Friday 27 December 2013

2013 roundup

Hello hope you all had a lovely Christmas!
As we are almost at the years end I thought I would have a little look back at what the past year brought and post a few pieces you may have missed.

Feeling fizzy
January... cold.. very cold, I really don't like the cold. Nor do I like the post Christmas blues, so this piece was painted to brighten me up. It uses all the colours I miss in winter. Just looking at it makes me feel I'm under a heat lamp!

view from the ufitzi
February.... an exciting month! I had a big birthday and travelled to Florence as a birthday treat. The highlight of my trip was a visit to the ufitzi art Gallery. Home to the 'Birth of Venus' This collage was inspired by the view of the Doma from the ufitzi roof terrace.( My goodness the coffee was expensive, but the view was worth it! )

March..... March was cold and sad, a dear friend passed away. 
I went on a great lino printing course and used some of my lino printed paper to make this Gustav Klimt inspired collage

April.... April brought experiments with citrasolv, this is my little cat Matilda painted onto citrasolv paper.

May..... may was warm and beautiful....this is fishing for dreams, a birthday gift.

June.... one of my favourite months, and the weather was glorious, I painted much of this piece outside in the sunshine on my easel, just looking at it reminds me of warm sunny days.

July.... I finished this piece called 'the sound of Raasay'

August brought my eagle of Storr collaged on canvas out of tiny pieces of paper.
September and a new challenge, to create 29 faces in 29 days! Here are just a few.

October... and some whimsy and one of my 'summer on skye' pieces.

November.... unseasonal but I carried on with my Summer on Skye theme,.

December... And one of my Christmas presents! I didn't make this,well not exactly, it was a present from my daughter. She found a lady on etsy who decoupaged boxes and asked her to combine some of my work (Along with klimt) onto a box. I love it!! If you want to find her website it is
Belle cards and gifts

        Thank you to all my Blog friends for sharing my creative year and a very Happy New Year to you all!!   Thank you to to Paint party Friday Who I am linking up to for my final post of 2013.   


Wednesday 18 December 2013

The Little Christmas dancers

Seasons Greetings

This is a little detail of a commission piece I have just finished in time for Christmas.

The two little girls are ballet dancers, the lady who commissioned it gave me various photographs of her childhood to come up with a fairytale image that captured those memories. She and her sister loved ballet and one of the photographs of them in their little ballet outfits gave me the inspiration. Other elements on the 'shopping list' included a family pet dog, an owl and finally happy times spent in the seaside resort of Blackpool ( famous for its Eiffel-like tower and illuminations)
Combining those elements and a few more into a collage/painting was a little tricky!!.

Initial sketch
I took a while to work out the composition, using an initial sketch to work out where to put the elements I needed to include.

work in progress, created on a substrate of reclaimed timber

The figures were completed last.
I used primary colours, Red, Blue and Yellow. I think primary colours are very reminiscent of childhood with their bright simplicity. Most children's toys are made in bold primary colours so I felt that they would work well, especially as I wanted a night-time deep blue sky filled with sparkling lights.

I gave the girls a coat of Sparkle modpoge.
 Although this isn't a Christmas picture I think it looks rather festive so have linked up to this weeks Inspiration Avenue where their theme is Christmas.
I glazed the finished wooden panel with gloss acrylic medium before I photographed it so sorry about the fuzzy image, the reflections and poor light made it very difficult to get a sharp clear image that was true to life.

little dancing toes! 

finished piece, sorry about picture quality!

               Finally I would like to wish all my followers and those stopping by a very merry Christmas.
May all your wishes come true..........

Linking up to my friends at Paint party friday as well as inspiration Avenue.
also Take a word

Friday 6 December 2013

red grouse

There is something very Scottish about the Red grouse. I don't know if it is the colours which blend so well into the heather. Or perhaps it's sturdy stance as it surveys the landscape. Maybe it is it's strong association to a famous whisky brand!

Whatever it is the glorious 12th of August always makes me sad. As a vegetarian for more then 30years I don't believe I have ever eaten Grouse, although I know many people who do. Grouse are seem as Game birds and are shot in large numbers, the 12th being the first day of the shooting season.I thought it would be nice to celebrate the beauty of this little bird and recognise how good it looks away from the dinner table.

My collages always begin life looking very messy and this one was no different! At this stage I know what I want to do, but I think many people would have no idea what all the torn paper and glue was going to look like!

I collaged the paper pieces onto an old reclaimed floorboard. I did change the background as I felt the scenery was too fussy. I wanted the grouse to be the main subject.

The male Grouse have the shock of red on their heads so this fellow is most definitely a male. I think he looks rather festive in his red bonnet.

There is lots of texture, I used some Citrasolv paper for the rocks .Citrasolv paper for those who haven't come across the term before is wonderful coloured paper created from pages of the national geographic!
I sprinkled the Citrasolv natural cleaner onto the pages. The product partially dissolves the ink leaving wonderful patterns. I did a post earlier in the year with a LINK to a great youtube tutorial for those who are interested. I often incorporate pieces of this torn paper in my collages.

I love this photo of the sunlight dappling the surface, it also gives you an idea of the scale.

I have a couple of large pieces to finish before Christmas so will be working on them madly for the next couple of weeks and may not have time to post a great deal before Christmas.

Red Grouse
Linking up to Paint Party Friday; a place to VISIT loads of fantastic artists and see what they have been up to this week.

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Winter's on the way.

'November Beech Trees'

I have been living in the summer over the past couple of months, working on summer inspired pieces using photographs I took during the warmer months as my inspiration. This week  however I thought I would take a more seasonal approach and use some Gelli printed mulberry paper I made while the fallen leaves were still dry and crisp.

Autumn leaves
 I collected  Autumn leaves and used acrylic paint to print them onto the paper with my Gelli plate.  I then used the paper to make an abstract woodland.
 The trees were splatter painted with an old toothbrush after I blocked off the surrounding areas with masking tape. The copper red reminds me of the shiny glistening bark of the Beech tree. It seems to stand out so prominently when there is not much colour around, The background of collaged bookpaper text was going to be covered more heavily in gesso, but I like the way the text contrasts with the bark so I left it. I often feel I overwork things and my new challenge is to know when to leave things alone!

Gelli printed mulberry paper
Collage obsession have a Haiku Theme this week so here is my woodland abstract with a little 5/7/5 Haiku.

Still,quiet,sharp frost.
Sweet smell of Autumn Decay
winter's on her way.

Time to light the fire and wrap up warm!

linking to Collage Obsession  and Paint party Friday.

Friday 22 November 2013

Crossing the sea

You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.

This weeks collage obsession team have asked for a quote inspired piece, so here is my mixed media canvas. It is made up of paint, textured bead gel and torn citrosolve papers.

The sea looks deceptively calm, the crossing will not be easy, but that is the challenge, to give it a go....


As you can see I intensified the colour to fit in with the Artists Playroom very interesting challenge to look at complimentary colours.
 I really should plan my work beforehand. I should study the colour wheel and work out what colour goes with what, but in reality things just evolve. This piece uses mainly golden orange and blue tones which if you look at the wheel are complimentary.I have written before of my dislike of orange, yet when it is teamed with blue I love it!


The complimentary colours lie opposite to each other on the wheel. Purple green, orange blue, lilac and yellow for example.
Earlier in the year I worked on a Blue/orange piece


It is the view from the Uffitzi Gallery roof terrace in Florence of the famous Cathedral. It made me realise that colours I didn't usually use really worked well when used in the right combinations.

Linking to collage obsession and the Artists playroom

And of course Paint party Friday!!

Sunday 10 November 2013

Thistle blanket


'I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow'
Abraham Lincon

It may be cold and wet outside but I am using some of my Summer photographs as inspiration at the moment. This piece 'Thistle blanket' is collaged paper scraps and paint.
 I love thistles, and have spent the last few months painting and collaging  them in celebration of their tough hardy nature.
Such beautiful flowers standing proud and strong, growing in places other flowers fail to flourish. They are the embodiment of resilience and determination

I thought I would take a few WIP shots to explain my process

I begin by painting a fluid acrylic wash over the canvas.I don't always do this but with this piece I wanted a soft background to collage my paper scraps on.

The pieces are glued down with an acrylic medium. I build up the texture by adding more layers of paper, sanding down some areas with sandpaper if needed,

If you look to the side you can make up a print of the photograph I took and used as inspiration.

I use pebeo liners to add texture and outline to foliage. It was mentioned a few weeks ago that this gives a stained glass effect, I hadn't thought of this but I do love stained glass.
I used a crackle medium over the thistles and then rubbed dark violet acrylic into the cracks.

I covered the sea in bookpaper and then gessoed over the surface. I then rub off the excess with baby wipes. They are my must have product!!

Then once dry a thin wash of acrylic mixed with an iridescent medium for some shimmer.

Linking up with Collage obsessions open challenge this week.

Monday 4 November 2013

Rowan berries

Rowan berries ( torn paper collage)

Autumn is here and this collaged canvas is inspired by this lovely view of Eilean Donan castle I took last week.

 Rowan trees are so beautiful at this time of the year. The scarlet berries plump and bright against the cold pale sun. Rowan is a small deciduous tree found all over the highlands of Scotland it is sometimes called ‘The Lady of the Mountain’ as its other name is Mountain ash.

The Rowan tree is one of the most sacred trees in Scottish folk tradition. Rowan is one of the trees associated with Saint Brighid, the Celtic patroness of the arts, healing, spinning and weaving. Spindles and spinning wheels were traditionally made of Rowan in Scotland and Ireland.

 Rowan twigs were placed above doorways and barns to protect the inhabitants against misfortune and evil spirits.

 Rowan trees planted near stone circles in Scotland were especially powerful. Scottish Fairies were said to hold their celebrations within stone circles protected by Rowan trees.

I like to think the fairies are preparing to hold a celebration around my lochside trees soon.... ;)

Collage obsession have chosen the theme of black and white plus one other colour. I thought it would be fun to change the colour digitally adding just the red berries to make a strong contrast.

rowan trees ( Collage obsession )
Linking up to collage obsession this week.

Also linked to Paint party friday