Tuesday 27 August 2013

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Maria Barci

Hi guys, how are you??
I feel like I've not been on line much this week.
I've had bits and pieces of things take me out of my regular routine; 
some good like my bff coming to stay, some bad like sitting in hospital waiting rooms for half a day because my grandma had a fall (she's okay!)...but all in all now I'm hoping to get back into doing some arting tomorrow, because well I deserve a treat ;)
We have an interview this week from a toonster, with I believe some very wise words for us all, enjoy =)

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
Hello, my name is Maria and I'm an artist and living in the "usually pretty sunny" Bay Area of California. I'm 42 years old and I have been drawing my little folks and critters for about 7 years now. What started out as a purely experimental drawing session in a cafe` one afternoon turned out to be one of the most rewarding days of my life. As I looked into my notebook and saw the inklings of a funny looking creature, I knew I was on to something. I kept at it, and with the support and encouragement of some VERY key people, I basically was nurtured into birthing my 'toons : ) Hmm, what kind of artist am I? I don't know! Suffice to say, I love art, identify with and explore all things creative; my latest endeavour being art journaling, thus, my happy discovery of Jennibellie : ) I also am a writer and am equally passionate about that.

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
The biggest challenge I face as an artist is...not being understood! I overcome this by forcing open the curtain and stepping out into the world anyway. I do this "courage calisthenic" even when my heart is pounding and my throat is tight. I believe the only way you can overcome fear is to step into it. And that is my life's goal; to always be there for myself and make sure that I am being true to who I am at any given moment regardless of the opposition (I'm not always successful, but I try!). Expression comes at a cost. Sometimes you won't be liked, other times you'll be ridiculed or even slammed for being you, but the key is to do it anyway. That is the only way to find out who you really are artistically (and otherwise). 

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...healing. Seven years ago when I first started arting, as I like to call it, I was a broken, fractured soul. Because of life's circumstances and some foolish choices I'd made, I felt like I was beyond help, stranded on some faraway galaxy. When I picked up the paintbrush, however, and started delving into art, my whole perspective changed. I began to understand what was going on inside of me. I realized that I could put a face and a form to whatever I was feeling by drawing, collaging, sculpting and just doing whatever I fancied. Art literally put me back together again; it gave me an identity and brought meaning to my life. 

What advice would you offer to any perspective new artist?
The advice I would offer any prospective artist is this: be yourself and enjoy life! It's really that simple. Smell a flower, stroll into a cafe, get involved in the mystery of life, relax and make something. Start small, listen to yourself and proceed with love. Miracles will ensue. God bless.

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
You can find more of me and my art at: Pen and Inks by Cartoonmamma (on Facebook) and at: society6.com

Thank you very much for sharing your 'toons and story with us Maria =) I agree with a lot of what you said but what you said after 'Expression comes at a cost' really struck me ~ '...sometimes you won't be liked, other times you'll be ridiculed or even slammed for being you, but the key is to do it anyway.' I've felt a video along these lines coming for a very long time, because I think a lot of us get criticized just for doing what we do, a lot more that what we may realise ~ certainly I get a lot more emails from fellow artists on the subject that what I would have dared guess before I started posting online. Essentially I believe 'the key is to do it anyway' too because who on our deathbeds will we most regret not listening to ~ our own inner voice, or another persons ideal of what our life or art should be? Ultimately no matter what anybody elses opinion is, the only person we ever have to answer to (or make happy) is ourselves...

Do you want to be TATed??
To be featured email me or find all the details here =)

Thursday 22 August 2013

Making My New Recycled Loose Leaf Journal

I have been making art journal pages since my last journal, but as yet no actual journal so now it's time to make my new journal =)

I haven't got any pictures (it's that new),
but here's a video of me making it:

Hope you enjoy =)
Much love

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Celebrating the Small Victories!

Hello there, so after my last post where I mentioned not so much a creative lull, more a total lack of creative interest, I've had a couple of days chillaxing. 

I took on the belief that I was recharging myself, totally away from creative ventures...when all of a sudden someone pointed out to me that some of my relaxing practices were, in their eyes, totally creative. 

I finished some hand-cut packs for my shop, not thinking it was creative because it was stuff that needed to be done, so I just did. I made some recycled envelopes, because I had finished with a brochure and it's always been instinctive to then fold them up after, but never did I consider that either as particularly creative...just necessary to recycle and get free mailing supplies. I got some new beadage, by breaking down old jewellery etc etc.

When I stopped and looked around me it made me realise creativity is totally relative - and not just to other people, but also to our own moods or mindsets. When I posted the last post I thought 'not being creative' in terms of 100% completing a painting, a video or a new product for the shop - because that was where my mood and mind set were at. But doesn't cutting those hand-cuts mean I have a something handmade to offer in my shop? Doesn't recycling those brochures mean I have something ready to add a bit of art too and send them out in? Doesn't breaking down old jewellery mean I have new beads readily available for my next projects? 

Shifting my mindset has made me realise that a 100% complete project is made up of 1%'s of mini effort...some days all you can stretch to is the 1%, but on those days mood and mindsets need to shift it's relative percentage of 'creativity' too. 
We need to celebrate our small victories! 

Right now I'm celebrating colouring my world a little ;)

Thanks for droppin by
Hopefully another small victory should be a new video tomorrow =) pop back and see ;)
Much love

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Toni Brown

Hey guys, haaaaaaaaaaaaappie tuesday =)
How's everyone feeling? Good? Tired? Ready for the weekend again already? lol well if you are I've hopefully got a post that'll make you happy it's tuesday, at least for a few mins...and I'm really excited about this week's featured artist as she is actually a writer (ya'll know that alone will excite me!) and also a visual journaler. I hope you enjoy meeting Toni =)

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
My name is Toni Brown, and I'm 51 years old, married almost 27 years, with two sons (22 and almost 26) and four grandsons: 3 months, 22 months, 9 years and 12 years old. I've been writing since the age of 2, when I first dictated a poem about daffodils to my mother. I kept a spy notebook after reading Harriet the Spy in the 4th grade, but officially began a written journal at the age of 14, as I prepared to begin high school. This was 37 years ago now! Oh my! 8 years ago, I became frustrated with straight writing - I needed something different to expand my expressive experience. A co-worker suggested rubber stamps, which I tried, and which led me to discover blogs, mixed media art/techniques of every imaginable sort, and visual journaling. I maintained my written journal throughout, but began to keep one or more visual journals (of various sorts, for differing purposes) as well. 

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
The isolation of being a journaler has always been for me - the nature of written journaling is a solitary act, and no one in my family is a reader, so though I would happily share, reading my journals just isn't something my husband or sons are naturally inclined to. By nature, I'm an introvert, so journaling dates don't come often or easily for me. The on-line community has really proven to be where I most readily and consistently connect. 85% of the time, I'm fine. The other 15% of the time, 'alone' feels more like 'lonely', and I struggle with that. 

What other issues to you overcome to accomplish your art?
I've been managing depression since my early 30s. I can emphatically state that discovering visual/art journaling proved a salvation in ways I could never have foreseen. It's a way to express and document the shadow sides, the doubts, the gremlins and beasties, and to contain them (when I close the journal covers). It's done more to reveal and heal the depression cycles than anything I've ever practiced, and I would pound my chest from any podium, anywhere, to recommend it as a therapeutic approach/practice for those also challenged by depression.

What advice would you offer to any perspective new artist
1. Trust your intuition over all other things - over trends, over other styles, over product, over anything else!
2. Feed your mojo by letting it rest - do other things, have fun in other ways, relax, laugh, distract, leave mojo alone -- it will get curious and come back to you asking, 'wazzup?'
3. For anyone who writes, I offer this blog post as one of the most important/helpful/critical I can give.

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
For several years, I did keep a series of blogs (links below), but I found myself creating just to have something to post, and becoming more and more removed from my true expression, so I stopped blogging myself. I invite anyone who would like to email me at antoniafufu@yaho.com -- I'd love it!

Thank you so much for sharing Toni, it was nice meeting you and hearing your story. I loved seeing your visual journal pages and (though I couldn't publish all of your answers here which showed it to it's best advantage) hearing your perspective as a writer first and foremost and the process being the most crucial part of it for you. I consider myself an artist first but feel exactly the same, especially in my journaling....after all if we don't escape and yet explore ourselves in our mediums what is the purpose in doing them??

"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time."
 Thomas Merton

Do you want to be TATed??
To be featured email me or find all the details here =)

Saturday 17 August 2013

Riding the 'Bleh!' Wave

mojo-abandoning, motivation-lacking, uncreatively-moody times are frustrating.

I've had nearly a day of 'free' creative time, in which I have not been particularily creative. I have made some stuff, yes. And it felt kinda good, yes. But did it have my heart? Hell no.

I've decided to ignore the voice that's saying 'you have creative time, you MUST use it'. A battle of my head vs my heart is ensuing yet again against in my creativity. 

But all that head stuff is stifling and ultimately I just feel 'bleh!'
... anything I make will just feel 'bleh!' too. What is the point of creating 'bleh!' just to satisfy the head that something creative happened? 

I'm going to ride the 'bleh!' wave.
It consists of using my creative time to instead read zines, take the dog for long walk, watch bad tv and switch off totally from the internet (which in my opinion can sometimes overwhelm, rather than assist creativity). All the stuff I feel like doing right now, but all the stuff I feel bad for doing (aka 'time wasting').

Perhaps by riding the wave till it ends I'll find a pot of creativity gold at the end (wave/rainbow - same thing right?)...if not then there's always more bad tv...

Much love

Thursday 15 August 2013

Quick Mini Journal Page

Time for a mini vlog =)

I've started making single page art journal pages recently 
(you'll see why in a video I'll be posting next week) 
and this one is a really quick art journal play, 
hope you enjoy:

Happy Thursday =)

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Felicia Thomas

“There is nothing worse than normal!” 
-  I think this is my favourite ever quote from a TAT lol 
and it just so happens to be from this one.

This week full time artist Felicia is sharing her work and wisdom, so get comfy and enjoy =)

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
Hello, my name is Felicia Thomas, I’m 44, I live in beautiful County Kerry, Ireland – (I blew in on the wind 20 years ago and haven’t blown away again yet!) & I am a mostly self taught mixed media artist and paper crafter. My Dad was a watercolour artist, he specialized in Seascapes. I spent my whole life thinking I couldn’t draw or paint because I couldn't paint like him but I was always very creative, made jewellery and loved sewing. (He would be horrified if he had known that because he was very encouraging!) So you could say I’m quite new to the artistic life. Anyhoo, about six years ago I went to work in the local art & craft supply shop and discovered an Aladdin’s cave of materials & products that fascinated me, the thing that really caught my eye were 12x12” scrapbooking papers, I googled how to use them, found YouTube and that was the start of my artistic life! 12x12” layouts lead to mini books, altered art and eventually Mixed Media. I now work for myself teaching art & craft classes – my dream job!

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
My biggest challenge is not unique, it has simply been believing in myself enough to put work out into the world. Taking part in community exhibitions and standing in front of your work whilst people give their opinion of it is brutal in the beginning. I love blogs, I love ones where you hear about the person’s life or family as well as their artistic journey. I want my blog to be like that, to invite people in, but it used to kill me to write what I wanted to because I had this “what if someone I know reads it” fear.

What did I do to fix it? I read a lot from other artists on the subject (like I said i’m not unique in this!) and then I practised FAKING IT TILL YOU MAKE IT!!! I remember the first time I was asked what I did and I said “I’m an artist” I honestly thought the person would laugh, but what happened was he turned to his friend and said, “This is Felicia, she is an artist” – and just like that there were two people who only knew me as an artist, not a Mum, not as anything else just an artist, and they BELIEVED me! I think if you are proud of your work then you should put it out there. If you haven’t done it yet try it its amazingly liberating! As for my blog, that is still a work in progress...

What other issues have you had to overcome as an artist? 
Well, I really hope you aren’t squeamish – Last March I had an accident which led to me losing two fingers on my right (dominant) hand and leaving the other two (index and little fingers) shattered. At first I thought a normal life was going to be impossible (dressing , showering, cutting food, driving) then I thought my job teaching art & craft classes would be impossible, but luckily I am a “glass half full” kinda girl and decided that I would have to make the most of what I had. In time I learned to do all those things again. The bones have never healed properly so I have had to start using my left hand for some things, but mostly I can manage everything (just a bit slower than I used to!) I also realized that it makes me quite “unemployable” – I can’t lift things, or type properly, so I simply have to work for myself!! (That last bit is a tiny fib, I hope someone would employ me, but it gives me great incentive to carry on with what I’m doing!)

What messages do you try to portray in your art?
I honestly, truly want people to look at my art and smile – I put little messages on some pieces that I hope give inspiration and encouragement. I love it when people buy a print because it means something to them. One of my doll paintings says, “There is nothing worse than normal!” which I firmly believe to be true, a little quirkiness is good for the soul! Life can be very stressful and complicated these days, I try to take a step back from that and make my art simple, honest and fun!

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
You can find me at www.scrapzville.com - there you will find links to my blog, Etsy shop, facebook, Pinterest pages and Twitter (I am rubbish at Twitter !)

Thank you very much for sharing your art and life Felicia, as I said above your “There is nothing worse than normal!” quote has gone straight to my heart. I think it will ring true to anyone and everyone that has a slightly artistic tendency really, not saying we're an odd bunch or anything...well, may be I am but as the quote points out that's a good thing! 
Very sorry to hear about your accident too, but from your strong words and attitude that you carry on with what you love regardless, it highlights something to me which I have known for a every long time through doing these TATs; the resilience of the ladies (and gents) that I have featured is astounding, and in the face of trauma or trouble art is usually something to lean towards, rather than away from, to fortify and strengthen that resilience.

Do you want to be a TAT champion??
To be featured email me or find all the details here =)

Sunday 11 August 2013

Peek Inside My New Studio

Okay so the moment has come for me to reveal what I have been doing in my new studio YAY!
I know I've kept you waiting for a while, but honestly it's just been all the 'putting carpet tiles down, putting blinds up, putting electricity in' blah, blah BORRRRRRRRRING! but necessary stuff 

So here are some pics:
my comfy corner
washi holdalls
1940's suitcase where I keep all my scrap papers/magazines/collage sheets & journals
Pomy-Poms - soon to have a larger family!
my more 'serious' side to the room
Homemade Pom-Pom Garlands, quick vlog tutorial can be found here
the beautiful crochet runner on my table and square cushion (best picture to see is top one) are done by a lovely lady called Ilu,
she has a gorgeous etsy shop, check her work out here

I've been changing it up, seeing what works best for me. You have to in small spaces I find, to find the most practical solutions. If you follow my main channel you'll see a little of how it was in a couple of days as I'll be posting a quick vid of me in here, but it was mainly like this:

This caption should read 'DISTURB THIS DOG ON PAIN OF DEATH' hehe
he's finally getting comfortable enough to fall asleep in here now (he doesn't like new additions to our home...such as a whole building lol), though I was a little miffed it was against my new crochet...good job I love him lol

So that's it for now, if enough of you tell me you want me to then I'll do a proper video tour once I've finished my 'pottering to prettify' it...till then I'll get back to painting my picture frames that are waiting to be put up ;)

Much love

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Just Paint ~ An Art Journal Page Challenge

Hi guys so I have a video for you today woohoo!

It's a page process of an art journal challenge I set myself. An anti-mixed media art challenge, as mixed media is pretty much how I may normally approach my journal pages. So I took away the stamps, stencils, stickers, multi-tude of medias and most importantly...papers! I looooooooove me my papier!! ...but it's good to mix things up occasionally.

It may sound like a contradiction in terms but it can help encourage an expansion of your creativity by setting yourself limitations, sometimes. True story.

So I choose just acrylic paint, which I have done before especially in my Acrylic Journal, but this time I picked six colours I was feeling and just stuck with those six.

You can of course have every colour imaginable if you just pick a couple but mix them, but I didn't want to colour mix, I just wanted to keep the 6 colours as true as I could from tube to page but still creating an interesting background (which might usually be the papers/mixed medias) and a foreground
Writing it back it sounds more regimented than what I think challenges should be - possibly because I'm explaining it out loud lol but in reality I just grabbed six colours I liked and played with them like they were the only art supply I had. It is a fun exercise for an hour.

I hope you enjoy =)

Much love

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Kristina Ingvarsson

Hey guys, so I've not shared much on the blog in terms of projects this week since the paper bead tutorial as I've been a busy little bee making videos, so should have one ready for you tomorrow yay! For now though we've a very refreshing and honest TAT post indeed, enjoy meeting Kristina =)

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
They call me Xinna, since my niece couldn't say Kristina when she was little. I'm 22 years old and live in Sweden, at two places at the moment, because I'm studying. Not art though. I'm a self-taught artist. I do mixed media, art journaling, sketching, sewing, bookbinding and everything else I can think of.
Ever since I was little and saw my sisters sketches, I wanted to learn how to create art but my parents didn't want to spend a lot of money on art schools and supplies etc. So I taught myself. And till this day I'm still using anything I can find to incorporate into my art. Cupcake forms, napkins, different kind of seeds...
My parents have always been encouraging of me painting though as long as they don't have to pay for anything. Since I'm a student with not that much money, recycling stuff is the best thing, which is how I found Jennibellie on youtube.

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
Self doubt! When I did a drawing as a little girl and gave it to my parents, they were thrilled and said: Oh how pretty. It's very nice. Thank you!
Then you grow up a bit and your classmates start telling you your drawings are nice. The two hour art lessons school provides for us becomes the best ever. BUT you still doubt yourself, because your parents are supposed to tell you it’s good when you are little and you think your friends are just being nice. Then you sell you first painting and you STILL doubt yourself and compare yourself to other artists. I do my best to ignore those thoughts. I drown them with paint or try to paint self-doubt it self…maybe even name self-doubt something silly, like Evert or Ragnar. Then he doesn't hold much power over me anymore (no I'm not crazy. I like to think of it as imagination, although not many people understand me...)

What inhibits you most from being the artist you want to be?
Life. And my goals. See I find it impossible to only want one thing in life. I have so many big goals that they get in the way of others. Besides being an artist, I would very much like to be able to sell my art, which as of today I have only sold 5 paintings; which I'm very happy about though. I would also like to be a writer. I want to live by my pen, like Jane Austen said (at least I think she said that). Then I have a need of helping people. I like changes and hope to one day see myself as a person with influences to change things for people, both small and big things. I wish to be the greatest aunt to my sister's children. I have a dream apartment that I'm constantly decorating in my head.
All this and more keeps me from reaching my goals. I will reach them someday (I'm a very determined person) but it will take a little longer then I sometimes would like it to do. I don't want to be a full time artist. I want to keep it a hobby. Like my piano teacher once said: When you take you hobby and turn it in to work, it's not that fun anymore. And I want it to be fun!

What is the best thing / worst thing that art has brought into your life?
The Best Thing: It makes me relax. Painting is a way for me to escape from reality and go into my own fantasy world. Sometimes art is therapy, sometimes its recovery and sometimes it's just for fun. It helps me deal with everything in life such as loss, anxiety, disappointments, happiness, joy and falling in love. Emotion for me is what makes art sometimes.
The Worst Thing: I'm not sure there is such a thing? Maybe the part where there are some things you can't recycle, but have to buy! And that costs money. And art supplies are most of the time expensive.

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
By email: kristinasrosa@gmail.com and by blog xinnasstudio.tumblr.com (it's being rebuild). I do have a personal blog as well but it's in Swedish: ettannatliv.tumblr.com. I don't have an etsy shop yet. I might get it one day soon though.

Thank you so much for being totally honest and sharing with us Xinna. I agree that it can take a lot longer to get the things you want then you imagine, but really I think any "life guru", or intelligent person in general, will tell you that it is the journey to something, not the destination that is the best part (that's certainly true with art, for me at least). It's difficult to hear sometimes...I know because I'm not where I want to be yet, and I know it will take many, MANY years to get all I want. But I know it's also true that once you achieve the goal it's not always all it's cracked up to be because the grass is always greener on the other side, and there will always be another goal waiting to be achieved. I imagine myself at 60, having achieved everything I want, but deep down I know it never stops, because that's life ---- right the whole way through. And besides just because you don't have everything you want in life (yet, or even ,ever), it doesn't mean your life will be any less happy for it (...in fact having a purpose/focus/goals will probably make it quite the reverse!)

Do you want to be a featured TAT artist??
To be featured email me or find all the details here =)

Sunday 4 August 2013

Free Etsy Digital Collage Sheets through August

Hi guys
so last month I passed over 1000 sales in my etsy shop yay!
I was planning do something as a thank you to my customers at the time but all I could think of was a giveaway, which usually can only benefits one or two people, and I wanted to benefit my customers as a whole.

collage images used from my positivity set

So instead I've decided to offer a free digital collage sheet with each order throughout the rest of August. I'm hoping giving nearly a whole month will give everybody that wants to buy something & take advantage of this enough time to do so.

If you spend over £20 I will give you 2 free collage sheets.
If you spend £30+ I will give you 3 free collage sheets.
(totals not including postage & packaging)

Tabs and Banners collage images used

All you have to do is leave a note during checkout letting me know which collage sheets you would like and I will email them to you. You may have any out of my shop =)

Please do not put the free collage sheets in your basket (unless you are buying them as part of your order) or you will be charged for them! Just leave me that note, and I will send them in addition to your order =)

Here's a video just to wrap it all up:

Hope you're having an awesome weekend
Much love

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