Thursday 23 April 2020

14 Day Art Journal

 A couple of weeks ago, I saw some information about a free two week art journal course run by Julie Fei Fan Balzer, a designer and maker in America.  I signed up for it.  A new video is available every day with a different journaling technique.  I had all the resources and equipment I needed already, but that would be a consideration if you didn't have everything to hand.  The media needed were watercolours, acrylics, oil pastels, an old hotel card (for the diy comb), distress crayons (or similar), black and white pens, magazine image, matte medium, stencils, stamps, brushes, watercolour paper/card.  A gel plate was useful and a carving tool for making the eraser stamps. 
The first day was making the journal.  Julie showed how she decorated her journal but I decided to try a new to me gel plate technique (from Youtube, I think) - soft pastels applied through stencils and then acrylic paint on top to pull the print.  I used one of Julie's stencil designs - the flower in the top left and bottom right of the photo below - and several other flower/foliage/shape stencils.  I really enjoyed this technique and managed to achieve some quite delicate blends.
 Some of the darker pastels stained the gel plate a bit, but did come off using baby oil.
Day 2 was oil pastel resist.
 Days 3 and 4 were Sgraffito and rainbow arches.
 Doodle collage was Day 5.
 Hand made stamps for Day 6. This was one of my favourites and I used erasers to carve the stamps.
 Rainbow roll for Day 7 and Layered stencilling on Day 8.
 An extra layered stencil page.  Day 9 was a DIY gelli comb.
 Day 10 brought a layered gel print, again using the diy combs.  Day 11 was an abstract.
 Day 12 was black and white doodles using a black marker, white gel pen and black biro, which I really enjoyed and am going to use again in my art journal proper.  Day 13 was mixing media.
Finally, day 14 was monoprint and sketch.  The colours I used made me think of rhubarb!
This was such an enjoyable project and I have lots of techniques which I can use in my art journaling.  I also have a  lovely little journal full of colour and pattern to enjoy.
Edited to add:  Julie posted photos of other people's journals and it was so interesting to see all the interpretations.  The link to that post is here.

Thursday 16 April 2020

Lots to enjoy in the garden

 With the sunny weather, the garden is blooming.  Tulips Ballerina and Brown Sugar above, in the border.
 I'm not sure what this one is - it was part of a mix a few years ago, but has repeat flowered.
 The inside of Brown Sugar.
 A pot of Negrita.
 It's not all about tulips though.  Here is a perennial Nemesia 'Confetti' which I have pretty much ignored but which flowers every year. 
 The scillas are coming to an end but that shade of blue is lovely.
 This was another tulip from the mix, but has also come back.
 Clematis Rosy Pagoda is still doing well.
 The lilac and Magnolia 'Susan' look lovely against the blue sky.
 This is Tulip Cairo which was a new one this year. 
 I received a patio apple from my sister for my birthday earlier in the year and it is flowering.
I planted a few tulip Danceline from last year in the border and several have reappeared.
 A world away from the brightly coloured tulips is this little viola - 'Freckles' which is very well behaved and seems happy in a pot.  I have a purple viola which seeds itself everywhere and is a bit of a nuisance.
Finally for now, an astrantia which is also in a pot and in a very sheltered part of the garden.  I bought it last year at RHS Chatsworth I think and the flower should darken to burgundy red as it ages.

Thursday 9 April 2020

Art Journal 2 (part 2)

 Here's the second instalment from my art journal.  Some pages really took on a life of their own and the one above is a good example.  I needed to add outlines and glitter around the figures and the white dots in the background before I was happy with it.  They are quite enigmatic figures - what are they waiting for?
 This page was just a background for ages.  I loved the colours but couldn't decide what to do with it.  Eventually, I decided to focus on just numbers. Chris and our friend Rachael both looked at it and said 'The Matrix', which is not something I had in mind when making it, but I can see what they mean.
Another reduction painted page, inspired by Niamh Baly on Youtube.
 The page on the left was all about the Tribal cat stamps, which I love.  Orange is not a colour I use much, but this was dictated by a gel print.
The page on the right was inspired by a magazine image, and I used watercolour crayons for the circles of colour in the background.
 On the left is a collage page which started with used teabags to give texture.  I added music paper and some butterflies as more collage papers.  Watered down acrylic and crayons gave the drips of colour.
The page on the right turned out more or less as I imagined in my head and the quote by Henri Matisse, 'There are always flowers for those who want to see them' was the inspiration.
Nearly there, well done if you are still with me.  
This was the most troublesome page in the whole journal and I had painted over it twice previously.  It had been glittery with stars, then was multicoloured with lots of mark making patterns, but I just didn't like it. I was inspired by some rust patterned paper and that became the focus, although you can't see it because it is up at the top, covered by paint.  The original glittery stars were coloured with alcohol inks to blend more with the rust colours.  
Finally, here is possibly my favourite page.  It was inspired by some loose watercolour flowers painted by Creationsceecee.  The stamp is one of my favourites too and a version of this may well be my ATC for May.  I like the bright colours and dots of gold.  The lady has glitter in her hair too.  I would like to revisit this and improve the perspective of the flowers. 
So now to start journal 3.

Wednesday 1 April 2020

April Artists' Trading Card (ATC)

 I am so pleased with how this month's ATC has turned out.  It really says 'Spring' to me.
 The background is blue acrylic paint with white clouds, then branch shapes painted on.  I used texture paste through a blossom stencil, which I painted in shades of pink once dry.  Tiny gold glitter accents add a bit of sparkle.
The gemstones are kyanite, rose quartz, peridot, chrysoprase, kunzite, fluorite and blue lace agate.  The gemstone of the month charm should be diamond (which I don't have) or clear quartz, which I used instead.
The back is decorated with the April rhyme and photos of primroses and daisies from the garden.
I think this could be my favourite card so far.  On to May!
Edited to add:
Here is a (rather dark - apologies) photo of the seasonal tree as it is at the moment.  It has wooden bird and flower pegs together with my felt flowers and birds too.  It will become an Easter tree shortly.  Chris made the tree shape for me and decorating it is something I enjoy as I mark the seasons.