Category Archives: Design

Project NOW: Part I

Lately, I’ve been hankering after decoupaged wooden letters, the sort you see in trendy homes spelling inspiring words like LOVE, HOME, PEACE, JOY etc.

Like these that I saw on a Google Image search:

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So, when I saw some large wooden letters for sale at Thingz, one of my favourite home decoration stores, I decided to buy some to create my own cutesy letter art “sculpture”.

Why the word NOW? Well, I would’ve bought the letters H O M E or L O V E, but for the fact that each letter cost $7.99 but I could buy 3 for $20. So, I had to choose a 3-letter word, and N O W seemed a great idea.

Those of you following my humble blog will have noticed that I haven’t written about any Gelli® plate printing lately. That’s because I’ve been busy vacillating between reading Mind, Body & Spirit books and creating digital photography art on my Samsung Galaxy Note 4. While at the same time fantasising about my Next Big Project. And getting nowhere. There’s just not enough time in the day to do everything, and I can’t clone myself.

As it so happened, I had a whole pile of Gelli® prints lying dormant, awaiting further action. Now would be a perfect time to use up some of them.

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I selected the prints I wanted, then traced around each letter with a fine-tipped Sharpie pen. Then I used scissors and a scalpel (for the fiddly bits) to cut out the shapes.

I used PVA woodworking glue as my adhesive, and stuck the cut out Gelli® print letters to the wooden N O W letters.

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The wooden N O W letters were about an inch thick. I wanted to cover the depth of the letters with my Gelli® prints as well as front, so I measured and cut out several strips of Gelli® prints for the sides.
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And here they are, with front AND sides done. All that’s needed is to seal the surfaces and then varnish the letters.

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There’s another reason why I chose NOW instead of another 3-letter word such as JOY, but I’ll tell you what that is in my next post. 😄

Artist Inspiration : Elspeth McLean

I’ve got dotty over Elspeth McLean‘s art. I mean, literally.

I came across a shared post on Facebook, with a photo of some round stones painted with colourful dots reminiscent of Australian Aboriginal Dot Paintings. The hyperlink took me to Elspeth’s Facebook page.

Elspeth uses mainly a No.0 paintbrush and acrylic paints to paint her dots, a technique she calls “Dotillism”. Her substrates include traditional canvas and board, but also pebbles or stones. Just beautiful!

Here’s a video showing Elspeth painting a flat round stone. It may look simple, but I reckon you need really steady hands and an eye for perfect symmetry and colour.

https://youtu.be/hEA7kpVN29o

Here are my favourite Elspeth McLean paintings, curated from Pinterest and Google Images.

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My Favourite Graphic Designs

Just a compilation of some of my favourite graphic design ideas and inspiration, curated from my Pinterest board “Graphic Design”. Here you will find business cards, logos, packaging, posters, etc. Quirky and clever uses of negative space. Beautiful bottles filled with just as beautiful (I hope!) food and drink.

I maintain my Pinterest board for inspiration, and add to it whenever I find examples of pretty packaging, fonts or advertising illustrations. Just in case one day I decide to have a professional logo designed for me, or some cutting-edge business cards printed…oh okay, just because I’m an eclectic magpie and like collecting beautiful things. :-)

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FREEBIES! Gelli® Print images

I must admit I haven’t been practising my Gelli® printing lately, having been drawn in a different direction by my latest mixed media photography art projects. If only there were more hours in the day, if only I could split myself in 2 or even 3, one to do Gelli® printing, one to work on my photographic art, and one to run around town doing other things.

No, housework is NOT one of those other things.

Also, you may have noticed that every time I mention the word Gelli® I now use the ® sign after it. This is with the permission of Gelli Arts®, with whom I have no affiliation. It’s so folks don’t get confused and think I work for Gelli Arts®, or am endorsing their product.

What I Have been doing, these past month, is using photos of my Gelli® prints in conjunction with other photos and clipart on my mobile device, to create images for ongoing projects.

So right now, I have over 200 close up photos of my monoprints. Of which you’re welcome to do whatever you like with the following:

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Have a great weekend, folks!

Artist Inspiration : Rex Ray

Rex Ray is a San Francisco-based artist whose bright, colourful and eminently cheerful works have graced numerous magazines, been used in advertising and marketing campaigns, i.e he is a successful commercial artist.

I first came across Rex Ray’s art on Pinterest, very recently. It was this:

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…and it reminded me strongly of my childhood days. One of my earliest childhood memories was being in my Maternal Grandmother’s house and playing with some sheets of paper and a tub of magic marker pens. I remember doodling circular and oval shapes like Rex Ray’s example above, then drawing lines and patterns inside them for colouring in. Obviously my efforts were not as accomplished as this…I was only around 4 or 5 years old then.

I love when an artist’s work triggers off memories or emotions in me. It’s like opening a door into hitherto forgotten fantastic kingdoms, and it motivates my own creativity by providing fodder for my imagination.

Rex Ray’s art does just that. His work is so accessible it has tremendous commercial potential and therefore translates very well to home furnishings, wall hangings and decor, mobile device cases, scarves, bags, rugs, advertising posters, music albums etc. Here’s what he says about himself on his site:

I have worked in both fine art and commercial art for twenty-five years. Because my artwork references and rehabilitates ideas of decoration in art it seems only natural for the work to also apply to various products. I think the role of the artist is very different today. The artist doesn’t have to work alone in the studio consumed with angst but can work in many diverse ways. Some of my influences include Dada, kitsch, pattern and design, pop art, and commercial art – therefore the work translates well onto various consumer products.

It’s exciting to take my aesthetic and my view of the world and mash it up onto a box or a scarf and see how it affects the medium and the see how the work is affected by this new application.

With my Rex Ray Studio line I plan to extend my artwork into new mediums in the home decor universe. I’m intrigued by the idea of providing the basic elements for people to create their own ‘Rex Rays’ in their homes. I like the idea of my work reaching as wide an audience as possible and affecting people’s environments.

Here are my favourite Rex Rays, curated from Google Images. I’ve included some photos of the artist himself, and also examples of how well his art transposes onto homewares and garments:

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For information on where you can buy Rex Ray’s artwork, as well as what forms they take, and how much they cost etc, head to Rex’s site first and foremost. A word of warning – they are on the high-end, pricewise, and if you happen to live outside the USA like me, before you go trolley-happy and load up on Rex Ray goodies, please do yourself a favour and check the postage first. I went to a print-on-demand site that boasted over 4 pages of Rax Ray’s prints at affordable prices…and when I checked postage costs to Australia, found that it would cost nearly US$100 on postage alone, 5 times what the print itself cost.

Graffiti Art : Baldivis

Baldivis is a newish suburb a few miles down the road from Rockingham, where I live. It started out with some new housing developments, a couple of schools and a small shopping mall hardly worth mentioning. Without a car, the Baldivis mall is terribly inconvenient to get to…there are only 2 buses that go anywhere near it, and 1 of them stops half a mile away.

That was then. This is now. Over the past 2 years, Baldivis’ “Stockland” shopping centre or mall has slowly been expanded and renovated. Just recently it celebrated the grand opening of a new extension. And what an extension it is. It’s gone and quadrupled its size from 7000 square metres to a whopping 29500 square metres.

I happened to visit Stockland Baldivis just last week, as the newest extension was opening to the public. As hubby parked our car outside McDonald’s, I noticed 2 great big walls filled with the most wonderful, vibrant graffiti. So, after having our lunch, and before going into any of Stockland’s shops, I took the opportunity to take some photos of the graffiti.

Here they are. I hope you’ll find them as cheerful and happy as I do.

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This mural is a collaboration between 2 well-known street artists, “Beastman” aka Brad Eastman and Kyle Hughes-Odgers. Click on the hyperlinks to access their respective websites.

I hope no one tries to deface this beautiful mural, or spark off some graffiti artist turf war. I’ve seen similarly wonderful graffiti art in Perth City defaced by lowlife scumbags with no respect or intelligence. Hey, people, it’s Art and it’s meant to be enjoyed by everyone, so please respect it and leave it alone!

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!!