Wednesday, September 30

A Clowder of Cats in Pencil Crayons

One of the things that I love to do when trying out a "new to me" product, is to draw a cute group, or clowder of cats and color them in!  So far, I've tried it with various watercolor products, Distress markers and I'm currently working on a large piece with my Faber-Castell Gelatos.

Here is my favorite clowder so far using Faber-Castell Polychromos pencil and Gamsol on 11x14 Bristol paper.  I've tried other "high end" pencil crayons before, and wasn't very successful; the leads kept breaking when I was sharpening them, and most are all down to nubs after using them for only a short time.

The Faber-Castell Polychromos pencil crayons are a dream to color with!  They can be sharpened to a nice fine point, and they lay color down smoothly. I'm still learning about shading, and I find these cat collages are great practice.

Gamsol was used to blend the pencil marks with a paper stump. (Be sure to use Gamsol in a well-ventilated area)  It took a few cats to get the hang of using it, but going in a circular motion seemed to work the best.

The paper stumps have to be sanded down after every color, so it does make a bit of "dusty" mess in your work space.  Be sure to have your dust buster handy if that bugs you!

Have you ever used Gamsol?  Any tips/tricks are welcome!

Tuesday, September 29

Scrapbook & Cards Today Fall Issue and a Double Layout

Have you downloaded the latest copy of the Scrapbook & Cards Today issue?  If you haven't,  I suggest you click here and do it now!  It is a wonderful issue with so much inspiration! They knocked it out of the park again and I can't wait to receive my paper copy in the mail soon.  There's just something I love about a printed copy in hand (I'm old school I guess).

I was thrilled when they asked me to contribute to their Pet Feature, and thought it would be the perfect time to create a layout featuring ALL 6 CATS!  Yes, you read that correctly... I had yet to do this with our new gang!

*The last time I did this, was with my old gang in 2008

I pulled out my American Crafts Shimelle collection and created a double layout.... because when you have 6 cats, you need a double layout to accommodate them all!

I struggled with photo placement on this one, but I think that has more to do with the fact that I'm not used to scrapbooking more than one photo at a time.  I wanted to be sure all cats had equal focus, and I think I was successful.

For those of you who are new readers, 6 cats really isn't a lot once you get used to it.... For a short time before we adopted the Persians we were down to 3 and the house was so empty!!   I could do without the fur though, thank goodness for a robust vacuum cleaner ;-)

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 28

Watercolor: Tortie Kitty Love!

Here is the latest kitty doodle!  A 9x12 cute Tortie, inspired by our beautiful cat Summer Girl.
(aka Summer Lovin', Summer Breeze and Miss CrankyPants...LOL)

This was my first time using Watercolor Paper: Fabriano 140lb Hot Press, and I really enjoyed it!

If you are unfamiliar with the difference between Hot and Cold pressed Watercolor paper, it's very simple: Cold=Textured   Hot=Smooth
(I'm sure there are other variables that distinguish them, but I'm still learning)

The paint and water flow differently when you're working on a smooth surface, so I'm sure there will be a bit of a learning curve while I work through the paper pad.

Along with the Fabriano paper, I used my lovely Twinkling H20s and favorite Pilot pen.  I still can't seem to leave the dark pen marks off my page.  I love the soft watercolor look on other artists work, but I never feel like my pieces are finished until I messy mark them up with black!

Until next time!

Saturday, September 26

Scrapbooking with Echo Park

Over the last few years I have been trying to make a real attempt at using up my supplies, rather than hoarding saving them for a rainy day.  It's not always easy with all the new goodies that are released a few times each year, but I'm getting better at it!

Stashbusting has been my term for using up what I already have, and that's what I've been doing lately!  Stashbusting up a storm!

A couple of weeks ago I dug out a lovely Echo Park collection that was released a couple of years ago, and here are two of the few layouts I created.  I almost "killed" the entire kit!  What a great feeling to use up your supplies :-)

I've been working on a lot of mixed media projects lately, and I guess you can tell by the layouts below!  A bit of hand cut scallops on the first layout, and lots of ink on the second!  I also dug out my favorite old mini alpha stamp set for the journaling.  I love that look! (especially since I'm not keen on my own handwriting)

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 21

My First attempt with Gelli Plate Mono printing!

Mono Printing has always been a bit of a mystery to me.  I've always loved the results, but never really thought much about what it takes to get <great> results.  After watching the Gelli Arts YouTube channel for a few days, I thought I'd like to give it a whirl and picked up an 8x10 plate at the local art store. 

Below you will see my entire process, creating 8 individual prints in about an hour.  It was so much fun, I could have continued on all night but I had dinner plans!

Here is the YouTube Process video, from start to finish... you see all of my attempts at mark making, wonky color combos and a few mistakes  learning opportunities here and there.

Lessons Learned:
 - Brush up on color mixing to create a pleasant palette
 - Have more paper towels handy to clean your brayer
 - Keep the plastic protective backing on the Gelli Plate...
(otherwise it will warp your lovely silicon mat)
 - Have more paper shapes/stencils on hand for a better variety

Here are the end results of the hour I spent getting messy with the Gelli Plate:

I have a few favorites (the top one especially) and I think the last one is a dud... but I'm sure I'll find a use for all of them in my mixed media projects.  

Supplies used:
Misc Acrylic Paint
Smooth Heavy Drawing paper (8.5x11 135lbs)
Gelli Arts Printing Plate (8x10)
Plain card stock for my homemade stencils (randomly cut out)
Silicone cooking utencils (dollarama)
Lots of Baby Wipes!


Friday, September 18

Mixed Media: Owl & Ink on Bristol Paper

Some days I just feel like getting my fingers full of paint.  No plan, no clue of what I'm going to put to paper... but it doesn't matter.  I just need to play!  Bristol paper is wonderful when you're feeling like getting messy, but don't want to commit to an actual canvas.

I had never heard of it until recently, and I'm so happy I did!  It's thick paper that can withstand a lot of heavy mediums like acrylic paint, modeling paste, decoupage glue and ink etc.

I pulled out my Bristol paper pad, turned the camera on and just went with it.  Of course, my go to paintings are usually cats or owls these I figured I'd stick with what I enjoyed.  Here's another owl inspired by Juliette Crane (If you haven't taken any of her classes, I highly recommend them!)

If you watch the video below, you will notice toward the end I'm using a beautiful glass pen.  I wanted to make special mention of it, as it is handmade by the lovely Janelle at Gypsy Road Canada located here in Halifax.

These glass pens are incredible!  I'm using the thin width in the video, but I also have another with a thicker tip.  They are wonderful with ink, and I've even used them with my Studio Calico Mr Hueys and other mists.   I think they are the fanciest art supply I have!


Here are the supplies used in the video:
11x14 Bristol Paper
Misc Paint brushes
Foam (recycled electronic packaging, instead of foam brushes)
Liquitex Acrylic Paint
Grumbacher Paint
Stabilo Pencil
Liquitex Modeling paste
Liquitex Black Carbon Ink
Bubble wrap
Tim Holtz Stencil 
Tissue Paper
Golden GAC 100
Liquitex Matte Medium
Foam Roller

Wednesday, September 16

Scrapbook Layout: Family Fun with a Selfie Stick!

Like most families, when we gather together we are a flurry of non-stop stories, conversations and catching up.  Too many times I find myself on the road home, face palming because I forgot to strong arm them into a group photo!

So at the end of our last gathering for my Dad's birthday, I made sure we grabbed a quick informal photo with my selfie stick!  These often intrusive devices come in handy for family photos... no one is left out and no need to set up a tripod!  (It helps that my brother is super tall LOL)

Is it perfect?  Of course not!  But I love it!  We are all staring into the sun, blinding ourselves, Rohan even has his eyes shut tight... which I find so cute!  It adds character to the photo, and I love that we captured our fun weekend.

Does your family enjoy taking group photos?  Or do you have to bribe and coerce them like I do?


Monday, September 14

Mixed Media Cat: A Video, a few Lessons Learned and lots of Ink!

You know that feeling that you get after you've made something, and you aren't really sure if it's any good or not?  You *kind of like* how it turned out, but then you take a step back and you end up hating it... and then loving it, and then back to hate.  So you turn your back to it for a few seconds, and then hope that the next time your eyes fall upon it, you'll be able to look at it objectively.  (which NEVER happens)

I'm not sure if I love this cat painting, or hate it.  All I know at this point is that I'm so happy I recorded it!  I can pinpoint the EXACT moment when I strayed from what I wanted to create.  I sat down with an idea in my head, of the "look" I was hoping for, and I went in a completely different direction at around the 5 minute mark in the video.  That's when I stopped liking it, but figured I'd just go with it.  Let go and enjoy getting messy. 

I'm still very new to creating Process Videos and uploading them on YouTube.  I love the idea of documenting my projects as I explore different ideas and figure out what technique, medium or products I prefer.  I love how recording my process helps me push forward and not over think my every action.  So refreshing!

I won't always love what I create, but I will always love each moment spent in the process!  Moving forward, exploring and having fun! 

Supplies used:
8x8 Canvas
Acrylic Paint by: Golden, Pebeo, Liquitex
Liquitex Modeling Paste
Liquitex Ink
Liquitex Matte Medium
Golden GAC 100
Colored Tissue Paper
Cray-Pas Oil Pastels
Misc Stencils
Bamboo Pen/stick

Wednesday, September 9

Twinkling H20s and a Process Video

It was just by chance that I was visiting my local Scrapbook Store a few weeks ago and stumbled upon these lovely watercolor paints.  How is it that I had never heard of them until now?  I'm so far behind, that I'm scrambling to purchase all their discontinued colors before they are no longer available!  (I had read somewhere there were issues with their 200+ colors and they are now only going to make 50 or so going forward - unconfirmed)

If you've never tried these paints, and you enjoy watercolors, then I recommend giving these a go!  I love the look of soft watercolor, but sometimes I just want my pieces to POP! and these really do the trick!  They are gorgeous, full of pigment and have a lovely iridescent quality to them... I'm hooked!

Here are a few of the kitties I've painted these past few weeks, and I also created a YouTube process Video using these yummy paints! (scroll to the bottom)


Monday, September 7

Watercolor + Cats

I have been absolutely enamoured with watercolours lately.  Well, perhaps a little obsessed would be a better description.

I've always loved the soft look and feel of watercolours, and after taking a few online classes that touched on the medium, I've been practicing up as storm!

My first class with Carla Sonheim was: Cats! Cats! Cats!

I have to admit, the class appealed to me due to the subject matter (naturally...), but the lessons and paradigm shift that I experienced after I watched the lessons and then completed all of the homework were incredible.

I've always been stuck in my own head when it came to painting/sketching/drawing and Carla's class really helped me figure out how to let go and work on my hand/eye coordination.

My big revelation: Your work will improve if you practice!!!  Not all artists are natural born talents that can whip something up in a heartbeat.  Most artists spend countless hours working in sketchbooks and finding their "style".

I'm not certain why this concept never occurred to me before, I'm just thankful I had my "lightbulb" moment and I've been working in my sketchbook non-stop ever since :-)

This class has been my starting point, and since I love the subject matter so much, I figured I would just continue on trying to figure out "my style".  I started trying create watercolor cats based on work from Surfing Sloth, and I think I'm starting to figure out what appeals to me.

Many artists have said that if you keep using colors, mediums and techniques that inspire you and make you happy, you will eventually find your own voice... it just takes time.


Wednesday, September 2

Whatever Makes You Weird....

"Whatever makes you Weird, is probably your greatest asset" - Joss Whedon

This is one of my favorite quotes from one of my most favorite people in Hollywood.  
Mr. Whedon created Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly; and each of these TV shows has a special place on my DVD bookshelf. 

So when I saw this snippet of a Joss Whedon quote within the Bella Blvd. Color Chaos collection I knew I just had to do an "about me" layout.  I haven't done one in some time and this was just the inspiration that I needed to get started!

Instead of writing a soul searching "Mission Statement", I decided to document what I've been digging lately: Watercolor, Hot Pink, Damien Rice, Outlander etc.  I think it's important to write these things down and so much fun to look back on these types of pages later on.

There are times when I get tired of scrapbooking cat photos (Gasp!), and I constantly question what I love most about this hobby, because let's face it, so many of us get caught up in the crap, the drama and the want of all new and shiny things.

Documenting these type of layouts keeps me grounded in what is important.  It also helps me see where I am in life (no matter how frivolous or trivial), and more importantly: how I've changed and grown over time.

I like things documented.  I want proof.*


*Gilmore Girls fan here!