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, 17 September 2015

Bee confident ...

The new art course I have just started is "Collage, watercolour and mixed media" and is only partly structured - so room to do my own thing! It is run by the same local artist - Kay Mullen -  as the drawing course I've just completed (see this post).

I love collage, so that is what attracted me to it, but it would also challenge me on the drawing and painting front too!

The first week we concentrated on making the collage background.  I'm using an A3 piece of watercolour paper, which I had to pre-stretch, but I will be moving on to half imperial size, which is 22" x 15". I have never pre-stretched watercolour paper before, but it was quite easy, though I had to use the bath as I don't have a receptacle large enough for A3 - and certainly not for half imperial!

The paper is fixed to a piece of thick MDF board with brown paper tape.

So, here is the first stage; I've used book pages, sheet music, Japanese newsprint and paper pattern tissue - oh - and a raffle ticket! And no knocking back with any kind of wash - scary!

I then did some stencilling with modelling paste which I coloured with acrylic paint.

Our second session was mainly taken up with drawing, and I chose a bee as my main focal point - done with pens and coloured pencils.  The wings are painted with clear Wink of Stella. Having done the drawing course I feel more confident about drawing, but this was another scary moment for me - drawing on top of my collage!

I finished off with a bit of foiling, and also some hexagonal pieces to give it more balance.  I've photographed it at an angle to try and catch the wing glimmer and foiling.

The Craft Barn challenge this week is about masks/stencils - good timing!

So ... Bee-lieve in yourself!

I think that is enough bee puns - unless you can leave me an appropriate comment!


  1. It's not easy working on such a large scale especially when used to work on cards! Great work, the bee is fantastic. When I looked at the page instinctively I turned my head 90degrees, I feel this should be a portrait rather than a landscape orientation, not sure why but there you go...

    1. Up to now the largest canvas I've worked on is probably A4, so moving up to A3 was a bit of a challenge! It can be viewed portrait as well as landscape, as some of the collaged pieces are placed in different directions!

  2. your bee looks great. How fun to be following courses. Don't quite understand why you needed a bath though? Do you need to soak the paper before stitching?

    1. To pre-stretch watercolour paper it needs to be soaked in water, and the bath was the only place I could do that! After soaking (the timing depends on the weight of the paper), it is put onto a board, the excess water is wiped away, and then the paper is taped down onto the board and left to dry naturally. This ensures when further liquid is added (e.g. mediums, paint, etc), it is already stretched and therefore the paper won't buckle or cockle.

  3. Beautiful collage and amazing drawing of the Bee. I'm wondering if you drew directly over the collage or did you use Gesso first? Looks like you are having fun in your classes :) Thanks for sharing, Shirleyxx

    1. I used acrylic matt medium to fix the collage pieces, and drew directly on top of that with pen and pencils. I'll be trying watercolour on top of collage at some point, and won't be able to do that directly on top of matt medium, or gesso, but I will be trying a clear watercolour ground on top of collage, so watch this space!

  4. Looks amazing!! Thank you for joining in The Craft Barn Challenge.
    Jane x

  5. This is brilliant. Your course sounds so interesting.

  6. A fabulous start to your course. A3 size of paper sounds really scary - so much space to fill.