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, 25 May 2017

City lights

I wanted to have a play with Powertex, and see how it worked with stuff I've already got. It was first formulated as a fabric hardener, but you can use it on so many other things.

I've used corrugated cardboard, cotton threads and microbeads for the textures, and Dylusion sprays, and gilding waxes for the colour.

I first spread ivory coloured Powertex over the box canvas, then placed all the elements, using more Powertex as they were added.

I left it overnight before applying any colour.

When dry, everything is quite solid and secure. Powertex do their own sprays, pigments and varnish, but you only need to use them if the item needs to be weatherproof. I'm not likely to put a canvas outside, so I wanted to try the sprays I already had. Decided to use the Dylusion ones, as the colours are so strong and vibrant. I then used some gilding waxes for the highlights, and sprinkled some mica flakes too.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Today ... I shall frolic

We are up to May with the Craft Barn twelve month challenge, and the next two lines of the poem are:

May brings flocks of pretty lambs,
Skipping by their fleecy dams.

and there are no compulsory components this month, although there is not a lot of choice with that couplet - maybe a lamb?

The best thing about doing postcard size is I can use up the small scraps in my ever expanding scrap box.

I started with a small piece of watercolour card that I think I created using Brushos. I then found a piece of handmade paper, which is very easy to tear if you create the tear line with water, and it does look a bit fluffy! I also tore round the head after drawing it, and then a few sticks for the skippy legs!

I've named him Frolic ...

Still in the middle of decorating the living room, so I'm camped in the kitchen. Looking forward to getting stuff back in its rightful place, as I'm already starting to mislay things!

At last, I can feel some warmth in the sun (when it makes an appearance), so happy frolicking ...

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Another bluebell wood!

As I've spent most of the past couple of years in watercolour classes , I thought I would get the acrylics out and attempt my bluebell wood - again!

I did find it hard going to start with, and obviously the finish is totally different to a watercolour, but I did find it interesting that I used my brush in a different way to how I used to paint with acrylics, so it turned out to be a bit impressionistic. Also, I realise this is the first painting I've done with just acrylic paint, and not mixed it up with collage bits and pieces.

I used a canvas board which I found lurking at the back of my cupboard, and the acrylics were the heavy body Basics by Liquitex (the student quality ones).

Still waiting for summer to arrive so I can throw off the jumpers and coats, so ...

a little summer something from Emily Dickenson while we wait ...

A soft Sea washed around the House
A Sea of Summer Air
And rose and fell the magic Planks
That sailed without a care -
For Captain was the Butterfly
For Helmsman was the Bee
And an entire universe
For the delighted crew.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Powertex, pattern and perfume

I've still not caught up with everything! Currently in the middle of having some decorating done, so everything has to be moved out and distributed around the house - no wonder I can't find anything! Then there are decisions to make on colour, design and what I'm going to replace ...

Anyway, took time out recently to do a Powertex workshop. Powertex is basically a fabric hardener, but can be used in so many different ways. This was a three hour workshop, and I did remember to take photos along the way, mainly to remind me what I did, and in what order!

First, arrange the pieces on the canvas until happy. Take a photo as a reminder.

I've used some open hessian (or burlap), cotton threads, cardboard, honesty seed heads and a cedar cone.

Next, everything is taken off and some ivory coloured Powertex poured onto the canvas, and spread around with a large palette knife. Working the knife back and forth also creates texture.

Then all the items were coated in Powertex and placed onto the canvas.

The cone was backed with some scrunched up hessian to stabilise it.

Whilst everything is still wet, applied some Powertex Bister (a coloured waterbased spray ink), and then heated with a hair dryer.

The Powertex will crack - the thicker the Powertex the bigger the cracks.

At this point, the canvas should be left to continue to dry naturally, but we had limited time, so I used more heat until most of it was dry.

I made some adjustments by applying more Bister, before moving onto the pigments, a dry powder mixed with the Powertex or a varnish and dry-brushed; I used some blue and copper. I don't think the seed heads worked as they are too delicate, so I tried to highlight them. I liked the cone, but it is in the wrong place!

This was a fun workshop, and as I love doing canvases, I'll be exploring Powertex more in the not too distant future!

Must just mention a recent trip to Hatfield House, where there is the most magnificent wisteria.

View of the original house where Elizabeth I spent her childhood

 Just love the little door - think I might have a go at painting it.

And here is my wisteria - not so magnificent, but the perfume is just as stunning!

It has turned really cold again, so I'm getting impatient for some warm sunshine.

Happy May!