Metamorphosis & Metaphors


My 100 day project time lapse compilations are growing (you can check out the others over here

The pages in this book got layered over again and again – some began many months earlier – and then were then re-imagined many times in the 100 days.

This page began where I’d written the manifesto for the previous year’s 100 day project. An Actual Manifesto! Lawks!!

Never before had I felt called to write myself such a formal plan, but one morning last year I woke up from a vivid dream with an irresistible compulsion. Then a little over a year later I painted over it.

Watch how morphed over the 100 days here –


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Outnumbered in my own story.


I’ve spent so many hours in the world between the pages of this book.

From the layers of drawings and doodles, to reliving the experience via editing the videos I made for the 100 days project, each page has developed a narrative.

Here is the next in the series of compiled time lapses (previous ones are here)

I work fast because one thought spawns a dozen new ideas and I have to run to catch as many as I can.

In this spread it was the stitches along the page edge that generated the triangular patterns, then the edges of the paint streaks which wanted more attention, emerging into solid shapes that demanded stripes, squiggles & spots.

Before I knew it, there were faces emerging.

I’ll be honest – right from the moment they began to appear – I wasn’t quite comfortable with this crowd.

As small and flat as their grinning faces were, I felt outnumbered, and until I redressed this balance I had an uneasy sense here.

Having looked thoroughly disgruntled throughout, the character who remained at the end took on a certain poise and dignity when the others left. Now she clearly owns this spread.


The rest of the characters in this art journal also have a destiny that’s yet to be fulfilled. Catch my August Studio Musings Newsletter to find out more. If you haven’t already done so – hop in here!

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Mostly Squiggles


An Art Journal Journey (part 2)

(In case you missed it, the first in this series is here)


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Doodles over doodles


Part 5 of the time lapse comps

Since I finished my 100 days project I’ve been editing together some of the time lapse process videos to look back at the evolution of these pages. Here is part 5.

Ink over gesso never fails to make me happy.

water splashes on ink on gesso make magical patterns

In this spread I began by gessoing over a page of scribbled color. Then came pebeo colorex inks running through the gesso texture, then ecoline brush pens for their juicy transparent colors that layer like nothing else.

If I’d left this page there, I would have been happy, but this challenge involved pushing through a few ‘finished already’ stages into new territory, in this case it was with water-soluble graphite and watercolor pencils, then lastly a white chalk marker.

You can see more from this series here


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A plan, two things & a video.


About a new art journal

Giddy excitement. When I started this new (oooh new!!) art journal I decided to make the whole book the subject of a big time lapse experiment. There’s nothing like a new book to fill me with BIG intentions.

Plan: I’ll play first thing every morning and record what happens, then edit it all into a video for (mostly my own) amusement.

Reality: It’s been some mornings, but if I aim for all I’ll hit some. If I aim for some I might not hit many at all, the book will sink under a pile of other stuff, I won’t remember the plan. I know me. I know how this plays out.

Thing # 1

If there’s one thing I consistently am, it’s inconsistent. Just the act of making a plan triggers the part of my brain that prevents me doing the thing, no matter how much I enjoy thinging that kinda thing.

Is this massively incompatible with daily life? Abso-total-lutely it is. Jeepers yes. It’s really inconvenient and a battle I fight with myself all the time.

Thing # 2

If I let thing #1 stand in my way, it will destroy my creativity, and I’ll achieve nothing.

So in order to outwit myself I’ve put together the video of the first few pages. It’s not (yet) the epic project I first envisaged, and it might never be. But for now it is this, and this is a thing. If I’m quick, I’ll have done this before I realise I’ve fallen into my on trap. Sneaky? darned right I am.


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Letting go of the butterfly


Time Lapse Compilation: part 3

If you’ve been here before, you’ll know that lately I’ve been documenting my art journaling process through a series of time lapse videos.

It’s curious to relive a visual journey. There’s nothing like filming the process to relive the ‘why did I do that?’ moments. These came up a lot early on but I’m noticing a desensitising effect with practice, and letting go of expectations. Process is process.

Nonetheless, the push and pull of loving/hating the direction it’s taking remains real. It took a really long time for me to catch on where this one wanted me to lead it.

The irony of the words that fell onto this page is not lost on me, from an interview with
Sabrina Ward Harrison: “Splendidly Imperfect and Alive”.

This video is a compilation of little time lapse videos taken over a few weeks of back-and-forth-ing on this spread.

The more time I spend in art making, the more I find parallels between a creative practice and all the other everyday-everythings. Seems to me, how we make tends to mirror how we live – bravely – messily – stubbornly – inconsistently… all of these are here!

Releasing the butterfly

This particular spread got so sticky because I reeeally didn’t want to lose that butterfly. I painted and drew around him until I had such a mess there was no other option, ultimately burying him under a new layer of paint to ease the intensity of so much going on.  I was resisting letting go.

I’ll post the next in this series soon. To catch it ahead of everyone else + get monthly-ish updates on my other colorful studio antics, join up for my newsletter here.

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Stitching together 100 days


This week we reached the end of the #100dayproject. Every day for over 3 months I posted my daily doodles to Instagram. Yikes!

Sometimes just photos, but for the most part, I shared little 30 second or so time lapse videos.

This is an art journal I’ve been doodling back and forth through for a long time. Every day I’d find a page that wanted something new, different colors or just had a space to fill. I’d scribble down words that caught my attention in a podcast or song lyrics, I’d sketch and play and add bits of scraps of stuff from my desk.

There are no rules in a book like this, nothing can go *wrong*. It’s all subject to change, it’s all ephemeral.

Over the weeks and months these pages changed beyond recognition. This is a snapshot into the evolution.

Evolving ideas

You can see a full flip through of this book by joining up for my newsletter. I share monthly (-ish) musings from my studio, first looksies at what I’m making, and exclusive discounts in my online sales, but if that’s not your jam you can unsubscribe at any time.

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2019 Sketchbook Project


This year’s contribution to the Brooklyn Art Library’s Sketchbook Project got filled with a great outpouring of ideas in the final couple of weeks before the deadline.

The book itself had been sitting on my desk, quietly waiting for months. Since the start of this year I got waylaid from almost everything else in the studio by the epic paper dying experiments.

I knew, as the weeks ticked by, that I’d be spending those last days in a flurry of paint and collage bits, stitching in new pages and sequins, hidden notes, and whatever else was flooding out of my thoughts onto the pages.

My first idea was to extend my ink dying experiments directly into these pages, but the paper of the sketchbook doesn’t absorb the ink the same way and it just wasn’t working how I wanted it to.

So instead I adapted the ink splotches, like finding patterns in the clouds, I found faces and magical made up animals in the splashes.

On the Library Shelf…

For all you folks local to New York (or passing through) – this book can now be found on the shelves of the Brooklyn Art Library, with a call number of: 360.55-6

Digitised Version…

In a few weeks time my book will be scanned and digitised to see online (like last years, which you can see here).

But you really need to see in her motion to get a sense of her cut out pages, her frills and flounces…


Because sometimes ink blob people and creatures aren’t enough…

Sometimes you need to stitch in extra pages, fold out bits, with secret notes, meaningless messages and nonsense.

So the next best thing to a trip to Brooklyn to meet this creation, is this little filmed flip through I made you.

(If you already saw the first flip through – this is a longer version – with close ups and all!)

While I’m still buzzing on the high of making this book, I’m channeling this energy into daily pages for the #100dayproject which you can follow over on Instagram.

You can be first to find out what I’m busy making and doing with monthly-ish updates direct to your emailbox. Like magic. Just tell me who you are:

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100 days in 2019


Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” 
~ Sir Terry Pratchett

It’s that time of year again, Instagram is full to bursting of 100 day projects. I love the variety of ideas that populate this challenge.


Previously…

In 2017 I missed the start date by a long way. I didn’t know this was an annual event, or anything much at all except it was a hashtag that intrigued me. I took the next 6 months to complete 100 daily pages of art journal.

In 2018 I was all amped up to go from day one. I decided on a hugely ambitious project. I even wrote myself a manifesto. For real! By day sixty-something I was utterly spangled and my group of 100-day-canvasses* are still ‘resting’ in a not quite complete stage.

*that’s 5 canvasses for the 100 days. Not 100 canvasses. I’m over ambitious, for sure, but not that much…

I’ll circle back round to them some day. When they’re ready.


Opting Out…

This year I had no plans to join the project.

I love watching everyone else’s projects in all their iterations play out and develop. I’m fascinated by the broad reach of the themes; the devotion and the grace; the patience and the determination. [Is this you? Leave a comment below with your IG handle so I can follow you too 😀 ]

My 2019 is a time of stepping away and of setting aside, I’ve been deliberately disengaging from social media, opting out and resisting. I’m doing my darnedest to play more offline than online to help de-frazzle my achy brain.

This year I planned watch and absorb instead.

Oh. Surprise!

So no-one was more surprised than I was to find myself getting all zinged up on April 2nd – day one of the project – when I determined the thing I wanted to do more than anything else was to join in again!

I made a commitment to myself already to make some sort of art every day in this little Moleskine book. It’s been with me over a year and I especially while I’m still a bit high on the fun of the sketchbook project book I just completed (more on that soon) this feels like a gift of accountability- momentum I just can’t ignore.

Will I last out for 100 days? I’ll post updates here as and when [ or you can check the daily doodles I add on Instagram ] for now I’m enjoying it, and that’s all that matters to me 😉


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The Spiral Path of Words & Color


Happy Blog-iversary to me!

I began this blog to keep a (slightly) ordered record of my creative doings and makings. I figured the self-accountability of posting about my various colorful doings would prompt me into more regular habits. At the very least, it would create an ordered timeline of events I could take a backwards look at and track this meandering journey.

In fact that’s become a bigger part than I had reckoned on.

That was SEVEN years ago.

Much of my early blogging was to document my experiments in dying paper.

The idea arrived in my mind as I was pouring another bucket of colored water away, post-fabric-dying process.

Fabric dye remains ‘active’ for a relatively short time. Leaving cloth to soak for a long time will allow it to absorb deeper into the fibres, giving richer more intense colors, but the major part of the dying magic occurs in the first half hour or so. That pretty colored water will do nothing else. I got wondering – this is no good for fabric – but what about paper…?

In the passage of these 7 years I forget how I evolved to using inks instead of recycled dye water… something to do with the salt in the dye water being corrosive to the paper, and (more likely) the very dilute colors not suiting my bright vivid world. But I come back to these experiments again and again.

Way back, my first experiments were with an old dictionary. She’d already lost her cover and was very loose at the bindings. She was ready to become art paper.

Earlier this year I began playing about with these old book pages and something in my creativity woke up. I began what’s turned out to be an epic adventure into paper dying.

Revisiting ink dying with the remaining pages of that dictionary from years ago.

Life spirals around in familiar patterns – have you noticed this too?

The paper I’ve been using recently has also been from retired dictionaries. I remember these books from when I was a kid, they were falling-apart-old even then.

I’ve also got this 2 volume set of ‘The Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary’. Huge books with multiple pages of regular sized print reduced into one. Barely visible words, the books actually come with a magnifying glass.

They’re so weighty [2 volumes of 4000+ pages!] They really feel like they’re holding the mass of an entire language.

I remember finding these books fascinating as a kid, but they were barely ever used, they’re just absurdly impractical. Instead they served as a doorstop for a while, and eventually found their way into a box of stored things in a damp garage. An unhappy demise for any book. Many years later, re-emerging, covers tatty and box almost destroyed, but pages miraculously almost intact.

This year these two gigantic tomes transcended into their latest incarnation: ART.

Afforded the freedom that this quantity of paper – literally thousands of pages from these dismantled books – I’ve really explored the ways the different types of paper take up different types of ink.

I’ve become obsessed!

I’ll show you more of these experiments next post, and what my plans are for these colorful pages!

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