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Altered Tribe

Hello everyone.  I hope you are well and enjoying the Spring or Autumn weather (whichever applies to you!).  My thoughts and prayers go out to all those suffering in the midst of the hurricanes and whatnot that are happening right now.  Dreadful business.  I keep thinking about all the animals that will be lost and frightened (and of course the people who are in the same situation).  So many terrorist incidents everywhere too.  The world is just not a safe place any more.  I sometimes think human beings are the least human beings of all.

Which brings me to my current arty obsession which is taking over my craft room (and life).  I am still making lots of collages, but now a few of them are featuring characters from what I like to call my “Altered Tribe”.  Part human, part animal or bird (or a combination of all three!), these “people” are a bit of an homage to Jerry Seinfeld’s stand-up routine, where he said “To hell with the world, I can make my own people!” (when talking about becoming a parent).  Well, sort of.  Mostly, they’re just an indication of how much I like to cut stuff out (and usually give myself a headache in the process because I seem to always be cutting out teeny tiny fiddly bits).

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I like to add wings to everything (you may have noticed this before) and antlers are also something I love.  Who doesn’t love antlers???  They make things more magical and mythical somehow.  Pop a pretty vintage lady’s head on a bird’s body and bung some antlers on and – hey presto! – you’re making your own people!  I’m particularly fond of birds of prey – those big feet and talons are lovely – but wrens or robins, ducks or doves make me just as happy.

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It can be tricky matching the right head with the right body etc.  If they head isn’t angled in the right way, it can throw the whole thing off.  So I spend ages going through my collage files to find just the right pieces to go together.  Cue more headaches.  I recently bought some nice old children’s books to cut up – they have lots of wonderful illustrations of all sorts of animals, birds and children.

So, I have lots of works-in-progress happening right now.  I try and do lots of prep in the evenings so I can accomplish more on the weekends.  I don’t want to waste too much time base-coating or fiddling about looking for pieces when I am in creation mode.  I just want to get stuck in and make stuff.

This isn’t the first time I’ve made these creatures – they’ve popped up every now and then in my cards and collages over the years.  But right now I am really enjoying bringing them into being and am loving sourcing new body parts!  Gives me another excuse to trawl through op-shops and find more old books 🙂  I’m also trying to branch out into other critters – hares and horses and dogs, to name a few.  There’s really no limit to what can be utilised and put together.  So expect to see a few donkey-rabbit-fish hybrids!

What would your “tribe” look like?
🙂

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Winter is Coming (and why I’m not going to complain about it so much this year)

I hate Winter.  I have said this many, many times.  I hate it so much that now, when it is actually still Autumn, I am already complaining and wearing scarves and boots and generally walking around being miserable with a definite case of SAD.  I hate that I have to wear trousers and jeans – ugh!  I hate that my fingers ache and my nose is red and I can’t feel my toes.  I hate that my hair goes from being a bit mad, to downright mental and ridiculous.  I spend several months looking like a drowned, frizzy rat.

I hate that the mornings are so cold and dark, and getting up is not only miserable but confusing (Body : Why are we getting out of bed?  It’s pitch black outside – surely it is not morning yet, you stupid girl!). I hate that everyone else whinges about the heat in Summer (which lasts for about three seconds, as opposed to Winter which lasts FOREVER!!!) and “enjoys” the cooler days.  Bah humbug to them, I say!

But then, after the events of this week in Manchester,  I stopped hating Winter quite so much.  Because I’m sure that all of the parents that lost children in that attack would trek through snow and ice, in bare feet, carrying the weight of the world on their back, just to see their loved ones again.  I’m cold – they’ve lost a child.  There’s no contest there.  Teenagers and adults also lost their lives – they will never feel the sting of Winter again, never get to complain about cold feet or rain-frizzed hair, never get to snuggle up with the people they love and enjoy a hot cup of tea.

The world is so scary right now.  I don’t know how it will ever get better.  And, although we are all focused on Manchester right now, there are of course incidents like this happening all over the world, in many different countries, and we tend to become jaded and desensitised about it, especially when it isn’t happening in our own backyard.  People live with this kind of terror every single day, for years on end, and it barely gets reported or, if it does, it comes somewhere down the list below some football team winning a championship and Taylor Swift’s latest relationship.

I don’t claim to know anything about politics, religion, or world affairs, or much about anything, really.  I tend to not watch the news because it’s so dreadfully depressing and upsetting.  I find myself just NOT WANTING TO KNOW.  Which is bad, I know, but I feel helpless and sad and anxious when I see/hear things I can’t do anything about.  And nowhere feels safe anymore.  And I have little people in my life who are just starting out and I fear for them so much.  I just pray that they are the change the world needs to see.  I have to believe that their beautiful spirits and hearts can make things better.

I don’t know where I am going with this post.  My heart hurts and I am just feeling cold, inside and out, and Winter cannot be blamed this time.

Be kind to one another.  Be understanding.  Show tolerance and acceptance and empathy.  We have to stop this happening over and over again.

x

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Doodling and Squinting

I really need glasses.  It is no longer a case of “I might need glasses…” and I can’t ignore it any longer.  My squint has become almost permanent and I am no longer able to get through the day without a headache or feeling like my eyes are have run a marathon.  I have those crappy specs from the chemist and I use them sometimes but they’re not ideal and I really need a professional to outfit my eyeballs properly.

I have been putting it off because of the expense (tightwad, tightwad…) but it is false economy and I need to just bite the bullet and get some real glasses.  It’s not a vanity thing –  I think I actually look ok with specs on, and think glasses are pretty cool on most people.  Maybe I can even fool people into thinking I am intelligent! 🙂  My nephew has them and he’s gorgeous.  Plus, being a librarian, glasses kinda go with the cliched territory, right?

I have been trying to draw and colour this week, with mixed results.  I find I am not able to focus very well and I am colouring outside the lines with annoying regularity.  Ugh.  SO annoying.  And a waste of time because it renders whatever I am doing a bit worthless and un-usable (especially if I chuck a wobbly and throw it in the bin in disgust).

Anyway, some little peeps to make into cards.  I had already had them drawn (see THIS post) – they just needed colouring.  I am still experimenting with different card stock and marker pens to get the right result.  I like the first little lady the best – she’d kinda cute – but I will keep going and draw/colour some more.  Still wishing I could do eyes…maybe when my own are fixed I will be able to manage them 🙂

Have a bright and colourful day everyone x

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Quote for the Day : What Makes Me Unique

“…The truth is that there are a lot of people like you, us, with strange hobbies or talents or gifts and we try to hide it because we’re afraid that it makes us seem weird or it will turn people off, but that’s a mistake. What makes me unique has brought every person I love into my life…”

— Ned (Pushing Daisies)

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Doodling for Sanity

I had a mental health day this week.  I have decided to do that whenever things are really getting on top of me.  I have lots of annual leave owed to me and a fair amount of sick leave too, so I’m not doing anything dodgy.  Sometimes I just feel yucky and unwell, mentally and emotionally, and that is just as bad as having actual illness.  I have had a cold for the last week or so, and didn’t take time off for that, but it did take its toll, as well as some generalised stress and worry that was making me feel exhausted and sad.  My blood pressure and vertigo has been acting up too, usually a sign that I need to take some time out and rest and have a do-nothing day.  I am not good at doing nothing so I really have to force myself to sit and watch TV or do something equally brain-numbing.

So, this week, I sat and watched some bad TV, including a made-for-television movie about some crazy-with-love obsessed murderer lady who wore cow earrings and baked pot-pies and was bad news for all who knew her.  SO trashy.  But I couldn’t stop watching it.  If only for the bad acting and 90s fashions (cow-hide bustier anyone?).

I also doodled.  I’ve been buying a few books on drawing lately, trying to improve my somewhat limited skills, and so I doodled a few little people following some of Gemma Correll’s design instructions in her book “Doodling for Fashionistas“.  They still look like my little people, but maybe with better arms and hands and clothes, in some instances. I still can’t do eyes, but I am working on that 🙂  I will colour them in later too, but I have had a bad neck and back this week so I can’t sit for long periods bent over a paint palette right now.  They’ll have to be black and white for a little while longer…

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I’m trying really hard to learn and improve – I can’t just keep saying “I can’t draw” and giving up and throwing in the towel.  I have to keep practising and working on things I’m not so good at.  It’s the only way I’ll ever get better, right?  I think I am always scared to try things because if I don’t get it right straight away, I chuck and wobbly and give up and never want to try it again.  It’s probably time to stop doing that.  If only for my own sanity and self worth.  And also because I probably shouldn’t be chucking wobblies at my age.  It’s very unbecoming.  Bad for your complexion and whatnot.

Here’s to practising until perfect (or faking it ’til you make it –
whichever is more realistic!).  This quote, that I read today, sums it up perfectly :

“…To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong…”  – Joseph Chilton Pearce

Have a happy, creative day everyone x

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Best Buddies

Two more Little Peep cards.  I like the first one and her crazy hair and happy face.  Well, I try and give them all happy faces…but she looks extra chipper.  I kept the rest of the card simple with only a faded stripe paper as a backing.  Her red checkered dress is bright enough to be the focal point.

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This purple-patterned miss is also kinda cute.  If I’m allowed to say that about something I drew myself ha ha.  I kept to the purple and white palette with this one.  I’m still trying desperately to use up ALL my papers but I find it hard to move away from the colours I like best (blue, browns and faded tones).  These Little Peeps help because they only require small scraps of card and paper and don’t overload me with colours I don’t like so much.

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This next little lady goes for green tones.  I was going to sneak a flower or two in there as well (to go with her leafy dress) but I couldn’t make it work.  Also, I was being lazy.

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Still lots of faces to make into card toppers.  The one on the right hand side here (with the brown bob) is inspired by my niece.  Her Mum asked me to try and do the whole family in Little Peep form so I’m starting from the youngest and working my way up.  I’ll let you know when I finish them (if I do…I’m a bit of a hopeless case when it comes to completing projects).  I am going to try and get myself some glasses this week (I’m biting the bullet and doing what I should have done ages ago) so hopefully they will help me to get things done.  With less squinting and headaches.

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Hope you are having a good day 🙂