Monday, October 28, 2013

Hand Made Stamps using kids craft foam

I love to use my own home made tools in my art work

I am inspired by many artists and by nature and I have various themes that come up regularly in my own works, and with these influences I have been making stamps to use in various mixed media applications.

I enjoy the different looking pieces I can create with the recurring themes.

This one uses simple triangles repeated

and has quickly become a favorite and inspired me to do the same with diamonds, circles and squares

I think I need to trim away the sides more to avoid the "frame" affect but in a way I like how it adds to the page anyway.

Birds and plants are perennial favorites with me 

I use them with paint or an ink pad and I also use them on my gelli plate. I think I will keep finding other ways to use them though and because they are flexible they work well over changing layers or around corners.

I made these stamps using kids craft foam, simply drawing into it with a pen or a pencil and adding as much or as little detain as I wanted.Then it is simply backed with a second sheet of foam using double sided sticky tape. If you feel inspired and make some as well I would love to see what you do please leave a link in the comments so we can all share.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Happiness- Is there a secret to it?

Something we desire
 something we seek,
its within all of our reach,
its to do with attitude and choice.

Sometimes it is harder to find than at other times and in those times we need to dig a little deeper into ourselves, reach out to friends and loved ones or spend time with our animal friends.

Ah the secret of happiness.
 I don't really think there is any secret to happiness.
We all have our own ups and downs
 and its up to each and every one of us to decide
- in each moment -
 if we will be happy or not.

You cant live your life just happy though,
we have a full range of healthy emotions
 and should freely experience what we are feeling
 in every moment.

It's awareness that really matters.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cleaning Up after a big Gelli Plate session

Have you joined in with the gelli plate printing fun?
I have  been loving mine so much I have bought a whole class set and am now teaching with them.

That also means a class set of tools to use for printmaking and that means piles pf painty equipment to clean regularly, so I have been getting plenty of practice.

I have a shallow plastic box that I collect all the paint covered brayers and stencils and punchinella and everything else we use in and transport it home. When I get home I fill it with water till it covers everything and then I leave it to soak over night.

The next day I bring everything to the sink and use an assortment of tools to clean things up. My fingers and running water can remove quite a lot after a good soak

An old tooth brush is soft and perfect for getting a lot more paint removed, especially from little holes.

Both sides always need cleaning after youth art classes, at home I  only need to clean very rarely as I manage to get most of the paint onto my work.

I also use an old glass chopping board on an angle under the tap as a flat surface to gently scrub the stencils on, it also means I don't need to bend over the sink quite so much.

Stubborn bits can be gently scrubbed with a scoring pad.

A final rinse, and its ready for the nest class/

I dry them on old nappies from when my boys were babies.

Now the gelli plates themselves, I don't soak them overnight.

They go into the sick with some dish washing liquid and warm water for a few minutes soaking.

Most of the paint comes off with gentle rubbing with my fingers but a make up sponge is very gentle and assists with any stubborn paint.

I then rinse them in clean cool water and they dry on the nappies as well. Every few weeks I follow these steps with a gentle wipe with baby oil to remove the staining in the gelli plates, this is not really needed though as the staining does not affect the gelli plates usage at all.

Then its back into my printmaking box and I am ready to go again.

How do you clean your printmaking equiptment?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Happy Accidents

You know how much I am loving my waste paint journal, it is my current favorite and it goes everywhere with me, I have added a heap of quotes I had printed out and had laying around from a class I am teaching and I have been working my way through the pages but I have found an annoying problem, especially when my journal is in a warm car for a period of time the pages are sticking together and then when I try to separate them they sometimes tear.

So I have been coming up with ideas for repairing the pages and ways to overcome the sticking.  I have a growing washi tape obsession so that is a good way to repair tears and in the top image you can see a bright pink cross of washi tape under the little bird, it worked well to repair the tear and then I stenciled over it to tone it down a little and I love it. The page above had a big tear as well so for this one I glued in a paper doiley that I had been using as a mask, it repaired the page and added texture and interest to the page.

Some of my ideas for overcoming the sticky pages are using waxy mediums on the top layer of the page, things like neocolour II's oil pastels, crayons or rubbing with a white candle all really help or chalky mediums also help soft pastels or inca gold or a light coat of talcum powder or corn flour are unseen but effective.  Another idea I am using is adding a page or a different barrier between my thick acrylic pages, like this tip in, I painted, collaged and stenciled over a sturdy piece of packaging to add a lovely rounded edge barrier that has a place underneath for more private ponderings.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Playing with Resists


I love experimenting in my art journals, playing with intention and also those happy little accidents that just happen. I had cleaned off a stamp in my journal here that I had been using with white acrylic paint, some time later I wanted to test out the new colours I got in distress ink pads and the 2 mediums worked beautifully together and got me thinking about different ways to use this resist from the white paint and what else could I use to highlight it?

I did some stencilling with white acrylic and experimented with dylusions sprays, I love this resist but the bleed through was pretty heavy and that was in a dylusions journal so was a bit disappointing. 


This one was white gesso through a stencil and I used a paint brush with alcohol inks , the colours are really vivid and I loved the interactivity between the colours and the gesso.

This one is on canvas and I have white acrylic resists and also modeling paste to add layers and depth.

Friday, October 11, 2013

"Nature Study" A travelling Art Journal

 One of the things I really love about the modern internet connected world is forming communities online that span great distances and finding friends with similar interests and outlooks all over the world.

One way I love to join in with my online tribe is to share in travelling art journals and there is nothing like the thrill of finding a package like this covered in foreign stamps waiting in your mail box-

 So much fun opening it up and discovering all of the grace and beauty snuggled in the pages.

Then adding your own work.

This journal swap was put together by the amazing Palma Rea on Milliande's online art community for women.

I had 2 super talented partners and we each sent our journals around a few times

This and other pages here are by the most gorgeous Helen Lindton

And this one is a sample from lovely Karen Musgrave
you can see more of her gorgeous work at Connections by Karen 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Working with Little People

I just love sharing my passion with kids.

I love sending them off with something special, something unique, something they have created.

I love their joy and smiles.

I love their freedom and abandon 

I love their trust and openness 

and I love it extra when they bring their mum who is an incredibly talented photographer. Thank you so much  for these gorgeous images Toni Hutchison 

Saturday, October 5, 2013


So Thankful
 for all the blessings in my life
Things have been really busy and challenging here lately,
for me and for my friends,
 there has been a swelling of overwhelm
and also of incredible resilience and positivity.

I had a dear friend have a horse accident and broke her back, luckily she is OK, she is in a brace for a couple of months and she is on light duties but she is doing well, she is such an amazing and inspiring positive person and she will be fine- there is so much to be grateful there. Another friend has had ongoing legal battles to protect her beautiful precious child for 7 years so far (most of his life), I am so grateful he is safe for now and growing up into a beautiful person, and that he is such good friends with my youngest boy. Unfortunately we had an accident coming home the other night and hit a kangaroo causing a lot of damage to my car, we were all safe though and I am so thankful none of us were hurt and my car can be fixed.

All of this here and what is happening in the world has me reflecting on
and the many ways I am blessed in my life,
I am so thankful for my family-
those living with me and those living away, you all know me at my worst and love me anyway, you all add so much to my life and I love you all so much. I know my sons and my mum are there for me no matter what.I am so thankful to Adam for fathering our beautiful boys and working hard to support us.
I am so thankful to K for the wonderful soul searching intimate relationship we have, for the personal growth and challenges we have shared over the last 3 years and the love and support we offer each other.
I am so thankful to live in Australia and especially here on the beautiful NSW north coast on my beloved mighty mighty Clarence river. I love my country I have such a deep connection to this space to the age old spreading fig tree's and the towering gums, to the dozens of kangaroo's out the back paddock. to the multitude of birds that share our space and clear starry skies. I love our north coast community - there are some incredible people and groups and organisations here.
I am so thankful to live the life I do, homeschooling my boys, finally getting our house built and having the work opportunities to share my love and passion for art with people.

I am truly blessed.

There is so much to be thankful for, I could go on and on but will save that for another journal page. My little one and I are off to see Medicine for the People in Byron in a couple of days and we can't wait. I am so thankful for this opportunity and the internet where we discovered Nahko and his tribe.

Life is good.