Friday 29 March 2013

Where is spring?

Waiting for Spring
 Arm is most definitely on the mend after its unfortunate bath in scalding hot water! I had no idea a cup of boiling water could do that much damage...or take as long to heal.

Finally I did a little work in my journal today, The APR challenge is 'flight' and this is my last minute entry, my Sparklepodge Crow is waiting for Spring. This does look a little wintry for spring but recently the weather in the UK has been so cold and snowy white is forefront in my mind.

The background is built up of layers of white wrapping paper I saved from Christmas (Love a bit of re-cycling) and then layers of gesso and my new friend modelling paste. The crow is black gesso and then a coat of sparklepodge... I just love that name... :)

 After my enforced rest I have been watching loads of You Tube Artsy tutorials, there is so much out there! I now can't wait to get experimenting again just need a bit of spring warmth and I'll be ready to go :)

Added links Paint party friday


Friday 22 March 2013


The North coast of Scotland ( on a sunny day!! )

My Homeland.

Inspiration Avenue theme this week is 'your home town' the place where you were born....

As I posted in Sundays blog I am recovering from an arm injury so am unable to create anything new for a couple of weeks :( so instead have been looking and sorting through photographs of past work and fond places....

I was born and brought up on the north east coast of Scotland. Caithness is a wild and windswept county at the very edges of the UK mainland. The wind whistles in from Shetland and the Arctic circle with little to hamper its progress as it is a relatively flat area with huge skies and high sea cliffs. Later my family moved to a croft on the Island of Skye, off the north west coast of Scotland. This is a very different landscape. One of enormous heather covered mountains which reach down to to sea. It is very beautiful and now no matter where in the world life takes me I think of it as my home.

My sketch books contain many pages of inspiration from these beautiful landscapes.I know I love looking at other peoples sketchbooks, the skribbly the better. Here are some pages from mine.

As I usually work in collage I often tear paper and sort colour experiments in my sketchbooks.
And sometimes I experiment with watercolour. I think I used wax resist on some of this page.

And finally these form the basis of torn paper collages on a larger scale.

sligachan river
four very fine cats
 This is my Family croft with my favourite pet cats. It is torn paper on canvas with some acrylic paint.

croft by the sea

So these are little pieces of my Homeland.... :)

Sunday 17 March 2013

Fun with the metal polish

Distressing magazine images!

Well not that distressing...  I have been experimenting on how best to change magazine images without a whole lot of effort...

This method works best on Junk mail, the sort with glossy pictures. I used Brasso. Not the liquid cleaner, but the one that looks like cotton wool fluff. I found the liquid polish just made the paper soggy.

Junk mail ready for the metal polish!
I found that if you rub gently the image begins to rub off. The surface of the paper is not scratched and the inks are spread around. Depending on what image you use the effect can begin to look like a watercolour painting. The text can be completely erased.

Brasso image
This is exactly the same photo, all I have done after using the Brasso is stick it in my Journal with Modelling paste as I found Pva wrinkles the thin paper too much and put some gesso  around the edge and stencilled text on the side..That easy!!

Making up a collage with distressed images


This method uses elements of the magazine page as collage pieces. I liked these colourful wellies so I distressed them with the Brasso.

Then I tore round them collaging them on to some paper I had printed with a Gelli plate

I used offcuts of butterfly stickers to make the printed paper.

Then you end up with a vintage looking image! The roses were from a gardening catalogue, I just rubbed them until they started to fade out a bit. The paper can also be used just to create texture as I did in the background to yesterdays post 'the Hare and the Tortoise'. Lots of uses, lots of fun. :)

I am linking up this page to The Artists Playroom the prompt being 'what do we often overlook'. I know I can spent hours in 'hobbycraft' our local art and craft store in amongst all the gel mediums, image transfer gels and die cut stencils, but  sometimes equally exciting results can be achieved by raiding the kitchen cupboards! I have been instructed by the Doctor to rest my arm after a burn injury. So no cutting, sticking or painting for a couple of weeks :( instead I will have lots of time to look at what everyone else has been creating... another thing which I often overlook through lack of time. No excuse now!!

Linking to APR
and Carolyn Dube Gelli print party

Saturday 16 March 2013

Hare and the tortoise

Collage obsession

There is a lot to be said for perseverance, the ability to keep going even if things don't look too rosy was drummed into me from a very early age. I remember sitting at the kitchen table, maths homework in front of me with a sulky look on my face and being told by my father ' No one likes a quitter'. That's always stayed with me, and perseverance and determination are qualities which I greatly admire, not the standing on top of people to get where you want to be, but the quiet determination of the tortoise.
Collage obsessions challenge was to portray our favourite piece of children's literature and I have many!. The lion, witch and wardrobe, Anne of green gables, all of the Enid Blyton books ( I LOVed the famous five) although she seems to be unpolitical correct these days, but decided to illustrate the Hare and Tortoise in my Journal. It is mixed media and I experimented  using metal polish on some of the paper I collaged with to give it a distressed look. I'll write a post on my metal polish experiments soon, I'm still trying out different products and papers.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Collage Klimt style

Artists playroom challenge

The APR challenge this week is linked to the fact that  March the 8th was international women day. I decided to look at which Artists representations of women have inspired me.
My favourite Art movement is the Pre-raphaelite period, a time of poetic romanticism, however my favourite Artist is Gustav Klimt. A few years ago the Tate in Liverpool housed a huge Klimt exhibition one of the framed pieces I bought after seeing the original in the exhibition was sea snakes I. For my birthday last month I received the beautiful sea snakes II. Both hang next to my easel, as constant inspiration, the luminescent gold brightening the darkest of days. My mixed media collage on watercolour paper is a Klimtesque style piece..

File:Klimt - Wasserschlangen I (Freundinnen).jpeg
sea snakes I wikepedia commons
File:Klimt - Wasserschlangen.jpg
sea snakesII wikepedia commons
I first drew the figure basing the womans face on sea snakes I. Then  I collaged the background using found and handmade papers. The dragonfly paper I printed earlier and my post on Sunday showed  how it was made, I'm pleased with the effect and will try out other printing experiments.

The background texture is a combinaton of acrylic, paper and gesso. I then used colour pencils and fine line markers on some areas after it had dried.

The hair applied last is cut from paper and foils.


As a post script, as this weeks topic is women I would like to dedicate this post to a very inspirational woman and a very dear friend who passed away at the weekend after a long battle with cancer.
She was a beautiful and delicate spirit yet also fiercely courageous. One of the bravest women I have known.
Taken far too soon.....
Sweet dreams

Sunday 10 March 2013

Decorating paper

Florentine marbled paper which I brought home

Whenever I visit somewhere new I'm always on the lookout for interesting handmade paper, which is why I was in my element in Florence a few weeks back after finding a gorgeous little paper making shop called Il Papiro

Il Papiro Firenze
Marbled-paper making originated in the Orient, as early as the 10th century in China. A similar method called suminagashi also existed in Japan in the 12th century. In Europe, the art form arrived in the 17th century. Today it survives almost exclusively in Florence. Il Papiro uses these ancient techniques to produce in the back of the shop the most beautiful paper. The shop also sells handmade repeat printed papers.
Easyjet baggage allowances are very mean and I could have brought back far more than I did, but here are a few sheets  I found....


 Inspired by these repeat prints I thought i would use one of the lino print blocks I made a couple of weeks ago to see if I could use lino print as a method of hand printing paper.

 First using water soluble ink I printed my ivy leaf pattern, I deliberately didn't press on too hard to print the image as i wanted the print to be fairly faint.

 Then I used Conte crayon pastels to colour over the top of the print once it was dry.

 Then I used the paper to make a little collage!

Then I had a go at printing on thinner mulberry paper to see if I could print an image which I could tear out and possibly collage.
Yay!! It sort of worked. Now I'm in the process of using these printed dragonflies in a separate collage which hopefully I'll post soon.

Tuesday 5 March 2013

The Daisy chain

Another day another challenge!

And a little insight into how my collages are created.

The Daisy chain

I have just discovered a new Challenge!
Inspiration Avenue! This weeks theme is to show and tell, either a new piece or an older piece you would like to share. So as I am new to Inspiration Avenue I thought I would post one of my favourite collages which I created before I began my blog so didn't get a chance to show and tell about it's making. It was made for my daughter who asked me for a fairy collage. It is a representation (with a little artistic licence) of my two daughters linked  together by a daisy chain. Both now live in different parts of the UK so it is nice to think of an almost invisible thread linking them. The finished canvas is finished with a gloss glaze which is rather difficult to photograph so apologies for reflections.

 It also gives me a chance to show how I build up layers in my collages. The figures are drawn at first then the background is built up in a combination of paper and paint. Areas I don't like are simply covered over. Collage is very forgiving. I used fabric petals from a hula Hawaiian wreath to make some of the pink background.
 The butterfly was cut from a napkin and then glazed over. I tend not to use napkins now preferring to draw or paint original features in my designs ,however it does illustrate how effective this can be if it is combined with layering techniques. The dresses are made from paper doilies, the type you put on plates, They have a lovely lace like texture. Its quite a simple collage, but I like it and it still hangs on my daughters wall today.
I always add the hair last, made from tiny pieces of paper strip. The glue I use is either modpodge or acrylic medium and I always use several glazes over the finished piece to seal and finish it . Any questions feel free to ask me. Hope to take part in many more Inspiration Avenue challenges. :)

Monday 4 March 2013

What I treasure


'What I treasure' is the theme for this weeks APR, and I could have drawn any number of special things I have stowed away, I'm a terrible hoarder, If Swirlygirl is reading this she will be round tomorrow with her declutter manual! However it is true, sometimes it is hard to throw away things, but when it comes down to it what I really treasure is the freedom and space to be me.
This is a page from my journal. I thought I would take the plunge and pick up the pitt pens ( Jez at butterfly mind uses them so well) I don't often use pens or markers, couldn't resist adding a bit of watercolour and coloured pencil...and of course torn paper on the little birds. I must try and do a none collaged piece to see if I manage it.
As for little places to store precious things, how about this...

 This beautiful little casket was in the cathedral museum in Pisa. It doesn't show too well on the photo but the enamel was vibrant cobalt blue. quite beautiful..One of my many hundred Italian Adventure photographs, knew they might come in in useful!