Thursday, 28 February 2013

Awesome Art

Hello beauties!

So, I've got some truly inspiring art for you today. But before I get to that, just a shout-out to my awesome cousin Shants who sent in her first children's book to a publisher yesterday! Shake it like it's ya birthday, cuz!  Congrats! Hope you hear back from them soon and you'd better remember me when you're all famous and stuff...

On to the awesome art. You can find all of these and more on my Pinterest account, on the Art Board. All of these are from Deviant Art as well, you can check out my personal page here.

This first one of Ariel is called 'In the Shadows' and is by einlee on Deviant Art.

This second one is also a digital art piece of another mermaid. Don't you just love the colours? It's called 'Shallow Water' and it's by Kaman William.

Do you see this? I mean, are you looking? MIND. BLOWN. The snow and the texture is just friggen brilliant! I shudder to think how long this must have taken. This is pencil on A4 paper, is called 'Guinevere - Keira Knightly' and is by akaLilith.

This is just a cool doodle I loved. I'm sorry for the small size, if you click on the link you can see it larger. It's called 'Drawn Together' by dragon-shark.

Don't you just loved the colours used here? This is digital art by peacheriie and is called 'Ming Dynasty'.

'Colours of the Wind' by Athena-chan is another of those flipping amazing ones. I love the painterly feel to this one.

I just recently watched the Sherlock miniseries and it's got me quite hooked. Benedict Cumberbatch has such an interesting face and strong features, I think it lends strenth to this wonderful piece. Alicexz is the artist and the piece is called 'Study in Pink'.

Here's one for my fellow addicts. Can you guess at the medium? Coffee, folks, coffee . It's called 'Coffee Kiss' and is by dreamarian on deviant art.

This fantastic realism study was one of the Daily Deviations yesterday and is by June Jensen. It's called 'Laura Timmins'

Show some love and go favourite these artworks if you're on DA!

Stay beautiful and be kind to animals.


Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Ten awesome handmade gift ideas

Hello beauties!

It happens to all of us. Thursday night at half past one, when you had been sleeping so peacefully, you suddenly wake with a start, realising it's ____________'s birthday on Friday. You didn't only forget about their approaching birthday, but you also forgot to buy a gift! With work and everything else tomorrow, you won't be able to go shopping for the perfect present. If only you had a little arsenal of handmade gifts somewhere in your house, so you would have something for __________.

I'm here to help, folks!

 Check out the tutorial on making these fancy button rings here, at Lana Red.
 These cool fishtail bracelets look awesome when paired wit your other bangles and bracelets. Learn how to make them over at Swell Mayde.
 These chain bracelets are super easy to make and can be very inexpensive as well, if you know where to shop. (China mall, friends, China mall.) Kristen from Studs and Pearls shows us how.
 This is a good one and can be stored for just those gift disasters that get us down. Home made bath salts; cruelty free and fantastic! Everything Etsy is home to this tut.
 Over at Holidash, you can learn how to make this funky flower brooch.
Lotion bars anyone? This is another really cool gift and is simple to make. Learn how at My Yellow Umbrella.
 I absolutely love these! Turn the backs of old spoons into funky rings! Through the Front Door has a tutorial for these fabulous accessories.
 Handmade lipbalm is all the rage. Add scent and colour to your heart's content, and once again, you can make this the cruelty free way. Check out the tut on Beautylish.
Happy Hour Projects shows us how to make this stunning beaded bracelet.

Hope you enjoyed this post! Go on, then! Get crafting!

Stay beautiful and be kind to animals,


Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Oscar fashion 2013

Hello beauties!

Did you watch the Oscars? If you missed it, I can at least share some of the fashion and makeup looks with you! So get your popcorn and check it out with me!

The big makeup trends of the night was the soft, pastel makeup and soft, pink or corally lips; or the winged liner and red lip combo, usually paired with an old school, glam type hairdo. You know the one, deep side part with gentle, old Hollywood glamour set wavy curls. Another hair-trend was stylish topknots or low ballerina buns.

Jessica Chastain was fabulous, wearing a golden Armani, nude makeup and a red lip. Vintage-feeling, old Hollywood Glam hair completed this look.

One of the first dresses to catch my eye was this one, worn by a purple haired Kelly Osbourne. This dress accentuated her curves and I think it went down well with her winged liner and red lips, though I can't say I'm crazy about the bodice detail.

Zoe Saldana was beautiful in a white and grey gown by Alexis Mabille. Brown smoky eyes and nude lips, along with yet another side parted, old Hollywood type hairstyle.

Last year's golden girl, Octavia Spencer, opted for a creamy dress (which went great with her skin tone), tied up hair and reddish lips.

Reese Witherspoon wore this incredible electric blue Louis Vuitton, soft, pastel makeup and the glam hair. This dress made her eyes look FABULOUS!!

Anne Hattaway looked amazing as always.  I mean, no surprise there. Her pastel pink dress was by Prada and she followed the soft makeup trend as well. I'm so glad she won best supporting actress!! :)

Charlize Theron was a vision with her short, pixie do, white dress and pastel makeup.

Amy Adams opted for this grey Oscar de la Renta, which doesn't convince me. Sorry, but the feathery rump seems slightly like grandma's bathroom curtains. Another pastel makeup look completed this look.

The girl of the evening, miss Jennifer Lawrence! At first, I didn't like this creamy Dior dress at all. But you know, it's been growing on me. It certainly played up her curves! The best actress winner had soft, grey smoky eyes and a nude lip, as well as a ballerina bun to finish her winning look.

Adele had on her usual winged liner and a nude lip, with this black dress.

Amanda Seyfried wore Alexander McQueen and a messy updo, paired with purple pastel eyes and soft pink lips. This is probably my favourite look of the evening.

KStew arrived on crutches and ACTUALLY SMILED! I mean, shut the back door! Thank goodness someone caught it on film! :) She wore this edgy champaign-y Reem Acra, bronze smoky eyes and soft pink lips.

What did you think? Who was your favourites? Lemme know!

Stay beautiful and be kind to animals,


Monday, 25 February 2013

The History of Eyeliner

Hello beauties!

Hope your weekend was awesome. Mine was so dull, I couldn't even do a weekend in pictures. We didn't even leave the house on Saturday! :)

I sat up last night until half past two, typing a blog post as the Oscars were happening, writing down my thoughts on the dresses and makeup looks (a lot of red lippie and side parted, old school glam hair, let me tell you.). At some point, I could see the amazing dresses and the beautiful looking actors (Amanda Syfried! Good grief, she was stunning last night!), but I couldn't find nice and large images for you guys. I want us all to be able to look at bigger pictures (:D) so, I'll do the post on my Oscar findings for you tomorrow.

For today, saddle up for a makeup history lesson.

A while ago, OK, long ago, I started with a history of makeup series. I started with mascara (click if you missed it) back then, and I thought I'd go on with this series at long last. You can thank me later (because then you'd be procrastinating too. Get it?... It was weak, I know. Sorry.)

Today, we're going to talk about eyeliner.

As early as 10,000 BC, Egyptians and Mesopotamians used kohl (made of stuff like lead and copper ore, amongst others) to line their eyes. This was done for two reasons; to protect their eyes from the sun and also, to protect them from the evil eye.

King Tutankhamen's tomb was discovered in 1922, and this is when eyeliner went global. Suddenly, women in other countries became aware of the use of kohl and wanted in on the action, using eyeliner pretty liberally.

During the world war in the 1940's, shortages of just about everything was just about everywhere. But they had eyeliner. Know what the women used it for? To draw lines on the backs of their legs, to make it look like they were wearing stockings (which was one of the things they couldn't get their hands on).

In the sixties, liquid eyeliner made it's debut, bringing with it the cat eye, fashions by Mary Quant and Twiggy.

(Click here for my references : here, here and here.)

These days, eyeliner is a part of our daily makeup routines. You can use your liner to completely change the shape of your eyes, to accentuate your eye colour, to change your day time look to a more evening-type look. You can use it to fill in brows and for makeup art. And I'm going to share some of these techniques and looks with you now! (found all of these on Pinterest)

Amazing what a little line can do, don't you think?

Stay beautiful and be kind to animals,


Friday, 22 February 2013

Oscars 2013 - Makeup Nominees

Hello beauties!

I promised you I'd be more alert when Oscar time came, and look at me! Here I am on pre-Oscar Friday, sharing the nominees for best makeup and hair with you! :)

Don't you think it's an absolute disgrace that there are only three nominees for makeup, when there are five for most of the other categories? I think it sucks. Without makeup and hair, not even the most flawless of them would look as perfect as they do on the silver screen. But anyway. At least makeup is being recognised in film now. Before 1981, makeup artists received no recognition at all for their on screen magic-working.

This year's nominees are as follows :

Hitchcock, starring Anthony Hopkins, Hellen Mirren and Jessica Biel amongst others. This is actually Anthony Hopkins in the image, with his Hitchcock makeup on. I think this is absolutely brilliant.

The Hobbit : An Unexpected Journey is the second nominee, starring Ian McKellan, Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis. It's only natural that the team from LOTR should be on top of this category and I'd frankly be surprised if they don't take this one.

Last, is another obvious choice, as this is probably the biggest film of the year. Les Mesrables is the last nominee, with Hugh Jackman, Russel Crowe and Anne Hatthaway. The ageing and general wear and tear they applied to these actors was just amazing.

And that's the three. Which do you think will win? Lemme know in the comments.

I'll do a full on what who wore and how their makeup looked on Monday or Tuesday, depending on how soon I can lay my hands on the images of them.

Have a fabulous weekend friends!

Stay beautiful and be kind to animals,


Thursday, 21 February 2013

Paint with me!

Hello beauties!

I haven't painted a real painting in an extremely long time. Which is sad, because I love the calm it brings to stand in front of the easel and paint something. Digital art is great, but nothing beats getting your hands dirty with paint and blending colours with your fingertips.

As you can gather, I'm a messy painter. There's noting as exciting as splashing colours on a white canvas, and to see the whole picture come alive as you work.

So, because my Draw with Me post was so popular, and so may of you asked for more of this kind of thing, I took pictures as I completed every step of this painting.

I ordered two large canvasses from my father in law (click HERE for his website, Wacky Old Man) long before Christmas, and Jan bought me a BUNDLE of paint for Christmas to get me started on painting again. I did the background around 27 December, but I put in a lot of effort on Monday and I finished it.

What we're going to be painting :

What you'll need :

* A canvas of some sort. Mine was quite large, 1.5 x 750 m.
* I used acrylic paints, to get the misty effect more easily, but you can use oils or gouache if you prefer. My colour scheme consisted of :
     * Various blues (I used cobalt, sky, prussian and cerulean)
     * Various greens (phthalo and perm green light. Viridian would have worked too)
     * Titanium White
     * Black
     * Cad Orange and a hint of Violet.
* Pallet
* Various brushes, including at least one large, one medium, one small and one fan brush. (I also used an old dishcloth in the end)
* Water for your brushes and to mix milky colour in. If you've opted for oils, you'll need turpentine instead of the water. Gouache works with water too.
* About two days.

Step by step, this is what I did :

Step one :

I painted the background. I wanted the light source to be slightly off centre, so I focussed white and very light blue there, making the paint darker as I went to the sides of the canvas.

I had a large brush for this, which was of such terrible quality, that it was ruined before I could finish this. So, I finished by washing the canvas in colour, using an old dishcloth.

Step two. I decided my canvas was too dark and I mixed a VERY watery light blue colour, using about four times the amount of water to the paint. Also, more white and just a drop of blue! Otherwise it would still have been too dark.

With the same dishcloth, I washed the canvas again, following the curve of the colours so far. This following pic shows the result.

 Step three

Using my smallest brush and an extremely light hand, I plotted in the trees farthest back. I didn't draw these out beforehand, I just went with what I felt. In fact, I didn't plot out any of this painting!

If you're a planner, you could plot the basic thing out with very light pencil marks, but that could still show through the paint, since we're using such a runny solution.

Again, I used very watery paint to give that misty feeling. I also allowed my hand to move naturally, with shakes and shivers and bumps and all. :)

I worked from top to bottom, painting in the stem before I started on gentle branches. Working from top to bottom with runny paint is always good, since there probably will be drops of paint deciding to run down the canvas. But don't panic! The drops will follow the course of the tree stem you've just painted in and it all adds to the effect we're going for.

I used a stronger hand with one or two of these trees. Keep in mind that the thicker and more opaque the stem, the closer it will appear to the front of the landscape. While the reverse is true as well; the thinner and more transparent the tree, the further back it will appear. This is going to help the whole thing seem more three dimensional.

Also, don't try to be too perfect in this step. The more bumps and curves your hand ads to the trees, the more realistic they'll seem. Trees are far from perfect!! This is just a closer shot of the 'ghost trees'.

I didn't put any trees in front of the light source, to make it seem like a passage between the trees. But you could add trees to the light as well. Just keep them lighter in colour than those closer to the darker patches.

 Step Four

Using the same principle, add thicker trees to the canvas. These should have more detailed branches and you can add some plays with light and dark here as well.

I kept them more transparent all the same. This is still not the focal point of the painting and we don't want to draw too much attention to these trees.

The following pic is a close-up shot again. See, still not perfect.

Step five.

Using black paint and a thick brush, I painted in two trees with branch detail. These are going to be the focal points of the piece.

The black is a form of underpainting, to make the colour you put on top of it pop, so to speak. It's the same concept as in makeup, when you cover the lid with a black paintpot or kajal liner, to serve as a base for the colour you put over it.

 Step six

Using black again and a fan brush, I added some grass detail. You simply have to push down on the canvas with the fan brush to create that grassy effect, you don't need to drag or swipe it.

Given, this uses up more paint, but it gives a more realistic feel to the painting.

You could just stop here. The black trees and grass look cool and give a different end result than what I went for.

 Step seven

When the black is dry and your fan brush is washed, go over the grass again with greens, black and white. I dipped my brush into two or three colours at a time and dabbed it onto the canvas to create grass with individual blades.

Keep your light source in mind, as well as the fact that grass doesn't grow just upwards. Tilt your brush from side to side and add some gentle dragging motions here and there to make it look more realistic. We don't want it to be perfect, because a painterly quality to an art piece is always cool! So don't panic if it doesn't look like a photograph. :)

Ignore the white on the branches, I had some paint left and I didn't want it to go to waste, so I slapped it on the tree. :P

 Step eight.

Using my orange, black and darkest green, I mixed a brown colour. I also added white to this scheme after I remembered I needed highlights as well.

Then, paint over the two black trees.

Again, keep in mind where the light is coming from and how it would hit the tree. I wanted the one to be darker and turned from the light more, so I made it that way.

I used a lot of the original black for shadows and simply added highlights, especially to the branches.

If you're uncertain how light would fall on something, try playing with a flash light over objects. Put it at the angle you have in mind and mimic the light patterns you can see. This is really much easier than it seems to most people!

This following shot is a detail pic of one of these.

Step nine

Add your name to your work!!

Paint the sides of the canvas as you like. I just cleaned up the original white of the canvas where I made a mess.

And then, the finished painting :

Hope you enjoyed this!

Remember to read the novel and vote. Thank you to those of you who have already voted! Jan is quite upset because his favourite option "They get caught in a storm" isn't in the lead any more. I'm just happy the bandits are winning! :P We need some action already!! Please, help me out here and tell your friends and family about my blog and my online novel. It's really appreciated, especially since getting my writing out there in the world is going to help get my official novel published.

Just an update on my novel, since some of you have been asking. It's officially being edited! I nearly burst into tears the other day when we printed it on REAL paper! I mean, it's always been on the computer screen  and now, it's real, if you catch my meaning.

This is a picture of my novel printed on A4 paper, next to The Fellowship of the Ring. Now, imagine me jumping madly up and down in front of this, with tears squirting from my eyes like a cartoon, and you have the full picture.

I also mentioned that I couldn't find someone to do my maps for me, because any fantasy novel needs maps! I was quoted HECTIC amounts of money for this and it nearly broke my spirit. But, then I took up the proverbial pen (stylus in my case) and tried my own hand at those maps. Using real maps of 18th century Paris and Italy as reference, I drew my maps and they look great! Even if I have to say so myself.

What I'm saying is this; by July this year, my book will be available for purchase as e-book. So hold onto your seats, because things are going to be turned upside down for the Couch soon. This is a dream and it's coming true. I can't explain this feeling to you! :) Watch this space, big things are happening.

Stay beautiful and be kind to animals,