Sunday, 2 August 2015

Homage to Hermione

This year I've decided to tackle the garden, bit by bit, focus on certain areas because its a big garden. Its only taken us 10 years but who's counting!  The first space was the border near the patio and conservatory, we like cottage gardens so there are lots of cottagey plants and the bees and butterflies are certainly enjoying it.  We planted three new David Austin roses, a white (Winchester Cathedral), a pink (Gertrude Jekyll) and a pinky mauve (Gentle Hermione).  They all smell divine and the Winchester is a gorgeous repeater.

So the theme over at PaperArtsy is flowers, so I made some flowers and the colour scheme was chosen by the beautiful mauve of Hermione.  



I started by colouring an A4 sheet in Dolly Mix and Chalk, stencilling in Elephant and stamping in Watering Can.



I then cut out as many flower shapes as I could with a PaperArtsy flower die, these were then put together in fives with a coloured brad.


 

Spritz the shapes and carefully scrunch up, the water allows you to do this and it soaks in the paper and distresses the fibres to give a shabby look.



Carefully unfold the flowers and leave to dry.


Now you could use the roses as they are, put I wanted to put metal stalks on them and "put in something" (I hadn't quite decided what).  I took some metal wire, flattened it by bashing it on a metal block and shaping one end into a spiral, bent the stalk at right angels so the spiral would sit on the base of the flower.  The stalks were stained with alcohol ink.

I was thinking of painting a glass jar to be a vase but in the end decided on wooden blocks, sanded and painted in Chalk with some small scraps of text paper and walnut ink.Drilled some tiny holes and put the wire in and glued the flower to the spiral (I have to say I'm rather in love with these wooden blocks)


So just a few more shots of the roses, so you can see the texture.



These are really fun to make and it made me laugh that Jennie over at Live the Dream was doing the same thing! Nothing new in art, just interpretation and variation. 

Hugs
Jo
xx



Wednesday, 29 July 2015

A study in grey (but not that "Grey")

I made this a little while ago and just haven't got round to sharing.  It's a return to some of my favourite things, paint, layers, distress and image transfer all in a monochrome palette with just a hint of pink pulled out from the image transfer. 


Lots of layers of paint and washes, candle resit work, scratching, sanding more layers of paint washes, stencilling and stamping. to get a really subtle background of layers and contrast, nothing too jarring on the eye.


The tulip image transfer was on top of some book text which you cant see but I wanted there just in case the image didn't take and I wanted the contrast of the text peeping through the image.  Once the backing was removed, some sanding to distress and then stencilled the circles, these has pencil on them s well in green and grey just to give some shadow and contrast.  White pencil round the edge (still loving this shabby rough framing) and a lot of layers of Gloss glaze to seal and brighten the image.  



I didn't want the image transfer to sit too proud of the work and be the final top layer, so hence the stencilling over it and the text stamp in grey embossing powder.  Just to bring the colour from the tulip out I ran over the text embossing in a pink water colour pencil and just "washed it" to spread the colour gently.


Sometimes its nice to just work in your comfort zone of techniques and colour and create in "your style".

Hugs
Jo
xx





Sunday, 26 July 2015

An away day to recharge the batteries.

Its been a long time for me to have difficulty sleeping because you've got so many craft ideas racing round my brain (work issues do keep me awake, thank goodness for Iplayer, it took me 10 attempts to listen to Benedict Cumberpatch in Rumpole the other week) but last night loads of what ifs and oh would that work?


Why, well I had a fantastic day at Hope & Elvis near Worksop run by Louise on a Liz Cooksey workshop.  I spotted the workshop ages ago and Liz's use of metal and grid arrangements with mixed media elements really spoke to me.

After a horrendous journey up the M1 I made the 10.00am start - just!  Liz explained her methods and design principles and she made loads of metal elements for us to use if we didn't want to have ago ourselves. Although all materials were available Id taken a load of stuff as I'd decided I wanted to work with a neutral colour scheme.


First thing I did was nick some used teabags and dyed some cotton scraps I had and the A4 Kraft card, left them out in the courtyard to dry.

I then stated to have a play with the metal elements thinking about what I wanted to "do" Started doing some crochet with linen thread (bit of a faff, think I needed a bigger hook) and sticking. 

Once my A4 was dry I added some book pages and then layered the cotton and some silk strips on the swankiest sewing machine I ever seen, I felt like I was driving an Aston Martin, so many buttons and oh so quiet. I felt really naughty sewing on paper with such a majestic beast.

Metal and shaping and bashing, oh how I enjoyed that, all afternoon you could hear the rhythmic ringing of metal on metal out in the courtyard.

The flower on the left is one I made, I love how hitting the metal wire with a hammer of a metal block stretches the metal, flattens its and changes the colour The wire Liz supplied was malleable enough to twist and make shapes and the tendril on the flower on right was done this way.


The stems had more wire twisted round and hammered flat and were attached with some of the line thread. 


The day ended at 4.00pm and that was good because I was knackered, all that thinking and pondering had taken its toll!  I knew the piece wasn't quite finished for me as I wanted to add some pencil marks and little bit of highlight colour.  So once home got the water colour pencils out and added in the brown, purple and red. 




I did start making a more Liz inspired grid arrangement, but this one just sort of demanded to be worked on. Ive got some ideas for the grid that will form a companion to this.

It was a great day, working with all my favourite materials in a beautiful space created by Louise and talking to other like minded people creating and chatting, lovely, lovely, lovely.

Hugs
Jo
xx



Friday, 24 July 2015

Excited, very excited

Tomorrow I'm going on a Liz Cooksey workshop at Hope and Elvis.  to say I'm excited is an understatement, a big understatement even though I am "dog tired" as they say.

As you'll see if you click on the link, grids textures, fabric, paper and metal, these are a few of my favourite things I trill in my best Julie Andrews voice.




I'll let you know how it went.

Hugs
Jo

And the photo? well you can't have a post without some visual imagery, so here's a gratuitous shot of my anti librarian behaviour - defacing books, well book pages if we are going to be exact, such a naughty girl!

Sunday, 19 July 2015

A small token of appreciation.

Sometime it takes a good work colleague to sit you down and tell you some home truths, namely you are being "a pain, a right pain"

I didn't appreciate the home truths at the time but then this afternoon whilst relaxing (something else I find hard to do) I had the light bulb moment and realised that yes perhaps I had been "a right pain" 

I'd lurched into old my habits of control freak stress management, when my workload seems unbearably out of control and there is too much to do, I try and manage EVERYONE ELSE whether they report into me or not, to try and feel I've achieved something.

Ummm, perhaps that good work colleague had a point and perhaps I should have listened a bit better. 

It takes guts to to point out to me that I'm a pain, I can be a bit scary at times I know that. So I really do appreciate that good, kind work colleague for taking the time out from their overworked day to give me a slap so to speak.

It reminded me to stop working so hard to be the perfect manger and stop setting unrealistic targets to prove myself to others.  I only need to prove it to myself and you know what, I'm doing a pretty good job and so is that kind work colleague.



Hugs
Jo
xx


Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Washed up on the shore.

Its been so lovely here in the UK over the past week or so that I've taken every opportunity to be out in the garden, either just soaking it up, painting or in this case painting.  One Saturday morning I just chose some brights (Cheesecake, Tango, Blood Orange) , some A4 Kraft card, an old credit card and started slapping some paint down.  didn't know where it was going, but that was OK because I was just enjoying "doing"

Added some stamping (dots text and numbers)and my oh my the two pieces of Kraft card started to turned out rather well.



I added some stencilling and cut the card into quarters.


In-between drying I nipped up to the craft room to start thinking about what to put on this base card.  I'd printed out a load of photos and one of a scallop shell fitted the colour scheme rather well.

I wanted something in-between to lift the photo from the background so it needed to be something "neutral" to act as a contrast.

Fabric. A different texture but I wanted it to be "stiff" not "soft" a bit flotsam and jetsam washed up on the shore as the scallop shell.  What if I thought I soaked some muslin in thinned out Grunge Paste to act like plaster and let it dry? 




It worked, in fact it worked a treat.  I added some thinned Toffee, glued on a paper scrap and stapled the whole piece to the background with my rusty staples.  Stuck the scallop shell image and edged in red pencil.  Which I also added to the background along with yellow pencil scribbles as well.

I left it like this for a while, but I thought it need to be lifted some more.  So took some of my scrunched up and Distress Inked Kraft card, ironing it flat and scraped some Snowflake over the top adding in some lines here and there for texture.  I was so tempted to stamp over this but said NO LEAVE IT ALONE! 



Distressed the edges bit of Snowflake and some Black Soot Distressing ink and done. 




Messy, grungy, distressed and textured. Just how I like it!

Hugs
Jo
xx

Monday, 6 July 2015

I have many hearts.

The heart is a wonderful thing, it keeps us alive, it leads us rightly or wrongly, it hurts, it holds many open and locked compartments of wishes, hopes, regrets, loss, happiness, sadness and longing.


Now this 12x12" canvas started out as something very different, a very red grunge paste scratched canvas (check out my Instagram to see the stages). Quite a difference eh?  



There are many layers on this of PaperArtsy: Vintage Lace, Tikka, Blood Orange  and Sherbet.  Some book text very much hidden under all that paint, more scratches and water colour pencils to define and fill in the lines.

The hearts were cut from some A4 Kraft card I'd painted and stencilled earlier with Cheesecake, Blood Orange and Tango. I used an old credit card to scrape the the paints and then added some subtle stamping with a favourite Ellen Vargo dot background stamp.I added some stencilling in South Pacific and Red Bus and some doodling in black and white pens around the circles. 




Finally some random stamping of some mini PaperArtsy stamps in black Archival and then cut out using the large PaperArtsy die.   Each heart was edged in Black Soot Distress Ink and stuck on the canvas. I edged each heart with black watercolour pen to give depth and shadows. 





























Now sometimes you want to explore an idea further and I was working on this there were many times when I felt I should have stopped adding layers.  For example I can't see the book text or the stencilled lettering in blood Orange with the Tikka highlights any more which looked really good.  Equally what would the same arrangement look like with a much darker background and lighter highlights?  

Umm, the delight of art mean you can try  those ideas and see, paint and paper and boundless ideas.

Hugs
Jo
xx