Saturday, December 31, 2011

Postcard Challenge

Just two more days and the Postcard Challenge will start!
I of course have changed my mind a billion times on who my characters will be, and still have not decided anything yet. I try not to let this worry me, when Darcy gives us the first country I'll do my art work first...

I'm still incredibly excited about this. I can even see this being turned into my Nanowrimo for next year.

But first I needed a book. The lovely who thought of this fie folder book offered to pre-fold some filefolders and sent them to people who did not want to fold their own or could not get any where they are, oh yes please! I got some sturdy cardboard to make the cover out of and used the same white ductape as I did for my magazine Art Journal.

So here it is, my Postcard Challenge book:

There's also a Facebook Group and a Flickr Group for those interested in seeing all the work done in this challenge. And of course I will be posting all my cards on this blog, so you can keep up with the story as it unfolds.

Roll on 2012!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Birthday Girl

Guess who had her very first birthday last Monday? I had to wait for better weather to take some pics:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Night Daddy

When first reading about Darcy's postcard challenge for the new year, I suddenly remembered a book I used to read when I was a lot lot younger called 'Nachtpapa', or 'Night Daddy' in English.

From what I remembered, it was about a little girl who gets a babysitter for when he mum has to go to work at night. It's a man she starts to call her Night Daddy, and he's a bit of a character, because he's a Writer and he has a pet owl. The postcard challenge reminded me of the book, because the girl and the Night Daddy start writing to each other. He writes on blue paper and she writes on pink or yellow, I wasn't too sure anymore.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find it in Dutch anywhere where they could send it to me for something other than a billion pounds, so I had to settle for the English version.
It arrived the other day and I love it!

It's an old library book and it was last due 28th Feb. 1977!
(note the '2p per week or part of the week' fine if you're late returning your book!)

It's so strange to read it in English. The book sounds so.. serious. I can't really remember if it was like that in Dutch, it must have been. It's a Swedish book written in the late '60's, right smack in the middle of the first feminist wave. Julia does not have a dad, and is glad about that fact too.
' My mother isn't married, and I'm glad about it, because otherwise I'd have one of those ordinary fathers, and would have never had a night daddy. [...] They all look harmless, jusst like other old men. They don't talk much - the mothers do all the talking, but the mothers are always dragging them into the conversation. They are always saying 'that's up to Dadddy. Ask Daddy. Daddy said... I'm going to tell your Daddy!' I wouldn't like to have a life like that. '

It turns out the word 'Night Daddy' comes from the word 'Night Mummy' for 'babysitter'. The babysitter is a writer, just like I remembered, and he's writing a book about stones. Because Julia likes to write too, they decide to write a book about themselves, but they're not allowed to read what the other person wrote. Not yet, anyway.

'We write on loose-leaf paper, which we then put into a notebook. Julia writes on yellow paper, and I on blue so we don't mix up the notes and read each other's by mistake. We never write during the day - only at night when we're togegther. But we never work at the same time. It wouldn't do because then our thoughts might get mixed up.

Did I really read this when I was about 8? Wow.. Quite different from Horrid Henry or even the first Harry Potter book.

Anyway.... I'm off to finding some inspiration for my postcard challenge characters and finishing my Night Daddy book!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tim's tags no. 2

Here's another Tim's tags, inspired by his second tag of the '12 tags of Christmas'.

It was a bit difficult because of the background, but I just freehanded some musical notes and hoped for the best:

And then I got out my watercolours:

I've already had a little look and some of the next tags are very stamp-based. That will be a challenge. I might do 'essence of stamp' on my next tags....

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tim's tags

Last week, I stumbled across Tim Holtz' 12 tags of Christmas, where he shows you how you can make 12 diffferent tags, using all his products and his techniques.

While the tags look great, my jaw nearly dropped when I saw the amount of products used for one single tag. Tim Holtz puts handy dandy links under each tag, and the first one had 24 products used. Incredible, especially when you realise that his stuff isn't exactly on the cheap shelf in the arts and crafts shop.

So while I was moaning about this on Twitter, the lovely Dede aka Inkiwell thought of a great challenge: why not paint the tags! Forget about all the expensive inks and papers, let's get our paints out and see what happens.

I did this in pen, water colours and a tiny bit of white acrylic paint:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Creative 2012

It's starting to look as if 2012 will be my most creative year yet.

Not only do I have it on good authority that Father Christmas will be dropping some arty presents in my stocking this year, Alisa Burke announced new art classes for January and February and I've asked Tye if he would please-please-pretty-pleaaaase sign me up for Sketchbook Delight part 2 as a birthday present.

As if that wasn't enough, I found some free art classes on the Strathmore site that start in January, too.

And to top that off, I just learned that the lovely Darcy over on is starting a postcard challenge in which you let two fictitious characters write each other postcards from around the world. How amazing is that!

Roll on 2012! You're going to be so much fun!

(and that's without me mentioning that *cough*I'llbehostinganonlineclassoveronartjournalingdotningdotcom *cough*. There. I said it... kind of...)

Saturday, December 10, 2011


You know how you work in your Art Journal and you completely love one page and another one not so much? And how when you open your book to start working in it you first go back to that favourite page?

This was my favourite page:

I gesso'd the page and suddenly I saw these figures in it. All I had to do was trace it. First in red, but that wasn't working for me. So then I used a black marker and traced it again. Much better. I filled in the figures and rest of the page in blue, but that didn't stand out as much, so they went back to white and that worked.

But then last night, after gesso'ing another page, and putting some watercolours down, and some of my DIY mod podge (I use about 2/3 glue and 1/3 water) I started seeing a face... So out came my black marker again, following the lines I could see in the background paint.

I decided to only use white paint on half of the face, leaving some of the background paint showing.

I absolutely love it! My favourite page like everrrr...!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


A while ago, I was watching Joyce's Ustream, and she was showing how she glues babywipes to paper so it's easier to use them later.

I use babywipes all the time, to clean my brushes before I stick them in water, to wipe my hands when they get covered in paint, or to wipe off a bit of paint from whatever it is I'm doing. So those get lots of paint on them, and sometimes they end up looking really pretty. But cutting babywipes and sticking them to your Art Journal page is difficult, the fabric tears and does not cut easily.


Here's what I did with the first batch I glued to paper, then cut then sewed together:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I see what you don't see

The Dutch game of 'I spy with my little eye...' would translate to 'I see, I see what you don't see...' I was thinking about that game today, when the last of our Christmas presents arrived from Amazon, in a big box filled with this:

What do you see? Do you see paper that needs to go straight in the bin, or are you like me and do you see... OhmygoodnessbrownpaperIcanturnintoajournal!!
(I have to be honest here and mention that Tye was the one who opened the box and said 'I take it you want to keep this?' He is very well trained...)

The paper Amazon uses for packaging isn't the thickest of brown paper, but on the plus side it's perforated so it can easily be divided into strips that you can then fold over....

I ended up with 28 sheets that I folded:

I will glue about half an inch into the fold (roughly where I put the bulldog clip) then put holes where I put the glue, stack all the pages up and put a ribbon through it.
I might take two sheets and glue them together to create a slightly more sturdy cover.

Because the paper isn't the thickest in the world I can't put too much on it. I'll do some test sheets on paper that was already ripped and I can't use for the journal, and see just how much paint it will take. I'm thinking of limiting my pallet for this to just black, white, grey and maybe some blue or red.

I've put the sheets in my flower press so the worst of the creases will hopefully flatten, and I'll start on the glue tomorrow. Yayy! Thank you Amazon for this free journal!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dripping Faces

Of course I could not stop at just doing the couple of dripping faces I did yesterday....

(And as the title suggests, there are more videos to come in the next couple of days!)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

An artful mess

The other day I was watching something on TV where a girl casually mentioned that she makes paintings using a mixture of glue and paint and she paints with chopsticks*.
While I realise that this might be something people have done in school, I had never tried it. So what better place to try out this messy technique than in my Art Journal?

First I mixed my acrylic paint with PVA glue. I added a bit of water to make it a bit more runny, then adding a bit more glue until I got the consistancy I thought would work.

And then it was just a case of getting messy!

These are the first two I did, in my Art Journal:

Because I had too much paint&glue mix left, I also did one on a folder I use to scrape on my left over paint:
('Did you notice that folder before? No? Well, now she put a bird on it!')
and did some quick watercrayon backgrounds on some paper and did two more on them:

Oh how I love making an artful mess in my journal!

*)The documentary was on Channel4 'Amish: the world's squarest teenagers' and the girl is Lizzy Watson, and she takes this technique to a whole other level! It took me a while to find her but here's her website.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Urban Sketching from home (2)

I did some more sketches of pictures I took a while ago:

Note to self: take more pictures of buildings!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Inspired by Leslie

So the last couple of days I've been ill, and those who know me will know that I don't do ill. At least not as in, being-sick-ill. And I was being-sick-ill. And then I was panicking about being-more-sick-ill and it all just got horrible and awful and I haven't eaten for two days and I stayed in bed putting my pillows so I'd be half-sitting just in case... well..

As you can imagine the last couple of days have not been much fun.

So today was the first time I got the laptop out again (I had been on Twitter and Facebook but on my phone which isn't half as much fun but it was a great distraction - thank you my Tweeter/FBer friends!) and I was catching up on some Youtube videos and saw Leslie Herger's 'automatic drawing' videos. (here and here and she's done a bunch more)

Even though I'm still not 100% there yet and my tumtum is still playing up a bit, I got one of my sketchpads out and some cheapy markers and did this one:
(the colours are nowhere near as bright in real life but it's the best I can do at the moment)

It felt good to be drawing again, rather than slipping into another 'will I be able to reach the sick bucket in time'-panic (I am an emetophobic, so even though I'm joking about it here it really does set off a bad panic attack, just as panic attacks can set off the fear of having to be sick...) I calmed down and focused on just filling in the colours.

I'll be sticking this in my Art Journal as a reminder of how art can prevent me from going overboard in my head. Just breathe and fill in the colours...

This is the page I ended up doing:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Say my name (right)

I've been meaning to do this video for a while now, but never got round to it, so tonight I decided to take some time out and actually do it.. It's possibly the shortest video I've ever done, but would you believe it, I had to do a billion takes because I was stumbling over my words and then it took me forever for Youtube to not make me sound like a robot on acid...

But here it is...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I quit Nanowrimo

Yeah. I know.

See, my heart wasn't in it this year. I couldn't put my finger on why. I had done hardly any planning, knew it was going to be a ghost story (a little bit more than that, but I'm not completely dropping the story, might end up finishing it one day so I'm not telling...), had two character names and that was it.

This would have been my 8th Nanowrimo. I did two in Holland and this would have been my 6th one in England. My first couple of Nanowrimo's were about whether or not I could actually write 50 000 words in a month. Turned out that yes, I could do that. Quite easily, in fact.

Then came the challenge of actually finishing the story itself, writing 50 000 words and actually come up with a beginning, middle bit and an ending. That was a bit more difficult, but I did that too. The last three Nanowrimo's were coomplete stories and I was ever so proud.

So this year, I didn't feel the challenge. I wrote 5004 words yesterday and I didn't enjoy it. It felt like a chore. I was thinking of all the things I couldn't do this month because the writing does take up a lot of free time. I was doing it because I've done it for so many years now.

So I quit. I feel bad about it, but at least I quit now and not forced myself to keep on writing for another week, hating it more and more each day.

And hey, this gives me more time for art! Yayyy! Be prepared for more 'Urban Sketching from home' posts. Ohyeah!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Almost Nanowrimo-time!

It's getting dark more and more early, tonight the clocks here in the UK 'fall back', shops are filled with Halloween costumes and sweets and you can hear fireworks near enough every night... It must be getting close to Nanowrimo-time!

Now if you haven't got a clue what Nanowrimo is, here's a link to my older blogposts on it, but in very short: Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month, it starts November 1st, and the challenge is to write a 50 000 word novel in 30 days. That means that you need to write about 1667 words every day to reach this goal.


Normally, I get all excited about Nanowrimo quite early on. End of September, I'm there. I'm thinking of my novel, planning out my story, thinking of my characters, etc. etc.. and this year.. nothing!

I have a very vague idea of what I want to do this year, it will be a ghost story. And that's as far as I got. Bad, isn't it? Especially considering that on Monday night at midnight, I'll start writing!

I did buy myself a notebook that I'll be using for Nanowrimo. I've written a blogpost about my Nanowrimo notebook here, and I'll be doing the same thing again: writing down the daily goals, leaving a column for the number of words written so far, and whether or not I'm ahead or behind.
During the first week I tend to be ahead of myself slightly, because I try and write as much as I can on Day One (start at midnight for a quick writing session, and then again in the morning, and again in the evening before midnight soon adds up!), but as the month goes on, I have days where I don't write anything at all. And I don't really worry about it because this will be my 7th (or 8th? I lost count when I moved to the UK) time and I've always 'won' the challenge.

So I should probably be off now to sort out my characters, places where I want the story to be set, and oh yeah... the story itself!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Urban Sketching from home

The last couple of days I have been drooling over other people's amazing drawings.

I love Liz Steel's travel journals. I love how she draws all her food and drink. It may not be picture perfect, but you can tell what it is with a few simple lines and her use of colour. Amazing stuff.

Her blog lead me to Urban Sketchers, a site run by a group of people who enjoy, as their name suggests, sketching out in urban areas. They go to busy market squares and draw all that's going on there, or find a run down building and draw that. There's a huge list on that site of urban sketchers from all over the world, who are all taking their sketching outside the comfort of their own home.

I've never done any sketches of buildings. I took Art until the 2nd year of high school and we were not allowed out just yet. People who took Art beyond that got to go on cool trips to Bruges and Ghent and draw all day long. (I grew up not all that far from the Belgian border, so those were daytrips. Still annoyed me when my friends got to go on a trip all day long and I was stuck back in school...)

But hey, I've got pictures, right? Lots of them, on my Flickr account. So why not use those?

This is a picture of Fata Morgana, a ride in Dutch fairytale themepark Efteling where I used to work:

and this is the drawing I did last night:

And this is a picture I took of St. Paul's:

and my drawing:

Now I know there's a lot of things wrong with these. I know nothing about perspective, the colours are wrong, the scale is wrong, St. Paul's looks like it's on the wonk far worse than Big Ben is, but I'm doing it.

I've stuck these drawings in my Art Journal because I want to see where I started from. If I keep this up, using pictures already there on my Flickr, I will hopefully get better and better each time. I'll learn how to use lines and what colours to use and if I draw one window this way, the other one should be at least the same size and not a billion times bigger.

And who knows, maybe one day I will be ready to do some proper Urban Sketching. Outside, out in the open where people can watch me...... iiiieeeee....

Monday, October 24, 2011

Introducing Art Journal 10

on Youtube this time.

Now, it was getting a bit too dark inside to film, and I figured I could go outside and film in the garden.. forgetting that there was this canine wanting attention...

See for yourself:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I'm journaling my life

At the end of my previous Art Journal, I was thinking about 'my style'. What do I like to do in my journals, what kind of pages draw me in when looking at other people's work, that sort of thing.

I had done some pretty pages like this:
which I really enjoyed doing because I adore working in watercolours and pen/ink.
But I also love getting more messy with acrylics and then adding oil pastels and more paint and maybe some gesso and creating pages like this:

I love the texture that creates:

But Art Journaling is about more than getting messy. It's about documenting your life, working through stuff you need to 'think about on paper', (I now write a lot in my Art Journals too and I've added paper especially in my new journal so I can keep that up) even if that means the pages will not come out as pretty as you might like.

I have to admit, when I first saw Connie's recent pages I was worried something horrible had happened to her. But then I looked closer and saw the beauty in what aren't necessarily considered pretty pages. I love them because they are raw. They mean something. They are real and rough, not polished to look all nicey-nice. Working through stuff on paper.

Now I don't claim to have much going on in my life that I've got to be angry or scared about, no deep pain hidden away needing to make its way out. But it's a great feeling to let go of the idea that your pages have to at least be nice to look at if you don't want them to.

Here is what I did the other night, on those gesso-disaster-gone-good backgrounds, in calligraphy markers I had forgotten about (Cult of Stuff anyone?)but loved using and now put somewhere where I can grab them a bit easier for further use:

So does that mean I'll never stick in any more watercolour work? Of course not! I can be a bit schizophrenic when it comes to my Art Journal because hey, it's MY Art Journal, right? If one day I feel like watercolour and ink and being more neat and tidy and the next day I create a huge mess with acrylics and crayons and oil pastels and more acrylics and the day after I only write a few bits in my journal and the day after that I stick in a picture with some DIY tape and a shopping list and a doodle I did when talking on the phone, that's just fine.

I'm journaling my life.

(The 2nd half flip-through video of Art Journal 9 can be found here.)