Thursday, 11 February 2016

Monthly favourites, January 2016

Flare ups. They happen. They did happen. This is late. My apologies, but let's move on. In keeping with my efforts to do more this year I'm adding more elements to Chronically Whimsical Tales. Including more personal projects and experiences with art therapy but not forgetting the inhabitants of the Woodland. So first off I thought I'd share my top 5 favourite things that I used for art therapy during January. 

Derwent Graphite Soft Pencils:
I was given a set of these for Christmas which was excellent timing. I've always used Progresso solid graphites, well if you consider always since about year 9 and I'm now more than 10 years out of high school, then always. Having had the same set for many years some of them are running rather low and looking pretty sad. They're also quite heavy when you have a lot of numbness and pain in your hands so I'd been considering buying a set of these graphite pencils as a replacement. I'm happy to report that they produce very similar results to my old Progressos. I've really enjoyed their lightness and the fact they're much easier to sharpen. Most of all I'm really happy that these things mean I can use them more often.

Derwent soft graphics, Helena Lucey, 2016

Top Tips:
-Practice makes perfect when trying new art tools.
-Start with casual sketches before using new tools on special pieces.

Clover Amour crochet hook set:
I love to crochet but it's a pass time that can leave my hands feeling like they've been trodden on by a brontosaurus. Luckily I found these amazing crochet hooks with a rubberized coating on the handle that help you hold onto them without having to grip with any pressure. Does that make sense? I'm going to hope that made sense. Anyway using less pressure to hold the hooks causes less pain and lets me work a little longer. I've been working on a special gift this last month and these have made it possible for me to keep working. A happy crafter is a safe crafter. Those, I promise are words to live by. 

Crochet supplies, Helena Lucey, 2016
Top Tips:
-Try searching online on sites like eBay or Amazon for more affordable crochet supplies.

Nail Polish:
Nail polish is one of my absolute favourite things to play with when I'm unwell or well. Somewhat of an obsession if I'm honest. All the colours of the rainbow and almost as many finishes; creme, pearl, shimmer, glitter, jelly, crelly, holo and matte. All beautiful and full of endless potential. Let's not forget nail art, when I have a surplus of spoons I love to do nail art. 

What I love most is that for the next few days or so I'm reminded of what I made each time I look at my hands. They simply are something fun or pretty just for the sake of it, with a fresh canvas waiting underneath for the next time. 

Indie polishes aka my obsession, Helena Lucey, 2015

Top tips:
-Get yourself a good face mask and open a window, particularly if you're sensitive to smell.
-Plan first and get everything you need ready before you start to save yourself extra trips looking for supplies. Polish, base and top coat, nail polish remover, cotton wool and manicure tools.
-Collect inspiration from sites like Pinterest.

Yes glitter can be a ridiculous mess that taunts you weeks after you've had your sparkly fun but isn't it worth it after all is said and done. It add such life to craft projects and artworks when done right. I for one have enjoyed the glittery good stuff a lot lately on drawings and cards, in nail polish (see slight obsession) and especially in December when making Christmas decorations to send to friends. Glitter is fun, just be careful.

Perils of glitter, Helena Lucey, 2016
-Don't spill it

Watercolour pencils:
In spite of my promenant artistic side I've never been a painter but I always love to learn. A couple of months ago I was given a set of these to play around with by my always thoughtful Mum. I put them away when I was trying to organise my supplies and forgot I had them but rediscovered them in January and began to play around. I haven't gotten the hang if these yet but I really love the range in depth of colour these can achieve and the fact that they help me mimick water colour painting. You will definitely be seeing them on here in the future.

Watercolour pencil set, Helena Lucey, 2016
Top Tips:
-YouTube is a great resource for learning how to use new materials. 

Thank you for stopping by Chronically Whimsical Tales. I hope you enjoyed this little list of recommendations I put together inspired by last months artistic shenanigans. As always 
leave any special requests that you have in the comments below and let me know what your favourites have been this month. 
Talk soon woodlanders,
Helena xo

Monday, 1 February 2016

Pick Up Your Pencils

You all know I'm on board when it comes using art to deal with the day to day "fun" that is chronic illness but sometimes you just don't know what to do. Or you know what you want to do but you're not able to for one or one hundred reasons. Luckily art therapy comes in many forms so when your body decides it would rather act more bananas than functional human being there is always something to do. So let's do this.

Last week I treated myself to a couple of makeup items I had wanted for a very, very long time, thanks to a gift from a friend. Of course they would arrive the day after I was recovering from a flare up of one of my conditions so I couldn't test them out. I didn't possess the skill of holding ones hands up to ones face for several minutes at a time that day, a prerequisite for applying makeup. But by the evening I could hold a pencil for a short time so instead of putting makeup on I drew makeup. After a few hours working on an off I had drawn this elaborate nail polish bottle in graphite pencil. 

Cosmetic Cluster in progress, graphite pencil on paper, 28/01/16
I was much stronger the next day so was able to finish the drawing while I rested. Sketching was a great distraction to the pain and my disappointment at not being able to enjoy the new makeup I had ordered for myself. Here is what I came up with.

Cosmetic Cluster, graphite pencil on paper, 29/01/16
Using art as therapy can work in many different situations. Though this past week was very difficult and disappointing that a treat would come at such an unfortunate time, I still found something to do to pass time, distract myself and it had a practical outcome. For me producing something always helps me cope during hard time. 

So I always encourage you to pic up a pencil or your makeup brushes or your knitting needles and make a little something. Make something out of a bad day. Incidentally when I did get to try my makeup it worked beautifully and I couldn't be happier with it.

Until next time, take care woodlanders,

Helena xo