Saturday 25 August 2012

sunbeams and shadows

it's funny how a journal page seems to evolve all by itself sometimes

 it all starts with some crackle paint and no idea at all about what to do with this page

then some earth tones for the background

some Titanium White

and some dark earth tone inks

a quote that you keep returning to while searching for some fitting words

the subconscious mind is a funny thing sometimes...

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...

Friday 3 August 2012

Explore, imagine, dream...

Here the pages in my Moleskine art journal I did last weekend, and one on Monday morning, when I wasn't really feeling inspired - or so I thought. Looking at these pages, now they really make me happy, and I'm so looking forward to Sunday, when I'll have time to fill some more of them. I'm getting addicted to sticking paper into my journal, and slapping some paint on top of it.

"She & He" -  When I took one of my first e-courses, the She Art class, I ordered a textile "she" word to use for one of my girls, and I was sooo disappointed when it arrived to discover that I had in fact ordered a "he" instead of a "she", which was of course totally useless for the project. It had been lying around since then, until I decided that now it was time to use it for something.

What's the story behind "she & he"? Well, it is whatever you make of it. It's up to you.

"Carpe Diem" - I just wanted to create a simple, happy page using some of the new patterend papers I had bought in London last month and leaving lots of white background. Yellow is a very difficult colour for me. I don't like any of the 'cooler' shades, like lemon yellow, but I love the deep, warm orangey yellows. And Indian Yellow just makes me happy.

Seize the day. Try to make each and every day in your life as good as possible, and try to take a few minutes every day just for yourself, to fly a balloon up to the sky, even if it's just in your imagination.

"Explore" -  You don't have to travel 1000 of kilometers to the other side of the world to get your imagination running wild (although that's nice too). Instead, you can explore the world in your art journal.

Just use some patterned paper and a foreign newspaper to add an exotic touch. And I just loved the little owl. And my India ink.

"Nature" - I'm using up some left over chipboard letters, and there weren't enough letters left to spell out the whole world, so it's just an 'n'. To me, this page is a forest in winter with the bare trees half covered in snow, or a misty morning down at the lake, with the reeds half hidden in the mist, and the sun just a faint circle in the sky.

It can be anything. Whatever you want.

"Imagine" - let your imagination fly and try out an idea you have in your mind. Maybe it won't work out quite the way you had imagined it. But maybe the result isn't so bad either. And gives you new ideas to try out.

Let your imagination fly as high as possible, dream the impossible, and never give up on trying to make it happen.

I'm linking this up to the wonderful Paint Party Friday - the best place to get inspired!

Thursday 2 August 2012

Totally inspired!

Thanks everyone who commented on my last post for your sweet and encouraging words - and for putting things back into perspective! Sometimes, we put ourselves under too much pressure, making do to lists that simply cannot be done in one day, and end up seeing only our failures and none of our accomplishments. I know I do that. Basically that pretty accurately describes an average weekend for me. Bad, bad, I know, and I'm really working to get rid of this bad habit. So, looking back on the past weekend, I almost finished the work related stuff I had to do; I filled four pages of my Moleksine journal; I allowed myself some much needed rest. All in all, not bad at all.

I took your words to heart, and spent all of yesterday morning (it was our National Day, so I had the day off) filling three more pages in my Moleskine journal - pages to remind me what's important, and what to focus on more. So here are my three pages, inspired by your comments:

"Flow" - forget your (too) high goals and expectations you set yourself from time to time, and allow yourself to just float and follow the flow.

You don't really have the energy right now to work on a big canvas, or even in your A4 "change art journal", but totally enjoy working in your Moleskine journal, because the smaller format allows you to finish a page relatively quickly? Fine. Nothing wrong with it. Just do that then. Enjoy it. And stop feeling guilty about not doing "more".

And sooner or later, the energy to tackle the bigger formats will return, I'm sure. (Or at least I hope so, very, very much...)

"Be mad" - I actually wanted it to be "be silly", but I'm using up some left over chipboard letters, and there aren't many (useful) letters left. In fact, I'm really pleased, and surprised, how many words I managed to get together for these three pages!

From time to time, forget all expections, your own and those of others, and just do something silly, something totally pointless. Spend a whole afternoon sitting in a café watching people or daydreaming the time away, without doing anything. Go out for the day and jump on the next best train and see where the journey takes you. Or anything else you enjoy.

Simply for the fun of it.

"Live life the way you picture it - and make it a good one" - I got this sticker together with a camera bag I bought last year, and I've been wanting to use it for ages. I think this page is perfect for it.

There was only one 'o' left, so I used a 'c' and put it halfway under the "o" to make it look like a 'double o'. It works.

Sometimes you just have to improvise. Be that on a journal page, or in life in general.

I've also got the four pages I did last weekend to show, and another one I did on Monday, but I wanted to share these three pages first. And there's another page I want to do now, because when I visited the blog of lovely and talented Sandra Busby, I saw that she has kindly given me a "Liebster blog" award (thank you so much!). It makes me so happy when I manage to inspire someone with my work. I have one word of chipboard letters left, and it's just perfect for the page I want to do. But I'll have to wait till Sunday, when I have time to create a journal page (in my Moleskine journal, of course) - and think of 5 interesting things you didn't know about me...