Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Crafty Crusaders Guest Designer Geri McLeod

Meet Geri McLeod

An interview with Geri!

"Tell us a bit about yourself ......
Hi everyone. I live in Brisbane with my little family of three kids Tom 20, Anna 16 and Cate 12. We have a dog called Honey who is the light of our lives. 
I have worked in different jobs such as teaching little kids how to speak English, admin in a family law firm and other admin jobs. Being a sole parent I need to be the breadwinner but any spare time I have is devoted to art.
My son Tom has a syndrome and I am his carer. Recently I have had to take time out of work to care for him. I discovered to my happiness that I can do art on hospital floors, hospital emergency wards, and also I can fall asleep just about any place as well.
I am happy living in Brisbane mainly as it is a short drive to incredible beaches. I often head up to the Sunshine Coast and the dog and I enjoy a good swim in the waves. One day I am going to live above the sea and I hope to do art every day and grow lavender.

What is your art history.....When/how did you become an artist?
My favorite thing at high school was art and I remember it was all I thought about. I did 
fine arts at uni as part of an arts degree. I got busy with working a day job and having kids and I did tinker in ceramics and stained glass and other creative things but it wasn't until my beautiful husband was in Palliative care that I rediscovered art. The ward had a little art group that met every day in the foyer and you could just turn up and paint. I stumbled across it one day and decided to have a go. I found art so great to bring peace and to have a mental break. I then started doing art on weekends and found a couple of hours was like a having a weeks holiday and gave me the rest I needed from life. It was really doing a weekend retreat with Jane Davenport at her Nest that I really got excited about art. I then joined up her classes and I have had a wild time. I even went to Paris with her last year. I had never been to Europe and it was the best thing I have ever done. 

Where do you create?
My favorite place to create is the dining room table for some reason. Maybe because it has the air conditioner. I have an area I call my art studio with my computer and supplies all set out up the end of my bedroom. I find I have to move around as this refreshes me. I guess its a bit nomadic. I move to a spot like the sofa and slowly pens and things appear around me. I have an art attack and then pack up and move back to my studio. I love also creating out and about. Especially in a coffee shop or my car whilst waiting for kids to do guitar lessons as it's under a tree full of lorikeets. When I go on holidays I take more art supplies than clothes in my bag. There's so much inspiration around you on holidays 
ithink its a great time to get creating.

What is your most favorite media to use?
My current favorite media is pens. I love them and especially alcohol markers. Paint pens are awesome too. I am mixed media to the core and rely on whatever my eye lands on as the right thing to use. I think if I have to search for something it is a sign its not the right tool. Often I think blue and then look and see the pen or paint or whatever and straight away know that its the right one. 
I love the smell and feel of good paper. And also how many beautiful art supplies there are these days. When I was at school we had horrid paint and horrid paint brushes and very ordinary paper. These days the best part of art is that you get to touch beautiful paper and then the colors and textures around you are so divine that it makes your heart sing.

What kind of art do you love to create?
I love using colour in my art. It is the greatest pleasure to see how one colour bounces off another and how everything can change in a second by adding one little dot. 
I love working in a journal and often have four or five journals on the go at once. I do love a big canvas as well but am just starting to delve into that. Acrylic paint is a wonderland and I am also loving watercolour as well. 
I love abstract flowers and also love faces and lovely mermaids and fairy creatures. I love the idea of things slightly wild and imaginary. My muse has been Jane Davenport in learning how to draw things. I am still doing her courses and also others such as Flora Bowley and Mindy Lacefield.

When do you find you are most creative?  (when do you find you create)
I create best when I get straight out of bed and sit down and just start doing something. I am not thinking much and its a great way to start to the day. 

What inspires your art?
Often I write things and then gesso over it. I try to create something beautiful to bring a bit of happiness into the world. I am inspired by the healing properties of art. I love the feelings that art can communicate and that people can look at art and feel something.

What do you do when you find you feel creatively blocked?
I usually get up and go do something else when I get the feeling things are going off. I have days off and know its good and try not to pressure things. I usually find if I just do something like a background or add a bit to an old journal page that I get into art and for me it is such a pleasure I find it hard to stop.

How do you fit art into your everyday life?  (do you have to juggle things, or do you fit it in first, and juggle everything else?)
My problem is I would like to do art 24 hours a day. My idea for 2015 is not to do any one thing for too long. So a bit of art, a bit of cleaning, a bit of cooking, a bit of being a nice mother, a bit of playing with the dog, and then things seem to be in balance. It's also good to keep moving. I find if I spend too long sitting and trying too hard and taking myself too seriously it is not as productive. I think everyone works differently. And I admit if I get into an art flow I find it very hard to stop as its the best feeling in the world."

Lovely to *meet you Geri.  Thanks so much for sharing!

See the Awesomeness Geri has to share with us today......

Ok I can say that art has saved me and helped me get through some challenging times. It's a valuable tool as I know whatever comes up I can go to my paints and I will feel better and work through things.
Drawing and painting really works for me and I can forget all my worries and escape into a turquoise or fuschia dreamland. I am fascinated by how clearly art can communicate a feeling, a message. I guess thats why I keep going. Art helps me work through feelings I cannot put into words easily.
Also, if I have made someone else feel something by looking at my art then that is a wonderful bonus. If I can use a colour that makes someone happy then I feel great. 

I do a lot of Jane Davenport's classes and she has taught me so much. It's always valuable to learn more and keep discovering. I don't think there's ever been a better time to be an artist than right now with the quality of art supplies and the range of exciting new things. 
Mixed media allows an open door to a whole world of exciting supplies. Recently I discovered watercolour as my favourite thing. I know it's been around forever but the range of colours and using it with mixed media make it my absolute favourite. It is also easy to carry around, and is non toxic.
If you love watercolour then you will love Schmincke. It's worth getting a few tubes of Schmincke's exquisite colour and enjoying it.  I think the Cobalt Turquoise is the most beautiful colour imaginable. I can hear mermaids singing and see tropical island paradises waiting for me. As a watercolour, it floats and ripples as it paints and it makes me happy.
It's a little bit of mermaid heaven. 

I often like to sketch and look for little bits of time in the day. I take paper and a few pencils with me most days. I just draw what comes out. I'm loving the Canson Montval Aquarelle paper, and the Canson bleed proof paper. I have been using a Canson Ivory 111 pastel paper for sketching and watercolour as well as pastel and it is superb.

It's worth trying out different ideas and new art supplies and if  something works it might become a firm favourite.
I use colour pencil, alcohol markers, sharpies, watercolours and ink in water brushes and add some collage too if it calls to me. You can have a little set of your favourite things in a tote bag and take that with you whenever you like. It's good to get used to sketching on the run, in waiting rooms, outside kids music lessons. Don't worry about other people staring at you. They really don't care and are happy to see someone doing art. Just get used to pulling out your paper and a pencil whenever you can. Also allow yourself to get the best quality art supplies you can. Even if you can only buy one tube of watercolour at a time it is worth it. Yes Schmincke is totally beautiful and I will be adding to my collection one tube at a time.

Mepxy markers are great for skin tones and blend really well. It can take a few goes to get comfortable with watching the blending process and you need to use good paper like the Canson Bleedproof paper that is especially made for alcohol markers. 
In the mermaid I have used Mepxy for her skin. The Mepxy range of colours are amazing. I love Orchid Ice and the gorgeous pinks. They are my favourite brand of markers and a very valuable tool to have in your art supplies. You can add life to your sketches with some Mepxy here and there. And then watercolour can add the babababoom!!
With the different marker tips I really love the brush tip as they are soft and it feels like you are painting with them. Coloured pencils go really well over the watercolour and Mepxy markers so you can add in small detail and more colours. It is also really nice to draw over dried watercolour. It feels lovely and line can add movement and soul.


Bye for now.
I'll be back with some more Schminke happy news. I can't wait to use a set of half pans i have ordered from Jane Davenport's store. They are totally scrumptious colours!! Happy days.

Bye for now. May the Schmincke's be with you!!!!!



  1. How wonderful it was to read your story Geri. You are such a happy, beautiful person and I do LOVE the way you use colour in your artwork. And your attitude to life is inspiring. Your mermaid is hot hot hot. What a booty. Fabulous Geri. Much love. Kerry

  2. Hi Geri! Terrific to read your interview. Your colors are delicious. I love how your artwork always conveys a sense of charm and joy. Those Schmincke's are calling me!

  3. Gorgeous work Geri, love your use of colour too! I enjoyed reading your interview too! :)

  4. How wonderful to get to know you a little better, Geri! I am amazed at how you find time for all that is important to you, even with all your family responsibilities. So many people make excuses as to why they have no time for a creative life. You inspire me!

  5. Kindred spirits I feel Geri. It is so nice to know you better. Lisa

  6. Inspiring in your effervescence! Geri! Thanks for sharing yourself with us.