Sunday, April 29, 2012

Silks Acrylic Glaze Giveaway

I'm so excited to officially launch my new online workshop A Taste of Silks.   This wonderful new 2-week class begins May 18th, 2012.

Silks Acrylic Glaze are a new product from Luminarte.  They are beautiful, shimmering fluid acrylics that are so versatile they can be used on almost any surface.  For a sneak peak into this class, take a look at my new video.

If you have trouble viewing this video, please click here.

To celebrate the official launch of this class, I am thrilled to announce a Silks giveaway--you could win a place in this fabulous class, along with a $40 coupon card from Luminarte. Simply leave a comment on this post telling me what you love most about the video, and why you'd like to learn about acrylics.

For a second chance to win, simply share this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, then come back and leave a second comment with a link to your share. I'll be randomly drawing a winner next weekend, so don't forget to include your email address so I can contact you when you win.

Registration is now open.  For more information, or to register, please click here.

Good luck and thanks for checking in. xx

Friday, April 27, 2012

An Artist You Should Know

Although I spend most of my time creating art on paper or canvas, I have a secret passion for fiber and jewellery.  I am always amazed at artists who possess such diversity as to be able to apply their astounding creativity to a vast range of artistic disciplines.  Sherri Welser is one of those artists.  I can't remember when I first came across her site, perhaps it was when I got it in my head to start knitting (an endeavor at which I'm sad to say I did not excel).  Sherri's use of texture and color in her knits and jewels was amazing, not to mention or paper art as well.  

I remember being mesmerized by her endless stream of amazing work, much of which you can see here.  I connected with Sherri and was thrilled to discover that she is a beautiful, approachable, and soulful individual.  She has a deep spirit which resounds in all the work she creates, and an abundance of love and generosity.  Of course, Sherri is an artist you should know, and I promise, you'll be amazed at her beautiful, beautiful work.

~The “Art Within Your Heart”~

 I am thrilled and honored to be here as a guest artist on Dion’s blog, sharing my artwork and ideas, especially since I just absolutely Love her artwork!! I love the beautiful colors, themes, outlining…everything about it is just wonderful! So I must say thank you Dion ,it is such a joy and I am so happy to share with your readers some of my thoughts, ideas and creative elements to my artwork!

When you think about it, artwork begins in the heart and moves effortlessly through the hands and onto the paper (or so we would hope!). Sometimes it really isn’t that smooth of a transition and we have to switch gears. That is where my LOVE for everything creative comes into play. I have always loved  all the art classes throughout the years and quite frankly don’t know why I didn’t pursue it further as I so much enjoy getting lost in the “creative mode”! But life happens and we move through the different stage,s and now that my kids have almost all flown the nest, I have been preparing myself by getting back into all the creative things I love most.
I have been creating jewelry for many years off and on and within the last 2 years have been focused on my business  called “IndigoEarth” ~Artisan Studio~ where I have combined my love of creating unique jewelry along with making hand knitted items, working with beautiful colors and textures and now adding my love of  painting. All of these creative venues give me the ability to switch gears and work on another project. This way, my thought process for creativity is somewhat side tracked but still remains in the realm of creating. Many times when my mind changes gears and when I return back to a previous “creative block”, there was enough of a diversion to where the imagination and creativity can flow again.

When you think of the creative loves we all enjoy… the word “Passion” isn’t far behind~ as a matter of fact there are 3 “mantra” words that are a big part of my everyday life~ Passion, Faith and Believe~ these words  are very close to my heart and  I feel it takes all 3 to be able to live life to the fullest! 

Another thing that is very meaningful in my life is to find ways to help make positive differences in the lives around us and that is why I love to teach ( adults and children), blog  and sharing my passions in hopes that I might be able to plant a small seed within someone’s heart, which  in the future will have the opportunity to grow into that large “magnificent oak”!

Whatever I do as an artist, I am in hopes of creating something special for someone that gives them as much joy owning it as I had creating it! With that said let me share a bit with you about my art work. I am a huge lover of colors and textures and enjoy using Luminarte Twinkling H20 watercolors along with Lumiere acrylic paints (both have amazing colors and include mica for shine, shimmer and glittering qualities as in…. “let’s get this party started” kind of paints!). I also love doodling and use colored fabric markers, highlighters, watercolor pencils ( for softer hues) and just LOVE my Pitt pen for outlining and creating that contrast and punch to a painting! Doodling is a creative outlet that lets the mind go without any kind of a “perceived outcome”. It also is great way to experiment with different kinds of “doodles!

I love to also grab rubber stamps,metal plate textures, plastic bags, fabric...anything that has texture and depth I enjoy incorporating into my creations!  I also enjoy learning about other artists, new techniques, and then combining certain elements that I like into my own style of artwork which I feel suits me and what I am about as an artist. 

I am currently having  so much fun taking an online course from Juliette Crane  (“How to Paint an Owl”) I love the colors and textures she creates and not to mention I LOVE the fact that she paints with her fingers and hands on the paper! I think that getting your hands into the paint is a great connection to what you are creating with your heart! So below are several of my first attempts at “homework” in the class! Always challenging yourself beyond your borders is an important factor when painting or doing anything … especially in life. 

Growth can be uncomfortable at times but with faith we are led to a better place in the end. 


Please check out Sherri's site here, and thanks for checking in xx

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What Makes a Home?

My little family are currently in search of a new home.  We finally sold our house and have been looking for our next.  As luck would have it, we've found a house we're considering, but of course, it's beyond our budget, so there is some thinking and soul-searching to do.  This house we are looking at is a simple little cottage in a lovely area.  It's not perfect, it's older, but when I walked in I immediately felt like I had come home.

I never know what it is that draws us to a home and I'm not allowing myself to become emotionally attached at this point, there is still quite the process to go through.  But it's an older home, probably about 50-60 years old and the thing that amazed me is that it has had only one owner.  That's right, the couple who currently own it have lived in it since new.  It is beautifully well kept, bright, covered in cottage like wallpaper, and has that delicious feel of a home that has been loved.

As I wondered through it again last night it occurred me...this home has seen a family grow up.  The walls are covered with photos and memorabilia of  many lifetimes.  It has been witness to all the trials, tribulations, joys, triumphs, and love a family can possess.  The children of this home knew the security of having only one childhood home, they learnt to walk in that home, they pondered their first loves in that home, they cried out their heartbreaks under the security of that roof, and they exited that front door to set out in the world, knowing that their home would always be there to come back to.

The couple who are selling are old now.  Their children are all grown up with children of their own.  They're moving into an assisted living facility.  Although this couple are moving onto their next phase in life, it makes me sad to think they they are leaving behind the one home they ever truly knew as a family.  How will they feel?  Will they be sad? Will they miss it? Will they take their memories with them? I wonder if it was the obvious beauty and happiness of the family that lived there that captured my heart?

After I left, I wanted to go back, knock on their door and say, "Although we can't afford to pay what you are asking, we can assure you that your home will be loved by us. We will honor your memories, nurture your garden, and give this house a new family to shelter. We will fill our children's hearts with the same security you gave yours. We will fill this home with same authentic, simple, love filled memories that you first placed here."

Sadly, I can't tell them these things, I don't know who they are, and I'm not supposed to approach them directly.  So I guess we'll see.  In the meantime, it had me thinking about my own childhood home, and although we moved a couple of times, my mother still had that uncanny ability to make every stop a blaze of memories, laughter, music, and gardens.  In her golden years she's moved to a beautiful little sea-side town and has made a wonderful home there. 

On our recent trip to Australia, I was astounded at how quickly her garden has grown since our last visit, but I was more astounded at how quickly my children planted memories in her house, making it a home for us all. While I was there I took a lot of photos of her garden and have been splashing away in my sketchbook since my return home.  This page is some foliage from her garden.  It is done in flat watercolor with highlights in Silks Acrylic Glaze.  The subtlety of these beautiful glazes is perfect for simple highlights and flourishes over mixed media. 

Just to remind you, I am running an upcoming class through Luminarte called A Taste of Silks which starts in a few weeks.  In this 2-week mini class I teach you all about these beautiful new acrylic paints and show you lots amazing way you can use them.  From fabric to wood, to art-journals and mixed media, their vibrancy and versatility is astounding.  If you'd like to know more about this class, please click here.

Wish us luck with the house, and thanks for checking in. xx

Monday, April 23, 2012

Watercolor Pencils

Last week saw the release of a brand new artists magazine out of Europe called Featuring.  It's all about art journaling, mixed media & more.  I was extremely honored and very surprised when the amazing Jennifer McLean from Inspiration Avenue and Just Add Water Silly, sent me a note asking if I would be willing to participate in an article she was writing for it.  Her article is about The Butterfly Project a wonderful initiative from the Holocaust Museum Houston.

In an effort to remember the 1.5 million children who perished in the Holocaust, the Holocaust Museum Houston is collecting 1.5 million handmade butterflies. The butterflies will eventually comprise a breathtaking exhibition scheduled for Spring 2014. If you would like to know more, or participate in this amazing project, please click here. 

Jenn is an amazing artist and an inspiring woman.  Look for her in the coming weeks as An Artist You Should Know. In the meantime, I am very excited to announce that my Watercolor Pencils Workshop is back for its summer run through, and registration has just open. Here is what participants said about the last class:

"Dion, I wanted to thank you for a terrific class. I have loved your work from the very first moment I
stumbled across it on your blog. Your color and shading just blow me away, and that is the main
reason I took this class. Hopefully, I can take some of this knowledge to improve my own style of
artwork. I found your lessons to be thorough, and easy for me to understand. I appreciated your
prompt responses to any questions that I had."

"Thank you so much for sharing your talents and knowledge with us. This has been a very enjoyable
learning experience for me. I'm doing things I didn't think I could do because of your great
instruction and inspiration."

"Thank you Dion for the great class. I have learned a great deal about using the pencils."

"The class was awesome Dion. The lesson pdf files were great. Very clear and concise, with beautiful art work."

So many of us have a set of watercolor pencils somewhere in our art box, but too few of us put them to good use.  However, the beautiful little sticks of color are astounding in there versatility.  They can be used to such great effects, either alone or with mixed media.  The water soluble nature of them means you can paint, shade, tone, or just draw with them.  If you'd like to see some of the amazing work from participants in this workshop, feel free to visit the Watercolor Pencil Workshop Flickr Group.

This sketchbook page of a butterfly and flower was done using watercolor pencils, then detail and definition were added using a Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph Pens and a silver gel pen. The watercolor pencils are so easy to use, especially on the go or for sketchbook and art journaling art.  I love them and don't go anywhere without a stash in my bag.  If you like to learn more about using your watercolor pencils, then please join me in Watercolor Pencils Workshop. Class starts on June 28th.

Thanks for checking in. xx

Friday, April 20, 2012

An Artist You Should Know

I'm warning you, before your read this post, you need to go to the loo, grab a cuppa, and sit down in a comfortable chair.  Trust me, this is laugh-out-loud-funny!! 

I first discovered Tracey Fletcher King by accident.  Blog surfing as usual, I saw her listed in somebody's favorite blogs and thought I'd click through and check her out.  My goodness, now I'm addicted.  The first thing that caught my attention was the incredible way Tracey makes every day objects look totally exquisite, whimsical, colorful, and just delicious.  The next thing that captured me for good was her hilarious, satirical, self-depreciating dialogue.  It's a joy to read her blog every day, her art is a feast for the eyes, and Tracey herself is an amazing, warm, generous woman who makes you feel instantly part of her family.  

She is someone I have come to call a friend, someone to whom I turn for snippets of advice, but the icing on the cake is that she is a compatriot.  Yep, that's right, a zany, light-hearted, warm-as-toast Aussie.  Based in Brisbane in the sunshine state of Queensland, she lives around the corner from one of my best friends.  (Tracey, remind me to introduce you to Buffy!!).  I know you'll enjoy every inch of Tracey's art and inspiration, and you'll be in stitches listening to her many tales of life in the sun.  She is an artist you should know, and one I know you'll LOVE.


I am an artist... finally I can say that without snorting and feeling like a complete ego maniac, or thinking that people will snigger and say I am deluded...  I am finally, in my glorious middle age, able to declare what I have always been...  a shout it from the hilltop, proud to do a job that I love, give it a capital letter baby... Artist. 

And more than that ...I am an artist you should know... because the wonderful Dion Dior says so...  I am taking that one out for a run let me tell you... nothing is more affirming than hearing that someone recognises you and they want to you to a guest post... it gives you that warm fuzzy feeling, which is promptly followed by a sinking realization that said guest post should be at least somewhat professional... which I gave a good go in a draft... but I just ended up sounding like a stranger so I am giving you the unplugged version of what you should know about me...

·         I used to be an art teacher.... and have degrees and diplomas coming out of my ears, and even have a Masters degree majoring in Creativity Theory , and I use none of them baby... they are just pretty bits of paper on the wall.

·         I love to paint and draw what is around me... I used to go in for all the art school rubbish that involved many gut wrenching hours worrying about image development and exploration of themes but one day I let go of all that and started looking around me to find inspiration, and from that moment on my creative life finally made sense... turns out I am happiest exploring my world and not worrying or thinking about it too much
·         I am hopeless, and I mean hopeless, at any sort of wild woman, inner goddess type thing... I really like that other people can delve inside and get in touch with things like that, and I have tried, but I suspect that my Inner Goddess and Divine Muse spend most nights out on the town together trashing me and picking up boys, and spend their days sleeping off hangovers of monumental proportions... consequently they are better left to their own devices

·         I love drawing and painting and couldn’t get through a day in my studio without my Micron Pens, Watercolours, Golden Acrylics, hot pressed watercolour paper, and buckets and buckets of tea... it runs through my veins, invades my work, and helps fix anything that is wrong in my world...

      And last but not least I love the blogger world... through blogging I have found this magnificent group of people who understand, inspire, and support me in the most heart warming ways...  they laugh with me, not at me... they share their lives and creativity with me, they encourage me and understand what I love to do, and they even buy my work which is insanely humbling and exciting at the same time every single time it happens...  how could anyone not want to be part of this world...xx

You can find Tracey Fletcher King at any or all of the links listed below. I highly recommend you check her out!

     Thanks for checking in xx

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Wisdom of Life

I very rarely engage in blog awards or blog tag, it's not that I don't appreciate them, it's just that I seem to have a different perspective on what I want to share at that moment in time.  However, this morning I was tagged in a blog hop by the very lovely and talented Petrea Hansen Adamidis from The Art Therapist.  The reason this one caught my interest was because I find Petrea's blog and website to be so very insightful, very philosophical, and very therapeutic, and her questions to be profoundly thought provoking.

Most of us engage in art, particularly art journaling, as a way to connect to a deep part of ourselves.  It gives us a channel to understanding ourselves, what we're made of, and what we are capable of.  Art, in and of itself, is therapy. Anyone who has ever engaged in a creative or artistic pursuit knows the therapeutic benefits first hand of doing so. And the reason art journaling, scrap-booking, sketch-book keeping, or any number of other artistic pursuits has gained so much momentum, is because more and more people are discovering that art is a powerful way to connect to their creative soul, explore their own possibilities, and demystify some of their issues.  In my mind, every single person on the planet is born with a creative soul, but for a plethora of reasons, very few ever get to embrace it.

Petrea answered, and asked some excellent questions on her blog this morning. When I read her post, it felt like a serendipity to me.  I have been actively engaged in delivering several of my online classes this week, and one in particular, Wisdom Circles, has given me lots of food for thought. This is where I made the connection.

There are over 500 people currently enrolled in 21 Secrets and although not all of them have found their way into Wisdom Circles yet, there are over 100 participants who have.  The circles they are producing and the experiences they are sharing is truly humbling and very very moving. I've had goosebumps on my skin and tears in my eyes every time I read their stories, considered their questions, and gazed upon their work. If you'd like to see some of their work, I encourage you to visit the Wisdom Circles Flickr Group., or the 21 Secrets Flickr Group If you'd like more information about Wisdom Circles and 21 Secrets, please click here.

So, although I probably won't play by the rules, and I won't answer all of Petrea's questions, I did want to answer some.

What time of the day do you find you are most in your creative zone? 
My creative zone seems to sit with me 24 hours a day.  There are some moments when it is so powerful and overwhelming that if I don't create something, I feel physically ill.  I have two young children and have to take the creative moments as they come.  I do burn a lot of mid-night oil, and more often than not, I get up at 4am and head down to my studio to create. Those early morning hours are so clear and intimate and some of my most powerful artistic experiences come at those times.

What helps you when you are feeling blocked?
Artistic blocks are a fact of life I'm afraid.  They happen to everyone.  Exhaustion, stress, the blank page--there are so many reasons for it, and when it happens to me that wave of nausea and frustration sweeps over me again until I can find a way to put pen to paper.  I discovered the art of making mandalas about ten years ago.  I was convinced that I was not an artist because I couldn't draw the perfect landscape, or capture the contours of a simple hand.  But when I saw a beautiful, simple meaningful mandala I knew I had found something that I could connect to.

Creating a circle is so powerful, so meditative, and so therapeutic.  I become a prolific creator of mandalas, and a hungry consumer of mandala history and theory.  So now, whenever I feel blocked, (which is often), I stop, breathe, and place a dot in the center of my page.  From there, I let the creative flow take over and just move gently around the circle, letting my creative energy and symbolism flow down my arm and onto the page.  It releases any blocks, along with any tension I am feeling in that moment, freeing me completely to create.

What do you believe the connection is between art and healing?
In my mind, art IS healing.  This profoundly unique connection between the two can only be truly understood by those who have found the courage to do it.  Without thought, without explanation, without overt understanding, art has a way of centering us, a way of balancing us in times of great adversity.  It is a bridge to reality, and it is an expression of ourselves that words cannot convey.

Art has saved me during the most frightening, angering, confusing, and overwhelming times in my life.  From the frenzied splashing of paint around a canvas as a hormonal 15 year old, to the introverted, intricate, smallness of a sketchbook filled with penned mandalas created as a terrified parent of a gravely premature child. Art is a great healer, and for those who do not actively engage, their healing comes from observation and appreciation.  The world simply cannot be without art, for a world without art is a broken world without spirit.

This page was done using Silks Acrylic Glaze over pen journaling, and under flat watercolor.Please take the time to visit Petrea's blog, and please make the time to create.

Thanks for checking in. xx