Inspiration Friday

Sometimes I feel like sitting in a nice big comfy chair. I guess it is because in my opinion, big comfy chairs are like big warm hugs. When I sit down and sink into the nice soft cushions I feel protected.

This beautiful chair inspires me to make art. I can just tell by looking at the picture that it is very soft to the touch…soft and squiggie…and my kind of chair.

Maharaja Chair by Melange home – Suzani & Kantha

Over the next week l am going to get working on a journal entry that involves this chair. Drop by my blog and tell me what kind of chair is your favourite.

Ready! Set! Journal!

Last evening I was trying to complete the cover for the new prototype journal I will be using when I start teaching Art Journaling in September. I know these are not the best pictures to post because there is a honking button closure that did not want to co-operate when placed in the scanner. Pooh! I wanted to share it with you anyways and add better pictures later if possible.

Arches cold pressed water-colour paper was the paper that I used to make the journal and I assembled it, and bound it. It is a 14 page journal in the style of Teesha Moore. The closure is a tulle flocked ribbon that I bought from the dollar store, wrapped in the style of the remains of the day journals by Mary Ann Moss. It wraps around twice and then twice around the button to hold the journal closed. I used ransom note style lettering and that is my hand print on the top (no copying my fingerprints to use in your next art heist LOL). The hand print is there to represent that the journal is mine. Each participant who takes the class will of course place their own hand print on their journal. Remember…I said I was going to help you tap into your inner finger painter…and I am!

Here are the pics – With the tie openWith the tie closedI will eventually make an online version of this workshop. Stay tuned! Have a fantabulous Friday!

Monday’s Top Tips – #3

Which Journal is the best to work in?

It is ONLY Monday and the week is proving to be a busy one!                                                 I will give a quick critique of the journals I bought a month ago for the Tip today.

New journals

Journal #1

This journal is approximately 6″x 9″ and has a craft cardboard cover it is made by Beci Orpin. It has manilla coloured pages which are very smooth. They took the acrylic paint quite well, but did not like things glue to them. This is the painting I completed on the first page as a trial. If I was to continue using this journal I would paint on every other page and use the pages in between strictly for journaling. I am not sure how the pages would hold up to a double-sided paint treatment. Here is my test page. (which is from an earlier post)

Rainbows – by Heather Gailey 2012

Journal #2

Canson Multi-Media Journal

This mixed media journal is made by Canson and was quite a good buy. The pages are heavy with a bit of texture. They did well with both collage elements using glue and acrylic paint. The cover is very stiff cardboard and could be painted or collaged afterwards. The only thing that worried me about this journal is that there is a perforation along the inside of the page near the coils. I suppose it is for ripping out pages you don’t like, but I would be worried about pages coming loose in the long-term. I would continue to use this sketchbook for art journaling. Here is the test painting I completed on the first page.

Hidden Feelings by Heather Gailey July 2012

Journal #3

This sketchbook did not fare so well for my test. The cover as you can see is very flimsy and mine has ripped already. It appeared at first to be plastic, but upon further investigation it is only a thin piece of shiny lightweight card stock. The paper inside is very thin and did not take paint or collage elements very well. The paper curled and the parts that were glued, buckled. I had to leave the book sitting under a heavy book over night to make it lay flat. I think this would be an ideal book for sketching or colouring, but not for anything to do with paint. Two good things that drew me originally to this particular sketchbook were the acid free paper and the size – 8″ x 8″. I would not continue to use this sketchbook for art journaling. Here is the picture I painted as a test on the first page. You can actually see the paper buckling.

Love is Power by Heather Gailey July 2012

 I haven’t told you what my fave sketchbook is to work in yet. That will have to wait until next time. Until then…what is YOUR favourite sketchbook to work in? Leave me your answer in the comments.

One a week..Just like one day…but less – Artist Appreciation

I did not originally start out to showcase the work of other artists, but today I have decided that once a week I will share with you some of my inspiration.

I have always been curious why a song writer writes a certain song or lyric(love to hear the background story) and so I thought you might like to know more about what makes me tick…what makes me create the art I create. Hope so.

My daughter set me a link to this man’s art via Facebook this weekend. It shows an example of that “intuitive painting” I have been posting about.

These pictures are reprinted from his Behance site and found via Stumbleupon

So inspiring! He has taken a paint smudge and made a fantastic piece of art in his journal. This is my inspiration for this lazy hazy Sunday. Enjoy your day!

Ginger prefers to wear her vegas showgirl headdress even when she is not working…crazy title…right?? Sometimes they just come from nowhere.

Here is another 8″ x 10″ Paint and Pass that I received last week in the mail. I got mine back at the same time and I already posted it below – the one with the red bird. Here is a new paint and pass that I am the last artist to add something to before it goes home to the original artist.(tomorrow)

When It arrived it was just a page filled with all types of colourful swishes. No face, no nothing. I wondered for a moment what I would do, and then there it was in the paint…a face. Then the feather idea came – would it be a facinator hat or…? Then the final idea came to me of her being a showgirl who never wants to take off her fabulous headdress. Are you following along with my random thought process? It takes a bit, but you will get used to it. I promise. I am sorry now that I did not scan the before and after like I usually do.

Sioux’s Paint and Pass – Heather Gailey 2012

The artist that had it before me must have added some kind of waxy substance because when I put acrylic paint on the paper it never stuck. That is why the face is not skin tone, because I ended up wiping it all off. Not being able to use paint presented a challenge, so I decided to use my sharpie and my brand new Derwent Art Bars – water-soluble pastels.  They are really fun to use because they go on like a crayon yet you can add water to blend them fully like a paint. The only thing I found is that it is hard to journal over the Art Bars once they are dry because they turn back into a waxy substance, yet do not remain wet or sticky. I highly recommend them.

One of the other artists in the group sewed beads and sequins on to the page and It’s OK because as always…anything goes!

When Creative Minds Meet…Sparks fly!

I was invited to meet with a new friend yesterday and had a wonderful time at her soulful studio and home on the water. It was about an hours drive north from where I live, and in the midst of many days of rain, it turned out to be such a beautiful day for a peaceful and meandering drive. Stephanie (my GPS :)) and I had no trouble finding our way.

It is just amazing to see the sparks that fly when creative minds merge together. My new friend is an amazing artist. She does beautiful watercolours and quilts, and she dyes her own yarns and knits socks (anyone who can knit socks is a goddess in my eyes). She collages and writes and I can tell she is an amazing business coach (another hat she wears). I have a feeling it is the beginning of an ongoing and great friendship….I can just feel it in my creative bones.

I made this journal piece using collage elements, acrylic paint, and japanese handmade papers in honour of our get together, and just sent her a copy via email. It is entitled

Friendship Blooms

Friendship Blooms by Heather Gailey – August 2012

Get together with some of your creative friends and get some sparks flying where you live!

Monday’s Top Tip #2 – Gesso is the Anthem

Gesso is the Anthem…Boy, you’re so handsome

As important as an Anthem is to a country winning a gold Medal in the Olympics…as is Gesso to art journaling.

Always use Gesso (either black or white) to prime your pages before you paint. It gives a good base (tooth) to accept the paint and stops the paper from absorbing too much and wasting your materials. Use especially for acrylic paints on both paper and canvas.

What is Gesso?

Definition taken from the Golden site is as follows:

“GOLDEN Gesso is a flexible, ready-to-use ground that prepares the surface of a substrate to accept paints and provides tooth to promote paint adhesion.”

I couldn’t have said it any better. : )

Here is a good video I found on You Tube explaining how it can be used. Enjoy!!

I am an artist because….

Cristian Mihai is having a contest and is asking people who come to his blog and are interested in being part of the contest to finish this sentence I have written above.

WOW! that is a good one for sure. Sometimes as artists..of any type…we just “are” and cannot always verbalize to someone why we do what we do. Hmmm…I guess I am up for the challenge and I will write what I think about it and share it with you.

I am an artist because…I was born an artist. I came out screaming “I am an artist!” and very soon showed my parents through drawings when I was very little that I would be an artist no matter what. At the age of 6 I told my mother that I was going to be a Fashion Designer and in an unfortunate turn of events while visiting the major art gallery with my mother in Toronto, I once reached up and touched a very expensive oil painting. Security ran from all over the Gallery to chastise me AND my mother for not trying to stop me. I somehow was not even frightened.

My mother later shared with me that this escapade had sealed the deal for her and her belief in my desire to get inside my art, to touch it, and to live it. I did end up following up on my dream of becoming a Fashion Designer and I also had a stint as a famous Canadian Doll Artist for a while. Then a break and now back to my roots of art. Loving every moment of it.

So…Cristain Mihai, I am an artist because…art is in my blood. Art courses through my veins. It makes me happy to make it, and equally as happy to look at it. I live, breathe, eat. and sleep it. and if I could get away with it, I would do nothing else all day long.

Painting and Pencil Rendering by Heather Gailey

When I am cut off from creating art or being in a creative environment, I feel as if my soul is dying. I think that is how I know I am an artist.

By the way…Thanks for asking…

What is a “Paint and Pass” when it is at home?

The KISS Factor

Well…it is hard and easy to explain all at once. To keep it simple I will explain how our group of artists does it.

How does it work, you ask?

Each person paints a background on a piece of paper that is 8″ x 10″. The thicker the better because it has to be able to travel all over the world and not get ruined. In our current groups the minimum is 4 people and the largest has been 6, and the group is made up of all levels of artistic abilities. It is less about the art and more about the connection to others. The art is lovely and always inspiring.

Each artist involved sends their painted background on to the next person on the list and they paint something on the background that inspires them. Sometimes they have it for a day and sometimes longer. The aim is to try to move it along to the next person within 10 days and to try to add and not take away from what anyone else has done. Then they pass it on to the next person, and so on, and so on, and so on, until the finished painting comes back to the original owner. Here is the background I sent out just before the new year. I used a piece of thick, textured, scrapbooking paper and acrylic paint.


Heather Gailey Paint and Pass – 2011


Here is the collective/collaborative painting I received back the other day. 

Heather Gailey and Friends Paint and Pass – 2012

If you need assistance getting a Paint and Pass up and running, message me and I will give you all my best tips and advice. It is really fun!