Sunday, 19 April 2015

Victorian Curios (Niches PaperArtsy)

Collecting (well apart from stash we never use) has rather gone out of fashion and the Victorians were certainly experts at collecting and displaying all sorts of things. Snowshill Manor in the Cotswold's  is an amazing example of this type of curio collecting.

So inspired by these Victorian collectors (plus I had a box and some polystyrene eggs) I decided to make a egg display case.

Using my favourite PaperArtsy Fresco chalky finish paints, I  painted the box in Irish Coffee and then used a candle to make some resists marks This was followed by French Roast, more candle and finally a mix of French Roast and Chalk to give a lovely soft grey / blue top coat and a great distress finish.

 For the inside niches I painted in Irish Cream and Chalk.  Using a 12x12" sheet of brown tissue paper I created a master board (needed two in the end) stamping lots of Ink and the Dog Victorian college stamps in Coffee Archival. Measured the niches and cut the tissue into appropriate sized bits and started gluing them in, back, top, bottom and sides!

The front edge of the box was painted in Chalk and dry brushed with French Roast, as were the edges to get the distressed look I wanted.

The eggs were painted in layers of Chalk, Irish Cream, Guacamole, Mermaid to get the soft pastel look of eggs.  Finally a I added some French Roast with a splatter stamp to complete the mottled look.

I'm quite pleased, although the polystyrene eggs went a bit dinosaur scaly egg looking when I used the heat gun to dry the paint, but hey I had fun making!



Friday, 17 April 2015

Photo on Friday #5

Victorian railway architecture fascinates me, these lofty architectural palaces dedicated to travel, to  journeys, happiness and sadness, hello's,and goodbyes. So many stories and so much that could have been lost without visionaries such as John Betjeman (a big hero  of mine) to save these cathedrals of brick and iron.

I spend a lot of time when I'm in London on the Euston Road, either coming in at Euston from Northampton (home), going to the British Library or in this case heading towards St Pancras if I've come in from Luton (work).  Euston Road itself is very important in railway history as it marked the edge of the City of London and no main line railway stations were allowed in the City of London in Victorian times.

You wouldn't think it was a railway station would you, it looks like it belongs in St Petersburg or Moscow not London.  All those Gothic spires and arches reaching into the sky.

Who said functional can't be beautiful?

Monday, 6 April 2015

Well you didn't think I wouldnt have a play myself would you? (#3UP Spring 2015)

So here is my take on the colour palette I picked for #3UP week. 

John keeps saving me his grapefruit tins so I decided to have a go at using one of them to create a battered tin that had been left out ion the garden.

Using a large stencil brush I just started adding Stone Concrete and Slate over the tin.  I then took the hammer to it and gave it a few bashes to dent it. I made sure the inside and the top and bottom edges of the tin had colour on them.

I then mixed some Grunge Paste with Stone and started scraping that on really roughly.  I then used one of my old matted and stuck together bristles brushes to add further texture.

Once the Grunge Paste was dry, I went over with the stencil brush again with some Hey Pesto and Guacamole and Concrete.  I then sealed it with Matte Glaze.  

To further add to the lichen effect I added some green Treasure Gold again using a stencil brush (I keep one just for Treasure Gold). Finally I added some watered down splats of Slate.

Inside the tin I've added some flower arranging oasis which is the second part of my grand plan with this battered tin.

Oh and there may have been some "staging" of the snails!


Friday, 3 April 2015

Photo on Friday #4

I've been at the seaside this week, Southwold to be exact  on the east coast for a bit of rest and recuperation after many weeks of being unwell. I've lost count of the the times we've been to Southwold as a couple, with parents, with family, but this time I went on my own.  Its the first time I've been away on my own for any length of time for pleasure, an adventure!

This was taken on a previous visit to Southwold, taken very early on the beach. The sun was just up and the light was so bright, cold and clear. Even with the glorious light I have added some filters to accentuate and deepen the colour of the crab. 

So why do I like this, what made me take a photo?  Well I like the shape of the claw and the ribs, the brittleness of the shell which is so fragile as well. That smoothness of the shell juxtaposed against the grains of sands and the colour of the claws in contrast to the whiteness of the ribs.

What do you like about it?

Friday, 27 March 2015

Photo on Friday #3

Texture and shape intrigue me whether its nature or man made.

These poppy heads were in my garden.  I have added some heavy filters on them to blur some of the features, add a grainy effects as an overlay and softened the edges. Colour wise I went for a monochrome effect, the contrast of light and shade.

This neutral palette allows the features on the top of the poppy heads and the fragile decay on the side would show up as the strongest elements of the photo.

What would you use from this photo to make art?

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Well, it's got a lot of texture

Ummmm, right I'm just putting this out there, its almost how I wanted it, but not quite.And I think I like it and then I think ummm, do I really?

What do I like?
  • I love the main background.  Kraft card that has had paint (Caramel, Vanilla, Chalk), stamping (mini bricks and mini numbers), candle wax resit and crunched up to break the fibres to create the cracks, distressed edges for the rips  and then inked with Distress Ink.
  • The brads in the corners
  • The shading of it all with watercolour pencils (purple, brown and charcoal) to give depth
  • The gold pitted and scrapped Treasure Gold covered Grunge Paste layer under the corrugated card layer
  • The rusty wire, alcohol ink dyed eyelets and grungy alcohol stained staples.
  • The burnt Lutrador
  • The ripped, stamped and painted corrugated card.   

What don't I like?  
  • Well the corrugated card top layer is too angular on the side of the small pieces.
  • I wanted more of a gap between the eyelets with the rusty wire, but boy was it fiddly.
  • I'm not sure about red / brown Lutrador focal point.
  • And I don't know whether it works best portrait or landscape orientation. 

All great individual elements, but do they all work together? Is it too much?  Am I being over critical (do have a tendency to set high expectations)?

When I can decide which way it goes round I'll put it in a frame.  The one thing I do know is it needs a big frame with a lot of "white space" behind it so it looks as though its floating (like an island, to be honest I think the corrugated card element does look like an island!) and you are drawn to it because its the strongest visual and you aren't distracted by anything else. Framing, a border is so important.

Anyway enough pontificating. In the end its only card and I enjoyed creating.



Friday, 20 March 2015

Photo on Friday #2

So Spring, has it appeared in your neighbourhood yet or are you in a completely different hemisphere and facing Autumn and Winter.

Haven't really seen much evidence of Spring yet, the primroses and primula's are out in the garden and there are some tiny unfurled leaves on the roses and plum and apple tree.  The dawn chorus is starting at about 5.00am which I always love to hear. So Spring is on its way, but its a bit shy, just peeping out, just checking whether its safe to come out and play.

This was taken last year one frosty morning. You can see the water droplets on the flowers and the frost on the leaves.  Yellow is a colour I struggle with, but this soft pale lemon with just a touch of acid green stamen, the flush of purple on the stalk and the variegated greens of the leaves, well it makes me feel happy.

The filters I've added give a softness, but also a sharpness and an intensity that makes those colours sing and shout SPRING IS COMING!

So what to create inspired by this photo?  A scrapbook page for the photo, a textured background using the colours, fabric to present the furriness of the leaves? All possibilities.

What would you create?