Every morning this past week I’ve created a new mini landscape using artist Nick Stewart’s technique
I love this technique. It’s incredibly easy to do, requiring only a short amount of time, some water, fountain pen ink & a couple of paintbrushes. And water colour paper. To make my small pieces of paper I tore a larger sheet of watercolour paper into the small pieces seen in the photos. They’re 10.5 x 7.5cm in size.
My favourite thing about these is I never have any idea what the outcome will be. The ink does what it wants when it touches the wetted paper & gives an almost surreal outcome.
The inks used, in order of the day made, are as follows: Twilight Black from Nick Stewart inks Randall Blue Black again from Nick Stewart inks Jade Noir by Monteverde Barossa Grape by Robert Oster Garnet also by Monteverde Sydney Harbour Blue by Blackstone Yama-Budo from Pilot’s Iroshizuku range
Do you have a favourite? I’d love to hear which is yours. My favourite changes by the day; today the Sydney Harbour Blue is my fav.
Day 4 of the Micro.blog art sprint Created with Robert Oster Barossa Grape fountain pen ink & water 🎨🖌
Oops, I forgot to add the photo! Here it is 🎨🖌
Artwork no.3 for Micro.blog’s art sprint. This one was made using Monteverde Jade Noir fountain pen ink 🎨🖌
My second piece for the Micro.blog sprint, this time created with Nick Stewart Ink Randall Blue Black 🎨🖌 #mbmay
Sharing artwork 1 for the Micro.blog art challenge sprint. I created this piece whilst eating breakfast this morning, using black fountain pen ink from the collection by Nick Stewart, plus water #🎨
Recently I realised that I prefer to make small pieces of art. I find it deeply satisfying to work on a smaller scale. I rarely have large blocks of spare time so any art I make is worked on over multiple shorter sessions. Sometimes I might sit down a couple of times during a day to work on something, other times I add to a piece during breakfast & don’t return to it again until the next morning.
However sometimes I want to start & finish a piece of art, even if I only have a small amount of time to do it. When those times occur I reach for my favourite practice, creating mini fountain pen ink & water landscapes. These are fun to make. I never know what the outcome will be although it’s rare for me to dislike the outcome.
If you have fountain pen ink I recommend you check out the work of Nick Stewart () nickstewart.ink/technique… who is the master of this technique. He creates stunning pieces of art, especially when he throws bleach into the mix.
If you give it a try I’d love to hear from you. Did you fall in love with it like I have?
Because of the small size of this art they fit nicely into my art journal, serving as a reminder of how easy it is to create something beautiful.
A couple of nights ago, whilst taking photos of the sunset, I had the idea to try making a multiple exposure photo. I’m pleased I did; the resulting surreal look is one I quite like. This might be the first of many.
Usually on my birthday I head out somewhere with my camera. It’s a perfect excuse to spend an hour or two devoted to photography. This birthday that was not possible, coming as it was during stay at home orders. Luckily for me the sunset that evening was full of beautiful colours. I may not have spent hours with my camera but it was lovely to spend a few minutes capturing the beauty.
Today I have no words. Instead I’ll leave this photo here, a multiple exposure of the trunk of a grapevine
I decided to throw some creativity at this weeks challenge because I was challenged by the colour prompt. I looked around & felt there was either too much colour, or not enough. I narrowed my focus & painted some water & fountain pen ink onto heavy paper & played around with photographic compositions. Still not quite happy with my results, I added the prompt from week one - multiple exposure - into the mix. Finally I had results that I liked. The photos look a little surreal, a little not quite right & I like it. I’ll share a couple more photos in the next day or so. If you’re playing along at home, the prompt for week three is Timber. Now to think about what I can photograph with this prompt.
Have you ever kept a garden journal? To note the changing position of the sun throughout the year & how it affects the growth of your plants? Or to track the harvest of your fruit & vegetables? Or simply as a nice way to draw your favourite flowers?
I’ve tried keeping a garden journal in the past & failed every time. I think the problem has been not finding a journal style that worked for me.
Over the years I’ve tried keeping a list of plants, noting their location & particulars relating to that plant.
I also tried keeping a basic garden map, as a kind of visual form of the written list. When that didn’t work I gave up.
However now that we’re settling in to our new home our attention has been turned to growing lawn & creating gardens. Although I’ve only a vague idea of what I’d like our gardens to look like I’ve always known that I wanted the front section to feature pink flowers. After doing some research I’ve settled on Kangaroo Paws, Ground Cover & Standard Grevilleas, Pig Faces and some native grasses.
With that in mind I sat down to draw out my ideas. I can’t draw photo realistic so I decided to create loose sketches of the plants in the vein of urban sketching. I enjoy this style of drawing so it felt right. Pleased with the results I’m now keen to keep drawing out my garden. Once I’ve nailed down what exactly I want everywhere else that is!
If you keep a garden journal, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org I’d love to learn about your style & what keeps you journaling.
This post, despite being promised last week, almost didn’t happen. My day went pear shaped, almost as soon as my breakfast was consumed.
To be perfectly honest with you, dear reader, after the day I’ve had writing this post almost seems pointless. But I promised myself that I’d share my photo challenge images with you & I don’t want to break that promise. So here’s the final image from week one of my challenge, multi exposure.
Have you tried multi exposure photography? It’s relatively easy & produces interesting results. I suspect most modern cameras have it built in as an image option; check the image settings to see if your camera has the feature.
In the case of Fujifilm’s X-Pro3 (which is the camera I own) up to 9 exposures can be overlaid to create the final image. The majority of the photos I made during this past week used either two or three exposures to create the look I was after.
Your other option is to download a multi exposure app to your mobile phone. I use the iOS app called Double Exposure. It’s easy to use & has built in filters that can be applied before you take your photos, making it easy to see the final result. There are of course many other apps that will create multi exposure photos but I haven’t tried them. If you have a favourite, let me know & I can update this post.
Now for week two’s word. I selected it this morning. The word is Colour. A few ideas have popped into my my mind already. It will be interesting to see if I can reproduce the image in my mind as a photo.
Another multiple exposure photo, part of this weeks photo challenge. This time in colour, of grape vine leaves.
I’ve been itching to challenge myself photographically since upgrading to an X-Pro3 earlier this year. Initially this was quashed when my couple of weeks old camera suffered a malfunction that made it unusable. Thankfully Fujifilm replaced my camera with a new one, but in the few weeks of waiting for the replacement I lost that creativity spark that comes with buying a new camera.
The new camera arrived a week before Victorian’s were strongly recommended to stay home unless it was necessary to go out. Since then I’ve been wondering how I can challenge myself photographically whilst stuck at home.
I searched Instagram for a photo challenge I could take part in, but nothing felt right for me. The idea came to me yesterday to create my own photo challenge. So I have. I’ve jotted down on paper around 20 different words, cut around each word & put them in a pile. Each Friday I’ll pick a new word & it will become my photographic focus for the week.
The first word is multiple exposure - the photo that accompanies this post was taken after I picked that word. I’ll share more photos with you in coming days; perhaps you’ll get inspired & will take part in my photo challenge? If you do, I’d love to see your take on each weeks word.
I made time yesterday to make some multiple exposure photos, using my Swiss Cheese plant. It was a nice way to spend some of my self-isolating time; I’ll be making more using some of my other house plants.
It feels like everywhere I look I’m seeing things related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Important advice to help stop the spread of the virus, like washing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds & observing social distancing practices whenever leaving home. And equally as important advice for looking after your mental health.
Taking all this advice in, at first I felt there wasn’t any point in me writing a blog post that had anything to do with Covid. Yet the more I thought about it the more I realised that I’m going a little crazy as I work from home & do my best to avoid leaving my home unless it’s for vital grocery shopping or checking my mailbox. So I took the time to think about some easy creative projects I can do at home. I’ve come up with a short list; I decided sharing it here with you might inspire you to come up with your own list; feel free to use my ideas if they speak to your creative life.
Photography Project I’ll make use of the limitation of staying at home by photographing things around me. When I stop & actually look around me, my photographic subjects are almost unlimited. New growth on houseplants, my dogs, architectural details of my home, to name just a few. I’ll post my progress here.
Drawing Project During the past month or so I’ve been teaching myself to draw Betta fish, by looking at photos of them on online & drawing them, using my watercolour pencils. I finally bought myself a gorgeous blue Betta, whom I named Larry. Drawing a living fish is a challenge that I look forward to getting better at. I’ll work up the courage & share these drawings too.
Letter Writing Not much needs to be said here, except I have about 6 letters that need replying to. So I will.
Online Art Courses I’ve begun but not yet completed a couple of different online art courses. I’d like to either finish them, or at the very least work through them. Two of these I exoect to complete, the third perhaps I’ll only progress a few modules of, due to its length. In no particular order, these are: Naomi Bulger’s online letter writing course which focuses on everything needed to create a beautiful & impactful letter Nick Stewart’s fountain pen ink art basics, offered on Udemy The Complete Character Drawing Class, also on Udemy
I’d love to see what projects you’re up to. Stay healthy x
The idea came to me this past Saturday evening to put together a mini zine containing short quotes about anxiety. I woke up Sunday morning & started working on it.
I made the decision to make several copies by hand & I’ll photocopy the best one to make several more copies. Towards the end of the day I was wondering what I’d gotten myself into, bored as I was with the repetitiveness of writing out the same thing eight times. If I make a second issue I won’t create it this way; instead I’ll make one version & make mutiliple copies of it.
But for the sake of the exercise, of wanting to create a zine & have more than one copy of it, making eight individual copies by hand was the way to go.
Initially I thought I would make it full of drawings to go alongside the words but as I began I didn’t feel like that would suit this project. Instead as you can see from the photos, I’ve kept this zine word heavy with only a sprinkle of hearts & weird scribbled flower that I love to draw as a doodle.
Why quotes about anxiety? Well, the subject felt right to me. You know I’m living with it. Loved ones have it. And I want to talk about anxiety as much as possible to help reduce the stigma of anxiety. I hope this little zine will contribute to this, in its’ own small way.
If you’d like to buy a copy, I am selling it for $5 plus postage. Send me an email expressing your interest & we can go from there.
I am a passionate believer in making & eating quality food. I think good food is one of life’s most important things.
One of my favourite things in life is to prepare & serve food to share with others. It could be something as simple as a couple of homemade biscuits & coffee or an elaborate meal that requires hours of preparation; it matters little to me what it is because I love it all.
When it comes to the preparation of food I am both a follower of recipes & a creator of them. Well, I suppose I’m technically not creating recipes because I’m not taking note of measurements but I’m certainly using combinations of foods that I know work together & that I like together & repeating a particular dish multiple times.
I thought I’d share with you today links to some of the recipes that I return to. Note that many of these are sweet treats, cause that’s the mood I’m in as I write this post :)
First up is a link to make soda bread. This is incredibly easy to make & is really tasty. I treat myself to freshly baked soda bread as a delicious lunch. Usually I’ll bake it on a Saturday, have more either for breakfast or lunch on Sunday then freeze the remaining bread. I like the flexibility of this recipe. You can use whatever dried fruits & nuts that you’ve got in the pantry. I don’t use store bought buttermilk. Instead I add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar to the milk at least ten minutes prior to needing it. Purists will probably be horrified but if I was to buy buttermilk I wouldn’t be baking soda bread as often as I do :)
As we are a family of two, a lot of recipes I return to frequently are small batch. This saves excess food going to waste & has the added benefit of us not eating the same biscuits or sweets day in & day out :)
My most small batch visted website is Dessert For Two. A food blog by Christina Lane, it’s full of fabulous food. Over time Christine has added to her repertoire, expanding from desserts to covering main meals, gluten free options & more. Every recipe I’ve made is delicious; I don’t think you could go wrong with any of Christine’s recipes. Her raspberry brownie recipe is a must, although I’ll confess to only using raspberries once when making it. I usually use strawberries, blueberries or if I have none then I omit the fruit completely.
I love chocolate chip biscuits so I’m often making them. I’ve yet to find the perfect recipe, although I’ve found a couple that come close. One of them is by Sally of Sally’s Baking Addition. This particular recipe makes one giant chocolate chip biscuit (or cookie, as Sally calls it. Because she’s American, & American’s cookies are us Australian’s biscuits) however I usually prefer to make it as three smaller biscuits. Two for my husband & I to enjoy whilst they are still warm & the third to be eaten by me the next day.
I like brownies a lot, so here’s another recipe for them. This one isn’t a small batch recipe, but thats ok. Sometimes its ok to eat brownie every day for a week :) Or to make & share with loved ones. This recipe, by Broma Bakery uses red wine. This sounds indulgent, & it is. If you like brownies, give them a try. If. you like red wine, then you must try these. Enjoy them with coffee or red wine if you dare.
Turning away from desserts, another love of mine is risotto. I make beetroot risotto a lot when beetroot is in season. The recipe I use was pulled from the pages of a magazine many years ago so I’m not sure how I’d go about sharing it here. Sometime last year, after buying more pumpkin than needed I searched online for a pumpkin risotto recipe. I found this one by ReceipeTin Eats. It has entered my list of recipes to return to. It’s easy to make & is delicious is I’m absolutely recommending it to you.
My list of go to recipes is quite large, so I think I’ll write another post about this in the near future. In the meantime, let me know if you make any of these recipes & how they go for you. I love hearing your thoughts.
I’ve been fascinated by art journals for a while. They show up in my social media feed & some of the artists I’ve interviewed for Art Supply Posse keep them or specialise in them. But I was hesitant to start my own. My style of art isn’t the same as that of the artists I admire & the quality of my work isn’t as good as others. I was comparing myself to these artists & I was convinced that my perceived shortfalls was a good reason to not keep an art journal.
Thank goodness I came to my senses! I finally woke up to the nonsense I was telling myself & realised that I could make an art journal be exactly what I need it to be.
I had been using a Midori Travellers Notebook as a daily todo list & calendar hybrid. It suited me for a couple of years but by the end of 2019 I’d become bored by this setup. I like the size, the feel of the stunning paper & it’s portability. Enough reasons to turn this daily boring thing into an art journal that only a few weeks in I can say I’m already proud of.
To make it work best for me I utilise two pages at a time, which are given over to a week. Instead of listing out days & dates, as I had been doing, I’m now writing the start date & end date of the week followed by the particular month. Year isn’t included as it’s noted when a new notebook is started.
Because I love fountain pen ink (& also as a convenient excuse to buy/try more ink) I’m washing ink over the pages as a background. I’ve created about 20 backgrounds so far, allowing each double set of pages to dry completely before moving to the next set. Thats the only criteria I’ve set myself for the journals’ contents, although I recognise this might change in the future. From there I am adding art to the pages as I see fit.
Sometimes I’m making art directly onto the page, other times I’m making art elsewhere & pasting it in. It really depends on what I feel like doing when I decide to art. My daily breakfast art practice continues so some mornings whatever I make will end up in the journal. Other times I’ll fold an origami crane or make a small piece of fountain pen ink art, pasting it into the journal afterwards. It all depends on my mood.
I’m glad I had this change in mindset. I do deserve to have an art journal. And so do you. If you’ve ever wanted to give one a try, I say go for it. Consider this me giving you permission to keep one. If you do, let me know how it works out for you. I’d love to hear your feedback.
Stumbling out of bed, I wonder ‘how can it already be morning?’
As I move through our home I notice the sun isn’t awake. Hints of mauve & pink in the sky hint at what’s to come.
I dress in autopilot, unaware of temperature or weather conditions.
Stepping outside I can barely make out the stairs leading from the verandah to the back yard.
‘Are we really doing this?’ It seems we are.
Zena & Cadel sir, patiently impatient, desperate to begin their morning walk yet knowing that it cannot begin until their leads are on.
I marvel at how awake & present they are & envy them a little.
As we walk I feel the fog of sleep slowly lifting. I may not have boundless energy like they do but I’m beginning to feel alive.
The chatter from a pair of small grass parrots is drowned out by a flock of galahs flying overhead. Their screech pierces the air & im surprised to not hear the sound of something shattering as they pass.
When we’re done, when I’m sitting inside eating breakfast, I feel gratitude for these two dogs. They are teaching me to be in the moment, even if that moment is too early in the morning for my liking. I’m honoured to have them in my life & hope to continue learning from them every day we have together.
Of all the days worthy of an occasion, birthdays are my favourite. The love and joy I have because I know you is amplified on your birthday. You were born, you’re still alive and I know you & want to celebrate with you. Sometimes birthdays afford me the chance to have my camera in hand & capture some of those birthday moments, such as in the two photos above. Neither of these photos scream birthday - there’s no cake or presents in sight - yet for me they encapsulate the birthday of my nephew Eli. Hats worn to protect delicate skin from the harsh Australian sun & inquisitive looks on faces.
On my own birthday I like to celebrate by eating my favourite foods & embarking on a photography session of some sort. Ideally the people I love would be involved somehow during the day. After all, I cannot possibly eat an entire birthday cake on my own ;)
Yesterday was Zena’s 11th birthday. Zena is the eldest of my two dogs. It almost feels impossible that she is already 11 years old. I remember vividly the day we met her, as if it happened only moments ago. Even then as a small eight week old puppy she was full of sass. We took with us our dog Zeus to meet her because we wanted to make sure that the two of them would get along. Meeting a fully grown adult male Rottweilor did not phase Zena. She ran to him at full pace, her chest out and tail up, daring him not to be impressed by her tiny presence. There was no fear; instead she was curious and determined to follow him everywhere. She was already aware of her place in the world & expected everyone - animal or human - to be impressed by her.
In the ensuring years Zena has become a crucial part of my life. In recent years she has become incredibly in tune with my mental state; it was because of her actions that I realised I needed to seek help for my anxiety. I became aware that Zena was anxious every time I was anxious; or actually she would become anxious before my anxiety hit. She was aware that I was becoming anxious before I was & at the time I wasn’t aware that she was trying to calm me but I wasn’t recognising her cues. As she became more anxious as my daily anxiety grew I decided I had to do something about my mental health, in the hope that improving my mental health would improve hers. Thankfully as my anxiety treatments began to work my improvements were reflected in Zena. She hasn’t lost her ability to recognise an anxiety or panic attack before I do however now I recognise her cues and act on them. I allow her to calm me if needed or simply to shadow me as she makes sure that I’m going to be ok.
Despite the positive impact Zena has in my life (and also Cadel, my second, younger dog) I have always felt uncomfortable publicly recognising the importance of my dogs. I’ve often felt ashamed that I am the owner of dogs, or to put it in popular parlance, a dog mum. Almost everyone I know, particularly those of my age or older, are mothers or fathers of children. You know, humans. They’ve done what society expects and what people have done for millennia which, at its core is to reproduce in order to maintain the existence of humans on Earth. For reasons I’m not yet ready to share here, having children was not and is not for me. But having pets, especially dogs? Well of course I had to. My life would be bereft without them.
So now, I’m willing to own my reality. I am a dog owner. No I’m not going to call myself a dog mother. I honestly hate the description although I’m happy for others to refer to themselves as that if it truely makes them happy. And in that owning of reality I will happily confess to celebrating my dogs birthdays. I haven’t actually made a birthday cake or cupcake for either Zena or Cadel yet, but its on my to do list for a future birthday. Instead I give them some kind of food treat (which they both get because you can’t spoil one dog without spoiling the other!). For Zena’s birthday I shared my souvlaki with them. I wasn’t hungry enough to eat it all so Zena & Cadel got to enjoy my leftovers. They were thrilled to eat something different and tasty and I was thrilled not to throw away food.
So this is me, stating to the world that I’m a proud dog owner and I’m never going to not bring it up. Its a major part of my life and I’m happy with this fact.
Oh, one more thing. I’m also a dog owner who runs an Instagram account for her dogs. Yep, I’m one of those! If you’d like to check it out search zenacadel on Instagram. Hopefully you’ll enjoy their page.
This post was meant to be about something other than what I’m writing here. I’ve been trying to write it for a couple of days; words are failing me right now. I can’t quantify my thoughts. Each time I write something it feels wrong, like the words I’m using aren’t good enough. I don’t know why this is. It may be because my anxiety has been high during the last week. Maybe I’m overthinking it. Maybe I really don’t have anything to say.
So instead of fighting myself in my mind about my inadequacies as a writer, I’m giving up on that post. I’ve saved it in drafts, in case I feel one day like I can find the right words.
Instead, here’s a photo from my recent holiday in St Kilda. I hope you like it because I do.
I’m a big lover of podcasts. I have 25 subscribed podcasts in my feed, most of which update weekly & I pretty much listen to them all each week. Last week I listened to two podcasts, back to back, that made me pause and think about my 2019. The first, Photography Radio, was a discussion from the host about why he picks his favourite 10 photos at the end of each year. He finds the task a good way to see where his photography is taking him and to note changes to his style that he may not have seen whilst actually taking photos.
In the second podcast, called The First Time podcast - the two hosts reflected on their 2019. Their career successes as authors but also books & podcasts they loved reading & listening to in 2019.
Inspired by these podcasts I decided to reflect on my own 2019. I feel like I tend to remember negative things that have happened more frequently than positive things so I thought it would be a great idea to take the time to think about good things from 2019. I’m also attempting to pick my favourite photos from the year, although that’s proving to be difficult. I’d have finished this post on Friday (it’s now Sunday) save for the fact that I’m having trouble picking favourite photos! I’m surprised at how many of the photos I really like. I’m also really happy to see how my photography has improved throughout the year. I can see where I’ve gone wrong, but most importantly I can see my growth.
Sometime during 2019 I became aware that what I want from my photography is to capture moments of everyday beauty. I was already doing this every week, when I was taking photos of my friends at my local Pole Fitness studio or during the times when I’d grab my phone to take some backyard sunset photos. However I wanted more. I felt if I took the time to look, I’d see there were moments of beauty all around.
Instead of writing a paragraph with each photo I’ve written a few words below them. I’d love to know what you think of them but more importantly, do you reflect on your year when it ends? Why or why not?
I got to thinking about my highlights from 2019. Moving into our house at years end was the biggest thing to happen all year. It’s been a long process to get to this point & I’m grateful we finally made it.
Reinvigorating this blog is another highlight. I enjoy writing however I’ve long had trouble giving myself permission to write. Part of the work I did with my mentor Naomi Bulger during the year (another highlight for the year) was to work out what I wanted to do with my creativity. I came to the conclusion that writing weekly here was something I wanted to do. It’s great writing practice & I’m surprised how often I think of something that I’d like to share here. I’ve mostly kept to my weekly posting schedule & I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s especially great when someone leaves lovely comments on a post, it makes my day :)
I continued interviewing people for the Art Supply Posse podcast. I spoke to a wide range of artists throughout the year, learning a lot about what they do & bringing their story to our listeners. I’ve made friends with a couple of those people & it’s been great getting to know them better & watching their artistic progress.
2019 was also a year of short breaks - weekend trips to Melbourne & to Adelaide, with friends or on my own. I enjoyed the opportunity to move out of my daily routine & do something a little different. These moments were brief but impacted me positively, inspiring bouts of creativity & propelling me further into the year.
I hope 2020 continues to bring creative inspiration, both for me & also for you.
subscribe via RSS