Friday, December 24, 2010

Taylor Made Rocky Road

Xmas time in our house means home made rocky road. Of course family tradition means putting your own spin on things.

200g 70% Lindt dark choc
500g Cadbury Old Gold
Pkt mini marshmellows
Pkt Allens mini frogs (chopped in half)
Pkt mixed nuts (unsalted)
Cup dedicated coconut

Break choc into small pieces and melt
Mix all dry ingred into choc
Pour onto dish lined with baking paper
Chill and enjoy.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Her thoughts darted in and out like little fish

I usually paint my portrait pictures with a combination of guouche, water colour pencils/crayons and or using artists pencils. However, I enrolled in Portraits with Pam Carriker, which shows you how to paint and shade using acrylics. I find water colour so much more forgiving, but doing classes is all about stepping out of your comfort zone.

I decided to work on a spread in my Mole that I had previously added colour to (using up paint on my brush). At this stage I thought that I might like to draw a fairy, and experimented with swirly, curly wings.
Initial sketch

I try to incorportate as many experimental elements into each page. I decided to use an unusual colour pallette (well for me anyway). I wanted to use a bright green with the pink, and also incorporate orange.The first step was to overlay the page with green.
Green paint overlay
I have watched a video tutorial on adding alcohol to acrylic paints for a lovely effect and wanted to give it a try. Unfortunately I could not get it to work, so instead, gently rubbed over the green to reveal the pink beneath. I thought that perhaps the technique was not working because I was spraying my alcohol (100% Isopropyl alcohol) whereas it was "dripped" in the tutorial. Well I got a little carried away with my dripping....Lucky alcohol evaporates very quickly.

What happens when you pour instead of dripping.
I added a little more pink on the left hand side for balance
Colour Balancing.
Now I am ready to get down to the nitty gritty of the tutorial. I coloured her hair, and covered her neck and face with titan buff. I also added some burned umber to the edges of the pages. Note: RHS is not that dark. The page has curled from the moisture, and so threw a shadow when I photographed it.

Foundation colour added to face and hair

Using burned umber mixed with titan buff, I started to add the shading. I also coloured her shirt.At this stage, I also decided that I no longer wanted to do a fairy (incase you were wondering).

Adding shading
I continued adding more shading and added a print to her shirt. I also added her irises so that she no longer looks like zombie girl.

Final details added.
And finaly, I added my journaling. In the end, after much cursing, I actually liked the process and am going to practise painting with acrylics.

Calm in the Storm

My good friend Kelly was sharing  a visualisation with me, for those occasions when everything feels overwhelming. This has really helped me, and I wanted to immortalize it in my journal. Thanks Kelly.

This page has two techniques; the background using acrylics and a wax resist for the ship.

Part A: The background
With all my pages, I started by drawing the basic image that I wanted, in this case the waves.
  1. Use a a mixture of Payne's Grey and Phthalo blue for the "stormy sky" 
  2. Use Phthalo blue to paint the waves. 
  3. Using Naples Yellow, and a filbert brush,  paint over the still wet Phthalo blue, to create the greener shades.
  4. When paint is dry, dab on White on the crest of the waves.
  5. Add lightening with a yellow and white pencil
 Part B: Wax Resist
I like this technique, because it incorporates some of the background colour into the image, which is particularly useful when adding collage elements. In this case I stamped an image, but this would work equally well for b/w collage images, or a black and white drawing.

Step 1: Stamp image onto paper (I used an old envelope)

Step 2: Outline key features with indelible ink (Copic Multiliner 0.03)
For the next two steps, you add colour and white with pencil. Because you are creating a wax resist, you need to use a soft pencil, such as Prismacolor.
Step 3: Colour in dark areas, and areas of shadow. Here I used French Grey 20% for shadow
Step 4: Colour sails with white
Step 5: Add a wash of background colour (mix colour with water.)
Step 6: Wipe off excess colour with a wet baby wipe. Trim and use in your journal.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Visual Journalism 101

Well I finally managed to finish my first Visual Journalism page from a class I am doing with Pam Carriker (unfortunately the class is now closed to new members). It was a lot of fun - really concentrating on the background elements. Usually I have an idea, and draw the foreground, and then have to work out how to include a background. I feel very inspired to do a few more and include quotes that I really like.

Usually I take step-by-step photos, but I got so caught up in the process that I forgot.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Doing it Teesha Style

Awhile ago my friend Goog introduced me to the whimsical stylings of Teesha Moore. My first Teesha Style page was combined with an experiment in acrylic gel transfer.

And then, as often happens, I became distracted with other projects. Goog suggested that it would be fun to do a study of a different artist each month, and do some journal pages in their style. December is dedicated to Teesha.

Here are my two pages. Because I am working in a smaller journal than suggested in Teesha's tutorial I used double pages to complete each piece of art.

It was great fun doing these pages. At this point in time, the key things I gained from this exercise are:

  • looking at images with a new glasses become dresses...stacks of swizzle sticks make hats. 
  • not to shy away from colour. Prior to doing these pages, I would never have chosen such bright colours for background. 
  • confidence to do large, bold journaling. Teesha has a lovely video showing how to approach lettering. I found this immensely helpful.
I am looking forward to our next study in January.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Maud and the Fawn

I decided to join the Monthly Challenge over at Willowing. I have always love deer and developed a special affinity with does after becoming a mother. I think of them as protectors;  nurturing the soul in times of mayhem. Step into the cool glade with a doe, look into her eyes and everything seems alright.

I think that it can be fun to share to creative process, so here is how this assemblage came into being. Maud has become my favourite girl to draw at the moment, so I knew she had to be in my picture. The tree is inspired by a Ficus macrophylla or the Moreton Bay Fig. At the beginning I wanted to draw a doe, and so I decided to browse some images online to get a reference for the animal. I wanted it to be semi-realistic rather than cartoonish. Given the scale of Maud, I quickly decided that perhaps a fawn, laying next to her would fit into the overall picture better. And then I found the perfect fawn picture. It was so adorable that I had to draw her.

I started by sketching out the images in my Mole, and adding shading to the fawn and tree (HB pencil)

The next stage was probablly the most scarey - and seems to be shared among many of my art friends ADDING COLOUR. The fawn, tree and border were coloured using artists Colour Pencils. I love the way that they do not completely cover the paper and that some "light" shines through. To me it adds a textural quality.

After working on the fawn and the tree, my next task was to colour in Maud. In this case, because she has such a large area to cover, (and because I wanted to experiment) I decided to do an underwash of watercolour. I used my Watersoluble Crayons. I also use Colour Pencil to colour the ferns, and added random flowers and leaves around the twisted vine border.

Once the underwash was dry, I then added the details with Colour Pencil.
At this point there was some dilemma; real forests are super dark and gloomy. But given that Maud's hair is black, I decided to start with a light wash and see how I went. I used the Watercolour Crayons to create the wash.
After consultation with a fellow artist (Kelly from Yesturday)  I decided not to go any darker. A skill for another day. Finally I added Maud's signature socks.
Maud and the Faun

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Conquering your Fears

As an artist (yes I feel that I can say I am an artist) I face a multitude of daily fears, and I know I am not alone. The fear of the blank page, the fear of adding colour; the fear of failure. This journal page is about positive affirmations. Reminding yourself that it is better to try and fail, than never try at all. 

Face your fears

Maud the Mermaid

Or The Impact TV can have on Young Minds

About 5 months ago the family was watching the Disney move Splash. It had been ages since I had seen it, but figured it was one of those harmless films that would be ok for Miss 5 and Master 3 to sit through. All was well until the end of the film, where the ??secret service?? government agent type people (ok I wasn't really paying that much attention) are chasing Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah (aka Allen Bauer and Madison). The kids started to get a little scared. We comforted them by saying "Its all going to be okay" and other such platitudes. Almost at the end, Tom and Daryl leap into the water, and the "bad guys" fire shots into the water. Again we made soothing noises, and indeed the film ended well. The kids were happy and we thought no more about it.

Until a week ago.

I was collecting Miss 5 from after school care. As we were leaving, another mum arrived, still dressed in her army fatigues. After Miss 5 politely established that  yes she was a soldier, Master 3 boldly walked up to her. Smiling he asked:
"Are you a soldier?"
"yes I am" she replied, bending over to his level, and returning his smile.
"Have you killed any mermaids?" he asked very seriously.
"No I havent killed any mermaids, or anyone for that matter" she kindly explains to him.

Satisfied he starts to walk away. In the meantime I AM MORTIFIED and hurridly try to explain that this comes from watching the movie Splash. She reassures me that it's ok, and that children get all sorts of funny ideas about soldiers from the tv (and I am left wondering what other strange questions she has been asked).

You just don't know what things are going to stay with your children.

Maud Lin Mermaid

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sequin Waste

I am working through an online workshop at the moment, which calls for sequin waste. Well I am sure I could purchase some somewhere, but didn't feel inclined to leave the house, or spend money. So with a little patience, a scrap of plastic, and a hole punch, I made my own.

A hand held single punch would have been easier, but I couldn't find it. So I used my Provocraft Silent Setter instead.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Love is Patient

I love my kids dearly, but some days it seems like they never stop talking :)
Maud Lin Mum

Monday, November 22, 2010

Know when to fold 'em...

Well it seems that "You Suck Monday" is contagious - possibly due to post weekend exhaustion. Today I managed to draw an "old, mermaid prostitute" instead of a luscious siren. My second attempt was going swimmingly until I accidently gave her a black eye. Remedy- eye patch? Well I decided it was a sign of extreme tiredness and have put it aside. Perhaps a small dab of Titan buff will save the day?! But for now, I am walking away.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Finding your own style

You have to try many different styles before you find your own
I am on a journey of discovery; artistic discovery. I showed someone my art journey and they commented that it looked as though it belonged to several different people, because the styles were so different.  But I feel that the only way to truely discover my own style, is to try out as many different styles as possible. I want to learn as much as I can. I want to be challenged. I want to be excited. And in the end, I think that my style will be a merge of all the bits that I have come to love on this amazing journey.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mr B goes to Sea

When my daughter was little I used to read a series of Mr McGee books to her (by Pamela Allen). Two of her favourites were Mr McGee and the Flea and Mr McGee Goes to Sea. When my son Benjamin was born, we would call him Mr B. Naturally my daughter would say Mr B Goes Sea. Well, Mr B is now three, and the name has stuck. It was the inspiration for this journal page.

I really like many of the pages I have seen online, that use a diamond stamp pattern. So I quickly cut one from an old eraser and using Vintage Photo Distress Ink, stamped up a border.
Because the Distress Inks are water soluble, I painted over the images with Acrylic Gel Medium. That way I could keep adding layers, without the ink running. I added a shadow using Red Tinted Graphite Paint.
 I added a twisted frame  - technique taught by Pam Carriker

I then drew my image using an HB pencil. I was recently watching a video by Suzi Blu (Self Guided Portraits) where she shows a technique using gesso over a drawn image. Well I adapted this technique and used my favourite staple: white gouache.
 I then coloured the background using a mix of gouache paint, and water soluble crayons.

 I used Derwent Graphitint pencils to create a "moody" sea and coloured the person with coloured pencils. The title was done using Collections Tiny Tiles.

Finally I added some journalling, and launched Mr B out to Sea.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fairy Princess

The conversation started like this:  "Mummy, I have drawn you lots of pictures, and you haven't drawn me any!" And so began the process of doing a fairy princess, for my 5 year old princess.

  • The image was drawn lighltly with w/c pencils on Stonehenge Paper. I chose this method, since incorrect lines were easily erased, and the outline would blend with the fill colour, once water was added.
  • The picture  was then coloured using w/s crayons. A small amount of white gouache was added to the crown to increase its opacity.
  • Wings added.
  • Unfortunately I decided to try some alcohol on the wings (RHS) hoping for a suble mottled effect. Instead it left dark blotches.
  • The background was added
  • And then, Miss 5 pointed out that she was floating in the sky.
  • And so, I added grass
  • I am not usually a glitter person, but since this is for my daughter, and I wanted to obscure unsuccessful wings, glitter was added to the wings, crown, shoes and wand.
  • A few flowers pencilled in, and voila, she is finished.