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

Tuesday 9 July 2019

Moving times ...

Wow, is that how long I've neglected my blog? Shame on me - but I do have a good excuse as it looks like I will finally be moving home, so I'm trying to sort out 26 years worth of accumulation - particularly in the arts and crafts area, but it is amazing what I'm finding at the back of kitchen cupboards!

Anyway, a couple of weeks back I tried my hand at lino cutting/printing at a half day workshop.

I was really surprised at how easy it was to control the cut. I decided to do a bee, as that is a favorite image of mine.

Here is the finished cut -

First print -

More prints on various papers -

We used coloured tissue paper, book and map pages.

Really good fun, and not bad for a first attempt. I will definitely be doing more.

Still visiting exhibitions and places of interest.  One of the recent exhibitions I loved was the Van Gogh exhibition at Tate Britain. Fabulous to see so many of his works brought together in one place.

Some of my favourites ...

Hospital at Saint-Remy

The Garden Gate

Starry Night

The iconic Sunflowers looks so much better in reality than any photograph of it, so I've not included it here, but it has now become one of my favourites too!

The exhibition is on until 11 August, so do go if you can.

I'm not producing much artwork at the moment, as moving house is taking priority, so bear with me in this transition period!

Monday 27 May 2019


Still no positive news on potential house move, so I treated myself to a new easel, which can accommodate canvases up to 4 feet - exciting! It took me an hour and a half to put it together though, because I was working from one of those exploded diagrams, and I had to backtrack on a couple of occasions as I got the wrong assembly order!

Here is my first go at using oil paints, with lavender as my inspiration. These are water soluble oil paints, so clean up is easy and no horrible fumes!

I've used a canvas board and I did a base block colour in acrylic paint first.

Love the feel of these paints, though drying time is a little irritating as I don't have many places to store them whilst waiting for them to dry.  By the way, this is using my old easel, which is good for smaller works.

Because I've been otherwise distracted trying to move house and have rather neglected this blog, I've got a lot of photos backed up that I wanted to share, so here is a very eclectic few!

Now I don't really do kitchen stuff, but it was my great niece's first birthday, and I was asked to do a birthday cake. This is a layered chocolate cake which is a cake my mother used to make when my sister and I were small. It turned out okay, (phew!) and it was good that great grandma was there, if only in spirit.

It has been a fabulous year for my wisteria ...

Recently had a trip to Tate Modern and saw two exhibitions - Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) and Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012).

Here are some of my favourites ...

Pierre Bonnard is all about colour -

The Violet Fence 1923

The Dining Room, Vernon 1925

The Dorothea Tanning exhibition was my favourite of the two.

Door 84

There is an actual door down the centre - love it!


Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

The Dorothea Tanning exhibition is on until 9 June 2019.

Happy Bank Holiday Monday!

Wednesday 1 May 2019

A little pour goes a long way!

Spending a lot of time on my house hunt/move, so little time for arty things, but the Fearless Four got together recently for a little acrylic pouring - always fun and a good way to use up old acrylic paint. I'm slowing reducing my stash of craft paints which I don't use now.

Here is what I produced - I added a bit of glitter in the first and last one.

I may frame the middle one, as that is my favourite.

And what did the others get up to ...
Lin's creations

Monica's creations

Linda went for a heart-shaped base and added a little bling!

I've decided to have a go at using oil paints - I need something to distract me from property matters!

I found this recently - and it is so true (for me anyway!).

Happy bank holiday weekend!

Monday 1 April 2019

Canvas, Cathedrals, Culture ... oh ... and a bit of shopping!

Recently attended a workshop to create an abstract piece with canvas cutouts.

We started by creating a design for the cut-outs; I decided to loosely base mine on a lotus flower. Then we cut the canvas from the back, and added some bits using Powertex. I used string and some mesh.

Next the texture! Using stencils with paste, dribbling Powertex, and I made some clay flowers.
Yes ... those flowers I seem to have an obsession with at the moment. Scroll back through a few older posts and you may come across them! Created more texture using P/tex with Stone Art (another P/tex product).

Time for lunch!

Now for some colour!

Had to finish at home - I covered the back board with gold mirri paper, then added some gold gilding flakes, and a final varnish before fixing the back board with a staple gun.

Really enjoyable workshop.

Had a trip to Chichester last week with the Arts Society. We visited the cathedral, which is currently having a new roof, replacing the copper tiles with lead. It is swathed in scaffolding, so not very photogenic, so here is what it did look like. You can see the old copper roof, which had turned green.

We also visited the Pallant House Gallery, which features British art from 1900. The main exhibition  at the moment is on Harold Gilman (1876-1919). Not allowed to take any photographs, so here is the front of the catalogue.

Harold Gilman was a British painter of interiors, portraits and landscapes and a founder-member of the Camden Town Group. A group of English Post-Impressionist artists active between 1911 and 1913. They gathered frequently at the studio of painter Walter Sickert in  the Camden Town area of London.

Not one of my favourite artists but I do like his use of colour and thick paint.

The Gallery had a fab bookshop with lots of reduced books, so I treated myself to one ...

Man Ray (1890 -1976) was an American visual artist who spent most of his career in Paris. He was a significant contributor to the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal. He produced major works in a variety of media but considered himself a painter above all. He was best known for his photography, and he was a renowned fashion and portrait photographer. Man Ray is also noted for his work with photograms, which he called "rayographs" in reference to himself.

I first came across Man Ray a couple of years ago, when I visited Farley's House, home of surrealist painter Roland Penrose.

Looking forward to dipping in and out of this rather large and heavy book.

Chichester is also good for shopping, so a little retail therapy was also in order!

Another good day.

Wednesday 20 March 2019

One step forward ...

two steps back!

Sooo frustrating trying to move, my buyer has now lost her buyer, so everything back on hold and I don't know whether the house I want will still be available once a chain has reformed.  Anyway, my property is back on the market ...  arrggghhhh - need to keep it tidy again!

So, very little happening on the creative front, but the Fearless Four did get together recently to finish a project we started some weeks ago.

You may recall the clay flowers I made (see here).  I made some more, to use on our project which was to create a very 3D canvas.

Because we were using a lot of modelling paste etc. it needed to thoroughly dry - hence our second get together to finish off.

I forgot to take a photo after stage one! So here is my completed canvas. A long thin one, which I don't often use.

Ingredients include thick modelling paste, crackle paste, acrylic paint, gilding flakes; the copper leaves I've had for many years, and finally I've used some - though there are lots left!

Here is a bit of a close-up ...

The others managed to do two projects each -

Linda used some pieces from old potpourri!

Lin used some clay pieces and also some of Linda's potpourri!

Monica has used clay pieces, fabric and also some of the potpourri ...

Another fun day with friends.

Wednesday 20 February 2019

Distraction and Abstraction

Trying to move house is very distracting and energy draining, and I seem to have lost inspiration, hence my lack of post writing.

Anyway, this was a little experiment. I've still got quite a bit of patterned paper stashed away from when I was into papercrafting.

I took a square of hardboard and stuck a piece of patterned paper onto it. I forgot to take a photo at this point to show the paper, but this is a leftover piece. It's from a Tim Holtz designed paper pad.

When it was completely dry - I left it 24 hours - I coated it with clear watercolour ground (the equivalent of acrylic clear gesso).

I then used 3 watercolour washes over it, with crumpled clingfilm (bottom left).

The watercolour ground provided a key for the paint, and also prevented the washes from soaking into the paper.

I painted some flower shapes in white gouache, and lastly added some gilding flakes.

It is important to let it dry completely between each layer.

I'm pleased with my floral abstract and the paper remains as smooth as when I first applied it. Clear watercolour ground is the way to go!

Thursday 24 January 2019

Creating happiness ... inside and out

The Fearless Four are half way through a project - in December we got together and made some clay things. Some in molds and some free form. Then we continued this month with using them on a canvas - making a highly textured background. Next month we will finish the project by painting the background and adding our clay creations.

In the meantime, I decided to use some of my clay creations (free-formed flower shapes) in a small glass-fronted box frame.

I cut some mountboard to size and painted the background with acrylic paints - including some metallics and interference paint.

I die-cut some metal to form the stems as I wanted it to be 3D.

You may remember the trip I did recently to the British Museum, where I found the inspiration for my flowers' colouring (see here).

The flowers are painted with acrylic paint, including a little interference, and then some gold gilding flakes added to the centre. The actual clay centres are painted gold. Finally I used a high gloss varnish.

I couldn't photograph it in its box frame as the glass created too may reflections, so this is before it went into the frame.

I was out early this morning, a heavy frost and bitter cold, but an absolutely stunning sunrise.

No photograph can capture the beautiful colours - it just made me feel so happy to have seen it.

Recently discovered Debasish Mridha, an American physician, philosopher, poet and author ...

At sunrise,
The blue sky paints herself with gold colours
and joyfully dances to the music of a morning breeze.
Debasish Mridha

Tuesday 8 January 2019

2019 - dream it ... do it!

Happy new year!

Still in recycling mode using some of Laura's discarded items!  This time an eclectic mix of a bottle, bowl of acorns and a mushroom ...

All things had a gold base colour ... and then I used acrylic paint (including an interference one) in a random way, and wrapped the bottle in cling film.

Same for the mushroom ...

The bowl uses the same colours as the mushroom as I liked the combination, and the acorns are two different tones of gold.

That was fun ... but now I'm going back to my first love of  watercolour and mixed media, and I've already prepped some boards.

I was sent a couple of funnies that I thought I would share - as there is some element of truth in them!

I have come to the conclusion
that buying craft supplies and
actually using them are two
separate hobbies!

So true - my other hobby is buying paint!

My 2019 New Year's resolution
is to finish all my craft projects from 2018
that I should have done in 2017,
after I started them in 2016
after buying the supplies in 2015
with the patterns I found in 2014!

My problem is that I find stuff I bought year's ago and can't remember what the project is ...

Hope 2019 is a good one for everyone.

Friday 21 December 2018

Fruits of my labour!

Where does the time go - I've not posted for nearly a month - shame on me! Still trying to move, I've found a house I love but now looking for a buyer, as my original buyers went elsewhere, (I couldn't find anywhere at that time) - soooo frustrating!

Anyway, something completely different. My sister is a woodturner (see her Etsy shop here), and has turned items that she is either not happy with, or the wood is too boring. Sometimes she bins them but more often I ask for them, and I've had a growing collection of rejected things that I've not been too sure what to do with! The solution was staring me in the face - literally - being surrounded by paint!

So here is my fantasy fruit with different paint effects, and I've given them a glossy lacquer finish. They look quite large, but the pear is only about 4 inches high.

Really enjoyed doing something different, and I've got a bagful of rejects to go to! I've also told my sister never to bin anything again!

Had a trip to the British Museum to see the new Mitubishi Japanese Galleries - fabulous exhibits, including ...

Miniature articulated figures of a cicada and praying mantis, from the 19th century.

Samuri armour (1600 - 1800)

Red Illusion Series: Swallowtails (1983)
Saito Kaoru

Nabeshima porcelain (1690-1750)

We also visited the Sir Percival David Collection of  Chinese Ceramics.

I found inspiration for the colour combination to use on my current project ...

The are photos not brilliant as taken on my phone through glass.

Happy Winter Solstice, which, in the Northern Hemisphere, occurs  tonight at 22.23 hours GMT.

Also, wishing everyone a happy and peaceful Christmas with one of my favourite Pre-Raphaelite painters - Dante Gabriel Rossetti -

A Christmas Carol 1867

Wednesday 28 November 2018

Still all at sea ...

My last post (below) was about my take on Hokasai's Great Wave, so sticking with the sea theme ... but under it this time, here is a large-ish canvas with jellyfish! There is something quite mesmerizing about how these creatures move through the water.

Lots of texture, particularly at the bottom, using a little Powertex with threads and small shells, but this is mainly acrylic paint.

Another trip to the National Gallery to see the Courtauld Impressionists exhibition.  Some of my favourite paintings are in this collection ...

Paul Cezanne - Lac d-Annecy - 1886

Vincent van Gogh - A Wheatfield with Cypresses - 1889
Edouard Manet - A Bar at the Folies Bergere - 1882

Claude Monet - Antibes - 1888
I also took a photo of what is currently on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square -

Michael Rakowitz - The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist

In 2006 Michael Rakowitz start a project to recreate over 7000 archaeological artefacts looted from the Iraq Museum during the war or destroyed elsewhere. One of these was the Lamassu, a winged deity, which guarded the Nergal Gate at the entrance to the ancient Assyrian city of Neneveh. This Lamassu is made of empty Iraqui date syrup cans.

My favourite is still the Blue Cockerel! (see here).