Monday, 23 January 2012

Courage from a Book

An Illustrated Life by Danny Gregory is a fantastic book. It is basically a look into a bunch of artists' sketchbooks.
I have had it for probably a year and haven't finished it yet. Why? Because I read a bit then wait a while before I read more. I do this to give myself time to let in what each artist has to share.

The past week I was looking at the pages on Noah Jones. He is a graphic artist, and he was talking about how he does these stream of consciousness drawings in his sketchbook. It is a relaxing thing for him. He doesn't show them to people or do anything with them. I really liked the idea of drawing as a way to relax.

Drawing without knowing what you are going to draw has attracted me in the past. Not long ago I was doing the 120 Day Challenge where I was drawing, without knowing what I was going to draw, 20 minutes a day. (No, I didn't make it the 120 days.)

Along the same line I have been admiring Susan Christensen's drawings for a while now. She does a daily drawing practice. I told her the other day I wish I could draw like her. So maybe all these thoughts converged and Noah Jone's pages were the tipping point. I thought 'why not?'

So the other evening I began drawing, with full permission for it to be dumb or bad or silly or repetitive. And it was relaxing, and it was fun. And I would like to do more, not as a part of any challenge or commitment but just as a kind of light entertainment.

But you will have to forgive me if I don't show you in the near future. Not because I mind sharing with you guys, but just because I have the feeling that it will make me a little self-conscious during my drawing time.

But I would encourage you to give it a try. And I would love to see what you do, if you want to show me.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Creativity can Change Everything

This video illustrates one of the reasons I have such a deep belief in the power of creativity. This woman has not only changed her life from disability to superability. She has changed the larger perception of what it means to be 'disabled'. She has literally changed reality.

I found myself actually envying her choice in legs. And I bet I am not the only one.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

More Drawings in my Art Journal

I had a sudden impulse to draw Rapunzel yesterday. I think she ended up older than in the fairytale, maybe the wicked witch died and the prince wasn't up to her expectations - or couldn't commit, haha. Anyway, she looks happy enough.
Her braid goes off the bottom of the page.
(Click on the drawing to see it larger.)

Here was the initial penciling-in for the second drawing. Yes, I draw it in pencil first -not every detail, but the basic proportions and placement. Then I come in with pen and watercolour and usually more pen over the top.
I am not sure what her story is. I just liked those sleeves, and I have such a thing for red hair. I am pleased with her face.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Drawing in my Art Journal

This drawing is one I did off a doll that I liked on the internet. It is hard to see her unless you click on her.
I apologise that I don't have the artist's name. If anyone recognises the doll, please let me know so that I can link and give credit.

I thought I would pop up drawings as they happen. I am working in two art journals, this one is only drawings and writing.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

My Artist Studio

I should write a post about my drawing class, but instead I want to show you these photos of my studio. I have taken them for the 21 Secrets Workshop (my class is called Alternate Lives) video I am making.

This is walking from the house. It is about 10 metres.
Here is the front view. On a slight hill which the camera has exaggerated. The studio is smaller than it looks here.
Here is part of the inside. It is always messy. Clear roofing on the back brings in more light, but also makes it impossible to heat or cool.
You are looking through a doorway into my 'writing room' which is by the front door. I had it added on years ago when I was writing two (two!) novels, which I never finished. Now I have stored some old paintings in it and there is room for this small table.
The view out the window. There are lots of animals around our place: wallabies, goannas, echidnas, birds and snakes. It can be quite entertaining through this window.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Writing the PDF for Alternate Lives

I began writing the draft for my class in the 21 Secrets Workshop today. I had been procrastinating a bit, out of nervousness. But to my surprise and delight I am having fun.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Did I Ruin this Drawing?

And does it matter?

I drew this into my art journal last week. I liked it okay but it didn't excite me. What did excite me was the thought of colouring it in wild colours with my water-soluble crayons. I have some lovely Neocolor 2 Carand'ache ones. (when I put in the link I saw that they have sets with over 80 colours, it brought up my crayon lust! I have the 40 colour set.)
So I did. Then it looked weird on the white background so I put in the dark background with Derwent Inktense water-soluble pencils.

I didn't think the lines all over the background was working. So I took my art journal out into the studio and painted in the background with black gesso. Much better. It suites the strength of the colours.
I finished the page off with a prayer that a dear friend taught me for taking total responsibility. Sorry, but I don't understand it well enough to explain it.

Do I think the drawing is better? Not really. Am I sorry I changed it? Not at all. I am happy with the page, I took risks and it was fun doing it. I think when I look at the page I remember that.

What do you think?

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Being an Artist

This is a video I originally made as a guest curator for Jenny Doh's blog.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

An Amazing Art Journal Workshop

The 21 Secrets Workshop is an art journaling workshop where you receive 21 classes with 21 different teachers.
That is a pretty cool idea.

I am one of the teachers.

It starts the 1st of April, when the 21 classes will be online. Each of the teachers below will be teaching a different class. Each class will include a PDF and a video. You will be able to access any of these classes at any time. You can go back and forth, do one and go onto the next, return to your favourites, it is all open, 24/7.

There will be open chats on Ning, interaction with the other students and all of the teachers. Your Ning account will be free and it will enable you to post your photos and get feedback and comments. And give feedback and comments.

It goes on sale the 2nd of January.
It only costs $59.

To learn everything, get more details about individual classes, and to register go here.

Here is the line-up of teachers and a digest of the classes (I am going to list myself first because I can. And because in every other list I am last simply because my name starts with a 'Z'. Now I ask you, is that fair? teehee):


Zom Osborne

Have you ever fantasized about living another life? We donʼt have to be unhappy in our lives to wonder what it would be like to have a different one. Did you want to be a famous singer? An athlete? Live in the time of the pharaohs? You can explore any life you can imagine in your art journal.


Aimee Myers Dolich

Unfamiliar places, both emotional and geographic, snap us out of our identities and comfort zones. The unknown sharpens our senses and brings us directly in touch with the moment, pushing us into spaces that are ripe for self-discovery. In this workshop, we'll lose our way (and find our way back) through a playful series of journal workouts.


Alma Stoller

In this workshop, we will continue to explore and play with everyday items to create richly textured journal pages and canvases. I will show you numerous ways to create intricate patterns, one-of-a-kind surface designs, and unique journal pages using various children's toys, recycled materials, basic art supplies and found objects.


Christine Mason Miller

In this workshop I am going to share some of my favorite techniques of incorporating words and text into mixed media creations. I will demonstrate and discuss the way I use rubber stamps, vintage books, and old letters to add poetic, thought-art journal pages and collage pieces on wood.


Christy Tomlinson

Texture is all around us and I can't help but love all that texture has for us to explore. In this workshop I will teach you some of my favorite techniques for creating texture in my art journal.. techniques will include the use of modeling paste, fibers, beads and more!


Connie Hozvicka

Stop thinking so much about it!! Our juiciest Art comes when we embrace our mistakes and just go with the flow! In this workshop weʼll paint FEARLESS™, have fun, and stop the exhausting search for our Artistic style/voice---weʼll just go with the flow!


Dale Anne Potter

The world around us sometimes tries to take us out of our POSITIVE, HAPPY, JOYFUL place. We can succumb to those contrasts OR we can manifest some POSITIVES from them. One way to do that, is to be kinder to ourselves. In this workshop, we will create ART and send ourselves some of those POSITIVES.


Diana Trout

Scary? Not. My techniques for getting in touch with your critic are pretty amiable. Heʼs not going anywhere so letʼs get to know him! Iʼll encourage you to move quickly, outrunning your critical left brain.


Dina Wakley

The only way to get a layered look is to do the layering work. With this workshop, I will show you how to paint intuitive layers. Intuitive layers come when you free yourself from any concept of a finished product. You start painting, then you step back and observe. You listen. You let the journal tell you what to do next.


Dion Dior

The word “Mandala” is a Sanskrit word meaning “Circle”, they are an iconic part of human culture well known for their calming effect on the mind and body. The creative process of making mandalas is an ancient form of meditation and healing that is deeply calming and insightful.


Gina Rossi Armfield

Give me 15 mins a day and a few supplies and I will have you filling your journals. Ever sit down and think - Where do I begin? Well, lets put an end to that! Do you take photos of everything and not know what to do with them? Do you collect magazines? Are you an eye candy junkie? I will show you what to do with all of those images to create a journaling technique that fits your own voice and style!


Jane Davenport

Turn "I donʼt know what to draw" into " I need a bigger journal!". Drawing is a great tool for untangling and expressing every emotion from the heaviest burden to floating-way-above-cloud-nine. But you have to get that infernal inner-critic behind bars, to allow your natural drawing talent the security and confidence to roam freely.


Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

I love watercolor! Itʼs inexpensive, easy to clean up, and enormously versatile. Iʼll be sharing five different ways to use watercolor in your art journal: shadowing, stamping, stencil printing, and two techniques for creating backgrounds.


Karin Bartimole

Using your body as inspiration, we will redefine the art journal to create a healing process that will help transform and deepen your relationship with your body. Whether it's a trauma, an illness, or a discomfort with some physical characteristic of oneself, most everyone has some challenge in the relationship they have with their one lifetime companion - their own body. This journaling process will encourage a shifting of old perceptions and limitations trapped within the boundaries of flesh to unite body and spirit as one.


Kathryn Antyr

I'm excited to share with you my favorite medium, collage. I'm often asked "How do you assemble a collage so the random objects look like they were meant to be together?" I'll share some key principles that will get you piecing together new works of art.


Kelly Barton

channeling our stories we will throw them down by flinging some paint, creating a colourful piece, containing a bit of ourself.
it is simply about using our inner self to allow the creative process
a creative spread.

channeling it girl is all about getting
those juices moving and opening
up the flow, allowing yourself to play.


Ken Robert

Wow, art journaling sounds great, but you're a creative bumble bee. You buzz about your life, zipping from one thing to another.

A blog could be just the thing you need to bring all your lovely distractions together in one place.

Learn how to use Tumblr, or any blogging service for that matter, to create your very own short
attention span art journal, the kind you can add to a little at a time for as long as your attention
will hold.


Martha Lever

In this fun class we will use cut-up credit cards to create flowers! I will show you how I cut mine into several shapes to create flowers, leaves and stems. We will also discuss briefly one of the most important concepts in any painting… value. I wonʼt bog you down with a value study but we certainly donʼt want any hokey paintings and a painting without light, medium and dark values will certainly fit into the hokey category.


Nolwenn Petitbois

In Journaling our (HE)art out, we will be using the symbol of the heart, this shape we know since weʼre little kids, and make it tell what is actually inside ours. Put it out on paper. The fears, the shames, the doubts. And make it something beautiful we can look at afterwards.


Traci Bunkers

People are so used to the daily grind, of trying to get everything done, just getting from one day to the next, that they frequently function on auto-pilot. Because of this, they are fairly out of touch with their feelings and with themselves--not thinking about how they feel, just going where life takes them and then wondering later how they got there. Itʼs time to stop. Itʼs time to look within and gain some self-awareness.


Tracie Hanson

Do you dare step into an artistic adventure of the heart?
During JournalQuest™, youʼll encounter exotic creatures, ancient artifacts, meaningful symbols and lore . . . the stuff of legend! It was there all the time, buried deep and waiting to excavated by you. Join the journey.

So that is the lineup of classes and teachers. I feel quite excited just reading about all the classes. I confess, I haven't taken the 21 Secrets workshop before. As a teacher, I am allowed to take everyone's classes. So you will probably see a lot of me on the forums.