Thursday, May 3, 2012

Quickie foam stamps

It was a very cold and rainy day here today, I had a day off work, food shopping could wait one more day....only one thing for it - ART!  This was a rare day of luxury, a day just for me....

I watched some videos from my current course "52 Playdates" by the wonderful Jan Fox. Week 7 video was about DIY foam stamps. Jan was using an idea from Traci Bunkers to make very easy foam stamps, with a twist...After watching Jan's and then Traci's original videos, I was excited!

The basic concept is that you heat up foam with a heat gun and press the foam onto an object. I didn't have any flip-flops (or similar foam) to cut up but remembered that I had some smooth foam shapes in my stamp box waiting to be used "one day". I ran around the house madly looking for some small textural objects and got to work.

I now have a small collection of fun stamps that took me literally minutes to make. What fun! 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

My pretty pretty page

Yet another incident of the magic of Art Journalling!
A fair while ago, I created a "pretty pretty background" in my art journal. I took some background colour block stripes from a fashion catalogue (roughly cut around the model) as my inspiration and created a page around that.
The images were chosen mainly because they coordinated with the colour scheme. There was no reason for the bird-cage apart from the fact that it looked good against the background. I went wild with my Uniball Signo white pen and my dot obsession and created a pretty pretty page. It was so pretty and so clean and perfect, I truly could not imagine I would ever find a suitable topic and was quite prepared just to leave it.

 Well, as it so often happens, after many months, I had a bright and exciting development in my life that I needed to journal about. My oldest child finally has started taking public transport to school - a huge change in our life. I have always driven my kids to and from school as well as any extra-cirricular activities after school. She is now ready to be independent and self-reliant and has confidently "gone out into the world".

Casually leafing through my journal looking for a background, I suddenly stopped on this page - the mood felt right, the amount of available journalling space seemed sufficient...and then it struck me that the cage (with the bird flying out) was utterly perfect for the subject matter!
I so love the spiritual nature of art journalling....Never ceases to amaze me :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

More recent pages

 Ever since I have 'inhabited' the online art-journalling world, I enviously read of the Art Retreats that US ladies partake of, I have held a dream of one day going on some sort of get-away with women where you switch-off from the responsibilities of life, feed off each other's creative energy and just play.
So recently, my dream came true, kind of...I went away on a creative week-end with 3 other women. It wasn't quite what I envisioned. The other ladies were all scrap-bookers, of a rather...umm...functional style....decorating was not a priority....This was not quite a warm fuzzy gathering, Brave Girls-style (if you aren't aware of this, my ultimate dream - I was doing my 'arty thing' on my own. It took me a while to get into the flow but I did manage to create something. The 2 spreads below are some of the work I got done that week-end.

This page was built on a very old background early on in this journal. It was blue and green, washed over with gesso and stamped with the swirly stamp. This background was left behind for quite a long time as nothing really suited it until now. On my creative week-end, I had a very limited box of supplies (3 of us car pooled with our respective craft supplies, personal items including bedding and food contribution for the week-end, so space was limited). I have read in the past that it is a good exercise to limit one's materials once in a while so this was my opportunity. Not easy! To my horror I forgot to pack any scrap-booking (printed) papers. Brought a stack of serviettes (my favourite layering element) and my Art Papers (where I use up my paint left overs). Surprisingly, I found this background a 'home' under these limiting circumstances. I had the vintage-looking lady magazine image for a few years. I really liked her dress and overall look. Inspiration struck and she finally made it into my journal. The tulip and the yellow/red/green pieces are a serviette, craft paper strips, script stamp, bubble wrap stamping and doodling. Voila! Very happy with this page as the subject matter is very topical in my life at the moment and it fitted into this page well.

This page was started at the week-end away and finished off at home. I took advantage of being with scrap-booking ladies to borrow their puzzle pieces punch. I used my Art Paper for the pieces as well as the art doll's dress. I also used a discarded  red wavy border card-stock piece and arted it up. I also picked up the white heart punchie off the floor. Love that perverse satisfaction I get from using scraps in mixed media ;)

The original magazine face was way too pretty and a bit soul-less (especially after I decided what this page was going to be about) I'm very happy with the 'improvement'. At home, I doodled, added rub-ons and the quote from my stash of magazine lettering (my husband calls it my "ransom notes") :)
I feel that the lady is a bit unfinished, I think I lost interest in this page and gave myself permission to leave it and move on ;)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Some recent art journalling

A page of many layers. Not a "pretty page", a bit of a hodge-podge of layers over many months. It began as many of my pages do with me randomly spreading left-over paint from other work. There were freehand paint doodles which are now mostly covered up, tissue paper, loosely torn circles with inked edges and stamps. As I came back to this page and added more it didn't get any less chaotic. So recently I decided it was time to finish it off, especially as I had a topic to journal that seemed to suit the page. I added the hand and the butterfly, journalled, added the beautiful quote and decided I was fairly happy with the outcome.
This is one of my most favourite pages ever. After a bit of a break from art journalling, I watched some videos by a new artist I discovered via Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's Art Journal Everyday series. Surprisingly, this was the first time I came across the guest artist Janine I'm a visual learner and watching a few of her videos really got my creative juices going. I pretty much replicated some of the elements used in her pages just for the exercise and the fun of breaking out of my usual style. "Discovered" a very simple (but oh so satisfying) technique of putting down a few blobs of paint and using a plastic fork to fan it out in all directions.
Anyway, somehow in this process of trying a different style, I ended up using a colour combination that was not what I would have normally chosen (which incidentally was not at all Janine's colours). Not sure how it happened but this page looks so vibrant and makes me really happy. Unfortunately some of the colour is lost in the pic and I don't use photoshop to be able correct it. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Another lucky market find

Another shopping morning at the iconic Camberwell market in Melbourne with my vintage obsessed 15 yr old daughter. So much groovy clothing, most of which she is a bit young for and a whole heap of junk (to put it bluntly). I kept thinking, give me someone selling paper or something I can use. There were lots of old sewing pattern packs but I have a few which will last me a while.
All of a sudden, I see a middle aged man selling girly junky toys and stationery items, many with a printed vintage paper doll design. Notebooks, bookmarks, pencil cases etc. I got the distinct impression that he didn't really understand what he was selling ;)
My daughter bought a mouse-pad and the man gave her a bonus bookmark (I think he thought she was cute).
Anyway, among all that, a treasure for me! Woohoo!

Apologies for the quality of the photo (taken with my mobile phone).
I didn't bother asking the man if they were new (look pretty good condition) If anyone knows anything about these ie. are they just antique-style???, I would love some info.
It wasn't much cheaper than I would find at a scrapbooking store but it looks old...and I liked the font...and I don't have a lower case small alphabet set. I'm happy :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Postcards are ready to go!

Well my postcards for iHanna's DIY Postcard Swap are ready to be mailed tomorrow. I am sending cards to Canada, Slovenia, UK, Sweden and USA. Very exciting. Looking forward to checking my mailbox in the next week or so and to see what I get.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Postcard Swap

I am thrilled to have taken the plunge to participate in iHanna's Postcard Swap We were to make 10 postcards in any style to send to 10 people around the world. I am so excited to have finished my cards this afternoon! Now just waiting for my addresses.
I haven't blogged about my process until I finished and could show the steps I took to get to the end. So ...I started with hand-cutting hearts from my art paper (papers painted with any left over paint I have on my paint pallet, usually spread with a credit card) 

This is the first art swap I have participated in and feeling sentimental as I started thinking of the creative women around the world that I would be exchanging with, I felt that I wanted to send a message of love. I had a vague idea of using a heart as a focal image and putting it on a shabby chic style background.
 Here just loosely threw them on to see the proportion to the card and to work out the positioning of the hearts.
 Collaged backgrounds with book pages, music paper, sewing paper tissue and serviettes.
 Then I gave them a peach-coloured wash.
 At this stage, I dry brushed some white paint to blend the background in further and stencilled a lace pattern...with...wait for it.....decorative cupcake wraps! My friend brought me a few from a wedding she attended knowing enough of my mixed-media "madness" to realise how much I would appreciate it ;) Then glued on the hearts.
 I then flicked some cream acrylic paint from a paint-brush. Loved the effect, even if it looked a bit like snow :)
 My finished cards! To finish off, I doodled around the hearts, put my favourite quote on and shaded around it with pencil.
Here are some close ups:

Finally I stuck on some postcard backs that iHanna provided for us. Even though I will be sending them in envelopes to protect them, I glued on some used stamps for that authentic postal look and to give a symbolic gift of my country. There will also be a personal message on each card.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

52 Playdates: week 1

As part of my commitment to myself to make time for art this year, I have joined year-long art play at Jan is guiding the group with weekly prompts and techniques. I am really behind but will soldier on! This is my exercise from week 1: Blending technique for collage. I loved this technique. Got to use pastels for the first time. They were surprisingly fun to use and using them with gesso in this way I did not find them to be messy at all. Didn't even need to use the sealing spray that I bought.

I have dedicated my long-desired treasure to this project - my first Moleskine (watercolour) that my hubby gave me for my recent birthday. Still not sure how far I will go beyond the technique of the week ie. whether to keep it to the technique only or complete a journal page with the weekly technique as a foundation....Yes I think too much ;) Promised myself I will go with the flow and not set any rigid rules.
For this week's exercise, I was focused on picking a magazine image of a suitable size (big enough to be a focal point on an A4 page) and for it to be suitable for extending the background. Having found an image, I was looking through my file of magazine words, with no clue as to what 'she' was going to be about. Again, I was mainly looking for colour and font style. Lo and behold! Art journal magic, yet again. Perfect words for the situation. A new start, an opportunity for play for a new year.
I did some light journalling to complete the page, not wanting to obscure the technique for myself. The answer to the question above re: how far to take the page? For this week, it's somewhere in between ;)

A Birthday Canvas

Well it seems I'm quite obsessed with Canvasses lately. Have been doing very little art since the start of the year and choosing canvases rather than art journalling when I do. The only time my 2 current art journals have been getting attention is when I have laid down some background colour from anything I have remaining on the pallet from painting canvases ;)

It was my little sister's birthday recently so I decided to make a personal gift from the heart rather than buying yet more 'stuff'. We have had many deep conversations lately which reminded me of the how special our relationship is. Even though we have 10 years' age difference, we are very close spiritually and for all our differences, understand each other like no-one else can. I had a strong need to give a message of love to her.

A very interesting thing happened....because she is a red/pink person and I am so not (I relate to a cool colour scheme of purple/green/blue the most) and because it was an intimate gift from the heart, I got a creative block! It took me weeks to complete. I knew I wanted to do a red/turquoise combo and for it to have a strong modern look. It started out as a faded vintage canvas with turquiose dominant. It kept evolving. I ended up giving it a red wash at the end which unified the patchy look that I wasn't happy with and turned it into a very strong red canvas. I am very happy with the hand-torn flowers which I made out of my own 'art paper'. I glued them in the middle only for a dimensional look.

The thing that made me most happy was that after I finished it, I noticed a typical art-journalling serendipity (art-journal magic moment which happens so often) The semi-hidden circle in the top right corner is of a similar style to my flowers (which I 'invented' on the spot ie. had no idea how they would turn out and certainly did not plan for the little sticker centres which ended up matching the scrap-booking paper I used in the background scraps) Gotta love that! :)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Washi Tape

After a long time of wanting, I finally bought my first batch of Washi Tape. Yummy! Now where do I start???

Friday, February 17, 2012


I have recently tidied up my art space (a trestle table next to the family dining table) leaving only my current projects on top. My cat Casper took a liking to the new cleaner table. This is how I found him, 2 days in a row.
 On Saturday, unceremoniously planted right on top of my canvasses, happily snoozing away! (I woke him with my camera flash)

On Sunday, after I stacked my canvasses, left my Art Journal open with collage papers spread out. He still wedged himself in. Ahhh...the life of a cat! ;)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Some older journal pages...

Thought I'd post a few older journal spreads until I have something current to show...

This was a fairly simple page where I made my first paper stencil (just folding a piece of paper in half and cutting out a freeform image) which I then gesso'd around. So much fun! I have to say I still love this page, it really does achieve the intended effect for me ;)

This was my first attempt at a more 'loose', graffiti-style page. It looks very timid from where I stand now but I do like the colours. I have just started an online course Doodles Unleashed with Traci Bautista through so looking forward to being more confident with paint doodling. I have been a follower of Tracy's blog for a few years and love her style. So good to see her process. I'm yet to put paint to paper. Have been enjoying the holidays too much and spending lots of decadent time on the computer (we are on summer holidays here).

My family and I are about to go on a family holiday for 11 days so I will have to wait till we come back.

Both of these pages were done in my favourite art journal, my only altered book - a hard-back fiction novel. My other journals are all spiral sketchbooks. There is something very special about this journal, can't quite put my finger on's somehow cuddlier ;)