Because sketching is more fun if there is the possibility of poking your eye out

IMG_2334Sometimes on your adventure you hear one sentence.  You meet one person.  And this chance moment changes your whole path.  It sends you in the direction you are meant to go.

I only jumped back into learning from other people about 2 years ago.  Before that, I was flipping through Somerset Studio magazines on my art room floor. Visiting the same blogs I’d followed for years.  But I wasn’t doing any art.  I wasn’t getting inky and painty.

IMG_2337I decided I wanted to play again, to jump in with both feet.  And I started doing online and in person workshops with various artists.  Discovering Jane Davenport has been a huge leap forward for me.  And THAT conversation on her deck during a 2 day workshop at her house has been big.  A turning point.  A lightbulb.  A big flashing arrow pointing me in the direction I need to go.

No-one wants to hear that you get better with practice.  And that the more you practice, the better you get.  I’m the reining Queen of Impatience – I wanna be awesome on the first go.  But the world doesn’t work like that.  When Jane told me to practice my drawing, part of me groaned like a kid being told to go tidy their room.  “Awwww, do I have to?”.  But part of me heard it.  Really heard it.  And now, I’m practicing in a huge $2 sketchbook I had lying around.  I’m sketching with some weird 2H pencil sharpened at both ends that came from my Mum’s house (because it makes sketching more fun if there is the possibility of poking your eye out).

IMG_2339I’m not just copying my teachers which is so, so important for me.  In that sketchbook, I’m exploring.  I’m playing.  I’m trying stuff out.  I’m making mistakes.  I’m doing some really bad sketches.  Really bad.  But it all counts.  You learn from each one.  You figure stuff out.  You play with different styles.  You find what you are drawn to.  You begin to discover the elements that are your style.  And you grow away from your teachers.

IMG_2329I’m playing with faces, body shapes, journalling, props and clothes.  Just throwing it all in there and seeing what comes out in the wash.  I’m just following my instincts and following what I’m called to do next without thinking if it’s going to ruin what I’ve done so far.  Oh, the dreaded “what if I wreck it?”  And somewhere along the line, I feel like I’m getting the hang of it.  Finding my style, finding my personal alphabet, what I love to do.

Hmmmmm…. this practice thing might be more fun than I expected.

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I got tagged which is an excuse to practice my Oscar speech

IMG_1391So, my gorgeous friend and creative cheerleader Robyn from Purple Salt tagged me in some kinda round robin, chain blog post thing.  I’m not really a tag you’re it, pass it on kinda girl.  But I am a chatterbox, so I’m gonna answer the questions but not do the ‘now you have to post something’ part.  Cause that can sometimes feel kinda icky if it’s not done right (and with my social graces I’m not gonna do so great with that part).

Q: What am I working on?  I’ve been doing lots of mail art lately.  Love that it seems to be making a resurgence with mixed media people.  I’ve met a few girls who all wanted to share art with me all at once.  So I’ve been flat out keeping up with that.  I’m also doing 2 online classes – Joynal with Jane Davenport (love her!) and a Belt Bracelet class with Christy Tomlinson.  Trying to work through it all while going to my day job and all the travel getting there plus looking after a sick husband and keeping the house just tidy enough to not look like we just got robbed.

Q: How does my art differ from others? My artwork isn’t overly fussy and tends to be kinda neat.  Even when it’s mixed media-ish, there’s a neatness to it.  A simpleness.  For a long time, I hated that my art didn’t look like everyone elses when I did a workshop.  I felt like I mustn’t be doing it right.  But now I think it’s awesome.  I love that my style comes through and it’s not just a copy of the teachers work.

With my blogging, I like that my personality comes through in my writing.  I’m a little bit on the ocker side of Aussie (hmm… make that alot) and I think you can tell that when you read my blog.  I find some blogs are a little blandy bland bland and I like to think my personality comes through on mine and doesn’t seem like a robot wrote it.

Q: Why do I create?  I’ve always loved art but was told I wasn’t “good at it” and I believed that for a long time.  Then I discovered rubber stamping, which meant I could be creative without having to be able to draw.  And that was it.  From there, I’ve always done paper arts.  Cards, ATC’s, altered books, mini books, shipping tags, art journaling and mail art.  It’s just one of those things that calls to you.   That you can’t not do.  I’ve had times where I’ve been disheartened with it and just read my Somerset Studio’s without actually doing art.  But it’s always been there.  It’s always called to me.   If you’ve had that calling too, you’ll know what I mean.

Q: How does my creative process work?  I envy those girls who set up their camera on fast forward and film a piece from start to finish.  I so don’t work like that.  I work in layers and stop when the flow is gone.  Then when I can’t get to my art desk (like in the shower or burning down the highway in my dearly beloved little hot rod), I get an awesome idea for what to do next.   So I work in stages.  And it can take a few days to make something from start to finish.  Very rarely, I get in the flow and can make something all the way through in one go.  It usually involves a late night on a weekend and music.  And I’m a recently converted “bin girl”.  I used to throw ALOT in the bin.  Since the arrival of the Art Journal I Can’t Tear The Pages Out Of, I’m figuring out how to work through and occasionally painting over and starting again.

Q: Artists who inspire me?  This is the part where I’m meant to ‘tag’ people to continue the chain.  But I’m not doing that part – I’m just gonna share the artists I really like.

Jane Davenport.  I’ve loved learning from Jane both online and in person so so much.  She’s am amazing artist & teacher and she’s also kinda cheeky & really funny. Perfect recipe for me.  No matter how much I love someone’s art, if they’re as dull as dishwater, I just can’t learn from them or spend too much time with them.  Like fingers down a blackboard.

Maria Pace-Wynters.  She’s been a recent discovery for me.  I love her combination of drawing, painting and using scrapbook papers.  I’ve been doing that for a while and finding a successful artist who does that too was like validation for me.  My first original piece of art is one of hers.  And sometimes she posts montage photos of her process.  Oh yes.

Anahata Katkin.  I’ve loved her art for forever.  Her business Papaya Art and her personal work are so so gorgeous.  Feminine, bold, strong and beautiful.  I have quite a few pieces of hers on my inspiration board.  And I have a book she hand printed years and years ago about the path of creating art including things like personal symbology and working past the stuck stage.  An absolute treasure in my bookcase.

Q: I can’t help but add a question of my own.  Favourite art books?  True Colors by Stampington has to be one of the best.  It has stood the test of time and hasn’t aged.  It’s a go to book over and over when artist block strikes.

Michael DeMeng‘s two books are awesome too.  Not just how-to’s, there is a story to every piece and a story about his travels too.  Are art books supposed to be this funny?  Love them.

I’m a sucker for answering these kinda things.  I’ve been practicing being interviewed since I was 11 for when I won an Oscar.  I’ve you’re gonna dream girls, dream big I say.  I’ve been practicing my autograph too which I get comments on every time I sign something.  Notice I said comments, not compliments…..

So… if you wanna share your favourite artists, how you work that seems different to everyone else or awesome art books that you can’t live without, I wanna hear.

Have an awesome, arty week.

Coral.  xo

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Mail Art – Ocean Girl

Ocean Girl 3So mail art seems to be what I’m working on a lot.  I suddenly have a few gorgeous girls wanting to share their art with me through snail mail which is kinda special.

I keep wondering what the postie thinks as they deliver these envelopes we are sharing.  Do they think “ooh wow” or “that’s cool”.  When I posted this one, the lady at the post office said to me “it’s nice and everything but you aren’t addressing it right”.  Seriously?  And the way she said “it’s nice” – what she really meant was “it’s no big woop and you probably think it’s a bit of a big deal but I will let you know by the shitty tone in my voice that I am not the least bit impressed”.  Needless to say…. ouchy ouch ouch.   Hopefully the postie’s on bikes delivering it are a little more impressed.  And the girl that got this one in her letterbox.

Ocean Girl1This is another practice on my faces.  As always, it starts with an ugly 80′s envelope.  Gesso to start, then drawing the face, a little colour on the hair.  Then I layered some decorative paper napkins, washi tape and modelling paste mixed with paint.

Ocean Girl 5

Ocean Girl 2Then the challenge of the face.  The shading of the face.  The shape of the lips and nose.  These are the areas I really struggle with.  Especially getting colour around the eyes.    If you follow me on social media, you’ll know I use the hashtags #EachOneGetsBetter and #PracticePractice.  And that’s the thing.  It’s really true…. each one gets better.  The more I practice, the more I learn and figure things out.  It’s not what you want to hear when you start.  You just wanna be awesome on your first try.  Or is that just me as the Queen of Impatience?

Ocean Girl 3With this one, I’m really happy with the shading around the eyes – using not the usual colours.  Don’t know that I can paint green and blue faces every time though.  So trying to learn from this one.  The lips turned out really well too.  The shape and the colouring.

Ocean Girl 4I’m really chuffed with how this one turned out.  I think it’s really nice but it’s more than that.  I feel like I’m getting the hang of it a little more.  That I can make art ‘good enough’ to send to someone else.  I know that’s bad…. to wonder if you are ‘good enough’ but you know what I mean.  When you are learning, you know you aren’t at the level of your art SHeroes.  That you aren’t at the level you are aching in your heart to be.  But when you feel like you are making steps forward with your art, you feel the courage to send it out to the world.  Even when it’s not ‘there’ yet.  Even though it’s not what you want it to be.  Even though it’s not perfect.  But it’s good enough in this moment.  In this part of your adventure.

And that is enough.

Coral xo

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Mail Art – She set sail guided by stars

Somehow, I’m having beautiful kind hearted souls come across my path asking me to share mail art with them which is kinda awesome.  They are such talented artists.  So encouraging and generous.  Feeling rather spoilt and special at the moment.  I am such a hermit and I usually not the one ‘putting myself out there’, so these girls offering to share art one on one is lovely.

She set sailThis is an envelope I sent as my first exchange with a new art friend.  Her name is Nayana and you can find her at To The Moon – isn’t that name just fabulous??

she set sail 2I was partly inspired by my Owl and The Pussycat envelope.  I used yet another in the never ending pile of ugly 80′s envelopes with acrylic paint for the beginning layers.  I added stars cut out of Christy Tomlinson coffee filter paper, torn decorative napkins, rub ons and scrapbook paper cut out for the sailboat.  It’s my very favourite paper and I am down to my last sheet (cue devestation and mild panic…. what will I do when it runs out??)

she set sail 3I tried out a new while paint pen and it’s really white and wrote over everything including the bumpy napkins.  It did splatter a little as it bounced over the texture.

she set sail 4I kinda sorta had an idea of what Nayana might send me based on a previous blog post she had done.  So I felt like I should make a little something to go with my letter.  So I painted a shipping tag.  It was kind of a happy accident.  I did a rough one to play with some new art supplies and really liked it.  So I did a ‘proper one’ for her.  Super duper chuffed with how it turned out.  You when you are so happy with something you don’t want to send it?  I found it really hard to let this one go but told myself if I can make one, I can make another (a little gem of wisdom from Jane Davenport).

Fish tagWhenever you send off one of these things, you always worry.  I think this is awesome but will they just go ‘meh’ when it arrives.  Or worse…. ‘blech’.

fish tag 2I needn’t have worried.  Like I say, the girls I’m discovering on this adventure are kind hearted and generous and beautiful.

fish tag 3I’m finding courage in sharing mail art.  I always seem to do my best when I am sending art to other people (which kinda drives me crazy…. I want my best in my art journal, not on other peoples walls or in their drawers).  But I’m using it as a chance to practice and grow and experiment.  And always…. learning, learning.

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Finding my own style

PirateI’ve mentioned the beautiful talk I had with Jane Davenport before.  The one about finding your own style.  And while I kinda got what she was saying at the time, it has truly clicked and resonated with me the last couple of weeks.  Like the camera has suddenly came into focus.  Sharp focus.

I’ve wanted my art to be ‘there’ since forever.  You know where ‘there’ is, don’t you? That place where your art SHeroes are.  Where their art is at a special level of awesome.  Where their art is so unique to them, you know it’s theirs as soon as you turn the page of Somerset Studio.  You don’t even need to read the caption – you just know.

They have discovered their signature style.  And even though every piece of artwork is different, there is something there that you know is theirs.  They know where to start when they go into their art room.   Oh how I envy that sometimes a lot.

While Jane and I were chatting about this on her verandah, little things clicked for me.  And I realized I have some elements that are my own style already, even though I am learning from my teachers.  I use a spray bottle quite a bit.  And I use my Neocolor II crayons differently to how I see other people use them.  The way I use acrylic paint with my fingers is different (cause I am very heavy handed).  And the way I incorporate scrapbook paper into my mail art and art journal pages.  None of these are things I remember learning from anyone, they just kinda happened as an experiment and stayed.

I recently discovered an artist that uses scrapbook paper in her artwork and I love it.  I love seeing someone use something I consider ‘crafty’ in such a gorgeous arty way.  Go onto Pinterest and type in Marie Pace-Wynters.  You will see her work there.  On Facebook and Instagram, she posts lots of in progress shots and sometimes a collage of her process.  Those are my favourite.  I love love seeing an artists process.

Somehow, seeing her gorgeous artwork using a technique I discovered for myself before I found her, has somehow given me the courage to keep doing it.  Like it’s valid to do it that way.  Which it always was.  But something about finding her has made it feel like….. silent permission.  Like it’s valid.  And it’s giving me confidence to trust my own exploring.  My own discoveries.

And for the first time ever on my adventure to “there”, I feel like I’m finally stepping into my own style and taking a step away from the comforting arms of my teachers.

Coral xo.

This page was an experiment in the Journal I Can’t Tear The Pages Out Of inspired by Mindy Lacefield (Tim’s Sally) with a little bit of Flora Bowley in the mix too.  The quotes are from “The Goonies” – my favouritest childhood movie ever and still one of my favourites.  A classic.

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Mail Art – She longed to run away and join the circus

I have another new friend that wanted to share Mail Art.  It’s all kind of just unfolding in a beautiful way.  Organically and gently and from such a kind hearted place.

Circus topI am currently in love with vintage red and the idea of the circus.  Not the animals – I hate the idea of a circus that has animals like elephants and lions.  But I love the images of girls in hats and stripey legs and hoola hoops and feathered top hats.   Kind of a vintage burlesque-y look.  Think I’m gonna play with that a lot more.

For this envelope I liked the idea of having her dress be a circus tent.  I am still in love with a girl I drew in my journal so tried to do the same idea with this envelope.

I started with another one of those ugly 80′s mustard yellow envelopes from the never ending stash.  To start, I brayered white gesso on to the envelope.  The brayer left little ‘pulled up’ sections of gesso like there was a little too much on it.  As the envelope continued, it gave a crackled like texture that I really liked.

Circus printThe background started with a mono print of blue from a gelli print.  Then I brayered Dyna flow inks and coloured in sections with Neocolor II water colour crayons.

circus dressI drew the girl then started painting.  I did the skirt first because I couldn’t think what to do with the top.  Then I did the top and had to try to replicate what I had done on the skirt.  Hmmm… might just be easier to figure out what I’m doing for the whole dress before I start next time.  I used acrylic paint, watercolour crayon and prismacolor pencils for the dress, arms and face.  For the hair, I used acrylic paint, watercolour crayons, dynaflow inks and pismacolor pencil.  I just kept layering to get some tonality to it.  I umm-ed and aah-ed about drawing a face on her.  I drew a basic outline but hated it, so I just did some pink cheeks with watercolor crayon.

Circus writingThe wording was the next challenge.  I played with writing on scrap paper and hated it, so I stamped a saying on one side of her then wrote circus on the other side – kind of winged it which is kinda scary but I really liked it.  So I washed off the stamped words as best I could, covered up the parts that didn’t come off with gesso and re-did the blue over the top.   Yup, a do over.  I was so excited to do the writing across the whole page.  And then I actually did the writing.  Nothing would write over it.  I think I had lots more watercolour crayon on that side and the waxiness was a little too thick which meant no pen would go through it.  Or it would work for part of a letter then hit a really waxy bit and stop working.  No pen would go through it.  Not the cheap permanent pens I had, not the laundry marker that supposedly writes on ‘everything’ and the ‘go to’ Pilot Permaball everyone calls a 4wd pen.  In the end, I wrote with white paint pen then coloured over it with the black pens.  That did the trick.  I’ve since bought a black paint pen which is much better on these kinds of surfaces.

circus envelope

Grrr…. this photo went blurry. Sorry. Think I left the macro setting on then stood really far away *slaps forehead*

I was really happy with this envelope.  Not sure about my girls though – I feel like they are a little too cutesy, so I might try to add a little more angle to their cheeks and chin.  It’s all learning and experimenting and playing.  Finding my style, what I like, what I would change next time.

I hope she likes it.

Coral.  xo

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The Night Faerie

IMG_2241I’m doing an online course with Jane Davenport called “JOYNAL”.  It’s all about fairies and mermaids and drawing and colouring.  It’s soooo challenging – in a good way – especially as someone who couldn’t draw before I started doing Jane’s courses.  I did her “SUPPLIES ME” class last year which got me started.  This page is one of the lessons from her Joynal class.

My drawing is slowly getting better.  I keep alternating between my Joynal and my Journal I Can’t Tear The Pages Out Of.  And Jane told me a beautiful secret on how she practiced when I was at her place which would help my drawing.  So I’m doing a bit of that too.

IMG_2240Looking at the photo now, I can see paint brush marks and what I call ‘rush marks’.  Where my Queen of Impatience nature comes out and I rush what I’m doing.  Even so, I’m in love with how this page turned out.

For some reason, all my girls have red-ish hair.  I guess because it pops against the other colours.  Maybe she’s an Irish or Scottish Faerie.  Like the movie Brave.

IMG_2236Not sure why, but I gravitate to spelling it Faerie – not fairy.  Faerie makes me think of mythology and legend.  Of Grimm’s fairytales.  Fairy makes me think of pretty little cutesy dress ups and glitter.  So faerie it is.

IMG_2237I played with the journalling on this page – a couple of different fonts.  Some worked really well, some not so much.  I’m going with my ‘write as you go’ mantra (which is completely against my slightly OCD, plan everything out nature).  So I just began writing on the page and went with it.  Whenever I do that, I’m terrified I’m gonna make a spelling mistake.  At least with the paint pen, if I spot it quick enough, I can spritz it with water and wipe it off.  But you gotta be quick.  Like lightening.

IMG_2234This is one of my favourite pages so far.  Not just in my Joynal, but in any of my journals.  I got a lot of confidence from this page.  Because of the way the faerie turned out, how the journalling came together.  And because it doesn’t feel like I copied anyone.  I did Jane’s lesson, but by chosing the nightime background, it felt like mine, not just a copy of the lesson.

I can still see things that need practice.  Her butt looks kinda uneven, the rush of brush marks, an experiment that didn’t work with her wings.  But that’s the thing.  I’m getting the courage to experiment.  To try stuff and not have a big sook if it doesn’t work.  Not tear the page out and bin it if it isn’t Somerset worthy. I’m trying so hard to rebel against my bin girl ways.

I think that’s one of the unexpected lessons I’m learning as I work through this class.  Each time I go to Jane’s house for a workshop.  Each time I play in my art journal.  And because of that, I’m learning so much.  I’m growing as an artist.  And I’m being pulled to find my own style because I’m willing to go exploring rather than clinging to the legs of my teacher.

That’s where the Joy is.

Coral.  xo

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Can’t I just be ‘there’ already? – said the Queen of Impatience

Hello fireflies…..

This page is a do-over.  I started this page twice before I managed to get it to come together.  It’s a page in the Journal I Can’t Tear The Pages Out Of.  So I couldn’t be a “Bin Girl” by tearing it out to start again.

Queen of ImpatienceI tried a vintage red and aqua.  The mask I used around it was awful.  It just looked like red and aqua paint had tipped over on my page.  Hmmm… okay, that experiment didn’t work.  I know there is a good way to put those two colours together but this ain’t it.

Then I did a big blue band down the bottom of the page with white loops that looked like bunting down the bottom.  Okay, that was supposed to look like bunting down the bottom.  I’m not a delicate touch, so it just looked awkward and clunky and….. this is not working.  At all.  So not at all.  The temptation to tear this page out is overwhelming but I can’t because it’s the Journal I Can’t Tear The Pages Out Of.

IMG_2227I painted the whole thing over with aqua as a do over.  Let’s try this again.  I added some stencilling with a very similar aqua so it wasn’t too bold a contrast – remember the first layer of red and aqua??? I wasn’t making that mistake again.

IMG_2222I added some lace with matte medium.  And of course, being the Queen of Impatience, it still wasn’t dry when I started adding the magenta paint.  The lace pulled up a few times and I kept having to press it back down.  Oops.  Lots of water bottle spritzing helped the magenta to run through the lace.  I also did a block in the magenta for journalling.  I learned this trick from Jane Davenport and I looooove it.

IMG_2232Then came the face.  Oh the face.  Each one I do gets better.  And this was before I went to the Jane Daveport retreat where my faces got soooo much better. I like the shape of the lips and her nose and the eyes came out really good too.  I’ve heard a theory that you have to make 100 ugly paintings before you make a good one.  So I’m trying to let go of the thought of having everything be Somerset Studio worthy on the first try.  So many art girls talk about their journals being a place to play and experiment, so I’m trying to run with that.  Which is hard for a perfectionist with crazy high expectations every time I walk into the art room.

I added some blue water colour crayon mostly smudged with my fingers and some more water spritzing with white which turned out quite feint.  Then onto the journalling.

IMG_2228I added the date into the magenta block because I thought that whole side of the page needed words  – and because what I wanted to say wasn’t gonna fit in that little space.  I’m a chatterbox, even in my journal.

IMG_2220I really like the stretched lettering I’ve been playing with.  It makes simple printing look a little more arty.  The curvy writing wasn’t quite how I wanted it but my adventure into fearless journalling where I don’t plan it out means I have to go with the results.

IMG_2218I’m so glad I persevered with this page…I kinda had to because it is in the Journal I Can’t Tear The Pages Out Of.  But I am glad I just kept painting over it until I made something I like.  I need to be willing to experiment and try stuff out, even if it doesn’t work.  Because along the way I’ve come across things that do work and if I push through, I eventually come up with something I like.  Even if it takes 3 tries to get there.

Coral.  xo

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What happens when you get to play at Jane Davenport’s house

the nestI got to play at Jane Davenport’s house again.  I’d only been at her house in October last year, but I jumped at the chance to go again.  As in – I booked an hour after she announced it – jumped.  I know how much of a transformation and awakening I had last time and was craving the chance to feel that again.  Cause it’s kind of addictive.

Blue faceWhen I booked, I sorta figured it would be the same class as last time which I was quite happy to do.  Except it wasn’t.  There were little hints of the last one which were as beautiful as last time – like the genius of the journaling exercise on her studio deck.  I would go all that way just for that part of her classes.

Journaling faceThe journalling part of her class is one of my favourite parts of going to The Nest.  The other is getting to talk with Jane about art during the breaks.  Her opening the door to that world is so generous.  Book deals and product licensing and her philosophy on teaching is mesmerizing.  I could talk to her about that for days. To be fair, I can talk about anything for days, but even more so when it comes to this sort of stuff.

Side faceI really wanted to ask her a question about finding your own style and not being drawn into copying from your teachers.  She gave the most beautiful and generous insights as she answered that question.  And I will be forever grateful for her answers.  Cue fairy lights and fireworks and the hallelujah chorus….  I felt like she let me into her personal world in that moment to share that just with me.  How can you possibly say thank you for that?  She would reference that question back to me on and off during the whole weekend which was magical.  Because it meant it was washing around in her mind long after our original discussion and her continuing to add little snippets to her answer were more proof of her generosity and openness to sharing  her world of art.

WingThe second day of the workshop started with a yoga session.  Now, I’ve got a few extra curves on my highway, so I was a little nervous.  The breeze was blowing ever so gently, washing over our skin as we lay on our mats, breathing in… breathing out…  It made the trees sway and their leaves talked in whispers.  Birds were singing in different corners of her garden… breath in…. breath out.  So blissfully relaxing.  A couple of birds had a little tiff in the tree right above me and I remember thinking “please don’t ruin this by pooping on me” but they soon flew off and my serenity returned.

Our gorgeous teacher spoke in such a gentle way, it was like a meditation all on it’s own.  She would shoot me the occasional glance with a little smile that was overflowing with encouragement.  Despite my curvy highway, I never once felt self conscious.  It was okay if I lost my balance or couldn’t keep holding a pose.  No-one was looking or judging.  And Jane made sure when Angus took a photo of us, it wasn’t while our butts were in the air. Yep… that girls a thinker!

Jane & Me March 2014I’m so happy with what I learned and made over the weekend.  But I’m grateful for so much more than that.  Learning with a whole bunch of like minded and kind hearted girls.  My first ever yoga class.  The gift of art discussions with Jane.  Listening to Jane as a working artist sharing her life.  And having Jane write a cheeky message on the back of one of her prints for me.

I just wanna reach through the computer and hug you and tell you if you have never done a workshop with your favourite artist in real life… do it.  Do it as soon as you can.  Find a way.  Because yes, you will get grow as an artist.  But you will grow so, so much more as a person.  And you will have rocking chair memories that you will hold close for the rest of your life.  Because life isn’t about day jobs and getting the vacuuming done.  It’s about weekends like this.

Biggest of big hugs – Coral. xo

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Calms the storm

Music calms the stormI am in love with the Journal I Can’t Tear The Pages Out Of.  Before I got it, I would go all pouty sooky face saying ‘this sucks’, rip the page out and start something new, still stewing over not being able to make something beautiful.

Because I can’t tear the pages out of this journal, I’m pushing through (with the occasional gesso’d over page).  I can’t believe what a difference having this journal has made.  I know this is a major milestone for me.  A huge leap forward into something special.

As you work, you are aware you can’t tear the pages out.  Sometimes that puts a bit of pressure on to do something “Somerset Studio worthy” but it also makes you persevere and push through.  The light and dark of this type of journal.

Music calms the storm 2This page was a bold experiment.  I used big patches of black which is kinda scary and full on.  I was inspired by people like Mindy Lacefield to give it a try.  I was really tired and was gonna go to bed on a Friday night after a big week at That Day Job.  But I pushed through and got into that late night bliss you get on a Friday night.  Hubby went to bed and as the house fell into the quiet, I wandered into the art room with the ipad.  I had fallen in love with Beyonce’s new song XO so had that playing over and over on youtube as I worked.   I was so blissed out.  You know those moments when the world just falls away?  It all began to flow without too much thinking which is very unlike how I usually work.

Music calms the storm 3The lyrics became some of the journalling over the black.  When I first did the black patches, it was a bit ‘woah baby’.  But once I journalled over it in white, it pulled it back a lot.  When I first started art journalling one of the rules I made (cause I’m a rules girl) was that I would only put positive things in my journal.  I’ve had some awful stuff happen in my life (haven’t we all??) and I am a bit of a delicate little petal so I wanted only positive things in my journals.  Beautiful words to go with beautiful art.  But I did mention that the day had been a struggle – because there are days when living a life that doesn’t feel like it fits can be like that.  That’s where the large journalling Music Calms The Storm came from.

Music calms the storm5The background was pink paint and blue Dyna Flow ink with patterns added with stencils and drawing directly out of the bottle.  I really like the Dyna Flow inks. They don’t reactivate once they are dry, where the spray inks do.  I also added some dots and dashes in the black to play with some ideas I learned from Alisa Burke in a mini workshop I did with her.

Music calms the storm 3Pink isn’t normally my go to colour but every now and then I get a thing for pink.  I’ve always been a blue girl.  I really like how the colours came together on this one.  I think the pastel-ness (is that a word?) of the pink and blue balanced the darkness of the black.

Music calms the storm6The journalling was based on an idea I had seen on Pinterest.  I’ve become quite brave on my pages with the journalling.  I’m just writing on the page without thinking too much about what the words will be and how they will fit on the page.  (I’m also a plan it out girl).  Funny how this ‘can’t rip it out’ journal has also made me let go of my plan it out, follow the rules side of my personality too.

Music calms the storm 7When I instagram & tweet my journal photos, I use the hashtag #eachonegetsbetter.  Because with each page, the faces get better.  I learn something for next time.  They aren’t where I want them to be yet, but at least they are moving in the right direction.

Now, whenever I hear XO by Beyonce on the radio, I float back to the night of this page.

And the world falls away…

Coral.  xo

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