Saturday, December 31, 2011

Fight the inner critic

I was overwhelmed, or maybe underwhelmed. It was a very lazy day. Quiet. Too quiet. So I thought about doing some art work, maybe those canvases I had. And then I heard her. You know, that inner critic that you know you should ignore but gets under your skin? She started off nicely enough.

"That's a wonderful idea. Why don't you do a canvas today?"

"I think I just might."

"Oh but you know, you don't have anything organized right now. And if you start a canvas with the way your craft room looks right now, you'd just create a hot mess."

"Well it probably is a little cramped."

"And you know you didn't get great reviews from your last canvas. Maybe canvas just isn't your thing. You always said you couldn't draw a straight line with a ruler, so what makes you think you can paint."

"But I really feel like doing art today."

"You only have a few days left of vacation. You can't sit on your lazy ass all vacation with just a canvas with some piece of paper you slapped down with glue to show for it."

"It's called collage."

"Call it what you will. It's kindergarten art. It's glue and paper like what you did when you were five. What art did you make? You took paper and slapped it with glue and paint and called it good. Seriously? I know art's in the eye of the beholder, but did you intend on poking out the eyes of everyone who looks at it? Honestly, why you got into this stuff in the first place is beyond me. Mid-life crisis maybe, or trying to find yourself. Everyone lost thinks they are an artist..."

And it went on and on. And I let it. Until I had ground myself down into a self-doubting nobody who should just go back to bed. But I didn't. I decided to post something about how I was feeling. And a friend said to ignore that inner witch and just do it! I'm so glad I did.

I grabbed some of my art supplies and brought them down to the dining room. True enough, with a cramped room I wasn't going to get anything accomplished. And I started with my muse. I love trees, and I love to draw them. They are symbolic of so many good things. So off I went with my tree drawing, and then I started to practice a whimsy girl drawing. I needed to do one. I did it all in ink. I really don't like pencils. They can be erased, and with that wench of an inner critic I have, I'd erase every line off the page because of it being uneven, or misplaced, or too heavy, until I had no lines left and no drawing. So I turn to ink. No turning back. And watercolours. And then my whimsy girl appeared. I felt like I had accomplished something.

And then I decided that it was time I did my first real still life in ink and watercolours. My husband bought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a winter arrangement with pine and mums, daisies and spider mums. And I took to drawing my oversized marble glass vase with the still beautiful flowers.

And I was happy, and proud. I showed that critic. I sat down, and I made art. I had something to show for it. And even if I don't do anything with it at all, it is one of my best works. Because it is the result of deciding to just go for it. Without question, and without expectation.

So now I say to that inner critic, Where are you now? I hope you are on a long vacation and I don't see you until I'm ringing in the next new year.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A wonderful arty holiday!

Up until yesterday I really didn't think I'd accomplish much this holiday. Eleven days off work. Eleven. In a row. What I could do with that time, I thought on my last day at work. I was convinced that I would either have my craft room set up, or the entertainment room set up and decorated. And perhaps I would get to do those three canvases I've been meaning to do. But no.

I relaxed. I slept in. And it was wonderful! And the muse came to visit in all her glory yesterday, and she's decided to stay for a short visit. I'm thrilled.

First let me tell you about my first accomplishment during my time off. The amazing Effy Wild is offering a wonderful course which will last the whole year. It's called Book of Days. And so many talented artist have joined and are showing off their altered books. Best of all, it's FREE! So I've been playing along with these very talented artists and making my own altered book which will contain my journal in 2012.

My word for 2012 is Serenity.

I used a book that I got at a garage sale this year, one that had sewn signatures, and took out about one third of the pages. Then I went to town with gesso, Sei Tumble Dye inks, Glimmer Mist, modelling paste, stencils, you name it. 

Next I decided that if I was going to join the Life Book course this was the time to do it. So I joined up and chose the World of Whimsy II course as my extra. And I have to say Tam is very entertaining as a teacher, but she gets her message across and so far I really like the course. And I'm only on week one. I worked on some homework and I need practice for sure, but it's been fun exploring this kind of drawing.

Now I don't pretend to do whimsy well, but any drawing class is going to be more training than I have now. And considering I did this little sweetie in about a half hour, I am happy with her.

And finally I sat down to finish my Art Journal Conversion journals. I adore Roben Marie Smith's style and wanted to learn how she did her layered art work with inks and paints. I've watched all her videos and tried to absorb what I could to no avail. So I broke down and bought the online course. So glad I did! It's been an eye opener and although the journals themselves are very much in Roben Marie's style, the course did help me learn how to layer and how to work through ugly stages to get to the point where I'm very happy with the art piece.

My finished, stitched art journals

I think I might just give away this beauty!

Look below for the giveaway info.

Inside is one signature of white cardstock 65 lb paper. There are a total of 25 pages (5.5 inches by 8.5 inches). It would be a lovely art journal to use as a "smash" book type of journal, or a sketchbook. The paper would also be great for collage, although I don't think it would do well with wet medium.

For the other journals, I think I'll be putting them up for sale. I'm not sure where yet, but if you happen to follow me on Facebook, and see them in my photo albums, you can message me an offer on them.

If you'd like to be in on the giveaway, comment on this blog and make sure that you don't use an anonymous login, because I'll need to contact you to send it off to you. I will draw a winner's name on January 14, 2012. 

So stay tuned for more arting fun!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I had so much fun today. It didn't start that way, but I'm glad that it's turned out that way. You see last night I started thinking about what I was going to stream today on Ustream. There are a bunch of artists who stream live when doing their artwork, and many of them are very experienced at making the shows fun informative and interesting. Now comes me. So I was thinking, what am I going to make? I decided that it was about time to break open the plastic shrink wrap on the twelve inch canvases I got from Michael's about a month ago. No point in hoarding supplies if I'm not going to use them. (While this statement sounds simple, it's much more complicated applying it in real life, believe me!)

So on Friday I started to sketch what I would want to do to a canvas. Boy am I glad I did. It made the whole process a little less scary when it came time to gluing paper down on that canvas, let me tell you.

I decided that I wanted to do a collage, with some inks, some modeling paste and a big paper layered flower made out of paper hearts for petals. So this morning I pulled out my papers and got my supplies ready and went at it.

I have to say, it is hard to keep up with the chat, and I used the heat gun more than I wanted to, but on a two hour timeline I wanted a finished canvas that I will hang.

I really hope that my husband is impressed and decides that he'll hang it somewhere other than the bathroom! It was challenging but rewarding to put paper on canvas, slap around some glue and turn out my own artwork. For a girl that used to think I couldn't even draw a straight line with a ruler, I'm pleased as punch.

So keep your eyes open for my stream next week. I am crazy enough to want to do another. Go figure. :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Art Journal Conversion is addicting!

This has been the best 5-day weekend in a long time. Of course, it was nice to spend an entire weekend with hubby on Sunday and Monday. That's a given. But I also finally got finished my shopping list for my Art Journal Conversion workshop that I'm taking from Roben Marie Smith. And I have spent the last two days reviewing the videos and reworking my pages some, working past the ugly stages to arrive at this glorious point. What point? The point where I can actually say that I love every page I've done following this course. Every one. I completed six.

Now mind you they aren't quite finished yet. I'm converting them into art journals. Each should have about 20 pages, which will make great gifts. I think I'll keep two or three. Well maybe more, if I find I absolutely can't part with them.

I've been playing more and more with different medium and I have to say that this one was probably the hardest for me to work through, or past the ugly stages. Gesso is my friend now. We were acquaintances before, but now we're buds. And the inks! Oh I love ink now. Especially now that I have barrier cream, but that's a mute point. Even if I didn't have the cream, I'd still want to play with these inks every day.

This project might actually have turned me into an art everyday kind of creative. And I've learned too, which I have to say makes it all the more worthwhile. I could definitely get used to starting off a few pages with some backgrounds using stencils and inks. Then move onto some more texture the next day. Then layer some more the next day. A focal point? Yep, I'd do that the following day and by the end of the week I'd have something I'm absolutely in love with.

This course has been a real joy to take and I'm so happy that I'll have something tangible to show people when they ask what I've been doing creatively.

I'll post the completed journals later this week. I just have to sew in the signatures and goodies. So stay tuned. In the meantime, let me know what you think.

Have a great week!

The yellow on this page isn't so vibrant in real life. It's a little more subtle.

I wasn't so crazy about the teal water dripping, but I kind of like it now.

I think the orange heart is what makes the page pop.

This page reminds me of the innocence of popping bubbles on a warm sunny day.

One of my fave pages. It took a lot of thinking to figure out where I wanted it to go,
but I'm glad I took the time.

Not my fave page, but I love the diamonds.

By far my favourite page. The journaling is from Jimmy Wayne's You Are,
which darling hubby and I danced our first dance to at our reception.

I love the chevron stencil from Balzer Designs.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Can it really be two months?

Yes I guess it has. Time flies and we all would like to be able to get some more of it in our grasp, wouldn't we? I've been busy learning new techniques, hoarding more yummy juicy supplies and learning more about fibromyalgia. It's something that I think I've come to terms with, although at times I just want my life back. So I pour my emotions into journal pages in hopes of finding a beam of light that I can ride until I feel much better.

I've had some bad weeks, and I've had some good days. It makes me sad at times, but what I really have been missing is my art. I've really been neglectful about doing it. So I decided about a week or so ago, to get to it again. Even if it was just to do some backgrounds. And I finished a page.

Right now I'm taking Roben Marie's Art Journal Conversion e-course and it is fabulous. Learning so much, and I love how soft her pages always look and I've been struggling with that. So it's nice to see her process and give some new products a try. I just received my first order from Blue Moon Scrapbooking and some new goodies from Roben Marie's shop, so I'm anxious to get playing again.

But for now, I'll show off some of my latest pages. And I'll be back later this week with probably a first page or two from Roben Marie's workshop. I've been marking down other workshops to take later too, such as Life Book, Boot Camp and others that I have pinned at Pinterest. If you've taken one you liked, let me know in the comments. Have a great week.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

More fun with different styles!

I've been playing again lately. Trying out new styles, new techniques. Lately I've been trying to work with gesso and colour washes or stains. I've also been trying to make my style but with a twist. This much I style is not Teesha Moore style or even really a Smash-book kind of style. I do like collage, but I don't collage memorabilia. What I do love, and it's in my designs both in digital scrapbooking and art journaling is grunge. I definitely have a knack for grunge. I love the loose creativity of it. I've never been one to doodle, or draw, and grunge suits me for sure.

But how do you make grunge happy? or feminine? This was my challenge. And I've been following a new blog called Art Squared, where two of my friends, with different styles, provide a weekly challenge. So, I gave it a go. And I went for a happy page. Here's the result:

I'm really liking using the watercolours, acrylics, distress stains and charcoal or oil pastels to highlight different elements. Yep, I'm thinking that this is pretty much me, even if it is a little happier than most of my pages. It was a fun challenge and I have to say that I enjoyed it because I learned!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Pleased as punch!

I did it! I survived another Monday at work. It's true. And I seem to be edging out of this flareup that has lasted nearly a week. I guess I really overdid it on my so-called vacation. My father-in-law came out for a visit. The first one in three years, so of course we wanted to treat him right. And consequently I overdid it. Don't get me wrong...I enjoyed it. But I did too much.

The whole time during my vacation when we were away from the house, I wanted to be home, arting. I found art journaling just weeks before the visit really, so it's a new passion, one that I want to practice often. And I am loving it. I knew from being a digital designer that I had a creative streak but I never gave art (outside of the computer) a chance in my life. Well now I am, and I'm quite loving it.

It relaxes me, helps me focus, gives me a quiet time alone, which all women crave now and then. And I'm learning new things that have me really excited. See even though I'm doing collage and painting in my art journal, I've never ventured into actually drawing because, well, you see, I can't. Or at least I didn't think I could. I can remember faintly memories of drawing as a child and loving it, but when I caught site of the drawings years later, I hated them. I found them rudimentary and boring. Hello! I was a child! But I'm very hard on myself, you see. I've always pushed myself to be better, more accomplished, somewhat too much maybe. So I gave up painting and drawing and took up music instead.

Well now, over 3 decades later I'm drawing. And loving it! I've finally figured out that it's not all about natural talent. It can be learned. There is a science to it, and my right brain is starting to get it! I've checked out some videos, and some streams from some new art friends, and I've set pencil to paper. My first portrait was pretty much done free hand, without any pencil sketch at all, just to try out some $2 oil pastels I got from the dollar store (what a haul, but that's another story). I'm pretty happy with it, but I wanted something more whimsical.

And then watched another video and it all came together to form my first whimsy girl drawing. I'm pleased as punch with her. And here's a funny thing. Yesterday was a bad day, physically. But after spending an hour or so working on my latest girl, I got the most glorious surge of energy! I wanted to dance around the house! Singing and goofing around. Positively giddy with energy! I know that this is the right hobby for me, all these years of searching.

I could get blue and think of all the years I could have spent arting and having all this fun. But what's the point? I'm happy NOW doing it, and I don't think I've even touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of where this can go. So stay tuned to check out my latest work. Hope you love it. I'd love comments.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

It occurred to me tonight that I haven't really posted that many of my art journal pages here. It's rather odd, because I'm so used to posting them in other places, but not here. Well regardless, I've been bitten by the art journal bug and I'm loving it. It's really helping me lately with stuff in my life that I just need to express in one way or another. I've never been one to write stuff in a journal. Oh I did as a kid, and kept it up for about a week each time, but that's it.

No, as an adult, working out emotion has never been about putting pen to paper. But boy does putting brush to paper work for me. I'm learning a lot, and many of my pages look like a hot mess, but they are mine. And they are art. And I never in a million years thought that I would ever create art without an undo button, but here it is. I now have three journals on the go. One smash-like journal for actual writing, scribbling, notes, etc. And two art journals where I'm using acrylic, watercolour paints and anything else that I can glue down. And it feels good. Real good.

See the last few weeks have been hard. After over six years of unexplained illness and pain, and beginning to even question if I was going a little crazy or becoming a hypochondriac, I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia by my rheumatologist. All these crazy weak spells and pains, injuries that I've been experiencing, which I thought might be mostly from a thyroid problem, well....they are from my fibro. Including my brain fog, which probably concerned me the most, because I've always been known as someone who is fairly articulate, and to have trouble finding the words for the last few years, I began to think I was losing my mind.

Nice to finally have a diagnosis. But not so nice knowing that there isn't a cure. It's a life long thing now, and one I have to get used to living with. I can adjust so that I won't have as many flair ups. But it's here. Permanently. Hence the frustration and anxiety that needed a voice, one I found I could express in an art journal. My pages might not show the anxiety and frustration. I don't know that I'm ready to put that out on paper yet but the act of putting paint on paper and "getting through the uglies" to produce something that I love, something I'm proud of, well that's been very therapeutic. And I'm only getting started.

So I hope you enjoy my pages. I'd love some feedback if you have any to give. Constructive criticism is always appreciated. I teach. I have a thick skin, so give it to me. I want to grow in this art form, so I'd love to hear your opinions. And thanks for reading and staying with me.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Haul from DeSerres

How have I NOT known about this store in Ottawa? Here I've been torturing myself by going to Michaels and constantly walking away missing something I came for. Not any more.

This afternoon, Paul and I went to DeSerres to escape the 36C heat (and of course now the air conditioning decides to quit). I needed a few things like some stencils, stamps, soft gel medium and of course, Neocolors. I had to have them. I've been watching videos using these buttery watercolor pastels and I needed them. Badly.

So here's my haul from DeSerres today. I had to make sure to get a Multi-Media journal because my small Visual Journal from Strathmore was just too small for what I've wanted to do. I'm happy with it, don't get me wrong, but at 5X8 does limit the creativity with stamps and stencils. I also got some Golden Soft Gel Medium in Matte, a 10 pack of Neocolor watercolour crayons, three individual Neocolors, a tube of Golden Titan Buff, a white gel pen for journalling, two sets of stamps with a France/Paris theme, and a variety of stencils, and one roll of washi tape in blue polka dots.

Now all I need is a loyalty program so that I can actually earn products. And here's the kicker too. It's actually much less expensive than Michaels for most things I found. So here's to a good haul and I'll be getting arting again this evening.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Photoshop Elements tutorials

This weekend, while watching a UStream video by Rach0113 someone mentioned that they'd like to learn more about Photoshop Elements. So I thought I'd link up to some of my fave sites where I got started with Photoshop.

My former store, has a huge list of tutorials for PSE.
Another huge list of tutorials is available from Designer Digitals
Digital Scrapbook Place also has very good PSE tutorials.
Scrap Girls is a great resource for ebooks and tutorials.
Hummie's World also has some great links for PSE users.

I hope you find some of these links helpful. Please let me know if you did.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A New Passion

I've been playing more and more with hybrid projects, that is traditional paper scrapbooking combined with digital products. But now I've found a new type of hobby that really has sparked a passion.

Paul suggested that I look up some videos on You Tube and I found some videos by another Canadian showing people how to get started in art journalling. The truth is, I didn't want to start art journalling. I just wanted to learn how to use watercolour pencils, and I found her channel. Her name on You Tube is Journal Artista, and she also has a UStream that I'm starting to follow. You can find her blog at

I've never considered art journaling because quite frankly I can't draw. And that's held me back artistically. But now, here's this medium that ALLOWS me to be imperfect, and the more imperfect the better. So I took a trip out to Michaels, and found most of what she recommended to get started. I knew from her videos that this is something I just wanted to dive into!

And here's the result of my first dabbling into art journaling. Now, keep in mind, this was done very quickly. Probably took me no more than one hour to make. But boy was it fun!

So Paula, thank you for helping me find this fun new passion that will hopefully grow, and help me learn to be more creative and let go.