Friday, 27 July 2012

New ways of journaling

Photo frames have many uses ...
We are on the ferry returning from Ireland (Rosslare to Fishguard) where we have been travelling for the last ten days. It seems a world away from Warwickshire Open Studios and  my excitement at greeting so many visitors into my caravan studio. Days in which I have hardly had time to think of the mixed-media journal I was to create whilst away - but that's work for you; it takes over, though I have notes (pages of them) and sketches a-plenty. When I have had time to think creatively, it has been of new directions - decisions on what I want to do; new style journals using techniques and materials that are as yet unknown to me.; and completing all those projects-in-progress. I haven't yet set down my plan, but just before we went away, I bought these two little photo frames (can't recall where, which is a nuisance, because I may want more!) Wood, with space for a back and front cover image of some sort, on fabric most likely, and inside - individual pages or concertina book - I am not sure, but the subject will again be TREES (wood is turned into paper, and the frame is wood, so what better subject could there be to fill this book-with-a-difference? The plaster hearts will grace some other project. More details will follow at some later date, when I drag myself back from the magic of Ireland, and when I have better WiFi access than 'internet@sea' - very slow.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Notebooks and thoughts

Work table in my caravan studio today
It's been another marvellous studio day - another eleven dear visitors and only one day to go. The sun shone, and my dear husband (recovered from his trauma of yesterday's visit to the dentist) brings us tea on the terrace - actually the table alongside the caravan in the yard; herbs alongside however. I should be in the upstairs office catching up with work, but am denied access as R. is lying on the floor! Not another scare (see my Wild Somerset Child blogpost of last night); no, he's taken two of his computers apart and hasn't sufficient room on the desk for all the tools and components. So I go back to the caravan and pull out some of my current notebooks. I seem to be working in four at the moment; they overlap and to a certain extent duplication occurs.

In progress - begun when I was ill in bed in January and the pen I used
was not waterproof - the page looks as though I had accidentally
dripped tea onto it; the ink has smudged.
 (more painting tomorrow)
Not all pages were written today; I went back to those that needed painting. This is how I usually work - I always write with a Uni-ball Signo 0.7 gel pen which is waterproof once dry and so perfect for then infilling with watercolour paint or Neocolor II water-soluble crayons. Except that I prefer with the latter to blend them with a cotton-bud and matte gel medium (Golden).

So the pages jump back a bit as I had forgotten that some had not been finished. This page was prepared before we went to Germany a month ago, and described the supplies I think are needed when travelling light. I had forgotten to paint the page - and in actuality never did do what I had planned; the trip was just too jam-packed with press activities. Though I did sketch people which is something I have never done and was so absorbed I forgot to be afraid of doing so! Mind you, I was also half-listening to what we were being told by our German tour guide hosts and I should have been paying more attention to what they were saying.

I have plenty of material to complete my German Travelogue, but it won't be for a while yet as we are off to Ireland in a couple of days - and thus another travelogue.

I turn the page and there is the next 'Random Jottings' to be completed. This from only a week ago and actually written in the Caravan Studio between visitors. I sketch what I see - one of the box-containers covered with furnishing fabric, in which I am exhibiting some of my Notebooks. I know when anyone has looked at them, because they are not in the same order. Interesting to see which books have been opened. They date back to the 1960s (words only, then).

And I love the paper in these Random Jotting books, and whenever I see them on the shelves at WHSmith, I have to buy more. The paper is cream and smooth and not art paper at all, but accepts ink readily from my pen (no wonder I write so much!) and watercolour too. Using my tiny travel paint box (Winsor & Newton) - I've drawn it in the page above. Not artist quality, so the colours tend to be somewhat muddy, but I use them dry-ish, and deliberately mix on the palette and let the colours meld. This is NOT watercolour technique and would no doubt be frowned upon by real artists, but I don't care, and love my flawed pages as they are.

Working in my notebook today in the caravan
(I didn't know my husband had taken this!)
Although I have been working in FOUR notebooks today, these are only two of them, for the ink is still wet in the others and today's pages are only half completed. And oh, I am in such a turmoil! For I cannot quite decide how to handle the trip to the Island of Ireland, our 'Celtic C' tour (the article for which is already entitled 'Magic in the Air', or similar. What do I take? What might be the format of a finished travel journal? Thoughts are on the page in progress; and - following on from all the amazing comments I have received on Warwickshire Open Studios and our cosy caravan as an exhibition space - well, I feel as if I have been propelled into space and back again, and all that I have done, and been, will re-emerge in some new fashion. First I must re-focus my office space, then my underground workroom and that under the eaves in the roof. Then there's the house, the garden, and just that little thing called WORK. Though that predominates, as it must, for without that, nothing else could exist.

P.S. Click on any image and it should re-appear at enlarged size.

Friday, 6 July 2012

It's really happening!

I cannot believe the kind comments and support I have had already from visitors to my little caravan studio, whilst I am participating in the Warwickshire Open Studio event. Despite the torrential rain - and not just from locally - I have had people drive to the southern tip of the county from Birmingham and Banbury and today, from Stratford and Alcester. And the two lovely ladies I met today were totally unknown and 'picked' me out from the brochure - 51 pages listing artists and their work. And of the nine who gave so far visited, six have asked if I will share my techniques in some sort of workshop. Oh! So at this point I have to acknowledge all the people over many years who have inspired me; all the books I have read and the people whose blogs I follow. Meeting fellow creators is such a release from the busy world of publishing and writing; sparking ideas off each other, always learning, always something new that encourages me to say "what if?" Then there is my dearest husband who, whilst he is bemused by what I so love doing, tolerates it most of the time. (Dearest in the sense that he could not be more dear, not that I have more than one for comparison: dear, dearer, dearest!)

And so I will share two other things today: first the latest spreads in my 'Moving On' journal that rarely sees the light of day. (Begun in early December 2011, I only reached page 13 this afternoon, and even then the words run away with me before I remind myself that this is a journal to document my creative work; so a few hasty sketch-scribbles fall onto the page, and I keep almost dipping my paintbrush into my tea mug. I'll let them speak for themselves.

And now to my latest project which I am using to demonstrate one or two processes in the caravan to anyone who asks. It's a rescued project - playing card sized 'pages' made from an old dictionary and OS map, that was to have been a tiny travel journal. But the flooding washing machine soaked them which separated the surface from the cards. I  fused the pages instead to calico and they will become a concertina napkin Florilegium'; the napkins provide the motifs (look how they merge with the page background when affixed with acrylic wax, and how any white tissue around the edge just disappears); machine-stitching will embellish the finished project. In my usual fashion, I have written what I plan to do, how I will achieve it, and a diary of the process so far. The images below show planning layout with snipped napkins on the actual pages (not in my sketchbook, though that exists too), and then 

Please click on any image to view it at larger, more readable size. Want to see it all for real? I know it is too far and out of the question for so many friends and acquaintances, but - wearing my marketing hat - the caravan is open tomorrow from mid-day until 16.30hrs, and again next week; same hours on Friday 13th, Sat 14th and Sunday 15th. If you need directions please check my 'About Me' profile. Everyone will be so very welcome, and thank you again to everyone who has believed in me and supported my 'exhibition' already.