Entries in digital (14)


The Lost Book

A little while ago I briefly glimpsed this picture somewhere on my computer; it took a moment for the image to sink into my consciousness, and by the time I thought to pause and take it in, I had already clicked on. I searched high and low in all my folders (or so I thought) and couldn’t find it until now, when I found it by chance. So I thought I’d better share it immediately!

I have not read this book myself in fact – I just really liked this illustration. There is a lovely light touch to the pencil and ink line drawing, in nice contrast to the serious literature, and the minimal colour palette is appealing. I have a strong suspicion that the colour has been applied in Photoshop, as the watercolour brush looks a little too mechanical, and there are too many sharply defined corners, but that does not detract from its delicacy.

This book has been lurking on my computer for so long (since June 2012) and the url I saved – storybird.com, a pretty name for a blog – has unfortunately expired.


How Embarrassing

Oops, pen and watercolour on vintage paper, Helena Turinski 2017I made a boo-boo. You may have noticed I have changed the names of my two blogs on this website, from Sketchbook to Scrapbook, and Journal to Style, to better reflect the content.

Today I realised I had forgotten a whole lot of internal links of references to previous entries would be broken … because in the detailed traffic report there are a whole lot of instances of PAGE NOT FOUND. I am so sorry! I have fixed this embarrassing error in the Scrapbook, but in case I have missed one, please note all you need to do is replace the word ‘sketchbook’ with ‘scrapbook’ in the url and you’ll be in business (and likewise ‘journal’ with ‘style’).

Right. As you were. Keep reading. We’ll pretend this never happened.



Rage! Digital drawing on vintage paper, Helena Turinski, 2015 I was looking for something today in my archives and came across this amusing digital sketch that I had forgotten about. I created it about a year and a half ago as an experiment, using a page from a 1931 journal I had bought from an antiquarian shop.

The concept was related to a random poem I was working on at the time, but it didn’t work as part of a collage and I set it aside. Now, the visceral emotion quite amuses me. I certainly wasn’t angry, but rather gleefully exuberant!

The biggest compliment I received when a friend of mine, another artist, saw some of my digital ink drawings and assumed they were created traditionally. I think doing them this way frees me up much more than if I was using real ink – I know I’d be anxiously worrying about wrecking irreplaceable and unique vintage papers. The other concern is that this paper is very thin and delicate, and would not be able to handle much medium at all. In the end, if I can create a realistic effect digitally, I am happy.


Layering Dreams

Always Inside Your Dreams; collage, found paper 240mm (w) x 350mm (h)Last year I took part in a group exhibition called Read What You Look At, at Brunswick Street Gallery in Fitzroy, Melbourne. Funnily, I hadn’t actually planned for it, but had seen a call for applications in the newsletter I receive from the gallery and thought the theme was singularly appropriate for one stream of my fine arts practice.

I have been working on what I call my ‘random poems’ for many years – ever since I finished art college (a frighteningly long time ago) – and they have developed quite a lot over the years. Some of them are traditional hard copy collages, assembled on antique and vintage paper dating from the 1860s–1950s, and others are original digital artworks that combine collage with ink on the same paper backgrounds.

Labours With Ancient Goddess; original digital artwork; 192mm (w) x 321mm (h)Originally they were all traditional collages, but as I started working with these priceless pieces of crumbling ephemera, I was terrified of ruining or disintegrating them with real ink, so I started experimenting with digital ink. (Some viewers of the exhibition thought it was real ink, so I can plume myself on my success there!) Of course I have to scan everything in, which is a time-consuming although ultimately pleasurable process. But there is still a real charm in the haphazard and inappropriate sizing of the words in the hard copy collages, where conjunctions sometimes shout louder than nouns or adjectives.

Along the way I also started playing with the effect of turning the cut paper images a stark black and white, for more impact and as a contrast to the coloured letters, and splashes of ink.

Read the original Artist’s Statement on Layering Dreams, or view the gallery.


Layering Dreams

I am excited to share the news that I am taking part in a group exhibition at Brunswick Street Gallery called Read What You Look At, which opens this Friday night, and runs for two weeks.

Although it is not my first group exhibition, it is the biggest one I’m showing in, with fourteen pieces of my ‘random poetry’ mixed-media collages on view. The series is entitled Layering Dreams, and is – you guessed it – all about dreams, sleeping, and waking.

Here is an abridged version of my artist’s statement:

From a very young age, I was captivated with telling stories through both words and pictures, often drawing and writing on found paper. At art college after studying the Dadaists, I became interested in writing poetry by reassembling random words. Recycling my magazine collection, I created a pool from which I could pull words to compile into ‘random poems’.

Always interested in dreams, and the surrealism intertwined with hidden meanings, this method of writing poetry appealed to me. Naturally, I choose words that I find appealing, but sometimes I deliberately choose ones that I don’t. This strange combination contributes to the elusive mood of Layering Dreams, often with unexpected results.

Sometimes a poem just starts with two or three words, and I slowly build on those. The poems are engaging and easy to read not only because of their brevity, but because of how they look. The fonts and colours culled from so many different sources interact with one another visually, encouraging the viewer to also ‘look at what they read’.

Returning to my roots of acquiring used paper (I’d pinch my sisters’ papers from their school folders!), I’ve sourced antique papers from the late nineteenth century to the 1950s, to use as supports for the collages. As well as traditional (hard copy) collages using only words, I also create digital works, combining scanned words and images cut from magazines with digital ink.

These many layers of ephemera, words, and pictures combine to evoke the otherworldly nature of dreams.

If you happen to be in Melbourne, I’d love for you to come and check them out in person!