Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Paris Canvases

Have been working slowly on some canvases, adding a layer here & there....Life sure does get in the way of art :/
Finally, after a few weeks, have 2 ready and 2 still in process. At a recent get-away with my family to a coastal town, with time to look around at the many girly decorating and gift shops, I spotted some French-themed serviettes(paper napkins). I have had a bit of an obsession with using serviettes for layering in my journal pages for a while so had to snap them up!

The final result wasn't really what I originally had in mind but I think I like them. I thought the serviettes would be more of a background but ended up having them (or more precisely the Eiffel Tower) as a focal point. I have never used serviettes that had a significant image like this before, usually use patterns, flowers etc Quite a different experience...I was going to use dimensional embellishments and perhaps words of inspiration but felt they were superfluous. I found it a bit hard to know when to stop, just kept adding layers until I felt that I could do no more ...Now that I've let them sit there for a while, I think I like the result ;)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Love is..." canvas

I made this canvas for a dear friend a few days ago. She is a true inspiration to me. She is creative and very organised which is reflected in the way she keeps her house - warm and beautiful just like her. I can only strive for that beauty and energy ;)
A group of my friends and I went out for dinner last night for her birthday. We had 'pre-dinner drinks' at her house where we toasted her and gave her our presents. She loved my canvas and immediately put it on display. It looked great in her house I must say.

The canvas took me many hours but was lots of fun to make. Loving the shabby-chic look at the moment. I intended it to be more white but happy with the way it turned out. I used my favourite mixed -media techniques. The first painted layer was fairly dark peach. I white-washed it with gesso (how did I ever live wthout it) ;) Then many layers of bubble-wrap stamping,, collaged music papr, torn tissue strips. I made a heart out of my off-cuts of embossed paper and shaded with oil pastels.

Thinking of perhaps selling them via Facebook but not sure if I could simplify them enough so that they are quicker to make and are financially viable...Hmmm....

Lena :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Some backgrounds

Life has really been getting in the way of art lately...Been working on 2 backgrounds in my 2 current journals. Very slowly...a layer here, a layer there. Finally have something to show for it :)

This is inspired by a member of my Blissfully Art Journaling Yahoo group. She posted a "Layered faces" tutorial to her Flickr It's reminded me how much I adore making credit card technique backgrounds. Love the unexpected magic. I used velum for the image, the only transparent paper I had in the house. Bit stiff & 'crunchy'. Will have to get some tracing paper for next time.
As I was about to scan, was just thrilled to discover, as so often happens with Art Journaling, a beautiful serendipity. I wasn't terribly happy with my weird sea-weed-like doodles (I'm not an illustrator) ;) Just realised that the dictionary scrap on the right-hand side has a definition & a partial pic of roots. Wow! Perhaps a meaning there...I think I will leave this background for a while until the right page 'reveals' itself.

Another background in my other journal - a hard back novel. It's my first altered book (first time I used a book without spirals) I have a special, almost a spiritual connection to it...
I used torn strips of my 'art paper' (where I use up any paints left over on a palette) I also used, for the first time, a piece of kitchen paper towel that I use for blotting/blending. Interesting texture...I think I like it. As is obvious from the magazine image used, you don't want to see this page after it's been journaled on. Suffice it to say, the pic very accurately depicts my feelings in a recent situation I will write about :/
Thanks for visiting.
Lena :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lucky market find

Spent the morning yesterday leisurely scouring a well known market here in Melbourne, Australia with my 14 yr old daughter. A treasure-trove of junk and lots of fantastic clothes (wish I was young again) ;) All the while I was bemoaning a lack of 'paper items' ie anything I could use as journal fodder or ephemera. Mostly novels & boring books or collectors' items too good for cutting up. Suddenly happened upon a little stall with odds & ends, among which were some hand-made journals. Some of them were made out of Little Golden Books. They were not perfect work - the young woman cut into the spines & inserted some signatures & taped them up fairly roughly with clear tape. They were not what you see really talented ladies are making at the moment on Etsy etc but better than what I could do, and they were cheap! I took all 4 of them.

Photos showing the spine and the inserted signatures interspersed with the original pages.

My first few journals were spiral-bound art diaries. I do love them but the spirals are somewhat limiting & slightly annoying :/ I have since altered a children's board book and my current journal is a 'real book', a hard-cover novel which I absolutely LOVE. There's something mysteriously satisfying about arting up a book... I am really looking forward to journalling in a Little Golden Book. Has anyone tried this? I'm thinking I would only Gesso very lightly over the original pages if at all? Any ideas and tips would be appreciated.

I also made another crazy purchase. Check out this lace drum! That's a lotta lace for a non-sewer. I almost feel guilty. I got all that (an unknown amount) for $10!!! Just to give you an idea of the value, a coffee from a coffee shop here is approx $3.50.
I am excited to have a never-ending supply of cream lace that I don't have to scrimp on. I think I will go on a vintage frenzy in my cards, ATCs and in my journal ;)

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Had a long-awaited art play-date with my friend and got inspired to do something a bit different and rather radical. I was finishing my journal page while my friend was making some greeting cards using her butterfly punch. I was looking at a bare patch on my spread and thinking aloud: "what am I going to put there?"....My friend said: "How about some of these butterflies?" Art Journalling serendipity yet again - I don't own a butterfly punch and had access to one as I was finishing a page...the page needed something but any more doodling &/or elements didn't feel a bit of a different perspective having a different kind of paper-craft near me being created....and voila! my first dimensional element on a journal page. And why not?! There are no rules right?
Lena :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


It's autumn (fall) here in Australia. I have had a beautiful scene to look at out of the dining area of my house. After a prolonged period of drought, we have had unseasonal wet weather in the last 6 months or so. Everything has been growing madly. Our feature 'fairy tree' has had a huge growth spurt (actually getting way too big for our small backyard & causing me some issues with the neighbours). In the last few weeks it has been rapidly shedding leaves resulting in a stunning golden carpet.

Just had to share it with my creative friends out there in blogland :)

Till next time,

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Shabby Chic Cards

My creative juices have been flowing in all sorts of new directions lately. Still have not done any journalling but have started playing with some papercraft again. It all started with my daughter's party. I was so inspired with the name tags we did (see previous post pic) that I decided to make some shabby chic style cards. I loved playing with bits of pastel coloured papers. It created such a different look and feel, so girly....have definitely been releasing my girly side (never been a girly girl). It was really fun limiting my colour palette too to create that particular feel. The pastels don't show up that well on puter screen but here are some for your perusal :)

I do not use a lot of commercial scrap-booking products both for economical & philosophical reasons ;) I get so much satisfaction from keeping all my scraps, they are perfect for card-making. Art Journalling has opened up a whole new range of possibilities - book print, music sheets etc. (Paper doilies are my latest obsession) How cool are they with the shabby chic look?!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bit of a break again....Thought I'd check in even though I have not done any art for months :( Life has been getting in the way again. It's been a busy few months. I have had a major creative project that I was obsessively immersed in - my daughter's 14th Birthday party. My creative juices went into overdrive as I discovered the abundance of breathtaking party blogs on the net. I saw this as my last chance to do 'girly' stuff (don't think she'll want a traditional style home party again) so I took my opportunities :) We had a vintage theme with lots of creams, pinks, lace etc. The centre-piece of the party was an Ice-Cream Sundae Buffet. Mum & daughter were very happy with the result. Here is a taste.

Anyway, the after-effect of the party is that I have had no easy access to my art materials. For months prior to the party, I took over the family dining table pretty much permanently. Next to the dining table, I had a trestle table full of art things with boxes underneath with more art things. As I needed both tables for the party, everything got packed away, fairly randomly in boxes which are now stacked up in the study. So now I have a chance to re-invent my art space. Oh how I dream of an art room!....That's not going to happen in this I have to come up with a better solution here. I really like having a clear dining table...but I need to spread out with my art too...What to do?!
It's Sunday tomorrow & I'm planning to re-organise my boxes (the clear plastic, snap lock ones) I'm even thinking of labelling them. Is that too AR? The only solution that I have come up with is to stack them like a modular tower (or 2) in the only available space in the house - the formal lounge. It will be seen from the front door... :/ It is also a much much darker space than my casual dining are at the back of the house where I like doing art. I'm thinking I will set up my trestle table there as a work station with the box tower/s next to it & only have what I'm using for a current project out on the table. Will keep you posted.

Any (cheap) storage ideas are most welcome.
Lena :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

ATC Challenge

In the spirit of the promise to myself to get more involved in the online Mixed-Media community, I have just joined the 82 ATC Challenge run by Elli at

I have played around a bit with ATCs a few years ago early on in my explorations/learning of the world of Mixed-Media and absolutely loved it. The mini-artworks are so fun to make and to admire afterwards. I have to admit that the only aspect that didn't sit well with me is the fact that you trade them ie. give away your babies ;) Yep, I don't think I'd be good at making art for a living.

I am an absolute pack rat when it comes to saving all my scraps of paper and ephemera and ATCs are a great way to use the tiniest bits for collage, as well as using up excess paint on backgrounds.

The challenge starts in a few days and I am really looking forward to playing along. Feeling a bit concerned that I will have to balance this committment with the 2 other projects I am currently doing. I am still going through the LaSirena course with Suzi Blu as well as doing the Strathmore workshop. Not to mention any Art Journalling I may want to do! But, as they say, the busiest people get the most done so I will trust that I can fit art into my everyday life better than I did in 2010.

Till next time :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Stages of a page

Having never blogged before, I had no need for progress photos of a page. I have just discovered that I 'accidentally' have a pic of a background of a page that I have now completed. Thought it was a good opportunity to show it off.

I was at a friend's house for a catch-up. She had some beautiful paper napkins on the table with our tea & cake. Well, being an art journaller (one track mind), one is seeing ephemera possibilities everywhere ;) Thank goodness it was a good friend who knows my 'madness' and before I could ask, she laughed and said:"you want that serviette, don't you?" (And gave me a hand-full of course).

Anyway, I created a pink paint background with a view to layer that napkin on it. I really love the imperfection of the wrinkles that form when you peel a layer of a tissue off a 3ply napkin. I then stencilled some sequin waste on top. The page came to a sudden halt. It was too pretty to touch.

A few months later, I was searching through my focal images....and was floored. Here she was! A perfect image for my page (in her Hawaiian sarong, the colour was perfect, love how she faces away). I cut that image from a magazine a very long time ago. She was waiting for that background all that time. I love the magic, the serendipity of the Art Journalling process.

Until next time,
Lena :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A new year, a fresh start....

I'm not usually one for new year's resolutions, but I have a strong intention to commit to regular postings on my Blog in 2011.

In the second part of 2010, my art journalling has taken a bit of a back-seat as I have come back to making cards again and challenged myself to push my comfort zone. I have been doing an on-line class with the one & only Suzi Blu. The La Sirena course was something I just had to do - it forced me to brave drawing/illustrating. Up till now I have been enjoying mixed media using mainly collage & painting techniques. I have learned so much. I now know how to make "pretty pretty girls" as Suzi says by perfecting facial symmetry using a formula. Quite a revelation.

In the absence of any new completed work, I will continue to post my old journal pages for now.

This is a very simple journal page done quickly. I spread some 'sea colours' using a credit card technique, hand cut fish from an old music book & doodled a bit with a white paint pen and a white gel pen. The page looked so peaceful & clean that I didn't feel like making it any busier. Yes, it was a challenge giving myself permission to just go with my instinct & not try & make it more arty. I decided to just put a lovely quote on it that I saved from a blog.