Thursday, December 20, 2007
The image on the top of our website www.artisticjourney.com.au is an early photo of the main street in Gisborne, if you can see one of the buildings is Howchow's dining rooms, this was my great grandfathers.
I have really fond memories of christmas eve in Gisborne, where they closed the streets to traffic at 6.oo pm and all the young ones run amok on the road with water pistols etc running into the toilets in the movie theatres to refill, all harmless fun. Before coming to Australia John always had work christmas parties (any excuse for a booze up) so I would take the kids into town, we would have tea at a restuarant then the kids would have fun on the closed street while I finished last minute shopping. This was such a tradition that the kids never forget, it was such a safe place for them, nothing bad ever happened then. I believe that is not quite the case anymore. My thoughts are with you all in Gisborne, as it is always at this time of the year.
This christmas I have not put up as many decorations as usual, time was a big factor. I like to put these green swags of eucalytus leaves and nuts that I got several years ago, on the top of the curtains, only thing is close up view of said curtains showed how dusty they where. Consequently curtains had to be dragged down to wash along with the long lacey ones over the doors above. Hanging the curtains on the line the long curtains had disintergrated into great big holes, much to large to disguise as antique lace, so ended up in the bin. Fortunately I had a set of these lovely gauzy curtains I had bought from Freedom about a year ago waiting for the bedroom to be painted, saved the day and I like the way they puddle on the floor.
Today is the last day the shop is open until I re-open on the 2nd January 2008. I have 4 of my granddaughters here scrapbooking while Jo wraps christmas gifts. I find with the shop I dont really get much chance to just be Grandma and I really enjoy their company. I will have 2 of my grandchildren from the country staying with us for a few days after christmas, I intend to not try and do anything ie housework and just enjoy them. Hope you all enjoy the break as well.
Friday, December 14, 2007
This year we didnt have a lot of time to make new decorations so we used what we had and made a woodsy tree, we had these long twisted bare branch's that the dear Sunny had got for us at a sale in a nursery, so draped them around the tree. Popped in some nest's with quail's eggs that we had in the window previously and occassianally there would be a loud crack like someone had thrown a stone at the window but on closer inspection, one of the eggs had exploded in the sun, pooh the sulpher smell. Some old artificial rose garlands seemed to fit in nicely a few of Anthony's (Jo's Husband) rustic bird houses and tin teddy bears and wella tree done.
In the image below you can see how yellow the tree has got, it does not show up in the other images.
We made up a lot of journals for christmas, they look good in the shabby cabinets dont they!!
How good is this idea for wrapping your gifts, I saw this idea in a magazine (I am a real magazine junkie). A brown paper bag, the sort with raffia handles and a flat bottom, some nice tissue poking out the top, attach a photo (mine is a Cavalini postcard) with a small bulldog clip or wooden clothes peg, I have also added a soldered microscope slide. So don't throw away you shopping bags fold them down flat and recycle when the need arises, some of the shops package your purchases in lovely paper bags, I got a lovely pink one at a lovely french giftware shop I discovered last week. hmmm
I will try and photo my home christmas decorations for you and post before Christmas.
Friday, December 7, 2007
I am sharing with you a house book we have done in class, I showed you a page in a previous entry and have finally finished. The idea was taken from the lovely book 'In this house' by Angela Cartwright and Sarah Fishburn, and of course you will recognise the wonderful Nina Bagley techniques. Above is the front cover, for all the pages I have used old vintage Australian Christmas images and on the front is a wonderful image of a santa on a kangaroo. On the left side I have glued down scrunched up gauze and lightly applied Golden fluid acrylic in silver with a dry brush. on the right side a stamp of a tree trunk from Michelle Ward as well as the stamps of the birds stamped onto a black and white script paper and roughly cut around so you see the paper behind. white buttons have been added onto the branches. A poem about the Christmas Bush cut into strips and placed randomly down the page.
Page 4 using similar techniques has a photo of my two girls that little dark haired one is Jo can you believe that little round face. On this page a silver and white scrolled paper napkin has had the two back papers removed then torn in pieces and glued down with watery PVA. A feather with round silver frame and acrylic insert covering some text.
yep thats me, just a little scrap back then in my little smocked dress. A lovely image of a vintage santa in lovely shades of apricot that matches the strip of silk fabric glued down over the painted cardboard, a sprinkle of silver micro beads around santa's boots, believe me they are there. A striped awning, some more white painted twigs with patches of micro beads and tied down with the threads that came off the edges of the silk and wella! finished, I am happy with the result think it will look nice on the old chippy paint mantlepiece at home. measurements 25 x 20 cm
Friday, November 16, 2007
This dearest of sisters doesn't share our passion for vintage collectables, but waits patiently while we rummage through all sorts of treasures, this is some of our stash we stowed in the car to bring home.
At the small country town Wagin we stepped back in time and went through their heritage village lots of vintage items to delight in, this was in the dressmakers shop.
How tempting where these old typeset keys, I could reach out and touch, what I could do with them but alas not for sale.
How cool are these, for a vintage artist just way much to temptation, but not for sale
Can you see that wonderful old album and what about those feather quills.
From rough seas to tranquil inland rivers, isnt that inviting!
This very secluded spot on the hottest day we shucked off clothes and cooled off in lovely cold water, no you cannot see those photo's!!
Wonderful old forrests with giant old old trees, if they could only talk. They have built a wonderful tree walk up into the top of the trees, Wonderful!This enormous tree was used as a fire lookout, would have to scoot down pretty quickly if there was a fire coming.
this delightful home in Albany is the first established farm in Western Australia, the gardens where glorious and the home so quirky, the walls bowed and bulged in different places.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
couldn't sleep last night, the usual, the harder you try the further away sleep becomes. For a while now I have been picking up one of my journals when I have trouble sleeping and writing my thought patterns until I relax enough to drift off. I wrote for a while all the positive thoughts I could, not sleepy yet, I spied a box of crayons I had put out on my trestle to catch my attention when I needed to try something new. just what I needed, I swirled, those crayons in flowing curves my mind going with the flow, thinking how like life these rivers of motion represent, we flow into dark places which seem to overtake us, then with a little effort it can flow back into the brighter swirls and we can see the sun again. I outlined the depth's then highlighted the peaks. The lovely crayons I used Gallery Watercolour I bought last Xmas, they had been hiding under my creative mess coming to my notice recently. I found this exercise very therapuatic, I had nothing in mind and just let my hand flow where it wanted.
At the shop I am teaching a house book, inspired from the book 'In this House' by Angela Cartwright and Sarah Fishburn. following is page 1, this is a Christmas theme and my favourite Christmas colour shades of white.
I have used vintage christmas themed background pages in black and white onto heavy bookboard. On this page I painted beige all around the border. I am using Claudine Hellmuth's vaseline technique for the backgrounds, painted gesso over the top, rubbed the paint back. painted a thick peice of scrap cardboard with gesso. I have glued using generous amounts of PVA glue, some white gauze over the cardboard into nice textures, as well as adhering to bookboard. I have painted my photo printed on nopa paper with polymer medium to give the photo body. glued photo on top. cut mica with pinking shears and attach over photo. a sprinkle of silver micro beads along top of glued gauze to give that Christmas sparkle. a very nina touch, painted white twigs tied along with a tatty old paint brush, a watch crystal from Coffee Break Design to highlight Santa's face from the background, he is a grand old santa. photo is my sweet little boy from about 38 years ago.
Page two I have used the same techniques and used a musky pink in the santa clip art and instead of gauze a scrap of raw silk fabric, if you have used silk, you will know how the edges like to fray, I have used these threads to tie the twigs onto the roof line over some pink painted stripe script paper. the photo is of me that has been handpainted. I can see these standing zig zag on the mantle peice at Christmas. Will keep you updated as I complete the other pages and the finished peice. I am off down South with two of my three sisters later this afternoon as Phillipa meets another milestone in her life. as we reach a certain age we all try to get together for a week and just celebrate being sisters. sadly my baby sister is unable to come this year, she will be missed. we are just going to go with the flow, stop where it pleases us, have lots of walks on the beach as well as in the forest. last time we got a tattoo each, none of that will be happening this time but I am sure we will come up with something crazy. I will be back next week, re energised with my soul nurtured, will catch up with you then.
Friday, November 2, 2007
I spent every free moment I could find walking around these lovely uneven streets, can you imagine that cars wizz around these streets, infrequently, as I think during the day most residents that use cars go to work out of Cortona. If I stretched my arms out I could almost touch both walls, so when a vehicle came one had to hug close to the walls of these old, old buildings. You just breath in so much history, you can close your eyes and picture different times that this place has lived and survived through. love it, love it.
standing against time, they certainly built to last. One wonders how long the buildings we build now will last, and would we want them to anyway.
Isn't this building intriguing, what stories could it tell, is that a secret tunnel to escape marauding etruscans or romans, come out the discreet door at the top, quickly down the stone steps, scoot around the corner and duck into the tunnel and off. good imagination aye!
the lovely Olga on the day we spent picking olives, learning how to make pasta and cooking the most delicious Italian meal, a wonderful day we had off from the workshop. Of course the workshops were the highlight, so much creativity going on with the amazing Nina at her best.
several mornings we were greeted with this wonderful thick fog, that enveloped the country below taking several hours before dissipating, look at that mysterious ghostly church dome in the background. Cortona would be bathed in sunshine while below the world was cast in gloom.
Olga, Robyn and myself set out to find 'Bramesole' the setting for the movie 'Under the Tuscan Sun' (loved that movie) after getting lost we finally met a very knowledgeable fine old Italian gentleman who deciphered Olga's Italian and guided us just up the road, where this amazing villa sat in all its splendour, not quite as I remembered it in the movie. Its soft ochre colour so uniquely Italian.
and the little shrine that the elderly gentleman left flowers each day but never returned her greetings until the end of the movie.
and so the sun sets on Tuscany, viewed from where I spent such a wonderful week with creative new friends, the enigmatic Nina, and the ever so patient Stacey who arranged this wonderful retreat that gave us this amazing opportunity. I appreciate all the hard work put into running these retreats, and all the way from the USA.
on the last day we travelled back to Rome and spent half a day with Olga and Phyllis, what treasures to be found there. will have to go back and explore more.
Friday, October 26, 2007
another project that has caught my eye is this, A year of stitching, by Hanne Matthiesen, minimal sewing on this project, just love those soft colours, see the lovely pink clothes hanging on a line below a branch on a snow background. Oh and the simplicity of the step ladder in a bare bones room, of the natural colours. this is another I will do. Do you get the impression that my favourite colours are the soft whites and washed out pastels.
last but not least is this lovely bag by the lovely Heather Crossley from, none other than Australia. Some of you would have met Heather at our Art Retreat in March. Love your bags Heather. I love the soft feel of fabric journals and of course this media opens all the possibilities of using all the wonderful vintage fabrics and ephemera we love to collect.