Posted on

Yellow Boat, or, You Can’t Always Get What You Want

The Mister and I made 3 trips to Hollyhock, Cortes Island, B.C. Two trips were to take Jim Kerwin’s go workshop and 1 trip was for a week away from it all. All three trips were before I picked up my Canon Rebel, which, in hindsight, is a bummer.  As much as I love my little Powershot S50, the photo quality is ok and no raw. With my Gimp skill level, only so much can be done with these photos.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may have noticed that I’m not a technical photographer. Oh, sure, I understand some aspects of the mechanics of photography, but as with my mixed media art, I create from a tactile, spontaneous place, capturing what catches my eye in the moment. Sometimes it work out, sometimes not.

I have hundreds of Hollyhock photos, all taken with my wee Powershot. This is one of my favorite Hollyhock photos.  I wandered down to the beach one afternoon to sunbathe, where I found this scene. It was a very bright July day and must have been 80 degrees. I love the boat and the water and sunlight reflecting on the rocks below the surface. But the sky was washed out and this has always bothered me.

This photo was includes a Make Wonderful layer, plasma layer, and selected areas brightened and darkened. Very technical, right? I’m not completely happy with the result. This is the third or fourth time I’ve fiddled with the photo. I come back to it as I learn new Gimp techniques, in the hope that, someday, I’ll have all the Gimp skill to make the sky I want.

If you’ve got some Gimp tips to share, I’d love to hear from you.


Posted on

Super Power #23

I’ve been in a watercolor mood lately and taking time to explore it.

I recently acquired some new art goodies : Jane Davenport’s book, called “Drawing and Painting Beautiful Faces,” a set of Gelatos, and a set of Derwent Inktense pencils. The Gelatos and Inktense pencils are water soluble and fit right into my watery mood.

I recently ran across a Mori Girl illustration, a photo of a Mori Girl in this particular pose, which, along with Jane’s book are the inspirations for this page, which  was done on Canson 9×12 mixed media paper. In addition to using Gelatos and Inktense pencils, I used a purple Prisma pencil, Pitt pens, Stabilo All pencil, Copic marker in cool grey, and Sakura gel and Micron pens.

Overall, I like the way this page turned out. The paper can get overworked and get pilly if you use too much water. Sometimes the Gelatos don’t move as much as I’d like.  More experimentation is needed to fine tune using these products.  I’m curious how they’ll work over a matte medium or acrylic base.

I doodled past the perforations which I discovered when I went to scan the page for this post. I had to scan it in 2 parts and will have to merge them together. For this post,  I altered the photo taken with my phone camera using my go-to photo editors: Aviary and Pixlromatic.

I like my girls to gave unusual names and Esmeralda worked for me. When I finished the page, I thought Es looked a bit put out by the whole thing because as a Mori Girl, she would not want her superpower to cause birdies harm.

I think we all have superpowers of some kind. Not like flying or deflecting bullets with bracelets, which would be awesome. But some extra special skill that helps us out. Mine is the ability to take minutes at meetings where I don’t understand the discussion. This comes in very handy in my job as a health care admin.

What’s your superpower?


Posted on

Life Book 2015 Weeks 14-17

The theme for April is being present. In the moment. Tam had a terrific definition for being present, so I’ll save the Buddhist commentary for a moment. What the April lessons have in common is being present by following your artistic impulses, experimenting, playing. Remember how carefree you were as a kid drawing? Before some inconsiderate external critic suggested that your creations could only be loved by your mom?

I’d like to go find that teacher and kick ’em in the junk, but that’s not a very friendly thing to do but the idea does put my inner critic on my side for a change.

Being present.  It’s bit scary posting this set of pages. They are not finished works, nor are they meant to be. They are play-time with personal words and symbols. Experiments with color and form with little regard for composition. Visual expressions of the moment, what I saw and felt on the days I made them, using colors that struck my fancy in the moment.

These are mixed media pages: acrylic paints in liquid, ink, spray, marker and heavy body formulas, Stabilo All pencils, Pitt Pens, Neocolor2s, Gelatos, Distress Stains, tissue, collage, pastels, watercolor pencils, colored pencil, graphite pencil, alcohol markers.

Week 14: Field Journaling with Alisa Burke.  To be honest, I was having lunch at work, read the pdf and had ideas. I didn’t watch the video for this lesson. I’m sure I’ll go back and watch in order to take notes at some point. I like the color and elements of this page, but feel value is somewhat lacking.



Week 15 Little Things, with Tam.  3/4 face, two page spread.  Tam’s definition of the present is pretty terrific and I’m mostly paraphrasing, but goes something like this: the present is real while the past and future are imaginary.  Since I’m working in a large (9×12 journal), I decided to do the 2 page spread.  And struggled with working more loosely, simpler face shading, more black and white.  I had to set this aside for a couple days to appreciate it. I added more little black and white doodles after this photo.  I also re-worked these pages in another journal because i felt the version here, in my Life Book art journal, the pages, well, sort of work together, but not as much as I’d like.  I love Tam’s art so much and want to buy an original piece someday. In the meantime, for the Life Book lessons, I tend to copy her composition, in my style, doodles, writing, and darker color scheme, which brings different problems.



Week 16.Being Here Now with Alena Hennessy.  I enjoyed Alena’s class last year.  For me, I find Alena’s lessons are like Jane Davenport’s, with tools, techniques, and inspiration to create a page all your own. I may use some of her elements or maybe not.  When I’m watching the videos and taking notes, I sometimes get ideas. I make note of these ideas so when I sit down, I can try them out. Alena’s lesson involved working 15 minutes, 10 minutes and 5 minutes, so I did 2 versions, 15 and 10 minutes, on 9×12 watercolor paper.  I liked the first one so much, I taped it into my journal.  When I finished the background, pan-galactic gargleblasters popped into my mind. I looked over the page and thought that the world must look like this page after having one.  It made sense at the moment. Which is the point of the lesson, init?



Week 17 Feel the Moment with Jenny Wentworth. As I watched Jenny’s video, I had the urge to work the page in Quin Magenta, Payne’s Grey, and Pthalo Blue. Why? Cuz I love those colors.  I gesso’d my page and started to work. Jenny used charcoal to sketch her gal, then activated it with a wet brush. My charcoal didn’t work very well wet, so I switched to my trusty Stabilo All pencil. Many layers commenced because I had to bring light to her face.  Most of my heavy body acrylics are Amsterdam brand. I love the colors and most of the time, they work quite well for my needs. Today, though, we were having a struggle.  Perhaps I wasn’t letting layers dry properly or perhaps I used too much water to thin them on the page, but I had a lot of trouble with them lifting off the page and behaving more like water soluable Neocolor 2s than acrylic paints. Her eyes are the color of the original background.  This gal is growing on me. It’s been a long time since I created a face without mapping it out in painstaking detail – erasing, drawing, re-drawing. I worked very quickly on this page.  Three of the pages were worked fairly quickly. It seems I spent a rather long time on Tam’s lesson, but it was a 2 page spread.



This sort of in-the-moment play-time is good for the soul. It’s liberating and expressive.  Whether or not you share such pages with anyone doesn’t matter, but give it a try. A little expressive freedom just for you. But if you want to share, I’d love to see your pages.