Sunday 30 December 2012


 Solstice, Collage obsessions.

Just time before the new year arrives to post my first collage obsession piece, link to blogpage on blogs I follow. It's a weekly challenge so thought I'd start the new year off with a bright winter sun.

Linking in to mandarin orange monday

Saturday 29 December 2012

The Merry-go-round

The Merry-go-round

I visited York just before Christmas. York is a fabulous place at most times of year, although with just a few days to go before Christmas the streets were packed. In amongst the hustle and bustle of Christmas shoppers I stopped to watch a beautiful Victorian Merry-go-round. I watched as it whirled round, a bright sunburst of colours on a dull, dark, December day, thinking then how much I would enjoy making a Merry-go-round collage.

Once Home I came upon another merry-go-round on a cold Christmas eve trip to the pantomime. This one was not as beautiful as the one in York but it did have an eerie quality. Although still lit, children had gone home to bed, the music had stopped , all was silent  and still.

       I did a couple of sketches before beginning my new collage on Boxing Day

Christmas seems to produce lots and lots of waste and I thought it would be a good idea to use a bit of up-cycling in my collage, I collected together a pile of used Christmas wrapping paper, golds, silvers, whatever shimmery foils I could find and set to work........

I sketched out the initial design onto a large canvas, then using artists quality PVA began to stick fragments of paper.

         The bottom two photographs show the finished Merry-go round .

The foils are very reflective and shimmer in the light......Just need a Wurlitzer and it would be complete!

Wishing all my blog visitors a very happy new year.

Sunday 16 December 2012

Winter Wonderland

Winter wonderland
I made this collage last Christmas. Its combines acrylic, collage, gesso, texture bead gel and fabric and is on board rather than canvas.

 I covered the sky in Daler Rowney Interference colour, I love the way it shimmers when applied to a dark surface .                             

                       Daler Rowney Shimmering Acrylic Colours Set 5 Tubes


The close up shows the use of  Galeria glass texture bead gel. Its an intresting medium that contains tiny beads that can be moulded and swirled into ridges..very snow like. It reminds me of the rough snow effect on top of a christmas cake...  :)







Interference shimmer

Sunday 9 December 2012

Continuous drawing

Over at Butterfly mind I have been inspired by Jez and her continuous drawing, she has been on what sounds a challenging but rewarding course at Liverpool Tate called ' Drawing the line'. I thought I'd have a go at drawing my cat, during the winter months all he does is sleep, so he is quite a willing model. The idea of continuous drawing is that you keep your eyes on the subject and not on the paper, the results can be either awful...or surprisingly interesting. It makes each line or mark you make hugely important. Its ages since I tried it.. think I must have been at Art college.... so here goes...

I've drawn in blue ink so I couldn't rub out any bits I didn't like, I went over the lines though once I had finished so you could see more clearly.

And after all that excitement he is still asleep.... :)

Sunday 2 December 2012

Experiments with paper

  Experiments with paper

Sometimes it is not the finished work which matters, what is far more important is the steps which led you there. Experimenting for me sometimes leads to a finished piece..or a sketchbook page...or its ripped up and used for another experiment! That's what these pieces are. Amalgamations of previous experiments.
     The photo below uses card, thread, watercolour and newsprint. Newspaper is great for collage.. It creates texture and absorbs washes brilliantly. In the above piece I used watercolour, machine embroidery and paper to create vaguely geological swirls. It reminds me of a polished slab of Agate.

Banded Agate
    Although I am the first to admit I know next to nothing about geology I do love the forms and colours of semi precious stones. When I was a child I had one of those lapidary polishing tumblers. The ones which tumbled round for days. Each morning you put in a different grade grit.. and after a considerable time the door was opened and out came the beautiful polished pebbles . I have no idea where the machine went, I do remember how much I loved it. Maybe I should search ebay for a replacement. :)                                                 

Sunday 25 November 2012

Over the rainbow

Over the rainbow

 Ive been busy over the past few weeks so am pleased I have eventually managed to finish this mixed media canvas. The north west coast of Scotland is dotted with beautiful pastel painted villages. This is Portree on the Isle of Skye. I love when on a still day the pastel colours are reflected on the sea creating abstract rainbow patterns.
 The canvas was built up in layers of paint and paper. I even used strips of the west Highland Free press, if you look carefully under the sea you can see fragments! Sorry the image isn't clearer, because of the length of the canvas I had trouble photographing it so I've included some detail pictures.

Detail showing torn paper strips

Reflecting rainbows

The girls hair is created by using pebeo metallic copper gel liner on top of torn paper strips

Gesso and paper layers


Sunday 11 November 2012

Constructing christmas

Only 43 days to Christmas I'm told, normally that would not fill me with a huge amount of excitement believing that Christmas should stay firmly in December... however..

whilst at the trafford centre  in Manchester yesterday I saw this!! At first glance a stylish looking minimalistic tree, but on closer inspection the whole thing was made from Lego!
Standing at nine metres tall the 2012 Lego Christmas tree is made from 350,000 bricks, featuring 108 branches and 450 special Lego baubles.
The tree was built by certified professional Lego builder Duncan Titmarsh, who started the project on October 20th. It was unveiled on November 1st.

I love It..Lego is hugely tactile  and reminds me of past childhood Christmas mornings, perhaps that's why I liked it so much.:)

Sunday 4 November 2012

Liberty style

Long long ago before I grew up I wanted to be a textile designer, I love pattern and colour and growing up in the 60's and 70's there was no shortage of wild vibrant prints. Liberty and Sanderson were for me very inspirational and aspirational, I yearned after a liberty print maxi dress! The stylised flowing forms were a direct hark back to the work of the pre-raphaelites, my favourite art movement. William Morris being the leading light in both wallpaper and fabric design.

William Morris 1834-1836

Morris was a hugely influential designer, political theorist,environmental campaigner,writer and poet and under his direction Morris & co grew and flourished.

tulip and Willow 1879
Selection of liberty prints

 Liberty was the creation of Artur Lasenby Liberty.The first Liberty store was opened in 1875, a bazaar of eastern curiosities, later Liberty concentrated on fabric design enveloping the Arts and Craft ideals becoming linked with Sanderson in the 1940's. I remember In the 1970's being surrounded by a sea of Sanderson and liberty. The designs appearing on everything from curtains and soft furnishings to clothing.                                  

Recently I was sorting through some things for my Mother and in the depths of a dusty drawer found a collection of my A level fabric designs and prints.(She never throws anything away!) They seemed to me to be very evocative of the 1970's in their colour and forms, brown, green and orange shades, yet with a strong connection with the liberty styles that I loved. Some were frankly rather bad, yet interesting. As the years go by both taste and style change in Art as well as design. There is a design I found for kitchen curtains that I find hard to believe would ever work!

Very Liberty Style!

Finished fabric and repeat design.

When I was learning to silk screen print we handcut all the individual acetate stencils and drew and handpainted the repeat design on a grid . It was a time consuming business trying to get the pattern to repeat without obvious gaps or flaws, I guess it's now all done on the computer and ink jet printers now, what would William Morris have thought!!

A kitchen curtain design???!!!!!

Bathroom curtains??!!
Once at Art college I moved away from fabric printing, preferring to use more three dimensional forms of working, particularly wool and felt, however I still am very much in love with pattern and use it in my work today.

Sunday 21 October 2012



 As October grows older I grow more aware of the onset of winter. As most of my close friends know I dislike the cold immensely, I think May is my favourite month as I can look forward to the summer ahead, bringing warmth and light. As October progresses and small mammals get ready for hibernation I find myself feeling rather envious of them, wishing I to could curl up in a bed of leaves, waking in spring....

Hieronymus Bosch (detail)

The figure in my painting reminds me of of the elongated forms in medieval painting such as Bosch, perhaps she has been asleep a long time.....

The layers were built up as collage, I then painted in elements and altered images to create a overall tone. As you can see I originally incorporated a tree, but I didn't like it so removed it.

Below are details of the layers of paper and paint. I added lots of gold glazes which reflect the light and make it difficult to photograph well. I'll try and improve the photographs when I have some time :)

Wake me up in spring :)

Sunday 14 October 2012

The electronic postman

Fashionista sketching.

My daughter asked if I could do a few sketches of her for her fashion blog Fashion how I came to live a penniless existence She is a second year fashion management student. Each week she is styling various outfits and writing about them. She loves a fashion blog called Fifi lapin which has little rabbits drawn dressed in high fashion....I suggested I could draw our rather dumpy pet cat in various outfits but this didn't impress her much so I decided to just do quick watercolour sketches of her in instead. I am not by any stretch of the imagination a fashion illustrator and once I received her emailed photographs to transfer into sketches began to feel a little panic stricken on how to approach the whole thing. Then yesterday I found a lovely little book in a charity shop entitled"Pictures in the post ,the illustrated letters of Sir Henry Thornhill to his grandchildren".

In 1914 Sir Henry Thornhill a soldier in the British Raj started sending pictures to his grandson Teddy. They started off quite simply drawn, but soon they became embellished with birds and all types of animals.

I love the idea of a simple sketch that means so much being sent on the back of a small postcard.... In these days of texting and email, postcards are a rare thing! So I made a postcard, photographed it and sent it along with some sketches. I think I will develop the idea some more and make the postcard the main attraction, after all everyone loves recieving a postcard!! even an electronic one.

The electronic postman