Monday, 23 December 2013

Joy and Connection

I love Christmas time, the pretty lights, the excitement, the mulled wine, the open fires... Did I mention the mulled wine :)

There's something about Christmas that is just so cosy :) and, for me, this feeling is not just relegated to Christmas and Boxing Day, it's the whole season that sparkles for me. What is it about this time of year that makes me so happy? People. People make me happy, when they're happy and excited and kind and together, I love it. There's something about this time of year that makes people happy and grateful for all that is around us. We joke that it's 'just the presents we're excited about' but it's not really is it :) It goes deeper, it's community in a culture where community isn't experienced much, it's about giving in a culture that doesn't have enough time to give, it's about stopping and appreciating all we have and all we are, individually and together. To celebrate and feel joy because life and connection is an amazing thing, and each Christmas we recreate a little piece of this joy, joy in you, and me. And all of us together.

Happy Christmas dudes! I am sending you love and Christmas sparkles, wherever and whoever you are and however you choose celebrate this time of year: you are amazing :)

Work in progress

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Thursday, 21 November 2013

Making A Junk Journal and Stencil Winner Giveaway!

This month I made my first book and I feel so proud of myself! :) I have been watching Jennibellie on YouTube and I love the idea of making my own book to play with, and I love Jenniebellie's passion for using recycling to create! So, I rummaged through my recycling box, painted, played, inked, stamped, gesso'ed, sewed, cut, played some more.... and created a Junk Journal. I think I may easily become hooked on book making! Now I'm stuck on what to create on the pages, but here it is as a work in progress...

The Junk Journal Cover was made using old packaging from a book that came in the post.

I chose the knight image to represent Art as my 'Knight In Shining Armour'.

Using Tam's Stencils and gesso :)

Inside pages made with old cereal boxes.


I'd really LOVE to hear what you think! Do you Junk Journal? What do you put in your Junk Journal and do you have any tips for me?! :) You can put your comments in the box below and remember to sign up to receive my blogs by email here: Receive Gracie's Blogs By Email!

Tam's Stencil Giveaway Winner!!!

Thank you so much for all your comments! They were so so lovely to read :) As much as I'd like to send you all a set of stencils, I can only choose two winners. The winners I chose at random (closing my eyes, scrolling up and down and picking the first name I saw which I found very fun!). So, the winners are:

Textile Recycler
Jackie Beeman

Congratulations! Let me know your email addresses, if you haven't already, and we can get the stencils to you so you can get playing!

 Thank you to everyone that entered :)

With Love and Paint Covered Fingers

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Saturday, 2 November 2013

Tam's Stencil's and Giveaway :)

Oh My Goodness Me! I was asked by Tamara Laporte a couple of weeks ago if I’d like to play with her new range of stencils that’s coming out soon and talk about them in my blog here. How awesome is that!! 

These stencils are a collaboration between Artistcellar and Tam, and they have created two series: one called "Tam's Whimsy" and the other called "Tam's Inspiration". And I LOVE them! 

I haven't used stencils before so I was a little worried that I wouldn't create something I liked enough to share, but truly they are so easy and (more importantly) fun to use. When I received them in the post, I felt so excited to be given such a wonderful opportunity (and quite honestly pretty chuffed to get free goodies too! LOVE freebies!).

So, I opened them and I played....

Sparkle Medium (glitter paste!) on top of a watercolour background.


More sparkle medium used with a honeycombe stencil (both from Imagination Crafts). Plus acrylic, spray inks, candle wax and and Artistcellar stencils by Tam :)


Spray Inks (for the houses), Golden's Molding Paste (gave a clear, crisp line with the star and 'beautiful' stencils), watercolour crayons, graphite and a script stamp.

 I also made these, they're not finished but I thought I'd share them too :)
Watercolour background, Golden's Molding Paste, and posca pens.

I have two sets of stencils to giveaway, wwwooooo hoooooo!! For a chance to win them comment in the box below by 20th November and I will announce the winner on the 21st :) To make sure you get notified, you can sign up to my newsletter by clicking here: Subscribe to Newsletter!

You can see what the other fantastic artists in this blog hop created with Tamara's stencils here:

10/26 Artistcellar
10/27 Jill K. Berry
10/28 Dawn DeVries Sokol
10/29 Carla Sonheim
10/30 Micki Wilde
10/31 Carissa Paige
11/1 Effy Wild
11/2 Gracie Howle
11/3 Jane Davenport
11/4 Chris Cozen
11/5 Tamara Laporte

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Friday, 20 September 2013

Art As Ritual.

Art As Ritual.

This question keeps nagging at me:  'Should I have a routine of 'regular arting'?' 
...or will self created rules of 'I will make myself do one art project a day' create a rebellious 'I don't want to!' attitude? 

I have enough to deal with in my day without creating more 'jobs' to fill up my already full life of dog walking, homework helping, cat sorting, Dexter watching (who knew a serial killer could be so likable!), dinner cooking, husband cuddling, full time job, marathon training (true story), self image appraisal/put down (cross out as appropriate for how I feel on given day), vampire book reading...

Anyway routine is boring!! Why would I want to make my art making process boring??!! ...right?!?


Routine can feel safe and secure in its pretty pattern and rhythm. Does 'Ritual Arting' have its place and its plus points, just as spontaneous 'I'll do it when and how I blooming want to' arting does? 

Recently I have found that Ritual Arting has given me time to practice my craft; making time for me to improve and hone my skills. I practiced 'one face portrait a day' for a month and saw my skill improve considerably to the point where I'm really starting to enjoy drawing faces. I really think if I hadn't practiced one a day for a month I wouldn't have found out I liked it... this makes me want to do a little dance and boogie for Ritual Arting :)

I know from past experience that routine can easily become sludgy like quicksand, sucking me into shackled confinement. But, if I can find the balance between routine and spontaneity, life's rocking in my world.

Sketches from my 'face a day' art ritual.

I want to make what I want, when I want and how I want! I want to also carve out a regular spot in time where I can learn from other artists and hone my skill and my craft. 

I want to enjoy my arting, to continue to feel passionate about creating, but I also want to feel like I am progressing. Balancing Spontaneity with Ritual Arting.

Paint. Sketch. Accept. Explore.
Balance. Balance. Balance. Get Messy. Enjoy. Express. 


Because it's all good :)

Work In Progress: Spontanious Creation.

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Thursday, 25 July 2013

There Is Always Calm.

In my journey to find out more about myself, I found art.

I have always had a close relationship with music, but art came alot later. I loved the process of creating art so much that I went to study it at university.

I enjoyed university and met many great mentors, thinkers, artists and teachers, but I found art at university less fun, art became something I had to ‘study’ and ‘analyse’…I began to understand that art could be anything and was everything. For me, studying art at university was like trying to hold a wriggling, forever changing shape, made of sand particles, in my hands.

I found studying and analysing art: Tricky. I didn’t enjoy the contrast of having ‘freedom to let the art exist’ whilst ‘creating the boundaries’ that are the ‘right’ boundaries to create a good piece of art. But my brain expanded and grew and I learnt so much! I am super grateful for my time at university discovering and learning from great minds and teachers.

At university I ended up questioning not just art but myself and my processes. I delved deeply into questions and myself, ugly and all. I pulled out and analysed ugly parts of myself during those years of study and much of what I created mirrored that and, because I was so emotionally linked to what I was creating, I ended up mostly feeling like I was a really crap person.

After university, I bumbled around for a couple of years; not creating any music or art at all (I think I was a little scared and scarred - art had held up a mirror and I was a little confused and fingers burnt!). For a while after gaining my Art degree at university the only creative thing I could tolerate was cooking. I was totally ‘arted out’.

At about the time kind relatives and friends had given up asking me if I’d ‘written any music’ or ‘done any painting’, I found a little tiny tiny weeny ray of light, a little beacon of hope; I realised I wasn’t happy. I realised I wanted to be happy again, I wanted, No I needed, the therapeutic relationship with art that I had had before. I decided that, even if I was around people making art that would be enough, that would be a starting point.

A lady I was childminding for had an art business and I popped the question: if she had a job vacancy (any job vacancy) I would be interested in doing whatever she needed, if only to work around art, artists and paint again.

She said ‘yes’ :D

So, here I am working within a lovely Art Community, in an art studio, loving my job, loving art again, starting to create again. Tea, singing loudly in the car and journaling my passions. Remembering growth is not always pretty and what appears to you as ‘ugly’ is usually a gateway to change.

Find me on YouTube and Instagram, I’d love to see you there.

When I create I am in my bliss; I am me, I am enough, i am free and I am happy :)