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

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).

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Making waves ...

The Fearless Four got together recently, though we were only three as one was unwell; but fully recovered now.

We had decided to use some Powertex in our creations. Last year I visited the Hokusai exhibition at the British Museum (see here) and so decided to use his Under the Wave off Kanagawa (The Great Wave) as my inspiration.

This is a box canvas and I mainly used heavy modelling paste, together with some threads and ribbons (dunked in Powertex), for the structure.  I also got some colour on the background.

As the paste was so thick I couldn't go any further, as it needed to dry out overnight.  The next day I had great fun using lots of different blue paint! I redid some of the sky, and added some gold highlights.

So, this is my homage to Hokusai (minus the boats!).

And what did the others get up to?

Linda started making waves on a mirror - to be finished.

Lin continued with a painting started earlier, with lots of texture.

Had a trip to Tate Britain to see the Edward Burne-Jones exhibition. Edward Burne-Jones (1833-1898) is the last major figure associated with the Pre-Raphaelites, one of my favourite art movements.  The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of English painters, poets and art critics founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

This is another stunning exhibition, with too many favourites, but here are a few -

The Depths of the Sea

The Golden Stairs
Edward Burne-Jones had a preoccupation with myth and legend which led to him working with sequences of images. These next three are from The Briar Rose series, based on the story of Sleeping Beauty.

And finally -

The Graham Piano

Good times with great friends and great artists!

Friday, 26 October 2018

Remember ...

I've neglected my blog recently due to trying to move house, which is taking up all my time and energy! I've got buyers for my house, but can't find one to move to! My reason for moving is that I want to have a dedicated studio space, which will probably mean a cabin in the garden, but there is not much on the market at the moment, so I'm finding it very frustrating. Anyway, if it is meant to happen it will!

Because the potential move is taking up all my headspace, I've not been very creative recently, but the Fearless Four did get together last month, and following my butterfly bling creation (see here), the concensus was to do something similar, again using old/broken jewellery, beads, and buttons.

I decided to do hearts this time, and I got a box frame to put them in - rather pleased with the outcome.  The hearts are MDF which I painted first. I've then used broken jewellery, buttons from my mother's button box, and beads. Try and spot the one common piece in each heart!

And what did the others do?

Lin did butterflies

Monica too

And Linda did a bling tree.

Another good time had by all!

We are having another session next week, though I'm not particularly prepared with what I'm going to do!

Another group of friends - stitch people who love knitting, crocheting - have created 100 poppies which have recently gone on display in our local library.

In Flanders Fields, by John McRae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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.