Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Why, thank you!

I've received a "Liebster Blog" award from lovely Sandra from Sandraws, an amazing artist, who does beautiful drawings and paints the most gorgeous vintage teddy bears in oils. This award is to promote smaller blogs with less than 200 followers and has to be passed on to 5 other blogs/bloggers. I think it's a lovely way of sharing blogs that inspire you. You also have to list 5 things people didn't know about you.

There are so many blogs that I find inspiring, so here's a pick of five favourite blogs (as that's what "Liebster Blog" means) I like to share with you today (and there's no pressure if you prefer not to play along and pass it on):

1. Art Journal Journey is a challenge blog where art journaler can share their creations each month to a given theme. It's hosted by the lovey Susi from Austria, a passionate crafter and "stamper girl", whose own blog froebelsternchen is also well worth visiting (but with more than 200 followers doesn't qualify for the award anymore).

2. Huldas Byrålåda. Elin from Sweden shares her beautiful paintings and collages, and her artistic journey. She also has some great tips, for example how to make your own frames. 

3. A Colourful Journey. Carolyn from the States creates wonderfully colourful mixed media art, and always shares the entire process of each piece. She even has some cool video tutorials which she did herself!

4. cripple pencil. US based Minnemie paints the most gorgeous water colours, mostly African animals (she grew up in South Africa), accompagnied by wonderful words. And she quotes Old English in her blog header. Everyone who quotes Old English has me as a fan for sure!

5. Tracey Grgic Potter's blog. Tracey from Brisbane, Australia, paints beautiful portraits in oil, and she shares a lot of practical information, such as how to mix colours. She also hosts the weekly Palette & Paint blog party, where artists can share their work and palettes.

I also wanted to create a journal page for the occasion, and I had the perfect word left from my box of chipboard letters. And as Sandra has asked for a step-by-step for my journal pages, I took pictures all along the process. So here it is:

1. I printed out an image, a lovely vintage map of the world, from the internet to use for this page, and then searched for a left over piece of matching patterned paper in my stack, as the map didn't fit the entire journal page.

2. I then glued the two sheets of paper on to the double journal page, and trimmed the edges. One thing I really love about the Moleskine journals is their round corners.

3. To tone it all down a bit, I painted a light coat of white gesso, using a dry brush, over the whole page. Then I added some (transparent) paint mostly around the edges. I used Yellow Ochre and a bit of Nickel Azo Yellow to add to the aged look of the map.

4. I then used stamps to add some more interest to the background. I love these two text stamps, and I think the old fashioned handwriting fits the old map perfectly. My favourite ink is StazOn Timber Brown. I use this about 95 % of the time.

5. I love circles, and I have a whole collection of circly things in different sizes to add them to a page. I added a couple of ochre circles and sprayed them with water to let the paint run down the page.

6. I added some more white circles, and then white washed the whole page with a wash of transparent white paint, as  I thought it was a bit too bright. And of course I always have to add some paint splashes. Can't do without :)

7. Now it was time to add the chipboard lettes. As they had pretty much the same colour, and even pattern, as the background, I painted a light strip of white gesso as an underground, just to make them stand out from the page a little bit. I then added some colour to them; some ochre around the edges, and some white in the middle. I wanted them to blend into the page, but still be visible.

8. I then wrote down some words in a Word document on my computer in a font I liked, printed out the sheet, cut out the words and glued them down. I added a bit of very transparent paint, as the white would would have been a bit too harsh here.

9. To finish it up, I used a black fine liner, and a white gel pen, to define all the words a bit more. And here's the finished page:

Over the past almost two years (since I started this blog), I've occasionally asked myself why I keep this blog in the first place. Sometimes it just felt too overwhelming, too time consuming, and with as good as no readers in the beginning, also a bit pointless. But I kept on, and today, I know Why: Blogging allows me to explore, to see what other like-minded creatives do, it allows me to learn and grow, and get new ideas. I get so much inspiration, and when I manage to inspire someone else in return, it just makes me so happy. Blogging allows me to connect with other artists out there, all over the world, to be part of a wonderful community, and to build up friendships - even though we might never ever actually meet in real life. The (artists) blog world is a wonderful place full of lovely, passionate artists who are happy to share and inspire, and to support each other. Keeping up a blog is quite a lot of work. But it's worth it.

And last but not least, five things you didn't know about me:

1. I once studied Chinese for three years, one of them in China, in the city of Nanjing. My official Chinese name is Bai Yajie. It was an interesting year, but when I returned, I decided to change my major to English, and happily dedicated my time to studying Old and Middle English and Gothic novels (and I'm afraid I've forgotten pretty much all of my Chinese).

2. I never had the courage to apply to art school, even though I seriously thought about it several times in my early 20s. I was too convinced that I wouldn't get accepted. And I never told this to anyone until last year, when I told my best friend (and we've known each other for almost 30 years!).

3. At the age of 10 or so, I was pole climbing champion at my town's annual school sports event. No idea why I was so good at it, it wasn't something I particularly enjoyed. But no one ever beat me at it, not even any of the much older boys.

4. I set my alarmclock to something like 6.30 (at the latest) even on holiday, weekends and days off - for the sole pleasure of not having to get up when it rings.

5. I spent a winter season in the mountains when I was 19, working in a restaurant in the middle of the ski slopes at 2200m, in order to pursue my then biggest passion - snowboarding. I worked at the 'coffee and cakes' buffet, and my official job title was "Buffettochter" (i.e. buffet daughter). I have a feeling that the job title has changed since then...


  1. Congratulations! To further add to the feel-good vibes, I've awarded you another! You've won a Very Inspiring Blogger award.

  2. I SO enjoyed this post! Learning those fascinating things about you made me feel quite boring! I LOVE the reason you set your alarm at weekends ;0)
    And as for the step-by-step - I LOVED it! It really was an eye-opener as I had never thought of doing a page like this since I just wouldn't have known where to start! Thank you so much for doing it! I also love blogging - though it is quite a commitment. But I've met some wonderful people that I never would have and I just love that :0)

  3. Thank you for passing it on to me! It makes me happy :)

  4. Well, I'm completely lost for words (hey! You're not supposed to cheer!) Another simply wonderful journal entry. I love anything to do with maps, particularly the beauty of antique maps. They are not just an art form but a fascinating insight into social history. What you have done here is remarkable and beautiful.

    BUT it's the 5 things that leave me even more speechless!! Pole climbing? Snowboarding? Well I certainly don't have words that I could write here!!

  5. a well deserved award! I love your step by step on your journal pages - you make it look so easy and it always turns out perfectly - I adore the olde worlde vintage look to this but have no doubt if I were to try it, it would turn out very messy and not at all like yours!
    I loved hearing those things we didn't know about you - how interesting that you studied Chinese, I'd never heard of pole climbing as a sport before and I totally do the alarm clock just to turn it off again thing as well so I can relate! How interesting that you were a snowboarder as well - I've never been skiing or snowboarding but it's on my bucket list!

  6. Magnificent journal spread! I blog for those same reasons. Those are 5 awesome things about you!

  7. Oh wow.. das ist aber eine ganz große Ehre für den Art Journal Journey Blog ! Dankeschööön!

    deine leitzten Art Journal Seiten sind wieder mal überwältigend!
    Ach so ein Quatsch, dass DU Dich nicht getraut hast in richtung Kunstakademie!

    die hätten Dich bestimmt genommen..
    aber was soll es?

    wer weiß ob Du dann heute noch so viel Spaß hättest bei der Kunst?!

    Ich grüße Dich ganz lieb!

  8. OH man, I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date! I've been so slow in visiting my artsy friends lately... but here I am to look at your journal creations and found so much more:-) Thanks for the kind encouragement!!! I loved reading the 5 things about you, and love the pole climbing and alarm-clock philosophy to pieces. You rock!

  9. You've really done a great work here! Loved to see it! :)