my first page, done in a journal I made from thick card, like a child's board book. Looking at it now I can see that I tried so many different things on the page, eager to see what would happen and excited to have found this 'new' art form. 

What interests me is that the type of pages I end up doing differs depending on the type of paper I'm using. These are very thick pages so they can be gouged into. You can apply the acrylic thickly in swirls, and then before it is all dry, scrape it off, leaving interesting shapes and textures on the page. One side of the card was grey and the other white, so some pages are brighter than others.

Here are a few of the other pages from the same journal:

What was your first page like? And does your style change depending on the type of journal?

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Monday, 18 March 2013

so small

Today is one of those days.

five reasons

I spent a few hours with a friend at the bedside of one of her relatives who is on the brink of death yesterday. It's sobering.

It reminds me that it is good practice to keep short accounts.


Because it leaves you with fewer regrets at the end of life.

It gives you space to store up good memories rather than holding on to bad ones that just promote bitterness.

It gives you peace of mind.

It makes for better relationships.

It takes less energy to be on good terms with others.

And those seem like good reasons to me.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013


Time to join with all the lovely WOYWWers over at Julia's blog. I love having a snoop around at everyone else's desks, don't you? It's fun to see all the creativity that's going on and that my desk is not alone in its messiness :)

So here's how my desk looked first thing this morning. There's a journal page I finished last night (see the picture below) on the left. The book I was making in the last WOYWW post is now finished in the centre. A card that needs to be sent, a pile of books on leatherwork that were given to me yesterday. And all those white items on the blue tissue? Those are fish bones that my daughter is using to make a dragon skull. What you can't see because they're on the other side of the room are the piles of sewing that are in progress, and a manuscript that's ready to go in for the Text Prize. 

This is the journal page that I finished last night. I'm loving the turquoise paint I bought recently. As you can see, I've been using it a lot:

The photo of this page doesn't show the more delicate colouring on the right hand side very well. There are feathers stamped in the background. I didn't want the journalling to be too bright so went with white. It's easier to see in the flesh, as it were. 

When I started this page I wanted something between the two colours to tie them together. The gold that I splatted with the side of a paintbrush made me think of stones, so I outlined them in black. That set me thinking about stepping stones. Some of them are wobbly. Sometimes it feels like they're a little too far apart for comfort. But eventually you get across to the other side. Several small steps get you across the river. Several small steps can take you to where you're going without it feeling like a huge leap. Before you know it, you've arrived where you didn't think you could go.

Monday, 11 March 2013

up in the air

Do you ever have those times where it feels like everything in your life has been thrown up into the air like a handful of juggling balls?

While they're all up there, you wait to see how they're going to fall. How can you best position yourself to catch them? Should you even be catching some of them or do you need to let them go? Which ones will bounce if you miss them first time?

I don't like that feeling of uncertainty. But one thing I know: everything might be out of my hands, but it's never out of God's hands. And that gives me comfort.

Friday, 8 March 2013


I'm reading an interesting book about introverts at the moment. Being one myself, it has been most enlightening. I have learned why I feel drained in large groups, why I withdraw on a regular basis, and why I find it difficult to 'think on my feet'. I now have a better understanding of what energises me and how my brain works.

Contemplation is one of the strengths of introverts but is something that needs to be done in every life. Sometimes you just need to put on the brakes and take time to examine what is going on in your life. Are you on the path you want to be on? If not, how can you switch to the right one? Examination of the heart can reveal attitudes and desires that might otherwise be hidden in the hurly-burly of normal living.

Will you take some time out today to contemplate?

Linking up with Art Journal Every Day, Creative Every Day, and Show and Tell Saturday.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Bits and pieces

Having fun doing monoprints without a gelli-plate. I'm using some waxed paper instead. So far it's working out OK although the paint dries quite quickly. I just have to work faster. 

And some new sketches.

Hope you're having fun!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Art vs. Housework

Well, there's no contest, is there? 

I had fun with this page. The flowers came first, coloured with Derwent aquatone pencils. Then the background was filled in with yellow ink and stamped down the right hand side with a multi-colour ink pad.

But the yellow was looking a bit pale. I wanted something deeper. I outlined the flowers with a black Sharpie, but what to do about the background? 

That's when I spotted the tub of petroleum jelly on my desk that I bought to try out a technique from Surface Treatment Workshop by McElroy and Wilson. Perfect! So I slapped some on top of the flowers and painted turquoise acrylic over the top. The recommendation was to use a baby-wipe to clean off the petroleum jelly but I grabbed a plastic card instead. Now it was looking better. I did the same again with a darker blue. 

Now the flowers needed a little more colour so I used some water-soluble oil pastels to deepen the colours, used a liquid paper pen to add the white  highlights. I had to find a way to put the wording on the page as the petroleum jelly left a coating that pens wouldn't write on. The 'headline' was stamped on to white paper and cut out, and the journalling I wrote on a piece of vellum and stuck it down with gel medium. A few highlights with white and yellow water-soluble oil pastels finished off the page. 

Better than housework :)

Linking to Art Journal Every Day 

Friday, 1 March 2013

Use Your Words - trio of tags

 I mentioned about a week ago that I was taking Carolyn Dube's workshop - Use Your Words. It is still open for sign up and the videos are available for ever afterwards. And it won't even cost you anything!
More details can be found here.

These tags are from the final lesson in the series of six and I thought it would be fun to do the whole work-in-progress thing. So here it is.

I recently made a batch of tags from some glossy paper that I'd patterned using varying techniques. These three were all done with dye ink and a brayer.

I added a little stamping...

 ...and some stencilled letters as this is all about using your words. I wasn't happy with the terracotta on the blue, so in true Carolyn Dube style, I worked on it a bit more and...

... painted over it with some turquoise acrylic. Liked that much better. Added some patterned paper that I printed from a Photoshop project.

A bit more stamping and a little outlining and correction pen dots.

A bit of oil pastel around the edges and in the gaps, and the all-important words - live, dream, create.

So check out the workshop. Carolyn is a great teacher, very laid back, happy to try something, not like it, and go over it with something else. You'll learn that a blob out of place is not the end of the world but an opportunity to experiment and try something different.