An Old Photo of my Parents

Olive and DonI don’t have many old photos of my parents that are useable. They are mostly tiny pictures, sepia and often blurry! Disappointing for an art journaler! My parents were quite old when they had me, having already had four children and thinking they’d finished, and then 8 years later, I came along! Anyway, I did have this photo and, thank God for photoshop, I was able to blow it up and tweak it a bit to make it useable. This is an A4 size journal (Strathmore mixed media, it’s the best!) so I increased the size of the photo a lot and it worked out quite well except their feet are blurry. On the top left I had collaged a piece of an old sheet music cover, one of my mother’s favourite songs, and on the right is a copy of her handwritten music manuscript of an old hymn, “Lead me to Calvary”. Fortunately I have one old song book of hers with several examples of her writing in the back and front. Both of these collaged pieces were not the originals, but photocopies, so I ripped the edges and painted them with Nickel Azo gold paint to make them look old. Then I stuck on a cupid and a 1930’s fashion drawing. I collaged around the edges with 2 small paper doilies sprayed with brown ink, and some pieces of coffee coloured scrapbooking paper. Before I collaged anything I had used a flower stencil and some brown dylusions spray on the background. So there you go, that was a bit of a reverse chronological explanation of how I made this page. Oh yes, then I wrote something about my parents who had a successful and happy relationship for 60 years.

I have not used this blog much in the last year or so because this wordpress site seems so slow to upload and often times out. So I’ve been very frustrated with it! I intend to make more of an effort to post more in coming months! Love and light to you all.

I am becoming an autumn tree

Autumn TreeA poem I wrote about the aging process!

Our prompt was to make a page in our art journals in which we were a plant of some kind. So I made this page in which I am becoming an autumn tree, and that inspired me to write this poem. I hardly ever write poems so it was significant for me. I am pleased with the poem. Here it is:

I am becoming an autumn tree

My leaves no longer greenly, perkily lifting

Toward the sun

My limbs sometimes creaky in the wind,

All my seeds have floated away and now bloom

In far off lands

My blossoms have lost the blush of youth

And I foresee the day when my leaves will fall, one by one

Into  the silence of winter.

 

And yet, the sap still pulses in my veins,

the breeze still sings in my branches,

and my leaves, Ah my leaves are a blazing torch,

lighting up my corner of the forest.

I offer my gifts to those who come searching,

Vermilion and crimson, russet and gold,

The autumn illuminates me, I am aglow 

with the wisdom of many seasons,

and my autumn song may yet become

the sweetest of them all.

Travel journal pages from Tuscany

Here are some of the pages I made about Tuscany in my travel journal. I started them when we were in Tuscany but I probably finished them in Cornwall as I could not find anywhere to print photos in Montepulciano.

The first week in Tuscany we  spent in an Air BnB apartment in Lucca, along with my daughter, my niece and my sister. It was gorgeous.

I don’t really want to say too much about these pages, if you click on them you might be able to read some of it if you are interested.  In this one above I created a pocket behind the photograph, where I have stashed some tickets etc.

This one on the left I used no photos, only pictures from pamphlets and flyers. We saw some opera arias one night, it was a highlight.

Ok this one below is about Paris not Tuscany. We had 3 nights there before we headed off to Tuscany. It was very special for me because I had both my beloved offspring there plus my niece and nephew. We had a 3 bedroom Air BnB apartment in the 14th arrondisement.

After Lucca we caught the bus to Florence for 3  nights…..such a romantic city! Once again we had an Air BnB apartment, this one with an amazing view of the Duomo, as you can see in this photo.

Even though it was only May, the Uffizi gallery has such long queues that we decided not to bother. We did see some other art in Florence though, I think it was the Pitti Palace gallery and also San Marco abbey.

After our 3 days in Florence we hired a car and visited a few small Tuscan towns.We had 2 nights in San Gimignano, an ancient hilltop town with lots of high towers.

Our final week in Tuscany was spent in Montepulciano, another hilltop Tuscan town with lots of ancient buildings. We had a car during this week so we made quite a few excursions to neighbouring towns including Cortona, Pienza and Montalcino. There was much drinking of wine and eating of pasta! We had family around as well, my sister had another apartment across town with 3 of her offspring, and we had Katy in our apartment. Lots of fond memories! Gerrit bought me this wrapping paper with the beautiful Florentine pattern, so I used it on a few of my Tuscan pages.I’m glad I made the effort to make this travel journal. It wasn’t always easy to find the time to work in it, but I persisted. By the time I returned home, after 4 months, the journal was full and very fat, almost to the point of the spine breaking, but not quite. It’s wonderful to have it now as a record. I love looking through it and remembering!

Travel journal…Brittany

We leave Brittany tomorrow and I still have one more double page to complete for this section, but I wanted to post the pages I have done before we leave. I glued this map of Brittany in before I left Australia. I added an old postcard and a photo of us on our first day in Rennes (which is where we have our house exchange for 11 days)

I decided to an atmospheric page about the Foret de Paimpont also known as Broceliande. I bought a small booklet and used a couple of images from it. It felt right to turn the page sideways for the writing. Broceliande is supposedly where the King Arthur legends happened and where Merlin lived, according to the french version of the stories. This page looks unimpressive here in small size, but I really like the way it turned out in real life!

We have loved seeing all the ancient castles and old medieval buildings in Brittany. This is a page about that.  I’ve included some images from tourist pamphlets and a few photos we took. There were many more pics of castles and old buildings I could have used, but these honour 2 towns we loved, Dinan and Vitre.

I had to dedicate a page to the french food which is one of the main attractions (along with the old towns and history) for us to being in France. I did a rave about an amazing restaurant we went to here, and went into detail about what I ordered. It will be a nice reminder. The whole journal of course will be a great way to remember the holiday.

Tomorrow we are off to Paris for 3 nights where we will stay in an Air BnB apartment with my son, his girlfriend, my daughter and my niece and nephew. What fun!

Blessings to all in blogland.

 

Travel Journal -Netherlands

I have been working on my travel journal in between sight seeing, whenever I get a chance. So far I have two main problems….surprisingly .it’s really hard to find places to get photos printed. And two, my darling husband wants to be out sightseeing all day everyday just about, so it’s difficult to get long stretches of time needed for art journaling. But as you can see, I have managed it a bit.

The journal I have is A4 landscape size so when I photograph a double page it’s very long and skinny. I tried taking the pages separately as you can see, but really they are meant to be seen together.

 

Keeping an art journal definitely enriches the journey for me. It’s fun collecting pamphlets from the Information offices, and looking for pictures and postcards I might want to include. On the left here I have made a pocket from a photograph and put our tickets to the Utrecht museum inside it. The postcard of the old cathedral painting is just attached on one side so you can flip it back and the writing continues underneath it. Nifty huh?

 

For this Amsterdam spread I used a serviette printed with a 16th century Dutch still life painting on the right hand side and I really like the effect. I am enjoying using a combination of postcards, ephemera and photos that we have taken.

 

The backgrounds I had already prepared are coming in very handy now, many of them already had paint and some scrap paper borders, so all I had to do was stick in a photo or postcard and write something.

However I know there are a lot of totally blank pages coming up late in the journal!

I have also done a few pages based on our time in Brittany (we are still there) but I will post them tomorrow. It’s been a long day. And if I may whinge about the weather for a minute, it’s still very cold, and also rainy today. I’m sure we will have better weather next week in Tuscany. Love to you all in blogland.

Our European holiday begins!

Finally the day had come! Our much planned and eagerly anticipated trip to Europe was beginning. Here we are looking excited at Brisbane airport. The trip from door to door took 33 hours! Fortunately it was uneventful in a ggod way, and we were delighted to find ourselves in Utrecht at 9am Wednesday morning 10th April.

The day was cold, about 7 degrees. Eirinn greeted us before he left for work. I was so happy to see him again after 16 months. Here we are out on his back deck.

After he left we checked out the closest cafe called KEEK which had very nice coffee and healthy, inexpensive food.

 

It was a wonderful feeling to be back in Holland, sitting in a cafe, watching all the people (mainly young, mainly students) ride past on their bicycles.

The weather was a bit colder than I anticipated, only 2 or 3 degrees most mornings, rising up to 9 or 10 maximum. My Katmandu  jacket turned out to be not very warm in these conditions! Luckily Rowena (Eirinn’s partner) had a coat I could borrow while I was there.

Eirinn and Row’s apartment is in a very desirable part of Utrecht, down the Oudegracht (near the old canal) surrounded by all the food shops they might need and only about 12 minutes walk into the main part of town. I fell in love with Utrecht even more this time (we visited 2 years ago). I particularly love the Dom, which is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands….you can see it here behind us.

After a few days in Utrecht I found time to make a page in my travel journal. I had prepared a few backgrounds beforehand including this one with gesso resist clouds, which I intended to use for a page about the journey over. And here it is, with a photo of us looking wasted after 33 hours travelling. It was a bit of a mission to find somewhere to print photos, I dont think its going to be as easy as I thought. I imagined there would be lots of printing places like the one at home in Brunswick Heads, where I can take a USB stick and get pics printed on normal (not photo) paper. But it seems I will have to use automated machines in Europe which only print 2 sizes and only glossy photo paper. O well, first world problems, as they say.

 

 

February and March Journaling

Here are some recent art journal pages. I have neglected my blog in the last couple of months, perhaps because I’m not sure whether anyone actually looks at it. Maybe people are looking at it, but just not making comments. Anyway, I thought I’d better do a catch up post before we take off for Europe in a weeks time. (So excited!)

I arranged a song called “Something opens our wings” based on a poem by Rumi for our Sanctuary group, plus I had this painting of a dark angel from an old calendar, and the page just came together. I “channelled” a letter from my dark angels telling me that its OK to be depressed sometimes. I LOVE this page.

The beloved local newspaper in Byron bay is called the Echo, and after I did some undercollage using the Echo I decided to turn it into a page about how I love living in the Byron Shire. I love the map border on the left, and  I used the trusty old plastic lacey tablecloth as a stencil. I LOVE this page too!

One week in our art journaling class we were challenged to draw something directly into our journals. I drew my hand drawing and turned it into this page about creating yourself. Since the drawing was grey pencil I tried out just having a whole grey scale page for a change and I like it.

 

For this next page our assignment was to cut 2 different landscapey pictures into interesting geometric shapes and fit them together. Since I have travel on my mind this is what I came up with.

And to finish this post here are 2 backgrounds which I have begun to collage and now I don’t know what to do next. This first one I think is so beautiful I’m afraid to do anything else to it.. The second one I think I’m liking the way its going,….but I’m not sure where that is exactly.

 

The background is quite textured ( I gessoed through the plastic tablecloth, let it dry, then painted over it with watery cobalt blue and raw umber) I shall be interested to see what appears on the left hand side.

I’ve been busy preparing some painted backgrounds in the journal I will be taking with me to Europe. I’m not planning on taking my acrylic paints, just a small watercolour travel set. I’m totally inexperienced with watercolour, so….it will be interesting!

Behind the Masks

I was inspired by a prompt video by Christy Sobolewski to make this page using only one stamp in many different ways. I made the stamp from scratch by cutting out diamond shapes from some craft foam and gluing it (just using Golden Matt medium) onto a wooden block. This page is quite textured as one of the techniques involved spreading light molding paste on part of the page and pressing into it with the stamp. I collaged the joker/harlequin card because it seemed to go with the patterns on the page, and then I decided it was a page about Who am I behind all the masks of the ego. This was quite a different page from others I have done, for a start I’d never used molding paste before. It was a bit challenging collaging over such a textured background!

Art journal pages that came easily

It’s getting towards the end of January, I have a brand new art journal ( I bought the bound Strathmore one) and I have quite a few pages from my finished journal that I still haven’t posted about…so here they are! I’ll spread them over 2 posts. This is one I started in Zom’s class.We were meant to use a photocopy of some part of our body but I’ve recently fallen in love with some scrapbook papers so I decided to cut my hand out of one of those. I wrote about being left handed, whether or not that makes me “artistic” and I added some pics of some famous left handed artists. I love this page, esp the silhouettes of my hand in the background, created with gesso resist.

This next page was mostly done in class also. People had brought in tarot and other divination cards and we chose 2 of them for our writing prompt. “Knowledge” was one of the cards I pulled and  I ended up writing about what I would like to read over the next few months. I had a bunch of images that I carry to class, including this beautiful painting of the reading woman. She seemed to want to be on the page with the ancient writing and statues so I just tied them all together with some burnt umber and yellow ochre paint. The whole page came together really fast and was very meaningful to me…I love it when that happens! I added the bird when I got home and then the sentence “through the doorway of knowledge flies the bird of wisdom” just popped into my head and became the title of the page.

Here is a page about our coming trip to Europe and how excited I am about it. I had lots of fun experimenting with writing in many different fonts..I’m a bit of a font lover, I think it dates back to my childhood days. When I was 10 I was sent to the opportunity school in Summer Hill and we had to buy the Speedball book of writing. We were expected to copy fancy fonts for heading on all our work and I loved it, especially the “old english” font. It’s much easier now to find interesting fonts, I’m always downloading them from free font sites on the net.

Love and light to all of you!

A Box of Darkness

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to realise that this too was a gift.”  Mary Oliver

This is one of my favourite pages from my art journal so far. I started with the black background and the picture of Saturn. I’ve always been drawn to images of Saturn.  I am a Capricorn, so Saturn is my ruling planet although I don’t think that is why I love the way it looks. It always seems so majestic, hanging there with those gorgeous rings around it. I had the idea a while ago to make a negative of a photo of myself and write about how I sometimes just feel negative. But I’m a bit tired of photos of myself, so I used this Goddess statue instead. I am always attracted to classical statues whenever I see them on journal pages or mixed media artworks. So, I LOVE the Saturn and I LOVE the statue and I LOVE all the bits and pieces I used to make the border. These include: an antique zodiac, antique pics of sun and moon, some text about what it means to have moon conjunct Saturn (which I do), and a chant that I wrote  for a ritual once about going into the darkness and giving birth to yourself. The entire border was black and white until I had the idea to paint it with Nickel Azo Gold which gives everything a yellowed antiquey look. LOVE!

So anyway, perhaps it is because I am a Capricorn (I’m actually an agnostic about astrology!) or not, but I do get negative and depressed sometimes. I wish I didn’t of course, but I also know that depression has it’s gifts. For one thing, if we were happy all the time we wouldn’t even know we were happy because we would have nothing with which to compare it. The “box of darkness” refers to the Mary Oliver quote above and I’ve also used it as a way of acknowledging the gifts that depression can bring.