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

Saturday, 27 June 2015

I think I'm in love ...

There is one medium I have never tried - oil paints.  I've always been put off by all those solvents you need, not only to clean up but to thin the paint.

Then I discovered you could get water mixable oil paints that act exactly the same as normal oil paints, but clean up can be with water, and the paint can be diluted with water, though there are mediums available.  Don't know how it all works, but I decided I wanted to have a go, so bought a set of Daler Rowney Georgian Water Mixable Oil Paints - 10 tubes in all.

To try them out I found a simple photo of some lilac to use as a reference, used a 10 x 8 canvas board, and did the background first.  Now, I hadn't realised how long this paint takes to dry, so I had to wait about a week!

I've now found this stuff that you can add to the paint to thin it a little and also make it dry faster.

I also read about fat over lean - that is thin layers first, and build up to thicker paint layers.

Anyway, I finished it, and am quite pleased.  The proportions are not right, but the drawing course I start next month may help with that!

But for a first attempt .. especially as all I've used is paint ... not bad!

I love the buttery texture of the paint, and the way it it can go on really thickly, and there is no colour change when it is dry.

I think this could be the start of a beautiful relationship!

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Take a bow ...

I'm going to whisper this  - but I got my Christmas stuff out - whoa - I gave myself a scare there!

I needed to get going on projects for the craft group I run, so - I told myself "be brave" and get going!

One workshop will be making Christmas baubles using chipboard shapes as a base, and here is one of  them. It has a bow on it, so I am entering it into the Craft Barn weekly challenge, which is all about bows!

The workshops are just 2 hours long, and I want everyone to do at least 3 or 4 baubles, so needed to keep it simple. I covered it with paper, added a die-cut snowflake that was glittered and sequinned, hung a bell on the base, and tied a bow with silver cord.  I've done others bauble designs, but they can wait for another time - probably when the weather is turning a little colder!

If I say - Happy Christmas - will I be the first to do so this year??

Monday, 22 June 2015

Little fish with plum blossom ...

... sounds like I've been busy in the kitchen, but fear not -

It was my turn to issue the challenge to the Fearless Four, and as I love poetry I provided two poems to provide inspiration.

The first is by D H Lawrence called Little Fish
The tiny fish enjoy themselves
in the sea.
Quick little splinters of life,
their little lives are fun to them
in the sea.

And the other is a Haiku by Matsuo Basho
Suddenly the sun rose,
To the scent of the plum-blossoms,
Along the mountain path.

I decided to use the first one as inspiration, and found a box canvas in my store cupboard (yes, I am trying to use up stuff before I buy more!).

I prepared the canvas before we met, to save drying time.  I used Ryn's Gingko stencil with modelling paste, and also used the paste to create some sea grass, with added tiny beads.

Several layers of paint later -

I don't have any fish stamps, so made my own with funky foam backed with pieces of acetate packaging.

You can see the stamps at the side here.

I also stamped the fish around the edge of the canvas - here is a close-up.

Next, I cut some fish from cardboard, and painted them separately.  These are very exotic fish, never seen before!

The end result ...

I'm entering this into the current Craft Stamper challenge, all about texture, but entries also have to include some stamping.  Hope my hand made stamps qualify!

The latest Paper Artsy challenge is all about stencils, so that one too!

And another entry for Ryn's monthly challenge!

Now, what did the other three get up to ...

Monica went for the Haiku about plum blossoms, and did two small canvases to be hung together -

Lin did a fishy one -

And Linda also went for fish -

A good time (and lunch!) was had by all ...

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Butterflies of the night ...

I've got quite a few birthdays in June, so I've been busy making some cards.  I hadn't yet used my latest stamp collection from Ryn, the Moon Wings, which I adore; so I got those out, plus some iridescent paint.

The background is blue/green iridescent paint with a couple of moths stamped and embossed in white, then stamped again in black onto a Gelli print.

I'm also going to call these night butterflies as the current Craft Barn weekly challenge is ... butterflies!

Happy Summer Solstice!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Last minute touch of steampunk!

Yesterday's post was about the Craft Barn's calendar challenge, but I had completely forgotten about the Craft Barn's weekly challenge which ends today; and which continues with a male theme.

This card has a watercolour style background using Distress Inks, and then Sparkle Medium through a stencil.  Main image is a Crafty Individuals stamp, and a separate cogs stamp, with a twine wrap. I die-cut some more cogs too - a girl can't have too many cogs and sprockets!

I've been neglecting my steampunk-ish passions of late - as there are so many projects in my head, and not enough hours in the day ...

Happiness would be a 25 hour day and a house that automatically does the housework - probably by a machine with lots of cogs and sprockets!

That's enough musings for now.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Anisoptera in June ...

Dragonflies (order Odonata) are divided into two distinct sub-orders, the Zygoptera or Damselflies, and the Anisoptera or Dragonflies.

The current Craft Barn calendar challenge words are lavender and dragonfly.

I lightly brayered Fresco paint over the 10 x 8 card, and, using the same paint colours, did a little random circle stamping.

Then die-cut and embossed a couple of dragonflies from a piece of card I had pre-sprayed, followed by some gilding wax.

Dragonflies are such beautiful, ethereal creatures, I wrote a Haiku (Japanese poem).

Dragonfly wings beat
Providing summer's soft wind
with a helping hand

Happiness is the sun on my face.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Perfect day for a bit of welding ...

This time every year the Surrey Artists' Open Studios event takes place, and for a couple of weeks artists open up their studios to the public; creating fabulous opportunites to meet and talk with all kinds of artists.

Some also offer workshops, so at the weekend, I joined some friends at a metal workshop run by Alison Catchlove, to make a metal flower.

The workshop was held at an open studio in Esher, which also showcased 7 other artists.

We worked in the very pretty garden area.

None of us has used any kind of welding equipment before, let alone cut, file,  and hammer bits of metal! We used mild steel, apparently quite a difficult metal to weld, so after the safety stuff we all had a practice at welding - I found it quite difficult not to create holes!

Then on to designing, cutting, shaping, and texturising our flower pieces, before welding it all together.

The results of all our efforts!

I love the colour change that can be achieved by the heating process.

Fabulous fun, and now I understand the processes, this is something I would do again.

I've put my flower in a bud vase - not bad for a first attempt!

Whilst at the open studio I signed up for a drawing workshop ...

Happiness is learning something new!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

The tiny wheels go round and round ...

Over at the Craft Barn, this week's challenge word is Transport - mmmm - for some time I've had a Memory Box die of three tiny vehicles; can't remember why I bought it, but I must have had a good idea at the time!  Anyway, I've never used it ...

...so, perfect for a Father's Day card, which is on the 21st. I used Distress Inks to bump a stencil, then die-cut the cars out of some coppery coloured card.  The tiny wheels are separate, and I can't tell you how many I lost in the process, they just seemed to go off by themselves, and I had to cut some more!

I'm just a little bit of a fanatic when it comes to grammar, and I've just noticed the apostrophe is missing from my father's day stamp, so I'll have to add one!

Happy June time.

Monday, 1 June 2015

What if you could bottle time?

A few weeks back I bought some Powertex fabric hardener and 3D flex powder, which together make a thick textured paste to create 3D paintings and sculptures. I decided to wait until after the craft room make over before I tried them.

I found a piece of board to use, and put equal parts of the liquid and powder straight onto it, then mixed with a credit card.  It mixed quickly to become a very heavy paste, which I spread around in a bit of a pattern.

I left to dry for a couple of days.  Now, whereas some pastes I use are quite easily dented, this dried rock hard.

The pattern I had created brought to mind some kind of explosion ...

I then made a mistake. I sprayed it with some Adirondack colour wash sprays, with the intention of sealing it before applying some acrylic paint. But the matt medium didn't seal the sprayed colour and the acrylic paint just became muddy - not sure what I did wrong - maybe someone could enlighten me!

Anyway, I ended up painting over the majority of the sprayed colour. I then added some gilding wax.

As I get older (and I'm sure this happens to us all), time seems to pass extremely fast, and so I've imagined what it would be like to buy time off the shelf, say, in a bottle ...

I've used some watch parts and die-cut a bottle and stopper.  This is my interpretation of bottled time; but looking at it the next day, I saw a galaxy and planets! (Same thing really I suppose!)

The current Paper Artsy challenge is about bottles ...

Happiness would be not having to iron my face when I get up in the morning!