Friday, November 30, 2007

Art journal again

I realized I haven't posted any of my journal pages here, so let's see some of them:

First, a Paradox page for the Inspire Me Thursday prompt. It says: "I don't like people but I want people to like me. Is it possible?" Yes, that's the paradox in me.

And now the rest of the finished pages, I'll just flood you with the images, they speak for themselves.

Also, I'm happy to announce that I found my pencil drawings and I'll be scanning them this weekend! *^v^*

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I got rejected and it feels okay

100 Day Challenge - Day 10

Yes. I got rejected today and it feels fine. Which is strange because I am a drama queen and I would expect myself to be gloomy for the rest of the week. But I'm not . *^v^*

I applied to the Trunkt. I thought it would be a great place to let people know about my paintings. They very politely answered that they've received many talented artists' applications every week and this time they were sorry but couldn't accept mine. Which generally means "Errr... nope."
And I didn't feel like the ceiling just fell on my head and didn't take my paintings to the garbage bin, and I don't hate them at Trunkt. I just thought - well, maybe it's not for me, maybe, it's too early for my works, I need more practice, maybe it wasn't meant to be this time. Let's carry on. And try in a month's time, yeah! *^v^*

Something is changing inside me! =^v^=

Plus, I had a really nice conversation with an old lady in a brush shop this morning. I generally don't chat to people, just buy what I need and go out, but this time I wasn't in a hurry and her granddaughter just left Poland to spend 6 months in India on a collage project, so she was a bit nervous and described me her living quarters (with the Internet access but a toilet in a form of a hole in the floor...), and all her collage faculties (she had three going), and the lady looked really pleased she could share it all with somebody.
It's nice to stop for a moment and talk to people, it gives you the warm fuzzies inside (and Winter is coming, mind you!) *^v^*

BTW, we have a progress with my mother's opinions on my painting - I showed her all the canvases and explained the English words appearing there, and she said she liked the Cooking Girl best, and that I paint in a modern style (whatever that means) . That's more of an opinion than just: "Funny." *^v^*

Unichorn, I remember about the pencil drawings, I just cannot find them anywhere!... I've looked today and I'll keep looking for them, they must be some place, keep reminding me about them! *^v^*

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

For a living

What a blissful weekend! *^v^*
On Friday night Robert left for a medieval battle recreation and wasn't home till Sunday morning, which meant I was home alone two nights (which I hate), but which also meant I set up my studio on the living room table right away and worked on my paintings on Friday night and all Saturday (plus I did the laundry, washing up and painted two t-shirts for Robert using his old stencils, knitted my TYC and reached the cable part and also changed the hood on my Lucinda Cardi into a neat collar, still need three buttons to add).

100 Day Challenge - day 9
I said that I wanted to paint for a living. Which has a double meaning in my case.
First of all, of course it means money - selling my works and buying bread and butter, and paints and yarn, and sour jellies, and sushi on the night out! *^v^*
But also, or maybe more importantly, it means - for a living, so I could feel alive.

I haven't been doing it for a long time now, but unlike with my other crafts - I'm learning more and more with every piece I paint, I'm always open-minded about it and not scared when I sit down to a blank canvas, I truly enjoy the whole process, I don't want to give up in the middle when something goes not exactly to the plan (you should see me sewing something...). I'm ready to experiment. It gets me going. I buy four canvases and in my mind they are already filled with ideas the moment I pay for them. *^v^*

Painting is my meditation. I spend hours and hours on every piece, using brush number 00 and taking with each dip an amount of a paint the size of a pin head, and drawing a line 3 mm long, and it goes on and on. You thought I make those swirly black frames with some stencil, a stamp or a picture transfer - nope, all done by hand, millimeter by millimeter. It goes back to the times when I was making many medieval manuscript copies for our meetings, and they all had millions of tiny ornaments to be painted this way. And when I paint those lines and swirls, I switch off almost completely and concentrate on what I'm doing. I even observed - this sounds stupid, but it's true - that my level of concentration is so deep I really have to recall myself to draw a deep breath from time to time because I forget to breath... One day I will choke and this will be my biggest masterpiece! *^v^*

A handful of other tips and observations from my painting experience:
- you can say goodbye to a brush if you don't clean it right after you used it, acrylics dry out to stone in a few minutes time!...
- as above, acrylic medium also dries out to stone in a few minutes time, it's an acrylic after all (who would have thought?...)!
- the best way to clean your brush after varnishing is to use hot water and some Timotei Bamboo&Shea Butter shampoo *^v^* (not too good for my hair though)
- yes, you can also use turpentine
- turpentine works great to smear the oil pastels
- turpentine smells like hell, although it smears the oil pastels well, which means that my art journal now smells like hell...

Okay, now a bunch of my new paintings.

"Be Brave" is a tribute to Krissie's "One Thing Be Brave" idea.
"Sacred""Red Hot", my favorite of the lot.In the last two I applied the glazing darker color over the lighter background technique from the book by C. Hellmuth, I love the results you can achieve with this technique! ^^

They are all on my ebay now, so please take a look if you like them.

In fact, for goodness sake, people, start buying my art because I have no space to store them!... Please?...
(Is this the lamest marketing strategy or what?... *^v^* But it's true, I may have to switch from canvases to canvas boards soon, they are thinner so more can fit into a space of a single canvas, but I don't like working with them that much. *sigh*)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Collage Discoveries

I promised you the review of the "Collage Discovery Workshop" by Claudine Hellmuth, so here it is - it's gorgeous! *^v^*

No, it's not the end of what I have to say about this book although it pretty much wraps up my opinion.

First of all, Claudine Hellmuth is my kind of artist. "She enjoys the challenge of working with a variety of materials and cutting, pasting and painting her artwork by hand." - it says in the description of the author. And later she advises: "Add more color with your fingers. Fingers are my favorite tools, Don't be afraid to use them!" I love working with my fingers and I always use them, no matter what media I'm working with (and then I walk around with paint on my fingers that wouldn't come off, sigh... good I didn't choose oil paints as my primary medium!^^), touch is my first and most important sense. *^v^*

The book is divided into clear sections, describing basic tools and techniques, ways to create interesting backgrounds, making image transfers, working with beeswax and antiquing objects. Then there are chapters describing the composition of a collage, miniature assemblages and ways to experiment. All this sumptuously illustrated with clear step-by-step photos and great works by Claudine herself.

I finished reading the first chapter about backgrounds and I already learned a lot (and applied some of it in my new painting ^^)! Then I went on and I'm so eager to experiment with caulk and beeswax!... It even seems that I can get here in Poland most of the tools and media recommended in the book (even the heat gun and a special triangular quilt iron! ^^).
I didn't go to any art schools or courses, so books like this are a great source of knowledge and technique for me.
I wasn't sure whether I should buy this book because for me buying on is rather expensive, with the shipping costs to Poland being more than half the price of the book itself, but now I'm sure it was a good investment in my future painting career. Second book by Mrs. Hellmuth, "Collage Discovery Workshop: Beyond The Unexpected" is already on my Wishlist as well as some more books that look like a good help to develop my creative techniques. *^v^*

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Remember, how ecstatic I was when SuziBlu left a comment on my blog? Okay, so here we go - yesterday I wrote about my planned manifestations for my 100 Day Challenge and guess what... Lilou Mace left a comment on my blog! My humble little blog, one of millions of blogs in the blogosphere!... *^v^*
Now, don't tell me that I may get a Eunny Jang's comment on my Tangled Yoke Cardi (when it's finished, of course), that's too impossible to happen!... Or is it? =^v^=
Btw, I really really appreciate every comment, not only from the famous people, but from every reader, even the passerby. Please, say hello if you visit! *^v^*

I had the most unusual dream last night.
Okay, I know I always have weird dreams, every night, but this one was strange and special, I believe. *^v^*
(not for the faint-hearted!)
In my dream, I found out that I had a lot of pins in the palm of my right hand (my dominant hand), as if I touched the cactus or something. It wasn't painful at all but I decided to take them out, one by one. So, I took the first pin out, second, third, and then I pulled out ... a 3 inch long bent a bit iron nail!... It was still absolutely painless but I just wondered how I was able to move and bend my hand with this nail stuck inside. The next thing I took out was a pair of metal tweezers!... And again I was very surprised how I could move my hand with those metal objects in the palm of it!

Now, onto the meaning of my dream: maybe I finally managed to remove something from my mental blocks that kept me for years from doing some things because I thought I wasn't good/talented enough? In fact, I could not move my hand freely with that nail inside but I didn't know that, I didn't know it was there and I was just making half-gestures and never tried doing some things. My hand is free now and I can create whatever I want!
What do you think? =^v^=

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it! *^v^*

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

100 Day Challenge - day 2

Thank you, guys, for the support, I will need it all the way through my 100 days, I'm sure. A little bit of cheering up and a friendly kick in the butt when you feel I'm starting to let go, okay? *^v^*
And yes, Unichorn, you can start any time you like. I just happened to start on a day when Lilou Mace started her 7th season (don't you just love the sound of her name - Lilou! *^v^*).

Today I want to share with you the things I want to manifest in my life in the course of those 100 days.

First of all, I want to be constantly inspired for my paintings, which worked great up till now, but I wonder whether there might come a day when I have nothing more to say with a paintbrush. I hope it won't happen! *^v^*
Next, I want to sell my paintings to people all over the world and make a living that way.
Then, I want to manifest an abundance of money into my life, to pay off all the debts and lead a happy life without any financial worries. I want to be able to afford everything I need and want without worrying of every penny spent.
Next, I want to attract into my life people who will inspire me, support me and help me with what I'm doing. Mentors, friends, teachers, both in real life and via the Internet, both in person and through their works (books, paintings, music, ect).
Last, but no least, I want to manifest a new place to live, a flat or a house with spacious rooms full of light, my own studio and a garden. Once I thought it can only be a country house but now I am more often thinking about the spacious apartment on the last floor with a big balcony overlooking the city park, there are such places in my district, so who knows? *^v^*

On my Vision Board you can see the images representing the things I want to manifest (more to come as I buy more magazines) as well as "supporting" images - the poem by Lisa Congdon with the inspiring drawing of a ship and the postcard by Anna Torborg with birds singing - there is a saying in Polish "to do something singing - śpiewająco", which means to do sth really great and with no difficulties, and that's how I want to go through my life from now on - śpiewająco! *^v^*
I can feel the painting coming on this subject, yikes! =^v^=

I am also happy today because of the two reasons -
1. one of my real nightmares is letting the strangers into my flat and today I had to have some plumbing job done, so I had a visit of two plumbers. I don't like dealing with workmen, they usually are very talkative and I don't know what to talk about, whether I should offer them tea or coffee (which I don't have because we rarely drink coffee...), how much should I pay when they start the conversation with "payment, we will work something out", ect. But today they just came, did their job and went, no payment needed because it was a necessary job scheduled by my building council, all nice and easy! *^v^*

2. I received my book order from Amazon!I cannot say a word about this book yet because I just took it out of the envelope, so review to follow next time!
On the creative front - I almost finished the sleeves on my Tangled Yoke Cardigan and I started a new painting (still awaiting the varnish to finish the two previous ones, but I know it's been sent to me so I expect delivery tomorrow or on Friday).

One more thing - this year I've had on my desk the Stitch'n'bitch Calendar, but I don't want to buy another one for 2008 (it wasn't what I expected). Could you please recommend me some nice on-desk calendar? Art theme would be great, or a knitting theme, or crafts in general, you know what I like! *^v^*

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

100 Day Challenge - day 1

I decided to join the 100 Day Challenge. It's high time I worked on manifesting some things in my life and changed some behaviors and lines of thinking I've been stuck to throughout all my life. I want to give it a try, because I am a quitter, I start projects and then I get bored with them/distracted and I abandon them altogether. I want to challenge myself to this one - to everyday work and who knows what goodies I might get at the end of it? *^v^*
The last day of my challenge will be Thursday, February 28, 2008.

I already started my Vision Board that will stay over my desk and I will add to it the ideas and images as I find any appropriate ones, photos soon.

My practices that I will try to apply for the next 100 days will include: meditation, painting, meditation during walking, affirmations to help me stop worrying so much, reading some inspiring stuff. I won't be making videos of my Challenge because I don't feel like this is my way of doing it (at least not for now).
Let's go! *^v^*

Monday, November 19, 2007

As you know,...

I am the queen of the "let's buy some expensive tool and let's leave it untouched for several months". Yes, I am.
But I'm trying to fight this behavior and that's what I assembled and used last week:The Ashford Inkle Weaving Loom I bought in Prague in June. *^v^*
This is the first attempt with a simple wool band, a short one just to get the hang of the weaving on this loom. I like this heddle weaving-without a heddle, because there is no wooden heddle here, just some pieces of string that play its role.
Next I'm going to try to weave a tablet band, I saw people doing this (on photos on the Web), and I hope it would help me a lot (heddle weaving is easy without the loom, tablet weaving is more difficult, at least for me). This loom is very comfortable to use, it's small (but efficient, it says I can weave an over 3 m band on it!), light and easy to warp and use. I wish it was period for my Viking events, but unfortunately it was invented in the XIXth century, so it won't accompany me while I'm at the historic meetings. But at least I have a great tool to use at home! *^v^*

I also gave Shrinky Dinks a try (a present from Myriam, yikes! *^v^*).
I couldn't decide what to choose so I just picked three simple drawings from the Gimp brushes and voila!

They turned out quite small, the biggest being 5 cm, but now I know how much they can shrink and I can plan some new designs according to that. Still, the cat can be turned into a necklace and the other two - into earrings! ^^
I cannot believe you've had such a great toy since the 70's in the US, whereas we haven't!

During the weekend I also finished two paintings (still not varnished, I'm waiting for the art supplies order to arrive) and I knitted Tangled Yoke Cardi - the body's been finished and waiting for the sleeves, the sleeves are half-way done. It takes me really quick to knit this cardigan, but it must be the motivation awaiting me - the cable on the yoke! =^v^=

Keep creating! *^v^*

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


When I painted my first piece - A Gothic Girl for my best friend Anna, I wondered whether I'd be inspired to create more works. But then I started to get more ideas than the time to realize them on the canvases! ^^ Luckily, this tendency continues and just as I thought there were one or two pieces ahead of me, I constantly get inspired for new paintings. I am currently working on two paintings, and I have two or three more in mind already (not to mention the Christmas present for my MIL)! =^v^=

Now, a new painting!
I am very fascinated by the art nouveau posters and other advertisements on boxes of chocolates, ect. Alfons Mucha made a lot of them, also Toulouse-Lautrec, Henry van de Velde, they are so elegant and decorative!

Here is my interpretation of the poster for the "Arsenic and Old Lace" play, (10x13" linen canvas, paper, acrylics, lace, varnished). I know it was written way later than the art nouveau period, but this combination somehow works for me. I absolutely love this play, preferably in the Polish interpretation starring great actress Irena Kwiatkowska, she's the best! *^v^*
Plus, this is my first painting with a lady's head in the centre, I tried it after Robert said that I place small figures on a big background (which was true) and maybe I should try drawing some bigger central element. So I tried, and I like it, my next works are similar in style which doesn't mean I won't be painting the way I did in the first few paintings. I like both styles. ^^

BTW, in the course of reading my birthday "Art Nouveau' book I found out that, as much as I love Mucha's works, I'm much more drawn to the creations of two other artists of this style - Gustav Klimt (with his busy busy backgrounds and texturising with a golden paint) and Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh (with her limited color palette and brave elongated lines and women figures, sometimes very Japanese-like in style - that's how I perceive her works). Mrs. Mackintosh worked often with her husband Charles, who supposedly said "I had a talent, she was a genius.".
Not to mention that I wouldn't mind getting one of Rene Lalique's necklaces, yummy! or some metalworks of Margaret Gilmour's! *^v^*
There is so much more for me to discover in art nouveau, Mucha is just the peak of the mountain!

One more thing - Helene, I'm sorry for not answering your question about the getting-out-of-debts plan, I meant to do it and then it somehow slipped my mind! So, here it is, two steps basically:
1. consolidate all your debts into one, it will give you lower interest rate and one smaller monthly payment instead of bigger sum for several rates.
2. when you get a salary, pay all the bills first and what is left should be divided into four (or five) parts, each one for each week of a given month (these are money for everything in a given week - food, gas, clothes, going out, ect); spend only the amount you have for the week, don't use credit cards and plan your shopping carefully, if your money runs out - wait till next Monday.
It may not be easy at first but after some time you'll know how much you need for a week.

Monday, November 12, 2007

One thing - be brave

Have you seen this post by Krissie? She initiated a great idea and I'm going to keep it in mind although I'm not sure if I can actually take part in this project. (I know that it's not the way I should think, there should be more positive approach involved straight from the beginning, well... ^^)
The idea is to go out of our comfort zones and do something brave if not just once for this year, and feel the feelings if evokes afterwards, hopefully only the positive ones.

I am a very shy person, I don't have a huge group of friends, I'd rather stay at home and knit or paint than go out to the pub, I always take the same known route while traveling somewhere, I'm scared of people, I hate I'm-taking-you-somewhere-but-it's-a-secret-for-now surprises (unless it's a mail with lots of yarn goodies in it! *^v^*), sometimes I even have problems with going shopping because I actually have to leave the flat.
I wonder if I can do something brave this coming year, something I've never dared to do before?

BTW, who said that knitting on 3 mm needles takes more time than knitting on for example 6 mm needles? My Tangled Toke Cardigan is growing! *^v^*

Friday, November 09, 2007

Studio on a balcony?...

So, we had our balcony covered with glass at the beginning of this week. It's warmer and quieter in the flat, and we have a relatively safe storage space for things that are bursting out of our flat - boxes with yarn, fabric and other bits and bobs.
Can you see the kitty entrance? We had to leave it like this because Barbi goes out onto the lawn, so we couldn't suddenly cut her off from the daily walks.
There isn't much stuff at the balcony yet, because first we want to lay some PVC floor and install some shelves. Robert even suggested that we could make me a studio there, with a comfortable table, ect, but as far as it is a closed space, it's not heated at all, so the temperature there isn't very different from the one outside (today 2 C/ 36 F...).

On the other hand, all the great artists suffered a lot in their lives and they left us masterpieces, so maybe painting with a paintbrush kept in a frozen fingers, coughing and sneezing, is some option... =^v^=

What do you think? ^^

BTW, there was a small update on my ebay - some corsets Robert sewn, check them out! *^v^*

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Just when you thought I abandoned knitting...

I finished my Lucinda cardigan yesterday! *^v^*

Pattern: from Sandra October 2007
Yarn: Exclusive Superwash 100% wool, almost 1 kg!
Needles: 6 mm circular

It's very warm and I'm generally happy with how it turned out, but I don't like two things:
- the cables on the shoulders didn't match properly, and they look a bit messy, well, somebody didn't work out this bit of the pattern correctly, but I'm not going to change it now,
- the hood is too small (and I'm going to do something about it); and it's too small in a funny way - it's okay at the sides of the chin but it gets smaller and smaller when it goes up to the top of the head. I'm thinking about adding the cable band to the front of the hood.

Now, having completely neglected the stoles on my needles, I'm going to start something new from the IK Fall 07, I must check the yarn I have and the gauges.

One more thing about an update in my Etsy shop - I followed iHanna's example and I'm selling some sets of pages from the old books I found in my children's books cupboard. They can be useful for the art journalists, scrap bookers or painters (I'm using them, too! ^^), and there are too many books for my personal use, so I decided to share them with you.
There are pages in Polish, Russian and French, most of them with pictures, and some music notes. A set consists of about 30 pages of different sizes and types of paper.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Journal inspiration

Although I wasn't feeling well (caught some nasty cold), I finished two paintings on Saturday:

"Crazy Cat Lady"
11x13" linen canvas,
acrylic paints
watercolor pencils
collage paper

"Good Witch of the East"
10x13" cotton canvas,
acrylic paints
watercolor pencils
collage paper

Both are in my Etsy shop. I seem to can't stop painting, next week I'm getting more canvases and I've already planned a painting for the Christmas present for my mother in law, yikes! *^v^*

Grab a cuppa, here are some links to some art journal goddesses to get you inspired:
Cat Sidh
Kathrin Jebsen-Marwedel
Ingrid Dijkers
Jodi Green
Kira Girl
Teesha Moore

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The day after birthday

Thank you, guys, sooooo much for all your wishes! *^v^*
It was a great day (apart from another row with my mom, but that's normal, so let's pretend it didn't happen), I spent time with my friends and got some wonderful things: Robert gave me a book of my dreams about the Art Nouveau artists and my best friend Anna gave me some items with the seahorse motif on them (I love seahorses, they's sooooo cute! ^^), including the cutest seahorse punch for my art journal! And the champagne was delicious! *^v^*
(And Robert prepared beautiful breakfast and made tea all day, and even washed the dishes twice! I didn't lift a finger all day!)

On the next day me and Robert went to the wood to take some photos of the Autumn,

and in the afternoon we helped our friends to move to their new apartment. Busy and a bit tiring day, but very nice. In the evening I even managed to work a bit on my journal, and tomorrow I'm definitely painting again (I didn't have time since Monday, grrrrrr.....)!

As for the new hairdo - it didn't change much. It's shorter but apart from that the hairdresser didn't want anything to my hair because she said they wouldn't have a good shape if she cut it into some longer and shorter parts. And I agreed with her, especially since I had no specific hairdo in mind. Maybe next time, when I give my hair some more nourishment - I bought a special hairdresser's shampoo and conditioner, so I have high hopes for the new shiny healthy hair! *^v^*(eeeeeeeek, red nose... it was rather cold!)
Also, she worked with a big round hairbrush and a dryer a lot, and I had quite an elegant styling on my birthday, with the ends curled a bit. When I woke up the next morning - I looked like a hairdresser's disaster, so let's just say that my hair do what they want and no fancy styling is possible, just a nice 'artistic' mess! =^v^=