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…
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!
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This morning I launched my newest project – a year full of color – “TWELVTY” All as scheduled, 9am my time, so the early wee hours for the cross-pond recipients.
Each month this year has it’s own color: January is yellow, and it’s flooding my thoughts.
It’s the sunrise of a new project.
The idea came to me just a couple of months ago when I was on holiday. Bumbling about taking photos… as one does.
I notice color everywhere.
I had a moment of profound realisation when I found myself taking photos of a group of tourists emerging from their (red & blue) coach, just because almost all of them seemed to be dressed to match in some shades of red & blue….
I had one of those moments: Do other people see this too?
Like the fish who doesn’t know it’s swimming in water, my ideas have only swum in my mind, I’ve got no comparison unless I step away and try to look in from outside.
I mentioned the tourists & matching coach to someone a few days later – with gushing enthusiasm – but was met with blank nothingness. Not even the edge of a WTF?response I sometimes get when I share arty revelations like this, just a totally empty, disinterested blankness.
That was the moment I knew: I need to connect up with others who see & appreciate what I see & appreciate. My tribe.We need each other.
We need each other in a world of unknown areas of empty, disinterested blankness, a world with WTF?reactions to gushing arty revelations.
We need to reflect back to each other the magic of seeing some crazy spontaneous colour synchronicity, of seeing some beautifully matched chance happening, some little something somewhere that gets overlooked by most but makes our hearts sing just because of its orangeness, or blueness, or purpleypink, or whateverness.
I love how the idea is resonating among the folks who’ve joined already, the excitement bubbling up, and most of all the anticipation of what will emerge from this group as the year unfolds.
It’s going to be bright and glorious and I love it!
Want to make your 2017 brighter and more colorful?
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Q. How long is the program & how much time will I need?
A. TWELVTY runs from January through December 2017. Each month is dedicated to a single color.
How much time is your call, some months & colors will feel more inspiring and some months you’ll be more occupied in life. That’s how it goes 😉 It’s yours to fit in as it suits you – one month can blend into another like one color blends into another!
The content for each month will take maybe an hour or two to read through, watch and absorb.
The material is full of prompts & inspiration more than tasks & homework – this is a resource you get to keep forever and can return to as often as you like, feeding it into your existing creative practice.
The online forum will run all year and be there to dip in and out of as you choose.
I will pop by the Facebook group at least 3 or 4 times a week, and you can email or message any time with questions. I aim to get back to you within 48 hours (usually much quicker!)
Q. I only like *a specific color* – can I join for just that month?
A. TWELVTY is about diving deep into the whole color wheel.I’ll be focusing in on a single color each month, but the real value is seeing each segment in the context of the whole. If there are some colors you don’t much care for, then it’s only a month until we move on! And you might be surprised how much you find you like other colors when you explore them!
Q. Can I join any time in the year?
A. Because of the volume of content the doors to TWELVTY will close to new members at the end of February. If you join after January you will have immediate access to all the material up to the date you join.
Q. What kind of content will there be & how often?
A. At the start of every month I’ll send you a 15-20 page fully illustrated ebook with loads of information about the month’s color. Something different each month to keep it inspiring from design, art through the ages, fashion, color in nature, associations and meanings connected with the color, historical and cultural links around the world … & loads of resources to follow up further if something really grabs your attention.
PLUS I’ll send you a weekly newsletter where I share videos & posts about my process as I work with the month’s color.
Q. I’m a *specific kind of artist* is TWELVTY suitable for me?
A. The program is adaptable to any medium, as the common link is color.Already we have a range of creatives including a writer and a weaver – so there are no limits on how color can be used to inspire!
I work mostly in mixed media and textile art, but every member of the tribe will bring something unique to the group, so the more diverse the group, the more inspiration we’ll be able to share together – I’m really excited to see what the group brings!
Q. How does the TWELVTY forum work?
A. The forum is a private Facebook group for just the members of TWELVTY 2017 to share images of art they make and information they wish to share with the group. If you’d like to collaborate with someone in the group this is a great place to begin! When you sign up I’ll send you the link so we can add you to the group.
Each month/color has its own Pinterest board where links to color related articles & such-like shared on the Facebook forum can be mirrored to build an online collection of resources color by color.
Q. What materials and art supplies will I need?
A. Part of the challenge of working in one color & restricting your palette so your imagination gets stretched. Less really is more in this case!So unless you’re asking for a reason to go shopping, you can probably use what you already have! 😉
That said, how you choose to take TWELVTY into your practice is a personal choice.
Ideas for series you might want to play with:
Photography: each month’s color in nature, urban landscape, people and animals, fashion, architecture…
Painting(watercolor, acrylic, oil, pastels, digital art…): each month’s color in portraits, landscapes, abstracts… One big painting or a series of small ones each month… One BIG canvas divided in 12 that you work on through the year…
Art Journalling: each month’s color for page backgrounds – painted, printed, collaged, mixed media techniques. Journal about how the color makes you feel, connections it has in your life, memories it conjures up. Find quotes and poems and inspiring words to add.
Textile Art (Sewing, knitting, quilting, weaving, embroidery, patchwork…): A piece each month in each color that can be combined at the end of the year… A fabulously colorful garment or large work you add to through the year…
Poetry, Prose, Word Art:Take the information on each color to inspire your writing, develop a character, set a scene, describe an atmosphere… Maybe set a weekly/monthly word count target for each color. Decorate your writing with the color to fully embody it.
Video, Film, Vlogging: Find ways to bring the month’s color into your scene, discuss what the color means to you, where you find it, take us on a journey to seek it out!
Incorporate the color in your life: Not a creative practice, per se, but keep the color in your awareness by keeping something with you: maybe an item of clothing or piece of jewellery, or something small like a badge or pin you can wear through the month.
Maybe set the wallpaper on your phone or laptop to the month’s color, or an image you love in that color. A little reminder your subconscious will notice long after you forget it’s there!
Or how about a note to yourself, an affirmation, a quote, written in/on that color to keep in your pocket or wallet, or somewhere you’ll see it everyday like a bedside table or on the fridge or mirror…
What else? Let me know! Let’s jump into 2017 and bring the color alive!
Want more color inspiration? get my Year full of Color ebook:
Be well, my friends, Much love to you all X
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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…
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.
Look around your town, your home, your wardrobe, your bookcase, your refrigerator…
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.
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…
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
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.
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
You know me well enough by now – you know not to expect a simple train of logic, don’t you?
When I found this anonymous model, the leopardskin, that sultry seductive look, and all the glamour of the 1940’s ‘do — and I don’t remember the exact connecting train of thought that same next –– I just straight away thought mermaid.