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Friday, 24 May 2013

Making cards extra special.

Hi everyone
It's raining today and very windy - not nice to be outside.

Die cut Friday is looking at the die cut elements of the project from yesterday. Here is the finished item in its protective packet.

The lovely image Ive used is by a great artist called Marisa Anne and Ive added an overlay from the Beautiful Mess app (Ive talked about this app a few blogs ago).
The die cut elements used in this project are mainly alphabets and layers of scalloped circles, as well as a scalloped edge - on the card.

I've personalised the card with the name of the recipient and used pinks throughout (I know the baby is a girl and 'mum to be' is a 'pink' sort of person) I think the card has turned out well and although its a simple card which conveys the sentiment well, its pretty and I like the personal details. From feedback, people really like this personalised element on cards.

The treatment Ive given to the card, envelope and tag are obvious, so I don't need to describe what Ive done in sequence. Take a look at the different views to check out each face of the card and accessories. I think the scallop layers work so well with pretty cards and especially with spot papers - both papers are produced using Pink Petticoat files (talked about this yesterday).

The tag has a Beautiful Mess layer from the app.

I always make my own envelopes - I like to use the same papers/colours etc. You can produce a lovely range of special gift packaging very easily and very cheaply - once you have the basic equipment.
My project could be used to adapt cards/wrap for many events. If Im short of time I often buy a card and apply a similar approach, creating a new envelope made from some patterned papers which Ive chosen to adapt the card. Hope you are inspired to do something similar.

That's it for today and ..... It's half term next week and we are off on holiday (Derbyshire area) so Im looking forward to that. Have a great weekend and I will be back on 3/6/13 with news of my holiday and new inspirations.

Bye for now.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Making 'Art'Cards

Hi everyone
It's 'on the edge' of raining - quite 'chilly' too. As I write, there are huge hail stones hitting the window ! It was good for running earlier !!!
Just wanted to confirm that my running app has worked this morning. All is well (as Miss Mitchell would say) ! This is a reference to a 'techie' issue last Friday - for information.

Back to the moment, on Thursdays, I like to talk about 'techniques'. My aim around focussing on 'techniques' is to look (in detail) and talk about - in a practical way - my own personal skills development. So, my definition of techniques in this context, is a very broad one and applied to my own style of creativity. I'm deliberately combining all manner of techniques in my work - from polymer clay creations to making stamps as well as developing painting skills. My work has a multi media label so I feel free to combine as many as I like. However, I think there is a downside to having too much choice, often my best work is done when the choices are limited to me. With this in mind,Im trying to limit which techniques and materials are used within a single piece of work.

The inspiration, I gave myself this week was to do with 'measurement' ( prompted by a recent stamp purchase with lots of rulers on it).

Although, this was the inspiration - I'm looking at measurement in the widest possible sense and including 'scale' and 'proportion' etc. I don't think Ive actually used 'the stamp' this week , at all.To get back to techniques and what I need for today. Im using the measure inspiration prompt to help me develop an idea for an urgent request for a personalised greetings card. I need to produce the finished item today and was wondering what to do ?The card is for a lady about to go on maternity leave. I wanted to make it personal and I know she is having a baby girl and I know her name. With this in mind and using my measure prompt Ive come up with an idea for the basic images while out running this morning. I'm using an image Ive borrowed from Marisa Anne in her book Creative Thursday. I've taken the image and adapted it to form the card. The card will use various different views of a single image, arranging them to form the card/ envelope in different sizes.

The sizes of the little characters are amazing and just right for my needs ie baby bunny and mummy flower. I'm adding text and possibly some bunting or scallop edges - not sure. Ive also decided to use a printed paper from Pink Petticoat Check it here as the base card. I will share the finished version later. I'm not selling the card - it would be too close to stealing someone's composition but I will use it to inspire and create some similar sketches of my own. I will also give the artist credit for the work. It's a tricky argument to talk about 'creative ownership'. I've tackled this before on this blog (few years back). This image which is clearly a Marisa Anne piece of work is one thing but standing three/four items/characters in a line and following my own colour scheme - to me, is OK if you have drawn them. Perhaps, that needs to be a discussion is for another day ?

My technique today (to summarise) is taking an image and turning it into a card by manipulating the artwork. I'm combining a computer technique with design and paper layering and envelope making - with special attention to the detail - essentially 'paper crafting'.I do like to hand finish cards by using some paint or wax pencils to highlight images. When the card is printed up I will review and check if something else is required - only then, will I know what I need to add or not. I will let you know tomorrow. I think this sought of practice ie making cards is a great technique skill for embedding paper elements into my paintings. I learn lots by making cards and envelopes, I guess I treat the card and envelope more as a piece of Art rather than a card.

Must get on and make it.

Bye for now.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

What would BERNADETTE say ?

Hi everyone
Not sure what the weather will do today - it's a bit cool and damp but still dry(at the moment) some big heavy clouds look ominous but every now and again, there is bright sunshine !

Today, is Wednesday and its all about dolls. My doll of the week has to be Annabel. Here she is with a little 'extra treatment'.

Annabel has been 'in waiting' for the whole week and Im yet to get to grips with her development. She has been drawn in pencil and her face has quite a bit of wax colour. Her clothes and hair have their first layer but lots more layers to add. Im hoping to get some paint on her today. In the meantime, this image of Annabel has some extra doodles from a new app I have via 'A Beautiful Mess'.

The app is a great little tool for adding stuff to images - Ive had great fun using it. The app uses simple doodling type strokes (words,little sketches,borders etc) layered on top of photos and easily allows posting onto social media sites or email.

I also wanted to share another 'doll to be' today. She will be called 'Bernadette'. Im using a book Im currently reading to inspire Bernadette. The cover of the book is amazing (as is the book - great fun to read).

I'm going to use a similar face for Bernadette but the body will be inspired by Audrey Hepburn (one of my all time favourite looks).

Im not sure if she will have an evening gown or some cropped trousers ?
I have another book which talks about the 'Audrey response' to all manner of things and I like this idea for Bernadette. Her (Bernadette) story will be created around responses to specific situations - yet to be thought about .
I will call the painting (with Bernadette as the central character) 'What would Bernadette say ?' Much to do !!! My aim is to get a sketch of Bernadette before close of play today. Ambitious !

Each day, I move each of my three chosen works of the week on. At the beginning of each week I will have identified the chosen three. This week it's JUST WALKING, what would BERNADETTE say ? and introducing ANNABEL. This is just a broad framework for myself and its OK to change etc. Without this discipline, I tend to jump from one job to another and get nothing done. I record this visually on my Butterfly Board. Here it is in action :

Must get to it all !!

Bye for now

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

My take on KLIMT

Hi everyone
It's a bit dull today - we did have forecasts which suggested 'severe storms' ? not arrived here, we've had a bit of rain overnight but no storms.

Im still trying to complete the mini project of the moment which is rapidly turning into an 'epic' ! The project, a clay jacket for an insect !(sounds a bit odd but there it is !) is going fine in theory - other than actually completing it ! I made the main part of the 'jacket' last week but decided it needs to be more elaborate.

To facilitate, I've developed a 'pattern' for the next stage.
Here is the pattern :

The pattern has centre stage on my Butterfly Board. This board is a prompt style organiser for my work.The job with the highest priority gets to be in the middle - Cyril's (an insect) jacket is on 'high priority' status so earns a place the middle. I've decided the jacket needs A,B and C colours. I will also try and give each section a different texture. The whole thing is about the size of a large thumb nail, so we are talking real detail here. The term KLIMT (in the picture of the pattern) relates to the painter Gustav KLIMTand his style of painting - here is an example of one of his works which illustrates my point.

Here is my example of the partly developed jacket - highlighting the Klimt circles.

Well, must get to my 'priority' job.

Bye for now.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Bead Fair News

Hi everyone
It's quite warm outside but looks a bit like rain !
Apologies for the next few lines but ....... I need to have a short 'rant'. First you need a little background : I have a regular run/jog about 3 times each week and follow a 5k app which is great, at the same time, I use a Nike app on my iPod to track and record times etc. - for the past 2 runs the Nike app has not recorded my stats and I am very upset about this ! - words are not enough to describe how I feel right now. However, I have an action plan so 'all WILL be well' BUT , this is the thing, I think Ive done so well on these last 2 runs but NO STATS. That's it, so will not mention it again (today). Thank you for the short self indulgence.

On a more rational front, I do rate exercise up there with art as an important element of 'well being'. It's a great topic to get into - will go there another day.

Back to the business of the day. My inspiration this week is going to be 'measuring'. You may remember last week I shared a photo of a new stamp.

Here it is. I've not done anything with it yet but it will go onto a painting. I have some ideas, most of which came from my previous runs ie the ones that I don't have the stats for ! - sorry slipped into that without thinking ! It won't happen again.

Anyway, 'the measure' idea will be summed up in a 'mind map' today - will share it when I got all the ideas down.

Yesterday, I went to a bead fair locally and joined a BeadShop Scotland workshop class to make a necklace. We had a lovely time in a very relaxed but excellent workshop. Beadshop Scotland are based in Haddington - an hour and a bit away from us here but we will be going back to one of their workshops. Thank you to Kirsty for running a great workshop. I want to develop my necklace further. It's OK but needs a little something else. Here it is now.

I met a friend there too and had a lovely time chatting 'art stuff' and buying beads. Not sure why I need more beads ? but I just love them. There was some fabulous semi precious gems (resisted these) and lots of interesting odds and ends. I am going to try and do something more with my necklace - I have some ideas. I will share what happens. I bought lots of other stuff which will help me with some other jewellery ideas. All in all, a very good day yesterday.

Lots to do - must get on.

Bye for today.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Zentangle Tiles and ATC

Hi everyone
Another lovely morning today (almost) - not a good forecast but ...... maybe ? - Im so looking forward to waking up to sunshine everyday. Im ever optimistic but probably living in the wrong place !!

It's Die Cut Friday again - today, I was going to share my Miss Burton packaging (only finished it earlier this week) which I started two Fridays ago. However, Ive sold it already and forgot to takes any development photos. I have more to make so I will share the project photos next time.

Instead something very exciting, this weeks die cut is a Sizzix die which is sold as an ATC (artist trading card).

Im using the diecut for my Zentangle work - the Zentangle people call such a thing a 'Tile' ie. the prepared bit of card. Making Zentangle pieces requires a new tile for each piece therefore having the die makes light work of preparing the tiles and saves lots of money (if you choose to buy them !)
I have a recycled box which I use to keep my Zentangles.

The size of the box is perfect - it does look a bit big on the photo but when there are lots of Zentangles I want to index them and feel the extra width of the box will be beneficial. The box is a recycled item from Paperchase - it had some lovely greetings card at sale price in it. I love the butterfly top - its beautiful. I want to customise it in some way ? Will work on that one.

I find the ATC die a very useful die for lots of things - a great size for many uses and has lovely rounded corners, which I especially like. The diecut is brilliant for producing display and scrapbooking as a layering tool. I sometimes use it as a very large tag or an envelope address label. The die can cut a wide range of papers too and can use heavy material too. I have made a cover for a mini book from felt in the past. A Big Shot is needed. The actual final shape measures approx 9x6.5 cms (31/2 x 21/2 ins).

Getting back to Zentangles, I have a new Zentangle book which is a bit more whimsical than my other book - look back to find details of the first book (around Jan/Feb 2013). The first book is better for detail on 'pure' technique but this book is lovely.

My take on Zentangles is about developing stuff for my paintings so Im not especially aiming to be precise about the art of Zentangle but it's a great discipline to stick to 'the rules'.I like the simplicity of the approach and its great for mobile work. I spend many hours taking,waiting and picking up my boys from playing sport and I find the Zentangle project perfect for using my time effectively and enjoying the space to doodle.

I've had a quick session trying to find a few ideas for the new painting of Annabel (introduced yesterday). My idea is to incorporate some of the Zentangle art as a background for the painting. I think I will use the first one.

I also created another and it's probably a better thing for the painting but my effort is not as good as the first. I will try again and see if I can improve the shapes of the tree.

These examples are in simple pencil - I will reproduce something similar using colour before deciding what to include. I think the mushrooms will be good with Annabel. I've seen some birds too which I will try out. Lots to do !

That's it for this week. I hope you are inspired. Have a great weekend. Im going to a bead fair on Sunday and have booked a class. Im so excited about this. Will let you know how it turns out.

Bye for now.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Introducing ANNABEL

Hi everyone
A lovely bright and sunny morning today - lets hope it's going to stay this way.

I had quite a productive day yesterday, it's amazing how some days are so easy and others are not, in my creative world. I seemed to achieve order in the home with my 'to do list' completed by about 7pm. I also had a taxi service going on mid evening (scouts) and watched a bit of tennis on tele (on my own without interruption ) !! Not sure how I did this and Ive an idea it's not going to happen today !!!

However, onto other things, my technique focus today is about how I get my dolls onto their backgrounds when I'm making my original paintings.
I sometimes just paint direct onto wood. However, if I want more detail in facial characteristics or clothing detail, I like to draw onto quality watercolour paper. My latest painting will have a name soon but for now Im calling it 'Annabel'. This is the name of the doll I started yesterday. I have the initial sketch here to share.

Annabel was inspired by the stamps I talked about yesterday. I took some of the stamp characters and looked at their proportions and style and adapted some of these to my dolls. Annabel has taken the very long neck - Ive never done this particular thing before - many of my dolls have no neck at all ! Ive also taken very long thin arms and legs - I have used this approach before but Ive usually done either arms or legs. Annabel gets both. I've also used the face shape (the face was the first thing that 'jumped' out of the stamp image for me ) but not the eyes of the stamp characters. Annabels hair is also a bit like one of stamps and gives a bit of a greasy/ 'rats tail' look. The skirt part of the dress takes a spider web hem line which is less 'exaggerated' in the stamp. I like the result. Annabel may change when I paint her but she feels right and is fast developing a character which I can weave into my Papersac community. Here is a quick look at the stamp which inspired Annabel.

I forgot to mention the boots - Ive used these boots rather than my usual very delicate ballet pumps or high stilettos. I like the idea of repeating dolls in different clothes so there will be opportunity to develop another Annabel - perhaps in stilettos, I love her already !!! My colour scheme will be purple,orange (my inspiration of the week) and white/Titan Buff. I think she needs a white,pale face and black hair - this may change.

After she is painted, Annabel will be cut out and stuck down onto the background. I've started the background but am not sure what else should be in there. I started this for another piece of work but its perfect for Annabel.

I like to do lots of detail on the background before the figures go on. I will decide where in the painting they will be so an area is left but I am always wary about spoiling either doll or background, if I don't prepare each well. The challenge is then to embed each into the painting - the biggest task for every piece of work - for me.

Must get on, bye for today.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Is this a 'pretty' doll ?

Hi everyone
It's raining this morning - very dull and looks like or will rain forever !! Hope not.

However, it's Wednesday and 'doll day'. A few days ago,I came across some stamps that Ive had in my stuff for quite a few years. They come from Stampotique (Look at their blog here). I have quite a few of their stamps but haven't used them for ages.

I love the style and proportions of all of them but my favourite has to be this one.

I particularly like the long legs, I often use long legs in my own dolls? The whole doll has an almost 'pretty' look with her hair style /ribbon and face shape although the eyes are 'odd' - just little things which contribute to an overall 'freaky' element. Its quite hard to pin down what it is that questions the overall look - its really interesting to analyse. I did wonder what they (Stampotique) were doing now and if another style maybe had taken over. I think not. Looking at their designer blog (it's a section of their website which includes a shop) - the 'grunge like' thing is still going on. Browsing, I came across this stamp

which looks great - Im always looking for male doll ideas and am tempted to buy this one. I especially like the hair style.
I thought I would spend a little of the day sketching a new doll with similar bodies and possibly adapting one of my doll faces to give this 'grunge' look. I need to analyse the doll characteristics in detail to make my version - I will share my findings next Wed.

Quick update - My jewellery task from yesterday is almost done. It didn't work out as planned but Im ready for a 'bake' of the clay.

More beads to make and a new range of clay to mix. I used up all the mixed stuff and seriously under prepared my amounts. Im thinking of combining some metal charms too- hearts or circles or ? to complete the necklaces and bracelets. I need to find the charms so will try and do that today.

Must get on

Bye for today.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Jewels and pretty cakes

Hi everyone
Another bright and sunny start to the day, it's definitely windy but Im hoping its not too cold in the wind.

Home matters took over yesterday and I didn't get my clay cured. I've big hopes for today on that front.

I did manage to produce several sketches for the JUST WALKING inspired jewels.

This sketching approach is a more focused attempt to use my time effectively. I generally just see what happens - great but very wasteful in terms of time and materials and ..... more important very frustrating when it's not going well. I have a ring, bracelet and 2 necklaces in the plan.

As its Tuesday, I am thinking about my mini project. The ongoing mini project of the moment is the 'insect clothing' (for JUST WALKING) and its my priority to complete the coats today. I've talked about this for a few weeks now so I must get it sorted today. While reviewing JUST WALKING again yesterday - I think the plants need more integrating. Im wondering how to do this effectively.

I like the idea of stamping over the plants that are there in various colours but I also thought about making another very simple, small stamp to provide a constant - almost 'see through' layer which covers the plants ? Not sure. 'Something' is needed.

Talking plants (or rather flowers), I saw this lovely image yesterday and like the sophistication of it.

These lovely 'things' are cakes - wow ! I love the crisp lines and delicate but defined white flowers. I have thought about trying to recreate something like these for the painting but I think the space is too 'busy'. I will ponder that one this morning.
Maybe I could come up with something which would work ?

Bye for today.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Cyril's new coat and ORANGE

Hi everyone
Weather is promising this morning - bit 'breezy' but bright sunshine.
My inspiration this week has caused me some dilemma - I couldn't decide between 'orange' - the colour or a measure scale - a range of rulers ? I use the inspiration idea on Mondays to give me a definite 'pointer' to my work each week. I found a lovely photo with orange brooches on Pinterest and keep coming back to the photo - thinking I would like to make something similar.

I love the textures and the vibrant colour.
However, my other inspiration contender is a new stamp with rulers on it.

I see lots of possibilities for this stamp and its been constantly in my mind since I bought it (last Thurs).
Im not sure why this should be such a problem for me ? I need to get out more ! Amazingly, Ive come to a decision and will go for the orange this week and the ruler next.
Having made that momentous decision - all is well !!
On a more important matter, my book 'FROM SCRATCH' has moved on a league and Im very involved in the detail of what to put where (on the pages). I want to have lots of little doodles etc all over the pages to illustrate how my 'daily journal' works and give a feel of a 'daily journal' within the book. I hope someone will buy it and also doodle and add notes. I want the final product to have this comfortable and 'lived in' idea.
The central idea of the book is to generate 'artmaking' in the widest sense. I use the world around me as well as other people's interpretation of 'artmaking'. I want my little world to reflect the things which we (me and my boys) make from trying and incorporating new things (techniques and experiments) and feeling 'good' about what we produce. Making things, I think, is so important. I do go on about this at length in the book but will stop for today. I like the idea of rotating our family art displays and try hard to incorporate new stuff in new ways for display each week, somewhere in the house. I try an avoid the 'mash' style often created from displaying very small children's art. It's good for its time and vital for establishing love of creating but I want to move us on. Im aiming to give a stylish, almost gallery-like approach - which includes frames etc made specifically for the piece. Somehow this gives the art an important place in our home. When a new piece is created I always want to display it rather than store it away in some archive - to be forgotten.
Talking about creating, I did manage to move on JUST WALKING last week and am concentrating on this work again this week. My current mini project within the painting is producing a 'coat' for Cyril.

My idea was to make the 'coat' from polymer clay. I wanted to find a pattern with texture and the right colours. After much mixing of colours, I made up a clay cane and turned it into a potential material for the 'coat'. Here it is :

I think I like the the first image - each side of the cane has a slightly different look. As I slice the cane, each slice will be different and I will make the decision when I have a few options.

The last picture is a 'swirl' of the colours shaped to Cyril's coat pattern and a stray bead - also made from the clay mix. The clay is yet to be cured. So had better get on with it. You may have noticed the tiny bit of orange in the cane - I do try and stick to my 'inspiration rules' once they have been made. Not sure how I could have got the ruler in ? Say no more !
That's it for today, bye until tomorrow.