Friday, 29 March 2013


Am I a genius or what?  Yes, undoubtedly not, but I may get top marks for persistence at any rate.  Out of a magazine fell a delicious catalogue (on that wonderful new non-shiny paper you see a lot of lately) for rustic weathered furniture.  I couldn't afford the furniture but I loved all the colours, patterns and textures in the catalogue, and thats when I came up with the idea of turning these images into a home-made collage sheet.  You can see below what I did - I cut interesting sections out in strips and began pasting them onto a base sheet.
And this is the sheet when it was almost finished.  I was really pleased with how it was turning out.  The next step was to colour copy it (I have one of those print/scan/copy machines) and preserve the original, while cutting up the print into yet more strips.

And I could then use the strips to frame a black painted page I'd begun - the border looks great if I say so myself, and the slightly fed-up looking Modigliani lady just seemed to belong there.
I have discovered that my Posca Paint Pen works best on an acrylic paint surface - its not good at all on top of the Caran D'Ache crayons - so I used this to write the simple message.  As always I just concentrate on getting the words down and go back to fancy up the lettering later.
As you can see below - I basically thicken up the letters and add doodly, curly bits to each letter.  I'm also training myself not to write in such straight lines with equally sized lettering - not always successfully I might add!  Did I mention that I am good at perseverance?
So anyway, this is the finished page - very simple and quick, but it says what I wanted to get down and I rather like the simplicity of it for a change.  Perhaps I just wasn't in a very doodly mood that day?

I hope you might feel encouraged to have a go at making your own collage sheets - there's so much (free!) material out there that you could use, all you have to do is identify colours, patterns and shapes that catch your eye.  My next project is going to be a collage sheet made entirely of lettering - for which I am mining newspapers (including the free local property newsletter, printed on more of that lovely matte paper).

Happy Easter everyone, and hope it is joyful, peaceful and happy for you all .....

Thursday, 21 March 2013


I found this headline in one of the papers I regularly mine for possible material, and just couldn't resist using it!  (This is actually a page from last year that I haven't blogged yet).

Usual background of Caran d'Ache crayons plus the headline, and a stamp of a man who looks like a shrink (well I think he does).  It actually stayed like this for quite a few weeks, and then the rest came to me ....
I read this study that demonstrated how being totally absorbed in a hobby like crafting is really good for you and releases happy hormones!  We could have told them that, right?  For me it refreshes the parts other activities don't reach.
I've often wondered how people can live without a passion?  No not that kind, but some absorbing interest you can get really enthusiastic about, like following your team, collecting stamps, or crafting.  I can never WAIT to stop doing what I should be doing, and start doing my art instead!  Its not like that for everyone and I can't help thinking that for people who don't have an absorbing hobby life must be a bit .... well monotonous?  With my disability it just about saved  my life when I realised that my working life was over - if I hadn't been able to throw myself into making stuff I might have gone under.

I always tell people that when I was young I spent all my spare money on clothes, but now I dress from charity shops and supermarkets and spend all my spare cash (and some that probably isn't) on craft stuff.  But the pleasure it gives me is simply priceless ... and just look at all these j ournals and scrapbooks my grateful children will inherit!  Yeah, right.  I rather hope they might keep one or two anyway ...
The flying pigs are a stamp (who could resist) but pretty much everything else is drawn/doodled.  Have I mentioned that I rather enjoy doing that?

PS Any similarity in colour scheme between this and the page I blogged last week is entirely coincidental, they were made about a year apart!

Saturday, 16 March 2013


I made this page because some of my recent encounters with my (now grown and flown) daughters have been nothing short of wonderful, and I was full of a need to record how proud I am of them.

I had already made a simple background with Caran d'Ache crayons and added these Washi Tapes and one or two other bits and bobs, including this wonderful picture of a little girl.  She reminds me so strongly of my youngest daughter ... I think its the way her bottom lip sticks out!
And then I simply wrote down what I was feeling - I am trying not to be such a straightist so although I did write in more or less straight lines, I did make the lettering lots of different sizes, which is progress for me!
It didn't take much to finish the page off, just a few extra touches of shading and the obligatory decorative dots!  Well you've got to have those.  I suppose this is quite a simple page, but then it was a fairly simple thought.  I did worry a lot about being a good mother (mine was awful) when they were little, and then I came across the concept of a good-enough mother, which liberated me from trying too hard.  I made lots of mistakes but can only believe now that I did some things right as well!
I find it exciting that I've just started work in this, my 7th journal.  Hard to believe I've been journalling away since August 2010, and since I discovered it have only occasionally done anything else!  My journals come with a white gesso cover which allows me to decorate each one differently.  This one was painted metallic black (I was in a slightly steampunk mode at the time) and I added metal effect studs and hinges, with a Tim Holtz plaque to finish it off.  I always tie ribbons and all manner of bits and bobs to the journal spine, including a numbered tag.  I used to date my pages but don't bother now, but I do make a  note on the inside cover when I began and when I finished.
And here are the other six sitting on my shelf!  I love going back to them and musing over the journey I've made, and how far I've come (or indeed not come).  I feel incredibly fortunate to have discovered this wonderful art form which fits me to a T (although I do still sew, scrapbook etc etc), and it gives me much joy and delight to share them with you ....

Saturday, 9 March 2013


I finally made a page about something that has irritated me all my life - I'm one of five children and most of the others have red hair, real carrot tops.  Not me, mine is so dark as to be almost black ... although there are some advantages, in that even as a grandmother there is very little grey in it.  Apparently my grandfather (from whom I inherited my colouring) was exactly the same.

Anyway, I was trying to be brave and work outside my comfort zone again, getting out paint and stencils ...  WHY doesn't this feel remotely natural to me, its not as if I don't like the results! Who can say why something lights your fire and something else doesn't?  I think the paint thing is probably to do with the fact that I prefer watercolour, but I've got a huge stash of acrylics that I feel obliged to use up ...
I'd cut out this picture from a magazine just knowing that I could do something with it, and so enthusiastic was I that I forgot to take pictures of the stages between the above and below images.  Ah well, you may be unsurprised to learn that I'm not actually perfect ... except in the cat's eyes.  OK, not even in his.
I have been challenging myself not to write in straight lines, or make all my letters the same size, and do seem to have achieved that here.  I admit it, I'm a straightist, and yes I do straighten pictures.  Sigh.  Another challenge was not to be scared of empty space (I have had a tendency to fill every inch with doodles and decorations).
Anyway, there it is, and I not only feel better for getting that grumble off my chest but actually (if I'm being scrupulously honest) I now realise that I rather like my hair just as it is.  Oh the joys of getting older and being (almost) entirely comfortable in your own skin ... I recommend it! :)

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Fed Up? Oh you betcha .....

This page was prompted by the vote on Women Bishops being lost here in the UK ... I was shocked by the result because I really thought we would get it, in fact I was confident, even though I knew it was likely to be close.  Its clear now, some time later, that the result owed a lot to the fact that people who were in favour of women in the episcopate felt they had to vote against a bad piece of legislation, which I DO understand.  Its just that at the time I was SO blooming cross ....
That's why I made a page about it - well that's what keeping an art journal is for, right?  To work out difficult stuff as well as celebrate and record better stuff.  This is a background made with my trusty Caran d'Ache crayons ... and its only now that I wonder if it looks vaguely gynaecological?  Just me then ...
This set of (clear) typewriter stamps have been in my stash for some time, but I've only ever used them on scrapbook layouts.  For some reason it felt right to use them here - maybe I didn't trust myself to do tidy writing when I wanted to explode?  Could be, although maybe wobbly angry writing could have spoken volumes ...

Then I started to do all the twiddly bits of writing and decorating.  I like using this Stampotique head, it represents me when I'm not exactly at my best!  Anyway, like me, I think she has a certain freakish charm ...
And as you can see I got all sorts of stuff off my chest and had fun doing it too.  Where would I be without my journal, I honestly think I'd go (even more) bonkers without it, so quickly has it become an absolutely essential part of my life.  I work in it pretty much every day, and feel a bit odd when I don't, even if its just to paint a background or something.  After a few early experiments I first started
keeping a proper journal in August 2010, and have now filled six, and am just starting out on the seventh.
I love seeing them all on the shelf, with lots of ribbons and all manner of stuff tied onto the spiral bindings, not to mention each having a little tag with the number.  I use the blank journals which have a plain white gesso cover, so each one is decorated differently and individually.

I rather like this page, it records some genuine pain and anger that it will be instructive to look back on ... and I'm hopeful that this summer will see some new (and much improved) legislation put to the vote.  Come ON sisters!!