Why I’m opting out of the 2019 YEG Artwalk

Blog Post, Events

This would have been my third consecutive year participating in the YEG Artwalk as an artist. It is a terrifying, interesting and rewarding experience to display your work to the world…in PEOPLE!

Like many anti-social/socially awkward creatives, myself included, events like this can be very daunting and difficult. You are literally putting your creative expression out there for people to see, judge, purchase, compliment or straight up trash talk – except this time it’s in person and not so easy to block trolls – but hey, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…right? I see situations like this worth all the horrible anxiety ridden feelings it gives me, only because I know it’s all apart of my personal growth and learning experiences…at least thats what I keep telling myself in hopes those feelings will eventually disappear.

Now don’t get me wrong, these jittery feelings of anxiety and judgment are not the reason I have chosen to opt our of the 2019 YEG Artwalk.

A lot has happened over the last little while, if you follow my instagram you would have seen a glimpse of all the things; though lately, I’ve been a little MIA there as well – life’s been busy, but in a good way.

I guess the short of it is *takes deep breath*:

  1. I started a new, full time job in communications (late January of 2018) that allowed me to submit for the IABC Capital Awards two years in a row – am now two for two on awards of excellence, which is something I never considered in my professional career, so its pree neat!
  2. With this new position is a new career path. I do get to design a fair amount still, so thats happy, there is/was lot of new things to learn. With that said, I am grateful this job gives me the opportunity to take courses for professional development. So far, I have completed a Communications 101 course and recently started a course on Interpersonal Communications.
  3. I rebranded my business, which required some updating on various online platforms, etc.
  4. Re-opened/trying to managing my Etsy and Redbubble shops.
  5. Still working freelance on the side, which fills up the time slots.
  6. Bought a house last summer and moved in early in the fall, and did minor “renos” (painting mostly), but are still not fully set up, and there is other work to be done. Not to mention, we still have boxes upon boxes to go through/organize in the garage, as well as in the basement ๐Ÿ˜›
  7. Can’t forget about all the other, personal things (growing families, weddings, friends visiting, etc.) happening, and all the crazy things life offers in general.
  8. I decided to not burn myself out this year – though it may not seem that way, but I am planning on taking 2 weeks off work in the summer, so theres that! *cough – i’m a workaholic – cough* – baby steps ๐Ÿ™‚

With all this going on, it feels like there is not enough time to experiment with painting and other creative outlets. Not being able to create, let alone prepare for Artwalk, has left me a bit tired and unmotivated. Plus, it wouldn’t be fair to potential patrons (or myself) to try and slap a booth together – I aint about that half-assery!

For now I shall push on, re-evaluate how/if I will be able to continue to do all things and prioritize what is important to me and where to invest my time…once the summer is over…or once we have our house in order…whatever comes first, that’s when I’ll do the thing – I swear!

So there you have it, I am officially opting out of the yeg artwalk this year – life is just too busy at the moment. That said, ideas have been marinating in my brain meat for a while now, and I am excited to create a “plan of attack” for next year! *is determined*

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Inktober 2018

Creative Challenges, illustrations

Update: Check out my 2015-2019 Inktober collection.

That’s right, Inktober is back baby! …okay we are at about the halfway point, but I am still excited about it!

4 years straight of participating and looking forward to it every minuite of it! Inktober is an amazing creative crunch time without the pressure of feeling like all your pieces have to be perfect – being a perfectionsit, leanring to embrace the “finished not perdfect” philosophy (also advised from Jake Parker, the creator of this amazing challange) – is very liberating, giving yourself the freedom to create without the stress and with no alternative motive in mind.

If you find yourself to be a perfectionsit, I strongly suggest challanging yourself in two ways:

1. create some amazing work for fun

2. welcome the freedom it has to offer, you will be happy you did!

Start letting go of perfection and gradually embrace the progression, not only of your mad inking skills, but of building healthier work habbits that allow you to put less pressure on your self – releasing the string of tension that perfection holds around your brain – all in just 31 days!

Follow me on instagram to stay up to date on my inktober progress: @noelle_fontaine

Here are the Inktober prompts for 2018:

Screen Shot 2018-10-17 at 12.04.13 AM

Visit inktober.com for more details about this great challenge.

It is never too late to start challenging yourself, jump in half way through, see if you can catch up and do your best to participate for the rest of the month!

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank You Artwalk 2018

Events

Another @yegartwalk in the books, 2nd year in a row ๐Ÿ˜Š thank you to everyone that came out to support me and the other artists this year! #yegartwalk #yegartwalk2018 #artwalk #artist #supportlocal #thankyou #thanksforthesupport #thanksforcoming

Pikachu Cake – Nephew’s 9th B-day

baking, Blog Post

I am very late on posting my Nephew’s B-day Cake (his birthday was in June) lol and will probably be late posting my Niece’s cake as well (her Bday is on October) due to Inktober 2017 & working/helping promote Night Of Fear Festival…Anyway!

Due to some time restraints and strange planning, I decided not to make his cake from scratch so I used boxed cake and icing – I know, I know don’t judge me! its great in a pinch! Because this was going to be a pickachu cake I choose a yellow, Lemon cake (which worked out perfect as it does not contain soy, flax or tree nuts great for those with allergies in the family), the box had enough batter for two 9″ round cakes.

The shape of Pikachu’s head is not a perfect circle with his slightly chubby cheeks and pointy ears, so I needed to cut both cakes to create the right shape of the face and ears. This resulted in quite a bit left over, so I decided to try my hand at making cake balls to later ice like poke balls. Basically you take your extra cake, chop it up into finer pieces then add a fair bit of icing, start mashing them together with your hands to bind the cake together, roll it into a ball and vuala – cake balls!

img_3117-1

Now I did not have any small cake ball sticks, making these were not apart of my original plan, but I did have an abundant amount of popsicle sticks so I used those instead; though the cake ball sticks would of probably worked better, I added some icing to act as a “glue” to better secure the cake in place. Once “sticked” I placed the cake balls in the freezer to harden while icing/decorating the cake and prepping some melted chocolate to dip the cake balls in. If you decide to melt white chocolate, be sure to buy candy melts and not chocolate chips (the white ones do not work as well as the dark chocolate chips – not really what they are for either lol candy melts however work best). Not having a self warming bowl that melts chocolate and not wanting to use the microwave (did not want to keep having to remelt the chocolate) I created my own double broiler using a small sauce pan, colander & bowl. Just add some water to the pot (not too much, you do not want the water to touch the colander or bowl, let the steam do its magic) and place the colander into the pot with the bowl inside. Once this starts to heat up, add your chocolate melts and mix with a rubber spatula until they are evenly melted.

Once this was ready, I removed the cake balls from the freezer and began to dip them into the melted chocolate, sticking the sticks into cardboard (be sure to make pre cut slots, a styrofoam block would if been best) to allow them to dry. I later added red food colouring to the white chocolate (would recommend using red candy melts as the extra liquid from the food colouring slightly altered the chocolate’s consistency) and dipped the top half of the cooled white chocolate cake balls. Once cooled, I coloured some of the leftover yellow icing (used for the main cake) black, placed it into a sandwich bag as a make-shift piping bag and decorated the seam around the poke balls, finishing them off with a white chocolate chip button.

img_3123-1

Once the poke balls were complete, I added my final touches to the cake with fondant. Starting from the lightest colour, working my way to the darker colours; colouring the white to red for the cheeks, then the leftover red to black for the tips of the ears, base of the eyes, nose and mouth. I like to use americolour food colouring for icing & fondant, find it has the best results.

Finally, using some water I “glued” the white eye details to the black fondant circles. If you have ever worked with fondant you know the key is to use confectioners sugar like flower to roll out, colour and shape the fondant to prevent sticking, making a light white dust appear on your fondant, but no need to worry as this can be removed with lightly brushing water over your fondant pieces to give them that nice, clean shine.

img_3116-1

Let me know what you think and don’t forget to follow me on instagram or twitter for realtime posting.

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Graduating To “Official” Watercolours

Blog Post, illustrations

Taking what watercolour pencils taught me (previous post) not only made me more comfortable but gave me the trial and error I needed without as much frustration to go back to using official watercolour paints.

The first time I used watercolour paints (excluding those sets you get when your a kid) was in university for an illustration course, where we were assigned 1 landscape watercolour project – it felt like the hardest project I have ever had to do – landscapes are a bit challenging on their own, but throwing watercolours into the mix made it exponentially more difficult. My professor was a bit surprised as I really enjoyed doing washes with ink, acrylic and gouache but found watercolours a completely different beast to tame! So after all the practice with the watercolour pencils I have decided to “graduate” myself to using “official” watercolour paints and the first piece done using the medium in almost 5 years!

The subject chosen for my first “official” watercolour illustration/painting was inspired by a blogger/photographer I follow on Instagram: @bumblebria (check her out!)

screen-shot-2017-09-02-at-1-12-19-am.png

The lighting, composition and colours of this lemon lavender loaf caught my eye, encouraging me to recreate a version in “official” watercolours. I took a screenshot for reference, and to note the photographer’s handle so I could tag them when posting my WIP (work in progress) and final outcome online.

I started with a light pencil outline, using a mechanical pencil and Fabriano Studio Watercolour Paper.

img_3705

The sketch actually sat in my sketchbook for a little while, I decided to watch a couple watercolour tutorials online for different techniques and tricks before painting; really enjoying the image I did not want to mess this piece up, even though it is more for practice to grow my skillset; that said, I am a perfectionist and am trying to embrace the imperfections of art as it makes things more organic and interesting…not to mention a lot less stressful and more fun!

A couple of days before starting he painting process of this piece, my boyfriend actually bought me some new watercolours (not knowing I have a little stash as he has never seen me use “official” watercolours before lol) and some water-brushes for us to try out. I bought a water-brush a couples years back but was not a hundred percent sure how to use it and was afraid to wreck it; a silly thought as this is what they are made for, but again the perfectionist and fear of messing up took over so I never actually used it (more to come on this topic in a later post). These water brushes are a but of a game changer!

img_4223

I was excited to try “official” watercolours again already and the new brushes made me even more enthusiastic to “graduate” myself to the next level of watercolours lol

WIP_img_4154-1

The level of control with the water-brush made my experience more relaxing and fun – I was not worried about using too much water or accidentally dripping water or pigment somewhere else on the page when filling the brush with more paint. I would highly recommend getting one of these and trying them out, they are pretty inexpensive (depending on where you go).

I thought I was done the piece when I recorded this video removing the tape, but something just wasn’t right and I HATED the dark background – I wanted it to feel more like a marble finish but was not able to create the perfect cream colours, so I tried to use some blue tones – clearly I had a brain fart – there is already blue in the cloth that the background then blended them together; so in a dire attempt to fix the background, I attempted to make it look more like the cracked concrete in the original photo…I was not happy with this and even debated on making a new background and just cutting the old one out and pasting a new one in.

Looking at the piece a couple days later, it began to grow on me, but something still was missing. Taking a black studio gel pen, I outlined the edge of the cloth that meets the background – looked like I was onto something – then went over this with some black watercolour to make a shadow that created more contrast. Later, I used the same gel pen to add some subtle outlines to other areas to really pull it all together as a finished piece.

img_4225-1

Not going to lie, I am still not 100% happy with the final outcome but am glad it turned out much better than expected using “official” watercolours. I am trying to not be so hard on myself and embracing imperfections, especially on pieces like this where my intention is to better learn the medium and just have fun experimenting.

Please let me know what you think and about your watercolour experiences/preferences.

Don’t forget to follow my on Instagram and/or Twitter for live updates.

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Buffalo Dreams

Creative Challenges, illustrations, Redbubble Shop, Skulls

I made an abstract post a while back called Playing with Pastels that had close ups of this piece as a work in progress…though the piece was finished quite a while ago I did not post the final outcome because I wanted to have it professionally framed – fun fact, this is the first piece I have ever gotten professionally framed!

This started off as a quick pencil sketch I did at the end of inktober 2015 (this was the first inktober that I participated in, more about that here).

Screen Shot 2017-08-31 at 3.18.00 PM

Inspired by a piece I did about 2 years ago, where I wanted to experiment with a couple of black canvases I picked up from Michael’s and my tinted charcoals (more about this piece here) where I took my #31 inktober 2015 piece as inspiration to build upon.

IMG_8963

Inktober 31

Screen Shot 2017-08-31 at 3.22.37 PM

Using my small sketch for reference, I penciled an outline on a black 18″x24″ canvas, then applied layers and layers of pastel, pencil crayons & charcoal; constantly switching between the three mediums until I was sure the piece was complete.

Screen Shot 2017-08-31 at 3.18.36 PM

Due to the dusty nature of chalk pastels, I started at the centre of the subject and worked my way out, saving the background for last; not wanting to risk smudging any loose pigment onto the black surface.

Screen Shot 2017-08-31 at 3.18.18 PM

This sat around in my studio for months, I was afraid to transport it anywhere!

Now I know what you are thinking “isn’t there a protective spray you can use to prevent smudging?” believe me, I tried it! The drawback of the protective spray was that it was not 100% protected – chalk pastels being more loose than graphite there is also risk of some loose pigment being scattered among the work – plus it dulled the colours, so I needed to go over the piece again with the pastels to revive this lost vibrance.

When it came time for framing I carefully wrapped the piece in brown packing paper. I am very proud of this piece and due to the risk of smudging I was pretty leery to leave it in the hands of strangers. Not sure if there were any good framers in the area, I decided to go to our local Michael’s, where they made a special note to be vary careful with the piece as it is prone to smudging; needless to say the staff there did a fantastic job and were very gentle with the piece ๐Ÿ™‚

I couldn’t believe how many different combinations and choices there are for frames & matting; in fact, we probably spent about an hour looking at different matting choices!

For me the frame was simple, I wanted something a bit more modern and black – fortunately they had a 40% deal when I went in (framing this 18″x24″ beast was just under $500 CND and would of been over $700 CND without the deal…highway robbery if you ask me lol but they need to run their business too lol). The matting on the other hand is what took the most time, is was very interesting to see how different combinations looked with the piece and how it could go from a strong masculine piece to a dainty feminine piece in a flash! Personally, I prefer a more masculine, modern look (makes sense with what I have learned about my work during my first Artwalk haha). So I chose a black frame with charcoal grey, pomegranate red wine and black matting – I really wanted to have the red wine accent colours pop – some of the other matting was either just not the right colour combinations or were too much like the dominant colours that the piece felt pale and blended with the matting.

img_3325

I also asked if I could write the name of the piece & sign the matting – since this was my first original being framed I thought it would be a nice touch – and the staff were more than happy to oblige. When the matting arrived, they called me and I went in (bought a couple of jelly roll white pens) and decided upon the name “Buffalo Dreams” and signed the matting.

Buffalo Dreams seemed like a perfect fit for the piece, making it whimsical and spiritual. Growing up my mother had a huge dreamcatcher – made of red wood with purple crystals, black leather ties and feathers – when we had nightmares my mom would either put the dreamcatcher in our rooms for the night or longer if need be (probably to keep us in our own beds to get some proper rest, smart lady!). That was until she got us our own small dreamcatchers. She would tell us that they are made special to protect us in our sleep; if you have a nightmare it cannot hurt you as the dream catcher acts like a spider web, catching all the negative dreams, spirits and thoughts to purify or trap them in the crystals so you can sleep safe and sound.

If you have a piece that is special to you or are very proud of go ahead and spoil yourself a bit and get it framed! I find frames (even cheaper ones from department stores) really make a piece look polished and complete.

Prints and other swag available in my Redbubble shop of this piece (more about my shop can be found in an earlier post here Redbubble shop). If you are interested in purchasing the original please contact me and I can let you know the price and we can work out shipping/pick up arrangements.

a111ac66-4988-4050-8e8d-1987038b33bb

Remember to follow me on Instagram & Twitter @noelle_fontainec to see what kind of creative mischief I have gotten myself into.

Thank you for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Bear Watercolour Illustration

Blog Post, illustrations, Redbubble Shop

This illustration came about while on a family camping trip, near crows nest pass. I was sitting at our picnic table with my watercolour pencils & paper (more on materials here), when I noticed one of my watercolour illustrations was tucked between some of the blank pages; my geometric buffalo illustration.

The combination of finding this lost illustration with being surrounded by beautiful trees & mountains inspired me to create a similar piece with a woodland creature – bears in particular – these beautiful, gentle, yet fierce animals who rule the mountain side.

Wanting to make the new illustration more powerful in colour & shapes, I planned the geometric designs/patterns out in pencil before outlining in ink (instead of inking on the fly like the buffalo), which made the inking process quicker & colour choices a bit easier; allowing me to play with different shades of colour opposed to the inking to give the piece more dimension.

Overall, this illustration is much more solid & put together compared to the buffalo. I am very pleased with the final outcome & have received a lot of positive feedback at artwalk & online.

This illustration is also available in my Redbubble shop as prints, appareal, gifts & more! Check it out here: Noelle Fontaine’s Redbubble Shop

Please let me know what you think of this piece & which you prefer – the Bear or the Buffalo.

And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram or Twitter for the most up to date info on new creations & promotions!

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy 20th B-Day Big Little Brother!

baking, Blog Post

My big little brother turned 20 January 23rd…so crazy!!

He is a Halo MASTER!!  – more about this in next weeks post about his birthday present, you probably saw on my social media if you follow me on instagram, twitter, facebook or tumblr lol

Here is his Halo 20 Birthday cake!


The recipe for this is similar to the one I did for my newphewโ€™s 7th Birthday Take Typography Out Of the Box & Play A While except I used a chocolate pudding instead of vanilla or oreo; again using oreo cookie crumbs for the top decoration.

Last year I made him a chocolate mindcraft cake, which was a lot of fun, one of the first cakes I really experimented with that was not for a school project lol a couple of years ago we made a cookbook and had to make the recipe & photograph the outcome, so I had some fun with this making my Red Velvet Raven Cake.

Thank you for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Professional Borders, Keeping It Clean

Blog Post, illustrations

Whenever you are working on a project for a client, it is very important to keep it as professional as possible. One way to achieve this is to have clean borders, depending on what you are working on of course, not everything is going be boxed in; some elements may break the border, while others might reach the end of the page or canvas.

Some helpful tips on keeping your border sharp & clean:

1. Masking Fluid: Great for small or awkward shapes. Though I do not recommend this for airbrushing as it can peel the surrounding paint. It is a white, goop like consistency during application that hardens to yellow-ish rubber. There is an eye dropper attached to the lid, you can use this but I would recommend using an old paintbrush for more detailed areas.

I use Dr. Ph. Martin’s Masking Fluid, don’t let the aroma fool you, it is a great masking tool!

2. Transfer Tape by EM Plastic (4″ roll): This tape is ‘semi-transparent’ so it is easier to see what shapes you need to cut out once applied. Take an x-acto knife & lightly (emphasis on the lightly! as if you are scoring the tape, you do NOT want to slice your illustration underneath) slice the tape, masking the areas you do not want contaminated.

It is excellent for protecting certain areas of a project while airbrushing.

3. Good Ole Fashion Tape! Masking or Painter’s Tape To Be Precise: This is excellent for taping off borders, but be sure to stick the tape to your pants or shirt before applying to some surfaces – it can tear the top surface texture (i.e. illustration board) if it is too sticky.

Masking & painter’s tape is the easiest material to find anywhere!

4. Removing Techniques: Once your illustration is complete (and dry!) slowly peel off the tape; it is best to not rip off or lift the tape vertically when peeling but to slowly peel horizontally or at an angle, protecting your surface from tearing. As for the masking fluid, just rub it off with your fingers or an eraser.

Clean lines make for a beautiful presentation while keeping the illustration professional. Keep you client in mind, would you want to invest in a piece that is sloppily put together? Craftsmanship is key, show that you take pride in your work!

For further information about the materials used for the featured illustration check out my last post Water Colour Pencils you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter for instant illustration updates.

Thank you for reading ๐Ÿ™‚