Saturday, 30 April 2011

Zink, Melissa

I thought I would end the challenge with art.  I am so glad that I participated and have met some really inspiring artists and writers in the course of the journey.  Many thanks goes out to Arlee Bird and the team.   I will still be trying to get to all those who I didn't get to visit during the challenge.  On Monday there will be a reflective post.  For my Z post  I came across Melissa Zink, who's hometown is Taos, New Mexico.  She is an artist that I admire who makes mixed media wall art and bronze sculpture.


As a creative exercise on Art, Heart and Healing course by Tamara Laporte we had to do an altered book celebrating our lives.  One of the pages expressed what we would say to our 5 year old selves. Between the ages of 5 and 11 I was bullied at school feeling powerless and unable to speak up for myself, in those days I don't remember any campaigns about anti bullying or even childline.  I didn't tell anyone at the time and just hoped it would go away.
I don't remember anyone telling me how bright or gorgeous I was or how maybe some day I could speak words of encouragement into someones life. It took years of reflecting, reading, and faith to come out the other end, though the inner work is a continuous thing. 
This was a really good exercise - all the things I would say to a young child now to encourage and support I said to my inner child.  Words definitely have power and you can encourage or tear down someone by the words that come out of your mouth.

Ephesians 5:19 encourages us to speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit....

Xylophone 'Forest'

I have always liked the sound of music played on a xylophones. As a child me and my brother would go for adventures in the forests of Hampsted Heath, spending hours pretending we were explorers, the sweets in our pockets would be our energy supplies and we had the power to become invisible to other alien life forces that would also roam the heath, many great memories were made.

This is video set in the tranquil setting of the forest, using a giant xylophone...It's amazing the lengths companies go to advertise their products.  See if you can guess the product before the video ends.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Watersoluable Ink Pencils - Inktense

I got a 12 set of these Derwent Inktense watersoluable pencils for Christmas.  They are vibrant as a pencil and when you add water to a drawing don't loose their colour or brilliance.  Once you've added water and they dry they become permanent which makes them ideal to use with other mediums.  They can also be used on fabric, and I'm playing about on a few other surfaces to see the effects. They come in sets of 12, 24, 36, 48 and I've seen a 72 pack set, (these are on my wish list!) If there ever was a pencil to recommend it would be these.

Variation on a Theme - Reusing Journal Pages

Following on from the online course I did from Strathmore I decided to rework another journal page, this time using photoshop.  This piece was done using water soluable crayons in one of my journals. 

I decided to use photoshop (elements) to smooth out some of the lines down the centre of the page and try making the piece a bit more vibrant.  I'm by no means an expert on photoshop and am learning as I go on.  I brought a copy of Susan Tuttle's Digital Expressions to learn a bit more about using photoshop creatively.  I haven't finished this piece but wanted to share progress so far.


We all have some hidden unknown talent waiting within us to be expressed.  Some find out what this unique gift is at an early age, others later on in life and some feel  that they never get close.

Sometimes we meet people who inspire us to want to go futher than we've ever done before and we take a step of faith and find that we really shine, we connect with our uniqueness and are able to share it with the world.  Identifying your unique gifts takes time, you need to be nurtured, supported and loved, so that they can develop, but you are worth the time.

You are unique, one of a kind,
never been seen before, developing your gifts an inspiration,
that sparkles more and more
The apple of Gods eye, breathtakingly beautiful,
insightful and humble too. 
Take a step out of the box,
break down those walls and step into your rightful shoes

Take time to shine today!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Tara Frey - Blogging for Bliss

Blogging for Bliss  This is a lovely book, lots of beautiful images and filled with step by step instructions on how to get started in the world of blogging from the very basics of why blog, learning the ropes on how to improve your blogs, increasing traffic and more. All the way through the book you are given examples and links to other artists blog sites and information on how they developed their style.

Its definitely a great place to start if your just starting out in the blogging journey and if your more seasoned it's equally great to get some ideas to improve your blog, with some really helpful hints along the way.  It's definitely worth getting yourself a copy.

Strathmore Workshops

Strathmore Artist Studios have a series of free courses. 

I have already taken the first one which was run by Pam Carriker and this looked at how we use our journal pages, breathing new life into them.  I learnt new ways of bringing a new look to pages and images that I had done.  The great thing about these courses is that you can take them in your own time and most importantly they are free.  There is always someone new starting so feedback is always available.  I have since looked at ways to incorporate more journal images or pages into new work and its brought new life to pages that were forgotton. 

The current workshop will be starting on 1st May 2011 and is run by Roz Stendahl, she encourages you to create mixed media journal pages from the background up using a range of material to discover your journal voice.  If you've never kept an art journal perhaps it's time to start, you'll learn some interesting tips and connect with other supportive creatives!


I love the idea of taking something that would normally be thrown away and creating something else.  These journals started their journey as cereal boxes, junk mail and used envelopes, which we all seem to have so much of.....

 with a bit of paint, creativity and imagination they now will tell
many different stories,  I can try out techniques before
committing to larger pieces and basically have fun!

I've just got to be mindful that the collecting
doesn't turn into hoarding!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Quotes for the Day

Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what
you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt have crept in;
forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be
cumbered with your old nonsense.
This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, 
with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterdays
Ralph Waldo Emerson


If a man is to be called a street sweeper, he should sweep streets
even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven played music,
or Shakespeare wrote poetry.
He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts
of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street
sweeper who did his job well
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Promarker Pens

I recently brought these Promarker Pens by Letraset.  I wanted to find a permanent pen that I could use in my journals and write over painted pages.  Coming in sets of five twin tip pens they are grouped by popular tones, they go on very smoothly, and you can blend colours.  Being permanent they can go on a variety of surfaces, including glass, wood, ceramic and plastic.  I did a couple of drawings and used the promarker to add colour.  
These were taken from journal pages so the colour bleeds through, but you can get specially treated paper to prevent ink bleed.  I have found them to be a great accompaniment to my supplies will be doing more over time and incorporating them into my mixed media and ATC work. 


Whats outside your front door?
 When we take a moment to really look we can sometimes see some amazing things in unusual places.
 This sculpture was placed on a roof top of the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm.  It's by the Artist Antony Gormley, and is part of a collection of sculptures dotted around London.  Next time you go out take time to really see what is around you, you may be in for an unexpected surprise!  It reminded me of the Vigeland sculpture park that I went to in Oslo last year which charted the different stages of life.
The park contains 192 sculptures with more than 600 figures, all modeled in full size by Gustav Vigeland who also designed the architectural setting and the layout of the grounds. If you ever get a chance to visit Oslo put it on your list of must sees!


Monday, 25 April 2011

New Supplies - Neocolour Water Soluable Wax Pastels

I love getting new supplies, from ordering to the anticipation waiting for them to be delivered, carrying the package in and opening up in eagerness for what’s inside, or the feeling of going into an art shop and selecting new equipment and rushing home to try them out, I love all of that.

One of my favourite purchases were my Neocolour water soluble wax pastels, by Caran D’ache. They are gorgeous to use. I managed to save up for a 30 pack and it was one of the best purchases I made. They are so vibrant in colour, the range of colours is great. They go a long way, you can use them directly on your surface or use a wet brush applying it to the colour then to your work.

There is 126 colours available in the range and can be brought individually. I’ve been using them for at least a year now and as you can see they are still near enough their original size. I would definitely recommend them if you were thinking about it. Love to hear about any supplies that you can recommend.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Mixed Media

My love for mixed media has grown over the past 3 years. I just didn’t know it existed for some reason and through a series of events I’ve learnt new techniques, met amazing artists and taken some really inspiring courses along the way. I have given myself the space to experiment and grow as an artist determined to find out what my style was, or what mediums to specialise in.

I often worried about finding my place in the mixed media world and was encouraged by other artists who say there is a place for all of us to co-exist. Which is right, there is room and there are different styles of work out there waiting for licensing deals, books, exhibitions and much more. You’ve just got to believe in your work and with passion make inroads for yourself and along the way you will learn a variety of useful tools, tips that you can choose to apply and make your own or ignore.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Laminator/Light box

A couple of useful tools I have that have many uses. The light box and the laminator.

Laminator, taking something flimsy and after the application of heat and plastic film enabling it to become stronger, these then have many uses your art or craft projects.

The light box provides back light to projects - from embossing, tracing and a host of other things. At the moment they have to be kept in their boxes on a shelf because of space. Once I get my studio (speaking things as if they were:) ...) I shall be able to leave them out and use them more regularly! Can you think of any equipment that you have that doesn’t get as much use due to space?

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


I love texture in my work and when using paint I often bring out the pallet knives, they are so flexible and easy to use. Unassuming yet contribute to creating something of beauty

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


I have always kept a diary and over the years I would pour my heart out about my life, thoughts and emotions, I never kept an art journal or sketchbook. Whilst on my mixed media journey after a passing comment I realised that I could be drawing as well as writing my thoughts in the same place and expressing more than one side to my creativity.

How too do we do things because ‘that’s the way it always been done', 'my mother did it and her mother before that’ and if we took a chance and did it slightly differently we would open up a side to our lives that we might never have been aware of.

Its not a big thing starting an art journal, but it has been a really fulfilling activity, this coupled with coming in to contact with so many other artists who are using art journals to express their creativity it was like a window had opened. What areas of your life have you thought could do with a change, however small, it could make the world of difference.


My son finally went public on facebook with his piano playing and posted a song that he wrote. I am so proud of him and feel very inspired when I see or hear him play the piano.  The song below combines some of his own composition along with the melody played in the duet piano scene of Corpse Bride.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Healing Mat

I always wondered why they were called healing mats and when I finally got one of my own for my art I saw that no matter how much I used it to score card or cut things on it, it would always remain intact ready for use the next time. You can see the faint marks where the mat had been cut but this becomes a distant memory.

It’s to the scars are a distant memory the criticisms or comments we received as we struggled to make sense of our creativity and follow our dream. For some their passion for their art took many harsh words that we can sometimes repeat – 'you’re not good enough', 'they won’t like you', 'no one wants what you create'.

We have to remember what our purpose, dreams and goals are and dispite what others are saying move on, taking one step and day at a time. We can either focus on the scars on the mat or look at what is produced after using it whether it be a beautiful card to brighten someones day or another piece of work that will grace someones wall its a matter of perspective that what ever comes our way we will get back up and resume the race!

Graphitint Pencils

I did many sketches in March using these soluble pencils and I found them a welcome addition to using graphite, and was able to add subtle colour to my work without going over board

They are very flexible and easy to use, here is one of my latest sketches using the pencils. If you get a chance to use them the are a valuable addition to your supplies that can enhance your work and add a really nice touch.  This work could then be used in a journal piece or a larger painting.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Fabric Covered Journals

I came across Teesha Moores you tube site and watched her video of her making fabric journals, I was inspired and went about making my own.  This is one of my art journals that I put all my ideas for bigger work...
I have used a variety of material, African waxed fabric, buttons, crochet, jeans pocket - (to keep my pens in on the go), quilting, sewing by hand and machine - it was quite therapeutic to make...

 I am looking forward to doing some more!

Monday, 11 April 2011


Easels come in all shape and sizes, fit for purpose or adapted to suit.  I currently have 3 I use, from desktop to freestanding and they serve to support a canvas or board while I create, providing that foundation and balance to my creativity. 

I began thinking how as an artist I have different stages to my creativity that need to be inspired and supported.  Whether I'm going to tackle a 'table top piece' or a massive canvas and so need my free standing easel, so too does my creativity need the support.  Somethimes I do spend to long on my computer, be it blogging, emails or looking at some of the great videos out there my creativity needs to be kept in check, so I might need to do a sketch, write in my journal or work through ideas that could lead to a larger piece of work. 

That's where I have found these challenges come in handy, they are gentle ways you can keep your focus in different areas of your creativity, from the ones you participate in daily, like the April A-Z blogging challenge to the monthly Creativity Every Day or any other challenge.  What is important is that they all serve to provide that regular support from the comments and encouragement you recieve from others, to the pat on the back you give yourself every now and again as you complete the challenge and grow as an artist, writer...creative...and more!  You'll one day look back appreciate just how far you have come!

Saturday, 9 April 2011


When was the last time you went on a date?

I'm talking about an Artist Date, when it was about you and your creativity, feeding it, nurturing it, encouraging it to grow.  Inspiring it, spending time on you, taking time for you?
You can choose what you spend your time doing, go to the park, listen to your favorite music, visit a craft store, have a my case a cappuccino, even dress up like a rock star! 

There are so many things you can do, if your stuck for some inspiration check out Julia Camerons book Artist Date Book, where she gives you 364 additional ideas, why not get started today.  When you get a chance check out some of the other participants on the A-Z Challenge, be inspired! blessed!

Thursday, 7 April 2011


I was given some air drying clay for Christmas and wanted to start creating and experimenting.

I started off with some plaques with encouraging and inspiring words, here is a sample, forgot to put some holes in them so they may adorn a journal or other piece of art work.

They serve as reminders to what I want in my life

Tuesday, 5 April 2011


My love for books started at a very young age, and as I have grown up I go through phases of the type of books I collect.  In my early teens I was sold on romance novels. When I did my degree I only brought health, nutrition and massage technique books, my DIY phase saw how-to books, decorating tips and fancy techniques.  My fiction phase included science fiction and thrillers.  Now I am an artist it's amazing how many wonderful books there are and over the years I've collected quite a few (see my previous post).  The great thing is being able to connect with the writers, many of whom are artists themselves.  One of my first mixed media books was Beryl Taylors' Mixed Media Explorations I was just blown away by the techniques and detail in her work, and this led me on that journey and adventure of exploration in the world of mixed media.

Whilst I try and curb my purchases - I am always on the look out for the next book to get excited by!  What new purchases have made their way on your shelf?

Friday, 1 April 2011


The A-Z blog challenge starts today!  During the month of April we will be blogging daily following the letters of the alphabet. I have also decided to give myself an additional challenge and post a completely different post on my other blog Inspiration, Art and Creativity  
My word today is Artist.  I have been inspired by so many artists over the past couple of years, I started to think back to when I first knew that mixed media art was what I most wanted to do.  It happened about 3 years ago when I came across a site called Artella  On seeing the site which was founded by Marney Makridas it involked a wide range of feelings.....excitement, uncertainty, a warm feeling - like you've come in from the cold and get to sit by the fire with a large mug of hot chocolate and marsh mellows or whatever your comfort food/drink is.  I knew I wanted to spend more time exploring and it indeed did seem like a land of adventure. 

This then unfolded the journey into other sites, courses, books and challenges that has enabled me to learn so many wonderful techniques I can apply to my own work. I have also been blessed with interacting and connecting with many inspiring, encouraging and extremely talented artists.  If you get a chance, check out Artella there is an awful lot of encouraging and inspiring information, and at the moment they are running some special offers that are worth taking a look at.


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