Saturday, January 25, 2014


I hadn't realised the significance of the colour green until I finished this page. I didn't even really think of it as green. But of course, home is, and always will be, Dublin. And "Home" is one of these words that doesn't translate well into French. I wonder why?
I'm very fond of the image-transfer-to-packing-tape technique. And Gelli printing. And creating stamps out of erasers. It's so much fun. Don't know what I'm going to do with the facing page yet. It's got two strips of packing tape on it, so my options are limited. Maybe I'll just leave it be. Right now, I'm thinking of a watercolour painting I've had in mind for a while...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


I've given up one of my yoga classes. Two a week was too much. So I'm now trying to use the time reclaimed for art. One hour on a Monday evening is pretty good. You get to do quite a lot in that time.

A mix of gelli printing - using a mask (a picture from an old Boden catalogue), a simple stencil, and also printing to packing tape, and then adding printed words (using my Gelli plate to apply clear acrylic medium to give it the right sheen and substance)

Sunday, January 19, 2014


I'm not painting anything big these days - no big abstract acrylics, no watercolours. There are only so many hours in the day. The art journal format is perfect for those of us who don't have enough time, but still want to create something.

I came across a nice little saying on Facebook recently - "Breathe. You don't need to get everything done right now". I actually printed it and stuck it to the wall just behind my laptop. The start of the year is always tough for me. There are all these things that need to be done, and all the things I didn't get around to doing before Christmas. So I get a bit anxious. I have all these ToDo lists, and although I do get a lot done in a day, the list never seems to get shorter. And I remember other things that need to be added to the list... No wonder I'm anxious.  So I need to remind myself to breathe. And since I'm bilingual (well, I'm not really - I'm a French speaker who's been living in an English-speaking country for nearly thirty years), I've decided to make my journal pages bilingual. 

The Crow

I've always liked crows. A bit like magpies. They're clever birds.

Oops. don't know what's happening with my screen - I'm typing and all sorts of pixelated bits are appearing and they change every time I type a letter. Spooky. Picasa is importing lots of photos while I'm writing this, so maybe that's why. Very strange...

Recently, I came across a page about image transfers. I've tried transfers with acrylic medium - but that's messy (you have to scrape the back of the transfers with your fingers, to remove the wet paper pulp. If you scratch too much, part of the picture can be damaged. If you don't scratch enough, too much paper pulp stays attached and the picture is milky at best. And it hurts. And it ruins your hands.) But this new method I found is dead easy, and as you can see with the crow on the left, it works really well. Here is how you do it:
  1. Print a picture you like with a laser printer.
  2. Apply packing tape over it (Packing tape is basically large sello-tape. The one I have - Dealz, where else? - is 5cm wide)
  3. Rub with the back of a spoon so that the image really sets in
  4. Place the image in water to soften the paper
  5. Rub the paper off with your fingers
  6. Let it dry - If necessary, wet again and remove any bit of pulp left. 
  7. And the amazing thing is that the tape is still sticky. Don't understand how that's possible, but it is.
The only drawback to this method is the size limitation. You need to size your image to be no wider than your packing tape

(Background with left-over paint from a gelli print, applied with brayer. Stamp is my own creation - my good old "aboriginal snail" - yes, crows like eating snails. I knew there was a logic behind my choice. And the right-hand page is my effort at drawing a bit more)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Christmas Movies

We didn't get to watch as many movies as usual this Christmas - dog and everything - and I am definitely getting lazy about reviewing them.

So, let's mix our pleasures and have a journal page about the movies!

In no particular order:

Cloud Atlas - the movie of the book. I had read mixed reviews. And yes, you need to pay attention or the movie will completely confuse you. But, just like the book, it's well worth the challenge. Makes me want to read the book again. And makes me want to watch the movie again!

Amour - Not a Christmas movie at all. And probably not one to watch with elderly parents! But excellent. Jean-Louis Trintignant is fantastic as an elderly husband caring for his wife after she has a stroke. She is afraid of hospitals, and he looks after her on his own. True Love!

The Way, Way Back - the lighter of the lot, but a lovely movie all the same. A coming-of-age movie. A teenage boy (Liam James) is on holidays with his mum (Toni Colette, I think she's a brilliant actress) and her new boyfriend (Steve Carell - very different from his Michael Scott role in The Office). The boy is awkward, reserved, unhappy. He discovers himself at a run-down water park, run by Sam Rockwell (another favourite of mine - remember Moon).

Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight - We watched all three over a few days. Julie Delpy plays Céline, a young French woman, who meets Jesse (Ethan Hawke), a young American man. The three movies follow their encounters at three points in their lives. Before Sunrise is the more romantic of the three stories - the hopes and aspirations of youth. Before Midnight takes us to the point where real life has damaged some of those hopes. Great dialogue, great light, Vienna looks great. Paris looks great, Greece looks great. Witty, Funny, Bitter-sweet. Typical Julie Delpy material. Before Sunrise takes place on Bloomsday - a nod at Leopold Bloom walking the streets of Dublin, no doubt. And how do they manage to do those long rambling walk-and-talk scenes in one shot? Three movies to watch again.

As for the journal page, it incorporates a gelli-print brayer clean-up background, golden snail eraser stamping, watercolour tree, white pen detail, origami paper and Korean stamp collage, origami crane sticker, and collage of printed titles (using ScrappyStickyInkyMess's idea of fixing the print with a light layer of acrylic medium applied to my gelli plate)

Gelli print background

I got bronze paint in the Art & Hobby shop before Christmas. Ideal for Gelli prints!
Hard to photograph, though. How do you photograph gold without reflections?
(But the scanned version is so much duller)

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Gelli print backgrounds

I don't know what I'm going to do with this one, but I love the delicate leaf pattern - done with an M&S Christmas cracker (I know - I should have kept them all)

Back at work now for the last couple of days - and it's a shock to the system. January always is, between VAT, stock take, spreadsheets for the accountants, tidying up my paperwork and all of these things that I love (well, I hate the stock take, actually).

And my resolution to spend 15 minutes a day drawing is already forgotten. Maybe February is a better time to start good resolutions? January is tough enough as it is.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Thank You

I did get to do one more journal page yesterday. Once you have pages ready with gelli prints or brayer-rolled backgrounds, a few stamps, nice paper art (I have quite an extensive collection of origami paper, sent to me over the years by friends in Japan), and a golden stamp ink pad, inspiration comes running easily.

The actual background is a touch greener than this - I often find that blues are difficult to photograph.

My handwriting needs work, I know, but I'm trying, really.

And don't you love my little heart stamp?

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Gone with the Wind

In memory of the crazy gales and storms that have been battering Ireland in the last month, my last little page of the holidays

And in case you're wondering, the little round stamp is a snail. I'm sure I can do better. But it has an Eastern abstract feel to it that I couldn't resist

(Do click the link above for a scary photo of waves battering Lahinch in County Clare. We've been to Lahinch many times, and, believe me, the town and sea-front promenade are well above the sea level. I can't believe the size of those waves. Lahinch is well known to surfers of course, so maybe it is not surprising that in a storm the waves could get so high.)

Pen Friends

Back at work tomorrow, so this is my last chance for doodling!

I carved a lovely feather stamp yesterday, using one of my erasers. I had seen an inspiring video, and I thought "I can do that". I remember doing some very good drawings of feathers in secondary school. Plus organic shapes are very forgiving. So, none of the voices in my head telling me that I can't draw!

The result? Well, I'm very proud of it. And I will be using it plenty over the coming months, no doubt.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

One more drawing

Don't know how I missed this one. I think that's it! All my Christmas drawing done. Once we get back into work mode, I won't get a chance to do as much as I've been able to do in the last few days.

One of my New Year resolutions is to organise myself better so I set aside 15 minutes a day to draw/paint/journal. That should be feasible - a realistic goal has got a better chance than an over-ambitious one. Will let you know how I get on.


Well, I did go to Dealz, but I couldn't find erasers - probably not the right time of the year for that. But a quick trip to Dundrum Town Centre sorted that problem.

However, the erasers I found in Easons and The Art & Hobby Shop were smaller than the Cheap Joe's eraser I used this morning. That leaves me with less room to manoeuvre, but I managed to carve a few more stamps all the same. What I'll do with these I have no idea, but it's so much fun!

More drawings

Didn't do much else yesterday, but it felt great to focus on drawing and journaling.

I really enjoyed playing with my new carving toolkit. It's so easy. I used erasers rather than the specialist carving material, following the instructions from a Pinterest page I had set aside a few months ago. I'm now off to Dealz to buy lots of erasers!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014


We waited for the rain to stop before going to the beach today. As a result, it was after lunch before we got out with Timber - not a good idea - a restless dog in the house does not make for a stressfree morning. We had hoped to fit in a lot of rest and relaxation during this holiday, but the weather has not been on our side. Fitting in two 40-60-minute walks a day minimum in between showers and stormy weather has left time for very little else, it seems. We miss day care at PDT!

But we did get to witness spectacular stormy weather over the Irish Sea. The waves crashing on Killiney beach were huge.

So I didn't get to draw today. Maybe tomorrow!

In the meantime, here are a few drawings I managed to fit in in the last few days. As you can see, I'm also exploring fonts - next time, I'll draw guiding lines so all my letters are the same size.