Category Archives: Photography

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:
image

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 :-).

Handbound Juicy Journal Tutorial

A la AlyZen Moonshadow. This is a handbinding technique that I invented by accident, while experimenting with different bookbinding techniques. I’m not an expert on making books, but here are some books I can recommend:

Making Handmade Books

The Little Book of Bookmaking

At Home With Handmade Books

Making Mini Books

These are some of the books on the subject that I have personally read. Of these, Alisa Golden’s “Making Handmade Books” is the closest to a bookmaking bible I’ve come across, and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for a book to get you started on creating your own books.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I’d used 6 A3 sheets of paper, Gelli printed on both sides, to create 3 separate booklets with 4 pages each, as seen below (aren’t the colours just gorgeous?):

image

Now, each of these booklets will be stitched together to form what’s called in bookmaking circles a “signature”. And I will then be binding each individual signature to each other using my newly invented technique. The 3 booklets will then effectively become 1 book.

Here are my tools laid out for ease of reference. Notice my very high-tech tools for creating the holes for sewing my books…yes, I do mean the drawing pin and knitting needles. The knitting needles have more than one function, as you will soon see. image

So, to begin, I measure and mark off 4 evenly spaced points on the spines of each signature. These will be where my black twine ($3 for 32m from the discount store) will go through.
image

And now to make those holes…I use the drawing pin like an awl to make the initial pilot hole, then drive a knitting needle in to enlarge the hole. Here in the picture you can see the drawing pin in the bottom hole, and the knitting needles in the two top holes.
image

Ok, one signature down, two more to go. Lather, rinse and repeat the hole (sorry, couldn’t help it, I love puns) exercise. Until you’ve got 4 holes made in each of the 3 signatures, like so:
image

Now comes the fun part. For this technique to work, the thing to remember is to always have an even number of holes per signature, and always have an odd number of signatures.

I’m sure there’s a technical term for the sewing method I’ll talk about next, such as sewing in the “valleys” or “mountains” (similar to Origami or the art of paper folding)…but my mind wants me to remember the order of sewing thus: In Out In Out (Shake It All About) :-) As in the needle goes In the first hole, Out the second, In again at the third, and Out the last. This way, your needle and thread will be coming Out of the signature, so you can then bind it to the next signature. Think about it: if you started with Out instead of In, by the time you reach the 4th hole, your needle and thread would be on the inside of the signature, with nowhere to go next.

Ok, so here we go. Here I’ve stood up the 3 signatures in the order they will be bound together. Starting from the right of the one closest to me, push the end of the black twine into the first hole, then out, in and out again at the other end. This is the IN OUT IN OUT movement, which will be replicated on the other 2 signatures.
image

image

To continue, simply thread the twine that’s come out of the last hole on the left of the 1st signature, into the 1st hole on the left of the 2nd signature. When you get to the other end, do the same with the 3rd signature. Try to pull the twine tight very gently, so as not to buckle the paper or worse, tear it.

image
Now all 3 signatures are linked. Notice that the start of the 1st signature and the end of the last signature are not linked to the others. There should be around 1 foot of twine on either end of the bound signatures.

To tie in the loose ends, literally, slip the end of the twine through the loop on the signature that’s already bound to its neighbour, and then slip it out through the loop that’s just created. It’s hard to explain, so here’s a photo showing the move.

image

Do the same for the other loose end. The ends of the twine will now be on the spine of the middle signature.
image

Next, hook the end of the twine through the top of the middle long stitch. And start weaving! There are 3 signatures, so there are 3 long stitches. Weave across these in an Over-Under-Over motion, alternating from one side to another.

image
Here’s where the knitting needle comes in handy. I just slide it under the stitch I want to weave my twine through.

image
Continue weaving the twine ends through the 3 stitches, until they meet in the middle. Then, all you need do is tie the ends into a knot, pull tight, and et voila! All done!

image

image

image

I hope you like it! :-) I think, with my next Juicy Journal, I might make the long stitches even longer, so as to show off the weaving even more. I like the rustic woven effect a lot.

Gelli Printing Experiments using Homeware Finds

Yesterday I wrote about finding new sources of textures-making tools for Gelli Plate printing, from the homewares departments of my local stores.

I have put my newly acquired treasures to the test. And am very pleased to report that they have all performed superbly. I printed several A3 sheets on both sides, in preparation for making handbound art journals out of them. But I like some of them so much that I’ll be keeping them as part of my growing portfolio of Gelli prints.

Re: the art journals idea. I initially thought the pages could be used for doodling on, adding ephemera to, painting, gessoing etc…but now it’s evolving to mean that the Gelli printed pages themselves are “juicy backgrounds” for my handbound art journals, and the sum of the parts, Prints + Book = ART. The pages can be enjoyed just as they are, as part of a Juicy Journal. Yes, I’ve decided that’s what I’ll call these art journals.
Here are some of the prints I made. Enjoy! I hope you like them as much as I did printing them.

20150419_100001  20150419_094908

20150419_095955  20150419_095905

20150419_095927  20150419_095737

20150419_094939 20150419_094643  20150419_094648 20150419_094621 20150419_094506  20150419_094658

Freebies! Backgrounds for blending

I always take photos of my artistic creations, for posterity and also to use as backgrounds for future photographic art projects.

Here are some close-up images of my recent run of Gelli Plate monoprinting experiments. Just a hodgepodge of textures and colours. Feel free to take them and use them as backgrounds for your own blending projects, perhaps. Or print then out and arrange them in a mosaic. Or cut shapes out of them for collage and mixed media. Freebies! Enjoy!

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Artist Inspiration : Thomas Lamadieu

An artist-illustrator with his head in the clouds. Thomas Lamadieu hails from France, but his art takes him to cities everywhere around the world. Yes, he’s always looking up to the sky, because the blue spaces between skyscrapers is where his inspiration lies for his wonderfully whimsical art.

Lamadieu takes photographs of tall buildings, and then brings them to his computer where the magic begins. He uses not Photoshop or Illustrator, but Microsoft Paint. He styles himself as Roots Art or Sky Art.

Excerpt from Thomas Lamadieu’s website, in his own words:

Thomas Lamadieu / Roots Art

Born in 1985 in Avignon (France), Thomas Lamadieu aka Roots Art finished the formation
in topography before studying art history.

As a member of a group of artists (ACA, Avignon), he participated in several collective
projects during the Avignon Theatre Festival since 2012.

One focus of his work is the use of photographic pictures of buildings, where he integrates
his characteristic drawings in the sky (Skyart). His prolific work is carving out a beautiful space
on the internet where he published his photos and drawings, which led to a viral circulation
of his works.

Many gallery owners, journalists, art lovers all around the world remarked and
welcomed his interpretation of art.

Thomas also has a Wix website: http://tlamadieu.wix.com/roots-art

Lamadieu has been widely written about by many, many other people. You only have to Google his name to find those articles. I just want to share my own Lamadieu favourites with you here: (all images curated from Google Images)

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

I’m an Eclectic Magpie

Today’s post is just a motley collection of images that appeal to me, curated from my travels in the wonderful lands of Pinterest and Google Images. All credit and copyright remain with the original artist/photographer/designer etc. I always save my favourites to my Pinterest boards (just search for AlyZen Moonshadow), so if you need further information about any particular image, that’s where you should head first.

What can I say, I’m an eclectic magpie. I collect images like the ones below, to help stir up my creative juices, provide a springboard for inspiration, serve as colour or mood boards for future photography and art projects, trigger nostalgia, or just make me feel all sunshiney happy and gooey on the inside. :-)

Enjoy!

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Have a wonderful weekend, all! :-)

Serendipity Shows The Way

ser·en·dip·i·ty (sĕr′ən-dĭp′ĭ-tē)
n. pl. ser·en·dip·i·ties
1. The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.
2. The fact or occurrence of such discoveries.
3. An instance of making such a discovery.

In my efforts to create “perfect” Gelli Plate prints (no such thing, actually), I’d accumulated many, many duds. Or perhaps I should say they did not turn out quite as expected, but I still kept them for the record, and also because they were actually quite beautiful in their own way.

When I first started out on my Gelli Plate adventures, a couple of months ago, I was meticulous in washing my brayer, brushes, stamps, stencils and the Gelli Plate itself after every change of colour. This meant a lot of time was spent at the sink washing and drying. Handy that my so-called “Studio” is in the kitchen-dining room itself. (My other “Studio” is in the junk spare room, which is currently occupied by a brooding box of baby Japanese Quails).

Nowadays, I don’t clean my tools and implements quite so often. Instead, I employ a technique I’ve seen many Gelli artists use, of “inking off” or “rolling off” i.e the act of removing excess paint from the brayer/dabber/stamp/stencil/Gelli Plate etc by rolling/dabbing/stamping onto another substrate. Some use copy paper or newspaper, which they then throw away. Others use art journal pages, to keep as a record of what colours they’ve used.

I use the same paper as the one I’m printing on. I lay out a sheet to be printed on, onto my work surface, and I also at the same time lay several other sheets of the same quality and size, somewhere close by, to receive the “inking off” or “rolling off”. It keeps the brayer clean by pulling off excess paint, so I can then load up a different colour without getting mud. It cuts down on the time I spend washing things at the kitchen sink, and gives me more time to spend on printing.

After several practice sessions with Gelli Plate printing, it dawned on me that I sometimes liked the results of the “inked off” sheets better than my actual planned prints.

Hmmm…I may be onto something here.

Recently I’ve started to turn my Gelli Plate monoprints into handmade mini Art Journals. You can read about that here. When I found myself short of a page or two, I used one of my “inked off” sheets, and found to my surprise that the results were very, very interesting and exciting.

So, as Serendipity would have it, I now find myself Gelli printing more and more papers, and at the same time having fun “inking off” more papers. I “ink off” both sides of my paper, because I know they’ll be used to make more mini Art Journals, so both sides have to be painted. I’ve also stopped overthinking my designs and I don’t even plan what stencils I’m using next, or where I’m placing them, or even if they’re crooked. I just “go for it”!

I’ve always been fascinated by handmade books, and in the past I’ve dabbled in bookbinding, so making up these mini Art Journals marries my love for 3 things now – Gelli Plate printing, mixed media and bookbinding.

Oh, and add to that Serendipity (I just love happy accidents and randomness) and I’m a very happy bunny! :-)

Here are some of my Serendipity prints:

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Digital + Mixed Media Mashups

I’m really enjoying myself playing with my Gelli plates, both the rectangular one that’s intact and the other which I dissected into 3 round plates of different diameters, 2 small rectangular ones, and a few small triangular and square ones.

My main medium however, is digital photography. What makes me a happy bunny these days is being able to marry the two successfully. Digital + Mixed Media.

I love the possibilities this opens up. Lately I’ve been tearing up my Gelli plate monoprints (yes, really) and turning them into little handmade Art Journals. I wrote about that earlier here (insert link).

Having accumulated quite a lot of Gelli plate prints now, I decided to take photos of them and blend them with other photos on my Samsung Galaxy Note 4. I use mainly just 2 Apps – Photo Blender and Photo Editor. I love those 2 Apps.

Anyway, here are some of my latest Digital + Mixed Media Mashups, as I call them. Hope you like them!

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Life’s Simple Pleasures

Okay, first things first. I did not take any of these photos, they are the work of many talented photographers with a great eye for detail, colour and composition. Also, I can’t claim to have tried any of the food portrayed herewith, I can only say I have drooled over their images lol.

It’s Sunday, and a day for lying in, food, family and friends. Maybe “lying in” isn’t a word in my vocabulary, as our household generally gets up with the birds. And these days, food means simple fare, and family means my son and our menagerie of animals. As for friends, most of mine are virtual…meaning you, you and you. So who better to share my favourite food porn photos of food with than you all good people around the world. ;-)

You are all invited to my virtual Sunday feast. The weather is ideal, sunny with a slight breeze. Best of all, it won’t cost you a penny to join in the festivities. Why, even as we speak, here you are!

(All photos courtesy of Pinterest)

Let’s start with table settings. Shall we have rustic? I love the idea of mismatched chairs and benches. This setting would be ideal for a Madhatter’s Tea Party a la Alice in Wonderland.
image

Or, perhaps something more cottagey and formal? I’d love a whitewashed house with sash windows like in this photo. So romantic, sigh.
image

Or, maybe let’s go all Bohemian Rhapsody and enjoy some bright splashes of colour? I love the blue and turquoise canopy, and the vivid red tablecloth and runner.
image

And now for the food. As it’s still early, some of you may prefer something light, like this, perhaps?
image

Then some salad and appetizers:
image

image

image

Mmmm, yum! Next, we have a selection of hot cooked food. For those still in the mood (or time zone) for breakfast, we have these:

image

image

image

And now, a medley of heartier fare:
image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Not forgetting liquid refresments:

image

image

image

And, to round it all off, some dessert:
image

image

image

image

Mmmmm…I’m liking this so much, I think I’ll host another virtual party like it next month. Enjoy! Thank you for coming to my party! :-)