What 3 months of color looks like…


These are the art journal pages from the first three months of Twelvty: This is the story so far.

January: Yellow

 

When I look at these pages I’m whisked back the to adventures and explorations of the first month of this year long adventure. Using just one color brings out nuances and subtleties too quiet to hear above the sound of other colors. 

I chose yellow as a starting place in the color wheel because it is simple, it is small. 

There’s not much space or contrast in yellow – take it darker and you have shades of ochre, tan into browns. Only a smidge lighter before you hit white. No room to step either way before falling into yellow-orange or yellow-green, and they have their own months in Twevlty.

Yellow is compact with well defined parameters. 

 

February: Yellow-Green

Yellow-green: the first tertiary color we explored – and suddenly there’s a depth of tone to play with. Luscious lime to opulent olive.  Chartreuse. Char-freaking-treuse, people! 

And here’s the beginning of the “is it or isn’t it?” questions that will bob up all through this year. When does it stop being yellow and start being green? Where’s the spot in the middle? We’re navigating a continuum, there are no strict boundaries. It’s all part of the fun 😉

March: Green

Another month, another step round, deeper into greens. Each collage scrap and cut out shape here has a story and will serve to remind me of ideas that were born and then took a turn I didn’t foresee. I’m only the vehicle through which these ideas come to being, sometimes I forget this and try to control them. But, like water,  they find their own way.

 

This book is the place a leave seeds of ideas to incubate: reminders to a me-in-the-future. We’re nearing the end of a month of blue-green as I type this to you, and about to dive into the ocean of blue for May. Check back to see the cool bluey loveliness that emerges!

 


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5 reasons I art journal


As part of my journey round the color wheel this year I’m creating an art journal. It began life as a world atlas which seemed kinda fitting for an adventure like this. Old and dog-eared, it’s time had come for reincarnation as an altered book.

As the idea for this adventure sprang from a year long art journal project it seemed amiss not to include that part again this time round.

At the end of March I was looking back over the first three colors of the first three months (yellow, yellow-green, green) and remembering a time not that long back when art journalling wasn’t a part of my life.

For reals. 

Is it part of yours? If not, have you been curious why some folks get so giddy about it?

Here are five of my reasons

  1. A home for the offcuts and scraps of paper that are enough to remind me of an idea I had, a reminder of something to try again – or not to.
  2. A place to explore – what happens if I use this paint on this material? Do these pens work on this paper? Does this pen still work, or will it inklessly scratch marks, and how do they look?
  3. It’s the page I scribble notes to me-in-the-future: the name of the book or the band or the thing I just remembered, the meme that made me laugh or think or a bit confused and might want to about again. These might well get obliterated under layers, but once I’ve written something down I often remember it anyway. 
  4. A safe zone for mess – there’s nothing precious here, it can all get covered up and that’s fine. It’s all transient. If this get drips and splashes, they add to its charm. 
  5. Unplanned & unstructured, this is the organic way that most of my art grows. Every page in a book like this can spark hundreds of ideas. 

 

Want to see how the TWELVTY book is progressing? Check back soon, I’ve got more to show you! X


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sticky things


The backdrop to my 2017 is the year long art project, TWELVTY, where each month has its own color. An unexpected side benefit to this is I’ve got this clear delineation in my time. Each month is visibly new. A month is a manageable sized lump of time, and I’m relishing month-sized projects this year.

It all began in February.

On the evening of January 31st, full of pending-new-month-enthusiasm, I happened to be listening to an episode of  The Slow Home Podcast talking about #minsgame – the minimalist’s month long decluttering challenge.

Now, I’m not seeking minimalism, but the place I want to be is in that direction from here…

Hmmmmm…. 

This is the way it works:

Day 1 – get rid/recycle/donate/throw away one item of clutter.
Day 2 – two items,
Day 3 – three items – you get the idea…. for a month.

February, having 28 days, equates to 406 things. Just 406 things. No problem…

Did I stick to it all month?

No. No, I didn’t.

The first few days were hard. Because singling out just one/two/three things means resisting gathering up more than today’s allotted number… but that’s why it’s called a challenge, right? Through week one, as I made my coffee in the morning, I’d find the thing/s to put in the donations box. Odd things that don’t get used… bits and bobs. Easy. Fun. Yay!

By the end of week one there was a box of assorted junk/treasure to donate: 28 things.  

 

In week two I was distracted by the fact that in week 3 I was going away for few days, which meant either before or after my trip I’d have to collect up an extra 63 things in order to keep up.

Suddenly this felt weightier than the actual living amid clutter.

I’m really averse to rules and structure. And precise counting.

My inner adolescent was stomping about in my head ‘I don’t need to be told how to get my shit together…’  (and my inner adult  was surveying the clutter and shaking her head.)

But y’know what? – that first voice was right. 

All I’d needed was the nudge into action. To convince myself it was a game. By mid-week two I’d built up so much momentum I couldn’t limit myself (or be bothered to keep count), so I went with the flow and box after box of stuff has found its way out of my house.

recyclemenowBags and bags of ‘just in case’ material for projects that haven’t manifested, boxes of ‘holy cow that’s a bargain I’d be crazy not to’ excess quantities of *way more than I could ever use* plus all those things that were someone else’s sentimental memories. Memories of people long gone.

I sailed past the 406-thing-mark and didn’t look back.

As are the ripples. I’ve also deleted swathes of old emails. Documented trivia from over a decade ago: gone. Conversations long dead: gone. I’ve unsubscribed  and I’ve unbookmarked, and with every unchecked box and each ‘Are you sure?’ — YES, there’s a bit more brightness.

The relief is tangible.  I actually felt lighter.

 

But what I came to discover next was the sorting and choosing, the bagging and boxing, the discriminating between hasty enthusiasm I might later regret and misplaced sentimentalism, all that choosing and deciding, that wasn’t the final act.

My car contained the bags of stuff to donate, but there wasn’t a parking spot close enough to the charity shop. For longer than I expected.

The bags of textiles sat next to the door awaiting their final journey to the recycling centre for longer than I planned.

It’s like there’s an energy around these things, having a sticky quality to them.  Their energy is so entangled with my own, the process became multi-layered, and it’s not over yet. I’ve cleared out round one and now as I survey my surroundings it’s with a different eye.

There’s a new hierarchy and the filters are finer.

I am a work in progress.

And I’m learning more about being me all the while.


If you’re tempted to haul yourself from the mire of accumulated years of clutter, I can really recommend Rachel, the Messy Minimalist, on Youtube. She’s fab. My mantra in moments of doubt was: If Rachel can do this, so can I.  I haven’t read Marie Kondo’s book, but I’ve got the gist of it and used some of her principles too. There are countless Youtubes on folks Konmari-ing their homes and lives too.

Good luck! X

 

10th anniversary Tree of Life


Yesterpost I was showing you the Tree of Life, the drawing that’s been with me for (still finding this bit hard to believe) ten years.

I’ve photoshopped it through a few variations over this time, and to celebrate it’s tenth birthday I decided to reinvent one more incarnation for 2017.

More vivid, more zingy, the colors are almost an inverse of the one I showed you yesterday. Here they are together side by side.

TOL2017small TOLfullcolor

I’m fascinated by how the mood shifts with the colors.

The underwater-y-ness is amped up with the sharper blues. I like the way that once again it’s completed a circle, as the beginning drawing was in shades of blue, and here we are back in this side of the spectrum.

Here she is in some little detail pieces…

So that the new version isn’t lonely (yes, that is a thing with drawings, didn’t you know?) it’s joined by a newly spruced up version of the original drawing, so a bluer blue version is out there too. TOL_bluesmall.jpg

All three trees of life are all available a prints in Society6 

Screen Shot 2017-03-24 at 18.03.35


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(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

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tree of life


Life often moves in a spiral motion: I’ve been here before, haven’t you?

The view is a little bit different through today’s lens but what I see looks distinctly familiar.

It feels like no time passed, in so many senses, but the numbers tell me it’s approaching 10 years since I drew this.

TOLoriginal

 

I remember so vividly, when this drawing came through me. (Not to me, most definitely through me)

Have you had this happen too?

I had the strongest sense of just being a vehicle through which this drawing wanted to be made real. It could have been anyone.

TOLoriginaldetail.jpg

Of everything I’ve ever drawn, I’ve felt the least able to claim this as ‘mine’. If anything, I am its.

I remember the day it happened, I remember the big pad of watercolor paper, the watercolor pencils and paints, the frenzy of leaves and curves and wispy bits.

I remember watching it happen in front of me: Connected, and separate. Both at once.

TOLdetail2.jpg

The drawing had its own spirit, and was not willing to stay on paper.

It wanted to grow, to have more color, more depth, more vibrancy. What It had me draw was only a skeleton.

TOLfullcolordetail2.jpg

it demanded scanning and tinkering, new layers of color, new detail.

TOLfullcolordetail.jpg

Even all these years later, through it’s many incarnations and variations, it’s the most loved of all my drawings.

It’s me, and it isn’t me.

It’s an enigma.

It is, Tree of Life.

TOLfullcolor.jpg

To celebrate 10 years of Tree of Life I’ve adapted it for printables, so it can manifest itself around the world.

Would you like to give this drawing a space in your world? It’s available from Society6 in many shapes and forms.

tol_framed_S6.jpg
Art prints in many sizes, framed or unframed

Notebooks for musings & doodles, lists & lyrics, poems & plans. Cases, covers & skins for phones/ ipods. Totes & zippy pouches for carrying important things around in! And more! 

 

 All these & more can be found at: society6.com/mixy

 


If you like this, and things like this, you can get sporadic updates on my thoughts and drawings delivered right to your inbox. Hop onto my email list right here.

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

Your email is utterly safe to me. I will ensure it is guarded at all times by dragons. Hungry dragons.

gecko-versary


This week marks 5 whole years since I first posted here, since Ephemeral Gecko was born.

For reals? Yup.

This blog is the ongoing project of documenting those in between stages of my art – the ephemeral places – that places buried beneath layers of paint or existing just briefly before being deconstructed and reconstructed. Why gecko? idk…Just because. 

collage_mini_quilts_door
Marlene Glickman

So here’s a thing:

When I looked back I found my very first post here was about a textile artist – who I recently connected up with on social mediaMarlene Glickman. 

I love when life circles back on itself like this.

I first saw Marlene’s work when I was researching artists at college. I fell in love with her colors. There was a quote from her that really struck me:

“Making color and design decisions is sometimes difficult so I challenge myself to use only one color from the color wheel each month during my daily design exercises.”

I was so taken by this idea, I set upon a year long project of playing in just one color each month.

12in12in12_760w
12 colors in 2012

At the time I began this blog I was just 1/2 way through my third month, and that’s what my first post was about.

And now, here I am 5 years later — a whole lot of adventures and changes and challenges and life later — here I am: 1/2 way through the third month of the same project again.

This time it’s bigger, I’ve called it TWELVTY and I’ve got others journeying along on this adventure with me, but I’m in a parallel place again. Life moves in spirals.

 


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Spring Greens


Ever since I was a little kid, I always loved to sew.

Not just to be able to make things, but the actual meditative act of stitching.

The up & down, the back & forth, like the inhale & exhale, it’s a rhythm I melt into.

 

Textile Collage on Etsy

 

As part of my year full of color project, TWELVTY, I spent much February stitching together these gorgeous little textile wall art pieces from layers of hand-dyed recycled fabric, paper, buttons, beads and embroidered together with happy thoughts.

 

Textile Collage on Etsy

All of these concoctions are in the color of the month: ranging shades of yellow-green from luscious lime to opulent olive.

These ones are mounted on 8″ square canvas board. There are four, they’re equally lovely on their own, or grouped together as a little family.

 

You can find all of these creations (and more!)
in my Etsy shop

 

 


Would you like to get sporadic updates on my makings & doings delivered right to your inbox? Hop onto my email list right here.

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

Your email is utterly safe to me. It will be tucked up snug and nestled with a hot water bottle until the spring arrives. I will bring it fresh socks every three weeks, or as required.

embodying art


This week I joined in  the 21 day  painting challenge from Dirtyfootprints Studio #21emBODY which runs up to the start of the new 21 Secrets release which is – you guessed it – called emBODY.

Everyday there’s a prompt. I love this kinda thing! Some direction to my art practice, no pressure, dip in and out as time allows.

Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 15.13.33

I bought a new sketchbook especially for this!

Yay! 

But this isn’t just a painting challenge for me.

It’s got an edge of something a wee bit more challenging for me. Not just that I don’t usually paint ‘real’ things.

No, that’s not the big part of the challenge for me.

Here’s a thing you might not know about me: I am super squeamish. Like, properly, pathetically so.

Like all of us, I’m custodian of a human body for the duration of this life. It’s got the usual collection of giblets – sorry – offal – no, wait, what is it … organs. (see, I joke, but I don’t like to even type about the squishy oozing mechanics of the insides).

I’m massively blessed that mine are well behaved and seem to get on with doing their thing without much active attention from me. For this I am, massively grateful. Massively.  Thank you, insides.

Nonetheless, it would be very helpful to get over these squeams, so I’m taking this on as a project, as much to befriend my insides, as to practice my art.

The challenge began on Monday with lungs.

Oooh err… *slight swooning… *

With a loose sense of the geography of a lung… it’s like a cross between broccoli and a sponge, right? Fractal-like, branches branching off branches off branches….

I ventured into Google image search with some trepidation. Certain it understood I wanted lung diagrams for reference, not a screen full of redness, people-meat and horror.

Here’s how my ‘lungs’ came out… it was fun. Yup – progressing from something a bit like the diagram quickly into upside down ears, a butterfly, filled with upside down trees, sea monsters, more swirls… and many layers of color. Here are my evolving lungs:

Ok…Onto the heart next. Question is, do I look for another medical diagram, or do I bale and do something


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art is everywhere…


…but you knew that, right?

I’ve been looking at some of my old sketchbooks. Back in 2011 I did a textile art workshop. The topic for our designs was grids.

The week before I’d been to the Kniting & Stitching Show at Ally Pally – I came home with bags of new goodies to play with, and a camera full of ideas.

I was really struck by these images of the frondy leaves against the metal framework of the glass roof. Grids!! These were the grids I focussed on at the workshop…

…which quickly evolved into these…

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You can see the real frondiness of the cut out pages come to life here…

The magic of this sketchbook, even 5 years on, I still get new ideas rush at me as I flick through the pages.

Do you look back through old art journals and sketchbooks? Do they keep sparking new ideas even years later? Next time you’ve got a few minutes spare and they’re ready to hand, open one up somewhere in the middle and see if it stirs some long forgotten inspiration. Seeds of thoughts you planted way-back-when. They might yet grow into something beautiful!

 


Would you like to get sporadic updates on my thinkings and doings delivered right to your inbox? Hop onto my email list right here.

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

Your email is utterly safe to me. It will be wrapped up snug in a fluffy blanket & nestled with a puppy until the spring arrives. I will bring it tea and a bun if it wakes up.

 

contrast


Sometimes I take sideways look.

A change of perspective is refreshing and replenishing.

I’ve always surrounded myself in color, it lights me up and brings with it so many of my ideas.

And I love contrast.

I’m someone who thrives on change and novelty. I bounce along with the momentum. So alongside all the bright clashing colors I wrap every day in, I get a big zing from zebra stripes, dalmatian dots, and nothingy neutrals too.

So here I am.

After 3 months of prepping and planning and immersing myself in TWELVTY the year full of color, followed by a frantic fantastic cram-it-all-in-three-day-trip to the color-drenched delight that is Barcelona (more on that in a future post) my eyes and mind were full to bursting of full color.

I had to restore some balance before I could move forward.

Which is why, earlier this week, when I was up to my elbows in deadlines and adulting duties I had to spend time making this.

For so many reasons.

So, so many.

A slow learned life lesson for me has been fully grasping the importance of taking a few hours out of a really full day – counter-intuitive as it may seem – as this time will more than repay itself. Always.

It replaces the hours otherwise spent spinning aimlessly between tasks in the appearance of being really busy but not achieving anything. Apart from more confusion.

Cos while I work like that I only get bits of jobs dome, I don’t remember where I left off and have to do them again anyways. And it’s exhausting.

Y’know the old saying:
Too busy to find 10 minutes a day for mediation? Then you need to meditate an hour a day.
It’s how it works. 

So I made this.

The book I used is the art journal I’m working in throughout TWELVTY. Each month this year, which is dedicated to its own color, has a few pages for single colored doodles.  At the end of the year it will be a rainbow of mixed media, not unlike this.

I used a page toward the end, so in a few months time when its time arrives I’ll add some color to it. (Some time in the autumn, which will be in the Orangey-Red season – watch this space!)

Want to see this all coming into life? Here it is…

What’s your best way to keep swimming through the chaos every day life keeps throwing at you?

Have you got a creative practice that’s a sanctuary for your soul? I’d love to know.  


Would you like to get sporadic updates on my thoughts and drawings delivered right to your inbox? Hop onto my email list right here.

(and I’ll send you my ebook A Year full of Color as a thank you for joining)

Your email is utterly safe to me. It will be wrapped up snug and nestled with a hot water bottle & a kitten until the spring arrives. I will bring it fresh socks every three weeks, or as required.