Poppies and Bumblebees

A beautiful symbol of spring, there are poppies in gardens everywhere around here at the moment. This painting was inspired by photos of poppies taken in our garden a couple of years ago. I created layers on the canvas with tissue paper, scrapbook papers, acrylic paints, inks, and a honeycomb stencil, then painted the poppies, seed heads, and bumblebees with acrylic paints. The bumblebees were fun to paint. I think they help to add movement and life to the painting.

In the language of flowers, the poppy is associated with faith, remembrance, and consolation. The red poppy has come to symbolize the sacrifice of those who laid down their lives during the two world wars. According to folklore, if you sniff a poppy three times a day it will bring you luck. I have yet to test this!

 

Dragonfly art journal page

I created the background of this journal page with gesso, acrylic paints, inks, and tissue paper to add some texture. I stamped on the dragonfly and coloured it with pens, then added some scraps of trim and tiny jewels to the page. I had fun cutting words out of an old book to create a found poem. I was amazed that the book I was using, one that I had put aside ages ago to use for cutting up, had lots of words that related to my journal page.

I love dragonflies and I look out my kitchen window every day onto this one that lives on the wall of my studio.

I am playing along with the Things with Wings challenge at Try it on Tuesday.

Freedom art journal page

I recently discovered the poetry of Erin Hanson after coming across this inspirational quote on the internet and searching to find out who wrote it. I bought one of Erin’s books, The Poetic Underground Reverie, and just love her charming poems, which are emotive, relatable, and often hold a touch of whimsy. She has an amazing way with words and an incredibly deep and sensitive insight into human emotions.

The Poetic Undergound

I knew when I began this journal page that I wanted it to be bright and colourful, and for the wings to be made from pressed flowers.I gathered together a selection of papers, paints, and inks in my chosen colour palette and began planning the page.I added pieces of old lace, raffia, and washi tape, and typed the poem on my vintage style typewriter that Nick gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago. After spending so much time on the computer typing my novels, it is fun to use the typewriter for crafty things and to have my studio as a technology-free space where I can relax and unwind.Lastly, I sorted through my stash of pressed flowers and chose some ferns and feverfew and dried heather buds for the wings, and to embellish the pages.

This page reminds me that it is okay to take chances and that you never know where that leap of faith might take you.

Larkspur art journal page

I love purple and blue flowers, and larkspurs are one of my favourites. In the language of flowers, larkspurs signify lightness and levity. They also have magical connections to health and protection.

Larkspur

For the journal page I used paints and inks, washi tape, corrugated cardboard, a stencil, cutout butterflies, a pressed larkspur flower, larkspur seeds, rust-dyed fabrics, a white pen, and impasto gel medium.

Larkspurs self-seed in our garden and come up every spring in myriad colours of blues, purples and pinks. Their soft, feathery foliage is pretty, too.

At the moment, with the end of summer and herbs starting to die off, my studio has become a drying room with bunches of bergamot, lemon balm, and basil hanging from the rafters to dry for use in the winter.

Dawn – a mixed media painting

Dawn is one of my favourite times of the day, waking to the sounds of birdsong, watching the sun rise to light the morning sky in vibrant bursts of colour as the world shifts slowly from darkness to light.

At the beginning of the day, anything is possible.

I found this piece of music in an old music book, and it made me think of a dawn chorus, of birds awakening and greeting the new day with joy and optimism.

For the background I used the page from the old book of piano music, paint, and stencils. Then I added images from scrapbook papers, dried flora, and fibers. Lastly, I painted the three birds onto  paper, cut them out, and glued them onto the painting. I wasn’t brave enough to paint the birds directly onto the canvas in case I ruined it. Painting them onto paper first meant that I could start over if I wasn’t happy with them.

A kingfisher, a heron, and a tomtit, ready to embrace the new day.

Grow Your Wings and Take Flight

The past couple of weeks I have been watching videos from the Woman Unleashed free online retreat. The videos include workshops by some of my favourite artists including Flora Bowley, Shiloh Sophia, Whitney Freya, and Tamara Laporte. This cute little bird was what I created from Tamara’s workshop Taking Flight. I added the words grow your wings and take flight to remind me that sometimes I should be brave and take chances, that taking a leap of faith might lead to new and exciting things.

If you want to join this free online event, click here to learn more about it and to register. The videos are all available to watch until mid-July.

Dragonfly Mixed Media Canvas

At the moment we are in the process of redecorating our living room and I decided it would be nice to have some new art to hang on the walls. I love dragonflies and had fun creating this mixed media canvas.

For the background I adhered a page torn from an old book of piano music to the canvas, then used paints, inks, and stencils on top to add marks and texture. Dragonflies, in nature, often have vibrant, jewel-like colours, and the canvas lent itself to lavish embellishing with buttons, lace, and jewels.

I added natural elements of burlap and pressed flowers, ferns, and leaves.

The dragonfly’s wings are adorned with pearls and seed beads to add a little bit of sparkle.

 

May you touch dragonflies and stars, dance with fairies and talk to the moon.
                                                                                                               author unknown

Owl Journal Page

This owl journal page was inspired by a recent Kelly Rae Unscripted video. I love watching Kelly Rae’s weekly painting videos and get lots of ideas for techniques I can incorporate into my own art.

First I painted the background, then stenciled on a pattern with ink. The tree was collaged with pages torn from an old magazine, then painted over with inks and granulation medium. I sketched the owls on to the page, cut out feathers from scrapbook papers and glued them down with Mod Podge. The leaves are cut out from scrapbook papers and outlined with ink. I used coloured pens for outlining, inks for shading, and paint pens for the moon and moonlight.

 

Fly Free

I created this canvas panel using the acrylic photo transfer technique. It is the first time I have attempted this technique. I used a photograph that Nick had taken of a monarch butterfly for the centre image, then added paint and mixed media elements around it. I was quite pleased with how it turned out, but I definitely need some more practice. I rubbed a little too hard and removed some of the image, but I like how it has a dream-like quality. I added a few cineraria and feverfew flowers from my garden to tie in with the nature theme of the piece.

Keep Your Face To The Sunshine

Pictures of sunflowers always make me feel cheerful and remind me that summer is on its way (at least, here in the Southern hemisphere). Even in winter, the sight of a sunflower image can lift the spirits and conjure up feelings of warmth and happiness.

I made this small mixed-media canvas using papers from Rosie’s Studio handmade paper scrap pack. The quote and the sunflower images are from Graphic 45’s Time to Flourish collection. I used acrylic paints and inks, and added a piece of burlap and a small metal trinket.

Here are some close-up views.

Have a sunshine-filled day!

Guardian Angel

Originally posted on my Wattle Lane blog http://www.wattlelane.wordpress.com

Angeline Dunwich, one of the characters in my Wattle Lane novels, is obsessed with angels. Her little home above the shop is full of angel figurines, angel art, and angel collectibles. She makes paper angels to display in the window of Wattle Lane Keepsakes, and she firmly believes that our lives can be touched by angels. In book three, Christmas in Wattle Lane, the reason for her obsession is revealed.

I, too, love angels. I love the idea of celestial beings watching over us and guiding us through difficult periods of our lives. When I was young, I used to see an old woman sitting on the end of my bed, knitting. I don’t recall if she ever spoke to me, but I do remember that I wasn’t afraid of her. I like to think that she was my guardian angel watching over me, perhaps an ancestor.

For this art journal spread I used scrapbook papers and acrylic paints for the collaged background, and I added a piece of old sheet music and a metal embellishment. I used coloured pencils and ink for the angel, with pressed flowers and tiny pearls on her dress. Her wings are made from a vintage lace doily.

angel

Here is a close-up view of the details.

In My Studio

This is what has been happening in my studio lately.

A whimsical page in my art journal.

Believe art journal page

A project from Danielle Donaldson’s video Watercolor Illustrations

and one from her book Creative Girl.

Patchwork cushions made from the little packets of fabric remnants I bought at a craft fair a few weeks ago.

patchwork cushions

Writing Update:
I have finished the first draft of The Air That I Breathe. It feels good to finally have the story out of my head and in the computer. Lots of work still to do, but I am looking forward to working some more with the characters I have come to know so well.

In my studio

My small studio in our garden warms quickly once the sun comes out and it is a pleasure to go out there on these cold winter days and lose myself in creative bliss.

I painted a couple more watercolour flowers for my garden journal, but after a few days my flower a day project gave way to some mixed-media painting on canvases. I will definitely be painting more watercolour flowers in the spring when our garden starts blooming with the seeds we saved and planted from last year – poppies, larkspur, snapdragons and foxgloves.

cornflowers

busy lizzies

Although I enjoy trying new things, I always seem to return to mixed-media. I just love being able to combine all my favourite things – paints and inks and scrapbook papers and fibres and fabrics and embellishments and collage and texture – together in one piece.

butterfly

Last weekend I went to a local fair where crafters were selling their unwanted supplies at bargain prices. I got some lovely fabrics, fibres, tapes, a broken string of beads and a mini kraft album, all for next to nothing. I think the fair was a great idea to give crafters a chance to have a clear out of their stash. One man’s trash is definitely another man’s treasure!

This month I signed up for Kelly Rae Unscripted with Kelly Rae Roberts. It is weekly painting videos of Kelly Rae painting in her studio. Each video is between one and three hours long and is unedited, showing her painting process from beginning to end as she creates a new mixed-media piece each week. She has a wonderful studio space in an old repurposed high school in Portland, Oregon. Sometimes she has her English bulldog, Lulu Butter Butter Bean, in the studio with her, and sometimes she has a guest painting alongside her. The videos are fun to watch. I am learning a lot of different techniques and getting loads of inspiration. Click here to learn more about Kelly Rae Unscripted, and here for Kelly Rae’s website.

Kelly Rae Roberts

For those of you who are wondering about my next book, there is also lots of writing going on. An update about that soon.

A Flower a Day

While it is mid-winter and there is not much going on in my garden at the moment to document in my garden journal, I decided to practice painting watercolour flowers. I have begun A Flower a Day project, challenging myself to paint a different flower every day. I paint them onto watercolour paper, referring to photos taken of my garden last summer, then I stick them into my journal. It is a good way for me to practice using watercolour paints and I am loving the process. Sometimes I like to add mixed media embellishments, such as washi tape or fibres, to my mini flower paintings.

This is what I have painted so far.

lavender

pansy

poppies

foxgloves

daisies

echinacea

 

Wildflower Meadow

I hope all the mums out there had a lovely Mother’s Day on Sunday. It was a beautiful autumn day here, continuing our run of amazing autumn weather.

I made my mum this mixed-media picture using watercolour and inking techniques from Jane Betteridge’s book Watercolours Unleashed. After the background was dry, I added pressed flowers and leaves from my garden, and a few butterflies cut from scrapbook paper.

wildflower meadow

Jane Betteridge does the most beautiful watercolour painting, using nature as her inspiration. I was so pleased to have discovered her book. You can see her lovely work on her website at www.janebetteridge.com.

Look For The Magic

This art journal page reminds me to look for the magic in the everyday (or night). A full moon surrounded by swirls of violet cloud, a garden bathed in moonglow, the brilliant light from a distant star, the changing colours of the seasons as trees shed their leaves and plants lie dormant, then a new cycle of growth begins all over again. The feelings of comfort and belonging inspired by a little cottage; a sense of home, of occupying my own little place in the universe.

Look for the Magic

Mini Canvas Art

Lately I have been having fun creating mixed-media art on mini canvases that measure just 4 inches square. They have cute little easels to stand them on, too. For this trio, I wanted to create something light and breezy to reflect the beautiful summery weather we are having at the moment. I used watercolour paint, texture paste with a flower stencil, pressed flowers from our garden, butterflies cut from scrapbook paper, plastic mesh, some colourful fibres, and a few sparkly rhinestones for the centers of the stenciled flowers.

 

 

mini canvases1

 

mini canvases2

mini canvases3

Garden Journal

I started a new garden journal this year that I plan to fill with collaged pages of photographs, sketches and journaling. These are the first pages. I’ve added some embellishments from Graphic 45s Time To Flourish collection, which has lots of pretty floral stickers, scrapbooking papers, chipboard tags and journaling cards. On January’s page I included a layout plan of our veggie garden to aid in planning for crop rotation next season. Garden Journal Garden Journal

Autumn Journal Page

I love to pick up fallen leaves when we go for walks with Finn. The autumn leaves are such beautiful colours. There is just something about them that I can’t resist, although I am never quite sure what I will do with them once I get them home. More often than not, they will end up being tossed away again. This year, however, I was determined to use some on a journal page.

Although the leaves were already dry when I collected them, I pressed them under a pile of heavy books for a week to flatten them before I used them.

I painted the background of my journal page with watercolour paints, in autumn shades of golds, reds and orange. Then I glued a photo of Finn onto the page and surrounded it with the leaves. I glued the leaves down, then covered them with a layer of mod podge to protect and preserve them. I used scrapbooking letters to spell out the word Autumn.

Autumn Journal Page