Sunday, 13 June 2021

Changing the narrative

 Those who have been following or reading my blog, or those who know me, know I'm on a Uni journey. I'm in the last half of my three-year bachelor degree in arts psychotherapy and it has been a ride, let me tell you. The first year was like a year-long therapy session. The second-year was so heady and stressful I thought my brain might just explode. Third-year so far has been a much easier ride. It helps that I loved the research subject and the top I did my literature review on and the uni has restructured the placement component so it's nowhere near as full-on as my first placement was. They have removed so many assessments and requirements that I feel like I can breathe with this placement!

Part of placement is we have the opportunity to do PD every Friday morning for 3 hours, to add to the 240-hour commitment. The very first PD session was on metaphors. I love metaphors. Metaphors are my jam... lol and maybe one day they'll be my bread and butter too! In the PD we were invited to think about our overall life metaphor and immediately I had a bird locked in a cage, able to see out, able to see all the other birds flying around and living their best lives and trusting the wings they were given to do what they were meant to do. It's a pretty powerful metaphor for me and it's not the first time I've had it show up in my life. 

Being that I am an art therapist though, I decided I might actually do some art around it and thus began my next art journal spread. I made my own art journal, creating signatures and sewing them into canvas to create my very own personal art journal. I also have this thing where I like to add subtle differences along the way and this page I created actually had a half-page sewn into it. The little spread I have inside the half page is actually quite relevant to the story I began to tell on this double-page spread, though I won't be sharing that here today.

I began with a simple background on both sides of the page and on the half-page that flicks between the two. On one side I found a photo in a magazine that looked like a person with droopy wings and I pasted that inside a cage.
You can see the half-page in this shot. The half page became quite central to the story because after we explored our overall life metaphor, we were then invited to stay with the metaphor and change it in some way. So what exactly can I do to change the locked in a cage metaphor? Open the cage door of course!
So on this side of the page, I found another magazine photo from one of my body art magazines and pasted that into the birdcage.

I decided to put a swing into the birdcage with me and then I enclosed myself into the cage. I glazed the wings with some Golden Liquid paint and drew in some veins into the wings with a simple artline pen. The back part of the cage was just some neocolor II payne's grey, the bars on the front of the cage was done with my Lumiere's pearl purple.

I did the same on the full page on the left-hand side but I kept the door open for this one. I also gave this one wings but this time, I unfurled them and wouldn't you know it, turns out they were butterfly wings and a transformation had taken place while being locked in that cage growing up. Now the door was open though, I was still reluctant to leave the safety and containment of the cage. The world didn't look so inviting out there.
On the half-page, I decided to do a barren tree in the Lumiere paint and I outlined the cage first in black posca pen but in the end, I actually used the irRESISTible teal ink because I love the texture of it.

Of course, I had to outline the cage on this side of the half-page too. So I thought about what make it more inviting to entice me to get out of the cage and to try and trust my wings to allow me to fly, allowing me to do what I was put on this planet to do. So I began to paint a lush forest path on the other page.

I just used some cheap acrylics to depict the forest. To finish it off, I decided I needed to have me, the transformed butterfly actually walking away from the cage and the barren tree and into the lush forest of possibility.

Little bit of gesso, little bit of posca pen and Golden Liquid paint and a few dots and there I am walking away from my cage in search of a new tomorrow. Emerged from my metal cocoon and moving toward a more luscious future than I could ever imagine. 
I mean, when you open my journal and you flick through it page after page, it probably won't make sense, because this page comes before the locked birdcage and also before the birdcage with the open door, plus there is the little spread in the middle of the half-page. That's ok though. I know the story, I know the journey, and now you do too. The transformation of the butterfly, free to fly it's own path now.

I'm going to add these to the following pages for their monthly challenges as it fits in with the requirements:
There's definitely the added bonus of some purple in this one for the crew over at More Mixed Media Challenge.
It meets the criteria for the crew over at Creative Artiste Mixed Media but doesn't hold a candle to the gorgeous creations being made over there. Definitely go check out the art being made.
Last, though it's not entirely a butterfly, I AM the butterfly so it still meets the awesome theme Mia from Craft Artista came up with for this month.

I hope you enjoyed this journey.  Maybe you can relate to it in a way. For now, I'm going to use these newly released butterfly wings of mine to fly into a future of being an art therapist so I can help all the other trapped butterflies find their freedom through artistic expression too!

In Joy!

Sunday, 6 June 2021

The Wolves in her soul

 It is really weird for me to not have copious amounts of uni work to do. My first placement had 3 learning outcome documents, 12 triads plus a triad assessment, 2 essays and 2 presentations to go along with the 240 hours of placement but the uni has, thankfully, realised it is just too much so now I have 2 presentations and that's it! So it's incredibly weird to have a whole weekend without having to read uni texts or prepare for the assessements. Instead, I read art therapy related material that I WANT TO read, not stuff that I have to read for uni and I actually DID art instead of simply wish I had time to - though to be honest, I am pretty good at making time to do art simply because I know my  mental health is always better for it.

So this weekend I found another spread in my art journal that I keep adding more pages to that I wanted to give new life to. At first I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do so I kind of just covered it up with paint.

I knew I wanted to keep the white wolves but I wasn't so sure what I was going to do with them when all of a sudden I thought I could put them in an eye. I don't even know where the thought came from but I have learned over my years of training to just trust the thoughts and trust the process and follow those little nudges that take you along in your art journey. So I turned it into an eye and looked for a fitting wolf quote that had something about the wolves being part of the soul or part of the journey or something about being protected by wolves or having wolves always be with you.

It was very orange. Far more orange than I normally would work with but the colour was appealing to me so I kind of kept it. I just needed to dull it down a little bit first. I also worked on giving the iris more detail.

I finished off the eyeball and also glazed the pupil and the background in Golden's liquid Quinacridone/Nickel Azo Gold, added my favourite script stamp, added the quote and then added my usual border. I've been really loving these spreads in my journal lately and am happy I've been filling the book up with more of my own stuff rather than things learned from others.
I really love how the wolves turned out, sitting in that pupil. They were an image from a National Geographic magazine. It's interesting that there are three wolves too, as I have three children and they are very much a part of my soul and I would protect them like a wolf protecting it's pack.

Seeing as this has more than three different mediums used and very much a mixed media spread I figure I'll share it in the challenge over at Creative Artiste Mixed Media and More Mixed Media Challenge even though this one doesn't have any purple in it, which is actually unusual for me. Purple is usually my go-to colour!

Friday, 4 June 2021

Butterfly Love

It's June so do you know what that means? It means we have another theme from the gang over at Art Journal Journey! The lovely Mia from Craftartista is the guest host who has chosen the theme BUTTERFLIES! 


Butterflies are so very symbolic for me. They represent new growth, new beginnings, transformation. They represent the complete and utter destruction of who I once was only to emerge a newer and freer version of myself. They represent the fleeting moments of beauty in my life. They represent the struggle, the unknown, the dissolution of what was and the creation of a new way of existing in the world and so much more. So I love, love, love this theme so much. 

Of course, if you've read any of my blog at all you know I'm also obsessed with digistamps and I just so happened to have these two butterfly ones already printed out on my copic blending paper ready and waiting to go before I even knew this month's theme. So what better chance to use them than this, amiright?!
I started with some of the red tones in the copic range to colour in the roses and loved the colours so much I added a bit to the other flutter as well.
From there I wanted to add some bright yellow to help the rose one pop.
I decided black was just a little too dark so I just went with dark purples for the outline sections and then voila! Two pretty copic coloured digi butterfly stamps to add to a journal spread!
I went flipping through the journal I'm currently working in to see if there was an old spread I wanted to cover up but it seems I've covered all the ones I want to cover, for now. I did find this palette page though, you know, the page where you clean off and lay down the excess products from another page?
So from there I filled in the white spots of the page and gesso'd over the top of it. I added some normal ink stamps and this is why I love digistamps over these because no matter how much I ink them up or press them down, they just don't give me the nice crisp lines I love so much. 
I decided it was time to use some of my Lumiere's before they all dry up in their little pots and seeing as I was doing butterflies I thought why not do a little garden border thing. I started with the vines and then began to build up the flowers and add dots, dots and more dots because dots are awesome.
Once I had put enough petal layers on the flowers I got out my irRESISTible inks and gave them a bit of an outline and some more swirls n curls n dots.
Then I added one of the digistamp girls from The Paper Shelter and glued in the butterflies.
Then, as I do, I darkened the edges, added a pithy quote that feels really relevant to my life right now as I step into being an art therapist and sharing myself with the world, added a bunch more dots because DOTS! Then called it done.
No doubt there will be more butterfly-themed spreads through the month but I'm pretty darn happy with the first one for the month and I ask you, is there something you are avoiding that might be holding you back? Time to unfurl your wings and fly!


Tuesday, 1 June 2021

It's copic and digistamp girl time.

 I am between Uni pressures right now. I have completed all my assessments from first trimester and even got back great marks for my Research subject, which I'm super happy about and now I am waiting to begin my placement working with pregnant women and new parents, I'm just waiting on the arrangements of when I can do the work. So I often sit here now after I get my medical transcription done and I don't know what to do with myself! Of course, naturally, I turn to art and so here are some digistamp girls from The Paper Shelter that I coloured in with copic recently.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

A message from The Powers That Be

 Just lazily and mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, one meme, another meme, a third and you're like, wait... are you trying to send me a message here? 

So now I leave the same message here for you, if you are reading this post. Are you listening? I know I haven't been!

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Be a Unicorn.

 Time to cover up another journal page I wasn't happy for. Actually, it was over the top of the male version of the female with the fruity headpiece I did a few weeks back. I didn't end up taking a photo of him before I gesso'd over the top. All I knew was, I needed something bright in my life. So I got out the Mont Marte neon paints and did this background. You can vaguely see the dude underneath if you look hard enough.

Now originally I wanted to do some black punchinella dots but I couldn't find my punchinella stencils so instead I went with my next favourite for dots... bubbles! But what better way to make the neon colours pop than to put some deep, dark, black contrast over the top!
A friend I met by joining in Effy's blog-along recently has given herself a challenge to use her washi tape. Being a lover of and collector of but rare user of washi tape myself, I decided, stuff it I will use some washi tape in this one. I found these most divine washi tapes awhile back that I barely dare to use because they are so precious but I popped them on this spread because if I use them in my journal, then they will always be there for me to look at later on the page, right?
Oh and I forgot, after I put all that black down, it felt just a little too dark, so I got a lettering stencil and popped some white down over the top along the right edge and squished some onto the middle of the page. The dude was still standing out too much for me so I thought that might help hide him a little better. When I got to this point, I realised I had recently coloured the cutest little rainbow unicorn girl digistamp with my copics and she would go perfectly on this page.

I started with just some light simple laying down of the rainbow to see how it would all fit before adding her horn colours and skin tone, which is interesting because skin tone is usually the first thing I do on my digistamps. I think I was just too excited to give her rainbow hair so I jumped right into that!

This is how she ended up in the end, I outlined her with my trusty black posca pen. When I decided to put her in the spread though I actually decided to fussy cut her! I don't normally, it's far too much effort and far too much precision is needed. In case you don't know, I'm probably the laziest artist in the world. It's why I don't do hyper-realistic stuff, it just takes too much time and I get bored super easy. I think that is also why I love copics, you can get a really beautiful effect without having to spend hours on it! So after fussy cutting her I pasted her onto the page.

See! She is totally perfect for this background. Typical Samm style though is I had to then find some kind of quote to put on the page to finish it off. So I googled Unicorn, Be Yourself, Rainbow quotes and this is the one that appealed the most:
I think it appeals to me so much because I often feel like no matter where I go, no matter what groups, what like-minded people I find, I am yet to find the place where I truly fit. I have parts of me that fit in all sorts of places but I only fit to a point and never fully. So I struggle with that sometimes because sometimes I just want to truly belong but at the same time you know what? I like being a unicorn in a field of horses.

The only real difference between this last photo of the spread and the one before is I put my usual dark border around the outside of the page and around the outside of the digistamp to lift her off the page a little. Otherwise, I'm calling this one done.

I was going to put this on any of the arty blog challenge pages because I didn't think it met the criteria but it occurs to me now that this piece has more than 3 different mediums used in it so it does actually fit More Mixed Media's and Creative Artiste Mixed Media's criteria. While I'm at it I thought I'd also share this one on the A bit More Time To Craft challenge blog as well! 

So here it is another Mixed Media Art Journal page from a Unicorn wandering around in a field of horses.

Sunday, 23 May 2021

The language of me

It has been a few days since I blogged. I've had a rough week or two where I've felt like I've barely been holding on but I've slayed some things from my massive and sometimes scary to-do list so I feel like I might be coming out the other side of things. I still have a few big things looming on the horizon that I would rather avoid but for now I think I can manage. This level of maintenance has now allowed me to do another blog post. 

I wanted to get in at least one more journal spread for the Art Journal Journey theme of Language that the lovely Elle of Empire of the Cat chose. I also made sure it was a mixed media piece so I could share it with the peeps over at More Mixed Media Challenge. So I invite you to watch as I change another previous spread I was not happy with into a piece that speaks to who I am using the language of the Zodiac and where each of the planets in our solar system were sitting, including our beautiful warm, dazzling star and moon, the moment I was born all those years ago.

This was the journal spread I covered it. It's not that she isn't lovely and peaceful looking and it's not that I hate her, it's just that I never got around to finishing her and I started her... at least 5 years or more ago. So rather than having a finished page in my journal, a page I had no desire to finish, I thought I'd just cover her up with something I love instead. She will always be there, underneath it all, so it is kind of symbolic in a way. She is me from many years ago but a new me has emerged since then.

As I've really been enjoying using the paper from this particular book and it so relates to the theme of language I used it again. This time I didn't rip it up though, I just cut off the white edges and glued in the pages whole.

From there I laid down some Koi's watercolour here and there to try and pull of a galaxy like Elle did for her first journal page for this theme. It's not something I've done before so I admit to not having a clue what to do. I'm not exactly a watercolour user all that often. I much prefer my alcohol inks and acrylic paint and if I'm going to do watercolour, I rather watercolour pencils but I felt like actual watercolour paints were what was needed for this.
Then I remembered that I have those metallicy pearly watercolours and I'm so sorry but I have totally forgotten the name and brand and of course they come in little tiny bottles with zero branding on them at all! They are gorgeous though. So I added a bunch of them to make the paper all shiny and pretty, you can kind of see the effect in the dark blue at the bottom of this photo. Then I used my white posca pen, got it all juicy and just flung it at the page to create dots and streak marks across the page.
Here's a photo of the shiny watercolours, maybe someone else recognises them and can put the brand in the comments cause I'd love to buy more when I run out eventually!
If you've been following my blog at all you would know that I am in love with digistamps, especially those from The Paper Shelter who have recently brought out a series of the Zodiac signs ::fangirl squeal:: So that called for me to do a spread of my personal Zodiac that tells the story of me. The very unique language of Samm. The biggest one, Capricorn, is my sun sign. In place of Earth I put my Taurus rising sign and above that my Libran moon, otherwise if you follow it around from the sun it shows what zodiac constellation each of the planets in our solar system was in at the very minute I was born.

Normally I colour digistamps in with Copic, that's just my preferred medium for them but I decided to try something a little different this time. I decided to use my Derwent Inktense pencils. Unlike what I did in THIS post, I kept all the backgrounds the same, I did all the skin tones the same, all the hair colour the same and used all my favourite colours. Why? Well, because every single one of these Zodiac represents a part of me. They are all me in different aspects of myself, governing over different parts of my life from the way I relate to friends, how I relate to lovers, my stubbornness, my sometimes indecisiveness, my deep unconditional acceptance, it all shows up in this Language of Samm.

I decided to use my Ceramcoat for the skin rather than the pencils though, not for any particular reason, just as a point of difference maybe and, well, because I love the brand.

Once I had them all coloured in and the borders done I added some white dots with my white posca pen around the outside of each one and a trail from the sun all the way around to pluto.

Lastly, I added some lettering "The LANGUAGE of the ZODIAC ~ a personal story" and it is done! I'm so happy with how it turned out! I love it a bajillion times more than what was originally on these two pages. I feel so connected to this as it truly is a road map to me of sorts... or perhaps a star map to me. If one were to bother to learn about each planet and what the zodiac traits are, they could know a great deal about me via this spread. The only aspect it's really missing is what planets sit in what houses but that's far too complicated for a journal spread for someone who only knows the basics of astrology. 

I love it so much though, that I want to do one for each of my kids. I am even considering doing an online course on it or something. Perhaps not using digistamps but coming up with our own representations of each zodiac. Something to think about I guess. I hope you enjoyed this journey into the Language of Samm!

FYI: I am not affiliated with any of the products mentioned, I just love them all. They work really well for me and I can use them to my advantage. 

In Joy!