Got my Gelli on

It’s a long weekend, it’s cold, Tony’s gone out to help his cousin with house stuff – so….it’s Gelli Plate time. The picture’s below are random Gelli Plate pulls so that I’ll work back into; cut up, stick together, rip, paint over, and generally have fun with.

I sometimes watch videos of other people working with their Gelli Plates and all I can think is – OMG they are *so* tidy. Here’s my art desk today:

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2012 as a blogger

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 11 years to get that many views. In 2012, there were 57 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 559 posts. There were 129 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 190 MB. That’s about 2 pictures per week. The busiest day of the year was June 10th with 177 views. The most popular post that day was New home office / art room.

These are the posts that got the most views in 2012.

Visitors came from 98 countries in all! Most visitors came from The United States, New Zealand and the United Kingdom were not far behind.

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Making a new art journal

I’ve been converting an A5 notebook into an art journal for the coming year. I usually have more than one art journal on the go. This one’s role is to encourage me to draw more often, and make notes of ideas as they flash though my brain. I coated all the pages with gesso, and have spent a few afternoons painting, inking and stenciling to get rid of much of the whiteness. I’m nearly finished and the process has been very therapeutic as I mourn the loss of Mum, and incredibly messy. I can’t wait to start gluing bits and bobs into it, drawing on top of the paint, and generally just using it – not storing it, putting it on the bookcase and leaving it there or making it too precious to use.


Experimenting with stencils

I’ve been experimenting with stencils and spray inks lately. I find the process quite messy, probably because I forget to put gloves on in my excitement to get started, but I love the results. The inks I’ve been using aren’t waterproof so I have to be careful about using water media in the top layers, but other than that, they’re very versatile.  I’ve also starting making my own sprays by using Golden Fluid acrylics and water in a fine Derwent spray bottle. It means I can make my own colours and the result is waterproof so I can use water media in the upper layers.  Incidentally, I got the spray bottle to go with a set of Derwent Inktense Blocks, and I love them.

I can see all kinds of possibilities with layering images using the stencils. I lent them to some ladies at the library the other day, and they had a great time decorating garden pots using them. We gave the terracotta pots two quick coats of gesso, then a base layer of whatever acrylic colour they fancied and let them loose with the stencils.

In the meantime my friend Martha Marshall has started experimenting with Gelli Plates. Martha makes fabulous prints anyways; she’s a fearless artist who never hesitates to experiment. I’m fortunate to own a few works by Martha and love them all. Anyway, watching the work she is producing with the Gelli Plates makes me want to try incorporating some print making with using stencils. In the past I have done lino cutting and mono prints, so once I have done the next newspaper and sent it to the printers, it might be time to get out the lino cutting tools…

This is the lino I cut for printing the Coliseum

Making signatures

I’ve starting making trial signatures for a swap I’m involved in. We each make 11 sets of signatures, and send off by the 20th Sept, and signatures back from a variety of amazing artists. You can see more about it here.

I have been playing with some quite heavy watercolour paper, and have decided it is a bit *too* heavy. The other day I ordered some lovely paper from Gordon Harris, and I’m going to have a play with those tomorrow. I’ve got some mixed media paper, rice paper, watercolour paper and one other – escapes me for the moment just what it was. So far I have stuck with black, white and red, and have been using foam stamps, old credit cards, a spray bottle, stencils and marker pens. The mark making is too dark for the look I want; tomorrow’s lot will be a bit less obvious. Here’s what I have been doing so far:


Like an old-fashioned diary

I sometimes hear people say that in 100 years time there will be no evidence of us; blogs, Twitter, emails and digital photos mean we’re not recording our lives in the same way that our forbears did. It’s true that we’re not recording our lives in the same ways as the pioneers did. The days of a quill pen, bottles of ink, and diary are long gone. But many of us *are* leaving a trace of ourselves.

I still write letters to some people and, yes, I use a fountain pen with fabulous coloured inks. I admit they’re not 10 page wonders full of the adventures of living in a new land far away, but they are a record of my hand writing, and the fact that I care enough to put pen to paper.

And of course I scrapbook, as do many thousands of people around the world. I don’t even remember how I started scrapbooking but it’s the perfect hobby for someone who loves to play with scissors and glue! In the early days of scrapbooking  becoming popular as a hobby it was quite regimented in a sense, with very strong emphasis on preservation and archival materials. A lot of people still scrap that way, and they are leaving an amazing legacy behind. Most of my scrapping is still safe enough but I also do more art journal style pages now, where the photos are copies and I don’t care how long the page lasts.

I have no children of my own, so that begs the question – if I am documenting my life, who am I documenting it for? I used to think I knew the answer to that, but not any more. There are a few possibilities that occur to me. Some relative might want the scrapbooks as a reminder of our family. Maybe. I might adopt a child in my 50s and they will want the scrapbooks. Um, not happening. Or some poor soul will have to dispense with them when I die, just like I had to deal with my Aunt’s teaspoons. Likely scenario.

So why do I keep scrapping? For the love of it. I love the colours, the papers, the artistry, the freedom to get my thoughts down in a permanent form, the chance to tell people how I feel about having them in my life. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what happens to my scrapbooks, what matters is that creating them enriches my life.

For the record, the photos are not great – light fell across the pages, the camera wasn’t straight on so I had to crop them funny, etc. In real life, the photos are straight, the edges square etc. Oh well…

Envelope fun to distract me

A few posts back I advertised a mail art swap – I’m really looking forward to seeing people’s envelopes turn up by the middle of July. Last Wednesday night I had a car accident; a drunk driver pulled out to pass a car, straight into my path. I almost managed to get out of the way, so things could have been a lot worse. Anyway, I’ve had a few days off work because I ache all over, and have limited movement in my shoulders. Trouble is, I hate having nothing to do … hmm?

I know – decorate envelopes. Something I could sit quietly and play with at my own pace, and not needing much shoulder movement. Excellent! Hauled out some art supplies  – ink dyes, sprays, acrylic paint, gel medium, Copic pens, collage papers, stencils, foam stamps –  and sat myself down in the sun Here’s a few of the 20 or so I’ve made so far. Letter writing will ensue 😉

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This is the only photo of have of my car post-accident; glad I can’t see it really.

Wrist-deep in paper scraps

Today the sun came out – kind of – so I zoomed through some housework, put the bread maker on, and hauled out my scrapbooking supplies. I always do a little scrapbooking but I haven’t spent a whole day scattering paper and glue to the four winds for ages. It was such fun! For one terrible moment I thought I was about to run out of Henzo photo splits but then I had a brain wave and, sure enough, there are 3 more packets of 500 in my supply bag! Mind you, I could always ring Mary and David at Craft House (KiwiScraps) and order more in; they’re such lovely people to deal with.

I have a huge stockpile of old family photos but am beginning to run out of new photos, so it’s obviously time I sent an order to SnapFish. As much as I love all the old photos, I wouldn’t want to do nothing but heritage pages because I enjoy the modern colours too much. Anyway, here are just a few of the layouts I did today. These are terrible photos of them, but my scanner isn’t big enough to take 12×12″ – I promise all the photos are actually square etc.

New home office / art room

I am determined that some good things are going to come out of Mum going into the home. One easy win is moving my home office / art room into her old bedroom – it’s a much lighter, warmer space, and larger too. (I do still have my outside art studio, but it has “issues”)

Tony and I have spent most of the weekend sorting, moving, hanging artwork etc. We’re both tired, but the final result is excellent. I have a light bright clean and tidy space, with a lazyboy chair in the corner so Tony can sit and read while I do whatever. One of the things I love is that some of my favorite artworks are now on the wall where I spend most of my home time. There’s a piece from Legato by Sophia Elise (it has Dad’s name on it, and my ‘2nd Dad’ Jack as well), 3 stripe paintings by Tanya Dann, a large fluro blue butterfly Tony bought me in Christchurch, the piece I did about our trip to Rome and 5 ACEOs by Martha Marshall.

I really like the inspiration of having favored pieces around me, and also having a clean well organised space. I can’t wait to get creating in it. I feel so fortunate.