Sunday, November 27, 2011

Raw Art Journal: the Elephant in the Room

 It has been a while that I have uploaded the new pages from my Art journal. The last few weeks I am busy with drawing and sketching, trying to develop a new habit and enjoy a bit of uncomplicated creativity every day.
And yes, I certainly need to brush up those drawing skills as well... :-) So that is a bonus as well!

This page is about "the elephant in the room". Something so obvious - there is no way you can't overlook an elephant in your room, can you - and the habit of ignoring it all together.

I have noticed the hard way that there are things that you get so used to, but are not really regarded as 'normal'. You just think it is 'normal' cause you are so used to it for many, many years. It has become a part of your life. It has become normal for me to have that elephant sitting in my room.
But it is not normal. Absolutely not. And I have to see that elephant for what it is: an elephant. Something so big that I can't overlook it. Eventhough it is sometimes hard to acknowledge it. I need to recognise that elephant, knowing that even if I don't speak about it, or are not allowed to speak about it, it is still there.
Undeniable, obvious and present. This page will help me to remember that...

So the question for you is, how many elephants are there in your room? Are there things in your life that you'd rather not speak about? Do you have the courage to acknowledge them and start a converstation about it? Or do you just ignore it?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Gouache Paint and Memories of Art Class

While I am (hopefully) wrapping up most of the paperwork of the past weeks, I am going through my art materials and experimenting with the old art materials I have lying around for years now.
Most of the time I prefer to work with acrylic paint because of all the layering that I can add on top of each layer of paint. But on the other hand I would like to work quicker and not having to deal with these big jars and palets with drying paint that is then unusable.

So I took out my tubes of gouache paint. While I was adding colours to my palet (one where they can dry and then hopefully be re-used by adding water again), memories of my schooldays immediately popped up in my head.
It was in this art class that I first used this kind of paint, the one that comes from tubes or pots. We learned to sketch, learned calligraphy with different pens, made posters and even learned to do hand lettering with this paint.

And I still remember that I always had a problem to add the right amount of water so that the paint would cover the white of the paper - the teacher would not approve of transparant paint in our work - but still be fluid enough to paint nice letters. Back in these days we had no computers to make our fonts, so we learned to draw them with pencil on paper with T-rulers and  set squares and then coloured them with paint. A very labour-intensive job, but I loved to lay down the colours and turning a plain white paper into a little piece of art.

In a small container I found some very old tubes of gouache and some newer ones. One of them was completely dried up. So with a sharp knife I cut through the metal of the tube and put the paint on the palet.
This way I can still use it (like a pan) and don't have to throw it away.

In a seperate small sketchbooks I painted swatches of all the colours that I have. While I had no reasons to add new colours while I was working with watercolours earlier this year ( see: How many colours do you need ), I think I need some new ones for gouache... I definitly need some extra red, purple, green and a light blue. Maybe even some grey? :-)

I am looking forward to try drawing over the paint with coloured pencils (mixing media as usual) and I might try to do some handlettering as well, something I learned from this teacher as well. Though I might want to try updating the look of these letters though... :-)

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Absorbed by Digital Design

One of the challenging bits as a mother of special needs children is the enormous amount of paperwork that has to be processed when something changes in their lives. It is unbelievable what you have to do to make things work out.

You have to bury yourselves in papers that have to be completely read and understood, find the little 'snakes underneath the grass', research internet thoroughly to make sure that you know almost as much as the help line operators of the organisations with which you have to deal with. And of course, it is just not one organisation, there are often at least three different ones!

And did I mention the amount of papers you have to read (and reread cause you simply get confused)?

So it was very refreshing for me to be distracted and getting totally absorbed by the online Illustrator 2 Class with Laura Coyle on

It has been a while that I had taken a class on anything digital for a while. Working with mixed media and getting my hands literally dirty was working just fine for me at this moment in my life.
But am I glad that I signed up! This class was so inspirational, the teaching was superb and I learned so much. Which is a great achievement for any teacher since I have been working with digital design and software for decades.

Laura really got us absorbed in Illustrator. There was a huge amount of instructional videoos, but not just techniques and how tools worked, but she got us busy from the first few videoos on, which I just loved. Ideas were running around in my head and I could not keep up with that flow!
The promise of getting my hands dirty in Illustrator helped me to get through all the heaps of papers and rules.

And I even skipped yoga classes 3 weeks in a row to enjoy the live chat we had in which Laura gave mini demonstrations and answered our questions right on the spot. Never done that before...

As usual, the online classes from Renee Pearson are of high quality. High quality video and sound, great website, prompt messages about the posting of lessons and extremely quick responses to any technical difficulty that you encounter.

The teacher, Laura Coyle is a professional illustrator and designer and is a great skilled teacher. Chek out her art work and blog here:

She offers  several classes and is preparing a new one for Illustrator Brushes in december. To keep informed, make sure to sign up for the newsletter from for info about upcoming classes, live chats and sometimes great discounts for limited time for some of the classes.

There is still a lot of paperwork to be done, which I absolutely start to hate (a word which I hardly use but is the one word appropriate for the situation). Papers seem to be scattered all around the floor in my little workroom (but believe me, there is some kind of a system in it) but I love the escape that I have rediscovered: designing digitally and letting my ideas run wild!