Home from home


The first time I visited Cyprus was almost 20 years ago, and as I stepped off the plane, it felt like I’d come home. Something feels really familiar in the smell of hot dusty air. There were sounds and senses that did not seem at all foreign despite being 2000 miles from the place I’ve lived all my life.

Over the years I’ve been back many times, and never lost this home from home feeling.This year I wangled a way to spend 3 weeks here, and had time to really soak myself into the surroundings: the rich vivid colours & heady scents of bougainvillea & jasmine – the sand between my toes – luxuriating like the the cats that roam and loll around every corner.

But 3 weeks is a long time away from my studio routines, so I bundled up some necessaries for the trip and took a bit of time every morning to move some color about.

These are colors I chose to take (mostly Daniel Smith’s watercolors – decanted into half pans in a little tin box).

I second guessed my choice after I swatched them out here – why so many colors so similar? but as it turned out they were just what I needed, vivid blues & magentas amid the warm stony earth tones..

I’m not much of a landscape painter – my camera is for catching actual views – leaving my sketchbook as the place for playing with ideas.

The ideas I found myself playing with was the similarities and echoing patterns, repeating undulations, the ripples in the water with the curve of the waves, the textures in rocks and stones, the shifting shapes of shadows in the early autumn breeze. Mixing and remixing, folding ideas together into an endless series of permutations.

Re-entry

I feel I’m like returning a bit at a time after a long trip away – this time it took almost a week to really gather myself together into one place. What eased the transition was the pages in this book that overlapped the geography. The patterns of the travels merged into the patterns of usual daily doings & the edges between the two worlds blurred.

Catch this month’s newsletter to see a flip through of these pages to find out where this little collection of images leads next!

 

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Doodling in between times


When I’ve got just a few minutes to spare I go to my art journal, find a blank page or a space, and doodle.

These are the background layers that inspire what comes next.

This is how I fill the scraps of time while I’m waiting for paint to dry, or a file to upload, or just waiting for ideas to land.

There’s a real freedom in knowing it will get covered in sketches or collage, more doodles and scribbles. I don’t plan this, I don’t even choose the colors, I use whatever pens, paints and brushes are there on my desk.

Sometimes you just got to let art happen.

 


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Tiny Book, Borrowed Words.


Colors & doodles from me, words from Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves,
who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented and fabulous?

Actually,
who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened
about shrinking so that other people
won’t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest
the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us;
it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.”


This Tiny Book is part of the #TinyBookCollective from Hope Fitzgerald over on Instagram. Check out her posts to see more itsy weeny books like this, and find out how to take part.

If you’d like to be first to see the latest projects I’m working on & exclusive insights into the thoughts behind the splashy doodles, hop onto my email list for monthly-ish updates direct to your inbox:

 

Paper Obstacles


The Sketchbook Project

It’s been  a while since I checked in with you guys on this project, I’ve had to overcome a few obstacles along the way.

I had a really clear idea what I wanted to do with this book from (almost) the outset last year – a rambling whirl of doodles, a stream of consciousness running through the pages. Then I got ill, and the heavy duty pain medication I had in hospital inspired me with a really clear visual I wanted to recreate. As best I could, two-dimensionally on paper.

I began the line work back during Inktober, and looking back I remember at the time being aware of just how thin and flimsy the paper is in the book. I mean, super thin. It would hold up well to gentle care but I’m heavy handed and (because it’s all I had to hand and impatience is my biggest motivator in all I do) I used ballpoint pen. So my pages were already crinkling from the indentation of the lines.

That’s cool – it adds character – it’s my ‘style’ – go with it, I thought.

Sure.

I delayed the coloring stage until I finally got my new watercolors I’d been so eager to use.

Then the holidays, then life, then I finally began.

MixySketchbookProject2018-02
this paper soaks up watercolor like a sponge.

 

Oh. My. Days!

You do NOT wanna use watercolors on this paper. Of course if I hadn’t been so hung up on the combination of:

This Sketchbook Project + These Colors + These Paints = Exactly What I Want To Do

then perhaps I wouldn’t have been temporarily blind the reality of:

This Medium + This Paper = A Certain Soggy Mess.

 

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Soaked right through to the other side 😦

 

Damnit!

Ok, I’m an adaptable kinda person, I pride myself on being able to change direction, to adjust and adapt.

Acrylics, I thought. Acrylics are the answer. They will sit on top of the paper and give it a bit more substance as well.

 

MixySketchbookProject2018-01
Look at that paper curl! It seems I  have angered the book now.

 

Nope. Not only is it a streaky mess, but the pages are actually curling up in disgust.

What do they want from me? light, delicate pencil? Do they know me AT ALL??

I heard a distant memory jangling about in the back of my mind – are there rules on what media we’re to use?  – checking the website: sure, acrylics & gesso are discouraged because the pages get sticky and … yes, yes, I know all this

So, my first plan of watercolor was back on the table – because, when I read onwe are allowed to rebind the book.  I can use actual watercolor paper!   

Now that time was getting squeezed, that forever-away-distant deadline was getting closer…  I decided that keeping it simple was the best way forward. The elaborate plans I had to begin are on hold for a separate project later in the year, meanwhile I’m back with what I know best for the pages of this book: the idea that is fuelling my creativity and has done for a long while now: an adventure in 12 colors!

After all, it’s my thing, right?

My pages are complete and ready for binding, I’ll show the finished book as soon as I get some good light for photos – then it’ll be winging it’s way off to Brooklyn Art Library


If you want to be first to see what I’m making, and get exclusive discounts on these things, clickety-hop aboard 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.

 

Color Connections


Yesterpost I showed you a black & white photo of a paint doodle and asked for guesses what the ‘real’ colors are.

I kept you waiting longer than I intended, only cos sometimes the days gallop by and all of a sudden it’s much later. So here we are, and here it is!

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If you guessed red or green then you can consider yourself correct and I’ll message you with a link to claim your prize! 😀 YAY!

Thanks for playing along- it was really interesting to know what colors you ‘saw’.

Color is a real fascination of mine, and the more I learn the more intrigued I become. 

This painting is one of a series which I made for a little ecourse all about color combinations: TWELVTY XTRA which I’m offering as a gift to folks on my email list. It will be available in a few weeks, so if you’re interested, join up now, and I’ll email you as soon as it launches.

 

the space in between


I love to look for connections, to explore ideas that bring more substance to the understanding I have of this brief blip of a life we have here in this world.

I’ve a project that I’ve been dipping in and out of for a while now, which I plan to explore in a variety of ways. The first part relates to scale.

Inner Space : Outer Space

 

 

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Popular science tells us, that taking all we’ve managed to measure – from the whole known universe at the top end down to the very tiniest measurable amount – that size-wise we are in the middle.

It’s illustrated here by Cary & Michael Huang 

 

(I also like to believe it doesn’t stop there, it keeps going in both directions beyond our abilities to measure. It keeps on going forever – turtles all the way down – as the saying goes. But that’s not for now.)

Before I fall down another rabbit hole of ponderings, I have art to make:

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It begins here with this series of miniature abstract paintings, which resulted from time spent playing with these ideas.

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We talk about looking at the overview, the ‘bigger picture’. One purpose of art is to flip reality. So this time go smaller. To tiny things. 

Each little painting offers an interpretation to the viewer, it can be any scale, a world zoomed in or out?

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A landscape or a microscopic view. Or both.

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Perhaps this is a fractal universe where we live, perhaps not. I like to explore these ideas without attaching to any. These thoughts fuel the desire to build patterns out of patterns. IOMadeByMixy_13-5.jpg

 

This first Series is titled Inner Space and consists of 15 small watercolor & collage paintings mounted as art cards, and will be up in my Etsy shop in October. Hop on my mailing list to be first to know more! 

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 🙂

More Than The Sum Of Its Parts – Part Next


I want to draw together some of leftovers and dangling ends from recent posts. The person who will enable this is Franz Ackermann.

Faceland/White Crossing I - Ackermann
Faceland/White Crossing I – Ackermann

There’s a charm to this portrait that hooked up in my head with the (so far very much) unconnected themes I was juggling. It was my missing link. Ackerman’s brought the map like quality in, and that high contrast, vector style I love as well.

So, am I going to show you the portraits now… or am I going to keep you hanging on?

Well, kinda neither…

The screen print portraits are still a work in progress as other priorities have leapt the queue in my sphere of makings.

But I’ve been dabbling with other prints and watercolor doodles. The first of which is………
eph01

continuing theme


ink and water splash

My project is coming together, I have 3 weeks til final presentation.

acrylic and chalk on board

This is snippet of this week’s doings…

block prints, acrylic on board

backgrounds for screen printing.

ink, chalk, acrylic on paper

More to come soon!

ink and water splash

out of the color zone


One of our major projects for this term is beginning to take shape. I’m expecting it to be a series of images (or ‘outcomes’) with a connecting theme – someone very special to me – as a form of memorial. Incorporating digital photo editing, screenprinting, and some painting. So here’s a little bit of where I’m at just now

It’s looking a bit murky, I’m venturing into muted tones… (it’s weird out there!)

This is a series of experimental backgrounds.

I’d forgotton the salt on watercolor trick. It is actual magic!

Restricting colors to focus on form and layers.

White ink, then dilute black procion dye, then collaged.

I’m looking to get a slightly dream-like, ethereal quality…

This one doesn’t fit with the theme, so will wind up in a future project some day…

Dabbling in doodling. I want a taste of the post WW2 era print designs.

Playing with ink… bound to get a bit spattery 😉

Too dark, but I can see it meeting up with that other one from earlier.

I’ve got some part-written posts on other comings and goings which I must get round to finishing! Feet not touching the floor much these days – but I’ll be back again soon! 😀