Joie de Vivre

Joie de Vivre

Hello friends

I hope everyone is having a great weekend, we had a glorious sunny day yesterday and T and me cut down a huge Jasmine bush that was growing over the garden wall and overhanging the pavement on the other side.  The local council wrote to us telling us we had to cut it back and we decided to cut it back to ground level.  It will grow back in time.  Today we have taken two carloads of cuttings to the local landfill site.  The back of my car is a mess now!

This spread is one I did at the end of July and I thought I would share the process with you.  My camera makes the colours look weird, the scanned image is truer although slightly brighter than the original.

I started with pages already covered in paint and Adirondak colour wash spray from stencils used on other pages.Joie de vivre 1

 

 

 

Collaged pages ripped from a 1911 L’Art Decoratif magazine.Joie de vivre 2

Painted over with watered down gessoJoie de vivre 3

Added stamping (French themed stamps) with Brown Stazon and the swirls in Archival Perlescent CrimsonJoie de vivre 4

 

Added some colour with watered down Blackberry and Burnt Umber acrylic paint but it made it look muddy!Joie de vivre 5

 

 

Toned down with a white wash and stamped with a Tim Holtz Reflections text stamp and Memories archival ink in black.  Added glimmer mist spray in Fully Purple and Pink Bubblegum

Joie de Vivre 5Finished with collage of vintage papers from the Graphics Fairy blog, scrapbook paper My Mind’s Eye Lost & Found ‘Breeze’. Portfolio water soluable oil pastels and hand written quote.

Tomorrow I am going for some training in my new job.

Stay well & happy everyone

Big love

AJ 🙂

Follow Your Dreams

Follow Your Dreams

Hello friends

We are back from our holiday in Yorkshire.  We had a great time, even though it rained a lot.  We rented a small cottage next to a farm out in the country and spent most of the time with T’s friends and family.  We ate out every evening and had some great meals.  The best place we ate was called Aagrah on the canal at Skipton – the best Indian meal I’ve eaten outside of India – truly fantastic.  There was an Asian supermarket in the town where T’s sister lives so we stocked up on spices, pulses and goodies before we came home.  (The second best Indian meal I’ve eaten outside of India has been cooked by my husband, who is an excellent amateur chef and a master curry maker) 🙂

I am feeling quite tired today, probably owing to the fact that I drove for 8 hours yesterday with just two short comfort breaks.  Despite having a lovely holiday it was good to be home.

The boys were fine while we were away, they ignored us for a while after we got home but when T opened his suitcase to unpack Jack jumped in and refused to move;  Billy sat on my lap for about an hour in the evening demanding to have his tummy tickled and then when I went to bed he came too and snugggled up close to me all night.

This spread is about exploring texture – scrumpled up tissue paper, a couple of swabs my dentist gave me after she extracted a tooth (but i didn’t need to use them), a piece of film, metal leaf and some feathers.  Also used acrylic paint, Adirondak Colorwash spray, acrylic ink and correction fluid.  If you watch Donna Downey’s videos you will probably see that I have been inspired by her in making this spread (circles and drippage) :-).

Back to work tomorrow and I have lot of catching up to do.  The week before I went away I had a great week and was hardly in the office at all.  I had to give some presentations with our HR Director on Employee Engagement.  I did it three times – the first time was in front of the people I work with locally there were about 40 of them, the second time the audience was probably about 250 and the third time about 150.  Normally when I speak in front of people I use notes, so I don’t forget anything important, but this time I did it without notes.  The director asked me three questions which I had to answer – Who are you? What have you been doing in your area to improve things for your colleagues? and Why did you become an employee engagement champion.  Everytime I said something different, but I did get lots of compliments from the directors and audience afterwards so I went on holiday with a great feeling.  Tomorrow I will have to figure out how I am going to catch up with 2 weeks of outstanding emails and actions, however I will not get stressed about it because I have realised finally that just doesn’t help.

I’ll be back soon

Big love

AJ 🙂

Be Strong Live your Life

Live your Life be Strong

Hello friends

I hope your week is going well, mine has been a bit chaotic and it feels like Friday when it’s still only the middle of the week, I’m tired…

The spread above is from my A4 journal.  The pages already had some Adirondak Colorwash spray on them and I collaged torn book pages over the top, more Colorwash spray, acrylic paint and gesso.  Some torn 1950s wallpaper with geometric design, and the girl is from an exercise I did for last year’s 21 Secrets.  Through Tamara Laporte’s workshop I learnt that if you are not very good at painting faces (and I’m not) you can paint over an image of a face cut from a magazine or printed on your computer, by doing that you will get all the proportions right.  I loved this half face image of a girl in a turban so I printed it out and painted over it.  I think I need a lot more practice, but it looks more realistic than any other face I’ve tried to paint so I’m quite pleased with the result.  To me she has an arabic look, so I looked for some arabic text to put on my pages.  The text I found says something like Be Strong, Live your Life.  I printed it out in reverse and tried to transfer it to the page with gel medium it wasn’t very successful and is something else I need more practice with, but I think you should just be able to see some of the text :-).  Finally I printed the words in English big and bold.

The quote is appropriate for me right now because I’m struggling with a couple of things at work at the moment.  I know I need to stay strong and positive despite there being so much negativity all around me and the temptation to just get angry and give up.  I have to keep giving myself little pep talks to make sure I stay on course, it’s a challenge!

Wow!  I just realised that today is Summer Solstice, from now on the hours of daylight start shortening again.  People call it Midsummer’s Day but it’s not really that – often there is more warmer weather after the Solstice than there was before, I hope that’s true this year, because we haven’t had much of a summer so far.

Enjoy the rest of your week everyone and I’ll be back soon.

Big love

AJ 🙂

 

Trying to be Fearless!

Braver

Hello friends!

I hope all is good in your part of the world.

This will have to be a quick post because it’s waaaaay past my bedtime and I have to get up earlier than normal tomorrow.

This year I have been trying to be braver and to build up my self-confidence.  A friend of mine who is training to be a life coach tells me that when I talk to him I make lots of self-limiting statements.  I’d never thought about it before but I guess he is right.  All my life I felt that I wasn’t quite good enough in many aspects of my life.  So now I’m telling myself more and more that actually I am good enough.  I am putting myself outside of my comfort zone and doing things that I’d have been too scared to do a few years ago.  I still get scared and worried that I’ll mess up (and sometimes I do mess up) but at least I try now.

So I found this quote which I thought was PERFECT for my 6×6 journal and  I also have it pinned up along side my computer screen so I read it every day, it’s becoming a sort of mantra for me.  I had no idea where it came from so I ‘googled’ it and I was so ‘over the moon’ delighted to find out, this deep, philosophical quote is attributed to A A Milne author of the book Winnie the Pooh! I think Christopher Robin said it to Pooh.  How cool is that?!  The actual quote starts “If there is ever a tomorrow when we are not together, you must remember..”  and I don’t think it had the “and more loved than you know” bit at the end.  Someone must have added that on before I found it, but it’s still just perfect for me.  I really like this spread even though it’s a bit dark and difficult to read.

I’ve been so busy this last weekend I totally missed the whole Jubilee thing, but I hear it was a great success despite the typical English Bank Holiday weather.

I’ll be back soon

Big love

AJ 🙂

The Power Within

Hello Friends!

I am really enjoying the weekend and hope you are too.

We had a fantastic meeting of the local history group yesterday and afterwards I went to a felt making workshop to help make squares for a ‘Friendship Quilt’ that will be displayed in Ryde Library for Ryde Arts Festival at the end of June beginning of July.  I made two squares that were only ‘squarish’ ha, ha, ha.  Lovely group of people and we all had fun.

The spread above was made late last year for 21 Secrets 2011 in Tamara Laporte‘s workshop called Collage Paint Soul.  Do you know about Tamara?  She is lovely, check out her blog.

My journal page already had Adirondak Colorwash spray on it from where I had put a wet stencil between the pages and I collaged scraps of paper with inked edges on top, and two images cut from a magazine to make up a girl.  Then I painted over the top with acrylic paints and stamped with various stamps including a Tim Holtz number stamp and I also used some glitter glue.  The thing I loved about Tamara’s workshop was learning that you can take a face from a magazine and paint over it.   I am hopeless at drawing people and faces, and clearly I need more practice, but this is a good way to learn.

I know the head is far too big for the body, believe it or not that was intentional.  Years ago I did an photo/art project called ‘The Big Head Project’ it involved taking photos of people’s faces, printing them out super large on my printer, cutting the face out and sticking it on cardboard to make a mask and then taking another photo of the person with the Big Head.

Here is an example, the colours look odd because the film was cross-processed.

I added the quote from Lord Buckley to finish off the spread.  Here is what it looked like before I started painting:

That’s all for now, I’ve got to get on – places to go, people to see, things to get done.

Big love

AJ 🙂

 

 

 

Let your heart lead the way…

Let your heart lead the wayHello friends

It has been a glorious weekend in my part of the world, warm and sunny and, for me, extremely busy.  I hope you have had a good weekend too.

On Saturday morning I did some shopping then spent the afternoon working with my local history group in the Heritage & Learning Centre.  When I got home I decided to clear out  the space underneath our decking.   My house is really old, it was built in about 1860, and underneath the house is a huge space like a cellar but with an earth floor.  Underneath the decking area is what was originally a small yard with two cubicles – one I think was where the outside toilet was and the other I suspect was where there were originally steps going down from the kitchen to the yard.

We have lived in the house for almost 16 years now and the yard and both cubicles had gradually filled up with bits of wood because they ‘might come in useful one day’.  Recently I began to realise that even if the wood could be reused, it was going to be impossible to get to any of it except those bits balanced precariously on the top of the stack.  So yesterday I decided to clear it all out.  I swept the area clean and then put back the very few bits that actually will be useful.

Today I got up early and, after typing up an article for the Local History group and before T was awake, I loaded up the car and took most of the wood to the local tip.  When I got home T was up and I got washed and changed into clean clothes and we went to pick up his friend N.  N has severe learning difficulties and is somewhere on the autistic spectrum, but he is lovely and T usually spends time with him one day during the week.  Last week was N’s birthday so for a special treat today we took him out for a walk and then for lunch.  We all had a great time.  By late afternoon we were back home  and I went to visit my parents who are both doing well.

I managed to work a little on a couple of art projects during the day too, so that was a bonus 🙂

This spread above, which I make a while ago, is in my 6″x6″ journal.  I’m not sure if you can read it, but on one page it says “Let your heart lead the way” and on the other it says “Your heart will find treasures your eyes can’t see“.   There are lots of layers of gesso, acrylic paint, scrapbook paper and Adirondak colorwash spray.  I wish I could remember where the scrapbook paper with the butterflies on came from, because it’s lovely.  It could be from the stash I bought when I was in LA last year, unfortunately I can’t remember for sure.  Anyway I was pleased with how this spread turned out.

That’s all for now, see you soon

Big love

AJ

Doodles Unleashed – Playful Printmaking

Hello friends!

Strathmore has some fantastic free online workshops at the moment and I decided to sign up for the wonderful Traci Bautista‘s Doodles Unleashed.

If I was a more disciplined person I wouldn’t have done this because there are other things I really should be doing right now, however, I am a hopeless addict to creativity and I couldn’t resist!  I watched both video turorials for week 1 Playful Printmaking and then created the above image.  It is in a big (12 x 16 inch) Daler Rowney 300 g/m water colour pad.

I was a bit out of my comfort zone creating this page, but I am happy with the way it turned out.  I had to laugh because my husband came into the room while I was working on it, he rarely comments on my art, but he looked at this page and said “Hmmm, that’s very psychedelic”!!  He didn’t say whether he liked it or now though?

Right, let’s see if I can get this report written before I’m tempted to start the second workshop Spontaneous Water Colour Backgrounds, it’s going to be tough so wish me luck 😉

Big love

AJ

Choosing to be happy

Hello Friends!

I hope the Christmas preparations are all going well for you all.  I’ve almost ground to a halt, I only have a few things left to do, but my enthusiasm has waned and it will be a last minute rush again as it always is.

I am astonished that I had to get to the age of 56 before I realised how I feel is only partially influenced by external things and I can actually make a decision about the kind of day I will have.  So I am choosing to be happy.  Of course I won’t always be successful but I am going to give it my best shot.  Well they do say that practice makes perfect, so I am sure the more I practice being happy the easier it’s going to get.

Please don’t get me wrong I don’t have any big issues in my life that make me unhappy, it’s just that I can be a bit of a moaner at times and I am beginning to really appreciate that everything is so much better when I stay in the positive zone.

This is the second spread in my small 6×6 journal.  The background is textured gesso with some acrylic and Inktense on the top.  I used little scraps of paper and some scraps from old books, which had been die cut and sprayed with Adirondak colorwash spray in plum.  I wrote the words with my atyou spica lavender pen and edged the pages with Adirondak Bright Purple Twilight ink.

I just realised that two weeks today will be Christmas Day (I almost swore!)  Oops I’d better get a move on!

See you soon

Big love

AJ

Love

Hello Friends!

I hope everyone is well and being fabulously creative.

I have done very little art this weekend because I decided that it was way past the time that I should attack the mess and clutter that was my work room.  So far I have spent 6 hours on Friday, 6 hours on Saturday and 13 hours today and I’m still not finished!

Periodically my husband has peeked around the door to see how I’m getting on and has struggled to see any progress, at one point he said “It looks like there has been an explosion in here”.  But things had to get worse before they could get better.  I have slightly rearranged the room so that now I can get to the cupboards which were blocked in by boxes of history group stuff.  Lots of craft bits and pieces are now in labelled boxes and I found some really old jars of paint, probably over 12 years old.  Many of them had to be thrown away, even some that had never been opened, but I have put the ones that seem to be OK in my paint drawer and I will use them for backgrounds on my journal pages.  There is at least a car load of rubbish that I will have to take to the local tip next weekend and I reckon there is probably about another 6 hours worth of work before I’m finished.  I hope I manage to complete the job before I give up.  I have quite a lot of filing of personal and history group papers to do and I really hate filing so that’s going to be my weak point and where I am most likely to give in to the urge to make some art.

The sad thing is that my room won’t stay tidy for very long because I am an untidy person by nature.  Luckily my husband is obsessively and compulsively tidy so the rest of the house stays in order, but he doesn’t touch my room which seems to be a magnet for clutter of every kind.

Anyway here is a spread from my first journal that I did a few months ago.  It’s a bit different to my others: Gesso’d background, then acrylic paint and collaged papers, some old unused bandage, organza strips, I used some adhesive metal tape over the precut birdsong paper with a die cut frame from K & Co and some gold leaf.  The word love was a die cut from K & Co, I decided to spray it with Adirondak colorwash spray to darken it slightly, but the spray completely obliterated all the design and lettering so I had to redraw it with black and white ink.

It’s a bit of a weird one, but it was good learning process.

Take care everyone, see you soon

Big love

AJ

Tangled up in Blue

Tangled UpIn Blue

Hello friends!

I really like this spread, I love the colours.  The gesso base was very textured and it has loads of layers of acrylic paint on it, I think it changed colour about three or four times!  I found some great scrap book paper in purple with vintage hand writing on it and also a scrap of paper that came with some ephemera from K & Co.  I think there is some Adirondak Colorwash spray where I put a wet stencil in the journal and I also stenciled (through my paper cut stencil) with some gesso to lighten the page,  I used a flower stamp and blue ink to stamp over the top and then I drew swirls in dark blue Inktense pencil.  I am really pleased with the result.

I think I have said before that I am much more a visual person than an auditory one, but my husband is the other way around, and all through our time together (over 40 years!!!) I have heard lots of great music.  Tangled Up in Blue is a song by Bob Dylan from the album Blood on the Tracks released in 1975, it was/is a great album and I was 20 years old when I first heard it.  It still sounds good today.

I am having a great time over at 21 Secrets, I am doing two workshops at the moment: one is Gretchen Miller’s Ready for Revo-ution which is about creating a book/journal about the changes you want to make or about the things you want to attract into your life.  Gretchen very kindly posted my second page, about Living Life Fearlessly, on her blog Creativity in Motion.

I am also doing Jane Davenport’s Draw Happy workshop.  I am pretty useless at drawing, but this workshop is at least encouraging me to have a go, and I’m sure the more I practice the easier it will become.

I hope I have time to do a few more workshops before 21 Secrets closes at the end of the year.  I just can’t tell you how inspiring and what fun it all is.

OK now I have a question, does anyone know how to add a badge to the side bar of a wordpress page?  I’m so dense I just can’t figure it out!  I’d really like to put the 21 Secret’s badge on my sidebar (and a few others too).  If anyone could give me a clue, I’d be ever so grateful.

Big love

AJ