Saturday, 25 January 2014

365 Paintings by Niya Christine

In January of 2013, Niya Christine set herself the challenge to paint a watercolour a day, every single day, for the entire year. Her only stipulation was that the painting had to be done in under an hour, and she had to post it on her blog as soon as it was done, regardless of how good or bad it was. She started with the theme "coffee and tea," with the intention of staining her paintings with the beverages. What emerged were a bunch of cheeky coffee beans lazily sunning themselves on the shores of Mexico. Further paintings told other stories and each month a new series was born.



One year later, the challenge met, Niya is publishling her work. The book not only contains the 365 paintings that were accomplished, but detailed notes on the process of building a long-lasting and productive creative practice. Within it are principles and creative-thinking approaches that she hopes will be useful to any body of work.

 https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/niya/365-story-paintings-book


Niya has turned to crowdfunding to fund a limited edition book print run for the full color beautiful book she has in mind, including practices, tools and her story.


Here is a video of the kickstarter program in question. There are many different ways to help fund this amazing project and I hope that you would consider doing so. If nothing else, let's help Niya get the word out there, because this is one inspiring piece of work that we are all going to want to have on our shelves as soon as possible!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

And the winner is....

CONGRATULATIONS
SARAH CORBETT MORGAN from Costa Rica
is the winner of the New Year's Giveaway 
helping me to choose what notebook I should use
for my Year of the Fairy Tale online class this year.

A "Butterfly in Spring" notebook
(pen not included)
 and a
Wild Thing! in a colour scheme of your choice 

 will be mailed to you as soon as possible.

THANK YOU EVERYONE
for playing, liking, sharing and suggestions

Monday, 20 January 2014

That perfect sketchbook search...


It's Day One of Carla Sonheim's 2014 Year of the Fairy Tale online class and the work begins... as did my process  (some might call it neurosis....) of what usually entails me spending an inordinate amount of time trying to decide which sketchbook/notebook/journal (all plural) to use!  So often in the past I have wasted days... weeks... dare I say months... of valuable time doing this, when I could have been actually (heaven forbid) been doing something... like the exercises... 


I have only recently understood that the reason I do this, is because the most important thing for me at the end of the day IS the complete story... It IS the sketchbook/notebook/journal that houses the work that I do that matters to me. I derive so much pleasure from these houses... containers of all that I have learned and experienced during this time. And as a writer, editor and past publisher of others work, the love of the published page still burns strong within me... for it is truly where I belong.


I figured out what I needed for this year-long project:
(1) some scrap paper (or rough sketchbook) to let rip within, and sketch/notetake to my heart's content...
(2) a small portable sketchbook to have by my side at all times, of the same calibre and for the same purpose...
(3) a journal/sketchbook that RECORDS my journey through all this year in which I can glue pages from (1) and (2) if I want, as I go...
(4) possibly a lined notebook if I decide to write stories by hand...  


I piled up a variety of sketchbooks that I had on hand... and suddenly it all came together! Carefully, checking to make sure, I lined them all up again. I grabbed some more from my bookcase. Great paper, lined paper, large, small and smaller, sketching paper, watercolour paper... it was all there. And the spirals ALL LINED UP!

All I had to do was grab whatever book I need at the time and use it... then every few weeks or so open up the spirals and place all the used pages in the order I wanted them to be in...into a continuous, flowing record of the work that I was doing. Slowly, as the year progresses, I will be telling my own story as I go... Perfect!

NOW I can get to work!
 

(anyone else notice the little guys at the bottom of this photo?
I'm thinking they could be sketchbooks fairies...)

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Playing with Intuitive Art Backgrounds

There is something to be said having on hand a whole series of unfinished pieces, or in my case, class samples for my Intuitive Art workshop series...

In my last post I talked about the sheer fun of  making paper dolls for Carla Sonheim's 2014 Year of the Fairy Tale online class which begins January 20.

If that wasn't fun enough... being able to put re-positionable tape on the back of the paper dolls and place them on different backgrounds was engrossing and truly magical. Here's what just a few of the pieces turned out like when my mt forgotten fairy found herself in a myriad of places:

Background: Intuitive Art - Tissue Paper

 
Background: Intuitive Art - Tissue Paper & Collage


Background: Intuitive Art - Cornflower Paper 
(misread instructions - another story...)


 Background: Intuitive Art - Watercolour and Distessed Silk Fabric 



Background: Intuitive Art - Mixed Media

 
Background: Intuitive Art - Watercolour


Background: Intuitive Art - Plastic Wrap


So which one do you prefer so far... Leave me a comment... I'd love to know... Thank you!

Playing with Paper Dolls

I've been laid up this last week with the H1N1 influenza at high risk due to complications with asthma.  A seriously frightening time. What kept me calm and my mind off terrifying scenarios, was to engage in more exciting and enjoyable ones...


Carla Sonheim's 2014: Year of the Fairy Tale officially begins January 20th but in the last week participants have introduced ourselves online and gorged ourselves on a feeding frenzy (in the best possible way)  of making paper princesses which Carla showed us how to do in a short video as an fun introduction to the year.



Hundreds of women around the globe have gathered to share their love of fairy tales and magic, drawing, painting, writing and storytelling. From all walks of life: scientists, Jungian psychologists, fashion designers to tax collectors... From every country: Russia, Japan, Brazil, China, Europe, North America, Iceland... I cannot imagine a more amazing group of people to spend this year with!

As ill as I was, I decided to have a go. Bedridden, trouble breathing, I did have my art bag by my side. It was 3 in the morning. Tony lay sleeping on the floor in the other room, one ear listening for any change in me, my knight in shining armour more than even this past week.

I tentatively sketched a princess... found some Art Bars and my waterbrush, and painted her in. Not bad! Scissors to cut her out... Her dress looked like sea foam and I immediately reached for the brush again... she needed some starfish to dance at her feet! I lay back, delighted at what I had done...



The next night I couldn't sleep again. I thought about how much we have abandoned magic and left mystery so far behind us, and imagined a fairy, lost, back in time, forsaken... perhaps for ever .. I picked up my pencil and started to sketch her but another princess appeared, and it seemed like she was looking for something... or someone...


A frog hopped right into my mind! I have NEVER sketched a frog and hadn't a clue how. But I could see him, all forlorn and not just a little fed-up, mind. He was sitting on his upturned crown, all dejected-like, arm on folded leg, hand holding up his head... I drew, and redrew, and redrew again and again until the picture in front of me told the story I saw in my mind's eye. I was amazed! Out came the paintbrush again, the scissors following swiftly.

Last night the forgotten fairy returned and wouldn't go away! So I painted her into being... Apparently there are a whole lot more beings that want attention... I could spend the whole year just doing this alone!



My house is a complete tip but I knew I had some re-positionable tape in the desk drawer. Today I grabbed some class samples for my Intuitive Art workshop series and photograph some scenes using them as backdrops. What happened was a whole other type of fun! Just in these few photos alone I can see how valuable this is going to be for me in terms of layout design for book or card illustrations (see next post.) Once I am mobile and can get to the studio there will be no stopping me!

Good grief! And the class hasn't even started yet!!! There's still time to sign up, but don't say I didn't warn you!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

My Year of the Giraffe



One of the first emails I received from Carla Sonheim for the 2013 Year of the Giraffe online class last year was a link to the meanings behind the giraffe as a spirit totem. While I cannot put my hands on the exact words now, the general description stayed with me throughout: Giraffe's medicine includes seeing far into the future, having an uncanny ability to reach things that are unreachable to others, with excellent communication skills, intuition, and an ability to keep one’s head above the mire when required.


Well that got me right between the eyes… I had never, really, even, well, thought about giraffes much up until that point, but working as an Intuitive Counsellor and Consultant this, even for someone who lives, breathes, and teaches synchronicity, was a one heck of a coincidence!

Because it turned out, this was what my year was all about. Relinquishing a whole lot of mire that I had got so bogged down in for a year or so previously (taking on bullies and abusers in our local community, much to my own detriment and allowing it to affect me very badly health-wise.) It was a year of remembering, once again, thoroughly who I am, embracing my intuitive and communication skills, both written and artistic, and recommitting to my life of sharing what I know with others in the years ahead.

What does this have with drawing giraffes? It was all about exploring new avenues and ways of interpreting a concept through paint, mixed media, fabric, sculpture, writing, photography and motion… it was taking an idea and finding different ways to say the same thing, appreciating that each way has a language all of it’s own, and a means to reach another person on their own terms. It was about exercising our muscles that tend to settle into one way of expressing ourselves, thus relinquishing the potential of touching another through a way that would make more sense to them, than to us. It was being willing to make mistakes, and try again, one more time. 

The first of each month I would wait up till just past midnight, awaiting the new video, and share quiet moments with Carla doing what she does the absolute best: letting each and every one of us watching know that we matter, that us having fun and learning and sharing her love for art matters, that she really does give a damn about whether we enjoy and learn or not.

And I would be inspired… SO inspired. As my year unfolded, an different priority reared up, took over and my own work was abandoned (Never again... that in itself a valuable lesson thoroughly learned.) I took forever to get going on the tasks, getting further and further behind. Three months in, out of desperation I confessed to Carla on the phone one day my neurotic tendency to procrastinate over choosing the “right” sketchbook for the project, only to come off the phone and find some pieces of cardstock trapped under my chair…. 
Look what the wheels created….Great sense of humour, that Universe!


I did do some fun drawings one day...


  

painted a little sketch I was happy with...

and am still inordinately proud of a quick, memory sketch, 
which is still one of the more honest pieces I’ve done...


 I had a wild time photographing a grape that looked like a giraffe 
(work with me here...)

 
discovered several pieces of driftwood mascarading as giraffes right in my backyard...


 
    and started a series of accordion collage booklets 
(I got distracted when looking for paper to do the timeline project at the end) … 


 Soulfelt thanks to Carla Sonheim for an amazing year... 
a wonderous, magical, caring and talented artist we are all the far better for knowing.  

So much learned, so much understood and gleamed from the process.
So much fun!  

So much more to see if only we are willing to look further…  

 

It begs to wonder what would have happened
 if I’d actually done any of the exercises fully!!!!

I have that to look forward to in the future...

Thursday, 9 January 2014

One Stitch at a Time

For the longest time I have been watching the mindful and talented artist Jude Hill from afar, creating stories with cloth. I wanted so very much to take the time myself to sit and be with cloth and thread once again. But life, as it is wont to go, got in the way.

You see, cloth and I have had a long term relationship for many years. As a child, the only reason in my mind to have dolls, was to make clothes for them. As I grew older, I made began making clothes for myself. I took a diploma in Fashion Design in Brussels, Belgium and learned the foundations of design and pattern making. Over the years I have made kits, clothes, house furnishings and fabric art. I supported myself very well in the process as a fabric artist. 

 

But what I yearned for was something different, something that involved just me, the cloth and the needle. To take one piece of fabric, and add another. To explore line, form and design. To have absolutely no preconceived idea of the finished project, simply to let each choice unfold one after another, trusting that a language would emerge along the way, and that through it all, something worthwhile would be said at the end of the day.

Yesterday I started such a piece. I only had a short time in the studio and had no intention of doing this at all. But I picked up my basket of linens, and flax and silks and cottons and beautiful old embroidered napkins and tatted or crocheted handkerchiefs that I cannot bear to leave abandoned at the bottom of thrift store bins. I played with my embroidery threads, hand-dyed silks, linen thread found in an old stitchery store in a countryside village on my last trip to England many years ago. And I began to pull colours and textures that spoke to me, even though I still do not know what they have to say.

One such piece was a fine linen shirt with buttons and a pleated front. Another was a soft piece of fresh cotton fabric with muted stripes on it. Lines and circles... Somewhere to start...  And so I began. 


Today I added another piece of fabric, lining up the straight lines. I like where this is going...

To replicate the shape of the buttons I cut a large circle. Too big! I cut a circular strip around it and placed the smaller circle on the background. Thread into needle, needle into cloth, starting at the centre, and the timeless spiral of healing has begun.


The cut-off strip lay against the cloth, forming a shape all of its own. I didn't have the heart to remove it. I will follow its curve, see where it takes me.


Each stitch is a breath. A silent meditation. Just the cloth, the needle, the thread... and I. There is no need to rush. After all, look how far I have come in only two days. One step at a time.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

ROOTS: 30 day Journal Project

If you know anything about me at all, it is that I live, breathe, teach, preach, love journalling... so when an offer came through my email box late December to spend 30 days on creative journalling with Lisa Sonora Beam... resistance wasn't even remotely a possibility, let alone futile.

I was familiar with Lisa's work though her wonderful book called: The Creative Entrepreneur - A DIY Visual Guide for Making Business Ideas Real. Her series of exercises marrying one's skills, abilities, weaknesses, strengths, morals and values to what one loves, were some of the better ones I have ever come across, and besides, she had me at doing a colourful, artistic business plan!



What I have discovered within the first week days of this 30 day Journal Project has completely astounded me. Each night, when the day is behind me and the night is quiet, I snuggle down in bed with my journal and art bag, and immerse myself in a journey to the very core of who I am, using the prompts provided, some writing, lots of collage and occasionally art to uncover things about myself that have been dormant for a very long time.

I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of this amazing journey, where Lisa is holding sacred space with people who are flocking daily to join her with others who are already in session. There is no deadline, no cost and above all, no comments allowed. You are free to follow, engage, share or remain private.



In a cyberspace chock full of varying journalling, art journalling, visual and creative journalling courses that traditionally tend to kick off a new year, this quiet and gentle challenge is a welcome change, a steady beam from a solid lighthouse, which, when followed, could quite possibly lead our souls back home again to who we really are.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Fairy Tale Note/Sketchbook Giveaway

I am so excited to be a part of Carla Sonheim's 2014 Year of the Fairy Tale online class, and have begun gathering some of the supplies we will be using. But I'm going to need some help making a choice and that's where you get to play!

Imagine my delight when I came across a wonderful green linen portfolio with a clipboard and solid backing to sketch, write and drawn on, AND four separate roomy sections to store finished artwork or work in progress. A magnetic closure holds it all together. It is in beautiful condition and only cost $ 2.99 at the thrift store!



THIS PHOTO REPRESENTS THE REAL COLOUR GREEN

I began to look through my stash of note/sketchbooks for something that would complement it. I figured at least one for notes would make sense, and pulled out a simple one that looked very efficient and matched the portfolio perfectly. Slim, lined paper... it would do the job.
 

Then I found a "Butterfly in Spring" note/sketchbook with smooth, unlined cream paper that takes writing and sketching well. A ribbon acts as a page marker, there is an envelope at the back for keepsakes and a sturdy elastic keeps it all together.


I came across another one a friend gave me quite a while back simply because it reminded them of me (a lovely thought and much appreciated.)  It has a thicker, smooth, cream lined paper, and a ribbon to mark the pages too.


Last but not least is a 2013 diary another friend gave me last Christmas. The paper is lined, cream, acid-free, rich and velvety to write on. It has an sturdy envelope at the back and two ribbons to mark the pages.


I'm spoiled for choice! Which one do you like the best? 


GIVEAWAY:

Leave me a comment below, and tell me which note/sketchbook you would choose, and why. On January 15, 2014 I will randomly select a name as the winner and send them the following as a "Thank You" for joining in the fun ~

*  "Butterfly in Spring" (approx 3 1/2" x 5 1/2") note/sketchbook 
(the one of the left of the photo) 
&
* One of my "Wild Things" (in the colour scheme of their choice)
because inside each and every one of us, 
there is still a wild spirit... dancing

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Friday, 27 December 2013

Time between the Years

I love these last days between Christmas and New Year's - quiet, gentle days of nothingness, of introspection... what I call the "time between the years..." when I look back on what this past year has been, and gaze forward into the delicious possibility of the year ahead.



What do I want 2014 to be about? How do I want it to feel? Some of the year is already scheduled: the first two months a hard slog to bring to completion eight months of bookkeeping that took over my life last summer. It will be good to have that behind me (and I am still working on being grateful for all of the many lessons and insights it has given me...)

I am signed up for Carla Sonheim's Year of the Fairy Tale which I am beyond excited about, thrilled to devote an entire year towards illustration and story telling with a wonderful teacher and some fun and inspiring fellow artists. It may be just what I need to finish my Children's book now...




I am fine-tuning some other art goals, returning to some, expanding on others. Keeping a Visual Journal of the year as usual, which in turn helps me improve my sketching skill I'd also like to re-learn the basics of watercolour painting for sketching purposes.




I'm considering working through all of Julia Cameron's books back-to back, starting again for the umpteenth time "The Artist's Way" while all the time acknowledging the sheer enormity of the task I am considering setting for myself...  still one of my greatest life lessons... pacing myself...

I am still searching for my word of the year... although I know that HEALTH is ultimately what it will be about. But the word alone feels incomplete, it doesn't have enough action in it. I still don't own it and thankfully I have a few more days to deliberate. Walking, stretching, juicing, drinking lots of water, and healthy, homemade meals are just a few of the things that will inform my days.



Yes, there are still priorities to set and decisions to be made. Thank goodness I have five more days...

But in these in-between days, when one year is undergoing completion and the other not yet begun, I am deliciously suspended in time, and free to let my thoughts wander and pick and choose from the myriad of possibilities of how I want the next year of my life to unfold,  while all the time knowing, whatever plans I make, none will be as wonderful as what life truly has in store for me in the year ahead...


What lies ahead for you? What are your dreams for 2014? What do you want to feel?
I'd love to know...