Monday, July 4, 2016

Sketchbook Pages: Beautiful Birds Doodled

I signed up for Alisa Burke's Beautiful Birds workshop back when it was first released. I finally got around to watching the videos and they are so much fun! I've been sketching and doodling away in my sketchbook and on random pieces of paper every chance I get. I love birds!

Here are some of the pages I created, starting with the more doodled warm-ups. I'll post more "complete" bird sketches in another post.

One way Alisa gets us to loosen up is to doodle randomly and then create a bird out of it. This was tricky, especially if you weren't thinking about it and created a wonky scribble!

Another technique was to create simple shapes and make them into birds:

The exercise I enjoyed the most though was creating "splotches" of colour, and then finding a bird within that splotch. I used markers and a black Sharpie for these ones and a highlighter and ink pen for the last photo:

This last page is probably my favourite of the bunch. I created the splotches of colour with gelatos (spreading them around with water) and then created the birds with a Sharpie:
So simple and yet so cute! I can't help but smile when I look at them!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

2016 Goals: June

Alright... so I missed May. Dang. But I have a good reason... so good, it deserves it's own post. Later. Promise.

Here's how the first half of 2016 has gone:

16 GOALS FOR 2016:
  1. Read 30 books. 16/30 (Over half way there! On the right track!)
  2. Try 16 new Ottolenghi recipes. 3/16 (Hmmm.. time to pull these out for a browse-through for more ideas)
  3. Try 16 new (loose-leaf) teas. 16/16 (Awesome! I'm not drinking much tea through the summer, but this fall my goal is to finish some of the tea I have so that I can buy more guilt-free!)
  4. Put up shelves and organize craft room. Make it inspiring. (Going to work on this soon as we want to move our rowing machine down here where it's cooler.)
  5. Finish Amber art book - this year I WILL! (Only a few pages left!)
  6. Work in sketchbook daily. (Getting a bit more consistent with this since signing up for Alisa Burke's Beautiful Birds class.)
  7. Blog weekly. (Ha! Let's consider July a new start and see what I can do!)
  8. Finish 2 cross-stitch samplers. (This is definitely more of a fall/winter craft for me... I'm going to pull out a project though. Maybe if I see it daily, it'll prompt me to add a few stitches.)
  9. Travel somewhere new. (We booked off a week and a half at the end of July and are planning on driving out East! Looking forward to it!)
  10. Sign up for and pass my SOCRA certification. (YES!)
  11. Make an inventory of all my books. (Must start this soon!)
  12. Wake up earlier and practice yoga every morning. (Now that I work 8-4 or 7-3, I'm changing this goal to be evenings. I fell off the wagon the last few weeks due to the heat, but I will reapply myself this month!)
  13. Make a weekly meal plan and prep veggies on the weekend. (Keeping up with this one pretty consistently.)
  14. Get rid of junk we never use (i.e. downsize our "things") and organize storage and spare spaces. (Need to get on this one...)
  15. Work on making the backyard nicer (plant flowers, landscape, garden). (Pat built me a raised bed that I've transformed into a garden! The landscaping still needs some work, but I have lots of potted flowers and am quite happy with how things look so far!)
  16. Set reminders in my phone to make me check in on my goals at least monthly (and blog about it). (5/12 monthly reviews - only missed one for the first half of the year.)
Looking pretty good to me! I'm making good progress with the ongoing goals and have crossed off a few of the easy ones. I was trying to think if I wanted to add any goals to this list, but there's nothing striking. I'm going to keep plugging away at these. Accomplishing goals is so satisfying!

What goals have you crossed off your list lately?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sketchbook Pages: Recently Finished

I haven't been around here much lately - it's always difficult to justify spending time on the computer when it's so gorgeous outside! Never mind that work has been crazy busy and other things are happening around here that I'll share in another post.

Anyway, to get back into the blogging rhythm, here are two random sketchbook pages from my recently finished book:
I sketched out this rough tree on our trip North to visit family for Easter. I was inspired mostly by the shape of some evergreens and wanted to keep it simple, so I just used a bit of cross-hatching to distinguish the needles from the bark. I'm really happy with how it turned out and want to experiment a bit more with this style.

I'm still turning to mandalas most of the time, and I decided this one needed to be more of a flower. I used a few markers to add colour and really make things pop. I particularly love how the pink petals and yellow polka-dot centre turned out.

Besides mandalas, I've also been doodling lots of birds lately... but I'll save that for my next post. Hope everyone had a great weekend and is looking forward to the long weekend next week (I know I am)!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

2016 Goals: April

Oof. April was BUSY. To say the least. Not only did work pick up in a big way, but we had plans every weekend. More on that later (maybe... if I find time! Ha! I'll try, promise!).

Here's my progress on my goals for this year:

16 GOALS FOR 2016:
  1. Read 30 books. 10/30
  2. Try 16 new Ottolenghi recipes. 2/16
  3. Try 16 new (loose-leaf) teas. 14/16 
  4. Put up shelves and organize craft room. Make it inspiring. No new progress over last month... now that it's getting nice out, this is going to be even more difficult... We shall see what I can do!
  5. Finish Amber art book - this year I WILL! Only a few pages left!
  6. Work in sketchbook daily. This still isn't daily, but it's certainly picking up now that I'm done my exam!
  7. Blog weekly. Well I called it last month. Let's try harder this month, shall we?
  8. Finish 2 cross-stitch samplers. Hey, I did finish a panel in my storybook sampler! Bonus points for me!
  9. Travel somewhere new. Might have made some plans along these lines.. more later once things are finalized!
  10. Sign up for and pass my SOCRA certification. Well I took the test and feel good about it. A few more weeks before I get my results!
  11. Make an inventory of all my books.
  12. Wake up earlier and practice yoga every morning. The yoga retreat certainly helped with this plan, although it's becoming an evening thing since I have to be at work early most days now..
  13. Make a weekly meal plan and prep veggies on the weekend. Keeping up with this one pretty consistently.
  14. Get rid of junk we never use (i.e. downsize our "things") and organize storage and spare spaces. 
  15. Work on making the backyard nicer (plant flowers, landscape, garden).
  16. Set reminders in my phone to make me check in on my goals at least monthly (and blog about it). DONE + 4/12 monthly reviews.
What goals have you crossed off your list lately?

Friday, April 1, 2016

2016 Goals: March

Here's my progress on my goals for this year:

16 GOALS FOR 2016:
  1. Read 30 books. 7/30
  2. Try 16 new Ottolenghi recipes. 2/16
  3. Try 16 new (loose-leaf) teas. 11/16 - ordered 3 new ones from David's Tea this month (plus I got 3 free samples - I'm going to cross this goal off soon... and then concentrate on drinking all the tea I have now!).
  4. Put up shelves and organize craft room. Make it inspiring. Put up one shelf for canvases / paintings and organized quite a bit. I've even been down there painting, which feels wonderful! Just need to put up another shelf or two and organize a few more things.
  5. Finish Amber art book - this year I WILL! Only a few pages left!
  6. Work in sketchbook daily. This still isn't daily, more like weekly, but since I'm studying more right now, I'll give myself a pass.
  7. Blog weekly. Not great this month, and April is going to be crazy, so we'll see how it goes..
  8. Finish 2 cross-stitch samplers.
  9. Travel somewhere new.
  10. Sign up for and pass my SOCRA certification. Studying my butt off for April 30th.
  11. Make an inventory of all my books.
  12. Wake up earlier and practice yoga every morning. Have been more consistent with this, and have also added a rowing workout at least 3 times a week. Only a few more weeks until our yoga retreat!
  13. Make a weekly meal plan and prep veggies on the weekend. Keeping up with this one pretty consistently.
  14. Get rid of junk we never use (i.e. downsize our "things") and organize storage and spare spaces. The spare bedroom and our offices are looking much better than last month! Still need to work on organizing and decluttering more.
  15. Work on making the backyard nicer (plant flowers, landscape, garden).
  16. Set reminders in my phone to make me check in on my goals at least monthly (and blog about it). DONE + 3/12 monthly reviews.
I love these monthly updates! Such a great reminder of what I want to accomplish this year!

What goals have you crossed off your list lately?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Sketchbook Pages: Chapter One

I've finished another page in my Amber altered book - that leaves only a few pages until the book is complete! I started on this one after spending some time organizing my craft room - it felt really good to sit down at my relatively clean desk and have everything at my finger tips. I also remembered to take progress photos as I went, which is my favourite way to document these pages.

First, I filled in the background with some paint I inherited from my aunt. I chose to use turquoise, dark green, grey and white and blended them together, leaving the "Chapter 1" visible through a thin layer of grey.

Next, I collaged some strips of grey and green paint swatches - the ombre kind with half a dozen shades, from light to dark. Next, I layered a bit more of the same paint (except for the turquoise) on top in order to push the collage elements back. I used a palette knife to create a different effect from the first layer.

At this point, I decided where I wanted to go with the page: pink/red flowers would really pop on the grey/green. So I tore some "petals" out of a coral patterned paper and glued them down with gel medium.

To make the flowers look more cohesive, I painted over them with a few shades of pink that I mixed with red, pink and white paint (unfortunately, red is the hardest colour for me to photograph! It looks much prettier than these photos show).

I used more of the dark green and grey paint, as well as some brown, to paint in stems, grass and darken the edges of the page.

I was really happy with the spread now, all it needed was a bit of texture and a touch of definition. I started with stamping some chevron and arrow patterns in the same grey paint, as well as white and black. I used some of the black to darken the background in a few areas. Then I splattered the page with white and black ink.

Lastly, to make the flowers feel a bit more "finished", I doodled around them with a black pen.

Another page in this book that makes my heart sing! I can't wait to finish the last few pages so that I can show a recap of the entire book!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Sketchbook Pages: Purple Painted Mandalas

As I mentioned in my last post, I wanted to try my hand at painting mandalas next. I went ahead in my altered Amber book (trying to finish it so I can cross that goal off my list! Only 6 pages left!):
Of course I didn't take any in-progress shots, but I have a vague recollection of the layers I took:
  1. Tape spine with masking tape.
  2. Random collage using bits lying around my desk.
  3. Paint (mix of light blue and dark purple to end up with lilac).
  4. Paint mandalas (dark purple with glazing medium for extra shine and to make the paint more fluid).
  5. Add details with Sharpies of various sizes (black, white and silver).
  6. Fill in the background (smudging a blue Faber-Castell Pitt pen).
I totally winged it when I painted these. I started with a thicker brush and progressively switches to thinner ones as I went on. Once the big flowers were done, I filled in the rest of the space with smaller flowers, circles and dots. I absolutely LOVE how this turned out! I might just have to try painting mandalas on a few more pages as I finish this book!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Sketchbook Pages: Mandalas

I've always loved mandalas / detailed, layered flowers. I've been sketching them for as long as I can remember. So when I saw Alisa Burke was releasing an online class called Mandala Magic, I jumped all over it. First of all, I love her art! She makes gorgeous florals / mandalas and is very inspiring. The class was a lot of fun - full of great little tips and different ways to make mandalas.

Anyhow, I started being more conscious about drawing mandalas before I went though the course. I even blogged about the first one here.
As I mentioned in that previous post, I've dedicated this grey-papered sketchbook entirely to mandalas. Here are the more "formal" ones I've added to that book after watching some of the videos in the class:
If I had to choose, the third one from the top is my favourite (so far). The last one doesn't quite feel complete to me, but I'm not sure what to add just yet so I'm sitting on it. I love the meditative process that these entail!

Anyhow, there was also a section on less formal mandalas, and these I've doodled in different places. Here's a sampling from my "everyday" sketchbook, but I've also been doodling these on random pieces of paper (while listening to talks at a conference for example).
Next, I want to experiment with painting these (in my Amber altered book that needs finishing!).

Do you have mandala madness? If so, I'd love to see them - leave a link in the comments!