Sunday, March 24, 2013

Life Book 2013 - New Blooms

New Blooms

This week's lesson is New Blooms taught by the fabulous Christy Tomlinson.  The message of this lesson is to learn from flowers, to take what we have learned in the past (the good and the bad) and to use that to grow anew.

Last year someone told me a secret that was so painful and profane that it left me changed forever.  There's a scar on my soul that will never disappear and it's not something I can ever divulge, not even in my art diary.

So how do I express that?  The torn paper represents how I felt utterly ripped in two, and the splatters are there for the tears that felt like they would never end.  I visualized all that pain and heartache, all that negativity and 'crap' as compost, fertile ground in which to plant a new seed, from which has emerged a new way of looking at the world.  One that is less black and white, less judgmental.  One that is perfectly captured with the words of Rumi:-

Out beyond ideas 
of wrong doing, 
and right doing, 
there is a field.
I will meet you there.

New Blooms

Christie taught us a fabulous technique for making flowers from tin foil.  I didn't want the silver of the tin foil showing through, so I covered the foil with gold leaf before applying patterned rice paper and shredded gold cellophane.   I then used my Tattered Floral die to cut out the flowers.  Because the base is tin foil they are completely mouldable adding outstanding dimension.

The patterned papers in the background are by Kaisercraft and I have used Distress Inks to add texture.  This is also my first attempt at hand lettering!

Linking up with:

Simon Says Stamp:  Quotable
Make It Monday:  Anything Goes
Through The Craft Room Door:  Anything Goes
Creative Every Day:  Weekly Link

Friday, March 22, 2013

Life Book 2013 - True Intentions

Life Book 2013 - True Intentions 

The second lesson in Life Book 2013 is a bonus lesson with Monica Zuniga.  Her inspiration to us is to make a paper doll out of (rubber) stamps.  She says "Find a figure that represents yourself and then those words that represent what you will be working on throughout the year."

For this page I wanted to express my training and journey as a counsellor.  The core principles of person centred counselling are empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard, and these are the words I have chosen to use in my piece.

I chose a digital stamp by A Day For Daisies called Birds Nest, picking up on imagery of birds as both messengers and a symbol of freedom.  As a counsellor I will be in a position to listen to the deepest, most painful, most shameful secrets that burden a soul, and through empathy and unconditional positive regard (non judgment) I can help that soul to find peace and freedom from their pain.

The inner area is done with a rubber stamp by Kaisercraft, from the 13th Hour collection, branches with ravens.  Ravens are a sign of alertness and watchfulness, and Dr. Carl Jung deemed raven symbolism to represent the shadow self, or the dark side of the psyche.  The raven is a messenger too, so it symbolises keeping and communicating deep mysteries.

The raven is representing my own inner struggle.  One of the core beliefs of counselling is that we cannot take a client to places we have not been.  In other words, if I don't explore myself, challenge my own flawed thinking and beliefs (I'm ugly, I'm useless, I'm worthless etc)... If I can't turn the spotlight inward on myself, how can I help others to do the same?

An interesting note that I realized after doing this, is that I have on my back a rather large tattoo that incorporates several ravens.  I had the tattoo done years ago so I often forget it's there!

The background is done with Neocolour II watercolour crayons, washed and then spritzed with a water spray and enhanced with Distress Inks.  I started in the centre quite light and deepened the colour towards the edges so that I could see that there, in all that inner turmoil, radiates a light, my light.

When I first watched this lesson I was a bit 'meh' about the project, but somewhere along the way it became an incredibly deep and personal expression.  Thank you Monica :o)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Life Book 2013 - Celebration & Journey

Celebration & Journey 

This is the first lesson for the Life Book 2013 project.  It started in January, and I am only just joining, and with a lesson per week I have some catching up to do.  The purpose of this project is to celebrate the journey ahead of us while at the same time doing some mild goal setting.

The teacher (Tamara Laporte) suggested that we draw a landscape scene and include one means of transportation to symbolize motion and moving forward.  She also included flowers in which she wrote her current blessings and then in the clouds in the sky she wrote the goals and changes she wanted to see happen this year.

I took a slightly different twist on the theme, here's how I did mine.

I started by choosing my mode of transportation, a hot air balloon thanks to this sweet digi from A Day For Daisies.  I loved the image of the girl sprinkling love.   The next step involves a lot of water so I used a laser printer to get the image onto heavy weight mixed media paper.

I randomly scribbled over the entire piece with Neocolour II watercolour crayons, and then working quickly, liberally washed the entire surface with water.  While the wash was still wet I sprinkled with regular kitchen salt, which as it dries draws up the colour creating that gorgeous mottled effect.

Celebration & Journey

I wanted to tie in the hearts that are being scattered with the flowers, so I created my flowers with heart shaped petals so that it appears she is tending the garden with love.  In the centre of the flowers I included my blessings, those things that I am grateful for and tend to daily with love.  These are the things that keep me grounded.  In the hot air balloon I included my goals, the things I want to work on this year, these are the things I can aspire too.

I loved this project.  I have always believed I am quite a crafty person, able to do many handi-crafts, but it wasn't until I started Life Book that I realized that I also have an artist flair and a creative mind that can come up with original and unique interpretations on a theme.  To learn more about Life Book 2013 follow this link.

Linking this project up with Simon Says Stamp and Show, whose theme this week is water.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

She Art - Week Two

She was OK with being imperfect 

Practice makes perfect, or so they say, funny then that the point of practicing was to become more comfortable with imperfection!  The difference between this canvas and my first She Art canvas is vast.  I'm a pretty tightly wound individual, neat, orderly, I like structure and routine.  That's why card making appealed so much, it's less chaos more composition.

This canvas was fun.  The first was quite frustrating as I questioned myself constantly, this one I just kind of went with what was going on.  What started out as one sheet of blue paper for the sky ended up being torn and reapplied and I loved the streaky white clouds that formed as a result.

This girl, who is a lot more relaxed and carefree than my last, is still quite proper, you can see that the hem of her skirt is still nice and neat.  Maybe I will quaff a goodly amount of wine before the next one, see if that doesn't loosen the corset a little!

Linking up with:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Life Book 2013 - Fairy Art Mother

Fairy Art Mother (Version 2)

I have just signed up for a year long mixed media/art journalling course called Life Book 2013.  The course consists of 22 teachers delivering a lesson each week, and each lesson is downloadable for you to keep so that you always have it to refer to.  I am so excited about this course!

The warmup exercise is to create a "Fairy Art Mother".  The idea is that every time your inner critic sends you negative messages, your Fairy Art Mother is there to prop you back up and give you messages of love, praise and acceptance.

My inner critic tells me that I'm somehow less of an artist because I haven't spent hundreds of dollars on brand new supplies, or the supplies I have bought are budget conscious.  My critic pushes me to be perfect and is very rigid and controlled.

I did two very similar versions, one in my portable art journal and the other on loose paper to be bound later with all the other Life Book 2013 projects. 

The above version is done on mixed media paper.  The background is done with Neocolor II watercolour crayons which I layered with Tim Holtz Distress Inks.  She is coloured with a mixture of watercolour crayons and Prismacolor pencils.

The second version I did inside the cover of my portable art journal, so she goes with me everywhere.  She is coloured with Prismacolor pencils over an acrylic paint background. 

My Fairy Art Mother

She says:  "Let go of control.  Make it up as you go.  Wing it.  Don't be afraid.  It's OK if you aren't perfect, you have permission to make mistakes and to get messy.  Laugh.  Relax.  Breathe and enjoy the process.  Listen to your inner child, she remembers how to be free."

I am linking this up with the following fabulous challenge blogs:
Make it Monday:  Always Anything Goes
Through The Craft Room Door:  Always Anything Goes
That Craft Place:  Anything Goes
Paper Crafting Journey:  Anything But a Card

Sunday, March 10, 2013

She Art - Week One

She Art - Breathe

I've felt a bit lost lately.  It's not just that my craft room has been so hot and stuffy this summer, it's also that I feel a lack of purpose and meaning.  I love making cards and I love spending hours colouring, but lately I've been feeling like I need to do something more personal to me, more meaningful. 

While there is definitely an art to making beautifully crafted cards, and the end result still says a lot about my personal taste and style, it speaks very little of my heart and soul.  Since I started studying for my Diploma in Counselling, my heart and soul are bursting with things to say!

I am not sure exactly what led me to discovering "She Art" and Christy Tomlinson's website, but I spent hours pouring over her site and watching her free videos and fell in love.  I signed up to do the She Art One Workshop and I am absolutely thrilled.  The She Art Workshop is a 3 week self guided classroom, with over 25 videos that make you feel like you are right there.

Christy's teaching style is bubbly, vivacious, infectious and entirely motivating.  Of course she makes it look soooo easy, but you are left with the sense that whatever you do on your canvas isn't a mistake, it's art.

So this is my first 'girl'.  There are things about her that I love, and there are things that I don't, but that's ok too.

She Art - Breathe

I love the background, the colours and textures.  I started on a canvas and added a patterned tissue paper then added layers of inks, paints and gesso.  I love the phrase "She made time to just breathe".  I've been working with relaxation techniques, the first of which is just basic breathing, and it's amazing how different you feel when you actually make time to just breathe.

I don't love how wide apart her legs are (she looks like she is riding an invisible horse!), and I don't love the black penwork, but that's ok, I learned a valuable lesson from both of those things.  I don't love how stifled it still feels.  I love how abandoned and loose Christy is with her art, and I am a lot more structured and tight.  But as I play and let go, I imagine I will be less uptight.

She Art - Breathe

I loved making this girl. I totally lost track of the rest of the world and there was just me and the canvas. I love how personal it is, how it really is a little piece of me expressed onto canvas, and I can't wait to make my next one!  :o)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Masculine Mini Album

Mini Album

My goodness it's so hot here in Adelaide!  The longest, hottest summer in record.  My craft room is an add-on to the original house with a tin roof, no insulation and no air conditioner.  Needless to say its awful in there at the moment!

Despite the heat, I have been working on a few albums.  This is one I did for my best friend's birthday.  He is an excellent photographer and I would love to see him take his photos from the purely digital format that he currently uses to actual printed photographs in a real album.

This album is my version of Kathy Orta's December Daily album.  If you are interested you can read my first post on how I reworked her measurements and come up with a slightly different style of album.

Mini Album

I used black envelopes and cards by Quill to make the album, and the designer papers are all from the Timeless Vintage paper stack by Kaisercraft.

As I mentioned in my other post I reworked the dimensions of the back and front covers to allow for a little extra space in the middle there.  Kathy Orta's project has all those envelopes and pages interleaving and overlapping in the middle and I felt there would be too much bulk.  You can see from the photos above and below how nicely that extra girth has worked out.  The pages and inserts butt up nicely against each other, without creating additional bulk.

Mini Album

Below you can see what the album looks like when opened up.  There is a phenomenal amount of storage space, not just for photos but for all the little bits of tickets, tokens and other ephemera that we collect that just doesn't fit in a regular album.

Mini Album

Inside there are also literally dozens of tags and pockets with inserts that can hold extra photos or journalling.

My friend was totally thrilled about the album, he loved the idea of filling it with photos and memorabilia and handing it down to his son with the hopes that it would be a little interactive journey of discovery that he could share.