Monday, August 27, 2012

Little Blog Break

Hey blogsy people!

Just so you don't wonder if I fell off the island: I won't be blogging this week. It's a bit hectic around here. Nothing serious, just really busy. Will be back next week. Promise!

Have a wonderful and artsy week!

Love,
Caatje

Friday, August 24, 2012

Step by step journal spread

Time for another step by step journal spread. You all seemed to like the first one I did, so I promised you more. Well, let's go!

It started out as a very blue page. Acrylic craft paint applied with baby wipes.

Eiffel tower plastic tape on the top and bottom of the spread.

I picked two focal images from my stash of magazine images. Don't ask me why I picked these. There's no reason.

I got a white paint marker and added my signature dots around the entire spread. It's always dots or dashes with me.

A black Sakura glaze pen was then used to outline all the little dots. These pens are great for outlining things.

Obviously more tape was needed. A paper tape this time.

And no spread is complete without words. These came from magazines as well.

I wanted to keep it calm in black and white and blue, but I just couldn't. I. Just. Couldn't. Red and white paper tape were added.

More red accents were added around the words and the images with markers and more outlines with the glaze pen.

And finally stickers of all kinds were added. From scrapbook stickers to stuff from a toy store. Done!

And here are some close ups of the finished spread:






See how easy this stuff is? Really it's all just mixing and matching and not worrying about things like themes and colors or what it's all about. Anything goes together if you have a little courage, really it does. ;-)

Hope you enjoyed this little journal peek and of course I'll show you the pages again when they have been written on. Let me know if you have any questions.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy weekend!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

System Work

Over the past few days I have been enthralled by my own doodles. I know, how self absorbed can you be? But come on...look at this:


I just opened a new spread in my sketchbook and drew in vertical lines and started filling them with repetitive patterns. It's like an outstretched zentangle, a zenlongle! ;-) I drew them with a black tombow marker and used both the brush and the fine tip. I like the effect of the different lines.

After that I just had to color them in and since I want to get better aquainted with colored pencils anyway I decided to use those. I love the soft effect of the colored pencils in contrast to the stark black lines.

And I loved the first one so much that I just had to do more:


I thought I would like a border around the lines, but it turned out I really didn't like that, so the above is the only one that is enclosed by a border pattern. While making that one I did come up with a name for these drawings though: system work. It just popped into my head and seemed appropriate.

Unfortunately it's also a song by a former Dutch women's group called Mai Tai and even though the song has nothing to do with these drawings the words 'System Work' put it into my head now everytime I work on these. I may need an exorcist!

After the border fiasco I decided to try some different color schemes on one page drawings. (Two pages take a lot of time. A Lot.) What if I used different greens for instance?


I like the monochromatic look of working in one color. So I made another one in pinks and purples as well, this time a horizontal one. (Now the lines aren't perfectly straight, but the bend of the page makes it look even worse.)


So now I have a new addiction. I have no idea how long this will last, but I don't care. My next try will be one in blue colors. The challenge of course is to think up new patterns and to make it work as a whole. It really is system work.

I'm even thinking of doing some as just black and white drawings and offering them as freebies for you all to color in. We'll see about that, me and my big ideas! For now I'm pleased just to be playing in my sketchbook, which is a good thing, since the studio is still off limits. I can't wait for fall to show it's chilly face!

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy week!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Photography Friday

High time for some pretty pictures of the past few weeks. Island joy for you all to behold!

View through grass and flowers.

It's very busy at the island right now, so this empty beach was a rare treat.

Low tide at the North Sea.

Strange things that wash ashore - brick wall anyone?

Low tide at the Wadden Sea.

The  car bridge to the ferry.

Only the best room in the house!

Sail boats at low tide.

Yes, my toenails come in all colors.

Remnants of trees in the forest.

A pretty view through the branches of some trees.

It was so warm and humid that a fog started to form over the Wadden Sea. So beautiful.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy weekend!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tombow sketching

I've raved about them for a while now, my new tombow dual brush markers. I really like them, even though there is a learning curve if like me you don't often work with markers, and even though they are not light fast. But I love love love the brushtip and the way they feel in my hand when sketching.

My first free play with the tombow markers, a fantasy face and some quick happy notes.

I don't think there's anything so personal as the preference of pens and markers. People go all crazy over copic markers for instance and I found them just horrible (the smell alone, yuck), so don't go by me when investing in stuff, haha.

An impression of a face in a magazine.

Anyway, I got a big selection of the tombows and because I had some double in various sets I actually now have an extra set of them to play with on the couch, now the heat is still too much in the studio (sigh, I miss you, dear studio).

A nude from a magazine. It turned out as an insult to the model I'm afraid. ;-)

So here's some simple and quicky sketches I did while simultaneously listening to the tv. I'm not good at multitasking and I don't really believe anybody is. I don't even think there is such a thing. I think multitasking is simply going back and forth between multiple things very fast, which may make it seem like you are doing two or more things at once, but that's really not the case. It's very tiring to the mind, because it doesn't get the chance to really focus.

The cover of the movie Sex and the City 2!

I may have the tv on while sketching, and I may even get the gist of what's going on there, but that's not the same as really watching a programme. That's why I mostly only have reruns on or stuff I don't really care about anyway as a background noise. I have however decided to just turn the damn thing off in the future and focus on my sketching/doodling. It's much more peaceful that way.

My personal favorite, also after a magazine photo.

The sketches of today are expressive to say the least. Not all equally good, but I do like the effect of working in different bright colors to do a drawing. It's a fast way of sketching without thinking too much. I do hope you enjoy them.

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy Wednesday!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Book review - Brave intuitive painting / Flora Bowley



Title: Brave intuitive painting - techniques for uncovering your own unique painting style
Author: Flora Bowley
Info: 128 p. - 2012
Rating: 7 / 10




Notes:
I'm torn in my review of this book as I was torn in getting it in the first place. I had never heard of Flora Bowley until Amazon recommended her book to me as it does with dozens of others, because Amazon knows what an artsy book addict I am. Yes, these are the dangers of the internet, too much access to potentially interesting stuff. ;-)

The reason I was torn  about getting it is because of the content of the negative reviews of the book and I wasn't sure if I would like it. I did however immediately fall for Flora Bowley's painting style and I figured that if I didn't like the book for what it said I would at least have a book full of beautiful pictures of Flora's work.

Well, let me start by saying that the book indeed looks absolutely scrumptious. The photographs are just dreamy and the layout is gorgeous and of course Flora's work does most of the prettifying in itself. It's so colorful and indeed bold. But...I could have done without the many pictures of Flora herself. Flora in several yoga positions, Flora at work in her studio, Flora on a swing and the ones that almost made me laugh out loud: Flora jumping ecstatically into the air!

I'm sorry. I'm sure Flora is a wonderful person and I do like her voice in the writing of the book which sounds really well meaning, but all this Flora was just a bit too much. It was a bit...well, a bit blogsy really (I know that's not a word, but you know I've used it before, my blogsy people).

I'm still not sure if this book does or doesn't deliver what it promises. Techniques for uncovering your own painting style. Hmmm. What it mostly does is deliver Flora's philosophy on painting. I think I can summarize this philosophy as follows: be brave, do what feels right and there are no mistakes, oh...and work big. Flora repeats this at many turns in many different words (although this book is not very wordy when you consider that a lot of pages have about a paragraph on them) and it's an important message, but after a while I think you get the point. Follow your own voice when it comes to painting.

As for techniques the book is not very generous with them and remains very basic. I think anybody who wonders about Flora's own techniques in painting (how does she do it?) will be very disappointed. It's almost as if she went out of her way to avoid people from copying her style. Some tools are mentioned and the different marks that can be made with them and there is a very concise introduction into color theory. There are some exercises to get you going and some of those are quite interesting and fun too and I'm going to try some of them myself.

I think this book has the same 'problem' that a painting class I took a few years ago had where the teacher kind of let you figure it out all by yourself. It's not that there were no assignments, it's just that they were very open to interpretation. It will work perfectly for people who are not afraid to dive in and experiment. There's no real guidance, no real explanation of what to do or how to do it. It's diving of a cliff straight into the deep end. That's good if you are that kind of person, but if you need more information on materials, more smaller exercises to get to know your instruments and just plain painting techniques and skills, this may not be the book for you.

I remember in my painting class some people just kind of standing there wondering where the hell to start. Not everybody gets that you just start by starting. If that's the kind of person you are Flora's book will be too 'open', too unstructured. I know that's exactly what she intends and I get it, but it may not be for everyone (then again, what book is?).

All in all I think she could have been way more generous with her information, but I also get why she wasn't. And that's why I'm torn. I don't think it's a book I would recommend to anyone who wants to get into painting for the first time, because they would be lost at what to do. I also personally don't really care for the spiritual approach she gives, but that's a matter of preference in way of working. It might work for you to dance or do a yoga exercise during your painting sessions.

As a picture book it is absolutely stunning and that's why it still gets 7 out of 10 from me, but as content goes I would not give it more than 6 or 6.5. As a final word I do give her a thumbs up for effort and ... she did inspire me to put up a big canvas on my easel, because her work itself really is inspiring.

Friday, August 10, 2012

More from the Moon Journal

Time for another peek into my Moon Journal. I'm about three quarters through the book and loving it to death.


I was in a bit of a journaling slump in July which was really annoying and bad for me too. I just notice when I don't journal that I somehow go 'off course'. I loose track of my life and myself.


I need to write and I need to do the interesting lay outs. I can't really explain it. All I know is that it's a sort of key to personal sanity.


I've created a journaling habit over the years and when I don't get around to doing it enough something in me becomes detached from my own life.


So it's good that so far August has been a productive month and that I'm enjoying sitting at my journaling table for hours on end preparing pages for writing and every morning before work doing the actual writing itself.


It's okay to skip a day, but for me it's no longer okay to skip many days. I don't feel guilty or anything for not journaling, it's got nothing to do with that. I just get cranky from it and that serves nobody.


So, here's some of my latest spreads and I hope you enjoyed them. Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy weekend!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sketchbook Play

Now that the studio is too warm to work in most of the time I have to resort to either my journal or sit on the couch with my sketchbook (aptly named the Out of the Studio Book). Neither is a terrible thing by the way, although I do wish it would cool down a little, since I have a mixed media piece in the making that's going nowhere fast this way.

A little fantasy in colored pencils. This took forever to make.

It's not even that the weather is that hot, but the heat kind of floats upstairs and stays there and when the sun is on the roof of the studio all day it has no chance to cool down.

Squigly shapes, I've drawn them for years and I don't know why. This is colored pencil too.

So the couch is where I take my sketchbook and a small batch of supplies and play, usually while something ridiculous is playing on tv like Ghost Hunters International or other SyFy nonsense. ;-)

A mandala in colored pencil. I hadn't done mandala's in ages.

I mostly play with either colored pencils or markers. My tombow markers arrived, yay! I've done  a lot of sketching with them already, of which I'll show you some next week, and I really enjoy their brush tip. It makes for very spontaneous marks. 

A mandala in tombow markers. The first thing I did with them. This is still pretty 'controlled'.

So even though my options are limited now I have no access to my studio (well, no pleasant access that is) I am keeping myself busy and am enjoying it. No need to feel sorry for me, none at all. ;-)

Hope you're creatively busy too and wishing you a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Step by step journal spread

The past weekend I spent a lot of hours at my journaling table preparing spreads in my journal for writing. I will show those to you when they are fully finished. I am planning a journal spreads post on Friday.

But while working I thought it might be nice to do a post where I show the making of a journal spread from almost start to finish. I say 'almost start', because as you may remember I prep my journals ahead of time with paint so they have a little color on the page when I start working on them.

So here's a step by step photo shoot of one journal spread.

The spread started out very pink. It's acrylic craft paint rubbed on the page with a baby wipe!

I added tape to the top and bottom and some scrapbook borders to the center of the pages.

Then I got my wonderful paint markers and added a border of dots around the spread.

Time to go through my stash of magazine images and pick two focal images that seemed to fit perfectly together.

I added some words and outlined both text and images with a dashed line in green and white paint marker.

I decided to ad a dashed line alongside the central strips of scrapbook borders as well.

I wanted to bring out the green in the picture of the purse and added some bright yellow green washi tape.

Some pretty store bought stickers were added and the letters almost accidentally spelled 'keep'.

Time to ad some text of my own, inspired by the word 'keep'. I took some washi tape and a template and wrote.

I went over the writing on the tape with a thicker marker and taped the words onto the spread.

Wanting to ad some final details, I stamped some flowers on pretty paper and cut them out.

Those were added as a final touch and now I considered the page all done. VoilĂ !  All ready for writing!

And here's some details from the spread so you can see it more up close. It helps see the effect of the baby wipes better and the different colors of the paint markers as well.





Please let me know if you enjoy seeing these step by step demonstrations. I have another one in the making of a mixed media spread in my sketchbook (which is on hold right now, because the studio is too warm to work in), so you can look forward to that. It's quite easy and fun to do, so I wouldn't mind doing more of these if you're interested in my process. If you have any questions feel free to ask, I love answering questions about my work.

For now I wish you all a wonderful and artsy week!
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