Still having lots of creative fun with paint and paper in the Heart of Soil class – it’s a lovely course and for an excellent cause – there is still time to sign up, which you can do here.
Accidental discovery of the day is that you can very easily make your own stencils from Tyvek. Apparently Tyvek is used for making envelopes in the US but you’re more likely to find it in a DIY shop in the UK – I think it’s used in building/construction and in PPE, but it’s also been used in mixed media art for several years now for its propensity to shrink and bubble when heated. It’s about as thick as copy paper but is much more durable, and very easy to cut with a craft knife.
This page is based on a technique taught by Michelle Schratz (if you’re an Instagram person you can find her here.)
I found a couple of lines of poetry (Rupert Brooke, from a vintage anthology) and used an old teabag as the pocket for the cut-out flowers.
The yellow ribbon, saved from something many years ago, is exactly the right colour, which is proof that you should Keep All Your Collage Supplies For Ever. One of these days I will need a bigger house.
I am really enjoying the limited palette and am already thinking way ahead with ideas to try this in various other colours and media. Also it’s immensely enjoyable to make something just for the fun of it, without any pressure for it to turn out ‘right’, whatever that is. Wishing everyone a happy week.
I have given myself too many things to do: no surprises there. I have signed up for three online courses, all running at the same time, while continuing to work three days a week at the desk job. I did know what I was doing, and all of it seemed like a really good idea at the time, and I’m already slightly behind. But then I get lifetime access to all three courses, and you can do them all at your own pace, so there is no rush really.
One of the classes I signed up for is a delightful mixed media watercolour course called He(art) of Soil, organised by Leaca Young (you can find her on Instagram here). It’s very accessible, with ten mixed media artists each contributing a simple project, and there’s still time to sign up if you’re interested – go to Leaca’s website in the link above for more information. All the proceeds go to World Central Kitchen, in aid of the conflict in Ukraine. The projects in this course are based on a very limited palette: just three shades of blue, and three shades of yellow, for the Ukrainian flag. The paints are made from soil and pigment and look really beautiful. You can see more about how they’re made here. I didn’t purchase the paints – it would have been very expensive to have them shipped from the USA to the UK, and I don’t need more watercolour paints, so I’m adapting what I’ve already got. You can see my substitute palette below.
I don’t need much of an excuse to splash some paint around, so I had a very happy hour or so this afternoon painting some collage papers in these colours.
I’m collecting and completing all the lessons in a little folded A6 sketchbook made with three sheets of A3 paper, folded and cut to make a little zine-type booklet. If you’re not familiar with the technique, you can find instructions for making a one-page booklet here. One of the tutorials in this class includes instructions for making this kind of booklet, which will be perfect for keeping everything together.
The projects are very simple and suitable for all abilities, and I guess you could make them as quick or as complicated as you like.
It’s really interesting to work with such a limited palette, and surprising to see just how many shades of blue, green, and yellow you can actually make. A lot of the artists remark on the texture of the watercolours that they’re using, describing them as quite gritty. My paints are all very smooth, so I might try using some watercolour texture medium for some of the classes, just to see how it turns out.
Regardless of how long you might have been making art, in whatever medium, I love the fact that there is always something more to learn, something more to practice, and plenty more ways to grow. I really like the fact that this online class supports a great cause, and that the artists have given their time and skills so freely. I’m looking forward to completing more of the classes in this course.
I’ve been trying to write a business plan, because I know I will need one if I ever get to give up the day job, but haven’t made much progress.
It’s all boxes and straight lines and charts and columns. I have no idea what to write. I don’t even understand some of the questions. Key findings from desk research, marketing strategy, financial forecasts… how are you supposed to know all that when you haven’t started yet?
And then I found this:
I’ve had it in my hands for about three hours and already it has changed my life. It comes with a handy checklist:
I don’t know why I didn’t think of it myself, but there we are. It’s much easier to think ‘what’s wrong with me?’ rather than ‘what is it about this format that isn’t working for me?’ My left-brained husband wouldn’t dream of hanging a picture without a spirit level. I would bang a nail in and eyeball it. It wouldn’t bother me if it wasn’t even straight.
Almost every sentence in the first chapter has me jumping up and down in my chair. This particularly:
“The challenge is when left-brain thinking comes too early in the visioning and planning process and kills the party with its questioning, judgement, and need for every single piece of the puzzle to make absolute sense before taking that first step. This limits your thinking: good ideas are quashed before they’ve even had a chance to form.”
So now I know a business plan can be pictures and colours and shapes, there is nothing stopping me and I find I know exactly what I want and where I’m wanting to go.
The Business Plan book says ‘let it unfold’. I’ve had this accordion-style sketch book since Christmas and have been waiting for it to tell me what it wants. Of course, all this time it’s just been waiting for me.
I’ve gone from constantly putting it off because it’s dull to actually wanting to get started on it.
I’ve been revisiting my Lines on the Land sketchbook this week. It’s a collection of sketches and designs based on ancient landscape features like standing stones and rock art, just to explore some of the patterns.
I made this sketchbook myself, using signatures of cartridge paper, and then collaged and painted the pages before assembly. I prefer to make my own sketchbooks because I have more control over the size, shape, and proportions. I don’t always like the proportions of standard A4.
I usually cut off part of the page when making a sketchbook if I know I’m going to include fabric or stitched samples, as with this one below which is waiting for me to do something with it:
When I get round to doing something in it, I will be able to attach a stitched sample to the short tab which will form a new page that will be separate from the paper pages.
I didn’t do that with the current sketchbook; there are some pull-out pages, but no partial pages. While trying to figure out a way of sticking stitched samples in it without covering a finished page, I accidentally discovered that you can add pages sideways:
You can lift up the stitched sample to reveal the completed page underneath. I like it. Necessity, invention, etc.
Of course I made a cover for it. I do like a well-dressed sketchbook.
I’ve found spaces for some stitched samples I made a while ago:
I don’t always think of a sketchbook as preparatory work for something bigger or better, though it often is that. This may or may not lead to some larger textile work. Part of the adventure is the not knowing, the voyage in the dark, and true of any creative venture I think. Having a go, never knowing whether what you’re making is any good or not. And then realising that it doesn’t really matter, if you’ve enjoyed doing it.
Still working on paper, thinking things through. I don’t have a lot to say about this today. Not in words, at least. Colour, shape and composition have their own language that is universal and goes far beyond the limits of words.
I have started to draw what might become stitches.