Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Art Cards In My Etsy Shop

Back again!

Well....three hours sleep is better than nothin'! Would have been longer had the Colonel not landed on me like a furry sack of wet cement and woken me right up! Not to worry. I don't recall EVER having a regular sleep pattern so I'm used to this and a couple of snuggly hours in soft blankies with a hot water bottle is very refreshing! Things only get dodgy after a five+ day run without sleep - that's when the world goes a bit 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' as my mind makes up a toon world that'd make Walt Disney weep bitter tears of envy into his cryogenic chamber! Can't complain - there are flying blue toon bunnies. Aaaaawesome!

So, against the odds I have managed STUFF today....nooooooo, no vacuuming still.... I'm writing that off for the week with all hopes for next Monday, but let's not hold our breath there! I've picked up the big bits. That'll do fer now!

I HAVE, however, listed my new Etsy stock - a range of little art cards/tiles (each slightly larger than an ATC or ACEO). I had such fun making them and I'm quite pleased with the colourful results. Best part is that they don't cost a kidney to ship! WOO! So, without further ado, here they are -

I'm quite nervous - I've not listed these little things before so I am going to keep fingers crossed and hope that people like them enough to buy them. Wish me luck!

My next project will be to make some more journals - all the elements are ready so I have no excuse!

I still like Etsy... I have sold on Ebay for years as part of my old job and they're a nightmare. Etsy, by comparison, are far more reliable - and a hell of a lot cheaper! There are some incredible shops on there and some GORGEOUS unique works of art. I thought I'd just take the opportunity to share just few favourites - click the picks to visit some splendid arty Etsy shops. These belong to some lovely fellow bloggers:
Patti Vanderbloemen's Shop
Karin's Shop - GinkgoetCoquelicot
Isobel's Shop - Threadnoodle
Kathy's Shop - KathyinozarksFibers
Jill's Shop - Kiln Fired Art
Niina's Shop - Fairychamber Fantasy Art & Illustrations

Just a taster of what's available!

Ok - that's me for today. The Colonel's fixing me with his gimlet stare - I suspect that it's cuddle time, which means that he'll plonk his furry bum and prickly claws on my knee again....wonder how long it'll be before my legs lose all sensation! Kitties....what can ya do eh? Thank you for stopping by again! Sending hugs from me and gravelly purrs from The Colonel - see you soon! Shroo :) xxx

Doodles For The Insomniac!

Hello you little sparkler you!

Just a QUICK post this time - no rambles...I know....can you withstand the shock? heh heh.... Been awake for a couple of days straight now so got some doodles finished and am FINALLY feeling sleepy so fingers crossed for a few hours of sleep! Enter doodleness -

More fishies....who'd have thought eh? And for those of you still wondering, the vacuum cleaner's not budged an inch. How I have hitherto resisted a 'vacuuming sucks' gag I DO not know! I blame the lack of sleep! See you later after - hopefully - catching some Z's. Love and hugs from Shroo :) xxx

Monday, 16 March 2015

An Arty Ramble Through My Heart

Hey there, lovely!

First - before the general ramble begins - a special big thank you to those of you who made me feel SOOOOOOOOOOO much better by commenting on my last post, or by emailing. I meant the world to me and I'm so grateful that you'd take the time to gimme hugs and support - I promise that I have kicked myself up the behind a bit this week and have done useful things like tidying, cleaning, dusting etc - although the vacuum cleaner is still growling at me resentfully (and inactively) from the cupboard under the stairs...I swear I hear the damn thing muttering when I walk past. I'll drag it out this week at some point and give the carpet a coronary! 

So - aside from actually doing normal human things that normal human beings do to NOT live in a complete mess (I actually loathe mess! And studio....yeah....go figure!), I've actually had quite a good amount of arty time. I've been working on some new stock for my Etsy shop - sneak peek:

 More on those when I list them - which, all being well, should be in the next day or so. 

I've been doodling again. There seems to be a lot of half finished doodly doodleness - mainly because I do them to relax before sleep (if I get sleep) so they cease to progress the moment I nod off, and inevitably I'll begin a new one the next evening, showing callous disregard for the abandoned scratchings that languish on earlier pages. There's nothing so annoying as half-done doodles so I've determined to finish some off this week, beginning with Mr Fishy -
 I know, I know, another sea-based doodle, but I'll always freely admit it's my happy plaice! (sorry....bad joke....I should be 'pun'ished. Oh ye gads.....shoot me!) Fishies, mermaids, jellyfishies, octopuseseseses and lighthouses all make me happy! Apart from anything else, finishing a few of these will get me motivated to finish the enormous wildlife pen & ink piece based on Australia's flora and fauna that I started.....oooo.... in about 1200BC or something.....I'll finish it, oh yes I will! Do you think attention span might be an issue? Do ya? DO YA? ...huh....

I also made a return to my main art journal, which has been a bit of an arty obstacle since the Yuletide season. I'd made a collage spread for Valentine's Day - collage is a great go-to technique when Miss Arty Muse is being a right old cow and not playing. She's lured in by colourful snippings. Fickle creature. I took some process photos at the time so here ya go:

I started with a thin, relatively neutral base coat covered with a second coat of blended yellow & orange acrylic paint and then used an old voucher card as a scraper to add some fairly random bright colours that made me happy:

I cut out some photos of flowers from my Uncle's and Granparents' gardens, along with one of my mum when she was a little girl - something to represent each of the people who mean so much and who are now partying on down like crazy over that rainbow bridge. Once I'd figured out how I wanted them placed on the page I adhered them using a matte gel medium. 

**Helpful tip #1: If you ARE going to try this with photos and you plan to coat the top of the collage as well as pasting the underside of each image, test your product on an unimportant photo corner to make sure that the medium won't affect the print. It SHOULD be ok, but as with all things it's best to check. I know that polaroids, for example, can go a bit iffy with some products - just be careful. **

**Helpful tip #2: Photos can be quite a thick collage element - it makes layering awkward. However, you can usually separate the surface image from the backing sheet relatively easily - as long as you're careful. I tend to start at the corner and use a fingernail to split the layers and peel gently. You may have to work inwards from more than one corner - just take your time, and you should be left with a nice thin photo image which layers beautifully onto your page. It's like peeling apart a napkin, just a bit more long-winded.**

I gave my mum butterfly wings by using a Brenda Walton (I think) sticker from K&Co, cutting it in half and layering the photo image over the stickers

I used my Uni ball Impact 1.0 gel pen to make a smudgy outline and added details and doodles with the white gel version of the same pen and some bright yellow fluid acrylic:

Then I added some lyrics as a kind of 'sentiment' - they seemed apt - and dated the page

This weekend was Mother's Day - the first one without mum. I found it hard going - much moreso than I'd expected and I was pretty sad. I wanted to journal the day and use mycolourful art journal again, but my mind was a blank. I took out my box of photos and picked up one of me when I was a little girl, taken on a flower-picking trip with my mum and my Grandma. It made me happy and sad at the same time, and I decided that I'd use it as the inspiration for my page. 

I collaged some wrapping paper I'd been hoarding and smooshed some acrylic paints onto the page with my fingers. I wanted the flowers on the paper to show through the paint so using my fingers was a good way to control where the colour went. When I was happy, I added some splashes of watery Cosmic Shimmer paint in blue and gold (Cosmic Shimmer watercolours are kind of like the sparkling H2Os - I love them). This page was more about capturing a feeling than anything else. I used my brush and some buff coloured acrylic to block in the outlines of the figure-

I decided to update the figure and add red hair and the colours I always seem to use when I paint a representation of myself , splodging the colours in loosely. I wanted this to represent me then as well as me now and didn't want to overthink it at all.

When I was done adding colour I used my gel pen (trusty thing) to scribble in a bit of definition and a touch of shading then splodged in the buttercups, just hinting at stems and leaves-

Finally I added the last few scribbly lines with first the black gel pen, then with the white, just to lift the page a bit-

It's a page that reflects how I felt exactly at that moment. I do think it's good to allow your art to reflect something of who you are inside, how you feel....what makes you YOU. It's not all about technique - at least that's what I think.

Anyway, whilst rummaging through that photo box I found some old pics of me with my mum and my Grandma and was reminded again of the importance of recording memories. I have a little book that mum gave me YEARS ago called "Wishing You Happiness", written by Pam Brown:

Reading through this little book I could hear mum's voice - her laugh. This and the photos made me feel like I'd spent time with my mum and Grandma again and it made me so much happier. I thought I'd share some of the book with you, along with a few of the pictures that I found - I hope you like them. I hope something beautiful and remarkable happens for you this week that makes you smile and that you enjoy the warmth of family and friends. This I wish for you. See you soon - hugs and sunshine from Shroo :) xxx

Wishing You Happiness

...adventures with happy endings.
...mornings of glad anticipation.
...quiet sleep and glad awakening.

My Wishes For You

I wish you the joy of always having someone to share things with.
* * * 
My wish for you is that sometimes, just sometimes, you can afford the thing you long for, rather than the thing that will do.
* * * 
I wish you enough good memories to see you through the bad times.
* * * 
I wish you one of the best of small happinesses, the opening of a well-remembered book, the smoothing of the page, the first familiar words...
* * * 
I wish you the happiness of finding the perfect present for someone you love.
* * * 
I wish you spring - the amazement that is always better than you dared expect.
* * * 

I wish you the happiness of a gift from a child;
- a bunch of dandelions
- a fluff-coated toffee
- a frog
- a kiss
* * *

* * * 
Strength and Courage

If I had the power to make one wish for you, I would find it very hard to decide what gift to give - what gift would help you to happiness. Beauty is dangerous, wisdom must be earned, love is of your own choosing.
But in the end, I am certain that I would choose the best gift of all - and that is courage.
* * * 
May you never purchase "love" at the price of becoming a doormat.
* * * 
May you always find exactly the right words to put bullies in their place - and enough strength in your knees to walk out with dignity.
* * * 
May you have a loving heart - and shrewd judgment.
* * * 
There is great happiness to be found in giving. but giving endlessly can drain the mind and heart. Learn to take a little  - even if it is a moment in the garden, a gallery, a cafe. 
Appreciate it.
Let the birds and frogs and pictures, music and books and undemanding friends restore you. 
People need nourishment.
* * *

I Wish You The Joy Of:

Seeing your luggage come safely round the carousel.
A letter from someone whose address you have lost.
Seeing someone's face light up at the sight of you.
Knowing you are needed.
Finding the perfect present.
Spotting your missing cat plodding up the path.
The smell of land, far out to sea.
A skein of geese passing low overhead, calling.
Biplanes stunting on a summer's day.
Sun-dried linen.
Dawn, mid ocean.
The right one realising just who you really are inside - 
and loving you for it.
Taking off your smart shoes.
The sight of the one you love at the end of the platform.
Pistachio nuts.
Discovering that you have not, after all, thrown your friend's letter on the fire with the birthday wrappings.
Walking in the rain.
* * * 

I wish you the happiness of love, that does not change with change, that shines as surely in age as in youth.
* * * 
I hope you always have room in your life for another friend.
* * * 
I wish you letters:
in handwriting that you recognise at once;
in handwriting that you have not seen for years;
in handwriting totally unknown.
I wish you letters full of praise,
full of encouragement;
letters of thanks and love.
* * *

I wish you happiness
but not the happiness which is purchased by shutting out the world.
Nor that of denying your dream for comfort's sake.
I wish you the happiness of doing what you do as best you can.
Of taking the risk of trying
of taking the risk of giving
of taking the risk of loving
* * *

*  *  * 

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Into The Light - Arty Stepping-Stones

Hello !

*waves from behind the sofa*

I'm feeling fragile. I've had a selection of random head glitches sparked by some rubbishy life events and have disappeared into a hole again, but this is me poking my twitchy head out into the light and just reaffirming that I'm NOT gonna get smacked in the face with a shovel! 

Are we all ok? I hope you've had an EPIC couple of weeks because you know you deserve the best of all shiny splendidness, like magic calorie-burning cupcakes, and great hair days, and a visit from tap-dancing, glittered cats, or Hugh Jackman .......(gimme a minute................ok -) yeah - all kinds of awesome! Spring seems to be edging its way through the biting frost-coated winter drapes that have blanketed the world for what seems like an eternity....little delicate flowers appearing, strong and fragile at the same time. That's kinda how I feel - who knew I'd be a snowdrop?!
Yet again, planning ahead hasn't quite gone as smoothly as...well...planned, but I'm going to try and let myself off the hook - I figure that the world won't stop spinning if I don't follow my post schedule....nothing's likely to combust or explode...there appears to be no zombie apocalypse (awwwww......dammit) so I'm just going to pick up and ...I feel that there should be some sport-esque bijou analogy-ette here, but I'm allergic to sport in all its evil forms so .....bazinga! Without further ado....

I've had a LOT of journal time....a LOT..... It's the kind of journaling that I reserve for the 'special' books - the ones on the (cue spooky music) daaarrrk shelves..... Here's my journaling tip for anyone who experiences grotty dark patches and breaks in reality..... keep a selection of journals JUST for these times. Experience has taught me that if I inflict negativity on my regular daily journals/art journals that they become somewhat oppressive to me and in turn that affects my mood when I return once the darkness has passed. I have everyday books for everyday thoughts and emotions, sad books for sad days and angry books for angry rants and crazy painting. And I find that it's ok. I ALLOW myself to be angry or sad; I don't deny it. It needs to escape and get itself the hell away from me so that I can be happy again. Keeping these journals separate and specific helps me to clarify my feelings and find that release. They're no longer a bad reminder or oppressive judge, rather they're a support network of familiar and safe book friends that listen and forgive. I don't feel compelled to destroy them, rather I feel more secure knowing that they're there when I need them. I keep them apart from the rest - they don't mind, they're understanding that way and I can ignore them until I need them again.

I can't share - or rather I choose not to share these [dark] journal entries and art this time around. Everything's still a bit raw and also it's a bit grim and let's face it, none of us need more grim.......instead, just keep thinking 'Hugh Jackman, Hugh Jackman'...... (gimme another minute....... *sigh*)

This time around I found that I needed quick arty fixes to help me stepping-stone my brain back into the light.  These I CAN share with you 'cos they're WAY less freaky...

I grabbed a couple of old sketchbooks and just played....drew things that made me happy - my go-to subjects: mermaids, kitties, fairies, flowers, seaside-related stuff... I found it hard to begin with, but I followed my own 'muse taming' techniques and coaxed that pesky musey minx into some happy arty activity, reluctant though she was at first. I find that these techniques help me loosen up, reduce that pressure to perform.
Silly scribbles and cartoons, doodles and zentangles - do these things as often as you can...when you're talking on the phone, watching tv, waiting for dinner to cook, waiting for the bus or the train - whenever the opportunity presents itself. These little arty moments provide an excellent exercise for that lazy-ass muse and they poke our brains with a stick so that we LEARN AND DEVELOP skills and techniques, teach our hands to move just right.
 Catching up a little further - the sad loss of Leonard Nimoy (I'm a massive fan) prompted some journal doodles, which echoes what I said about using special days and moments as an incentive and guide for a journal entry - they're markers in time and something that I'm always glad of recording when I look back at past journals and sketchbooks:

I honestly don't care whether these are accurate or perfect... these are my personal journal pages - they don't HAVE to be perfect. LESS pressure - there's so much stress in life, our journals and our art are supposed to be a positive light in our lives. We don't HAVE to be the same as someone else....we don't HAVE to be 'on trend'... we don't HAVE to follow the competitive fashions and fads.....we can just be happy and creative.

 Art is truly in the eye of the beholder so when you look at your work, know that it is a reflection of something unique and beautiful within you. And the more you doodle and scribble and play, the stronger you will become with techniques and skills and tricks of the trade. A line on a page doesn't exist 'til you draw it. What you draw and paint is born because you WANT to make a mark on the world - and what could be more beautiful? Love what you create. Nurture it. Be a proud parent to your art and in return it will reflect the coloured facets of your soul like a mirror ball - (and don't we all need a little disco beat to groove to?)

I'm feeling better for having completed this post. Thank you for putting up with my rambling AGAIN!  I'm so late with my planned posts now that catching up is the blogging equivalent of jogging through treacle, so I'm going to re-think and re-jig the stacked up backlog and move on with less of that pressure. I annoy the crap outta myself when I realise that I'm adding my own's just stoopid! I'll see you soon and in the meantime - be friends with your art, and hug your books and journals and arty supplies and be kind to yourself. 

Big smooshy cuddles from Shroo :) xxx