I’ve Been Absent.

Life

I’ve been absent from everything, including my life.  This last 18 months have been some of the most difficult, challenging and heartbreaking.  In February of 2016, my mother informed me that she was certain that she had breast cancer, like her mother and sister. Neither of them survived their diagnoses, or subsequent treatments.  Fast forward 20 years, this left my mother feeling hopeless and frightened I imagine, as she also informed us that she wasn’t going to get medical intervention.  We lived with this ticking timebomb, watching, waiting, as death crept in, and finally claimed her a few days before her 70th, birthday.   So many emotions overwhelmed me, my father, and my brother..the prevailing one being anger.  Anger at her for giving up.  Anger at her for not fighting.  Anger at her for choosing an agonising death.  Anger at her for leaving us.  We are all so scarred from this, everyday we miss her, we feel the emptiness, and for all of us there is an anger mixed into all this grief.

In the midst of this, my marriage finally concluded.  It was nearly 20 years of emotional, verbal, and eventually even physical abuse.  20 years, done. Concluded through the courts. However, it’s still not done, as he’s not actually paid me out, and is living on the other side of the world now, so I’m in a sort of limbo.

I’m also preparing for a major move.   I’m looking forward this move, living out of boxes seems to compound all of these feelings and emotions.

In all of this I found myself retreating, farther and farther away from anything resembling  life. I am still struggling from day to day, healing my grief, healing my heart, healing my self.

Creativity, has really been a very welcomed friend to escape into, and explore some feelings, and cradle my heart from time.  As I’ve been putting the peices back together, I rememberd that I’ve got a blog, and I should probably get back to posting.  Please bear with me as I try and get and get back on track here.  I’ve got a few things to share…

An Update, Review and GIVEAWAY!

Colouring

Wow!  The last few months have been quite hectic, with a hurry up and wait vibe.  First, in anticipation of moving rather suddenly, I started paring down my possessions and packing things up.  Then came the reality that moving was going to more than likely take longer, as the house isn’t going to sell quickly, so I started unpacking things.  In the midst of this, I must have jarred something in my laptop, so it’s been into the shop for repair.  I’m just glad to be here and share something way overdue with you all, and the excitement of a giveaway!

If you remember some time back, I mentioned that I was doing some commission work. The work is done, the book has been published, and I’m excited to share that one of my colourings was used as the back cover!IMG_5008

The book, The Masters of Fashion Illustration by Wendy Piersall, is full of absolutely stunning renderings of Art Nouveau fashions…and I have a signed copy to share with one lucky winner!

The book itself, has been created with colourists of all skill levels in mind, with a perfectly balanced mix of simply detailed to more complex detailed images. It also features single-sided pages, great for those who choose to also include types of markers in their techniques. I love that she has also included testing sheets with boxes where you can note that perfect shade that you blended and worked your colours to achieve, or colour combinations.   Lastly, she names the original artist of each illustration, which is great if you want to research the original work for inspiration.

Here are some samples of the illustrations in this book that I have enjoyed colouring.

If you would like to try your hand at some of these images, please go see Wendy’s blog, she offers some sample pages.

Now for the part you all have been waiting for…the giveaway.  To enter, leave a comment and tell me who your favourite Art Nouveau artist is, and let me also know what type of tutorials you’d like to see.  The contest will be close at midnight on August 31, 2016, it is open internationally, and the winner will be picked using Random.org.   One entry per person please.

Keep crafting, creating and colouring!  I’ll see you in my next post.

 

 

Morning Coffee and a Small Update.

Colouring

Good Monday morning everyone.  I’ve got my coffee, and am settling into my art space for a day of creating.  In my previous post I discussed experimenting with water-soluble media, which is still ongoing, however the in-depth product information reviews will be a bit delayed.  My apologies.

I am working on some commission pieces with artist, Wendy Piersall, and oh, how this project delights me!  Please go and check out all the beautiful art she brings to the world, I’m sure you’ll enjoy her work as much as I do. That’s about all I can divulge at the moment, keeping it a bit hush-hush as it should be.  All will be revealed soon.

Also, the camera for recording/live streaming tutorial events has been sorted out.  I am still a bit back and forth as to which would better help your creative and colouring adventures.  Either possibility ends with the same result of being a recorded tutorial, but I’m liking the idea of a live-stream, where you can ask questions in real-time about the technique or process being shown. Please submit your ideas and questions about what you’d like to see demonstrated.

Finally, tying in with the completion of my commissioned work, there will be a giveaway in the near future. (Hooray) I’m excited!

Stay tuned, and keep creating, crafting and colouring.

Exploring Water Soluble Media

Colouring

Watercolours are on trend, hot, hot, hot.  I see them being used all over the card making world, and now even in adult colouring books.  I’m gathering up my water soluble media, and getting ready to explore them this week in my art space.

There are quite a few options to choose from,  the traditional palettes with little hard cakes of colour, watercolour pencils and crayons, water soluble ink pencils, dry sheets, hydrous watercolours in little bottles, the choices seem nearly endless.

If any of you have questions about different types of products or techniques, please ask.  I’ll be happy to incorporate them into the exploration processes.

Stay tuned, and keep crafting, creating, and colouring!

 

 

 

 

Welcome Back and a Review!

Colouring

Dear Readers,  first, let me wish you all a happy spring!  I am delighted to be back on my blog after a lengthy hiatus.  Life.  It sometimes takes over everything.

Don’t worry though,while away, I’ve had many thoughts about creativity,  creative processes, techniques, and living a creative life. Of course, I’ve also kept busy with my  colouring and colouring books, for me it’s a way to stay creative while having a great amount of portability.Happily I get to interact with many of my readers on several of the Facebook colouring groups.  Many of you have asked me to continue with my reviews, and many more have requested tips, and tutorials (especially on skin tones), and even more have inquired about YouTube videos.  Take heart, I have listened  and plan to continue, and to incorporate tutorials and videos into the blogging experience as well.

Yes, I know there are already a lot of videos on YouTube, and I have been watching quite a few of them  as research.  In general, I’ve noticed there are many videos where people are so excited about getting some new art media, but have no real knowledge of how to use it or what it really does…they’ve never used it before. Getting shiny new stuff is always exciting, but I keep thinking these type of videos should really be re-classified from informative tutorials to either, “unboxing” or “haul” videos.

As a viewer, I appreciate their enthusiasm, however, I do not find it helpful to their presentation, if the only thing they know is that they have purchased a high-end artist grade medium and have never even used it before. Before anyone sends hate mail, this is merely constructive criticism.

I am by no means a professional, but as someone who has taken extensive art courses in college,  I have  a somewhat better than basic understanding of the  hows and whys of a lot of different media, and it is in that spirit, that I want to present things in my videos. I’m also considering doing live-streaming, real time events where it’s then possible for even greater interaction with the viewers. Please feel free to let me know if you have a preference for one type over another.

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Okay, now onto a short colouring book review.

A short time back I ordered this beautiful German edition of Good Wives and  Warriors, new book, “Exotischer Urwald”. Now nearly 6 weeks later (blame the poor delivery on Canada Post) it has arrived.  If you are not familiar with Good Wives and Warriors, they are a collective of artists, based in the UK.  You can check them out on their website or on their Facebook page.

Ladies and gentlemen, this book does not disappoint. The rain forest theme features flora and fauna from around the world in beautiful illustrations, many with detailed designs printed on very high quality paper. The pages are double-sided, which I do not feel is a detraction from any book, I colour using ALL types of media and adjust accordingly.  However,  there is a lovely surprise in the back of this book, some full sized, half sized, and even some postcards all printed single-sided on cardstock which has been perforated for easy removal from the book!  Here are a few randomly selected images.

Keep crafting, creating and colouring! I’ll see you all in my next post

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

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Today has been productive.  I got the grocery shopping done, took the truck for a romp through the mud for a little 4-wheel driving, before getting it winterized, and then came home to craft.

I needed to work on Christmas cards, however in light of of the recent global events, I wasn’t feeling festive.  I did manage however to come up with these.  I think they fit my celebration level at the moment.

I stamped them with Hero Arts stamp, “World Ornament”, using Simon Says Stamp ink in”Sparrow”.  I then embossed the sentiment across the front and lightly coloured in the oceans with coloured pencils.

More Christmas cards coming…

Welcome November, What Are you Crafting?

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It’s November, and Christmas is just around the corner!  Yikes!  What are you crafting to get ready for the season of gratitude and gifts?  I’ve got Christmas and Holiday cards, jewelry,and homemade cookies and candies on my list.

This year, I also thought it would be fun to make stuff to give away in random acts of kindness.  We need more kindness in our lives, and it makes me happy, to share a smile with someone.  I encourage you all to give someone a special handmade moment of kindness, let them know they matter.

Now on to today’s bit of crafty goodness.  I created this necklace from my Blueberry Cove Beads box.  I think it follows the month’s theme: Victorian Gothic quite well.  Please forgive the picture quality, I haven’t figured out the best way to photograph jewelry.

Happy Crafting!

Box of Fun

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Do you bead or make jewelry?  Today, I received my subscription box from Blueberry Cove Beads.  For me, this is a fun way to get and try things that I might not normally gravitate towards when it comes to buying jewelry supplies.  Each month comes with a theme, and a chance to participate in a challenge to win your next month free.

This month’s box theme is Victorian Gothic…perfect for October.

I’m loving the bit of lace for a choker, and also the other center accent pieces as well.  I can also envision something with the faceted crystal beads, especially the deep purple ones!  Stay tuned for that upcoming project.

A Pencil By Any Other Name…PT 4

Colouring

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Today the mini review is for the 24-pack of Hilroy coloured pencils that I purchased at Staples.  Visually, these pencils are quite pretty with their bright colours and the points are sharp and hold a good point.

I really tried to like these pencils, but I couldn’t even finish my test picture that I was colouring. I was less than impressed with their performance.

Image: My Makeup Coloriages coloured with Hilroy coloured pencils.

Image: My Makeup Coloriages coloured with Hilroy coloured pencils.

These pencils are hit and miss with their pigmentation; the lighter shades are so sheer and lay down more wax than colour, and I could not get them to build enough variation for shading.

Yes, I still believe that any pencil can produce a beautiful result, however I did not enjoy the way these pencils performed.  These were the same price as the Staples, branded Staedtlers,($5 CAD) that I reviewed on day one, however I would not purchase these again.

A Pencil By Any Other Name…PT 3

Colouring

Prismacolor, has gained incredible popularity in this new colouring trend. They make several types of pencils, but today’s focus is on their student-grade, Scholar, pencils and their artist-grade, Premier, pencils. There seems to be a general consensus that if it’s student-grade it’s inferior, so we must have the artist-grade.

When it comes to fine art manufacturers creating each of the two grades, often there is in reality, only a very small margin of difference.  Did you know that?

Most notably, the difference will be in the quality of pigments used; the student-grade pencils will usually be made with synthetic pigments that have no lightfast properties, which of course makes them less expensive and more in line with a student’s budget.  Artist-grade pencils will usually contain fine mineral pigments with lightfast properties, allowing the works of art being created to withstand exposure to light without fading, after all they will have to withstand many years of being on display.  One is not necessarily inferior or superior, it’s better to think of them as being different.

In comparing the Scholars and Premier pencils, one can see both perform quite well and closely to the other.  So, where else are we going to see a difference between the Scholars and Premiers?

Image from My Makeup Coloriages. Can you tell which is coloured with Scholars and which is coloured wth Premiers?

Image from My Makeup Coloriages. Can you tell which is coloured with Scholars and which is coloured wth Premiers?

The range of the size of the sets available. The Scholar’s largest set comes in 60 pencils, while the Premier’s largest set comes in 150 pencils.  The largest Scholar set, is designed to teach colour theory, and creating colours through blending. Do not be fooled into thinking that it isn’t a complete enough set to meet most colouring needs.  The largest Premier set, has a fuller range of colours, to create more subtle and complex shadings and blendings…have you seriously seen how many different greys and neutrals are in that box of 150?  Along with the difference of pigments used, is the difference in waxes, the Scholars have less, resulting in a slightly (ever so slightly) firmer lead, which will hold a point longer when sharpened, and less breakage.  The Premiers are very soft, and and very waxy, and don’t hold a point for quite as long.  However, most artists will manipulate their strokes, and rotate the pencil as they work, helping to shape and maintain a point as they go.

Lastly, one of the biggest differences is of course cost. Cheaper does not always mean inferior, especially in this instance.  I paid just under $20 for my full set of Scholars, while my full set of Premiers was approximately $130.

Phew, that was a lot of information to cover – are you still with me?

Full disclosure here: I’ve been using Prismacolor pencils now for over 30 years now; they were what I first used in art school, oh so many years ago.  I can remember buying them first, a few at a time, then being delighted when I had enough funds for my first set of 48!  I wonder how many boxes of Premiers I’ve used up over the years.

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Let’s start with the Scholar pencils.  I think this has to be one of my most favourite sets of student-grade pencils that I’ve ever used.  As discussed above, these pencils are highly pigmented, the colour is somewhat opaque and the laydown is creamy over the paper. These pencils will layer and build beautifully, and blending is a dream with these.  As these are less waxy than the Premiers, you will notice that you do not have the same level of waxy sheen that comes with layering and building up your colours.

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The Premiers, like the Scholars, are also highly pigmented, slightly opaque colour laydown, they glide smoothly over the paper, layer beatifully, building to rich and vibrant tones, and blend beautifully for shading.  As these are quite waxy, however you will notice that as you continue to build your layers of colour, your artwork becomes shiny with the wax, which can lead to something called waxy bloom, where that shine from the wax casts a white-ish film over your artwork.  This can be minimized by treating your work with a workable fixative that you spray on as you near completion of your artwork.

Tomorrow’s mini review will be Hilroy pencils.