Sunday 24 May 2015

Watercolour workshop

 I had a wonderful day yesterday in the Scottish borders at a painting workshop run by Amanda Phillips.
It was at the wonderful Abbotsford House, former home of the writer 'Sir Walter Scott'. Many of you may not have read or perhaps heard of Scott, however if you have been to Edinburgh by train you will have arrived at Waverley station named after his novel written in 1814, the only Station in the world named after a novel! He also wrote iconic works such as Rob Roy and Ivanhoe.

My daughter works as Heritage manager there and I'm not sure she realises how lucky she is working in such a beautiful, magical place!
Of all the historic houses I have visited this is definitely my favourite. It breathes romance with its fairytale turrets and quirky angles. All I should add, a nightmare for me, an artist who hates drawing straight lines!!

The weather was unbelievably sunny... these photos aren't digitally fiddled, honest!!!
 The gardens are beautiful and I took loads of flower photos which I will post soon. I intend to use them for some reference for future work.

I love this dog sculpture of Scott's faithful hound. Scott loved his dog so much that when he died a statute was commissioned to mark it's final resting place.

 There are so many fascinating details. Little gargoyles pop up around each corner.

 I found it hard to find just one area to focus on. I was drawn to the garden but my dislike of painting buildings made me decide to challenge myself and paint an architectural detail. I liked to view through the arches. ( I am sure there is a architectural name for these! )

So that is where I set up my easel. We were a small group of 8 and Amanda let us get on with things. I'm a bit of a loner when it comes to painting, liking to get into my own headspace, however she was always at hand for assistance. I am by no means a watercolourist and really can't remember when I just used watercolour as a single medium. I mix it with other mediums such as collage and inks. So this workshop really took me far out my comfort zone.
 Amanda also gave me some excellent advice on setting up workshops and a few Gallery names to contact . Also giving me the encouragement to 'get out there!' Thank you Amanda. ;)

I actually don't like my finished watercolour, but that for me wasn't the object of the workshop. For me it was about trying something different. Stepping into the unknown and seeing what could happen.
Even after the workshop ended I continued drawing on the grass...the weather was too beautiful to stop!
I came well prepared with my trusty flask of earl grey ;)

If you want to find out more about Abbotsford you can check out their new blog

Monday 18 May 2015

The Buttercup Hare

The 'Buttercup Hare' is my newest collage painting, made as a special request for Liza at Skyeworks Gallery where most of my recent pieces are heading. Liza the gallery owner told me my previous Hares and wild Buttercup pieces had been very well received and could I make some more.

Previous pieces,'Counting Buttercups and Moonlight and hares'

I thought it would be fun to combine the two... a Buttercup Hare!

He started out like this, collaged onto a MDF panel. You can see I blocked in his shape with black gesso. I use a lot of black gesso, I prefer it to white. It makes the colours I use on top more vibrant and the metallic foils seem much brighter.

Laying down lots of layers of paper, paint and ink.

I used crackle glaze for Mr Buttercup...
It means some of the collaged book-papers peep through.

The Buttercups are torn mulberry paper, I rarely cut paper preferring the random shapes tearing

The Buttercup Hare
Linking up to paint party Friday

Tuesday 12 May 2015

Fishy tales

This week I thought I would do something a little different. I noticed a great challenge blog called Art journey journal and saw that orange esmeralda had come up with a great theme this month 'SEA'
I haven't done an on-line challenge for ages and fancied having a wee dabble.
 The sea is always in my work in one way or another, spending most of my life living by the sea it is hard to imagine being away from it.

 Being vegetarian I don't eat fish, but I do enjoy drawing them. I think it is their reflective, metallic look which I love. I am always using foils and gold or silver flakes in my work, I'm a magpie when it comes to glitter!
I was going to collage a fishy piece based on my drawing but instead decided to make a lino cut and repeat the pattern almost like a fabric print.

From my drawing I made a lino-cut and then used it to print onto heavy watercolour paper.

After I had printed the fish I covered them in masking fluid and ink sprayed the background with cosmic shimmer spray.

linking up for the first time journey monthly Thank you Sheila for a great theme!

and as usual the wonderful paint party Friday

Thursday 7 May 2015

Island hideaways; papercloth sewing

 I have been working on more little Island hideaways pieces, sewn and embroidered on papercloth.
You may remember I did a series of 'wee houses' collaged onto small wooden panels a little while back.

wee houses series
well I loved the idea of working on a new 'wee house' series but instead of just collaging with paper and paint I wanted to use stitch and papercloth. Often ideas grow from ideas!

I painted the houses onto some collaged papercloth ( muslin covered in torn paper fragments)
Then I machine stitched the paper cloth with silk and metalic thread.

I also used some iridescent spray inks  stencilled onto areas of the papercloth.

I think you can just about make out the stencilled circles.

To photograph I spread out all three pieces together on a picnic blanket....

 somebody decided the blanket was a good place to sleep......

not impressed when asked to get off!

linking to paint party friday