Saturday, June 29, 2013

Mastering Twinks Giveaway Ends Sunday


Mastering Twinks Part 1 - Twinkling Discoveries goes live in a little under two weeks and in only a few days my giveaway comes to an end. You have until the end of June to sign up for this beautiful luminescent watercolor class to go into the draw to win the Mastering Twinks Prize Pack.


I'm giving away a beautiful Stillman & Birn, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 "Zeta" series sketchbook (with my art on the cover), plus a Koi Waterbrush, and a selection of 3 large pots of Twinkling H2O's. In addition, the winner will receive an extra spot on the class to give away to someone special. And don't worry if you've already signed up, you automatically go into the draw to win.



As an added bonus, all registered participants get a Luminarte 15% Off Coupon when they register. This coupon can be used to buy ANY Luminarte products when you purchase direct from Luminarte, including any of the new Dion Dior Twinkling H2O Color Packs.

Here's a little sneak peek into the class! 


The giveaway runs for the month of June only, so if you've been thinking about signing up for this class then now is your chance to go into the draw to win.  For more information, or to register, click here.

Thanks for checking in. xx

Friday, June 28, 2013

Doodle Flowers


I love doodles and I love flowers, so I was especially thrilled about this month's theme of "Garden Doodles" over at The Sketchbook Challenge


When I first started exploring sketchbook art with more focus, I spent a lot of time doodling.  It's a great way to relinquish the pressure we put on ourselves to produce something that is considered perfect.  And let's face it, very very few of us are able to produce perfect.
 

The freedom and looseness of doodling is extremely important to building confidence and creative expression.  All good artists have books filled with scribble, doodles, and disasters, it's an important step to developing style and ideas for every type of artist.


Doodling subjects that you find interesting is an excellent way to develop your drawing skills.  It is through doodles that we explore the shapes and structure of the things around us.



Flowers have always been a passion of mine, and by scribbling and playing with lines, I have been able to study flower shapes and composition.  Doodling flowers is also an important vehicle for me to explore color.  When I doodle, I move away from proportion and dimension and am free to take all the creative license I need to explore color.


My sketchbooks are filled with flower doodles and patterns, some of them I transfer to larger works of art, and others just become illustrations for art journal pages or vehicles for my creative practices with different art supplies. This page was done first in an ink doodle, then washed over with watercolor, and finished off with more ink.


When you're struggling to find inspiration for your sketchbook practice, or you just don't have much time to spend, simply put pen to paper and start doodling flowers, or any other subject that interests you...it's a very powerful exercise.

Thanks for checking in. xx

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Peek into Mastering Twinks



With just a few week to go before "Mastering Twinks" goes live, I thought I'd share a little sneak peek into this new online class.  Mastering Twinks is a five week journey into beautiful luminescent art.  It showcases Luminarte's Twinkling H2O's along with a host of other mixed media and art techniques.


Mastering Twinks takes you on an adventure into luminescent watercolor technique, and each week you will learn some of the secrets of luminescence. I will show you some wonderful techniques for better drawing and sketching, you'll learn about creating light and shade, and and you will make some beautiful art and art journal pages.


The class is loaded with video demonstrations, step by step projects, and PDF downloads.  It is hosted in a private classroom that is beautiful, intuitive, and simple. Class goes live on July 11th, and runs live for five weeks, with ongoing access through to July 2014.


If you've been wanting to learn more about creating beautiful, shimmering, twinkling art using luminescent watercolors, then please join me on this wonderful journey.  For more information, or to register, please click here.

Thanks for checking in. xx






Monday, June 24, 2013

Australian Colors

Tropical Flowers

We've been in Australia for a week now and it's so good to be home.  It was a long-haul flight and the children did remarkably well, so thank you to everyone who gave me advice on how to make the trip easier for a young Autistic child.  He did amazing and there were just a few challenging moments, but considering how tough it could have been I am so proud of him and so relieved to be here.

Tropical Flowers

We're staying with my Mum in Portarlington on the Bellerine Peninsula in Victoria.  It's supposed to winter here, but it's been warm and sunny.  We've been walking on the beach every morning, collecting sea glass and sea shells and just soaking in the sea breeze.  The Bellerine Peninsula is a little jut of land that curves around Port Phillip Bay.  Melbourne sits directly across the bay and offers a lovely city scape view in the distance which is particularly beautiful at night. Portarlington is a tiny fishing village that is popular with holiday makers in the summer time.  The beaches all face the bay so are always calm and gentle. It's perfect for children.

Tropical Flowers

Since being here Thomas has struggled a little with jet-lag and getting used to the change in environment, but he's slowly adjusting to his new surroundings.  It's so good to have family around again and Megan is being spoiled rotten.


I haven't had much time for art yet, I'm totally consumed with helping my kids settle in and catching up with family, but I did manage to get a quiet moment on the cliff top along the foreshore yesterday and penned a quick plain air scribble which I washed with a little watercolor.

Tropical Flowers

I thought I'd share another page as well.  This one I did a little while ago of some tropical flowers in my Stillman & Birn Epsilon Series Sketchbook. It's done in Sennelier Soft Pastels and ink with a Twinkling H2O wash background.  The contrast between the Southern end of Australia and the North is vivid and I can't wait to interpret her many moods over the coming months.

Tropical Flowers

I'm so excited to be here and can't wait for my husband to arrive in a few more weeks.  We have so much exploring and adventure ahead of us and there will be lots of art to share as well.


Tropical Flowers
In the meantime, any time I have to myself is taken up with video editing for "Mastering Twinks".  This class is going to be amazing, I'm so excited with all the shimmer and sparkle that I'm sharing.  If you'd like to join in, the fun starts on July 11th.  For more information or to register, click here.

Tropical Flowers

Thanks for checking in. xx

Friday, June 21, 2013

When Artists Cook: Jenn's Secret Recipe


Hi all, it's Jenn from Just Add Water Silly, here to bring you yet another art based recipe! This time though, I'm giving away a huge secret to you. Yes, a secret recipe that my family has kept close to our hearts and under wraps for decades. Why am I sharing this coveted recipe now, you ask? Well, because I'll probably never be able to make it for myself ever again. :o(  That kind of precludes me using it in a dinner party setting too because then I couldn't eat the first course!
 
This recipe came from one of my mom's best friends who was a gourmet chef but also believed that there were easier ways to do stuff that tasted fabulous. When I was a toddler my mom convinced Ethyl to teach a cooking class to the neighborhood women and in that class mom learned our coveted PINK SHRIMP BISQUE recipe. 

It's so easy to make it's criminal! In fact, I won the senior class award in home economics for this recipe, I just had to make sure that the teacher didn't actually see me making this amazing soup or she'd have a cow!(Hey, it's not like anyone said it had to be a complicated recipe, it just had to taste great, hehehe.) I'll admit, I did feel a little guilty though. ;o)
 
Anyway, the reason I'll never be able to eat this soup again is two fold. First, there is gluten in several of the key ingredients and second, it uses ingredients in cans and until those companies stop using BPA's in their can liners, I'm not able to use their products. BPA's are actually synthetic estrogen and it's quite amazing just how much BPA's you can get into your body by  just eating the product from a BPA lined can. 

Right now my body can't handle synthetic estrogen, it totally throws off my own hormonal balance, so I am now not eating anything in a can! Just so you know, there are companies that are going BPA free but in Canada it's harder to get those brands. Ok, here's the totally awesome recipe, you're NOT going to believe just how easy it is and just how totally awesomely delicious it is!  

Pink Shrimp Bisque 
 
From: Jenn's Recipes 
#Servings: 4 (appetizer sized) Category: Soups & Stews 
Ingredients: 6 oz. small shrimp (frozen or canned) 1 can Campbell's tomato soup 1/2 can Campbell's green pea soup 
1 1/4 c cream
1 can crab meat (optional) 1 lemon (optional)
Directions: 1. Whisk the soups together. 2. Add the cream and the shrimp. 3. Bring to a very gentle boil. 4. Remove from heat immediately 5. Pour into 4 shallow bowls. 6. Optionally, float a thin slice of lemon on top.
Notes
  • add cilantro as garnish.
  •  I love adding the extra crab or doubling the shrimp but any protein can be substituted for the shrimp!
  • This recipe can be made using milk instead of cream for a less rich everyday soup.
This recipe, when made as stated is great for dinner parties, so darn easy to make, spectacular to eat and totally impressively rich. I also used to love it as an anytime soup, just substitute the cream for 2% milk or even unsweetened almond milk. (sweetened almond milk would make the soup just too sweet as Campbell's tomato soup is already sweet.) The great thing about this soup is it follows the old adage...
Best,
If you'd like to join my Artist's Play Room just click here. There's a challenge every week, come on over and add your art to my Play Room!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Time To Celebrate

SFF Cupcake

Today is a special day!  My big brother Shaun turns 50 today.  It's quite the milestone and is made all the more special by looking back at his many achievements.

SFF Cupcale

Shaun has always been an inspiration to me, and he and his wonderful family have always been there for me, through ups and downs, without question.

SFF Cupcale

Happy Birthday Shaun, I love you and am so very proud of you, have a great day.


SFF Cupcale

Thanks for checking in xx

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Color Journal

Spring Table

My crazy friend Tracey Fletcher King is going mad this month painting cups.  It's delightful to see her incredible interpretations of the many cups her friends have been sending her...well images of them I guess.

Spring Table

So in the spirit of spring, and in honor of Tracey's enjoyable cup painting escapade, I thought I would share this color study of a 'Spring Table' from my Color Journal.

Spring Table

This palette is a beautifully fresh combination of pastels and grey with just a hint of warm yellow.  For me, it conjures up images of a fresh spring garden, the scent of jasmine in the air, or an elegant garden party.

Spring Table

'Spring Table' was painted in Winsor & Newton Artist's Watercolors.  I used Permanent Sap Green, Ultramarine Violet, Potter's Pink, Payne's Gray, and Raw Umber.

Spring Table

I put the same palette together in: Luminarte's Silks Acrylic Glaze (Pretty Peridot, French Lilac, Pink Grapefruit, Black Ice, and Honey Amber); Luminarte's Twinkling H2O's (Kiwi, Sweet Lavender, Chiffon Pink, Hunter Gray, and Egyptian Gold); Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer Watercolor Pencil (Permanent Green, Violet, Medium Flesh, Payne's Grey, Light Yellow Ochre); and Caran d"ache Neocolor II Water Soluble Pastels (Bright Green, Manganese Violet, Salmon Pink, Payne's Grey, and Raw Sienna).

Spring Table

I use the Stillman & Birn 'Alpha' Series Sketchbook for this color journal.

Thanks for checking in. xx







Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Monet's Blue Iris...I think!

Monet's Blue Iris

Yesterday I managed to find a quiet moment to sit out in my garden and sketch the Irises that are in full bloom. I have an abundance of different colors and types, these are Monet's Blue...I think??  Of course I can't take credit for the garden, it is the fruits of somebody elses labor, but I can certainly appreciate it and try to do it justice in my sketchbook.

Monet's Blue Iris


Monet's Blue IrisI just received my brand new Sennelier Watercolor Pans in the mail this week and am in watercolor heaven. I officially declare these to be my favorite (non sparkly) watercolors.  They're rich in pigment, soft, and beautifully vibrant.  Much like anything made by Sennelier, they are exquisite.

Monet's Blue Iris

I also cracked open a new Stillman & Birn "Zeta" series sketchbook.  I've been rolling through these books like a whirlwind.  They are truly beautiful, with smooth, heavy weight, white paper, coupled with the Sennelier Watercolors, they are one of my favorite combinations. I've been overwhelmed at how beautiful the colors and lines appear on the page.

Monet's Blue Iris

But now it's back to my treasured Twinkling H2O's and preparation for my upcoming online class "Mastering Twinks - Twinkling Expressions".  If you haven't signed up yet, I'm running a promotion right through June, click here for details.

Monet's Blue Iris

Thanks for checking in. xx




Monday, June 10, 2013

Happy Birthday AMF

AMF Cupcake

Today is a rather special day in our house.  Firstly, my sister arrives from Australia to spend a week with us before helping me travel with the children back to Australia; and secondly, it's her birthday!

AMF Cupcake

We're so excited, it's been quite sometime since we've seen her and Megan is bursting with excitement. She's been preparing a few little birthday surprises for her. I'm sure she'll be jet-lagged, but we can't waste a minute of her special day.

AMF Cupcake

We have a little under a week now until our big trip Down Under.  I can't wait to get home and see all my family and friends again. 

AMF Cupcake


Happy Birthday AMF...we love you! xx


Friday, June 7, 2013

When Artists Cook

Trio of Pears

In the spirit of global consideration, I thought I'd celebrate the Southern Hemisphere autumn with some sound advice on how to pick a pear.

Trio of Pears

When it comes to autumn fruits, it's usually the apple that gets all the attention, but I thought I would be nice to honor the sweet, seductive pear.

Trio of Pears

Pears are one of the few fruits that are actually much better when picked before they're ripe. If you buy firm pears at the grocery store, place them in a paper bag to ripen. Putting a banana or an apple in the bag will speed up the process. (Go figure!)

Trio of Pears

Pears ripen from the inside out, so as soon as the stem end has a slight 'give' to it when gently pressed, the fruit is ripe. (Don't squeeze them, it just bruises them.) Unlike apples, which are ready to eat from the day they are picked from the tree, pears if allowed to tree-ripen, are often mushy, coarse, or gritty. The colder the pears are, the longer they'll stay in good condition, in fact, they actually need to be cooled in order to ripen properly.


Trio of Pears

And what is the best way to eat a perfectly ripe pear?

Well, according to the experts, "a really juicy pear is best eaten while naked, in the bathtub, so that you needn't be concerned about the abundant juice streaming down your chin."

Trio of Pears

These pears were done using Sennelier Soft Pastels and Ink in my Stillman & Birn Epsilon Series Sketchbook.

Enjoy your weekend, and thanks for checking in. xx