Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Not Everyone has Film Page

 We are staying with May's theme of Touchy Feely texture in The Documented Life Project 2015. The Art Challenge for this week is: cheesecloth, and the Journalling Prompt: Say Cheese. As you can tell I'm back to making an individual page to fit into my planner sized 7.1/4 x 8". And the Say Cheese prompt immediately made me think of photography of course! I started with heavy duty watercolour paper which was gessoed. Colour was applied and then removed through a stencil (from Balzer Designs View Master Bits). Remember View Masters? I am fairly sure we still have some of those image circles although probably not the View Master to see them. Must investigate!
Then I grabbed an old newspaper and collaged bits of it on, including a portrait of the "royal children". The photographer himsels as well as the film reel are rubber stamps from Creative Expressions. I also used sequin waste to add the large and small circles. Cheesecloth was added in selected places, and painted over.
The quotation too is a stamp from Creative Expressions and the dog image hanging on the wall came from a magazine. It somehow seemed to fit there.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Upon Unseen Wings

It is so lovely to do another project for Stencilgirl Products as a Guest Designer. You can also find this tutorial on Stencilgirl Talk. This piece has been on the cards since I received the Blueprints of Archeological Treasures stencil. My first thought on seeing it was how well it would work with postage stamps in some of the spaces. And of course, postage stamps themselves have a whole history incased in them and thus are very archeaological material in their own right.

I'm not a traditional stamp collector but I love stamps and buy them by the bagful in a delicious little shop in Edinburgh. I also indulge by buying stamp albums on Ebay. I have many more postage stamps than I'll ever be able to use but I love looking through them and selecting just the right one for any given project. The butterfly ones I'm using here are among my favourites.

Here are the full instructions on how I made this page:

1. Using 9 x 12 hot press 140lb watercolour paper, collage it completely with vintage map pieces using matte medium

2. Scrape on a thin layer of white gesso using an old credit card or a dry brush.

3. Spread thin layers of craft acrylics in your preferred colours over the surface, using your fingers (or a brush, if you prefer) and the credit card.

4. Spray through circular map stencil (from Stencilgirl Club October 2014) with Liquitex spray inks (or any other permanent spray ink). I used pink and green. Remember if you join the Stencilgirl Club now you can still order these back issues!

5. Using L326 Blueprints of Archeological Treasures stencil, tape it securely to the page with masking tape on all 4 sides, and outline all the shapes with a black marker.

6. Fill in the spaces with black (I used a medium point black Sharpie paint pen).

7. With a glue stick glue on 3 butterfly postage stamps.
8. Glue on vintage text, antiquing the edges with Vintage Sepia Versafine ink pad. I like to make poems out of text cut from vintage books. This one reads:

we know not where we are

upon unseen wings

In a dream thou mayst live a lifetime

so soon perisheth its memory

forgotten in the morning

Thy time is not yet come.

9. Outline each shape with white markers and do the same around all the outside edges.

Here are some detailed pictures:



Sunday, 24 May 2015

Yellow and Pink

This post is deceptive as you might think it's a beautiful sunny day. It isn't! There is a very cold wind and even when the sun shines there is a nip in the air. But there is plenty of colour to capture and I concentrated on yellow and pink. 
Welsh Poppy



Saturday, 23 May 2015

Sunshine and Flowers


It was wonderfully sunny and I spend the day doing work in my art journal outside. Perfect!


Friday, 22 May 2015

Ferns unfurling

The fact that ferns were around at the time of the dinosaurs has always appealed to my romantic spirit and the spiral from which the ferns emerge speaks to the artist in me. So it's a pleasure to see them emerge in our own garden.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Fields of Yellow

I had another lovely though completely different day. The weather had done a U turn and was back to wet and cold so I got in the car to go to Hobbycraft. I was talking about my paints with friends yesterday and that put me in the mood for some buying of them too. I came home with a gorgeous collection of colours and will have lots of fun playing with them very soon. On the way I spotted my first field of rape seed this year, and even better with flowering gorse in the background. To top if off there was also very convenient parking nearby. Love that yellow, and surprise, surprise exactly that yellow is one of the acrylics I bought!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Me, my camera and I

It has been too long since I had an Artist's Date (as per Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way) and spend some time by myself, so I took my trusty Canon camera on an away day to Dawyck Botanical Gardens. I need a lot of solitary time in order to thinks things through, listen to my inner voice(s), contemplate life and the universe and analyze what I'm doing and why. As well as to daydream, appreciate the beauty of this world and give myself a good talking to, if necessary. When such activities can be combined with an opportunity to take photographs at leisure it's even better.
Although the bluebells, blue poppies and most rhododendrons and azaleas haven't started to flower yet there is one thing above all others that steals the show at this time of year and that is lime-green. Everywhere you go, in the garden or on the drive towards it and back, is full of that high toned, almost luminescent green that makes your heart sing (well, mine definitely!). So I'm taking you with me to show what a treat this is to the eye. It was omni present.  As were male pheasants. I saw more than 20 (stopped counting when I got to that), mostly in groups of 2 or 3, just mooching about. Quite shy but I managed to capture some unaware.
 Even though there were 2 bus loads of people present, once I started to walk I never met any other person. The only sounds that could be heard came from the birds and a lazy lawn mover somewhere in the distance.
I could lie on the ground to take photographs as much as I liked (and I did). I sat on benches and wrote down some of what I was contemplating. It might find it's way into a journal page one of these days and then again it might not. Writing is a good way of remembering even if you never read it back. But for the most part I simply was. Slowly I'm learning to stop wanting to do things and get them done, and instead to sit, listen, close my eyes,  venture into fantasy land, and dream away. A quality that has come under heavy criticism in the past (which is no doubt why I used to feel guilty about it) but that I now consider to be one of my biggest assets. I know it's the place where my art originates. And indeed, ideas soon started to flow. Of course most of them will remain a fantasy but some will come to fruition and that's why I need such contemplative mental space.
 Green can be at one and the same time, full of zing, peace, calm and tranquillity.
 It can also make you cry in delight.Another reason to come alone.

This pheasant came very close before he noticed me and even then it was the sound of the clicking camera that alerted him to my presence but by that time I had already captured his soul.
 There were of course other colours to admire, such as the yellow of these cowslips.
 And the red of this magnificent tree. And what texture!
The graveyard of Dawyck with it's beautiful yew trees is a reminder of how narrow the border is between life and death and an incentive to live life to it's fullest extent whatever might be happening. The dying daffodils seemed to enforce that message. I try (but not always succeed) to keep that in mind. Which is why instead of rushing home in order to do some work, I had a cup of Darjeeling tea and a piece of shortbread, and sat outside the coffee shop in Dawyck and savoured the moment.
Another day whose memory will be treasured with all the other beautiful days already stored in my subconscious mind. Together with the sad moments they contribute to who I am and who I will become.


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