Saturday, 25 June 2016

Begin Again

This page looks ominously topical but it was made last Saturday the 18th June for The Documented Life Project 2016. Our June theme remains: Unravelling the past - embracing new beginnings. The art challenge instructed us to use tissue paper. Did I subconsciously expect what the UK would do on Thursday? Yes, even on a conscious level I had a strong feeling it might happen. And now that it has, there is only one way to go: to begin again. Although to do it fearlessly would be extremely foolhardy.

There now, no more politics on this blog, I promise. And it will be an easy promise to keep as I myself will try and not pay any more attention to events in order to safeguard my sanity. Art, beauty and flowers will be the order of the day.

For this spread I started using L435 Ancient Marks from Stencilgirl, as well as S372 Brick Factory. This last one has become a favourite since it arrived about a week ago and you have seen it used in other spreads already.

Then I added the required tissue paper in the shape of Tim Holtz's tissue wrap. This one is called Postale.
The spread (in the 8 x 8" Dylusions art journal) needed a focal point and I found this on the S288 Pretty as a Peacock stencil. I used black Liquitex ink spray to apply her.

I wrote down some quotation about our new beginnings theme that seemed appropriate. Here they are: "Every day is a new beginning, take a deep breath and start again", "The obstacles of your past can become the gateways to new beginnings" ( Ralph Blum) and "Don't let your past dictate who you are but let it be a part of who you will become".  We can but hope!

Finally I stencilled on the large words as shown from L258 Uplifting Words stencil and outlined them with a white permanent marker. This spread is uploaded just in time as the new prompt will appear this afternoon although we will still be sticking with the June theme. Time to gesso a new spread in the journal so that I can start as soon as it is posted online.

Friday, 24 June 2016

A Surreal World

I'm far from sure that the message on the façade of the Modern One gallery in Edinburgh (Everything is going to be alright)  is true today. On this very unreal feeling day I went to see the Surreal Encounters exhibition held there (highly recommended, and open till September 11). I could never have imagined that I would engage in a conversation with a complete stranger about how grateful we were to be childless so that neither he nor I would have to worry about any future generations on a day when this country I love, made the biggest mistake of it's life.
Personally, as a migrant,  I felt the decision to leave the European Union as a slap in the face, but my heart bleeds specially for friends who moved to various European countries as well as for those Europeans who moved to the UK but retained their own nationalities. They face an uncertain future. But then so do we all.

Art is always my salvation in difficult times and I take strength from the words of Andre Breton (a leading Surrealist):"Let us not mince words. The marvellous is always beautiful, anything marvellous is beautiful. In fact, only the marvellous is beautiful".  We can still enjoy beauty as much as we could yesterday.

I will grab some paint and make art, read a good book and have a (European) glass of wine. Life goes on, even though it will not be as we knew it.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Passionate about Art

Wanderlust 2016 provides us with 2 prompts each month for our "Wanderlust Book". In my case that book is a Vintage Vanity Art Journal in which each page is sized 5 x 7". It has those large rings to bind it. I mentioned here before that at first I couldn't get to grips with either the small size or those rings but I have since changed my mind. I love how those rings are starting to look now that they are covered with paint and the small size seems to encourage me to experiment more.

The first prompt for June was: "What I am passionate about". Not a question I had to think too long about because of course I'm passionate about my art. And all art.

So I grabbed some paints as well as some Stencilgirl stencils (S376 Hash marks and S372 Brick Factory) and  and started to play. I added Tim Holtz tissue wrap to the mix as well as some pieces of one of my underpapers.

I also used rubber stamps. The big art word comes from a stamp from ARTspecially, whereas the "I am my art" was found on an old stamp sheet produced by Lenna Andrews, back in the days! I'm not quite sure were the Ars Longa Vita Brevis originated. The heart came from a paper napkin.

As per usual I went mad with the various layers and I love the end result. And I'm also loving the way this little art journal is starting to look now that the pages are filling up. I have already done the spread for the next June prompt and I hope to share it with you very soon.

It's a good complaint to have but I'm having trouble keeping up with the art I'm making here on the blog.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The Secrets of the City

Today it's time for another one of my projects done as Guest Designer for Stencilgirl Products done in the A4 sized Dylusions art journal. And that means you can find the full step-by-step tutorial together with a list of all the stencils I used on the Stencilgirl Talk site.  There you can also read how these pages took a wrong turn at some stage. That sometimes happens when you are particularly keen for it not to, as it is a project! I think subconsciously stress starts to play a part. But in this case that gave me a chance to try and "rescue" the spread and to my satisfaction it worked! You can read more about the how here.
Once I had the background right it reminded me of some of the photographs I took while in New York, back in April. So long ago already, but I'm thinking back on it a lot and review the images in my mind as well as all the pictures I took. I grabbed some of the latter, cut them up and added them to the grid on the pages.
They feature images taken during our walk of the Highline Park, views of Manhattan from the Staten Island Ferry and photographs taken during our bus tours. They all toned in beautifully with the painted pages.
We fitted in an astounding amount of activities during our stay but nevertheless I would love to return one day soon to do some more. Having said that I guess that even if you live there for years there must still be places you might not have seen. It's the reflections that stole my heart.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016


The Colour Me Positive prompt for this week was: Enough. The art challenge told us to choose a positive word to describe your beautiful self. 

Being enough is a theme I have used before in my art journal pages and I was at first reluctant to tackle it again so instead I simply started making a spread in my A4 Dylusions journal without any plans apart from simply enjoying playing with my paints and sprays. As a result the pages ended up being very multi-layered and already I have lost sight of how exactly I achieved the end result.

I used both acrylic paints and Dylusions spray ink. This last product is water soluble and remains so and as a result some of those layers have bled through to the top layer of acrylics and I like the effect. There is also collage on the pages, mainly around the edges which includes the paper with the humming bird on it and the flowers which originally formed part of the packaging of a lovely piece of soap. As a result the pages also smell lovely.

I used many stencils, all from Stencilgirl. Here are the ones I can still remember: the small stencil from the August 2015 Stencilgirl Club, the large stencil from the March 2015 club, L240 Buildings stencil, as well as the Pressed Leaves S277 one.

When I was happy with the pages I added the figure. She came from a fashion magazine and I cut her out and used her as a mask on the page, painting around her with a blue metallic paint. She has two quotations within her. One reads: "You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anyone". (Maya Angelou) and the other: "What would happen if you believed that you are enough". 

I added the stencilling letters YOU ARE ENOUGH (from L258 Uplifting Words stencil by Stencilgirl)  and outlined them and added dots to the centre of some of them. The words required by the art challenge were also written onto the pages. Finally I added the page reinforcing circles and outlined the leaves with a sparkling green gelli pen. After looking at the pages again I realized I also used a circular themed art foamie, designed by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, called Ring TicTac.  You can see it on the above picture at the left hand side and at other places if you check out the other pictures. I really should keep a note of what I'm doing but usually I lose myself in the process.

However tomorrow you can expect one of my spreads done specially for Stencilgirl and in such cases there will be a full tutorial on the Stencilgirl Talk site.

Monday, 20 June 2016

New York Memories

The latest issue of the British Patchwork & Quilting magazine is out (Issue 270 July 2016) and in it is the article I wrote for them about our wonderful trip to New York back in April.  Most of the pictures shown are also by me. This magazine ran the Stars and Stripes competition to celebrate their 30th anniversary which I won and the New York tour was my prize. 
It's great to look back on what we did and saw during our time in NY and remember the fantastic time we had. I hope to revisit this amazing city again some time soon.
In the same issue you will also find an article, written by Joanne Kent, the editor of the magazine who was on the trip with us, about our visit to the Brooklyn Quilters Exhibition, held in no less a place than the Brooklyn Marriott Hotel. They do their quilt shows in style over there!

And finally to top up the joy you can also see my small quilt La Linea d'oro as part of the review in the magazine of the Quilts UK show held in Malvern a few weeks back where this quilt won the Small Wallhangings section.

Definitely an issue to treasure!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

minimini 5

Here is my 5th minimini quilt, made for the challenge on the Make Modern magazine run on Instagram with the hashtag #MMminimini. As Australia (where the magazine is based) is far ahead of us time wise I didn't want to wait till tomorrow to upload the images as it could well be that by the time I'm ready it might already be a day later there. I love this one against the lupins that are now in full flower in our garden.
You can see they are all varietions on a theme and I will eventually change out the colours when I get further on in my journey to make 100 of these little beauties which are 6" or 15 cm square. They will then find their way onto one large quilt but that is something still far in the future.
Like all the miniminis before, this one too is machine quilted, raw edge appliquéd with hand stitching, hand beaded and it has a proper grown-up binding.


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