Thursday, 26 November 2015

Art Portfolio

For my finished pieces of work; I have included a variety of works I have created which show my skill set and the variety of materials I enjoy using. At the beginnings of my project, I began using inks and watercolours, in order to work in quite an illustrative style. More recently, however, I have discovered that my forte is abstraction; focussing on colour, tones, shapes and working on more unusual materials such as wood and canvas board, opposed to paper. This has also allowed me to experiment with using palette knives and pieces of cardboard to paint with, which is what I have used mainly for my abstract portraits included in my digital portfolio. These works were inspired by Janet Wayte, Peter Hallam and, more recently, Kandinsky; who I have only just begun to work in the style of. One reason I enjoy working abstractly, is not having to draw. I like sketching and drawing, but I prefer to paint and I like how painting straight away onto the canvas forces you to work with your mistakes. I have also included some of my A level photography work. At the beginning of this year, we were set the task of looking at documentary photography, so I decided to create my own series of documentary photos when I went to the open day in Glasgow. I really like this image, because of the composition, framing and colours of the lights reflected in the rain. Recently, I have been exploring the theme of fashion and portraiture photography, and I have included two of my photos from a series of studio portraits I took of my friend; inspired by Ben Hassett and exploring the idea of how makeup changes our identity. For my preparatory work, I have included pages from my sketchbooks, including my textiles sketchbook; which I did up to AS level last year. For my AS project on identity, I began by sketching items that I felt linked to my identity. I then experimented with drawing these items again onto different materials, including maps. Primarily; I looked at cameras as I have always loved photography and I have a lot of vintage cameras which are amazing to draw. Later, I was inspired by Tracey Emin’s work to create self-portraits in ink; scribbling out the faces to convey a sense of a loss of identity and belonging. I also combined this work with my mixed media backgrounds, drawing onto a map and an envelope. From a watercolour self-portrait, I created collages using photocopies of my work and extracts of stories I wrote about when I was bullied; to create a more personal and raw series of works. My observational drawings are of mouldering fruits and vegetables, to link to my A2 project on ‘transform’ and the idea of decay and rotting. I began by doing 2B tonal pencil drawings, but later decided to try using inks, watercolours and charcoal to create more unusual and experimental drawings.

Finished pieces
November 2015- acrylic on wood
This is a self portrait inspired by Peter Hallam and Frida Kahlo, exploring the theme of identity. 

November 2015- Acrylic on canvas board
Portrait of my sister inspired by Kahlo and Hallam, pictured with her two favourite animals; to show her identity.

September 2015- Watercolour and pencil on paper
Self portrait inspired by Kahlo and Henrietta Harris, exploring my identity through objects (my camera).
September 2015- Print on paper with washes of watercolour paint
 Print made with mouldy fruits and vegetables and painted into with watercolour. I like the illustrative feel to this print.
October 2015- Acrylic on wood 
Janet Wayte inspired abstract painting of onions on a block of wood. This was when I began experimenting with abstraction.

November 2015- acrylic on wood and an old map
Inspired by overlayed photos taken of fruits and vegetables, I wanted to experiment with painting onto different backgrounds and materials.

November 2015- Acrylic on wood and a map 
Another abstract piece inspired by overlayed photos taken of fruits and vegetables; with a Janet Wayte inspired background.
October 2015- watercolour on paper
I painted cabbage leaves with acrylic paint and created some paintings from them; including this watercolour one.
October 2015- Photograph
I was only in Glasgow for one night but wanted to portray the beauty of the city; even at nighttime.

November 2015- Photograph
Ben Hassett inspired portrait of my friend. I preferred this image cropped because the framing and composition looked visually better.

Observational Work

September 2015- 2B pencil on paper
Observational drawing of a rotting onion. I liked the darker tones and highlights in this sketch.

September 2015- 2B pencil on paper
Observational drawing of an onion and apple. I like the tonal shading and graphic- look to the apple.

September 2015- Watercolour and ink on paper
Ink pen sketch from a photograph I took of an onion, with a wash of watercolour, to add vibrancy.
October 2015- Charcoal on newspaper 
I decided to use various charcoal shades for this tonal sketch. I like the shapes and lines in the fruit.

September 2015- Ink and watercolour on paper 
This drawing was done in ink and watercolour, and I like the shapes of the onion and the graphic look. 

September 2015- Watercolour and ink on paper 
This is of half of an onion, drawn with watered down ink and a wash of background colour.

Sketchbook work

June 2015- Ink on mixed papers
I wanted to create a different look to my sketches, by drawing onto different types of papers.

June 2015- Ink on mixed papers
Drawn with ink and a paintbrush, and then a cocktail stick for the  lace details on the top.

October 2015- Collage made from a photocopied self portrait and mixed papers 
I created 'articles' about me being bullied, and circled negative comments people said about me.

October 2015- Collage made from a photocopied self portrait and mixed papers 
I circled details about the physical abuse I received and I like the sepia tones to this collage.
Friday, 20 November 2015

Trek Bar review

Being on a gluten free diet, and having a ridiculously fast metabolism, means that I am always hungry but can't eat many of the snacks I used to love. Crisps, biscuits, flapjacks and most cereal bars are no longer an option for me, but then I heard about Trek bars made by Natural Balance Foods. Trek are energy bars which come in many different flavours and are gluten, wheat and dairy free. 
In all honesty, I am a bit funny with cereal bars. I was ill during my GCSEs so was allowed food in exams, to make sure that I didn't faint, and I ate a lot of cereal bars then, so associate them with being ill. However, trying Trek bars has definitely changed my mind and I shall be eating cereal bars in my breaks at college a lot more!

Cocoa Chaos bar- The main ingredients of this bar are cashews, dates, gluten free oats, raisins and fruit juice. This was the first bar I tried and I really love it! My sister even had one and enjoyed it, despite her saying that she 'doesn't like cereal bars at all'. So, even if you don't like cereal bars usually, you will probably like Trek energy bars.
Berry Burst bar- The main ingredients in this bar are raspberries, dates, gluten free oats and raisins. One of my favourite things about these bars are the fact that they are in three sections, which you can break off. This means that they are easy to eat on the go and makes them much more 'bitesized' than they would be if they were in one single bar. 

Peanut Power bar- The main ingredients of this bar are dates, peanuts, peanut butter and gluten free oats. I LOVE peanut butter on toast, as an alternative to flour in cookies, or in Reese's Peanut Butter Cups so I was really excited to try this flavour bar! In fact; this was the bar I had the highest hopes for and was the most excited to taste, and I was not disappointed. There is a strong taste of peanut butter to the bar, and it has a nice crunch from the nuts, oats and 'soya protein crunchies'- so a perfect snack for anyone who likes peanut butter as much as I do! 
Banana Blast bar- The main ingredients in this bar are dried banana, gluten free oats and dates. I don't usually like banana flavour things, but this tastes like the foam banana sweets, which I used to love. I am not sure about the taste of this one though, I might stick to the other three flavours instead! 

Thanks for reading! Let me know your favourite snacks in the comments.

Holly Olivia x
Friday, 13 November 2015

Body Confidence

Today's post is a bit different to usual. For years I have struggled with body confidence and I wanted to talk about it, because I know that it affects most of us at some point.
First of all- skinny shaming IS a thing.
I know how controversial this issue is with some people but for the majority of my life, I have only ever heard negative comments about my weight. Words like 'skeleton', 'twig', 'anorexic' and 'bony' have been thrown around in conversations about me. Which is ridiculous as anorexia isn't an adjective, it's a mental illness. When it it used so loosely as an 'insult', it is so easy to see why there is a stigma around mental health.Too often we hear about how 'real women' have curves, or 'real men' don't like skinny girls, and it blows my mind that some people don't see this in the same way as they would if someone was making similar comments about a larger, or more curvy, person. It is even evident in the music industry with artists like Megan Trainor (eugh), having lyrics such as 'skinny bitches'. I have seen people address this before who have been bombarded with responses of 'she said she was kidding about that lyric', but imagine how differently people would have reacted if she'd said 'fat bitches' in her song? I have mixed feelings about Nicki Minaj. She says a lot of inspiring things about feminism in interviews, but I can't get past her lyrics. 'Fuck them skinny bitches' Again, the use of 'bitch' is derogatory. I know a lot of people stand up for the use of 'skinny bitches' by saying that it used to be 'skinny people who shamed fat people'. However, I would just like to point out that we can't lump together all people of one size and criticize them for something a few people said. Yes, there may have been a problem with slimmer people shaming larger people, but not every single skinny person has done that? And does saying that not show you as being a cruel person as well, when you know how much it hurts to be criticized for your body size?
The only time anyone has the right to comment negatively on someone's body size is if they are a trained professional and the person is dangerously over/under weight. As women, can we not all support each other instead of having a bitching contest over which size is better?

This is the type of thing I am thinking of when I mention 'skinny shaming'. Men, and women, are attracted to females of all different shapes and sizes. No size is undesirable or unattractive.
Source: Google
My experience

I was a late developer and didn't start my period until I was nearly 15, as well as having a completely flat chest until I was 13/14. Even by my friends, I was told that I wasn't a 'woman' for being flat chested, and I was bullied and made fun of at school for it. For ages, I wore push up bras to make me feel more confident, even though they weren't particularly comfortable. (I feel like all ladies know the struggle of wire digging into you all day). I have always admired unwired and unpadded bras in shops, but didn't feel confident enough to wear them as they'd make my boobs look much smaller. However, I have decided that I don't care what people think, since some people at college have negatively commented on my chest size anyway. As I am only a small B cup, I don't need much support, so unwired and unpadded bras are perfect. They are stunning, available at so many shops including H&M, Accessorize and Topshop, and they are so comfy! If Kate Moss and Alexa Chung can wear these bras and still look gorgeous, then so can women with smaller boobs. (I am not saying only women with smaller boobs can wear these bras, I am just speaking from experience about my insecurities. Of course, if you feel confident in it, then wear it!)
I've always been very skinny, especially since a couple of spells where I was quite ill and lost of weight. I was often told that I couldn't be insecure because I was 'slim' or 'skinny', as if being larger isn't okay and I should be happy that I am slimmer? However, seeing comments on people like Poppy Delevigne's Instagram saying 'Eat a burger', 'You're too bony', 'She needs to gain weight. She doesn't look good', is very panic inducing. I thought people were thinking the same things about me, as I had been told similar things in the past, and it made me hate my weight and my protruding bones. For years, I was ashamed of how thin my arms are, and I would wear long sleeves, even in the summer. Within the past year, however, I decided to embrace my naturally thin body and work with it to make myself more confident. I have started working out (I hadn't actually properly exercised since year 10 in PE...), and have managed to put on weight, as well as gain muscle, on my arms which has made me braver about showing them off. I have also found that my weight has stayed the same since I went on a gluten free diet, as opposed to losing weight from the food I was eating not agreeing with my stomach.
To anyone out there who is struggling with body confidence, if it is really getting you down then you can easily adjust your diet or lifestyle to improve how you look, and therefore, how you feel about yourself. It doesn't cost lots of money either, but you are all beautiful no matter whether you, or others, think you are too tall, small, skinny or large. At least you have a more beautiful personality than people who stoop to criticize others for their appearance.

Holly Olivia x
Friday, 6 November 2015

The Handmade Treat Co

Last week I received a very exciting email from the Handmade Treat Company, who are a new subscription service offering healthy vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free boxes of snacks. I was sent a box of specially picked gluten free snacks, due to my dietary requirements, but they usually offer a non-edible handmade gift, such as a soap or body scrub. The box is £14.99 and the majority of the food they send out is organic, preservative free and GMO free, so it is a very healthy treat!

I was sent a recipe for vegan chocolate chip cookies, which I haven't made yet but I definitely will be. I haven't tried many gluten free cookie recipes, and I haven't ever baked something vegan so I am going to be putting a lot of ingredients on next week's shopping list! They also included a multitude of snacks for me to try, and a lovely handwritten note- I love personal touches. 

These chocolate orange drops were the first thing I tried, and they were delicious! I used to love Terry's Chocolate Orange, but they all say 'may contain gluten', so I tend to avoid them. These, however, were so much nicer as well as dairy, gluten and wheat free- so perfect for those of us with allergies. 

Both of these products which were included in my box were also so tasty. I love cookies, but there aren't as many nice gluten free options, however this one was not crumbly like a lot of gluten free food is. The toasted corn kernels were really moreish and quite unusual compared to a lot of other snacks I've had before. 

I wasn't as keen on these brandy flavoured sweets, as I don't like the taste of brandy anyway, so I will see if my parents want to try them! 

I don't like figs much, but this was my favourite snack in the box! The yogurt melts in it taste so much like the Onken cherry yogurt- which I adore. I will definately be looking out for these snacks in shops to take to college with me for my lunches! 
Not only are the Handmade Treat Company boxes packed with delicious products, which all possess health benefits, but they are great value for money. Especially when you bear in mind how expensive 'free from' products are. I would definitely recommend buying one!

You can find Handmade Treat Co on social media- @handmadetreatco
And online at-

Holly x