Monday, 16 March 2015

An Arty Ramble Through My Heart

Hey there, lovely!

First - before the general ramble begins - a special big thank you to those of you who made me feel SOOOOOOOOOOO much better by commenting on my last post, or by emailing. I meant the world to me and I'm so grateful that you'd take the time to gimme hugs and support - I promise that I have kicked myself up the behind a bit this week and have done useful things like tidying, cleaning, dusting etc - although the vacuum cleaner is still growling at me resentfully (and inactively) from the cupboard under the stairs...I swear I hear the damn thing muttering when I walk past. I'll drag it out this week at some point and give the carpet a coronary! 

So - aside from actually doing normal human things that normal human beings do to NOT live in a complete mess (I actually loathe mess! And studio....yeah....go figure!), I've actually had quite a good amount of arty time. I've been working on some new stock for my Etsy shop - sneak peek:

 More on those when I list them - which, all being well, should be in the next day or so. 

I've been doodling again. There seems to be a lot of half finished doodly doodleness - mainly because I do them to relax before sleep (if I get sleep) so they cease to progress the moment I nod off, and inevitably I'll begin a new one the next evening, showing callous disregard for the abandoned scratchings that languish on earlier pages. There's nothing so annoying as half-done doodles so I've determined to finish some off this week, beginning with Mr Fishy -
 I know, I know, another sea-based doodle, but I'll always freely admit it's my happy plaice! (sorry....bad joke....I should be 'pun'ished. Oh ye gads.....shoot me!) Fishies, mermaids, jellyfishies, octopuseseseses and lighthouses all make me happy! Apart from anything else, finishing a few of these will get me motivated to finish the enormous wildlife pen & ink piece based on Australia's flora and fauna that I started.....oooo.... in about 1200BC or something.....I'll finish it, oh yes I will! Do you think attention span might be an issue? Do ya? DO YA? ...huh....

I also made a return to my main art journal, which has been a bit of an arty obstacle since the Yuletide season. I'd made a collage spread for Valentine's Day - collage is a great go-to technique when Miss Arty Muse is being a right old cow and not playing. She's lured in by colourful snippings. Fickle creature. I took some process photos at the time so here ya go:

I started with a thin, relatively neutral base coat covered with a second coat of blended yellow & orange acrylic paint and then used an old voucher card as a scraper to add some fairly random bright colours that made me happy:

I cut out some photos of flowers from my Uncle's and Granparents' gardens, along with one of my mum when she was a little girl - something to represent each of the people who mean so much and who are now partying on down like crazy over that rainbow bridge. Once I'd figured out how I wanted them placed on the page I adhered them using a matte gel medium. 

**Helpful tip #1: If you ARE going to try this with photos and you plan to coat the top of the collage as well as pasting the underside of each image, test your product on an unimportant photo corner to make sure that the medium won't affect the print. It SHOULD be ok, but as with all things it's best to check. I know that polaroids, for example, can go a bit iffy with some products - just be careful. **

**Helpful tip #2: Photos can be quite a thick collage element - it makes layering awkward. However, you can usually separate the surface image from the backing sheet relatively easily - as long as you're careful. I tend to start at the corner and use a fingernail to split the layers and peel gently. You may have to work inwards from more than one corner - just take your time, and you should be left with a nice thin photo image which layers beautifully onto your page. It's like peeling apart a napkin, just a bit more long-winded.**

I gave my mum butterfly wings by using a Brenda Walton (I think) sticker from K&Co, cutting it in half and layering the photo image over the stickers

I used my Uni ball Impact 1.0 gel pen to make a smudgy outline and added details and doodles with the white gel version of the same pen and some bright yellow fluid acrylic:

Then I added some lyrics as a kind of 'sentiment' - they seemed apt - and dated the page

This weekend was Mother's Day - the first one without mum. I found it hard going - much moreso than I'd expected and I was pretty sad. I wanted to journal the day and use mycolourful art journal again, but my mind was a blank. I took out my box of photos and picked up one of me when I was a little girl, taken on a flower-picking trip with my mum and my Grandma. It made me happy and sad at the same time, and I decided that I'd use it as the inspiration for my page. 

I collaged some wrapping paper I'd been hoarding and smooshed some acrylic paints onto the page with my fingers. I wanted the flowers on the paper to show through the paint so using my fingers was a good way to control where the colour went. When I was happy, I added some splashes of watery Cosmic Shimmer paint in blue and gold (Cosmic Shimmer watercolours are kind of like the sparkling H2Os - I love them). This page was more about capturing a feeling than anything else. I used my brush and some buff coloured acrylic to block in the outlines of the figure-

I decided to update the figure and add red hair and the colours I always seem to use when I paint a representation of myself , splodging the colours in loosely. I wanted this to represent me then as well as me now and didn't want to overthink it at all.

When I was done adding colour I used my gel pen (trusty thing) to scribble in a bit of definition and a touch of shading then splodged in the buttercups, just hinting at stems and leaves-

Finally I added the last few scribbly lines with first the black gel pen, then with the white, just to lift the page a bit-

It's a page that reflects how I felt exactly at that moment. I do think it's good to allow your art to reflect something of who you are inside, how you feel....what makes you YOU. It's not all about technique - at least that's what I think.

Anyway, whilst rummaging through that photo box I found some old pics of me with my mum and my Grandma and was reminded again of the importance of recording memories. I have a little book that mum gave me YEARS ago called "Wishing You Happiness", written by Pam Brown:

Reading through this little book I could hear mum's voice - her laugh. This and the photos made me feel like I'd spent time with my mum and Grandma again and it made me so much happier. I thought I'd share some of the book with you, along with a few of the pictures that I found - I hope you like them. I hope something beautiful and remarkable happens for you this week that makes you smile and that you enjoy the warmth of family and friends. This I wish for you. See you soon - hugs and sunshine from Shroo :) xxx

Wishing You Happiness

...adventures with happy endings.
...mornings of glad anticipation.
...quiet sleep and glad awakening.

My Wishes For You

I wish you the joy of always having someone to share things with.
* * * 
My wish for you is that sometimes, just sometimes, you can afford the thing you long for, rather than the thing that will do.
* * * 
I wish you enough good memories to see you through the bad times.
* * * 
I wish you one of the best of small happinesses, the opening of a well-remembered book, the smoothing of the page, the first familiar words...
* * * 
I wish you the happiness of finding the perfect present for someone you love.
* * * 
I wish you spring - the amazement that is always better than you dared expect.
* * * 

I wish you the happiness of a gift from a child;
- a bunch of dandelions
- a fluff-coated toffee
- a frog
- a kiss
* * *

* * * 
Strength and Courage

If I had the power to make one wish for you, I would find it very hard to decide what gift to give - what gift would help you to happiness. Beauty is dangerous, wisdom must be earned, love is of your own choosing.
But in the end, I am certain that I would choose the best gift of all - and that is courage.
* * * 
May you never purchase "love" at the price of becoming a doormat.
* * * 
May you always find exactly the right words to put bullies in their place - and enough strength in your knees to walk out with dignity.
* * * 
May you have a loving heart - and shrewd judgment.
* * * 
There is great happiness to be found in giving. but giving endlessly can drain the mind and heart. Learn to take a little  - even if it is a moment in the garden, a gallery, a cafe. 
Appreciate it.
Let the birds and frogs and pictures, music and books and undemanding friends restore you. 
People need nourishment.
* * *

I Wish You The Joy Of:

Seeing your luggage come safely round the carousel.
A letter from someone whose address you have lost.
Seeing someone's face light up at the sight of you.
Knowing you are needed.
Finding the perfect present.
Spotting your missing cat plodding up the path.
The smell of land, far out to sea.
A skein of geese passing low overhead, calling.
Biplanes stunting on a summer's day.
Sun-dried linen.
Dawn, mid ocean.
The right one realising just who you really are inside - 
and loving you for it.
Taking off your smart shoes.
The sight of the one you love at the end of the platform.
Pistachio nuts.
Discovering that you have not, after all, thrown your friend's letter on the fire with the birthday wrappings.
Walking in the rain.
* * * 

I wish you the happiness of love, that does not change with change, that shines as surely in age as in youth.
* * * 
I hope you always have room in your life for another friend.
* * * 
I wish you letters:
in handwriting that you recognise at once;
in handwriting that you have not seen for years;
in handwriting totally unknown.
I wish you letters full of praise,
full of encouragement;
letters of thanks and love.
* * *

I wish you happiness
but not the happiness which is purchased by shutting out the world.
Nor that of denying your dream for comfort's sake.
I wish you the happiness of doing what you do as best you can.
Of taking the risk of trying
of taking the risk of giving
of taking the risk of loving
* * *

*  *  * 


  1. Fantastic work Rachel. I hope you will link that gorgeous spread with the girl with butterfly wings to Art Journal Journey? My vacuum cleaner is mean, it doesn't mutter but it gets under my feet so I fall over it! Stay well and keep posting! Hugs, Valerie

    1. Thank you! I'm always so NERVOUS of linking to arty sites! The work there's so GORGEOUS! Thank you for the invite xxx Your vacuum cleaner's homicidal! It's the rise of the machines! It's begun! I'm getting a padlock for the vacuum cupboard door! Sending you hugs and protective, vacuum-repelling armour from Shroo:)xxx

  2. I so love your both pages.. specially the second one is a fantastic masterpiece in my mind!
    I feel with you about this first mother's day without your mum Rachael.
    Hope also you will link to AJJ.. the butterfly girl fixes perfectly our TINGS WITH WINGS theme there!
    Lovey family photos .. I can feel all the love that had been given to you as you were a little girl! Wonderful!
    keep care of yourself!

    1. Masterpiece?! You're so lovely and WAY too kind to me!! xxx

      I'm still a bit shy about linking so thank you and Valerie for the encouragement - you're both awesome! I enjoyed looking through my's making me miss my scrapbooking days! I miss my family, but memories are always there. Sending hugs and buttercups - Shroo:)xx

    2. You are such a fantastic artist Sweetie!
      Thank you for linking!
      We are really happy to have you with us!

  3. What a wonderful post!
    My vacuum cleaner stands in the hall silently disapproving of me. I try to ignore it, stupid judgmental thing. One day I will trade it in for one of those ones that buzzes round the room by itself. I think the cats would love it too.
    Beautiful journal pages, I really like the use of the white pen to add all the little highlights

    1. Hello Lady!!! I'm relieved to find such vacuum-cleaner-solidarity! Bloody things.... I do like those Robocop room cleaner things, and yes - kitties would love them! Although if The Colonel sat on one it'd collapse like something out of a Wile E. Coyote cartoon!

      Thank you for your lovely comments ! Sending hugs and an ED-209 robot with a pinny and a feather duster from Shroo:)xxx. Who needs hoovers?

  4. Your post today resonated a bit deeply. I am blessed to still have my mother who lives with me - she will be 80 years young in June. But, my father has been gone now for 10 years this past January. Each Holiday that passes I doubly reminded that he left too soon - reminded by my own memories, and hers, too. The first year is most definitely the very hardest...but the good memories do carry us through it all.

    I cannot pick the correct adjectives to describe your art - beautiful is an understatement!

    As for the vacuum - I tell my self Every Single Morning that I am going to drag it out and put it to good use. And Every Single Morning it sits waiting for me to make good on that threat!

    Have a Blessed Day!!

    1. You're so fortunate to have your mum with you although I'm so sorry about your dad (hugs). I miss mum so much...but I AM convinced that she's popping in to harass me now and again when I do something dumb - I swear I turn round sometimes and totally expect to see her standing there being smug.

      Thank you so much for your VERY kind comments - VERY much appreciated, I tell you.

      You need to designate a vacuum cleaner with a door so the damn thing can't stare at you! There's evil intent in them there tubes!

      Sending squooshy hugs and sunshine sparkles - Shroo:)xxx

  5. Rachael, thank you so much for sharing this lovely post. Your art reflects how special life is-and how special you and your Mum are-hugs.
    I love your art work so much it makes me happy and smile when I read about it and view it.
    I had to laugh about the vacuum cleaner as mine is begging me to stop ignoring him-lol we have allot going on next month with out of state visitors coming down to see us so I need to make the living room a living room again instead of my spinning studio and get our home cleaned up-it is always a major dissaster after the winter months.
    Have a special day for you-hugs Kathy

    1. Hello Lovely!

      Thank you for your sparkly comments - you always make me happy. Are you still buried under an avalanche of crafty goodness in your craft room? I suspect that it's sheer optimism thinking you'll fit a vacuum cleaner in there! You need a team of sherpas and an excavation team! Not that I can talk - I went to tidy the studio yesterday and just stood there for twenty minutes looking at it. Then I ran away! At least you can distract visitors with your herd of deer!

      Sending love and hugs from me and a paw wave from The Colonel! xxx

  6. Stunning pages Rachael, just beautiful. I love your Mum as a fairy and the second one... well, I can relate to that so much. Thank you for sharing them both.

    As for the hoover - I am banned from touching ours. I went through a phase of being the Grim Reaper to anything electrical - even set my Dads twin tub on fire. Full of water it was. On fire. How? I do not know. My OH got fed up of having to replace hoovers so now I am just banned. he, on the other hand, hoovers obsessively. His nickname is Monica. 'nuff said.

    Big hugs, and Colonel smooches x x x

    1. Hello Queen of awesome! How's the zombie hoard? That is - all your zombie stuff.....AND the poorly family! Hope youre ALL on the mend.

      Thank you for your lovely commentyness! Mum had to be a fairy. If I don't give her sparkles and a fab costume she'll give me a clip round the ear from the great beyond! Thanks for your support - and hugs back to you for that too xx

      HA! Monica! - EPIC! Does himself have to do the lion-tamer thing and hold you back from electrical appliances with a chair? I'm impressed that you can set fire to water! That's an achievement and a half that is! You're like the Mr Bean of household appliances! hee hee!!!

      Sending you big hugs and big rubbery wellie-boots so you don't eletrocute yourself from Shroo:)xxx

    2. Hi Sweetie, thanks for linking, you are always more than welcome at AJJ! Thanks for the protective charms for my man eating vacuum cleaner. Big Hugs, Valerie

  7. Fantastic page,love the glitter on the fairy,awesome work,and the page with your daughter its fantastic too,love so much.
    beautiful image as allways.

    greetings jeannette

  8. beautiful works of art and beautiful photographs

    Rich colours and wonderful images for the wings pages
    Thank you for joining us
    Love Chrissie AJJ guest hostess xx

  9. Hi Rachael, wow you've done so many lovely little bits of arty stuff sinse I last checked.I love that wee red haired girl, and I especially like the way you've shown us the stages of your work. This really showcases your ability to draw, my favourite tutor at college always says drawing is the foundation, if you can draw the rest will just follow and this litle girl is beautifully drawn :-)

  10. pressed send too soon..... remember that old song about the little fishy and when the boat comes in?? thats what your little ( big) fishy and the lighthouses remind me off, I really like your fishies and your lighthouses :-)

  11. More please! Great art pieces there. They are full of vitality and vibrancy. I hope to see more of those in the future and in various platforms and formats, such as in printed forms. Thanks for sharing that! More power to you!

    Faye Fowler @ Master Copy Print