Friday, March 30

Weekly Update

This week had a busy start. I got called in most nights, and even a night I wasn't on call - so in terms of 'getting stuff done'....nothing happened. I had Tuesday off, so there was a lot of catching up there, but that day first started with a nice sleep-in; one that was definitely needed and deserved.

I also got lots of progress made on my Map Project, I'm sharing with you here just a tiny tibit - I have a larger update coming up. Where is is right there on the left is way far from where it is now...lots of progress has been made. Although, tons of work is still left. Baby steps :)

It was my older brother's birthday on Monday the 26th - he turned 29. My mom's birthday is today, the 27th; and my dad's is tomorrow - the 28th. Crazy, yes..easy to remember - very lol. We all pitched in to get my brother an mp3 player, one of those tiny ones with the touch screens. And then us children got my parents some gift cards to Amazon. They had some things already picked out on there, and this way we don't have to worry about things getting to them on time.

I'm on the fourth book now of the Dark Tower series. Things are starting to be explained more, as they keep on reflecting on Roland's past (the main character, the gunslinger). There's a bit of romance in this segment, as they reflect on an old love of Roland's past, Susan. I'm about 60% through this book, so it can go anywhere - and there have already been some shocking turns in this book, and previous books so I wouldn't be surprised if this one had some of the same.

I got a few paintings done this week. I've started incorporating some collage elements into my watercolour trees. I had ordered some pretty papers, and when I got them in immediatly envisioned them in my artwork. I will be sharing those in a larger update, but you can see some already posted in my shop.

My Watercolour Palette form this week.
I work again this weekend, but have some scattered days off next week. This week just flew by!

Thursday, March 29

My Creative Space

This week is a busy one, I worked in some sketchbooks, and I finished printing off and sending off a wedding order:

I haven't worked more on my acrylic bird painting - there just wasn't the time with everything else going on. I have worked on my Map Project, but you'll have to wait for another day to see the progress there ;)

Wednesday, March 28

A Peek Into My Sketchbooks...

I've been working a bit in my sketchbooks lately:

 I was especially inspired by the song "Sprawl II" by Arcade on Fire, and drew this the other day:

Here's the music video:

Tuesday, March 27

Project Life Update

I have finally taken some photos this year to 'work' with in my Project Life. I've also splurge, and purchased one of the digital kits, so that I can add text to my pictures, and print out some horizontal journalling cards for all those horizontal slots that I have going on.

We watched "The Lorax", and loved the 'unless' quote, so I thought that I would incorporate it:

Also, got a great St. Patrick's Day page:

My favourite photos from the entire night would have to be the "Happy Faces and Angry Faces" that we did. The angry faces just look so goofy all the time, especially in our green apparel.

See more project life, here.

Saturday, March 24

Project 52: 10/52

Oreo sleeping away on my couch. He likes to sleep with his head pushed into
the cushions odd one, he is.

See more Project 52 here.

Friday, March 23

Weekly Review

This week started with a wonderful weekend with friends, celebrating St. Patrick's Day. We got to finally meet up with our newly engaged friends and got to see the progress of their new house that is being built. It's exciting to see how excited they are!

I picked up some new paints this weekend too, as you've seen earlier this week I was playing around with them. They were the paints suggested by the botanical course book that I had picked up. I only picked up the colours that I didn't already have. So now, I'll be able to start working away on the colour mixing exercises suggested - it's always good to practice colour mixing with new paints :)

I'm on a seven day stretch at work, that had started on Tuesday, but I had a few evenings to myself. I ended up going on some runs to take in the beautiful weather that we've been given lately. My leg muscles are quickly building a 'memory' and the runs are getting better - I'm running further, and with less walking intervals. I've also done some of the yoga DVDs that I have after to really stretch out those muscles so I'm not limping around the next day. I hope to have some time soon to get my bike ready as well, once it's not so muddy anymore I hope to go out on my bike down the trails behind my house.

I also did a major clean of my apartment, and opened up all the windows to air out the stuffiness. it's nice to have it spick and span. The fridge and cupboards got a good cleaning as well. I also bought some curtains for my living room...yes they've been sans curtains since I moved in. They really did pull the whole apartment together making it look more complete. There had always felt like there was something missing, and it didn't quite feel homely - and that totally fixed it....if only I had known it would have that effect.

I've been working away steadily on my Map Project as well. It's taking a little but longer than I had anticipated - but it's also turning out a little more detailed / complex than I had planned - isn't that always how it turns out? I've dabbled in my sketchbooks lots this week as well.

I'm hoping to get a great deal done on my map project, as well as finish a couple assignments for an online course that I'm taking...and of course, dabbling in the sketchbooks this weekend :)

Wednesday, March 21

My Creative Space

I've been sort of all over the place in my studio this week.
I've been working steadily on the Map Project that I had signed up for.
There are lots of little details included in my plans...which are
seemingly getting more complicated all the time.

Some animal patterns for Africa...

I've finally got a branch on my painting of a sky.
It still has some work that needs to go into the branch, but
I think that I need to get the bird on it first and then add more detail. 

I've also been working quite a bit in my sketchbooks, but I think I'll save those for a dedicated 'sketchbook' post :)

See more creative spaces, here.

Inside my Watercolour Sketchbook:

A peak to the recent dabblings in my newest watercolour sketchbook:

Working with some new watercolours.
Testing out their  'lifting abilities': Fr. Ultramarine seems to lift out
the most easily. 

Playing with some new acrylic ink that I picked up this past weekend.
It's so much easier than trying to dilute white acrylic paint all the time.
One less step, is always a couple more minutes working on something else more fun

Sunday, March 18

Letters to Home

I am pretty late in blogging about my "Letters To Home" submission to Arthouse. It is one of the free projects that they had offered, and one of the lucky ones to also be included on the Sketchbook tours.

 They had sent a cute little postcard with instructions on it about the project - sort of like a keepsake now :)

 I'm not showing your my full letter - if you want to see it, then you'll just have to visit one of the exhibits :)

Saturday, March 17

Project 52: 9/52

Ghost is a little angry, I moved around his little apartment when cleaning and didn't put things back the way they were before...he's a pretty OCD little fish.

A photo a week for 52 weeks. See more, here.

Friday, March 16

Weekly Review:

I've gotten tons of painting done this week, I think mostly due to the fact that most evenings I was not on call and I was the early person in to work - and therefore, the early person out!

It's been beautiful outside, really gorgeous spring weather. Oreo is thrilled, since that means the patio door stays open and he can meow and growl at all the various critters outside now.

I went for a run on Thursday, which I haven't done since last summer. I've never been much of a 'run outside' sort of person, I do prefer the gym. But that isn't working quite into my schedules, so I think that I'll try to run outside a couple times a week at least. My goal is to run to and from a point on the trail behind my house without stopping - I have no idea of the distance, but it seems far enough to be a goal that I should be able to achieve in a month or two lol.

I've started reading the third book in the Dark Tower series now, "The Waste Lands". It's pretty good, but I guess I was so tired from work - and the time change, it always gets me! - that I fell asleep while reading it one evening lol. Oh well, I guess I needed the sleep. I woke up to all my dinner dishes all washed up - thanks honey!

I'm heading over to the boys house for the weekend, so that should be a lot of fun. We will be seeing friends on Saturday that we haven't seen in ages. We are completely over due for a visit and I cannot wait to see them! I've still yet to congratulate them on their engagement in person, and that happened way back in December!

Thursday, March 15

My Creative Space

This week I was avidly working on my Map Project.

I guess my favourite moment this week was when James was over, and was looking - very closely - at the map and I ask, "What do you think of the whale?"..."What whale?" he replied...."Uhhhh the big blue one right behind Africa?"...yea...I think he was distracted by shimmery Antarctica.

There is still lots, and lots to go. But the tedious part of the actual landmasses are's all fun from here on out!

I've also started - and started stumbling - on a new acrylic painting that I'm working on as well. I started it Monday, and it's sat like this since:

This painting is eventually supposed to have either a bluebird or a robin on a branch - both of which I've seen since the weather has gotten nicer. I'm stumped on the branch. I've been working out ideas though, and I am getting close to figuring out that branch. It's all a matter of composition - I don't want it unbalanced with a large, dark branch - and I don't want it to attract all the attention - it's the bird that's supposed to be the focal point. And, the way I have painted the sky I won't be able to correct if I make the branch wrong. So I'm trying to plan well. The vibe I'm trying to aim for: modern, minimalist and impressionistic. Yea...good luck, I know. LOL. Also not sure if I'll be keeping it landscape or portrait, but the sketches are seemingly saying that it might just be straying portrait. 

Below is my palette after working on the sky, and my selection of acrylics that I've built up over the years. 

Yea, I use both Golden and Liquitex paints. To me each brand brings something a little different to the table, and depending on what I want to complete one may be a better choice than another. I use them interchangeably often, and have never had any problems. I do tend to stick to Golden mediums more though - honestly, I'm not sure why - but I won't mess with something that works.

See more creative spaces, here.

Wednesday, March 14

Inside My Sketchbook

I got a new sketchbook last week, one with beautiful watercolour paper! I used some Washi tape, and a white marker pen to create a more creative spine for it:

The first pages are always so important to me. I always want them looking very lovely, here's my 'introduction page':

A watercolour exercise from one of the many painting books I have. It's the lyrics to "Turning Page" by Sleeping at Last. I wanted to see just how much abuse the watercolour paper in this sketchbook could take. There's some scratching into the paper, and lots of layers. It faired well.

A continuing exercise from my Botany Course book, making a page of winter colours. I will add to these as I work on other pieces and stumble across colours that suit one of the four seasons.

I can't wait to use this particular sketchbook more! :)

Tuesday, March 13

Tutorial: Image Transfers Using Light

Sometimes you need to transfer a complicated image, and re-sketching it out just isn't going to do the job. For this method, you need a large window (large enough for your papers). The image you are copying needs to be taken out of your sketchbook (if in your sketchbook) or printed onto paper. If you're an artist who has a lightbox for tracing, then you're lucky! This tutorial is for us, less fortunate, artist...or, even if you have a lightbox - if you're tracing large scale, then this is still for you!

I used this method to get my project started for The Map Project by Arthouse. I needed to draw a map of the world, and to be honest: I wasn't up to fighting with the drawing to be sure everything looked right. I printed out a simple map on an appropriate scale and used that. Now, I do not condone you printing out other artworks and tracing and copying other artists. That's horribly bad! This is a map of the world, something that has been reprinted a zillion times, so I deemed it morally okay. Also, it's a free contribution to a group art project, so that makes it okay as well. And let me honest: anyone who has drawn / painted a map in recent years did not do so looking up from outer space - they all based their basic outlines on a previous map of sorts. 

Let's get started!

When tracing your image, be sure to use a light pencil. I used a 3H pencil to keep lines light. Also, you're going to need a fairly nice day out to do this. Obviously, since the sun is our key tool here.

First tape the image to your window. Yes, I realize that I'm missing a
small part of Antarctica. 

Tape your other paper over top, being sure to centre it nice.

Starting to trace. It's important to have a really sharp pencil, especially
with a map.

Almost done many tiny countries!
You just keep working on your way, until it's all complete. Your hand will get tired, especially if it's as large as this piece. But it'll be worth it in the end, and less headaches all around.

Monday, March 12

Recipe: Feel Better Soup

James wasn't feeling too good last week, he caught a pretty nasty bug - from who, who knows. He's a paramedic, so - like me - we're always around people who are sick. One night, on my way home he wanted me to pick up some chicken noodle soup. Easy enough, but I thought: he hasn't really been eating much today - or yesterday - since he's been so lethargic. So, he's going to need more nutrition than what a can of soup can give him. So home-made soup it was!

I was also working late that night, and on call so it couldn't be a 100% from scratch sort of soup. But it could be better than what's in a can. The best thing about this recipe - a lot of these things can be left overs from the night before.

  • 2 boxes of ready-made Chicken Broth  
  • Egg Noodles, handful or so. 
  • Chicken Breasts (2-3), cubed and cooked
  • 1 large carrot, cubed
  • 2 pieces celery, cubed
  • 1 medium potato, cubed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • Frozen peas, about a handful
  • 2-3 Bay Leaves
  • Oil
  • Spices to taste: Garlic, Oregano, Parsley, Salt and Pepper
Put enough oil to coat the bottom of the pot, and cook the carrots, onions, potatoes and celery. If you are using fresh garlic, throw it in at this point. 

Once the onions are translucent, and the other vegetables - especially the potatoes - are cooked through, or mostly cooked through, add the chicken broth and the cooked chicken. Allow to boil and then simmer, adding spices to your preference and the bay leaves. 

About 10 minutes prior to serving, put in your frozen peas and a handful or so of egg noodles. You don't want to add too much noodles, or else it will absorb all the water and you'll be left with little fluid to actually call this a soup. A good trick to 'preventing' this: add only one of the boxes of broth, and then after the noodles have been cooked add the second box and heat until warm. 

Once everything is cooked through and simmered for awhile, the soup is ready to serve. I like to leave the bay leaves in the leftover soup, so just be careful not to eat them. 

Sunday, March 11

What I've Smashed*

What I Smashed* in February:

I know that it isn't much...February had been crazy. These were two 'quotes' that I had stumbled across and   really liked so they made the cut into the book. 

March has been a little bit better so far - I guess more inspiring material in magazines. 

I think my favourite is the "xoxox, my butt and thighs" - I feel they say that to me in a snickering tone every morning after a tough leg workout.