Thursday 26 April 2012

Dreaming myself away for a while

I've been feeling a bit low recently, so what better to do than taking out my art journal and dream myself away a little.

One of my favourite colours, a shipping tag, a postcard and some other stamps, and a strip of paper with a copy of the title of The New York Times sent me away to my two favourite places, Sweden and Great Britain.

I'm going to visit both of them this year, so I guess it's a good year. I'm certainly looking forward to both trips, even though they're still quite some time away.

It's been a busy week, but it's Thursday evening at last, and I've got a veeery long 5 day weekend ahead of me to look forward to. And tomorrow I'll be off for a day trip to Germany, including even a little visit to Sweden for a few hours. I'll tell you more about it during the weekend, and hopefully with a few great photos to show :).

Posting this today already but linking it up with Paint Party Friday tomorrow, and looking forward to visiting you all during the weekend!

Monday 23 April 2012

Getting messy

I found this great project last week on The Wright Brain Stuff. Lisa suggested grouping up and working through Keri Smith's book "Mess - the manual of accidents and mistakes". The book encourages us to play and to be creative by messing around.

My copy of the book very conveniently arrived on Friday, so I had the weekend to start getting messy.

Lisa suggested that we started with opening the book at a random page and do what it says on it. That's what it said:

1. Soak the page with water
2. Try oto write on it. Alternate: Drop ink onto wet page.

I decided to go for the ink dropping, and so dutifully soaked the page and started dropping some of my lovely green "Pascha" ink, followed by some walnut ink on it. And then to brighten it up some bright red ink. Of course it all just got worse and worse, until it definitely turned into a very ugly page indeed. The ink dropping part wasn't very hard to do. In fact, this is how I love to paint. Splattering, and dropping paint on canvas, scratching and scraping around, no problem at all. But. I would never have chosen these colours together. They totally go against my personal colour aesthetics. I admit I have a bit of a "colour harmony obsession", and I found it really very hard not to try to make this page look prettier in some way. But I guess that's the point of it. Make a mess. Make it ugly. Don't try to make it pretty. Just mess around.

I added some random doodling, using a black and a white pen. I have about three different white pens now, but I'm still looking for that "perfect" white pen that everyone else seems to have, as none of mine really is working the way I want to. 

Well I most certainly managed to make a big mess of this page. I think my biggest problem challenge with this book are the thin book pages (yes, I have a thick-paper-obsession too). They are of course not really the most suitable for working with inks, paints, and everything very wet. The water did not only soak the page but also dissolve the glue so that one page has come off complete, and the only will no doubt soon follow. But I guess in this case, this is just perfect.

After my first "success", I tried a second page. The instruction was to fill a five-inch square by using all of the colours I had on hand. As I had just very diligently and neatly sorted all my coloured pencils into two separate tins, one for water-soluble and one for non-water-soluble pencils, those were the ones nearest at hand. I must admit it greatly helped to cheer up my wounded colour sense.

The page looked a bit empty with only the colour square, so I added all the colour/paint/doodle etc. mediums I could think of.

Also on the page was a tip about some further research about an American artist called "Sol LeWitt".  must admit I that I was not familiar with his work, so I dutifully looked him up, and added some of the information about him to the page. Apparently, he's considered to be the founder of both conceptual art and minimalism.

This is definitely great fun, and I think that it will be a good experience to just mess about and do all kinds of things into, and eve to the book, that I wouldn't normally want to do do (although I think that I will most certainly NOT bury the book in the garden and dig it out again after two days...).

And I think that this could be just the perfect thing to do after a long day at work and commute home in the evening, when you don't really have the mind to do anything "good". Perfect stress management, so to speak ;).

The Wright Brain Stuff - Book Group

Friday 20 April 2012

Back-to-green-again wip

 Last week I was happy experimenting with a sudden red phase tea inspired worn background, but I haven't quite decided yet how to proceed with it. Jenn suggested adding teal, and I must admit it sounds very appealing. So maybe some teal combined with light green and white? Abstract or not? I simply don't know yet. I'll just have to let it hang on a wall for a bit and wait & see.

So this week, I started working on a new canvas. I'm thinking about buying the wooden frames and fabrics  separately and start stretching them myself, as it allows much more room to experience with different fabrics  etc. than the ready made ones. But I haven't got round to get all the required supplies yet, so I just popped into the shop and bought a stretched canvas, a 70x100cm one.

I usually stick to my usual tried & tested products and brands, but this time decided to try out another brand. I like these broad ones, but they tend to be quite expensive, especially at this size. This canvas was half the price of my tried & tested brand's normal, narrow one, so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm usually quite suspicious when these big canvases are "too" cheap. After all, when you're going to create a piece of art you want to be proud of, you shouldn't economise on the quality of your supplies. But anyway, the most important thing is that the canvas lies flat and isn't warped, and this one was plane enough. And I think it was the first time I walked out of the shop without having spent a fortune - despite having not only bought a big stretched canvas, but three bottles of paint and a sketch book as well!

I'm back to painting with my beloved greens and added a first layer of paint. Green just makes me happy :).

The pictures I took of my palette unfortunately didn't turn out very well, so I'm afraid I'll have to post some pictures of my paint bottles instead. I don't stick to one particular brand of paints when I paint, instead I mix and match them all. I'm quite fond of Lascaux paints, though. Unfortunately, they are on the expensive side.

Unlike with last week's red painting, I know exactly what I want to paint on this one. But the background is not quite right yet and will still need some more work until I'm happy with. But first I'll have to go back to the shop and get some more paints.


Thursday 19 April 2012

Time tor creativity & tea

I'm participating in Jennifer McLean's Artists Play Room Challenge over on her blog Just Add Water Silly. This week's theme is "Coffe & Tea". As I'm a total tea lover and tea addict, this theme suited me perfectly, and I really wanted to participate, even though I knew I was not going to have any time at all to sit down and get out my acrylics in the evening this week.

But then the whole thing with being creative is not that you should or can only be so when you have enough time to sit down and take out your preferred art medium (acrylics in my case) and spend as much time creating as you wish (although that would certainly be very very nice indeed). The thing is with being creative is that you can be so where ever and whenever you chose to be, using whatever you have on hand.

So, while I couldn't sit down and spend hours creating a pretty tea themed canvas this week, I could without problems:
  1. do so some sketching into my little Moleskine sketchbook on the train while commuting, adding some little watercolours with one of those handy water-reservoir-brushes, which takes about 5 minutes and doesn't involve long workspace preparations, and
  2. do some Scribbler scribbles during my lunch break.
So here's my little sketchbook Tea Time sketch. I guess that teapot would probably make quite a mess when you tried to pour some tea from it, but I didn't have a model to sketch after, and it doesn't really matter, now, does it.

I usualy prefer herbal tea to fruit tea, mainly because fruit tea often tends to have rose hip in it, which I don't like, but I'm very very fond of my Tetley Pomegranate & Raspberry tea, which does not only taste very lovely, but has a great deep red colour as well.

It was actually the first time I was using the Moleskine sketchbook, and I found out that it doesn't really seem to take watercolours very well, which did somehow surprise me. The watercolours seemed to form little puddles on the paper, which gave some special effects when finally dry. But once dry, the paint seems to stick well enough on the paper.

My Scribbler tea party, with everything I need for a good brew. My favourite tea  really is Earl Grey tea. I couldn't live without it, and befor I didn't have my first cup of it in the morning, you better not bother talking to me at all. I have my tea with a bit of milk, and a lump of brown sugar. At home, I only have lose tea, (except the above mentioned fruit tea) but at work, tea bags ar serving me well.

So here we go. One doesn't really need a lot of time and supplies to be creative. A pen & sketchbook, a computer, and a few minutes of one's lunch break or commute are enough to help creating just a little bit every day. But now I think I'll go and make myself a nice cup of tea, and enjoy a well-deserved break.

Do hop over and have a look what the other participating artists have done for this week's theme, as well as for last week's theme, which is beautifully presented by our host Jenn.
just add water silly's blog hop link

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Spring's knocking on my window

My cherry tree branches in a vase gave me endless delighted, but even more so the apple tree branches, as they didn't show any signs of buds at all at first, and I had already given up all hope ,when I it suddenly burst into a mass of perfect white blossoms.

But the most beautiful blossoms really are the ones on the ancient perfect-for-delicious-apple-sauce apple tree outside the bedroom window, which is knocking on my window and announcing spring with a soft pink glow.

Not that it feels much like spring at the moment. Wet and rain, and winter-coat freezing cold, - April weather at it's best.

Friday 13 April 2012

Red phase tea inspired (?) wip

I LOVE my art journal. But the problem with my art journal is that it  tends to keep me away from easel and canvas. But during the Easter weekend, I finally found enough time and energy to tackle the 70x70cm canvas that has been waiting patently in the corner for weeks. I had a hundred ideas in my mind, and none of them included any red. But somehow, I ended up picking up the brighest reds in my paint box. And it felt fabulous and right.

Close-up/detail: I love the texture of the canvas and how building up layer after layer creates more texture.

I must admit that my water jar always fascinates me. How you start with fa jar of fresh clean water, which then slowly adopts all the beautiful colours (and turning into some muddy brown) until being washed down the drain. Isn't this just a beautiful lush red? Like freshly squeezed raspberries.

My palette is now covered in reds. The gorgeous Alizarin Crimson gives a beautiful lighter colour when mixed with white, without turning too pink. I still haven't cleaned my palette, and it is now rather bumpy. Not really ideal for working with a roller.

I added a layer, or rather a few layers, of white on top of it all at the end, because it was all getting a bit too much red. I like the aged, worn look this added.

Still a work in progress, but now I'm not quite sure yet how I want to proceed. I have a few ideas but I'll have to meditate on them and wait what'll come out at the end. I've also very briefly considered just leaving it as it is. But I don't think I have to heart to do so. Not because I don't like it, but because it makes me feel guilty. I always feel that if you want to create a piece of art, it needs a bit more to justify it as such than just slapping on one or two layers of paint on a canvas and scraping it around a bit. And all of that in less than a hour. I think that you have to "slave" at least a little bit over a piece to earn it the name of "artwork". And up till now, it has definitely been to much fun and not enough slaving.

So maybe something with white and light green. This combination just screams spring to me, and all I want to do at the moment is having everything around me in white and light green.

Hmmm, I really wonder where this "red phase" is coming from then. I have a slight feeling though that it might be the influence of a new tea I bought the other day. Pomegranate and Raspberry infusion. Delicious! And the colour is just irresistible. Or maybe it's the strawberry & raspberry sorbet I'm totally addicted to at the moment.

Thursday 12 April 2012

On my palette: Blooming spring

Now I don't know what the weather was like in your neck of the woods over this past Easter weekend, but here, it was pouring down with rain all Saturday, and snowing all day on Sunday. And I must admit, I  thoroughly enjoyed it. The perfect excuse to stay at home all day, cuddle up on the sofa with a hot cup of tea and a good book, and spending as much time as I wanted in my studio. Heaven. Who needs spring outside, when you have it on your palette!? ;)

I picked up some beautiful Japanese patterned papers I had ordered at the post office  onSaturday morning, and then couldn't resist to head straight into my studio and do something with them. This is half of a double page in my art journal. I only used the paper on this side, and added some tags and stencil flowers, and borders with and without modelling paste. Bright green and pink is such a happy combination I find.

But the page wasn't "spring" enough for me, and I also wanted to create a page to remember the cherry blossoms that are giving me so much joy. I would never have thought about putting a cut off branch of a fruit tree into a vase until I saw those branches in a bucket in the street, but they are simply wonderful!

I wanted to include the tag (which turned out a bit too dark) in the page, but wasn't quite sure how. I didn't want to paste it on like the others on the first page. I thought of attaching the strings somehow, somewhere on the page but at the end, I just wraped the strings around the whole journal's spine, making a knot on the outside.

On my palette: greens, yellows, reds, and blues, and of course white.

Most of all, light green and white. The perfect spring colours.

Linking this to Palette & Paint. Make sure to hop over and visit! Our host Tracey Potter always makes such a wonderful job in presenting our work, and seeing every one's palette is always inspiring.

Sunday 8 April 2012

Happy Easter

On of my neighbours in my street put two baskets out on the street with cut apple and cherry branches to give away. I took a couple of cherry branches, and one beautiful perfectly white blossom after the other is opening, and it just looks absolutely beautiful. And perfect to hang those gorgeous feathery easter eggs I got from  my cousin a couple of years ago. Everytime I come into the living room, my simple Easter cherry tree just makes me smile.

Wishing you all a wonderful Easter Sunday!

Friday 6 April 2012

I brought some spring flowers to the party

This week's just too busy with this and that and other little things. But I didn't want to miss the party today, so I'm using a little watercolour study I did last week and never managed to download from my camera until today.

I always love putting flowers on my dining room table, but it looks even prettier in spring. And they make a good subject for sketching too.

Somehow, I always seem to end up with pinks lately, whenever I take out my watercolours.

But as the work progresses, some green and yellow were added to the palette.

And here's the finished picture. The real flowers are gone by now, but these will continue to be in bloom.

And be sure to pop around Palette & Paint too to see what's on everyone's palette.
And a happy, relaxing, creative and chocolate-filled Easter Weekend!

Thursday 5 April 2012

More portrait scribbles

I'm really enjoying drawing portraits with Scribbler. It makes up a bit for not having any time to paint at all this week.

Did I mention that it's totally addictive? :)

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Portrait scribbles

Scribbler is just perfect for being creative when you don't have the energy to get out your paints and pick up a brush. And it's a good excercise for practising drawing portraits in a different way.

And it's so addictive!