Saturday, 26 September 2015

Updates on my workshops!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was teaching a series of  evening workshops in Lancashire at 'Drift gallery' in St Annes-on-sea
. Well although I said I was going to wait till the end of the workshops to reveal what the very talented students had created, I really couldn't wait till the final session as already their canvas landscapes are looking beautiful!!!

The first week we concentrated on laying down torn paper layers.

Using photographs as inspiration.

One inventive lady brought her I-pad and a whole selection of beautiful images, in the end she chose this tree.

Week two we began to add black and white gesso, this is the way I work and I explained my methods but really wanted my students to experiment and have fun with the various mediums using their own style.

Week three, the penultimate week and we are adding acrylic paint over the paper layers.

I use babywipes to apply paint as well as brushes, it stops fiddling with paint. Many people are afraid of paint and tend to get too 'tight' when just given brushes.

I  love the mauve hazy tones in the distant hills.

This one is a beautiful sand dune seascape!

I like the trees in this one which are beginning to emerge on the shoreline, drawing the eye into the picture.

The oak tree is slowly growing...

I am having such fun, I am so fortunate to have such a lovely and talented group of students. Next week is the final ' embellishing' class where we add a bit if bling to our pieces so I will post the finished pieces next weekend!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Decoupage chair and some sketchbook pages

Another week seems to have flown past and I have put it to use sorting out my studio, this chair was in the corner looking very unloved, after an attack with patterned tissue paper and paint it is no longer unloved ;) I wish I had a before shot, but I forgot to take one!

I have also been working on new ideas for projects, this is an preliminary plan for an eagle collage... watch this space!

My sketchbook is where I work on ideas, to me it is a place where I experiment rather than just sketch.

My sketchbook, filled with ideas

I have also been using some of the hundreds of photographs I took over the summer. One trip was to Abbotsford House in the Scottish borders and I found buckets of inspiration to keep me busy.
This wonderful wallpaper is in the Drawing room of the house and was hand painted in China. My photos in no way do it justice as flash photos are not permitted, so if you want to have a close up view this link to the Drawing room will give you a much better idea of its beauty.

Chinese wallpaper

Abbotsford Drwaing room
sketchbook ideas

As you can see I used the photos as ideas to work on further. This may become a starting point for a larger piece, or an embroidered panel.

The background was Gelli printed and the branches were collaged. A bit of digital messing about to see if I like the background darker. I often do this as it enables me to see if things would look better with a change of tone or colour,

Digitally darkened

Sunday, 13 September 2015

sketchbook hydrangea

Getting back to routines after a little break can be difficult and all I seem to have to show this week are some pages from my sketchbook. Summer is done and time to capture a few of the late blooms before they fade,

 Hydrangeas are such chameleons...
Sometimes blue, sometimes pink... what colour are yours? :)

Other news this week is that my new mixed media workshops started in Lancashire,the course runs over several weeks so I will post some photos  at the end. Already I am very excited by what the great group of ladies have created.

Better get back to the workdesk and get busy.... :)


Sunday, 6 September 2015

Wanderings in Southern Scotland

  I've had a lovely break in southern Scotland.
 Some of you may recognise the outline of my favourite city... Edinburgh!
This is a picture laden post... warnings now!:)

I arrived at the end of the fringe festival and the city filled with a tangible, vibrant energy. My first stop was the national gallery. I love visiting Art galleries, they give me endless inspiration.

I thought I would share my favourite works,particularly as they are from Scottish artists which you may not have heard of..
This is by Robert Burns... no not the poet!. ..
The other perhaps less famous Robert Burns. Born in 1869 he was a champion of the Scottish art nouveau movement. He combined producing beautiful paintings with teaching, becoming head of painting at Edinburgh College of Art ( A place dear to my heart ;) )

This piece is called Diana and her Nymphs and was created for Crawfords tearooms on Edinburgh's Princes street. It must have been an amazing place as Robert Burns designed the whole tearoom interior. Sadly the tearoom is long gone but at least the panel survives in all its glory.
The gold leaf is unbelievably beautiful..

Detail of gold embelishment

The other WOW pieces are a set of four embroidered panels entitled  'progress of a soul'
They are by the Irish born artist Phobe Anna Traquair. Although Irish Phoebe married a scot and spent much of her adult life in Edinburgh. She was a star of the Arts and crafts movement at a time when men dominated the art world. She was the first leading professional woman  artist in Scotland, painting several Edinburgh interiors including the hospital for sick children.

The embroidered panels are exquisite and glow with rich colour despite being over a hundred years old.

I tried to take a detail of the embroidery, the lighting in the gallery is not bright to preserve the panels and of course no flash photos are allowed but it does give you  an idea of the work!

 History of art over and a change of scenery, I moved south to the Scottish border region. A beautiful and tranquil part of Scotland. This is Smailholm Tower tower near the market town of Kelso.

Smailholm tower
  I have always wanted to visit one of these tower houses. It was built in the 15th century, a time when this region was often a dangerous place to live, if you had money you best protected it by building yourself one of these mini fortresses! This one was built by the wealthy Pringle family.

Standing 65 ft tall.

  Some beautiful contemporary tapestries grace the walls, I'm not sure of the artist. ( if you know drop me a line)
Tapestries on display at Smailholm

The view from the roof shows the distinctive outline of the Eildon hills in the distance.

view from the roof, which you can see is carpeted with wild flowers.

The view from the roof parapet was incredible! Such a clear and bright day too. Scotland's summer has been dreadful so a bit of sun was wonderful.
Finally to end it off I visited Floors Castle again in the borders near Kelso for the annual massed pipe day. A day of re-enactment, piping displays and dog agility events... lots of fun :)

mass pipe display

There is a beautiful garden at floors, which despite the summer rain was ablaze with colour.

 Anyway this was my end of Summer break and I am so glad the sun shone...if only briefly
I hope you have had a great Summer and are looking forward to the changing colours of  Autumn.

Floors castle gardens