Thursday, 24 April 2014

Drawn to Flowers

Everywhere I look at the moment I'm seeing flowers. Despite the fact it is autumn here in the southern hemisphere and the days are getting colder. Or maybe because of that... sometimes the Australian summer is just too hot to do anything but wilt.

Hibiscus are out on full parade,beautiful white/pink/magenta camellias too. And those showy bird of paradise flowers. So tropical looking. So fabulously gaudy!

So I've been enjoying creating some floral inspired pieces in my art journal. Which I've actually completed the last page of today. I love that feeling. Especially when I've made the journal myself.

Back to the flowers though. Two very different pieces here. One illustrative in nature and one more abstract. I enjoyed creating them both.

The first one uses twinkling H2Os on an ink/stencil background that I've then added a quote from Matisse too. I used a black and white vector image of an hibiscus as inspiration for the flower shape. I find I try to make things too complex when I draw from life so while I'm learning how to simplify things this works as a great short-cut. I'll be using some techniques from this piece in my next video for Lulu Arts.

And this is my other more abstract piece. It's pure watercolour (except for a little pencil left over from the sketch) and the first time I've ever really used this medium on its own. I hope you can see it's inspired by Georgia O'Keefe and Danielle Donaldson - I will definitely be doing some more work like this again.

Because I was so afraid (!) of doing this piece badly I actually did it on the scrappy/messy back of my hand made journal (that's why those red spots are in the middle at the top). The process (of going slowly and leaving things to dry) is a long way from my usual 'slap it down and move on' methods but I really do love the transparency (see many previous posts) of watercolour and want to keep trying.

And I am not unhappy with this first result despite its many faults. :-)

Do you love watercolours? Do you have any tips to share? What's your favourite flower?

Saturday, 19 April 2014

She Wore Flowers In Her Hair

I am an avid reader (when I'm not painting/creating) and this quote is from one of my favourite books - The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

At one point during the creating of this page my 4 year old son said to me 'Has a rainbow been sick in your book Mummy?'. Oh how I laughed... and got the gesso out!

I posted this in Joanne Sharpe's facebook group for her book 'The Art of Whimsical Lettering' because I was so pleased with the way the quote came out (and my courage to put it on the page!) and several people asked questions so, in case you have the same ones, I'll leave my answers here too.

1. The butterflies in the background come from the original paper. I used a piece of beautiful butterfly wrapping paper when hand making the journal this piece is in. When I gesso'd it to add inks and paints I only did so thinly over the edge of the page so the butterflies are still peeking through.
2. The skin tone on the girl is created by mixing a tiny bit of watercolour  (quinacrodone rust & quinacrodone rose)  with gesso and then shading with prismacolor pencils.
3. The flowers in her hair were created with a modelling paste stencil (after all the background and face had been completed) which I then brushed diluted watercolour over the top of.

Do you use quotes from your favourite books in your work? Or have a favourite recipe for skin tones you'd like to share?

Friday, 11 April 2014

Lettering and Hafiz

As an art journaler I sometimes like to add quotes & thoughts to my pieces. But, like a lot of people, I find my handwriting messy and quite often end up resorting to using Photoshop to add words.

Like this.

I made the background using glimmer mists and Dr P.H. Martin Bombay inks (which are permanent) along with stencils, some acrylics, gesso and modelling paste.

Afterwards I scanned it and added the quote with Photoshop.

I loved the process of making the background but I felt like I'd cheated with the words.

Then my copy of Joanne Sharpe's new book - The Art of Whimsical Lettering arrived.

It's packed full of ideas and exercises to help with your lettering so I set to straight away and began practising, practising, practising.

And after a few days I felt confident to try another quote from Hafiz on a background I'd made at the same time as the previous one.

I didn't cheat. And it turned out OK.

Do you like your writing? What books have inspired you to try something you were afraid of? What have you practised every day and then felt able to try?

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Live Love Surf

This week I made my first youtube video of my painting process. Actually it was my first youtube video ever.

This is the piece I painted.

And this is the video.

I created this piece for my friends at Lulu Art Mixed Media Supplies in Australia. If you take the time to watch it I hope you learn something interesting and enjoy watching my process.

In my journal this week I've been playing with quotes and birds. This one is words by Hafiz, text by Photoshop and background by me.

I really have to work on my hand lettering. I wish I could write this kind of thing myself but my writing never looks this good. Practice no doubt will make a huge difference...
Have you caught the happy virus this week?