Wednesday, 23 October 2013

'Expand Your Horizons' Art Tile Fun!

Hello Lovely!

I hope you're well and happy? Have you been arty? Ooooo - do tell!  It's good to be back, and I have stuff to share and things to show. Without further ado, here's my first offering for you ...


This is an art tile I've been working on for a couple of weeks now - FINALLY finished, lacquered and ready for Etsy. I've decided to try and sell more through Etsy if I can as it's a bit tough to get to galleries at the mo but the bills still keep a-comin'!

I love art tiles ... they're such a versatile form of art display. You can mount them in open or covered frames, attach a small hook and hang them as they are, or display them on a stand or easel. It means you can add colourful art to any corner or wall, no matter where you live. This one measures 30cm x 20cm and is roughly 5mm deep. There are twenty-three separate pieces, hand cut and painted to my design, assembled in layers to give a slightly dimensional effect. I took a FEW pictures so I could show you some of the process:

First - I select the colours, a mix of gouache and liquid acrylics, then cut strips of card (about 1mm thick) - and paint. Once dry, I drew some stylised waves onto the strips. I REALLY wanted this to have a more illustrative look. Out with those trusty Tim Holtz scissors....snip snip!


Once done, I added outlines and details with really rich and creamy acrylic ink, representing the movement of the sea and foam -


I'd decided to add a mix of turquoise, grey-blue and sea greens - any excuse to use some of my favourites! I'd already sketched the overall design so I had a good idea of what the final image would look like, but I still had to play about with layers and shapes to make sure I'd be happy.

The sun layers are done in much the same way, but I opted to crumple the pages - the surface of the sun isn't smooth after all! This paper is fairly lightweight and to achieve crisp creases I moistened the paper with a light mist and left it to dry while crumpled up. Once dry I opened it carefully and painted it - the paint colour was perfectly smooth but the wrinkles were still crisp.


At this point I managed to delete the rest of the pictures when I stupidly cleared the wrong memory card on my camera!  BUT - basically, I carried on in much the same way, drawing and cutting shapes freehand to match the sketch I'd made. I used a combination of multi-medium matte gel and very high-tack glue to assemble everything once I'd laid it all out and taken a quick piccy to remind me of what I should be doing! I deleted that piccy too. I am an idiot.

Once everything was set, I added background detail. The art board had already been wrapped in roughly 12 layers of acid-free tissue paper, then covered with smooth designer paper and given a quick spray of lacquer as a base for paint - works a treat. The white acrylic ink is perfect for this design - it really adds to the idea of a tile, as it has an embossed look and a slight gloss. I added gilding wax and heated it enough to create a bubbled texture.

I wanted some text and I added the words "Explore your horizons - take a leap of faith!" around the sun. I wanted them to be subtle so that the colours and images would be what caught the viewer's eye.

Once everything was 'just so', I added several layers of lacquer, leaving them to dry naturally. This really does give the finished piece the look and feel of a tile, which I LOVE!  Here are some more pics of the final design:


I had a nice time decorating the back of the tile - like I say, these are really wonderful arty projects to create! Already covered in the tissue colours, I added layers of printed and stencilled circles along with some wave layers to reflect the main design. I added a title block made of recycled paper which I heavily distressed so that it would look like it had been floating through the oceans in a bottle! 



Honestly, I had so much fun doing this I'm almost sorry I'm done! Think I might design another one....oooo....or a couple of little ones! oooooo......   If you'd like to buy this original artwork, or look at the Etsy auction you can view it directly by clicking HERE

I'm off now to add this to my Etsy shop, then I shall be back with another post! Thanks for reading - big hugs, Shroo :) xxx

Monday, 14 October 2013

Pretty Peacock Journals

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit's MONDAY!... still....wow... feels like it should be Tuesday already! THAT'S because I have been a busy little bumble bee today finishing a couple of new journals with some of my completely favourite papers from DCWV's Royal Garden collection. They needed to be used for something special and this seemed like the best plan! I've made journals to this design before and they've been well received so....time to be brave and Etsy a couple! Here are some pics and links to the Etsy auctions if you'd like to go have a look and support a hard-working artist! Your words and encouragement - and purchases! - mean the WORLD to me!

 The journals are 16.5cm x 11cm, perfect for carry-round art journals or travel journals, with 5 signatures - pamphlet stitched with waxed linen thread. I've created a wraparound presentation protector, hand-painted with my own designs

'A Peacock's Tail' journal:


 View this item on Etsy HERE
'Peacock Feather Majesty'







View this item on Etsy HERE

Do you like them? I love these colours...these were a joy to make. Is there something you'd like me to blog about? Need a tutiorial? Comment or message me and I'll see what I can do for ya. Thank you for reading - hope you are having a lovely week so far. See ya soon! Love and hugs - Shroo :) xxx

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Hidden Treasures 'Life's Journey' Art Book

Aaaaaaaah... Sunday.......Aaaaaaaaaaah....*Sips cup of tea*....... The perfect day for putting my feet up, enjoying a good brew and just plain ignoring all the things I still have to do! I'll get to it manana....

Are we all enjoying the weekend? I do hope so! Here in England it's grey and bleak outside, but we've had a reasonable week of bright skies so that's not so bad. I have another project that I'd like to share - it's one of my finished Hidden Treasures - Art Books. These bring me real joy to make and do take quite some time, as (unlike an art journal or similar project) I want every page to be perfect and exactly how I like it. This book measures a little over 9cm x 9cm square and the base pages are blank coasters altered with a combination of vintage collage and mixed media application. The book is bound with vintaged binder d-rings, decorated with a plethora of charms and trinkets which nestle within some seam binding ribbons and hand-dyed yarns.

The covers and pages have a vintage or retro feel to them - which I personally love. These books are all a part of me and they reflect my likes and interests.



The fastening is a seam binding ribbon bow,  adorned with italian glass hand-blown lampwork heart bead, two with delicate white glass ribbon design, and two 'Fantasy Rose' beads, with a rich old-gold and delicate pink design.

I like to add hidden messages or books inside these projects - this 'Life's Journey' book features a little secret book which opens to reveal artwork based on my deep love of nature and wildlife as well as little motivational words:


The other pages in the book were completed as individual works of art before binding and I'm extremely pleased with the final results - I hope you like them too:

The sunshine page was completed upon my return after a car journey in the countryside, watching the evening sun sink behind the hills and the gold of the rays looking like liquid metal flowing over the land below. I used melted gold wax with extra real gold powder to reflect the memory I had of that moment. The 'bloom & grow' page was completed after watching the seed heads of flowers in the garden releasing their tiny parachutes into the wind. They would fly far and wide and grow in some tough landscapes, providing beauty and a habitat for wildlife wherever they grew.


My 'Love Yourself...' page is a reflection of my belief that whoever we are and whatever kind of life we lead, we forget to appreciate our own uniqueness. We are each a work of art in our own way, and if we can learn to love ourselves in an honest way, we will truly bloom. The sea-side page was created after looking at family photos of trips to the seaside. I love the sea and sea-shore and it holds perfect memories of adventure and happiness with family members now long gone. I wanted to capture the idea of these days with this vintage design stamp, which reminds me a little of my grandmother, along with the real tiny sea-shells, and the silver coin - pirate treasure!




This 'Serenity' page is simply inspired by my mood on that day. I love the images and colours - it gives me a sense of peace. The other page is my tribute to the people who are not BORN into our lives, but who choose to love us and be there for us in times of need as well as in carefree times. TRUE friendship is worth more than anything. I've chosen to extend the image beyond the border of the page as gives more interest to the book as a whole. I also added some little metal embellishments - I love the look of them against the rest of the page.





There's a fine line between 'exploring' and 'escaping'....sometimes one leads to the other in some way, but I feel we all need to find the balance there so that we can make clear choices for ourselves. The 'walk the line' page was created after thinking about this  - I like to represent (and exorcise!) my thoughts and ideas artistically and symbolically. The matching page is such a representation....time passes quickly which can make us feel sad and unfulfilled,but we forget all the skills we've collected, the important lessons that have been learned, and all the beauty we've seen. Rather that looking wistfully at landmark birthdays past, we should look towards the future and the landmarks we'll create for ourselves! Experience guides us to possibilities.


My 'Follow Your Heart' page was created straight after the previous page and is a continuation of my feelings on that day. I love heart shapes and I'll include them as often as possible! My little Bluebird of Happiness is just that - an expression of joy! I'd been playing music and singing along (my poor neighbours!) and felt so happy! We should ALL sing whenever we feel like it! Little bluebird is painted with a mixture of acrylic paints, cosmic shimmer paints and acrylic inks.


"Starlight, star bright, first star I see tonight -
I wish I may, I wish I might
Have this wish I wish tonight!"

But I have SOOOO many wishes! And there are SOOOO many stars! I'm gonna wish every wish I can! These stars are painted with shimmer mica paints, decorated with spirals - the life path - and individually enamelled. I like the kind of 1950s retro colours and pattern.





 Oh - you KNEW there'd be a mermaid in there somewhere! I'm currently working on a 'Mermaid Realm' book - MUCHO mermaidness! I just loved this happy little image of the girl on the stunning papers from Graphic 45 and she HAD to have a tail! What could be better than being a mermaid? She's painted with layers of blue and green, then finished with shimmering gold accompanied by her friend, the sea-turtle (vintage illustration), swimming across a genuine Japanese washi paper square which is itself highlighted with gold ink designs. I love this page!


The edges of the book are all painted, inked and then gilded to create a splendid vintage look and feel. I enjoy adding texture to my work, so when it came to the final page, I used some modelling paste to stencil these yummy orange circles as an accent to this page. This was pure self-indulgence - all those hearts and happy colours!


Every little bit of this book is decorated and filled with love. It carries my artist's signature and is an edition of only one. No copies. This is the first of these books that I'm adding to my Etsy store, rather than selling privately or via a gallery. You can view the auction by clicking the Etsy icon below.

Thank you so much for looking - hope you've enjoyed the post. Is there anything you'd like to see on this blog? Do you have suggestions about what arty crafty things you'd like me to post? Why not leave a comment or email me and let me know - I'd love to hear from you! As always - love and hugs, Shroo :) xxx