Friday, April 25, 2014

off the page: using my art journal as inspiration

Being an artist is not a job, it's part of who you are. Sometimes people ask me why I spend so much time on my art journal when it isn't something I can sell in my Etsy shop or earn money by doing. But creating is not about earning an income. We are for the most part, a one income family and we're comfortable like that. If on occasion, I earn a little extra from my Etsy shop, it generally just covers the costs of replenishing my supplies so that I can continue to do what I love.
So I spend a lot of time creating and playing in my art journal and no, I can't sell it and I don't directly earn any income from those countless hours spent on my art journal. But indirectly, I do. My art journal is where my ideas take shape. When I sit down with a blank canvas in front of me, sometimes the creativity just flows beautifully and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes I sit there and stare at that white space frozen with fear of beginning something that will maybe turn into nothing. And when that happens, I sit and I look through my art journal. Because my art journal is where I am free. When I open that journal, I don't have any fear. I'm creating just for me. No one ever has to see it if I don't want to share it. I can be chaotic and crazy and colourful and I don't feel the need to plan anything. It just happens. It just flows. Everything I'm feeling and sensing flows out of my heart and mind and onto the pages. And so often bits and pieces of the ideas on those pages make their way onto my canvas artwork.
 Occasionally I end up with an art journal page that I love so much I just recreate it on canvas. I don't like to build up a lot of bulk with collage on my canvases, so I usually adapt most of the collage elements to paint texture techniques. Here's a side by side of this art journal page and the canvas it inspired...
And a closer photo of the canvas itself...
And here's another art journal page that inspired a very similar canvas:
And a photo of the art journal page and canvas together - I changed up the words on the hearts and used acrylics instead of watercolors to create the sun rays, but it's the same basic idea, recreated on the canvas.
And a close-up view of the canvas...
Sometimes it's just one aspect of an art journal page that I really love and try to recreate... like the background on the "be authentic" art journal page I posted last week. I absolutely loved the way that background came together so I decided to do something similar on a 7x14 canvas.
 The side by side...
 And a closer view of the canvas... still a work in progress, I haven't quite decided what I want to do with this one to call it done :)
So... in addition to the fact that my art journal contains part of my heart, soul and mind and is therapeutic for getting my thoughts and feelings out in the open, it's also a creative exercise that allows me to stretch my boundaries, try new techniques and colours without fear of messing up and feeds me inspiration for the rest of my artwork. What's your reason for art journaling? How does it inspire you?

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

monday color inspiration: coral, sunshine yellow & blue

Ummm. Yeah. I know that it's Thursday. I had this post ready to publish on Monday but then I started an art journal page that actually used this color combination so I decided to hold off until it was finished. And this is Easter break week, which means I have all three kids at home with me and we are a little off our routine, so it took me a couple days to find the time to finish the page. 
 The journal prompt for week seven at Journal52 was "when I grow up" and it gave me a bit of a problem, because I kept thinking of all the things I wanted to be when I grew up, and I'm not any of them at present :) So I decided to go in a different direction with the journal page and write about what I didn't want to be when I grew up. 
When I was young, the one thing I knew I didn't want to be was a mother. Watching my parents lose my brother made me feel that I didn't ever want to love a child so much that losing them would almost end me. But at some point, after hearing my parents tell someone that even if they knew the outcome, they would have still had him because the ten years they had with him was more powerful than the loss, I realized that every moment of happy, sad and in between is worth the risk. Now I can't imagine being anything else.
 I knew that I wanted to leave lots of space for journaling on this page so I used a watercolor background I created a couple weeks ago and some hardware store paint chips that I'd doodled on while making dinner earlier this week and went with a pretty simple layout that let me focus on what I wanted to say.
I love the contrast of the bits of bright blue with the corals, yellows and oranges. I think I'll be using this color combination again, but maybe with mostly blue and hints of the coral and bright yellow to see how that goes. 
I'll be back tomorrow with another art journal post with tips on how to take your journal artwork off the page and turn them into canvas artwork.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

my life this week: sunshine, snow and family

This week we literally had all four seasons in one week. We had some absolutely gorgeous days that dried up our backyard and made it possible to get outside and do some yardwork. And then... there were the not so nice days. Rain, freezing rain, snow, you name it, we got it over the Easter weekend. 

But I'm hoping that it will clear up, warm up and that we'll have a nice week because my oldest has no school and it'd be nice if we can actually have some fun outside. This is the first year that I've let the younger of the two boys go out with his brother and explore the neighbourhood. We live at the end of the cul de sac and four out of the six police officers in town live right next to us, so it's a pretty safe street for kids. So they've been exploring together, which is nice because it gives me a little time once in awhile just to spend with the baby, who doesn't get my undivided attention as much as she probably should. She does get loads of attention from all of us, but sometimes I worry that she isn't getting the same childhood the other two had. Our oldest had us all to himself for almost five years and then he started school the fall after the youngest boy was born, so the youngest boy had us all to himself during the days while his brother was at school. But baby girl hasn't had that much time with us without one or both of her big brothers hanging out too. So it's a nice change that sometimes they're both outside playing together and I can stay in and just hang out with her.

Hubby was off almost all last week because of the way the schedule fell, but had to start back to work early this morning and will work through the week, so unfortunately we won't get to go out of town or anything during the Easter break, but we celebrated Easter a day early so that he could sit and enjoy his Easter lunch without worrying about getting called out. And my parents came for the weekend, which is always nice. I actually managed to take a bunch of great photos this weekend, which made me really happy. Our Nikon started giving us some problems a couple months ago so I finally sent it away to them and they actually sent us a brand new one just last week. So yeah, a huge shout-out to Nikon Canada, because they are awesome!

Oh and then last week this also happened: 

I made a bit of a spur of the moment decision and now I have bright red hair and bangs. I haven't really decided if I like it yet, but it's fun for a change. I guess I've changed a lot in the past year or so because this time last year, if I made a split second decision like this and was unsure of the end result, I'd probably cry about it. A lot. But I just don't sweat the small stuff anymore. Mainly because we've had our share of dealing with the big stuff and I've just realized that being stressed and worried everyday is soooo not worth it - it just takes you away from the things that really matter. And how the heck do you enjoy life if you're anxious about every little thing. So not fun. And not good for a creative brain. I know some very famous works of art are created out of angst, but I need to be happy to create anything I really love. Or at least at peace with whatever's going on in my life.
And speaking of artwork... I'm so happy that I finally finished the canvas I've been working on forever for my studio wall. I really wanted something that I created, in my favorite colours to inspire me. This is the beginning of a wall dedicated to art (mine and others) in my studio so it's an exciting start. I just love the bold lines on this one. Although I keep looking at the words and thinking it needs another one for balance. I may have to do a little tiny bit more after all.