Monday, September 30, 2013

HerStory Workshop

Since I never took art classes beyond grade 10 in high school, I occasionally sign up for online art courses to stretch my creative muscles and learn new techniques. For example, last spring I registered for She Art 3 hosted by Christy Tomlinson as well as the Art of Spring by Junelle Jacobsen. This month, I signed up for the HerStory workshop hosted by Danielle Daniel. I really love painting girls and these workshops really help me develop my own process and style. Later, I'll show you a progression of my own girls, but for today, I wanted to show you what I've been working on for HerStory.

The first week, we started with sketching girls. I'll show you more later since I have many sketches, but these are the ones I took further along with this course:
I don't think animal ears will become my "thing" but I really loved how these little ladies turned out.

Week two involved backgrounds, which I love to create but somehow managed not to take any picture of... I do remember the layers I used though:
  1. collage (various scrapbooking papers)
  2. paint (mostly Golden or Amsterdam acrylics)
  3. Neocolor II crayons for texture
  4. oil pastels for more texture
  5. splatter of India ink
And I did snap a few photos of my workspace Saturday night right before sitting down and getting to week 3, painting girls. Pat was gone for a concert and I was going to unleash some creativity:

I started with the yellow/brown backgrounds. I used the following for my girls:
  • paint by Golden: titan buff, raw sienna, burnt sienna, burnt umber light, paynes grey, red oxide, Indian yellow hue
  • paint by Amterdam: naphthol red medium, permanent red violet, permanent blue violet
  • Venetian acrylic gesso
  • Golden soft gel matte medium
This girl with the fawn / calf ears will be titled "Wary" because that's the feeling she embodies for me. I haven't settled on a title for the antlered girl, but I'm leaning towards "Thoughtful" or possibly something along the lines of watchful / attentive / curious.  
Once I finished the girls, I added some permanent blue violet dots to the background to tie in their dresses (they look black here but they are a very dark purple). I also added in some green (Golden chromium oxide green) for contrast so that the girls would pop off the background a bit better. This morning, I added in some subtle doodling to define the edges. I'm tempted to add in some words, but I'm not sure. They feel finished to me so I'm going to sit on it for a bit.

As for the other two backgrounds - they're sketched out and waiting for paint:
If I don't get to it this afternoon (I'm preparing this post on Sunday) I have all day Monday and Tuesday to be creative since I took both days off - a much needed break! 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

28 List: September Recipe

One of the goals on my 28 List was to cook a recipe from each month's Bon Appétit magazine. Here's what I made from September's:

The only "problem" was that I didn't have any olives... but I did have this awesome spicy kalamata pesto that I thought would work well to replace both olives and red pepper flakes:

I was right! This dish was AWESOME! I've really been into greens lately, especially Swiss chard. For this recipe though, I went a bit more frugal: I used the greens from my beets and radishes (which I normally throw away) and added a bit of leftover spinach for good measure. Cheap and delicious - what could be better?!

This recipe was super simple too - chop some garlic, juice half a lemon, wash your greens and sauté it all in olive oil:

Once the garlic had a bit of colour, I added in a dollop of the olive pesto:
It doesn't look very appetizing just yet, but this is where all the flavour comes from!

It was then just a matter of wilting the greens and finishing it all off with some lemon juice:
So tasty!

The pesto made it so that the olive flavour was subtle and not overwhelming, but present in every bite. The garlic was the real star in the taste profile and the lemon added a perfect amount of bright acidity. I'll definitely be making this side again and again!

Monday, September 16, 2013

My Creative Space: Purposeful

On Friday, I showed you a few pages from my latest sketchbook. I've been using it a lot these last few days to draw faces, inspired by the HerStory workshop I'm participating in. Before I show you those sketches though, I wanted to show you what I did with the cover of the book.

Like I said, I use these relatively cheap Studio Pro sketchbooks - the ring binding makes it easy to doodle on both sides of the pages and the black plasticky covers are quite sturdy. They also come with a paper "title" half-page, with all the selling info on it. I usually rip these pages out... but this time I decided to make my own title page with it instead.
I didn't take any progress photos, but it was a relatively simple project. The layers went as follows:
  1. I started by covering both sides with masking tape since the paper was a bit shiny and I wanted to give the paint something to hold onto. 
  2. I covered the tape with gesso, always a good starting point.
  3. Then I decided to glue a "tag" to the front - I can't remember where exactly it came from, junk mail I think - but I held onto it because I liked the shape. 
  4. Another coat of gesso and I was ready for some colour.
  5. I used my gelatoes in a rainbow of colour, blending them in with a bit of water.
  6. I wrote the title and starting date on the tag with my trusty Pilot V5 pen.
  7. Something was missing... black India ink splatter always makes things better!
I love how it turned out! Makes me smile every time I reach for my sketchbook.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Still here...

I'm still here.


I hope that soon I can start a blog post without complaining about how busy I am, and how I wish I had more time to dedicate to this space and to my art... But truly, it has been crazy over here. Work, work, work. And when I'm home, I'm thinking about work (at least half the time anyway). I'm trying to fit in as much as I can, but some nights, I really just want to crash in front of the TV, read some blogs and sleep.

I have been creative though. In fact, here's a list of my on-going creative endeavours for this month:

  • I signed up for another Christy Tomlinson e-course, this time hosted by Danielle Daniel - HerStory. I think it will be a nice complement to the She Art course I took this spring. 
  • I've been writing - and "publishing" - a new story on Wattpad. My next goal is to get my Krez story up there too.  
  • I've been working away at my 2013 Woodland sampler - and planning on signing up for the autumn sampler to go with the spring and summer ones.
  • Lastly, I've also been doodling away in a new sketchbook (the simple ones by Studio Pro that I find for cheap at Wal-Mart and Target). Here's some evidence of that:
  • Besides that, we went skating for the first time this season on the long weekend (and I hope to go as often as possible... as soon as they reopen public skating. Ice time is all booked up at the beginning of September for hockey and figure skating). I'm so ready for the cooler temperatures! 

    On top of all that, I've also been learning German through a fun app called Duolingo. I would have gone with Dutch since I randomly tried to learn that language last year (I really want to learn another language!), except the app only offered a few languages and Dutch wasn't one of them. So German it is (in honour of my heritage of course). I'm having fun with it!

    Ich habe eine gute Zeit!

    How is your September shaping up?