Category Archives: Design

Art Around Perth : At the Esplanade Bus Terminal

Just some pretty Art on the walls of Perth’s main Bus Terminal at the Esplanade. I was going to use these for projects, but, being an eclectic magpie and with an attention span just as fleeting as a bird’s, I’m onto other projects now so these have fallen by the wayside.

You’re more than welcome to save them to your own devices and use them however you like – as backgrounds for digital photography art, to print out as postcards, for collage, for art journals, etc.

Have a great day!

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You’ll notice the signature of the artist at the bottom of a few of the photographs. I tried searching for “Leanne” the artist, but was sadly unable to find any mention of her or of the wall art at the bus terminal. If anyone knows who “Leanne” is, do let me know so I can update this post, many thanks in advance! :-)

A Morbid Fascination

I remember a trip to Singapore many years back, standing at the Victorian-style bay window glass double frontage of a Doll and Teddy Bear store. I’d gone there to look at the teddy bears, but it was the doll displays in the next window that caught my attention. For some reason, the dolls looked like dead babies, grey and ashen against the delicate pastel lace and frills of their accessories.

For this reason, I’ve never been into dolls, least of all the lifelike ones, or those that can cry and pee. I didn’t mind the Barbie-types, with their impossible proportions. I didn’t mind the GI Joe types for boys. I’m talking about a 40+ year-old woman here, dear readers, not a pre-teen girl.

Recently, though, I’ve discovered that I DO like dolls. Only one particular type of doll, though. And not because they’re beautiful, or cute (they’re both)…but, most bizarrely for myself, because they are plain weird, strange and morbid. Hmmm…maybe a reflection on myself? LOL.

I’m talking about Monster High dolls by Mattel. They appeared on the scene only a few years ago, in 2010, but such is their appeal that they are the Bratz dolls of the Noughties. Bratz are so 20th Century hehehe.

Monster High uses the strapline “Be Yourself. Be Unique. Be a Monster”. The range is inspired by monster and horror movies and popular thriller fiction. Think Frankenstein, the Loch Ness Monster, Dracula, Big Foot, Dia de Los Muertos, Jekyll and Hyde. Think dragons, ghosts, banshees, gargoyles, werewolves, big cats, mummies, gorgons, invisible men. Creatures from popular culture, turned into highly articulated 10-12 inch dolls (1:6 scale).

Monster High (MH) dolls have elfin faces on disproportionately large heads, a very curved spine, short torso and long, long legs. Some sport protruding ears, tails, fangs, fins or scales. They come in a wide range of colours, from normal flesh colours, to blue, green, lilac, grey. They have amazing to-die-for hair, in envious shades, lengths and styles. Their limbs are articulated, at the wrist, elbows, shoulders, neck, hips, knees and ankles, allowing them to be extremely poseable. Apart from the clothes they wear (expandable with the purchase of “fashion packs”), each doll comes with its own accessories, which may be a coffin-shaped mobile phone (but of course!), shoes or boots, pet, and any other accessory relevant to the theme or the doll’s character.

The original MH line began with a few main characters but soon expanded to include over 2 dozen, with weird and wonderful names like Frankie Stein, Operetta, Draculaura, Robecca Steam, Ghoulia Yelps, Spectra Vondergeist, Lagoona Blue, Jinafire Long, Skelita Calaveras, Marisol Coxi, Abbey Bominable, Toralei, Catrine deMew, Avea Trotter, Gigi Grant, Rochelle Goyle, Nefera de Nile, Cleo de Nile, Clawdeen Wolf, Howleen Wolf, Twyla, River Styxx, Venus McFlytrap, Casta Fierce etc. With each edition, or “Wave”, Mattel releases new versions of these characters, placing them in locations like Paris (“Scaris”), or Hollywood (“Frights, Camera, Action!”), adding new clothes and accessories, and along the way introducing some new characters and hybrids too. And yes, there are boy Monsters too, known as “Mansters” – Deuce Gorgon, Invisi Billy, Jackson Jekyll, Slo Mo Mortavich, Holt Hyde, Heath Burns, Gil Webber, Clawd Wolf, Porter Geiss, Neightan Rot etc. Headmistress Bloodgood of Monster High is literally headless, as in she’s able to carry her head in her hands, and rides a blue horse called Nightmare.

Add to this already highly successful franchise a range of movies, online videos, Young Adult books, clubs, add-on packs, furniture sets etc and Mattel have a real winner on their hands.

Yes, yours truly knows her Monster High dolls, because she’s been secretly researching their suitability for a future Project. Shhhh!! ;-)

I believe MH dolls should be considered Art Dolls, as they are manufactured to very high standards, and their degree of articulation and poseability, and appeal to all ages, is unsurpassed. All other dolls fall by the wayside when compared to MH. Which is why many artists have taken to customising MH dolls, with startlingly beautiful results.

Here are just several images of my favourite customised MH dolls, curated from Pinterest. You’ll appreciate why I’ve waxed so lyrical about these dolls. They’re amazing! And the artists that created them – WOW! SUCH TALENT! is all I can say.

Enjoy! From this:
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To these:
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Child’s Play

Gather your Ingredients:

1 crazy Gelli Plate addict (moi!)
1 Gelli Plate
3 double-sided children’s texture plates
Your choice of acrylic paint colours (I use them All!)
Some glitter paint (if you have them)
Brayer
8 sheets of A4 art paper (I use 190 gsm, but anything from 120gsm upwards is ok)
Sheets of Deli Paper (or Greaseproof paper for those who can’t get hold of Deli Paper)

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One side of the 3 children’s texture plates I used.
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The reverse side of the same texture plates.

Method:
1. Load up your Gelli Plate with several dots of different coloured acrylic paints at the same time.

2. Use brayer to spread paint over the Gelli Plate. Do this quickly and try not to smear the colours too much, or go over the same areas more than once or twice. Otherwise you will get mud.

3. Use the kiddy texture plates to stamp patterns onto the painted Gelli Plate. Take the painted texture plate and stamp it at random places on some of the A3 sheets of paper.

4. Place a sheet of Deli Paper/Greaseproof Paper over the Gelli Plate to absorb excess paint. Pull a print. Remove and put the printed Deli Paper aside for other projects.

5. Place a sheet of the A3 art paper over the Gelli Plate and pull a print. If there’s any paint still left on the Gelli Plate, pull another print.

6. Repeat steps 1 to 5 above with different colour combinations, until both sides of all 8 A3 sheets are filled. Leave some white spaces, for contrast.

7. Frame your favourite prints. Or, I would tear the A3 sheets into smaller pieces to bind later into my Juicy Journals.

Some of the results:

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And some close-ups:

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You can’t really make it out in the photos, but there is a glittery shimmer to the papers, as I’d mixed some glitter paint into some of the Gelli prints. I love the effect! It’s quite sophisticated, instead of being childish.

Now, go play! :-)

Artist Inspiration : Erin Ashley

I love love love Erin Ashley’s Art! Bright, zingy colours, in strips and stripes, splishes and splashes, drips and drops, text and numbers, weathered and scratched, grunged and textured…wonderfully vibrant, beautifully translucent, many layered, infinitely interesting. Or, how about just plain Gorgeous!

Excerpt from Erin Ashley’s website, which explains her thought processes behind her art:

Art has the power to make one see things in a new light. It helps us see the beauty in things that some may overlook, or take for granted. As an artist, inspiration comes to me in many forms. I see so much beauty in old weathered things. A new life that hides behind an old, waiting to be discovered. Layers of chipped paint, rusted metals and old buildings- they excite me and spark new ideas within me.

I begin my work without any preconceived ideas at all what the finished work is going to look like. I like the idea of each painting being a journey, ending at a beautiful destination. My paintings are made with lots of color and textures, bringing out the old with the new.

I am a self taught full-time artist with a desire to create, capture and preserve a true beauty of art in each painting – in hopes to create a happy escape for the viewer.

Erin Ashley’s work has appeared in several galleries in the US and Italy. Her work has been shown behind the scenes on The Rosie O’Donnell show airing on the Opera’s Winfrey network, DreamWorks studios in Los Angeles, Cartoon Network in which she designed a custom logo painting, Time Warner editing suites, Dick Blick Art which commissioned her several paintings to display in their corporate office Chicago, HGTV Housing Works Show/Design on a Dime held at the Metropolitan Pavilion in NYC and Best Of Fall Designs held in NYC. Erin Ashley has received several awards for her art and currently works with many prestigious interior designers and publishers.

Published in Professional Artist magazine, American Artist, Better Homes and Gardens/Color Made Easy, Studios magazine, Art.com Fall magazine, Art.com Spring magazine, Art.com Summer 2014 magazine, Art.com Holiday catalog, San Francisco Chronicle, American Airlines/Sky Mall magazine 2013 and 2014, featured on cover 2012 Liberated Dreams gallery book, Arte Energia Creativa gallery 2014 art book / Italy, Art Journal magazine, 2014 inside cover of Surround magazine, Holiday Surround magazine, 2015 Summer issue Cover and spread Better Homes& Gardens REFRESH magazine. Erin Ashley’s painting titled: Pier 44 will soon be aired on “Million Dollar Listing” San Francisco – stay tuned!

Prints of her art can be found across the globe in most major known home stores and catalogs such as, Bed Bath and Beyond, Z Gallerie, Home Goods … her art is now featured on many home store products such as ottomans, clocks, bath items, hand bags and bedding comforters.

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I could post up more images (from Pinterest, where I’m curating a Board specifically for Erin Ashley’s work), as Erin is quite prolific, but I’ll let Your fingers and eyes do the walking and seeing instead. If you’re interested in purchasing Erin’s artwork, you can contact her through her website, or visit her Etsy shop.

Enjoy!!

T2-inspired “WOW-MOM” Gelli Prints : Part 3 Assembling the Juicy Journal

Here we are, following on from yesterday’s post. What have we got? A bunch of Gelli Plate printed papers, printed on both sides and torn by hand into equal, smaller pieces, ready to be made into Juicy Journals.

Now to assemble the Juicy Journal. Hmmm…how shall I stitch this one? I have some ideas for new stitches, let’s see if it works.

First, get your gear together:
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Twine, scissors, pen, measuring tape (I can’t find my ruler!), knitting needles (my awl), drawing pin (my other awl for making pilot holes), stack of paper. These are the papers that I “juiced up” earlier in my last post. I have grouped them in couplets i.e 2 pages to a signature…so in that stack are 6 signature couplets.

Here are the 6 signatures, on end. Just to show you how vibrant and colourful they are.

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I marked 4 holes in each of the signatures’ spine. And used the drawing pin to make pilot holes, which I then enlarge using my knitting needle. I’m high tech, like that LOL.
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Now that all 6 signatures have 4 holes, it’s time to bind them together. Remember, it’s all an experiment…and I have no idea how it will turn out. Here goes!

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I’ve decided to bind 2 signatures together, side by side. That will make 3 couplets when the whole journal is assembled.

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Now to bind all of these together.

image I used black twine for the middle, to join up all the signatures and ensure the top and bottom bindings do not get undone easily.

Here are some close-ups showing the bindings.
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Quite pleased with this, the brown twine knots gives it a rustic look, but I’d rather have a stronger stitch down the middle, not just one on its own.

T2-inspired “WOW-MOM” Gelli Prints: Part 2 The Prints with Paint and Inks

Following on from yesterday’s post, here are some of the results of my Gelli Printing, using only a colour palette of shades of pinks, reds, oranges and yellow.

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Previously, I would use all the acrylic paint colours I had, when Gelli Plate printing. I like my colours to sing, like those raucous flocks of cockatoos that fly over my house in the mornings and evenings. My aim when Gelli printing, is to fill every surface of my paper with paint and interesting shapes by using stencils and texture mats. Then the fun really starts, when I pull out my Dylusions Ink Sprays and Tim Holtz’s Ranger Distress Inkpads, and go to town with them.

I wanted to create a contrast, and using the same colour palette with my inks as with the paint would not work. This is where I diverged from my original plan..hey, I’m Divergent! Cool! :-)

So, goodbye WOW-MOM idea, here comes AlyZen’s colourful take! Here’s a photo of the ink sprays and inkpads I used – in shades of blue, green and purple. I also used some shimmery ink sprays, as I like a bit of bling on my artwork.

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I wasn’t sure how this experiment would turn out, but it turned out amazingly good, if I say so myself. I am turning these into another Juicy Journal, so in preparation, I’ve torn my A3 papers into smaller sheets and folded them, before inking over them. I do the preparation and tearing first, so my torn deckled edges get inked too.

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Ok, next up – handbinding these papers into another Juicy Journal. I have thought up a stitch I want to try out, so in my next post you can see how that goes.

4 more Juicy Journals – Pamphlet Stitch

I got such a great response from my latest Art Abandonment exercise, that I was prompted to go make some more of my Juicy Journals Journals. Some members of the Art Abandonment Group on Facebook wanted to buy my Juicy Journals. I haven’t made enough to warrant selling them just yet, but I offered to send one to the first 3 people to Private Message me their address. I got 5 within just a few minutes, so I decided to honour all 5.

So, after doing my Art Abandonment exercise on May 1st, I popped 5 more of my Juicy Journals into envelopes and posted them off to the lucky 5. 2 to USA, 1 to Canada and 2 within Australia.

And now, finding myself low on Juicy Journals, I’ve just made 4 more. This time with a simple pamphlet stitch. Simply put, this stitch works over 3 holes in the spine of the journal. (These have 4 pages, folded in half, so you get 8 pages in all). To make the stitch, I simply passed a length of coloured hemp (great stuff, that), into the spine at the holes on both ends of the journal. Then I poked each end through the hole in the middle. Then I simply made sure each end was on either side of the stitch in the middle of the spine, and tied them together in a shoelace knot.

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And here are some details of the pages within these Juicy Journals:
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For my next experiments, I’m going to try using a limited colour palette, for the Gelli Printing. On top of which I will use inks of contrasting colours. This advertisement that I saw recently on T2 (below) will be my guide. Stay tuned!

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Just A Lazy Sunday…

…after The Kid brought home not 1 but 5(!!!) Homework assignments on Friday, and after tackling them head-on with him all Saturday, it’s time for a breather, I think.

So, today’s post is just a few of my favourite images, curated from Pinterest. Of you need more details, the links can be found on my Pinterest boards.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

image These just tickle my fancy. I think it’s the pastel shades, and the simple naive shapes. They look Scandinavian, with a twist of Japanese Zakka. I especially like the Ursa Minor bear.

image I like this, it has a Klimt-like touch to it. Would you call this Abstract or Figurative, as it’s both?

image Doesn’t it look like God’s Hand is about to pull the gravestone from the ground? I like to think that when the person was buried, they planted a tree on his/her grave, and now the essence of that person lives on in the tree.

image “I mustache you something”. I love animals with unusual, quirky markings.

image Art made using old computer floppy disks. My 12-year-old son asked me what a Floppy Disk looked like, and I couldn’t find any in the house to shpw him. These are the sturdy plastic type…does anyone even remember the “real” floppy disks, that were black with a hole in their middle?

image I love water lilies and lotuses. I read in the paper recently that in the Kimberley region of Australia, some botanists, headed by a world expert on water lilies, Carlos Magdalena, stumbled across 2 billabongs filled with a new species of water lily. It’s blue, and looks like a peony and smells like apricots and freesia. They’re calling it “Peony Flora”. Here’s an article about the find. And here’s a snapshot of the article in the paper that I read:
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image This to me is such a poignant photo. The white of the dog contrasts wonderfully with the dark tones of the walls and door. And the shaft of light coming in…amazing feeling.

image Gorgeous colours and layering. Zentangle meets ink and watercolour. There’s depth and light to this artwork that’s hard to create. Hats off to this fine artist!

image I’m in love with Mexican Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) items at the moment. This black skull clutch purse, with black onyx beading, appeals to me.

image …and finally, if anyone needs me, I’ll be in my studio working. Lol…my “studio” is my kitchen table and worktop, a space of around 20 square feet, or 4 x 5 feet. I would love to be able to sprawl out like this artist, and create gigantic pieces of Art. But then again, when I think of the cost of posting large items via Australia Post, I’m thankful for small mercies :-).

Why “One More Line” is like Real Life

The Kid and I came across the computer game “One More Line” at Comic Con in Perth last month. It was rigged up like an arcade game, with just a simple monitor and a rotating ball button control. The premise is deceptively simple: get the highest score you can. You pilot a half-circle object which trails 3 coloured lines, up, around and past coloured obstacles of different sizes. Each obstacle is a similar, circular shape, and they all spin around with varying speeds, the bigger ones tend to spin more sluggishly than the little ones, and the closer you swing to them, the faster. There is only one control function – tap and hold to grab and spin around an obstacle i.e grapple, or let go to move on with a straight trajectory. Two lines, on on either side of your “runway” serve as barriers or walls – if you’re grappling an obstacle i.e holding on and swinging around it, your Pilot may pass through the walls safely. But if you’re in freefall mode i.e not tapping and holding the screen, you will crash and smash into smithereens if you hit the wall on either side, or if you crash into one of the obstacles.

“One More Line” is by the developers SMG and is available on both iOS and Android. They also have other games available, so if you like “One More Line”, you might like the others just as much.

Watch this video on how to play “One More Line”. It will give you a good idea just how addictive this game is. Oh, and if you don’t want a musical earwig (where you can’t sleep because the theme tune from some movie or App is playing on a loop through your brain), I’d play this game with the volume off.

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Sounds easy peasy, right? Wrong. The more I play “One More Line”, the more I’m thinking that it has a lot of similarities to Real Life. Here’s why:

1. In Life, the path is never straightforward, but goes round and about and is often full of obstacles.

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2. Some obstacles are tiny, others are huge. The Path you take and the decisions you make determine whether you come across the big ones or the little ones.

3. Some obstacles may be circumvented or bypassed by making clever or wise decisions. Others are too big to slide past or ignore, and must be tackled head on. Be careful that your decisions don’t lead you straight into another obstacle. Or worse, into a brick wall.

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4. You mustn’t get too cocky with your success, because pride always goes before a fall. The higher up you go, the more humble you must become. Control those impulses too! Don’t get too carried away because accidents happen when you’re taking too many risks.

5. You only have 1 Life. Crash, and it’s over. So, be careful with your actions and decisions, and always look where you’re heading. Be prepared to take last minute evasive action or change your direction. Sometimes, even an about turn may be called for.

6. If you tried and failed, try again. Try harder, fail better, and then succeed. Learn from your mistakes, and try not to repeat them.

7. In Life, we are all monkeys swinging from one branch to another. So keep practising those monkey swings, and let’s see how far you can go!

Another Handbound Juicy Journal

This is just a follow-up on my last post, where I explained the process of handbinding my art journal, that I call a “Juicy Journal”. In my previous post, I mentioned at the end that I would try a version with the inner long stitch lengthened further, and with more weaving along the spine. Both for strength and aesthetic.

This is the spine of the Juicy Journal from my previous post.

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As you can see, this binding is based on 4 equidistant holes in the spine of the journal.

Here now is the spine of my newest handmade Juicy Journal, with the lengthened and strengthened spine.

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You can see how the black twine has been woven into the spine of the Juicy Journal, and forms quite a substantial part of it. I like this better, so I might do a few journals using this technique.

Here are some pages from my newest handmade Juicy Journal. I used metallic and white paint for my favourite alphabet and number jumble block stamps this time. And I played with making shapes out of the stamps, by selectively inking (dabbing paint onto) parts of the stamp and leaving other parts uninked. This goes with the theme of circles that runs throughout the pages.

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