Wednesday 29 August 2012

summer mermaid

The summer mermaid
 At the moment I'm working on a large canvas which is a follow on from the small Jigsaw space, so in the meantime I'm posting my summer mermaid which I finished last year. It is a 3d piece and began life as a watercolour which didn't work too well! In mixed media things are never a disaster you just reuse what you have, a bit like a scrimshaw ancient mariner :) I had always admired naive scrimshaw carving and although the idea of over exploitation of the sea is an unpleasant one liked the naive carving of ancient sailors on whatever came to hand, whales teeth, wood or bone. The imagery and lines are simple with a unique charm.. My mermaid grew out of a watercolour which I then tore up and reassembled making do with what was around.
Antique scrimshaw tooth with mermaid
 The photo below shows the placement of the elements. they were glued down and then glazed over. then to create a textured surface I machine and hand embroidered the sea anemone and seaweed attaching pearls and beads. The outer band is Pollyfiller!! I tried gesso and it didn't I mixed up the filler on the thick side, spread it on, then dotted it with seashells. Once dry it was glazed over with modpodge sparkle. The overall effect Is one of translucent shimmer. I love cerulean blue, It is one of my favourite colours, and I seem to use it repeatedly, but it is particularly effective for undersea worlds, as in my earlier cerulean mermaid post.

work in progress

Saturday 25 August 2012

The Jigsaw space

Number 4 = The four panels of Twomby's Hero and Leonardo
My recent visit to the Tate and my awe of Twomby's huge canvas Hero and Leandro got me thinking about scale, size and how sometimes the smallest marks can mean so much. Hero is a vast piece, it is in four sections and tells the mythological tale of Leandro, engulfed by the waves as he swims across Hellespont to reach the beautiful Hero.. The 1st panel is full of energy the last mournfully sad and empty. Quattro Stagioni also continues this sense of time, with life and vigour moving slowly away..

Cy Twomby(Hero and Leandro)

The jigsaw space

 The Jigsaw space is a small canvas 20cmx20cm I built it up with many layers. My starting point was as always an altered image. This time a photo of a bag I brought back from Morocco, I changed the colour and using Dylon Image transfer applied it to the canvas..

Moroccan bag
I then began adding washes over the top, using the stripes to give the feel of a landscape. Only once I was happy with it did I block in the figures with gesso, then using very small mosaic pieces of paper filled in the spaces...........The faint lines of the jigsaw were drawn on and washed over giving only the faintest trace....Finding that bit of missing jigsaw piece may seem impossible, but keep hunting you never know :)

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Little Owlscape

Little owlscape 

 My little owl is finished, it's actually a tawny owl but it is very little, only 20cm x20 ish... it followed on from my heart frame, I used the idea of making the branches 3D and they stand proud of the image. I used tissue paper and glass bead gell to mould them and then painted the finished twigs. the sky is made from parts of a beautiful handprinted leaf paper and i painted over areas with metallic medium to give shimmer.

A recent visit to the Turner, Monet, Twombly  exhibition at liverpool Tate has given me lots of inspiration!!

Three artists
liverpool dock
The tate

Sunday 19 August 2012

Window to the heart

My frame is finished it has changed considerably.. the pheasants were a colour theme, a sort of starting point .I have left some feathery shapes Im amongst the foliage to remind me of their presence . On the glass I used peebo glitter touch which is a great product, I put some gold transfer foil on as well, I do like shimmer.... Overall I'm not happy with the heart shape I feel its too neat,it has given me an idea for my next project though. That's what its all about, one work is just a starting point for the next.......

Touch deco 30 ml
what would I do  without Pebeo touch??

Today is  number two


Saturday 18 August 2012

How to alter a photo frame

 The pheasant photo frame

First buy a boring wooden frame

Second decorate it with whatever you fancy, I painted a couple of pheasants,then start layering on paper over the top of what you have painted, I preferred to change the birds form, making it become more abstract,

Then embellish with whatever you want, mine isn't finished yet.

Hopefully by tomorrow... by which time it may have no pheasants and be completely different. :)

Nostalgia by numbers


By rights the number today should be two, but it isn't because often life is full of surprises...and if  there were tabs to add to this post they would be, fringed waistcoats, white rabbits and a trip in through the out door.  :)

(Glitter, sparklepodge and watercolour pencil)

Friday 17 August 2012

mixed media by numbers

Mixed media by numbers

One of my favourite books at the moment is  Alphabetica, a mixed media journal where various artists use exciting techniques for each of the letters of the alphabet.

I thought I would make my own number journal, unlike the alphabet I don't have to stop at and numbers haven't always got along, perhaps this is a way of making friends with them! Number 1 is mulberry paper and modpodge.

Thursday 16 August 2012

Boxfiling = happiness

The happy art of organisation

Decided today that I needed to find a more effective way of storing my paper..... up until this afternoon this was in numerous drawers and cardboard boxes. Often I would be looking for a particular paper but find it two days after It was needed, not very satisfactory..I wandered around Staples looking at lots of expensive drawer cabinets but in the end decided the solution to my problem was box files, lots of box files, each file has a colour theme and it means when I'm collaging a piece I know where to look for each colour, organising colour is a very satisfactory pastime,I remember as a small child how exciting it was to tip my pencil case out and line up all the colours...a bit OCD I know, however the box file paper filing went so well  I then organised my paint drawer.... and that just about filled the afternoon!! I did buy a small wooden box today as for my next project I am going to collage it, and now my paper is sorted I can get on with it...

A tidy paint drawer= :)
box file paper file= :)

Monday 13 August 2012

The Red Cuillins from sligachan

Finished ... bar a glaze wash and varnish.  A bird of prey circles over the Sligachan river, the foreground is built up with layer upon layer of mulberry papers, I used gesso around the rocks and scratched through to reveal the layer of cobalt blue acrylic underneath . I use handmade papers as they tear beautifully, sticking them down using an artists quality decoupage glue. I like Modpodge, it comes in various finishes, I particulary love the sparkle podge, and the name makes me smile, an added bonus.


I Think I need a new paint palette!!

Sunday 12 August 2012

Comforting familiarly

I found an old sketch book this morning at the back of a cupboard it must be at least twenty years old,inside page after page of torn paper doodling. My methodology seems to have been, rip it up,throw it in the air and stick it down again till it's right. It's rather comforting to observe that some things stay the same. :)

Saturday 11 August 2012

I love gesso

The unseasonably summer like weather and olympics has meant I've had a few days break from the easel.I've also been messing with my Blog design, its still not right but hey....small steps. Anyway today is gesso day. Basically I cover a lot of what I've done in gesso and wait for it to dry (this can be speeded up with a hairdryer) Then once dry I begin to scratch and sand down the layers...this does take time but it creates a wonderfully textured surface, and it also makes it possible to watch the final few olympic events while waiting for the layers to dry. :)

Wednesday 8 August 2012

The start of something new.

Now my blog is up and running I thought it was time I started a new canvas. This is pretty much how I begin things, lots of paper, lots of mess, lots of fun! When I was driving through the Cullin mountains a couple of weeks ago I thought it was high time I used them for inspiration............... and this is the result so far, I expect it will change radically over the next week, the fluidity of mixed media means changes are part of the process as layers are built up..........I'll see what tomorrow brings :)

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Cerulean Mermaids and Four very fine cats.

Back catalogue

May through to July I kept busy!!. Both of these canvas have gone to new homes.

Monday 6 August 2012

The Ascent of Storr

The Ascent of storr

This mixed media work was completed in June 2012. 'The old man of Storr' dominates the landscape of north west Skye, the weather surrounding it seems to have it's own micro-climate, rain, sun,hail,sleet and fog often all at the same time!!. The sea mist comes in from the sea and often obscures the view.I wanted to create that 'four seasons in one day' and as the canvas developed decided to wash out some areas, adding more texture in layers. It uses many of my favourite mediums, Acrylic,Mulberry paper,foils ,gesso and angel hair (which I melted with my trusty heatgun) The raindrops are oversized, but then everything in the skye landscape is oversized, I like that.

Saturday 4 August 2012

The darkest of ravens

The Darkest of Ravens

Created last summer, mixed media combining acrylic, torn handmade paper, feathers and foils plus some nice metallic netBeing an omen of doom I think the raven gets a bad press. This work evolved over a long period, combining many layers. It started life as a dark woodland scene with a few fairies hanging out beneath the trees, however I wasn't happy with it so in came the raven and out went the fairies.
A paper Rainbow rainbow....... added just because I could :) This was on the road to portree, I stopped the car in a passing place ( v bad) and jumped out to catch it before it left.

Blackpool Tower

My newest addition

 At last modern technology has allowed me to post my Blackpool tower!! Ahh the happiness :). Created in the Highlands a long way from its home.