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, 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!

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