Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Secret Code

Okay, is it lame for an adult to make a secret alphabet?
I don't think so. But I did notice that I didn't mention it when we went to a friend's for dinner last night. Even though it was the most exciting thing that I had done that day.
Here it is on a largely unfinished art journal page.
These are pages from one of my latest art journal. The one I have not been posting (mostly).

I have been doing a couple of 'private' art journals because I want to make sure that I am not censoring myself. I like to share my art journals with my students, and online, so it hasn't been a great solution.

I am imagining a combination of mostly normal writing with some coded writing when I feel the need. Usually it would be entries about specific people or sometimes private angst stuff. Or, I could actually combine it with normal writing, like people's names could be in code.

I haven't used it a lot, but even so I notice that I am already remembering some of the alphabet. I wonder if I could get to the point where I could read it.

I think it looks kind of cool too.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Steal this Idea

Steal this Idea. Please.

I read a comment on one of Ricë's posts where a woman suggested that there should be an artist's exchange. What she meant by this idea was a place where people could contribute stuff for artists to make art with. Isn't that the coolest idea? Afterwards we could post the contributer a photo of the finished work.

I am not an organizer. If anyone wants to steal this idea (I didn't get the impression that the commenter wanted to do it) please go for it.

I would love to give the original commenter credit for this idea, but there was no profile to get in touch with her.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

More Patches - Refashioning Projects of the Moment

Here are the refashioning projects I am working on at the moment. I am enjoying personalising thrifted clothing with hand drawn patches.

Above is a sleeveless denim shirt that I thrifted in the U.S.. Do you think the patch is going to work on the back? I am planning to add embroidery as well. Suggestions are always welcome.
I drew her with a fabric pen and then painted her with acrylic paints combined with fabric painting medium. If you want more details go here.

My other project started out as this t-shirt dress below. I found it at a garage sale, in pretty good condition. I wouldn't wear a t-shirt dress, and especially not a short one.
I cut the sleeves off and hemmed them. I also cut off the length to make it into a t-shirt.
I sewed it by hand because I can't get my machine to sew knits very well. I also enjoy the hand-sewing.
I don't think I have shown you the frog patch before. I drew him a while ago, and then painted him in with crayola fabric pens after I knew I was going to put him on this shirt.
I am putting some coloured embroidery in the running stitch around the arms. I want to do something to the neckline too. I want it to have some more spots of pink and orange, and maybe green.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Drawings from my Art Journal

To see the floating woman, you should click on her.

My newest art journal is also my plainest. All it has in it are drawings and writing. No painted backgrounds, no collage, no sewing, no added bits.
I am a little self-conscious about its unadorned look. Does it still qualify as an art journal?

What is the difference between an art journal and a sketch book?

Friday, 16 December 2011

You Just Never Know

It was my ugliest background in my ugly art journal. I didn't touch it for at least 6 months. The rest of the journal progressed, but not these pages. Every time I went past I would wince at their ugliness.
Then suddenly one day it just went ahead. I had some collage I wanted to put down and the colours went with this background. Later we were doing stitching in our journals in class and the stitching came through. A bit later the writing. Now this spread makes me smile when I go past.

You just never know.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Beginning a New Painting

Is there anything more exciting than the start of a new painting? At the time of inspiration anything is possible.

I took a series of reference photos with a neighbour girl nearly two years ago. In that time I have only used them for compositional sketches and a single finished drawing. The subject matter was good, I liked some of the photos very much. I knew I would use them, but was unsure how to approach it.

Today I know.
I spent the morning resizing and redrawing the compositional sketches. Sometimes I can get enough of an idea from a black and white photocopy of a reference, other times I need to draw the composition.

I am very excited.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

21 Secrets Workshop

There is an online art journal workshop running in 2012 with 21 teachers who teach 21 different classes. It runs for 10 months and is only $59. Pretty amazing way to check out all those teachers and get a slew of different classes.

It is called 21 Secrets.
I will tell you something else, if you haven't already guessed. I am one of the teachers. It will be my first online class.
You might know that I have been teaching art journaling for the past 3 years. I thought I would never teach online, but there is something about this workshop that intrigued me.

If you want to know more, like who the teachers are and what we are going to teach: Click here to view more details

I am at the very end of the list of teachers - comes with having a name that begins with 'Z'.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Colouring on Fabric

I wanted to put some colour onto the drawing that I did on the t-shirt. The black and white drawing looked rather plain on the grey stripes.
I had some Golden GAC-900 that I bought months ago. It is a medium you can combine with acrylics paint to make fabric paint.

I mixed it with acrylic paint and painted over a drawing on muslin I had done a few weeks ago. I think it looks very much like regular painting. That wasn't the look I was going for, though it is interesting.

The medium is supposed to make it so that the fabric still feels soft after you paint it. I didn't find this to be the case, perhaps I didn't use enough.
As I didn't want a painted look on the t-shirt, I tried Crayola fabric markers to colour the drawing. It was more the look I had in mind. The colours are very limited. I wanted some opague white to separate her face from the grey stripe, and some pink for her lips and to warm parts of her face.

A brown stain mysteriously appeared when I was ironing it. (You have to heatset the markers to be able to wash the garment.) They might have come from the muslin patch that I was ironing at the same time.

Friday, 2 December 2011

What to do with those Drawings?

Remember the 120 Day do What You Love Challenge? I kind of wimped out. I say kind of because I still want to do spontaneous drawings, I just got annoyed with 'having to'.

But what I wanted to show you is that I found a use for at least one of those drawings.
It isn't finished yet.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

My Disappointment with Gores - or more honestly, with Myself

I was so excited about gores. They are triangles that you sew into things and they make it a whole new shape.
I still like gores, but I no longer believe they are the solution to my refashioning problems.
Remember my dresslet? It is my adventure with not only refashioning but reconstructing. I started with a thrifted pajama top and some fabric I have had for years. I made up the shapes, didn't use a pattern. All stuff that I have no experience with.

I had fun. If you want to see my initial inspiration and the process go here.
But there was a problem. Bubble butt. I wasn't happy with how it looked in the back. I thought perhaps a gore, a triangle of cloth inserted would solve the problem. I basted it first and tried to check it out in the mirror. I thought it was working.
I get upset everytime I look at this photo. I liked it better before.

I was hoping that the insert would make the skirt more triangle shaped so that it would go out a bit at the sides. But it has stayed the same unflattering bell shape with the addition of the weird fishtail.
I can't go back. I don't know what to do. I have put it in the closet and am trying not to think about it.

On a happier gore note is this thrifted coat/dress thing. It isn't really a dress as it only buttons down to above my crotch.

In the back is this huge split. So I went for another gore. This one was more successful.
I think it needs more. I haven't done anything in the front. Any suggestions?

And I am not sure about the 3/4 sleeves.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

the Fifth Secret of Creativity

The fifth secret of creativity: Choose by where the Energy is.

This means that when I go into the studio, I follow where my energy goes, what excites me at that time.

Usually my thoughts go: "You had better finish so and so painting" or "you were working on that one yesterday, you really should continue it today." That rather stern internal voice always seems to tell me to work where my energy is Not.

But if I remember to ignore it and instead work on what feels like the most fun and exciting, I am happier (and more creative). And strangely enough, everything seems to get done at much the same rate that it did in the years when I used to listen to what 'the Voice' told me to do.

Today I was lying down in my afternoon nap when I had some exciting inspiration about soft sculpture. Of course 'the Voice' did not approve. I have not been working in soft sculpture and 'the Voice' believes in continuing what has already been begun. It is most suspicious of any new directions.
Fortunately I remembered the fifth secret and got out some old books I have on doll making. I spent an exciting hour marking pages and getting ideas.

Will I do some soft sculpture? I don't know. But in my experience, honouring that inspiration is not only fun (very important) but also encourages further inspirations. Your mind is trained by you! It pays attention to what you honour and what you act on. If I dismiss my new ideas, eventually they may stop arising.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

NollyPosh is Gone

Vicky/Nollyposh died yesterday. She had been living with cancer for the past 6 years.

We met when I first began this blog, over 3 years ago. She was one of my first blogging friends.

Vicky is an amazing soul. Her blog posts were as much poetry as prose. She walked with one foot in Spirit. She wrote from her Soul. She was honest and brave and beautifully Heartfelt. Even though we never met in the physical, she was a friend. I am honoured to have known her.

More than anyone, I am sure she has gone Home - as she referred to it.
I am sure she will have no problem reaching the Other Side, however that is done. Though it is always good to pray for those who are crossing as it can be challenging.
I cannot think of anyone who will be more at home in the realm of Spirit and Soul.

I look forward to meeting her there.

The painting is a very old one of mine. I always intended to send her a print. It is so much of her spirit. It is called All is Love.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Guest Curator on Crescendoh.com

Jenny Doh generously asked me to be a guest curator on her popular blog Cresendoh.com. I have two new links each day of the week for posts that I find creatively inspiring from different bloggers.
This task has given me a new respect for curators.

Each curator is also asked to tell a story of how art has affected their lives. If you are interested, the short video that I made is here.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Painted Coffin Lid -the Guide

Remember the coffin lid I was painting ages ago?
Click on the photos if you want to see them larger.

I enjoyed painting it. I had a kind of fantasy while I was working on it that someone would buy it in preparation for their death. Perhaps they had been sick for a while and were at the point of facing that they would die. I imagined them bedridden, with the coffin lid hanging on the wall where they could see it. As I write this, I realise that might sound a bit morbid, but I wasn't seeing it that way. In my imagining, the young woman is a comfort to them. The name of the piece is 'the Guide' and she is the guide to the other side. I tried to make her loving and gentle as she looks over her shoulder to gently show you the way.
The lid had its debue last weekend at the Dying Art Exhibition at the Civic Hall in Mullumbimby NSW (Australia). The art show was part of the Carnival of Life and Death held yearly as a fundraising event by the Natural Death Centre. It was an interesting exhibit, the Civic Hall was dimly lit and people went around with flash lights to see the works. This created a hushed atmosphere, most appropriate to an art show filled with coffin lids, urns, shrines and shrouds.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Drawing from Nature

Much of the time I am drawing in the studio and this limits how much I can draw from nature. But I think I need this on a regular basis. The series I am doing is immersed in nature, and where I live nature is all around me. There is something incredibly nourishing for me about drawing from nature.
So today I did just that. I ended up doing a lot more walking than drawing, but even the little drawing I did felt wonderful. It isn't about ending up with a finished drawing, and I didn't. It is how I connect with what I am drawing, imbibe it with my eyes and bring it into my hands.
Once again, it is not about the drawing I end up with. I know that branch better than I did before I began. I know the angle the little branches leave the main branch, I remember its texture and colour, even though I didn't put those in the drawing. It is amazing how much I remember of things that I draw, even years later.

Friday, 11 November 2011

I Listened to Your Advice

This post is so you guys know that I listen to you. Remember the patches?
We all agreed that they needed a bit of integration.
Arrgh! You can't see it with these little photos. Sorry but you will have to click.
I embroidered around the edges. I think they look much better.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Garage Sale Haul

I went for a garage sale hunt yesterday. Unlike many refashioners I don't have loads of clothing to start with, so I have been doing a lot of thrift shopping. Has anyone else noticed that thrift stores have suddenly raised their prices? What is that about? I am assuming it is because thrift shopping has become more popular. I think this is a poor reason.

Thrift store prices have driven me to the garage sales. The difference between $1 for a top and $5 is the difference between me being willing to give a piece a go, knowing that I can use it for fabric, patches, cut it up in bits.

At garage sales I don't even bother to try things on. I will do that later today (they are drying on the line at the moment.) The truth is, I buy second hand clothing to cut up and make stuff, when I find things that are fine the way they are, I am sometimes a little disappointed.
I got a big haul. I went to a friend's after the sales, and her daughter was sorting through her clothes, so I picked up a few more pieces.

While unloading my second load of laundry I found more garage sale loot. Three t-shirts that I got for 50 cents each. One is a bit stained, the other old, but I plan to use bits for patches, neck bias and maybe the sleeves off one.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

A Good Painting Day

In the studio I consider it a good day if my painting looks better than when I began it that morning. This is an agreement I made with myself years ago as a way of tricking my inner critic.

This painting came alive for me yesterday. When that happens it is a really good painting day. Some paintings are alive from very early in the process. Some you aren't really sure if it will happen. I was a little concerned about this one. I liked the colours, I liked the subject, but she was looking a bit... flat.
Here it is much earlier in the process. If you want to see her at the very beginning go to this post.
And this was how it looked before she began to come alive.

She is still quite a ways from finished, but I am no longer worried.