Category Archives: Art Journal – Star Cross’d Lovers



I know that heading is a little alarming – but it needs to be.  I help to moderate the fabulous mixed media yahoo group called Paper Traders & every year since our inception, we have had a Round Robin Journal Project & I have hosted the project for the last 3 years.  For the uninitiated, basically – 12 people (our limit) make a journal, decide on a topic, then send their journal of on a travelling adventure around the world.  The journals rotate monthly, and each artist makes a page in everyone's journal until they finally recieve their own back.  Each time we have done it, there have been glitches along the way & sadly, we have people who have not honoured their commitments and literally just not sent journals back to their owners – but what happened this last month has taken the cake!  This month it appears that a international, priority paid, tracked & insured parcel has been very carefully opened (SO CAREFULLY – I can't see how it's been done) and looked through the 3 journals & the other contents of the box – and decided to keep one of the journals and the extra bits & bobs sent to me by the previous artist – and carefully seal the IMG_0002_resizebox back up. 

The box left USA weighing 5lbs 8.5oz and arrived to me in Oz weighing barely 4lb.  Despite there being no signs what so ever of tampering, the box was crushed down one side where the journal and other things 'had been' and now the two remaining journals moved around in the box.  That's where the fun began – despite having all of the safeguards in place, no one could tell us (person who sent parcel, me as recipient or the missing journals' owner) at what point the weight of the parcel changed.  A claim has been put in for insurance, which is SOMETHING at least for the trouble, but I am sure that we'd all just prefer to be able to post our art and know it's safe.  I have to say, I have posted things all around the continent & the world for years, and for the most part, I haven't had a problem.  THIS ONE takes the cake though!   I would caution anyone reading this to think carefully about what you write as the 'contents' of a parcel sent.  You need to use words that are 'honest' for security reasons – but not descriptive enough to raise the interest of any 'would-be' thief.  Perhaps words like: book, paperwork, printed matter, if anyone has any others, it'd be good to hear them.

As host, I felt just terrible about this happening – especially as the pics I had seen of the original journal showed that it was fabulous (no wonder 'peeping thomas/thomasina' decided to steal it!).  The subject was 'The White Rabbit' and being a big Alice fan, I had things on hand that I thought I would be able to use to restore the journal.  It's not perfect, but it is better than getting nothing back.  So here's some pics of the a couple of pages & the cover of the new journal, including a couple of litho etchings I did as my own contribution to the journal.

IMG_0001_resize The Red Queen's Birthday Party IMG_0004_resize IMG_0003_resizeIMG_0021_resize IMG_0009_resizeIMG_0022_resize


Star Cross’d Lovers


Star-Cross'd-Lovers-webahhhhhh….paint – glorious paint!  It was nice to get into some yesterday & as I haven't had a chance to get my RR journal off yet, I thought I'd do some more work toward it.  These are my 'Star Cross'd Lovers' Romeo & Juliet – Romeo looks a lot more efeminite than I had planned – but I haven't had a whole lot of practice with boys – in my mind, I was imagining a bit more 'swarthy' European looking, not really this wilting flower - I think he looks a bit teenage 'girly' – but that's how he is for now.  Star-Cross'd-Lovers-front-w I adore this braid that I found, & it was perfect tones to include in this piece & my newly carved stamps from last week worked a treat on the backFamily-Crest-web.   I used my sewing machine to stitch a pattern down the edges in black thread, which compliments the stitching & the hair & brings it all together nicely.  I STILL have such a long way to go with my faces.  This is the book I am working with at the moment & am finding it pretty helpful.  The book is VERY well presented, & I particularly like how it breaks down each part of the face in detail, so that you can really understand the composition & shading detail.  It's just one of those ones that you need to sit with & I haven't had a lot of time to do that lately.  

Handcut Rubber


Shakespeare-rubber-cuts-web As I said yesterday – I worked on creating some of my own hand carved stamps.  After a few nicks & cuts – in my fingers I mean! - I am happy with the outcome & I hope to use these as both background & feature stamps in time.  It's a very tactile experience & I find it really fun to do – have a go – it's not that hard.  I used historic ornament books to create these designs – with some inspiration from the amazing Michelle Ward from Green Pepper Press & her 'Street Crusade No: 18'.  Still drawing – practice, practice, practice!  007-jar-or-bottle-web Challenge No: 7 was to draw a jar or a bottle from the kitchen – so there it is – one of my fav. jams. (jelly)  The next (catch up challenge) is to draw a piece of jewellery & I am working on drawing my Nan's engagement ring.  It is proving more difficult than I first imagined, but I hope to have it finished soon.

What’s in a Name


Here is a watercolour that I completed late last week for my 'Bard of Avon' art journal – which has really evolved into a Romeo & Juliet by Shakespeare theme – Shakespeare as a whole was just bigger than Ben Hur – & it was too hard to encapsulate well – so I have parred it down to only my 'star crossed lovers'. 
What's-in-a-name-webI am kinda jumping all over the show with my art at the moment – and it is mostly because I am caring for our 2 yo Princess full time.  I am able to sketch when I watch a Barbie Fairytopia (her fav) movie with her …….HEY – don't knock Barbie – I am getting heaps out of the 'fantasy' element of the screen art!……..I am not getting MUCH time to paint, as when ever I do, despite me setting her up with her own painting, she randomly feels the need to do an 'artistic shwoosh' of whatever she is using – across whatever I am working on.   Joyful – but trying!  Sufficient to say – it's a little awkward…….that's ok – it is a time that is also made up of moments that cannot be measured by art or time or money.  Today, I witnessed her praying for the first time.  Usually when we put her down to sleep, she says – 'Pray Me,' which means 'pray with me', or 'for me' – but today she said to me 'Ellie pray Nonna' – I wept as I listened to a two year old's simple prayer.  What a joy – an irreplaceable, Ephemeral Moment – one that I witnessed alone & will be in my heart forever.  Tomorrow is a big day – I will have BOTH of my 2 yo grandbabies for the day – from 6am - SO – betta get some shut eye! 

a little collage


Wardrobe-options-back-webI know that some of you guys have been hanging out to see some more collage….so that's what I am posting today – sadly – because the colour is so neutral – it hasn't scanned overly well & I don't have time to set up photographs right now. You may remember my 'Bard of Avon' pages a couple of weeks ago – well here is another one.  It has vintage lace on the side & a cut out down the bottom & despite it looking so luminous on the scan – it is lavender, redish – but not bright.   

Feathered Friends


Featheredfriendsweb this is another snippet for my ‘Bard of Avon’ Journal….this one is two friends comparing notes on feathers!  I am experimenting a bit with inks at the moment – with varied results – good & bad – but I am pushing through – convinced that quitting in the middle of creating reinforces my internal critic who is saying – I can’t do it – it’s not good enough – I am not a real artist.  By completing the piece – I silence my internal critic – weakening my fear, my doubt, my disbelief in myself.  Granted – it’s not always work that I am proud of, but as I always say – you never know when you start to create a piece whether this is the one that is your Mona Lisa!  I have folded just to the left of the image so that I can add something here later – this project is evolving as I go along, so there is not alot of structure to what I am creating.

Wardrobe Options


I have had a flat couple of days, but had the chance to catch up on some Wardrobeoptionsclosedweb domesticity…. always good for the soul!!!!  (when my world is chaos, I create order by cleaning!)  I have been doing a bit of research for my new journal & have decided that the idea of random page sizes is really appealing to me.  I have gotten out my box of watercolour paper scraps (off cuts from cutting pages/ATC’s to size) & am using them to create all kinds of interesting bits.  I re-watched Romeo & Juliet (the Baz Lurhman version) & realized that I could do a whole journal just on that play/film alone – there is so much in it.  I was aware of Shakespeare in big picture terms, but I discovered there was so much that I had no idea of.  Like – he often featured birds in his writings – but his favoured bird was the swan because of it’s grace & form.  Did you know that his plays have been translated into EVERY major living language and are performed more than any other playwrite ever???  ‘The Bard’ is widely regarded as the the English national poet – that his surviving works (there are perported to be more writing that has not survived time & passage) include: 154 sonnets; 38 plays; 2 narrative poems as well as several other poems.   WOOOOW – what a feat!!!  BUT the kicker is that the majority of it was completed in just 23 years – between 1590 – 1613. 

The other interesting thing that I have discovered is just how much of our modern day coloquialisms come from Shakespearian verse…..

‘To be, or not to be:………..(is the question). Hamlet

‘I must be cruel, only to be kind.’ Hamlet

‘It was Greek to me.’ Julius Ceasar

‘In the twinkling of an eye’ Merchant of Venice

I could bore you for ever on these – there were 100’s…….interesting to trace the source of our language…….

Wardrobeoptionsopenweb this is the ‘page’ folded open.  it’s a bit of a trick on the eye, which looks better in real life – the lines are all matched to join up.

The Bard of Avon


Thebardofavonweb I know – this is a 'serious' looking man compared to the sweet girls that I have been painting & drawing!  Let me introduce you to 'The Bard of Avon' or, as he is better known…. William Shakespeare.  He is the subject & title of my new Journal.  I am not sure where I am going to include this drawing, or how I am going to add it in, as I want to create something a bit less ordered than I normally do, along the lines of what Traci Bautista creates – or DJ Pettit…………Traci taught at this year's Artistic Journey Retreat & the girls I had staying did her class & what they created looked great………AND my mind is a bit jumbled, so a 'jumbled' journal with odd shaped pages would probably just be indicitive of the time that I created it – I think I will probably find a happy medium between the 'loud' look of Traci's work and the gentle softness of DJ's in some sort of middle ground.