Sunday, 9 July 2017

Mrs Brimbles "Sketchy Girls" July Patreon Content

Hi everyone! My first blog post of Anna's blog....eek! This month Anna has us working with her Sketchy Girls Artwork.

At first it took my a little while to get going with this months content. After watching the Patreon videos and looking through the collage sheets I felt really inspired, and several ideas were bubbling away, I was itching to get going! However, when it came to actually sitting down to do some arting, I kept hesitating. I don't know whether it is because Anna's style is so different to mine or the fact, that although life drawing is my area of interest, I never actually draw or paint faces. Always bodies, never faces. It didn't feel natural at first, and I felt my pictures were coming out very stilted but I preserved and boy am I glad I did!

I took Anna's advice about creating in pen and ran with it. I'm not a big pre sketcher, at most I put a few points of reference and then just dive straight in splodging paint around. When I do this I almost always use pencil, never pen, so sketching this way felt quite alien. You'll see from my pieces the progression and journey (it honestly did feel like one) I make from hesitancy to confidence.

The 1920s and 1930s Art Deco paintings and portrayals of women are a massive influence in my art at the moment. I just cannot get enough of heavy lines and victory rolls. As such I've tried to place a vintagey spin on my sketchy girls.

This is one of my early attempts and one I didn't run with and subsequently finish. You might be asking why I'm sharing this it if isn't complete. But I find an important lesson in it, and one Anna is always reiterating. Well I guess it is two lessons really; 1. Practice, Practice, Practice and 2. Always keep the things you create. The temptation with pencil sketches is to erase them when you're not happy with them, but in doing so you remove your ability to see the development and improvements you make. I'll hold my hand up and say that I'm the first to break this last lesson!

I tried to re create a classic 1920s bob and used one of Anna's collage pieces as a base for her face, however, I feel there's more of an Egyptian vibe to her. Not quite what I had intended but hey.

I decided that whilst I was pushing myself outside of my comfort zone I'd take it one step further and work with watercolours too. Acrylics are my safe place, watercolours I've always loved but never quite mastered. So mixing colours for skin tone and blending was a bit of a challenge. I used the back of the page to swatch test. I kept this one as I sketched it entirely in pen. I didn't feel tempted to pick up a pencil at all, but I did have a bit of a hiccup with her nose and lips but it works.

I then used some of the bits from the collage sheets to re create big puffed coat lapels in keeping with the 1920s/30s look, she felt quite glamorous so I gave her quite a pale complexion with softly rouged cheeks, contrasted with bright red lipstick. I wasn't feeling conventional hair so added a twist by opting for rainbow hair coloured pin curls. The curvy waves really helped to create a sense of volume, and the colours inspired by Annas artwork really pop against her pale skin tones.

My 'Women's Land Army' inspired lady. I've used a mix of acrylics, pencils and watercolour here and felt a little more at home. I love the contrast of the pink head wrap against the greens and khaki of her uniform. My love for victory rolls is evident here, big bold curls, initially she didn't have a fringe, but  I felt her face seemed too harsh so I added the fringe to bring back some softness. I've added a mixture of colours to create natural highlights in her hair and used a stiff bristled brush to recreate the fine texture.

My final piece is my beautiful Flapper Girl, I am absolutely over the moon with this piece (am I allowed to say that?).

I began in the same way as my previous sessions and sketched my initial outline, and then went straight in with her jet black bob. At first I thought it might be a little harsh but I think it gives a real sharpness and boldness to her, a real contrast to the soft watercolour background. Her headband, using Anna's abstract piece in the collage sheets, and then accented with gold really pops against the dark hair.

Every Flapper Girl needs *the* perfect dress, I really wanted to create a sense of movement and texture and felt that painting it just wouldn't provide this. So I used Anna's paint strokes and then made a series of cuts and gently ruffled them then tipped them with gold pen. The end result is really quite effective. I carried this touch of gold to her feather headpiece and the straps of her dress to really pull the ensemble together.

So that's all from me :) Would love to see any of you latest creations.

In a bit guys x

You can also find me here Instagram

Monday, 3 July 2017

Planner Girls Collective: Summer Holiday Bucket List

Summer Months Bucket List

I don't really have a summer holiday as such since I don't have children....I take my summer break whenever I want it, a luxury of being self employed. So my Summer Holiday Bucket List is more a list of things I'd like to do over the summer months. I would say hot or hotter months but given the weather at the minute I wouldn't necessarily consider that true...Ha! It's always warmish and raining here. 

So asides from ranting about the poor weather I should probably move on to my actual bucket list. It started out and finished with pretty much the same layout. The only bit I decided I didn't like was the placement of the wanderlust sticker, as I started my list further down the page I ended up with a big gap which was bugging me. 

I'm really enjoying using the mica powders at the minute, and finding every excuse to use them. I wanted to try and achieve a summery fresh feel, so I opted for a mix of blues, pinks and yellows. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. Although I did end up with mica powder all over my desks, on my hands and face - awesome! 

Strangely for a planner, I really hate the look of lists. Don't get me wrong I swear by a good list or two but aesthetically I just really don't like them. Given this week is a list type topic I decided to try and change the presentation of the activities I want to do and included stickers and ephemera to break up the visual. 

So the actual list:

1.Venture to the beach for a walk and ice cream.
I'll be honest here, I don't particularly like summer. I don't like the heat and I don't like the sun. I'm a Autumn/Winter gal and the idea of sunning myself on the sand makes me shudder. Buuuuut I will go to the beach for ice cream....and doughnuts and possibly a paddle in the sea if it's cold!

2. Get another tattoo
This one is fairly self explanatory :)

3. Road Trip
J and I used to go on road trips a lot before we moved in together and were still living at opposite ends of the country. Every trip up would result in a further road trip somewhere else just a day or two together away from parentals haha. Was awesome to just shove some music on, grab some food to much and head out somewhere and not really know where we were going. It's been so long since we've just upped and gone somewhere. Time to relive old times!

4. Finish my rainbow crochet blanket
I have so many unfinished crochet projects it really is about time I finished one! Funny I can't knit in the summer, it has to be a winter thing for me yet I'll quite happily sit and crochet away the hours in summer.

5.Pre Dawn Walk
One of the things I miss about no longer dog walking/training as a profession is the early morning walks. Being up before everyone else and enjoying the peace and stillness of the morning save the other critters that are up and about at that time.

6. Drive in Cinema
I think this has been on my Life Bucket List for years. Finally located one and fingers crossed I'll be off for a visit one day this summer!

7. Meet friends for coffee
Ha! Any excuse for coffee and a catch up with my pals. I could drink coffee by the bucket load! The presence of friends means cake is also warranted and justified.

8. Have a picnic
Because who doesn't love eating food outside with lots of bugs to join you in your feasting?

9. Finish planting up the garden
Been a long time coming. I currently feel like I've run a million marathons and lifted weights at the olympics. I was in the garden all day yesterday pulling up plants that have been there for like a bajillion years to move to pots - as I'd rather they didn't die - whilst we relay the front drive.

10. Smile and Laugh Endlessly
Cheesey, buuuut bare with me. I want to remember the good times and document the laughter. Too often recently I've been sweating the small stuff, and I'd like to take the opportunity to kick back and laugh and smile till my face aches.

So that's me set for this summer. What are all your plans? Jampacked and adventure filled or chilled and relaxed?

In a bit x

Don't forget to check out all the other awesome bloggers in this collective:

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Dream Create Journal #1 - A Childhood Adventure

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!

Theme: Dreams & Wishes

Accompanying video can be found here 

Yikes! I'm sat here groaning and thinking “why did I volunteer to go first again?”. The nerves and the subsequent creative block are hitting, and I feel like my blip of braveness is coming back to bite me!

So my response to the above self doubt, grab a brew and browse some Pinterest. I find it a great place to start before I embark on any creativeness. I'm not one of these people that can ooo and ahh at nature, look at a tree and suddenly bing! Creative and Inspired Self appears. Nah, I look at a tree and more often than not think “hmm nice tree” or simply “oh, a tree” and that's that. Don't get me wrong I'm inspired by nature's beauty and everything but it doesn't get my brain firing and I struggle to move beyond what I see in front of me.

Tools like pinterest allow me to begin with one idea, and arrive at another (although I must admit sometimes I just get lost in the world of pinning). A sort of organic development, if you will, of thought process. I'll then toddle off all inspired and brimming with colourful thought and create something completely different from what I had originally intended. It is a journey I take more and more as I never know where I'll end up. Ha – how cliché does that sound...but so utterly true! So I really do suggest it, if you're ever stuck or wish to stray from your usual path. 

Sometimes, however, ideas do just pop into my head. Often when I'm trying to sleep. I become rather fixated and obsessed with how it will look down to the minute detail. This is pretty much what occurred with my first piece for this first blog entry (ack!!). I suffer quite badly from insomnia, and recently it has reared it's ugly head. I was thinking over what wishes and dreams mean to me....great big, wide awake, kind of thoughts. Perfect for sleeping kind of thoughts. 

I kept thinking back to when I was a child and to when my parents took my brothers and I to the beach. I remember playing in rock pools, catching – or at least attempting to, giving up and pretending to – all the little sea creatures that lived there. I remember the magic of new discoveries and the wonderment at the strange little beasties with their many legs and bright colours. The feeling of complete freedom, the power of imagination – me with my little fishing rod standing strong and guarding the seas, protector of squishy sea creatures. Nothing was impossible. 

I was also reminded of the times I was taken to a wishing stream, with a little wooden bridge. We'd throw coins and make a wish, or play pooh sticks – which more often than not descended into an argument. But hey, the picturesque and serene image still stands, minus three brawling children. 

Too clinical

From there my mind's image of the journal piece I wanted to create took shape. I knew exactly how I wanted to capture it, planned meticulously down to the last brush stroke. The colours and textures all mapped together like a puzzle. It almost becomes clinical, far removed from creative freedom and organic development, to a cold, strategic tick box exercise. I stress over the discrepancies of what is in my minds eye and what I see on paper before me. I'm still learning to let go of this and enjoy the process of creating in it's own right. 

At the minute I'm really into gesso. I'm using it as a base even when there is no need for it. For this piece I dolloped on a ol' big splodge of white gesso and began a sort of stippling across both pages. I wanted to get as much texture in my base layer as I could. I could have used other means but I quite like the chalkiness of gesso. 

After that I sketched out the rough placement of the rocks for the rock pool and worked out where I wanted the fish net to sit. Then I got stuck in, with the painting, working with both softer and harder brushes, at least I did at first. Acrylics are my preferred medium to work with, it always has been I think. It just feels natural to work with. I did contemplate using watercolours as well. I think it would have given it a much lighter and floaty feel. This piece feels much heavier and earthier in comparison. 

Time to get messy

By the time I'd finished working roughly on the rocks I gave up using paintbrushes and embraced finger painting. A throwback to childhood I often like to indulge in! I find blending and highlighting much easier with my hands. Warning Рanother clich̩ comment coming up, but I feel more connected and involved when I literally get stuck in and splodge and squish the paint about with my fingertips.

After a quick whoosh of the hair dryer – I never could get on with a heat gun, too many burnt pages! - I decided to add some green, and gold tones and threw out the rule book on not using black for fear of making colours muddy. It's my painting and if I decide to use black I shall. By this point the rock pool was looking less like a rock pool and looking more like hills and cliffs near the sea. Mentally I'm struggling as it is not looking like how I planned, but I rolled with it.

After this....errr *watches video* ahh yes I moved onto adding the blues and greens for the sea water. Sometimes I'll blob paint directly onto the page and whilst other times I'll add it bit by bit via a palette. With the former I find there's less ease to blend and manipulate the paint and there is a certain amount of intrigue as to how the paint will move.

This is where I'm rather pleased I added so much gesso as a base, the rough texture is really pulling through underneath the blues and greens I've put on top. I left some of the blue a little sparse in places as to mimic the light falling on the surface.

Out came the white paint, and I got a little trigger happy. Dabbing around the base of the rocks, I felt it looked more like waves crashing rather than light foam in a rock pool, so I added more and it's now a half way. Some parts remind me of rock pooling, others of views from the cliff's edge.

Lastly, I wanted to bring back that childhood memory of power and adventure. I created the fishing net, using some of the vellum from Kelly's Mermaid Kit and hand stitched it together onto some brown card cut into a hoop like shape. I've sewn it so there is a small pocket, of sorts, where I can add messages or things which relate to my dreams.

Part of me feels it looks a little out of place – especially since J proceeded to ask if it was and I quote “one of those fly swatter things”, maybe it is my proportions? The other half of me loves that is stands proud and defiant. Reminding me, that I should always capture my wishes and chase my dreams.

That's all from me for now. I hope you enjoyed my ramble and my journey through this piece. I'd love to hear your thoughts and or your creative take :)

In a bit guys x