We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
"Little Gidding"
T S Eliot

Friday, 26 August 2016

A sweet life ...

H is the next letter in the Craft Barn Alpha Dictionary challenge, and there was only one option for me - haiku; the Japanese verse form.

I've been writing my own haiku for a little while now; traditionally, these verses are about the natural world.

Now, what to write about? Hummm - could it bee ...

I decided to get the Distress Inks out and made a background, using some stencils too. Then, my favourite bee stamps.


And from one of my favourite poets - Emily Dickinson

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.

Bee happy this Bank Holiday weekend.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Mr Hare does razzle-dazzle!

During the past year, whilst I've immersed myself in my art classes, I've also been reading about lots of different techniques that I've added to my try list, which includes this one.

I've talked previously about the bluebell wood workshop I did, when I discovered I really liked combining watercolour with other media. This is on similar lines. I can't remember where I read about this, and I am using different media to that used in the original article, but it starts off using acrylic inks as an underpainting.

First, I drew Mr Hare then went over the image with India Ink and my trusty twig pen (see this previous post).

Once dry, I flooded the paper with water, then dropped in some acrylic ink in various colours, and tilted the board to get some interesting effects. I also dropped in some granulation medium, which makes the pigment clump together.

When that was completely dry (I left it overnight), I took my coloured pencils and Neocolor II crayons and when to work building up quite a few layers. The whiskers are done with a Sharpie white paint pen.

I really like the way the underpainted colours, being so strong, show through.


Now I've got the measure of how all this media works together, I've started another painting, this time a cheetah!

Happiness is a bit of random razzle-dazzle!

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Sublime blue ...

The other fortnightly Craft Barn challenge this time is using blue. Well, as that is my most favourite colour, I had to join in on this one!

I used an embossing folder on a piece of white card (I've got a very old Cuttlebug which has seen a lot of use over many years and is still going strong!). Then I lightly hit the high points with a Versamark pad, followed by gold embossing powder. It doesn't matter if there are some stray areas of embossing powder, that just adds to the random-ness!

Sprinkle some Brushos (blues of course) and spritz with water. Use a small paint brush to push the paint into the embossed image.

A pretty die-cut butterfly finishes it off.


I went to Tate Britain yesterday to see the Painting with Light exhibition, which explores art and photography from the Pre-Raphaelites to the modern age.

Fascinating exhibition; I hadn't really thought about what effect the invention of photography had on art.

I've always loved the Pre-Raphaelites, particularly Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and there were quite a few of his paintings included.

So, continuing with the blue theme, this painting was in the exhibition - Mariana (1870).

The digital reproduction doesn't show the vibrancy of that dress!


Also at Tate Britain at the moment there is a free Turner exhibition, also very enjoyable.

The Painting with Light exhibition is on until the 25 September.

That's my culture fix for this month!

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Bluebells Take Two

Following on from the all day mixed media workshop I did last month, when we painted a bluebell wood (see here), I decided to paint another one; this time from a photograph I took in Margery Wood, which is quite near me.

I did it a little differently from how we did it in the workshop - my way - and added more watercolour strokes and splatter (including white gouache).  I still used coloured pencils and my Neocolor II crayons.

I've also now got some mounts, which really help to frame it.



In my other bluebell post I included the first verse of "The Bluebell" by Emily Bronte.

Now, here is part of the first verse of a poem by Anne Bronte, also entitled The Bluebell.

There is a silent eloquence
In every wild bluebell
That fills my softened heart with bliss
That words could never tell.


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

You zig ... I'll zag ...

Where does time go? If you find it, let me know! It seems like only yesterday I did the letter C, now the new letter in the Craft Barn's alpha dictionary challenge is Z, and it is combined with pearl (huh?).

Anyway, I've gone for zigzag, as I love patterns, and I fancied a bit of colouring in. Rhythm and harmony can be found everywhere, and there is something quite comforting in that.

I've used Windsor & Newton pigment markers and pearl pens. I accidently used the transparent pearl pen first, so I filled in with the actual pearl one!


Coincidentally the current Paper Artsy challenge is about patterns - so I'll zigzag my way over there too!

"What we call chaos is just patterns we haven't recognised.
What we call random is just patterns we can't decipher."
Chuck Palahniuk

Monday, 1 August 2016

Happiness is cloud shaped ...

The next letter in the Craft Barn Alpha Dictionary Challenge is C. I couldn't visit everyone for the last letter as my internet decided to give me some grief, but hopefully it is all fixed now.

As I need some watercolour practice I decided on cloud as my word, and have done a sunset sky, with a few clouds - cirrus... cumulus ... Quite a few clouds begin with C too!

Love clouds, just looking at all those ever-changing shapes - nothing like a bit of cloud watching!

I've used just two complementary colours - blue and orange, which takes me back to one of my first watercolour workshops last year.  I've always loved colour, but never really analysed it, so I have learnt something this past year!


The current Paper Artsy challenge is all about colour mixing, so entering that one too. The PA post is very informative if you want to learn more about colour, so check it out.

Sunset skies are very beautiful, so I was moved to write another haiku -

Silver misty wisps
Cloudy nomads of the air
Wrapped in red gold threads


Sunday, 24 July 2016

Daisy, daisy ...

I'm currently experiencing internet problems, so this will be a short  post (don't you just love technology!).

Here is a small watercolour, done with Brushos, that I've turned into a card. I've used a mount so that it can be framed too.



Daisies always remind me of hot summer days - making daisy chains!

This week I went to the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition. Fabulous - really enjoyed it. A very eclectic mix of work, some weird and wacky, some very traditional - and everything in-between.

There were so many pieces I loved, that I have put them all onto one of my Pinterest boards. See what I pinned here.


Friday, 15 July 2016

Look on the positive side ...

The Craft Barn's alpha dictionary challenge is every 2 weeks, but it seems those 2 weeks go in the blink of an eye! The next letter is N - with no twists (phew!).

I did contemplate doing Nothing and presenting a blank page - but then had a Negative thought!

I took some black card and some card that had been sprayed with inks. I then die-cut both pieces exactly the same.  Then I pieced the images together using opposites - the birds were quite tricky!

Again, the definition was very long, so I took just one aspect and printed it separately.



Thought for the day -

Turn every negative into a positive!


Monday, 11 July 2016

If you go down to the woods today ...

... sometimes I surprise myself - and when I look at this piece, I think - did I do that?

Recently I attended an all day workshop to paint a bluebell wood in mixed media. This is a large painting on half-imperial (22 inches x 15 inches), and we had to pre-draw the main tree outlines before the workshop to save time.

The painting was built up in layers; with a watercolour base, and the detail added using coloured pencils (I use Derwent Coloursoft), and wax crayons (I use Neocolor II).

I find all day workshops are quite demanding, when I have to be focused for so many hours, (my back and neck don't like it either!). I didn't finish completely on the day, and it took me a couple more hours to finish at home.


I have rather taken to using the pencils and crayons with watercolour - maybe I've found the mixed media selection to focus on? Time will tell!

Emily Bronte wrote a poem entitled "The Bluebell", here is the first verse -

The Bluebell is the sweetest flower
That waves in summer air:
Its blossoms have the mightiest power
To soothe my spirit's care.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Flights of fancy ...

I seem to have started a few projects recently, but none are finished, as I'm flitting between them!

So, thought I would enter this card into the Craft Barn's other fortnightly challenge, which at the moment is all about "butterflies".

Butterflies are a perennial favourite, and this card uses magazine pages for collage.

The background is part of a text page, and a piece of handmade paper for texture. The butterflies are punched from magazine pages. My butterfly punch is pretty old and struggles with very thin pages, but I found if I punched through the page together with a piece of copy paper, the copy paper gives it something to bite into.


Finally summer seems to have arrived, so hope to see more butterflies!

A power of Butterfly must be -
The Aptitude to fly
Meadows of Majesty concedes
And easy Sweeps of Sky -
Emily Dickinson