Wednesday, 25 November 2015

A Crafty Christmas

It would be so easy to pop to the shops and buy a pack of Christmas cards.  In fact, that is what I usually do.  This year though, I am going to endeavour to make as many of my own cards as I can (I will still be using shop bought too:-)

Inspired my my lovely new set of wood block stamps, I created background papers using up paints in my stash and recycling old papers, writing, music sheets etc.  I then used acrylic paint to print the message and added some glitter.  I cut around the images and stuck them onto linen card stock.

As a fan of the clean and simple style of cards I am quite happy to leave a lot of white space around the central image.

Well, I'd best crack on now.  I hope your week is going well.


Monday, 23 November 2015

In the Groove at the Grove

I am feeling much more in the groove again here at Linden Grove!  Bombarded with a huge dose of ugliness in the World recently via the media and tragic events happening locally too, I have retreated into my inner World of beauty, calm and sanctuary.  No one can touch that place.

As I am drawn to beauty, we can never have enough beauty can we? I indulged myself with an early Christmas gift of the most exquisitely crafted hand made Indian wooden blocks.  These new blocks have opened up so many possibilities for me.  Not only will I be able to use them for paper crafting but for textile printing too.  The blocks are so tactile and as I ink them up and press down on them I am thinking of the skilled worker that produced such a wonderful work of art.

I still love my polymer stamps but use them for a different type of creating.  Stamping with these wooden blocks takes me to another place.  I doubt I will ever visit India but feel as though the spirit of India has visited me. 

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Spent Flowers

I took this photo out on my long walk last week.  The plant caught my eye as the flowers were all at different stages of development - some just coming into flower, some past their peak and others well and truly dead. If I was to compare my blog to the photo I would say that mine are the flowers front right of the picture - not dead but almost over.


For seven and a half years I have opened my heart up on here.  I have exposed the good, bad and ugly side of my character.  I seemed to have been unable to self edit and spewed my thoughts all over the page for all and sundry to see.  Some people read this blog and I wish they didn't and there are others that I wish that did.  My exercise in visiting many blogs in the hope that some would 'find' me proved futile. My guess is that I really don't have anything interesting to say.  I feel spent.


There is a new moon today.  I feel like learning something new or going deeper into a subject I already know.  I may not be around much whilst I pursue this area of discovery.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Camouflage and Personality Traits

Following on from my last post, I went for a walk on Friday with my camera to take photos of things that drew me to them. To be honest I struggled to find much to interest or 'excite' me but I did find an unusual tree bark that resembled army camouflage.


On Sunday I thought I would use a new sketch book to do some 'art journaling'.  All great works of art start from a blank page but not in this case!  In the tradition of many art journalers I 'got some colour down' on to the page lest I have a blank page looking up at me - and immediately wanted to cry!  I had ruined the page!  A beautiful, pristine book now marred by some thoughtless act of just doing rather than procrastinating about everything.  I don't even know what my intention is for the book.  Even if it is for my eyes only I want to be proud of it.  I am beginning to feel that everything I touch is destroyed and my life seems to be a metaphor for that. 

Just had an idea - I could journal the words in the paragraph above and add them to the 'ruined' page.  At least I could put to memory how I felt at the time.


I usually feel quite upbeat on a Monday but today I feel as though I am at a crossroads again and not knowing which path to take.  I feel that all the confidence I have been trying to build up over the years, and all the life lessons I have learned have all been a charade.  The ugly 'real me' did reveal itself at a meeting last week; petulant, angry, pedantic.  How the hell will I ever be employable?  (That was rhetorical by the way!)  Reviewing my behaviour, I think I was deliberately stirring things up a bit.  Some people didn't contribute one word to the meeting and it would have been oh so boring had it continued in that vein.  I like to think I was giving people things to think about rather than just showing up but not participating.

This week is totally unscheduled.  Who knows what mischief I may get up to?  I hope I manage to rein it in a bit!

Have a naughty but nice week!

Friday, 6 November 2015

How to Find Your Art Style, Voice and Signature Style

Since announcing to the World that I was going to sketch everyday - I produced  just one sketch.  I know that in order to get better at what I do I need to practice, practice, practice.  I am held back by; not being interested in the subject matter, not being in the right frame of mind or the right kind of environment and generally making excuses for reasons why I am unable to do it. 

I have such a strong urge to be creative but don't want to waste time going down a path that I am not passionate about.  For a long time I have been bothered by the fact that I don't seem to have a 'style' and don't really know how to develop the limited skills that I have into something that speaks 'my voice'.  Anyway I thought I would probe deeper into this and have found some very interesting vlogs on YouTube about how to find your art style and listed some of the suggestions below.

Be aware of the stimulus that is around you that attracts you every day.

Take pictures of everything that draws your attention – without judging.

Rearrange the photos into families; colour, weird objects etc.

Broaden your research to ask why does a particular artist draw your attention, what is it I really like about him/her?  What do you have in common with the artist?  

Group your photos into folders such as movies I like, such as Tim Burton or Alice in Wonderland and find a commonality in what it is you like about them.  Do the same for books etc.  Don’t hurry the process in trying to find ‘your style’.  It could take a couple of years.

Allow time to find your voice.

Artists emulate artists – find other styles you like – copy to learn.

Create your own rules – how long an arm should be or how big the eyes etc.  Manga or Anime has a set look – you don’t have to follow the rules to create your own style.

Know what people like and produce it.

Self-doubt is part of being an artist – style is always evolving.

Borrow/steal from multiple sources.

Style is built into you on how you see the World.

Analyse your work.  Bad habits can become your style.  Keep re-defining your style to hone and craft your art.

Change your tools or materials – change from a round brush to a flat.

Choose 3 colours to do all your paintings with or put constraints on your materials to encourage creativity.

Take a pencil and pad everywhere you go.

Style can be found by having physical restrictions.

I hope that any aspiring artists will find the above list useful.   I am going to start to keep folders of things that attract me and write down the reason why.  Hopefully, over time a pattern will form identifying what 'styles' I like.  Pulling from multiple resources my art style should evolve from the influences I expose myself to.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

A Bad Case of Self Expression

I had a long walk today on my way to a volunteers meeting.  I took the berry photo in a park nearby.  The holly tree was smothered in berries a sign of a harsh winter to come?  With hindsight I wish I had stayed taking photos rather than attend the meeting although I did meet an interesting man who apparently used to sell missiles and another who thought I was in my late 30's so it wasn't all bad.

At the meeting I spoke up and expressed my views in a rather clumsy way that came out in a bit of a rant.  I felt so embarrassed afterwards but luckily an eloquent woman spoke up for me explaining what I meant.  I think I may have shocked a few people with what I was saying but at least I was heard.  I blame it on the second child syndrome.  I was the second and last child of two in a house shared with strong characters.  A long way down in the pecking order I feel I have to shout to be heard. 

Do you have siblings or are you an only child?  Has being a second child held you back in any way?  Do you feel that you are compared to the first born?  I would be interested to know if any of you have felt stifled by being the youngest member of the family. 

Right now I feel emotionally drained after my 'self expression' episode.  I feel I must stay tight lipped for months to come!  I am going to keep my head down and stay at the back of the queue.  Sometimes being seen and not heard can be an advantage.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Happy Halloween

I am not really into the commercial aspect of Halloween.  Tonight I will be closing the curtains and hiding from the children!  The problem is we are more likely to encounter  teenage troublemakers with threatening behaviour rather than sweet little souls in fancy dress knocking for trick or treat.  I am a little sorry though that I haven't managed to make a pumpkin pie this year as I traditionally do every October 31st.  Never mind.  I will make one in the week.

Out for a walk to clear my head and throw off some of the cobwebs (pun intended)  I couldn't fail to be impressed with the amount of effort a neighbour had put into decorating their front garden for Halloween.  They had put so much detail into making their garden into a graveyard.  I have shared a little of the garden above.  A lot of it was too scary to show on here but they really went to town with pumpkins and candles and monsters and skeletons sticking out of coffins and bins!!!  It did raise my spirits (pun intended again!)  and made me happy that on this occasion I had taken my camera with me.

Happy Halloween!