Silver Crow Project

Behind The Curtain...

Last week the fantastic Natasha asked me to be a part of a virtual blog tour. It involves letting you have a behind the scenes peek at what I do. I'm not sure how behind the scenes it will be as I pretty much tell you everything anyways... but there will be coffee and cake at the end so stick around.

I have a few questions to answer.  Not going to lie - they scare me a little bit. These are they...
  • What am I working on?  
  • How does my work differ from others of its genre?
  • Why do I write/create what I do?
  • How does your writing/creating process work?
Here we go - I may end up waffling. Bear with and remember the cake...

What am I working on?

At the moment I am obsessed with watercolour. I would call myself an absolute beginner with watercolours. I did it in high school. The whole stretching boards with water thing but have forgotten it all. I have dabbled doing backgrounds in the recent past, which were then almost completely covered up with text...
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Watercolour journal
Still one of my favourite journal pages.
But actual watercolour painting - where it's the main focus...? Well, that I am going back to the very beginning to learn. I've been eating up YouTube videos and am signed up to a couple of classes. Just this week I have been watching the videos from Visual Journal Fodder (a free class)  and Painting Realistic Watercolours. I also have a few good watercolour books to help me on my way. I've had a little helper with me in the Shedio today... we were laying down some watercolour bases for the journal fodder class.

Whoopidooings - Little helper
I'm still loving mixed media and enjoying the Soul Food and 21 Secrets classes as well. Also still working my way through 40 portraits. The idea being to do 40 portraits in your own time and in any medium. The aim is to get better and better. My most recent one was purely an exercise in my sketchbook, trying to get a feel for Neocolour ii's... Which I love because they are kind of watercolour-y but also like oil pastels.
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - In my sketchbook. Neocolour ii, Posca pen, Uniball
Portrait #12
Neocolour ii
Posca Pen
Uniball Eye Fine pens
How does my work differ from others of it's genre?

Ummmm... I don't know that I have a genre? Yet? (Yes, they are questions - please feel free to enlighten me.) Thinking about it - I love a bit of grunge but I also love clean illustrative lines - I've been dabbling trying to merge the two. I love folklore, myth, fairy tales and fantastical horror... but not any type of horror that could be real. Hence my love of monsters but complete inability to watch the latest drama here in England - Happy Valley. Saw the first episode and had nightmares. Show me zombies ripping someone's guts out and I'm like "Yeah!" Show me a car being hijacked, someone being kidnapped, beaten up and goodness knows what else... I'm a wreck.

But I've wandered off track.

So my genre...grungy but clean. Fantasy horror of the monster kind. But not human monsters. That's where I'm aiming... I'm not there yet and I don't know how that makes me different. Apart from, and I am totally stealing Natasha's thoughts on this, that I will be the one creating it, it will have come out of my noggin and my imagination, with my logic.

Why do I write/create what I do?

Short answer: Because I have to. 

Long answer: I was always drawing as a child and then in the period from about age19-30 it all stopped. Without boring you with too much detail, I wasn't a happy person. I wasn't a good role model. I was miserable and depressed quite a lot of the time. Finding my way back to creativity is like finding myself again and I know how cheesy that sounds. But - meh. It's true.

I do mourn those lost years which is what I do feel like they were. But I'm also happy to be where I am now. It's what I think about on my walks to and fro school, it's what I dream about, When I read books or watch films or even see an interesting cloud formation, I'm thinking of a picture it could be. I wish I had more time to dedicate to getting better... I just need patience for that. When my youngest starts nursery the time will come. 

How does your writing/creative process work?

"Quick, The Bear's asleep! What can I grab?" Literally. That's how I start.

At the moment - simply starting anything is an achievement. Getting out to my shedio and just getting the paints out. Or sitting at the dinner table, pens in hand and just seeing what happens.

I am slowly learning the benefits of sketchbooks as sketchbooks not something to be afraid of but something to get ideas down into and out of my head. I also have two whiteboards. Those ones that come with a calendar attached. The one in the shedio has a list of long term goals and the one in the house, above my desk has a list of deadlined goals. Swaps, presents, commissions... maybe classes that have deadlines before you lose access etc...
Whoopidooings: White board goals
Whoopidooings: White board goals
 Actually - looking at them there, I realise there are some bits I can cross off (amazing feeling!) and some bits that need adding. That's why I need them - worst memory ever! If I find I do have a little time I can look up and see what to make a start on.

Actual inspiration can come from anywhere. Something someone says, a film, picture in a magazine, a book, browsing the internet, nature, being part of a swap that makes you go investigate the theme... you name it. Comes from anywhere. It's all around us.

And that's me done. Well done if you read this far. Now I nominate three other people to carry on the tour next Monday. (The 19th)  People that inspire me.

Virginia is a mixed media, scrapbooking  machine. A mini-book making monarch. She is the proud owner of a Harry Potter time turner. And it's real. It must be. Not only is she the most prolifically creative woman in the world (probably,) she is also the founder of Rocking My World Friday. A once a week reflection on the good things in our lives and for that I credit her with saving my sanity. She will always have my undying love and gratitude. Visit her at Celtic House.

Jo is always visiting some interesting gallery exhibition, fayre or festival of some kind - I live vicariously through her wonderful round-ups of the places she's visited. She isn't afraid to dabble in anything and her mixed media collage work is just sublime. She makes it look effortless and it makes me happy to see it. She also has similar sense of humor to mine... not so sure that's a good thing!  Visit her at Fiddlesnips.

Judith I discovered quite by accident while googling for book reviews. She's been stuck with me ever since. A person who can create such emotion and atmosphere in her watercolour paintings and will quite happily tell you how she did it. Uber talented, generous and enthusiastic. I love her blog - visit her at Art by Judith Farnworth. (Judith's post will be up towards the end of next week - make sure and check back.)

And - because obviously I can't count to three...

Rachael is the colourful inhabitant of Shroo's World. I am in love with her illustrative style, I love her posts about people that have inspired her (my groaning wishlist does not!) I love that she too will quite happily tell you how she did what she did. Her handmade books are works of art in themselves. She's really inundated at the mo and probably doesn't know she features here - but count her as a bonus. You wont regret it.

I think all my picks have in common their unfaltering joy and enthusiasm in what they do. It just flies off the screen at you - they tell you how they did it, they want you to have that joy too. That's why I love them :)

Thanks for stopping by today...

I lied about the cake! :)


  1. This was a fantastic read Carmen. It must have taken quite a bit of thinking about :) Thanks as always for your honesty and the warmth and love for what you do, which just humps out at me and inspires me> I can't draw, but your attitude ? that I can take with me!

  2. Well it's lucky I loved the read cos I only came for the cake! You are a tease!

    Great post, I really enjoyed reading all about you - even though I like to think I know you pretty well already, there's always something else to find out. You know I love your artwork and your thirst for artistic knowledge. I adore that you include your kiddiwinks too (great photo of Logan!) :)

    Thank you so much for including me in your list of people who inspire you (really?!).


  3. Loved reading all your thoughts and dreams Carmen... am looking forward to writing mine!! Thank you so much for including me... it is an honour to think you are inspired by my art and ramblings, like you I try to be as honest as I can and to share what has been going on and what I have learned!!

  4. I was very interested, but so disappointed about the cake, lol!! I love the way you create and write, with complete honesty.

  5. The bear's asleep what can I grab? Love it Carmen! Those days are long gone for me but I have the same issue . . . time to do all that I want to do. There is so much I WANT to do that there just aren't enough hours available . . . and when I get some time I'm sometimes frozen with choices. Your three bloggers sound really interesting . . . I'll have to follow up and drop in . . . another thing to add to the 'to do' list!

    Dream on and dream BIG!

  6. Lovely! Such a good read, your writing is perfect and feels so warm, personal and has inspired. This is how I intended my blog to best get crackin'

  7. Wow Carmen.. that was great... beautiful flow in your post.. loved it... and so hear you about that time wasted way back when.. and trying to find the time now... I love what you do always... and you inspire me too... will have to check out your inspirations too.. I miss my blog and bloggy friends... it's been so long... xx

  8. Wow that was a fabulous read I will be checking some of those blogs out too some I haven't come across before. Will put thinking cap on for my post thank you for picking me I feel very humbled.

  9. What a great post Carmen-I'm going to have fun following all your links too!

  10. Interesting read...and I'm going to hold you to the cake promise, you can just pop it in the post, lol. Nicky {Creative Flourishes} x

  11. I just did a long comment Carmen and got an 'there is an error' message on the screen and Google had lost it. I'll have to come back tomorrow and try again. Thanks for all your comments on my blog. XX

  12. Hi Carmen, I found you via Natasha...thought I would stop by & say hi as I am also one of her 3 forwards on this blog tour. Love your answers & your work is wonderful!! (That little helper is pretty cute too ;). These were some tough questions, weren't they? Hard to talk about onesself isn't it? I enjoy your site! Inspiring & fun! Cheers - Patricia (magentamatters)

  13. Fab post - as always! Watercolours don't scare me.......MUCH!!! I shall be stalking you closely ;) xxx

  14. Hi Carmen, this is a fantastic post, and I love everything about it. Your portrait No 12 is fantastic and the slightly weird lady below her who seems to have had too much of a good time last night below her.
    I've now forgotten what I said yesterday in the comment that Google kindly lost, but it was full of admiration for you and for everything you said. As for your 'genre', I think having a genre can be rather constricting and it needs care not to stay in the comfort zone - at least I know that it how it would apply to me. Your genre is to be YOU, and to continually experiment and search out and stretch yourself all the time, which leads to fantastic work. How you get so much done in the limited time you have I just don't know, I get so little done when all I have to do is collect my pension! So keep going as you are, I so much enjoyed coming back and reading it all again. XX

  15. What a great read! I follow Judith's art and her page led me to yours - I know what you mean about mourning those lost years - only I waited until I was in my 40s before starting up again after school!!! But at least I'm doing it now! Love that journal page - mixed media is something I've been thinking about for a while but not actually branched into it yet!

  16. I really like the first portrait. I think it is exquisite. My hubby loved the second one. Very zombie like were his words ;-)

  17. I love this! LOVE getting a sneak peek into your world and to see your lists and desk and, as always, gorgeous work! I'm LOVING the zombie too - and Bear! Thank you for sharing you with us! xoxo

  18. I gave up art for a while, and was miserable too. I understand how you lose a piece of yourself when you do that. :)

  19. Not even made about the lack of cake :D Wonderful post, love staring over an artist's shoulder ;)

  20. Of course, I meant "mad" not made. Although..."made" makes more sense when leaving a comment about art. LOL :P

  21. What... No cake!? It was nice to get some insight into your creative world, thanks for sharing. I had a gap of quite a few years of very little creativity too, I'm just starting to find my way again. I feel the same way as you when it comes to creativity and inspiration, it's in everything. Being creative is like breathing to me, it's something I need to do to function properly. I really enjoyed reading this post.

    P.s I love Rachels blog at shroo's world too, her work is amazing!


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