Sunday, October 19, 2014

Operation Salvage... and a double challenge entry

Good day friends! How has your weekend been so far? We're having a great time as the weather seemed to have mellowed a little and it was wonderful to be outdoors.

So today I bring to you something different. Instead of showing you the reveal at the beginning, I'm gonna leave it at the end just to explain how unbelievable frustrating the process of creating can be. It started out with a bad cold, which means I'm not thinking straight and that sometimes mean that my mojo gets as blocked as my nose.

So after some false starts, I ended up with this:

This was a photo I posted on my Instagram feed. The first attempt comprised of some doily stenciled designs and lilac mist, which I thought looked blah. So I made my own tissue paper collage and sealed it with some Ayeeda gel medium. Looking good so far.... 

And this happened. Nice try, lifting the color orange from the butterflies but IT. WAS. DISASTROUS. I know some of you may say this looks fine, but it was the exact opposite of what I had in mind. So this is one manifestation of two different syndromes that I currently suffer from: (1) the "Let's try this color and see how it goes. Oh SHIT..." syndrome and (2) the head-eye-hand-mis-coordination syndrome. At some point, we all face frustrations in translating the image we visualize in our head to reality. Sometimes it has to do with a mental block, sometimes it's a matter of finding the right techniques to help us express ourselves. 

And so Operation Salvage kicked in. I love it that many of my talented friends dabbling in mixed media find it fun when something goes wrong. It's that attitude of being able to restore something and transform it into something else; turning a mistake into a miracle. It's wonderful what some gesso can do. That's why it's my BFF. Now it doesn't look that loud anymore, but I still have to think of a way to add in texture and colors to create the look I had in mind. 

So repeat tissue paper collage.

Dab gesso randomly for a softened and whitewashed look and some gold glitter. Now we're talking!

Instead of using mists and paints, I whipped out something I've neglected to use for about 2 years - my stash of Pan Pastels. These are the Pastel tints which I bought but never found the chance to use. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to exhibit them now because of the soft cast they give.

Love that look! Now it's looking even closer to what I'm seeing in my mind.

Here is the sketch and mood board which I was trying to create this entry for:

And the final product of Operation Salvage:

I flipped the sketch and borrowed some elements from the mood board. The butterflies are my main inspiration and the picture I used was from one of my trips to the Butterfly Park in Penang. There are actually two of them on the stem and because it was such a delicate moment, I used the softer version of the colors Rachael had on the ring and also sprinkled bits of gold glitter around to show the classiness of these winged dancers. You can also see a bird cage, and I tucked resist canvas butterflies in the garden I created out of Prima flowers (there was fabric in the mood board as well). And don't forget the giant butterflies on my tissue paper in the background!

Some closeups:

So that's the story behind this page, and it was a fun one for me to share with you. Yes we have all at some point lost our mojo and end up staring blankly at our papers, determined never ever to touch this stuff again. Yet time and time again it's the journey we take every time we pick up our scissors, pen, brush (whatever it is you use to create) that moves us so deeply, and draws us back to this thing we call creating. To my friends who feel discouraged sometimes or are new to this, don't be afraid to make mistakes because there's always a beautiful lesson hidden inside.

Have a great week ahead!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Art of Faith

Hello friends!

Today is my turn on the 13arts blog and I have a special page to share with you from my art journal. I shared the cover I made for the art journal in my debut post for 13arts and have been creating in it ever since. But because the pages inside are very personal, I don't really post them anywhere. Today's page I'm sharing is something I hope can inspire you as the message in it has inspired me. I made it after a friend shared something personal with me.


The paper was primed with gesso and I used lots of 13arts goodies to create the background. There was dripping across the two pages, paint splatters with Ayeeda mists, and I used a mixture of gel medium and Matt paint for the stenciled details. Underneath all that layers are some sheets of hymn music which I torn out from a hymn book that is at least 100 years old. My uncle found it in London and gave it to me, but I feel so heart-pained when I had to tear it out from the very old book.


I went a little crazy with altering the chipboard from Blue Fern Studios - first I did some gel transfer with Ayeeda gel medium to create a distressed paper texture. Then I painted the surface with Ayeeda mists and paints, dabbed gesso for a even more weathered effect. For more dimensional look, I mixed liquid medium with Pearl Gold paint and dabbed it randomly over the chipboard so that they look like  - gold pearls!

More altering of the flowers with Ayeeda paints, and my favourite Gold Pearl which I find that I must use in almost every project that I create. 

Another angle of the page where I have a die cut doily which I distressed with the Gold Pearl paint. 

This is all I have for you today, thanks for dropping by!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

OUAS October Sketch Challenge

Hey there awesome folks!

I'm in today to share my take on the Once Upon a Sketch challenge for October. I took a break from it in September because of some crazy in the schedule but I'm back! Nadia has another beautiful sketch and theme for us to play along with this month.

Here's the theme:

Journalling Theme: "The women/girls etc in our lives..." 

You are free to interpret our theme ANY WAY you like. It is for your inspiration and this theme word DOES NOT need to be part of your title or journalling. But please make sure your layout is based on the sketch below and includes journalling (hidden journalling is fine). Acceptable journalling is MORE than just a sentence, or generic writing such as date/place etc. It needs to be present and at least 3 lines long. Remember, hidden journalling (under a photo/tag or behind your page) is perfectly fine but please DO let us know in your post where your journalling is! 

So for the August challenge, I scrapped about my Dad so it seems almost natural to scrap about my mum this time. Well, no. I chose to scrap about my Dad's Mum instead (that would be Grandma, by the way) because this is an emotionally overwhelming topic for me. Memory-keeping doesn't always have to be about the happy stuff, but also lessons that we keep deep in our hearts that we hope we never ever forget. 

So here's a photo of Grandma with my brother, because I couldn't find a photo of her and me. She has been such a pillar of strength in the family with a fierce character, but beautifully tender-hearted when it came to the poor and needy. As a devout Buddhist, she would travel to the temple everyday to cook for the people there (for free, and her culinary skills.... OH MY.....). Once she had a dream about an orphan who was wandering in our backyard searching for its family (I never knew the gender) and during the Hungry Ghost Festival, she put out an extra meal for the orphan. Being a Christian, I didn't buy into all these but it was quite something witnessing her unconditional kindness and generosity. My aunt, whom I'm closest to, was one of the two children Grandma adopted into the family just so that they won't be left alone in the streets. Although, you have found it ridiculously hilarious to hear stories about how she chased Grandpa down the road with a meat cleaver because of something he said. 

We all lived under the same roof, so Grandma took very good care of us. So some family issues came up along the way as Grandma got older, and we grew apart. Can't really say what those were as they are personal family stuff, but I was filled with tremendous regret that I hadn't been a better granddaughter to her while she was still alive. I was respectful and all, but things could be better and it weighed heavily on my heart that I didn't manage to build a deeper relationship with her. Like my Grandpa, she passed away suddenly but peacefully in her sleep without any pain or suffering. It still tickles us to think that just the morning before she passed away, she was still yelling vulgarities at her BFF (this old auntie who lived near us) for doing something stupid.  Such was the extreme ends of her character, which we found so endearing and incredible. 

Anyway, some closeups:

I don't usually scrap red, but because of the photo, and also because of the sacrifices she made to keep the family going, and also ... because of the terrifying amount of chili and spice she would put in her cooking, I used some really hot colors here. "Lifetime" from Blue Fern's Chunky Words as my title, just to celebrate her life of kindness and loyalty to the people around her.

A floral cluster. I used lots of 13arts paints and chalk mists, especially my favourite Gold pearl paint because of Grandma's heart of gold.

Another Blue Fern chipboard which I did lots of altering by layering paints. My journaling is all the words that I never got to say to Grandma, and it's written on the back of one of the layers of paper (from 7 Dots Studios) matting my photo.

So that's all I have for you today. If you have the time, why not take part in this month's challenge and celebrate the women in your life?