Saturday, 19 April 2014

She Wore Flowers In Her Hair

I am an avid reader (when I'm not painting/creating) and this quote is from one of my favourite books - The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

At one point during the creating of this page my 4 year old son said to me 'Has a rainbow been sick in your book Mummy?'. Oh how I laughed... and got the gesso out!

I posted this in Joanne Sharpe's facebook group for her book 'The Art of Whimsical Lettering' because I was so pleased with the way the quote came out (and my courage to put it on the page!) and several people asked questions so, in case you have the same ones, I'll leave my answers here too.

1. The butterflies in the background come from the original paper. I used a piece of beautiful butterfly wrapping paper when hand making the journal this piece is in. When I gesso'd it to add inks and paints I only did so thinly over the edge of the page so the butterflies are still peeking through.
2. The skin tone on the girl is created by mixing a tiny bit of watercolour  (quinacrodone rust & quinacrodone rose)  with gesso and then shading with prismacolor pencils.
3. The flowers in her hair were created with a modelling paste stencil (after all the background and face had been completed) which I then brushed diluted watercolour over the top of.

Do you use quotes from your favourite books in your work? Or have a favourite recipe for skin tones you'd like to share?

Friday, 11 April 2014

Lettering and Hafiz

As an art journaler I sometimes like to add quotes & thoughts to my pieces. But, like a lot of people, I find my handwriting messy and quite often end up resorting to using Photoshop to add words.

Like this.

I made the background using glimmer mists and Dr P.H. Martin Bombay inks (which are permanent) along with stencils, some acrylics, gesso and modelling paste.

Afterwards I scanned it and added the quote with Photoshop.

I loved the process of making the background but I felt like I'd cheated with the words.

Then my copy of Joanne Sharpe's new book - The Art of Whimsical Lettering arrived.

It's packed full of ideas and exercises to help with your lettering so I set to straight away and began practising, practising, practising.

And after a few days I felt confident to try another quote from Hafiz on a background I'd made at the same time as the previous one.

I didn't cheat. And it turned out OK.

Do you like your writing? What books have inspired you to try something you were afraid of? What have you practised every day and then felt able to try?

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Live Love Surf

This week I made my first youtube video of my painting process. Actually it was my first youtube video ever.

This is the piece I painted.

And this is the video.

I created this piece for my friends at Lulu Art Mixed Media Supplies in Australia. If you take the time to watch it I hope you learn something interesting and enjoy watching my process.

In my journal this week I've been playing with quotes and birds. This one is words by Hafiz, text by Photoshop and background by me.

I really have to work on my hand lettering. I wish I could write this kind of thing myself but my writing never looks this good. Practice no doubt will make a huge difference...
Have you caught the happy virus this week?

Friday, 28 March 2014


I've been doing a lot of thinking this week. There are some new things happening in my life that are taking me in a direction I've barely imagined for a long time. It's awesome, but also a little daunting.

I found it very useful to use my art journal to write some difficult things down before I covered it all in paint & collage. Then when I looked at the jumble I'd created I found this thoughtful soul.

Does art journaling help you see things differently/clearly? What do you do when you have stuff you need to think about?

Friday, 21 March 2014

Fragility and Flowers

I've wanted to be able to draw/paint flowers for a long time but I never seem to have the patience to get in all the detail they seem to need.

However, it struck me this week that they didn't have to be that complicated to still get their fleeting fragility (which is what they symbolise to me) onto the page. As I've been feeling pretty fragile all this week it seemed a good time to try a different approach.

Instead of trying to capture every crinkle, every shadow, I've gone for something much more illustrative and simple. Using acrylic ink & a dip pen to create an outline, I drew the basic contour onto a pre prepared layered background. Then, after the ink had dried, I went in with Twinkling H2Os and used wet on wet to get a mottled  textured petal coverage. Of course they don't look 'real', but I do think it's kept the fragility that the flowers represent to me so I'll definitely be trying this more.

The quote is from Alice in Wonderland. When I read the book as a young girl I always knew the flowers who say the words were referring to girls like me.

Do you have any tips for drawing/painting flowers? Or any special symbols for how you're feeling now?

Sunday, 9 March 2014

A Little Bit Crazy

It's been a lot crazy round here the last few weeks and I think it's only the start. My parents are visiting from overseas, I've done an intensive training course and exam (which I passed) for a new consulting business, and I'm now part of Lulu Art's design team. It's pure magic.

Lulu Art is an awesome online mixed media art supplies shop here in Australia and the choice of products is incredible. And I'm not just saying that because I'm part of the design team. The owner is an artist/art journaller herself and really knows the kinds of products we all love.

I haven't had much time for art in amongst the crazy but managed to put this piece together for a round robin journal swap I'm doing. This is a photo because I can't get neon to scan - if anyone knows how to please leave full instructions in the comments.

Do you still feel young and wild and a little crazy? If so we're in good company together. :-)

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

How unique to this human experience that we all just wish to be the most important thing on Earth to someone else. - Tyler Knott Gregson

I hope you're someone's most important thing today and every day.

Here's a free printable valentine I created just for you.