Monday, December 31, 2007

Red, red, red

And here's one I made earlier, using some of the luscious red pens that Andrea sent me.

Whatever you're up to, have a great New Year's Eve.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

My Best of 2007...

1. Book I loved most:
Fup by Jim Dodge

2. Albums I've loved most:

Lady's Bridge by Richard Hawley
Back to Black by Amy Winehouse

3. Best cinema films seen this year:

Climates (Turkish Film)

4. Best gig(s) I went to:

The Decembrists at the RFH
Richard Hawley at The Roundhouse

5. Favourite art exhibition:

Louise Bourgeois at Tate Modern

6. Best place(s) visited:

Frida's Blue House, Mexico City
Oaxaca, Mexico

7. Most memorable meals:

Freshly home-made pesto, bread, pasta at Tumatica Cafe in Oaxaca

The lunch at Samphire with Mad in Whitstable

8. Best "vintage" film/TV watched on DVD

The Dekalog Series by Kieslowski

9. Favourite TV Show


10. Favourite memorable days:

The day Jakey & Lottie arrived

Going to Whitstable with Mad

Monday, November 26th 2007

11. My own favourite pieces of work:

a) Damascus, in pastels

b) A pair of pears, in pastels (see masthead image)

c) The self-portrait I did for Paul for xmas, below

Thursday, December 20, 2007

merry xmas and all that...

Just wanna say a big thank you to Andrea at BGD for her generous holiday giveaways. I won the red pens!! Yay!! Thanks Andrea.

I'm a little stunned that xmas is coming next week. I don't feel ready, but I kinda like that. Planning for something far in advance always takes some of the fun out of it right?

Paul and I are going non-traditional for xmas day and having masala dosas and curry. But we will be having a traditional xmas dinner (veggie style) on boxing day with Paul's brother and family.

Whatever you're up to, have a good one.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Been busssssssy!!!!!

I can't believe I haven't updated my blog in 10 days! Sorry guys, been busy, some life-changing stuff going on too and way behind on xmas gift making. Damn these weekends away that I am forced to go on! Who books weekends away so close to xmas?? What was I thinking????

Last weekend I was at a music festival in a miserably cold and wet Butlins buffeted by gale force winds in Minehead, most of which is really best forgotten. And this weekend, I'm off to sunny Madeira!!

In the meantime, hope you are all having festive fun and that you are hand-making with love lots and lots of wonderful gifts and not spending money on crap. Ho ho ho!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

You won't find this little guy in the zoo!

Little bundles of happiness (EDITED)

In keeping with Na's post, I too have decided to pass a little bit of happiness on and will also make a handmade gift for the first 3 people to comment on this post and send it along to them some time over the next three months. It would be good if the recipients could then do the same on their blogs, but judging from the lack of comments on this post, perhaps people are not too keen to do so! So I won't force it, but it would be nice to pass the happiness on.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

evolution of a journal

At the beginning of this year, I bought myself a gorgeous, chunky, lined and dated moleskine diary with the intention of capturing something in it each day, in a way that was different from the usual way of keeping a diary. I bought it because I loved the feel of it, the weight of it in my hand, the dark hard covers, the smooth shiny pages which pens and markers glide so beautifully across.

When I discovered mandalas, they became my way of keeping a diary. And it's the one activity (apart from keeping this blog) that I have been doing with any consistency and regularity throughout the year, so much so that it has become a natural daily practice, and it's all come about organically. It has been a true journal in so many ways, and I didn't even realise it. And just cos it's lined, and I don't paint in it, shouldn't have lessened its value as an "art" journal to me in any way.

It's not only been a personal space, my personal space, it's been a practice of spontaneity and freedom within a simple structure. I have also experimented and played instinctively with colour, design, line, character - things I love most about drawing and making drawings, free from the harsh self-criticism that I usually unleash over my other so called "proper" attempts at art. And free from expectation. So - I had already been keeping an "art" journal and I hadn't even realised it, because I thought an art journal had to be something else, something that looked different to what this looks like, something more elaborate, something more "serious", something a lot more "arty", whatever that means. In the end, I didn't really need somebody else to tell me how to do this. All I really needed to do was trust myself.

Realising this makes me both sad and happy. Sad because I didn't see the value of what I was doing until now, but happy that I finally have. And also relieved, because I don't have to try to be anything or anyone "artistically" other than who I am. I am also relieved, because it means I can let certain things go and simplify and concentrate on the things that really matter to me. I had already been trying to do far too much.

I can't wait to buy my moleskine diary for 2008. And next year, in addition to mandalas, I will perhaps aim to fill the whole page with line and colour and words. And I might just share some of them with you too. ;-)

Friday, November 16, 2007

superstition for IF

Silas distinctly remembered his mother saying that a bird's dropping on your head is good luck.

(Pen & ink on a luggage tag)

love, love, love (and some mandalas)

Thank you for the love! It must have done the trick because you know what, I feel almost normal now, which is quite a feat for me. What a relief! Thanks again. xxx

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Lottie dreaming (oil pastel on board)

Before I got this horrid flu, I managed to spend some time this weekend experimenting with a technique I saw in my encyclopedia of pastel techniques. I covered a piece of art board with permanent black india ink (three layers), and then once it had dried, covered it again with a thick layer of oil pastels. Then I scratched out the image using a palette knife and nail file. It was a bit messy, but I like the textured look of it. What do you think?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

mandalas from the week

The fourth one has been photoshopped, it was originally a hand-drawn image and then altered.

Ya baby!

Further experimentation with texture, this time drawing directly with pastel onto gessoed* journal pages. My subject this time were a couple of Chinese ya pears.

(*Gesso - a primer used to prepare canvas, paper or other grounds for painting on. The one I use is a white acrylic one which looks just like white paint, but it has a different texture to it.)

Apologies for the week long absence from my blog. It's been an activity filled week!

New things that I have started this week include a new practise of dynamic yoga and the reading and following of Fearless Creating.

New things that I am soon to start include salt dough making as featured on Na's & Lesley's blogs, rubber stamp making as featured on Lesley's blog and knitting (at long last!).

This year I am not going to buy any Christmas cards or presents. Everything is going to be handmade. All I need now is a device that enables me to be in two places at the same time so that while I am at my desk at work, I can also be at home making things. I believe Hermione had one in one of the Harry Potter books, that enabled her to take two classes at once. Anyone want to share the spell with me? (I am such a geek).

Saturday, November 03, 2007

what a lovely pair

I saw these William pears on a fruit stall the other day and had to get them. I love their shapes, just lovely to draw.

These were drawn with charcoal and pastels (top photo), and then painted over with acrylic gel medium. Once the medium was dry, I dragged a dry brush lightly loaded with white gesso across the top (bottom photo).

latest mandalas

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

today's mandala

art journal pages

Lately I find myself wondering exactly why I am keeping an art journal. I haven't really thought about it, asked myself what I want from it, or understood why I am doing it. I want to create, yes. But I think what I really want is to find my own voice as an "artist", my own meaning, my own deep processes, my own work.

Lately as I’ve been trying to find ideas to work on and develop, I realise that most of my ideas have come from looking at other artists’ work and from waiting to be inspired. I know that it is hard to find an original idea, and I’m not even sure that that is exactly the point, but an obvious sense of “imitation” is as far as it’s gone for me and it’s not enough. The deepest I felt I went in my art was when I was doing that
zen leaf drawing. Everything else has felt like bouncing around on the surface of things, course work included.

On my course work I feel like I am working harder, but at someone else’s task, not my own. I want my art to come from me. But am I ready for that, do I even understand what that means? This goes for both my writing and my drawing. I feel like I need some direction and help. And since I have a phobia of adult education classes (how ironic), I started browsing on Amazon on artist sketchbooks and I came across a book entitled Fearless Creating by Eric Maisel. I'm hopeful that it can help me. Let’s wait and see. I wonder how other people do it, how do they find their own voice, their own work?

In the meantime, I guess all I can do is keep creating, keep asking myself these questions, keep looking at and learning from other people’s art.

My favourite work of everything I have done are my blind contour ink portraits, my Damascus picture, some of my shoe drawings, my zen leaf drawing. These feel most like “my” work. The things they have in common are strong line and/or bold colour and a distinct viewpoint that is perhaps what could be called style. But what does this mean, if anything, and where do I go from here?


Changing the subject completely...did you know Alison Krauss and Robert Plant have done an album together? It's called Raising Sand, and it's beautiful.

And tomorrow night, I'm going to see
Iron & Wine! Yay!!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Rocks, wire, scissors (and fimo)

I know love is beautiful, but sometimes, it also feels like this, even when it's the best thing in the world.


You know what? I really love pastels. And I'm going to stop thinking that using pastels isn't "real" art. I know that paint is the most used medium by artists making pictures and I do want to learn to paint, but my first love is pastels. Pastels and drawing. I adore drawing. I adore making lines. I love lines. So here's one I made earlier, in its different stages.