Tuesday, April 29, 2014

More holiday watercolours

Once more with feeling. (don't ask!)

Holiday watercolours

I do get distracted, don't I?

One day I'm talking about sketching, and the next I'm on to the next best thing since slice bread, The Documented Life Project. And I've long forgotten about my series of monoprints of the sea at Killiney. But I haven't, you see. All these projects happily co-exist in my head. There aren't just enough hours in the day to get them all done. But some day, some day, I'll finish them all. Let's hope I don't die young!!

So, here is a little watercolour to bring us back to our wonderful holiday - just a few roots and twigs on the beach. These are the things I notice and remember.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Documented Life Project - Week 5

Week 5 challenge was to add a doodle border. So here is what I did:

  1. Chose a page with paint left over from a Gelli print. The facing page includes a sellotape transfer from a Gelli print - this is my favourite way to clean my Gelli plate 
  2. Doodled with my dark sepia Faber-Castell PITT artist pen (love those pens). I wasn't sure where I was going, but isn't it what doodling is all about?
  3. Coloured the doodle border with Distress Stain (Jim Holtz) - tarnished brass and broken china - love the names of those colours
  4. Wrote a few words - bad hand-writing - will have to practise more
  5. Printed two photos of me in sepia
  6. Doodled around them - I think the simpler the doodles the better
  7. The left-hand page, the one with the sellotape transfer, was a bit bare, so I added some vintage photo Distress Stain
  8. Then I sprayed some Adirondack dye through one of my flower and butterfly Dealz stencils
  9. Doodled on that page too
  10. Glued a section of washi tape I bought in Art & Hobby shop yesterday - it was discounted too!
  11. Punched little flowers with a little punch I got in Art & Hobby shop - don't know the brand - it's got a big X on the side - and glued these in a couple of places
  12. Glued a felt flower from another one of my Dealz kits
  13. Also applied a little bit of a label I painted on - not too successfully - will have to explore that technique again
  14. Stamped a word (found lovely alphabets from Urban stamps in Art & Hobby shop in town - was delighted to get these. I don't have a clear block to apply them to, but I found that a clear CD jewel box cover did the trick quite well)
  15. Called it Done!

That's our 14-year-old cat!

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Documented Life Project - Week 4

Week 4 challenge was to write a secret message then paint over it to hide it, except for one key word.

(PS: Having started so far behind, I haven't actually started doing any of the planner pages. But I was watching one of the videos from their workshops, by Roben-Marie Smith, and I'm really inspired to give that a try too)

So, here we go:

  1. I chose a plain page with turquoise paint left over from a gelli print
  2. I wrote the words of a song with my white pen
  3. I circled the words I wanted to keep (I could not decide on one, so I picked four)
  4. I finger-painted over the rest of the lyrics with Reeves acrylics - a lovely lavender and a tender pink
  5. I cut circles in paper with my Gyro-cut and used the paper as stencils to paint through
  6. I circled around the circles with my Neocolor II pencils, and added a small tissue paper circle to one of them
  7. I used one of my favourite stencils, a Japanese wave pattern from Artistcellar, to apply white acrylic paint (again with my fingers - I'm enjoying this finger-painting business!), creating a border effect
  8. Added doodles in white pen for more borders
  9. Cut circles from an old Gelli print with the words of the song and glued them to my page, adding white dots and black circles to highlight them
  10. Cut circles from Japanese origami paper (I have accumulated quite a stash of origami paper from trips to Japan and presents sent by friends - I find it very hard to use them, they are so pretty) - at this stage, I think the theme of this page is starting to emerge clearly - subtle I am not
  11. I felt that my key words were a bit lost, so I cut ovals from what remained of a gelli print I used for another project and glued these to frame my words
  12. I added a few doodles
  13. I glued a stamp I kept - I love these Irish stamps showing Irish fauna
  14. I printed little circles with a cork, but then decided they were not clear enough and I carved a circle stamp and applied little white circles (I must use my heat gun to set them - 24 hours later and they are still not completely dry). While I was at it, I applied half circles in green as a border on the right-hand side
  15. I glued a little bit of ribbon from Dealz
  16. I called it done. What do you think? Quite derivative of Roben-Marie Smith, but it's got my own twist, I think!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Inishowen Peninsula

I wasn't expecting much, but the Inishowen Peninsula has a wild beauty that's hard to describe.

Can't believe it's nearly a year since we were there.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Documented Life Project - Week 3

I didn't think I'd manage to complete another one this weekend, but here I am, at Week 3 of my Documented Life Project - I am quite inspired.

Week 3 is "Add an envelope from your mailbox"

Lots of steps in this one, so I'm going go for a numbered list:

  1. Pick an envelope - that was easy: a friend of ours had given me this lovely envelope from Florence with opera tickets months ago. It was so pretty I kept it. I knew I would find a use for it some day
  2. Pick a background - a gelli print leftover in red and pink
  3. Glued the envelope to the page
  4. Decided to use one of my donut stencils. It was originally just a plain piece of paper, but numerous gelli prints made it into an ancient seal! 
  5. I wanted to use a similar donut shape around the page, so I cut my own stamp (I use plain old erasers that I carve with a little toolkit I got at Christmas)
  6. I drew little donuts in any space that I felt needed it
  7. When you have an envelope, you have to put a card in it, you can't leave it empty. So I cut a card from a donut gelli print that wasn't quite good enough to stand on its own
  8. I wrote Happy Easter 2014 at the back of the card. But that looked a bit silly.
  9. I drew lots and lots of little donuts on the back of the card
  10. I called it done!
And now, a few more pictures:

The Documented Life Project - Week 2

Well, this is Easter weekend after all and I have to make the most of all this free time - 3 hours until the dog needs to be walked again!

So, let's move to Week 2 - Incorporate a Selfie

I took a picture of myself and wasn't too happy with it, then I had a look through Picasa. Here is the result:

  • First I had a look through the People section in Picasa
  • Second I selected about twenty pictures of me that I liked
  • Third I picked Collage - but the Collage option didn't take my chosen photos - it incorporated all the pictures of me in People - and I loved the resulting texture
  • Fourth I glued it to a blank page 
  • Fifth I added little dots around it to frame it 
  • Sixth I drew lines and wrote words that describe me in one way or another
  • Seventh I scribbled over those words with Neocolor II water-soluble pencils and applied water to bring out the colours
  • Eighth  I applied some Reeves acrylic paint (gold) to brighten it and hide the words
  • Ninth I called it done

The Documented Life Project - Week 1

I recently discovered this art project called The Documented Life Project. And now I feel the need to abandon all other art projects I had in mind to pursue, and maybe some day catch up with, this group of artists.

The whole idea is to use a weekly planner and to incorporate art into it every week, with a theme chosen by the 5 ladies who set up this project.

Well this is April already, and I'm not going to go and buy a 2014 planner now, plus I don't think I'd find a shop that would sell me one. But that's not going to stop me from enjoying this. And I'm not good with weekly deadlines anymore - where is the project manager in me? Gone out the door the day we got a dog!

So here is my effort for Week 1 - to photograph, sketch, paint or incorporate your front door:

  • First I took a photo (obviously)
  • Second I decided to jazz up the colours in Picassa
  • Third I chose a pre-painted page in one of my journals - colours left over from one of my Gelli prints
  • Fourth I glued the photos on the facing pages
  • Fifth I wrote a few words
  • Sixth I applied my lovely alphabet stickers (from Art&Hobby shop), just in case you couldn't read my writing
  • Seventh I doodled a small little bit
  • Eighth I stamped little hearts with my own stamp
  • Nineth I called it done

Running out of time

I got a delivery from Boden a few days ago, and my parcel was wrapped in their signature polka-dot tissue paper. I knew then I had found what I needed to complete this page! It's still busy, but I think it's done now.

And the facing page - the columns on the sides are wide sellotape applied to a dry Gelli plate to lift the remaining paint (check out the technique here):

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Running out of time

Work in progress - gelli print scraps printed on tissue paper and glued to journal page (prepped with brayer cleaning); silhouette from a magazine printed with gelli plate; sticker alphabet from Art&Hobby shop, clock stamps from Urban Stamps.

I think I might add an acrylic glaze to unify the lot - it's a bit bitty right now, don't you think?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Voodoo at Baros, Maldives

Very small video, I know, but given this was filmed on an iPhone and I wasn't right by the stage, that's not too bad. And it's the sound that matters. These guys are so good - Voodoo - once a week at Baros, Maldives

Monday, April 14, 2014

Travel Sketches - 9

Palm trees are very sketchable

and watercolourable 

Walking Donuts and A Chain of Donuts

Gelli printing is completely addictive! (PS - gold acrylic paint doesn't show on these scans, unfortunately)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Travel Sketches - 8

At this stage, I'd say you're getting the idea - beach, sea, palm trees, ...

The band whose name I wrote down there, Voodoo, is a Maldivian band that played on Baros once a week. They played a lot of Pink Floyd, and also some reggae. I've never been a Pink Floyd fan, unlike my other half, but these guys were very good. We even asked them to play "Girl you'll be a woman soon", a Neil Diamond classic, and their bass player knew it and sang it alone with a  guitar - the other band members were probably horrified!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Donuts x4

This is a great design for greeting cards! The bronze colour is Reeves' Acrylic Fine Artist Quality from the Art&Hobby shop


Mine was a lime juice - a cup of green tea is not quite the same!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

How do you solve a problem like Maria?

This might not be quite finished, but I was so pleased with it I wanted to share it with you. I was inspired by a Facebook post by a lady called Jenny MacRunnel. She had cut out little dress patterns out of gelli prints. It was so pretty I had to try it too.

So I found a pretty paper doll dress on www.sweetlyscrappedart.blogspot.com,  cut it out and traced it  on a gelli print that "hadn't quite worked out". It was so much fun, I had to cut a few. The shape of the dresses reminded me of the Sound of Music (in case you were wondering about the title of this post).

I then glued them to a journal page, prepped with acrylic paint rolled with my brayer (that's how I clean my brayer after applying paint to my gelli plate - I hate wasting paint, and it's so much easier to start a journal page when you already have a colourful background to inspire you)

A few dots and details applied with a Letraset metallic marker and a white pen (my favourite is the Uni-Ball Signo). And a bit of shadowing with a Faber-Castell PITT artist pen (cold grey)

I might stamp a few words - my handwriting is so appalling apparently!

Saturday, April 05, 2014


I was on a roll - I've decided to call them donuts - (a few more to come):

And here is the polaroid view from Picasa, which I'm always quite fond of:

Spring colours

A really simple Gelli print: turquoise blue background, with an imprint from an Ikea drawer liner. Then a fairly transparent yellow-orange layer, with areas masked by hand-cut wobbly circles (I used a gyro-cut tool to cut plain paper. I find that after a few applications of acrylic, the paper is strong enough to withstand repeated prints). The paint I chose is Reeves' Acrylic Fine Artist Quality from the Art&Hobby shops. They have some really bright and happy colours in the range - I do like their gold and silver paints a lot.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Travel Sketches - 7

I told you I was trying to sketch more!

I also use my little black moleskin book to take notes of anything that catches my attention or that I want to remember, since my grey cells are not what they used to be. So, in case you're wondering, Huvafenfushi is the name of another island in the Maldives. I had difficulty remembering its name so I wrote it down! It used to be called Nakatchafushi and it was really laid back. Now it's all posh and expensive and it had to have a matching name. But do have a look at their website - it's wow. Even an underwater spa! That said, my memory is that the reef in Nakatchafushi wasn't as good as Baros.  Well, maybe that's changed too.