Inspired by | Volume 1 – 2018: Chasing away the gloom

Marsha Valk | Inspired by - January 2018: December Reflections and Gentle January

Inspired by: a monthly creative blog series by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha Valk

Hi there! It still isn’t the 10th… But I do have the January instalment of the ‘new’ Inspired by for you!

Inspired by is a blog series by my friend Riikka and I. As I explained in this post, we’re no longer deciding on a theme beforehand, and we’re also not creating something with that theme or thing in mind anymore.

From now on, each month, we’ll share our personal sources of inspiration with you (and each other) from the past month.

I decided to make a list because I’m finally getting my mojo back and I found I got excited and inspired by a lot of things. Which feels good, so good!

And it’s a long list… So let’s dive right in!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by - January 2018: December Reflections and Gentle January

Susannah Conway inspires me to keep looking. Even if the weather seems too gloomy and too dark to take photographs (I like).

Susannah hosted the photo-a-day project ‘December Reflections‘ in December and to create a soft(er) landing, she’s currently hosting ‘Gentle January‘.

I can’t seem to manage to take daily photos because December was so busy (and January appears to continue in the same fashion), but projects like this always help me see things in a different light.

Just this week I spotted a particular door on my way home from the gym and some things about the graveyard in my neighbourhood that I haven’t noticed before. At the very least it makes running errands a lot more enjoyable!

Xanthe Berkeley continues to inspire me to keep trying to catch stuff on video.

I’m not very successful at staying on the bandwagon yet, and I’m also not taking the time to edit the footage very often. But I’m determined to really make this happen at some point in 2018. Sooner rather than later!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by - January 2018: Frottage

Max Ernst. A visit to the Max Ernst Museum in Brühl, Germany at the beginning of December turned out to be a massive influence on my work the rest of the month. And I don’t think its impact is over just yet.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by - January 2018: Frottage

Max Ernst developed frottage (a rubbing technique) in 1925, and there was a wall full of his frottage artworks on display.

I tried my hand at crayon rubbings for my January n*Studio Creative Squad post.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by - January 2018: Frottage

I also looked into how I could best present the rubbings, which prompted me to look into frames and mats.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by - January 2018: Pastels

Mystele Kirkeeng inspired me to put some pastels on my Christmas wishlist. She also continues to prompt me to create crazy backgrounds and to draw girls.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by - January 2018: Lykke Moodstore

Lykke Moodstore inspired me to buy an Araucaria which then led me to change all the plant pots in the house!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by - January 2018: Carve December

Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and lots of people that followed along with her Carve December challenge inspired me to carve two stamps.

Those stamps (and a couple of others that I’d carved before) found their way into my Gelli Arts video.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by - January 2018: Gelli Arts

Lou Ann Gleason of Gelli Arts inspired me to try Gelli printing on transparencies for my January Gelli Arts video.

It was so much fun!!! And in the process, I discovered a technique that I will show in my February video for Gelli Arts.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by - January 2018: Serious Request

Babette Schrijft and all of her Dutch handletter pals who raised money for the Red Cross with their Serious Lettering!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by - January 2018: Central Park Apeldoorn

They not only inspired me to give generously during the annual 3FM Serious Request fundraising event but also to visit the Glass House in Apeldoorn and explore the city.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by - January 2018: Makelight

Emily Quinton (Makelight) inspired me to create a flat lay with some of the German cookies and yummy chocolates we bought for the holidays.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by - January 2018: Recipes

Allerhande inspired me to pick up meal planning and cooking again. This is a magazine that is published by Albert Heijn, a Dutch supermarket chain.

Having braces installed unfortunately has meant that I had to radically change my eating habits in 2017. And frankly that I lost my appetite… It’s not back yet, but at least I’m making an effort again!

And last but c e r t a i n l y not least: Creative JumpStart 2018

Marsha Valk | Inspired by - January 2018: Creative JumpStart 2018

I thought about how I could follow along with CJS2018 and make it work for me.

I figured I was more likely to keep up with it if I could work in a small journal. I settled on a passport-sized Traveler’s Notebook insert.

Which is a lot smaller than I usually work on/in. But it seems to do the trick because I’m now creating on a (semi-)daily basis!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by - January 2018: Creative JumpStart 2018

I love Creative JumpStart so much!

You never know what the featured teacher is going to show that day and what materials you are going to use. I’m going from acrylic paint to Pan Pastels, to crayons, to watercolours and back to acrylic paints again.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by - January 2018: Creative JumpStart 2018

I’m taking the time each day to learn, to try and to figure out what I like and what I don’t like about the lessons, the materials and the techniques.

If you want to follow along with what I do: I tend to share my results in my Instagram Stories.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by - January 2018: Creative JumpStart 2018

And… If you want in on Creative JumpStart 2018: it’s not too late to join us! There is plenty of time to catch up!

Go to Nathalie Kalbach’s website (affiliate link) to find out more and to register!

That’s a wrap!

That’s it for this month’s Inspired by!

Don’t forget to stop by Riikka’s blog Paperiliitin and read what has been on her mind in the past month.

Inspired by: a monthly creative blog series by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha Valk Inspired by is a blog series by my friend Riikka and I.

On the 10th of each month, we share what inspired us that month with you and each other.

It can be anything from a person, a film, a book, a painting, to an item, something found in nature or in the city, a colour scheme or some materials we bought or discovered.

We will also share how the source of inspiration affects our work. Consider it as a window into our creative minds!

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Inspired by | Changing things up for 2018

Inspired by: a monthly creative blog series by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha Valk

Inspired by: a monthly creative blog series by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha Valk

Hi there! It isn’t the 10th today… but I’ve got a new instalment of Inspired by for you!

The theme this time is…

There is no theme

My dear friend Riikka and I have been doing Inspired by for years now.

Inspired by was our excuse to play, to explore, to try out things, to work on something personal that didn’t have to follow any rules or fixed formats, products or materials (unless we explicitly chose it ourselves). And we did!

It helped us grow. I learned a lot. I saw, read and heard things I would never have encountered if it hadn’t been for Riikka and Inspired by. I’m super grateful for this!

But we’ve changed. The things we do have changed. Our work has changed.

And it’s time to take the next step. It’s time to not play together anymore for the sake of playing. It’s time for each of us to pay attention, to really pay close attention to what it is that peaks our personal interests.

It’s time to chase our own curiosity!

Let me explain

What I mean by that is: when something really catches my eye (on the internet, on TV, in a museum or on the street) or it keeps coming up (in multiple places), the healthy thing for my inspiration is to follow the thread and see where it takes me.

I do not want to have to say to myself over and over again: ‘There is no time for that now, just snap a photo!’ Or: ‘Put it on your to-do list.’

But that’s precisely what I did. Instead of trying to weave in the things that caught my attention as much as I could, I was storing them away for another day. And another week. And another month…

You can fill in what happened next because you’ve seen and read it right here on my blog: all of my creative drive got sucked out of me.

Creativity and inspiration just do not work that way!

The solution

I started to make changes from (I guess) September of last year forward.

One of the changes is that Riikka and I have decided that we’re no longer picking a theme for the month. And we’re not going to create something with the same thing in mind anymore.

Instead, we’re each going to keep a record of what inspires us personally, and we’re going to share that with you and each other on the 10th of the month.

This means it’s likely we’re still going to talk about films, books, paintings, items, colours, materials and more. I’m also confident we’re still going to share how we infuse these things in our work. But the sources of inspiration will be our personal ones, and the focus isn’t going to be on creating a project anymore.

We’re super excited about this, and we hope you are too!

Be sure to check out what Riikka has to say about it on her blog Paperiliitin.

Take care and have a wonderful week!

Inspired by: a monthly creative blog series by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha Valk Inspired by is a blog series by my friend Riikka and I. We used to decide on a theme (and that theme could be anything from a film, a book, a painting, to an item, colour scheme or material), and then we would create something with that theme or thing in mind.

But from now on we’re going to share sources of inspiration with you and each other on the 10th of each month.

n*Studio | My Fire Burns Bright

Marsha Valk | n*Studio: My Fire Burns Bright \\ You Won't Know Until You Begin Art Journal Page

It’s my turn on the n*Studio blog today! Which means that it’s time to share last month’s project with you here!

My Fire Burns Bright

Last month the n*Studio Creative Squad was asked to create with Nat’s City Streets Art Foamies and tell about something that makes our creative fire burn brightly.

I told about Creative JumpStart and how I discovered Mystele Kirkeeng last year. I’m super stoked she’s back again this year and… her video went up yesterday!

Marsha Valk | n*Studio: My Fire Burns Bright \\ JumpUpJumpBack Art Journal Page

You can read the full story on Nathalie’s blog: My Fire Burns Bright – Marsha Valk

Not signed up for CJS 2018 yet? It’s not too late! I would love it if you joined us!

Go to Creative JumpStart 2018 (affiliate link) to find out more!

Marsha Valk | n*Studio: My Fire Burns Bright \\ Just Take My Hand Art Journal Page

Marsha Valk | n*Studio: My Fire Burns Bright \\ Jump To The Left Art Journal Page

My Home is My Castle

Curious about my Creative Squad project for January? Then head on over here: My Home is My Castle – Marsha Valk

Inspired by | Stone Mattress: Nine Tales by Margaret Atwood

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Stenen Matras // art journal page

Inspired by: a monthly creative blog series by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha Valk

Hi there! It’s the 10th today, and I’ve got a new instalment of Inspired by for you!

The theme this time is… Stone Mattress: Nine Tales by Margaret Atwood.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Stenen Matras

Het stenen matras

I read the Dutch translation, which I found in my local library. As the English title suggests, there are nine stories in the book. The first three stories are connected, and that confused me, as I was expecting stories, and then it seemed like I was reading chapters instead.

I’m not a massive fan of bundled stories. I prefer a longer, more in-depth story that I can’t wait to get back to when I have more time to read. With stories, you have to start over again and again and again.

I didn’t like all of the stories in this book, but I did enjoy most of them. The characters are dark, strange, evil, revengeful and a bit crazy.

Whilst I was reading, I kept seeing scenes that made me wish I was an illustrator: the indigo and emerald bees of Alphinland in the first story, the twins in the third story or the contents of a storage facility in the fifth one.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Stenen Matras // art journal page

The project

The bees kept popping back into my head, so I decided to try and draw those. Which was even harder than I imagined, but it was nevertheless a fun exercise.

I used Derwent Inktense pencils to sketch and colour with. They are water-soluble, but permanent once dry, so I could work in several layers.

I also used red watercolour for the background, a black permanent fineliner for the outlines and a white Stabilo All to write.

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Stenen Matras // art journal page

I finish the page with gold and bronze ink splatters. They represent the tears of the lady that is connected to the long black hair.

Conclusion

It took a long time before I felt like this page was presentable. Watercolour skills have been on my wishlist for far too long. Drawing skills too ;-). Maybe that’s something I can work on in the new year.

Of course, I’m also bothered by the colours of the bees in the middle panel. The blue one should have been green and vice versa. But I realised too late, and because I sketched with coloured pencils, there was no turning back. Which is fine. Life is too short to fret over sketchbook pages!

Marsha Valk | Inspired by: Stenen Matras // art journal page

Be sure to check out what Riikka has made this month on her blog Paperiliitin. I’ve already seen a glimpse, and I love it!

Take care and have a wonderful week!

Inspired by: a monthly creative blog series by Riikka Kovasin and Marsha Valk Inspired by is a blog series by my friend Riikka and I. We decide on a theme (and that theme can be anything from a film, a book, a painting, to an item, colour scheme or material), and then we create something with that theme or thing in mind.

We keep what we’re making a secret until reveal day on the 10th when we show you and each other our creations.

n*Studio | Each Day is a New Adventure + Colours Are My Friends

Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Each Day is a New Adventure // art journal page

Marsha Valk | n*Studio: Each Day is a New Adventure // art journal page

It’s my turn on the n*Studio blog today! Which means that it’s time to share last month’s project with you here! In fact, I have two to share this time, because I seem to have missed one…

Each Day is a New Adventure

Last month the n*Studio Creative Squad was asked to try something new in our art-making.

I had just bought a brand new set of Ecoline Brush Pens, and I decided to break them in on this little journal page, using some of Nathalie’s stamps.

Read the how-to in this post on Nathalie’s blog: Each Day is a New Adventure – Marsha Valk

Colours Are My Friends

Aren’t you wondering what I was wearing whilst creating this journal page? Well… my new apron of course!

Marsha Valk | n* Studio: Colours Are My Friends // apron stamped with ArtFoamies

Read the how-to for this one in this post on Nathalie’s blog: Colors Are My Friends – Marsha Valk

Marsha Valk | n*Studio : My Fire Burns Bright // detail of art journal page

My Fire Burns Bright

Curious about my project for December? Head on over here: My Fire Burns Bright – Marsha Valk

Don’t miss it, because I talk about Creative JumpStart and how it always inspires me!

Not signed up for CJS 2018 yet? I would love it if you would join us! Go to Creative JumpStart 2018 (affiliate link) to find out more!