Monday, 21 March 2011

OMG I Won!

...and I never win anything!

The lovely Violette Clark had a competition on her blog to win a place on Mindy Tsonas' WishBIG e-camp. The ecamp is a virtual retreat... a series of 10 workshops, run between March 21 and March 27 (all classes are self-paced and available until the end of April)... and I am super excited to have won a place - thanks so much Violette!

If you are interested in signing up for the class, its not too late to join! The details are as follows:-

When: March 21 – March 27, 2011 (*workshops available until April 30th)
Where: online – virtual retreat {$118}

rock your creative girl power! juicy creative living workshops and a tutu friendly adventure…

let’s kick off spring together! come immerse yourself in an online experience that is all about rocking your creative girl power in a unique and fun online community and event!

your week at camp includes:

  • 10 (2 hour) online creative living workshops from a host of fabulously inspiring camp counselors, each of them bringing their own special talent and insight to help you wishBIG, createBIG and liveBIG! (schedule and descriptions below). all classes will be available online through the end of april and are self paced.
  • camp T-shirts for all campers!
  • daily ecamp inspiration postcards (via email) created especially for you by our talented teachers
  • evening campfire gatherings and activities to encourage community and fun!
  • ecamp cabinmates to help you connect with local campers

…and it wouldn’t be camp without s’mores!

wishBIG Spring 2011 Workshops:

Monday, March 21
Darrah Parker :: A Slice of Inspiration: Photographing Gratitude and Your eCamp Experience
Photography provides a wonderful way of noticing, appreciating, and seeing our lives through the lens of gratitude. In this workshop, Darrah will guide you as you dig beneath the surface of your everyday life, find what matters most to you, and photograph it in artful ways. During the workshop, she will lead you through photography exercises that you will do in the comfort of your own home and invite you to join her ecamp Flickr group where you can share your photos. After the class, you can put what inspiration you learned to use by photographing your creative process through your other wishBIG workshops. It will be a great way to dive deeper into Darrah’s lesson and connect further with other campers and counselors! No photography experience required. All that you need is a camera (ANY kind of camera or camera phone), the ability to upload photos, a Flickr account, and a creative spirit!

Tuesday, March 22
Kate Swoboda :: Creative Critics: Shifting Critical Voices Within the Creative Process
Tired of feeling like your Inner Critic is running the show? This class will guide you through a process of recognizing your Inner Critic, getting conscious about how you regard it, and then shifting your relationship with that Critic so that you can go into the creative process feeling courageous. Topics include: the Inner Critic and comparisons; being seen; claiming your choices; integrity; passionate over-committing; crazymakers; making a new declaration for your creative process. The class utilizes a combination of written material, worksheets, and videos. If the Inner Critic is keeping you from enjoying your creative process, it’s time to powerfully shift that relationship.

Shannon Kinney Duh :: Play Create Reflect (and Be Free!)
This class will take you on a mini-adventure of self-discovery and invite you to dive deeper, fly higher and live freer! Using the four stages of the creative process – to collect, play, create & reflect – we will explore techniques that will help you shine light on your inner dreams and build the courage it takes to express them more fully. This two-hour experience is all about getting messy, playing with paint, letting go of “perfect”, finding stillness and celebrating YOUR unique brilliance along the way. Through journal exercises and creative play activities – you will begin creating your personal authentic guidebook for YOUR life. Some gentle yoga & guided audio meditation included – NO art or yoga experience required!

Wednesday, March 23
Jamie Ridler :: Intuitive Vision Cards: Personal Touchstones on the Journey to Your wishBig Dreams.
In the flurry of our day-to-day lives, full of deadlines and must-dos, it’s easy to forget the power and magic of our dreams. Vision cards are focus tools that inspire and connect you to the things that matter most. Deeply personal, wildly intuitive and intensely evocative, vision cards are touchstones of our heart’s desires. These visual reminders slip past gremlins, outwit our intellect and speak directly to our soul. In this workshop, we will use the simple tools of journaling and collage to create three vision cards that will light your way. During our time together, you will…

  • Experience a guided visualization that will ground you in your truest self.
  • Identify three theme areas essential to your heart and soul.
  • Use intention and intuition to gather images that call your spirit.
  • Create three personal vision cards steeped in magic, meaning and motivation.
  • Connect to a process you can use again and again on your creative life journey.

This class is for all dreamers and dreams of all sizes. You do not have to have a clear vision to participate. You simply have to know there are dreams in your heart, waiting to be seen. No art experience is required. Know that simply by creating your vision cards you are honouring your dreams. You are letting your Self and the Universe know, “this is important.” And that, in itself, is magic.

Thursday, March 24
Goddess Leonie :: Creative Business Goddess Generator
Want to turn your creative or soulful passion into a job? This video-class is an inspiring & joyful guide to doing it, with tips on magical marketing & glorious ideas-o-plenty! In the Creative Business Goddess Generator, I’ll also share with you how I turned my sweet lil hippy hobby into a gorgeously abundant business for my whole family.

Kelly Barton :: Find Your Inner Icon {Creating Your Icon and Framing It}
A few years ago, i discovered my groove and began creating my “girls”. this is my icon. yours might be your own girl with her own style. it could be your spirit guide, your favorite mug, or even a bug. deep inside each of us is our true self. this little project will help you discover what form she takes shape as, create it as a piece of art, and then frame it as a daily reminder just in case you forget! most importantly this project will allow you to be free and play, because at the end of the day this is what art is all about!

Friday, March 25
Violette Clarke :: Soul Food for Dreams
In this interactive workshop i’ll encourage you in different ways to dig deep to discover dreams that may have been hidden for years. You’ll answer questions, dabble in mind mapping, and create simple inspiration cards with encouraging words to move you closer to your PASSION. We’ll also be creating an art journal spread that will help you to clarify your dreams and move you closer to making them real! You’ll receive lots of yummy SOUL FOOD to help you on your Creative Journey!

Saturday, March 26
Andrea Schroeder :: Rainbow~licious Creative Healing Circle
Are you ready for a creative healing adventure? This workshop is a meditative Healing Journey combined with a Sparkling Rainbow Creative Journaling Project. You will journey within to dissolve obstacles and fears as you shine light and healing on every part of yourself and your life. The class is a series of guided meditation videos that lead you through your inner journey. Even if you have never meditated before, this is a simple but powerful way of connecting with your inner self. At each stop along the journey, you will be shown the next step for your Sparkling Rainbow Creative Journaling Project which later becomes a memento of your Healing Journey. Again – even if you are new to creative journaling, this is simple but powerful stuff. When creativity and healing come together the results are nothing short of magical!

Shona Cole :: Finding Your Artistic Vision {and Blasting Through the Funk!}
You really want to create – a mixed media collage, a poem, a set of cards, a collection of photographs. I’m guessing in any given week that you are not creating as much as you want. You probably have many roadblocks to maneuver around; a busy job, social commitments, kids, tiredness and often a lack of motivation. You are not alone. I have found that crafting an Artistic Vision is a vital tool we can use to help us get over the hurdles and get creating! Join me as we spend some time brain storming your own Artisitic Vision Statement and then create a collage wall hanging that will display and remind you what your ultimate vision is!

Sunday, March 27
Liz Lamoreaux :: Creative Senses Adventure & Guided Meditation
I close my eyes and see an image of a nine-year-old little girl with brown pigtails who gathers up a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, her current Trixie Belden book, a thermos of apple juice, and her newest diary and favorite blue pen and tucks them inside a backpack. She tiptoes out the back, carefully closing the squeaky screen door and jumps down the two steps to the brick patio. She looks out toward the forest seemingly unaware that she has less than a quarter of an acre to explore as she finds the path toward her favorite log beside the chain-link fence. I often think about this little girl when I gather up my camera and journal and head out to the woods to breathe and notice and find myself again in the midst of all that must get done… In this workshop, we will use the senses to look at where we are in this moment and to remember the real and imagined adventures of the child’s spirit that lives inside us. We will closely examine how the senses can be an important tool in our personal and creative toolbox as we take our cameras on a photography excursion and put pen to paper to find a poem or two waiting within us. We will also explore ways to quiet our minds through guided meditation exercises and look at how focusing on the breath can connect us to our day-to-day experiences. This is your invitation to come along and explore the textures of your world, meet your inner poet, breathe deeply, and find your center.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Art at the Speed of Life Blog Tour Giveaway!

I have *so* been enjoying hopping from blog to blog on the Art at the Speed of Life blog tour to celebrate the launch of Pam Carriker's book and have found out so many cool things and read about so many interesting people on the way! Such as:-


  • Christy Hydeck (Always Chrysti Blog) is running a super giveaway, that includes not only a copy of the book but also prints of her artwork created for the book! A supercool giveaway that you have to check out!

I managed to get my hands on a copy of Art at the Speed of Life a couple of weeks ago and I have to say, it is one of my favourite Mixed Media books of all time {review coming soon!}

If you are in the UK and are looking for a copy, you can get it here:-

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Art Journal Every Day: Catching Up...

Why is it, whenever I plan to do something... maybe an online workshop, or a month-long challenge, something comes along to bother me and I fall behind? I was "doing ok" with Art Journal Every Day (March)... and had done a little bit of 'something' 1st-4th March no problem at all.

My mum was due to come and stay 6th-9th (so I knew that meant no arting what-so-ever!) but by the end of the 7th, I started to get sick... terrible sore throat, temperature etc etc. On Tuesday I started going downhill and on Wednesday morning mum took me to the doctors as I had totally lost my voice too! Doc diagnosed a Bronchial Virus and consigned me to bed... mum went home! Art Journaling in bed ensued!!

So here are my latest offerings... I have a couple more to share too, but I'll save them for tomorrow.

March 9th 2011 - Ouch
Art Journal Page - Mar09 - OUCH

March 10th 2011 - Allergic!Art Journal Page - Mar10 - Allergic!
{More journaling was added to this page afterwards}

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Art Journal Every Day: March 1 & 2

So far I have kept to my word! Oh but it is *only* the 2nd day LOL!

Yesterday I signed up for the Art Journal Every Day in March challenge, mainly to try and change my journaling habits but to also help me journal more about my daily life. Baring this in mind, I decided for the challenge my pages don't have to be overly fancy or complex, not necessarily full of fantastic techniques or 10s of layers.. just a small art injection each day, and a space to *actually* write too.

So here's my page for March 1st and 2nd. I did the background yesterday (Neocolor II Watersoluble wax pastels, smooched with a wet baby wipe) and today I added the collage flower (Jillibean Soup paper), journaling spot (Fancy Pants Designs), stamp (Club Scrap)... and some pen work (Sharpies!). Journaling has been added too... but I prefer to keep my words private :o)

Looking forward to more tomorrow now! I might even add a little more to this page...but for today... my work is done!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Art Journal... Every day for a month!!

Its a brand new month and yes ...oh yes... I'm jumping on the bandwagon to Art Journal Every day in March!

Over on the Balzer Designs Blog, Julie invites us to play along as she challenges herself to Art Journal every day in 2011. Obviously, Julie started back on January 1st... but newcomers are always welcome and you can start anytime (its a super low stress challenge, so there is really no pressure to complete a full page *every day*... in fact Julie explains it really well in her Introduction Post).

So I am challenging myself to do the same as I want to try and change my arting habits. At the moment I journal in blocks or "chunks of time". I find that at the weekend, or on a day off, I'll spend a whole day working in my journals, playing with ink & paints....and then, when the working week starts again, it all goes on hold... and I don't like that! I miss a little "art injection" in my everyday life.

I'll try and update my progress as I go, little snapshots of what I have done each day... wish me luck!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Valentines Day Love....

...Art Journal Love!

February the 14th... 45th day of the year... commemoration of Saint Valentine... celebration of love and affection... and Art Journal Love Day at the Dirty Footprints Studio!

This morning dawned bright and clear and the valentine fairy had been... leaving me a lovely card and chocolates (before he left for work!) on the kitchen countertop for me to find... and so the day started well, in fact it put me in the mood for a spot of Art Journal Love!

Opening the blinds wide to let the sun stream in and grabbing my Moleskine journal, I set to work! I gesso'd over an old page and used Caran d'Ache Neocolor II watersoluble wax pastels to create a bright background...

... and if you want to see the page being made, well here ya go!

If you want to see some more Art Journal Love... then pop over to Dirty Footprints Studio where Connie is hosting a party!

Share the love!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Inktense... in blocks!

Just what are Derwent trying to do to me?!?

Mere days after my Coloursoft pencil investment, I see that Derwent are announcing their new products today! And what do we have? Only Inktense in Blocks!

I can only begin to imagine using these... and my head is buzzing with ideas! Can you imaging laying down huge swaves of ink-like rich colours on your Art Journal pages? Adding water and then working the layers over them? Ohhh I am dreaming of using them over a collage pieces and making vivid backgrounds too!

Details from the Derwent Website:-

Inktense Blocks

Vibrant strokes of ink-like colour!

These chunky water-soluble ink blocks bring a new sense of freedom and colour to your drawing and painting!

Dry Derwent Inktense delivers pure vibrant colour but when completely washed out it is transformed into a translucent ink-like paint which, when dry, can be worked over.

The blocks are extremely versatile and can be used for a wide range of creative effects. You can use them like pans of paint. Dip them in water and apply colour directly to the paper, use dry on their side of apply directly to wet paper for instant intense colour.

The blocks complement the Inktense range perfectly opening up an exciting world of endless possibilities. They can also be used on fabric to create stunning silk paintings and quilts.

I cannot wait to get my hands on these... and PLAY!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Ok Ok...I am a pencil addict!

After realising my distinct lack of non-soluble pencils, and hearing about the blend-a-bility and general wonderfulness of soft core pencils such as Sanford Prismacolors, Derwent Coloursofts and Faber Castell Polychromos from my online arty friends... I realised it was time for me to branch out from my water-soluble pencils and invest in a decent set!

Now I am an avid Derwent fan... for a couple of reasons:-

1. In my opinion, they make the best watercolour pencils.
A long time ago when the world was young and the barrel of Derwent Watercolour pencils was grey (that's before the light blue and new dark blue livery!), I bought a set of 12 Derwent (then Rexel Derwent) Watercolour pencils to use in general crafting... and I liked them... I was happy. I used to demonstrate them in my cardmaking classes and recommend them.

But then as I became more "arty" and my focus turned more to watercolouring rather than crafting, I heard good reports about Caran d'Ache pencils (particularly the Prismalo and Supracolor ranges). So I indulged my intrigue and bought an 18 set of each and I started making charts. I did different charts for laying down the colour and blending it out with a wet brush and taking the colour direct from the tip... and the more I experimented, the more I realised I still preferred my old Derwents....they just seemed to blend better with the water.

I then happened upon an artist called Charles Evans after buying his book about Watercolouring with Pencils and I noticed, in the book, he used Daler Rowney Pencils ... how could I not? The complete range was only 36 colours... and so I bought yet another set of watercolour pencils. I think, at this point, even my husband said, "haven't you got enough pencils?" - well we all know the answer to that right? - You never have enough!

More charts were made, again comparing them with the Derwents, as the Caran d'Ache pencils had fallen by the wayside... and I still found that the Derwent pencils washed out better, gave a more painterly effect. (I must note here that Charles Evans now recommends Derwent watercolour pencils too!)

And then the Derwent Graphitint and Inktense pencils arrived on the scene and I was in enamoured! I knew that my heart was with Derwent and their exceptional products. I replaced my old grey 12 set with a new, shiny, tin of 36, which I have slowly been adding to.

2. They are made in the UK
Yes, rare as it seems these days, Derwent Pencils are manufactured here in the UK, in the heart of Cumbria (the Lake District) since the 1800s. Being a Great British subject myself, I feel it's pretty cool to be able to 'Buy British', especially as I find the quality so comparatively good with other manufacturers.

Soooo... back to the non-soluble pencils... I needed to replace my pack of Crayola's with some artist quality pencils, but this time I was going to do some reading up before I splashed out on a variety of pencils... read reviews, watch videos... and then buy once, buy right! The choice was between the Sanford Prismacolors, the Derwent Coloursofts and the Faber Castell Polychromos.

First the Faber Castell Polychromos Pencils... and I kinda wrote these off quite quickly as I read that the Polychromos are a medium-soft pencil and not as easily blendable as Prismacolor or Coloursoft... that didn't sound inviting to me as I wanted good 'blend-a-bility'

As a lot of my arty friends are over the pond in USA and Canada, they presented a big case for Sanford Prismacolor Pencils. Not so easy to buy here in the UK, but if they are the best... I'd invest! I read as many unbiased reviews as possible, there were many both for and against, and one thing kept coming up over and over again, the fact that the Prismacolor cores broke easily... not something I would be particularly keen to experience. I also read about concerns regarding Sanford moving their manufacturing plant to Mexico and the quality of 'blend-a-bililty' seemingly (reportedly) being reduced as a result. Hmmm.

Then, more by luck than anything else, I was digging through an old pencil case and I found that I *actually* owned 5-6 Prismacolor pencils! RESULT! (I had bought a pencil case from a local charity shop at the tail end of last year and there was a whole mish-mash of pencils and crayons in there!) I had a play. They seemed ok. They were certainly 100% better than my Crayola set... but... well maybe it was my inexperience with non-solubles but I wasn't overly wowed.

That left the Derwent Coloursoft Pencils. With the positive reviews I had read, the ease of purchase in the UK and (although I had been trying to push it to one side) my love of all things Derwent, I bit the bullet... well in fact my husband did (oh yeah, he of the "too many pencil" comment! - Valentines pressie he said!) and got the set of 48 Coloursoft Pencils in the Wooden Box.

...and I *love* them. They are soft and creamy, they blend amazingly well and the wooden box is to die for! I've never had a Derwent wooden box of pencils before and was carrying it around like a baby before I realised just how clever that box is! The drawers are magnetised, so they don't slide out if you tip the box up (simple but ingenious!) and the pencils holders/separators are flocked and hold the pencils tight... so no slip-sliding here!

So, if you are in UK or not, and are in the market for some non-soluble, easily blendable, artist quality pencils, I certainly suggest giving the Coloursofts a try!

(This post was not sponsored by anyone, all views and opinions expressed are my own!)

Friday, 4 February 2011

Arting along...

Last week I blogged about Dede from Inkwell Studio and her amazing Ustream art-along programmes. Did you play along? I did!

I printed a copy of Dede's sketch on A4 Daler Rowney Heavyweight Cartridge Paper. It's a great paper for using for projects such as this, as it is 220gsm (135lb) extra-strong cartridge paper, with just the right amount of tooth. It's great for light watercolours as well as drawing and sketching, plus it has the added advantage of it going through the printer really well. I changed the opacity of the image to around 65% before printing (using Photoshop) to give a lighter sketch line.

The rose was then given an initial wash with acrylic paint, using just four colours; red and white (to create a darkish pink) and two shades of green for the leaves. I used a basic tube set of Reeves Acrylic Colours, mainly because I have not really experimented with Acrylics much (I prefer watercolours...)

Once the initial wash was dry, the pencil colouring began. Unfortunately, I am a little lacking in the coloured pencil area; whereas I have a big collection of watercolour pencils from both Derwent, Daler Rowney and Caran d'Ache (including Graphtints, Inktense and water-soluble drawing pencils) my non-soluble collection of pencils are limited to a kids pack of Crayola! However, with Dede showing us how to shade and where the highlights and shadows should be, the rose started to come to life, even if the pencils I were using weren't the artists variety!

All in all, I was pretty happy with the outcome and if you want to see me "Arting Along with Dede" in realtime... then here you go!

(The first 1m25s is Dede's introduction from the Ustream show,
and then it's me sped up and arting along!)

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Sharing knowledge... and art

...not mine I hasten to add!

A month or so ago I discovered some lovely ladies on Ustream. These ladies stream live on the internet from their homes and studios (via while they create and make art. There is no editing, there are no retakes, it all happens live and its a great way to watch and learn and see other aspiring artists at work (or play!). Plus its a true interactive experience; if you have a question you can ask it in the chat window and the host will answer you... just make sure you create a ustream account/username (its free) before you start and true interaction with the artist on screen is yours! (Chat is fairly moderated, so like minded people are encouraged, trolls and spammers are not!)

Since finding "The Stream Team" I have found myself quietly addicted to their shows and as such relinquishing the TV remote to the hubster of an evening while I watch like-minded souls create art, most of them on the other side of the pond in USA and Canada.

And there is none more lovely than Dede, who is an ├╝ber talented mixed media artist and has two regular weekly shows; 'Coffee and Art in the Morning' on a Wednesday & Thursday at 2pm GMT (9am EST). During these shows, Dede creates art... in a variety of different ways, it may be a collage piece, it may be a painting, it may be a murial... either way its always inspiring, always entertaining.

And if it can't get it any better... well it just has. Last week Dede undertook her first live "follow along class". By posting a sketch on her blog, we were encouraged to print it out and follow along as we learnt to colour and shade the sketch using watercolour pencils. And this week there is another one!

Visit Dede's blog to print out the Rose Sketch and then why not play along? The show is on Thursday 3rd February at 2pm GMT (9am EST) and I'll be there!

Monday, 24 January 2011

An Art Inspiring weekend!

It's been a while since I went out to meet a friend and go somewhere different, so when an arty friend asked if I interested in going to the London Art Fair at the Islington Design Centre... I thought, "why not?".

The week before, I had been run down with a flu-ey virus and wondered if I would be ok to go but a couple of days before, the virus abated and I was really looking forward to going. So Saturday dawned bright and clear and I was up and ready to view the Modern British and Contemporary Art on display!

It was a very very inspiring trip... instead of just staying a few hours (as I thought ...this is usually the case when going to such an exhibition or gallery!), my friend and I spent the whole day admiring the amazing works, laughing to our sides hurt and being agog and some of the prices of the art!

Maybe it was the *fantastic* company, maybe it was the overload of ideas that rushed around my head from seeing so many interesting pieces... but either way I went back the next day too!

Here's a little montage of some of the pieces I found most interesting... or thought provoking!

Friday, 21 January 2011

Archives... unearthed!

Way back in 2008, when I first started interacting with other art journalers and artists on the internet, I made some short videos of me just playing around in my art journals. They weren't big or clever and they certainly didn't teach anyone anything... but as I liked watching other people's art journaling videos on youtube etc, I thought it might be nice to share too.

However back then my confidence was at zero; having been told I couldn't play with the 'big girls' and harking back to my own insecurities about not being able to draw (ok I can draw but not like a master!) and the constant feeling that art was for "the professionals"... I left the videos lanquishing on a memory card...somewhere.

Then in the new year I connected with some lovely ladies on Ustream and they let me watch and chat as they made their art and they made me remember those videos sitting and gathering virtual dust... so I decided to share too.

It's funny when I look back at those videos of myself, as you evolve so much; things I did then but wouldn't do now, the way I did things then and don't do now... its interesting to see me back then on a different time in my journey.

Here are the videos if you are interested... I have more to look through and rediscover, some are just fragments of pages in progress and some will remain lanquishing on those memory cards... but either way they were all part of my art journey.

Art Journal: Butterfly

Art Journal: Love You

Art Journal: Take Time