Sunday, 23 August 2015

Shabby poppies

I'm not sure this is how I wanted this to look, but then again I don't know how I did want it to look, so perhaps IT IS how I wanted it to look! The main thing?  I'm thinking too hard!

So this is an A4 piece of card that had Sage paint slapped on and spread out with an old credit card. I then used some gel medium and a really manky brush to spread some thick lines of gel medium to give texture and resist.

Over this Hint of Mint.  I then added some book text with Gel Medium.  I let it dry a bit and then rip away sections that haven't stuck or partially stuck.  I also use my thumb nail to push and tip bits of the text to create tears and rips.


Added some more Hint of Mint and Sage to tone it all in and spritzed some Walnut Stain Distress Ink as well to give the "old look" effect. Added some stamping from the Hot Picks 1505 set.

Now the bottom half of this was an experiment.  Because poppies are such a strong image of war and remembrance I wanted some gravestones.  My library at work looks over St Mary's Church in Luton and right by the back of the library are some old gravestones.  so I went out early one morning took some snaps on my phone and then came back and manipulated them to create a long horizontal image.  I used the photocopy of the image to image transfer on to the background using gel medium.  You can't actually see the grave stones, but it added another layer  of texture and contrast colour.

Time for some stamping, I used Hot Picks 1505 to stamp the poppies in Sepia and then heat embossed Old Photo Distress powder.  The seed heads were stamped in Sepia and the stalk from the poppies added.  I did some colouring in with water colour pencils.

Then I used Art Basics clear crackle paste.  Never used this so wanted to see what I could achieve.  first layer too thin so added a second thicker layer.  Became impatient so started drying with heat gun and that gave the white bits on the right hand side (see below at the bottom of the photo over the poppy head).  So I went away and let it dry naturally. 

 Finally I added some white pencil, just scribbling here and there to add more texture, add shading  and lighten up some parts of the page. The crackle paste gave a grainy texture in places and if you look closely the white pencil has "coloured" the cracks. as well as the Walnut Stain I added. 

so as I said not sure it turned out how I was envisaging, but I think it still looks ok in a grungy shabby messy kind of way!


Sunday, 9 August 2015

Ideas and inspiration

Get a cup of your favourite tipple, this is a long post with lots of links!

so where do ideas and inspiration come from? Is it images, is it techniques, is it other artists, emotions, the need to say "something" themes or challenges?  

What ever it is there is plenty out there and sometimes there is none to be found and no matter how much "stuff"  (paper, fabric, yarn, paint, stamps ...) you have, they stay unused or whatever you do make you don't like and it gets discarded.

Two events have sparked my creative machine recently.  A workshop at Hope and Elvis and meeting other mixed media artists and a visit to the Festival of Quilts (FoQ) on Friday.  

I really could have done with two days at FoQ, the amount of shopping opportunities, the quilts, the art exhibitions and the artists themselves is impossible to do properly in one day.  

Whilst I like looking at the quilts, I prefer looking at the modern art exhibitions, talking to the artists and the students who have the opportunity to have a small stand to show their degree and City and Guilds work (see you can't take the encouraging librarian put of me event at a quilt show).

So what inspired me  at FoQ? Well here's a list and links so you can have a look at their work:

All of these artists use texture and colour in a contemporary way and gave me loads of ideas.

I didn't buy any ready made items apart from this oh so gorgeous red velvet tag from Linda and Susan's space.

How could you not buy something so tactile and delicious!

 If you want to see some visuals of the quilts I'd recommend going on Instagram and use the hashtag #festivalofquilts to see what everyone else has posted.

And of course I bought fabric, a lot of fabric and I'm not exaggerating. I washed most of it yesterday and my dining room table looks like a jumble sale table as you can see!

In terms of the shops I purchased from,here's a list:
And whilst I love the modern contemporary art look most of this fabric will be used to make quilt tops, the back pile has some great prints of cats of mice and birds to make a fun scrappy quilt and the front pile is chambray's that I'll use to make a raggy quilt (look it up on Google to see examples).

Shame I've got to go back to work on Monday and not play with all this stuff!


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

What kind of an artist are you?

I'm not a neat artist, (yes I'm calling myself an artist, trying to get used to using that description of me), I like to splodge paint around, make marks, make and use texture in an abstract way (yes another label) 

And i like imagery especially in photographs, not broad landscapes and not people very often, but objects and close up objects at that, flowers, ironwork, decayed wood, decayed animals.  as a colleague said to me the other week, detail, that's your thing.  He was saying it bout work but I reckon it could apply to my art.  

So I'm a detailed abstract splodge kind of artist.and here is an example of my detailed abstract splodging.

I started with the central panel with my favourite neutral colour palette using PaperArtsy paints, lots of washes, candle resit etc. Added a sheet of text paper that I ripped and sanded to get a shabby look and added Walnut Stain Distress Ink to get the base I wanted. Added some scrunched and inked brown paper again sanded and ripped. 

I didn't want to use stamps for this layer so I got the pencils and watercolour pencils out and drew some lines and shapes to look like naive art flowers (they are naive I can't draw figuratively at all)

The rose photograph which had digital layers on it was stuck down, sanded in places and some washes of chalk paint added over the top to allow it to fade into the background.  I added white pencil marks around it to act as a frame.

I'd left it at this for a while put felt it needed another layer behind it especially if I was going to frame it in one of my A3 frames.  So an A3 piece of white card had some Distress Ink and paint added to it a small amount of stamping. The A5 art was stuck to this base and some more pencil lines.

I'm glad i was brave enough to add my own marks and its something I'd like to continue doing, they may not be expertly  and neatly drawn but the perfectionist in me can just about live with it if I remember its naive folk art not botanical drawings!


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.