Saturday, 4 November 2017

Dream Create Journal: Changing it up




So recently I've had this obsession with drawing and painting lilies. I've taken it upon myself to create the artwork for the invites for my wedding next year (eeek!) and so I've been creating lily after lily. I can't seem to settle on one I like so I've just kept going....at some point I need to make a decision as I really should get them sent out to people, but the perfectionist in me won't let me settle on one, but for the moment I'm happy prattling away lol. I've still got time!

Also with the colder weather drawing in and the darker evenings on the way J and I have been enjoying more cosy nights in, in front of our new log burning stove. I grew up with a log burning stove in my parents house so I'm massively excited about the winter ahead! A year or two ago we purchased a hand smithed fire poker, we've now decided we'd also like a companion set for our fire and I've been spending time looking into blacksmiths and ironmongers.

This research led me down the path of tinsmithing and tin and copper work and into turn towards tin art. I can and do spend hours lost in research, jumping from one thing to the next and then often failing to look enough into what it was I had originally intended to research. I'm easily distracted and shiny things catch my eye!

This leads me on to this weeks blog post artwork. Inspired by the tin art I cam across I wanted to recreate something on paper, not being a tinsmith myself! I went back to something I picked up in school, way back when. It was using a glue gun to create relief in parts of a project. It took this idea and ran with it. I'm not particularly accurate with my glue gun, the most I really do is create blobs for when I'm fixing my paperclips, so the prospect of actually 'drawing' with one wasn't something I felt very confident about. For one thing trying to keep an even pressure is quite difficult, that and every now and then a huge blob with suddenly appear out the nozzle as it catches an air bubble in the glue stick. I do however only have a cheapy glue gun so this may be in part my problem.
So I began by drawing out some base lines to follow with the glue gun. I wasn't worried about the pencil showing through the glue, it was practice more than anything. Once I'd allowed the glue to cool I sploshed over some PVA glue, only a thin layer, to help the paper warp and create some shine and texture. I was trying, not sure how successfully, to emulate the warping in the metal as it's hammered into shape.











Once I allowed this to dry, with the help of the heat gun – just watch the hot glue here as it can start to soften back up again – I decided to dig out some boot polish and begin working it over the glue. I could have used paint here, but since I was using fairly unconventional materials I figured it fit. I let the polish gather around the glue, to help provide some definition. I left the finish quite rough as again I wanted to create the hammered like texture. The end result is quite crude, but overall I'm happy with it for a first attempt!

Following on from my reasonable success I decided to return back to my lily work and created a lily with the hot glue, but this time on watercolour paper. I honestly wasn't confident enough to hot glue an outline and work from a picture in my head so I pulled up a photo of a lily in Google Images to reference. After I let the glue cool I began adding watercolour to the page. The pooling of the water and colour was an interesting moment, as the glue essentially acts like a dam the water doesn't bleed and spread very well. It does however seep under the glue a little so you do get some nice gentle feathering of colour.

I am excited to see where I go from here and possibly experiment with adding glitter or mica powder to see what results I get!

Hope this inspires you to try other materials in your artwork or to use them in different ways than intended!


In a bit xx

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Beginning a new Journey



Hi guys! It's been a couple of weeks since my last post and I'm feeling a little rusty! Today I thought I'd catch you all up on my progress with Anna's fantastic Adventure Journaling course. Just a little bit about the course before we get started, for those of you who may not have seen it. Anna takes us through what adventure journaling is and what it can be, quick jaunts out to the park to fabulous holidays away. Anna shares some great tips and tricks from which supplies to pack to how to create beautiful pages documenting the things you have done. 



What is adventure journaling to me? Well, because I journal most days, about the day to day goings on in the household I tend to view adventure journaling as something separate. Adventures, for me are any event or occasion that removes me from my everyday routine or where I find my myself in someplace new.

Sometimes, that'll be something big like a family holiday but mostly it's when my partner and I take the day to explore a new town or park or a road trip to visit friends or family. Although they are both adventures, I still view them differently, mini excursions for the latter is perhaps more appropriate as they happen more frequently. I also tend to journal when I am back home, in my cosy little (and messy) office. At the minute I don't have a dedicated adventure journal and these tend to go in my everyday journals.


Synchronicity at it's finest. The day I picked to make a start on the classes I  headed to the supermarket to pick up some bits for dinner. I couldn't face doing a 'big shop' so I headed to the little local one. I wandered over to the magazine section, generally speaking there is never much more than a couple of newspapers and the celebrity type magazine which are not my thing. However, that day they had a few copies of  Project Calm featuring travel, adventure and storytelling! Snapped that up quick. It is a really lovely magazine, full of all sorts of things, mostly craft related, writing and stunning photography. It is a little on the expensive side but it is definitely worth purchasing a copy if you see one. 





This year it is all change in my family for Christmas, my siblings are off to their respective inlaws for the festive period, we are having our roof reroofed (that sounds funny!) and so we are all in different places, usually we all head to my parents for Christmas Day but this year that's not possible. So J and I decided we'd take the opportunity to go away somewhere. With the pets holidays can be a little difficult, not impossible, but logistically it is added stress. We have also spent the last couple of summers working on doing up our house, so realistically over Christmas is the best opportunity for us to go somewhere together. Definitely a cold somewhere, can't be doing Christmas in a hot climate!!

As this will the first holiday away we've had together I wanted to go with something a little more special than my everyday journal. Then came the age old problem for a stationery addict....which notebook should I use? I had a rifle through my stack of unused journals and notebooks, which I'm a tad ashamed to admit is huge. I settled on the one below, which is rather fitting seeing as it is a handmade journal I picked up whilst on adventure earlier this year. J and I, after many years (and I'm talking about 8 years or so!) of driving past and me saying I'd like to go, finally visited the Imperial War Museum North on a very wet and miserable day! Ever since I was a wee thing I've always bought myself a pencil or pen from the gift shop. It is something that started when my parents would take us on outings and we'd always visit the gift shops after. I was allowed one small item, which would always, always be a pencil or a pen! I've hoarded these pencils..haha and I now have quite a collection in my pen pots.

I digress! I'm looking forward to cracking this beauty open and filling it with all the things I get up to on my holiday! I'm often nervous about starting on the first page and will often skip to the first double page spread. I'm going to follow some of Anna's tips, for example I love the idea of having a master To Do and To Pack list at the front and a list of places I'd love to visit! There are several signatures of recycled cotton rag paper, it'll be the first time I've used this kind of paper in a bound journal so that'll be an adventure in itself!

I'll be back to update you on my progress soon. But for now, thankyou for stopping by and getting to the end of the post! One of these days I will learn the art of being concise..haha. Don't forget to check out Anna's course if you haven't already!!

In a bit guys xx

You can also find me on Instagram and over on my own blog here.


Thursday, 26 October 2017

Dream Journal Create #5 - Crochet Love

 Below is my first post on Dream Create Journal - The blog can be found here. It is a collaborative blog with my wonderful friends Geraldine and Kelly.  Please feel free to come over and join us!



Hi guys! A bit of different one today, Kelly and I thought we'd share with you another area of our creativity one beyond getting messy with paints and charcoals. The world of Crochet, Yarn and Knitting!

(currently work in progress, a virus shawl)

My crochet (and knitting) journey began when I was around 12 ish. It's a skill that has been passed from mother to daughter in my family across several generations and my mum decided that that summer would my turn to learn! Off school for the summer I was bored and complaining at my mum that I had nothing to do, so she took me to the local craft shop (which has since gone!) to purchase me my first set of knitting needles and a beginners kit. I still have my wonky scarf, oh the joys of picking up stitches from nowhere – but hey my increases were spotless, although I don't tend to wear it much any more.

(First venture into yarn cakes) 


Initially I began with just knitting and then added crochet in later when I'd got the hang of using two needles. If I'm honest I probably crochet more than I knit these days, partly because I cannot knit in the summer - I'm not sure why but it's just one of those things – but I can crochet all year around. I also find crochet easier to do when 'on the go' as a hook is far less cumbersome than trying to clack away with two needles.


I've had many a project over the years, with some of my greatest makes going to my nephew. When my brother was born my mum knitted him a Postman Pat stuffed cuddly toy. He absolutely adored him, and he (Pat) subsequently helped all of us three children sleep at night. To this day he still sits on my bed, 31 years old and looking rather worse for wear. When I found out I would be an Aunty I knew I wanted to give him something special, so I tracked down the pattern and set to making him......Oh boy!! That was a journey and a half. It is probably the most difficult pattern I have worked with to date. It wasn't particularly technical, more that it would leave out half the instructions.


When my mum learned to crochet (when she was 14 or so) she worked a large granny square blanket, which being the darling little children we were we claimed for picnics, and taking on adventures. It is also the blanket I learned to crochet on, so not only does it have signs of childhood games and remnants of who knows what it has a lovely wibbly wobbly border to boot! This too has pride of place on my bed, it is something I will cherish forever. I only have to look at it and I can recall all sorts of memories, like the time it developed a hole in the centre and I walked around wearing it calling it my poncho. I decided I'd make another for my nephew.


Often when I feel stressed or anxious the repetitive motions of crochet and knitting bring me a sense of calm. I can literally zone out and ignore everything around me. I fall into a rhythm and the negative feeling seeps away. There is something magical about the way a piece of what is essentially string turns into something entirely different. A series of loops and hoops develop into a fabric so rich and full in both texture and colour. A piece of the artist in every stitch.

(from passion to work!)


To Kelly.....

So Jeni is pretty much the reason I got into Crochet. It took me a while as at first I simply could not do it. It was messy, fiddly and my Crochet stitches were too tight.
However, I would sit and watch Jeni produce amazing creations in next to no time, it was effortless and relaxing. I wanted to give it another go.

I bought some yarn from Hobbycraft and these Crochet hooks from Ebay. The handles feel a bit like rubber and are much nicer to work with than the original metal hook I was using.



I found this video on YouTube which showed me a basic Granny Square pattern. I took notes from the video so that it was in my own words then decided to try again. I found it much easier this time and have been working away since.

I went back to Hobbycraft and bought 6 balls of yarn (red, yellow, orange, green, blue and purple). I wanted to make a rainbow style blanket that I am now calling my Positivity Blanket. If I'm feeling rubbish I can throw it over me!


Each evening I will crochet a few squares and bundle them together. Then once I have created a few, I will take some thin yarn and stitch them together. There is a way to Crochet them together but at the moment this is working for me.

I'm so pleased I gave it another go because it's so relaxing and rewarding. It's a brand new skill that I can experiment with. I'm already thinking of other things I can try to make, I'm tempted to try a planner cover! It'll be an interesting experiment if anything!

Thank you for stopping by,
Kelly.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Dream Create Journal #4 - The inner self personified.

Below is my fourth post on Dream Create Journal - The blog can be found here. It is a collaborative blog with my wonderful friends Geraldine and Kelly.  Please feel free to come over and join us!


My post this week really follows on from Kelly's last week and the question she posed right at the beginning; what does 'Self Empowerment' mean to me?

If I'm honest I'm not sure I truly know the answer to this. I am both strong, powerful and independent, but I am also self critical and self doubting to the point of self destruction. Is this the flip side of strength and confidence? Or is my self empowerment a veneer for something more troubling underneath? 

In my previous post I mentioned my struggle with my creativity, more specifically my art. There is always some darkness to what I create, I'm not good at creating things that are light and fluffy. I'm just not made of the rainbows and unicorns type of stuff. This has been a cause of of much inner conflict, and annoyance with my artistic self. I've tried to create other things, to 'lighten up' shall we say, but it has always resulted in work left unfinished, screwed up in the bin and abandoned. I had unconsciously placed a gag on my true self and eventually she gave up the fight. My creativity and I floundered, and I'd spend more of my time staring at a blank page than I would do filling it. 

A short while ago I came across an article about horsemanship (another passion I have neglected). It was to do with our connection to ourselves and to our horses and how they become symbiotic. At the very end of the piece was a phrase I have since been unable to shake, it has resonated so strongly with me that I think of it every time I put paint to paper. So I shall share it with you (if I can find it I'll link it at the bottom). 

"To close off one part of oneself is to close off all of oneself" 

That is exactly what I had done. In denying her, I had denied all that is true about myself. So I guess in some sense, this act of reclaiming is self empowerment in it's simplest form. My inner self can now not just simply exist but she can flourish because she is acknowledged. I won't go so far as to say accepted, but she is certainly on her way. 

It sounds kinda fuddy to have personified her some much throughout but I feel to some extent my inner self, my creative self, my artistic self, is a character, a different soul. We are both different, yet we are one and the same. 

So her she is in all her glory :)








Holy fuzz balls! A short post for once :) I told you you'd have one one day!

In a bit guys xx 




Saturday, 9 September 2017

Autumn is so close!

As I'm writing this blog it is pouring with rain outside and is starting to feel a bit nippy. That means it is nearly Autumn!!

As soon as Anna posted a sneak peak of her watercolour Fox from this months Patreon and Mrs Brimbles Sticker Club, I knew exactly where he would go! My latest obsession - I have many, I am one of these people who become consumed by new things and spend hours researching it - is traditional or perhaps I should say more traditional forms of book binding. I have just finished learning the Kettle Stitch technique and so made a textblock with Tomoe River Paper (yes I jumped on that bandwagon too!). I had a rummage about in my random bits drawer and came across some very autumnal looking ribbon which was wide enough to cover the spine of my journal. Perfect!


Now just to make the inside as beautiful and autumnal as the outside!

Pumpkin pumpkin pumpkin! Completely inspired by Anna's watercolour pumpkin I decided it would be the perfect opening for my new Autumanl Art Journal.

I'm really pleased with how this little one turned out! I'm another to jump on the Tomoe River Paper bandwagon after hearing so many good things about it....especially the crinkle! It certainly takes some getting used to as the water and paints don't necessarily behave how you expect them to. I saw it mentioned on one of Anna's posts in the Mrs Brimbles group about being more reserved with the amount of water and paint, so I followed that advice.


I began with a base layer of watercolour and slowly built up the colours. I decided to just get stuck in with it and forgo sketching or swatching. I just went with what happened and moved forward from there. The result is certainly not the traditional watercolour style but I'm happy with it :) would certainly recommend giving the paper a go. I really saturated it with water when I painted the foreground, to the point where I thought it would struggle to maintain it's stability as paper. But to my surprise it withstood it and has dried with such a lovely wrinkle. My heart is now all a flutter when I turn the pages.


Moving away from the art stuff I've been busy back journalling since the weather has started to turn. I find my creative journalling can be quite cyclical, I tend to quieten down over the summer months, I journal and document less only to suddenly pick up again with such ferocity by Autumn. I'd love to know if anyone else experiences similar patterns in their creativity?

I began with creating the background with watercolour, splodging it about not too carefully. I left the paint quite concentrated and then washed over with water and let the pigment settle where they chose. I was aiming for enough colour to provide something to look at but for it not to be so strong it became the focus of my page. The photos are a little hodge podge and from over a couple of days but to me all signify the onset of autumn, misty mornings, long walks and seasonal house decorations.


At first I wasn't sure about adding the gold washi, I restricted myself to using it in a couple of places as often I have little restraint and have tendency to go overboard with sparkly things. I was aiming for just enough to compliment the warm earthy tones of the orange background - hopefully I did that!


I carefully cut out the Anna's watercolour animals from the collage sheets as I wanted to use them like emphera pieces - it was more fiddly than I thought it would be but totally worth it! I did however chicken out of trying to use my craft knife on the deer - I think she would have ended up antler-less!


I spent quite some time fussing around working out the placement of the photos and the other bits and bobs. It's one of the reasons I now tend not to stick everything down straight away as I have commitment issues and end up pulling them back up again. No more sticky glue marks or torn paper! Eventually I settled on what you see now :) 


That's all from me for this week, thank you for reading!

I hope you are all are looking forward to Autumn as much as I am!

In a bit guys x

You can also find me on my Instagram and over on my own (neglected) blog

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Beachin' Time

Now I'm not really one for Summer but I do have a real love for all things beach and ice cream *insert childish excitement here*. You can keep the hot weather though! So I was rather pleased when Anna shared August's Patreon content and collage sheets.

I had on the reverse of one of my pages watercolour swatches I'd made in attempt to create a skin tone for my vintage girls from last months patreon content and I was undecided as to whether I was going to a)leave them and move onto another page b) gesso over them or c) include them somehow in the next piece I created. I figured they looked enough like sand so I thought I'd just roll with it and I'm quite happy with how it turned out. I added a couple of bits from the collage sheets - cannot go wrong with some ice cream or flip-flops. I love the simplicity of it, I'm usually one for adding faaaar too much to a page and I'm quite pleased with my self restraint!



....having said that....this is the bit I'm not sure about, having added the sea water I'm not convinced. Part of me wishes I had left it as it was whilst the other half of me quite likes it. What do you guys think?


It's funny how sometimes you start creating and it just sort of snow balls and you end up being inspired by something you've done and going on to create something else which in turn inspires another idea. That is what happened to me, there is just so much Anna shares and there's so many ways in which to use them!

When I was younger, whenever we went passed rows of houses on our travels I'd try and imagine all the lives behind the front doors. Imagining the comings and goings of the occupants, happy tales full great big adventures, with monsters and fantastic beasts - I had an uncontainable imagination. Nowadays I still dream and concoct stories, whole lives mapped out within single moment, although they are somewhat tamer than my childhood self would have created and the future of these imaginary people isn't based on the colour choice of their door or curtains. Anna's houses reminded me of this, I think it was the combination of the stylised way in which Anna has drawn them and the residual feelings of excitement over beaches and holidays away at the seaside. 

I decided I wanted to continue this feel by abandoning my perfectionist self in search of my inner child - which was not hard, she bounces around just beneath the surface waiting to be set free! I used my craft knife and carefully cut around the houses leaving a small amount a the side to use as a tab so I could lift them back to reveal the inside.


I went right back to basics with felt tips with a bit of watercolour thrown in. I happily scribbled away with my felt tips, even encountering the same problems of some colours starting to dry up and then just scribbling harder to make the colour transfer. 


I wasn't sure how I'd convey the life events of these fictional characters and dithered about a bit before settling on simple symbols. Ironically if you read it from right to left it tells a rather morbid tale and one I hadn't intended!


I really enjoyed the 'letting go' aspect of this page, there is something to be said for not worrying about placement or realism and drawing and colouring outside of the lines.

Here's where it gets all a bit planner-creative-desk inceptionesk! I absolutely love this collage piece and immediately felt drawn to it...I think it has something to do with the fact it resembles my desk 99% of the time. Rather unimaginatively I decided to recreate my surroundings.


First I began Gessoing the areas I wanted to add more detail, mostly to try and block out some of the collage sheet. I think perhaps next time I won't take the easy route and I'll cut into where I'm going to build upon.


I built up the planner page by adding several sheets of normal copier paper and offset them slightly to give the appearance of volume as it was looking a little flat. I tried to set the page up similar to one of my journals so I printed off a photo and placed some ephemera and used some of the other collage pieces to create some washi tape. When I'm working on a journal page I also like to have the bits of ephemera around me so I've also included a mini pile next to the page. 


I almost always have a cup of something at the desk with me too, so I used a bit of watercolour over the gesso. I quite like using gesso and watercolour in this way, although there isn't a great deal of blendability you do get some interesting textures as the water is not absorbed by the paper. I tried to recreate some bubbling but I became impatient and it didn't quite work! 


I also added some more paint splodges, if I'm honest that bit happened by accident, but it was a happy one so I just added some more and I think it ties in nicely. Lastly I added a quick 'To Do' I always have a couple of these floating around my desk, and inevitably they always become buried under a mountain of my stuff. 

I really loved letting go and just getting stuck in with this months collage sheets. I immersed myself in the process and forgot about the rules, and produced some pieces very unlike my usual style! But that is what I am loving so much about Anna's patreon, it really is pushing my boundaries and expanding my creative thinking. 

I've been enjoying the sketchy girls you've all been sharing! Cannot wait to see how they develop and come together :)


Till next time guys xx 

You can also find me on Instagram and over on my blog

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Dream Create Journal #3 - Art as a healer


Below is my third post on Dream Create Journal - The blog can be found here. It is a collaborative blog with my wonderful friends Geraldine and Kelly.  Please feel free to come over and join us!


Trigger Warning
Please note that I refer to and talk about depression throughout this blog post. I do not go into specific detail but the post does make mention of negative feeling and emotion. I've tried to keep it as non triggering as I can whilst still talking about the subject matter and how Art helps me through. I completely understand should you wish to stop at this point. If this blog post helps you in any way then I'm glad to have posted it x.

You always get a sense about how an artist is feeling when you look at their work, be it happiness, frustration, anger or sadness. For many like myself art has an incredibly powerful influence over the mind, emotion and wellbeing. It allows thoughts to be voiced and expressed when words alone cannot suffice. A safe and intuitive forum to let go and process the internal dialogue. 

It was studying Art at school that really killed the creativity for me, that may sound strange as for many Art at school was a form of development, a freedom building and manifesting in colour and texture. For me I felt stifled, confined and empty of thought. I painted a piece for our mock GCSCEs and was told it was 'too dark' and I'd not used the canvas effectively...my artwork didn't 'fill the page'. It wouldn't have been fitting to paint it the way they wanted me to and it became a reoccurring story throughout the two year period. My creativity was slowly being eroded till I was left with nothing but silence and blank imagery. 

I all but abandoned my creativity – save a couple of pursuits – from the time I left school until around four of five years ago. I can't really remember what piqued my interest in art again, funny that seeing as now it has become so integral to my everyday routine. I think it was moving out to live with J and having more time, opportunity and space. I loved living with my parents, but moving back home after uni I was effectively having to downsize from an entire house to a single room. Space became a premium, and one that I couldn't afford either physically or mentally. The therapeutic nature of working with my hands using paints, pastels, or pencils was a noticed absence and my mental health and ability to process emotion began to decline. 


I ummed and ahhed about whether I should share this page with you all and the reason is two fold I guess. Firstly it is quite a dark image and the Dream, Create, Journal space, for me at least, is meant to be a place of positivity, creativity and support. It feels a bit at odds with what I think when I look back at it. Secondly it is a raw and exposing thing to share an image you've created in a time of struggle. I am opening up myself to people I've never met and do not know (although I hope this changes over time!), when I've failed to be open and honest with loved ones and with myself. 


There is a distinct lack of colour, care or attention in it. It is worked solely in charcoals. There was no thought involved when I made it, I just sat down and knew I needed to do something, and this was the result. The pressure in my head had eased slightly, and my feelings had somewhat abated.

The addition of colour in the second piece is an important one. Some feel for them that depression is a black dog that follows behind them wherever they go just watching and waiting. For me the black curtain, as I refer to it, can be absent for long periods of time, it is lifted away from my vision allowing the colours of life to mix and merge. Then suddenly the curtain starts to fall, it can be sudden and it can be a slow gradual drop, eating away at the vibrancy and light. Much of the artwork I create during this time is either purely black and grey or full of colour marred and obscured by black. Cliche portrayals perhaps but for me it is the most effective and intuitive way of gauging how I'm feeling.

I created the textured paint splodges by applying the acrylics directly onto the paper by squeezing the paint from the tubes – had I found my palette knife and modelling paste I'd have used them but I couldn't be bothered to look – so I just used the paint and my brush. Not quite as effective but it still works. 


Next I added black acrylic paint over the top. Working to ensure that it was properly worked over the texture I'd built in the base colour layer. Darkness coating all the edges, the drips and spills gently but surely blocking out the colour beneath. I watered down the acrylic greatly, and tested the consistency on a spare piece of paper, checking the ability for it to run down the page. I then began blobbing it at the top of the page, lifting the book slightly and letting it fall wherever it chose. 


I'm not sure about the character or where she came from or why she has bandages across her face. It just felt appropriate at the time. Her hair turned out quite well considering she came together at the last minute. That's something I'm still trying to master, the texture of hair is tricky. I jump back and forth from realism to cartoonish, I've not found my rhythm with it yet!


I can't say I had a lot of fun painting this because I don't think 'fun' is the right word. Cathartic is perhaps more appropriate in this instance. It took me a long while to realise that creating artwork or journalling doesn't always have to come from something or someplace happy. It can be used as a tool to process and expel the unwanted negativity from within and open up the path for greater and more positive things as hippy dippy as that sounds. 


I hope that if you made it to the end of my post that you'll think more about the art or journal pieces you create and the ways in which it helps you to achieve the things you desire, whether it is for pleasure, practice or work. 

Till next time guys :)

xx