Thursday, 23 February 2017

My Hobonichi Art Diary 2017

I have a big confession to make ... I didn't even open my daily art diary until the 20th of January! But it's okay. I'd been feeling quite meh about filling in my old Hobonichi throughout most of December last year, and I was mainly focussing on my work for the Flare Up exhibition. In fact, it was probably the first thing worth noting that happened to me for the year anyway. I also felt a sudden urge to keep a garden diary -- noting down the activities I do in the garden each day, and I thought I may as well do that in my Hobonichi.

Oh, and sorry for the quality of the photos. I'll try a different set-up next time.

This year I bought the double-size (A5 size diary), and ever since placing the order I'd been kicking myself. It seemed intimidatingly large -- how am I going to fill up so much space every single day? The moment I started working in it though, all that dropped away and I was glad of the extra space. As you can see, I usually write quite a lot, even when I didn't have a very eventful day. It's fun to record the little things that happened. In the spread above (left), I was feeling lethargic after working at the shop, so I just drew some of the products I'd unpacked that day.

I went to the Melbourne Zine Fair, which was incredible. Several of the subsequent pages record my thoughts about the zines as I was reading them. The next day, we went to a new cafe in our suburb and had gluten-free Lebanese style pizzas. They were amazing so I had to draw them!

Last weekend, we went and bought a new bed! It doesn't arrive for 2-4 weeks as the base is custom-made. We got to choose the colour; we chose a seafoam green to compliment the lavender-coloured wall in our bedroom. I can't wait until it arrives! The linen set is entirely from my imagination, by the way.

I had been thinking about how my art has changed since I've been working in different media. In my art journal I use a lot of collage, especially layering long narrow strips to create borders. I wasn't doing that at all in my art on canvas, and I must have missed it because I started doing it using washi tape and stickers in my Hobonichi.

A few days ago my friend had a baby! I printed out the photo she sent to me and pasted it into my diary. She is a genuinely cute baby.

A couple of times, I've printed out batches of photos from my Instragram to decorate my diary. I decided to do this after seeing one of the youtubers I watch who has one of those cameras that prints polaroids on sticker paper. I went the cheap route instead! It took a little fiddling to get the size settings right, but it's been worth it. The only downside is that if I want the photo to be on the page of the day it corresponds to, I have to break out the printer just to print one photo. It's much easier to print them in batches, but I have to stick them on a different day. It's still fun though.

My old Hobonichi from last year is still not finished. I skipped quite a few days when I was tired, etc. Plus there are a lot of pages at the beginning and end which have monthly and weekly calendars, etc and I would like them to be decorated to before I can declared it finished. So I have the two diaries side-by-side and work on both of them together most nights. I covered the old diary with some leftover wrapping paper, using this method from Sailor Mimzy (video). It doesn't require any cutting or glueing, and it's very easy.

To help me fill in my old diary, I've been doing this drawing challenge. I don't draw every day, just when I feel like it, and I don't worry too much about making the drawing very complicated if I don't feel up to it. I'm currently on Day 5 and it's been fun.

I've been watching a lot of youtube videos for inspiration. My favourites are Sailor Mimzy and RainbowholicTV. Rainbowholic has a new feature where if you post your Hobonichi on Instagram with her hashtag, she features a few at the end of her videos! If I can take some good photos, perhaps I'll enter.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Order from Auberginen Art on Etsy

Even though I'm on a bit of a spending ban, I couldn't resist buying these adorable things from Auberginen Art on Etsy. I've been reading Dominika's blog for a couple of years and also following her Instagram, and I told myself that when she next released her knitting-themed badges, I'd get myself some.

The parcel was nicely packaged, with cute washi tape decorating the outside, and also sealing the clear cellophane which enclosed the goodies inside. It was sent very fast - the day after I ordered (though it could even have been the same day with the time difference!)

The badges I chose were Cats & Knits, Knitting & Witchcraft, and Hogwarts Knitting Club, all things I adore. In the past I haven't worn badges or brooches very much, even though I have a growing collection. I want to start wearing them more often, and these will be the perfect way to encourage me to do that.

I also chose the set of 3 Herbal Tea Fairies prints, though I had trouble choosing between them and the Japanese Tea Fairies as they are all so pretty. They are printed on thick matte card and I'm looking forward to adding them to my inspiration wall in my hobby room when it's set up.

Dominika also very kindly added a lovely note, plus a sticker and a packet of jelly babies. I'm obsessed with stickers at the moment, and this is going straight into my Hobonichi art diary. It will be the perfect way to remember receiving my parcel in my diary. I was so thrilled with this order and will definitely follow Auberginen's future offerings with interest.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Movie Review: La La Land

As always, I will try not to give spoilers,
although you may want to see the movie before reading my review!

La La Land is a 2016 movie in the musical genre, starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling and set in Hollywood. The title refers both to the nickname for Hollywood, and to a person who has unrealistic expectations: "living in La La Land". The story begins with Mia Dolan (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress who works as barista in the Warner studios coffee shop. She regularly sees famous actors and is exposed to life on set, but despite being a competent actress, all of her own auditions are disastrous. One day she runs into Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a musician passionate about jazz, but unable to find a satisfying job in a world where jazz music is no longer fashionable.

This first third of the movie is the typical "girl meets boy and they hate each other at first but reluctantly realise that they love each other" story. To accompany this, the style of presentation is very stylised -- everything is bright and colourful, there are regular dance sequences, and the characters only wear primary-coloured outfits; the colour seemed to differ dependent on their mood.

However, thankfully the movie is much deeper than that. Mia and Sebastian move in together, while both working towards their dreams. Both are on the brink of success, but both need to travel to different parts of the world, and it seems their relationship may not survive. This portion of the movie is portrayed in a much more realistic way, with soulful jazz music, a darker mood, and the struggles of real life intervening. I noticed that the characters wear non-primary colours like purple, and different coloured separates, which I think is supposed to represent the complexity of their feelings.

I found the ending unsatisfying and difficult to accept at first. After some thought though, I came to see it as bittersweet. It was realistic and I cannot fault that it was mature. In a way, it almost contrasted with way the story was told as a stylised fantasy. Normally I don't like musicals very much, but I do like jazz music, so I found it enjoyable to watch. Neither of the actors had particularly strong voices, and I think they were chosen for their star cachet rather than their musical talent. Although I did read that Ryan Gosling learned to play the piano for the role, which is quite impressive. I also liked that the "famous actors" who Mia and Sebastian see on their walks around the studio are played by no-one recognisable, allowing the viewer to concentrate on the two main characters.

Overall, what began as yet another cheesy romance movie revealed itself to be something deeper and more meaningful. It reflected the messiness of real life: the need to compromise in order to achieve your dreams. For this, I liked it much more than I thought I would.

Would I watch it again? Yes!

Thursday, 2 February 2017

My January

I did several new and different things in January, some of which I began in December, so it feels like the old year flowed easily into the new, in many ways. I displayed my art in an exhibition, I went to a herbal balm making workshop, experimented with doll photography, and renewed my commitment to KonMari'ing my house.

Weatherwise, it's been a strange month. There's less rain, as expected in the middle of Summer, but just about every second day has been overcast, which makes me less enthusiastic about going outside, and it's often even a little depressing. The temperature is often still quite high though, so it looks like Winter but still feels like Summer. I think it's left me feeling a bit disoriented.

What I've been making ...
My quest to craft more this year is going well so far. I think that making a list of top 5 projects to work on helped very much in keeping me focussed. I haven't finished anything yet, but I'm feeling much more optimistic about it. For my Granny Land blanket, I decided to make it 7x5, which means 35 squares. I counted them yesterday and I have 28 complete and 3 in progress. I was very pleased with that.

What I've been working on ...
I did an online course called Path of Colouring. It came with a printable colouring book of monsters to colour. The monsters represent the negative voices in your head, and colouring them is a fun way to interact with them. Each lesson, we coloured a monster while contemplating a question, and then wrote as much as we liked about it afterwards. The two biggest things I learned from the course (in a nutshell) are: 1. it's possible (perhaps even preferable!) to approach your issues in a playful and roundabout way. 2. Colouring is awesome!

What I've been planning ...
Ever since I did the herbal balm making workshop, I've been much more enthusiastic about my garden. I've filled in the details of my plan, and more importantly, spent time outside almost every day, actually doing things. Even if it's something simple like watering the plants or checking on them, I enjoy it.

Selections from Instagram