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

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Did you ever stop to think ...

... and forget to start again?
(A A Milne - Winnie the Pooh)

The final project on my art course was to create an abstract.

Which for me involved a lot of thinking!

Abstracts are quite difficult as they come from the imagination, but there has to be a starting point. For my inspiration I found a photo of a autumn day with the sun coming through autumnal foliage; I just loved the colours. Then - more thinking ...

I decided to experiment by creating some poured acrylic skins. Which means doing a normal pour, but onto a non-stick surface. I used a silicon oven liner.

I let them dry and cure for about 2 weeks before I peeled them off, and stored them between sheets of wax paper.

I'm using a 12 x 12 stretched canvas, and I drew a design (for placement) before using dilute acrylic paint for the background.

I'm quite impatient whilst waiting for paint to dry, so I have learned that putting more acrylic over wet acrylic takes the first layer off. I used this to my advantage by creating fast moving drips over over the wet first layer. I made both horizontal and vertical drips.

Next I painted the circle in gold and added the horizontal and vertical lines. Later I knocked back the lines as they were too strong.

I carefully cut the skins (with scissors). I do like geometric shapes, hence triangles! Finally, I added some mica pieces (Golden's Gold Mica Flakes) which are held in a transparent medium.

I've called this "Summer's Last Breath", and it will probably go into my Etsy shop.

Hope we have seen the last of the bitter cold wind and freezing temperatures, and that summer is not far away!

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Pouring happiness!

I've still got several projects that need finishing; being ill for most of February has set me back somewhat! Anyway, fully recovered now, and the sun is shining so feeling very Spring-like.

Still experimenting with pouring acrylics. It looks simple but it isn't - here's the science bit - some pigments are heavier than others, which should dictate the order of pour. But that is only if you know the specific gravity of the paints! I think I'll just continue to experiment and let serendipity prevail!

Here are some more ...

I used an old canvas board for this one, and I can still see the texture paste underneath! If you look carefully you can see a bird in the bottom black section!

This is a horizontal pour, with a black pour either side.

This tiny canvas has the excess from the previous pour above. I just scooped up the paint with a palette knife and dropped it onto the canvas, letting it do its own thing!

This pour is on a white glazed tile.

Sometimes there are air bubbles in a pour, and I think that heat can get rid of them. Musr remember that next time!

I've been using mountboard for experimental pours too, and I thought that it would be a pity not to use the successful ones  - so I've put some on the front of notebooks! This one, and a couple of others are in my Etsy shop (here), or there is a link on the sidebar.

Now, I must - must - must - finish some of the projects that are littering my craft room!

Thursday, 1 March 2018

A different B side ...

I am very pleased February is over, as I was ill for most of it. Today is the first day of the meteorlogical Spring, but it is freezing with quite a bit of snow around, so not too spring-like!

Still having fun playing with pouring acrylics. This time the Fearless Four got together to do an LP pour. That is, take one old vinyl LP, cover the hole with a sticky label then do a slow pour!

What a mess!

But such fun ...

Whilst they were still wet and dripping I took these photos.

Linda's creation.



They took an age to dry. Here's mine -

I'm going to varnish it and then ... not sure - could make it into a clock, or just mount it onto a canvas; haven't made up my mind yet.

We all used the left over paint to do more pours on whatever was to hand, I did a small canvas -

Happy March madness!

Friday, 16 February 2018

Introducing Dixie the Diva ...

that's pronounced "diver".

I've had a particularly nasty virus for the past 10 days, when I've had no energy or inclination to anything. Feeling more human now, so I though I would introduce you to the latest member of my family!

This was a Powertex workshop which was particularly exhausting as it lasted 7 hours, but so enjoyable.

We started with a piece of shaped polystyrene and wrapped it in various layers of kitchen roll, masking tape and tin foil, which we then covered in Powertex. This was then fixed onto a steel rod embedded into a randomly carved piece of breezeblock. Wires were added for the fins and tails.

Eyes and mouth created with 3D Flex mixed with the Powertex and hand-shaped. The fins and tails made with fibres coated in Powertex.

The main body is covered in textural stuff such as paste and sand.

Finally got to work with various paints, overlaying mainly metallic and pearlescent colours.

I need to put some felt on the base so it doesn't mark surfaces. She is quite large so I need to find a good position for her.

But Dixie is ready for her close-up now!

 Kung Hei Fat Choi

(Year of the Dog)

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Infinite possibilities ...

I've been juggling too many projects recently! My floor is covered in "project trays".  These trays hold all the materials for each project so that I can find things easily. But it is not so good when you have to negotiate an obstacle course to get to my work table!

Anyway, following on from my first experience of acrylic pouring (for more detail see here), I decided to have another go with a pour and a swipe!

I've done these on pieces of mount board, about 8 inches by 5 inches.

This is a cup pour, and I used chalk paints and an interference paint too. Both worked, but it is impossible to photograph the effect of the interference paint which gives a lovely glow.

Next I tried a swipe using an old credit card, and the swipe colour is black. I included gold too.

Fascinating to watch the cells develop, and I didn't use any heat.

I had one failure, but only due to the fact I was doing it on a small piece of mount board. This should have been another swipe using a damp kitchen paper towel. I had to hold the towel with two hands, and with the board being so lightweight ... well the towel just swiped the board across the table!

So I dripped more paint on and took to blowing through a straw to see what happened ... quite interesting!

There are plenty of videos on You Tube about acrylic pouring. I prefer a pour to a swipe, and I do like the effects created. I'm now thinking about incorporating some in a painting.

Lovely to see some snowdrops and winter cyclamens; the days are getting longer, and I felt the warmth in the sun yesterday - happy days.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Open Sesame ...

The fourth project in my acrylics course was to create an eastern doorway using stencils.  I found several references for shapes, colour and texture, and I decided to use a canvas board for this piece.

I did an under-painting first, and then used resin sand for the distressed wall (I added colour first), which I applied with a palette knife.

The surround I painted a dark blue and then used a stencil with two shades of gold.

The inner surround is paste through another stencil.

The door itself I have "studded" using a pearl pen, which creates 3D dots. I found 2 rings in my box of delights, no idea where they came from, but perfect for handles.

There is a saying that I came across many years ago, and which has stayed with me - no idea who said it -

There are things known and things unknown,
and in between are the doors.

Only two more projects on my course, and I've managed to keep up apart from the very first project, which is still waiting to be finished!

Happy 2018!

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Happy 2018!

I wanted to write a post on New Year's Eve, but I have a few projects on the go and not a lot finished! Nothing unusual there then ... Anyway, this little box canvas I did back in the summer, at an all day workshop where we did 2 canvases, but the other one went in the bin! It was a good day, as equal focus was on the food provided!

Today is a bit dark, rainy and dank, so this is a good reminder of summer!

If I remember rightly, this involved stamping onto tissue paper to create the background, and using inks and pens for colour. The dragonflies are stamped and hand cut (not my most favourite occupation), and there is a couple of die-cuts in there too.

Thank you to my readers and followers for all your comments this year, they are really appreciated.

Wishing everyone a peaceful and happy 2018, whatever you do - I seem to remember a quote about 365 blank pages, well I'm looking forward to 365 blank canvases!

Saturday, 23 December 2017

No snow, but it is pouring!

Last weekend I did another Powertex workshop - 5 hours of getting messy and having fun, this time using Powertex in a pouring technique.

The box canvas used is 16 inches square. I started by creating the accumulation of flotsam by using shells, bits of wood, and other detritus. This was stuck to the canvas using ivory Powertex. When dry, I sprayed some Bister, followed by dry brushing with metallic colours.

While this was drying I mixed up my chosen colours - I used blue Powertex, purple acrylic paint and green Powertex (though the green completely disappeared). The colours were mixed (in separate cups) with Floetrol (this makes the Powertex/acrylic paint more fluid), and a few drops of silicone oil. I also had a cup of white Powertex also mixed with Floetrol (but no oil).

Using a clean cup, I poured in some white followed by the other colours in a random order.

Holding the full cup of paint, I placed the canvas on top and then flipped both cup and canvas over. When released the paint moves pretty fast, and I guided it where I wanted it by tilting the canvas. The addition of the oil creates the cells.

Finally I added some more white Powertex to give an impression of sea foam.

I had such fun with this, probably because it is unpredictable! Anyway, there is lots of info on You Tube about acrylic pouring.

It is Christmas Eve eve, and we won't be getting any snow, so ...

Happy Christmas everyone, and wishing you all a peaceful 2018.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Time to hibernate!

It's the last part of the Craft Barn's year long challenge using the poem The Months of the Year by Sara Coleridge.

The final couplet is
Chill December bring the sleet
Blazing fire and Christmas treat.

I have struggled with my chosen postcard size format, but I have had fun the past couple of entries using Photoshop. I found a photo of my friend's dog Tia in front a woodburner. A photo I took a year ago when I visited the wilds of Scotland! Regular readers may remember I did a portrait of Tia (see here).

Anyway, I've played around with it - and Tia is waiting for her Christmas treat!

I've done a montage of all my entries -

not sure what I'm going to do with them, but the obvious one is a calendar.

“It's snowing still," said Eeyore gloomily.
"So it is."
"And freezing."
"Is it?"
"Yes," said Eeyore. "However," he said, brightening up a little, "we haven't had an earthquake lately.” 

― A.A. MilneWinnie-the-Pooh

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

It's all about the (British) weather!

I started my Intermediate Acrylics course in September, and have only finished one project so far. There is quite a lot of homework with these classes, and given the time of year ...

The first project still needs quite a bit of work, and the current project has a couple more weeks to go. This is the second project, which I have managed to finish!

I'm using a canvas sheet, which comes in a pad, and means I can roll it up for storage!

The aim of this particular project was to paint reflections in water. I'm reasonably happy with the result, although the reflected colours could be a little more subdued as the water is on dark tarmac.

Recently went to Tate Britain for the Impressionists in London (French artists in exile 1870 - 1904) exhibition. Absolutely loved it - so many artworks on show.

In the 1870s, France was devastated by the Franco-Prussian war and insurrection in Paris, driving artists to seek refuge across the Channel. Their experiences in London and the friendships that developed not only influenced their own work, but also contributed to the British art scene.

Here are just some of my favourites.

Camille Pissarro
Charing Cross Bridge, London 1890

J A M Whistler
Nocturne: Blue and Silver - Chelsea 1871

James Tissot
The Gallery of HMS Calcutta (Portsmouth) 1876

I don't know much about this artist, but I loved his few paintings that are in the exhibition. Reminded me very much of Renoir (another favourite of mine).

Claude Monet
Houses of Parliament, Sunlight Effect 1903

There was a whole room dedicated to Monet's Houses of Parliament series - it gave me goosebumps!


Claude Monet
Houses of Parliament c. 1900-1

Had to include another one!

The exhibition is on until 7 May 2018, and if you love Impressionism it is a must see!