Sunday, 29 January 2012


I have posted these photographs before,  right at the beginning of my blog adventures when I was logging my progress in my photography course. Clare mentions that the scenery is reminiscent of Tuscany, and I have to agree - I think it is the row of poplar trees and high view point, but it is definitely south Bedfordshire. Here is the same scene taken at each season.

I drove right through the middle of this scene today on my way to see friends. I always love it how ever many times I pass through. It was very misty this morning and I wished I had my camera with me.

I have also had a go at making a book from all the papers I have created during my sketchbook course. This is the chaos that is my desk, sometimes I wonder how I manage to get anything done!

I printed paper for the front and back covers with the linocut inspired by the scene above.

It has five signatures stitched into a card spine.  The stitching is a bit wonky despite my careful measuring, I guess more practice would help, but it is not the sort of thing you make every week.

I'm not sure how I am going to use it yet, but I keep having to give it a bit of a stroke, how sad is that?

I have nearly finished the Creative Sketchbook course and I have got a lot from it - what next?  
Watch this space

Have a good week.

Monday, 23 January 2012

This week

I'm sharing these pages with you because I know you well and you've been with me all the way.  I'm not sure I knew what I was doing here but we all need to do a little experimentation and one of the thresholds I have crossed is not being afraid to show my "less than" pages.

Here I added to the charcoal and wash sketch with a border of forks as reference to previous pages and the tree line.  The chequered sky is showing over a cut-out horizon from the next page shown below.

This is a bit of a mish-mash using a photo-montage, lino cuts and stencil - it actually looks better here than in real life - but it is quite exciting experimenting - at least I'm learning what I don't enjoy doing and what subjects I prefer working with.

As I have been transferring my several thousand photographs onto my new computer I came across these from a couple of years ago and thought I would share.

The two below were part of a series I made of wrapped flowers.

Have a good week,

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Work(s) in progress

I have been trying some different  methods of using soft pastels - this still life was created with paper stencils.  It gives a beautiful soft effect, but completely out of character with what else is in my sketchbook.  I'm still living with all of these following pages and seeing what I may add.

Below I have used the same technique but used the roof tops of my urban setting as inspirations - still haven't finished with it yet.

The roof top shape suggested this diamond pattern below next to a monoprint of my house I managed to do straight into my book after many failed attempts on paper - once again watch this space for developments on this page.

Finally in my sketchbook this charcoal and wash rendering of a local view is also waiting for some more work.  

I am loving all of this - although as you can see a lot of things were started this week - some consolidation needed as I near the end of my Design Matters course.  I am having to change some of my thinking.  As a mainly figurative artist I am having to re-educate my eye in thinking towards design opportunities.   I am hoping that the C&G Creative Quiltmaking will help me realise some of my ideas as stand alone pieces.

Meanwhile, I thought I would have a go with drawing onto fabric using Derwent Inktense water-soluble pencils.  As these supposedly become permanent once wetted they work really well on fabric.  I used some sketches of aquilegias I had in a sketchbook and copied them onto unbleached cotton calico.  I then though I would try some machine quilting and found a couple of demos on binding quilts on good ole' Youtube.  My mitred corners wouldn't stand close inspection, but I felt quite pleased with the results.  I added some hand stitching to the right hand one, but I'm not sure whether it added anything to the end result. I don't know what I shall do with these - I may just put them in my textile workbook as samples.  

I thought you might like to see I how I have added colour to these previous pages - done way back last August.  It has turned a sketchbook exercise into something much more interesting - I think!

Thanks for sharing my pages with me - it is so lovely to get your comments, they mean a lot.
Have a good week.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

January Windows

I thought I'd add a bit of variety to my post today, not just pages from my sketchbook.  But I will start off with one inspired by the long gone stained glass windows which once decorated our house.  I loved them, but the frames were so rotten we couldn't open any of them so they had to go.  Somewhere I have a good set of photographs I took before they were removed, but I cannot find them,  just a couple of snaps which gave me enough detail to do this. The diamond pane rubbing was made on the front door which we were able to keep, but no coloured glass.

Keeping on the window theme - this is the large window in my workroom, which was once the garage.  It was a very small garage and this wall is taken up with window and radiator - not a lot of storage space - hence a crammed window sill and cardboard boxes.

This is the business end of my workbench - the computer is at the other.  I have been trying out my soft pastels.  I was rather pleased with my first attempt of my little owl paper weight, but managed to spray it with repositionable mount spray instead of fixative - no please - don't say anything!  The second one is okay, but lacks some of the spontaneity of the first.  My soft pastels are rather old and seemed to have dried out and are extremely crumbly.  I'm not sure I am ready to invest in a new lot at the moment.

And finally here is me sitting in front of the computer, which cleverly took the picture of me holding my camera and with Marvin sitting on the conservatory chair which was brought in on a temporary basis, but has become a fixture since he loves to sit on it and give me creative advice.

I seemed to have acquired a new batch of followers in the last month - welcome and I am extremely flattered.  I did say I would arrange a give-away when I reached 150 followers, but the number has grown to over 160, so I must get organised, I haven't forgotten.

Do have a good week,

Monday, 2 January 2012

A Happy Creative New Year

Happy New Year to You

Here is my new calendar page - looking rather plain, and below are my December pages.

This is my third year of keeping a diary in this form. Kate here is hosting the 2012 366 challenge so visit there if you want to join in.  I love keeping a diary this way and although it looks involved, it isn't.  You need to find half an hour or so to prepare your page.  I cut 4cm squares and glue them on a double A4 page.  As you can see my background for January is fairly simple with colour washes.  Filling in the little squares needn't be done everyday - I often fill several at a time adding the little drawings and colour when I have time.  Some entries are just a couple of words or even a doodle.  I must say I love looking back over my previous pages and they have resolved several arguments about when we had done something.

 I have been finding time to do something creative every day even if it is just filling in my calendar.

Here are my latest pages in the Design Matters sketchbook project based on my little owl paperweight.

This one is bordered with the little lino cut I made and features a cut-out that opens onto the page below.

The right hand page was created by using a gold oil pastel to take rubbings of leaves on brown paper and flooding the paper with watercolour.

This page features a pocket for holding all the little samples and bits related to the owl.  I have used a larger  
lino cut I made based on a paisley pattern that was on a supermarket Indian dinner box.
The sheets  below were created by rubbing the lino cut with wax crayons or oil pastel.

My favourite technique is using gold oil pastel on brown paper as I did on the owl page above.  It gives a beautiful rich finish.

I am in the middle of my next project, so watch this space.  I am also working back through the book enhancing the pages with additional techniques.  It is a new notion for me, as previously my sketchbooks have more or less been a chronological record of my thought processes and learned techniques, whereas with this one it will a single piece of artwork.

I have reached the last Module of the Design Matters Creative Sketchbook Course and now I am seriously considering signing up for Creative Quiltmaking, which is a City and Guilds course, next. 

I now need to devote some time to commenting on your blogs - I have managed to peek at them, but I hope you'll understand,  I am on a creative wave and I need to ride it as long as it's with me!

I do wish you all the best for 2012  and look forward to sharing what you have been doing.