Image

Your Heart Knows the Way (and sometimes that is through housework)

I have to be good today.  I have to clean my house.  I cannot sit in my pyjamas all day, drinking tea and making art.  I can’t.  I have to do laundry and wash the floors and find my bed under all the crap that is on top of it.  I have to dust my shelves and do my dishes.  I have to organise my wardrobes and attempt to make sense of my craft room.

I would rather be crafting, but today I have to be an adult.  Which is boring and unfulfilling and doesn’t spark joy in me.  But it will make me feel like less of a failure and perhaps enable me to get a fresh perspective on things.  It is hard to be creative when your house looks like a tsunami has been through it and you’re embarrassed to have people over to visit.  I don’t want to live that way.

So, no crafting for me this weekend, unless I get the cleaning out of the way early and can manage to fit in a few hours of happy creativity.  I’m going to put the stereo on, get in the right frame of mind and clean.  And tidy.  And sort.  And find my home again.  My brain has been telling me I need to do that, and finally my heart has caught up and is in agreement.  Begrudging agreement.

Here’s a little canvas I did a week or so ago.  It will have to tide me over until I can make another.  I was pretty pleased with it, to be honest.  It came together really quickly and, although I hated it at first, it kinda grew on me.  I’m hoping housework will do the same. It could happen, right?

Thanks for dropping by 🙂

IMG_7649

Image

Incredibly Precious (and Frustrating)

Sometimes you work on a creative project that comes together like a dream.  It all just WORKS.  You are filled with inspiration and artistic amazingness.  You are in awe of your own raw talent.  Every brush stroke is a masterpiece, each element a triumph.*

Then other days you just screw everything up and make a million mistakes and can barely draw a stick figure, let alone create an artistic rendering of the human form.

Take this little lady, for instance.  I have never sworn so much in all my life.**

Everything went wrong with this piece.  First of all I did the design on the wrong side.  That hole at the top?  Shouldn’t be there.  It should be on the side, so that when you thread ribbon or string or whatever it will hang from, the picture will be on the side facing out, instead of turned on its side.  Duh.

Then, I stuffed up the face several times and had to keep painting over it.  This meant that the paint underneath got lumpier and lumpier and, me being me, didn’t let it dry sufficiently before trying to repaint it so it ended up lifting off and making the lady look like she had some sort of pox.

Then I smudged her features (eyes etc) and had to repaint AGAIN.  Then I tried doing blushed cheeks but made such a mess of it I had to stick a butterfly on her face to disguise what looked to be very bad acne.  Whilst sticking the butterfly on, I tore it slightly in a couple of places, but had to still stick it down because it was the only little butterfly I had and part of it had already adhered.

THEN, I attempted to glue the text on.  Positioned it perfectly.  Then realised I’d put the words on in the wrong order.  The original wording was “incredibly dear”, and I had glued “dear incredibly”.   So, after having to scrape off what I could of the words, I had to find replacements, which took FOREVER.  Eventually, I got the new phrase stuck on, in the right order and without too much fuss.

So, this little lady was a right madam and I was very glad to finish her.  But I kinda liked her, in the end.  So she was high-maintenance – who isn’t, sometimes?  I’m really annoyed about the hole at the top being in the wrong place but can’t do much about it now!  Each project is a learning process and that includes all the mistakes.  I’m also learning (the hard way) to be more patient and not be in such a rush to get things finished, because that’s when I do silly things that end up costing me lots of time.

Hope you experience success in all your endeavours today – thanks for dropping by 🙂

IMG_7628

* Granted, this doesn’t happen very often.  Not to me, anyway.

** Probably not true.  I am a bit of a potty mouth.

Image

Just Be You (That’s Enough)

Howdy, folks!  Here’s another little canvas I’ve been working on.  It’s only small – about 6″ x 6″ – but I packed a lot in to it 🙂  The background is a little bit too busy but I tried to use colours I would normally not be drawn to and add a bit more texture.  My faces still leave a lot to be desired, but I figure the more I practice, the better they will become (hopefully).

The butterfly at the top right hand corner is actually brighter than it appears in the photo, so it does stand out a bit more.  It’s more like the colour of the wings on the girl.

The text – sigh – gave me problems, because half way through I realised I didn’t have all the letters I needed (I was using rub-ons).  So I had to make a couple up by cutting into different letters to form new ones.  It worked well enough, I think.  The smaller font is done with little rubber alphabet stamps.

I used a scrap piece of bubble wrap, as a stamp, to make the splotchy white detail in the background, and a piece of vintage dictionary for her crown.  Otherwise, just paint, paint and more paint.  I probably painted over the whole thing about four times.  I’m kinda enjoying that process though – keeping going until it’s right.  There’s less room for error when you’re making cards, so these painted canvases are a nice change.  I’m going to be brave and do some larger ones soon.  I have a tendency to always go small.  My eyes, if nothing else, are starting to complain about that particular trait of mine, even if I have been good and do remember to wear my specs (some of the time).

This canvas is dedicated to the little voice in all of us that says “I’m not good enough.  I need to be like everyone else…”  Don’t listen to that voice – it’s a bully.  You’re ok the way you are and your uniqueness is important.  Don’t try to be like anyone but yourself.  You are more than enough (and anyone who says otherwise is just a big meany head!).

Thank you for dropping by.  Take care of yourselves x

IMG_7519

Image

Being Yourself

Belated Happy Easter to you all 🙂  Did you indulge in a huge chocolate-fest, or were you restrained and just had a few little treats?  Did you spend time with family and friends, or take part in religious events?  Whatever you got up to, I hope you enjoyed yourselves and had a nice break.

I spent a lot of time with family and friends over the weekend, cleaned my house so it was fit for my Mum to visit and stay in for a couple of nights, and did some crafting.  I am still loving the Kelly Rae Roberts Unscripted series I have subscribed to.  It’s just makes me want to craft and create and DO STUFF.  I am nowhere near her standard of creativity and art, but it is very enjoyable just mucking about with paints and paper and having a go.  I am still rubbish at faces, but I keep trying and hope that some day I will get them just right!  If only people didn’t have eyes!  It would make everything so much simpler for me, at least in terms of drawing and painting (maybe not so much in real life though…) and I wouldn’t end up having tantrums, or just drawing a lot of people with closed eyes (which is my default position these days).

I had this little communion plaque (bought on a recent op-shopping trip for 50c) and I thought it would be perfect to paint over and repurpose.  It’s quite small – a little bigger than an iPhone – so perfect for me to do some crafting on!  Plus it had the little hanger on it so I didn’t need to worry about adding one myself.

I removed the picture that was already on it ( a communion poem and prayer) and sanded the wood back, then slapped on a layer of white Gesso, just to seal and give it a good working surface.  I then added paint in various colours to create a distressed, rubbed back look.  I used a soft green, some burgundy and a little bit of yellow – just dabbing and rubbing it on with my fingers.  When I was happy with the effect, I let it dry whilst figuring out what I was going to put on it.

I decided to draw my little lady on a separate piece of paper, paint her main features and then cut her out, to be glued and finished on the plaque itself.  I didn’t trust my drawing/painting skills to just add her straight to the wooden surface.  I adhered her with gel medium and then added flowers and wings cut from scrapbooking paper and vintage books.  The words were cut from old books or stamped (when I couldn’t find the word I wanted!) and I’m not quite satisfied with them, but they’re stuck on there now!  I might go over them with a bit of colour, just to make them look less “new” and pale.  I outlined here and there with black and white pencils to give some definition.

IMG_4478

I was a bit heavy-handed with the lady’s features – I was using a very fine black marker, but it was still too heavy.  I will do better next time! I’m happy with her top though – it came out very rustic looking and picks up the red colour in the background – and I’m glad I added the “me” heart as it needed an extra little something.

IMG_4479

So, all in all, I was pretty happy with my little lady.  I am trying to be myself and be ok with who that is.  Even if it means I am not the world’s greatest artist 🙂  I am still trying to find my “niche”, artistically speaking, so this is another part of the journey.  I will keep practicing faces and different techniques with paint and drawing and, in the meantime have a lot of messy fun doing it 🙂

IMG_4482

Thanks for stopping by – may you enjoy the freedom of being yourself,
whoever that is, today and always x

Image

Learn to Fly

Hello everyone!  Hope you’re having a lovely day 🙂  I had a very productive and pro-active weekend, tidying up and getting things sorted out.  I finally finished cleaning up my outdoor area (I have a sort of closed-in patio) so it is actually fit for human habitation and I moved my outdoor setting over so I could now sit and have a cup of tea and look at my plants and not battle spiders, cobwebs and general disorder.

I took a load of stuff to the op-shop (clothes I never wear and shoes I fall down in) and made plans for further de-cluttering and sorting.  It feels good to get some stuff done and not waste my weekend.  I have fallen in to a bit of a rut, not just creatively, but in all aspects of life, and things have gotten on top of me.  So I need to have a plan of action for each day.  That way, I can whittle away at all the big jobs, and they won’t seem so overwhelming.  I also need to stop being lazy 🙂

After tidying up and doing some housework (just a bit – let’s not crazy here!), I got stuck into some craft.  I have been so down in the dumps about my lack of creative ability that I really needed something to spur me on and get me fired up again.  I recently subscribed to Kelly Rae Roberts Unscripted video series and it’s been just the kick in the pants I needed.  She is such an inspiration – not just because her work is beautiful, but because she just goes with the flow and creates from the heart and doesn’t let mistakes and bad days get in her way.  If she makes a boo-boo, she either paints over it or makes it part of the design.  She creates for no one else but herself, and that’s what I need to do – stop thinking about what everyone else thinks.  I’m so glad I subscribed – I really had to think about spending the money, but I can cancel at any time and, if it makes me start creating and making art again, it is totally worth it.

I don’t want to copy Kelly Rae, but at the moment I am just drawing from her art and ideas to get me started again.  Sometimes you need to imitate before you instigate I guess!

So, with all of that in mind, I created this piece.  I am kinda happy with it.  I love the colours and the text and it all came together pretty easily (albeit with a lot of false starts and paint-overs!).  I tried not to overthink it, and just CREATE.  Afterwards, I sat up late, sketching out rough plans and ideas for more collages and pictures.  I feel like I am ready to start making stuff again.  My mojo might be returning at last!  This piece isn’t perfect by any means, but I’m so glad I got it done (and that it didn’t end up in the bin, which happens sometimes!).  I’m learning to fly again 🙂

Thanks for stopping by x

IMG_7312

Image

What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do (and Your Mojo is Taking a Vacation)

As I have mentioned a few times recently, I am in a bit of a creative slump.  Every time I try to make something – whether it be a card or a collage, something out of clay, or just a doodle – it turns out rubbish.  It is very depressing and frustrating and makes me want to hide under the covers, eating cookies and crying into my phone (which, of course, is opened to Instagram so I can look at lots of other artists’ AMAZING work and depress myself even more).  That’s just how I roll.

So, in lieu of actually creating anything, I am working on creating a space in which I can work, be inspired and, hopefully, get my mojo back.

My craft room is a disaster zone.  There is no other way to describe it.  There is stuff everywhere and my actual working space has been reduced to an area of desk approximately the size of a drink coaster.  It’s terrible.

I need to de-clutter, big time.  I need to get rid of stuff that I am never going to use and organise the stuff I will use.  I need to make life easier for myself and prepare some things ready for starting new projects.  Most importantly, I just need to tidy the heck up!

With that in mind, here are a few things we can all do to make a space that is conducive to creativity and inspiration (or, at least, one that won’t make us depressed), and some suggestions for making the most of your creative slump time.

  1. If you’re a card-maker, organise all your card blanks and envelopes.  Match up sets and put “odds” aside.  If you’re really being good, get rid of them (give away or recycle bin).  If you’re a hoarder, bundle them together in sizes.
  2. If you have off-cuts of card, try making card blanks to fit your odd envelopes, so they’re ready to go when you need them.
  3. Go through the old books you’ve been collecting/hoarding to cut up, and cut out text from them. Maybe a phrase or word will inspire you to create. I keep a jar filled with sentences and words I like, so they’re always on hand. This is a good task to do sitting by the telly, with a cup of tea.
  4. Get stuck into your stash of scrapbooking/cardmaking papers.  CULL THEM.  Do you really need the lime green and bright pink, polka-dotted paper?  Maybe you do.  Most likely you don’t, and that’s why it’s still sitting there.
  5. Organise your adhesives.  Do you have ancient, dried up bottles of glue/Modge-Podge/Gel Medium?  Or is that just me? Get rid of them.  Also, go through your adhesive tapes – put them in one spot so they’re easily accessed and not sticking to things they shouldn’t.
  6. If you’re like me and tear out ideas and images from magazines and then leave them lying about the place, collect them all up and take some time to organise them into files or scrapbooks.  I have a file each for recipes, home decor, and fashion, as well as one for card ideas, one for quotes and articles, and another for general craft inspiration.  Make them look pretty and inviting – they really do help when you are in a slump and needs some ideas.
  7. Now get rid of all your piles of magazines – take out what you need (see # 6.) and chuck the rest in the recycle bin.  Some magazines are totally awesome and you want to keep the whole thing – that’s ok, but it needs to have a home.  Put it on a shelf or somewhere that you keep other inspirational books.  Don’t leave it lying about.
  8. Rubber stamps.  I swear they multiply.  I don’t remember buying them all and yet I seem to have hundreds.  I recently got rid of a whole box of them – gave them away to friends and donated them to op shops.  I haven’t missed them and don’t know why I kept them for so long.  If you haven’t used them in a while, it’s time for them to go. There’s only so many times you can use that teddy bear stamp or the one with the funny phrase that was hilarious in 1994 but not so much now.  Organise your text / word stamps into one container or drawer.  Try and group “like” items together so you know where everything is.  Christmas stamps in one spot, animal stamps in another, etc.  Makes like easier.
  9. If you have some projects you’ve made that you’re really happy with, make sure they are on display.  I have favourite cards hanging on my wall near my work space.  It helps to remind you that you don’t suck all the time, and gives you inspiration to try again.
  10. Make sure your most-utilised supplies are within easy reach of your work space.  It seems like an obvious thing but it really does help.  Storing them upright, when you can, in jars, cups and vases, gives you more room, and can look very appealing. Remember, though, to store marker pens flat – it helps them to last longer.
  11. While we are on the subject of pens – spend a few minutes going through them and chucking out any that no longer work or are on their last legs.  Make a note of any colours you need so that you can stock up.  Nothing worse than needing that skin-tone marker and you find it’s all dried up and useless.  Sharpen pencils and re-fill leads in mechanical pencils.  The more you prepare now, the less you will have to do when the arty mood strikes you – everything will be ready to go.
  12. Make a playlist.  This really helps – honest!  Compile a couple of playlists on your ipod or computer that help you to relax and create.  Alternatively, find some podcasts to download that are motivational, thought-provoking or inspirational.  Listening to other people talk about their creativity can really boost your own.
  13. Move stuff around.  Maybe you just need a change of scenery.  Would your craft table look better over in that corner, have better light by the window or work best right in the centre of the room?  Sometimes changing things around can really help to get you out of a rut.  It also encourages you to tidy up and sort through stuff, which is never a bad thing.
  14. Have a look through all those art books you’ve got and try copying someone else’s work.  This is just for practicing and learning some new techniques or styles – don’t try and pass someone else’s art as your own.  That’s rude (and also slightly illegal).  This is just to get your brain working and to stir your art heart.  Sometimes your creative centre needs a bit of a kick up the bum, especially if you’ve been doing the same thing for a long time.  It’s like doing the same exercise at the gym – every now and then you need to change things up a little and challenge your body.  Your brain is the same.
  15. Have a nap.  If all else fails, tuck yourself up in bed or on the couch, shut the world out, and have a little nap.  Maybe you’ll wake up feeling energised and motivated. Maybe you’ll just get some much needed rest and feel better about everything in general.  Sometimes you just need to sleep – that’s all there is to it.  I’m giving you permission to nap!

So, just a few ideas for helping you to get your art heart pumping.  Sometimes you just need to give in and say “Ok, no crafting for me today!”  and do something else.  It’s supremely frustrating though, when all you want to do is create a masterpiece and you can barely draw a stick figure or stitch in a straight line.  Sometimes your mojo is just off and needs a break.  I’m hoping that is the case with me, anyway.

Hope you’re having a creative, happy day (or at least a really awesome nap!) 🙂

Image

Tiny Town (Torn Paper Collage)

Some time ago, our art therapist at work let me borrow a couple of her art books for the weekend.  They were great little books – filled with simple ideas for getting your art on.  One of them had some lovely collage ideas and I particularly liked a torn-paper cityscape.  I cannot remember the name of the book, but I’m pretty sure it was published by Usborne and the artwork work was possibly Fiona Watt.  Apologies to both artist and publisher if I have remembered this incorrectly (if anyone can enlighten me, do let me know).

Anyway, I kept this idea buried in the recesses of my brain (a dark and cobweb-covered place if ever there was one!), thinking it would be a good little project to try if I was ever in need of some creative inspiration.  Well, right now, I am in desperate need, so I decided to give this one a go.  I liked the simplicity of the technique, as well as the small amount of materials (and, therefore, mess) it required.

Simply tearing different sized strips of paper, in different shades, adding details with pen and markers, and gluing them down into a simple cityscape – what could be easier?  It was very therapeutic and I enjoyed adding the details, including the teeny little and flags.

So, here it is!  My Tiny Town.  I didn’t get the perspective quite right – there’s a couple of “floating” buildings – and I didn’t have a fine enough white pen to get the nice detail I would have liked but, all in all, I am pretty happy with it.  I added the dark sky as I felt it needed some extra colour and interest.  The original idea in the book didn’t have text but, as I am a bit word-obsessed, I added a few lines from a poem, which I think finished it off quite nicely.  I made this as a card, but I’m thinking I might make a few as little framed pieces.  What do you think?

So, happy to have just tried something new (without it being COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone – I mean, it’s still paper after all!) and gotten closer to leaving the creative slump I currently find myself in.  I’m definitely going to make a few more of these, just because they were fun and easy and I didn’t have to think too much 🙂   I try not to copy other people’s work, but sometimes I think you need to just borrow a bit of creativity, in order to get your own up and running again.

Thanks for dropping by – have a lovely day 🙂

IMG_6841