"Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will."

~Suzy Kassem~

My new art space makes room for more creating!

Posted by on May 13, 2017 | 2 comments

How exciting, right?! I am very happy to now have an entire surface upon which to create. For years this has been my art table which is the same one I used in art school years ago!

The art table I have been using for years filled with supplies and little room to create.Somehow, I managed to paint using this small bit of space on my art table. Table is in the corner of our dining room. We live in a 100 year old house with limited space. Add homeschooling into the mix and all of the books and miscellany that goes along and there is even less free space. All my sketchbooks are on the back right of the table and many of my supplies on the left, in the cart or under the table. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to create!

Here is how this change came about:

My youngest son’s keyboard died so we replaced it with a full-size one. The only place it would fit was where my art table stood. My art table wouldn’t fit anywhere else and I wanted to get rid of my computer cabinet too. It felt closed-in and too dark.

We emptied out my computer cabinet that sat to the right of my art table (the other side of the window you see above) and gave it to a friend. We now share a computer space in the office upstairs. Yes, we moved in together!

Here is a picture of what my computer work space used to look like in the dining room. What a crazy, suffocating space! Now all my computer work is done upstairs in the office and I get more work done with less distractions, like making a tea, folding laundry, snacking…watching the backyard birds at the feeder…My old computer area.My new art space is where my computer cabinet was and I love it! I now have an entire surface upon which to work! I asked some friends who all have the same art table how they like it and they gave it great reviews so I picked one up for myself. Thank you, Michaels.

I can easily angle the surface if need be and a ton of supplies won’t crash upon the floor! My sketchbooks are stored below a bench that sits at the window and the rest of my supplies are in drawers below the table or in the cart. My new art table from Michaels. The last thing I did was string a fancy line on the wall as a holding space for inspiration. I now hang my works-in-progress here to see what is needed next and when they are complete.

This piece shown was in the latest Soul Sisters United Collective Auction  on Facebook and will be making its way to a wonderful home filling up with original art!
I like using a clothesline style display to hang my art work on after it is finished.I am very grateful to be able to send my original pieces to their new homes. The kid in me who always drew is very happy!

Now I have more space to create and our dining room looks bigger! I love purging and now I have friends with ‘new-to-them’ furniture ! All my energy centres feel lighter. Plus, we cleared out a bookcase in our bedroom to become my meditation and yoga space. Happy chakras!

And happy creating again! Yay!

Moongirl xx

 

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A little sketch inspiration from Liz Steel

Posted by on May 12, 2017 | 2 comments

Wednesday:

I received an email notice about a new Liz Steel You Tube video. In this video Liz takes you through her one-hundredth completed sketchbook. Yes! 100! Now that is sketch inspiration!

I was so inspired by Liz sketching every day that I ended up watching more of her videos and reading a number of her blog posts.

We were all together on the couch that evening with my husband reading another volume of the Wings of Fire series out loud. Rather than just sit and listen I decided to use this time to sketch. Since part of the story takes place in a rain forest I created this sketch with markers and copics.Sketchbook girl

Yesterday morning sketch:

The inspiration continues. I broke out my Stillman and Birn Zeta book that I bough last year but hadn’t used yet. I have heard good things about this line of books and the Zeta series has hot-press pages. This was a great way to break it in!

I grabbed a few supplies. I didn’t want to use my good watercolours as I planned on making a quick and loose sketch inspired by Liz.breakfast sketch setup This was the impetus I needed to break out my fountain pen, clean it out, and fill it with waterproof ink. I enjoyed using it to put the finishing touches on my first daily sketch!Vuarnet Fountain Pen I stamped today’s date in the top right corner and added a blurb with my fountain pen. My handwriting isn’t as nice a Liz’ architectural style! But I am not used to writing with this pen as I haven’t used it in so very long. It was a birthday present from my sister years ago when I was in art school. So I am happy to be using it once again.

The mug is a little on the flat side but that is okay. I wanted to see if I could paint my breakfast without being too fussy about the end result. It will improve as I continue. This took me about 20 minutes. Breakfast Sketch
Here is hoping this is the beginning of a daily sketch! Thank you for the inspiration, Liz! I may even get out to paint some architecture or more landscape as I began last summer.

Happy daily creating!

Moongirl xx

 

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Queen of Hearts Commission Painting

Posted by on May 7, 2017 | 6 comments

I am excited to share this, my last commission, with you! It’s not that I don’t love commissions, it’s just that Life is getting busier and I can no longer accept commissions. I have been very grateful to those who have asked me to create something special for them and this Queen of Hearts was no exception.

I had previously created a painting, titled Alice, for this same client. As you can most probably guess, this was my depiction of Alice in Wonderland, one of my all-time favourite stories. Once Alice had been safely delivered a request had come for a Queen of Hearts painting. How wonderful!!

Here are some images of my progress. This piece is acrylic on a 12″x12″ canvas.

I just love making these crazy eyelashes and wild hair!  It took me some time to figure out how I was going to add the flamingos and card soldiers.It made sense for me to keep painting the Queen while I figured out other details. I knew how big I wanted her and where on the canvas to place her so the rest was all detail.Adding more layers of paint to the Queen of Hearts because we all know that she must be the centre of attention!And look at her!! I just love the way she turned out, particularly her face. I used two of my favourite supplies, the black Stabilo All Pencil and the white Posca Pen for the Queen and these really added to her personality. It is rare for me not to incorporate these supplies into my acrylic paintings. My Queen wouldn’t have been the same without them (and I’d like to keep my head so I took no chances!!! 😉 ).I am so pleased with my Queen! I hope you like her too!I enjoyed adding the flamingos and their expressions. All the little details with the pencil, Stabilo and Posca Pen made all the difference. It’s all about the details!! 😉

Here at the two paintings together: Alice and the Queen of Hearts. Alice has been in Australia for over a year so I used photographs as a reference when planning how to make the two look like a set. I think I did a pretty good job creating the Queen to match with Alice. 

Colour me happy to have the Queen of Hearts as my last commission! I just love looking at her!

Happy creating!

Moongirl

 

 

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May Auction begins today! | Flowers Theme

Posted by on May 2, 2017 | 2 comments

Hello! Oh it’s been a busy time around here! I will get into that in another post but first, before I run off to a Dungeons & Dragons game with my boys I must make this quick post.

I have been painting like crazy these last few days to make ready for the Soul Sisters May art auction. I managed to finished two paintings and am happy to share them with you. 🙂

Three Sisters, 8″x10″ watercolour and graphite illustration

I just love adding all the little details!

Wallflower, 8″x10″ watercolour and graphite illustration

I always have such a great time putting the finishing touches on hair and those little fingers and toes!

The auction begins today at 12EST. I hope you can visit us! There are so many wonderful paintings looking for new homes!

Join us and comment, like, love or even buy!

Thank you!!

Happy creating!!

Moongirl xxx

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The Spiritual Runes | A book review

Posted by on Apr 12, 2017 | 2 comments

I love books!! There are just not enough shelves for all of our books! We end up with piles on tables or the floor. On occasion I get a chance to eek out some time between making art and homeschooling to read one of the books from Moon Books and write a review!

I’ve always wanted to buy myself a set of runes and learn how to read them so I was happy when The Spiritual Runes: A Guide to the Ancestral Wisdom was available for a review.

In Harmonia Saille’s book there is, of course, a section on making your own runes and reading them. Harmonia does not jump right into this, instead pointing out the importance of familiarizing ourselves with the runes first.

For once we know how they came to be, their history and traditions, we can start to form a bond with them just as we do when we become familiar with a trusted friend.

She equates the study of runes to that of a tree. We first travel up the roots to the trunk and then to the boughs and the knowledge we learn along this journey brings us to our own intimate relationship with our own runes. In studying the runes she also suggests to have more than one book on runes and to look for ones that cover the complexity of them, not just how to read them. Just like anything else, the more we understand the in’s and out’s of a situation or person, the more deeply we can relate.

Harmonia covers the different types of runes or rune rows and their history and mythology. I love both history and mythology so this chapter was an interesting read for me. She includes a story of how Odin found runes while hanging upside-down in a self-sacrificing ritual, the Icelandic Rune Poem, a creation myth and more.

In Chapter 3, she gives examples of ways to connect with your runes and includes a visualization exercise including music, candles and your runes. On the next chapter on meanings she makes it clear that rune meanings can vary from writer to writer. Along with an image of each specific rune she gives you a meaning in a reading, keywords associated with it, counsel, and accompanying colours she has assigned to each.

From here Harmonia goes into two more visualization exercises building on the first one in Chapter 3. From here she goes into making, cleansing and empowering your runes, casting and reading, using the runes for magic, and making a rune wand and a talisman.

The book also comes with an appendix just in case you need to familiarize yourself with one of the Norse Gods and Goddesses mentioned within as well as a glossary of the Psyche.

I love this book! There is plenty of information herein to get me started and I really do appreciate the fact that this book isn’t just about reading runes but includes much more. My only criticism is with the layout of the chapters and is just a personal one and not something that would make me deter anyone from purchasing. I think that making your own runes should be before all of the visual exercises but not necessarily the meanings of the runes. For me, learning the meanings would then add to the energy I put into the runes as I create my own and then make connections through visual exercises. I like to ‘do’ as I make my way through a book like this, meaning I would rather read the chapter on meanings, then make my own runes, and then do the visual exercises. Yet again, most probably just me being finicky in my learning style. I may change my mind about this the more I use this book and gain more knowledge. 😉

I have not made my runes as of yet. I will admit to that. I am waiting for the weather to be a little nicer so I can spend more time outside searching for just the right wood or rocks. Living on the east coast means beautiful, smooth beach rocks and great pieces of weathered driftwood. Mmmm…I may have to make two sets!

I may make another post about my experience making my own set, making connections and doing some readings or maybe even some magic. I only hope that my experience with reading tarot and a bit of my own magic-making over the years will help. We shall see! 😉

Happy reading and rune creating!

Moongirl ❤

 

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The Gardener | new watercolour for April art auction!

Posted by on Apr 2, 2017 | 4 comments

In just one day I will be auctioning off my latest piece! *yaaay*

I am very excited about this painting not only because I absolutely love the way it turned out (it’s okay to toot your own horn once in a while!) but also due to the fact that I used some new techniques…

Almost all of the colours in this painting were mixed from two sets of Daniel Smith primary colours: one warm and one cool set. I used a couple of Golden QoR as well. Mixing most of the colours like this taught me patience and I was able to create more subtle tones. It was challenging and freeing!

You can see pictured below my two sets of primaries in my tin at the top left and a few other neutral Daniel Smith colours at the end. The bottom row has six Qor colours of which I used only two mixed with the DS colours at times. I wonder if I will ever fill out my palette! I did a lot of research on watercolour tube companies before creating this palette and found that I really love what I chose. I didn’t want to jump on the DS bandwagon without trying a bit first and doing some research. It certainly paid off. ❤ In the top right you can see a bit of the colour swatch chart I created from these colours. It’s beautiful in it’s own right and made colour mixing come to life for me! The rock? Well, it’s handy to hold papers and I just love rocks/minerals. They are all over this house. 🙂

I wasn’t happy with the way my trees were looking so I decided on another approach. I methodically ripped watercolour paper to create the treetops and painted them while leaving the ripped areas white. I loved the way it looked so I decided to balance this element out by doing the same with my soil and new seedlings along the bottom.
I decided to use the salt technique on the trees and soil only. It gives them texture without overwhelming the piece which I find can happen if salt is used too liberally (personally speaking). I was unsure at first as to how I was going to make these paper piece look like trees and then I decided to make each one a big leaf. I love them! It also created another unifying element with the leaves in other parts of the piece. OH gosh. I just love the salt effect here. It brings the subtle textures of soil to life without making a painted mess of it all. And I just love seedlings! I get so excited when planting time comes to my own garden and those first little seedlings and the one true leaf comes to life! Such wonder!The painting was coming together but was still in its ‘ugly phase’. Juliette Crane speaks about the painting process and how one piece is made up of years of practice and experience in one of her Instagram posts. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks, Juliette! 😉

Sometimes when I look at a finished painting, I forget just went into making it work. It’s easy to assume it just fell right into place. It’s also easy to forget that it took painting hundreds of other pieces first to even get to being able to create that finished painting. I started taking photos of my paintings in progress to remind myself that every painting has an ugly stage (or at least a phase where I feel I can’t possibly make it work). And every painting is not just about that one I am creating in that moment, but it encompasses my entire journey.

Often-times I am tempted to throw out a piece somewhere in the middle of the process because I think it looks just awful but I have learned though much experience and self-restraint to ‘just keep swimming’. Thanks for that, Dory. *fist/fin pump*

Here she is almost finished! I decided to use matte medium to ‘glue’ the paper pieces in place. I haven’t used matte medium on watercolour pieces before so I tested it first with the hope that it would work as well as I expected. I didn’t want to use cheap glue or a glue stick. I wanted to use something that wouldn’t degrade overtime or is meant for this purpose. I love the way it held the paper down and didn’t bleed through.

On to pencil detail. This is my most favourites part of the process hands-down! The piece just comes to life and I get so excited watching this happen!!  The Gardener

9″x12″ on 140 lb watercolour paper

This one is going to be hard to let go (*insert bittersweet teardrop*) but my pieces always end up finding the most loving homes and for that I am so very thankful! In truth, these pieces wouldn’t mean so much to me if they were tucked away in a portfolio case or drawer somewhere in my house. I think, for me, part of the joy of creating them is in the knowing that I can share them. ❤

The Gardener will be available tomorrow to purchase on the Soul Sisters United Art Collective Facebook group. The auction runs from 12EST until 6EST on Tuesday. Hope to see you there!

Happy creating!!

Moongirl ❤ ❤ ❤

 

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Jane Davenport watercolours review, lightfastness, pigment info and handy links!

Posted by on Mar 26, 2017 | 4 comments

When I began seeing posts earlier this year in my social media circles about a new Jane Davenport line of mixed media materials my interest was peaked. I had to see what all of the excitement was about. She had released a whole line of supplies including two sets of watercolour pans, one called Neutral and one Brights. Unfortunately, our local Michaels stores didn’t have them in stock. In hindsight, this was a good thing because it gave me the impetus I needed to do some research first.

I have to admit that I fell in love with the tins straight away. I mean, they are so tiny and cute! And just look at this packaging! But on a serious note: In Canada, I have not found empty tins let alone ones filled with watercolours or even empty pans. Some supplies are just not available here and it seems those are often the ones I am looking for. For a country this big you would think a simple watercolour tin could be found. Then again, the whole population could fit into the state of California and not all of us are artists sooo…

These tins may be cute but I was skeptical when I found the product line at Michaels. The display was located in the scrapbooking section of the Michaels stores and not the art section. If I was going to purchase these cuties I needed to go beyond the hype so I did a lot of online searching for lightfastness ratings and all-around quality. I wanted to know exactly what I would be spending my money on.

This information wasn’t as easy to find as I expected it to be at first (but I am sure there is more out there now that these products have been on the shelves for a couple of months). There is a lightfastness rating on Jane’s site but it doesn’t tell you if one star (*) is Excellent and three (***) is fugitive and so on. I also wondered what colours these really were as the names associated with them on her site are wonderfully imaginative and fun names but do they, for example, compare to New Gamboge or a Phthalo Blue? I also didn’t want to buy colour I already had for the most part. I geeked out and compared the pigments to a list of colour names. This list breaks down the pigments into common names and the lightfastness and toxicity and more. It was very interesting. Of course, this is a guide because these ratings can change depending on the brand and other variables but it was a good place to start.

Why was I being so picky about all this?? I sell my art and I really don’t want my paint colours to fade. If I did buy these would they be the quality of artist paints or for personal use only? The latter is what I expected but wanted to know for sure as it seemed everyone was getting a set. Okay, maybe not everyone but you know…

After much research I did purchase them as you can see. I’ll have more on my results in a moment but first I must digress a bit. These tins are reeaallly tiiiinny and darn cute. Have I already said that? Even the packaging is eye-catching. Good marketing, right?Upon opening them I noticed that one of the lids lay flatter than the other. And when I closed one of the tins it didn’t stay closed but kept popping open. I had to bend the metal a bit (gently, gently) to get it to latch and not pop open. Not a big deal but for all the hype on these babies I was a bit disappointed on that matter. Maybe I am just fussy because I think any product that is on the market should work well.
The tins are sooo tiny (I know I keep saying that!) that even my travel Winsor & Newton and Koi brush don’t fit. No big deal really but it gives you an idea of their size. They also come with a great little introduction to the paints on one side and a spot to add your swatches on the other. Nice touch. 😉 These paper inserts are not the best if you really want to see what the colours will look like on watercolour paper. To remedy that I just simply cut out little watercolour paper squares and stuck them on the inserts. Sometimes I am just simply baffled by my resourcefulness.

I also wanted to if any of the colours stain so I painted each square and then used a tissue to lift off the bottom half of the paint while still wet. The results are clear. Sometimes you want staining, sometimes you don’t. That’s all up to you but there you have it. And see how easily these tins fit into your hand?!Here is a bottom view. You can see the little metal loop for your finger to make holding the tin that much easier. Sorry about the scary big hand and my nasty cuticles. That’s called winter dry season here in Canada.Back to the research. Instead of going into the details of all of my findings, which took many hours, I managed to dig up some great videos with excellent information on these babies from artists who regularly review paints in depth and clearly know their stuff. That’s the kind of information I wanted. Here are some links for you so you don’t have to ‘run around’ the inter web like I did. You’re welcome. 🙂

The Spin Doctor review part 1 and part 2. These posts go into detail on the paint pigments and compare to your standard pigment names and quality.

The Spin Doctor You Tube review. And this one too on Neutrals.

I also found this You Tube review by The Frugal Crafter very informative. This is a longer video but worth watching as Lindsay compares these paints, in depth, to others of similar quality.

I bought the paints! Obviously I did as I have shown you pictures of them! If you don’t want to watch these videos let me just say a bit of what I found out. These paints ARE NOT artist quality paints and are not the best for lightfastness so do not paint something and then sell it to someone. They will be sad when some of the colours fade. For more detail on that you should watch these videos above or read the links as this blog post is already lengthy. (sorry!)

All in all, I was happy to find a lot of positive reviews. These paints rewet very well and mix easily and the colours are gorgeous. They also compare nicely to other good quality student paints. I’m not sure how I feel about the ‘grey’ Dove hue, however. I love doves but I am not so keen on the grittiness of this one.

I bought these paints to use in my art journal and just for fun because the colours are lovely and sometimes I just don’t want to mix colours! Plus, the tins are a great size as I’ve already noted at least a few times so they are very portable. Just remember to stash a brush of some sort somewhere else before you leave those with your paints!

I am not finished quite yet though!

I made some lovely swatches so I could see some of the colours I would get by mixing two together. These mixes are of course by mixing about the same amount of each to get a ‘middle hue’. I made my own chart based on this one on Jane’s site because I wanted to paint on watercolour paper and my laser printer doesn’t like watercolour paper. The single colours are the ones on the diagonal. This is explained more in the attached link.

Just look at all of the lovely colours you can get from these sets! I love them!

Pictured below is my Brights set. They sure are nice and bright! And next is my Neutrals set. Ahhhhh…calming colours..I had such a great time making those charts that I even did if for my travel W&N set. So fun! 

So there you have it! I hope this post will spare you some time to paint or go out and get these sets (if you haven’t already or feel that they would be a good addition to your art supplies) instead of surfing the internet looking for answers to your questions. If anything, you will gain some golden nuggets about paint pigments that you perhaps hadn’t stumbled upon before. ? There is always something more to learn, right? I am a strong believer in that.

I’d love to hear what you think of these paints too whether it be as a comment or link to your own post.

Happy creating and thanks for stopping by!

Moongirl ❤ ❤ ❤

 

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