Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pretty Things

I've never been one for 'pretty things'. Pink isn't one of my favourite colours and the only way I'd let florals come into my life was if they were printed on my curtains - and even then perhaps not. So when I started drawing and painting, I was surprised by all the things that I was naturally inclined towards. Butterflies, hearts and yes...even flowers.

I now wonder what I did before I discovered such pretty things. In truth they have no real value and yet they add a lot of value to life. I'm enjoying painting flowers right now but I also enjoy looking at them...taking the time to buy a few to put on my desk where I can occasionally smell their delightful fragrance and marvel at their structure...always inspired by the sheer variability available out there.

Perhaps I shall change my view of pretty things. I might just go out and buy myself a pretty pink sweater and wear it over my jeans so I feel special without even trying. I can't wait...and yet it isn't that big a deal...right?

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I got really lucky with this image from an old magazine I had tucked away somewhere but had a little trouble with the writing. I wanted it faint enough to let the image stand out but not disappear completely. I'm not sure but I'm claiming this one as a success. With mixed media coming to my aid one more time, I think I'm starting to really love what comes into my head...and how well it eventually shows up when I put it one the paper.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bark from Excess

Ever wondered what to do with those dollops of excess acrylic paint? Well, I figured it out. When concentrated they are great for impasto work like this. Just paint over the page then scrape off whatever design you think of. If there isn't that much, you can mix it with water and make an excellent wash. And there are a few variations between the two that allow the use of different colours, textures and even brush strokes. I guess I will never have any wasted paint again.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Beautiful Background

I love this background and there are editions of it waiting for me to stain them with words of wisdom, rhyme and song. I can hardly wait. But there is a part of me that wonders what would best describe the wonders of a beautiful human. Could I follow the path of those caught in the net of physical beauty? Can I ascribe to a greater depth and what makes good people good and many more of them truly beautiful. I have work to do...and the pleasure is all mine.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

IF: Paisley

Paisley reminds me of my father's ties. It's one of those things that is linked in my brain. So it was easy enough to come up with something for this weeks Illustration Friday idea. Sadly, it has preempted my discovery of zentangles. They rock...and there is more coming. But in the mean time...
It feels good to be back to participating in this and I can't wait to do even more on the subject.

That Girl

This is my first sojourn into real mixed media collage. I've always bought magazines to read them so defacing any of the pages to remove images was unheard of. Every time an art exercise asked me to find a magazine and tear out the pages, I always skipped it or went in search of internet photos I could print instead. (That's how I discovered stock photos and the likes of But as much as I liked the idea of 'saving my magazines' I realised I was keeping too many and the growing piles were becoming too much to deal with.

So armed with a pair of scissors and an eye out for anything that might speak to a desire I found what I was looking for. And so it begins...

Once again...with no plan and a vague idea of what I wanted...I started something that surpassed all my expectations. I love art journaling. I think it rocks.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Love and Wonder a.k.a. Rainbow II

There is something great about flying off the sit of my pants. A blank page staring at you has none of the inherent artistic fear if you have no clue what you are going to do and the moment lends itself to 'whatever will be will be'. Many times I have been pleasantly surprised by the outcome of no plan. It might therefore come as a bit of a surprise when I now say, there is a lot of value in some planning.

The first time I attempted this image, I didn't know what I was doing with the exception of a vague idea of the outcome. With my first failure behind me and a clearer idea of what I wanted, I pulled out Betty Edwards' book "Color" and read up on my colour theory. The joy of understanding my error was surpassed by the result of putting that knowledge into effect.

This is the outcome of planning and information and I realize now that neither of them can distract from the creative desire. If anything, they add a wonderful new dimension to a world that is more and more amazing with each observation I make. Learning by doing is a great teacher...but then again so is learning by learning.

Love and Light

This is very similar to the previous post but I didn't realize I was replicating until it was done. I wanted a rainbow gradient but there was a point to the greenery and the flowing red river. When I remember what that is...I'll let you know.
There is something wonderful about the rainbow. While it might have only seven distinct colours, the in-betweens are full to the brim of some of the most amazing shades of colour. I do not know if I will ever be able to fully reproduce it, but the attempt is worth it in every way.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Again, there was a plan and oopsy daisy...this is what I got. It was actually a very good learning experience. I'm starting to realize there are some things that need to be taught. Colour theory points to exactly why this picture looks...wrong. Yet if I hadn't done it like this, I never would have figured that out. I guess there is some value in 'learning by doing' or rather "Try. Fail. Fail better."

Friday, June 18, 2010

Splattered Hope

This is by far my favourite page so far.

It was inspired by television once again. I was watching 'The Human Target' and saw the starting title. Their splatter is a little gorier (is that a real word?) but I really liked the idea of the intentional mess. Figuring out how I was going to do it was a little more interesting. but I clearly got that right. The outcome is wonderful...if I don't say so myself.

I like how the lettering came out. When I started this, I only knew I wanted the writing to be in white and I had the quote already prepared. Cutting out the stencil for the larger letters took a little while but it was worth it just to see it come out so nicely when using acrylic paint dabbed on carefully. The other letters were written in white ink and a standard stencil just to avoid my scraggly handwriting.

I'm thinking of framing this one and putting it up where I can see it every day. That way it can serve as a continued inspiration and a reminder to keep striving for something greater than what I already have.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Variations on a Theme: Piano

Once again the gap between the vision and the execution shows I liked this idea but the outcome was. . . That I was able to do something I had merely thought of was still pretty good but I know I am a little better than this. This is definitely one of those ideas that I will have to rework at a later date just because I still love it. I know I can do a much better job.

I realise that being kind to myself is great. I know there is a point at which creating something is far better than worrying about how good or bad it might be. That said, there are other times when I will have to aspire to a greater standard and this feels like the perfect place to start. It might even be a natural progression. After all, growth comes with greater skill and discernment, doesn't it? I can do this.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


There was no plan. There was a You Tube challenge. There were interesting looking stickers from some box of things I bought ages ago and never used. There was acrylic paint and a piece of unused card stock. Together they made this page. It's a little bit of everything...and it is all true.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Leaping Lizards

I've never been one to use collage. It's mainly because I usually have a vision of what I want and getting a picture to fit with that is a little difficult. Then I realized it wasn't about getting the picture to agree with your vision but rather getting your vision to agree with whichever picture you've got. I now have a collection of images and stickers from different magazines and I hope to put them to good use. I come.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Axis of Joy

As a fledgling art journal keeper, I have had to find inspiration wherever I can. I love the thousands of books available on the subject and have only started collecting mine...beginning with '1000 Artist Journal Pages' and the works of Danny Gregory: 'Everyday Matters' 'Creative License' and 'An Illustrated Life'. But while a book can give you some great ideas, I have found most of my practical inspiration from [wait for this...] You Tube.

Just by typing in 'art journal' I've found hundreds of pages...some useful and others not. Regardless, it has helped me learn more about the practice and techniques and given me a little more confidence.
This is my version of a challenge placed on one of the many videos (unfortunately, I do not remember the exact one but I'll keep checking until I find it). I think it came out really well and I was happy with the final product. I'm thinking about framing it and putting it up where I can see it all the time. It will remind me that anything is possible...and it's always best when I feel good about whatever is happening.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Flower Power

There are some things we do because we love them and for no other reason. This is definitely one of them. But I'm not going to be painting any more flowers until they start loving me back just a little bit. :-)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fat Man, Small Jacket

Have you ever got an idea that made absolutely no sense to you. This is it for me. It came without warning and would not leave until I did something about it. I can't even account for execution because it turned out exactly how I saw it in my mind's eye. I guess my muse has a sense of humour after all.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Variations on a Theme: Saxophone

I'm still not sure about the colours I used for this but I like the concept. That it was truly original helped a lot when all I could see was what was wrong with it rather than what was right. There is something very satisfying about pulling something out of a hat that didn't exist before - a little creative magic so to speak. The fact that one piece of inspiration can lead to so much more helps me appreciate that we need not look for it with all the zeal of mining for gold. Without the strenuous effort, it is possible to find treasures in places we hadn't even thought to look.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Inspired Guitar

I love movies and there is a lot to love. A well written script, good actors getting good direction and the joys of a well executed soundtrack to keep you interested. So it was a bit of a surprise when I started noticing other things. The fact that they never turn of lights and are prone to leave taps running drives me a little crazy but I truly love that everyone - and I do mean everyone - in a movie seems to have impeccable taste in art.

I now notice it all the time. The ones who have classic prints are no less enjoyed than the ones who have stranger looking pieces. This particular one was from the movie 'I Can Do Bad All By Myself' from writer director Tyler Perry. The movie was 'just okay' but I couldn't get this picture out of my head and ended up doing my own version of it. I like how it came out and if I should ever need to use it with one of my haikus, I think I'm already set for that.

It spawned a there's more to come.