I am taking a break from blogging over the festive period because I will be so busy with family time. I want, therefore, to take this opportunity to thank you for reading my blog this year. From my family to yours, I wish you all a joyous and peace filled holiday season and best wishes for 2017.
My 2016 is going to be absolutely jam-packed with creative challenges if everything goes to plan and I manage to keep on schedule with everything. I really want to push myself and increase my skill level, hone my own style, and increase my artistic output. Brace yourselves, dear readers, for lots of art posts.
My first arty activity for 2016 was to create an art journal page. As busy as I will be with art courses and my own art projects, I want to keep art journaling as it is useful experimentation and is quick and relaxing. This year, I am responding to prompts that form the Colour Me Positive project hosted on the Lulu Art blog. The first prompt was a quotation and a suggestion that we construct a page about “gratitude”. Since I was both pushed for time and aware of the need to practice typography, I opted to write out the quotation on my page. Trouble was that when I finally sat down to put pen to paper, I was so tired that I could not motivate myself to try a specific style of hand lettering so I just defaulted to my own handwriting. Oops. I then surrounded the words with a ring of watercolour paint which I blew with a straw to create more interest. Quick and simple.
Yesterday the musical little chime from my WordPress app informed me that I had reached 100o followers. Wow! I am amazed and overjoyed and surprised. It was not that long ago that I was over the moon to reach double digits in my number of followers. I think this time last year I might have had a 100 followers. A thousand though? Woah! My flabber was well and truly gasted and my wee mind was blown. I am perplexed, yes, but mostly touched that so many people find my posts interesting and interesting enough to want to follow my blog.
As of today, I have 1,012 followers and I wish to thank each and every one of you. Thank you for engaging with my blog, thank you for the “likes”, thank you for the interaction in the comments section – both on my blog and in your blogs – and thanks for giving me an audience that motivates me to keep writing and sharing my experiences. Whatever post first brought you to my blog, I hope you find something of interest in my ongoing posts at least from time to time and that you want to stick around.
I appreciate each and every one of you. Thank you!
A musical tinkle on my phone just informed me I have over 800 people following my blog now. Wow! I could never have imagined having even a hundred followers let alone several hundred. Indeed, when I started blogging in October 2013, I thought it would be amazing if I even had ten people reading. Seriously.
As much as I enjoy blogging as an exercise in creative writing, I suspect I would have quit blogging had I not had readers to interact with. Conversations on this blog and on the blogs I follow maintain my interest in writing, sharing and publishing these little tidbits from my life.
I am, therefore, entirely surprised, bowled over, bemused but also completely thrilled and touched that so many of you have clicked “follow”. I can only hope that I can maintain your interest and that you stick around. I definitely appreciate it.
I just wanted to write a quick post to welcome my new followers. Since one particular post I wrote last September has gained a lot of attention, the number of people following my blog has doubled in a matter of a few days. I have been bowled over by the response. It was completely unexpected and I am feeling quite overwhelmed. I am slowly ploughing through all of my emails and am trying to reply to comments as quickly as I possibly can. I also fully intend to return the favour and visit all of your blogs. Meanwhile I just wanted to thank you so much for deciding to click the Follow button. I hope you continue to find my writing of interest.
I will also take this opportunity to thank all of my seasoned followers too, some of whom have been following me from almost the very beginning. I would have become quickly demotivated with blogging, I’m sure, had I not had even a tiny audience so I appreciate every single one of you for reading and commenting and for the interaction I have with you both on my blog and on your blogs too. I never for one instant thought I would have hundreds of people reading my musings, ramblings and reflections. I truly am both overwhelmed and grateful.
Thank you, one and all.
This week’s Life Book lesson was taken by Tamara Laporte. The idea of the lesson was to reflect on the things we are most grateful for in life and represent those on a series of hearts which would be pinned together to form a sort of fanned book. We then had to make a background with a concertina envelope in which to store the hearts.
It was almost like a plenary lesson in some ways as we were encouraged to use a range of mixed media techniques in order to create variety in the hearts. I decided to make five hearts for no other reason than the fact that that was how many I could cut from my larger sheets of watercolour paper so I had to come up with four things I was most grateful for – since the fifth heart acts as the cover.
I asked my husband to pick his favourite from all of the hearts that I made in order to determine which would be the front cover. The one he chose had been decorated with washi tape. I used watercolour with finger painting and spatter for another heart, adopting the technique learned from the Jar of Favourites lesson. I then glued a photo of my kids to that heart. I used a page from an old dictionary for another heart. I used a page with the word “husband” on it so that I could clip out that definition and add it to the collage. I then added a photo of my husband and myself.
The other two hearts both made use of Dylusions ink sprays. One was simply two colours of spray that bled into each other in the centre. I used that one to represent my family and friends who live far and near. I used the globe image from a postage stamp for added interest. The other heart was covered with stamped ink to create a pattern and then sprayed with a single colour of ink. It was really difficult to settle on one particular thing for the final heart. There are so many things I am grateful for. I decided, therefore, to keep it quite broad and generic by having it represent all of the opportunities I have been given and might yet me given in future:
I used Dylusions ink sprays again for the background and envelope but this time it all went a bit pear-shaped. I thought the yellow and green would work well together. Neighbours on the colour wheel, colours of spring, the colour of leaves as Autumn arrives – but sadly also the colours of day old bruises. Oh dear. The lemon zest and dirty martini inks bled together to form a sludgy mossy colour that truly resembled nothing more than an old bruise. Yuck. Another lesson learned. And I also learned that I completely suck at spraying through stencils. Oh dear. Again I was reminded that all mistakes are part of the learning process so I determined to use the sprayed paper regardless. I stamped the title of the lesson on the top of the page and a trio of hearts on the concertina envelope.
Another week done and I am still managing to keep to the class schedule. Yippee!
One of the bonus lessons on the Life Book course was to create a decorative jar. The idea is that the jar will fill up, over the course of the year, with little notes of achievement, celebration, happy moments, things to be grateful for so that at the conclusion of the year it becomes a celebratory record of all the positives from the year, however small each little recorded moment might be. The lesson was actually weeks ago but I only found time this weekend to finally embark on the project, having taken a while to even find a decent sized jar.
I collaged the jar with a book page, a paper bag and magazine clippings and finished it off with washi tape, glitter tape and a tag attached with gold elastic. My two younger sons also made jars of their own but didn’t want a photo of them shared. Now we just need to start filling our jars with notes of our awesomeness.
This week’s Documented Life Project prompt was to depict gratitude in a creative way. A similar prompt had been given 25 weeks ago and I had used that opportunity to practise my typography and list all of the things I am grateful for in my life. That had become a very busy and involved art journal page. I decided, therefore, to make this week’s art journal page somewhat minimalist and simple. This was also useful because life has been very busy of late and is only going to get busier as the season progresses. Plus my house is upside down right now as two rooms are being painted. Simple very much appealed.
Just as the previous gratitude page had afforded me the opportunity to practise an area of my art journalling that needed work, I decided to use this week’s prompt to practise creating backgrounds. The obvious colours would have been rich and warm tones of yellows, oranges, reds and browns as befits the season and the Thanksgiving holiday. Largely out of contrariness, therefore, I decided to do the opposite and use cold colours. I started with a wash of watercolour in shades of blue and purple, the peacock jewel colours I am often drawn to. I then decided to practise my stencilling again. My skills in that regard are not good, not good at all. This time my hand was a lot lighter and I remembered to dab off excess acrylic paint before applying it to the stencil. Still there is a great deal of room for improvement. I opted to use small stencils that were all circular designs so that there was some sort of harmony. Nevertheless, the result was pretty chaotic and haphazard and messy. Baby steps I suppose. I then finished the page with writing the phrase “Give Thanks” in black gel pen, using just my own handwriting as the font.
There are not many weeks left now in the DLP project for 2014 but I am probably going to continue with the group’s weekly prompts into 2015. It is useful to have that push to make time for experimentation in my art journal. I have also been gifted the online art course, Life Book, for next year to further develop my mixed media skills and technique. I will probably continue to blog about both of those here on Pict in PA but will be blogging about all of my other art – my non-art-journal stuff – on my other blog, Pict Ink. I can hardly believe that 2014 is almost at an end and I am thinking about 2015 already.
This week’s prompt for the Documented Life Project was to practise gratitude and record what I was grateful for each day of the week. I am not actually doing the journal element of the project and it has also been a very hectic week managing my kids’ schedules and various other things so recording something every day did not especially appeal to me and nor was it feasible. Instead, I sat down one afternoon while my littlest played with playdough on the table next to me and I started to doodle a list of things I am generally grateful for all over my art journal page. As this was a good opportunity for me to practise my typography, I wanted the page to be mainly text and I stuck to just blue and black ink. I did doodle a bit to fill in the gaps on the white page but still the words dominate. It was a fun page to create because it was so free-form and because I was taking the time to reflect on all of the things I am grateful for amid a week of hectic activity. I am also pleased that – although I have not ventured into attempting specific fonts yet – my typography is definitely improving.