Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to the world and beyond and especially to my friends and family.

In time-honoured tradition, once again I am NOT going to make any New Year resolutions. Pointless exercise as far as I am concerned as they are either conveniently forgotten or broken before the 1st January is consigned to the annals of history. However, I thought this year I should make some sort of effort to face the year rather than roll over and face the wall. So...... I have decided to set a couple of doable (is that a word?) goals. Just to give me some sense of achievement.

First of all, and probably most difficult....sort out the chaotic way in which I live (did I say doable...yikes). With small steps such as starting a project/ideas file or files to keep ideas, sketches, photos etc together so that, when I come to work on something I can find it.

Sorting out the mass of arts/craft materials. I tell you, I could start my own Art and Craft Emporium and not have to order in for many months.

Starting work on my "100 places" project. I have set up a blog ( to record progress on this one and have made an introductory entry by way of explanation. Please do not be put off by the blog title....I have no intention of throwing of this mortal coil just yet.....just liked the surreal ring to it. Just to whet your appetite I am going to start with Whitby, Crac des Chevaliers and Mount Everest. Further information will be posted at 100 places in the next few days.

I have included a drawing I did recently using the new Derwent Onyx pencils which I have to say are a joy to use.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Virtual Sketch September

This is my "interpretation" of the September Virtual Sketch. As I mentioned in a previous blog (see blog entry 13 the August) flower painting and drawing is not my thing....but I am always up for a challenge and this was a challenge. It was difficlt to sort out where one petal ended and another started and also to try to get the effect of the glass vase.
I did this version on blue mountboard and using a mixture of Faber Castell and Prismacolor pencils.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Joan and graphite

No, the two are not linked, though my good friend Joan is a whizz with both pencil and paintbrush! Last week it was her 80th birthday. Here are pictures of the birthday girl with the present we gave her...I think she was pleased!!!! Although she may not be so pleased to see her photo's published here.

I have recently been playing around with graphite pencil work having seen some of the amazing work being done in that medium. To see what I mean take a look at these sites:

I have no hope of ever being that good, but I can have a god try at getting somewhere with the pencil. Recently, I found an extremely good book by Kaaren Poole about drawing animals. I have uploaded some of my efforts which I thoroughly enjoyed. The advantage of pencil work is that you do not need a lot of equipment. Apart from the paper, all the equipment I use goes in a smallish pencil bag.

I will post future efforts here....hopefully showing some improvement.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Kurt Jackson

Last Thursday, our painting teacher, Penny organised a trip to St Barbe's Museum in Lymington to see the latest exhibition by Kurt Jackson (, be given a talk by one of the museum staff and have a play with paints. The paintings are beautiful as is the video which is playing at the exhibition. It is well worth visiting if you are in the area. If not, have a look at his website to see examples of his work. Some of the effects are stunning, especially the way he captures sparkle on water and the use of colour.
An example my daubings and one of his paintings is shown here, as is a picture of my other playmates. The lady standing in the photo is our wonderful teacher Penny. ( Thanks for taking us out to play, Penny.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Virtual Sketch

I came across a blog site called Virtual Sketch. The idea is that every moth an image is posted and one week later you post your interpretation of that sketch on your blog. I thought I would give it a go this month. It is always interesting to see how different people interpret the same image. Anyway, these are my versions. One is in graphite pencil on Fabriano Artistico paper. The other is also on Artistico using Quink ink to outline and adding colour with Caran d'Ache watersoluble Neocolours. Because the Quink ink is watersoluble it mixes in with the colour washes to create shadow areas. This particular technique is used by Elda Abrahamson ( used white wax crayon to act as a resist for the veins and light areas.
The pencil sketch has not reproduced too well for which I apologise.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008


I entered a couple of pieces for the EAC Over 60s Art Awards. One is of a feather, the other of the Dalai Lama. Unsurprisingly neither of the pieces were accepted but, nil desperandum, I will try again next year. The pieces I entered are uploaded here. My friend Eileen, has got a piece accepted and we are going to take it up to London in a couple of weeks time.
So, its literally back to the drawing board!
Talking of which, I have been experimenting using graphite pencil on black paper. I know that sounds strange but the effects are quite interesting. You get a silvery effect which changes according to the light. You can also make changes using different types of pencil, hard pencils give a dull, dark effect whilst softer pencils give an increasingly lighter effect. I have uploaded the doodle I did using the technique.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

A first!!!!

I was chatting to a couple of painting friends, Janet and Sheila, a couple of weeks ago about coloured pencils. They are both flower painters. I am not. The upshot of the conversation was that I found myself promising to do a flower painting using coloured pencils....... Here is the result. It is done on mountboard using a mixture of Prismacolor and Faber Castell pencils. Suffice to say I will not be doing anymore floral art in the near future. I really did not enjoy doing not get me wrong, I love flowers and have enough photographs to keep me in floral inspiration for the next thousand years! I just do not want to interpret them in any art media. Anyway for your delight or otherwise, I have uploaded the results.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008


Really nothing too much to write about but I know there are people who like to read my ramblings. I finished my drawing of the Dalai Lama and have started one of David Tenant. I am really enjoying doing these pencil portraits and I may do more as and when I come across interesting faces. I would also like to do some animal portraits in graphite. Have also got a couple of colour pencil pictures lined up. As a result of a conversation with some friends from painting class I am going to have a go at flowers in colour pencil. Now flowers, plants etc are not a subject that I have done much of in any media so this is going to be a bit of a challenge, but one that I am keen to take up. I have drawn out a picture of some stargazer lilies. As soon as some colour has been applied I will post some pictures of the work in progress. Well, that should keep me busy.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

New Book

My friend and teacher, Penny, has just produced a new book about using textures in acrylic and watercolour painting. Over 60 different techniques are illustrated with details of how each is achieved and the materials used.....and some of the materials used are not what you would think of using in a painting. Although you can buy special texture pastes etc, you can also a wide range of household materials and things from the recycle bin. I have uploaded some examples from the book, two using acrylics and two using watercolours. The book can be obtained directly from Penny ( and from the Studio Art Shop in Poole.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

I'm back......

I had intended to continue my blog with news of things I am doing post City and Guilds. The intentions were good but time has flown by since my last entry. I spent a most enjoyable day back at Betty's workshop learning how to use a sewing machine to do embroidery. It is not as easy as I thought it was. The last time I used a sewing machine was in the days of the hand operated ones. I was not particularly good then. My good friend Susie has loaned me her electric machine. When I can produce something worth showing I will publish a picture here.....until then I shall have to practice.
I have also visited a very good exhibition at the Red House Museum in Christchurch of Tactile Textures. I has been done with visually impaired people in mind. All the exhibits can be handled and have been designed with this in mind. Apart from their qualities as tactile objects they are also a feast for the eye and I feel sad for those people who cannot see them. If you are in the area it is well worth going to see and touch.
At the end of term painting classes we did a class doing portraits and its has sparked an interest in doing pencil portraits. I have done a small one of the Dalai Lama and am now working on a larger one. Depending on the outcome, and if it gets finished in time, I may put the last one in the AEC exhibition. This is an annual exhibition for the over 60's. We shall see. Anyway, I am posting pictures of both.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

The Finished Articles

Here are some pictures of my finished oak book and star book. More picture of the inside pages will follow but the books are currently on display at the Cascade Centre for Dorset Art Weeks so I only took pictures of the books as displayed.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008


Have just realised I said that I was rather finished with the two books rather than pleased...although I did feel a bit finished trying to complete them in time.

Sunday, 25 May 2008


Well, both books are finished and have been assessed by someone from City and Guilds. Now I just have to wait for the results. I have to say I was rather pleased with both completed books....let's hope the verifier from City and Guilds was. Unfortunately, my books are at the workshop at present but as soon as I have them back I will post some pictures of the finished items. I have really enjoyed the course but am glad it is finished. Every time I wanted to do some other arty or crafty thing I kept thinking I should be getting on with the C and G things. Now I can get on with some of the other things I want to try.

Rather than finish the blog with the finish of the C and G course, I have decided to continue the blog with news and pictures of the other things I am doing. I want to use some of the techniques and new materials I have learned about in collage pictures which I have started doing. I also want to make some more books as I enjoyed that part of the course. this space. I will try to add to the blog on a weekly basis but here may be some breaks.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Block printing

We had a go at block printing using some Indian wood blocks which are works of art in themselves. We printed on both paper and cloth but this one is my favourite of the ones I did, mainly because of the elephants. I painted the cloth with mauve paint and printed the pattern and elephants in black. Unfortunately it all went a little uphill. It is quite difficult to line up the blocks correctly but I like it.
I am hoping by the time I post my next blog the oak book will be finished and the star book all but finished....and I intend posting at the end of this week!!!!!

Friday, 2 May 2008

More from the Oak

A couple more pictures from my first project book. The bottom pcture is a collage of an old sailing ship to represent the fact that oak was one of the main timbers used to build English ships including the Mary Rose and the Victory.
The upper picture shows some watercolours of various fungi which depend on the oak tree. The left hand page show fungi which benefit the oak by giving nutrient in exchange for those they take from the oak. The right hand page shows fungi which give nothing to the oak in exchange for what they take and in fact can damage or kill the tree.

I realise that I have out up these images rather piecemeal without explaining the way in which the book has been planned. It is not in chapters as such but the topics covered in order are:

- the life cycle of the oak
- the different parts of the tree looked at in more detail
- the uses to which the oak has, and is still being put
- the oak as part of the history and mythology of England
- the oak as a symbol
- quotations mentioning the oak

I am still working on the cover but it represents the trunk of the oak with a door cut into the front. Hopefully, this time next week I hope to have the cover finished, and indeed, the whole book so I can upload the rest of the book including the cover......and then I have to finish the second book..but more about that later

Monday, 21 April 2008

The finishing post is in sight.............!

.....and that is not a good thing. For one thing, I have really enjoyed doing this course (and of course eating Betty's cakes!). And I also seem to have a lot to do to finish everything. I am sure if I itemised everything still to do, it would not looks so bad (not convinced on that one. Still, nil desperandum. Onwards and up or downwards.
I thought I would take this opportunity whilst waiting for the paint on the front cover on my first project book to dry, to upload a few more pictures from my oak tree book.
The two pictures show firstly, various galls that occur on oak leaves. These are down using bits of tyvek, painted and heated. The little golden rings were done by winding yellow thread round jewellery jump rings and it took seemed a good idea when I thought of it. And they look fairly like the originals, I think.
The second picture are pen and ink drawings of the various insects that cause the galls. I've used different techniques for each. One is done using just lines the other just dots and the last using blocks of flat colour. Although it does not show very well in the picture the wings are small pieces of white organza.

Will upload more pictures soon as he paint is almost dry.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Paper and more paper

This blog covers the last two classes. I should be at class tonight but I went to London with friends from my painting class to see the exhibition at the Royal Academy - From Russia - and did not get back until 8 o'clock. But well worth going. The collection of paintings was superb...especially the Cezanne and Kandinsky. They look so different in real life compared with reproductions in books. The Kandinsky, in particular, was stunning. I did not realise what a large painting it was, about 7ft by 10ft. It really knocks your socks off. I would recommend anyone to go to the exhibition but today is the last day so I'm afraid you have missed. I have included a picture of the Kandinsky here so you can see what you've missed.
Anyway, back to C and G. The last two weeks we have been making paper. Last week we made silk paper using just water and relying on the gummy substance called seracin left in the silk. Usually when making silk you need to use a cellulose glue or similar to get the fibres to stay together. The silk is teased out as thin or as thick as you like, then sprayed with water and placed between two sheets of baking parchment and ironed until dry. Simple as that. The silk can be coloured before or after ironing and embellishment such as other fibres can be included. I have shown a piece of paper with threads included and another piece that has been coloured with acrylic ink.
The previous week we made paper...using mashed up paper pulp from various sources such as old envelopes. As with the silk paper, this paper can be coloured and/or inclusions added.

We are not far off the end of the course..about 5 weeks to go. I can thoroughly recommend this course whether you paint, work in textiles or both.

Friday, 4 April 2008

I'm back

To anyone who reads my blog with any sort of regularity, my apologies for not having added anything for a few weeks. But I am back....not that I have been anywhere apart from cloud cuckoo land perhaps. Quite a lot to catch up on both on techniques and progress with the two project books.

We are nearly at the end of techniques for the workbook. Some of the latest techniques are show in these five images. The first is some bookbinding techniques based on Japanese methods and using fancy thread. The next image of some experimentation with water soluble fabric. Basically you colour, stitch or in some way mark the paper. You then use a brush or similar tool to add water to the parts of the water soluble paper you wish to dissolve. That is the basics....there is a lot of scope for experiment! The results can be very interesting.. The next image is a piece of brown paper that has been stitched and embellished and then treated with colour, in this case brown and liming preparation to create something that looks like leather I also added verdigris to give it a little added something! The next image show another experiment with water soluble material....The final image is my first experiment in making a pop-up. I think the paper engineering is one of my favourite parts of this course and I plan to do a lot mor when the course is finished.

My next blog, hopefully within the next few days will show some images from my Oak Tree book which is very nearly finished. I have had some trouble with the cover but that is another story which I will save for another blog.

Friday, 22 February 2008

Tasty Textures

Experimenting with textures was the subject for this class. My efforts look like a badly made variety pizza!. I glued string for the outlines and then painted and glued various texture mediums such as paper, coloured sand, acrylic texture paste and various sizes of beads and coloured stone. Not my greatest achievement but a lot of fun to do and that, at the end of the day, is what it is all about. I have also uploaded a video clip of may latest triumph in my sketchbook.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Paper engineering

Lots of fun....making the equivalent of pop-up cards. Unfortunately I left the results of my labours in the workshop so I hope someone finds it and keeps it until next week. I would like to try some more paper engineering as I found it very satisfying to do. I came across a web site the other day that had templates to to pop up buildings such as the Taj Mahal and the Potala palace....but I think I may need to get some practice at the basics before I try that. The web link to look at some brilliant models and also to download templates is

As I cannot show a picture of my card I am showing some more pages from my Oak Tree sketch book. The page of leaves show examples of leaves made from silk paper, tissue paper, some bought artificial leaves and examples of stamped leaves. The other shows a photo of the branches of an oak tree with three areas selected to do line drawings to show the complexity of the way in which the branches grow.

Thursday, 7 February 2008


There was no class last week as Betty was away. This week we had one-to-ones to assess our progress, discuss how our sketchbooks were progressing and discuss ideas for our second project which is a freestanding book. I have decided to do my in the form of a star book and using Buddhist symbols as the theme. I did a little rough model of a star book which I have downloaded above.
We also did some experimenting using Tyvek, which is a non-tearing material used for security envelopes. Pieces of pictures etc from glossy magazines were pasted onto a piece of Tyvek and this was covered with fine tissue paper. The glue was dried and the piece was ironed between sheets of baking parchment until the Tyvek had dissolved leaving just the tissue and the paper. I then decorated my piece with oil pastels and water colour. It can also be stitched. The effect was quite pleasing as the picture above shows. I am definitely going to use this technique again, possibly to make pieces to incorporate into collage.

Friday, 18 January 2008

More stencils and some prints

I did a couple more stencils at home. This time I used special finger sponge daubers (which I did not realise I had until I came across them whilst looking for something else!!!) and a stamp pad which has a rainbow of different colours. I think they look better than using paint. I was especially pleased with the cockerel.
We did handprinting yesterday. Images were incised into polystyrene tiles using a kebab stick and then printed using a hand printing press....I want one!
Betty also showed us some interesting techniques using lutrdur (which is like a stiff vilene), bondaweb and gold foil. She kindly gave us samples of each to play with at home. I will post the results sometime. I think Betty's courses should carry a Health the effect that even more of the time and money which you do not have will be taken!!!!! My head is fair buzzing with ideas. I have recently been doing more mixed media/collage paintings and all these new things Betty shows us gives me so many ideas. And who needs sleep!!!!