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! :)

Stay at Home CJ - Art in my Heart

The CollaborArt "Stay At Home CJ" is a project where  all the participants made just one background and come up with a theme for that background. We then sent our background  to our host, Sarah. She photocopied them and then we all got a full set of backgrounds (and our originals) back to work on. We all work on the same background each month - to the theme set by the backgrounds creator.

April's background and theme was set by Gill. The theme was Art in my Heart...
Whoopidooings: Stay at Home CJ - Gill's backgorund
I sat pondering this one for a bit - did make think. In the end, I went literal, completely literal. A very dodgy looking heart... not helped by having a paintbrush sticking out of it! I did have fun - has to be said.
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Stay at Home CJ. Mixed Media "Art in my Heart"
Gills background
White Gesso
Fineliner pens
Posca pens
Again, we all did such different pieces considering we had the same theme and background. If you'd like to see everyone elses then just click here. You'll also see a sneaky peek of the next background and theme. This is our second to last one, I'm going to miss it when we've finished. 

Thanks for stopping by today :)

Rocking My World Friday...

*Beware! Mega long, picture heavy post*

I seem to be slipping to monthly posts for my Rocking Fridays but I promise I am still practising daily. Someone said to me recently that it must be nice to have things all rosy every day. It's not that at all - I do have things going wrong like everyone and there would have been a time, not so long ago, that I would have slipped into a dark place very easily at times. But, thanks to Virginia and her Rocking Fridays, my brain is (almost) completely re-trained now. I try and look on the positive rather than leap to what's going wrong instantly like I would have before - it definitely has an effect on my mental well being. I really recommend giving it a try. 

So what's made me smile this month? Here are some of the 100 Happy Days photo's I've taken ...
Whoopidooings: Rocking My World Friday - #100HappyDays
39 - The gorgeous scrapbook page that Virginia did about her Secret Santa gift :)
40 - Shedio had a day of being in full use. Firstly by me and then taken over by Devvie for her school art course work.
41 - Watching Ruby help the Bear with his dinner.
Whoopidooings: Rocking My World Friday - #100HappyDays
42 - The box full of scrumptiousness that arrived from Suzanne. I won this via a giveaway on her fab blog.
43 - Ruby's monster trifle. This took two days to make - the jelly took forever to set. Ruby showed amazing patience during this time.
44 - I'm in a watercolour mood of late and the wonderful Judith has been putting up with daft questions about where to start properly. I took this picture of my new brushes that I'm saving just for watercolours to illustrate that :)
Whoopidooings: Rocking My World Friday - #100HappyDays
46 - A lovely day in Hastings visiting Craig's Mum. She treated us to McDonalds because she'd never been and wanted to. We had the yummiest cornetto ever and spent the afternoon doing the arcades, Pirate park on the beach and having a great time.
Whoopidooings: Rocking My World Friday - #100HappyDays
46 - We went to our first boot fair of the year. It was a bit of a wash out with not many stalls and then it rained. But I did come away with some bargain frames. Both of these for £3.00. I've been keeping my eye out for this style for the various little art works I've bought/swapped/been given. Going to clean them up and spray the frames black :)
Whoopidooings: Rocking My World Friday - #100HappyDays
47 - Phoebe's cocoons started hatching
48 - The art I bought from the Twitter Art Exhibit arrived. Even more beautiful in real life. So glad we bought it - it looks so much like our little Bear.
49 - Proud Phoebe with her butterflies. We released them that weekend. They were a bit averse to flying so we settled them in a flower bed to take off in their own time.
Whoopidooings: Rocking My World Friday - #100HappyDays
50 - Having breakfast up the table with my big Bear - so grown up already!
50.1 - A second picture for that day. I was just so chuffed with the bargain watercolour pad that the postie delivered. Bought as 'shelf worn' it was in almost perfect nick. The seller had charged £9.00 & £2.80 postage. By the time I took the last of my Amazon vouchers off I only had to pay 92p. It had an original price sticker on it of £22.50
51 - All of a sudden the navigation bar on my blog reappeared. It had been missing for so long and I use it a LOT!
Whoopidooings: Rocking My World Friday - #100HappyDays
52 - What do you get the boy who loves cleaning and the colour pink? A pink hoover of course. Charity shop bargain of the year. One £2.00 pink hoover = one happy Bear.
53 - Couldn't pick from these photos. The Bear mugging Devvie of her biscuit :)
54 - My Shedio desk at close of play on this day. A jumble with all the papers I was making for a 21 Secrets class.
Whoopidooings: Rocking My World Friday - #100HappyDays
55 - A watercolour book I had been waiting aaaaaages for finally arrived. So happy - it's lush!
56 - My new business cards arrived and they made me 
so happy. Giggly, clappy, happy.
57 - Bear was engrossed in his drawing - so sweet, the concentration on his face.
Whoopidooings: Rocking My World Friday - #100HappyDays
57.1 - His face when he caught me taking pictures made me chuckle too!
58 - Couldn't get warm all day so dinner was a bowl full of comfort. Quorn mince and tatties with loads of hidden veg - Ruby's favourite dinner of the moment.
59 - A lovely morning shopping with my Devvie. Bargain hunters extraordinaire we were. I spent £5.70 which bought me a lovely super soft jumper and a touchy feely book for the Bear. Devvie spent just under £20 and came home with a new top, two new jumpers, a pair of shoes AND she's started her bottom drawer by buying some tea caddies. Plus we picked up her first pair of specs - I think she really suits them :)
Whoopidooings: Rocking My World Friday - #100HappyDays
60 - This note from Ruby telling me she 'lufs' me :)
Whoopidooings: Rocking My World Friday - #100HappyDays
61 - We took the kids over to a local park. It was a lovely day and we had a walk round the fields, a yummy picnic and a play in the park. Tired the Bear out good and proper - he napped for a couple of hours when we got home.
Whoopidooings: Rocking My World Friday - #100HappyDays
62 - The gorgeous cushion featuring the worm from The Labyrinth. Oh wow. This was a late birthday present from Virginia and I really wasn't expecting it. It's absolutely even more amazing-er in real life! Just in case you didn't realise - it's my favourite film ever.
63 - Finally implementing and finding the time for my new "20 minutes a day in my sketchbook" rule. Playing with my Neocolour ii's, still getting a feel for them.
64 - And finally - I am 5lbs lighter than I was last week thanks to re-joining Slimming World.
And to round us off there was also:
  • Random acts of kindness. (You know who you are. Thank you again!)
  • Finding myself an amazing accountability partner to stay on track with my arty goals
  • Craig and the girls, just in general, just being them.
  • Overnight Oats. This calls for an "OMG!" It's a Slimming World breakfast and I make it with tinned rhubarb. It's like I'm woofing back leftover rhubarb crumble and custard every morning! And I lost 5lbs! I laugh when I eat it! I do!
  • Person of Interest. About the only show on TV I make sure I watch these days. Love it. (Channel 5 dropped The Walking Dead and Once Upon a Time!! Nooooooo!)
Told you it was a long 'un ;) 

If you feel like looking back on your week and picking out the positive bits, follow me over to Virginia's to read what it's all about. She's written a very good explanation in her sidebar.
Thanks for stopping by today :)

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