DialogVisual Magazine

Snippets and snapshots form an eclectic conversation about creativity, art, design and eco-living, with a sprinkling of culture & philosophy and a dash of whimsy :)

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Posts tagged "Art"

#collage, #technique, #art, #cutout, #raise-the-roof


BIRD = A messenger between worlds, heaven and earth… love, clairvoyance, power, discipline, laughter. (Various African mythologies)

Do you ever feel the Universe is trying to draw your attention to something?

First there was the bird that the Evil Whiskered One brought in and the Gazpachomonk rescued.

The second bird by Elaine Pamphilon was posted by my favourite Robyn on her Art Propelled blog where Manestude left a comment there using the phrase ‘bird by bird’.

(Which is, of course the title of a book about the process of writing by Anne Lamott and which I quote on various occasions my book I’m that currently editing on Creative Block.)

And then when I went to post my work in progress, I found this third bird from the Vintaquarian in my Tumblr stream.

Finally the gods couldn’t shout any louder and when I previewed my finished post, the penny dropped: There is a bird begging to be set free in my painting.

See him?

Nothing for months and then it all happens at once!

I’m cross-fertilising between two large mixed-media pieces, my ongoing altered book and my handmade sketchbook.

My studio looks like the proverbial bomb site but it’s infinitely preferable to tidy-because-nothing’s-happening :)

I got a basic coil binder for Xmas intending to get into making my own sketchbooks – the kind that won’t intimidate me with their pristine emptiness – but I never got around to starting.

In January, I set a new year’s resolution to keep a sketchbook and got blocked with it almost immediately because somehow I imagined I was going to have a ‘real’ sketchbook, like the one that belongs to the watercolour artist sketching on the waterfront, that we take a sneaky over-the-shoulder peak at, as we pass by.

Fab watercolour moleskin spread from Falling Sky on Flickr
Fab watercolour moleskin spread from Falling Sky on Flickr


But, of course, I’m not a watercolour artist – nor anything like one – so all that was just some kind of Inner Critic fantasy which castrated my creative process and launched me into temporary amnesia about loving my own way of doing things.

My shelf of FAT sketchbooks
My shelf of FAT sketchbooks

When I do keep a sketchbook, it’s in a mixed-media-journal kind of way – and they tend to end up choc-a-block with layers and stuck-in bits and pieces, sometimes so fat that they need a cord to hold them closed. When I can manage to shut up my wily I.C. I really dig this aspect of my personal process.

Recycled cover of my my sketchbook. And, yes, that is coffee I'm using to paint with.
Recycled cover on my sketchbook And, yes, that is coffee I’m painting with.


A few weeks ago, I finally got it together with the coil binder and created an A5 sketchbook of varied paper tones and thicknesses so I can choose whichever takes my fancy on a given day. (This avoids any issues of needing to make that first page great!) I recycled an old notebook for the cover and the coil.

Different tones and weights of paper in my made-to-measure sketchbook
Different tones and weights of paper in my made-to-measure sketchbook


I’m using this immediately-beloved new sketchbook to play with ideas for two new, larger, experimental mixed-media pieces I’m working on. (I’m not sharing the progress of those just yet as I really need not to be influenced by anyone else’s input while they are at such an embryonic stage.)

Experiments for new work
Experiments for new work


I found that the act of putting the sketchbook together was a great impetus for getting started on the project. I was literally ‘building a container’ for my new ideas – one that is completely adapted to the needs of my personal process.

The page I broke the ice with
The page I broke the ice with


How could you build a container for your ideas? What element of your work that you find intimidating could you turn on it’s head to make it empowering instead?

It goes without saying that the art we make reflects who we are. But can we summon a different life through our art?

If we change from making work that is small and dark to large and light, from detailed and complex to open and spacious, will some profound shift also occur in other aspects of our existence?

How much does what we make affect who we are as opposed to the other way round?