jumping!


I’m taking a big jump into the unknown this week!

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Since I was a little thing I’ve dreamed of visiting the USA. That magical place I saw on TV. Over the subsequent years I’ve made some half baked plans, but now it’s actually going to happen! The spirit of seven year old me is going to meet Mork & Mindy, along with all the accumulated wishes and hopes of every version of me that’s existed since then. (should I pack more clothes? – that’s a lot of us)

I’m going to meet up with some very dear (until now online) friends while I’m there, and I’m truly in bits with anticipation at this!

In the hope to soak in as much as I can in my couple of weeks I’ve planned a cross country trip by train to see as much as I can, so I’ll be whizzing through seven states in all.

I’ll keep you posted along the way – as time and wifi permits – and I’ll take some photos for you too!😉

Big love, dear pals X

knowing when


I’ve heard it said the key to painting is knowing when to stop.

Conversely, it’s also important (to my mind) to know when to keep going. 

How many abandoned sketches and paintings are there in the world? I would guess a great many more than those that finished (or past that point).

My current art journal is teaching me this more than I already knew.

The nature of dipping in and out of a book means most of the pages are, for a long time, just scraps of whims, streaks of paint, isolated doodles and jottings. And they are quite loud and ugly.

In a book of no intrinsic value, it means nothing to open it up and find a space to wipe off my paint brush, to test out an old pen, to blurt and vent some spleen. A dumping ground for bits of thing laying scattered on my work table. Cut outs and scraps, they all go in.

Nothing to lose. Some would argue (shhh — they don’t understand), nothing to be gained.

We know different, right?

Again I remember, how it’s all a metaphor for life. Keep pushing through, it’s ugly now but keep going, it’s a phase. If you have that strength of belief to carry you through it can come good.

At no point in this process do I have an idea of finished – what it will look like or when it may happen. (or if… tbh there’s always an if)

Then I catch a little corner, in my eye or my camera, and I know it will be ok.

 

Squirrelling, Busying & some Re-jig.


Hi folks, I hope you’re enjoying your summer (or winter to those who reside on the other side of this little blue ball).

What’s new with you? I’ve been busy squirrelling away on so many things and I haven’t been over here in wordpress world to share them with you.

 

I’ve been preparing my class I’m teaching in the 21 Secrets online program that’s out for pre-sale now, releasing in September. That kept me reeeeally busy for a while! I’ll show you some little snips of it here and there pre-launch – like this…………..

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Ooooh! All those colors!!

AND busy busily busying art journalling as usual, but not in my usual fashion. <GASP!>

I believe it’s good to shake stuff up, re-jig, re-orient and sometimes reinvent ourselves. The world and its contents keep evolving and the only alternative is stagnation. And that’s no fun at all. Uck!

Art-journal-wise I’ve shaken things up this time. No nice new sketchbook, no repurposed new book, this was a tatty old ledger I found in among my dad’s old papers and desk whatnots, boxed away for years in storage. From the pencilled pre-decimal price inside the back cover I would date it around 1950-something. About a third of the pages had been torn out, the remainder were a little yellowed, but blank. Fresh for painting and collaging and doodling and whatevering all over.

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My usual strategy is to progress page by page as one finishes I flip the page and start again.

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This time I’ve been opening the book randomly and splashing, doodling, writing and out-pouring with no regard to any sense of the linear.

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If you’re in a rut, this is a great shake up. As a process it ripples out into life as little shifts make dramatic differences.

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In the case of an art journal, it meant for a few weeks there was nothing aesthetically worth sharing, all oddments of scribble, stark paint scrapings, lonely fragments.

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Then all of a sudden faces started to emerge

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The pages are filling up and feeling closer to completed. Coherency emerges.

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This is the third journal I’ve been working in this year and they appear to be following the seasons, this one fully in the season of summer.

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A few weeks time I’ll be ready to begin my book of autumn, I’m already looking forward to that.

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21 Secrets!


 

If you’re an art journaler or a mixed media artist who follows what’s new online, you almost certainly know what I mean by 21 SECRETS. 21-SECRETS-2016-Color-artistblock-penn-gregory.jpg

I’m thrilled to bits to announce that in the fall 2016 program, I’m joining the 21 Secrets family as a teacher!


 

Twice a year Dirtyfootprints Studio release a brand new 21 Secrets program, where 21 teachers from around the world offer some of their secrets – their style, techniques, methods and wisdom – in the form of an online lesson. These are bundled together in a 150+ page downloadable eBook filled with 25+ hours of videos, full colored photos & templates. And you can join the gorgeous community who gather in the 21 Secrets facebook group to share their art and ideas. There’s no time limit on the program – once you buy it it’s yours to download forever!

All this is available for the amazing value of $98

The next 21 secrets comes out 26 September 2016, and I would like to invite you to The Early Bird Sale starting 3am PST on Wednesday, August 17th and closing at 12am PST on Saturday, August 20th.

The Early Bird Sale is a discount of $10 when you use Coupon Code COLOR

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This time round there’s the added bonus that there are 24 teachers!

In the interests of full  disclosure this posts contains affiliate links: at no extra cost to the customer I receive a small commission on sales of the 21 Secrets Fall 2016 program made through this post. Big thanks in advance if you choose to join in here🙂

 

Reinvention


A few years ago I created a year long project, dedicating each month to a single colour. Beginning in January with red/purple – that gorgeous magenta I keep falling back into – I cycled my way month by month through the primary/secondary/tertiary colours, ending the year in Red.

Ever since I’ve had the desire to follow up on this and reinvent the idea.

So while I haven’t been over here in the world of Ephemeral-Gecko-ing, I’ve been busying myself on a new project ….but you will have to wait until tomorrow for all the details….

Meanwhile, here’s what the 12 colours in 12 months adventure looked like:

 

The more you look…


…the more you see.

Have you ever been on a color hunt? You can do it right now – pick a color and look around you, as soon as you choose to see, it pops up all over the place. I went looking for primaries in the everyday everythings…

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You don’t need to go anywhere special, you can cast your eyes around while you sit at the traffic lights or stand in line at the shops.

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Look around your town, your home, your wardrobe, your bookcase, your refrigerator…

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Tune in to a color and it will appear like magic!

 

 

just lurking


Hello lovely friends of the internet, I’ve missed you, where have you been?

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I haven’t posted in a little while due to an absence of images.

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This is the coming together of a doodly thing I did a few weeks back

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Watercolour and fountain pen,  intricate and involved but in a stilted inhibited style, so I left it there

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My creative mojo has dropped off temporarily, the tide’s gone out, so I’m patiently waiting it out.

Meanwhile, I wish you all a beautiful Solstice, whatever that means to you. Be well, lovely souls X

in all seriousness


no , not really, I mean…really!

But in series

A work in progress, featuring more dictionary bits, watercolor, fountain pen doodles. Something of an underwatery feel going on this time.

Working title: Syllabub Four – after the first word I spotted in the collage🙂

Altered Thinking


I’m away from home and away from this blog for a few weeks… I’m missing my studio but I know in my absence the ideas are bottling up and there will be opportunity for outpouring before too long. Meanwhile I’ve had time to ponder on where I’m at, and how I got here. From here I can figure out where to go next!

 

In all my experiments and adventures with mixed media art, there’s usually something that takes me by surprise.

Something amid this endless opportunities to combine, dismantle, re-imagine, reconstruct, with new permutations of media, materials, techniques and style – way more than any  one person could exhaust in one lifetime. Sometimes I forget this though. Then I forage around online for ideas, and something amazing happens.

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Take, for instance, the concept of an altered book.

I grew up in a home full of books, maybe the last generation for whom this primary source of information, books hold a sense of reverence. Over the years I sought sanctuary in books, a hiding place, a wonder world of mysteries, of dreams and spirits, of characters too colourful to exist outside. A key that unlocks the worlds within another’s imagination, in the words of Stephen King, ‘books are uniquely portable magic’.

I can honestly say, some of my best friends have been books.

So then, altering books…. Although I’ve seen some truly exquisite sculptural paper-folding from books, and some ingenious creations, something still felt uncomfortable. Something made me wince just a little bit. And I know I’m not alone in this.

It was when I saw Brian Dettmer’s TED Talk that my thoughts became altered too. He describes the art of book altering as reinvention, as comparable to a DJ remixing music. He compares books to bodies – living creatures –  with a capability to evolve, and as a parallel to the expansion of painting and drawing beyond simple reproduction after the invention of the printing press and the camera, now perhaps books have a freedom to be more than what they were before.

What I did here is nothing like the art that Dettmer makes, his talk opened my mind to more possibility. It liberated my thoughts.

In the resonance of his words I felt my thinking shift from ‘…but why?’ through stages of creeping curiosity, a crescendo of allure to the new level of possibility. These thoughts were gathering momentum to the level of irresistible fascination. Fuelled by online tutorials and videos, with a tatty orphaned volume of short stories I set out to see what would happen with paint, pens and collage cuttings…

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After just a short time I found the spirit of the exercise had taken hold: part drawn, part collaged, pieces fell into place alongside doodles and paint splatters. My eye would catch a fleeting glimpse before the sentences were lost under colour. Patterns and ideas formed organically

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All of my habitual ways were finding their place in this new sanctuary for busy thoughts. With no expectations I set about seeing what serendipity would surprise me with, and I watched the layers build up. It was becoming an illustrated stream of consciousness. The book was developing a character all of its own.

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I worked on this book over the course of a few months, skipping back and forth through the pages with paint or pastels, doodles and drawing. This is where I went when my ideas ran dry – there was always a space to fill and patterns to follow. Ideas fed on ideas.

So the lesson I learnt from this project is that the spirit of a book isn’t just caught up in the meaning behind its text, a book is much greater than its story.

You can see this completed book in three parts, here