If the Earth Were Only

Here is a recent entry in my art journal – this one took about four days of work to get to ‘finished!’ status.  The main problem was that in my enthusiasm to get started I forgot to gesso the pages so was working on raw water colour paper.  It was inspired by a double whammy, picking up a verse I know well and seeing an artist at her work on You Tube.

If the Earth Were Only ..... Art Journal August 2016

If the Earth Were Only …..
Art Journal August 2016

Do you agree with me that the big-eyed girl is a bit of a worry?  I had seen videos on You Tube from an artist named Megan Saurez and am quite fascinated with her style – I have always tended to big eyes in my work, partly because I think the eyes are the window to the soul and are the most important part of the face – Megan takes it a step further and paints delightfully impish faces and I wondered what would happen if I made my eyes even bigger ………  I don’t have her talent or technique to make it work though – suffice to say I won’t go quite that big again…………

I’ve had the verse in my possession since sometime in the mid 80’s.  An older student gave it to me, thinking I would like it.  She was right!.  I’ve since used it several times when working with middle teens and even some adults.  I just found out the author’s name via Mr Google – don’t you love the internet!!  I couldn’t find out anything else however, just his name, Joe Miller, and the fact that he wrote this piece in a little book which got slated for being neither scientific or spiritual, just a woolly mix of both. Which says more about the reviewer than the work in my opinion.

It speaks strongly to young teens who are beginning to stand firmly in their ‘scientific facts’ and yet still have their hearts touched by something a little more intangible, resting in the realm of feeling.

Personally I think everyone should come in contact with this verse at some time in their lives.  And think about it.

Thanks to the kindly input of Derrick Knight after my last post, the issue with the biggifying feature has been resolved.  You can click twice to get a really good look at my appalling penmanship!

Here’s the text only:

If the Earth were only- text

And here’s a close-up of the face.  I like the hair – on the actual double page spread it looks like fields and hedgerows and forests…….

If the Earth were only - detail

What do you think?

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

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Smallest Things

It’s raining today – still warm, but wet and grey.  Typical spring weather really, yesterday I found I had a tinge of pink on my arms and shoulders after an hour sitting in the garden – medium rare 🙂

I’m been working on 180 gsm water colour paper – but from now on will move to 300 gsm – I don’t like the amount of buckle and curl on this lighter paper – you’ll see it in the photo.

It’s because of all the different mediums I’m playing with.

Acrylic paints, papers, stamps, pencils, pens and inks.

It makes for an interesting texture, there’s loads of ‘layers’ so the eye has a sense of depth.

As so often happens with me, I thought I was painting one thing and ended up painting something else – but I quite like her:

Smallest Things1a

The legend is a quote from AA Milne – it’s in one of the Winnie-the-Pooh books, but I can’t remember which one ‘Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart’

Painted on A4 paper, ready for framing – she is going into the shop today!  🙂

You will have noticed the watermark?  I’ve been warned that there are people out there who steal your work and pass it off as their own.  I knew this before, but didn’t think that anybody would bother to help themselves to mine – but apparently they have and so now I have to do this for anything I load onto my blog or pinterest .

On the up side – I am flattered that my work is considered good enough to steal.  Thank you for the compliment 🙂

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

Sitting In The Sunshine – Musings on a Challenging Weekend

‘The Nightmare of Being Technologically Challenged’   I typed the title for my new post and settled in for a bit of a gripe.  It was a challenging weekend trying to sort out all the glitches that had surfaced in my Etsy shop – I thought it was all going way too smoothly!

Luckily for us all, I immediately got interrupted – and leaving my computer, went off to take coffee in my tiny courtyard garden with YD.

The coffee was hot and strong – a bit like the early summer heat – and the remnants of my grumpy mood evaporated like drops of water on a hot stone as we inhaled the scent of jasmine and lavender

Courtyard Garden

Can you see Sidd?  His head and cap are just visible under a drooping raceme of jasmine.

[I know it’s not really a raceme, but it’s a good word and needs using!]

And yes, though are weeds in the foreground. [Hangs head in shame]

YD had lots to share from her week and we chatted and laughed and let the sun warm us until the coffee was gone and then we headed off to the post office to send Elaine her prize, the limited edition print of ‘Be a Butterfly’, and also to have a look through a shop selling local artisans work.

We heard a sad story there – the owner will close at Christmas as business is too slow to keep going.  Her stock is stunning, she keeps her prices at an affordable level [which means she isn’t adding a huge mark-up] but she can’t compete with on-line sellers.

I felt guilty.  I had spent last week cat-sitting and making sure my shop was stocked with pictures and cards………   

The shop opened on Thursday and my first day was one of great happiness!  Maybe what happened next was karma for being part of the movement that is sending real stores out of business….

Because on day two it all went wrong – there were glitches and problems galore until I was tearing my hair out and found myself on Sunday raising my voice to an automated customer service robot over the phone demanding to speak to a real person.

And blow me over and away, I got a real person and we began to solve the issues!  🙂

Take note dear readers, when you are stuck with a virtual customer service person, get hot under the collar and demand ‘a real person’  and you will maybe get one.  I guess they must be programmed now to respond to irate customers by handing us on!

Anyway the issues are solved and all is well again in my world.

Yesterday, with YD returned from her travels and Stanley once more settled in with his mum and Orlando no longer having to sniff out where I’d been going constantly [coming back smelling of another kitty doesn’t really go down that well with spoilt, over-indulged chappies] I was free to try and find my creative mojo again.

I’m still obsessed with faces and seem to have combined that and my obsession with the ocean into one place:

Listen1

Painted on A4 160 gsm water colour paper, she is definitely mixed media – acrylics, modelling paste, paper, pencils, charcoal and pens.

The legend reads ‘Listen, how the wild sea calls to me’  She is heavily textured with all the paste and needs to be in a frame to really look her best.

There is much about this piece that is successful or interesting, but my personal feeling is that her stare is too challenging to be marketable – I think she is maybe channelling my weekend mood….. 🙂

Tomorrow I shall start again.  It will be a new day and the sun will still be shining.  The scent of jasmine will still waft in through open windows and with no distractions maybe my paint brush will make something beautiful.

Thanks for stopping by today, I love that you did 🙂

Mixed Media Canvas

After two weeks of making flowers and cards and occasionally battling with my first canvas in over six years – WE HAVE LIFT OFF!

The first big breakthrough came when I could finally admit I had bitten off more than I could chew and that it actually was okay to walk away from it ……..  that took ten days to get to.

I had rashly committed to a canvas measuring 600 x 500 mm [23 1/2 x 19 1/2″]  – it seemed quite small at the time considering that I routinely painted on 1000 x 800 mm back in the day….

What I was not considering was that I had changed mediums and styles – I used to work with acrylics and the odd bit of charcoal and pen and create giant imaginary land and seascapes – this would be my first canvas as a ‘multi-medium artist’  [Oh, giggle – it makes me so happy to think I might be an ‘artist’….  🙂 ]  Up until now when mixing my mediums, I had worked in my journal and on card size pieces only.

Having purchased and read Kelly Rae Roberts marvalous book ‘Taking Flight‘ and having checked out Willowing [Tamara Laporte’s] work on You Tube, I felt ready to give this thing a proper go……

Yesterday I got out a small canvas 300mm sq [11 1/2″] and set about collaging in the background.  I used mostly ‘Websters Pages’ and added in some text from old books.

I painted over the whole thing with a brayer, removed some colour and added green distress inks around the edges of the torn pages and the edge of the canvas.

I sketched in the face and coloured it lightly with some distress inks:

Did you remember1

…..and went to bed.

This morning I worked on it some more:

Did you remember2

My confidence grew as I avoided all the idiotic pitfalls I could have fallen into and I didn’t screw up too badly….

So of course I kept at it- adding in Lumiere ‘True Gold’ around the sides of the canvas and pulling it into the front of the canvas as opportunity presented itself.  I highlighted raised bits and edges of torn paper too.  And if a little is good, more is better – right?  I added gold highlights to her hair so it glimmers in the light – too much?

Finally I edged and highlighted with black charcoal:

Do you remember3

Time to stop – so, of course, I kept going….

I added in the legend for that special someone and then the butterflies.

Here is the finished canvas:

Didyouremember4best

I’ve chopped 2 – 3 cm off the top of the canvas somehow when taking the photo….. but you get the idea.

And some detail photos:

Didyourememberdetail5

Didyourememberdetail4

Did you remember detail2

That’s my first Christmas gift made and it is still October – well for another 24 hours anyway ….. onwards and upwards!

Thank you so much for coming by today – I love that you did!  🙂

Another Card For Kerry!

Hello there!

ED looked at the previous post, ‘A Card For Kerry’ – “It’s very nice,” she said “but it’s supposed to be blues and purples…”

Nothing happened inside my head indicating information previously given and momentarily forgotten – nope, just a big black hole.  “Oh!” I responded helpfully……….. I always have a slight feeling of panic when this happens – as it seems to do so with alarming regularity – am I losing it – already?

But no, I just wasn’t fully present and some information just went in one ear and out the other – I’m not dotty, I’m just becoming an air-head!

As it happened, I was hoping to for the opportunity to make another, similar card  – and here was that very opportunity.  Quite serendipitous really [this appears to be the word of the week].  Now, do you suppose I did the wrong colour deliberately ……?

Any how, I wanted to make a variation on the theme, using the same techniques I would utilise if I was creating a similar lay-out in my art journal.

I didn’t document the process this time – you’ve seen it once and any way I was much too involved with the creation of this little world to stop and get the camera out.

Here is the front of the card – it is so full of layers and textures that the camera doesn’t always pick up so I’ve included some detail shots.  The house is not brick this time – the reverse of my embossing folder does a wood effect – so we have a blue wooden house 🙂

The Contented Crafter

Blue House Card – front

Not everything has been hand created this time, some of the flowers are from my stash and may be Petaloo or Prima – apologies, I can’t quite remember.  The larger blue and purple flowers are cut from coloured card stock, inked and layered up.  The very small punched flowers, and the strip along the top of the card, are courtesy of some old inked and sprayed wallpaper that has lived in my stash for years.  The ‘glass’ in the window is recycled rigid plastic packaging.

Blue House - detail

Blue House Card – detail

Blue House - detail

Blue House Card – detail

Right at the end, when everything was finished, I went back in and sprinkled a bit of glitter around – just for a wee touch of sparkle – the reality isn’t quite as glumpy as this close-up shot of the butterfly would have you believe …..

Blue House - detail

Blue House Card – detail

And here is the inside:

Inside the Blue House Card

Inside the Blue House Card

The cut-out shapes have been finished with water soluble charcoal shadowing; the side table was some left over exterior wall [wooden this time] as is the lamp – and the book spines on the table ….. no waste!  The floor rug is also a piece of the same coloured wallpaper that contributed to the small punched flowers on the front..

The chair is a Poppy Stamp die and stamp, which has been coloured with Spectrum Noir alcohol ink pens, as has the girl and cat.  The banner is once again made from the discards when the windows are die cut.

The mirror is made from a lightly textured silver paper glued to a slightly larger piece of hand cut black card and has a coat of ‘Glossy Accents’ painted over it.  The mirror frame is made from the same paper but has some ‘Crackle Accents’ over it and a light rubbing of ‘Pumice Stone’ Distress ink to finish.

Inside - right

Blue House Card, inside – right

The window blind and side drapes are cut from paper doilies, another stash inhabitant for many years – I’m not that thrilled with them, must have another try at some stage…….

Inside - left

Blue House Card, inside – left

Blue House Card - inside detail

Blue House Card – inside detail

Blue House - inside detail

Blue House Card – inside detail

And finally, because there is no room inside to write a nice Birthday Greeting to the recipient – the back of the card:

Blue10 back

I hope you enjoyed that little visit to the Blue House!  I just hope I’ve got the colours right this time!

Thanks for coming by today, I am always happy to know you have been 🙂