Google+ LISTENING TO THE SQUEAK INSIDE art by Kirstin McCulloch of LilliBean Designs

Monday, July 21, 2014

☆ Sacred Inner Eye with Tam Laporte [Life Book 2014]

 Week 28 - Sacred Inner Eye with Tamara Laporte

This was such an awesome lesson.

Not only where we painting one of my favourite subjects, but I also used a variety of different materials, many of which I haven't used in a very long time.

Using my rarely used (these days) pro markers on the iris, I also used a combination of charcoal, graphite, gesso, and spray inks.

I love how this turned out + I adored how the writing looks - all linked together in long cursive.

I think it will be my new favourite way to journal.

Have a great week.
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Friday, July 18, 2014

☆ The Winter Princess [The struggle continues]

Week 29: 18th July 2014

I had really hoped to have my winter princess finished this week, but the fates, the alignment of the stars + even life seemed to conspire against me.

This is where I left off last week: here

This week,  I started off spending some time finishing off the back ground, adding some more detail. But looking at it now I will probably need to go back to it in the final stages. I think this is why I don't normally background first. I often change my mind + then I am left with no paint the right colour + white patches to fill...

I thought I would start painting her dress an shimmery blue, using an iridescent medium, but I wasn't happy with the colour, with the way I couldn't add shading. The light blue would lift off when I added darker colours + tried to blend them. It became a streaky ugly grey mess.


I abandoned the dress for the moment + I then decided to address something that was frustrating me.

I wasn't happy with the placement of her hands, it seemed too false. Forced. So I took more ridiculous selfies (Yah for cameras on computers!) + changed the hand placement.

I am beyond frustrated with this Winter Princess at this stage, so I mixed a new dress colour (making sure I have heaps of it and won't run out - haven't we have all been there, done that before!

And again, I am frustrated with the shading - truly frustrated. Because I am working on board instead of paper, I have to adapt a bit - and look at her boobs! Holy cow what is going on there??

So, I left her for a few days. And did some research. I needed a reference for the highlights, rather than winging it like I normally do.

Obviously this Winter Princess is a demanding sort, and wants everything done properly. (And yes I realise right about now, I am slightly mad. Or weird. Or both.)

Working on her again,  I finally like where the shading was going, I felt like I had finally conquered the dress, but the hands were again not making sense to me.

Not only did her hands seem huge, but I was irritated with the pose.


So after I gessoed over the hands (again!), I dug out my props (much better that the water bottle I was using before!) + took some more selfies.

And this is where I finished off last night.

Instead of packing for our weekend away, I holed up in the studio + painted. And even though she has frustrated me all week, I am happy with how I have left her.

Well worth the slight panic + craziness, of packing girls weekend away with my babies.

So do you take ridiculous selfies when you are painting. When a search of google images  just doesn't cut it what do you do? Share your tales with us below! 

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Did you know that I send out a monthly love letter with studio snippets, a monthly give away of one of my paintings or products, a free calendar download + more. Click here or on the image below for more + your free downloadable gratitude angel 

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

☆ Finding time to be Creative [Creating with Kids]

Usually a "Creating with Kids" post, I share a way that the girls + I share the creative experience together, me learning from them, them learning from me.

I have to be honest, it has been a while since we have been able to find the time to be creative together. I have a plan to fix this (which I will share next soon!)

But this month, I wanted to answer a question that I am asked a lot.

"How, with three kids, do you find the time to create?"

And the simple answer is I make the time. But that is simplistic + unsatisfying + doesn't answer the question.

So, the long answer starts with this - with preparation + planning.

Once a week, usually a Sunday night I sit down with my diaries (I have two: one for family + one for LilliBean Designs stuff) + figure out what's happening over the coming week.

Most of what we do - dancing, play groups, coffee with the gang, are things we do every week, but there are often other things going on.

Appointments, visits with family - you know the usual life in a family things.

Along with all this, I also schedule in studio time.

Our days also follow a similar pattern (and I do admit that sometimes when I wake up I feel like it is ground hog day)

We get up, eat breakfast, get ready for school, walk Bean to the bus stop, come home, I get ready +  mostly days we are out of the house by 10 am.

We are home by lunch time + the girls have a rest between 1 + 2.30/ 3 pm and this is when I get into the studio. Wee Beastie still has a snooze, but Bean + Bug will play quietly or watch a movie.

I rarely schedule appointments, catch ups or anything else during this time.

I guard this time like a pit bull with a bone.

And often when I am planning our week I will often schedule in what I plan to do in the studio - whether I plan to paint, do a Life book lesson, write posts or other LilliBean stuff.

I didn't always do this, but I found if I actually writing it down, schedule it like an appointment, I was more likely to keep it.

(If I didn't I would spend the time reading or on pinsuck... Ahem....I mean pinterest.)

So most days, I can have a good chunk of time in the studio.

In the evenings, I manage to spend three to four evenings in the studio as well. But this time is less structured + depending on how tired I am I may skip going down stairs.

I usually take Friday nights off but Saturday night is an awesome night to paint - there is no need to get up early for school or sport the next day + I can manage to get a little sleep in - if the girls co-operate!

So this is how I manage to find time to create:

1.    I want this. Badly..... very badly.

2.    I schedule it into my weekly planner

3.    I guard this time + keep it free as much as possible

4.    I make it a priority, I realise that this is time that I need as part of looking after myself + 
       therefore my family

5.    I treat it like a job. It is my work, I will say to the girls 'Mama is off to work now' + they   
       and Mac respect that. (Mac will often tell me to get my ass to work, if I am feeling 

Finding the time to create, to exercise, to make healthy meals for my family, to do it all, is one of my favourite excuses. But there are ways to carve out time in your day or your week.

So what about you? How do you find time? Do you schedule it like me? Get up early? Stay up late? I would love to hear about your processes.

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Did you know that I send out a monthly love letter with studio snippets, a monthly give away of one of my paintings or products, a free calendar download + more. Click here or on the image below for more + your free downloadable gratitude angel 

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Monday, July 14, 2014

☆ Sketching a Face with Kate Thompson [Life Book 2014]

Week 26 - Sketching a Face with Kate Thompson

It has been an incredibly long time since I have pulled out my trusty graphic pencils and sketched.

For a long time I solely used graphite to create. One of the biggest lies I told my self was that I could drawn only with graphite pencils. I couldn't possibly use other mediums like colour pencils, water colours or acrylics!

It has been an even longer time that I have taken the time to sketch something in more detail than a few lines here + there for a painting.

So I really enjoyed this weeks Life Book lesson with Kate Thompson

I think my favourite thing, was the looseness of the sketch, and writing words I needed to hear surrounding her and smudging them out until they became like angel wings surrounding and protecting the girl.

Love. It.

I also adored the fact that even though my art teacher in high school was strict about using your fingers to blend, that is all I used.

And it is only now looking at the image on my computer that I have realised, that even though this image was from a magazine picture, I couldn't resist making her eyes a little bigger in my drawing than the actually are....

Obsessed? Maybe....

Has it been a long time since you've enjoyed playing with a particular medium? why not play with it this week + rekindle the fire.

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Did you know that I send out a monthly love letter with studio snippets, a monthly give away of one of my paintings or products, a free calendar download + more. Click here or on the image below for more + your free downloadable gratitude angel 

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Friday, July 11, 2014

☆ Winter Princess WIP [Friday Art]

Week 28 - July 2014 

This painting is one I have been thinking about for a while now, (you may have seen the beginning + in progress shots over on Instagram or Facebook over the weekend), and my inspiration this time came from author Kristen Ashley.

It is no secret that I am a huge romance novel junkie. HUGE. (I totally blame my 94 year old nan for this addiction - it was mills + boon over the summer holidays at her house when I was 14!! I was an impressionable teen!! - I have no responsibility for this....)

And it shouldn't be a huge surprise that the genre I am particularly fond of is the paranormal/ fantasy one.

Hello. Mermaids? Princesses? Stag Girls? Yup reading is a huge source of inspiration for me...

Anyway, I was reading Kristen Ashley's Fantasyland series + there was a passage that described the heroine from the first book and as soon as I read it I knew I had to paint it.

So this is the beginning of the 'Winter Princess' painting (not to be confused with, by the way, the Frozen princess Elsa, who Bean excitedly asked me if I was painting for her....)

This was the third/ fourth sketch I did.
 It took a while + some awkward selfies (did you see them on Facebook?) to get the pose right... 

Here I have transferred it onto my gesso panel, using carbon paper from the newsagents. I haven't been able to find graphite transfer paper here, but to be honest that carbon paper works well enough.

I don't often start with the back ground, but I wanted to start with the elements in the background first

Which as always lasted a whole five minutes before I was compelled to start her face...

And Yah - my favourite part her eyes...

And this is when my brain shut down. Being it was close to 1am,  I couldn't make any more decisions, so I have decided to leave it for the night. 

So where has your inspiration come from lately? What was the last thing your created inspired from? I would love to hear where your brilliant ideas have come from! Feel free to share below.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

☆ Like a bad cliche I am wondering ~ where has 2014 gone? [SNIPPETS FROM MY STUDIO]

Once a month I send out the lovely members of my mailing list a short newsletter, where I share what's going on my head at the moment, a free downloadable calendar featuring my art + announce the winner of that months give away. This is a short snippet from July's newsletter that I thought would be relevant to all of you...

I am wondering like a bad cliche "where did my year go"?

Today Bean asked me, "Mama, are we half way through this year?"

And I paused....

Holy. Shite.


Obviously we are in July now, and so I am wondering 'where the freaking hell did my year go?'

Since Bean asked her very innocent question this morning, my brain has been churning. 

What happened to my big plans, my huge ideas, and what exactly have I achieved so far.....

Remember this post, with this painting, talking about my dreams for 2014?
But it turns out, although I haven't seen big changes, and okay, in some areas there has been no movement, (those bloody 20 lbs!),  I have been able to tick off quite a few things from my to do 2014 list.

(Yah Me!!)

So I wanted to check in with you all...

Do you remember your hopes and goals for 2014.

Those lists that you wrote down, those big ideas you had, those lovely snuggly dreams you wanted to achieve?

Do you??

I am planning on spending a bit of time this week checking in again, re-evaluating + dreaming big for the rest of 2014...

What about you??

And feel free to share with us your big dream for 2014 - I would love to hear what you are aiming for...

If you are interested in reading more of my studio snippets, join me here, and with in 24 hours of joining you will receive your free downloadable gratitude angel! If you know some one who may enjoy reading this, feel free to share it using the social media links at the top + bottom of this post. x

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Monday, July 7, 2014

☆ Reverse Excavation with Effy Wild [Life Book 2014]

Week 25 - Reverse Excavation with Effy Wild

This was one of the most fascinating lesson that I have completed on my three year Life Book journey.

The reason I say this, is because the number one excuse I hear why people do not find time to be creative (And not just artfully, I am talking creative in general), is this...

"I would love to be creative I just don't have time"

But this weeks lesson from Effy Wild blew that excuse out of the water.

In fact I created this page, in only 15 minutes per day, for one week.

say wha??

Yup. 15 minutes per day for one week.

Now if you are on the Life Book course + have completed this weeks lesson, you will know how amazing it is to see you page come together + actually many of the stages ended up being less than the 15 minutes.

Reverse Excavation - Life Book 2014 week 25; Effy Wilds lesson create in less than 15 minutes per day

I enjoyed this method so much, I think I will be revisiting it, and like Jane Davenports lesson last week, it would be a great + quick warm up when I am feeling rusty!

So do you use the "No Time" excuse when it comes to creating?? Why not challenge your self to 15 minutes per day for the next 7 days + see what you can achieve in that time? I would love it if you shared the results with us....

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