Friday, 29 July 2011

Fences & Fridays

I'm taking a little break from Flickr at the moment, and it's doing me good. Flickr, blogging, painting and all the photography project I was trying to do (and failing rather miserably at it) all together just take a lot of time and more and more often I felt like I wasn't able to do everything properly anymore, giving everything the time and attention it needd and deserved. So I had cut back on something. And as I was beginning to feel a little bit frustrated about Flickr for various reasons (and probably all the wrong ones), I thought it was a good idea, to take some time off.

However, there are a few things I really enjoyed and rather miss. Among these is Fence Friday. I never thought how much fun it would be to take pictures from fences. But it is, and I'm always amazed at where I find them and all the wonderful fences there are out there. They come in all kinds of shapes, materials, sizes and states, and trying to catch them at their best angle is a great challenge. So even though I'm giving Flickr and the Fence Friday Groups a break, I kept looking for those fences and taking pictures. And so I'm just going to do my own little Fence Friday series here on my blog.

So here's this week's fence, a shot taken three weeks ago during my London holiday, in the park of Kenwood House in Hampstead Heath:

And a little mosaic of some of past fences which I took for and posted at Flickr:

I'm not sure if I'll manage to post one every Friday, but I will try. And as to Flickr, I still enjoy having a look from time to time at the streams of some of my friends and contacts, and occasionally leave a comment, and even post an image for one of the projects I'm trying to do. But I quite enjoy not 'having' to be there all the time, feeling bad if I don't manage to keep up with comments and all. Don't know when, and if, I'm returning to Flickr. At the moment, focusing on my blogs, getting out my paints and stuff and taking my camera on a walk through the woods keeps me busy enough. Ah, and there's work stuff as well. I've registered for chartership with CILIP ages ago, and it's high time I finally put my portfolio together and get it over and done with. So that'll certainly keep me busy as well.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

In our dreams, we are free...

Sometimes, we just feel trapped in our lives. While everyone else is happily fluttering around us in our cage world, we are just not able to feel the same way, see what they see. Instead we feel like we are just in the wrong place, wishing ourselves away, to another place, another life. No matter how hard we are trying to stretch our wings and pursue our dreams and fly towards the light, we just don't seem to find the way out. And everything around us seems grey and dreary, inside and out. And all we can do is sit and wait and hold on tight to our dreams, even if at times we struggle to go on believing in them, and keep trying to stretch our wings, continually, endlessly, in the hope that one day, the fog will lift, the light will shine through, and we're finally able to take off.

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. (Walt Disney)

Only in our dreams are we free. The rest of the time we need wages. (Terry Pratchet)

Courage and the need for a sensce of security, even if it's probably an illusion anyway, are probably the two main factors that prevent a lot of us from following our dreams... I wish I wasn't such a coward and pessimist...

Saturday, 23 July 2011

29*52/11 ~ Music To My Ears

This week's (week 29) theme of 52 of Twenty Eleven is "Music to my ears". I'm not someone who listens to music all the time. I like to listen to music at home occasionally, but more often than not forget about it alltogether, being too much absorbed in reading a book or painting in my study/library/studio. I mainly used to listen to music on my MP3 player in order to block out the noise of my fellow commuters (most of all the sound of music coming from the headphones of others). But unfortunately my player sort of died on me, so there's no music on the train anymore for me, but earplugs instead.

(Textures by Shadowhouse Creations)

So what's music to my ears? The rustle of the leaves in the trees in the forest (or in this case, the pouring rain).

(Textures by Shadowhouse Creations)

My own footsteps on the soft forest floor, the chirping and singing of the birds in the trees, the rustling of some small animal in the undergrowth, some fir cone hitting the ground.

The whispering of the wind in the corn fields (spelt, in this case).

(Texture by Pixel Lounge Studio)
The mooing and grazing of the cows and the sound of their bells, a farmer's dog barking in the distance (far enough away, I'm a coward when it comes to barking farm dogs...).

(Textures by Shadowhouse Creations)
The sound of the pouring rain, although I would prefer to hear that outside my window while I was comfortably on my sofa with a nice cup of coffee, rather than on my umbrella while slowly getting soaked through.

A refreshing, revitalising, walk with the various sounds of nature all around me - that's music to my ears.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Image transfer

I was so excited when I learnt about the technique of image transfer. Transfering images on to a page without having to stick the whole paper on. Just transfering the ink on to the page. The effects looked so great. I couldn't wait to get started. There are different methods to achieve the transfer. Glues, gel medium, paint, gesso... Christy explains different techniques in the She Had Three Hearts workshop. In a book, I found detailed descriptions about two different techniques. I didn't try all of them yet, but I tried one or two. It sort of worked, but the results weren't quite too exciting yet.

Last week, I found this post on Donna Downey's blog, and I was so impressed. My goodness, she just peeled the paper off, without even having to wait until the whole thing's completely dry, and there it was, a perfect image transfered to the page! Magic. Of course, I just wanted to try it out myself immediately. Well, the result didn't look at all like in her post. In fact, it was even worse than the ones I've tried before.

I tried it twice, with equally bad results. The few details you can actually see on the right side (my favourite café in London, at Kenwood House, Hampstead Heath) are in fact the paper, which I hadn't removed fully yet. At the end, I actually didn't bother, I just left it where it was, stuck on, and put some ModPodge over it to make it a water resistant, workable surface... The other image is just a complete mess. Although, if you try really hard, and have enough imagination, you can just about see the outline of the branches of the beautiful old tree.

Maybe I've got the "wrong" kind of gel medium, maybe I should have let the printout dry longer. Well, I'll just have to go on practising, trying out all the different methods, using different mediums, until I find the one(s) that work for me. I still am fascinated by the process.

The image transfer desaster didn't mean that I didn't want to go on painting though. After all, there are so many more fun techniques with mixed media, so that when something goes wrong, well, just cover it up and work with it :). Most of all, I wanted to try out all my new script and other stamps I bought in London. My, I just love them! I've only discovered the world of stamping last autumn, but I'm a complete stamp addict now :)

Oh I just love these new stamps!! But note to self: next time, do try not to put it on upside down... Also try to be more patient and let the surface dry properly before attempting to write on it with ink...

I like using techniques with painting that have an element of surprise, beyond control. One of the ink splashes turned into this funny face shape, which reminds me of those early Pacman games back in the 80s. Well, it's certainly been some journey from there till now, in many ways, both personally and generally.

I really enjoyed creating this art journal page, which turned out to be about "journey". It looks a bit messy, but that's life's journey, full of details and surprises and  imperfections. Not always going according to plan, needing to be patched up and adjusted at times, accepting mistakes and making the best of it to get a satisfying result in the end. It's what makes it interesting, I guess :).

As to the image transfer business, I've actually ordered a book that's all and only about image transfer techniques. I am determined :)

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Inspired by...

in·spi·ra·tion /ˌɪnspəˈreɪʃ(ə)n/: someone or something that gives you new ideas and the enthusiasm to create something with them

I discovered Donna Downey's blog "simply me" this week, and her Inspiration Wednesday series. I absolutely loved the page created on the latest post from July 13th, the greys, blues and blacks, the splattering effect, the white areas, and of course the stamping. It inspired me so much that I just wanted to get home, get out my colours and start painting.

Inspiration, though, isn't about minutely following instructions and creating a copy, it's about taking the elements that you like and inspire you and turn into something of your own. It might end up looking completely different, or quite similar but with a touch of your own creativity, as the one I did here.

To apply the colours, I used a palette knive instead of a brush, and I went for some bright red acrylic ink splashes rather than the yellow ochre paint. Instead of printing out some text to stick in (I had something about inspiration in mind) I decided to use one of my new rubber stamps instead, together with a bright red ink. "Listen to your heart" just seemed so right for this.

And even before I started working on these two pages in my art journal, I knew that I wanted to use another of my newly aquired gorgeous rubber stamps.

I just really love that stamp. It's so full of life, joy and energy.

I didn't do any sewing either, as I don't have a sewing machine. But I used a fern branch from the park outside the library to add an element of nature.

I'm really pleased with the result. I love the colours and the technique, and the variety of elements and techniques used. You can clearly see where the inspiration came from, but I think I managed to make into something of my own, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Busy Bumble Bees

I just love all the bees busily buzzing around collecting pollen. And I love when I manage to catch them with my camera. But I don't always do, they're just soooo fast! And most of the time, I just get a bee blur :)