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

Monday, 1 October 2018

Sweet things!

Decided to do a surprise painting for a friend. I've been meaning to do this for a little while, so the subjects of the painting are now quite a bit bigger!

I'm using watercolour paper, and to start with I did a background using diluted acrylic inks, as I didn't want the background to move again.

I then drew the outline and built up the colours with watercolour paint. I photographed the kittens on their play equipment, but I decided not to include all of it in the painting.

For the detail I used a combination of wax pastels, watercolour pencils, and pen.

Introducing brother and sister Ziggy and Socks.

I met some friends for breakfast the other morning, and unusually for me I decided to try something completely different! I'm quite boring when it comes to food. Now, I don't normally write about food, but this was so unusual for me that I wanted to mark the event!!!

I had the American breakfast, which included pancakes and maple syrup, and I rather liked it! Particularly the mix of syrup with the bacon and sausage! Another of our party decided to try the vegetarian version, but he ate the savoury bits first and then the pancakes and syrup!

We're meeting again in November, so I may try something else ...

Postscript - as suggested by Bluebeard and Elizabeth (see comment below), I'm joining the T Stands for Tuesday (see here). Never joined in before but I always enjoy reading about their foodie exploits!

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Monet ... Picasso ...

... and me!

I've finally joined Instagram, as it is all about pictures! If you want to follow me, my user name is kaybee725.

I've been to many exhibitions featuring Monet and he is by far my favourite Impressionist artist. It is his portrayal of light that I love, as well as the colours he uses, so I decided I wanted to have a go at using Monet's colour palette.

I remembered a photo I had taken back in 1979 of the Bay of Naples, with Vesuvius in the background and Sorrento below. A typical Monet landscape! So I found the photo, which, fortunately, was in reasonable condition, and used that as inspiration.

I decided to do a test canvas (it's 10 inches by 8 inches) -

For a first attempt - not bad; but quite a few things I would change, so on to a larger canvas!

Went to Tate Modern a couple of weeks ago to see the Picasso 1932 exhibition. Absolutely stunning! I've always been a Picasso fan, but this exhibition just blew me away - the size of the canvases, the colours, and the series of paintings all together - no words can describe how it made me feel!

Here are a few of my favourites -

Girl before a Mirror
Woman Sleeping

I didn't know Picasso also worked in metal, this is welded iron painted white -

Woman in the Garden
Picasso also did collage - who knew!
This is a composition of cloth, wood, plants, string, bug, butterfly and oil paint on canvas.

Composition with Butterfly
I could add so many more ..

" You start a painting and it becomes something altogether different.
It's strange how little the artist's will matters."

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Just so ...

The latest Fearless Four get together resulted in each of doing something different for a change, as usually we decide on a project and all have a go at the same thing.

During my recent visit to the RA Summer Exhibition I was inspired by a poodle covered in costume jewellery (see here).

As I have quite a lot of broken costume jewellery, button boxes (my own, plus my mother's and others), and also beads, I thought it would be fun to use some of it.

I die-cut some butterflies from grey board - 4 as I decided to double up to make the base stronger. I then gave them a coat of gesso and gold paint. I spent most of the time fixing all the bits and bobs onto the butterfly bases.  They are quite heavy, so they are mounted onto a wood canvas which I had pre-prepared with some crackle paste and painted a strong turquoise.

And what did the others get up to?

Monica wanted to do the peacock the rest of us did at a workshop earlier this year (see here), so we talked her through the steps.

Lin did an owl. This is a Powertex kit, with a few added embellishments.

Linda did some journal covers using some tissue/rice papers, paste and stamping.

I also had another good day last week when we did a trip to Bateman's, home of Rudyard Kipling (1865 - 1936).

The house was build in 1634 and is very Jacobean, with lots of dark paneling.

Kipling moved there in 1902, the same year he wrote the Just So stories.

Kipling's study -

"I always kept certain gadgets on my work table, which was ten feet long from North to South and badly congested ..."

Beautiful gardens -

In 1907 Kipling was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature, the first English-speaking author to win this accolade. With the prize he was awarded £7,700 which he used to create the lily pond and rose garden ...

... with lots of fish!

We were also treated to a talk by Kipling himself!

At two o'clock in the morning, if you open your window and listen,
You will hear the feet of the wind that is going to call the sun.
And the trees in the shadow rustle and the trees in the moonlight glisten,
And though it is deep, dark night, you feel that the night is done.
Rudyard Kipling

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Finally ...

... I've finished all my unfinished projects! This last one I started a couple of months ago, but it kept getting pushed aside for something else.

I started with a watercolour background (I added a bit of granulation medium), but the main image is all acrylic paint. I do like the combination of the watercolour with acrylic.  I've put this one in my Etsy shop too.

I went to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition last week, on one of the hottest days! We went early, and changed our travel plans so we didn't spend too long on the Tube, and was that a good decision - unbearable but only for 2 stops. Just could not do that journey every day (though I used to in my youth!).

Anyway, enjoyed the exhibition but I don't think it was as good as some previous years.

Here are some of my favourite pieces ...

The Courtyard work is by Anish Kapoor
"Symphony for a Beloved Daughter 2018"

One of my favourite artists -
Barbara Rae
"Ice Floes - Peel Sound"
Mixed media on canvas

Timothy Blewitt
"Rufus 3rd"

Made from wood, metal and costume jewellery

Bill Jacklin
"Shooting Star"

Cathy de Monchaux
Copper wire and mixed media

Another favourite artist, this piece is huge. I've seen her work in past exhibitions and there are always unicorns!

And yet another favourite!
Gular Ates
"Eton College Library and She IV"

Photograph/Archival Pigment Print

Yinka Shonibare
"Young Academician"
Fibreglass manniquin, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, books and globe

Good time, but arrived home feeling like a puddle, and collapsed on the sofa for the rest of the day!

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Too hot to tango!

It has been much too hot to do much painting of late, as my workroom is upstairs at the back of the house where the sun is full on! This summer so reminds me of the one in 1976 - I didn't like that one either!

Anyway, I did try pouring acrylic paint onto glass, with some success.

I found some glass items (leftover from the time I did glass painting), and decided to use a flat coaster/candle stand, 2 tealight holders and 2 votive holders.

I upended everything and did 3 dirty pours and one pouring the colours separately. I tried to think about what the colours would look like from the "right" side!

Both votive holders were a disaster (dirty pours), and I hadn't considered what they would look like right way up with candles in them!

But the flat coaster turned out OK. This was another dirty pour, and I used too much black. I varnished the underside.

I've put a hot mug of tea on it, and the paint wasn't affected.

The 2 tealight holders turned out OK too, but the one where I poured the colours separately was better.

Some of the paint ran onto the underside of the lip. I have burned a tealight and that was fine too.

Again I varnished over the paint.

What have I learned? The paint needs to be really really fluid, with careful consideration of the colour combinations, which are better poured separately; particularly for these small items.  I will have another go, as I've still got some glass things.

Another day trip last week, this time to Knebworth House in Hertfordshire; home to the Lytton family since 1490. Fascinating hearing about the family history spanning so many centuries.

Knebworth is well known for its festivals and concerts, the biggest music event in British history was Robbie Williams Live at Knebworth in 2003.

We weren't allowed to take any photos inside, but the gardens were lovely, and scattered throughout were some fabulous sculptures.

I was rather taken with this one, which seems to have been carved out of a dead tree.

Knebworth has 28 acres of park and gardens.

These chaps were hidden within a clipped yew walk!

Great day out, apart from a bit of a nightmare journey home as the M25 was closed, so took nearly twice as long as it should!

Going to the annual RA Summer Exhibition next week (if it is not too hot!), so looking forward to that.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Hazy lazy days ... mine and Monet's!

I'm slowing finishing the projects that have been around for some time! This one is a watercolour with collage.

I applied the collage pieces first and then drew the outline of the poppy seed heads and thistles.This was followed by a washed background with cling film, I also used some Brusho too.

I then painted the seed heads and thistles before using pen and ink for a little outlining.

This brings back childhood memories of hot summer meadow days - silent except for the buzzy bees!

I've put this one in my Etsy shop.

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day,
listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky,
is by no means a waste of time.
John Lubbock, The Use of Life

I recently saw the Monet & Architecture Exhibition at The National Gallery. What a joy that is, to see several series of paintings brought together. I loved the series of Rouen Cathedral, Venice, London, plus some I was unaware of, including earlier ones. I treated myself to the book of the Exhibition, and I really want to try painting with Monet's colour palette to see if I can come anywhere close to the way he depicts light.

Here are just a handful of my favourites from the exhibition.

Rouen Cathedral

The Church at Varengeville

The Grand Canal, Venice

Sailboat at Le Petite Gennevilliers
The Exhibition is on until 29 July, so go see it if you can.

I've just one one more project to finish, which I'm determined to do before I start anything else!

Happy lazy summer days!

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Lots of fun and a little history ...

The Fearless Four got together recently and we decided to do a mixed media canvas of a bird of paradise.

We all used a 10 x 8 canvas (I used a canvas board), and we had a reference photo to work with.

After painting the background and drawing the outline, I used tissue paper, skeleton leaves and string for the bird and tree branch.

I've had skeleton leaves for more years than I care to remember, and I do use them occasionally, but the quantity never seems to diminish!

All was applied using a little ivory Powertex.

I did try to stick to the bird's actual colouring using various brands of acrylic paint, including some pearlescent.

Once home I added some texture paste and re-painted the background.

And the others? Lin used actual feathers on her bird, but then eventually decided to obliterate them with Powertex as she wasn't happy with it. It is not yet finished, so no photo.

Here is Monica's - I do like the background on this one. I think the blue she has used is closer to the actual colour than mine.

Linda also redid her background, using some crackle paste - I like that gnarled branch!

Another good day! Next time I think we are all doing something different - should be interesting!

Recently had a trip to Eltham Palace, which is in Greenwich (London). For those who like a bit of history, Eltham Palace was once an important royal palace, and one of the few medieval palaces to survive with substantial remains intact. It was large enough to accommodate the entire Tudor court. Under Edward IV (1461-83) significant changes were made, including the addition of  the 1470 great hall which still stands today.

Eltham Palace then went into decline in the early 17th century. In the 1930s Stephen and Virginia Courtauld had a house built for them which adjoined the great hall. The Courtaulds left Eltham in 1944 and the site was occupied by Army educational units until 1992. English Heritage too over the site in 1995, repairing and restoring the 1930s house and gardens. It is now the finest art deco mansion open to the public.

Here are just a few photos to give a flavour ...

The main entrance; the great hall is to the right of the picture.

Inside the great hall, which was restored by the Courtaulds in the 1930s.

The entrance hall with marquetry panels.

The dining room

Virginia Courtauld's bedroom

and the adjoining bathroom - very opulent!

The gardens are very extensive but I loved this wisteria.

Another fabulous day out, pity the sun didn't shine, but you can't have everything!