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MANDALA TUTORIAL | STEP BY STEP

I often talk about the beauty and power in the drawing of mandalas. It’s a magical, hypnotic process, one in which thoughts are silenced and order is restored. The art of drawing mandalas really feels like an oasis amidst the chaos – the chaos of the outside world and endless loop of doomsday news, and the chaos of the internal mind.

For me, drawing the mandalas creates more peace and more calm than colouring them. The process of drawing them demands a more intense concentration, thus quieting the noisy part of my brain. I am gifted a reprieve from my thoughts and can easily and happily reside in the space within. Colouring them however, albeit a calming, creative outlet, clearly accesses a different part of the brain and my thoughts are not silenced in the same way.

For this reason, it feels so important for me to share with you the process of HOW I create my mandalas, so that you may be able to do the same and experience the same glorious oasis in the chaos.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

learn how to draw a mandala

Paper to draw on. A compass to mark your circles, with a light pencil. A fine black pen to draw with. (Ruler is optional to measure the precise middle point of your page.) 

HOW TO DRAW YOUR OWN MANDALA

how to draw a mandala

Whilst I always draw my mandalas entirely free hand, I create a series of different sized circles to act as my guide. Using a compass and a soft pencil, I draw approx 4 or 5 circles as a framework. This ensures each loop and curl is of equal size all around the circle.

how to draw a mandala

I start in the middle and initially draw 4 markings – normally a loop, leaf or petal shape – positioned at 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock. This is to ensure as much symmetry as possible. Then I repeat the shape 4 more times between my first 4 markings, until I have 8 loops. I call it the power of 8, as each loop, leaf or petal will be repeated 8 times around the circle.

learn to draw a mandala

Once the middle 8 markings have been made, it’s simply a matter of connecting each of those with a new loop, leaf or petal shape. It doesn’t matter what your chosen shape is, as long as it’s the same size and the shape all around the circle!

The choice of marking is entirely up to you! I often think it’s best not to overthink it. Simply let your pen do the work, and enjoy watching as the sensational symetrical pattern unfolds. No need to plan. Just allow it to happen organically.

mandala step by step

It can be easy and tempting to focus on the slight imperfections and size variations as you move around the circle. As a perfectionist myself, I feel you! When focusing on detail, the imperfections seem magnified, however, when your mandala is completed, it will be seen as a whole. All the individual markings, no matter how inconsistent and imperfect, simply add up to comprise the perfect whole.

learn how to draw a mandala

As a general rule I suggest to add details and embellishments after the whole shape has been created. These can either be drawn into the design, or added later when colouring or painting your design.

learn how to draw a mandala

Once you have completed your design you are ready to add colour! Depending on your surface, I’d recommend different pens or paints. Sharpies are fine for paper. Posca pens are great for non-absorbant surfaces, and paints are great for vinyl or canvasses. Painting mandalas however takes a loooong time and can be very fiddly.

how to draw a mandala

This mandala has now been added to my free downloads! Print this off at home and colour to your hearts content.

As I don’t have a printer, I’ve chosen to colour this one digitally as a demonstration. I’ve consistently been drawn to rainbow palettes for my mandalas and in this current climate, I don’t believe there’s anything more fitting!

rainbow mandala

So in love with how this turned out and it’s got me experimenting and thinking about lots of future ideas! Whilst playing with the digital image, I discovered this happy accident…

rainbow mandala

I just love how delicate this image is! The white outline, (instead of the black) just softens it so much. I’m thinking prints, cards, maybe more? What do you prefer? The black or the white outline?

STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO DRAWING A MANDALA

  1. Using a compass & a pencil, lightly mark out 4 or 5 different sized circles as your guides.
  2.  Start in the middle and draw 4 markings (leaf, loop or petal shape) at 12 o’clock, 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 9 o’clock.
  3. Make 4 more markings – in between the original 4. This ensures you have 8 petals evenly spaced in a circle.
  4. Connect each petal with another loop, leaf or petal shape, using your next pencilled circle as your size guide for these markings.
  5. Repeat the same marking 8 times around the circle.
  6. Continue to add leaves, loops, petals, teardrops, swirls, frills, connecting each adjacent marking. Always ensure the same leaf, loop, petal etc is repeated around the circle.
  7. Details and embellishments can be added as part of the colouring process.
  8. Colour in your mandala!

As well as my Art to Heart instagram page, I now have a dedicated page to my mandalas – Oasis in the Chaos. If you download one of my colouring pages, or have a go at drawing your own mandala, please send me your pics or use hashtags #arttoheart #oasisinthechaosmandalas #oasisinthechaos. I’d love to see your work!

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STUDIO OPEN DAY | LEICESTER

After working tirelessly to complete my studio renovations I decided to celebrate by holding my first studio open day. Ever the procrastinator, I challenged myself to organise the open day in just 2 weeks!

rainbow candy home decorating

My daily to-do list often exceeded 30 items (!) but I was determined and focused like never before. I had furniture to paint, a party playlist to create, cupcakes to order, a photographer to organise, paper monstera leaves to cut out, mandalas to draw, drinks to make and glasses to buy… the list was endless. 

Miraculously, my to-do list became my ta-da list and I accomplished everything on it. With furniture all painted, cupcakes (to match my walls) baked, and homemade ginger and raspberry cordials brewed ( I needed pink drinks!) I was ready to go.

The guestlist was small (my studio is in my house!) and included my nearest & dearest friends and family, as well as some amazing supporters of me and my work. I’d jokingly invited people to think COLOUR when they picked their party outfit and emphasised that this was indeed a party (despite starting at 11am!) Most people ignored me 🤣 Apart from my sister 💖

From beginning to end I was overwhelmed by the amount of love in the room. I was deeply, deeply touched by the fact that so many people came, and that everyone who promised to come, actually did.

Many of my friends brought their children so in preparation, I had drawn several mandalas on 12″ vinyl records, ready for them to colour in. What I hadn’t appreciated however, was that Sharpies don’t work very well on my prepped vinyl! Thankfully everyone was extremely forgiving and partook in the colouring anyway – little kids and big kids alike. (I have since learned that it’s all about the Posca pens 💖)

One thing I didn’t want was for this day to be all about me. Celebrating our achievements (both external accomplishments and our internal growth) is something I believe we don’t do enough of. How many times have you slowed down to appreciate reaching the end of a project, before launching immediately into the next one? How many times have you ignored the wonders of your personal development journey, only to focus on where you haven’t reached instead?   

So I made an interactive Celebration Tree!

My guests were invited to pick a leaf and write down something they’d achieved that was worth celebrating, then hang it on the tree! I didn’t read the leaves until after the party so it was a beautiful, heart swelling, tear-jerking end to the morning.

As a thank you to my guests I was offering 50% off most of my stock. Not only did they all bring a huge generosity of spirit, but they were also hugely generous with their spending. They bought an enormous amount of prints and cards that day and for that I am so, so grateful.

rainbow house decor
livi lollipop leicester art workshop
keep going greeting card
livi lollipop leicester
rainbow alcohol inks
dream big rainbow print
vinyl record art

The final interactive piece to bring even more colour & connection to the party I entitled ‘Pocket Nuggets’. On multi-coloured post-its I wrote down some of my favourite quotes from my favourite spiritual teachers – Marianne Williamson, M J Ryan, Brene Browne, Susan Jeffers & more. Guests were invited to take a quote home with them and keep it in their pocket, then replace it on the wall with their favourite quote (if they felt called to share it).

spiritual post it note

I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. The whole room was filled with so much sunshine, so much joy, so much love – it filled with me deep wells of gratitude to share my studio with the people I love. When creating my studio the goal was always to share it. It was never meant just for me. 

Glorious captures of the day courtesy of Matt Glover Photography 💖

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FREE COLOURING PAGES | MANDALAS FOR MINDFULNESS

Like many others at this time, I have found myself needing to be unquestionably malleable. Instead of focusing on what isn’t possible I’ve had to focus on what is. How can I best adapt? How can I still share my world of colour and healing with you, in a different, not-yet-envisaged way?

One of these ways has been to produce a set of free downloadable colouring pages for you: Oasis in the Chaos mandalas 💖

free colouring pages mandala

Each of my mandalas is drawn totally free-hand. There’s no planning, no measuring, no computers. Just me and my pen. It’s a beautiful, hypnotic meditative practise that seamlessly weaves together creativity and relaxation, one in which I can lose myself for hours.

There’s currently 12 mandala designs, all available here. Free if you can’t afford it, and an opportunity to ‘buy me a coffee’ if you have the funds. Either way, I am delighted and excited to finally share these with you!

Colouring pages offer a beautiful, creative way to practise mindfulness – to silence the mind whilst deep in concentration. My mandalas are intended to provide a much needed oasis in the current global chaos, hence the name! My ‘Oasis in the Chaos’ mandalas can all be found here.

My mandalas can be coloured in as a solitary activity, in pairs or in groups. Stuck for lockdown activities for yourself and the kids? Try setting some time aside to colour in some mandalas together. It’s super peaceful and might just keep them quiet for a few minutes. It might also provide you with an oasis of calm!

Or are you a teacher struggling to find activities for the kids of key workers in your care? These free mandala colouring pages may just be the perfect resource for you. There is NO LIMIT on the number of free downloads, so please feel free to download as many as you need, as often as you need.

Drawing and colouring mandalas is a gorgeous, hypnotic way to practise mindfulness meditation. It is an opportunity to direct and focus our awareness on the present moment, unobstructed and undistracted by anything else. It is an effortless act of self care which happens to also yield some glorious, colourful results.

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Feeling the Fear & Doing it Anyway | A decade into Sobriety

I’m not usually one to sit and ponder a whole year or a whole decade – possibly because it feels too overwhelming, possibly because I often have a sense that I haven’t achieved ‘enough’, possibly because I practise self-reflection Every. Single. Day as part of my daily routine so I don’t feel the necessity.

It’s also very easy for me to focus on where I think I ‘should’ be, instead of looking at how far I’ve come, so with the intention of redirecting my focus, here’s a little reflection on what I’ve learned, and relearned, this year.

insta twirl

🌈I can handle it 

Despite my experience of achieving what I thought was impossible (a decade of sobriety and abstinence from self-harm, one day at a time) my old thought patterns can still persist. My default whispers of ‘I can’t handle this/ It’s too hard/ I want to give up’ have limited me immeasurably over the years and I am again relearning that I can handle it/ I can do it/ and that perseverance yields results.

The messages we tell ourselves have an unfathomably enormous effect on our lives and so by transforming our inner dialogue, we transform our outer lives. Telling myself ‘I can handle it’ (when I’ve often convinced myself I can’t) has truly been life-changing.

🌈 My feelings, my choices, my actions are MY responsibility

I was introduced to this truth when I first entered recovery and it was probably the most difficult lesson for me to accept. I’d spent my life blaming others for the way I was and the way I reacted; it was always somebody else’s fault, never my own. If I was miserable and suffering, it was your fault. To therefore be asked to digest the unpalatable truth that I was in fact responsible for all these things… I was horrified.

It has taken me years of oscillating between acceptance and resistance of this notion, consistently feeling the pull back into blaming, but this year, having read some incredible books (eg. Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway) and working with an incredible breathwork practitioner (Olga Circles) I have felt a truly pivotal shift in my understanding of self-responsibility.

🌈 To reconnect to the spiritual path after heart ache and disappointment

Throughout the last decade my morning practise has proved to be an integral piece in my healing. (By morning practise I mean my *almost* daily routine of reading spiritual literature, journaling, affirmations, gratitude lists, yoga and meditation – *almost* every day I utilise a combination of these tools.) Despite knowing the profound impact this has had on my life, I have frequently experienced resistance to it and over time had become complacent and even negligent – possibly because it can feel counter-intuitive (my ego doesn’t want to be silenced), possibly because it’s hard, possibly because growth can be slow and I allowed my impatience to win.

This year however, after quite an extended period of ‘slackness’, my life circumstances shifted and I was left feeling bereft and desperate. Instead of reacting emotionally and destructively, I miraculously felt the pull to reconnect to my spiritual path and began a gentle but regimented daily practise (incorporating all of the above tools). Within weeks I felt transformed and was reminded that ‘doing the work’ really really does work!

🌈 Resistance (for me) is inevitable, and that’s ok!

Some people seem to heal effortlessly – they seem to grasp new concepts and new ideas with fervour and embrace growth & change whole-heartedly. I on the other hand seem to need my claws prizing away from old ideas and old beliefs. I judge myself for being this way, often wishing I could just let go of my resistance, but have recently been reminded (through exploring Buddhism) that this is NORMAL.

Growing can be uncomfortable. Facing yourself can be uncomfortable. Sitting through pain and discomfort is definitely uncomfortable. It’s not surprising I experience resistance. Knowing this and introducing self-compassion to my daily practise has been hugely helpful.

🌈 Humour is everything

When faced with what we label as ‘awful’, laughter can be transformative. It lessens the pain, it takes away the shame, it connects us. In the midst of my old life I don’t remember having a sense of humour. Now, the ability to laugh at myself and inject humour into a situation full of pathos is one of the greatest gifts I have.

🌈 I can walk through fear

Despite consistent evidence in my life that walking through fear is possible, my thinking can still default to old patterns. I have been reminded again this year that pushing through fear is far less frightening and far less painful than sitting in inaction (thank you Susan Jeffers!) Walking through the discomfort and asking for support has led me to achieving things I never imagined I could.

🌈 To live with uncertainty

To lean into it with an open heart and ride the wave in the direction it’s going, wide eyed to possibility. It is only through practise and willingness that I have been able to do this, as for me, uncertainty gives me itchy blood. To sit in ambiguity, to let go of expectations and mental scripting, to dissolve all the ‘shoulds’ – this is where the work lies. It’s hard. It can be disorienting. But it’s oh so freeing and I have deep wells of gratitude for the gift of this practice.

🌈 My ‘tribe’ is everything

Without connection I would simply wither away. I am fortunate enough to be deeply nourished by two tribes: my recovery group and my ‘home alone’ group. The women in recovery who walk this path with me are my life line. To share our lives together, our experiences, our struggles and our successes keeps me afloat. No one gets me like they do. We have a wordless connection, our hearts are interwoven and our stories save each other. My heart surges with gratitude when I think about them. I owe them my life. And the women who comprise our ‘home alone’ group – our incredible network of sole business owners/ warriors – support and inspire me everyday. They are awe-inspiring, resilient and brilliant women and I am privileged to call them my closest friends. I learn and re-learn all the time how important these GODDESSES are to me.💖🙏🏻

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Celebrating 10 Years Sober | Sobriety Birthday Cards

On 26th July 2019, aged 39 yrs young, I turned 10 years sober (and abstinent from self-harm for the same amount of time). 10 fucking years! A whole decade. This felt like an enormous milestone for me and one I often thought I’d never reach. When I was ‘new’ and struggling I would frequently say that if I ever reached 10 years sober and still felt like shit I would drink again. And I meant it. Lucky for me, I no longer feel like shit and here I am, a whole decade later, still sober and self-harm clean. Which really is a fucking miracle. Getting sober was 100% the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Ever.

Until now I haven’t really spoken publicly about my past. It felt very private and sometimes precarious and I didn’t want to disclose my vulnerabilities. I’d worked hard at creating a very colourful, super cheery persona (my other job is a children’s face painter FFS!) and so to reveal my debauched history of drinking and self-harm felt in direct conflict to the character I’d created. I silenced my history and I hid my scars. I successfully compartmentalised the old me from the new me.

Now at 10 years it feels like the right time to open up. Art has been an immensely powerful tool in my healing journey and I’m discovering more and more ways to marry my art and my recovery. Designing a range of sobriety celebration cards is just one of them.

Happy Sobriety Birthday card – Click to buy

These sobriety birthday cards have absolutely been made with love. I wanted to create gloriously vibrant keepsake cards, not only to commemorate AA birthdays and encourage those still struggling, but also as little pieces of art in themselves – cards that people want to keep, not only because of the messages inside, but because they look beautiful on the wall too!

Celebrating sober milestones is SO important and showing your sober friends/ loved ones that you understand where they’ve come from, to get where they are today, is never to be underestimated.

Each card has a little message with a lot of significance. Some of my sobriety cards simply say ‘Happy Sobriety Birthday’ – three small words with so much power. Getting sober is a big fucking deal. People who do it, against all the odds, deserve all the congratulations.

Happy Sobriety Birthday card – Click to buy
Happy Sobriety Birthday card – Click to buy

Probably my favourite card, directed at every sober warrior out there, declares that ‘You’re a fucking Miracle’ ❤ Very few people who aren’t addicts understand addiction. Putting down the drink/ drugs/ self-harming is the ‘easy’ part. Staying stopped is what’s hard. Addiction is an illness, not a choice. Rebuilding your life without your ‘coping mechanism’ is fucking hard work, one day at a time. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Everyone I know on this journey is a MIRACLE.

You’re a fucking Miracle card – Click to buy

‘Don’t quit before the miracle happens’ still echoes in my mind today. These words were repeated to me endlessly when I was new and struggling and I clung onto them for dear life. I longed for the ‘miracle’ to happen and found some degree of comfort in ‘sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly’ because for me it was slooooow. The suffering felt relentless and unending and I wanted to give up so many times. These simple words kept me clinging on, one day at a time, and those days accumulated into weeks, months and eventually years.

Don’t quit before the miracle happens – Click to buy

‘One day at a time’ was also a fundamental tool in my early recovery and one I still utilise today when I’m navigating a painful situation. In the beginning it quite literally kept me sober. All those time I wanted to drink (and for 18 months it was every day!) I repeated this like a mantra. I only had to stay sober for that one day. Just one day. And even though that felt impossible and excruciating, it made it manageable. Now, it keeps me focused on the present day, reminding me to keep my head where my feet are and grateful for all the beauty in today, instead of projecting and worrying about the worst case scenario in the future. What I’ve learned is that most of the time, my fear is actually greater than the reality of a situation.

One Day at a Time card – Click to buy
Keep Going card – Click to buy

The last 10 years have hardly been a smooth ride. I harboured the illusion for a long time that the longer I stayed sober and abstinent from self-harm, the happier I would get. I held the utterly erroneous belief that working the 12 steps would result in a permanent state of euphoria, a plateau of fluffy feelings and a permanent jettison of all negative feelings. Oh how wrong I was! I would propose though that it was my expectations that were faulty, not any program of recovery. Like the Calvin & Hobbs cartoon so simply and eloquently puts it, I may as well have been holding a big fucking neon sign exclaiming “Happiness is not enough. I demand euphoria!” I wanted nirvana. I wanted enlightenment. I wanted complete and utter freedom from my demons. Realistic I think not.

Happy Joyous and Free card – Click to buy

What I’m still learning is that this isn’t possible and THAT’S OK! Happiness is just ONE of many many human emotions and somehow I (and countless others) have made it the sole (or soul!) destination. In sobriety I have experienced real happiness, joy and intense gratitude, full belly laughter and utter hilarity, and I have experienced deep sadness, pain, longing, depression, fear, loneliness and more. I have experienced profound peace and serenity, and I have experienced mood swings, irritability, anger and despair. With this in mind, my ‘Clean and Serene’ card should definitely say ‘Clean and Sometimes Serene’ instead! Next batch I promise!

Clean & Serene card – Click to buy

All my sobriety celebration cards/ AA birthday cards are available to buy in my Etsy shop. Click each photo to be taken to the listing, or click here for multi-card discounts ❤

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Rainbow Greeting Cards | Alcohol inks

As many of you know, everything I do is a labour of love and my greeting cards are no different! Each one is designed with so much love and attention to detail, ensuring that the colours on the card are as true to the original piece as possible (not always an easy feat). Colour is everything after all!

I recently wrote a Behind the Scenes blog post on my process of creating a card which you can find here.

My most recent collection of greeting cards is my most colourful to date. The colours simply pop off the page and everyone comments on how vibrant they are! Photos do not do them justice.

There’s 14 designs to choose from and they can either be bought individually, or 4 for £12 from my Etsy shop.

There’s ones with butterflies…. 
Dream Big Greeting Card – click to view
Pink & Red Butterfly Card – click to view
Orange Butterfly Card – click to view
Teal & Green Butterfly Card – click to view

And there’s ones with rainbows…

Textured Rainbow Card– click to view
Melted Rainbow Card – click to view
Dripped Rainbow Card – click to view
Black Rainbow Card – click to view

And there’s ones for birthdays…

Rainbow Birthday Butterfly Card – click to view
Rainbow Birthday Card – click to view

And many more!

All my greeting cards are blank inside for your own personal message. 

Can’t see what you’re looking for? I am open to suggestions! I’m always looking to expand my range and am currently in the process of designing a brand new range of cards. If there’s a message you’d like on the front of your greeting card, let me know and I’ll add it to my list of my possibilities!

Click here to see my full range of cards or click here for the 4 for £12 offer.

Big love as always,

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Alcohol Ink Coasters | Green & Gold

A few months ago I made a huge batch of alcohol ink coasters but unfortunately the resin used to seal them didn’t cure perfectly (due to inconsistent temperatures during the first week). That’s chemistry, folks! As a result, the mug or glass may leave teeny tiny marks on the coaster, but when I say teeny tiny, they really are! The micro marks are barely perceptible and to be honest, most people wouldn’t even notice them. I however am cursed with chronic perfectionism and my eye is drawn to every single tiny imperfection. The good news is that the marks are only temporary, and usually vanish within a few minutes or hours. Oh the relief when I discovered this!

Green and gold coaster set – available here

Due to the coasters not being 100% perfect I didn’t feel comfortable charging full price for them. They are therefore priced at a bargain 40% off the intended price! Rest assured though, all the alcohol ink coasters are perfectly functional and perfectly beautiful and suitable for hot and cold drinks. They are a stunning addition to any coffee table and guaranteed to be a conversation piece, each one having been individually painted and completely unique!

The colours and shine are near impossible to capture on camera!

As is so common with internet shopping, a static image just doesn’t do the coasters justice. These glorious glossy beauties are, without doubt, doubly gorgeous in real life – the vibrancy of the colours and the mirror-like shine of the resin are just breathtaking and cannot be captured on camera.

Each coaster is backed with cork to prevent scratches on surfaces

These green and gold alcohol ink coasters were created with all the greens from the Ranger collection – Citrus, Lettuce, Bottle and Oregano – and the glittering gold (which really shimmers!) is from the Piñata range.  

Grab yourself a bargain as these alcohol ink coasters are still available at the discounted price of £29.99. International shipping available.

Watch this space for more alcohol ink coaster sets and as I endeavour to attempt the resin process again very soon!

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Sobriety Birthday Card | Send some love & rainbows to someone celebrating their AA birthday

At the end of July I will be 10 years sober and free from self-harm ??

To coincide with this I made my first sobriety birthday card and within the first couple of weeks I’ve sold over half my stock, which I’m beyond excited about! When the first run sells out, my plan is to create a whole range of sobriety cards. It goes without saying that this is very dear to my heart.

Sobriety birthday card – available here

I’ve never spoken publicly about my recovery journey before, but at 10 years the time feels right to start talking about it. A decade feels like a real accomplishment, a real milestone, but never in a million years could I have done this on my own. I have had an immeasurable amount of love and support from others who have walked the walk ahead of me and to them I owe my life. In the words of a wise old friend, I am not proud, I am GRATEFUL. Sobriety was a gift bestowed upon me and I grabbed it with both hands and didn’t look back.

It’s been beyond difficult – undoubtedly the hardest thing I’ve ever done – and the battle with my mental health has continued periodically through the years, but today, as I write this, I feel peaceful, calm and overwhelmed with gratitude.

Creating a sobriety birthday card out of my art just felt like the most natural thing in the world to do. It had to have rainbows, it had to have the right words and it had to be beautiful. I’m not sure anyone not in recovery understands exactly how significant a sobriety birthday is, but to me it is everything. My ‘belly button’ birthday is really not that important, but my sobriety birthday means the world. Every year, every anniversary, I’m reminded of how far I’ve come and what I’ve overcome. I feel an equal vicarious joy whenever I hear about or read about someone else who has achieved multiple years of sobriety. It makes me cry. It’s a miracle, every time.

In addition to this sober anniversary card I have also created a rainbow print with the words that saved my life when I first walked into those anonymous rooms. I was broken, raw and scared – nothing hot about this mess – and people kept saying to me “Don’t quit before the miracle happens!” Their words echoed in my mind every time things got hard, and back then every day was hard, and I clung onto those words with all my might. I hope these words continue to help people in the way they helped me.

Art Print (12 x 12″) – Don’t quit before the miracle happens – available here

Once I’ve sold out of all my sobriety birthday cards (available HERE) I will be introducing a whole new range of recovery celebratory cards. They will be full of joy and rainbows and I can’t wait to share them with you. Ideas and suggestions for what to write on them are welcome!

My ideas so far are:

• Clean and Serene

• Transformed by Grace

• You’re a Fucking Miracle!

• The Best is Yet to Come

• You’re an Inspiration

Until then, please spread the word and share the joy! Watch this space ?

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Alcohol Ink Workshop | Leicester

My journey with alcohol inks started just over a year ago and in that time I have been approached several times to do workshops. Always hesitant and afraid to try something new I politely declined and said I wasn’t ready. Fast forward to June 2019 and with a double helping of courage I said yes!

This lovely lady booked in for a 3 hour 1-2-1 session, with the aim of creating some original artwork as a centre piece for her new home. Our session focus was therefore on learning how to use the inks and create multiple pieces, out of which she would select her favourite and have an enlarged print made.

pinterest alcohol ink workshop blue

Prior to the workshop we had discussed her desired colour palette (blues and greys), so I’d stocked up on all the blues (being a purely teal girl myself)! Our colours for the day were Sapphire Blue and Baja Blue (both by Pinata), Stream and Eggplant (both by Ranger), the combination of which was just dreamy!

blog alcohol ink workshop 6
All the blues

With Yupo as our substrate, I demoed the blue inks and how alcohol isopropyl (99.9%) is used to move them around and blend them together, using a straw, an airbrush and a heat gun. My client then had the opportunity to experiment with each of these techniques and decide which one she preferred.

blog alcohol ink workshop 7
Demo – all the blues and an airbrush

My intention was to convey the importance of letting go of control. Alcohol inks can be coerced and maneuvered to a certain extent but ultimately it’s about working with them, not against them. Allowing them to do their thing – without forcefully imposing your will and expectation – is where the magic lies. This is a constant challenge for me and undeniably an accurate metaphor for life!

During the session Anupa made several beautiful pieces in her chosen colour palette, varying the composition slightly each time but embracing the white negative space. Here she is with two of her favourites – I think her smile says it all!

blog alcohol ink workshop 8

We both had a magical morning, not only producing gorgeous artwork with alcohol inks, but connecting through conversation too. For me, it’s so important to create an encouraging environment free from judgement, where my client feels safe and comfortable and able to create freely. Art is about expressing oneself, not what the teacher wants them to express.

Anupa so generously wrote this of our 1-2-1 alcohol ink class:

Today I experienced my first ever art workshop and I couldn’t have chosen a more perfect person to do it with. Livi was great in every way, from our first contact to the workshop itself. The 3 hour session flew by because it felt as though I was creating art with a friend 🙂 Livi supported me to produce some great pieces but she allowed my creativity to shine through with just enough guidance. The alcohol inks were super fun to work with and created some great effects. I would thoroughly recommend a workshop with Livi, you won’t regret it! 

blog alcohol ink workshop 3
My client photographing her own work

This beautiful workshop has undoubtedly lit a fire inside me and I can’t wait to teach more alcohol ink workshops! If you’re interested in learning about alcohol inks and wanting to try a new creative outlet with endless possibilities, please get in touch. My workshops can be taught 1-2-1 or in groups of up to 4 people.

For questions and enquiries, please email livilollipopart@gmail.com ❤

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Behind the Scenes | The Evolution of a Greeting Card

Behind the creation of my greeting cards is a whole of hard work, perseverance and love. My intention to create gorgeous, vibrant, colourful and memorable cards is not something I do lightly. The process is long and laborious (always taking way longer than I think it will!) but in the end, after producing a whole new range of glorious, rainbow greeting cards, I believe it’s totally worth it!

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Rainbow butterflies – CLICK TO BUY

It begins with creating the artwork with alcohol inks, either on Yupo paper or ceramic tile. For this particular range of cards, I wanted to create a rippling rainbow border with a plain white centre, onto which I could write a variety of phrases. This in itself was a labour of love, as creating ripples with alcohol inks is not as easy as it looks. Like anything, it has been a massive learning curve and has required much persistence and trial and error, and then some more trial error!

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This particular piece was created with my favourite rainbow palette of alcohol inks: Pinata Magenta, Ranger Sunshine Yellow, Citrus and Mermaid, with the help of my trusty hairdryer!

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Once the artwork is complete, I scan it into my computer at high resolution (600dpi) with my beloved Canon scanner. It’s then ready to play with in Photoshop!

Any smudges are cleaned up and all micro-hairs and specs of dust are removed. This is again another lengthy process and involves zooming into the image and utilising the ‘clone stamp’ tool in Photoshop. I actually love this process, despite it taking ages, as for me it’s like magic! One minute the inks are full of microscopic fluff and blemishes, the next minute they’re gone, with a simple click of the mouse!

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Rainbow Birthday – CLICK TO BUY

Once that’s all done it’s time to add the text. For this, I use free downloadable fonts from a variety of websites. I make sure any fonts I use are allowed for commercial use.

For half this range, I also included some multi-coloured butterflies from a really old vintage butterfly book I bought for 30p. Again with the magic of Photoshop, I colour-matched each butterfly with the inks and created a mixed-media collage.

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Dream Big – CLICK TO BUY

Once the designs are all complete, I align each one with my back cover design, convert the colours from RGB to CMYK (which always breaks my heart a little, as the colours dull ever so slightly!) and then they’re ready for printing.

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All my cards are professionally printed on high quality, glossy, laminated card and can be purchased individually or 3 for 2. ❤