Thursday, 26 April 2018

A-Z Challenge- U= Underneath

A few months ago I participated in an online course with Desiree East as part of my wish to know some basics about expressing creatively on canvas.

We began with painting on canvas and week by week we painted over what had gone before.

I was quite pleased with part of what appeared in week one and was reluctant to paint over it, and then paint over that, but I was there to learn, so followed Desiree's guidance.

Eventually only I knew what was underneath, and even that was just a memory.
I began to enjoy painting in layers.
Last weekend Giselle Grenier took group members through a process of creating art on a small substrate and we began with gesso, then collage then added embellishments so the interesting piece  of paper with Russian text got covered over quite a bit and again, only I know what is underneath.

I quite liked the end result and have also learned more about composition and layout, which may well lead to a more pleasing ATC when I next do a swap.

The word 'substrate' kept being mentioned and it sounded quite grand to my novice ears, but it just means background, or what is underneath. It can be card, paper, canvas, wood..anything.

I have also heard the word 'substrate' in Ramana Maharshi's teachings.
In this context it refers to that upon on in which all of this world appears, including its art workshops, artists, art journals, paint card, gesso and modge podge.

Monday, 23 April 2018

A=Z Challenge-T is for Treasure

I was listening to Jena Houston's replay of Quantum Powers and was intrigued by her reference to Tibetan Tema- hidden treasures.
I love the idea of a holy man centuries ago hiding physical and spiritual treasures to be discovered by the worthy and devout.
I wonder what these treasures actually are?

In the context of this A-Z challenge theme of art journalling etc, I have to say that some of my worldly treasure includes wonderful ephemera I have received from swappers, including some lovely purple organza ribbon and an envelope full of steam punkish stuff.

A neighbour gave me a box of vintage lace and another gave me a century old piece of lace from her godmother.

There is also the treasure of good ideas.

The newest swap idea is to create a page about an imaginary ancestor, with a picture and a bio and whatever else we come up with.
This will be a 12 month project so at the end we will have posted and received 12 pages and we will be join how to put them together to form a journal. We begin with an imaginary ancestor from 1700's and I already have an idea.
I won't write about it until I have finished it, as writing might dissipate the creative energy.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

A-Z Challenge-S is for Silver

We are on the home stretch now and I am glad I have kept up.
It has been interesting to visit such a variety of blogs too, to see what others are blogging about.

So- silver. I thought about this for a while and realised I do not paint with silver very much.
I have several shades of gold acrylic paint which I enjoy using for postcards for swaps and I found some gold card at a recent fund raiser for guide dogs, which I have used as a substrate for postcards.
I added pictures of Krishna and some jewels and am pleased with the gleaming, radiating outcome.

There was some silver card with the gold, but i have not used that yet, and I cant remember the last times I painted with silver of if I even have any silver paint in my stash...let me have a look..ah yes, I do have a tube and it is nearly all used up....that surprises me- maybe I used it to paint a back ground page or 2 in an art journal.

I will make a point of using the silver card to make a postcard this week, and also to create another one with silver paint.

I enjoyed an hour with Giselle Grenier yesterday as she guided us through making a small piece of mixed media art, so will use her replay to make a slightly larger silver themed one.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

A-Z Challenge-R is for Rubbish

I went to an event yesterday and looked in the rubbish bin in the hallway outside the venueto see if I could use anything at the top of the pile in one of my trash /junk journals. We are supposed to use at least 50% trash/re-cycled stuff.
A discarded black box looked quite interesting but i decided my behaviour was a bit odd- so put it back.

The event was about the life and work of Bill Mitchell, an artist and director and the title of the day was
'Ideas from the Attic'. I did not know anything about him or his work but know he seems to be a kindred spirit.
His attic is full of items he collected, or stuff he made as part of his process.
I envy him the space to store all that stuff.

Some of the items were on show and I loved his box art..and some of the stuff I would call rubbish, but there were small sand boxes for us to play with small bits of this rubbish, and a lot of us got creative with it.

I am collecting black/mysterious/Gothic ephemera and have an album with the intention of creating a black journal and after browsing through some of his art journals I have a feeling it will actually get created soon.

I have  returned with renewed enthusiasm to a journal I am making for a trashy/flowish junk journal swap.

A stall holder at the local Tuesday flea market says she will bring in her box of discarded junk for me too...will she remember..will I be able to use any of it, and if not, will I be able to throw it away?

Thursday, 19 April 2018

A-Z Challenge -Q is for Quintessence

When I do the A-Z challenges Q can be a bit of a challenge, but the word Quintessence popped up.

How does that connected with my creativity?
Perhaps it is to do with a love of words and a love of unusual words or ones we do not use so often.

I wondered about using 'quintessential' as my Q post

It seems like it is a golden and gleaming word that if we lived from it, would lead to whole new worlds opening up.

There is a hippy  shop called Quintessential in Truro , my nearest city. Next time I pass it I will call in and ask them why they chose that name

Challenge for you.
What if you use quintessence in a conversation this week
Let me know how that goes.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

A-Z Challenge- P is for Postcards

This year I joined in with a global 365 project which entails making 365 somethings in a year.
This might be a daily something or 7 a week, or 30 a month.
I chose to create 365 postcards in 2018.
I knew I would not do one a day, so aim for 30-ish per month.
Today is day 109 and I have created 111, so am slightly ahead of myself.

I also have a long piece of vintage paper that I painted yesterday during a video that was part of a 21 Secrets course I treated myself to.
She was showing us how she does a background which inspired me to give it a go, and I like the peach, yellow, red postcard background I can now cut out to create 2 post cards and the remaining is a background for an atc.

I might add some gold leaf.

I have also signed up for my 2nd 10 Postcard swap with Hannah.

I participated a few months ago and enjoyed making them and receiving 10 in return.

New skills have been learnt in the interim months and I have already made 3 cards using text and napkins..wish I had a camera to show you the outcomes.

I find the 6x4'' format more satisfying to work on than playing card size atc's, though I will continue to make those as part of a fb swap group.

If you would like to swap a postcard with me, leave a comment below!

Monday, 16 April 2018

A-Z Challenge -O- oh that's lovely

Writing a bit more about art journal pages and the signature and ephemera swaps I take part in each month.

It took me months to participate....but eventually I jumped in.
I signed up for my first ephemera swap in the facebook group,  where we send each other beautiful stuff we can use in our own creativity.
I sent my partner what I considered lovely stuff but the stuff I got from her was far from lovely.
It seemed like she had not read the guidelines but had sent me scraps from her art table...quite a disappointment.

I did not let that put me off, and signed up again for the following month.

My partner was new to ephemera swaps so I sent her the guidelines and she asked me what I loved, I said steam punk, Gothic, mystery and languages and when I opened her envelope and began to explore the contents, this time I could say over and over ' oh that's lovely'.
It sure made up for envelope one. It was so generous and full of interesting goodies. She really played the game.

My next partner changed her mind about swapping and now I await one for this month.
My plan is that when she opens hers from me she thinks..oh that's lovely.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

A-Z Challenge- N - no ideas

Wondering about N this morning and at the moment I have no ideas...well I had one- the idea to write about no ideas.
Sometimes that happens at the writing group.
I take in several prompts which seemed interesting earlier in the month when I designed the session, but on the actual morning when we meet, there is no inspiration.
I say to new people who come along to just put pen  on paper and write what you write.
At times I have to follow my own advice, including this morning.

I will see if anything emerges later today, fingers crossed for an addendum.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

a-z challenge...Lis for Lally Mille

I do not recall how I came across Lally Mille. Maybe she participated in an online series where artists talk about their work.
I am glad I discovered her as her work is lovely, soft, gentle, feminine and light filled.
She sometimes does tasters so keep an eye out for those. I have done several.
I also treated myself to her 'Little Book of Whispers' which is gorgeous. She takes us step by lacy step through creating our own artist book.
Image result for vintage lace images
I love antique lace but did not have any to begin this project, but after asking around I acquired some including 2 small pieces of lace that must be at least 100 years old.

How did I get so lucky.

Do you adore a vintage something?

Thursday, 12 April 2018

A-Z Challenge...K-kusumashayanipaatin

Word of the day: "kusumashayanipaatin" -
"having the tendency to fall into a bed of flowers" (Sanskrit),
used by the classical Sanskrit writer Kālidāsa to describe bees in his mini-epic poem of the six seasons, the Ṛtusaṃhāra.

How lovely to have a tendency to fall into flowers.
How lovely to be a bee all day visiting flowers.
Do bees get hay fever?
That would be unfortunate

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

A-Z Challenge- J is is for Journaling

  afew years ago I came across a book- 'True Colours' in a charity shop. It was a record of a group of 15 arty types who created a group project.
Each member chose a colour palette and created an art journal page using that colour, then posted it to the 2nd name on the list who added her art journal page using the same colour scheme.
After some time each woman got her page back plus lots of others, so she had a journal full of pages in her chosen colour.

I loved that idea and wished I had a community to do that with.
Fast forward a few years and I came across the deconstructed art journal page on FB

The person who set it up had a similar idea about a travelling journal, but had been disappointed by people not being fully committed, unlike the first group I mentioned.
In this group we swap a single page on a theme she suggests, with an allocated partner.

I enjoy these monthly creations and it is fun to get interesting pages in the post and so far everyone I have been partnered with has honoured our arrangement.

I would still love to be part of a group of 8-12 people who create a traveling journal..what would it take for that to happen?

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

A-Z Challenge- I-Inspiration

Playing catch up on the challenge, but at least I am still playing. So, who or what inspires me?
The main focus of this A-Z is connected to arty stuff and not actually classical art, or known painters- more the art journaling world I fell into not too long ago.
There are a lot of videos on youtube where people show us their journaling process and some of those inspire me enough to subscribe and at times to take notes.

I am a m member of deconstructed art journals group on FB and after a swap people post what they have received and these give me new ideas on what I could include in my next swap.
The challenges themselves are also an inspiration as I have to let go of 'I cant do this' and actually find a way to do it.
Gisele Grenier put up a swap theme...steam punk birds....this was a stretch and I did 3 postcards with the final one being good enough to actually send to my partner in Germany.
I was inspired by a small piece of ephemera sent by someone in Norway.
She had included a diagram of the inside of birds wings and at the time I had no idea what I would do with them, yet several months later they became moveable wings on my steam punk bird.
What else is possible with my creativity now.
What else is possible with your creativity now?

A-Z Challenge- H -Happy Mail

My mail is usually not that interesting...and a lot of it is junk mail.
Things have changed since I joined a few art swap groups, where we swap art and ephemera.
Now I get a lot of happy mail- Deconstructed art journal pages, decorated pages and ephemera...and often packed into decorated envelopes.
My envelopes are often plain and usually re-cycled, but recently I got some stamps and the last one I posted had shapes all over the back.
The lady at the post office remarked on them to.
She especially liked the stag.

The first ephemera swap I did with someone was a disappointment. It seemed like she had just sent me scraps and bits, but the 2nd swap was happy mail indeed.
I told her I was interested in steam punk, Gothic, mysterious and different languages and her envelope was stuffed full of yummy things, which made me more inclined to participate in future.

What's your most recent 'happy mail"?

Sunday, 8 April 2018

A-Z Challenge- G is for Gisele Grenier

I came across Gisele Grenier on youtube, that fount of all knowledge, when I was looking for more about art journaling.
I watched some of her videos on how to create backgrounds, there were informative, fun and enjoyable and I gave them a go.

She has her own community group and often runs a one hour online group which are fun to take part in.

She has a couple coming up this month.

F- is for Finds- A-Z Challenge

Don't you just love 'finds'?
Yesterday I went to  a fundraiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind, which  a local woman had organised.

I wondered if there might b e some goodies on the bric-a brac- stall..maybe some interesting old books full of vintage pages for art journalling.
There were a couple of finds..a handy small basket to store supplies and some gold art card.
I began making some postcards with the gold card this morning for the DIY Postcard project via IHannah.
I covered the plain side with copper acrylic paint and was quite amused at its response.
I am used to card bending  a little, but this one really curled up and looked like a copper bangle.
I managed to straighten it with a heavy book, ready to add some gold stenciling.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

E- A-Z Challenge

I am doing some alphabet ATC swaps. I did A,B,C and sent them off, then did D,E,F.

For E I did 'Legs Eleven', with a small pair of legs cut out of a magazine, then then the Roman numerals for eleven, This was on a copper background. I was quite pleased to have thought up a creative idea.

G,H,I  will be coming up soon and I hope I notice the swap on the day it's posted on facebook- the swaps are too easy to miss.
I already have a plan to do something gold for G

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

D for Dylan -A-Z Challenge

I thought it would be 'dance' or maybe blend it with Degas, but it turns out today's riff is Dylan.
I have a ticket to listen to a performance about his life this evening. It is turning out to be a bit of a performance about getting to the venue.
I planned to book a taxi into town to avoid a long bus journey on an unreliable service, but two firms I contacted have no drivers available..did not factor that into my plans.

Fingers crossed for more success with a third firm today.

I have to confess to being a bit of a snob about tribute bands, but for some reason this one appealed.
Lots of my favourite songs are promised and I just have to hope I don't get too nostalgic.

I have heard Dylan perform live and wonder if he is seen/heard in public much theses days.
I got to the venue easily and in plenty of time.
The entertainment was good, the lead guitarist and piano player were superb.
I had to close my eyes at times as the visual imagery on the backdrop was too disturbing.
It was good that the venue was almost full.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Creativity Matters- A-Z Challenge (C)

I am a day behind as I did not realise we were starting on the Sunday. In previous years we have not posted on a Sunday.

The important thing is that I overcame inertia and actually started typing this morning.

'Creativity Matters is a great title for a podcast and this is one I enjoy.
I love the sound and timbre of her voice as well as the content, and it encourages me to create.
That is one of the reasons I joined this April A-Z.

My creativity at the moment is keeping up with the challenges I chose- this one and a daily list one, plus the 365 postcards in 2018 I began a few weeks ago.

And I am puzzling over how I am going to use the Norman Rockwell theme to create something on 8x8' card to swap with someone.
This artist is not someone who inspires me, and I am curious as to how I even know about his work.
I googled him of course, and discovered his Four Freedoms series and may well depict the 4 freedoms in my own way, maybe with collage plus some drawing.

There is a temptation to remove my name from the list of people who want to take part in this project.
That is an easy way out, and is not exactly an invitation to creativity is it?

Monday, 2 April 2018

Books.- A-Z Challenge 2018

B for Books...that gives me a lot of scope. There are endless books to choose from, and I am choosing  'Book Art' by Dorothy Krause today.
My copy arrived the other month, all the way from US. I heard about it when I watched the free course
'The thread that weaves' . It is a series of videos on how to make an artist book.
I have seen a lot of artists books on Pinterest and wish I could create something half as beautiful as the ones I have seen.

I made my first one recently as part of an art swap organised on

I used my vintage paper from a 1950's paper mill and some handmade Nepalese paper with petals embodied within it.
No camera though so no pics, although my swap buddy might post a pic then I can share it here.

Book Art has a load of ideas. I have another art swap this month and plan to make another tryptych for my swap buddy.

Artist Trading Cards. A-Z Challenge 2018

I heard about artist trading cards  (ATC) not long ago. They seemed to be something others could make, but not me. However, that has changed as I began to make some to swap.

They are usually 2.5x3.5'' and can be created from a variety of materials.
I have used watercolour paper, vintage paper and cardboard from the packaging around frozen fruit.

My initiation was when I joined an Inspirational Card swap organised by Jessica Brogan.

We altered 54 playing cards, decorating them with a chosen theme.

When I took part in a 2nd swap I decided to create my own with watercolour paper as the playing cards were shiny and difficult to a novice to deal with.

I finished 3 cards on March 22nd as part of an arranged swap via a FB group.

We could create 3 cards using D/E/F  as out inspiration.

I chose Dharma, Legs Eleven and Father.
The cards I make are simple compared to some I have received in swaps, but we all have to start somewhere, and I can see improvements.