Friday, March 30, 2012

Alaïa

I wish I could stop time from moving so fast, just so I could savor my vacation a little longer. Only two and a half days to go and it's back to the office for me. Until then I will keep pretending that this vacation will never end. I'm really enjoying myself. Some days are lazy and laid back and others I go out and about and explore and both are equally wonderful. I love the fact that I don't have to live as much by the clock when I'm off work. I can get up when I feel like it and just take my time for everything, be it a long hike (four hours yesterday), hours of reading or a nice little nap.

Last Wednesday I went to the city of Groningen to visit the Groninger Museum. They had several exhibits going on, but the one that really intrigued me was about fasion designer Azzedine Alaïa. I love the femininity of his clothes, the cut shapes and the incredible work in the details. I actually took out my sketchbook and sketched some of the outfits that were being shown.

I've never drawn clothes just by themselves before, so I found it quite challenging. They are just pen on paper, no coloring or anything. I just wanted to get the shapes down.






I did buy some postcards with photographs and details of some of the clothes, because of course my drawings don't really do them justice and I wanted to see some of the colors.

In case you were wondering I am also spending some time in the studio this week, not much but some. I have made some postcards and am in the process of making some more. I will probably show them to you next week. And of course the journal is always going strong and I will defenitely show you the first spreads of the Moon Journal soon.

For now I wish all of you a wonderful weekend and hope you get some time to be creative!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Catnap

Well, my vacation is underway and I am very much enjoying it. The weather is great and my first sunburn is a fact (well, it's only my nose, but that still counts, right?). It's not really warm yet, but the sun is already quite powerful. When out of the wind it's very pleasant to sit outside and I have done that already a couple of times.

I'm also trying to do some artsy stuff and one of the things I've done is finally get back to some sketching. I haven't drawn anything in such a long time. Drawing from life I mean. I have done doodles and imaginary flowers and stuff like that, but I haven't really sketched anything 'real'.

So I decided it was about time I started again, because in a few weeks there will be another Sketchcrawl and I intend to attend. Looking for a subject to draw I came across my cat Peer. As you all know cats are absolutely gorgeous, no matter what position they take, but it's easiest to draw them when they are asleep, especially if you have a cat like mine who adores attention and will not sit still if he notices you looking at him. He thinks looking equals the need to stroke his fur, so he immediately comes your way to be petted.

I started with some fast sketches to get my hands moving again and I found out just how rusty I had gotten at the whole sketching thing.



After that I did a couple of sketches and colored them in with black watercolor. They're still not great, but I do like them better than the first drawings. And it's nice to have some hand drawn images of my furry friend.




I hope to get some more practice this week, but I have to admit there's also a ton of other stuff I'd like to do, so I can't promise anything, not even to myself. ;-)

Hope you're all having a wonderful and very artsy week!


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Seeing things

Enjoying taking pictures is a strange thing, at least for me. When I'm in 'camera mode' I see pictures everywhere! It can be quite exhausting actually. The minute I start clicking away it's like all sorts of photo's just present themselves to me, begging to be taken.

These may not always be pictures other people understand. A nice landscape or a good portrait makes sense to most, but today I thought I'd show you a peek into my weird photo documentation mind. Here are some things I encountered in the last months that were just fascinating to me.

The bark of a tree.

Remnants of my morning apple all lined up.

The way these bike racks are arranged.

Patterns left by different tires in the snow.

The way tree branches look against a blue sky.

This amazing reflection.

How these pieces of ice creep all over each other.

How menacing these buildings look.

Stuff around a beach pole.

The shadow of a tree.

Marks people leave in the oddest places.

How these long shells line up.

How sand and water can form an abstract sculpture.

What you find on an outdoor bench.

I could go on forever, but you get the idea. I see things, I see things everywhere! Sometimes when I go out and about I deliberately do NOT take a camera just so I won't be overwhelmed by all the pictures that want to be taken. Does this make any sense?

Don't get me wrong: I love how my mind works and sees interesting stuff everywhere, I would hate to lose the ability to be fascinated by the most ordinary things. I just wonder sometimes how my brain is wired you know and what it all means.  And how many photographs does a person really need?  How about you blogsy people: do you ever get a kind of image overload when you start paying attention to the world around you?

I might be heading that way the coming week, because as of today I have nine days off work! A little vacation for me, myself and I. I look forward to roaming around the island and when I roam around I always see lots of things! ;-)

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy weekend!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The In Between Book completed

In case you were wondering what happened to me, I was right here all the time! ;-) But...having problems with my computer. That is to say, everything is working fine, except for one thing: I cannot upload images to the internet. Text goes fine and the internet connection works perfectly, so that's not it. It's not just blogger, I can't upload images to any site at all. Facebook, Flickr, ning-sites, the computer just stalls. Very annoying. 

The strange thing is: this happens once about every four to six weeks and after a few days it clears up again and I have no idea what I'm doing wrong or what is happening to cause it or how to solve it. I haven't changed my settings or installed anything new. It always just solves itself somehow. So if anybody knows what this is about, please let me know, 'cause it's starting to bug me. 

In any case I didn't feel like waiting for the magic to work it's way back into my computer, so I'm now uploading my images on my lunchbreak at work. So, while this is Wednesday, it's not a what are you up to post, it's the post that was supposed to go up last Monday. So, here we go! ;-) 

As I've stated last week already, the In Between Book is all filled up! It took me about six weeks to fill the 33 spreads of this book and on this blog I have shown you the progress of it. So now it's time for the final few spreads, but let's see how it started out shall we? As you may remember I prepped the In Between Book in one sitting in my studio and it only took a very short time. When I was done it looked like this:


The book was originally a sketchbook. It is A5 size (15x21cm) and has only 33 spreads in it. It was a very condensed size compared to the first altered atlas and even to the ROD2 journal which was the same size, but much bulkier in nature. I did like the smaller format, even though after being filled it now is no longer as thin as it was. I think it has become about four or five times thicker because of all the collaged items in it.

Here's how it looks now, all filled up:


Don't you just love how a journal transforms through use? A completely ordinary thing can become something so personal when it's filled to the brim with your own thoughts and imagery. I really enjoy seeing a journal become, if you know what I mean. I think that may also be why I like all the different sizes and formats so much, they make for an interesting journey.

Now without any further ado let me show you the last spreads of the In Between Book!










And that's all there is to this journal folks! I have started the Moon Journal (the second altered atlas) and will hopefully show you some of it's first spreads next week. I will miss the little In Between Book though, it was a cutie. ;-)

For now I'm wishing you all a very creative Wednesday. Please keep your fingers crossed for me that my computer will soon be working its magic again.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What are you up to Wednesday - part 42 (woyww 145)

Another Wednesday is upon is. There's not much going on atop my studio table, mostly because I've hardly been home in the past few days. So today we move downstairs to the journaling station, because the journal always continues no matter how busy I am. Journaling is like brushing and flossing, it has to be done on a regular basis, a very regular basis, or I feel yucky. I need it like a plant needs water, maybe even like a human needs water (every day).


As I told you in my previous post, I have started working in my altered atlas. Last night I prepared two spreads for writing. The above one is my current favorite, but that doesn't mean much as it's only the second spread in the entire book and I still have months to go before it's filled up. Here's the other spread I did last night.


I like working on the decorating of my spreads in the evening, because I just don't have time for it in the morning, especially when it's such a big book as this one is. But the writing is usually a morning thing. It's simply the best time of the day as it helps me to focus my thoughts a little when I'm still feeling dazed from a night's sleep and have to get up way to early to go to work. ;-)

Of course there is always the issue of my eager personal assistant who takes on way too much responsibility and always feels the need to stay on top of things:


I keep telling him it's really not necessary for our working relationship to be so intense, but he totally ignores me. Maybe he thinks I work for him? ;-)

Hope you are all having a wonderful Wednesday and if you feel like checking out other desks, go to the woyww hostess Julia en have a ball!

Monday, March 12, 2012

More from the In Between Book

I finished filling the In Between Book in the past weekend! Today I'll show you another set of spreads and probably next Monday you will see the last set of the spreads and how the book now looks standing up and filled to the brim. I can already tell you it's about four times as thick as it was when I started!











I hope you enjoy looking at these spreads as much as I enjoyed making them. It's always hard to figure out if what I do is interesting to others, not only because it's so personal, but also because there's so much writing involved and I know most art journals are not like that. I still consider my journals not so much art journals as decorated journals, or just diaries really.

However, some tim ago I got acquainted with the journals by Rebecca Horwood and they are full of writing and yet so fascinating that I figured all that writing might not be a problem after all. In fact I have found I get most remarks about the writing, which is interesting to me as I am myself always fascinated by journals without much writing in them. I guess writing is as interesting to non-writers as non-writing is to me. We are always attracted to our opposites a little. I'm always a little jealous of people who can do visual journals, that are visual only if you know what I mean. Mine will always be a combination of visual aspects and many many words.

Meantime I have now started working in the Moon Journal, the second altered atlas, and it's all new and strange again to work in such a big book after two smaller sized ones. I love this variation though. I hope to show you the first pages of that one soon too. I'll keep you posted.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy week!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Things to do with a sketchbook

Today I thought I'd show you some spreads from my sketchbooks. As you may or may not know I keep two of the same size, about 10x10 inches. One lives in my studio and the other everywhere else.

A lot of blogs and sites will only show you the prettiest pictures from their sketchbooks, but a sketchbook is a tool in your art, not an artist's book. At least not to me. So I thought today I would give some examples of what I use a sketchbook for. Maybe it will inspire you to use your sketchbook for some of these things as well and in any case it will rid you of any prejudice that a sketchbook has to be filled completely with pretty pages. ;-)

Some of the following you have already seen in some other posts and some you have not. Some are nice to look at and some are not. This is just a sample of a real life sketchbook. Enjoy!


THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH A SKETCHBOOK:

* test your pens and markers on black and white paper to see how they respond


* try out a friends copic markers on different types of paper and be surprised at how much you don't like them


* leave a drawing unfinished and then stick the left over of a sticker page on it to give it character
* make a color chart for some new paints


* note down all those ideas that pop into your head at the most inconvenient times
* write down quotes you like
* paste in images of art work you like (the art work on the below spread is by Dina Wakley and Shannon Sinclair)


* try out a new idea and see where it goes
* paste in all the odds and ends you can't find another place for, like pretty old japanese prints, information leaflets and a random self portrait


* paste in art works you intended to use for a project but then decided against


* draw some ribbons and circles or other nonsense (bet you didn't see that one coming!)


* make lists
* take notes


* plan out another journal (these plans were for ROD2)


* do a mind map to work out an elaborate idea (I still want to do an artist's book on Wuthering Heights someday, but I'm a little scared to start such a huge undertaking)


* practice your doodling, then add some color


* practice your doodling some more and learn that...you still need a lot of practice


Thank God for sketchbooks! Where else would we collect our try outs, our notes, our mistakes, our left overs, our ideas, our experiences with art supplies and a hundred other things? Use your sketchbook as the instrument it is, learn from it. Don't throw your try outs away, don't hide your mistakes. They are valuable teachers.

Hope you enjoyed this peek into my process and wish all of you a very artsy and wonderful weekend!

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