Category Archives: painting

39

Sometimes you don’t know what you are doing or why you are doing it until later….

In memory of 39 migrants who lost their lives in a sealed container

lift the flap of old blanket and there hidden beneath is the number 39

in memory of the 39 migrants who lost their lives in a sealed container

I was on an Art Course last week and on Wednesday I created this piece – today, as I realised its connections and significance, I added the number 39, painted on with my finger, hidden beneath the piece of old blanket.

The process:

Our tutor, Helen Turner, did a demonstration using this red acrylic paint. It is not a colour I usually use, so to push myself out of my comfort zone I used the paint in various experiments.

At the end of the day whilst clearing up I cleaned my brush by wiping it backwards and forwards across a piece of A2 cartridge paper

I wasn’t sure how to use the piece of canvas, so I placed it on the paper whilst clearing up and left it there overnight. It had the look of a blood-soaked piece of cloth.

The next day, I put these three elements together. The weave of the blanket going with the criss-cross of the paint on the paper. The red blanket stitch, chiming with the colour of the paint. (The blanket is one that I had collected to send to Syrian refugees a few years ago – it was so old and threadbare, I had kept it back, wondering if I could use it in some creative way.)

I did not make the connection until today, but that morning at 1am, 39 dead migrants were found in a container in Purfleet, Essex, 50 miles away from where I was staying. The container was being driven by a red and white truck.

The aesthetic we were trying to embrace is Wabi Sabi, an Eastern concept, the migrants, so we have heard, were either from China or Vietnam.

Today I was going through the artwork I had done on my course and suddenly made the connection – I added the number 39.

It is now a piece in memory of those particular 39 migrants and all the other thousands who have died fleeing from war and poverty, searching for a better life.

Wordless Wednesday: Wabi Sabi

wabi sabi, art course

wabi sabi art course

wabi sabi art course with Helen Turner

charcoal, wabi sabi, art course

On a fabulous art course with Helen Turner this week.

Art Exhibition

I am so proud of my sister and niece who are having an exhibition of their art this weekend, ably assisted by my brother-in-law who kept everyone well supplied tea and cakes!

paintings

My sister Caroline,  paints absolutely amazingly beautiful and detailed watercolours of animals and mixed media seascapes AND she is very skilled at making silver jewellery

To see her work in better detail have a look at her Instagram Pagepaintings

watercolours

And meet Lara, my multi-talented niece and her Sealife paintings

selife by Lara

All acrylic on canvas – all so vibrant and full of colour and energy. Lara is a hard-working Vet and paints on her days off. Go visit her Instagram Page to see all her wonderful creatures.paintings

Lots of lovely Red Dots, lots of visitors, and it was just so good to see all the paintings displayed so well together.

They were exhibiting with another silver smith and a fabulous portrait artist, Bernie Lusher who had painted Lara’s portraitpainting

Wow – so much talent in that room!

Well done everybody – so many months of concentration, so many years of learning and practice, so many hours of skilled artistry. Here’s to a successful weekend with lots of sales and spin-offs.

Painting a Cow

Miss E and I were watching a TV programme called ‘Home is where the Art is‘, which had 3 artists pitching to a potential buyer for a commissioned work of art. I asked her, “If you were to commission a piece of art, what would it be?” To my surprise she said, “a painitng of a cow”. Not what I was expecting from an 11 year old.

She had a birthday coming up so ………. off I went trawling the web to see if I could find some inspiration. Hey presto! Kath Dunne on Instagram was the answer. Her work is full of life and colour.

I saved this image to my computer

Kath Dunne

Isn’t it fabulous!!! Do go and have a look at Kath’s other work. She is an Australian artist and you can see her work on her website: kathdunneartworks.com

I wondered if I could paint a similar picture for Miss E’s birthday present.

I tried it out in an altered book to see if I thought I could capture something acceptable

altered book

Hmm, yes, I thought I could, so I started to paint with acrylics on canvas, sketching out the basic shape with thin white paint that I could rub off with a damp cloth til I got the shapes I wanted.first sketch for cow painting

With hindsight, it would have been better to block in the background of the shape of the cow first, in light and dark tones, before adding splashes of colour.

sketch

At this point I knew it was time to put the eye in – yikes – scary – the eye and the expression in the eye can make or break a painting. I needed to have a practice painting to work on alongside this one

practice painting

Gosh I did find it all a bit stressful!

Back to collage and sploshing paint around in an abstract way for a bit of relaxation, for a while – then onwards ……

cows

And here it is, below, the finished painting – I wish I could have captured the look on Miss E’s face when I gave it to her – she was absolutely surprised and thrilled. She said it looks like Clover, her current show calf – so that is the name of the painting: Clover.

cow painting

I contacted Kath Dunne to ask her permission to share my painting with a link to her website and she said ‘go for it’! Creativity and connection across continents – love it!

I’m looking into making a few prints of Clover, let me know if you are interested.

Scrap Happy

Joining Kate at Talesfromchiconia for her Scrap Happy gathering on the 15th of every month.

A friend’s birthday was approaching and I knew she would appreciate the recyle/reuse ethos behind this meme, so I went to my vast collection of bits of crochet I have made as experiments with either pattern or colour. crochet experiments

I have a similar collection of art experiments with acrylic paint on paper, so I chose one of these for the basis of the card

Folding the card into 3, I tried out a couple of ideas

DSC_0484

I decided to use the flower which is the centre of the Amanzi block, I lined up all the ends and marked the positions of the holes I wanted to make in the card

DSC_0486

sitting it atop a ball of yarn to pierce the needle through

DSC_0485

Then I sewed the threads through and tied them at the back

Ta dah!bday card

The present was some handmade soap I had bought in St Davids, Pembrokeshire, from the force of nature that is Julia Horton-Mansfield who owns the Really Wild Soap Company.DSC_0491

I first met Julia on one of her guided wild food foraging walks

The soaps and card were wrapped up in a page from an old magazine

present

Pop along over to Kate’s to find others who can inspire you to usefully use up bits and pieces of this and that.

Happy Scrapping

Whimsical Collage: 2

Back in November I went to a fabulous 4 day Mixed Media Collage Workshop led by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and Nathalie Kalbach. See my first blog post about it here.

It was such fun getting messy and creating colourful papers in readiness for our first 6 collages. We used pages from old books we had been supplied with – books that would otherwise have gone to landfill. The print adds a layer of texture and interest.mixed media collage workshop

And the books themselves make perfect little sketchbooks to carry around for those odd doodling momentscreating collage papers

Julie and Nathalie have a great way of introducing the theory of colour and composition in fun bite-sized exercises. Julie BalzerIn this one we were mixing tones of one colour using black and whitemixing tones, acrylic paints

no paint was wasted, we cleaned our brushes on more paperusing old maps for collage

collage paperand then experimented with stamps, building up layers of marks, pattern and colour – my memory is a of a frenzy of fun and activity as we all dashed off all these wonderfully inspiring pieces without really thinking

stamping, acrylic

In this way we gradually built up supplies and confidence, moving towards creating pieces we were pleased with.six 6 x 6 collages, mixed media

The background of this one is the newspaper I was using to protect the cloth beneath. I think at this stage it reminds me of textiles …. still more to do in those blue squares, but I’m not sure what yet……

newspaper as art paper

I wondered about adding a little knot of silk remnant

mixed media, sari silk

and maybe some stitching …… hmmm …. not there yet.

Julie’s first Blog post about the workshop  explains the format of Day One and Two.

There is a picture of me (the 8th one in) in pink Tshirt, working away, ( and a couple more later on) plus loads of pictures of fellow students and their work. This blog post alone is inspiring enough to keep me busy for weeks as I remember all I learnt and discovered.

And then we were ready to work towards some finished pieces.

Next up –  working in a series: six collages on 6″ x 6″ card

collage

Julie’s second Blog Post: Whimisical Collage in the UK Part Two shows lots of these from the group. You might be able to spot mine in amongst them.

mixed media

The best part – building the layers with stamps and oil pastel lines and scribbles

The next part is wondering if they are finished or not

mixed media collage

The 4 on the left have a story attached to them, but that is for another day ……

Joining in with Kate and her Scrap Happy January band of happy scrappers.

 

 

 

Whimsical Collage Workshop: 1

At the beginning of November, on my way up to Yorkshire, I was lucky enough to attend a fabulous 3 day workshop: ‘Mixed Media, Whimsical Collage Circus’ organised by Art Workshops and led by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and Nathalie Kalbach.

It was a residential workshop held in the Holiday Inn in Coventry and there were about 36 attendees.

We were 6 to a table. Look at the contents of the goody bag that greeted usworkshop goody bag

The organisation was superb, and Nathalie and Julie are excellent tutors.

They would first do a demodemo in art workshop

 

Then we would go back to our tables with a simple set of instructions and create.

One of the first exercises was mark-making

mark making, art workshop

No paint was to be wasted – to clean our brushes we used up any excess paint on newspaper and old book pages.

See the wonderful creative flurry on our tableart workshop, mark making

The best thing was that we were only given about 5 – 10 minutes to do each exercise – no time to think, just paint – it freed me up so much.

At this stage we were creating papers we would later be using in collage.

creating papers to use in collage

Gosh it was fun!

Julie and Nathalie both create a range of foam stamps that were there for us to excperiment withfoam stamps

We could also buy packs of them, foam stampsbut by the time I had decided which ones I would like, they had been snapped up!

There was an amazing array of art supplies in the ‘shop’ and lots of shopping going on!shop

It is hard to know which ones to buy before using them – this one of Nathalie’s turned out to be one of my favourites. She had made a book with each of her Foamies stamped as a simple repeating pattern

Nathalie Kalbach stamp

The fun comes when you use the stamps over other layers of paint. Here’s what happened when I started to play with it

mixed media

The trouble is I like it too much to tear it up for collage. You know that feeling I’m sure.

We did some fun exercises and had lots of laughs – at the end of the three days we all had 12, 6″x6″ collages to take home.

I will tell more in a future post, but in the meantime, Julie created a Vlog about her whirlwind trip to Ireland and Coventry which includes our workshop (starts at about 18.40 minutes in) – she has such energy!

 

Happy crafting!