Friday, August 29, 2014

my life - summer loving

I love summer. Being warm automatically makes me happy and having my oldest boy home with us instead of  in school all week makes me even happier. As spring hits every year I start to make big plans for summer. For all of the exciting things we're going to do and see and the special outings we're going to have. And then, summer begins and before you know it, it's over again and I haven't managed to accomplish half of what I had hoped to.
So last week, as I was tackling the back to school shopping list, I started feeling melancholy. Like I failed in my goals for the summer and hadn't given my kids the type of summer I had envisioned. 
And because I like making myself feel worse, I decided to look back through the photos I took to see 'if I even had anything to scrapbook'.
But looking back through those photos actually made me realize something big. My kids, this summer, had the kind of summer I enjoyed every year during my childhood. This was exactly the kind of summer they should have had.
Running and playing and laughing with friends and family all day long and falling into bed in the evenings exhausted and excited for the next day's adventure.
Countless beach days.
Sun kissed cheeks.
Sand in their hair and between their toes.
Sleepovers with friends.
Giggling into the late night.
Boat rides.
Cod fishing.
Spending time with family.
ATV rides.
Tractor rides.
Bedtime stories and snuggles.
Backyard soccer with dad and the dogs.
Meeting new cousins.
Running around the neighbourhood with friends.
Riding scooters and bicycles.
Scraped knees and band aids.
Berry picking.
Epic family water balloon fights.
Swinging and sliding and climbing at the playground.
Finding out what it means when "the capelin are rolling."
Sunday drives.
Icecream - lots of it.
Movie nights and popcorn.
Toasted marshmallows and wieners.

Turns out, this summer exceeded my expectations. I'd say, even without the expensive outings and fancy adventures, this summer was actually an epic success.

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.