Vivid Colours

I was asked by a shop owner recently to bring in some of my work as she had heard of it and was interested in offering some for sale.  She gave a glowing description of how she loves to support local artists and has several whose works move swiftly through her shop.

So, a few days ago, I packaged up a range of cards and small art pieces and took them in. I laid a few of the cards in front of her – leaving more cards and all of the artwork in my bag. She swept her hand through the examples and said “No, these aren’t what I sell – too vivid.”

The viewing took maybe five seconds.

I gathered up the rejected work and put them back in my bag.  I didn’t offer her any more to look at and she didn’t ask to see them.

The impeccably attired, ochre clad shop owner then showed me through her little boutique, stuffed to the gunnels with imports from the UK and Asia in varying hues of beige and grey.   Amongst the neutral and impeccably exhibited artifacts sat the odd single hued floral jug. Small, ochre and grey prints in large frames with exorbitant price tags hung from the wall and fine scarves in shades of grey and beige with equally exorbitant price tags were neatly folded and stacked alongside matching, finely spun woollen driving gloves.  Some charmingly autumn hued cushions were stacked on a chair by the front entrance. When I asked where the work of the local artists was I was shown a few small printed ochre and brown greeting cards made by a university student. 

I saw very clearly why my work wasn’t her style, but did rather wonder why she had ever shown any interest.

We are all different and that is a good thing. The world would be a boring place if we were all the same, wouldn’t it? But I left wondering what it must be like to live in a world of dun neutrals and to be unable to even consider a colourful card.

Back home, I rifled through the examples I had packaged up for her and glumly regretted my wasted morning.

It took me a few minutes, but then I remembered that not only does playing with colour make me happy, but I have Marlene (#1 Fan) and all my other friends who applaud loudly from the sidelines and now and again offer valuable feedback.  Plus of course I have an unending supply of cards I can send off for birthdays, holidays and other celebrations. 

I marched myself back into my art room and spent a happy couple of hours making some more highly unsuitable vividly coloured art cards.   Hey ho!!

Oh well, that last one is a bit of a bust! A lot of a bust if I’m being honest. Overcrowded, overworked ….. And really! I don’t know why I decided to go doodle crazy with a white pen – but then, it was my last hurrah at the end of a long and somewhat trying day!

So, okay, let me leave you with this one then, today’s effort features Orlando

So tell me, when choosing cards do you look for more colour or less colour? Do you choose plain or intricate designs, are you attracted to Hallmark or local artisans work? There is no right or wrong answer and I don’t mind hearing if you don’t even like any or all what I’ve shown here – I’m just really interested in your thoughts. And thank you for sharing them!

Painting with Inks

I’m grateful to all my Northern Hemisphere friends posting about their warm days and summer holiday fun and beautiful walks and colourful gardens – it is a sure antidote to dim light, long nights and cold Antarctic winds swirling about my tiny house and trying to knock me off my feet when we venture out for our twice daily walks.

Winter has only been here for a few days but it feels like forever!

The upside to Winter though, is time in my favourite room.
So of course, when I sat down at my desk with my supply of inks and began to play, the series that gradually unfolded mirrored the season.

I began by dotting ink about on my mat and spritzing with water to get colourful backgrounds.  I swooshed (technical term) the card through the wet inks and got what I got.  When dry I splatted (another technical term) some gesso over some and after making  myself a small round mask, dry inked a moon onto one of the ones shown below – can you see it?

The next step was top create some kind of landscape, focal interest, whatever took my fancy. First up I added in hills and trees to join the moons. The splatters of gesso became stars with the aid of teeny drops of glitter

And if I liked what I saw I turned it into a card. If the recipient wishes to frame it is a simple enough job to cut the greeting away and have a self matted petite art work.

Next I played with a wonky village and a cat ….. meh!

Tiring of the random results from wet ink play I turned my sights to dry ink only – but taking with me some ideas I picked up along the way, I made myself some more versions of the feline under the moon. I kept it simple, liked it and turned it into a large A5 greeting card

Next I took some A5 heavy duty cardstock and taped it down and began to work in earnest with the inks and pens and pencils.

This was great – I had the control I wanted with the colour, I had a quirky tree and some doodles and the moon and silhouetted cat and birds were not too shabby. So, I thought, this is winter…….. and the following day set to work on a summer version

They would look lovely in matching frames – but as I took the tape off the summer version it tore a bit along the top margin. Doh!! Might have to chop it down and turn it into yet another card……….

Hope you enjoyed seeing all that – do let me know what you think – and thanks so much for coming by, I’m glad that you did!

It’s Never Too Late #2

Hello friends! It took a while to get back to you on this subject. I spent a fair bit of time wondering about which particular tag to apply to each of the rotund ladies, interspersed with quite a lot of socialising and reading – though not at the same time. Plus of course the particularly thrilling evening when the aged electric fire blew up, taking out all my technology with it – luckily only temporarily …… but that caused a few heart stopping moments I can tell you. Still, there’s a lovely new little fire in situ now thanks to the Queen’s Birthday Weekend sales and silver linings. Don’t we love those silver linings!

Anyhoo, you may remember this was the only finished beauty

But eventually I settled somewhere and went with the ones that follow.

No-one actually came up with this one exactly, the closest was Norah

This one was offered by Jenny, the Ginja Ninja

And this is mine, though of course, before it was mine it was Fleetwood Mac’s and I had temporarily forgotten that. I do hope they won’t mind

I was so pleased with myself, when this phrase popped into my head. I had completed two cards before I realised the song playing in my head was Stevie Nicks singing the words…….. I do sometimes wonder if I’m losing the plot!

So Norah and Jenny, please contact me (form is in the ‘Contact Me’ page found under the header picture) and a pack of four prints will find their way to your letterbox before too long.

Thank you to all who played, it was really hard to choose and some of the suggestions are so good they may find themselves attached to future cards made especially for them.

Let’s finish with a pic of Siddy who apparently wanted a ribbon in his hair too after his groom today and his pal at MudPuppy can never say ‘no’ to him. Posing sleepily and serendipitously in front of the new fire.

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

It’s Never Too Late ……

Ha! Did that catch your attention? I hope so, as I’m stuck and I thought, I wondered, I hoped, just maybe you might have a bright idea – or two!

I’ve been making some cards. I found some stamps and thought I could have some fun with them. They feature, ahem, well endowed ladies and will follow a certain theme …………

Here is the first completed one – done in water colours

Isn’t she gorgeous?

Here are the others, all made with inks of various types

Or, maybe this way up?

The last three/four don’t yet have WHAT it is not too late to be.

I have thoughts, but I think they might be a bit, you know – blah! And I don’t want to put you off your creativity by blurting them out here……

So, if you can come up with a tagline that fits any of them and I use it, you’ll receive a set of all four of the printed cards.

Over to you my creative friends. I’ll close this off in just four days ………… and thanks so much for coming by today, I love that you did!

School Days, Reminiscences of Pauline King

Hi all! I thought I’d share with you a conversation I had with my friend Norah on her blog last week. If you don’t know her yet and are a writer or have an interest in education – or both – this is your chance to meet a wonderful friend and blogger, a knowledgeable and talented early educator and an avid supporter of writing prompts. Plus of course a chance to catch up with me sounding off about my old career and an ongoing passion of mine……. Do drop by and say hello to Norah and me and join in the conversation.

Norah Colvin

Welcome to the School Days, Reminiscences series in which my champion bloggers and authors share reminiscences of their school days. It’s my small way of thanking them for their support and of letting you know about their services and publications.

This week, I am pleased to introduce Pauline King, The Contented Crafter. Pauline and I have been online friends for a long time. I can’t quite remember where we met, but I think it may have been through Geoff Le Pard.

Pauline and I clicked straight away as we have a lot in common and share many similar views about education. At one time, each of us even contemplated starting our own school.

I wish I’d known Pauline and had the opportunity of working alongside and learning from her while I was still working in the classroom. Although Pauline says that she has left that part (teaching) of…

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(More Than) 10 Minute Sketches

At different times throughout March I’d pick up my sketch book and pencil and try my hand at a ten minute sketch. Most of them, the faces certainly, stretched longer than the allotted time, but I think all were completed in under half an hour

This was my attempt at something a bit different based on the work of Karen Campbell who has a YouTube channel I found recently. I thought this was a lot of fun!

Early in the month I drew some dragons. I forget why I wanted to try my hand at them, I probably thought it would be a good challenge. I found some pics and studied them and sketched several, This is the one I like best, it’s based on one in the beautiful garden of Jackie and Derrick Knight. I was still way out of my comfort zone after so long away from the pencils early in March, but I quite like his toothy, friendly grin. However, by the time I got him almost done I’d decided that was enough of dragons and so he remains not quite balanced and far from finished.

I wanted some quick’n’easy quirky cats for colouring in and came up with these – the one on the left came first – both were both completed in about ten minutes each and were the only successful ’10 minute sketch’ challenges I managed all month

Based on something I saw on You Tube, I had a go at producing a template for doodling. Here’s the template

It hasn’t been copied yet to start experimenting with doodles and such – I got waylaid with life and then my back went out a week ago and has only just decided to come back home. The month of May may see some doodling…….

And that pretty much completes the roundup of sketch practise that I undertook in March – it’s taken me all of April to corral all the bits and bobs with a few interruptions along the way. And I completed a cardigan too – but still have to sew twelve buttons on. That might take another month……. I feel happy with my progress and worked through the ‘I can’t do it any more’ block that was fettering me and am ready to go pick that paint brush up again and see what happens there.

I’m also reading ‘The War of Art’ by Stephen Pressfield which is a most delightful get over yourself and out of your own way treatise on why and how we prevaricate and shoot ourselves in the foot constantly. In the spirit of full disclosure I should also add that book has sat on a bookshelf for some five years waiting to be read …….. You are not alone 🙂

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

Old Lady Reading

While time marches inexorably onward, I’m still busy regaling you with the results of my March determination to get back into some sort of artwork – any sort of art work really – my abilities having somehow mysteriously atrophied due to non-use over the previous couple of years.

So, sometime towards the end of March I spent a couple of hours one evening drawing and colouring while listening to Juliet Stevenson read me more of ‘Middlemarch’ on Audible.  Eventually I produced this

Feeling quite delighted with her and vaguely amused with myself I sent a photo of the drawing to a friends and family group on Messenger with the message ‘today I drew a self portrait. ‘

My eldest daughter responded almost immediately: ‘That’s a lovely picture but I’ve never seen you in a hat like that.’

‘Picky, picky’ I responded

She came straight back ‘It’s a lovely hat! The whole ensemble is gorgeous and I especially love the shoes!’

There followed other comments about the shoes from other members of the group then we segued off to shoes in general and ended up with the death of Scott Walker and rodent stories quickly followed by cat stories and many, many photos of cats.

I eventually went off to my bed and as I settled myself down to sleep I realised NOBODY had said  ‘Hey, that’s not a self portrait!’  😀

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did.

ScrapHappy #1 April 2019

I’ve been meaning to join in with the monthly ‘ScrapHappy’ blog share for years – so many opportunities have come and gone and I never quite had my act together. But at last the time has come!

So here I am, joining in with Kate over in Chiconia and all the other scrappy people all over the globe because I’ve been making bookmarks with my painting scrap paper.  Sometimes I make cards or notebook covers with the output too, this time it has just been bookmarks.

When I paint I generally have bits of scrap paper lying about on which I wipe my brushes. It might be plain copy paper, it might be kitchen towel paper, it might be baby wipes used to wipe away paint on the canvas and expose a bit of the under layer, sometimes it’s a bit of proper heavy duty mixed media paper that went wrong.

Here’s some examples – because of course I hadn’t photographed the actual papers I used here before beginning the process of change –

No matter what it is there comes a time when the wiping is finished and the paper is full and of no further use. Once I used to bin them and grab a fresh sheet and start over. Then one day, when a full sheet was dry and I was about to chuck it out I looked again and thought that has potential and it didn’t go in the bin. Ever since then I have saved those sheets and when I’ve got nothing better to do with my time I gather them up and begin to play.

Sometimes I lay down a bit more paint through a stencil, sometimes I grab a stamp and make marks that way. Sometimes I pick up sharpies or gel pens or crayons and start to doodle. Doodling is my favourite occupation.

These ones were mostly made by laying down stencils and paint on the gelli plate and layering until I liked what I saw – or I ended up with sheets of virulent looking colours or oddly disposed messes – but look what happens when you cut them up and frame them out:

‘Framing them out’ refers to the noble art of edging each piece with black ink which all card makers and mixed media people are very familiar with. One is fully edged in the photo below, the other is partially complete

Next comes a backing – here’s the box of paper and card off-cuts that are utilised for this part of the operation. They themselves are leftovers from card making and die cutting and sometimes are leftovers from other gelli print making sessions.

I lay down a few different backing colours to see what I like. The process is generally careful for the first two or three, then it’s anything goes and lets see what happens. The photos below are the same painted piece on different colour backings. Do you have a particular colour combo you would have gone with?

And finally after a couple of days here is a sampling of some book marks – this is a mere fraction of the amount I made in this session. I have bookmarks for Africa!!

The finished painted pieces are texture rich and interesting. I make them smaller than I used to because I have learnt from my friend Derrick that it is fun to leave the bookmark in a book when you have finished reading it. Especially if you note the date on the bookmark. They aren’t for keeping, like books these are made for sharing round.

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

If you want to see what the other scrap happy contributors are making, follow these links and I’m sure you will find the rest of the contributors

Kate Gun

More Teddy Bears

Back at the end of February I made the decision to pick up my sketch pencil and paint brush again and work my way back into some form of art – not the highbrow sort of ‘Fine Art’ produced by proper artists, but my sort, the playing around with colour and form and doodles and a certain whimsical expressionistic view of the world.  It had lain fallow for a long while as I got sidetracked down various other pathways and I was feeling disconsolate with my lot and that feeling is always alleviated with a pot of paint or an assortment of coloured pencils in my hand.  March, I decided, was the month!  I would sketch, I would paint, I would doodle and I would put up a post every week for the whole month.  And I did.  But of course there were some unexpected events and unexpected posts made during the month of March, much of my output was ignored in favour of things that really matter.  

So now my friends – hang in here with me – it’s catch up time!  

First up – Teddy Bears.

A post or three or four back I showed you my first Teddy Bear watercolour painting, I’d had some prints made and turned them into cards. Here they are again, just to jog your memory, because I know you won’t remember her

I went on and sketched out two more Teddys – handsome fellas this time. This is the first one, worked in alcohol ink pens on yupo paper

I was feeling happier with the drawings. This bear looks friendly, I made another – with an even bigger tummy and trousers on this time – just to dress him up a bit more you understand ….

I had prints made and produced some cards

They weren’t accused of looking slightly sinister at all this time – I got the eyes right – but it was gently suggested the tummies might be a little too round……

But I quite like the tummies – they are comfortably familiar 😀

And I have a favourite. Can you guess which one?

Thanks for coming by today, love that you did!

Siddy has a Birthday

We interrupt normal transmission to bring an important update….

April 4th and it’s Siddy’s fifth birthday. He’s a big boy now and lets all those frisky young pups know it. He takes centre seat at the dog park where he entertains his fans – here he is with his pals Poppy and Pamela

He goes drinking and driving, but never at the same time

Sometimes he shows off his tricks, like jumping through the tyre in the park

or greeting his fans through the window of home

He enjoys a good joke – like the one he heard last Christmas

He loves his kitty

Did I mention drinking?

He’s a bit of a poser and a playboy and has spread joy all year every year

He’s always such a good boy, though if you ask him he’s never quite sure ….

And he is, of course, my boy, the best puppy ever!

Happy Birthday Siddy xoxo