21 Secrets – JournalQuest

The next workshop on my ’21 Secrets’ list is Journal Quest by Tracie Hanson (check out her blog- she does really cool paintings). The general idea is that you create a spontaneous background and then try to find suggestions of images in the shapes you’ve created.

So here is my background:

And here is what I ‘excavated’ from it:

I found this workshop quite challenging for a number of reasons:

-I’m not used to doing double spreads. For some reason it feels quite weird after only ever doing single page pieces.

-I don’t usually do a lot of ‘painty’ work- most of my pieces have some paint but I tend to rely more on  pens, pencils and collage materials. I couldn’t restrain myself completely- I had to crack open my Papermania Metallic Markers for a bit of doodly fun.

-The painting I created was not in my usual style AT ALL. By trying to find an image in the existing shapes I had to push myself out of my comfort zone… I couldn’t just paint what I feel comfortable painting. One big difference can be seen in the eyes… I usually do really detailed over-the-top eyes on my faces but here I’ve kept them simple. Not sure how keen I am?

Although Journal Quest tested my boundaries, I think I’ll be using some of the principles of the class in future artwork. I like that it made me paint something a bit different, as sometimes I worry that my work is a bit ‘samey’. And also, it will give me purpose when attacking those pages I’ve used to clean off my palette:

These will definitely give me something to play around with over the weekend!

D x


Is it a monster?

I was browsing through the arty blog posts I get delivered to my inbox and came across a challenge on the ‘Quirky Crafts’ blog which piqued my interest… the prompt was “What’s that coming over the hill? Is it a monster?” and it instantly made me think of The Trap Door, and a little of Monsters Inc. So I decided to create a fun little doodle inspired by these two old faves:


And this is what I created:

I was just playing around with a bunch of different pens… and that’s when I usually have the most fun… there’s no pressure to produce a masterpiece! Also, stuff like this takes up so much less time… and we all know I’m running out of that at the moment!

D x

Her Fearful Symmetry

I picked this book up a while ago from a car boot sale (I can never resist ‘3 for £1’) because
a) I’ve heard great things about The Time Traveller’s Wife, but I tend to avoid books that ‘everyone’ reads (for a while at least).
b) I liked the front cover.

It only took me a couple of bus journeys to finish, but I can’t quite decide what I think about it as a whole.

General summary (which is difficult to do without giving away any twists): a set of spoilt American twins inherit a flat in London from the Aunt they’ve never met on the condition that their parents never cross the threshold. They come to the flat that their Aunt hasn’t quite departed from and make friends with her neighbours (including her toy boy). An important theme running through is grief, and how people deal with loss and letting go. But another, that I think everyone would be able to relate to, is the strive for individuality. In the book this struggle is a little more extreme than most of us will have experienced, because of all the twins, but it still struck a chord with me.

Her narrative tone is amazing, it’s so easy to get along with and there’s no ‘effort’ involved in the reading. It’s quite literally like you read one paragraph and suddenly find yourself seven chapters in. Her characters are brill too- very individual (varying from an obsessive compulsive crossword designer, to a cemetery enthusiast to a feral kitten) which makes to story seem ‘different’ despite the commonplace themes of ‘grief’, ‘romance’ and ‘family relationships’.

The thing I’m slightly less enthusiastic about (I think) is the plot. To start with I thought it was great, because Niffenegger kept throwing the crazy at me (I don’t know HOW I wasn’t expecting it to be a ghost story though.. it says it on the back!). But I feel like it got a bit too weird too fast towards the end… it stopped it from being as believable as the rest of the story which is a real shame. I always admire any writer that can make the mystical seem utterly realistic.

I’d recommend this book to you if you appreciate the quirky. Although I found the ending of this novel slightly unsatisfying, I think I’ll give The Time Traveller’s Wife a go (I really should- we have three copies furnishing othe shelves at home!).

D x

21 Secrets – Channel It Girl (Part 3)

Hello everybody and Happy Friday to you!

Today I’d like to share my final ‘Channel It’ journal pages with you. This has been such a fun and freeing little project, it takes a surprising amount of effort to just play around, and not worry about how things turn out. I couldn’t describe any of these pages as a work of art, but who cares? I’ve really enjoyed making them!

Materials used: A variety of felt tips, a pink biro and a black fineliner pen.

I love the page on the right; I think the layering of spontaneously patterned paper, random pink and turquoise doodles and simple black doodles creates a really interesting look. I like being able to see a bit from each of the layer… stops me from feeling like I’ve ‘wasted’ anything.

Materials used: Crayola Supertip felt tip pens and a silver gel pen. These last few pages were all completed at my desk at work, so I couldn’t really use anything wet and messy.

To see my previous ‘Channel It’ pages/the process of making my ‘Channel It’ journal, click on the following links:

21 Secrets – Channel It Girl – Part 1

21 Secrets – Channel It Girl – Part 2

And that concludes my first ’21 Secrets’ workshop, keep your eyes peeled for my next one (hint: it will be ‘JournalQuest’ by Tracie Hanson and it’s gonna be AWESOME)


D x

P.S. I’m linking this post up to Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s Art Journal Every Day.

AA316: Open for Business!

Just a quick note to say my next Open University module (AA316 – the nineteenth-century novel) has officially come online. This means that (a) the forums are now open and (b) we have access to our assignment questions.

I only have good news to report (which makes me feel much more enthusiastic about the upcoming academic year). Nobody (that has commented so far) seems pretentious or hostile or particularly bad at grammar, so I think I’ll enjoy the forums much more than I did last year…

Also, the assignment questions seem pretty interesting (yay!) and (most importantly) as there are always at least two options for each TMA, I at no point have to do ANYTHING relating to Madame Bovary. I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty damn chuffed about that last bit, as it is literally the only one of my set books I haven’t enjoyed so far.

All in all, things are looking good! And for those of you who have found my blog through the OU ‘Platform’ page, the start of term means you might be reading posts actually related to the Open University rather than just listening to me yammer on about art and books and general randomness!

Hope you’re all looking forward to your soon-to-be-started courses as much as I am, I’d love to hear about your OU experiences up to now!

D x

Reading Update – August 2012

I thought I’d give you a little update on my reading endeavours for the past month or so (1/8/12-7/9/12)… Rather than giving a mini summary of my opinion (as usual) I’m going to sum the book up in one word (as I’ve done/will be doing longer posts on all of these…)

Off my list of set books I’ve managed to tick off:

And in the ‘Reading for Fun’  department I’ve managed:

And as all of these are published pre-2011 and have been lurking on my bookshelf for a good long while they count towards the TBR PILE Reading Challenge bringing my grand total up to 28!

21 Secrets – Channel It Girl (Part 2)

Remember the little journal I made for the ‘Channel It’ class with Kelly Barton? (If no, click here) Well I’ve been enjoying filling up my (slightly eccentric) painted pages this week… what I love about this journal is that it’s lightweight (so I can carry it around everywhere with ease), it’s already ‘raggy’ looking so I can just play around and don’t have to worry about ruining a neat white sketchbook (and it doesn’t suffer too much by being at the bottom of my bag), and it challenges me; I have to try to create something with the colours and shapes already there.

A note on the text- as you’ll probably have noticed, I love adding words to my artwork. In this journal my words have come from various sources (overheard snatches of conversation, memories from dreams, song lyrics, quotes, single words that seem fitting, journalling, personal mantras… but nothing too deep!)

Without further ado, here are the pages I’ve done so far:

A combo of acrylic paint, watercolour pencil and glitter glue.

Text reads: My mascot, my everything.

A selection of pens, pencils and markers.

Text reads: A face warped by fear * doubt * mood * opinion * insecurity * worries * truth

All felt tip (occasionally blurred with water).

Text (on the left) reads: Lost for words and praying for inspiration to appear in the clouds and stars (and on the left) Part of a whole/much better together.

My new Crayola Supertips and a bit of black fineliner.

Text reads: Release your inner cool.

Felt tip, collaged paper, acrylic paint and a Papermania Metallic Marker (in gold)

Text: Various lyrics from 99 Red Balloons by Nena

Crayola Supertips, black biro and a white-out pen. The glitter glue from the following page has leaked through (on the right), but I kind of like how it looks…

Text (on the left) reads: Every rainbow has a touch of pink (and on the right) Wilderness

Felt tip, pencil crayon and glitter glue.

Text reads: Three things cannot be hidden for long: the sun, the moon and the truth (this is a slight variation on a quote from Buddha).

I only have three pages left until my ‘Channel It’ journal is completely full ( I will share these with you early next week), but I have enjoyed the process so much that I will be making another at some point soon…

Hope you’ve all had a great week,

D x

P.S. I’m linking this post up to Julie’s AJED post.