And the Winner is...

Thank you to everyone who left a comment on my last blog post "Acrylic Solutions" Book Review + Giveaway!" To read my review and an overview of this gorgeous book, click here.

This morning I used a Random Number Generator to choose the winner of the giveaway. And now, without further ado... DRUM ROLL...

The winner of the signed copy of Julie Prichard and Chris Cozen's book, Acrylic Solutions: Exploring Mixed Media Layer by Layer is BERYL GREEN. Congratulations, Beryl!!!

This book is a "Must Have" for your mixed media library. You can find it here on
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"Acrylic Solutions" Book Review + Giveaway!

A "Must Have" for Your Mixed Media Art Library

I am a Chris Cozen and Julie Prichard devotée, having taken most of their online workshops over at The Land of Lost Luggage. They are wonderful mixed media art teachers, tireless in their pursuit of sharing valuable information and demonstrating techniques through video with voice over. Their book, "acrylic solutions: exploring mixed media layer by layer", is the perfect complement to their classes.

I spent a delightful day pouring over this book, soaking up the colourful images, practical information and painting techniques. "acrylic solutions" is ideal for artists just embarking on their painting journey and for mid to advanced artists looking for ways to add more complexity to their work.

I love that the book itself is written in layers, from preparing the surface of your support to varnishing the final piece. We follow Chris and Julie as they each go through the process of creating a painting. Useful tips are highlighted throughout the pages and there are LOTS of high quality pictures, including demonstrations, finished pieces and detail shots.

You are encouraged to "own this book" starting with developing your own composition, using one or more techniques from each section. This will inspire you to explore further by using several techniques from each section of the book, creating your own unique piece of multi-layered art. I can't wait to take this fabulous book into the studio and start painting!

I heartily recommend "acrylic solutions" to everyone who wants to create mixed media art.

I am also thrilled to tell you that I was a contributor! You will find one of my favourite paintings, "Altered Perception", in a small grouping of artists' mixed media work at the end of the book.


Julie and Chris have very generously given me a signed copy of "acrylic solutions" to give away here on my blog. For your chance to win this fabulous book, leave a comment on this post, along with your email address by the end of day, Thursday, May 23rd. The lucky winner will be drawn and their name announced on my blog and FB page on Friday, May 24th. Good luck to all!

paintings inspired by Chris and Julie's online workshops

 A quick overview of "acrylic solutions":

the basics
design, colour, materials and more
- the elements of art: line, space, value, colour, shape and texture
- materials, tools and supplies: limited paint palette for colour mixing; brushes, sponges, palette knives, stencils and mark making tools; acrylic mediums for extending working time and colour; gels and pastes for creating texture
- a simplified overview on how acrylics work, including paint formulations; the difference between fluid and heavy-body; earth vs lab pigments
- colour wheel, mixing colour, making glazes, understanding what colours work well together

laying a good foundation

prepping your substrate: canvas, paper and wood
gesso, collage, cardboard

adding structure

"the framework upon which you hang every other technique"
- texture, mark making, collage, colour, imagery
- how products behave: great chart explaining the properties of textural products
- crackle paste [my favourite]
- creating raised, layered stencil patterns
- different techniques for laying in colour
- using line as structure to draw the eye; understanding the emotion and mood line invokes
- image as structure: collage transfers, collage

developing complexity
"create mixed media compositions that are visually compelling and exciting"
- simplified drawing, mark making, mono printing; painted lines, blocks and design; sheer collage elements, paint skins, patterns with stencils, glazing, shading
- it's all in a glaze: great chart of glaze formulas for grit, grime, rust and patina
- fine tuning with colour
- developing contrast and dimension

finessing the details
"this is your opportunity to correct and refine your composition"
- a list of great critique questions to ask yourself as you develop your piece
- finishing touches: rubber stamps, ink, pens & sticks, oil crayons & pastels, charcoal pencils
- painting a surface to draw on with an acrylic ground, paste or medium
- using colour as detail
- special effects with metallic and interference paints
- a page of sample mixes and examples
- using acrylic spray paint with stencils

Words from Julie and Chris:

Julie: "When you mix and match techniques, you can achieve countless variations and looks. I hope you enjoy learning from this book and expanding your painting repertoire."

Chris: "Writing this book has only reinforced my commitment to mixed media. Where else in the art world can you use such diversity of materials and develop such a range of outcomes?"
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Soul Map and The Forgetting Room: Buried Treasure

It's time once again to go on a hunt for buried treasure. Once a year, Seth Apter of The Altered Page invites artists to re-post one (or more) of their favourite blogs. Head on over to Seth's blog for a list of participants and check back often. He will be updating links to each participant as they come in.

Here is my Buried Treasure offering from January 4th, 2011. Enjoy! I'm off to The Altered Page to discover the rest of the treasure :)


Over the holidays I created a painting for my brother in Oz who has family in far flung corners of the globe. As is my wont, I began jotting down ideas and making sketches in my journal. I looked up quotes relevant to "family" and wrote a short, heartfelt piece to include in the painting. I looked to favourite artists and books for inspiration, and it came to me - The Forgetting Room by Nick Bantock. A synchronistic moment, as it turned out.

Nick Bantock has been a lingering source of inspiration for me. His evocative art transports you to strange worlds of mysterious beauty. One of the reasons I love The Forgetting Room is that he shows the unfolding of a work of art and describes the artist's (often difficult) journey.

I set out enthusiastically on my own artful quest. When I finally stepped back from the finished piece, I realized that it was infused with layers of meaning - both intentional and unexpected. "Soul Map" indeed embodies more than one journey. It is my brother's and my own, binding us across space and time, making me feel closer to him than ever.

I was intrigued to read the following on the review this morning, when I looked up the link for The Forgetting Room: "Belonging, or the sense of being connected to one's heritage and, therefore, to the creative force, is Bantock's primary theme, and here, the path to belonging is art."  Synchronicity indeed.

There are more maps under the first layer of paint on the canvas board. Post-it Notes are quite handy for remembering the position of elements.
A unifying layer of paint goes on. Then more collage elements.
More elements, some covered, some moved. Shapes emerging... more paint... pushing back elements, bringing others forward.
Detail shots... love those tree roots.
Beautiful old ship illustration... calligraphed words.
Subtle imagery... mysterious elements.
Soul Map
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Liebster Blog Award!

Thank You, Dave, over at the blog Clearer Reflections, for giving me the Liebster Blog Award!

Dave creates wonderful mixed media and painting pieces and photography. He is very active in the online artists' community - he takes time (I don't know where he finds it!) to comment regularly and show lots of encouragement and support. He has two Etsy Shops: Reflective Images for photography and Clearer Reflections for art.

The Liebster Blog Award originated in Germany and recognizes up and coming bloggers. It is meant to showcase those who have fewer than 200 followers. (Liebster means "favourite" or "dearest" in German.) This is done in the spirit of pay-it-forward. In accepting this award, the recipient agrees to:

    •    Thank the person that gave them the award and link back to their blog
    •    Copy and paste the award to their blog
    •    Reveal the 5 blogs they have chosen to award and let them know by commenting on their blog

I am thrilled to share with you five bloggers who create beautiful things, live artfully and are more than deserving of being followed! Enjoy your visits to each of these blogs and remember to leave a comment... this thoughtful act is always appreciated :)

Jo Murray - Art
“I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it….” Pablo Picasso. This has become my mantra, and each day I hope to do better work.

Veronique's Art Blog
I'm a visual artist who also loves wool and other natural fibers. I enjoy teaching art to children. This blog is the place where I share my inspirations, my creative process and my art with you.

The Old Stile Press  
For more than thirty years at The Old Stile Press we, Frances & Nicolas McDowall, have been working with artist/printmakers to produce books of great beauty, hand printed in limited editions. We hope that our friends will visit here regularly to see what is going on at the Press.

Barnacle Goose Paperworks  
As a book binder trained in Sydney and Auckland, I am currently interested in drawing, print making, and all aspects of the artist’s book. My lifelong passions have always revolved around books, both making and reading, and natural history.

Not Against Type 
Adventures in letterpress printing, writing, books & art.

And Thank You again, Dave!
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The Call of the Muse [Journal]

my first Muse Journal
I made my first Muse Journal in August of 2010 as a birthday present for a wonderful artist friend. After that, I was hooked. Since then I have made more than 30 Muse Journals and find it hard to keep enough available for sale in the studio. They are particularly popular as gifts and, I must confess, I have kept quite a few for myself :)

cover paintings in progress
I tend to create six or more Muse Journals at a time. The small canvas panel covers are ideal for exploring intriguing ideas with paint, collage, transfers, texture & whatever else my muse suggests. I once made a pair of strictly black & white Muse Journals as a commission, expressing the similarities and differences between two cousins who grew up as best friends.

gorgeous papers are wrapped around each signature for a beautiful exposed spine
Binding the mixed media art covers to the text block is a zen-like experience. Beautiful papers are chosen to wrap around each of the eight signatures, along with a complementary or contrasting coloured, waxed-linen thread. I use a Coptic stitch for a few reasons. I love the look of the exposed spine, it is a very sturdy binding and it allows the Muse Journal to lie flat. I really love this aspect when I am working in it. The paper-wrapped spines also create handy sections in the book!

this title looks like it's written on shards of slate
The final step in this creative process is naming the Muse Journal. I enjoy perusing my list of fantasy book titles, considering which will be the one to magically bring the Muse Journal to life. The title is added to the cover art in calligraphy or typography.

a grouping of Muse Journals
These useful & beautiful books are a labour of love - it can take a day or more to create one. They don't sell for big money - they are priced from $72 and up, depending on their size. I create Muse Journals because I love the process and the opportunity to combine my love of art & books.

collaged bits, calligraphy, doodles & scribbled ideas
I have one that fits in a large pocket that goes everywhere with me. I have a larger one always at hand in the studio. Four more await the call of the muse and my collection continues to grow. I will be teaching a Muse Journal workshop in 2012. They have become a passion of mine :)
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Living an Artist's Life

Artists are business people too.

Since achieving more of a balance between time spent on my own art and Cirque work, I have been able to make exciting choices for new directions with my life as an artist. That includes teaching small groups in my studio, joining a local mixed media art organization, visiting and participating in more exhibits and taking online classes to "fill the well", among other things...

I have always found that by focusing on where you want to go and what you want, you automatically wind up on that path. Opportunities appear to help you get there; you have started things in motion. That's why it is important to be mindful of what you are focusing on! In one of those serendipitous moments, I came upon Alyson B Stanfield's artbizblog and this fabulous book:

"I’d Rather Be in the Studio! The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion offers practical advice to help you sell more art and build an art career that lasts."
I read a review of this book where the person apologized for how long the review had taken to be posted. They had been reading the book, jumping up and doing what it suggested and then coming back to read some more. Happily, I have found the same experience. I am taking a while to get through it (although it is a very pleasant read) because I keep DOING. How great is that?

I’d Rather Be in the Studio! references favourite books that are already part of my artist's arsenal, so it is a really good fit for me. More on those books another time...

If you have used this book, I would love to hear how it impacted your artistic journey. Or maybe you have a favourite book you would like to share. Please share by leaving a comment :)
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Fantasy in the Forest Part II 2009

As promised, more about this magical show. We have known Jamie Brick for years and consider him an amazing artist as well as a wonderful friend. He never seems to run out of ideas or energy to make his Fantasy in the Forest show even more spectacular and this year was no exception! About a week before the show, Jamie sent us an email telling us about a new space that was not done yet but that he thought would be perfect for both my work and Larry's. He told us he was building a ten by sixteen foot addition onto a building in the center of his property. The back wall would be the cordwood wall that lead to the deck facing the lake and the entry would be through the little fantasy building. He told us the front wall was up and had three gothic church windows four feet wide and ten feet high. It faced the garden and the driveway. It did not have the end wall yet, and would not have it before the show but when it was done it would have a matching gothic window facing the lake. The major draw back this year was that it would not have the roof done at all. The floor would be in and solid and the three windows but he was running out of time. We replied instantly to this email that YES, we wanted to display in that room!!! Who needs a roof or all the walls??? It was like he made this space for us.
The entry through the little fantasy building.
Three gothic church windows four feet wide and ten feet high.
We brought a tarpaulin and Jamie built a roof framework for it to hang on. We all spent a relatively sleepless night before the first day of the show as it poured with rain and we didn't know if the tarp would hold! But all was well in the morning - our art was not affected. Jamie also put up three booth wall panels for us to use where the end wall was missing and which gave us great display space.
This is one of Jamie's latest BEAUTIFUL sculptures. She greets you as you descend the driveway and the light will actually work!
This is another wonderful booth location with a decorative arch.
This is a view looking down the hill to the lake where there were several more tents.
Jamie Brick's Fantasy in the Forest show gets better with each passing year...14 so far! He had mentioned building a floating booth to put on the lake. Maybe next year? We are hoping for a roof and end wall on the gothic room instead ( :
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Fantasy in the Forest Part I 2009

This year's Fantasy in the Forest art show was fantastic! Larry and I had the most magical space to display in. In fact we wanted to move in...
Saturday was fairly well attended and Sunday it was non-stop people!
Here is a close up of my table display with objets d'art for sale.
We had the most awesome display room with three 10' gothic windows. And next year we will have a roof!
We managed to pack all of our art and personal stuff in the MINI with room to spare.
Two of the Gothic Portal series on display. They got a lot of interest.
More coming to show you just how magical this show really is...
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