Sisterhood Of The Travelling Sketchbook - June

It's been a long time since I posted anything remotely arty or crafty. It's not just my bones that are getting weary and run down. What with the move and then our week in Loch Ness (bliss!) straight after - well, my creative side is resembling Miss Havisham's wedding cake! Cobwebby and neglected, in need of a good dusting and airing.

So - I am running a bit behind on the Sisterhood sketchbooks. I still have July to do and then I'm up to date with the ones that have arrived here so far. This one is my June entry, I completed this before the move but time just slipped away from me and am just now doing my show and tell.

Whoopidooings (Carmen Wing)  Summer Solstice Remembrance Art JournalJune is the month we lost Mum and it was on the Summer Solstice. So nowadays June is all about reflection, remembering, being sad but also grateful for the time I had with the best Mum in the world. I'm often quite maudlin and I think about the past a lot. And time. I think so much about time, time that's passed and what's to come. How I could have changed things, how I should change things, how I wish things would stay the same as they are now forever... So I hope my pages show this a bit. I tried to give them a Stone Henge-y type of feel.

This one shows the sparkle a bit better - the purple 'stones' are metallic acrylic mixed with normal black acrylic and the background has been liberally sprayed with Glimmer Mist.

Whoopidooings (Carmen Wing)  Summer Solstice Remembrance Art Journal
It was a good page to do, just sitting playing with the paint and remembering. I wish Mum had seen me rediscover the creative side of myself - she kind of saw the start of it when she got me to go to an art night class with her - I wish she could've seen just what she unleashed.

Best therapy ever this pastime of ours.

Thanks for stopping by as always - am trying to catch up with you all :) Slowly, slowly.

Ravenwood by Andrew Peters




Blurb: Ark lives a mile up, in the last trees in the world.

But even in this sky-high city, someone has to unblock the drains- and it’s Ark the plumber’s boy, who overhears a plot to destroy his forest home.
On the run for his life, Ark races from the highest tree-tops to the darkest roots of Ravenwood to find a way to save his people.
I’ve seen a couple of reviews for this book around blogland and it was definitely on my wishlist to get. A world of the future where we have all but destroyed our natural planet apart from this one tiny corner that still has trees… Trees which hold entire cities and towns within their branches, their trunks… even their roots. Where humankind has developed and evolved to live in each separate part of the trees. But this existence is under threat from the dwellers of Maw, a country that would harvest the last trees in the world and enslave or kill the people that stand in their way.

I really wish I could have sat down and immersed myself in this story, really snuggled down and read it in a couple of sittings. Circumstances dictated that it was read in snatches here and there – I still loved it, loved the island of Arborium, could really visualise these huge towering trees. I love how the animals had evolved too, becoming huge almighty beasts in some cases.

There were two stars of the story for me. Firstly were the ravens, evolved into huge formidable beasts and revered as sacred among the tree dwellers. “Out of the shadows of the under-forest, a darker shadow blotted out his vision. As he shrank down instinctively, he forced himself to look up and saw the huge, dark eyes swallowing him, the claws – each the size of a sword – advancing to rip him up for supper, and the vast wings about to settle and draw a cloak over all his days.” Secondly, the forest and all its walkways, structures, palace, fields, the hidden tunnels to the roots below, the lift that flings people back skywards… it takes on a whole persona of its own. This is one of those books that you really hope gets picked up for a movie – I think Arborium and in particular the scenes in the Ravenwood and down in the depths of the roots of the trees would look fantastic on the big screen, it was so richly described, I’d love to see if how I envisioned it would be the same on screen.

All in all, loved this one and will definitely read again when I do get some time to sit and read it in a oner. I think I will forever more be using the term “Buddy Holly” when things go slightly awry!

Thank you as always for stopping by.

Andrew Peters
Published by Chicken House

Many thanks to Vivienne for sending me the book :)


Painted Pages by Sarah Ahearn Bellemare



Blurb: Sarah Ahearn Bellemare’s whimsical mixed-media paintings are layered with found images, fragments of text from old books, pieces of outdated maps and glimpses of inspiration from daily life.
In her new book, Painted Pages, she shows how to use the artist’s sketchbook as a daily working tool; a place to collect inspirations, scraps, photos and doodles that can fuel idea`s and lead directly to future mixed-media paintings.

Each chapter features an inspiring and fresh collection of photographs by Thea Coughlin. The images spur ideas and illustrate prompts, techniques and projects that guide you through creating individual and personal works of art based on a variety of themes.

Extras include profiles of well-known artists and bloggers who share a peek into their sketchbooks and journals and details about how they stay inspired and creative.

This isn’t a step by step “how to do mixed-media” book, it’s more a look at Sarah Ahearne Bellamare’s own personal creative process. She throws in a few hints and tips that she’s learned along the way and also details her favourite materials. She’s not saying these are the materials that we should all use, just that these are the ones she’s found work best for her. I like this approach and I like the explanation of what each thing does… for example, I’ve seen Golden Medium mentioned around the T’internet a lot but never really knew exactly what it was – well, now I do. I also like her take on image transferring and will be trying her technique - it seems less messy than others I've tried. I also love the way she uses the photos within her collages – it’s got my head buzzing with ways to put my own twist on this within scrapbooking.

A lot of Sarah’s tips I already do but there were a few in there that are so obvious I feel almost daft for not doing them already – using sketchbooks as mobile inspiration boards for example, carrying one with you and taping in found bits and pieces that inspire you on a daily basis – creating mini collages within the pages with jotted down thoughts and feelings, doodles and sketches… I do this on a larger scale in a huge sketchbook, why don’t I do it on the go as thoughts occur in a smaller book? I will be from now on.

I especially liked the last section. At first it annoyed me a bit throughout the book where she shows an idea or technique and then says “flip to such and such a page to see the finished painting.” I wanted it right there – on the next page but on completing the book I see why this was done. It kept the chapters sectioned off better and enabled the last chapter to be the one where we see a canvas go from idea, to thought process, to painting and collage, to finished piece.

I have to mention the size of the book too. At roughly 11” by 11.5” it was not to big and not to small, I enjoyed reading this leisurely each morning with my breakfast, a quick run-down the page you are on with your hand and the pages stay open not flipping closed again, allowing you to read easily while keeping your hands free to maybe work along (or eat!) while you read.

Whether you are an established artist or a complete beginner I think you’d find something for you in this book. Even if it’s purely the nosiness factor of getting to look around someone else’s space and seeing the creative process from their viewpoint. Even if Sarah’s style is not your style – it’s not mine, I’m much more grungy, there is still inspiration to be gained from this book. I found it an enjoyable read and have definitely come away from it with a few ideas of my own.

Thank you to Quarry Books for sending the book for review :)

www.quarrybooks.com
www.quarrybooks.co.uk

Sarah Ahearne Bellemare: Blog & Website

Thea Coughlin

Thanks, as always, for stopping by :)

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