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Mermaids and Sea Things

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If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you would have guessed I have a little obsession with the sea!

And not just the creatures but also myths and legends of monsters and mermaids. Sea things seem to come naturally to me in my art, and also lends itself well to creating mythical things. I think it is the organic shapes, swirls and diverse colours and patterns that draw me in. I could probably paint mermaids forever!

My latest journal page started out as me wanting to use my latest purchase Pearlscent Liquid Acrylic by Daler Rowney, and I always imagine mermaids to be shimmery with magical qualities. I love fun colours too, so decided to use pink for the hair and a mixture of greens and gold for the tail.

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For this page I sketched out my mermaid and coloured the tail and body with my Inktense pencils, going over with water to make the colours pop. I used a brush to paint the pink Liquid Acrylic in her hair, then went over the details in black in and a nip pen shown above. I was listening to a podcast about Jupiter’s moons as I worked on this which was when I decided that was were she would be; a moon! I used Posca pens to draw out the rock and add details, and Dylusions paints for the background. I just love the starry sky.

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Some other sea related pages I’ve done recently can be seen below, I love tentacled creatures!

I am having fun trying out these new inks, they give beautiful shimmer and coverage and can be used with a brush or pen. I’m going to try them out in my black journal next, see what affects I can come up with.

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Mixed Media Canvas ~ Sea Goddess

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This weekend I completed a mixed media canvas for a competition I saw in the mixed media magazine Cloth Paper Scissors. I love this magazine and is one of the only art magazines I’ve found that has a focus on mixed media.

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I wanted to use lots of my favourite materials, which included:

  • Dylusions paints & Sprays
  • Stencils
  • Inktense pencils
  • Posca Pens
  • Watercolour paints
  • Sequins
  • Embossing powders
  • Liquid acrylic ink
  • Embroidery thread
  • Beeswax

DSCN2393I had an idea for an embellished sea goddess, with lots of textures and blues and greens. After prepping the canvas with white gesso, I sketched a face and used my favourite Inktense pencils to give her an underwater colour.

I felt this piece was quite intuitive as I painted her hair and added the elements as I went. I just love the different shimmery materials such as the Liquid Acrylic ink and embossing powders. I also like the effects the sequins gives the whole piece. Below is a video of making the whole project, I have quite a library of art videos now so if you’re interested check out my YouTube page.

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Creating Physical Texture in Art Jouralling

 

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My new book 101 Mixed Media Techniques have inspired to take different mixed media elements and explore them in my art journal.

As I read other artists books and watch videos, I’m beginning to approach my art journaling in a different way. It feels more organic and, rather than planning a page in my mind from start to finish, I’m having more fun with the materials and allowing them to show me a direction.

Jane Davenport, an artist I adore, talks about journals having a ‘connective tissue’ and when I heard this idea, it stayed with me. Not all my pages need to be finished as I start them and I am looking at my journal as a complete book, with each page following into another.With these ideas in mind, I decided to focus on building physical texture in a few pages and explore different materials.

First Page

In my first double page of my Dylusions journal, I used modelling paste on one side, swirling the end of a paintbrush into it as it dried. I then dripped PAV glue across both pages, which took a while to dry. I used my heat tool to speed the drying process up a little, and then used a wide brush to paint over the surfacing using my current favourite Dylusions paint pots.

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I let this page sit for a few days as I was stuck with where to go next. I got out some oil pastels and using the black, started lightly sketching around the main shape where the modelling paste had dried. This began to look almost like a skull, so I just followed this idea and created a shadowy face. I painted around the dried glue and a kneeling figure appeared in a sort of cloak. This was quite a strange page for me to do, I struggled giving up my control over how things should appear. It is quite creepy too! So I decided to call this page The Nightmare.

Second Page

For the second double page, I started with Tim Holtz tissue paper and used a matte medium to glue it down. I then sprayed with water and Dylusions sprays, making it run across the page for an interesting effect. I used some different stencils and sprayed them with while and black sprays. As I’m interested in different flowers at the moment, I started sketching out some Gerberas (I love them!) in white pen and coloured them with my amazing Inktense pencils. As the paper was already quite heavy with paint, sprays and matte medium, when I added water, some of the colours started to run together.

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A Mixed Media Daydream

Happy Springtime!

It’s my birthday tomorrow (32 years young!) and what better excuse to get some art supplies and new books! I got this gorgeous book The Book of Beetles: A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred of Nature’s Gems and 100 Flowers from the RHS: 100 Postcards in a Box as amazing references for my artwork.

I also bought 50 Art Ideas you need to know as I love learning about the history of art and 101 Mixed Media Techniques which has loads of great ideas and things I am already trying out in my art journal pages. I think I need a new bookcase!

In my most recent project, I decided to incorporate many different materials and techniques. I had a piece of PDF wood for ages, for a long forgotten project which would be good for the basis of a heavily mixed media piece.

I often listen to different podcasts when doing my artwork and listened to a great one about the Egyptian God Re  the sun god whose tears became bees. I loved this idea and wanted to create some kind of sun goddess, incorporating bees into my imagery, along with golds, yellow, orange and bronze.

I have also been influenced by Susi Blu, reading her book and watching her mixed media videos on YouTube which inspired me to approach my work with more freedom and also try adding beeswax to my work.

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I prepped the board with white Gesso,  painted lightly with my favourite Dylusions paints in red and orange, and added torn pieces of Tim Holtz tissue paper with Modge Podge. For the face of my goddess, I lightly sketched on watercolour paper then coloured in with Inktense pencils. I used my watercolour pencils for the skin tone, then went over with water on a small brush.

Once this dried I went over the outlines with Posca pens and added some colourful markings to her face. I glued this to the board with Modge Podge and then stamped around the board with black ink and a textured stamp, allowing the paper to become part of the board.

I think I felt a bit stuck at this point, as the space around the paper seemed bigger than I originally thought. I punched out some different shapes and decided to make circles into her earrings. I embossed these with a bronze powder and glued them down. I then decided to add to her hair with orange paint, aligning the face and background.

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My journals

Art Journaling Delights

Recently I’ve been focusing on working in my art journal and trying new things to push myself as an artist. I felt some kind of creative block with my sculpting so I picked my journal and made marks on the page. I allowed myself not to really think, just enjoy the materials and the shapes.

Since then I have done quite a few journal pages and love what art journaling gives me. I work in front of a computer during the week, so it is normally the last thing I want to do when I come home. Sitting at my desk with my supplies, some music or podcast and my imagination allows me to come back to myself, to relax, explore and think in a different way than I do in everyday life.

I can experiment and play with my materials, find what works and explore my ideas and themes. I’ve wanted to try watercolours for a while so I got out my watercolour pencils (I use Derwent Inktense) and started sketching, seeing what effect I can get. watercolour is so dreamy. I love how the colours go in a flowing motion with the water. I also used a small watercolour block by Winsor & Newton.

Adding pen to the paint gives definition and detail, building up a nice contrast between flow and line in a picture. The pencils give you more control than the paints, but also the softness you get with the paints. You can use the pencils to build up intensity of colour and shape while the pens add a boldness and build the volume within the shapes. I used my favourite Posca pens in my journal. I wanted to try creating realistic skin tones and bought these Derwent watercolour pencils which come in a nice range of colours.

Working outside my comfort zone feels liberating!  I’ve been trying not to judge my work but to enjoy a new way of making art. I’m also finding a new way of approaching my art journaling, and it is in the process of creating it that I will find my style evolving and my ideas develop.

Another purchase this week (I am obsessed!) were these beautiful  Derwent metallic pencils, which I instantly wanted to try out in my new black Ranger journal. The shimmery blues and greens made me think of mermaids so that is what I drew! I love how it came out and I added some pen to the page for contrast. I want to incorporate these pencils into a mixed media page soon.

It sometimes feels like an ongoing battle, but it really is worth reminding ourselves to enjoy the creative process and experiment with new materials. Try not to get hung up on how it is supposed to look – draw or paint whatever feels natural. This is how we grow and develop our skills. I hope everyone had a great Easter break!

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Fizzling Evolution Plus Competition!

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Win one of these dudes!

I’ve been thinking for a while about writing a post just about my fun monster sculptures, which I called Fizzlings, and how they evolved and I also wanted to do a little give away competition as I have made so many and they need proper homes! So keep reading to find out how to win one of the three you see here!

Making my little creatures began last when when I had been playing with Polymer Clay Fimo for a while, just bored after making loads of mini charms. I, as always, wanted more of a creative challenge and to make something bigger, so I started with these oddly shaped characters. I added little metal bits lying around, giving them personality.

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In the Beginning…

Each creature I made was an improvement on the last, but I wanted to make something more substantial. I watched sculpting videos on YouTube (a great resource) bought a variety of books on Polymer Clay and sculpting, and began using an armature of wire and foil inside my sculptures. This is when my creatures started to get bigger and take on a proper form. I had been sketching rough ideas now and planning my work more, thinking of themes, embellishments and colour.

Seem to be getting bigger!

Each new creature I made I wanted to try a new style. I experimented with the shapes of the tails and positions, different scales using canes to add interesting patterns, and with colour combinations like bright on black. I also began adding other elements to my clay, like beads, gloss, gold leaf and metal charms. Below are some of my creatures as I made them, the pink and purple one first.

As you can see, they are all very different! One thing I struggled with where creating feet. I looked a different creatures for ideas, from lizards and deer to sea creatures. I wanted to give the sculpture stability but found it a struggle to know what direction these things were going in. It was very frustrating. Also partly because I am impatient and I want to spend time decorating my creatures!

I called them Fizzlings because I was brainstorming ideas and wanted something fun and quirky, something that felt move like a movement and fizz felt like a good fit. They fizz and shimmer and pop in all the different incarnations!

I’ve learnt to focus more on the structure, smoothing the joins and building a sturdier skeleton. Below are two of my most recent creatures which I made with Super Scupley rather than Fimo and painted with black Gesso and Comsic shimmer. Super Sculpey is a dream to work with, it’s easy to smooth and gives a really nice texture. The downside is that you don’t get the same intense colours you would with Fimo.

 

WIN!

Competition time! I am giving away three of my Fizzlings above to three lovely people and all you need to do is comment either on my blog or my Facebook and say why you would like one and which you would like! I will try to get the winners the one they want the most as well! Good luck and thanks for supporting my artwork and blog:)

Making marks on the page

New Art Journal Pages

It’s been a while since I put a new post up on the blog, partly because I got flu and wasn’t able to do anything but sleep for a week. I felt a little uninspired with my sculpting and wasn’t sure what art I wanted to make, so I just got out my art journal and started making marks on the page with paints, pens, Dylusions sprays, soft pastels and pencils.  As I did this I found myself getting back into my art journaling and did a few more pages over the last week.

My last page, the girl with orange hair I filmed as I made it and put it together as a video on my YouTube channel. I want to do more video projects, although the lighting in my room isn’t the best. I think it helps to try other mediums when you feel uninspired, it doesn’t have to be any big project just messing around with paints on the page is enough to get you back into a creative mind set. I’ve ordered some more Dylusions paints because they are really good and so vivid, I’m looking forward to doing more pages in my journal and even adding in college.

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Some Recent Things

This is a short post as an update on what I have been doing recently.

My main project has been an altered wooden box. I removed the lid and covered it with polymer clay (Fimo), creating a hummingbird on a branch as the central image. Using my pasta machine to roll the clay into sheets, I cut out the shapes and built the image up with leaves and flowers around the edges of the box. I used some tools to texture the bird, branches and leaves and added my favourite Perfect Pearls for shimmer and depth. I added some Tim Holtz hinges to the back and a clasp at the front I had.

For the bottom part of the box I primed it with Gesso then painted a few coats of Cosmic Shimmer paint in green and blue. When baking the lid I made some separate leave pieces with added gold leaf and once they were hard I glued them to the box for interest. I then varnished it and am quite pleased with how it turned out, especially the background.

Feeling a little despondent recently, I bought this book Pop Surrealism to inspire me. It’s glossy and beautiful with interesting essays at the being about this movement. I’ve always been drawn to this kind of ‘underground’ art and didn’t really know about Pop Surrealism until a few years ago.

I made a little frog from clay when I didn’t have any particular project in mind, which was fun because I just made something from scratch.

 

I made this octopus in the round sweets tin a few weeks ago but had run out of resin. I was finally able to complete his watery home the other day and think he is super cute. I experimented with the colour and made him gradient from orange to yellow. He is my favourite octopus I’ve made so far.

I’m updating some of my pages on the blog and starting some new clay projects as well. Next week I am off to London and the South for a few days so looking forward to going to some museums, getting some inspiration and having a mini break.

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Steampunk Polymer Clay Tin – Tutorial

I’m planning to put more tutorials up on the blog this year and thought this would be a fun one to start with. I’m going to show how I cover a small tin in polymer clay, and here I used a Altoids tin (I found some in the supermarket and now I can’t find them anywhere!) but you can use any small tin you have. Some other things you will need:

  • Polymer Clay (I used Fimo)
  • Small Tin
  • Blade
  • dotting and clay tools
  • stamps
  • Rolling pin
  • Shape cutters
  • Some embellishments – I like metal
  • Black Spray paint
  • Perfect Pearls
  • Liquid Sculpey (optional)
  • Varnish

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Fin!

Tropical Bird Box – Polymer Clay

 

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When I decided to start doing something with this old key-box I found in a charity shop, I had no idea how well it would turn out.

The original design was pretty horrible but I knew this little box had potential and waited to think what I could do with it.I wanted to do something clay related, but it isn’t very deep so wasn’t sure what function it could have.

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Farewell 2015!

It’s been a while since my last blog post and what better time to reflect on this year than New Year’s Eve?

Looking over all my projects and posts, it surprised me just how much I’ve made this year. The biggest thing was my new found love of polymer clay. I moved house in January to a nicer house and bigger room. I was still focusing on embroidery around the beginning of the year and set myself the project of my large Toucan on a hoop. A daunting task as it was so big!

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After spending a lot of hours on embroidery I wanted to try something new and tried shrink plastic. This was a lot of fun but felt the possibilities of it were a bit limited.

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