Sunday 30 October 2011

New toy!

I've been painting again this week. There's quite a flock of Rooks and Crows on the wall right now. I used the gouache and ink resist technique again for this one and made it to fit the lovely gold frame I found in the local flea market last Saturday.

He's painted on heavy watercolour paper and I love the way the ink settles into the dimpled texture.

I've been experimenting (with limited success) using the same technique on canvas. Some nice bits and some that still need work but it's nothing that a couple of hours and some more paint can't fix!

Actually, it's a miracle I got any work done at all because I got a new toy on Monday. Compared to my Mom's ancient overlocker, that I'd been using until it died last week, this machine is a very sophisticated beauty!

Of course I had to try it out immediately and here's the evidence. The jacket isn't quite finished yet but it only took about a hour to cut it out and sew it up. The old machine was very basic. In fact it was pretty much a case of stop or go. This one can do everything except make the coffee. As soon as I discover how to switch from overlock to cover stitch there'll be no stopping me!

I thought I'd finish with a little jewel I spied in the garden today. Look how the afternoon sun is reflected in those drops of moisture. If ever I needed inspiration to embellish this is it! (Actually, ignore that, anyone who knows me knows that I don't need any excuse to bead!)

Thanks for visiting - talk to you again soon - Linda

Sunday 23 October 2011

I love Sundays!

I remember hating Sundays when I was younger. Nothing seemed to happen, everything was shut and the day seemed interminable. Funny thing is, those are the things I love about Sundays now!

It's my day to potter about doing what I enjoy. I've been whiling away a lot of time researching Japanese art in preparation for next year's exhibition at the Needle Museum. Birds like the one above are common motifs so I've decided it's crazy to work with an inspiration that's alien - I shall stick with my usual Crows and Rooks but attempt to give them an Oriental twist.

This fellow was given a leafy sprig to hold today and the addition of a gold leaf sun. I'm using acrylic paints and gesso for this panel.

Those of you who've been following DMTV recently will recognise the ink and gouache resist technique I've been experimenting with here.

I think I'm getting to grips with the technique now and the results are more predictable the more I do!

Sundays are also about spending time in the kitchen although I'm not at all sure what I will do with this crop of chillis! This is the tip of the iceberg - there's lots more to pick. If anybody has any recipe ideas I'd love to hear them.

Of course it wouldn't be Sunday without baking! Today's efforts are just out of the oven and smell wonderful.

Thanks for taking the time to join me! I hope you had a productive Sunday too. Bye for now - Linda

Sunday 16 October 2011

Look away now if you're easily spooked!

Autumn is always prime time for spiders in our house but I've never seen one like this before! Does anyone out there know what it is? I am really curious to know more.

He was huge and bulbous but with the most beautiful markings don't you agree?

With bugs and beasties in mind I've been working a little more into one of my altered books today. This one is about moths. I've carved a lino block and made a couple of test prints. The beauty of lino block printing is that I can carry on carving until I get the definition and detail I'm happy with. This definitely needs more work!

The image below is a gouache monoprint with a top coat of indian ink. It's a bit vague yet but I like the effect and think with a bit more practise it has potential.

I usually find autumn a melancholy time but today was another of those perfect days with wall to wall sunshine and a turquoise sky. I couldn't finish without showing you my forest pansy!

I know it will soon be finished but right now it's having a final flourish and is alive with colour.

Hope you've had a great weekend and managed to fit in some creative time!
Talk again soon - Linda

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Finished at last!

Several people emailed to say they were disappointed not to see the second pieced landscape from last week's DMTV video finished. It was only meant to illustrate the individual steps of construction but of course I never start anything I can't finish so I here it is on the right with the original version next to it!

I wanted the two panels to relate to each other but for the detail to be quite different. In the second piece I added my favourite metallic paint to make the quilted shapes really pop.

I also added a little texture to the moon - keeping it discreet by working white on white.

Thank you for nagging me to get it finished - I actually rather like the piece! Let's hope someone else likes them enough to want to buy them when we get around to adding them to our online store!

Bye for now,

Friday 7 October 2011

More stuff!

Once you discover your local auction house it is the beginning of a downward path. Every month now we are tempted to buy things we never even knew we wanted! Laura got the fever this week. It was her first time but she raised her hand quite fearlessly to win no less than 3 different lots. We left before the end but couldn't resist leaving a bid on a heap of what the catalogue described as Bedouin bags and rugs.

A phone call later that day let us know we'd been successful. Levi has already staked her claim on this one which suits her regular spot on the old church pew in the kitchen.

This fringed number miraculously fits the top of my blanket box as if it were made for it! It's a bit faded but still richly coloured.

With the oriental theme of next year's exhibition at the Needle Museum on my mind I've begun to draw Cranes as a change from Crows. They are such an elegant shape and I just love those long toes. I've painted Herons before and they are a similar shape so I should get the hang of them with a bit of practise.

This lovely object from Wolverhampton Art Gallery has been on my mind a lot too.

And this one! No shortage of Crane type inspiration, just need to decide what to do with it now!!

Thanks for visiting - talk to you again soon.


Wednesday 5 October 2011

Good day today!

Isn't it funny how some days you just seem to wake up with more energy? Don't know what caused it but I wish it could happen more often! Today we've recorded a video, answered a million emails and found time for a bit more painting. In between time I made two enormous loaves of bread. All that creativity gives you an appetite!

I quite like this fellow although he does look a bit gormless don't you think? He's only in the early stages yet and will be given something to hold in his beak next time I get to work. As you can see I'm making good use of the print block!

This crow is one I've painted before. He had a berry in his beak last time - this time I'm thinking a twig of cherry blossom to fit in with my oriental theme. He needs something to stand on so he doesn't look like he's levitating poor thing.

The rook is looking more finished now that I've added more detail to his feathers but he's still waiting for something to hold and also a final glaze of transparent paint over that too bright sun!

This is a page from one of my current sketchbooks. I really like the effect but I'm not allowed to tell you much about the technique yet - it's what we're showing in next week's DMTV video!

You're not supposed to shout about your own work are you but I do love the effect in the close up!!

It has been a full and satisfying day, and just because it smells as good as it looks, I may have to reward myself with a sandwich! I know, I know - I'm very easily pleased!

Hope you've all had a good day too!
Bye for now,

Monday 3 October 2011

Making time for myself

It's been a busy, busy few months as we've been working on our new Creative Sketchbooks course. I'm not complaining but it is a huge amount of work! We've had students woking on Module 1 for a few weeks now and Module 2 opens tomorrow. This module has another 12 videos in it. Yes, you heard right, 12 videos. Have you any idea how long it takes to prepare, record and edit that many? Good job Laura is such a technical wizard! It's very stimulating to create a new course and we find it always feeds our own work in some unpredictable way. Still, it's important to find time for ourselves amidst all the madness. Since our recent visit to Wolverhampton Art Gallery I've wanted to do something with this amazing vase as inspiration.

You don't have any sense of scale in the photo but the vase is almost as tall as I am. I read that the decorative motifs are all different Chinese symbols for longevity. The Oriental influence will be perfect for the work I need to produce for next year's exhibition at the Needle Museum. I hope you're impressed that I'm already working on this - it's certainly not typical - I'm usually the one finishing work at the very last minute!

The symbols really lend themselves to printmaking so I've carved a plastic eraser with a scalpel to make a small print block.

Of course I had to try it out immediately! The small size makes it ideal for repeat pattern making so I've applied bronze metallic acrylic paint with a roller and made lots of prints that butt up against each other.

This wonderful crow was also in the same gallery. They may have a reputation for being symbolic of misfortune but I am surrounded by corvids of all kinds every day and I love them.

I've been having a go at combining my favourite crows with the printed Chinese symbol on canvases I'm painting. I have to confess I'm liking how they are looking but it's too dark to take pictures tonight so I'll show you next time.

Bye for now - Linda