Sunday, 26 June 2011

ART JOURNAL EVERY DAY - a month of faces - 21st to 26th June

21st June was the Summer Solstice so I did a sunshine shimmering goddess...

22nd June - I am still playing with the idea of butterfly women...

23rd June - our older son's birthday - he has been living in the USA since 2009; this is a drawing from a photograph of him and his wife.

24th June - these little squares are very fiddly, I am not used to working this small! 
However, I have an abstract colour head for 24th.

25th - a sad blue head!!

26th - a savage Francis Bacon head

4 spaces left to fill!!

Monday, 20 June 2011

ART JOURNAL EVERY DAY - a month of faces - 19th and 20th June

This is a quick pencil sketch for yesterday and today's faces - it is from a photograph I took of my daughter with my first grandchild in July 2004 - I had not really seen before how their mouths mirror the shape of each other's and I love the way they are so fixed on one another's faces... and how Imogen is cradling Farrah's head so tenderly...

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Making Stepped Pages - Strathmore Workshop 2 - Start Where You Are. Instructor Linda Blinn

In Strathmore Workshop 2 “Start Where You Are”  the instructor  Linda Blinn showed how to make stepped journal pages:

“ go to the front of your journal and cut the first few pages vertically in varying widths to create stepped pages as an entry into your journal. Cover these pages with decorative paper as shown in the photo or art them up with collage and paint” 

I made these stepped pages ages ago but had not got around to doing anything with them, so first I added some edging borders.

Then using Pam Carriker’s “Art at the Speed of Life” ideas for acrylic washed backgrounds and the sequin waste (also known as punchinella  in the US I believe, when I took it for a character out of HarlequinJ ) suggested in her Strathmore Workshop 1 I made a set of backgrounds for future use.

Because the stepped pages reveal parts of other pages I have tried to use some complementary tones.

This  means that the interesting glimpses of the other pages edges adds to the effect and makes the pages more interactive.

I used the sequin waste strips to make a banded effect by stippling along the edges of the strip as well as through the perforations.

The last of these spreads also uses the back of the fold out page in my night and day spread, so I have  used the same tones to give me a panoramic background to decorate.


Butterfly - no puffin - spotting in Wales

There has been a delay in posting my "face a day" as we have been in Wales, originally butterfly hunting (to photograph them!).

There was nothing flying we went to South Stacks cliffs at Holyhead in Anglesey. 

It is an RSPB reserve with guillemots, choughs and my all time favourite bird the puffin. The puffins nest in burrows on a grassy slope high above sheer cliffs down to the sea.

 You get to see them by going down a long series of steps cut into the cliffs - which is why I am looking hot and windswept but very pleased with myself!

Back to a Month of Faces

These pictures, therefore, cover the 13th June
 to today, the 18th June. 

The 13th June is a drawing of a very pretty doll's head with pouting lips; I used the Pentel Aquash water colour crayons and blended the face with water afterwards.
The 14th June was inspired by an article in The Times about the Chemical Brothers - I loved the strange colours in the accompanying illustration.  
The 15th June is a cartoony lady - the kind of woman who scared me to death when I was a small girl, probably because I wouldn't eat my school dinners - done with colour pencils and black and white ink.
The 16th is a rather natty Victorian gent, part of my Edgar Allan Poe drawings, with a wash of colour.
The 17th is probably a relative or a younger version of 15th June, thankfully she is asleep now!
 And the 18th is another  interactive art example - inspired by  "Interactive art workshop : set your mixed media in motion" by Kim Rae Nugent". This time I used  a child's pinball machine toy with the back removed and replaced by a shameless theft of a Klimt style lady.

And the picture of the layout of the two pages shows the grid waiting to be filled....

Friday, 17 June 2011


Although I have good intentions and mean to be as creative as possible, and despite having given up wedding photography so that we only have the plant nursery to run now, I am still time poor!

However, I have found a really wonderful book by Pam Carriker Called "ART AT THE SPEED OF LIFE motivation + inspiration for making mixed-media art every day" - it is great, very inspirational and packed with ideas.

One idea is to multi-task with backgrounds - so there is a technique of background making using thinned acrylic paint over dry white gesso and making textural backgrounds- and also using left over paint from this, thinned, blobbed on with kitchen roll/baby wipes etc .

Therefore I now have my stash of poor neglected journals open  at the same time and  I am doing multiple backgrounds -some of which I will show in later blogs -so there will always be pages ready to go.

One of my now and consequently resurrected  journals is one inspired by wonderful the artist Juliana Coles 
who uses  a really radical and exciting journalling technique called


she says
  "What makes these books Extreme Visual Journals is the act of combining journal writing assignments such as non-dominant handwriting, letter writing, Declarations of Independence, lists, dreams, word associations, etc. with art making assignments such as collage, drawing and painting, old photos, rubber stamping,  totem/fetish creating, and various mixed media techniques to create a unique book of self expression.  In an Extreme Visual Journal, we are after the rich interior.  We are concerned with our own and unique inner, ancient wisdom.  We want to find our voice, our style, and our flair for life by documenting our past, present and future in a book.  We are NOT concerned with making art.  We are NOT concerned with a product or pretty picture.  We want to know how to unfold and in that moment, there is remarkable beauty on the page we did not know we possessed."
These are journals " For Your Eyes Only"

So I have a journal for EMOTIONS
inspired by this approach

using hidden words and pictures collaged over with loads of paint, masking tape, painted collage, and journalling in white and black pen.

The spreads above are top "anger" and bottom "fear" but I have decided to continue with this journal - maybe with some more benign pages too!
In fact I used the fear spread as part of Strathmore workshop 1 - as reusing old work

Therefore I made a title page using left over acrylic washes as described in the Pam Carriker book  - layering colours, wiping on and wiping off using wet wipes (which are then great for making tinted background in other journals)

I used  Ranger - Tim Holtz - chip board letters tinted with the same acrylic left over wash  and enhanced the edges of the letters with black acrylic. Again rubbing on and rubbing off to create a variety of effects.

I like the title as it hints at what the journal is about and will be very appropriate on my darker days!!

Then I had some dancing dolls I cut out from some Japanese newspaper that turned up as packing material in a parcel  - a great find - and tinted those with different left over acrylic washes.

Hey presto!! My journal is back in action and just waiting to be emoted in!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

ART JOURNAL EVERY DAY - a month of faces - 10th, 11th, 12th June

YAY!! So I  am art journalling every day, even if it has taken me six months to actually do it.   But I haven't posted because I was out yesterday doing a 3 mile charity walk  - it was really nostalgic as I was walking around all the little country lanes where I used to run for 3, 5, 8, 10 miles depending on the route - and a little voice was saying "do it again!! You're not too old!!"

The first picture is from a photograph I took in 2007, just a quick sketch, again very nostalgic. Our little grand-daughter had a catastrophic birth on Boxing Day 2006 and was in a the Special Care Baby Unit for 3 weeks, with 10 days of that in an induced coma. But she came through with just mild left side hemiplegia. So the day I took this photograph was the day I thought we would never see...

So - A bit of light relief for 11th 

A happy zetti girl


And for today this is a drawing based on a sculpture I did of a Victorian-esque woman in a Miss Havesham frame of mind.

I spent months at my pottery group making a Victorian feeling woman with a surreal line in moth collecting.

As she was made she just grew bigger and bigger.

However, disaster struck when she was fired and lots of her just fell off:(

However, I took her home and using real lace dipped in matte acrylic medium I managed to sculpt enough of her back to be worth gessoing her, painting her in acrylic and varnishing her. 

She now sits in a front bedroom window as a kind of spooky burglar alarm...

Thursday, 9 June 2011

ART JOURNAL EVERY DAY - A Face A Day - 9th June 2011


I have been dying to try out some ideas from this wonderful book

"Interactive art workshop : set your mixed media in motion" by Kim Rae Nugent"

The idea for this face is to take a child's game, remove the back and replace it with an image of you own and you have a totally different piece of work.

I "channelled" Aubrey Beardsley again as it gives quite a contrasty image which works best behind the plastic - subtlety vanishes!

I have some different toys to try later -  like a little round maze and a miniature pinball machine - so they will  appear during the month.

I think I should draw some men now!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

ART JOURNAL EVERY DAY A month of faces - June 8th

This one was inspired by another image mined from my discovery journals (see yesterday's post).

I kept a birthday card with a picture from Yoshistoshi 's
series "the four season at their height".

I like this for the colour, pattern and contrasts - though the face I have done looks older than the original

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

ART JOURNAL EVERY DAY A month of faces - June 7th

I am continuing my month of faces for June's "Art Journal Every Day"

Again I am using a page of grids done for Strathmore Workshop 2 as they give me an ideal "canvas" for this project.

Some time ago I worked through Sarah Ban Breathnach's "Simple Abundance" - this is a wonderful book which encourages you to review your life and value the everyday.

As a result I keep a daily gratitude journal - listing 5 things every day for which I am thankful (even if on a bad day it may just be churlish things like the sun came out and  I am feeling more organized) - it is a magical discipline. Then there is a second diary, just writing down any thoughts and feelings - I can moan about life in this one! But the third she recommends is  keeping an "Illustrated Discovery Journal".

This is not an art journal, it is a kind of scrapbook of anything and everything that interests me, I clip all sorts of bits and pieces and every so often I put all these clippings into a scrapbook, just Pritt-sticking them in. However, they have become a wonderful resource of ideas, images, poems and sayings, pretty greetings cards, tickets and theatre reviews.

So - when I was scratching my head for face number 1 today I had a flick through my scrapbooks - see above - and found a wonderful image of the Madonna and Child by Jean Fouquet and there was the inspiration!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Art Journal Every Day plus Strathmore Workshop 2 plus Dry Point Printing

This post is a real mix up because it uses lots of things I have been working with.

The inspiration is Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's wonderful Art Journal Every Day.

Sadly I haven't - but I have done much more journalling than I otherwise would have done.

I have had a busy time lately as our daughter came to stay with her 3 children, 6, 4 and 2 - it was great fun but there was no time for anything apart from the paddling pool, water table, tree house and bouncy castle! (A tiny garden one!!)

When they went home I started to catch up with my e-mails and  amongst the links to the latest Balzer Designs  posts I saw this great idea of journalling a month of faces:

"I am trying an art journaling experiment for June.  Normally I do a very diary-like version of art journaling every day.  As long as I sit down for a few minutes and say something about my day, I can tick it off of my "to do" list.  For the month of June I've decided to do something a little different.  My big daily art journal has been sent away, as a spread in it is being published.  I was trying to figure out what to do about that.  And the idea hit me square in the face. 
I have drawn a grid of thirty boxes in one of my other smaller journals.  And every day this month I will art journal by drawing a face in one of the boxes.  Some days I may include text.  Some days not.  Some days the faces may be colored.  Other days, just scribbly pencil marks. "  

- see -

This really hit me as I realised that I had some grids which I did for the Strathmore workshop 2 and had never used  - see first image - and also that I had a load of faces.

I have been doing an Edgar Allan Poe swap on so I had been drawing Aubrey Beardsley-like images for that.

THEN I went to my monthly Practice Your Printing Workshop at Unique Cottage  Studio. I hadn't had time to do anything new and was planning to play with plates I had already done.

When I got there - doh! - I found I had forgotten  my plates.

 But I did have my sketch book full of the Poe drawings.

So I used one of my swap drawings and etched it onto an acetate plate to use at the workshop.

It is a shameless plagiarism of Beardsley's  "Of a Neophyte and How the Black Art was Revealed unto him by the fiend Asomuel" .

I liked this as an image of the usher twins, Roderick and Madeline, and their impending doom.

The first image is the original drawing and the second is the first print off the etched plate (this reverses the image).

I wanted to try À la poupée, adding coloured backgrounds and chine-collée again
À la poupée

À la poupée describes the technique of using cotton buds to add printing ink to particular areas of the prepared plate, so I played with red ink. First time I did the twins with red lips and gave Madeline a red scarf and the second time gave Madeline a blue scarf and red hair/turban/ whatever it is!

It is - as you can see!- quite hard to make an accurate mark but I like the effect and will try this again

Another way of adding colour is to roll a second colour onto the prepared plate - again the experiment was not too successful!

The colour I used was much too dark to really see the printed image, so once more I shall try this again.


I also had another go at  chine-collée  -  and once more the image was too pale again BUT we had no scrim available and the scrim does seem particularly important to force the ink into the etched lines as several of us had problems with under-inked prints....

I prepared the plate and added chocolate wrappers right side down plus a wonderful quote I found in an old Dumas book which was so appropriate "I depart, my brother, and nothing retains me here, I presume".
The wrong side of the collage papers faces up and has to be coated with Pritt Stick.

The print goes onto newsprint paper on the press and the damped printing paper goes face down on top of this and the collage is sandwiched together with the ink from the plate forcing through.

I came home with my prints and when I saw Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's faces prompt I decided they were an ideal chance to catch up with the Art Journal Every Day project as I could do a 5 day spread of faces and then carry on from 7th June doing a face a day (- which means I have one to do tomorrow!)

So I cut out my drawing and the prints and added them to the journal spread. The white of the faces looked very stark against the background so I tinted them with Pentel Aquash watercolour crayons (thanks again to Strathmore Workshops for putting me on to these!) - I love these because the pigment is intense, plus you can add the marks exactly where you want them, then use water to turn them into as subtle or intense an effect as you want.

I used image transfers for labelling and added a description of what I was trying to do in sepia artists' pens. 

So  - I have a double page spread that starts me on my month of faces, uses my Strathmore pages, and gives me a record of my printing experiments so that I can try to learn from past errors during the Printing Workshop on July 16th!