Sunday, 27 January 2013

Artists in blogland Postcard swap

In the post very soon!

Finished my postcards for the Artists in blogland postcard swap so will be posting them very soon. Its also the theme of the Artists playroom this week. This is my first postcard swap and Ive found it lots of fun, looking forward to the postman arriving soon with some beautiful returned cards.

 Dinner date

My first card is my favourite,

 Let me introduce Mr Murphy,
Mr Murphy is looking for love and so far has been rather unsuccessful but encouraged by Melvin over at butterfly mind decided to sign up for a bit of online dating. Alas despite putting on his finest bow tie he has been stood up! Murphy is a positive chap and looking on the bright side he now anticipating an extra large portion of baked sea bass, after all there are plenty more fish in the sea :)

Close your eyes and dream...


 Through the butterfly window... 


My other postcards have a dream theme. The Butterfly window had me thinking as I was making it of a programme I used to watch as a child, no idea why! It was called 'Playschool' and half way through the show the presenter would introduce three windows, square,arched and round asking which "we should go through today?"It was just a way of introducing a way into a video clip, but I loved it and always wished for the round window. Although going through windows can be fun, to flutter out the window into the wide open world is even more exciting.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Feeling fizzy

In the Artists playroom 

The artists playroom challenge this week was colour. What a blessed relief!! Almost at the end of dark and dreary January thank goodness. This mixed media collage is very summery, it is a combination of discarded unsatisfactory watercolour paintings which I ripped up and combined with gesso and acrylic paint as well as a few flower petals. The words Pretty fizzy jumped out at me from a magazine, if summer had a sound it would be' fizzy'. Summer bees, fizzy lemonade...roll on spring....

pretty fizzy
 I combined my favourite colours, Magenta, cerulean blue, purples, pinks and greens with a rich shimmery glaze.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Owl Collagraph

Tales of collagraphic owls

Discovered a few very interesting printing blogs recently, one of which Melanie wickham lino prints has a fabulous dancing cats lino print..  it's very inspiring! I'm booked onto a lino printing course in March so I was searching for a bit of inspiration, in the meantime....

Decided to bit of collagraph printing, cheaper and quicker than lino printing, it needs only material  I have lying around. Basically a collagraph is a collage from which a print can be made, any relief surface can be used, for this I used...

* String
* Hot glue gun
* Piece of strong rigid board/cardboard
* Acrylic paint
* Old rolling pin (or printing brayer if you have one)

Lay your string out in whatever design you like...I added a few leaves for added texture, stick down with hot glue gun, or PVA (Glue gun is quicker) use brush or print brayer to cover the raised surface in paint, place on paper and roll firmly to get a print of collagraphed surface.

My owl is very simple.. make it as elaborate as you like.. then add watercolour washes to colour and decorate.

Little Owl 1

And his friend Little Owl 2...

And finally the distinguished Little Owl 3.....                     

 The prints can be used as finished pieces or used to form other collages.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Collage Obsession 'Fishes'

         Fishing for Mackerel

This weeks collage obsession challenge is 'Fishes' so I'm posting a collage I did a few months ago but hadn't posted it on my blog until now, wasn't quite sure it was finished but I think it probably is....
It is inspired by a fishing trip I took many years ago fishing for mackerel in a little boat off the north west coast of the Island of Skye. I wanted the painting to shimmer rather like the scales of the fish so there are a lot of reflective foils and silk ribbons.. The jumping fish are fabric, I drew the fish and decorated them in fabric paint and when dry machine embroidered them .

early stages of canvas, laying down torn paper pieces

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Goodbye Little Owl

New Home for Little Owl

Little owlscape, mixed media
My little owl has been waiting patiently for a home since August but now he is off, a special Birthday gift.. I made a Little Owl gift tag so little owl had a friend to keep him company in the big outside world. :)

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Collage Obsession ' Man'

         Collage Obsession Challenge

This weeks collage obsession challenge was the theme of ' Man ' a serious challenge, and I must say a good one as being hoisted out my comfort zone is an excellent thing. I worked in my usual mediums of torn paper, gesso, acrylic paint, watercolour paint and gilt foil, and also used some modelling paste to form the suns tendrils. I wanted the sun to look rather organic hence the tendrils of sunlight.

The Leonardo da Vinci Vitruvian man is a hugely iconic image, and I wanted to combine it  with one of my favourite painters interpretation of the work, William Blakes' Albion, or glad day'. The figure Albion being the  personification of humanity, rejoicing in freeing himself from the shackles of materialism. William Blake was an  influential British painter and poet born in 1751 and I have always been fascinated by his dark romantic symbolism.

Laying on paper layers

 I printed out the image and began to alter it using first paper and then washes of watercolour.

adding gesso and modelling paste

Then used gesso and modelling paste medium to build up texture, finally finishing with acrylic paint ....I know over the next few days I'll fiddle about adding more texture, I sometimes find it difficult to know when to put down the paintbrush, so I would love to hear your comments on if you think he needs more work....

Saturday, 5 January 2013


I always find January a dark month, the sparkle and fizzle of Christmas and new year is gone and in the UK  we are left with rather dull, dark skies. I decided to defy the weather and have a trip to the lake district thinking that the wind whistling down the hills and across lake windermere might clear the cobwebs. Hmmmmmm...

The photo doesn't show how low the cloud was and how damp the wind felt! Even the swans looked depressed....sought solace looking around the little shops In Bowness, Red Gecko had loads of lovely things, most lovely thing? Shop door covered  in small pieces of Newspaper! maybe I need to do that to my front door, there's an idea..... :)

 The sign on the door said ' dogs and cats allowed' must remember to bring my cat next time I visit..... it made me smile on a dark day....
decided to follow the newspaper theme and started to stick down newspaper into my sketchbook....

Then I used bubblewrap and acrylic paint printing to build up a textured background..........

 Finally I added my Dragonfly in collaged paper and paint.

 I read somewhere that dragonflies use 80% of their brain to process information from their eyes.. to see the world through a dragonflies eyes must be an amazing thing.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013


Collage obsession, The secret garden.


My first post of the year is  'The secret garden ' mixed media collage. Beginnings are often symbolised as doors, they also indicate transition, the closure of the old whilst moving into something new, so I wanted to use a previous watercolour from an earlier post as a starting point, I posted 'The Old Byre Door' back in September. I printed out a copy on my printer, stuck it onto canvas and began to alter the image, transforming the watercolour into collage, symbolising regeneration and the beginning of something new. As I began sticking paper down and creating leaves and flowers the doorway reminded me more and more of the doorway in a book called 'The secret garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett. It was a book that as a child I loved and read and reread over and over again.. The gardens ability to heal and regenerate being its main theme.The main character Mary found herself energised by the garden as the months moved from winter to spring. I haven't read the book for many years so it is unusual that the door to the secret garden began to emerge from the canvas. I like to think behind the door is an a beautiful secret garden, the gold light from within its walls radiating out through the cracks in the wooden frame. To enter.....easy just turn the key......

The old byre door
 A little addition to the Mary Lennox robin are these Little feathered friends from a shop window in york... can't recall the name of the shop but managed to squeeze through the Christmas shoppers to  take a photo, Love them :)

A very Happy New Year