Tell Your Story

I recently joined Suzi Blu’s Gypsy Art School  and signed up for her online class, Tell Your Story, an art journal workshop that documents the story of our lives through art, scrapbooking and writing. Each week Suzi posts a prompt for you to write about and then create an art journal page. During the week, she posts online what she has done with the prompt, and at the end of each month she creates a painted art journal page on video, showing how she uses different mediums to create her art. Students can share their pages online for the rest of the class to see, but it is not compulsory. It is very inspirational to see what others have done and how they interpret the prompt. Each person’s art is so unique. The course runs for three months, but you can work at your own pace, as the materials and videos are available to view and download until the end of the year.

I am really enjoying the class. Other than my garden journal, I have never done any art journaling before. I find the prompts really get me thinking. Although when I first see the prompt, my mind is a blank and I don’t have a clue what to write, once I start, the words seem to flow, and by the time I have finished writing down my thoughts in a cheap exercise book, I have plenty of ideas for making the art page in my journal.

I am using a Rangers Dylusions Journal. It has nice thick card for painting on, a sturdy cover for decorating, and a big pocket inside the front cover for keeping notes and scraps in.

These were the first pages I did. The prompt was:

How would I describe — to someone who had never met her?

Art Journal1

The next prompt was all about home. I printed out some pictures of my dream houses and tucked them into a pocket behind the journal card.

Art Journal2

For these pages I used scrapbook paper, coloured pencils, pens, chalks, stamps, and pressed flowers.

Art Journal6

One of the prompts was to take random photos to document a week in our life, then choose one that represented our life right now, to create an art journal page. The one constant in my photos was Cody, who is beside me in everything I do, so I decided to create a page around her.

Art Journal5

I think I’ll leave decorating the cover of the journal until later, as I’m sure I’ll be learning more techniques and gaining more inspiration as the course progresses.

Gypsy Rose

Although I have been scrapbooking for several years, I have only recently fallen in love with mixed-media art. One of my favourite mixed-media artists is Suzi Blu. Suzi teaches online workshops, has tutorials on You Tube, and recently published her first book, Mixed-Media Girls with Suzi Blu. Before I discovered Suzi, I never believed I could draw and I had no confidence to pick up a paintbrush. She has taught me how to let go, have fun and create, that it doesn’t have to be realistic, it is okay to be flawed, and you will get better the more you practice.

The book takes you through the steps of drawing and shading a face with coloured pencils and paint, then drawing a folk art body and incorporating it into a mixed-media layered and collaged background using paint, papers, stamps, textured paste, fabric, fibres, dimensional embellishments and beeswax. The book is full of Suzi’s whimsical creations, with detailed instructions for each project. At the back is a gallery of her students’ work, and the book is accompanied by a DVD of Suzi demonstrating her techniques in her unique and fun style.

After spending some time practicing drawing faces, I launched into a mixed-media painting, inspired by The Gypsy Girl project in Suzi’s book.

Okay, so my dog looks more like a rat, but that’s okay. Like I said, it’s not supposed to be realistic. He’s part of Gypsy Rose’s world, she loves him, and that’s all that matters.

Coincidentally, the same weekend that I finished my painting, the gypsy fair came to town, so while I was in a gypsy frame of mind, I went along and absorbed the atmosphere. While I wandered around looking at the housetrucks and the wonderful crafts, I got to thinking, maybe I could become Gypsy Rose from my painting. I wonder if I could talk Nick into selling up, buying a housetruck, throwing caution to the wind and seeing where life takes us. Nick can turn his hand to anything. He could make things and fix things. I could write and make crafts. We could go apple picking in the summer. But then I thought, what would we do with all our books? And how would our beloved Cody adapt to life in a housetruck, at 14 years old with her stiff joints and kidney problems? And so I returned home with my colourful wind twisters and lovely handmade soaps and decided that maybe I will just continue dreaming for now, at least until the gypsy fair returns next year and the romantic notion of a gypsy life is rekindled once again.