Monday, 28 March 2011

My Soul Sings - 1 for 1 Art Swap

I jumped at the chance to join this art swap hosted by Nina in Canada, for a couple of reasons. Firstly I love Nina's work and have been lucky enough to receive some of her ATCs in the past and I'm really looking forward to hanging one of her canvases on my wall. Secondly as a challenge to myself as I haven't worked on a canvas for quite some time, having concentrated mainly on ATCs of late.

My initial confidence that I had plenty of time to come up with inspiration has deserted me by last week and I was going through the negative mantra 'Why do I do this to myself, why do I put myself forward?' Then being practised at looking for the positive I began 'If you build it he will come' (many thanks to Kevin Costner in The Field) and I started work, not knowing where I would end up.

I laid down a collage background of vintage cookbook papers, asian script and dressmaking tissue and waited

and waited

and waited and was beginning to despair again.

Then a couple of days ago I caught sight of myself in the mirror as I dashed to work. In honour of the first day of Spring I'd decided to wear a floral top, with big swirly 50's style roses, red and gold.... I smiled and there it was, the inspiration, my love of colour, pattern and flowers makes my soul sing and I knew the way forward.

I started with colour, my favourite sea colours, green and turquoise, with water soluble crayons scribbled. Then I mixed them with a wash of white acrylic paint. Then came the wonderful drippy alcohol inks and as I had a daub of white acrylic on my palette I smushed the canvas over it (smushed is a technical term right)? Then, on a roll, came the aubergine glimmer mist followed by my personal favourite, the paper napkins, roughly torn up scroll work, pasted down with gel medium. Then a bit of stamping and it was on the the antiquing of the music paper with distress inks. Out of nowhere a flower appeared, topped off with a toning button. Then I couldn't resist a little embellishing with a Faber Castell sepia pen.

So the motto of my tale, if you've stayed the course (well done you), stick with it, just start and you never know where you might end up, what new direction you might discover, just be open to hearing the whisper that starts you on your way. Thanks to Nina and thanks to my muse who can show up at any time, I just have to be listening, see and act in faith. Here's hoping your muse is talking to you today!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Black Gold and Dying

Above are some pieces of cotton lace before I dyed them with advocado skins. The lace came from some chair backs that my grandma had, my grandad always had brylcream in his hair so she used to have to protect the chair fabric.

During the dying process, alittle bit whiffy but not too bad, but not looking like a pale pink, mmm
And indeed it came out brown as you can see above with a piece of cotton undyed so you can see the difference. I still like it though and I'll try again for a pale pink.

Harvested my compost heap yesterday and was so pleased to see the most gorgeous black, crumbly compost in there. All from my vegetable peelings, old houseplants etc, so I spread it around the garden with glee, tee hee.

I put some around my precious tree peony which as you can see does not exactly look like a tree and I've had it two years and it's not flowered. Fingers crossed for this year, if Bill will only stop leaping on it. Can you tell from his face that I've just admonished him severely, well, ok, as severely as I can given he is just sooo cute :)

Being Creative

These are some bookmarks I made for a swap on Milliande. I used some vintage music paper and some asian script as backgrounds. Then embellished them with napkins, stamps, stickles and sari ribbon. So looking forward to seeing the bookmarks I get back, and using them daily as I'm still reading alot at the moment, when Archie will let me! My ginger cat just seems to know when I pick a book up and it just so coincides with him wanting a cuddle, lol.

This is a canvas I'll be working on tonight, again for a swap. This is the first time I've used dressmaking tissue paper over my collaged paper base and I'm loving the colour and the texture it's given me.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

For all his fans, may I present Billyboy

A friend's son was asking the other day, where are photos of Billyboy as he is a bit of favourite of his, probably because he's so naughty, Bill that is and not the son, lol. Well Bill is notoriously difficult to photograph because he's always on the go unless he's asleep. There is so much to do outside, he loves being out and about, leaping on leaves, climbing trees, routing though the undergrowth and surprising his brothers. These are just 4 shots of the many I've tried to take this week, most were a blurr of fur but I hope you like these :)

Day Trip to Birmingham

I had a great day out earlier in the week. I took a coach trip to Birmingham, only an hour away, and went to the Museum and Art Gallery. These statues are in Victoria Square, so as soon as I saw them I knew I wasn't far from my destination.

This is when I knew I'd reached the right place as I'd come to see the pre-raphelite collection and this Rossetti image beckoned me in.

Unfortunately I can't show you any photos of the inside as I had to sign a waiver prohibiting me from publishing my photos in order for me to be allowed to take photos in the first place. This is a real shame as I can't show you some wonderful paintings and artifacts which would publicise the place. You'll just have to take my word for it that it is well worth a visit if you love pre-raphelites with works by Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Maddox Brown to name but a few. Really famous works at each turn. I will definately return, the edwardian tea rooms there are also a must.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Cup of Tea ATCs

Above are some ATCs that I made for a recent swap on Milliande and I enjoyed doing them so much I decided to do three more on the same theme when some girlfriends came over for an art day yesterday

I'm contemplating mounting them on greetings cards but I'm not sure at the moment. Must away and tend to my dye bath, trying to dye some cotton and lace with advocado skins. I've read that I can get a delicate shade of pink but it's not looking that way at the minute, it's more a murky, greeny brown but time will tell, lol.

Monday, 7 March 2011

New ATCs

I made these first two ATCs for a 'Love' themed swap over on Roses on the Table

This one was for a 'Cemetery Angels' swap with VintageUk atc group. I really enjoyed making them, loved the themes and was able to use my own photograph of a cemetery angel.

Been over to Birmingham today, to see the pre-raphelite paintings in the Musuem and Art Gallery, I'll blog about that tomorrow, but suffice to say, I loved them!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Catching Up Sunday

I've actually managed to get some work done in the garden today so out came my bright and cheerful gardening bag, with all my little bits and pieces. I was going to do a before shot of the garden but it was just too depressing. It looks like I've lost both of my big palms in the icy weather and the one I could reach the top off now looks very forlorn, denuded of all it's leaves, it's now a very strange and tall stump. The other one is way too tall for me to reach so going to have to let the leaves fall naturally over time but that looks very sorry for itself. All over the city, every palm I see has been lost, oh well, I can use it to grow climbers up I suppose.

The ladybirds were out in force with the sunshine, although still looking as if they are huddling together for warmth because it is still very cold. I found my maximum/minimum thermometer on the ground, it had reached -5 at some point out there in my sheltered little garden, brrrrrr...

I was coming across my old pots, hiding in the undergrowth, all okay as I'd fired them to stoneware :)

My youngsters were keeping me company for the most part, (Mickey the old boy decided it was just not quite warm enough yet to venture out and was kipping away the day inside). This shot reminded me that I'd like a water feature of some sort out here, not just two trugs full of rainwater, lol.

Merlin just couldn't resist striking his 'Magnificent' pose just for the camera :)

More work planned for the rest of the week out there as got the week off!!!!! Ah, bliss......