Friday, 21 December 2007

Tale of a Tree

No classes for the next few weeks so I am going to publish a few of the pages from my first assessed book. I have decided to base it on the English oak tree looking at the tree itself..leaves, bark, branches etc.... at the life that lives on, in and around the tree...birds, plants, animals, lichens and so on.....and then look at the way the oak is, or has been used.....buildings, ships, furniture and as a symbol.... That's the plan at any rate. I have mapped out the pages and have gathered information and fact, I am thinking of putting myself up for Mastermind with the oak tree as my special subject, I could become quite boring on the subject. Anyway, here are a couple of pages from the book...more to follow.
Have a good Christmas if you celebrate the festival...if not I hop your days as we approach the end of the year are peaceful.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

End of term

Last class for this term. I was not sure whether I would be going to class as we had our christmas lunch with people from Penny's painting classes and, to put it plainly, I pigged out. I think three mince pies may have been a little greedy. But it was a lovely meal and nice to get together with other class mates. I was so pleased Mo could come. Her hat was a winner.
Anyway I managed to drag myself to class this evening...or rather, I managed to drag myself out to Penny's car. We were recycling today. We started by tearing pictures and text from magazines and sticking them into our work books. The pictures and text had to have a theme. Mine was travel. The photos are not wonderful but I think they are good enough to get a rough idea of what we were doing. The second thing was creating something from papier mache but I did not have time so I will do that during the Christmas break.

Friday, 7 December 2007

I can't resist it!

Sorry about the pun. This week's class was about using resist techniques such as wax, masking fluid, masking tape and frisket film. A certain person, namely Penny, also used sun block. That woman never ceases to amaze me with the ideas she comes up with....and they mostly seem to work. I wish I could post pictures of what she did rather than what I did! Betty had some lovely oil sticks which were lovely to the photos it's the sample that looks like red and blue mountain ranges. The colour in the other samples is watercolour apart from the oval picture which I did using red and blue watered down acrylic ink which was applied to the page with a diffuser. I learnt this latter technique from a collage workshop which I attended a couple of weeks ago. I love the effect and am going to try it in more of my paintings.
On the cake front we had mince pie made with Betty's home-made mincemeat which was delicious. If I could only have one thing to eat at Christmas it would have to be a mince pie....I love 'em

Friday, 30 November 2007

Painting Abstracts

An extra blog this week to do a bit of online advertising for my friend and teacher Penny's DVD. It is a beginners guide to painting abstracts and shows both Penny and three of her students (but not me) starting out on abstract painting. It was filmed at Corfe Castle which is a beautiful spot. Details can be obtained from Penny by email at

Paper, paper and more paper

In yesterday's class we played with paper - weaving, cutting, tearing, plaiting and quilling.
I used a variety of papers, quilling paper, shredded paper, sugar paper and recycled paper. It was a lot of fun and one of the techniques Betty showed us to emboss paper.....that's the khaki mount Everest in the photo is a possibility for creating the cover of my Oak Tree Book.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Sketch Book

First of all, apologies for no blog last week.....put it down to the miserable weather we have had! Special apologies to Mo.
This week we experimented with different paint techniques such as using cling film, bubble wrap, salt and paper doilies to create wonderful patterns in paint quite easily. We also created our won initial stamp which we will use later in the course to create patterns.
Rather than show examples of the work I did at class I am posting a copy of the first page of the assessed sketch book. The subject I have chosen is the English oak and am going to illustrate the life cycle of the tree together with its uses and imagery. I have decided to do the book as a story and the illustration shows the title page. The oak leaves and acorns are cut out from pages created during class using the monoprinting method.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Taking a line for a walk

At this week's class we were looking at line.....straight lines, curved lines, lines of different thickness and lines created using different tools...pens, sticks, various plastic tools and so on. Line is something that holds a fascination for me anyway. Where would the doodle be without line. My picture this week shows a labyrinth created just "taking a line for a walk.
Betty showed us a sketch book she had created based on the work of an artist I had not come across before, Ton Schulten. ( I had a look on the internet at some of his work and it is very much to my taste. Blocks of strong colour. An interesting technique that Betty had used in her book was that of fusing plastic together which I definitely want to try as the effect was rather stunning. But that will be another day!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Clean hands

No getting our hands dirty today. We looked at elements of design. We started with lines and curves y drawing vertical and horizontal lines and curves randomly in 12 rectangular boxes. We then identified the different angles created in these boxes.
We then went on to look for patterns in various pictures. I have show one of the examples above...three different shapes in a bed of clams. I could have carried on with this exercise for a long while. I have found since starting painting classes back in 2003 and now doing this course, that I look at the world quite differently. I see things in term of their colour, shape, texture etc., sometimes imaging how I would translate them into a painting or drawing, what colours I would use and so on. It makes waiting in queues a whole lot more bearable because I can always find some object to "study" to pass the time.
I have also progressed my sketchbook this week and have decided to have a narrative to bring the contents together. I am going to call it Tale of a Tree.
Once again coffee and cake was delicious as usual. My remark in a previous posting about Mr Kipling was not intended in a derogatory way, Betty!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

The book is filling up...

Iwas getting a bit worried on two counts. Firstly, my workbook did not seem to be filling up. I was thinking perhaps I was not doing enough. Secondly, my sketchbook was also looking pretty empty apart from a couple of pages that had been coloured with vegetable dyes. Today, Betty did an initial assessment and I realised that I had actually done quite a bit. I may have an empty sketchbook but I have a plan worked out for the content of my book and the cover design, I have a collection of reference photos for use. And, I have done everything I should have done so all the boxes were ticked so I am feeling a lot more confidant. We did and colour grid to show tints, shades and hues....something I never done before or ever thought of doing. We also used our monoprints from last week to cut up and put in our workbooks.
We also experimented with some brilliant stuff called Puff Binder 3D paint which you spread onto a surface and then heat when it, as the name implies, puffs up. You can spread it thick or thin, or in shapes...the possibilities are endless. Once it has been heated you can paint it. I have posted 2 pictures this week. One is of a print I did last week which I have cut into strips and stuck the strips into my book but slightly out of their original alignment. I then drew into parts of the print. The other picture is of my experiment with the Puff Binder to create a seascape.
Thanks for the encouragement, Betty (and the delicious cake and coffee).

Friday, 19 October 2007

What a mess!

This week's Creative Sketchbook class was possibly the messiest so far. We were doing mono printing...basically, it involves spreading printing ink onto a glass surface, drawing, stamping or or in some other way, creating a design in the inky surface, laying a piece of paper on the ink, pressing it down with either hands or a rollers, lifting the paper and revealing a print. This process can be carried out a couple of times with the image becoming fainter. You can also get a "ghost" print by pressing a sheet of paper on the first print and applying pressure. A sample of my efforts is shown. It is supposed to be an oak leaf and acorn! I cannot remember whether I have said that the subject of my assessed sketchbook is "The English Oak". At the end of the class my hands were covered with a mixture of blue, black and green printing ink. Thank goodness it is water soluble. I have a hatred bordering on phobia, of getting my hands dirty so this course will either make or break me!
I would like to make a mention of our brilliant teacher. Her name is Betty Ruffel and she is a very good teacher...enthusiastic and encouraging. And, like Mr Kipling, she bakes exceedingly good cakes. Thank you Betty.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Paint and paper

Week three of the Creative Sketchbook course and am loving it. We started by outlining our action plan for our sketchbook. I am going to base my on the English oak. I was originally going to base it on trees, then I narrowed it down to British native species and then, finally, decided on the English oak. I plan to look not only at the tree itself, but its history, uses, and the flowers and fauna which live in or are associated with it. So, quite a lot there to keep me amused for many months to come. paints to create interesting papers. Rather than keep my sheets whole, I cut them up into various shapes and stuck them into my work book on pages which I had painted at the first class. A of part of one of We also experimented with using wax crayons and embossing sheets together with pearlisedpicturethese pages is posted here. I have also uploaded a picture of some "colour wheels" that I did this week, both of which uses pictures from a gardening catalogue. I have done a "standard" colour wheel but thought it would be interesting to do some variations.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Creative Sketchbooks Lesson 2

Lots of fun with different types of paper, both handmade and machine made. Mst were handmade from various materials from rag pulp to elephant dung...the latter I bought in Thailand a couple of years ago when I visited the site of this strange manufacture. Other materials included tobacco leaves, silk, jute and onion skin. Many of the papers are from India and Nepal where they create the most beautiful papers. I visited a paper factory in Bhaktapur in Nepal some years ago and I can still remember it. I am sure some one from medieval times would have felt at home there. Very little seemed to have changed over many years of production.

Apart from looking at and discussing the papers we also experimented with applying various inks to the surfaces to see the effects and the resulting samples were stuck into our workbooks. I annotated some of my papers with notes on how the paper reacted etc. The result can be seen above. This shows part of the page.

I am really enjoying this course and my mind is full of ideas for future work.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Another ATC

Well, another ATC completed using coloured pencils. Finished it today whilst working in the shop. I am quite pleased with it.....feathers are quite difficult to get right and I don't think I have but I think it was a fair go for a first attempt.

I will put this in for the October ATC swap on Scribble Talk. Now think what to do next in CP. I think it may well be a meerkat.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

First class for creative sketchbooks.

Attended my first class for the City and Guild Creative Sketchbooks class. Some of the time was spent on talking about the course, what is involved etc and meeting the other people in the class. There are four of us which is a nice size really.
In this class we were looking mainly at colour and getting some paint onto the pages of a work book (see picture above) which will be the repository for future sample pieces etc. and will act as a point of reference when working on the assessed books.
It was such fun to be able to put paint onto paper without thinking about producing a picture from it and to learn about colour mixing without producing a colour wheel. I am at a bit of an advantage in these early classes as I have done colour theory in my painting classes but a bit of revision never hurt anyone.
Not much to show at the moment but hey...this is only the first lesson.
Watch this space.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Painting classes

Painting classes started yesterday afternoon. A few new faces and a number of old ones! Perhaps I should rephrase that!! As it was the first class of term Penny, our teacher broke us in gently with "feely bags". She puts things in bags and we have to try and draw them from touch. Then we open the bag and do another drawing. An interesting exercise. I had a pig in a purple dress carrying a red fan.
Have just finished an ATC for the Scribble talk website exchange. It is the third colour pencil work I have done. I really like the medium and also working at this small scale.
I also like doing still life subjects. The tulips were the first colour pencil work and is about 6" square. The ATC is 2.5" by 3.5".

Saturday, 15 September 2007

First post

....but hopefully not my last. My intention is to keep the world up dated with my life, in particular the art related side of it. Could be quite a bit to write about as art class starts next week. Also I begin a City and Guilds course on Creative Sketchbooks so scope for pictures to be posted of works in progress.
I have also started doing ATCs, at the moment in coloured pencil, so I will post these as well.