Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Glendalough I

It would seem I haven't finished exploring how to paint water. It probably will take me a good few attempts before I achieve what I want here, but I've got plenty of time - unless I eat fish, but that's another story!

This painting was inspired by a photo of a river in Glendalough (see last photo in this post). I loved the delicate green, the reflections, the rocks. It's hard to decide where to place the focus, so I'll play with different aspects of it until I find one that I like.

I went a bit heavy on the masking fluid with this one, but I like the greens (still using the same three colours: phthalo turquoise, quinacridone gold, opera rose)

Documented Life Project - Week 29

Make a Wish List they said. How many items am I allowed, I answered.

I decided to keep it at 10 after all. Let's not be greedy. And I feel I have seen enough of the world already.

The flap is a postcard from a set by Kate T. Williamson, called "A Year in Japan"

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Documented Life Project - Week 28

Week 28 Challenge: Add an Instagram or other tiny photo to your page.

Choosing the picture was easy. Developing it into a page wasn't so much.

Here is what the flap looks like after several layers and reworks (the little bone and doggy shapes are from Dealz btw, little bags full of shapes, for €1.49!). I'm happy with that bit

The other pages don't look so good, but they might work when I start adding journaling text and pictures to them.  Right now, they lack unity. I should have stuck to the bone theme (I even carved a little stamp to match). Adding hearts and arrows (another new little stamp I made) was a mistake. And the flap verso is another mismatch. You live and learn.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

TV series

I'm going to do the same as I did for the movies, one line, two max. I have a lot of catching up to do!

Black Mirror - Season 1 & 2 - Fantastic series, available on Netflix. About a disturbing near future.

Him & Her - Season 1 & 2 - I really hope that Netflix get Seasons 3 & 4 soon. I absolutely adore this. A young couple living in a bedsit. Don't watch if hygiene is important to you!

Engrenages - another one on Netflix. French series (it's dubbed). About a team of police men and women in Paris. They investigate gruesome murders. Nothing is black and white. There is police brutality, police romance, friendship, bad language. Loved it!

The Bridge - This one is a Danish/Swedish series. Another cop series. A body is found on the bridge between Denmark and Sweden. So both police forces have to work together to solve the mystery. Gripping. Gruesome. Give me more! Can't wait to see Series 2 on Netflix!

Homeland - Everybody knows Homeland. It's brilliant. Apparently, Season 4 is starting on 5 October. But But?

Borgen - I must watch more Danish TV - Fantastic series about a female politician who becomes Prime Minister. What it does to the country, to her marriage, her children. What she becomes. Must See.

The Fall - Dark. so dark. A man is on the prowl on the streets of Belfast. He is assaulting and killing women. Gillian Anderson (remember Special Agent Dana Scully?) is the police officer on his case. Don't watch this alone!

Californication - we're currently watching Season 5 on Netflix. Car Crash stuff. But brilliant. David Duchovny (another X Files ex) plays a writer on a self destruct journey in California. Sex. Alcohol. Drugs. And yet, he is a caring father. Will he still be alive for Seasons 6 & 7?

Misfits - I can't believe I never mentioned Misfits. Juvenile delinquents with special powers. Sounds crazy but it was brilliant. Now that I look at the Wikipedia entry, I get the feeling I haven't seen the last two seasons. Maybe it's just old age? Or the excuse to watch it again?

Damages - we watched the whole first season, but I can't stand it. Pretentious. It's about lawyers, and Glenn Close is the most evil of them all.

Currently watching: Top of the Lake - only 6 episodes, and there will not be another season. I love it for its beautiful New Zealand landscapes, dark story (a pregnant 12-year-old disappears), and the girl from Mad Men (Elizabeth Moss)

Next, I'm going to have to do the same with books!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


I've become really bad at keeping you up to date with the movies or TV series I've been watching. So I'm going to have to be brutal, or I'll never catch up

Mighty Aphrodite: a Woody Allen that I actually enjoyed?

Le Weekend - a British couple go to Paris to escape their three-quarter life crisis. It's a bit silly, but it works.

The Cabin in the Woods - I never watch scary movies. But when it's Joss Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame), I will make an exception. I wasn't disappointed.

La Populaire - cute French movie about a young girl who types really really fast.

Francis Ha - I really can't remember much about this movie. It was quirky. It was good

Hors-la-loi - French movie about 3 brothers of Algerian extraction and how they come to fight the law in France in the 50s. Quite a serious film. An important look at French history

Pour Elle - his wife goes to prison for a crime she did not commit.  What will he do for her (pour elle)? Another French movie. Not great.

About Time - lovely lovely movie about a young man who discovers that the men in his family have an ability to time travel. With Brendan Gleeson's little brother. I'd definitely watch it again

Philomena - I cried I cried. Wonderful movie about Philomena, whose little boy was given up for adoption without her consent when she was a young girl, and her lifelong battle to find him again. And the cruelty of nuns.

Blue Jasmine - I like Cate Blanchett - But this was Woody Allen at his tedious worst, as far as I'm concerned.

Caché - really weird. A man and his family are being watched. Initially, they don't know by whom. Until some events from the past are revealed. Half way through, I realised I had actually seen this movie before but had completely forgotten about it. Hard to believe. And the ending is completely unsatisfying. I hate being kept guessing

Nue Propriété - another strange French movie - two brothers in their early twenties live with their mother after their parents' divorce. Depressing

Star Trek - Into the Darkness - must have been good, but I can't think of anything that differentiates it from other Star Trek movies

Breathing - wonderful German movie about a juvenile deliquant who is allowed to leave jail to work for a funeral director.

Zero Dark Thirty - it must be a year since I watched it. Can't remember a thing. It was one of these war movies - Afghanistan, Iraq?

Flight - Denzel Washington as an alcoholic airline pilot whose skill saves everybody onboard when a mechanical failure occurs. Is he a hero? Or a villain? Didn't work for me

The Host - alien hosts take over human bodies. The only reason we watched this movie was Saoirse Ronan. Not great

Good Vibrations - movie about this guy in Belfast who had a record shop, and then I can't remember if he did or did not sign up The Undertones. Anyways, I really didn't care. And the guy himself didn't seem to care much himself, living his life in an alcoholic haze.

The Bourne Legacy - they're all good, but they're all the same.

Ghost World - even after reading the summary on Wikipedia, I really have no memory of this movie

Spiderman - which one was this again?

Salt - is Angelina Jolie a Russian spy or not? Well, I can't remember.

Trust - about a teenage girl who falls for a sexual predator - very disturbing

Young Adult - about a woman who suffers from a severe case of delusion. It was ok I think

Captain America - well, that was at least two years ago, so I really can't remember.

That's it - two years of movies in one post!

Documented Life Project - Week 27

The Week 27 Challenge was much more interesting, I thought. My Dad is an avid crossword puzzle person, and I always print lots of crosswords when he comes over at Christmas.

So I went to my go-to website, where there are dozens of puzzles of all types. I chose a themed crosswords, not that it made it any easier for me to complete it. I managed only 5 or 6 words - my brain is just not wired that way! 

Anyways, the theme I chose was the Moon. I cut the definitions and the grid and applied them on a page, then applied gesso and Silks acrylics

For my flap, I used a page from a concert programme - That the Night Come, music composed by Donnacha Dennehy, based on poems by WB Yeats, sung by Dawn Upshaw, and performed by the Crash Ensemble. I knew there was a good reason for keeping this!

I stamped little circles on my newsprint paper, and glued the matching definitions for the dates. 

A few doodles here and there and I called it done!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bushy Park - Watercolour XIV

This is it - the final painting. It's been quite a journey, but I really have to move on now! Although I have the feeling it's going to be another water theme!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Documented Life Project - Week 26

I wasn't quite as inspired by Week 26 Challenge - a quote from the Bible or from your favourite book. First, I'm not religious. Second, do I have a favourite book? I browsed through "A Suitable Boy" - it is a big book and I read it twice, so maybe it qualifies as a favourite. But I couldn't find a worthy quote. Maybe I should read it again? Or is life too short to read the same book three times? Oh, and I've just found out that Vikram Seth is writing a sequel, "A Suitable Girl", to be published in 2016. Can't wait!!

So I decided to take a quote from the book I was reading at the time. No, not A Song of Ice and Fire, although I'm reading that too. Instead I picked 100 Ways to Train the Perfect Dog! I kept the page really simple, and I used an invite to a gallery opening as my flap. 

I could do better, but I really wasn't inspired

Bushy Park - Watercolour XIII

Trying to pull it all together now - too many bright colours competing with each other, I feel. Although I'll have you know this is all painted with three colours only: opera rose, phthalo turquoise and quinacridone gold, my three favourite of the moment.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Documented Life Project - Week 25

Cover your flap in hearts, they said, for Week 25. With pleasure, I replied.

I used a new interesting technique for this one: creating an acrylic skin using my Gelli Plate! It was a technique I discovered on the Gelli Arts facebook page, I'm sure, but of course I can't find the link now. Anyways, it's very similar to the packing tape technique (which by the way I used for the left-hand borders here), except that you use acrylic medium instead of packing tape: so, you apply shapes and colours onto your Gelli plate, layer by layer - letting each layer dry completely before you apply the next one. When your top layer is completely dry, pour acrylic medium over the whole plate, a couple of millimetres thick (too thin and it will tear, too thick and it will take forever to dry). Let it dry for 24 hours (it said overnight in the instructions, but mine took longer - it may depend on the thickness, the ambiant temperature, the humidity also probably). Then gently pull it all off, and, like one of these face masks, it will all come together. I would recommend to let it dry even longer - don't put any paper on top - acrylic will stick. Then you can cut the shapes and glue them to your page. Again, give them a good while to dry completely or they will stick to the facing page.

Then I found the perfect use for my tiny little heart shape cutter from Dealz (€1.49!) - the ideal tool to use up Gelli prints and incorporate them into your journal pages - a border of little hearts.

I can't believe I've been doing this for 25 weeks, and I'm still 13 weeks behind!

Water I, II and III

There is a bit of OCD in me - when I get started with a theme, I find it hard to move on. Here I was exploring reflections, rather than the waterfall. The first one I think is the better of the three.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Bushy Park - Watercolours VIII to XII

A different view of the water here. I'm no longer looking at the waterfall, but at the still water in the pond, with its soft dark and bright ripples.

I like how the colours blended in this one, where I'm using a different paper:

Here is my favourite so far. I'm now thinking if I could paint a bright turquoise or green wash, then apply this effect in a much darker, but transparent colour, I would achieve the soft ripple effect I'm looking for:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Big Baby

My Big Baby!

Bushy Park - Watercolour VI

Autumn is fast approaching. And I'll be soon thinking of painting trees and gelli-printing leaves.
But I still haven't fully explored my water obsession. So much to do, so little time!

Here is another attempt at painting the waterfall in Bushy Park:

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

A Song of Ice and Fire - Book 3

Just finished reading Book 3 of A Song of Ice and Fire, A Storm of Swords (Game of Thrones Book 3 to you and me). It's getting better and better. Completely addictive. I have already started Book 4, A Feast for Crows.

What I loved about Book 3 is that every chapter had something happening. Book 1 was a slow build-up, sometimes very slow. But Book 3 had plenty of twists and turns when you least expected them.

I'm still resisting the lure of the TV series!

Thursday, September 04, 2014


I should have tried to paint this fountain - maybe my next project, if I'm feeling brave!

Italian Gardens - Flowers

Pen and watercolour sketches take no time at all - and the paint dries quickly when the sun shines!

Hyde Park - Italian Gardens

Another favourite spot of ours is the Italian Gardens in Hyde Park. Here is another little sketch I made, and a photo I took from a different angle:

Trafalgar Square

We were in London for 3 nights. One of the mornings, the sun was really dazzling, so we made the most of it and we headed off to Trafalgar Square. While I spent 10 minutes doodling with my pen and watercolours, BB took some beautiful photos.