Sunday, 28 April 2013

I'm afraid I must withdraw...

I have realised today, or rather reaffirmed this idea which has been floating around for a few months, that as an artist I have a great need to withdraw into myself. When that doesn't happen as much as I need to I end up cranky, bad tempered and with a low mood. Unfortunately, I'm struggling to withdraw properly at the moment and it's making me a crappy person at times in all my roles - bad mother, wife, friend and colleague. I can’t help feeling this way so I have apologised this weekend to my family for my behaviour which has been particularly acute this week.
A drain on my time is my Open University degree, I’m studying a BA Hons Open degree which is a varied degree on the arts - for me it’s early years care and education, art history and creative writing/literature. I love my studies and education is an absolute gift which I truly realised recently after almost packing in my degree. However, as I come to the end of my third year of six (it’s part-time distance learning so it takes double the length) I am struggling to keep it together. The finishing line is in sight though and I’m trying to find that balance. Today, working on the CAPI course (see side bar and previous post on CAPI for details) has brought a few breakthroughs including these thoughts :O). I’m also planning my way forward in developing my style which is slowly being revealed through CAPI and I shall blog more about that soon.

Does anyone else feel this need to withdraw? I’m pretty confident you do and would love to hear about how you strike the balance? How you manage those times where time for you and your art is severely marginalised?
Looking inward, time to contemplate...

Happy arting everyone

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Back to Business Wednesday Week 2 Making Stock

I know, I said this would be on a Monday but heck things are so crazy around here I’m lucky to be blogging at all. As a mum, wife, deputy manager in a pre-school and mature student with the Open University life is pretty hectic. I am currently building up to my last assignment and then exam in June. The summer will so be delicious with no work and studies but filled with art and family time! I CAN’T WAIT.

The summer will see me develop my logo for "Into the Mix" (I have a baseline image) and also create some stock. For my initial run I shall be making journals both altered and from scratch. I need a starting point and instead of getting lost in the millions of ideas I have I am focusing on journal making. I have caught the bug and just love creating what I hope will be a magical place for someone to create beautiful art. As I’ve mentioned before I have recently made a journal for my soul sister HK in Canada, here are some pics of that:


As you can see I have left pages incomplete for HK to fill in as she chooses which was so much fun J .

I am now making one for her 11 year old daughter as a surprise, here’s some pics:


HK's daughter loves all things ancient Greek, so I drew my favourite Greek deity Persephone.



The sticking point is adapting them for general sale, so this summer will see me doing lots of playing and experimenting as well as drawing upon the knowledge of the journal making queen Jennibellie. 

Gotta run, I have a journal to finish.

Happy arting everyone

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Make it Snappy!

As well as mixed media and acrylic, I love photography. I’m getting into this more and more as I use my humble phone camera to snap images from my environment. I especially enjoy natural places such as woodland and local/country parks. Yet, as I take more pictures I have begun to notice the quirks in the city too, things catch my photographer’s eye and suddenly I have an interesting image.

A fellow mature student and photography enthusiast was discussing how people have said he must miss a lot of his environment as he’s too busy taking photographs, he replied it was quite the opposite. Indeed, you do noticed so much more behind the lens and everything has the potential to end up as a snap, a captured moment, a piece of art…Special thanks to the amazing Courtney Brook aka Little Raven Ink for starting me on the road to photography last year. Courtney encourgaes you to snap everything: your breakfast, your favourite mug, the sky, your feet while out soon start to have the confidence to take pics of everything.

What's down the path? Where does it lead?
Nature reclaiming.
Here be dragons...
Childhood loveliness. Just look at those bubbles...
"Legal" graffiti at a contemporary art gallery :)
So start TODAY!
Happy snapping everyone!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Continuing to Move Past the Fear

Hey folks
Just over a week ago I blogged ("Moving Past the Fear" - Mon 1st April) about my canvas piece, the process of taking a leap and being brave enough to delve in thanks to the guidance of Flora Bowley. I spent a couple of hours on it on Sunday, as a well done to myself for working hard on my latest assignment, and here's the progress:

It was a frustrating session at times, it did't flow as well as it had on previous days but I took it steady, experimented a bit and it worked out well in the end. I can see where it's going now and feel a tree is emerging on the left and the woman on that side with her baby on her back needs highlighing in lilac. It's good to have plans to go back to when you finish a painting session. As I struggled I also reminded myself this was my first canvas and to just enjoy the ride, see what the paints can do and how brilliant this canvas will be to look back on in a few years :).
Happy arting everyone

Monday, 8 April 2013

Back to Business Monday - Week 1 CAPI

  Welcome to my first "Back to Business Monday", every Monday I'll blog about how setting up my business "Into the Mix" is going... 
In order to set myself up under the business “Into the Mix” I need products, stuff to sell, wares to wield, gorgeous loveliness to brandish and my own unique art to unleash upon the world. Ok, but first I need to nail my own STYLE. Hmmm, not as easy and obvious as it sounds. I looked at my work in the new year and realised I didn’t have a core style and this is where CAPI 2013 came in.
CAPI stands for “Create Art Portfolio Ideas” and is a free online art course by the wonderful Milliande. The course is all about drawing out your own unique style, it’s a slow paced course you can join at any time and you can follow it on Milliande’s site, the CAPI Facebook group and at The CAPI ning group. The accompanying videos are available on Youtube and there’s also stuff on Pinterest! Phew, lots to see and do!
I wont blah on about the assignments, the different sketchbooks and files you’re encouraged to keep and so on, I’ll leave that to Milliande! However, I will post some of my work in stages so you get an idea of the process:


Early stage free-association drawing where you pick out forms and shapes to work with. I picked this one as it looks like a woman with a flowing dress.


Developing the form and on this photo you can see a woman which most resembles that original form.

Starting to test her out in different mediums...

Oil pastel.


Now she has some friends...

I can see these becoming a series on greetings cards and prints too. I LOVE these figures and find them so effortless to create. I love how they link to the natural world and are so simple in design.

So, watch this space, folks.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Remember what you were Told About Leftovers…

I like to think of myself as a frugal artist, I don’t like to waste anything (remember what you were told as a child about waste!)  and more and more I’m finding ways of using everything in inventive ways. This is, in part, thanks to the gorgeous Jennibellie whose blog could be entitled "The Frugal Artist", she’s incredible and is helping guide me along as I endeavour to make my own journals from scratch.

So, yesterday after painting on my canvas I had some left over paint and taking my beloved artist sponges I set about slapping the paint onto any journal I could find. This included my trusty A5, black faux leather cover journal. I’ve found these are my favourite type of journal as I don’t have to prep the pages every time (I can just glue a couple together) and the paper quality will stand up to a lot of media. These cost me about £3 from my local ASDA supermarket and come in all sizes. So, as I slapped the paint down in my A5 journal I loved the result instantly as the sponges had soaked up several colours, creating an effect I’d be hard pushed to replicate with a brush…


Scrummy, gorgeous, loveliness…I LOVE this pallet!



I felt inspired to draw on the pages using my favourite black Pitt pens and white uni-ball Signo. I love circles, sprials, wavy lines, the natural world and female figures meaning this double page spread sums up where my a lot of my art is at right now. I'm thrilled with it and it shows me, yet again, what using up those leftovers can lead to!

Monday, 1 April 2013

Moving Past the Fear

I promised myself a day of art and relaxing and here are the results so far...But before I show you my WIP (Work In Progress) I need to tell you about the amazing painter Flora Bowley. I came across Flora's work last year and instantly found her art a breath of fresh air and so inspiring on numerous levels. Flora is an artist who pushes the idea of letting go to the fullest, her book "Brave Intuitve Painting" is superb and gives the artist permission to experiment, explore and "Let go. Be brave. Unfold." I love this sentiment as a year ago, before I knew of Flora, I painted in the front cover of my (then) new journal "Be brave, be bold, banish the fear."

Being able to move past the fear can be a huge issue, especially for those new to art, all those questions of "What if it wrong/make a mess/waste a canvas/page?" etc etc. I've learnt to think "So, what?" It's all about the experience, you can't make art if you, well, don't make art. Remembering no one else has to see your work if you don't want them to is also vital.

So, here's my canvas. I started it on Mother's Day after reading Flora's book in the morning. It's far from finished but I'm so thrilled with it.


I'm having a lot of fun exploring what the acrylic paint can do on the canvas and have found that using cheap artist sponges to work the paint creates beautiful effects, see pallet below.
Cheap sponges that make me so happy!
Happy arting everyone :)