Friday, 31 January 2014

29 Faces - day 1

I've seen the 29 Faces challenge around on other blogs and thought I'd join in this round. Hop on over here to see all those other faces that are being drawn this month, or use the button in the sidebar.

I'm not really that secure in drawing faces and I find that they tend to all look similar, so I'm hoping I'll learn, grow, and stretch (my word for the year) during this month of experimentation.

I have an old exercise book that I've been using for cleaning off my brayer or gelli-plate so decided to use that. For starters here's a face drawn with an eyedropper full of ink. It's one of the exercises in the excellent book Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists by Carla Sonheim. Using an eyedropper means that you have less control and so letting go of perfection is a bit easier. There will be blobs. You just have to accept that.

This face started with purple ink but it didn't show up too well so I went over it with black then added a couple of highlights with a white correction pen.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Said and heard

I'm sure you've come across it, that gap between what you said and what was heard.

It can be frustrating and time-consuming as you have to put right the damage done by a misheard piece of information being passed on.

Or perhaps it was one of those times where you said something in one way and it was taken in a completely different one.

I think of the latter as having been heard through a filter. We all have them. They come from past experiences, learned habits of reaction, expectations of behaviour of others. Whenever you say something innocent and the person you're speaking to takes offence or reacts in a completely unexpected way, ask yourself what sort of filter they might have. If you know them well, this is somewhat easier.

If there is something you need to be heard clearly, have the person repeat back to you what they understand you to have said. It might seem a bit over the top, but it will save a lot of heartache and frustration in the long run.

And try to be aware of your own filters. Measure your reactions to what is said to you and ask yourself whether you are clearly hearing what is being said.

Communication is important. Do it as well as you can.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Proverbs ch 3

As a church we've been reading through the Book of Proverbs all through January, one chapter per day. There is so much good stuff in there! Chapter three, particularly had such a lot of great verses that I decided to do an altered booklet on it. Here is one of the spreads.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Journal Fodder 365 - Prompt #36

The prompt this week was personal symbols. It wanted us to look at lines, shapes, images that we use over and over again.

Anyone who has followed this blog for a while will have noticed that I like circles. They turn up in my pages either as underlying collage elements (love my large circle punch!) or stencils, solid or in outline. There is just something inherently pleasing about them - the regularity of the shape, the soft no-corners roundness.

Then you have to look at their symbolic message - eternity, no beginning or end. It speaks to my soul of completeness, which, if we're honest, is what we're all looking for.

What shapes keep turning up in your artwork?

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Baby steps

I've had this image hanging around for a while. This week it called out to be used.

The woman seems to be making large strides, running along and covering the ground quickly. I don't often feel that I'm moving like that.

More often it's a long, slow slog.

It struck me, though, that it doesn't matter whether I take large strides or small steps; each one in the right direction takes me closer to the goal.

So be encouraged when things are going slowly...

…because even the baby steps will get you there in the end.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Stretching high and digging deep

The weather was so hot here last week that the paint was drying on the brush! There was no chance that I could do any gelli-printing or gessoing on the page, so I squeezed paint directly on to this page and spread it around with a plastic scraper. It gave me a background of discrete blocks of colour rather than my usual merging colours.

Then I grabbed another colour from the paintbox and stencilled. These are not the sorts of colours I usually use together, either, but I was on a roll and enjoying my playtime :)

Standing back I decided it needed some yellow so I drew the circles directly with the dropper from the ink bottle. Now it felt more balanced.

Next came the stamping and the black fleur-de-lis over the original stencilling. At that point the page was crying out for a hand reaching out. I drew round my hand with a black pen, but it didn't show up too well against the colourful background, so I pulled out the correction pen and changed it to white instead.

Now it was time for the words. The hand was stretching out, and 'stretch' is my word for the year. I imagined myself stretching my hand up and the little figure in my head became off-balance. And there it was - I can stretch, but if I'm not firmly anchored, I will fall over.

I need to stretch high and dig deep.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Journal Fodder 365 - Prompt #35

Well, after my blip last week, this prompt went much better. It was moods and emotions.

The idea was to find symbols to go with your moods and emotions, although I ended up going more with colour. This muted palette fits my mood. I'm not the colourful life-and-soul-of-the-party type. I don't have large highs and deep lows. I'm a lot more even-tempered.

Sure I have my moments. I cry easily, usually over injustices and cruelty, but I don't generally have loud outbursts of anger. I'm not a shouter.

I take joy in small things and laugh easily.
I would say that I am more of an optimist than pessimist.
I try not to get upset over the little things - life is too short.

What colour suits your emotional temperament?

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Beate's journal - second spread

So, the second spread in Beate's journal - Fools and Divinities - was the 'divinities' portion. (You can see the fools spread in my last post and what Beate's journal looks like here.)

For me the word 'divinity' leads me straight to God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There were so many different ways this spread could have gone. In the end I went for the 'Holy, holy, holy' cry from Revelation. I wanted the background to be full of colour and movement, like a party. Many many layers of paint, ink, glaze, and stamping later, I'm fairly happy with it.

This tag has a trinitarian symbol pressed into gold embossing powder. The background was done with ink and clingfilm (saran wrap, plastic wrap, whatever).

Beate made tags for us all to sign in on. Here's mine. A bit of collaged paper, some scraped paint, drips of ink, and a couple of stamps - a hand-carved open arrow and a sunflower that I designed.

And the back with a couple of strips of washi tape.

And now the journal is off to Susan Jane in California while I wait for the next instalment in this collaborative adventure. 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014


Aspire is the Word-Up for this month. Check it out here. Join in the fun to be in with a chance to win a stencil!

This was an ultra-quick, don't-stop-to-think page, as it usually is when I break out the stop-motion camera. You can see the video at the bottom of this post. The extreme heat we're having here at the moment means all the layers dry virtually immediately, which helps :)

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Circle journal - Beate's journal

The circle journal is still going on - though suffering a little delay through holidays, illness, and bad weather - and I am now in possession of Beate's journal. Beate's theme is fools and divinities.

I thought I'd take photos to show the process by which this page came about. At first I wasn't sure whether I would be doing the fools or the divinities spread first, so I just started to play.

First, some punched out circles - these are from a French book - randomly stuck down across the bottom of the page. I loosely drew around them with a soluble graphite pencil and joined them together to give a flowing line. A layer of gesso then went over the top of the whole spread.

Acrylic paint was then applied with a baby-wipe. I still wasn't sure where this was going, but wanted more depth and texture.

So I stencilled some circles in gesso and applied a coat of clear gel medium tinted with purple lake acrylic ink to the upper part of the page only. 

Some drips of yellow acrylic ink and more circles, this time with watercolour pencils. I also went over the water-soluble graphite from the first layer. A wet brush over the blue circles and they start to look a little like bubbles. But it still feels as if it  needs more.

Some stencilling in purple and I'm getting the depth I wanted. At this point I have decided that this will be the 'fools' page and what wording I want to use. 

I'm not that confident with faces, especially when it's for someone else's journal, so I drew this one on to tissue paper first before sticking it down with gel medium. That also let's me get the placement that I want without stuffing up :) After punching out the flowers for her hair, the circles were calling out to be made into flowers so I painted in some petals.

The wording is a paraphrase of Proverbs 17:28. As a church we're reading through the book of Proverbs in January, one chapter a day, so it was the first place I went with the theme of fools in mind. There's a lot of material to choose from.

So there it is - the first spread in Beate's journal and a couple of close-ups. 

And completely off the point, but it is very difficult to stencil when you're in a week of 40C+ temps and the paint dries on your palette faster than you can use it! Just thought I'd share my frustration :)

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Journal Fodder 365 - Prompt #34

Well, this week I was beaten. I just couldn't get going with this prompt - twilight imagery. What are you focusing on and trying to bring into symbolic form? 

There was an exercise that was supposed to help me to 'tap into the symbolic nature of the unconscious' and find symbols for my dreams and fears. 

It didn't help.

After struggling with the prompt for a week, I had to admit defeat. 

Move on.

And realise that not everything works out as expected.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

More leather on the gelli-plate

After last month's experiment with leather on a gelli-plate, I thought a book cover should be the next step. This book cover is made from an old suede jacket that I took apart. I like the way the texture is revealed by the print. The flower is from a hand-cut stencil I made back in September and some of the pages are gelli-printed, too.

Hop on over the Carolyn Dube's Gelli-Print Party and see what everyone has been up to this month. The button's in the side-bar.