Friday, March 31, 2006

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Inspire Me Thursday - Monochrome

Remind me never to attempt a collage like this again in PINK! Impossible or what! It's working title is 'Tower'. Whether it's finished or not I haven't decided yet but it will go away for a while before I decide, look at it again with fresh eyes in a week or two. You can see some more successful inspirations here.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Day Off

Actually had a day off and went shopping! Went round the few antique/junk shops that are still managing to stay in business and found these pretty vintage magazines and postcards. Haven't done this in such a long time and will definately be doing it again!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Mother's Day

My son, the artist, painted this gorgeous card for me for Mother's day. Inside he wrote 'Happy Mothers Day, you are the best. I will never change you even if I can'. What mum could ask for more!?

Illustration Friday - Monster

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Inspire Me Thursday - Think Big!

This week's Inspire Me Thursday was to think big. Most of my collage pieces in particular are quite small, rarely bigger than A4 size. This little collage is no bigger than a playing card and I always wondered if I could paint a bigger version of it. So this week's project was the perfect opportunity to find out. The canvas measures in at 19 x 16 inches, not big to some people but might as well be a football pitch to me! I didn't try to reproduce the original exactly, just used it as a starting point and let the new one go it's own way.

See other inspirations here.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Look what I got in the post today! I never admitted it but I used to collect stamps when I was a kid; only the pretty ones of course, but I was fascinated by these tiny little works of art with their frilly edges and unusual language and currency. They made our own British ones look kind of dull in comparison.

The other day, my mum had seen on TV a girl pulling apart a cocktail umbrella which instantly brought back a childhood memory of finding and unwrapping a cocktail umbrella. Inside she found a tiny rolled up scrap of chinese newspaper in the middle and thinking how exotic and beautiful the writing had seemed to her, a mundane thing like newspaper from the other side of the world. Looking through these stamps she sent me today I too was instantly transported to my childhood, back to the scruffy little stamp shop my brother and I used to visit on a Saturday with our bits of pocket money, scanning the little glassine bags that were attached to the walls. I can remember the smell of the paper, the filtered light coming through the dirty windows, the old man sitting behind the desk. The excitement of finding a packet of stamps that caught my magpie eyes and knowing I had enough money. Going home and rearranging my album to fit them in. Sad I know but in the noisy techno-bound lives we live in today we forget to appreciate these trivial things. I wonder if my two button-pressing-mad angels will remember their childhood with such nostalgia at simple pleasures or whether it will go in such a computer aided blur they miss what's going on around them.

I'm glad I kept my album as I found a use for some of the more ordinary ones in my collages, which is where these newly sent ones will probably end up too, but now I am thinking I should show my boy, remind him there is a real world out there with ordinary people using stamps like these and reading newspapers we don't understand!

Oh yes, and I got some umbrellas too ;0)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Inspire Me Sense-less

This weeks Inspire Me Thursday challenge is to produce a piece without using your senses this time. Tricky for a control freak like me but I had a go anyway. I'm not going to say anything about this one as it would make the whole exercise futile, except to say I limited my palette to pale blues and not-quite-greens, used a palette knife instead of a brush and had a random pile of pages ripped out of magazines and just let it happen. Once finished I gave it the title 'Lost', because that's how I felt doing it. Very exhilarating!

Update - Since posting this I have been sent a poem in response to this painting...

a butterfly a tear
pale blue echos the room
a memory so clear
through the window of my mind
it circles and whirls
falls to the ground
a scrap of non-sense
not lost but found

(it's beautiful, thanks mum!)


Not much to report artwise this week, with everyone being ill there's not been much time or inclination to be creative. I have managed to have a good sort out though - cupboards emptied, clothes sorted, floors cleaned and so on. The most fulfilling part of all this was rearranging my books of with I have hundreds. It's hard for me when doing this not to get distracted by looking through them as I go, but although this means the job takes longer I have found books I had forgotten about, or hadn't had chance to look at properly. So now I start this week with not only a clean house but a busy, cluttered (I like clutter) and completely inspired mind ready to get going again!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Inspire Me Thursday - Five Senses

This is my piece for this weeks Inspire Me Thursday

The challenge was to create a piece using all five senses, see, touch, smell, hear and taste, a tricky one to say the least, especially as I have been suffering with a bad cold so two of them are out of action anyway!

After much deliberation I decided to use the photo posted last month as a starting point; I was originally going to turn it into an abstract cadence painting but I thought it might be more interesting to use these same collage techniques in a more traditional painting instead.

See - I kept the photo at a distance to prevent myself seeing the detail, just as a general memory aid as I wanted the painting to be about the feel of the place and the moment in time as I remembered it rather than just being a faithfull reproduction of the photo.

I started with a pale blue background and filled in the main colour areas ready for the collage sections. Touch - The paint was applied with a dry brush and stippled and dragged across the canvas, giving a texture feel. Once dry the collaged tree areas were glued on and these are smooth and glossy in contrast.

Smell - as I said before my senses are not at their best at the mo and I certainly can't smell anything around me whilst painting but at this point in the painting I can already remember what it was like to stand at that spot the other week, to smell the mustyness of the leaves and decay of the winter and then to feel the warmth of the sun and know that spring is on it's way.

After adding more collaged strips of paper to give the impression of branches and to adhere the trees to the painted 'leaves' I added dried black tea leaves to the verge areas to suggest fallen leaves. Hear - they even made a similar scrunching noise as I crushed them between my fingers.

Taste - I would like to say here that I enjoyed a nice cup of tea made from the same tea leaves but it might as well been a cup of hot water. Oh well! Once dried I finished the painting by going over the tea leaves with a dab of burnt orange and developed the tops of the trees, the final result is at the start of this post.

I really enjoyed this challenge; I've never combined techniques before and I can see this being used again in future pieces. Check out how others have been inspired this week here.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


I had the pleasure of receiving a parcel from my brother the other day containing 2 books from Mirrormask by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean - an early birthday present. Absolutely gorgeous! I have been a fan of Dave McKean's work since college and now he's made a movie, can't wait to see it!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Illustration Friday - Insect

My favourite insect - a butterfly.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Illustration Friday - Tea

We have gone back to my darker college days for this one as the boring white mugs in my kitchen cupboard didn't inspire me at all! This is from a tarot series of 72 cards (and I used to drink an awful lot of tea to get me through the long nights finishing work), this one being the ace of cups. A tenuous link I know but it is a tea cup, and it's nice to compare the old with the new.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Self Portrait - Exposed

The last time I attempted a self portrait in paint (there are a couple of drawings lurking somewhere) was over 10 years ago at college, and I never finished the face. Why? Because I didn't know how so gave up. Drawing facial features I could do, painting them is a whole other ball game. So when Inspire Me Thursday announced this week's project as a Self Portrait one I thought I'd try it again. I have painted a couple of portraits of other people with varying degrees of success over the last few years so can I do my own likeness?

For someone who prefers to be the other side of the camera taking a decent shot of myself was a challenge in itself (and no, I'm not showing you!). Once I settled on an image I was vaguely happy with I set to the painting, oh and speed is of the essence here as I need to finish it today and I have to entertain the baby so the pressure is on. I'm using acrylic paint on canvas board. This is the first stage with the main areas blocked in over the background colour of Rose Madder.

Next stage while the paint is still wet I add a mix of white, viridian and gold to the background to balance out the painting - red with strawberry blond hair don't sit well! I also start adding shading to the face and neck. Now we wait for the paint to dry...

Next I start to fill in the features and continue to sculpt the face, also start to add the highlights to the hair. Once I am happy with the hair colour I will adjust and finish the background to compliment it. At the moment this is close to how I look when I get out of bed, my darling boy calls me a scarecrow - charming! Not quite finished yet though...

So here we are, hair brushed and make up on ;0)

and although it still needs a bit of work as I can see errors I am pretty pleased, not bad for a days work. My mum should recognise it at least!