Sunday, 28 February 2016

Red Tractor


Well its been a week I have to say.  This time last week I was trundling up the M6 to the NEC for the first day of Stitches, the crafting trade show.  I was there to sell "me" in terms of showcasing my style and seeing if people a) liked it (they did) and b) was anyone interested in me running classes / workshops (potentially, just need to work out what and prices).

But the best thing was the networking, the talking, asking questions of people visiting, exploring new avenues I'd never thought of (was that weddings I hear you say), talking to suppliers (and not baulking at minimum order costs). Lots to think about what I want to do and who in a business sense I want to get into bed with.

My contacts book is bulging and I need to start going through, following up, planning workshops, putting together brochures for that and booking a stall at Kirstie's Home Made Fair in the Autumn.  

But in the meantime - art!

The theme over at PaperArtsy (can't thank Leandra and Mark enough for the support they've given me for NEC) is image transfer.

I love and adore image transfer and most of my artwork especially at the show was showcasing image transfer.  

I've wanted to work on plywood for some time, the solidness of the substrate and the tone of the wood.  So the nice man at B&Q cut me some 6x8" pieces the other week and early one morning before the NEC I had to have a play.

Basically I used Chalk and Brown Shed to add colour and Red Geranium and Potting Soil to stamp with.

The photograph was taken at Hollowell Annual Steam Fair which is about 6 miles away from us.  Its a glorious affair, with vintage cars, farm machinery, heavy horses, traction engines, hounds steam fair rides and organs, donkeys, small animal petting areas, junk stalls and real ale. And when the sun is shining you think you are in the Darling Buds of May! 

I scanned and photocopied the image (reversing the image as I didn't the MF back to front) and used Satin Glaze to transfer the image.

I do love this, I could have added more embellishments, but I quite like the simpleness of it  and solidness of the plywood is very tactile and fits in with the rustic nature of the image.


Friday, 19 February 2016

Take a deep breath and do it!

So,  some of you may have realised from my sneaky peeks and hashtags that I've taken a big leap this year in brand "shabby dandelion" 

Actually Ive taken two big leaps.  Ive finally set up my Etsy shop "theshabbydandelion" (link on the left). there isn't much to buy at the moment but i will be adding more after completing my other big leap. I like my artwork and I hope that other people might and like to buy.

The other big leap is that I have taken a small new designer stand at the Stitches trade show at the NEC this weekend to showcase me and shabby dandelion.

Runs around screaming in panic and delight!

Its a great opportunity for me in my grand plan to become a demonstrator / teacher and share my techniques and ideas with other crafters.

Developing "brand" shabby dandelion has been interesting.  Firstly I had to try to define and describe what my "style" is.  I think its:
  • shabby
  • texture
  • grungy
  • muted
  • layers
  • backgrounds
  • focal photographic images
Secondly marketing.

The blog is my main showcase for this but also Instagram has been a fabulous tool to get my images out there internationally, to follow like minded artists and comment on their work and hop that they follow me! ~Its called developing a community of practice in academic circles which basically means like minded people getting together, sharing and communicating.

I also had to design a business card to give out at Stitches.  I wanted it to "show" my style so it had to be one of images of a dandelion of course on a crackle glaze and ripped text layer background in nice muted tonal colours and a simple font with contact details.  

I had great help from the local printer I used to get my cards printed, who told me about bleed lines and not taking the art work to the edge. I decided to go for a postcard size so that the image didn't get "lost" It was so exciting to see them coming off the printer and seeing my name and creative mixed media artist!

Finally the art work.

I wanted to make some big impressive pieces that would be eye catching and draw people in.  So in my 2x2m space with a back wall I've created 3 A3 size canvasses using my favourite techniques and products (PaperArtsy of course). 

I'm also dressing the set with props to showcase some of the smaller items I make like my rusty tins, smaller canvases, scrapbook and fabric collages and raggy garlands and hoops.

So Saturday is set up day, I'm bringing along my trusty husband and brother to help and then doors open on the Sunday through to Tuesday. so if you are attending come and say hello, you'll find me on Stand LO5 (near ther seminar theatre and workshop area) smiling!


Sunday, 14 February 2016

Experiments with Wax #1

Wax, I like using wax in my art, I like the resist you can get in a batik kind of way by rubbing a wax candle over areas of art you want to protect.  And I like the soft ethereal look you can with wax when you spread it all your art.  I even gone so far to buy books on encaustic art, but that a whole new resource requirement and the subsequent drain on finances!

So when the challenge topic #3 Wax was announced on the PaperArtsy website, I knew it would lovely to play along.

I used an old A4 canvas that was originally dark green with texture on it and painted over with a few coats of white acrylic.  I used an credit card to scrape the paint over and that left interesting marks.  I then went over this with Candy Floss Fresco in the same way.

Now for some stamping.  I made a collage plate of the phrases and words from Emma Godfrey's EEG07 plate and stamped over the canvas in Coffee Archival.

Over this I added a washes of Blush and Chalk to tone down the "pinkness"

I added some Finnabair Texture Paste Clear Crackle in the corners and left this to dry.  I'm still getting to grips with this product, trying to get even layer and understand its drying properties. I wasn't sure at first but now I'm liking it more and more each time I use especially if I don't spread too thickly and leave to dry naturally which can take a long time  so that I get fine porcelain type crackles.

Once dry I rubbed with my fingers some watered down French Roast into the cracks and also spritzed with water to get drips.  To be honest I could have left it there as it looked so good!

First layer of wax to seal all these layers in and create a base for the next layers.I use wax pellets and heat with my heat gun and spread the melted wax with an old credit card. 

Then it was a case of just adding more layers of paint and stencilling. In the picture below you'll see  I stencilled in Chocolate Pudding and added some smears of Chartreuse. Using Chalk when I needed to knock back the colour and blend it together. 

This then had another layer of wax.  The interesting thing was that as I used the credit card it moved the Chocolate Pudding stencilling around.  Not what I was expecting, but, hey it added to the texture!  I also added more word stamping again as that layer had started to disappear under the layers on top.

Now I knew it needed a focus, so I had a look through my photo and transfer image folder and found this altered images of Lupins taken last summer.  the colours were a spot on match for the background.  It needed a frame to sit on so I got out my Portfolio pastels and some more pastels Id got and selected greys, whites  and browns.  I just scribbled them on and then heated.

Oh er, it was alchemy! The Portfolios melt and set, but the oil pastels moved around and spread. I got so excited by it I forgot to take a picture of that stage. But of you enlarge the picture below you'll see where the colour spread.

A layer of clear wax pellets to seal this layer.  It needed some extra elements to frame the image so I added some of Emma's lovely scribbly blooms in Coffee Archived and lightly painted in Chalk to get a scuffed translucent look as I didn't want them to distract from the main image. I added a quote from EEG14 as well (oh so very true).

Some close-ups (click on them to enlarge and get even closer!)

 As I said on Instagram, (see links on the left), I really, really love this, some definite actions and some happy mistakes to make gorgeous, if I say so myself, art.


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Daisy, Daisy ....

This is very different for me colour wise and at times I nearly lost my nerve and painted over it. But I stuck with it and I'm really, really pleased.

At the PaperArtsy Christmas Day we learnt some great techniques on shading from Tracy Scott.  I liked the concept but wasn't keen on the design and wanted to create more of a patchwork effect with straight lines rather than curves.  Well this week as I've taken some annual leave (my tooth still hasn't cleared up after numerous dentist visits, got another one on Friday that I might just have a hissy fit if nothing is done and frankly I'm tired and still dealing with infection pus with isn't a public viewing activity if you get my drift) I decided to try out my idea.  I was also inspired by the Simon Says Monday challenge of a Ray of Sunshine which means yellow.

Um, yellow, not a great fan of yellow, whether its buttery or zingy.  But hey this year is all about saying yes to more to art / craft related things.  So I put my sunglasses on and set to work.

I had a long thin canvas knocking around that had some texture on and was painted white.  Over this I added some colour as a base (Cheese Cake, Submarine Yellow and finally Nougat) with a credit card and baby wipe.


I marked out a grid with pencil and started adding colour to each of the squares.  I used a whole range of PaperArtsy pastels in orange, pink, green and mauve. Those that know me, know I don't do pastels, first step up the ladder of moving out of comfort zone.

To add another layer of depth I stamped the square clocks image from Clocks 2 plate in Watering Can archival in the squares.  Added some shading in each square using the mid range colour for that square.

Still bright.

And then to make matters worse I added a wash of Submarine Yellow, EVEN BRIGHTER! 

Left it for a while and thought no, still too bright for me, Chalk colour wash time. Back down the comfort zone ladder I know but it worked for me. Finally went over the lines with a soft brown watercolour pencil and soften the lines with water.

That was all yesterday.  This morning I stamped the large heart from EEG13 onto some white Japanese calligraphy paper in a soft green Archival, created a mask and added some text.  these were glued down and edged in the soft brown pencil.

Now the fun bit, the daisies.  Using both sizes of flower from EEG14 (only just released from PaperArtsy, check out the blogpost)  I stamped in black Archival onto linen sandwich of linen, Bondaweb, linen.  These were then painted with Snowflake and Submarine Yellow.

I cut these out leaving an edge of fabris outside the black so I could distress them  to make them shabby.

So finally it was complete and I was happy.  The pop of yellow on the daisy works for me and actually I quite like the soft washed muted pastels.

My husband reckons this is a very commercial make and would sell well.  I reckon this would be a good workshop make, achievable in a day if it was on a 12x12" canvas.  

Anybody interested in me running a workshop in Northampton?