Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Journal Peek-a-boo

...or "A Bit Of Fun With Colour - Part: The Second

Hello there!

In my previous post, I mentioned the li'l journal I made while I was packing and clearing and moving from my home. This be it:

The covers are made from a lovely gift box from a friend of mine. It had lovely vintage designs over thick chipboard so was a no-brainer for covers when it sadly got really rather squished during the packing process. I just couldn't bear to throw it away and couldn't KEEP random bits of cardboard as every inch of packing space would have to count. It's a coptic stitched collection of whatever paper was still lying about and it's become my favourite journal of, ooooh, EVER! I shall very much be making another one ready for the new year.

I had epic fun cutting up scraps to make loads of page tabs, also using some old sheets of alpha stickers which had escaped the packing process. When I found a little box of spare stickers left from old projects they swiftly got added too. Honestly - LOADS of fun!


...aaaand now:

I loved this journal so much that I actually looked forward to filling pages in every night, and it filled up pretty quickly! Writing was cathartic, but drawing helped me focus and relax. I only had a black pen and one set of pencils - the Crayola Pro set that I mentioned in the previous post. I found these pics that I took at the time:

I don't have the tin any more, and the pencils are way more worn down now but I reckon they're one of the nicest sets I've ever worked with where colour layering is concerned. Anyhoo, I promised I'd share some pages of doodles with you so here we go -

Living with piles and piles of boxes and STUFF, before the house clearance people came, but at least the garden provided some respite.

Of course, the Colonel, my kitty cat, made a regular appearance with his VERY understandable mood swings -

...and of course, his rich and exciting life of adventure had to be represented:

He has a very daring and thrilling private life. I don't ask questions, I am but his servant and chronicler of his exploits!

I recorded world events that affected me emotionally...

...and personal moments that made me smile...

I treated myself to a takeaway - not a regular thing, but intended to cheer me up. HOWEVER - I forget EVERY TIME just how crappy they make me feel! 

I have an awesome friend who lives MILES away, but who kept sending me pictures via Pinterest to cheer me up - it worked! Thanks buddy!

And this is a weird one - I found a perfect butterfly lying on the floor of the out-house. Like so many people, I've always held an almost spiritual significance to butterflies so it upset me. I picked it up gently but there were no signs of life. I put it in a shallow box by the open back door with some sweet flowers and a little sugar water but when there was no movement after a week I assumed it was indeed dead. I removed the water and the flowers but couldn't bear to dispose of the beautiful, perfect creature so left it in the box and carried on. Two weeks later, I heard a gentle scuffling in the box, and as I walked towards it the butterfly flew up and away over the garden hedges. Yep. Weird. And awesome also!

I also recorded grotty days, like when I was utterly knackered from moving boxes day after day after day and just spent 24 hours lying on the floor letting my body rest a while, basically because any and all movement was totally out of the question -

and those times when mother nature likes to remind us that we're the incarnation of a goddess. Thanks mother nature......thanks....

I recorded memories of my childhood that popped into my head as I let go of the heirlooms that I had no space for or had already lost -

 It helped to record them.

Of course, there are always going to be mermaids!

And there were moments of peace and being ready to move on -

So that's that! Somehow, even though this was one of THE MOST traumatic times in my life, I can actually look back at that little book and smile. It makes me happy, and I think that the doodles help a lot.

I'm so glad I had those coloured pencils. I think it's so important to find the colour in life no matter how dark things become, and allow to help you find a path back into the sunshine. If you've never kept a journal, I'd encourage you to give it a go - and make it YOURS. There's no right or wrong way to record your life and your feelings. You can write, draw, paint, collage, doodle, use quotes or passages of prose or poetry, song lyrics or exerpts from tv shows or plays. Use scrapbooking, note books, organisers, sketch books - anything that makes you happy. Not only is it a way to get you through tough times, but it records happy moments, the quirky and the weird, the downright mad and the hilarious. There'll be things you would forget that can be so precious if you record them - maybe not just to you....maybe to your kids, grandkids. And through it all, try and add that all important colour!

I hope you've enjoyed this journey through one my own favourite journals and I hope it in some way can inspire you to keep a record of your life and that of your family.

Sending love and hugs - Shroo :) xxx

ps. The Colonel thanks you for your time. 
You may return. 
Bring cake.

Monday, 29 December 2014

A Bit Of Fun With Colour

It's Monday again..... ugh!

 (faffing about with collage images)

I'm not a fan! I think if I had the option, Mondays would - every one of the vile things - be DUVET DAYS!!! So to combat the bleakness of the general Monday effect, AND the VERY cold English winter, I thought I'd just throw a bit of colour at the day. So here we go!

Never Underestimate The Humble Coloured Pencil!

I have a scary amount of coloured pencils, and I managed to keep them all due the convenient fact they pack up REALLY small! See - lookee....

...I mean, it may not seem a lot to some epic art supply hoarders, but it seems a heckuva lot to me! They represent quite a few years of judicious investment and have been worth every penny.

For long enough (ooooo, eons ago) I only used coloured pencils for dry shading and blending, mixing with graphite to ease the blending process and make the colours more natural. I don't have much from that time but I do have this picture of sea gulls that I did as a gift for my uncle WAAAAY back when -

I'm really sorry for the slightly iffy clarity there...it's behind glass in a frame and I honestly couldn't face the hassle of undoing it all just for photos so I hope it's clear enough....kinda.  This was done using my then favourite set of Faber Castell blendable coloured pencils which I pretty much wore down to stumps over the years. Again, I used graphite as a blending base to mute the colours and then added all of the detail with a Faber architect's graphics ink pens, which came in a handful of separate pieces and could be filled with lovely india ink. Very sexy pens they were too. Some bugger nicked them years ago and I still wish I had them as they had the finest and most reliable points ever! Here're some close-ups -

Again, sorry for the slightly gammy photography...the glass kind of mucks about with the tone somewhat, but you get the idea.

Aaaaanyhoo, I ended up using mainly ink pens for years and years and then fell out of arting altogether for quite a while. When I started again, I slowly - li'l bit by li'l bit - built up a set of Derwent watercolour pencils, and when I used them it was always as a wet medium. I guess that's just how my interests developed. If you're new to my blogginess you can see illustrations using these pencils HERE.  Adding Derwent Inktense and Graphitint sets just reinforced pencils as a tool for wet mixed media.

THEN, when mum died earlier this year I had to move, clearing the equivalent of a three-storey house down to a very, VERY small storage unit. I had to be extremely judicious with what I kept and harden my heart to everything else which just plain had to go. The stress was ooooooooo...very stressy McStressface. So I set aside a sketchbook and one set of Crayola coloured pencils that mum bought me AGES ago that I'd never ever used because they weren't water soluble (SUCH a pencil snob!). I made a quick little journal from odds and ends to help me drain my brain every night while I packed up the rest of my life, and started using those pencils as it seems, as I've said before, that I can't live without colour! I'll share a bit of that journal with you in my next post - kind of a 'part two' thing....

SO it turns out that those pencils are AWESOME. AWE-SOME! I can't find any more on websites so I'm worried that Crayola don't make them any more (they have been sitting idle in my old studio for YEARS!) They layer like an absolute dream! I forgot how much fun it was to scribble layer after layer of colour and just play!  As an antidote to Monday blues, I'm going to share some scribbly, sketchy, bright, garish pencilly fun with you and hope it lifts your day! They're not gonna hang in any gallery, but BOY oh boy were they a load of fun!

I guess the moral of the post is not to dismiss ANY art product until you've had a good old play with it - you never know what fun is waiting for you and your arty muse!  Don't forget the silly side of artyness!! Photos will now follow - sending hugs to all, Shroo :) xxx

Saturday, 27 December 2014

A Few Pages...

Hello again!

Here are some of the layered,torn pages from my most recent art journal. This journal may help me get back into mixed media art, but it's mainly about identifying my emotions, accepting and dealing with where I am in my healing process. It seems that I can't stop using colour - and lots of it - no matter how dark things seem....must be an inherent optimism kicking in. Thing is that the use of colour and the process of layering it down is beneficial to the soul and I wouldn't change it for the world!

I've put the pages in date order and I've chosen not to explain each one, partly because it's personal and difficult to put into words, and partly so that you can make your own choices regarding any meanings - art is subjective after all.

Anyhoo - hope you like them. If you want any more detail about products used or more photos just let me know ok? Thanks for visiting - hugs from Shroo ;) xxx