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, 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).

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