Friday, 26 September 2014

Weekly Ramble ~ That Dirty Hands ALL THE TIME Feeling

Hi guys
so if you're a regular visitor to my blog you may have seen my September posting has been a bit...sporadic. Last week's Ramble mentioned being MIA from art, and life, and that was true on soooo many levels. But I'm feeling more positive and focused and happy now as I look ahead to October, and hopefully this blog, Journal Workshops, my videos etc etc will reflect that too. It's time to make time for art again...well really I've already started with daily art projects, even if all I can manage is a 10 minute background here and there. 

But what I'm feeling is that excitement to get my hands dirty all the time again, which is a feeling I have missed & I'm so happy it's back, it's the partner to truely fabulously happy artful adventures and discoveries, and to wonderful pieces of art to which you feel a real least that's how it works for me.

So what have I been up to this week with my new found creative surge, well of course the Wall Project as mentioned in the last Ramble, here's some progress:
The finished mermaid...
nicknamed 'Shelly'...three guesses why lol

And if you follow my facebook page you may have seen this pic of the Postcard Wall in progess:

Well here it is complete:

I've still more to do on this project but will knock a vlog together to share here once works done so you can see all the glorious results, pictures don't really show them properly I think - probably because they are *huge*

And as for what else I've got coming, tonight I'm gonna pick the Monthly Challenge we will be doing in the Journal Workshops Group for October so I can make a video for that this weekend yaaaay =) so don't forget to head over there come the first. Also as I haven't 'done' much (online art world speaking) this month for my Monthly Newsletter I will be revealing a never before seen video ooooooooh....which makes a video sound far more exciting than it warrants I think haha but it will be exclusive for my newsletter subscribers on the 30th. Then September is done and then onto happy October & lotsa lotsa projects which I am really excited about, as I think I've mentioned ;)

So if you are subscribed to the Monthly Challenge Group or My Newsletter I'll be seeing you in video form before next week, otherwise I'll just be seeing you =)
Have a Happy Weekend

Friday, 19 September 2014

Weekly Ramble ~ MIA from Art

So I'm been rather absent this week from the online art world, from art...and heck it's just been one of those MIA weeks in life in general, if you know what I mean. The only art I've spent anytime doing is a revisitation to my Wall Project I did a Ramble on a few Rambles ago.

I've been painting bits here and there for a while,
like a batch of seagulls here:

a mermaid there:

This is how I just left my desk to come write this blogpost:
a fishtail and a sweepiebum ( feet now feel cold un-sweepiefied!)

I've been painting when I can so that when I can find a full day to take out to finish the Wall Project (may be 7 walls down, 5 to go or something similar) I'll be ready but I'm having difficulty 'finding' a day. I remember one of my first ever blogposts was about how 'finding' time for creativity is often impossible (just like exercise, or anything else healthy but can be deemed unimportant-right-now in comparison to other things) you have to make it, so that's what I'm doing. I'm just going to paint like crazy the rest of tonight so I can go this weekend and do as much as I can, and that's why I've been MIA from other things. I've learned in the past few weeks that sometimes you just have to focus on the one thing and concentrate on that till it's done, which is difficult for me as it's not the natural way for my creativity. I like to create a lot of different projects at once, but that's just not working here so I'm central focusing now till the jobs done. I'm hoping that'll mean I'll have something new to report here next week, but to make that happen I'm gonna get back to it...and my furry feet warmer. 
I may post FB pics of the walls as they go up if you wanna see
Hope you have a happy arty weekend
and fyi if you're missing my arty absense from all things online related please don't forget about Journal Workshops - a place where creativity continues abundantly xoxo

Friday, 12 September 2014

Weekly Ramble ~ The Blah Factor...and what I do when I'm in it

I'm feeling so blah! this week. And like everything if I feel it in one way, I often feel it in my artwork too, so there has not been much happening but I want to share what I do do when the blaaaaaah monster strikes!

First I make some backgrounds:
...coz they're easy, and free-flowing, and always useful for the future

Next I make 'easy pages' (but only if I can be bothered!) like this one this evening...
'Easy pages' are made by choosing things to focus on that do not take much effort, processes you've done 1,000s of times before or by picking an object to paint/doodle in front of you so the guess work or the 'what do I do now?' stuff is taken out of it.

Finally I also quit when I feel so blah that I don't want to do it.
For example last night I went to bed early and watched a movie! OMG!
Last night I realised that's something I class as a major luxury, the last time I did it was because I was having a girly night in and I tend to keep it for those 'occasions', or the rare times I feel ill and want Johnny Depp/Colin Firth comfort! But not any more! It is something I could do every week (/every night even) if I wanted, and it shouldn't take other people coming over or me being ill to force me to chillax in a way that I really enjoy (who doesn't love movies?). So this is now my go to fix for the blah factor, and I'm sharing here because throughout this year I have found myself taking notice of the ways in which I might be hard on myself, sharing them here and making a conscious effort to change my behaviours and self-talk that isn't assisting me. 

I think this may make people reading think that I'm always harsh with myself or something lol I'm not, I just think it's important for each of us to recognise those areas where we are hard on ourselves and then learn ease up on our only-ever-gonna-be-lived-in-this-once-ever-selves. This year I have lifted so much stress off of myself, become so much happier (and wiser) and gentler to myself through actively listening to myself, and changing such small thinking patterns like 'movies are a luxury'. This little habit of thought is not an all singing all dancing nasty inner critic, it's just a tiny small thing that obvious lodged itself in my system somewhere but it did not become visible to me until the blah factor came in and shone a light on it. And by doing this it proved to me once again (as I have learnt a lot this year) that the "bad" thoughts/emotions are not necessarily the undesirable things we make them out to be, but are here, like the good, to teach us something. So I guess in this long section what my last thing to do in the blah factor is to recognise why it might be here in the first place (I'm tired, I'm uninspired, I haven't been taking care of myself etc etc) then learn anything we can from it (it's okay to take time out to recuperate, it's okay to focus on gathering inspiration for myself, it's okay to go to bed early and watch movies!)

So in conclusion the blah factor isn't all that bad, it's frustrating, it's confusing, it's scattering but
it sure is fun to just paint backgrounds and watch movies!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Michelle Templeton

Hi guys today I have a real treat for you. 
This weeks featured Tell All Tuesday artist is a woodblock printmaker and I have to tell you I'm in looooooooooooooove with her work. Hope you enjoy this weeks share and FYI I NEED ARTISTS TO FEATURE HERE! So if you would like to see your name in *l*i*g*h*t*s* (...or as close to lights as I can get them for you) see below for details ;D

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
My name is Michelle Templeton and I am an artist in Seattle, USA. I’m also a wife, mama to a seven-year old boy, and a writer and editor. I also read many books and eat too much chocolate. I trained as a painter and figurative painting was my first love as an artist. About five years ago I rediscovered woodblock printmaking and I became obsessed with it. I love the process of carving the woodblocks and then having the final image revealed in the printing process as you peel back the paper to see what you’ve got. I also love the graphic quality of the black and white images. I still make paintings, but I have worked primarily on woodblock printmaking for the last few years.

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
Time! I have learned to be very protective of my studio time but, even so, there never seems to be enough of it. I have the school runs, my part-time editing job, a million household errands…it’s the same struggle all working parents face. The difference is that making art isn’t a job you clock-in and out of. It’s certainly easier now that my son is a bit older but when he was a baby/toddler it was nearly impossible to have any work time at all. I think the only way to survive the working parent/studio time problem is to schedule the studio time and protect it at all costs. This sometimes means no time for the gym, tea with a friend, etc. but it’s the only way to make the art happen.

What is your heart’s greatest desire for your life as an artist?
I often think about this question as how do I decide whether or not I am successful as an artist. I sell work, but I’d love to sell more work. I’d love to have more exposure; more people who see and experience my work in whatever form (live or online, etc.) But when I am still and quiet the truth that lives inside my heart is that I’m successful because I get to live and work as an artist. I get to have a studio and spend time making art. This is such a fantastic thing to have the honor and joy of doing. So I guess the answer is that my hearts desire is to keep making art for as long as I live.

Do you ever lose your mojo, and if so, how do you get it back?
This tends to happen when I complete a particular body of work or series and I’m poking around in the studio trying to sort out what to work on next. It’s frustrating. I like to look through art books, make sketches and look back through old work of mine to find new ideas. Sometimes I find it helps to read or listen to music in the studio without doing anything else – relaxing and taking the pressure off. But I do think it’s important to be in the studio. To show up even if you sit and read all day and get nothing done. I think it takes real bravery to keep showing up even when you don’t have the next idea. So I always tell myself, “if you can’t be brave, be stubborn…”

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
My website is here, I sell woodblock prints in my Etsy shop and I also write a blog. I’m on Facebook at Michelle Templeton Art, Twitter as @mtempletonart and on Pinterest as mtempletonart. Please come hang out with me online!

Hi Michelle, thank you so much for participating in Tell All Tuesday, I reallllllly enjoyed seeing your work and know others seeing this will be inspired by it also. 

I also really like what you said at the end of your interview 'I think it takes real bravery to keep showing up even when you don’t have the next idea. So I always tell myself, “if you can’t be brave, be stubborn…”' I LOVE this, and I think it's so true for many of us to remember when we get discouraged to still TURN UP! I too get this way after I have completed a big project, I've been taking much better notice of my patterns this past year and realised I should allow this, without adding the pressure to 'get back on it, straight away, now' (as the little voices say). Like anything else we do we need time to recuperate, recharge our batteries & our inspiration tanks when we have given a lot of energy to something now complete, and I for one will be taking the idea on being in the studio more during these times without any pressure to do with me from this interview, so thank you. 

Do you want your name in *l*i*g*h*t*s*??
To be featured email me or find all the details here =)

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Laura Opal

Hi guys
Happy September,
I've a new exciting artist interview for you today, as quite a spiritual 'new agey' type person myself I'm really happy to share with you this weeks artist, 
hope you enjoy the interview =)

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
I always have a hard job describing my work. Mainly it has quite a spiritual theme: Ancient Goddesses, Totem Animals etc. I write for and illustrate a lot of New Age type books and magazines. I've always loved everything spiritual and of course I love art, so its nice to bring two loves of mine together. I've always had a huge passion for art and last year I decided I would give being an artist a go as it had always been my biggest dream. It was hard putting my work out there as I am so critical of my work and thought everyone else would be. But I had a good response and after a while I managed to get work. Its been a dream come true!

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
I would say my biggest challenge is putting too much pressure on myself for things to turn out perfect. As I get older I'm getting better at not being as obsessed with perfection. For example: Instead of wishing I could paint/draw super realistically I work with what I can do.

Do you think you have achieved a uniquely recognisable style as an artist, or do you find it a struggle to find your own style?
I fought against my own style of art for years. Now I embrace it. I'd say I have three styles depending on what the work asks of me. When you're younger and newer to art it can be difficult to find your own style as quite often we try and paint like famous artists we admire and look up too. In time and with practise you settle into things and get your own recognisable style.

What is your greatest personal achievement either in your art, or because of it?
My greatest achievement was to see my illustration in a book for the first time. Its something I had always dreamt of and it happened. No matter what I achieve in the future I have that!

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art? 

Thank you so much for sharing Laura, firstly I LOVE the painting of Isis that you shared (first photo) so gorgeous and colourful and exactly how I imagine ancient life in Egypt to be. Secondly I love what you were said regarding being a perfectionist and fighting against your own (naturally occurring I'm guessing) style of art, I've had my own learning curves with those issues this year and too think it's important to emphasize as much as possible to work with what we have now & release those pressures of things in our art that essentially take the joy out of doing it in the first place. Thirdly LOVE your last name, very jealous you are named after a crystal ;)

Guess what? I'm looking for artists to interview
Do you want to join the TAT ranks??

To be featured email me or find all the details here =)

Friday, 29 August 2014

The projects that take years

For this weeks ramble I want to talk about something I have been feeling a lot of in 2014...frustration. I think I have felt more frustration during my creative process this year than I have ever before, but that isn't to say I haven't learnt a hell of a lot too. For example the majority of this year I have found it *extremely* frustrating that I cannot create things as quickly, get them polished and out into the world as I wish to.

'Fed Up of this Frustration'

I have learnt that they ALL take far longer to do that you not only want, but estimate or expect. As an example my new shop item I just launched, Mystery Mail 2, has been in production for well over 12 months! It has taken so much planning, designing, creating, altering, re-arranging - on *every* item in there, that I wondered why on earth I was doing it all. 

Mystery Mail 2 next to Mystery Mail 1

Why was I putting so much effort into items when no-one would even know about them (as the whole concept of Mystery Mail is that people are able to send themselves an arty goodie surprise), but the reason was because my heart was telling me to. It was a project I really wanted to make, and make it the BESTEST ever. And BESTEST ever things, well, they take time. 

So happy with how this has turned out...even though no-one can see it

And I am learning that, and allowing that, and taking that weight off of my shoulders. I want to stay in a place of joy in my creativity, creating from that calling from the heart, not from a place of pressure, which is what happens when you are wanting to accomplish everything you have planned at once; that's the definition of pressure, and  then of frustration when it doesn't work out. 

And I've realised that this thinking alone has also raised my confidence. I will create. I will create when I want,. And when I do that beautiful things happen. I don't need to churn out 50 things a day because my creative to-do list is as long as santa's present list. 

It has been a hard lesson this year, but I am getting fed up of allowing frustration to have a hold over me. So I will create, and allow, and allow those projects that require years to have them. If my heart is still in them after all that time then they were meant to be given life, if frustration of how long the project's taking overrules my desire to create it then it was never meant to be. It's that simple.

And here is a semi-new video from a project that also took a long time to come alive - my Journal Workshops Art Community, it is from the monthly challenge a couple months ago and I'm sharing it here because...well I mention all that in the video. If you are not a member of my community please enjoy, and consider coming over to join us for more. Much love & Happy Creating =)

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Angela Vale

Hi guys happy tuesday
So last week I was very bad on my blog and didn't do any of my normal posts (but I did some other stuff so hoping that goes into my bloggy bank and my blog's not too mad with me lol).
Last week was a clear case of burn-out, I had a lot going on and then on top of that the creative things I tried to do just drained the tank completely dry. So I've had a couple of days just self-caring and now I'm back. Moral of this story: Rest and listening to yourself ARE A PRIORITY! (really, they're not just an option!) Anyway onto this weeks TAT, who's featured artist is a lovely lady I've got to know recently and hope you relish that privilege too, enjoy the interview =)

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
My name is Angi Vale and I currently live in Michigan, in the United States. I am a very new artist and I have never in my life ever believed that I could draw anything. One day I bought a sketch pad and some pencils to play around with and I just started drawing, but nothing ever came out “right”. Then I found Jennibellie’s YouTube channel and I was addicted! I found my love for art journals and I wanted to know more. When I heard about LifeBook 2014 my love for Art Journals turned into this new passion that I just can’t get enough of! My favorite type of art is mixed media and making art journals.

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
My biggest challenge that I face as an artist is knowing what I want to put on the page. I can stare at a blank page for far too long if I’m not careful. You gave some really good advice in one of your videos Jenny, when you said just let the page tell you what it wants. So that is how I overcome the challenge. I will start with some collage and watercolor crayons and let the page decide what it wants out of it. My latest thing is shimmery watercolors as a background and then building from there. Once you let go it just becomes easier to just put your heart on the page and let it all just fall where it wants to.

What is the best thing / worst thing that art has brought into your life?
The best thing that art has brought into my life is that for years I have struggled with depression and anxiety and no way to release it or to get things out of my head for fear of someone reading my secrets and being judged for them. I have struggled with depression since childhood due to some pretty personal events that have taken place in my life and in later years developed an eating disorder that I still struggle with to this day. Art is now my safe haven. It is my place where I can get everything out on paper, every dark thought, feeling, every tear, and every pain. Every fear that I am experiencing at that moment spills out of me onto paper. Because of art, I feel safe because I can cut it up into bits and use it as collage, or paint a beautiful picture over it. No matter what happens to those words in the end, no matter how they end up on the page, it is no longer bottled up inside of me where it can fester and grow. It’s out! It’s done! It’s buried in beauty in my journal.

What advice would you offer to any perspective new artist?
My advice to any artist or perspective artist would be this… there is no bad art! Period! It’s you, it’s who you are so get it out and if you don’t like what you see paint over it but don’t give up. There are many places online to learn different techniques on how to do things but if you don’t try you will never know if you got it in ya! I never knew my whole life that I too can be an artist, until I tried.

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
I have a website, but it’s still under construction. I am currently working on it putting pictures up and it should be ready to view soon. For now, anyone can find me on facebook, it’s my personal page but I do post my artwork there.

Hi Angi, thanks so much for sharing with us.
I really love that you were so honest with us and so hope it gives others courage to share openly their art and story like you have in this interview, not necessarily here but just in general, I really think 'pooling' our experiences and thoughts etc really does enrich our community...and it takes bravery to do it in the beginning especially so THANK YOU =) 

So would you like to...
To be featured email me or find all the details here =)

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

How to Get The Perfect Collage/Decoupage

Hi Guys
Following a question posted on Journal Workshops I was prompted into action to make this video below on how I get my perfectly smooth bubble and buckle-free collaging on board (decoupage). Hope it helps anyone who has previously been frustrated by bumps and bubbles in their work, if you have your own tips or tricks for this issue please join in and post it to the discussion:

See you soon
Much love
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