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, 31 December 2014

Another diversion, another poem, another year .....

I've recently acquired some new Pebeo materials, so thought I would do an abstract canvas, trying it all out!  I've already used the combination of glass paints with ceramic paints on some butterflies (see here ).

I did start this before Christmas, but then the cold struck, with the least of it manifesting in a 3 day headache!

My cold is now manageable (funny how I've taken ownership of "my" cold, but it has been with me for over a week now!), so I've finished this little canvas.

I used an 8 x 8 box canvas and painted a background of blues in acrylic paint first, then coloured a little modelling paste and scraped that on.

Once the paste had dried it was time for the new stuff - Pebeo Glazing Resin. This is a 2 part mixture, which I slowly poured onto the canvas in a slightly random manner.

It has dried here, so you can see how it holds it shape, and remains 3D.

Next, I covered most of the canvas with glass paints, and dropped in some Prisme Fantasy paints.

Everything is still very wet in this picture, and the paint is still moving around.

I wiped the glass paint off some of the resin, so that the acrylic colour underneath would show through.

When everything was dry, I finished with some Pebeo Relief Gilding Paste, which comes in a tube with a nozzle, so you can be quite specific where it is placed and it also remains 3D if you wish it to. When the paste goes clear, it remains tacky, and I then applied some gold mirror effect leaf.

In this close-up you can see the gold leaf, and the Prisme paint.

Finally, I applied some black Relief Liner.

Very difficult to capture how the light bounces off the resin and the gold leaf, so you will just need a little imagination for that.

Now I know how all this new stuff reacts, I can do another canvas with perhaps a little more control!

The last few early mornings have had stunningly beautiful hoar frosts - even in suburbia!  Just looking at the patterns created on cars is mind-blowing.  So, I have been inspired to write another Haiku poem, to celebrate the new year.

Frost white December
Come January clothed anew
Constancy endures.

Hope 2015 is good for you.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Blowing hot and cold .....

I had a very unexpected day last Friday, as the previous evening a friend rang, asking if I would like to take a spare place on a glass blowing taster session.

I'm always up for trying new things, so that is why I found myself blowing a glass bauble on a Friday, when I should have been doing Tai Chi!

The session was held at Adam Aaronson's glass studio in West Horsley (website is here).

After a cup of tea and a safety briefing, Adam demonstrated what we would be doing.

Adam with his assistant, who pinches the molten glass to form the neck of the bauble.

We each chose our bauble colour from a selection of ground glass mixes.

Me at one of the "glory holes" where the iron (rod) and glass is reheated. The main furnace, which holds the molten glass, is on the extreme right.

The heat from the glory hole is amazing, but does not compare to the heat from the main furnace (with a huge pool of molten glass)  when its door is open - it literally takes your breath away - not very useful when you need to blow down a long tube!

There is a technique to this, which at first I didn't get, and I was blowing most of the air outside the tube, but eventually I got it!!!

Ta daa!

I chose white with a bit of lime green and blue.

We then had mulled wine and a mince pie - yum!

After all that hot air, and with impeccable timing, I've now gone down with a cold - hey ho! Or should that be ho ho ho!

Merry to Christmas to everyone, and hope that 2015 brings all you wish for.

A photo of my lit up bay tree, with white and blue lights (naturally!).

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Signs of the times .....

Still playing catch-up posting stuff!

A couple of weeks ago the Fearless Four got together for the last 2014 adventure! We each had some blank plaques to play with, and here are the results .....

Monica did three plaques, the first two using some diecuts, wooden pieces, and charms.

The relax one (and my favourite) used one layer from a napkin as a background, which is very effective, together with some shells. Can feel myself starting to chill just looking at it!

Linda, like me, has difficulty not using blue!

These are not finished, but I just love the textures  and shades of blue on these.

Lin created some striking door plaques for some little people, using some fabulous large wooden butterflies and owls.

I only managed one plaque, but I think I'm a bit slower than the others!! I have been immersed in quotations this year as a consequence of the Craft Barn challenge,  so I decided to use one.

I found some Grungeboard letters, to stick on my plaque - this is a quote by Walt Whitman.

I then painted the whole thing with black acrylic paint, and when dry, started to add several layers of ..... guess what ..... yes, blue (just for a change!). Finishing with a little dry brushed gold paint.

I added the experimental butterflies I created using the Pebeo ceramic and fantasy paints detailed in a previous post (see here).

I like the way the black shows through in certain places, something I must remember for future projects.

In that previous post I mentioned the Japanese poetry form of Haiku, which I am really taken with, so here is another one I've written ..... in tribute to the Winter Solstice.

The dormouse sleeps
And does not see the sparkle
Of winter's dance.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Another challenge finishes - and I kept the FAITH!

The final 2014 Craft Barn Q&L challenge words are FAITH and HARMONY.

I had a little difficulty with this one, as I couldn't find anything to inspire me; then I got out my Emily Dickinson book and found this little gem, which made me smile!

"Faith" is a fine invention
When gentlemen can see -
But microscopes are prudent
In an emergency.

As I'm in a collage mood, I created a background from strips of magazine pages, then covered with a thin layer of gesso.  Stamped my selection of gentlemen (all by Tim Holtz) and used clear embossing powder to get stronger images, then used Brushos to add some colour.

I am so pleased I've made it to the end, as this is the first challenge I've entered.  It has been really fun, I've found some lovely creative people, made it onto the Wall of Fame five times, and also won the random number thingy!

I'm also going to be a bit cheeky and take a fab idea from Bluebeard and Elizabeth, by creating a collage of my entries - such an inspired idea Elizabeth, hope you don't mind!

Thank you to everyone for your comments throughout the year, I really think it is you that has kept me going!  I've tried to visit everyone too, and left comments where I was able to - such a diverse display of talent.

As it is just 16 days away - Happy 2015!

Friday, 12 December 2014

Paint, pots and poems!

Like everyone else, at this time of year, time is moving too fast, and I've got behind with stuff I want to post, so I'm including several in this one!

I've recently been playing with combining various paint types, and got together with a friend a couple of weeks ago, when we tried combining ceramic paint, glass paint, enamel paint and fantasy paint.

Using small pieces of board, we painted backgrounds with acrylic paint or Brushos, and also applied some texture paste to some of them.


Top left: Brusho background, with Pebeo relief outliner.  When dry, added Pebeo Glass and Ceramic paints. The glass paint runs better if Pebeo Lightening Medium is added.

Top right: acrylic background with texture paste.  When dry, used glass paint, Prisme paint, and a bit of enamel paint, all allowed to run together.

Bottom left: acrylic background with texture paste.  Followed by Moon, Prisme, and Glass paints.

Bottom right: Acrylic background and glass paint with the medium, allowed to run.

It was good to find out how all the paints reacted with each other, and a few days later (with a specific project in mind), I painted some chipboard butterflies.

All painted the same way.  Started off with a coat of Pebeo Ceramic paint, and while still wet, dropped in Pebeo Prisme paint.  Being of similar texture they combine really well, though you never know how it is going to turn out!   When dry, I used the black relief outliner.

Here is a close-up, the Prisme merges really well with the Ceramic paint.

I plan to do more experimentation with all these paints in the new year.

This week finally got to the Ming Exhibition at the British Museum. Fabulous collection from 600 years ago, including ceramics, jewellery, clothing and scrolls.

Throughout the exhibition there were quotes on the walls, and just loved this one:

On the seventh day sweeter dew fell, the colour of yak butter, it was fragrant and beautiful.  Suddenly a five coloured cloud was seen and gold boughs with jade flowers that were lustrous, jewelled, sparkling and blazing.

Taken from "Miracles of the Mass of Universal Salvation", which I intend researching more.

Would recommend this exhibition, but it finishes soon.

Obviously, we had a browse in the Museum's shops, and I bought a couple of books; "The way of the Buddha", a collection of quotations, and Haiku, a collection of Japanese poems.

The book gives this definition: Haiku are epigrammatic nature poems in which the writer aims to achieve maximum effect by minimum means.  The best haiku are allusive and oblique yet piercingly clear.

We then went and found a particular Chinese shop on the edge of Chinatown, where I bought some rice paper, for use in collages.

You can see the paper here; it is very thin and has fibres in it.  I wish now I had bought some other colours, but I can always go back.

Altogether a fabulous day.

And I was so inspired by haiku, I wrote one too:

The mists of dawn
Contain the tears
Of yesterday.

Friday, 5 December 2014

"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it."

That is a quote by Pablo Picasso ..... which I think is about risk, but doesn't contain the word!

It is the penultimate part of the Craft Barn Q&L challenge, with the words HEART and RISK.

I've used a quote by Ray Bradbury, and for the first time (I've just discovered!) I decided to use portrait rather than landscape for my page.

Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.

Acrylic paint for the background - blue is such a pleasing colour - don't you think!  Decided to do a large version of my little people, and used some off-cuts from previous projects.

Happy December (keep warm!).

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

End of one challenge .....

The Ashtead Club 2014 challenge has ended.  It seems such a short time ago we were given the details, and that was back in January!  This is going to be my longest post yet - so hope you stay with me!

Called Dec this Journal, it was based on Wreck this Journal.  We were given an A4 file folder, and a list of page ideas, the object being to create a minimum of 10 A4 pages all linked to the page ideas. Some of the pages were also part of the bi-monthly challenge.

I managed to completed 15 pages - so for posterity's sake, they are recorded here!  I have posted some previously.

I decorated the file folder cover with brayered acrylic paint and a little stamping.

Take a book page and highlight the words you like

This page is from Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll - well, it had to be didn't it!

The cut out words  read "a cautiously curious consequence of the prettiest sheep".

Showcase a stamp you like and a stamp you don't

Love the moth stamp, but not the winged cats one! The border stamp is a favourite too.

A page that includes a stamped fruit or vegetable image

Images stamped with acrylic paint, using celery stalks, cut celery base and cut celery pieces used in a squiggly fashion. Celery is my favourite veg!

Bird stamp is hand drawn and cut from funky foam.
Embrace one of your least favourite craft techniques

I dislike anything too cutesy, so found some free digi stamps, (including a spooky half-face one), which I coloured in with ProMarkers and Copics. Also used a yukky decoupage thing found at the bottom of the unwanted box!

All on a not very nice flat coloured background!

Ink blot challenge

Acrylic ink dropped onto Yupo paper, and an awful lot of puff through a straw.

Used very little ink, but as the paper is completely non-absorbent, the ink goes a long way.

Birds cut from randomly painted card.

Cover a page with circles

Used ProMarkers and Copics to make the small dots, and all my different sized circle punches to create the eyes!

Add a photo of yourself that you don't like - deface it so it looks better!

This is my passport photo - much better now!

Cover a page using just one word

My favourite word - serendipity - the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.

I used various dilutions of iridescent acrylic paint to create a serendipitous background!

Hot Hot Hot

Some Like It Hot - one of my favourite films.  I created a digital collage, then prepared the background with acrylic paint and used some die-cut scrolls.

Cover a page in tape

Acrylic paint brayered background, then used all the tapes I could find!

Aluminium tape, plasterboard tape, washi tape, masking tape, paper lace tape, measuring tape.

The flowers are made from washi tape and masking tape with a thin layer of gesso and Distress Ink.

Take the first letter of your surname - dedicate a page to it

Introducing the B family, probably starring in a B movie!

I mainly used pens, with a few alphabet bits found in my unwanted box (that box is quite useful!).

Fill a page with colour and pattern

Acrylic paint brayered, stamped and stenciled. Used Distress pens to colour the humming bird.

Tried to resist using blue and nearly made it - the bird was when I came unstuck with that!

Provide evidence of eye bombing.

If you have never come across this before, just google it!

For a few months I always had some googly eyes on me, just in case an opportunity arose!

Stick in leaves and/or other found items.

A watercolour background, and a collection of nature's bounty dried in a very large and heavy American dictionary!

Plus a little irridescent paint on the sycamore seeds.

Choose a colour - make a collage.

One of my favourite techniques, and it had to be blue!

At the time I was learning about making faces, so this gave me an opportunity to have another practice!

I used lots of different blue papers, and the blue dress is cut from a fashion magazine that featured a blue dress!  Finally, a little blue trim.

This was an inspired challenge and I really had fun, doing stuff I wouldn't normally try.  And the bonus?  I won!

Thanks for sticking with me to the end!