Monday, January 25, 2010

One World One Heart

A few weeks ago I read about this event: One World, One Heart. An effort to try to connect bloggers from all around the world. And make some friends along the way as well.
One of the requirements to enter the event is to offer a blog giveaway, preferably handmade. So I found these 2 little books I made a while ago and since they are so small and wonderful - and handmade - I thought that they would appeal to a lot of people.

The books are very small! The size is 10.5 by 11 centimeters. One cover has only book linen, the other one is also decorated with book paper printed with the autographs of famous artists of the past. The books are filled with strong pastepapers which I also made, every page is unique. The backside of each paper has been lightly washed with acrylic paint. You can draw, collage, paint (acrylics), stamp and journal in these little books.

The only thing you have to do to get a chance to win these little books, is to leave a comment on this entry of this blog. Don't forget to leave your name and blog address or your email address.

If you leave your email address, be sensible and write it down in separate words. Don't use the @ sign so that bots can't find your address and use it for spam! So instead of, use: me at gmail dot com.

The event will run until February 15th, and I will use a random generator to draw the winner. The winner will be announced on this blog, and I will contact you. Either by visiting your blog and commenting on your last entry, or using your email address.
This little pair of books will then be sent to you - worldwide - wherever you live. So join in the fun and leave a comment!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Little Red Book (part 1)

I can't resist wired little books - they are just begging to be altered, aren't they? This one was given out as a free gift by the post office. The papers were thin, but I glued several together so that they were thick and would not wrinkle.

Then I started painting the pages with the last paint on the palette left over from other projects. To be honest, I had no clue in what direction I wanted to go with this little book. Then I started to work on the cover, and wrote a message in the layer of gesso that I laid down first. From that moment on I knew that this was going to be a kind of journaling altered book.

I liked the idea of adding text to a page with a personal meaning to me, but not obvious for the reader. Leaving the reader the freedom to add his own meaning and interpertation to the page, the words and the images. While altering other books, I sometimes cut out a line of text. Something that triggered a memory, or a wise saying.

Or I tried finding poetry in a piece of torn text: found poetry. Like in this page (above) which I tore from an old book about a woman growing up in the previous century. The lines say:

I would
beneath an umbrella
the whole world

A little poem made up from almost one sentence alone. I like simplicity...

And sometimes I started with just glueing in images that I altered a bit and as serendipity occurred, within a day or so I would find a line of text that would just fit in.
Easy and simple. Not too much thinking. That is how I like it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Trail of Inspiration

This week I was challenged in a class on Inspiration to draw inspiration from a Beatrix Potter image. I did not grow up with these drawings, so the stories are not familiar to me. What struck me the most was the detailing and the amount of work in these paintings.

My first thought was: water colours (the paint, you know)  and soft tones. It had been a while since I used water colour paints and I wanted to get started again with them! Even though I am not an experienced painter and certainly don't apply these classic rules, like you cannot use white opaque paint in a water colour...!

The mice in the drawing made me think of something I did years ago: making finger prints (with ink or paint on paper) and drawing a long tail and ears, eyes, add some whiskers, and there you have it: a little mouse!
With an inkpad I tried to make the prints - felt a bit like a criminal - but the ink did not transfer very well. So after three attempts - they looked more like cats than mice anyway - I stopped.

Then came the thought: I have water colour brushes in Photoshop, how can I use these in combination with photographs? I started stamping the marks of the brush down in Photoshop. Soon it resembled a sort of 'photo mask' and I put a picture of my daughter's dog in it.
What a coincidence: I took the picture the day the dog learned to swim in the river - again that water connection!

The next idea was developed when I came across the artwork of Stephanie Levy. She uses black to make line art illustrations of interiors and colours them in with paint. She then adds patterened papers as a simple collage. Very clean and modern.

This reminded me of the spread I did in Julie's Altered Book about Historical colours. For her book I made a drawing of a French antique chair and outlined it in markers in a suitable colour.
So some decorating magazines came out and I started to trace lamps and chairs. Using coloured or black thin markers to outline them, filling in the colours with water colour paint.

I can understand why Stephanie likes to make this kind of work, it is fun and quick to work with. And I would love to experiment with pictures of my own interior! Well, only the nice pieces of course. On the other hand, I can just leave out the cracks and the dust bunnies!

The water colour inspiration trail did not come to an end yet. The next idea that turned up was painting swatches with water colour and tearing them in simple shapes, like petals, to use in collages or turn them into an illustration. Maybe have these tall childlike flowers reaching out to the sun? (I must be longing for spring).
Or I could use tissue paper and paint those - that would crumple up the paper and make a nice texture too.

So this is just an example of how one image can trigger the imagination and inspiration, if you just try looking behind the image itself. Even when that image has no special meaning to you.
I think that concentrating on inspiration these last few weeks made me so much more aware of how the things I encounter in everyday life can trigger so many new ideas.
And all I need now is the time to try them all out!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Rainbow Colours

I was looking for different objects around the house to photograph. The idea was to use objects in the colours of the rainbow. I did not have to look far: high up on the last shelf were some boxes with embridery floss that I have there for years - the dust on the lid poved it.
The colours in one of these boxes were somehow ordered in a rainbow sort of way: nice picture!

Then I selected some of thethreads and took seperate pictures, then placed them in one image. Maybe I should make a round shape with them? It will resemble a rainbow even better then.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Colour Combinations from Photographs

At the moment I am using photographs literally as inspiration for colour combinations. One of the easiest ways to do that is with the Kuler website:

You can let the website do it for you, but to be honest, I'd rather help the software to adjust it to the colours I like.

After working with these images of winter, I needed pictures with warmer colours:

Can you resist colours like this? Not me!
And a landscape photograph of Scotland in the autumn gave these colours to play with:

It is a highly addictive game to find these colours in your own photographs. But it is inspiring, so what other excuse do you need?

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Happy New Year!

Wishing you all a very happy New Year filled with the good things of life!