jeudi 31 décembre 2015

V's 52 portraits || bonus


We don't know what the future holds for us. 2015 was a wonderful year for me, full of creative adventures, the closing of old wounds, new job opportunities and new friendships. My One Little Word was 'commit' and it served me well. Here is hoping that 2016 will be just as nourishing. It will be a pivotal year for me with our move to Beijing. I had picked a Word for 2016, but changed my mind only two days ago. My One Little Word for this coming year will be 'focus' because I really need to be careful about how much I take on at a time. Spending a day with someone in my family and seeing that person multitask in the worst way (i.e. not being present at all even though we were only with them for a short time) made me realize that I do that sometimes too. I hate the way it makes me feel and I would hate to make my loved ones feel like that. So I want to focus on the task at hand (something I learned in Caylee's Level Up class) and be more efficient and be more in the moment for it.

I have to plan an international move, get rid of a whole bunch of stuff, divide our belongings into storage bound and overseas bound, learn some mandarin, enjoy these last few months here, be with my kids, work at my job and get in some creative me time. The only way that all of this can happen is if I focus and get organised. So let's do this.

I want to wish you a creative, fulfilling 2016. Thank you for coming to this space, thank you for the sense of community that I get from reading your comments and interacting with you. Thank you for your inspiration. A toast to 2016: happy New Year to one and all!

mercredi 30 décembre 2015

My 2016 project : V's 52 pickup

Get Messy is getting ready to launch its new website mid-January. We as a group are declaring 2016 the year of the art journal! We are setting our creative intentions for the coming year. I have consistently made and shared many art journal pages throughout the year in 2015 (actually, since 2012) and I will keep doing so.

In 2015, I also did two long term projects : first, I participated in the 100 day project. For 100 days I drew my Unfinished Spirits. I learned a lot about my drawing skills. Mainly that they are not as good as I'd like them to be and that I should keep going.

The second project was a year-long exploration of self through my 52 portraits. One self-portrait a week throughout the year. I learned so, so much from this project. Not only technical, big-camera stuff but also about myself and how I can communicate ideas and feelings through photography. 

My greatest takeaway from this project are my words. I started writing a paragraph for each portrait and I realized that I really, truly enjoyed writing like this. Also, I was often surprised by which portrait resonated with people. More often than not, it wasn't the image that I thought would touch people that did.

The biggest gift I received from doing V's 52 portraits is the chance to turn it into something more. There is a big announcement coming soon about that.

So, on to 2016. I was chatting with Julia a month or so ago about what she had cooking for the coming year. We talked about daily creating and setting goals. I feel like I do a lot already and don't want my creative project to become something I have to do vs something I want to do. I enjoyed the weekly format that I had with my portraits. So as she and I were brainstorming, I had a light bulb moment : 52 weeks in a year, 52 cards in a deck....hence, V's 52 pickup.

For 2016, I will be altering a set of oversized playing cards. I will be sharing one card a week. I am super excited about using this vintage set of cards. They are just under 4 x 6 inches.

I wanted to keep the aesthetic that I developed in my Season of Words altered book. I like the idea of illustrating a story and re-interpreting it. I began searching for a story that would fit the project. I am a huge fan of Stephen King and in particular of the Dark Tower series. King based that work on a poem called 'Childe Roland to the Dark Tower' came. The Tower reminds me of the tarot and its use of archetypes. So I'll be integrating some of these notions on my deck. 

King often cites this quote 'I will show you fear in a handful of dust' which is from T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land. I have long wanted to get into that poem, so I bought this really awesome edition of it to use in my project.

Armed with these amazing sources of words and stories, I will incorporate vintage portraits into my altered deck. I have quite the collection of these old photographs. I love to imagine the lives of these people who are long gone.

I also plan on using other bits and pieces from my remnant pile (including some goodies Julia sent me), thread/sewing and of course paint too. I am so excited by this project.

I will be posting my card every Saturday, as I did for my 52 portraits. You are most welcome to follow along. If you are planning on taking on a creative project in 2016, let me know what it is in the comments please!

lundi 28 décembre 2015

December 30 Days of Lists | 21-26

I am wishing all of you a happy holiday Season. may you spend many happy evenings surrounded by you family and friends.

samedi 26 décembre 2015

V's 52 portraits || 52

My loves

The only thing I need under the Christmas tree. They carry me through. The perfect way to end this project. Thank you for coming with me in my year-long exploration of self. I learned so much! There were surprises and some fails, but also many interesting captured moments. I have a few very exciting things to share with you, including next year's project. More on that on Dec 30th (Wednesday).

jeudi 24 décembre 2015

Get Messy Season of Magic || 06

Hi Messians! I am writting this post from the car, on my phone, so please forgive me if it shows up a little wonky.  I have two spreads for you today.

The first one is the result of playing around using Julia's ink and acrylic tutorial.

Equilibrium is my wish for the holidays : a balance between all of the hectic festivities and actually resting. 

After layering all that paint, I added some gold, neon red and some glitter pieces. I wanted the figures to reflect the idea of equilibrium so I chose monochromatic  photos and used huge sticker letters for my word.

My second spead is about the ending of the year and that moment when you reflect on all that has transpired.

I kept the spread itself dark but the flap light. I used some metallic colors on the black gesso. In the right light, they really sparkle.

I added my journalling using my white Uni-ball Signo.

To illustrate the idea of letting in more light, I kept both sides of the flap white.

To create the background, I closed the flap while the white and black gessos were a little wet so they would imprint.
On the top of the flap, I stitched a vintage Polaroid given to me by my friend Hillary. 

I'm so bad at letting sleeping dogs lie, I'm always waking those pooches up. The stamps are from the magical set by Papier Projekt.

Wishing you and yours the best Season of Magic and Love and Family. XOXO

mardi 22 décembre 2015

December 30 Days of Lists | 13-20

More than halfway through. Christmas is just around the corner...who is ready? Here are my lists for week three.

lundi 21 décembre 2015

My Get Messy story

I am so honored to have been renewed on the Get Messy Creative Team. We are getting ready to launch Get Messy 3.0 in January and have an expanded and diversified group of artists on the team.

We thought we'd share our Get Messy story and what this group has given us. I will link the ladies from the CT at the end of this post so you can go take a look at their stories. I joined Get Messy in the first ever incarnation of the group in June 2014. At the time, I was already art journaling everyday and had been doing so since 2012. It is for me an integral part of understanding the world around me and finding my place in it. I discovered art journaling when I was having a hard time understanding my new identity following an international posting.

Some of my earlier work can be seen here. I had a different blog before Dans Mon Crâne so I don't have anything prior to March 2013.

Art journaling helped me express emotions I needed to get out of me and unto paper. From a very therapeutic, urgent need, my art journaling practice has turned into an exploration of self, a discovery of inner workings and outward attitudes. I love art journaling for the interplay between hide and reveal, for its honesty as an art form and for the healing I get when I feel I have expressed what needed to be said.

See other earlier work here and here.

When I joined Get Messy, I was doing something a little different. I was following the 52 weeks of art journaling class at A Beautiful Mess (not offered anymore). This is the class that Caylee and Lauren had started and which inspired them to become accountable to each other. Get Messy grew out of that need. I was very excited to be included in the Get Messy group and to have a sounding board for my work. I was definitely working in a different format because I was documenting our move from Hong Kong back to Canada. Every once in a while I would share a page from my Moleskine art journal.

Read my very first Get Messy post here.

Every month, we'd get a prompt. We would share the pages resulting from that prompt at the end of the month. The rest of the time, our pages were our own. This was a good way for all of the participants (we were 50 in all) to see and comment on everyone's work. At the end of 2014, the girls decided to expand Get Messy and to change it up a bit. It would become a prompt-based art journaling extravaganza. 

I was so honored to be asked to be on the creative team. This was so exciting to me because I really like to share my pages and to share techniques or ideas with others. Get Messy 2.0 gave me that space to both explore and grow. The group is a very dynamic forum where members share inspiration and interests. I have learned so much in the year since GM has become prompts-based.

I love the idea of Seasons. Two months is just enough time to really delve into a theme and see where it can take you. The start of a Season is always a little off-putting for me. Yet, as I am finishing up a Season, I can't wait to know what the new one will be. I have been so inspired by the prompts of the various Seasons that some of my pages are among my favorite ever. In particular, the Season of Words really opened up something in me. I love the altered book that resulted from it.

Get Messy is also a catalyst for exchanges with like-minded artists. I have made some good friends there. People with whom I have a real connection that goes beyond just internet chit chat. It's like finding your tribe. Some very interesting projects have emerged from this forum : the Zine Squad, GM Charity Books, a mail exchange group, Pinterest boards and accountability projects...just to name a few.

And now we are preparing to launch Get Messy 3.0. I am once again on the creative team and this version is gearing up to be something else! The website will get a re-vamp, the Seasons are chock-full of inspiration and Get Messy has assembled a team of creatives that is full of diversity and is sure to inspire you no matter what your style is. Check out the team and their stories:

Thank you for reading this and for following me in my creative endeavours. I put a lot into this blog and am always happy when I get feedback from you, the readers.

V's 52 portraits || 51


There are people who come into your life just at the right moment. Living a nomadic life is wonderful but also difficult. You open up new horizons for yourself and your family, but you also lose touch with your base. Friendships are precious, curious things. You feel nervous (like it's a first date), you want to impress and fit in. You get close to people but you always remember that it is only for a certain time. The ties you make are strong for a while then fade depending on the rhythm of your postings. When you return, it's not always easy to fit back in your gang. So much has happened to them and to you while you were away.

But then, certain ties made abroad are forever. Because of shared experience. You don't have to explain to them why it was hard for you to adapt to this new country because they have gone through it themselves. You can share the fact that you feel completely confused in your role as mother, wife, woman, partner; because they know the pressure you feel having to abandon it all to start anew somewhere else.

These women have shown resilience through hard times. Annie-Claude who holds Charlie (the rainbow baby whom we met just today) has gone through the loss of her first child Mathilde and come out of that dark tunnel as one of the most honest and strong women I know. She advocates for the end of the taboo that surrounds infant loss. We shared tears and joy and anger and silence and screams through that year and distance and time hasn't changed our bond. Jo has had to adapt countless times to her changing identity as a woman and mother. Like me, she has had to reinvent herself to find who she is and to be strong enough to accept these changes and their impact on our families.

As our departure for Beijing looms ahead, I know that these women and my girls (from portrait 11) are my base, the ones who will see me through. They are my chosen family and I love them.

jeudi 17 décembre 2015

Get Messy Season of Magic || 05

I got my magic mojo back. I lost it a little last week. But on Friday I stayed home with my daughter and had the chance to work in actual daylight and it all came rushing back. This first spread is inspired by Julia's mention of the Salem witches and done in Essie's recognizable style.

Those words by Robin Lee on the right side (left are my own words) completely sealed these pages.

Fire walk with me, right?

As I am typing this up, Khaleesi is draped on my arms and keeps pressing on the keyboard. This second spread ties in with last Saturday's portrait.

With the flap open. The butterflies reference the Vanessa Io, a butterfly with skulls on its wings. For real, see it here.

The feline silhouette was done Tanyalee-style! I found some cool, grimoire/book of spells style writing to imitate for my journaling.

The women faces on the right are by Liza Corbett. I'm a huge fan.

And this is my very own grandmother, Marie-Jeanne Bousquet, in 1934.

My final spread is a favorite. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to capture it in daylight. I wish you could see the subtleties.

With the flap open.

This is in response to this week's prompts. This season for me is reflective and turned toward my core while at the same time being quite busy. 

It's not easy to find that quiet time, those peaceful moments amid family reunions, travel and all the brouhaha. For me there is a lot of emotional stuff going on, overeating, stress eating, guilt eating.

I love all the subtle layers here. I used lots of water, soft watercolors, glitter paint and a deep indigo water-soluble pencil, after seeing Cait's IG post about her graphite pencil. I also used modeling paste through Orly's stencils. I love the dimensions these give.

The watercolors blended so beautifully, I'm really happy with this spread.

Getting lost in the details....

Thank you for coming by. Wishing you all some quiet time this season.


Get Messy Art Journal is gang of crafty vixens who are sharing art journal pages we have created to practice our skills and push past our creative limits with hopes to inspire. We support and encourage one another on this journey of creating and learning and we would love for you to join us too

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