29 July 2011

Photo a Day: Week 4

Day 22 / July 22, 2011

Day 23 / July 23, 2011

Day 24 / July 24, 2011

Day 25 / July 25, 2011

Day 26 / July 26, 2011

Day 27 / July 27, 2011

Day 28 / July 28, 2011

See week 1, week 2, week 3! I can't decide which is my favorite this week. Which do you like?

And two more lovely things:

  • Goddess Leonie – how to describe her? She is light-filled and wise and silly and giggly and beautiful. Four of her amazing e-courses start on July 31: one for business owners, one for creatives, one to reset your body, and one to reset your home. Sign up for these and much, much more here!
  • The beautiful Connie of Dirty Footprints Studio has offered to help bring your wishes and prayers to the Universe. Submit yours here.
Happy, happy weekend, friends!

28 July 2011

Buried Treasure 2011

Once a year Seth Apter, author of The Altered Page, invites art bloggers to dig up some favorite posts from their archives. You can take part, too, or check out the other incredible artists digging up their buried treasures by clicking here

Below are two posts, written in 2009 and 2010, that were huge steps forward in my journey to become confident in my work and accept the beautiful and the imperfect alike. Enjoy!


On Seeing Ugliness
(Originally published November 2009)

As much as I hate the fact, not all things in life are beautiful. There is war. There is hate. There are parts of ourselves which we'd rather we didn't call our own. There are unkindnesses and sorrows and suffering.

Though I truly believe that focusing on the positive draws positive things into our lives; that there are uncountable beautiful souls and deeds and thoughts in the world; that there are infinite things of awesomeness on our Mother Earth, I also believe that we need to see the bad and the ugly in order to appreciate the good and the beautiful.

I have been working on an art journal page - this time not focusing on the elements that pull it together or the colours that make me happy. Instead, I am making it uncomfortable and discordant and ugly.

When it is finished I am going to look at it and decide what about it I don't like and what repels me from it, be it the colours, the shapes, the composition, the writing, or something else entirely. Then, I will realise the things that do draw me to a journal spread or a piece of art.

Opposites are important; without one, we wouldn't understand the other. Without hate there wouldn't be love, and without war there wouldn't be peace. And without ugliness, there wouldn't be beauty - beauty beyond measure.


Try, Try Again
(Originally published April 2010)

Though there are no rules in art journalling, one of the most common pieces of advice you'll hear is, "It is the process of creating, not the end result, that is important!" It is a great suggestion, to be sure, but one that is not easily followed.

All too often our vices stand in our way of enjoying our own art: perfectionism, envy (of others' work), self-doubt, and fear being some of the most common in my own experience. Overcoming these voices requires tremendous effort! It is so difficult and can sometimes be heartbreaking when we so badly want to be "good" but cannot accept ourselves or our art as it is. Have you experienced this?

Within the past month or two, I have realized that I have been viciously shushing my inner gremlins; my art journal style has been expanding, growing, and developing at an exhilarating and slightly frightening rate, my pages thick with paint and layering. I have out of nowhere become comfortable with experimentation and have let go of my expectations for the end result.

I do very much wish that I could share exactly what it is that has change - that word, change, has been appearing here a lot recently, hasn't it?! - but I am not so enlightened. My only advice is this: Continue to create, again and again and again, even when you are not happy with what is being born out of your imagination and mind. Do not give up! Push through all those "bad" paintings and with time, perhaps rather suddenly and unexpectedly, things will change!

I am sure that in my artistic journey there will be many more rough patches, but I know that I am somehow walking in the right direction towards real artistic freedom. Take a peek at three of my most recent spreads, done over a span of about three days. They are grungy, a dance of odd colors and spontaneity. To be honest, I'm not sure if I actually like them; but that is beside the point - I am (slowly) learning to accept the imperfect in both myself and my art. Woohoo!

25 July 2011

In Progress

I've been painting often recently, exploring and experimenting and playing in a children's book of nursery rhymes. I've taken a break from my black journal - the one I created right after I finished my first journal, the one in which I painted this. The dark pages in it are hard to work with as they take a great deal of time to prepare in order to ensure that the black does not seep through; I will probably work my way through it eventually, but for now I am so enjoying working with an altered book!

Below are three of my newest spreads, all of which are as yet unfinished. I've included the materials used in each beneath the photos. I rarely do this, as I usually use a huge number of things to put together one spread, all on impulse, and I often forget exactly what has gone into creating each piece of art! I have listed them as if they were ingredients: the most greatly used products first.

Materials: acrylics, gesso, crayon, watercolor and lead pencil, ballpoint pen.

Materials: collage (phonebook pages, tissue paper, Chinese newspaper, book clipping), acrylics, ephemera (baggage claim ticket, price sticker, months tags), watercolor and lead pencil, gel pen, marker, ballpoint pen, staples, safety pin.

I have noticed that quite a lot of blues and greens have been seeping into my pages, as well as tiny details and a great deal of writing. I suspect that the colors are a wish for cooler, less sticky weather! It's been incredibly hot, daily upwards of ninety degrees.

Materials: collage (vintage pattern envelope, scrap paper, old doodles, map, sticker), acrylics, gesso, ephemera (tags, magazine images, tickets), rubber stamps, hot glue, salt, staples, oil pastel, graphite pencil.

Some wonderful techniques I've used, both old and newly learned: 
  • Use a hot glue gun to create three-dimensional circles and, once dry, glue these into your journal. (See photo 3)
  • Empty paper towel rolls are excellent stamps! (Photo 1)
  • Mix salt or sand into acrylic paint to give it texture and dimension. (Photo 3)
  • Use a candle to (carefully!) burn holes into your pages - and please remember that Modge Podge and other adhesives are flammable! (Photos 2 & 3)
  • Repetitive shapes can be both fun and interesting. (Photos 2 & 3)
  • When all of the stickers in a sheet have been used, there remains a sort of outline, also sticky. This is a great texture-boosting tool - stick it anywhere and paint over it, or place it over a background to let the color peek through. (Photo 3)
You can see more detailed photos of these pages by clicking here. Which is your favorite, lovelies? Personally, I like the last one - I'd really love to jump into its layers and swim lazily through all its refreshing color!

PS. Haven't you checked out 21 Secrets yet?!

22 July 2011

Photo a Day: Week 3

Day 15 / July 15, 2011

Day 16 / July 16, 2011

Day 17 / July 17, 2011

Day 18 / July 18, 2011

Day 19 / July 19, 2011
New watercolor journal - for sale here.

Day 20 / July 20, 2011
For sale here.

Day 21 / July 21, 2011

This week has been the easiest of the project so far - and, as the photos demonstrate, a very creatively productive one! I feel so clever to have remembered on Day 13 to bring my camera on a trip to Michael's, enabling me to snap a message of love from the sky.

I'm hard pressed to pick a favorite of these seven as I'm very pleased with the individual images, though the seagull (Day 15) is definitely a front runner. How about you?

21 July 2011

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with String

I become incredibly excited when one of my items is sold on Etsy. While the extra money is both needed and appreciated, what makes me truly happy is knowing that the things I create are loved and wanted – what a wonderful feeling that is! I thank each of my customers for it. Making a sale also means that I get to put together a lovely package for the recipient.

Oh, I do love wrapping things! I feel like this is an art all its own, one that builds up anticipation and represents the beauty for the moment secretly contained inside. I am a believer that when material items are well presented the enjoyment of them grows, whether it be a meal served at a restaurant, a blog, or a birthday present.

My handbound map journal was sold earlier in the week – thank you, Lyndette! – and so I covered it in striped paper, tied it with white cotton string, tucked in a free print, and added two vintage library cards as gift tags. (These cards will be listed in my shop soon!) And then, naturally, I took many photos to commemorate the occasion.

If you'd like to get a pretty package of your own, I've just listed a new blank vintage map-covered journal in my shop! Check it out here.

19 July 2011

Sandy Shores

I have always found the ocean alluring. It is ancient, wise, and patient, and connects all seven continents upon which the Earth's inhabitants make their homes. I love the rhythm of the waves and the soothing way the water glides across the sand; I could spend hours watching the tide ebb and flow, ebb and flow. Part of the magic of it, I think, is that photos cannot in the least reproduce the enchantment of the movement.

When I am at the sea, I find myself meditating unconsciously, breathing deeply, and centering my mind. I begin to glow, helped in part by the rays of the sun stroking my skin. And oh, the exhaustion that fills me at the end of the day from taking in so much beauty and wisdom and greatness leads me into a sleep so deep and peaceful it seems to resemble the ocean itself.

My short trip to the beach was just lovely. I finished reading a book by Paulo Coehlo, the pronunciation of whose name escapes everyone I know, and read half of another by F. Scott Fitzgerald; a new goal is the intention to read as many classic books as I can. I floated with the waves and got sand between my toes, fed seagulls, and turned pink; and though I enjoyed enjoyed every moment spent on the shore, I miss it and look forward, as I always do, to meeting the ocean again.

And your comments while I was away, my dear readers, brought such a smile to my face when I returned; you are so sweet and kind and so very, very loved. Did you know?

15 July 2011

Photo a Day: Week 2

Day 8 / July 8, 2011

Day 9 / July 9, 2011

Day 10 / July 10, 2011

Day 11 / July 11, 2011

Day 12 / July 12, 2011
(For sale in my Etsy shop!)

Day 13 / July 13, 2011

Day 14 / July 14, 2011

Get caught up with week 1 here.

This project has thus far been an incredible insight into my own interests and habits! Some thoughts from this week:
  • It takes practice to remember to bring my camera everywhere!
  • I am becoming far more aware of when the sun sets and the light of the day disappears.
  • As the month goes on, avoiding repetitious photos becomes more challenging; I can feel myself stretching creatively, trying to find new ways of seeing the world.
  • I would so love to get better with creating photos filled golden light and sun-flares.
  • My favorite for this week is day 9 - how about you?
I'm off to the beach for the weekend! I'll be back on Monday with photos of my adventures, and will respond to comments and emails then. All my love!

11 July 2011

Map-Covered Journal for Sale

Update: this journal has sold.

I've just added a new journal to my Etsy shop, made with hardbound, vintage map-covered covers and 48 pages of perfect 90 lb. watercolor paper. Oo, so delicious! And it's only $25, with shipping included for my stateside friends.

To be honest, this is one that I'm going to have difficulty parting with, I love it so much! I've actually been thinking about how useful this would be at university to take notes in - perhaps I'll make a few for myself before the new academic year starts.

Check out all the details here!

10 July 2011

Five Little Secrets

I've been gathering quite a few tips and tricks since beginning my art journaling journey five years ago. Below are a few that I've learned along the way.
  1. The type of paper in your journal matters, and it is worth spending a little more to get thick, sturdy paper that will hold up to the most passionately smeared paint, glue, collage, and withstand the thickest layering.
  2. Some of the most wonderful collage papers can be found in the most ordinary places! Collect tea tags, fliers, free magazines, newspaper, candy wrappers, receipts, tickets, found notes, business cards, and tags from clothing - these all can be used as background materials as well as to add detail to a finished page. Another plus: every single one of these materials is free.
  3. Creating a page you don't like is perfectly okay: paint over it! The texture underneath will be beautiful and add interest to your spread.
  4. There are many, many ways to write on a page without revealing what it says. Try these things to include your words on a page: write on a page, then paint and collage over it; seal a page or two in a pocket; tear up what you've written and glue it onto a page before painting over it; write horizontally, then vertically, then diagonally; type up your written thoughts, print them, then do an image transfer; write in watercolor pencil, water soluble crayon, or magic marker, and add water to smudge the letters.
  5. Don't be afraid to try something new in your journal! Melt some candle wax, play with crayons, add masking tape, splatter ink, repeat a single shape over and over, use only one color, use all the colors, paint a story, answer a question, make a maze, sew or embroider, glue in a 3D object, or adding food color! Playing and experimenting will help you grow and stretch as an artist.
Wooo! What are your five secrets?

08 July 2011

Guest Appearance

I'm over at the beautiful Rhiannon's blog Pierced Beauty today! Drop by to read all my thoughts on art journaling, and and be sure to say hello to this very talented and sweet lady. Send her some warm thoughts, too - it's the middle of winter in New Zealand!

Happy, happy Friday, friends!

07 July 2011

Photo a Day: Week 1

Day 1 / July 1, 2011

Day 2 / July 2, 2011

Day 3 / July 3, 2011

Day 4 / July 4, 2011

Day 5 / July 5, 2011

Day 6 / July 6, 2011

Day 7 / July 7, 2011

What I've learned so far about my month long photo-a-day project:
  1. I love taking macro photos! I adore focusing in on small textures, colors, and other details that are usually unnoticed.
  2. Taking photos during daylight is much, much easier than trying to capture something after the sun has set. (And less stressful, too, when there are only a few hours left before midnight!)
  3. My interest in a project starts to ebb on the sixth day.
  4. Bokeh - out of focus spots of light - are simply magical.
  5. Sometimes a photo that looks crisp on the camera screen is in fact blurry - see day 2.
  6. To make sure that #5 doesn't happen, take many photos so that there is wide choice and the best version can be uploaded at the end of the day.
And a small confession: the last two photos were taken on the same day!

If you are interested in starting your own thirty day project, photo or otherwise, check out this inspiring video from Ted Talks:

My most favorite photos this week are the fiery bokeh (Day 1) and bubbles (Day 3); my least is the blurry Day 2. What about you?

04 July 2011

The Shop Revealed

Hello, my darlings!

Hurrah, hurrah! I have spent the day photographing, writing, and listing all the new goodies which are now in my Etsy shop. It's so exciting to finally see it filled once more! At the moment there are plenty of collage packets - a collection of papers, stickers, magazine clippings, foreign materials, and so, so much more -, two art journals that are only $8.50 each, and an original mixed media art piece, a detail photo of which is above.

I'm offering a free gift with every purchase - the more items you buy, the more gifts you'll receive! As always, there is free shipping within the United States. Woohoo! Throughout the next week I hope to add more things, and I've been scheming and dreaming about some wonderful things I'll be offering in the future.

Reading to take a peek? Check out everything that's for sale, either by by finding the "Shop My Peacetree" link underneath my header or by clicking here! Remember that there is an ongoing two-question survey about your opinions regarding my Etsy shop; these answers will help me to shape the products I make and sell, so your thoughts are important!

I so appreciate your support!
Happy, happy July fourth to my American friends!

01 July 2011

A New Project / Grand Re-Opening

Hello, my beautiful friends!

Lots of news to share with you today. Before that, though, let's welcome dear July, the heart of summer! Already we are at the midpoint of the year and time is happily skipping by at an astonishing pace; hold on to these precious summer days, loves, because they will be gone before you know it. And now, onto creative things!

Firstly, to celebrate this month, I will be embarking on a daily photography project. I've been wanting to do this for quite a long time, but was always too intimidated: I am one who is excellent at starting ideas and not so gifted with the following through to the end (see: Mission 101 and the Sketchbook Project!). But the time is right for me to jump into this project anyway, being gentle with myself and knowing that, if I miss a day or two, that will be perfectly alright. Would you like to join me?

Here are the guidelines I've set up for myself thus far - I feel like I'll learn much along the way and they may change or ebb throughout the month:
  • One photograph each day, for 31 days;
  • Content shouldn't be posed/set up;
  • Try to have each image uploaded to Flickr by midnight of that day;
  • and finally, I'll post seven photos here at the end of each week.
And that's it! Simple and, hopefully, something I can continue throughout July. If you have taken part in a similar challenge, I'd love to hear your thoughts and tips!

Secondly, I have been creating and dreaming for weeks, and will be having a grand reopening of my Etsy shop on Monday of next week! In stock will be art journal kits, original art, a few handbound journals, and possibly a few other goodies, all to be had for under $40! I do hope you'll stop by and find something you like; I will be offering a free gift with each purchase, too. Woohoo!

It would help me, too, if you could kindly fill out my short two-question survey about what you're interested in purchasing; that way I can be sure to have all those things in stock which you would most like to have! Thanks, dearest!

Wishing you a beautiful weekend, lovelies, filled with the most wonderful of things.


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