Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Painting Every Day

I can't be the only person who some days feels like I don't have a creative bone in my body or a thought in my head. I go into my workroom and do a bit of tidying and then I sharpen my pencils. Of course there's a limit to how many times you can sharpen your pencils. Here are mine with a few pens and brushes in my Max&Rosie brush roll - all perfectly ready for action. Sadly, lovely as they look, sharp pencils do not a drawing make - not on their own anyway. It's not about how much stuff you've got is it? It's all about applying yourself.


It would be easy to close the door on a newly tidied room and walk away but when inspiration hasn't been cooperating, I prefer to carry on regardless. The results may not be great works of art but it's all good practise. And while you're painting who knows what ideas will creep unbidden into your head?


I always have objects around me that I love and my watercolour paints fit that bill.


This morning I've sketched some of them with a waterproof pen and added a very light wash of paint. Actually hardly any paint at all - more like dirty water.


It's satisfying to create weight and volume to a sketchy outline with a bit of watery shadow.


So, even without a plan, I now have another interesting page in my sketchbook. What next I wonder?

Bye for now - Linda x

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Garden Inspiration

It's lovely having a great big garden except of course when it comes to gardening! Much as I love to loll about with a cold drink in the evening sunshine the work has to come first. He who gardens does nearly all the hard labour but at this time of year, when there's so much to do, I have to give a helping hand too.


It's been glorious weather for a few days so I haven't minded being out of doors. I'm something of a fine weather gardener but we're told we need our daily dose of vitamin D aren't we so I can kill two birds with one stone and think myself both healthy and virtuous. We've spent most of the weekend tidying away all the old growth from last year. The seedheads have provided food for the birds through the winter but they've done their bit now and the compost heap called.


We've lived here since 1988 so plenty of time for everything to become well established. One of my favourite things is the yew hedge which we planted in a snow storm a few years ago. People seem to think yew is slow growing but those little sticks have become a lovely 8 foot high wall of dark green with a doorway that leads through to a really tranquil gravel garden. Nowhere better to sit on a scorchingly hot April day.


Of course it's true what they say about all work and no play so, this afternoon when my back had told me it had had enough bending, I had an hour in the studio with my sketchbook. There aren't any roses in flower yet but the bushes are leafing up nicely and it won't be long before I can paint from life. In the meanwhile last year's photos will suffice.



I'm working in one of Laura's printed sketchbooks but today I chose to work on a blank page rather than one with existing colour and pattern. The white roses are very low key - the petals are pretty much untouched white paper with only the shadows placed to describe the form of a flower. I used a combination of coloured pencils, watercolour paint and soluble pen. Very enjoyable - now for that well earned gin and tonic and a loll in a deckchair to catch the last rays!

Bye for now - Linda x



Monday, 3 April 2017

Portrait Shuffle Fun!

The sun is out, the sky is blue........... and I am actually singing today. Luckily I don't have neighbours to worry about so I can do what I like!I have my iPod on full blast and I'm out in my garden studio painting. What could be more fun than that?


Don't laugh - it's only the first coat and I'm hoping she'll get better with another lick of paint tomorrow! The finished panel will be among the exhibits at the Portrait Shuffle exhibition next August. If you don't know about your chance to exhibit with the Through Our Hands artists at Festival of Quilts yet then please take a trip over to portraitshuffle.blogspot.co.uk for all the info. We particularly welcome portraits involving fabric and thread because they'll be seen by thousands of quilters - so don't be put off if you don't mess around with paint like I do!

Please join in and help us raise much needed funds for Save The Children. Annabel is busy sending out the canvases right now but the finished portraits don't need to arrive back with her until July.

Hope I don't sound as though I'm telling you what to do BUT after you've gone to the portrait page (and hopefully signed up to buy your pack!) you really should also check out my daughter Frances' website. She's added a collection of lined fabric cases perfect to hold sunglasses or mobile phones to her range this week and they are in great time for summer. I've got one already as she gave me mine as a Mothers' Day gift! What a good daughter!!

new glasses cases collection!

While I've been writing this my first coat of paint might have dried enough for the next layer - think I may go and do a bit more before dinner!
Bye for now, Linda x

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

What's the Portrait Thing All About?

The news will be out properly tomorrow but here's a glimpse of what I've been doing for a special happening in the Through Our Hands Gallery next summer at Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, UK.


The theme for the TOH exhibition is Portraits. I've been working from a photo on my iPad.....


to make a self portrait using acrylics on a little A5 box canvas.



The exhibition will feature submissions from the affiliated, internationally recognised Through Our Hands artists but Laura and Annabel would like to invite you all to be a part of it too. To discover the hows and the whys please visit the portraitshuffle page and don't be worried if you don't paint, the portrait can be in any medium you choose, whether you love to stitch, appliqué, print or collage your subject. This is your opportunity to be a part of something big! And all profits will go to a really good cause - Save the Children. Can you imagine how wonderful a whole wall of portraits will look? How can you not join in?

Talk again soon - Linda x

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Portrait Painting and Rhubarb

We picked the first rhubarb of the year this morning.


I love it when it's new and tender pink. Of course, it grows like a triffid so the novelty of rhubarb for pudding every evening will soon wear off. When it gets older, if I can't give it away, I make chutney!


I spent most of the day in my studio attempting a portrait of a cat in acrylics.


I need to resolve the right cheek and tone down the colour of the fur before I'll be satisfied with him but it was good to be out in my studio with the door wide open to the garden and the birds singing in the sunshine. Every day we are reminded of what dangerous times we live in - I'm just pleased to have my painting to absorb me, keep me sane and make me happy. Hours just evaporate when I'm painting!


Last night's effort was a pencil drawing of an iris. This morning I added a watery wash of colour in the background. That sketchbook is beginning to fill up already.

COULDN'T REST!!

While I was waiting for dinner to cook I popped back out to the studio and added a wash of transparent raw umber acrylic ink to the cat's fur.


So much better - why didn't I think of that before??

Talk again soon - Linda x


Saturday, 25 March 2017

Sunflower Monoprint and Drawing

Some of the monoprints I made for a DMTV video a couple of days ago have ended up in my printed sketchbook. The deli paper adds very little bulk to the existing pages.


The reductive print on the left hand page had its background cut away and was then collaged down over one of the previously printed pages. I've pasted the complete orange monoprint down on the right but although I did add a bit of deep shadow to the centre of the flower, the page isn't complete yet as I also want to extend some circles across the binding.


Once the gel medium was dry I could sit with the sketchbook on my lap last night and, working with one of my watercolour paintings as a guide, I made a pencil drawing. I love the contrast of placing simple graphite pencil alongside the colour of paint.

Hoping to do more drawing tonight!

Linda x


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

DMTV Prep Time in the Studio and have you seen Fran's Website yet?

Recording our videos for DMTV is often the quickest part of the process - it's the advance prep that often takes up the time. Not that I'm complaining - there are worse ways to spend your days!


I've been stitching this monoprinted bird today. He's a springtime project soon to be a video.


And for a change of activity, in the evenings I like to do a bit of drawing. You may remember I showed the seedhead skeletons I found a few days ago - here's last night's quick sketch in pen.


When I'm struggling for inspiration nature always comes to the rescue. We made the most of a lovely day yesterday for a walk around the village, iPad in hand. You never know what photo opportunities may present themselves!


Just look at what we spotted low down in the hedge. It would be quite a feat for a human to attempt to construct such perfection but some little birds have managed it! Nice subject for a painting I think!


Speaking of perfection - have you seen my younger daughter's website yet? Everyone knows about Laura because we have worked together since she left university but you may not know I have two daughters. My younger daughter Frances is more of a newcomer to the creative world of textiles. She's made the big step of leaving her 'proper job' in advertising to set up her online shop, MaxandRosie. I am so proud of what she's doing! Her work is simply beautiful with such attention to detail.


Please take a minute to check out her beautiful website to see all the lovely things she has for sale, all made by her own fair hands. Frances has added lots of new products this week, including the brush roll you see above. If you're quick you may just be in time to order for Mothers' Day!

Thanks for dropping by today - Linda x





Thursday, 16 March 2017

Sketchbook Pages

I'm enjoying working into the second of the handmade sketchbooks Laura threw my way. This is a bigger book than the first and the larger pages give me a bit more scope to experiment with areas of loud colour. Maybe it's because spring is on the way - I'm loving lots of bright colours after the sombre winter skies!


As well as taking her book, I've also stolen one of her photographs to work from. I loved this bird of prey Laura photographed at Blists Hill recently. The orange colour was already a part of the printed page but I happily incorporated it on his wing feathers which in real life were a warm reddish brown. Good fortune that his beak and eye were orange too!


I've taken one of the monoprinted motifs that was already on the page and recreated it using oil pastel and watercolour wash. One of my favourite combinations of technique. I think the bold colours on the lefthand page balance the image on the right.


On another page I've made a monoprint over an image of twiggy tree branches and then invented the right hand page to extend the image. It's such a fast and easy technique - takes longer for the paint to dry than to do! Hope the above gives you an idea or two if, like me, you're working into a printed sketchbook.

Bye for now - Linda x



Sunday, 12 March 2017

Poppy Seedheads and Another Printed Sketchbook

It's been quite springlike lately - enough to encourage me into the garden for a brief spell tidying up.


I found these little treasures while I was weeding. Isn't nature wonderful, even in destruction?


This enormous heap of canvasses and wooden panels arrived this week. I must be feeling very optimistic! All I've done so far is to add the first coat of gesso to one panel - it's a start I suppose.


Laura must be thinking I'm idling my time away - she presented me with another of her 


There are some lovely pages and my task is to add my own work to them.


I'm just looking and thinking about the pages at the moment.


But we had a fun monoprinting session a few days ago and I'm pretty sure some of the prints will find a home in the book!
Thanks for reading today - I'll be back soon. 
Linda x


Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Drippy Painting and Hand Stitching Today

I knew I wouldn't be able to resist adding some colour to the bee drawings. I wet the paper and then added concentrated dye based colours, letting dark brown, blue and turquoise blend on the page. You can see how wet it all was by the lovely feathered edges of the colours.


At least using such a fluid wash of colour has proved that this pen is totally waterproof! I really ladled the paint on and tilted the book so that it would flow. Sadly, because of my too generous nature, some of it has seeped through the holes of the stitched binding and onto a previous page where it has not improved the drawing. Will I never learn?


The drawing and painting is something I can fit in around other calls on my time as it's so quick. That's more than can be said for the hand stitching I'm adding to this piece. 


It's taking forever but I don't mind that - I always like to have some hand stitching on the go to keep my hands busy. I'm using a heavy cotton sashiko thread from Japan and loving the bold mark it makes even if it is a bit tough on my fingers. The fabric above is a vintage, handwoven piece Laura bought some time ago. I'm sewing lots of other fragments of cloth to it Boro style. Not sure what it will become yet but I'm sure we'll come up with a plan!

Bye for now - Linda x

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Saturday is Market Day

Things are looking up in our local market - there's now a patchwork stall!


Good luck to Emma - she should do well as there are lots of quilting groups around here.


Our favourite busker was there doing his thing too. His name is Joshua Sole and he's good! No idea how he manages to play guitar wearing gloves but, needs must - it was cold again!


Back home I'm putting some pens and pencils through their paces. We're going to be introducing some arty starter kits in the DMTV shop soon and we need to make illustrations for the instruction booklets that will be included. I've recreated the little bee that I added to Laura's printed sketchbook page but worked him here on plain white paper so there's not so much distraction. Once he's been photographed for the booklet I suspect I'll add lots of luscious colour - I just can't help myself!

Have a good weekend - Linda x

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Painting Daily - well we'll see how that goes!

I'm not making any promises but at the moment I am making a painting every day - the secret seems to be to work small! The longer days of approaching spring also help as I feel more energetic and able to be creative rather than slouch on the sofa in front of mind numbing TV. Mind you, I shouldn't be dismissive of TV - at the moment there are more art programmes on than I can ever remember. I'm loving the Portrait Artist of the Year on Sky Arts as well as The Great Pottery Throwdown and The Big Painting Challenge on the BBC. Mind you, they all generate a certain amount of shouting at the screen when the judges make their opinions known!


This little fellow took me about half an hour with a coffee break to allow for drying time before I could add final details. He's mostly watercolour with tiny touches of opaque gouache.


I've been making the most of the pack of watercolour postcards I found under a heap of stuff in my workroom. The quality is great and because they are so small it's not a daunting thing to do when time is limited. I'm getting quite a varied collection now!

Talk to you soon - Linda x


Monday, 27 February 2017

A Day Sewing

Making the most of a day at home today to spend time in my workroom.


I've had this stretchy jersey with a waffle weave for a few weeks and only got round to doing something with it this morning.


It was difficult to decide which was the right side of the fabric so I compromised and used what I thought was the reverse for the lower sleeves.


And the bias strip neck band. I think this will be a favourite as it's so comfy. Only have to turn the hems and it'll be ready to go.
If you'd like to see what else I've been sewing lately please check my website blog 

Bye for now,
Linda x

Friday, 24 February 2017

Tulips for Ineke

On Wednesday we said our goodbyes to Ineke. It was standing room only in the lovely old church adorned appropriately with huge bunches of tulips.


They seemed the only thing I could paint today!


Ineke will be very much missed by all who knew her.




Linda x