1. Creating photo booth masks at work. Sometimes the day job is fantastic

2. Making simple office decoration from scrapbooking paper and practice brush/painting sessions

3 and 4. Abstract canvas prep

5. Practicing with the oil paint pen – love it!

6. Practicing gratitude with water colour pencils

7. Unpacking these pens and giving them a whirl

8. Creating more stuff for the day job

9. Mothers day and appreciation cards

Over winter I was unwell and feeling very sorry for myself. I spent an embarrassing amount of time over that weekend watching Pretty Little Liars (don’t judge me!). I spent time thinking about how I’ve moved around so often and I’ve made friends and then lost touch because of distance.

I was thinking of developing a few greetings card/postcards to send to friends reminding them that even if we aren’t physically close, I miss them, I wish we could do coffee (or tea) and that I’d love a catch up/skype date. Skype dates are where it’s at don’t cha know?

I then realised that there are never any ‘tea’ dates. Coffee dates are rubbish because I really dislike coffee. I also incorporated some fun Yorkshire-/British-ism because I’m amazing like that.

I know that I previously spoke about Micron pens and how amazing they are but these were done with a ballpoint Bic and I love the fluidity of it. Scribble, scribble, scribble.

Tea or coffee? What’s your poison?

A few nights ago, I couldn’t sleep. Hello Insomnia. What do you do when you can’t sleep? You write a blog post! Here it is:

It was one of those nights where it wasn’t cool enough and then it was too cold. It was a night of throwing blankets off in frustration followed by grumpy flailing to find something to warm me up.

My mind was loud. It’s rare that worries keep me awake at night. It’s happened before but never when things have felt so firmly sound in my life.

My tossing and turning ended up with The Canadian leaving the bedroom to find sleep with better bed mates (i.e. the kitties in the spare bedroom). My mind was loud and very very boring.

At 4 a.m., I surrended to the lack-of-sleep monster and rolled out of bed. Insomnia is usually the worst thing ever but, surprisingly, I’m feeling the most refreshed. Somehow, all that tossing and turning, all those loud thoughts and warmth seem to have burnt out any worry that I had. I am now wide awake, listening to creative business podcasts. I am feeling inspired and creative.

Sometimes insomnia is really positive. Except for that time the word ‘insomnia’ started pounding around my head to the rhythm of Rihanna’s “disturbia”. Awesome.

What do you do when you can’t sleep?

I recently completed #100happydays. I didn’t say much after starting it¬†because, if I’m honest, I’m not very good at sticking to projects like this. With that in mind, you can probably imagine my delight when I finished it off last week.

A lot of people asked whether #100happydays was hard. Taking the photos wasn’t difficult, the hardest part was finding something that made me ‘happy’ every day. Everyone has grumpy days and sometimes it can be difficult to find a positive moment every single day. Even though I thought that the gloomier days would have less than excellent photographs, I found it to be the opposite. There are very few images I could point to and say ‘oh, yeah, that was a rubbish day’. Doing this project made me look back at the last 100 (108, actually, I got a bit carried away) days and see them in a whole new light.

I found it a great way to log my achievements (painting with clients at work, making bechamel sauce from scratch, trying to smoke a cigar), my favourite pieces of art work, all the foods that excited me and the mini adventure I took with the Canadian to Toronto (or, at least, the best parts of the trip).

There are many stories and comments that accompany most of these images. If you click on each image you should get a large ‘pop out’ preview of it but if you want to see what’s really going on in each one then visit my instagram profile and have a gander.

I’ve seen many people roll the 100 happy days project into #365happydays but I think 100 was a nice concise one for me. It’s made me pretty excited to find other projects to focus on other mini projects. I did the 30 days of selfie, and I’ve now completed this one. Each time I learn something new. Do you know of any other mini projects? Perhaps some to do with drawing or sketching. I’m so motivated right now that I want to utilise it before it disappears!

Have you tried to participate in #100happydays?

When I was in England, I found all of my old art journals and school work. I made the decision to lug them all back to Canada (paying surcharges for overweight luggage and all, I’m nothing if not dedicated!).

Over the years, I stopped drawing and painting and my ability suffered for it. It’s great to look back on these samples because if my name weren’t attached to them, I’m not convinced that I would believe them to be mine. Especially remembering how I used to rush through these projects because I saw them as a waste of time, funny how things change.

This project was kinda fun to do, there are a few others that I will share and some that I probably won’t. Do you have any idea what it is like to see what your 14 year old self¬† thought you looked like? Bizarre, that’s what.

 

The best part of reviewing these comes from reading my teacher’s comments. She used to write over a lot of my work and, quite often, the comments were far from encouraging. Yet, when I look through these sketchbooks I am entertained by my positive reaction to what I see. This alone has taught me that creating things is incredibly subjective. So long as I enjoy it, that’s really all that matters. I shall never be good at producing photograph like images but accepting that art allows for things to be ‘not perfect’ is part of the enjoyment, this calms the perfectionist in me. Good thing too, because that perfectionist is bloody annoying.

 

Looking through these pieces is great for reminding me of mediums and styles that I haven’t thought of in a long time. What do you think? Do you ever¬† look through old school books and projects to use as a measure of growth?

Surprise 13th birthday party invite, illustrated

What do you do for invitations when you want to throw a surprise 13th birthday party? Well, of course, you draw one.

My friend in town decided that 13 would be a good age to throw a surprise party for her daughter. She was a little stumped as to how to invite everyone and still keep it all one big secret. Time was a little tight when she approached me and discussed developing an invite, so I created a digital one, meaning that the invitation could be used on Facebook and e-mail.

It took about 5 hours to create and it allowed me to use up some of that good old digital painting knowledge that had been neglected.

What do you think of the final image? Age appropriate? It’s tough creating an invite for a girly who has no interested in “all things fluffy”.

In 2012, I drove around Lake Superior, which really was one of the most fantastic journeys I’ve ever been on. Talk about breathtaking.

A year later, when I was just starting to take an interest in drawing again, I decided to sketch an image of a -meh- photo I had taken.

The ink sketch was ok, but it was lacking something, so a few months later, I started incorporating ink and acrylic into the drawing.

It’s not completed yet (because I am scared) and not really sure how to finish the top part. Any suggestions, should I just wash it with ink, should I build more into the boat? The biggest barrier is that I am not particularly confident when it comes to detailing vehicles, people etc. If it’s a rock or a landscape then I can use my imagination and interpret it in whatever way I’d like, but that doesn’t work the same with, ya know, boats. Thoughts?

Emeli Sande lyrics on hand drawn patterned wedding card by the lemon hive

Weddings are one of my favourite things to celebrate. I love that wedding cards are one of the most intimate and special items that can be given at a wedding. Most people keep their wedding cards to review time and again and it provides the perfect opportunity for me to really invest time and effort into the card and leave a lasting impression.

I loved spending the time on this detail and, for many months, it was blank. Then a friend in Edmonton told me that she was getting married and incorporating an old, vintage theme into her decor. This card took about 2 hours to complete and, I knew instantly, that I wanted her and her, now husband, to get this card. After listening to various love songs and came across this one by Emeli Sande. Her song seemed to fit their relationship perfectly.

Her album later came to inspire a whole host of art projects for the remainder of the autumn. I love it when a plan comes together.

I think this style would make a brilliant congratulations on your engagement, job promotion, graduation. I just love the potential that white on black offers.

Is it just me that keeps special and memorable cards, or do you too?

I have been busy doing all kinds of art and journalling. You can stay up to date with my creative ventures through Instagram, as that is updated far more regularly than the blog. 

I must admit, speaking with Pages and taking his advice to just get on with it has truly been a big motivation for me these last few weeks. Thankfully, whenever I attempt to be creative and reflective, I am left feeling excited, positive and incredibly optimistic. My mindset is good right now!

What has everyone else been up to these last few weeks? Was the holiday season satisfactory for you?