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

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Green remembered days ...

The current Craft Barn challenge letter is V.

As my soul is still in the Scottish Highlands after my recent trip (see previous post), the first word that came to mind was verdant.

I got out my Distress Inks and a selection of stamps and used a brayer for the background, followed by a bit of stamping. I also used a little water to pull some of the ink into the images.

This morning was a little misty, with the sun looking very wistful as if remembering summer - I should probably write a haiku!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

It's all about colour ...

On my current art course (Intermediate Watercolour and Mixed Media), we learned about primary colour layering, which I'm finding fascinating.

Instead of mixing, say, a purple in the palette with red and blue, you mix on the paper. So, the first layer would be red, and when that is dry, you paint blue on top. Because watercolour is transparent you still get purple, but it is more vibrant.

Just making various strengths of primary colours and layering them up can create any colour you desire - but on the paper!

The first session involved creating an abstract painting, using primary layering - amazing! The only colours I had in my palette were yellow, red and blue. I also did the outline with India Ink and a dip pen.

We are now working on a landscape using this method, so watch this space!

I had a fabulous time in the Highlands, it was great seeing my friend and going for walks. The air is so clear and the landscape is so beautiful it hurts.

Just a taste -

Eilean Donan Castle on Loch Duich at Dornie, on the way to Skye

Featured in many films, including Highlander.

Bridge over to Skye

The last time I went to Skye on the ferry, as the bridge hadn't been built!

Glen Affric - National Nature Reserve - stunningly beautiful

Glen Affric again

Back to reality, traffic jams and pollution! but I've got lots of photos for painting inspiration.

Monday, 10 October 2016

A little bird told me ...

The current Paper Artsy challenge is all about die-cuts, a topic close to my heart, as I love the dimension and texture die-cuts can give.

This is a mirror I did a little while ago, starting with some texture paste through a stencil, die-cuts, and bits & bobs from my "maybe I'll keep this" box.

Then lots of acrylic paint - Paper Artsy Fresco - of course! And other bits, including some paper flowers I painted first, and some little butterfly beads.

I'm now all packed for my trip - very early start tomorrow. Must remember to set my alarm!

See you soon, with lots of painting inspiration!

Saturday, 8 October 2016

It can be just black and white ...

The next letter in the Craft Barn's dictionary challenge is E. My first thought was emboss, so I'm going with that!

For a change, I've kept it really simple and used just black and white card, with embossing folders.

There is something quite liberating about creating a project very fast!

I may not be able to visit everyone this time, as I'm going away, but I'll try and catch up later.

Off to bonny Scotland, visiting a friend in the Highlands - hope it's not too cold, but whatever the weather it is stunningly beautiful. Hope to get a few photos for some painting inspiration.

"There are two seasons in Scotland: June and Winter."
Billy Connolly

Saturday, 1 October 2016

A drop of red, a pinch of blue ...

For the first couple of sessions on my Intermediate Watercolour and Mixed Media course we mixed more colours, using a nine primary colour wheel.

For the beginner's course we used a six primary colour wheel - cool and warm of red, yellow and blue. Now we have added neutral red, yellow and blue - created by mixing both reds, both yellows and both blues together.

I hope you are following this ...

So now, I have created a new chart - this one is bright secondary and sub-secondary colours and complements. Mixing different quantities of the six tubes of paint we used in the beginners course; though I have now purchased some larger tubes of paint as I realise that only using primary colours I get through quite a bit!

This chart is only one of four, but I think I'm going to pass on creating three more, as this one took some time, and quite honestly, gave me a headache trying to work out all the mixes. I now understand the theory, so I'm going to leave it at that!

A very useful exercise though, and proves the point that you only need six tubes of paint.

Hubble bubble - mix it up!

Happy October.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Waiting for lunch ...

Following on from Mr Hare (here) and Mr Cheetah (here), may I introduce Mr Kingfisher!

I've used the same technique - drawing first, then going over with a dip pen, followed by a very wet wash of acrylic ink. This time I did dilute the ink a bit first, but I'm not sure that was a particularly good idea as I've lost some of the vibrancy.

Anyway, once dry, I used coloured pencils and Neocolor II crayons for the detail.

Did you know, apparently, kingfishers dive so fast that they can penetrate a layer of ice to catch a fish!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

X marks the spot ...

The latest letter in the Craft Barn Dictionary challenge is X - oh joy!

Not a lot to choose from - one if my mantras is - if stuck go to the Greek alphabet! ... I'm joking of course.

But I have gone to the Greek alphabet and my chosen word is the 14th letter - xi.

I've used a multilayered painted background, and dug deep into that area of my craft room that has been neglected for so long. I was searching for some alphabet letters - which I did find eventually (woo hoo!) along with a whole heap of other stuff which hasn't seen the light of day for soooo long. A bit like the toys stuffed into a box that are no longer played with ...

Anyway, here is my offering -

Tomorrow is the Autumn Equinox - looking forward to misty mornings and that spidery web-fest on all the shrubs, plus crunchy leaves and stunning  golden colours - oh, and curling up on the sofa with a good book!

Saturday, 17 September 2016

The butterfly effect ...

The last time the Fearless Four got together I forgot my camera, so didn't record our efforts; this time I remembered my camera, but we were only three, as one of us was unwell; so this is about the temporary three!

We started with quite a large MDF butterfly shape, which we  covered with a multitude of smaller butterflies, mostly die-cut and embossed ones.

There are quite a few collective nouns for butterflies - swarm, flight, rabble, flutter, kaleidoscope, wing, rainbow, flock - take your pick!

The whole piece was painted with black gesso, then - time for lunch!

Next we used different metallic/iridescent paints and mediums, blending and highlighting the shapes and patterns.  At home I added some little pearly things and made some wire antennae.

And the other offerings ...

Here is Lin's frenzy of butterflies

(a collective noun I just made up!)

and this is Linda's creation, which also includes some wooden butterflies.

Great fun to do and something a bit different to hang on the wall. Always good to craft with friends! Next time I hope we are back to full strength.

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

Emily Dickinson

Thursday, 8 September 2016

How inappropriate to call this planet Earth ...

... when it is quite clearly Ocean ...
Arthur C Clarke

I've not done any stamping for some time, as I been immersed in painting, but the latest Craft Barn Dictionary challenge letter is O, and, unusually, I had no inspiration whatsoever.

Until (light bulb!) I decided to dust off some stamps - and do an oceanic scene; starting with a random acrylic ink background with a bit of cling film to create some texture.

The fish stamps (and associated dies) are by Heartfelt Creations stamped onto some left over sprayed background pieces. My favourite is the sea horse.

No-one does water drops and bubble stamps like Ryn, so added some bubbles to the mix, together with some pieces of oceanic flora!

Also entering Ryn's monthly challenge, and the Craft Stamper stamping challenge.

I start my intermediate watercolour and mixed media course on Monday, which I'm really looking forward too, though I think it is going to be a bit challenging!

Saturday, 3 September 2016

I'm ready for my close-up ...

Following on from my experimental Mr Hare (see here), I wanted to have another go using the same media, and this time Mr Cheetah is in the spotlight!

I started with the drawing, and used a dip pen with India ink over the pencil marks. I then flooded the paper with water and dropped in some acrylic ink. I also dropped in some granualation medium, but it is quite difficult to control, so next time I'll leave it out!

When thoroughly dry, I added the detail with coloured pencils and Neocolor II crayons.

My next project is a kingfisher!

Happy September - hope it is a sunny one!