A life full of color


Some lifetimes ago, a sixteen year old version of me failed to get the place in art school that she’d pinned all her early hopes to.

Dismissed by the grown ups who’d repeatedly explained: ‘being an artist isn’t realistic’ led to years floating adrift from my calling.

(They were wrong. And this isn’t what I do, I’ve come to realise, it’s what I am)

A few years ago, rattled by some mid-life reminders of mortality, I finally fulfilled my life long ambition. But being an art student was as far as I’d thought this plan through. After spinning around in a self made feedback loop of regret for two decades, while I loved my time at college, I’d completely lost sight of the purpose.

My confusion was confounded when my course was cancelled after the foundation year. Before I’d time to consider my options my personal life fell apart, as a few weeks later my mum died.

Now I was free falling and had to find something to grasp onto, something simple I could rely on to slow the descent.  

I needed a project to latch my focus to. I needed a subject I could immerse myself in. It had to be something creative, it had to be something colourful.

It just had to be color.

 

 

I hadn’t the bandwidth for anything more complex. I needed colors, but one at a time. No other rules. Just me, a book, and whatever paints and pens and things I had to hand. In just one color. I began with the color I felt most drawn to at the time, which was red-violet, magenta. It was soothing. It was all I had space for.

I took that year, one color at a time, one month at a time.

 

 

After another family bereavement a couple of months into my year long color project, I knew I needed some accountability, some way to keep this project afloat. That’s when I started this blog.

By the end of the year I’d created a this whole book full of color.

 

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It’s still with me in my studio as a resource for inspiration – (that’s something I didn’t foresee when I began this project.)

(You can see it page by page here)

12 in 12 from mixy gecko on Vimeo.

 

 

As I showed my book of 12 colors to more of my artist friends, the idea of revisiting a year full of color began to develop. And they wanted in on it too.

So in 2017 I invented TWELVTY,  a way of sharing the adventure around the color wheel with other creatives as an online program.

It’s been an astonishing journey, (which isn’t over yet) and I’ve learned so much (more on that in another post).

I didn’t expect to run Twelvty as a program with others again after this year – it’s been all consuming and I had other plans for 2018 – but Twelvty has plans for me too, it would appear. 

So here we are, in preparation for:

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We begin the journey in the new year, but registration is open from November.

I think it speaks for itself that some of this year’s Twelveteers have already joined up for a second trip around the color wheel in 2018!

There are a limited number of discounted places available to folks on my mailing list. If you aren’t signed up already – what the hey?!! – scoot down to the end of this post to add your email before they’re all swooped up!

a braid of ideas


A three ply art project in the making:

This is my Inktober inspired Sketchbook Project for Twelvty 2018: Three ideas smooshed together between the covers of a 5 x 7 inch book which will be the springboard into a new adventure for next year.

 

……..this is a story that began in July……..

Part One: The Sketchbook Project

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The Sketchbook Project is just as the name suggests. It’s a collaborative art project, and it’s enormous. It’s 36,130 artists’ books contributed by creative people from 135+ countries over 11 years. In 2018 it will contain at least one more, and that will be my one. 

My book arrived in the mail on Monday 31 July, straight away I set to work on doodling a first page with my initial thoughts and ideas:

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Contented that I’d made my first mark, I set the book aside while I waited for the ideas to formulate. Then I got sick, and was away from my life for a while. The up-side to hospital-strength pain relief is that although I wasn’t able to create anything for a while, the visual ideas flooding my brain were far beyond what my usual imagination can conjure, and I’ve still got a solid grasp on what I saw inside my head.

Yes, they were colourful. (more on that in part three).

………. now let’s fast forward to September……….

 

Part two: Inktober

Inktober is an annual ink drawing challenge held online every October. Again, the clue is in the title.

I was dithering as to whether I’d participate this year, historically I’ve been rubbish at commitment. Is this a good reason not to play along? That’s what I was pondering on n off through September.

Until I hit upon the way my three ideas perfectly fit together. 

Ink drawings are the scaffolding for the content of my sketchbook project – the top layer of which I’ll explain in part three  – combining to make real what my muddled little opiated brain saw in hospital. And leading me into a project I’m planning for 2018!

“OHMYGOSH IT’S LOOKING A LOT LIKE A PLAN OF ACTION”

 

…………. now fast forward to October 1st……..

Today began page one of the sketchbook, #inktober doodle number one, a commentary on my thought process as the project reveals itself to me. It’s all quite meta. 
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(you can see daily progress here on Instagram…. )

Black and white drawings are all well and good, as they form the scaffolding for the content of my sketchbook, but in order for it to be ‘me’ it needs some color, right? Of course it does.

……. Which brings me to ……

Part three: TWELVTY 2018

Twelvty is the environment in which almost all my art has evolved this year:  With each month a new color – as conveniently there are 12 colors in the color wheel if you count the tertiaries (which are by far my favs) – this perfectly fits one year.

complementary colors: opposites in the color wheel
complementary colors: opposites in the color wheel

An aspect of this color wheel journey I’ve enjoyed exploring more deeply this year is the ways that each color fits in amid its neighbours; how they interact. How they dance.

I’ve developed a real fascination with balancing the pairs and groups of colors – the complementaries, the triadic groups…

This is something I intend to explore more thoroughly in a second variation of Twelvty in 2018.

This is also the way I plan to add color to the Inktober doodlings in the sketchbook project book.

 

The Plan:

So there we have it: The doodles and drawings of Inktober will form the structure of my vision for the sketchbook.

In November I’ll add the colours, which will be the pairs and threesomes of color theory illustrating the beauty of the color wheel.

This in turn will be the visualisation of a new program all about color balancing for the new year.

YIKES!

 

I’ll tell you more about these 2018 incarnations of Twelvty at a future date. Meanwhile I’ve got important doodles to do!

Be sure to get on my mailing list if you’re even a little bit interested in finding out more about TWELVTY 2018 cos there’ll be special deals for folks on my list!

Flashback: Color, Color, Color!


IMG_9429Last year I had the great pleasure of producing an online class for 21 Secrets all about color. (If you know my art – you’ll know this is my thing!)

In the class I teach you how to make a really fun variation on a color wheel, using collage and mixed media painting techniques, to inspire new ways of combining colors in your mixed media art. This would be fab as a school holiday project for creative little ones!

And another 23 teachers (yes – this time there are more than the usual 21) share how they use color in their art.

This week there’s a Flashback Sale!

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From 1am PST on Monday July 3rd
(CLICK HERE for time zone conversion)
to 11:59pm PST on Wednesday, July 5th 

You can grab Color, Color, Color! For just $77
(a discount of $21).

Click Here & Enter Coupon Code: FLASHBACK

 

(By purchasing through the links in this post, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.)  

 


All through this summer I’m offering a special discount in my Etsy Shop to all the folks on my mailing list – so clickety-hop aboard today if you want to snag a bargain!

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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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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.

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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


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. I’ll sing it to sleep when it lands with me, and bring it tea and some cheese if it wakes up.

Prize Draw :)


Today is the last day of the TWELVTY Prize Draw!

 

Just sign up to my email list here and reply to the welcome email with the subject line “I’m In!” to enter and win A FREE year of TWELVTY! All that colourful loveliness! All for you!

Winners will be notified tomorrow: Saturday 25th Feb. Good luck!

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

The doors close to new members of the TWELVTY tribe at the end of Feb, so if you get lit up by color and think this is something you’d like to be a part of you have until 28 Feb to jump aboard. I don’t know if I’ll run this program again – next year I have other adventures lined up – this could be now or never!

TWELVTY Prize Draw


This week I’m giving away TWO FREE places in TWELVTY.

TWELVTY is an adventure in color that runs all through 2017 where we explore the 12 colors of the color wheel one month at a time. 

In TWELVTY you get access to a wealth of delicious color resources, exclusive videos of my creative process every week, and can join a wonderful online community of creatives. And much, muchier more! (More details here)

Want in? just sign up to my email list here and reply to the welcome email with the subject line “I’m In!” to enter

Winners will be notified on Saturday 25th Feb. Good luck!

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

The doors close to new members of the TWELVTY tribe at the end of Feb, so if you get lit up by color and think this is something you’d like to be a part of you have until 28 Feb to jump aboard. I don’t know if I’ll run this program again – next year I have other adventures lined up – this could be now or never!

(here’s the project that planted the seed in my imagination to create TWELVTY)

Want to know more? Ask me in the comments below 🙂

A life of its own…


colorwheelspiralY’now I’ve been immersed in color for the last few months.  Not my usual multi-colored chaos (although there’s no escaping that) – but a very specific niche of color – as I explore and examine the color wheel.

It’s a project I played with a few years ago keeps returning to in one way or another.
It keeps coming back.
It’s a compulsion.

But this time is a little different: this time I’m joined by other artists and creatives, and we’re on this adventure together. And I’m totally loving it!

 

We began the year in shades of sunshine & lemon with YELLOW, and now in the second month we’ve stepped round to the luscious lime and sumptuous olive tones that fall into YELLOW-GREEN. Next month we explore GREEN… so on, cycling around the color wheel, a month at a time.

 

 

The thing is, since I decided to share this color journey, it’s taken on a momentum and is developing a character of its own. (As big projects so often do).

 

As I plan forward into the upcoming months of colors I see this adventure develop into one big ongoing story, rather than the 12 little self-contained, single-color tales I first envisaged. I anticipated TWELVTY being the kind of course folks to hop on board any time through the year, with instant access to all the material to date.

…..But 6 or so weeks in, TWELVTY has become something much bigger than I realised it would be, and that simply isn’t the way it’s decided to grow.

So I’ve made a decision. 

Which I’ll tell you about on Friday.(Because Friday is special

Want to find out more about what’s in TWELVTY – it’s all  over here . I also did a big ole Q&A post over here. Or ask me in the comments – I’m massively excited about this – ask me anything! (anything about TWELVTY…I don’t have answers to much else!)

 


Hop on my mailing list here to get irregular updates on my colorful makings & doings direct to your inbox.

(and as a welcome, you get this little ebook all about color when you join)

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12 things about TWELVTY


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  1. Unlike other online art programs, in TWELVTY each segment is all about one color. There are no assignments or structured projects, just a feast of content to inspire you!
  2. TWELVTY is designed to integrate in your existing creative practice, if you use color, you can use TWELVTY!  Every month begins a new color so it’s super adaptable and every month you get to start over!
  3. We’re journeying round 12-part color wheel, this means every second color is a tertiary “inbetweeny” color (think yellow-green, turquoise, magenta…) Personally these are my favs, but if you skip over these you’ll still have a complete spectrum of art by the end of the year.
  4. TWELVTY is a brilliant way to make use of the art supplies you neglected in the past, explore colours you wouldn’t usually use, especially the things you only have cos they were part of a set!
  5. Working in just one color is a great solution to blank canvas overwhelm. Begin with a paint splodge, wash or doodle, a collage scrap or an abstract photo of found color. Or just give some thought to what that color means to you…The ideas will follow close behind! Overcome this challenge and open up to a world of creative possibility!color
  6. TWELVTY is also a community of likeminded people from around the world and with a wide range of creative backgrounds. Join our tribe and share ideas and inspiration, even collaborate together.
  7. Then there’s our collection of online color resources which you get immediate access to. And I’m constantly adding to it!
  8. Every month you’ll receive a 20+ page ebook especially for TWELVTY. It’s full of illustrations, photos & juicy rich content about the month’s color. From the history of how  it’s used, to connections and meanings attached to the color around the world, as well as art & design.
  9. I invite you to join me as I work just in the month’s color. Every Monday I send you a newsletter where I share my creative process through video & photo galleries of works in progress. This content is only for TWELVTY members and is available in the TWELVTY archives all year long.
  10. At the end of each month the art I made as part of TWELVTY will go in my online shop. There are special discounts just for TWELVTY members.
  11. Looking out for color invites you to observe the world around you on a new level. It adds to the richness of the everyday places and things, and brings back a childlike sense of fun and wonder. 
  12. All of this works out at just £12 a month! That’s about the equivalent of one fancy cup of coffee once a week. (I’d make my own coffee once a week for all this, wouldn’t you?) 😉


Ready to jump in, or intrigued and want to find out more?

TWELVTY 2017 is here! 


I made this little ebook all about color if you’d like to get an taste of TWELVTY.
It’s all yours when you hop on my newsletter list here.

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(Your email is absolutely safe with me, I’ll just pop by and check up on it time to time, feed it raisins & chocolate, plump up its cushions, that sort of thing.)

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Be well, my friends, Much love to you all X

A Solstice Gift


Hello dear friends!

Depending on the hemisphere you call home, today is either the shortest or longest day of the year.  I like to set aside some time this week to set intentions and bundle up any loose ends so these last days of December are a gradual transition into the new year.

This year I’m super busy combobulating things in readiness for the start of TWELVTY in just a little over a week! I’m so excited!! And to celebrate the holidays, I’ve made you a little gift! 

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a delightfully illustrated, hand-crafted ebook all about color. Just for you!

This ebook is all yours when you join my newsletter for irregular (once or twice a month usually) updates on my doings & makings.

Be well, my friends, Much love to you all X

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(Your email is absolutely safe with me, I’ll just pop by and check up on it time to time, feed it biscuits, plump up its cushions, that sort of thing.)

The more I look…


…the more I see.

I was in London all day Saturday. A rainy grey day, the view from our second floor window crossed over a patch of garden to the grey stonework and concrete of the buildings opposite. These short December days barely get light and the wet and wind dulled out any colours.

The only life on view from up here was a solitary grey squirrel scampering along the spindly limbs of the near naked tree-tops.

But amid the gloom was the last remaining brightness of the season: with every gust of wind a few remaining golden yellow leaves danced about, tumbling, sprinkling, shining.

I was transfixed.

My mind is full of color, it is my ‘thing’.

And as I’m focussed on yellow in the prepration of the first chapter of TWELVTY I suppose it’s no wonder I was so captivated. But it made me ask myself if that’s why: would I have noticed so keenly? Would I have seen it in such glory? Would it have held that measure of magic? 

I have no control group of me, no comparison, so these questions are unanswerable

But I have come to observe that the more I actively look, the more I absorb, and the richer my life becomes. When there’s so much enjoyment available from the everyday and mundane, life is lusher and days are fuller.


 

I’m so full of ideas for TWELVTY, I’m almost bursting! so much so I’m waking up in the night and having to write stuff down. I’m literally dreaming about it! It’s filling all the corners of my mind.

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The program begins in the new year with shiny bright yellow so I’ve been warming up my drawing-and-painting-in-just-yellow vibes in readiness.

I love to use just one color (I love using ALL THE COLORS!) but one-at-a-time has a really special quality. This is one of the big things that I want to share and explore further with you.

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I’m putting together a Q&A

If you want to know more about what TWELVTY’s all about comment below to let me know 🙂

  • What would you like to know?
  • What would you like to learn?
  • What really lights you up about some colours, and not others?

Read all about TWELVTY & sign up here