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, 30 April 2016

When the flower blooms ...

... the bees come uninvited.

The current other fortnightly challenge from the Craft Barn is red, white and a bit of black. I don't always have time to do this other challenge, but wanted to take a rest from my watercolour efforts!

The background is done with Brushos. Sprinkle first onto dry card, then take a flat brush and drag in one direction only. I used some diluted matt medium to do this. This seals the Brushos if you wish to overpaint.

When dry, I took my new Paper Artsy stamp set and stamped and heat embossed a flower three times.

Then I used white acrylic paint to paint the flowers, added a couple of butterflies, and a little bit of sparkle.

When I haven't any blue - I use red.

Happy May time!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Strut your stuff!

Really enjoying my Line & Wash classes; the third exercise was all about using coloured line. Using pens, acrylic inks, biros, pencils, basically anything that can could make a line.

We had to find a colourful reference - so I went through a few flower photographs ... but I then found Mr Rooster - search over!

I have used coloured pens, acrylic ink with dip pens, watercolour washes, and even a bit of gouache!

Started the final exercise yesterday - any project of my choice using what I have learnt during the course. I have a couple of weeks to finish it.

Then - I've signed up to another course! This one is painting trees - something I know I'm going to find particularly challenging ...

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Does my bum look big in this?

The next letter in the Craft Barn's Alpha Dictionary challenge is S, and shell must feature too.

Because my watercolour classes (and the homework!) are quite intense, it is good to do something completely different.

So, I got out some stamps and embossing powder and created a bit of a background with some stamped silhouette stamps. I scattered some embossing powder and heat set it, followed by a pinch of sprinkled Brushos.

Then stamped and embossed the flowers on an off-cut (sprayed with Dilusions I think).

Now that's five S words already ...

But, my chosen word is snail, because they come with their own shells!

I drew the snails and used watercolour pencils for colour.

Also entering the current Craft Stamper challenge (stamped flowers), and the Paper Artsy challenge (white space).

Now, back to my watercolour homework!

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Behind every door ...

The next exercise in my Line & Wash art course was about using line to show distance. This time I chose a reference photo of an abandoned house that looks like it is in the middle of nowhere. The windows are boarded up - wonder what is inside?

This time I used dip pens with diluted acrylic ink, fine line pens and a brush pen.

I think I'm getting a bit better at my watercolour washes ...

I found this poem by Dennis Go -

Abandoned buildings
Made to undress
In the wilderness
See forth a cue.

Another requiem
Passes through their walls
Stripped by dust.

Wandering spirits
Roam and stutter
Around echoing voices
Left by souls
Residing somewhere
In structures
Time forgotten
Years and years ago. 

Thursday, 14 April 2016

The finish line?

I've started another art course  - just a short one, only 5 weeks. This one is learning Line & Wash.

Our first exercise was to try the two extremes - one which is mainly line with a little bit of watercolour wash, and the reverse, mainly watercolour with a bit of line.

I had no idea of the range of implements that can be used to make the line - apart from the usual fine line pens, and dip pens - and I ended up trying a twig! I love the unpredictability of it.

You can also use bamboo, feather, or anything that will make a line mark!

Here's the twig I used, whittled to a point, dipped into acrylic ink.

And here's the two together -

I do like the mainly line version, and have already whittled down a few twigs - I discovered it takes a bit of skill and there are a few nicks in my kitchen worktop now! But there is no shortage of twigs - every time I go out I come back with one or two!

I'm now working on a landscape, where the line has to show distance - easier said that done!

Loving that heat when the sun comes out ... even left my coat off yesterday ...

Friday, 8 April 2016

Darting Diaphanous Delights

The next letter in the Craft Barn's Alpha Dictionary challenge is D, with the added condition of using pink somewhere.

I thought I would do a bit of stamping this time, and I love damselflies and dragonflies so - I found the two stamps I've got, and stamped in Versamark onto some watercolour paper. I then heat embossed in white, to act as a resist.

My Brushos haven't had much use in recent weeks, so time to get those out again too. Lastly, I used one of my favourite Sizzix dies to add a bit of dimension, and then splattered some gold watercolour paint (scrumptious stuff by Schmincke called Aqua Bronze).

I did cut out the definition of dragonfly, but then lost it! Fortunately damselfly begins with the same letter!

I'm also entering the into the current Paper Artsy challenge which features resist.

To end, a little info on the difference between dragonflies and damselflies ...

Dragonfly (suborder Anisoptera)
Wings open at rest
Eyes touching at top of head
Flight strong and purposeful

Damselfly (suborder Zygoptera)
Wings closed at rest
Eyes not touching at top of head
Flight weak and fluttering

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

If you go down to the woods today ...

I've been working on another watercolour - still all experimental - using stuff I've not come across before. This time it is using granulation medium. I've also used some acrylic ink in this one too.

I've had some bottles of acrylic ink for some time now (the Daler Rowney FW ones that have a dropper incorporated into the lids). I like the strength of colour together with it's very liquid-ness!

I first drew the outline of where I wanted the trees and bluebell heads, and used masking fluid on the bluebells.

Then I dropped two colours of slightly diluted acrylic ink into the pre-wetted tree trunks and immediately dropped in some granulation medium. This had the effect of mixing the colours and also granulating it - separating out the pigment into clumps.

The advantage of using acrylic inks is that it is waterproof when dry, so applying watercolour washes on top doesn't affect the ink.

When everything was dry, I used some watercolour washes, and quite a bit of splattering! There's some sponging in some areas too. Finally I removed the masking fluid and painted the bluebells, and created some more detail in the foreground.

I was also inspired to write another haiku -

Out of the greening
Shy heads nodding, time fleeting
Only bluebell would

Happy Springtime!