Art Journal

You are currently browsing the archive for the Art Journal category.

Have you heard? will gradually be shut down – please adjust your bookmarks and links and come on over and join me at my new site, Caity Makes …

Time to…


I reckon every so often, you need to MOVE.  (Not just your body – although please, please PLEASE let the Oroxine work and me stop being such a slug!)

No, I mean, a MOVE.  Where things get sorted out and clutter gets thrown, and you get to actually organise and start fresh.

So – I’m packing (virtual) boxes, loading them into my (virtual) car and caravan (so cute!) and moving.  Stay tuned!

Sorry if my words are a little indistinct – I’m talking to you whilst eating (dreadfully rude, I know!) HUMBLE PIE.

(Thankfully, not Umble pie – because, you know, the origin of that? The umbles were the guts of the beast. I don’t care if that is venison, beef, whatever – it’s still OFFAL PIE. And I do not eat offal, it’s awful… (And to further parenthesize that statement, the joke probably only works with a certain sort of accent) (and can you tell I just re-watched The Pirates of Penzance on the weekend?!) (how many parentheses does that make?))

Not that long ago (see post HERE and here…, because I forgot I’d already done a rant about the same topic) I was VERY dismissive of scrap-booking and scrap-bookers. I believe the question “where’s the creativity?” may even have been asked, in ALL CAPS yet.


Humble, humble, apologetic pie. Because I have been doing some surfing online and maaaaaaaaan! What I saw! Yes, there are a lot of people out there doing ho – hum – follow -*to the millimetre* – what –  Simon – says (for “Simon” insert magazine/tutorial/teacher/whatever) – they’re not the ones I’m talking about. No, the really inspiring ones are people like Ali Edwards, Jen Fei-Fan Balzer, Dina Wakley

And the TOYS! I want a Cricut Expression (with the design software, please and thank you), oh, sooooo much. (And not just for its possible use in ummmmm… pirate stencilling, *wink*).

And spray inks! and oh, the pretty pretty papers… and grungey papers… and rub ons (not as dirty as they sound, you feeeeelthy minded person, you!).

And then there’s the digital side.. which has opened my access to whollllllllllllllle ‘nother world, even if I am still at the stage where I like to play with the images on the computer screen but then print and hand colour and cut and paste (nothing wrong with hybrid stuff –  – I mean, have you SEEN Marsha’s work? She makes beautiful wonderful art… and so does CD Muckosky – and so do many others, I’m sure).

And it’s not all expensive stuff – check out this tutorial (which I haven’t watched because our internet is throttled, arrrgh!)

Apart from the fact that ‘they’ tend to work on 12×12 pages, and generally use a few more photos than I do (although THAT will be changing, I’m taking LK’s Point and Shoot Journalling class in just over a week!) – where is the difference between what ‘they’ are doing and what I’m calling art journals?

Not a whole lot. I tend to use more handwritten text but even that’s not a distinguishing factor. So do ‘they’. So – (as I take another slice of humble pie) – I was WRONG.



SO what IS the difference, can anyone enlighten me? Between – hmmm, let’s call it ‘liberated scrap-booking’ (and hope no one else has already called something that!) and art journals – WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

”][click for big - be warned, LARGE so you can read if you want]

So I’m doing this online thing with Kelly Kilmer and it’s AWESOME, a painting prompt, collage prompt, and journalling prompt every day.  I think it’s really pushing me out of my comfort zone (layers of acrylic paint!) and yesterday I was happily painting the background when I saw this figure start to emerge.

(Be gentle, she’s not done yet, and I don’t normally paint  – ummmm – recognisable things! )


What do you think? I’m not quite sure where she’s going next, why there’s a bird on her head, or what she’s doing but we’ll work it out.

And now my confession: I LOVE ALL THINGS HALLOWEEN-Y!!

There, I’ve said it.

It’s not a holiday we celebrate down under (sadly!) so the very few bits and bobs of Halloween stuff we get in the shops tend to be of the very low end, cheap-nylon-witch-hat-with-attached-purple-wig variety.  (No disrespect intended to any cheap nylon witches.)

And alllll the arty blog girls are making AWESOME Halloween stuff – I mean, check out these bunnies who’ve decided that Bunnies aren’t just for Easter! And of course the SPOOKTACULAR stuff over at Cart Before the Horse (who BTW are having an awesome giveaway, go there now! Oh wait, DON’T, cos I want to win it! No, hang on, DO, because their stuff is WONDERFUL!).

Am I a lone Aussie in love with Halloween?





I didn’t forget to take my 365 self portrait yesterday – I just didn’t have my computer. It had been getting a wee bit unstable, as these things do, so it was time to save all the data and do a “nuke & pave” – wipe the whole box clean and install a whole new Operating System.  I must say, I LOVE LINUX MINT!!  Super easy to manage, (I did the install by myself! Try doing THAT with a w1nd0ws OS!) and the price is awesome (FREE!).  My computer is now back up to date and running faster – I just have to make time to trawl through all the backed up files and see what REALLY needs keeping.

And I’m very gradually learning how to do more things in GIMP – all the layers and brush tools and so on like ph0t0sh0p, but again – FREE!!  We love that price!

Today I had a lovely shopping morning with BFF Sue – I only bought a couple of very necessary T-shirts, booooooorrrring! Oh, and a small pressie that I have to mail off tomorrow for a friend in Oregon. (Tee hee! I will show what it is once she has hers – it was so cute I had to buy one for myself, too!)

Off to the gastroenterologist this arvo.  *shudder* Hope she can at least point me in the direction of some answers – I’m really tired of stomach/abdominal pain.  Ugh.

Open the door and come in

Open the door and come in

[clicky biggy, obviously]

And finally for this post – a book recommendation.  I’m a hyuuuuuuuuuge fan of Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody mysteries, but she’s getting on (both Elizabeth and Amelia!) and I dread there being no more new books. So I was delighted to read a new (to me) archaeological/mystery heroine – not the same as Amelia, no one ever could be, but quirky, completely in her time period ( I have been known to throw books at the wall for the sin of anachronism) and with delightful detail.  Barbara Cleverly is possibly my favourite new find this year!  I stayed up finishing the first book (Tomb Of Zeus) last night and started the second over breakfast this morning.  I’m hoping this will be the start of a looooong series of Laetitia Talbot books!


(Barbara Cleverly also writes the Detective Joe Sandilands series, but I haven’t read any of those yet.)

Right, that’s about it from me, gotta go find where I’ve put the papers I need to take with me to the specialist…

Family Ephemera

So I’ve been thinking a lot about ephemera lately – finding it, and using it in my journals.   When my Nana’s house was cleared out, I inherited many interesting things – this is one of my favourites that I only recently discovered in an envelope full of saved stamps:

The stamp dates from 1936 and celebrates the Centenary of (the State of) South Australia, where my grandfather was born (and coincidentally, where my brother now lives in the very small suburb of Granpa’s birthplace!

So I love the handwritten notation “This is news to me.”

I have no idea who wrote it but it makes me laugh.

news to me

My parents are currently cleaning out their house of many accumulated things and part of me want to go down there and RESCUE it all and bring it back here!  HOW HOARDISH AND SILLY IS THAT?

(but look, you never know what cool stuff you might find….)

10 of 365

An action shot today!  Yep, despite the low level migraine that’s been bothering me since early last night, I actually got some journalling done today.  (Of course, if you wanna see JOURNALLING, you must go check out Teesha Moore’s most recent posts – I am in AWE, always, of her work.)

One of the things I do when I get into a period of slump and self doubt about my art (dare I even call it that?!) is re-read two fabulous books by Peter H. Reynolds: (Who now has a blog!)

the dot


Both are wonderful stories about overcoming your fear of creating – Vashti’s teacher gets her to just make a mark in art class… and her creativity leaps from there. And Ramon’s drawings are not to his satisfaction, but his sister treasures them and says it doesn’t matter what it was supposed to look like – it looks (x) ISH!

*sigh* Love that.

I’m off to make DOTS. (Speaking of which, you might also like to see Jude at Spirit Cloth’s exploration of dots – really beautiful textiles.)

day 7 of 365

Yeah, it’s not going to win me any photographic awards, but I kinda like the dark foreground.  Me and Miss Kit Tern this arvo.

Also today – The Story Of The Printer.  Which Mr Beloved is writing up has written and he tells is much better than I do – I shall just say KNOW YOUR RIGHTS! And don’t buy a Kodak ESP-3 All in One multifunction printer. They suck.

For the purposes of where Mr Beloved originally sent the story, Caity is referred to as The Evil Vicar’s Wife (TEVW) and Mr Beloved is known as The Goat or as The Irreverent Mr Black.

Probably best not to ask why….

It came to pass, in those days, that TEVW did purchase a new printer for her photography and fiddly stuff, and behold, it was made by the Yellow Box Photo Stuff People. Here is its likeness.


It printeth not upon the square, and its rectangles were sort-of trapezoids with some curvature. Lo, its suckage was great. TEVW looketh upon the sites and forums, and crieth: “Bugger. Lots of people are having trouble with these. I shall send it back for a refund”.

She calleth upon the Children of Off-Us-Jerks. Verily, they sendeth her on telephone tag round their encampment, even unto the whole goddamn twelve tribes, until her call pitcheth forth at the tent of Tech Guy.

“Alas, O Tech Guy. My printer functioneth not as a printer, but melteth my images as if the demon Salvador Dali tormenteth it. This is a curse upon its kind, as written in the chronicles of the prophet Intarwub, and I wish to get my shekels back.”

The Tech Guy maketh the sound of the Hrumph, and reciteth he from a scroll by the phone, saying: “We refundeth not, nor giveth we credit. No, there are no exceptions to this rule, and we don’t care nyah nyah nyah. We sendeth thy piddly little piece of equipment to its makers beyond the sea and they fixeth it, for no fault attacheth to us and it is all out of our teflon-coated hands, so there.”

TEVW saith, “But surely the Fair Trading Act 1989, Section 40…”

But behold, he cutteth her off, saying that there are no exceptions to policy.

A certain Goat was close by, and heareth the woe of TEVW. He waxed, both wroth and the tips of his straggly moustache.

He strideth to the phone, and dialleth the tribe of Jerks, specifically Off-Us. His tone was as honey, and his pronunciation was as precise as an old-time ABC newsreader, for a very angry Goat must constantly remember to be polite.

“Good morrow, entry-level staffer. I am sorry, but I must speak with a manager, as our last call has been largely disappointing.” (words have been changed for archaic effect, but the tone is similar.)

And in due time, cometh the manager to the telephone.

The Goat, who was Black, recited the Litany Of Crappy Results, and brought the tidings that the tribe of ESP-3 was cursed by the peoples of Forum.

“We expected a printer”, he saith. “A distorter of images was not what we paid for.”

And lo, the Manager beginneth to read from the Scroll Of Store Policy.

Quoth the Goat: “Does the policy override Consumer Law, or is it the other way? Please remind me as I am a very forgetful Goat, and would not like to need to ask the Office Of Fair Trading which was more powerful.”

And behold, the Manager’s eyes were opened. Fucking wide.

And so it was that a refund was issued.

The moral of today’s sermon is to know your consumer rights. How the hell it is, that a store can have a “policy” which encourages staff to flout the law, and can continue to promote such a policy, is a mystery which is not to be unravelled this side of the grave.

(Note: Good service was given at the same store, and many of its staff are great help. It’s the policy that sucks donkey-spheres.)

So there you have it.  Good Triumphed over Evil and they All Lived Happily Ever After. What more could you want from a story?

Hiall,writing this from a kiosk( and trying not to breathe since the man nexttomehasa VERY different idea of personal hygienetomine…) and the spacebaronly workssometimes..

Ourphone line at homeisdown.  Grrrr bloody telstrainfastructure,this happensevery time wegetmorethan about3mm ofrain…. sono phone andNO INTERNETforgoodnessknows how long.


Sept 4 prompt

[click if you want to read it]

The journal prompt was “Who in your life talks too much?”

My answer – me.  ARRRGH!

Do you think my journal pages are improving?

My tonsils are spotty and I am having a bad fibro flare up – I think I’ll be having another bed day today.

I was born into a country town full of Italian migrants and their children.  I remember using Italian words for naming things with the other kids at preschool there.


The next language I fell in love with was Spanish – thanks to Sesame Street.  I told my kindergarten teacher I could SPEAK SPANISH!! which I’m sure must have amused everyone in the staff room.

In High School I studied German.

At university I studied Japanese.

These days, I’m learning poodle.

too smart

BUT – I’d really like to learn Spanish.  My Mother’s Mother spoke Spanish, I think – (I know very little about Rosita); and my Father’s Father studied Latin at university and then later in life studied and was fluent in  German, Italian, and Spanish.

I was making a journal page about all this (pardon for the crappy photo, that’ll teach me to make art bigger than my scanner, eh?!)

September 2

[click for big, but the handwriting in ink is just about illegible]

So I’m writing away about my memories of my Grandfather and how I can use the materials I inherited from him to teach myself Spanish, when all of a sudden a dream TUMBLED OUT onto the page:

“…one day I will follow the hummingbirds from Mexico to North America and I will call them ‘Joyas Voladores’ – flying jewels.”

So I’m sitting at the kitchen art table with tears dripping off the end of my nose thinking “I didn’t know I cared about it that much!”

Maaaan this journaling thing is SNEAKY!

and I didn’t know it!

But today I was in another scrapbooking store (souffle pens!) while Hill$ong crappy charismatic creepiness blasted from the store stereo.  That was ok, I could block it out by humming my favourite Lily Allen track (“Fuck you.. fuck you very very muu-uu-uuu-uch…”).

But what intrigued and frightened me was the group of women sitting around a table all with identical pieces of various papers while the teacher drill sergeant said things like “And now we are going to take our 8 cm square of green paper and stick it exactly one inch from the bottom left corner” and the women responding with worried tones: “Have I got this right? Is this ok?”

I would have told her exactly where she could stick her square of paper, I would.  This class was obviously for beginners, ok, but it was doing NOTHING towards raising these women’s confidence or belief in their own right to make decisions!  ARRRRGH!

Please note – I’m not (totally) anti-scrapbooking.  I love the toys in those shops, love the huge variety of coloured papers and printed papers and rub ons and stamps, and the PENS, OMG the pens, I loves me a good pen, who doesn’t? I am THRILLED that scrapbooking stores are around not least because there are such limited options for buying other art supplies locally.

But – WHERE’S THE CREATIVITY? WHERE’S the EMPOWERMENT that making something YOUR OWN brings?


In the last few posts I have shown you my visual journal – and you can see that I have been learning from other people’s styles.  I am so excited at the prospect of learning more, of getting the INPUT I crave.  But I don’t ever want to just make something exactly the same as anyone else (let alone as the other 6 women at the table  (“Now post your cropped photo of your schoolchild 5 inches from the right of the page…”)

Look, I know you’ve seen (heard?!) this rant before, and I’m sorry, you’ll probably hear it again… but if we are not here to be INDIVIDUALS and find meaning in our own lives – then why are we here at all?

(To see where the thoughtless copying mindset leads, have a squiz at “you thought we wouldn’t notice”, a blog highlighting laziness amongst “creatives” … and see also this post from the (hugely talented and inspiring) Marsha at Tumblefish Studio. )

up early

(apologies for the somewhat blurry text – getting to the end of this book and I really should have propped up the low side on the scanner!)


At least it’s different

coherent scrawl

a boring page….


Mexican turquoise pic from a back issue of the Smithsonian (another wonderful subscription I had to let go…)


[you know how to see it bigger.]

One of my favourites from the old portfolio:

biology and manual training for blog

[click big, yada yada…]

We are about to have our internet access throttled (aaccck!) because SOMEONE was a bit naughty and looked at lots and lots of bandwidth munching art sites this month, didn’t they CAITY?!

(At least they just reduce the speed, they don’t let us keep going and then send a bill for excess use like some (coughb1gp0ndcough) providers.)

I am getting STUCK in my visual journal – too much same same, you know?  I really need to get into some online classes and LEARN STUFF!! (cheaper than books and you get feedback straight away – I ? technology!)


[bigger if you click]

Got the new printer hooked up today (yay!) but sadly, it has no drivers to make it run on Linux OSs.  Bummer!  Luckily we keep a Windows box around for just such things – my embroidery machine software and Electric Quilt programme also need the infernal Windows. (Don’t tell me to get a Mac, please – they are NOT for povs! $$$$!! And Linux is open source and FREE.)

Also dug out the little photo printer but discovered that leaving the ink cartridge in it for (la la la!) years doesn’t do it much good.  Still, when life hands you lemons, make margaritas:


Only half the nozzles on the inkjets worked – but I am going to pretend I MEANT that to happen so I could alter/add to these postcard size prints anyway.  Yep!  (I’m hoping that when the new cartridge goes in things will right themselves – if not, I’ll have to do some opening and tinkering – good thing it’s well out of warranty, eh?)

The weather has turned cooler this evening – supposed to only be 8 C (brrr!) overnight.  Yes, I know when I ived in Canberra, it was a good winter day when it got UP to 8 sometimes! But I’m spoilt living here.  The weekend is supposed to bring more heat again.

OK, that’s it for now… things might be slow with only limited access here til midnight on the 2nd!

So I was reading Michelle Ward’s blog earlier and she had an image of these AWESOME stamps from Stampotique, by an artist new to me.  Daniel Torrente’s style really spoke to me – possibly because of the sunken eyes and scratchy lines being exactly how I’m feeling right now. (grrrrrr.)

So as I was listening to the race (vroooooooom….) I started making little scratchy sketches.


[usual deal  – click images to see bigger]

And then some more characters came out of the pen.  (I drew a self portrait of myself as an anorexic, too, but that was just so disturbing on so many levels I shouldn’t have even mentioned it….)


Now that I look at those stamps again I’m pleased that they AREN’T really copies of his style.  (For a start, mine are nowhere near as detailed or as good!) but they have definitely come from the Danny Elfman/Tim Burton/Tracy Moore zettiology/ Scott Radke’s awesome puppets/ freaky goth kinda headspace… I really want to work on more of these.

(Technical details, as if anyone is interested: Lamy fountain pen with EF nib; Noodler’s walnut ink, on al cheapo A5 visual diary paper.)

(also – note to self – get the green paint splodge off the scanner screen, sheesh!)

What do you think?

Another stressful Friday night as the DICKHEAD across the creek thinks he can play music as loud as he wants any time he wants because he’s in “an industrial unit”.

Um, no, he can’t.

Unfortunately, no one in authority want to take responsibility – is it a council/police/EPA/? problem? They’re all buck passing and meanwhile we hear “The Best of the ’80s” DOOMPHING through our bedroom….

Much more to the story but suffice to say: we are both incredibly tired and stressed and grumpy.

I am probably not even going to watch the V8 supercars race and it’s the Queensland Raceway meet… so you KNOW I’m feeling unhappy!

« Older entries