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crafting everyday

a new room-mate? and further zentangle practice…

I’ve recently got myself a new room-mate, and I mean this in the literal sense; I bought myself a crowntail betta splenden. He currently resides in a 22L Fluval Edge tank (and for those betta fans out there, I did not fill the tank up to the top, so he does have enough breathing room) on a shelf above my desk in my room.

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I appreciate the difficulty in taking photos of a pet (I have a black cat, it does hell to the white balance on my camera) but taking a photo of a fish in a tank of water is a whole new level of frustration. I don’t pretend that the above photo is anything to be proud of, but I just want to show off his colours – isn’t he just so pretty?

And now that I’ve splurge so much on my new pet (well to be exact, I spluged it on his tank… $200AUD, urk! But the tank is also really really snazzy), I’ll probably have to eat leftovers for lunch everyday for the next month… I’m not even thinking of buying any new art supplies… =_=

Of course, since my latest project is zentangling, I don’t really need a lot of supplies, just pen and paper!

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In this zentangle I was drawing a couple of weeks back, I was practicing featherfall, pais and flux. Looking at featherfall, it reminds me slightly of my betta’s fins (I need to name my fish, I can’t just keep calling him, “my betta”). Perhaps I should try creating a tangle based on his fins…

how do you refresh yourself during the day?

Do you feel tired during the day and wish to give yourself a mental boost?

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A few weeks back resulted in the page above.

It was not very complicated, and it reflected the lunch break that I was on. The picture was taken while I was lying on the grass in a nearby park. It was Friday, and therefore casual clothes day at the office; it’s easier to sprawl on the grass when you’re not wearing an office-lady getup.

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I had my PoGo printer with me, so I was able to print the photo from my iPhone straight away. A couple of sprays with Tattered Angel’s Glimmer mists, a mandala doodled with a copic marker and it was done. Then the laziness of the day got to me and I took a short nap after the page was done. It really refreshed me for the rest of the day at work.

I suggest that people take a little rest during your lunch break at least once a week – as opposed to cramming errands into this time – you’d be surprised just how much more focused you would be after it.

(Btw, the photos of the journal page was taken at different times, under different lighting… the white balance was a bit off on both shots XD)

EDM #243 – a pillow

And you thought that I forgot about my EDM exercises, LOL

This is actually a cushion on my sofa, but since I sleep on the sofa most days technically this cushion is also my pillow.

I used the same colour theme as a previous exercise I did although in a warmer tone (I’ve been reading up on my colour theories), and I must admit I like the cooler blue-grey in the previous exercise more than the warmer purple-blue in this one. I also didn’t realise how dark this picture would come out. No worries, will try to do better next time around.

watercolour exercise – a hat

After my dubious effort at John Lovett’s foliages exercise, here’s my attempt at doing a hat.

Still having trouble controlling where the colour is to go. I find that less water is better, I can always add more water later and can control the paint, if I have a wet page, the paint just spreads… and not in a good way.

I really like the colour combination in this, the grey/blue really brings out the yellow.

However the hat didn’t come out as battered as it was supposed to be.

watercolour exercise – trees and foliages

I’ve never been fond of watercolours, I thought watercolour paintings were boring and washed out.

It didn’t help that my first experience with the medium was with the primary-school-grade watercolour pans. The watercolours were so hard it took buckets of water to soften and even then the pigment was so washed out it was near non-existent. Is it any wonder that I run screaming the other way whenever I hear watercolours being mentioned?

Then I stumbled onto John Lovett’s site.

A picture is worth a thousand words…

Does that painting look boring or washed out to you?

So after poring through all his tutorials and a myriad of YouTube videos, I succumbed and bought a set of Royal Talens’ ArtCreation Expression watercolours.

Yes, these are tubes and not watercolour pans – baby steps, baby steps.

My first few attempts at using watercolour was disastrous and was more a play of paint and colour on a page. As I wanted watercolour to be more than another medium to create colourful backgrounds, I realise that I have to practice (and practice and practice).

So here’s the result of my first exercise (taken from John Lovett’s site):

Watercolour exercise - foliage Watercolour exercise – foliage

Now I was still getting used to how watercolours change when it dries and the “painting” above looked really weird while it was still drying, so I tried again (below).

Watercolour exercise - trees Watercolour exercise – trees

As could be seen, I’m still having trouble controlling how much water to use XD

So I’ll need more practice and my next few entries will most likely record my attempts at using this medium.

mistake/fixed? – grunge wings

Unfortunately I do not have the before/after photos for comparison, but below is a page that I’ve mucked up but managed to fix through sheer perseverance.

You may need to enlarge the above picture (click on it) to see what I’m talking about, but there are two rectangles on the page, one on the top left hand corner of the page and one on the bottom right. Those are the remains of ticket stubs (I can’t even remember for what) that I stuck on the page. I found out, first hand, the reason you do not use double-sided tape to stick things you are later going to paint over; they bubble.

Not only did it bubble, but they stuck to the other side of the page and peeled off. I suddenly had two gaping white holes in my page.

My solution? Brayer over it (this was during the time when I brayered over everything. However I was careful to leave details in the background (ie. the wings) to show through.

The black-over-white text helped complete the grunge-up look.

acrylic exercises

Last week I was poring through all of Tim Gagnon’s Youtube videos on painting in acrylic.

I tried to duplicate the technique in this video, although on a much smaller scale.

I didn’t proceed through to the final step – putting the highlights into the grass – for a few reasons. The perspective in this painting was slightly different from those in the video and the depth of the foreground in this painting is shallower; the highlighted grass would seem out of place.

I really had trouble drawing the trees. The trunks never looked right to me. I would have to practice sketching more trees to get the angles right.

I also found that paint has to be fairly fluid to do straight lines. My brush and paint was too dry and I ended up with feathery lines where the paint skipped over the page. I’m most likely to going to give this another go and see whether I get better results.

I didn’t really like the way the background was going on this page, so I decided to test out Tim Gagnon’s cloud painting technique.

Whereas in the previous exercise my brush was too dry, in this exercise my brush was too wet; there was too much paint. I couldn’t get the feathering that Tim was doing in the video. I was also too impatient, I didn’t wait long enough for the paint to dry when building the opaque sections of the cloud. Instead of layering paint, I ended up pushing the paint out, making the cloud way larger than planned.

Although neither page worked out the way I expected, I felt like I’ve accomplished something. I guess figuring out how some things don’t work is also a kind of achievement.

layer love

Julie Pritchard is closing new application for her “Layer Love” class soon and like many people, I’ve rushed to sign up for this highly popular course.

Here is my attempt at her second lesson (I didn’t try the first lesson because the style just didn’t resonate with me):

I really like the dark, deep-sea grotto look about the page. It seems to work as a painting in itself, but I might end up putting word in it at a later date.

Below is just my attempt at using similar techniques as above but less dark – I was thinking of making a more journal-able page, but I still ended up with a page with no room for words.

So with my third attempt I didn’t even try to leave room for words, I just did a painting – who says you can’t put paintings in your art journal?

In case it wasn’t blatantly obvious, I really like the colour blue. Especially Golden’s Turquoise (Phtalo).

I did try to use a different colour, but I couldn’t seem to duplicate the effect.

Oh, one last thing before I sign off on this entry; if anyone has a completed layer love page, with journaling, I would love to see it. Please leave a comment with a link to the picture. I would love to see how other people incorporated words into the pages; the way Julie teaches it, each page seems to be a standalone piece of work.

EDM – everyday matters

I recently got introduced to the EDM challenge; a list of daily sketch prompts, most of them just everyday items that you see lying around the house.

I got the above link from borromini bear’s photostream on flickr. She’s doing an Every Day May project, where she selected the first 31 prompts in the EDM challenge list to be completed once per day. Quite a few people have joined in on the exercise and you can take part too; just send a PM to borromini bear’s flickr account to get added to her list of participants.

Although the subject matter can seem inane, EDM sketches can still result in very pretty pages if you put enough effort into it. Borromini bear’s sketches were so pretty, it inspired me to try a few EDM sketches too (no, I’m not going to do the Every Day May project – I know I have trouble sticking to any “XXX per day” projects).

But before I put pencil to paper, the EDM challenge sparked the nerd bug within me. On the right hand column of this page, you would see a small box titled “Everyday Matters – Sketch Prompt”. This box would randomly display one of 274 EDM challenges on the list (I will try to update it as Karen Winters adds more to the list), perhaps you would like to try drawing whatever is suggested there right now?