......... a couple of good books I've acquired recently. The first is "Stash and Smash: Art Journal Ideas" by Cindy Shepard. It's only a small book, about 42 pages, but packed with over 120 ideas for using your stash and recycling everyday stuff into your journals. It's had mixed reviews on Amazon, so it's one of those you either love or hate. Doesn't matter whether you're a beginner or an expert, I personally have found it a really useful source of inspiration for my journalling with lots of tips and good ideas.
The second book I'd like to recommend is "Art Journal Freedom" by Dina Wakley which is all about using colour and composition in your journals - love the artwork in this book and lots of techniques/page exercises to try.
Sites worth checking out are Dina's own blog and her website. Also, through reading her book I have discovered a couple of excellent sites - Create Mixed Media (which has loads of arty ideas/videos/links on it) and The Graphics Fairy which is a wonderful site full of thousands of vintage copyright-free images which you can download and use in your own work.
Whilst I was browsing these sites I came across mention of a project/idea to create 100 faces, plus Traci Bautista, in another book I possess (Doodles Unleashed), recommends practise, practise and more practise in making faces. I have a small plain journal book (about 5" x 7" - ish?) that I picked up from Asda some while back, so I've decided to fill it with my own face experiments - here's the first one that I did yesterday. It's not titled "Feeling Blue" because I was feeling sad, but simply because I'd covered the page with a wash of some leftover blue acrylic paint from another project. I sketched the face first with a Stabilo All Black Pencil, then overdrew with a fine black pen. Coloured in with a mix of Promarkers and Marvy le Plumes. On the facing page I've jotted a few notes as to what I did and what I used. I used to love sketching figures and portraits in my schooldays, so thought it would be fun to get back into it again.
Not being much of a gardener myself and Lindsay having discovered a big love of gardening in recent months, she decided to make up a lovely big pot of mixed blooms for Graham and I to brighten up our backyard - there's all sorts in it, sunflowers (I love them), nasturtiums, oh and a number of other plants I can't remember the name of now (got a list of them jotted down on my noticeboard though) - told you I was a rubbish gardener! The tallest sunflower is now tied to a bamboo stake and growing well, but no sign of a flower yet - but this lovely yellow nasturtium flower appeared the other day and since taking this photo, more have appeared plus some gorgeous orange ones too. I noticed this morning that something purplish was also starting to peek out too - it remains to be seen what it will turn out to be!
Finally, the results of the test Graham had were inconclusive so he has to have a more invasive test to find out exactly the extent of his illness. In the meantime he has been given an inhaler which is helping with his breathlessness and is on a course of tablets which are definitely increasing his appetite and giving him more (mental) energy, so things are feeling quite stable at the moment.
Consequently, I have been convinced by Lindsay and Graham to have a treat so - yes - I AM booked on one of Tim Holtz's workshops when he's teaching them in Coventry next month. Lindsay will be there also the day before, in her capacity as a P.I. designer, but we're both stopping over in the hotel that night and will be travelling back home together after the workshop ends. I've never attended any of T.H.'s workshops before so am really looking forward to this one and the tag book we'll be making looks fabulous !