Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Weekly Challenges and other artsy meanderings...

"Heart of a Champion"
Hearts and the Olympics

Happy Valentines Day my friends! Those of you who've been visiting my blog for a while know that I'm not a hearts and flowers kind of gal and I tend to take a lot of artistic license when it comes to any sort of holiday themes the challenges might invoke...hence my holiday default into the Cosmic Garden. 
It took me a while to let this one percolate but when I looked through my eco-printed papers, I saw a cat's paw holding a bouquet of flowers in the imprint of this one and though I backed off from anything too literal, I thought PERFECT! a Valentine from me and Aimee;-)

I've been doing a lot of watercolor this week and was inspired by a Maremi Small Art video about breaking blank pages:

Heart of a Champion
take two
dripping heart garden in my
"Fearless & Fun" DIY art journal

Joey's Weekly Challenge #203
&
 It's a String Thing Challenge #230
Duo-Challenge

This one almost did me in with all the hearts. I started with the 3 corners of "Eddyper" for Joey's challenge on Tuesday morning before I went to work. Getting to the String Thing challenge can be tricky for me because it's published so late on Tuesday, I can't get to it until Wednesday morning and I like to get my blog post up Wednesday morning...so there's that. It's one of the reasons I've let IAST slip from my practice in the past. I can be a little weird with challenges sometimes, because if it doesn't gel with me right away and I've got other projects going on, I won't force it and I'll move on.

Other artsy stuff:
A short while back, I took the plunge and bought the starter set of Daniel Smith watercolors with a Blick coupon. I added a couple more tubes this week and did a "survey" of all of my watercolor sets whilst practicing my leaves and flowers following along with several YouTube videos:

Daniel Smith blues
inspired by Studio Jess

Roses and Ranunculas
inspired by Authentic Frannie

this one's my favorite

"Put that sticky thing away and give me my lubbins"



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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Weekly Challenges and other stuff...

Heartstring & "Rimana"

Well, it's that time of year for all of the hearts and flowers and reds and pinks...all that stuff that I avoid like the plague. I was gonna go rogue and ignore the string part of the challenge. "Rimana" is this weeks Use My Tangle part of the challenge and I knew right away that it would grow quite nicely in my cosmic garden. I just had to adapt it a little. I've been inspired again by Margaret Bremner's latest series of eco-printed ZIA's and found a suitable starter:


It seems quite obvious now but didn't even see the heart string until I started penciling in the leaf outlines, so it all worked out just fine;-) Instead of starting with the stem of Rimana, I placed  the bulbs first. I love how this turned out!


&

It's my 3rd week of combining these two challenges and I'm really liking the challenge on top of the two challenges so far. It goes off-the-rails many times throughout but I manage to rein it back in and finish with something cool. 
I started Joey's challenge to use Knightsbridge (a fave) within Tangle Patterns string #91. Without thinking too much, I've been trying to lay in the Joey string with an idea of how it might be able to transition into the IAST piece. I do this blindly since I don't know what the IAST challenge will be when I start this, hence the triple challenge;-) 
I stopped after drawing Knightsbridge and the top portion of Mookas and Fescus. Once IAST appeared I married the two strings and then moved back and forth to balance the piece. 

As for other stuff I've been up to...week's back I determined that my art goal would be to "Spend less time watching and more time doing". I've only partially succeeded. In my search for inspiration on ways to fill my current DIY art journal, I stumbled across a YouTube channel called Maremi's Small Art. Marta, the artist, creates mixed media journal pages amongst other things. Well, I've spent the last two weeks binge watching her assemble what at first appears to be hot mess after hot mess of collaging, stamping, stenciling, painting, gluing, gessoing and painting some more...into finished pieces of quite stunning art. This video on using coffee and tea is what sucked me in. Click it at your own risk. Marta is delightful, she's a Polish Bob Ross;-)
This happened in conjunction with my starting a Feng Shui cleaning purge. I'd come across a box of travel mementos...



 and well...this happened:

works-in-progess


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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Weekly Challenges and other stuff...

Rumpus

I love Rumpus!

&

This was a fun duo-challenge. I set up the page on Monday with Joey's challenge to use Lily Moon's "Drogon", happy to re-visit it. A lesson learned from previous attempts at it is to go big. "Dublin" is a new pattern I've been wanting to try since seeing it on Facebook's Square One page. I love ogee grid patterns with leafy motifs.

This is where I stopped on Monday

When Adele's challenge appeared on Tuesday night I was apprehensive at first because Paradox and I have not been keen friends. Bumpadox didn't seem to fare much better, but as I laid in Adele's string a friendly cohesion started formulating in my head as I saw some parallel's between Drogon and the 'Dox's. Good Times!
The last page in my Trainwreck Journal

The purpose of this journal was to experiment and play and avoid being precious about anything. I wish I'd taken a picture of the watercolor background. It made me think of butterflies, so I started with some Pinterest pics of butterflies. I did the right side first and I really was not that crazy about all the white. On the left side I added more color using Crayola markers. There's a strip of washi tape down the center that I embellished as well.
I love how this book turned out!


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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Diva Challenge #348 and other artsy stuff...



Moebius Syndrome Awareness Day 2018


It's a String Thing Challenge #277
&

I've been trying to work these two challenges back into my practice for awhile now, but it seems like there's just never enough time as I've been trying to diversify my art with studying more illustration, painting and lettering.
I have also been inspired by so many gorgeous Tangle-a-Day calendar pages I've seen out there as way to keep introducing new patterns into ones repertoire. So I thought I'd try to design my own method in a sketchbook format using these two challenges as a starting point. We'll see how it goes;-)

I continue to work on my handmade book binding technique. I'm finishing up the last page in my Trainwreck Journal, so I made a new one:

I'm getting better!
I haven't decided what to call this one;-)

The Sea Lemon YouTube channel has a bunch of book binding tutorials. I used Daiso A4 Drawing paper. It's smooth but takes mixed media pretty well. It's 11.7" x 8.2" . I fold each page in half and tear it to get the deckled edge. I save all the backing cardboard from my watercolor and mixed media pads to use for covers. This one is covered with IKEA wrapping paper. I used dental floss (also from Daiso) to sew the signatures together.

My Alphonso Dunn page

There's an artist at my neighborhood cafe who makes bookmarks from her trimmings and leaves them on the bookshelf. This was just a red and gold strip of paper that I loved. The texture study is from this video. This journal may just be all over the map;-)

Next, I painted a bunch of pages:







This page is stained with really strong tea

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Diva Challenge #347 and other stuff...



Diva Challenge #347
String Theory: Traced Objects

lipstick, jar lid, USB stick and an ink bottle

I love this kind of string challenge. I managed to catch Laura's YouTube video on Sunday night so I got a jump start and set up the string. The next morning I grabbed a handful of tools and headed down to the cafe for a little drawing session.
I went back-to-basics on this one. Black ink, white tile, conjuring up my top 20 faves in my head and letting the zen take me on little journey. I started off by thinking about where I might want to leave white space and at the very last minute, decided to add a border. I used a fountain pen so the blacker areas aren't so solid, but I really love how this came out.

duo tangle: Huggins & Phicops
Trainwreck Sketchbook

In my attempt to make friends with Phicops last week, I played a little bit with it here in my trainwreck sketchbook. I had set up the watercolor backgrounds a while back and the colors here seemed a good fit for some organic exploration. I've been using a Pentel Stylo pen and Staedler Triplus Fineliners in this book as the watercolor grounds were done with a cheap Daiso set of tube paints. They're chalky and will clog up Microns and fountain pens. I actually love the muted colors they produce when mixed. Both pens are water soluble so I dripped water on the linework and let it do its thing. I love that effect. I don't know if this is finished yet. I pondered doing some highlight and it just didn't seem right.


Trainwreck sketchbook
fun floral motifs


Alpaca

Aimee


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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Diva Challenge #346 and other stuff...

Diva Challenge #346
Duo-Tangle: Phicops & Huggins

Yaaaay! The Diva is back and to start a new year of new challenges, Laura gave us...uhmnnn...me quite a challenge. Very Yin/Yang because Phicops is one of those patterns I've managed to avoid, whereas I can't get enough Huggins.
It's taking me a while to make friends with Phicops and I'm still not quite there yet. I had many ideas going on and frustratingly pursued several clumsy attempts at it in my sketchbook and finally started this first tile as more of a warm up, casually executed on a 4" x 4" scrap of card stock I rescued from the recycle bin at work.

Duotangle #2
Cosmic Garden

I like how this one turned out. I knew these two patterns would be a nice fit in the Cosmic Garden series, even though I thought I was done with that. I guess not. 
I spent some time looking at Phicops from the Diva's archive challenges and there were some real beauties. I was inspired to play some more with it in my Trainwreck journal. I'll share that next week.

Other stuff:
During the Diva's holiday hiatus, I challenged myself with daily drawings inspired by many different sources. I've mentioned that I do spend waaay too much time noodling around the internet and watching YouTube videos. One of my creative goals is to strive for more balance. I tend to bombard myself with images and ideas and then step back and see what sticks. From time to time I'll share the stuff that sticks.
During my recent organizing binge, I found an old, large, spiral bound sketchbook and re-purposed the remaining pages into a smaller hand-made sketchbook using a watercolor practice sheet for the cover. I call this the sketchbook of "Everything Else", inspired by an Alphonso Dunn video where he talks about looking at student sketchbooks of one polished/pretty/finished page after another and asking "Where's everything else?"
The paper is not conducive to any wet media including many of my ink pens so I decided to use it for colored pencils...mostly.
 I was breaking in the cheap Daiso watercolor set and practicing layering.

One of my early sources of inspiration, long before I ever heard of Zentangle is "They Draw and Cook". It's a collection of illustrated recipes curated by artists Salli Swindell and her brother Nate Padivick. I follow Salli on Instagram and I love her whimsical and seemingly simplistic style. It's the antithesis of mine. I tend to get caught up in too much realistic (and labor intensive) detail whenever I draw "real life" and though I enjoy that and get a lot of satisfaction from it when I have the time, one of my creative goals this year is to achieve a simpler balance to that.

Playing with my Prismacolor pencils sallistyle


9 x 12 ZIA
mixed media

I was doing some cleaning and organizing of my art closet last week and found this work-in-progress ZIA I had forgotten about under a stack of watercolor pads. The line work was done on the water-colored background, so I spent the rest of the day finishing it with the shading, highlight and colored pencil. I can't remember when I started this, but I was clearly influenced and inspired by the work of Sharla Hicks. I love her organics.

A few pages from finishing the Trainwreck journal
dip pen and ink

Aimee takes a break to let me draw
She's usually trying to sit on top of whatever I'm doing
It's always a bit precarious when the pen and ink are out


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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A New Year and a few drawin's


Trainwreck Journal
"In 2018, I will..."


Happy New Year everybody!  I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and I want to thank everyone who found their way here over the last month and left such lovely comments.
So...here's what I've been up to this past week...


Little Pieces of Art
Texture study
I love this Lemur!!!
BFK Rives Illustration paper
Platinum Preppy EF nib fountain pen


Little pieces of Art
Dragonfly
Texture study
Platinum Plaisir fountain pen

Setting up the last few pages of my Trainwreck Journal
Daiso watercolor set
$1.50 for a set of 12 tubes!

I'll be making another one of these ASAP. It was the best $3.00 I've ever spent. Paper and paint both came from Daiso and the time I spent developing my mad bookbinding skilz...well...I hafta say I love it! The best thing about the Trainwreck is that ended up best illustrating my 2017 word of the year:


I drew this on New Year's Eve 2016. It was a prompt from the Facebook group, Tangled and Journaled, Too! It took me most of the year to get here and that's ok;-)
The Trainwreck is a mess of half-baked ideas and meanderings, fits and starts and some serious fun. It's been my best creative tool.

Trainwreck journal
dip pen & blue ink 
texture study-tree bark

Sharpie and a Pentel Stylo

Dip Pen with Winsor Newton Violet ink
white gelly roll pen

trying out some different inks

Texture and value study

"I likes dis here color. It matches my eyes"



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