Tuesday 29 April 2014

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Yael Bolender

Hi guys, hope everyone has had an awesome Easter time, eeek I can't believe it's tuesday again eeek! I have a fab interview for you today - very inspiring, I hope you will give it 10 mins to read through, I know you will enjoy it =)

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are:
So, I was born in Israel but totally raised in Paris, France. I come from a music family, my father is a composer, my mother, a singer, my step-father used to be a drummer. And I was drawing all the time, since I've been...2? 3? I don't remember. When I finished high school, I thought that the art field was not serious, and that I had to do "serious studies", so I went to an Economics University (Paris II Assas), what surprised everybody because I was doing comics and paintings all the time. That is how I ended up having a Bachelor's degree in Economics, what I weirdly and certainly don't regret, because it happens that I am also passionate about Economics. I always worked half in "serious stuff" and half in "artsy stuff", I started by drawing women accessories for Louis Feraud (a famous French fashion designer), while I was doing accountancy for another company. But I really managed to mix these both sides when I started working for Rougier & Ple, a famous store of arts and crafts supplies in Paris. I was doing demonstrations, workshops, for them and also as an independent teacher, doing tests reports on products, window decors, and I wrote an art and craft book about recycling that you can still find on Amazon Canada and France: "Une Nouvelle Vie Pour Vos Objets" (A New Life For Your Things), Didier Carpentier Publisher, with my co-author Jean Pierre Delpech who is a specialist in molding and resins. All this, while painting and exhibiting. To do all these things, I had to be an artist, but also kind of a business woman, and a little a writer as well.

However, after September 11, things turned out badly in France, and as a Jewish woman, I started being disturbed by anti-Semite behaviors there. The economy got worse and I lost my job. Then, in 2005, my personal life totally collapsed messing everything up.  So, in 2006, I moved to Los Angeles with my younger son to open my business and somehow run away from Paris. My older son moved to Japan a little before. And here I am now in L.A., running my home decor and woman accessories boutique/gallery named Cuculapraline-Frenchic, trying to do my art as much as possible, and fighting with the immigration services to be allowed to stay.

I am passionate about recycling. That is why I crossed Jennibellie's videos. I am passionate about arts and crafts techniques, and products testing as well. I need to be happy to create, what was not really the case lately. After the end of my marriage, I have neither being able to create during almost 8 years, nor to do a painting since 2005, but I have the feeling that this will change very soon. I am very grateful to Jenny, because thanks to her and her videos, I am eager to create again. I practice many techniques as I used to learn and to teach a lot of different things in France, like painting on wood, glass, fabric, silk, canvas, acrylics, oil, watercolors, pastels and more, paper mache (a lot), collage/decoupage, mosaic, any mixed media you can imagine. Bigger it was, happier I was. Now, I am starting small and it will eventually get bigger along with my happiness.

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
My biggest challenge is to finish a project. Not that I am a procrastinator, but I have a tendency to lose my enthusiasm of the beginning. Sometimes, I get attached to what I am doing, and for me, finishing it, is like living a loss, it was especially true with my paintings, that I finished, but in a kind of pain. Or sometimes, I think it is not good enough, and in my mind, it is still a work in progress.

This is also linked to two other problems I have: I need to feel happy and settled to create and finish in peace, what is not obvious when you live somewhere without knowing where you will be the next day. And not finishing a project creates a mess, what I don't like, since I dream of a Zen space, something almost impossible to reach when we recycle a lot.

So, how I overcome all this? The only way I found so far is: forcing myself. I force myself to finish things, even if it is painful and hard. Sometimes, we have to kick our butt to do things. If I am not happy, I try to think about what would make me happy, I try to find solutions. I also try to calm myself down to avoid panic attacks and all the things which could come in the way of creating what I want to create. And to reach the Zen space, I read a lot about Feng Shui. It makes me happy, and it really helps. I am way far from a Zen space still, but I am getting there, little by little. If I may suggest a book to overcome these kinds of problems: The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. After this book, there is not much more to say. 

Do you think you have achieved a uniquely recognizable style as an artist, or do you find it a struggle to find your own style?
I would say that "achieve" is not really the word. I think I have my own style, as most people do without knowing it. I think we have our own style from the very beginning. When I look at the drawings I was doing as a child, of course, I improved myself, I have more tricks and technique, I have more experience, so more ideas, but the core of the style is the same, it was already there. We may be influenced by other artists, we may want to try new ways or be inspired by colors we see on someone else's work. For example, I have learned the "trompe-l'oeil" technique with a famous French artist named Joy de Rohan-Chabot. So, when I paint according to this technique, it may vaguely look like her work, because I learned from her and I admire what she does. But eventually, I went to a direction and she went to another one, because we are not the same people and we can't evolve by the same way.

Anybody should be proud of his or her own style. Even if an artist thinks that he or she doesn't know how to draw, it doesn't matter, because in his or her so-called "bad" way, this person is unique and should honor this uniqueness. My father who is a musical composer always draws with two or three lines. He is not Picasso, but these simple lines are just full of beauty and spirit. It doesn't take much to be recognizable. 

Have you ever found anything that originally daunted you as an artist that you can now overcame easily?
Yes, the fear of messing up what I am doing. I used to be so not confident, that I was sure that I was going to screw everything up at a certain point. And of course, I was sweating so much, panicking so much, that it always happened. And in my mind, if it was not perfect, it had to be destroyed, or erased. Later, I was already the mother of my two sons, I don't know why, but I started honoring the flaw. I was fixing it, but actually, the fixing part was giving a better result that what I was hoping to get. Because then, was coming the surprise factor, and things that I wouldn't have even imagined before. Eventually, my best pieces were the "screwed" ones. At a point, I was even regretting not to do more mistakes! I think the mistake is a part of the creation and we should accept it, relax and do. After all, we are just human beings. Someone told me lately that we couldn't do everything perfect, only God can. I love that. I actually like more imperfection than perfection now. It is valid for everything, not only in art.

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
You will find about my art on my Facebook page here. On my shop blog, you will find an article about small paintings shown lately in Somerset Studio Magazine in USA. And on this page, you will know a little more about my present workshops. It is true that I advertise much more for my business than for my art, but this will be improved soon. If you want to see the book I released years ago, you will find it here (but it is in French).

Many thanks for sharing all this with us Yael, it was so interesting to read your story having already seen your art and thought it was fabulous =) I have been thinking a lot about what you expressed as your biggest challenge lately myself - re: having a tendency to lose enthusiasm of the beginning of a project. I am feeling soooooo like that, due to having a lot of ideas and wanting to run after several at once, I tend to lose much enthusiasm for one in favour of another (shiny object syndrome!!) I shall take up your recommendation of reading The War of Art, I have had it in my Amazon basket for quite a while but having read Steven Pressfield's recent book Do the Work & finding it a little too negative a mindset for my taste I put it down but essentially I think you (and Steven Pressfield) are right, sometimes we just have to sit our butts down and get it done! I think we have to listen to ourselves to learn how to govern ourselves - sometimes we need an indulgent movie and ice cream break, other times we need to put our butt into gear in-spite of our own protests - and I think deep down we usually know which one it is. (Right now, for me, it is frozen yogurt with art... hey whoever said you can't mix both tactics together sometimes?)
Do you want to be a featured TAT artist??
To be featured email me or find all the details here =)

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Joy Guthrie

Hi guys, yay TAT is here! Sorry I wasn't able to post last week but I've a lovely interview to share now so hope you get some inspiration from it and from the accompanying artwork, enjoy =)

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
I have always had a passion for drawing, ever since I was very young, and started painting in my teens with a neighbor. I raised two children as a single parent and put my art on hold while raising my kids and going to college. Now that my kids are grown and I have completed college, I have more time for my art. Last year I married the love of my life and he is very supportive of my art. I guess you could say that I am a contemporary artist, however after discovering art journaling a couple of years ago, my style is changing and evolving. I am still discovering what my style is and what kind of artist I am.

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
Time and confidence in my art. Finding time for my art is a challenge, but I have committed to making it a priority in my life. I try to do something artistic every single day, even if for 10 minutes. And having confidence in my abilities and my art is still a work in progress. But art journaling has taught me to relax, have fun and not to take myself too seriously. I am learning to let go of the perceived mistakes or imperfections in my art work and not to have any preconceived expectations for my art. I am learning to be more flexible and just let my art work evolve.

What is your heart’s greatest desire for your life as an artist?
My hearts greatest desire for my art is to share my art with others, maybe someday sell a few pieces and I would love to also teach. I am looking forward to retiring someday so that I will have more time for my art and more time to pursue my artistic desires for selling some of my artwork and maybe teaching some art journaling classes. 

Have you ever found anything that originally daunted you as an artist that you can now overcame easily?
Definitely it would be ideas for a piece of art, which I have an abundance of now. I used to procrastinate about starting a new piece of art for lack of any good ideas. Now, I have a binder that I put together of pages from magazines that have elements, color schemes, different styles and elements that I like and can incorporated into my art. There are also sections that have different styles of text, pictures of people, animals and scenery that I like. I have a box where I have put works, phrases and comments from magazines, the internet and other resources that I can use for ideas when I need one. I also have a bag that has journal prompts in it that I found on various websites, so whenever I am looking for an idea for a page layout, I just pull one out of the bag. When my husband and I travel I always take a camera and now have a gallery of pictures to choose from. I also started keeping an idea book, just a small notebook, where I will jot down ideas when they come to me while watching TV, listening to music or traveling somewhere. 

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
I just started a blog and a Facebook page: where you can view more of my art.

Thank you so much for sharing Joy =) I hear so much of people being naturally creative in early life and then putting it off when 'real life' takes over (I was one) but now we have rediscovered it I think that 10 mins a day is so so important. I often berate myself for not doing 'proper' art when I instead watch the tv, spend time outside, read a book or online articles but the fact is I am learning that everyday I do do at least 10 mins; even if it's just to jot or sketch down ideas...and in all honesty sometimes that's all you need to make you feel so much better; like you are constantly connected to your creativity (- and it does add up to a 'proper' project too!) I'll post a link to my '3x5min' art journal page video here - while I don't usually post my own stuff in a TAT post it is connected to what I'm talking about here & it might help one or two people find ways to connect to their creativity when their time is limited too. Thanks for sharing Joy x

Do you want to be featured in an interview here?
Email me or click the link to find all the details here =)

Thursday 17 April 2014

Where it all started....

Hi guys,
firstly apologies for anyone that missed TAT this week, due to unforeseen circumstances I wasn't able to post it, and as now it's Thursday I thought I'd leave it to next week and do another post now to make up.

I want to share the place that was my first ever studio...well technically my little plastic red baby table and chair set that my mum brought me for my fourth birthday (that had a lid that lifted up so I could store my goodies inside and everything - man I loved that thing!) would probably be classed as my very first, but you know my first in adult life. I found these photos recently on a scrapbooking site which was the only place I ever posted anything when I started getting arty again - as at the time there was not so many great places out there to find art journaling as easily as there are now & scrapbooking was pretty much the only thing I thought existed that resembled what I was doing... till I learnt better and after a while got the courage to become the person that now posts as Jennibellie. 

(Apologies for the awful pictures they are all I have, phone pics from many years ago - if you think phone cameras are bad now you are forgetting where we started!!)

It was just a section of my bedroom - that black thing in the bottom right is my bed. My studio consisted of this section of wall, with the converted computer armoire

and the bookcase, and initially a dining room table that was in my room (usually with all 4 of the accompanying dining chairs), but after a while I prefered the free space on the floor where I could stretch out. 

It's hardly an awesome studio but I look back on it so so so so so fondly, and so thankfully. This is where it ALL started, my entire creative resurrection I guess. The YES that I said to myself - and I said it before I meant to say anything. You see I have to be thank you for every little thing that happened during that time - much of it not good at all - but all still happened so perfectly for me to rediscover my creativity (I can look back on it now and see that I was kinda being dragged...but in a nice way, sometimes lol). For instance me inexplicably picking this room in the first place, when it was large but ate nearly all my pay when bills were taken too. There was not a shortage of places to rent, there were even two available in the very same flat - the other one smaller but would leave me money at the end of the month to you know...live.. Not knowing if I was choosing wisely (in fact thinking I was doing the exact opposite) I went for the large space. I connected with it and my instinct just told me I was supposed to & as a response it allowed me room to develop in ways I could not have foreseen at the time.  I will leave you with a pic taken of another wall of my room the first night I moved in:

Note all the journals lined up in pride of place on the table & my journal trunks underneath, given a home before anything else had a place (see all the beauty bits/electricals just dumped in a pile on the right - the stuff that was actually used haha) the art had not even begun yet, it's like the journals knew what was coming....

Start where you are. 
Use what you have.
Do what you can.
Arthur Ashe

Friday 11 April 2014

Messy Monochrome: Art Journal Page Process Video

Hi guys

At the beginning of the month I shared a video in the new Monthly Challenge Group I have set up on Journal Workshops, which is what is says on the tin: once a month we have a new prompt to create a piece (or pieces) of art based upon the given challenge. It has been an *awesome* group so far - really, really incredible. 

Soooooo many people have created art based upon this prompt of Messy Monochrome, it's truly inspiring. So I thought I would publish this first video further a far so others can see if they wish to join in with the group fun. I won't be making challenge videos every single month but I won't necessarily publish any videos I do create outside of the group either, so with that & all of the other great reasons - like all the wonderful community encouragement, inspiring art to drool over and the vast difference everyone's take on the same prompt can be - it seems silly not to join ;)

Enjoy the video
Come sign up here

Much love

Thursday 10 April 2014

Site Tutorial for Journal Workshops

Hello gorgeously beautiful creative people,
I just wanted to do a quick post to let anyone who may previously have been scared to join (or use, once they have joined) my new ning site Journal Workshops that I have created a video tutorial page on there to show how easy it is to use all the fab functions and thingie-ma-bobs available to you....honestly if I can use this site I promise there is nothing to be frightened of!!! lol

If you are already a member you can see the tutorial page here, or by clicking the 'Site Tutorial' button (very visible in the top right hand corner).

So if you haven't already please come over and join us on this site, lots of stuff is happening and is planned for making it a fab place for art, journaling and creativity =)

Bye for now
Much love

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: Debs Mitchell

Hello lovelies,
 I cannot believe it's Tuesday again, seriously I cannot believe it!
This year I just cannot get a grip on, at all. I have plans for blogposts, lots of them, but as you can see lately all I've been posting is artist interviews because...I just cannot get a grip on this year. It's going so quick! but least I am still remembering to turn up here as I watch the weeks whizzing past me, giving a solitary wave as they go lol I will make a conscious effort to post more on here this month, till then though here's this weeks Tell All Tuesday.

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are. 
I am Debs..... I am the wrong side of 40 and fighting it every step of the way! I am lucky enough to be a housewife, so I can more or less please myself each day in between the school runs ... which means I get to play with paint and pencils! I describe myself as an Enthusiastic Experimenter when it comes to my art..... no rules are safe from being broken... I am very much into Mixed Media and altering... and I love to try out stuff... no matter how bizarre, as you never really know what the outcome will be...... Only last week I discovered a WOW.... I had spray inked and watered a canvas (which I love doing as you never know which way the water will travel when applied to the upright canvas) then gone over areas in heavy black marker, which I knew worked... but hated the finished piece... so I painted over the black with silver acrylic...... did you know that activates the ink again and you get discs of metallic colour shine through? It was a WOW moment... stunning effect, sadly not the one I was after, but I have filed it for future use! I am also Positively Passionate about Pencils..... have a...few.... Ok 550 odd.... and all Derwent... Love them to bits!

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it? 
My biggest challenge is to accept what I do and that is is OK and accept other people like it! I was told at school many years ago I was useless at art... and they refused to let me on the CSE course (remember them for people not smart enough to do an O level! LOL) So I had to drop it... and with it my confidence dropped. I only picked up a paint brush around two years ago... all that time wasted! I have now after a very stern personal talking to, and with the help of my wonderful friends, accepted that my art is actually great! It is not fine art, or detailed landscapes, or even reality sometimes, but it is My Art... and I am Unique, my art is unique and I am proud of it....... Being brave enough to enter an exhibition with my art group helped too..as that was strangers commenting on my work.... Yayyy Me! The biggest confidence boost though,
was a sale! :-) 

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?
This is a very good question......Finding your own style is a very difficult thing to do as there is so much adorable and envyable influence out there! Over the last year and a half... I have taken courses by the fabulous Effy Wild... and I am very much drawn to her style of face..... I am also a YouTube fanatic for inspiration.. and it is easy to fall into the trap of copying (as is totally acceptable in a class where you are learning) It has been very hard to try to pull away and make the differences needed to be unique...... I am slowly getting there with my faces... but I still have a way to go before I stop calling them Effy-esque!

What advice would you offer to any perspective new artist? 
Go For It! Seriously.. pick up the brush, pencil, marker whatever and Do It! As I said above it is easy to be lead, and it is just as easy to compare.... I think the hardest bit is being able to put your work out there to show others..... once you have overcome that hurdle.. and read the fabulous comments... you are on a wonderful emotional high..... Go on.. paint something.. draw something... join a group (Facebook have some fabulous ones for starting out) show people and let the praise wash over you! Go on.. double dare you with a cherry on top! If you are really nervous .. look for the Mixed Media Chicken Coop on FB.... it is a group for beginners and those who lack confidence... shout and I will open the door... no negativity allowed... and lots and lots of encouragement and help! maybe see you there! 

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
If you want to come looking for me, and see more of my art... I am on Facebook daily (I blame Candy Crush!) I have a page there for my art or you can follow my blog.

Thank you so much for sharing your art and outlook for us Debs, after reading your interview Enthusiastic is definitely the word that I feel is oozing out of your words. It's really nice as it reminds me of the enthusiasm I had when I first re-discovered art, which I've talked about plenty of times of here before, and now kinda want back a little...I'm internally laughing at the irony that most of us can't wait for that time to come when we are more skilled and I'm sat here reminiscing about the times I first picked up a paintbrush again and learnt about the simple joy of discovering. But the wonderful thing about art is that, the joy of discovery and learning, is always available but as Debs mentioned in the very beginning with silver acrylic discovery, sometimes it just might not come to you exactly as originally expected.

Want to be a TATer??
Email me or click the link to find all the details here =)

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Tell All Tuesday ~ Featured Artist: June Walker

Hello beautifuls, I can't believe TAT has come around so quickly again, even though it seems to be all I am doing on here, but that is because I have been so busy on Journal Workshops. On which I have just opened up a new Monthly Art Journal Challenge Group which is turning out to be super fun, so if you want some more inspiration after reading this head over there =) for now though we have a lovely interview and art my artist June Walker, enjoy =)

Tell us a little bit about yourself & what kind of artist you are.
My name is June Walker and I am interested in colour, animals and people.

What is the biggest challenge you personally face as an artist and how do you overcome it?
My biggest challenge initially was to figure out how to awaken my imagination. I wanted to paint imaginary scenes probably because I liked the work of artists like Chagall and William Blake and I wanted to find out if I had an artistic imagination of my own and what it might contain. I attempted to expand my imagination by trying out some surrealist methods, such as automatic drawing or scribbling, looking for images in random colour shapes, and non-dominant hand drawing. These methods worked pretty well for me as I feel my imagination is freeing up and I am beginning to draw more interesting and personal imagery.

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 feel I have developed a personal style which is recognizable. I use a colourful palette composed of primaries and secondaries, and I mainly use acrylics. My imagery is fairly idiosyncratic and my style is expressive with short or dumpy human figures and imaginatively coloured animals. I hope my imagery is positive focusing on the interactions between people and some of their favourite things like toys, animals and other people.

What do you most wish your art to achieve?
At the moment, my style is pretty much linked to drawing. I would love to develop a more painterly style where the imagery is realised or found directly in paint instead of coloured after preliminary drawing. I’d also like to paint bigger canvases. I haven’t really launched into this painterly style because I feel rather tied to my original drawing style. I am not sure if this painterly method will suit me but I hope to take the plunge…soon!

Tell us where can we find out more about you & your art?
My Website. My Blog. My Facebook & My Fine Art America Profile.

Thank you for sharing June, I really enjoyed seeing your artwork and I'm sure you'll develop wonderfully in any method you desire. In your 'imagination' answer, you have hit upon something I have been thinking too lately and a challenge I think I want to start doing for myself more - creating completely original paintings in/from my mind, as I so rarely create 'a painting' aka not an art journal page or some instinctive art it is a skill I think I should work on. Thanks so much for a fab interview =)

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