Saturday, January 31, 2009

Medieval Mayhem

The secret project is slowly coming along. This week saw me celebrate my 46th birthday, although as usual things didn't go to plan. There was an unexpected suprise which was lovely and my fabulous children cooked me a birthday dinner, which I loved. Unfortunately I have been sick for the last few days with Gastro, nothing to do with my fab children's culinary attempts but through other means. This has resulted in little arty enterprises for the last week and so I thought I would share with you all a project I undertook some time ago, a medieval book of sorts.
I was for some time a member of the SCA (otherwise known as the Society for Creative Anachronism, an anachronism being a thing out of it's own time or place). Here I frolicked around in medieval clothes, learned medieval skills such as costuming (a personal favourite), cooking (yum, yum), embroidery and an endless list of other skills which I thoroughly enjoyed, while watching the fighting prowess and skills of the those so inclined within the group (fab entertainment let me tell you). Unfortunatley due to more mundane reasons, eg job, travel, costs etc, it became difficult to continue my involvement in the group but I wanted to do justice to some of my photos from this time rather than just the usual scrapbook type pages which although lovely would not have been in keeping with the overall experience, and so I decided to embark on a medieval style scrapbook. After lots of research and some frustration over my own lack of skills, especially as a painter, the book was born. Here's a few pics...

The designs in the above pics were all copied from various original medieval designs from books, and manuscripts of the period and from a variety of countries. They have been copied then hand painted in an effort to faithfully reproduce the original works and designs. It is difficult to reproduce them faithfully here as the scanner tends to focus on the backgrounds and so glare is an issue. Oh well it's all a learning experience and if I decide to do another some day I would likely apply paper ageing techniques (I had learned little about them at the time I produced this work) to the background papers in an effort to produce something that looks more aged.
Ah well, there it is, a wonderful weekend to you all and to all our southern friends I am thinking cooler thoughts for you all.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Journal Journey's

Well I have decide that this year will be dedicated to learning, both in a professional and artistic sense. On a professional level I will finish my Diploma of Early Childhood this year, yahoo, but also artistically I have decided to spend time learning all I can and so have signed up for the journal challenge over on the Blue Bazaar website. There are many of us and already I am amazed at the pages that have been done. Prompts in style and techniques will be offered each month and it is just wonderful to see how each person has interpreted these ideas and the amazing page each person has created. This months prompts were to create an abstact background and to draw something. Shock, horror, my heart is pounding! Did I hear draw!!! The mere mention of the word draw in relation to some artistic thing I would be involved in turns my insides to water! Me, who draws the world's most challenged stick figures! Well I did say it would be a learning curve. Time to tighten the belt and get brave, or at least down a quick drink of one's favourite poison and pretend! And so to battle!

Here is my January page. The background is a watercolour paper, covered in gesso, texture paste and acylics. I then used tissue papers, gel medium and stamping to create the weed look. The fish is my drawing (well there's a suprise!), also on watercolour paper. Painted in acrylics then embossed and adhered to the background with gel medium. The doors are a collage item adhered with gel medium as well. The word bubbles are created separately on watercolour paper, coloured, text applied then coated in dimensional magic then adhered to the background. Lots of fun and I did enjoy the process more than I thought I would after I finally sorted my head around the whole drawing thingy. Of course the original ideas I had were quite different, but as is often the case with art, it develops a life of its own and becomes something quite different from the original idea. So there, the first one done and not too bad I think, well at least I can live happily with it and thats what counts! This however is not the only journal challenge I have set myself this year. I have also set myself to doing some collage journal work as a personal challenge and so have embarked on another separate journal to explore collage work in. That's right I am running two completely different journals at the same time. I do love a challenge! The one over on Blue Bazaar is more about techniques etc while the second collage journal is a bit more personal. Here's a peek...
and the next...

Well there you have it, the start of an interesting time, well for me anyway. The collage process was loads of fun and quite theraputic really. I really enjoyed this process from beginning to end and am keen to do more. Let me know what you think I would love to hear your comments.
On another note entirely this is not all for the year. No, the year will not only be about journal journeys, this alone would not sustain my interest and too much is already floating about in this head of mine to stop there. The secret project is coming along well and I am enjoying that journey as well, but... more of that at a later date.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A bit more

Well it's been busy this week back to work and all that! My atc from Sanderijn has arrived and it's beautiful! Here's a peek...
This pic doesn't do it any justice of course. It is much more beautiful in person. It has a shimmery background in multiple colours then is embossed in gold, edged in red glitter and overlaid with lovely fabrics and a beautiful brad and pin and it smells like heaven! Yes that's right it smells wonderful! My whole desk area has a wonderful fragrance surrounding it now. I must admit I hadn't thought about adding fragrances into the mix , now there's some food for thought! I told you she was a wonderful artist, what a fab idea. If art is for the senses then this makes perfect sense (ahh, no pun intended there). I believe a little experimenting of my own will be happening soon.

Now for something of my own. Over on Blue Bazaar they hosted a series of mixed media challenges last year which greatly increased my interest in this artform and has resulted in my own delvings into the area. I watched with interest as the girls plunged into various challenges and techniques each month and did some exploring of my own. Towards the end of the challenges came the fabric challenge. I had been tossing around a few ideas for a fabric piece of my own anyway and decided this was as good a time as any to have a go and so... to battle! And here she is!
Here's a few closer peeks...


The central picture is constructed using unbleached calico and an iron on transfer of Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" which has been reversed by the transfer process. The background is coated in polished pigments and impasto which gives it that beautiful shiny look, then edged in vintage lace. The overlaying mask is constructed using felt and vintage silk sari fabric then it is built up in layers using more of the silk then some vintage laces and trims, beading, silk and velvet flowers and leaves and a few little charms to add some interest. She was then attached to the background which was made from a lovely course textured fabric and appliqued with gold vines and leaves. The whole idea for the piece came about from looking at a series of beautiful photos of the venetian carnival. Since the early Renaissance period the city of Venice undergoes a transformation and around February each year Carnivale is born. The city's residents don fabulous costumes and masks and enjoy a range of festivities culminating in the masked ball. Now doesn't that sound like a great time! Anyway I love Vermeer's painting and why not get the girl out for a good time! So that's it really, there she is. She now graces my wall and I was very pleased with the result too! Hope you enjoy looking. Leave me a comment if you do, or even if you don't! I love feedback!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Atc's overseas

I can now share with you all some atc's I made a few weeks ago as they have arrived at their destination in The Netherlands yeterday. For those not familiar with atc's they are artist trading cards, little works of art using any media that appeals to the artist. Their only formal requirement is that they be strictly 2.5" x 3.5" in size and they are for trade only and never for sale. It is quite challenging to produce a piece of artwork so small. Many artists are restrictive about the number of decorative additions to such small works so as not to overcrowd them and create a chaotic feel to their artwork, however in saying that I have seen some amazing art created in such a small format. I recently entered into a swap with Sanderijn (obviously in The Netherlands) with a christmas theme, well it was that time of the year! She is such a creative soul and I have admired her work for some time now so was quite excited about it. I made two atc's, one for the swap and one as an RAK (random act of kindness) just for fun to send to her. Here they are...

Here is the first, "A Christmas Angel". The background is made from tissue paper and gloss medium then has a little strip of music and the word noel added. The angel is a freebie image (sorry can't remember from where now) and mounted over a jewellry finding with a small brad. The wings are constructed from card and feathers the also held in by the brad on the finding. I then attached the skirt and cord with glue. The wings spread out, but in this picture they are folded down for storage and travel. Below is a picture with the wings opened out.

And here she is in all her glory! I like her this way better but the moveablility (is this a word???) of her wings was necessary so she could be stored more easily without damage. Anyway her recipient liked her so that's all that matters really! Below is the second atc sent, also using a freebie image (curtesy of Renee Robinson fabulous collage artist, visit her on Flickr).

I just couldn't resist this little guy, after all that effort to find out no Santa! He was just too cute! Anyway I'm glad you liked the atc's Sanderijn, anytime you want to swap I'm there! I will post a pic of her atc when it arrives.

Below is a couple of other atc's I made some time ago. I just loved these silly old paper advertisements from the 50's and 60's. They are such a hoot and just screaming for someone to send them up! Can you believe they were serious when they created these! Here's the first one. I am planning to make a series of them but haven't as yet completed them (I will keep you updated as this happens), called Dick and Jane. Do you remember those old first reader books from your childhood? Well Dick and Jane were the first official school readers I can remember so it seemed appropriate to name these two after them. They sure look like Dick and Jane's to me!. The first atc in the series used two different advertising images. Jane was from an ad for hosiery I think while Dick came from an old bathroom advert. First a background of tissue and gloss medium, then a gel transfer using a pattern similar to many bathroom tilings of the period, then after it dried the images applied again using gel medium. The atc is edged with a frayed ribbon creating the fringe effect.

Of course I envisioned the two of them doing something else entirely different to their original creators! The second atc uses images from an old shaving soap ad. Bit racy for the 50's era! However here's the second installment of Dick and Jane...

This one is constructed in the same fashion but instead of the gel transfer an overpainting with gold mica paints was used in the background. I felt the images were too large for much else in the background, the couch just gets in the way, bit like what Dick is probably thinking really! Well that's it for today. I'll be back with further updates in the series at a later date.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Just a little More

It will be back to work again shortly just two days of holidays to go, and as much as I enjoy my job, holidays are sooo much nicer don't you think! I haven't had much time for arty things but what I have had has been devoted to planning a new project. Lots of planning has been done but now it's time for some arty hands on stuff. I will post more about the project later as it develops.

In the mean time, I think I should probably be posting a few more arty bits here for you all to enjoy so here's a few more scrapping pages to look at while you sip from your morning coffee cup.

This is my fabulous son, Nathan clowning around as he does. The layout was submitted as part of a challenge put forward on the Aussie Scrap Source blog. If you haven't marked this blog on your favourites what are you waiting for! This is a site for some serious talent, go look now, well maybe finish reading mine first :) It required the use of 3 small photos which is quite a challenge! I've used a Cherryarte background paper, painted on a little red paint to grunge up the background (gotta make it all a bit blokey!), then cut out some stars from an old freebie paper, added some bits and voila! The netting in the background is one of those fabulous supermarket fruit bags, from avocadoes I think. Talk about recycling!

Okay onto the next one...

This one was also created for the Aussie Scrap Source Blog competition. Its hard to see from the photo but much of this page is raised in 3D. The challenge was to create a page about yourself and to use cluster embellishments on the layout. Believe me this was a challenge! I'm not too comfortable in the spotlight, so creating a layout about myself took some work. So much went into this page. The background is a mix of Autumn Leaves and Pink Paisley papers and ribbons. Then I have cut out some Jenni Bowlin flowers, coated them in dimensional amgic to gloss them up and stuck them down with foam pads to raise them off the page.

Here you can see the dimension. The butterfly and bird on the page have been created the same way. The flowers were then given some Kindyglitz to outline the details while the butterfly benefitted from some Kaisercraft rhinestone treatment.

The circular piece on the bottom left of the page opens up to reveal some hidden journalling. Here it is closed...

And here it is opened. Please excuse the shadow in the photo, these bits were a challenge to both create and photograph! It took me some time to create the whole layout, working out how I wanted to construct the individual parts and then to bring all the pieces together. It has probably been the most time consuming layout I have ever done but hey, I so rarely do a layout based on me I suppose that's okay really. The main title is Basic Grey chipboard, painted, glittered then coated in dimensional magic for some real pop. The bottom right embellishment is constructed by layering a Heidi Swap damask rubon onto some acetate the layering with a flower and a chipboard embellie, topped off with a little bling. This layout is without a doubt the most satisfying scrapping achievement, creatively speaking, as it involved so many elements to bring together. I hope you enjoyed looking.

P.S. It's raining, woohoo! It has been so hot here recently, the mercury soaring each day I am soo excited as I have woken up to gentle rain today and plumetting temperatures, well as much as it plummets in Queensland in the summer! What a welcome relief, even the birds are singing madly! Can't say I blame them at all!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

It's a new year!

Happy New Year to you all, I hope it finds you well and recovering from your celebrations whatever they may have been! Well I think I should probably share a little of my scrapbooking pages with you all. So here is "Just Being You"

This layout is of my son quite some years ago when he was only a little tyke around 2-3 years old. The background paper is one from Basic Grey which I have ripped and torn (lovely satisfying therapy ) and then inked the edges. The large flower has been distressed with various paints and the smaller coloured petals behind the flowers on the branches have been painted with polished pigments then small silk flowers added. The bird at the top of the page is a Kaisrcraft stamp embossed then coloured with Radiant Rain Daubbers for a bit of extra zing. I was quite happy with this page, lots of fav techniques here and products but it was hard to photograph with all the shiny stuff creating glare. Well there you go my first shared layout with you all.

Now for something completely different...

While the family were all together for Christmas we put together a little formal dinner. Everyone was fabulous and dressed for dinner even though the temperature was pretty horrible at around 30 C the family were great sports and put on their best glad rags (hugs to you all for bearing through it all so well). The younger generations of the family decorated house and table, made place cards and served food and wine and doubled as kitchen hands for the night and generally worked like trojans (kudos to you all for such fabulous help!). So here is a few photos from the night to share with you all...

This was the table setting doesn't it look fabulous. The boys did a wonderful job of setting up, yes you heard me right the boys did all of this while the girls made place cards and a wonderful job they all did too!

Of course I have to include a few happy snaps so here they are...

This is the dd (Hollie) and ds (Nathan), wow they are soooo grown up now!

Here's Richard, Courney, Hollie and Miles outside braving the heat for a few snaps, don't they look fabulous!

And here's a good one of Rich in his suit which he brought with him all the way from New Zealand! Now that's devotion to the cause, a huge thankyou to you all for joining into the spirit of the evening. Sadly the family have now dispersed back to their various points of origin and I am sadly missing them all already, perhaps we will have to arrange another little holiday get together, surely I must be able to think of some reasonable excuse... leave me with it I'll get back to you!