Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Lately my creative brain has been bouncing off the walls, exploding with ideas. Yet whenever I have tried to translate those ideas onto paper it just hasn't worked, the image in my head and the image on the paper are disconnected. I thought it was perhaps that the technical abilities of my head far outweigh those of my hands, but in fact I think it's been my tendency to overthink things.

I picked up a fantastic lettering book recently by Michael Clark (an amazing lettering artist) and one of the first quotes I read was:

If we lose simplicity, we lose drama. Wyeth

Or course it was beautifully lettered!

When I simplify my artistic process and allow it to happen rather than having elaborately planned out ideas, not only am I happier with the process, I'm happier with the outcome.

This piece came about after I was looking a some artwork on Donna Downey's site and although her artwork is vastly different to mine, it was the words that spoke to me: 'It's all going to be okay.' and 'You are exactly where you should be.' specifically spoke to me. And this is the artwork that followed. I love flowers and I love pencil. In this case soluable graphite pencils mixed with a bit of windsor and newton watercolour blocks. I toyed with adding words but feel that in this case less is more.

The joy I experienced doing this artwork was fantastic. I was completely in the moment and it just flowed. This is, I feel, how art is supposed to be.

It is a truly gorgeous day in Melbourne today and as my son, Bailey, said to me this morning, the sun is shining and that makes me smile.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Going with the flow

I have this sticky note stuck to my computer to remind me to stop fighting life. I must admit it's been both a struggle and a battle at times over the last eight weeks. There's certainly a lot going on in this life. My mother would most probably offer her pearl of wisdom - you're trying to do to much!

It's true I am trying to accomplish a lot, work is at a peak at the moment with the programme I am writing needing to be ready by the end of August. My thesis is hotting up with my supervisor actually expecting me to write it *lol*, there's the time commitment with Bailey's speech pathology as well as the daily life of looking after twin 6-year old boys (I wish I had half their energy!) and spending quality time with Andrew . . .  and oh yeah I'd like to create something sometime!

With that in mind I've been re-assessing the way I do things. If this is how my life is there seems little point wingeing about it. So I've been thinking about single-tasking. I've always been a multi-tasker but lately my brain is suggesting that needs to stop. I've been trying to take in a process soooooo much information lately that my head's felt like it's been about to explode. Seriously I've been waiting for the 'This brain will self-destruct in five minutes' and then splat brain mush on the computer screen. Ewwww.

I found this blog when researching single-tasking and I must say just doing one thing at a time seems to have it's benefits, stress-relieve just one of them. So far this week it's been an up and down try, I think I've been multi-tasking for so long it's going to take some time to unlearn it. But I like the idea of being truly present in whatever I'm doing, be it family, art, work or study, to be present and attentive in the moment is a treasure so I'm going to focus on that.

Til next time. I hope you are having a great day.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


This is another composition piece that I did for the Claudine Hellmuth collage workshop at Big Picture Classes. Am I allow to actually say that I love this piece, so much in fact that I'm actually thinking of framing it!

This is the first piece that I've done that included objects rather than just layers of paper. When I set out to do the piece I really wanted to make a piece about time and really it started with the clock stamp that I'd been itching to use. Then it was a matter of having fun deciding what I could use from my stash to create the piece. In fact that's one of the things I love about collage, you can actually use stuff from your stash rather than hoarding it.

I honestly think that the key to creating is just having an idea and allow it to grow and see what happens at the end of it.

Well that's all for now, I'm using the time between MasterChef finales to catch up on some blogging and computer work and I'm hoping that Kate wins.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Stress Relief

It's been a stressful couple of days culminating in back to school mayhem this morning. Bailey is currently doing an intensive program to help his language disorder and this is 2 hours a day for 8 weeks. The logistics of not being able to be in the same place at once gets to me sometimes. So does the enormity of the challenges that Bailey faces in the future and the flow on effects to our family. Some days are harder than others and today was one of the hard ones!

I haven't actually drawn anything in ages. But I found this image in my Oprah magazine that spoke to me. I like the essence of freedom in standing next to a fountain drinking in the water and not worrying about getting wet. Drawing feels good to me and makes me happy. In fact I often wonder why I don't draw more often since it makes me so happy. I look at my images and think they look okay (am I allowed to say that?) of course my skills could always been improved. I'd like to be able to translate some of my pencil drawings into fully fledged artwork, but often I just can't decide on a medium! But then again maybe that's just an excuse to protect me against failure!

I'm trying to work out how I can make a living from being creative and I'm planning on doing an ecourse by one of my favourite mixed media artists Kelly Rae Roberts.  I'm hoping that this course will focus my attention on what it is that I actually want to achieve. While I'm not strictly goal oriented, I do like to have a vision of where I'm heading so that I can work toward achieving it. Lately I've been feeling that I'm treading water in quicksand so anything that can help with clarity is a goer.

I hope your day has been restful.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Bubble Lady

Remember I mentioned the bubble lady, as I like to call her. Well here is the collage I created using that particular piece of artwork. I printed the artwork onto canvas paper and then did some fussy cutting to get a good outline of her.

I've used the script to create the horizon. This script is based on a 1929 font by Jan Tschichold a very famous font designer. I've been reading a book on Edward Johnston for my MA and this font was discussed. I love that it's modern and rounded sans serif and a bit funky. I'd like to play around with it a bit more and really develop a script from it - oh to have the time!

I haven't had a chance to look at the last week of the collage workshop notes because I'm trying feverishly to get some work finished before the school holiday onslaught. I'll hopefully get to it soon, and I've gotta say that I'm going to miss the workshop and the interaction with other class members. But I have a plan! Ali Edwards has been mentioning doing her Week in a Life project again and this time I think I might just go along. I've been a bit slack taking photos of the family and I'm finding I'm much more productive when I have a project to complete.

Till next time I hope you are enjoying your day.

Karen xx

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Composition and Collage

 I'm into my second week of a four week Composition for Collage online workshop at Big Picture Classes. The class is being run by Claudine Helmuth, who is a seriously cool illustrator and collage artist and an excellent teacher. I love to learn and I must say that this class has really challenged me, mostly because I often don't think of composition before I do something and also because I normally draw or paint rather than collage. It's been fun though and has inspired me to think about different ways of putting art together.

The first composition I did I used lettering as my starting point. It's an asymetrical composition.This was fun because I haven't done lettering for ages! This lettering is actually a copy of some brush lettering in one of my calligraphy books, except I've done this with a chalk pastel pencil. I've done the lettering on some leftover Basic Grey scrapping paper, and have added depth with a brown Conte Crayon. The embellishments and letters are from my scrapping stash - collage is a great way to use things.

My second collage is a horizon composition using a low horizon. I seriously struggled with this because every time I thought of something it included a real horizon like grass, sky, etc. In the class we are given downloads that we can print and use or use digitally. Many of them are black and white and have a 1920s feel. Now while I love Vienna Design in the 1920s, I don't immediately love photographic images. So, instead of deliberating for too long I scanned in one of my own drawings and re-sized and printed and used it for the basis of my collage. It was fun because I'm still using my own stuff. Everything I do seems to have to have a story and I think by using my own images I'm able to relate the story better, maybe because I feel connected to the artwork I've previously created.

I have two more ideas for horizon composition, one using Bubble Lady shown in this post and one using lettering. The problem at the moment is time. I'm trying to organise my Masters stuff - how is it I accumulated so many random pieces of paper! I also have work I'm trying to churn out before school holiday. So we'll see how it goes. I also have another book to show, this time a Baby Book. So until next time. Happy creating.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Wedding Album and Card

Hello, yes it's been a VERY long time! I've been deciding if I wanted to blog, what I wanted to make, where I see my creativity sending me - lots of questions but not many real answers.

Anyway, below is a wedding album I made for a recent wedding we attended. I'm into books of all kind at the moment and I'm working out how to make some mini-albums and waiting on a book showing me some new ways of binding.

This is the card I made for the same couple. I liked the tone on tone of this card and the simplicity of the images.

Well I'm hoping it won't be toooooooooo long between now and my next post!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Sparkly Card

A quick post to show you a card I made for my in-laws' 50th Wedding Anniversary. I love glitter so try to incorporate it in a lot of the cards I make. This technique uses a VersaMark pad stamped around the edges, then add heat set powder and then add the glitter. The glitter I used is a light champagne colour, however because it's done on a black card it deepens the colour slightly.

I've been absent mostly because of holidays. Bailey and Nathan started prep on Friday so I'm hoping to have a little bit more time for crafting and some actual art work. I have sooooooo many ideas, but also want to de-clutter my house and give it a damn good clean, I'd also like to de-toy the house a little bit, especially as the boys have a birthday coming up. Add to that my thesis and some potential work, I'm sure those kidlet free hours will go by in a flash.

Till next time, hope your day is a good one.