Christy Tomlinson Mixed Media Collage: Doodle Art Inspired by Alisa Burk!

May 29, 2013 at 4:22 am (Art & Crafts, Artwork) ()


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Soap Making

November 12, 2006 at 11:33 pm (Around the House, Art & Crafts, Gift Ideas)

bathbomb.jpegWent to Lush this weekend and bought a few bath bombs, including the one on the left (Think Pink).  Great service – the sales girl gave a little bath-bomb demo, and free soap sample when we purchased.  I’m really not a bath person – showers are a lot quicker, but that demo had me feeling like those pricey balls of fizz would be worth it.

 I once heard about how easy it was to make them, so I thought I’d do a little internet search…

 Sites with Soap-making recipes, ideas and/or supplies:

Teach Soap:
Bramble Berry :
not martha:

I saw a cute design in one gallery that had them looking like robin’s eggs or little round rocks… made up of a very light blue or grey/purple colour and bits of herbs and glitter mixed in… 

Re: soap, I’m resisting the urge to buy up all the equipment and make myself some awesome clear soaps with cranberry seed and silver glitter suspended in it, smelling like cranberry orange or some yummy holiday scent…

Maybe I’ll check first …

 (PS – been a little busy buying and selling our house … not much time for blogging last month …)

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Tea Books – Gift Idea

October 1, 2006 at 1:40 am (Art & Crafts, Gift Ideas)

I love home made books. 

This is an idea for another way to give loose tea as a gift.

 Idea #1


This is made with a basic scrapbook as a base (any size you want).  You create sleeves for the tea out of any of these:
– mesh material, sewn into envelope or sleeve shapes
– rice paper or heavy wax paper (sewn, glued or taped together).

You decorate it with buttons, ribbon, tassels, embroidered words, or cards with recipe suggestions, etc.

Add a scoop and a tea steeping spoon to the front of the “book”.

Idea #2

This idea uses a bunch of card stock paper, printed or written on.

You can write recipes, add photos, draw, add nice quotes, etc.  Add some blank sheets where you would like the tea to go in the book.  Then take the pages to Kinkos (or another print-all shop) and get them to bind the pages into a wire or plastic ring book. Choose wider rings than your stack of papers, so that when you add the tea into the pages, it will still close properly.

You place the loose tea (or bags?) onto plastic ziploc bags (the freezer ones) and use strong double-sided tape to stick them to the blank pages in your book.

You can make a bunch of these books at a time – it’s actually cheaper to bind them that way.

Stick photos or drawings to the front of the ziploc bags if they have a logo or other graphic on them.  Or sew “bags” to put the ziplocs into and attach those to the book page instead.

It’s  a really neat, individualized gift… but it will take a bit of time designing the pages.

Have any variations on this idea? I’d love to see them!

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Tea Gift Set Idea #1

October 1, 2006 at 1:14 am (Art & Crafts, Gift Ideas)

I saw something similar to this is a design book.  I altered it a bit and added some elements.


It requires the purchase of:
– a number of tall glass bottles with lids
– loose teas – whatever you like – put them in the (sterilized) bottles
– homemade labels for the bottles, with the ingredients
– a squeeze bottle and some liquid honey to put in it
– a number of butter, sugar or gingerbread cookies (or scones, etc.) wrapped in cellophane
– a tea steeping spoon (I don’t know what these are officially called)
– a box or tin or basket to fit all the items
– cellophane or a lid to cover it all

You can put a wax seal on the lids for non-tampering, if you want.  You can add a tea towel in the bottom of the container, too, if the container is a little big.

The container could be a tray, too – or you can add a really nice tea set to go with this for a larger gift.

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Anatomy Drawing

September 8, 2006 at 5:23 am (Art & Crafts, Artwork)

hand.GIF“There does, in fact, appear to be a plan.” Albert Einstein

Various bone and muscular studies help to reinforce in our minds the shapes of certain more complicated areas.
The Study of anatomy is essential for artists whose primary subject is human or animal form.

Bone and Muscle StudiesA basic understanding of how the human form is put together helps to re-create it more convincingly on paper or canvas.

There are many good books available on the subject, and studying them can help the artist to recognize the shapes they see on the model, and therefore sketch them more accurately. With an understanding of what is under the skin, we can see with greater knowledge, and perhaps notice subtle shapes we wouldn’t have before.

Books and classes can increase the artist’s knowledge, but nothing compares with the actual study of a model. Medical schools may also be helpful as observing preserved specimens can greatly increase the understanding of muscular form and function.
 Planer Study of the body

A “Planer” study of the larger forms helps to understand the body 3-dimensionally (See image on the right).

To do this, the artist must treat the model or object as if it were a robot, with non-organic forms, geometrically defined. Decisions have to be made while drawing: Where exactly does this form change direction? I.e. where does the front of the arm become the side of the arm?

elbow2.GIFWhen you study from books take notes. Pay attention to what happens to the bones and muscles as they are moved. They form many different shapes when they are in different positions.


It’s also extremely helpful to study master figure drawings and paintings. The knowledge gained from viewing their sensitive handing of shapes, textures and lighting can be invaluable.

On the left is a more detailed planer study of the skeletal form. The skeleton forms the canopy over which our muscles hang. It acts as chassis or tent-poles, and the human form is completely dependent on it.

Focussing on specific areas for a time can be helpful. Once you have fully explored the forms you can move on to another area.



Don’t forget to have fun with it!


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Blind Contour Drawing

September 8, 2006 at 4:08 am (Art & Crafts, Artwork)

“How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something, but to be someone.” Coco Chanel

contour4.jpgAs I understand it, this is how to do a blind contour drawing:

Using any object or figure as a subject, begin anywhere on your page, visually imagining the drawing fitting into the confines of your page. Place your pencil (soft lead 4b or 6b, or a charcoal pencil, etc.) lightly on the page, look up, and begin to “trace” the contours of the object.

Do not look at your sheet – keep your eyes fixed at all times on the particular area that you are drawing. Take a lot of time. Let your eyes slowly “walk” – or “crawl” over every part of the object/figure while your hand follows the same movement.

Draw the hills and valleys over and under things as your eyes move over the surface. Do not stay on the edges, but cross over from one edge to another continually, following a curve, a wrinkle or some other landmark.

Let the pressure of your pencil vary as you move over the forms with your eyes. “Feel” the object in your hand so that its marks will be expressive and varied. Place more emphasis by pressing harder or sharper or with more detail, less, by being light-handed, using less contrast or thinner lines.


Let the pencil follow the cross-contours of the object, following the lines within a form that help define its shape. Do not lift the pencil off the page.Try to keep going for at least 20 – 30 minutes on one figure, 10 – 15 minutes on one object. If you must look, do it only to re-place your pencil, but try to do the whole thing without lifting the pencil once. It will look ghastly and not at all what you imagined when you finally look at it. It may not be accurate, but contour3.jpgit will be a drawing with greater feeling.

This exercise will help you to approach your drawings with more concentration and sensitivity.

There are other types of contour drawings that are also good to try.

Regular contour drawings are like the blind ones, only you are allowed to look. Once you’ve worked out the volumes and proportions lightly and quickly, get into that blind contour frame of mind, and start crawling.

Cross-contour drawings are completely “surface driven”. No outside lines allowed. In one direction (usually horizontally) the artist moves over the form (on the page of course) with lines that describe the shape of what is underneath. This resembles stripes on a tiger, furrows on a rolling field, or a model wearing striped leotard (?). It is a good exercise for drawing 3 dimensional form.

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Gesture Drawing

September 7, 2006 at 1:51 am (Art & Crafts, Artwork)

“What you are accomplishing may seem like a drop in the ocean. But if this drop were not in the ocean, it would be missed.” Mother Teresa

gesture1.GIFHere are some of the things I’ve learned as I’ve been studying. (The examples shown here may not be the best – I’m still learning. (Check out some good books on the subject for better ones).

A gesture drawing is a quick “grabbing” of the object – focusing on the total impression of it, and not the details. Gesture drawings are, more often than not, very lose and almost scribbly.

The artist tries to draw (as quickly as possible) the volume and position of the object, stressing areas of tension, weight and/or movement. An onlooker should be able to read the drawings as a feeling of something, a someone moving this way or taking such and such a position.
Facial Expression GesturesThese nebulous drawings MUST say something. As the artist pushes and pulls their conte or charcoal over the newsprint, he/she should be aware of the figure/object before them in a physical sense, i.e. feeling in their muscles and bones the position and transferring that knowledge through their implement onto the page.

A viewer can then see where the weight was distributed, and where the power of the pose was generated from, etc. Working quick and loose, there is a tendency to scribble through it, putting down lines just for the sake of it. Yet, find a comfortable speed within your time limits (30 seconds, 1 Minute, 5 minutes, etc.) to get the whole pose down in the least amount of lines and time. – So, think and draw at the same time (This is my problem). Then, as time goes by, go back to those places and add details as time allows, perhaps beginning with the most obvious to you (the most expressive parts, the most powerful/tense, weighty, proximal  (is that a word) ? Whichever moves you). This should then build to become a strongly communicated piece.stick2.GIF

Beware of emphasizing everything. Make a decision, and stick to it (unless you really must change it, just don’t be non-committal).

Beware of outlining the figure. Gesturing focuses on the total form. The lines follow the movement and position of the form, not its exterior dimensions. Go there only if you have time left.












2 minute Gestures 

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“Life Drawing”

September 7, 2006 at 1:12 am (Art & Crafts, Artwork)

“The great lesson is that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbours, friends, and family, in one’s backyard.” Abraham Maslow

gesture2.GIFI have heard it said that if you can draw a human figure well, you can draw anything. I’m not sure I completely agree, but I know that it is one subject that takes years to master. As a student, I am learning three main “disciplines” in this field : Gesture drawing, to capture the movement, feeling and force of a figure: Blind Contour drawing, to give me added sensitivity and a higher level of concentration: and Anatomy, to help with the left-brained side of figure drawing – proportion, structure, and the knowledge of knowing exactly what it is I am looking at (“just WHAT IS that lump there?).
Working at these three things seems to bring a balanced artistic, yet accurate approach to life drawing. Not too many of the great master’s drawings had inaccurate anatomy or proportion. Actually, the opposite is usually true of their work. Not only does it carry strong structural and anatomical messages, they are also alive with feeling, gesture, emotion.
Without both, is it art?

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