Sunday, 28 April 2013

Le Chat Noir ( The black cat)

This is a little study of one of my dear cats Matilda. She was named after the character in the Roald Dahl story, in other words she is a smart cookie of a cat, and if only I spoke her language I'm sure she would have many words of wisdom to share with me. She is a sun worshipper and moves around the house from chair to chair catching what sun she can find if it breaks through the clouds and through the windows. On this particular day she had found a patch of sunlight on a little bentwood chair I have in my bathroom. The whole image of the bentwood chair and her slender black form reminds me of the French posters advertising the Le Chat Noir. It was thought to be the first modern cabaret: a nightclub where the patrons sat at tables and drank alcoholic beverages while being entertained by a variety show on stage, introduced by a master of ceremonies who interacted with people he knew at the tables. I am sure its just the sort of place she would like to hang out!

File:Théophile Alexandre Steinlen - Tournée du Chat Noir - Google Art Project.jpg
Le Chat Noir

Posing for the camera

I used citrosolv paper as a background to the painting. I found a piece that looked a little like a window looking out onto a parisienne street!
Then I used gesso to draw the cat outline.
Linking this post to Inspiration avenue. Click Here to see what great animal other artists have come up with.
Also linked to A cat like curiosity ( Lots of feline fun )
also Linked to Artists in Blogland
And for the first time Paper Saturdays

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Return to the tulips

What I have been up to this week.

Tulips( take two)

Last week I struggled and wrestled with The artists playroom challenge of choosing a colour combination. I realised after I had finished that perhaps I had been too hard on tulips, perhaps it was me that had the problem, about yellow and tulips! They sat there looking at me on the dining room table every time I went to the kitchen, they are such long lasting flowers!
Right! I give in in! I will try again.....

Last weeks tulip study

So a different approach this time, collage.... collage made me work quickly and intuitively, no time for complaining or worrying about tone and form.

A background of encyclopedia pages and beautiful mulberry handmade paper with bits of grass embedded in it.

I added some Gelli printed paper to make the leaves. The finished picture shows some paper I made using ferns. I was really pleased with the way the fern prints were absorbed into the tulip leaf shape making a lovely lively texture.

Inktense tulips

I enjoyed the whole tulip experience I even had time to do a colour exercise with my new inktense pencils! They arrived in the post this week, I am in LOve! They are fabulous, the colours are so vibrant, never tried them before, no idea why but now they are a definite must.

So Tulips? Perhaps still not a favourite flower, but certainly not one to be feared :)

Links to Paint party friday

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Paper dancing

 APR Heads, shoulders knees and toes!

Paper Dancing
This week over at the  Artists playroom Jenn set the weird and wonderful task of interpreting the song we all sang as children into some form of art.


I decided not to go down the route of painting my toes, I don't like them much and don't really want to inflict them on everyone else, nor do I really know that my knees would make good art, so..
Here we have Head, shoulders and arm...sort of, I just had fun with my box of paper scraps and gesso. Changed the tone a little digitally My figure looks like she is dancing, perhaps to the song :)

I use left over ice cream tubs to store my paper scraps, nothing is wasted,things always come in useful!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Fishing for dreams

 The theme for this weeks Collage obsession is Emerald..

Fishing for dreams ( mixed media on canvas )

 After last weeks battle with yellow a refreshing change.

Emerald is a colour I love; It evokes feelings of calm, space and clarity. My collage is inspired by dreams. For me Emerald is a very dream-like colour.
I really wasn't sure how or where I was going with this piece, it just sort of evolved.

I started throwing vibrant Emerald paint over the canvas...just to get a feeling for where to go.
Then I used my Gelli plate and a piece of netting to print some paper

I tore up the paper into fragments and used them in my collage.
I used pebeo liners to raise the surface in areas.

After last weeks fight with the tulips I feel much calmer and ready for a creative weekend :)

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Yellow Tulips

Green and yellow make......


This weeks challenge in The Artists Playroom  is to paint using only two colours and name the combination after them.
I thought I better get on and finish it today as time is short these days.

Things did not go entirely well. I decided that I needed to paint Daffodils, because they are yellow and green, the bad spring has meant my garden is a bit lacking in them so I went off to the supermarket, they only had yellow tulips.
* Mistake number one I bought the tulips ( I don't like tulips)
* Mistake number two I chose yellow when I actually don't really like yellow.
 However I set to work and began to paint, never one to be put off by a vase of tulips.

OK, but a little boring

I used watercolours, but wasn't happy as I soon began to realise that the green and yellow were too similar to get any real contrast. I really wanted a blue.... but sticking to the two colour rules carried on.

* Mistake number three, yellow and green are too similar to get any real contrast.
'Conte crayons' I thought 'That may redeem the situation'

It didn't.....I heard a radio program a few weeks ago in which the Scottish landscape artist James Hawkins was interviewed. In it he said all his paintings went through a bit of a crisis.. a sort of 'how can I resolve this problem phase' He said it was part of the creative process, well I thought,' I must carry on!'

At this stage I think I threw everything but the kitchen sink at it in an endeavour to liven things up!
 Im also linking this post up to Inspiration Avenue click here to pay them a visit.

 At the end of the day I still don't like it, but I'm sure I have learnt something, but at this moment in time the only lesson I can think of is  GRrrrhhYelllllow... :)

Links to Paint party friday
 Artists playroom
Inspiration Avenue

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Sea and shoreline (Adventures with Citrasolv)

 I recently discovered the delights of Citrasolv

 And its ability to transform the pages of the National Geographic, from this....

 Into this......


A vague face shape

This one still has a vague boat shape

I have no idea how it works or why, but it dissolves the ink to make beautiful abstract shapes..
I got my Citrasolv through Amazon.I didn't seem to be able to find it locally. It is a natural citrus cleaner which contains large amounts of concentrated orange oil.

You tube has some great tutorials..
I like the Cathy Taylor series.


 Warning!!! It is a messy business, make sure you wear gloves and have plenty of newspaper to hand. The smell is pretty strong too, so don't like me do it on a freezing cold day because you really need to open all the windows. I  hung out all my national geographic papers on the washing line to dry, I think the neighbours must have thought I had finally flipped. :)

Sea and Shoreline ( Citrasolv collage)

I used the paper as an experiment in this landscape collage. I love the sky like effects the random splodges make. All I added to this were a few faint ink lines.

Links to  Inspiration avenue

              Paint Party Friday

Tea, Fruity breakfast and collaged apples

I  visited my Daughter in York over the weekend. York is a lovely city, although very busy with tourists as usual. On Sunday morning I was in town early and happened to pass 'Betty's' Tearoom a famous York landmark.
In 1936 the founder of Betty's travelled on the maiden voyage of the Queen Mary ocean liner. He was so enthralled by the splendour of the ship that he commissioned the Queen Mary’s designers and craftsmen to turn a dilapidated furniture store into an elegant cafe in the land-locked location of St Helen’s Square. Today, as you sit in Betty's surrounded by huge curved windows, elegant wood panelling and ornate mirrors, you can almost imagine yourself aboard a luxury liner.
The art deco elegance of the Queen Mary is particularly evident in the first floor Belmont Room which was inspired by one of the cruise liner’s state rooms.

Now my daughter has lived in York for some years and I have never yet been able to get a seat in 'Betty's' usually the queue goes out the door and down the street. 50, 60, 70 people all queueing for tea in this famous tearoom. I love tea... and I love tearooms but it seemed I was never destined to experience the wonders of 'Betty's'.....but....

On Sunday at 9.45 I passed the door... no queue!!!! My goodness I thought!!! Inside I could see most of the tables were full. Right I thought, now is my chance!

Well straight in, no queue and a window seat! Inside a pianist was' playing over the rainbow' This really was Art deco decadence... I ordered some beautiful rose petal Chinese tea and a breakfast of Yorkshire pancakes layered with stewed rhubarb and strawberries. Heaven!! A little work of Art :)

My breakfast fruity pancake

This brings me to  This weeks Apr challenge 'fruit' I love fruit, although I do prefer cooked fruit. Cooked fruit is not to easy to draw so I thought I'd collage a apple design.

Collaged Apples

I layered the design onto some watercolour paper, building up layers.

I then added some pen and conte crayon highlights.

And finally as an added little highlight all of its own how about this fruity character?
the fat rascal

the fat rascal window

The Famous 'Betty's 'Fat Rascal' bun. I found a brilliant recipe click here if you fancy making them, very indulgent as they contain lots of butter and lots of cream, but very very moreish.

Links to Artists playroom

Friday, 5 April 2013

Gelli printing

My First experiments

I received my first Gelli plate a couple of weeks ago and have been experimenting to see what it can do...

some of you may know all about Gelli printing already, but I only recently discovered this exciting way of printing.I found it quite hard to find a Gelli Plate in the UK. In the end buying one from The Craft Barn. The best place I have found for a bit of Gelli inspiration is Caroline Dube on you tube.

Very soon I was Gelli printing everything and anything..

I found that thin craft acrylics worked best..especially with the bubblewrap imprints.

With the gelli plate printing papers for collage work is so easy!
And a little addictive :)
And what to do with all the printed paper??

A background for a collage, I drew out the figure and stuck her to the gelli printed collaged background.
Added some hair...
And stencilled a little gilt leaf and added some acrylic paint. I actually think I have overworked it as I much preferred seeing the jelli printed paper more clearer. So next time I will do less, to achieve more...

Links to Paint party friday
Gelli print party

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Still life with a peacock feather

APR Challenge

This weeks APR prompt is 'peacocks' so I thought it was about time I did a watercolour with no collage elements (Tough for me to resist a bit of cutting and sticking)

Peacock feather and beads

This is watercolour, coloured pencil and pitt pen. I love peacock feathers, I have several pairs of peacock earrings, a peacock feather necklace, a number of peacock feather fact if it has a peacock on it I will probably buy it. A shame I don't live in a stately home then I could buy a few peacocks and have them running around the lawns... I can dream I guess. :)