Thursday 29 November 2018

Permission to play - Art Journal

I follow a very enthusiastic and colourful American mixed media artist called Carolyn Dube.  Her blog is here .  I noticed that she had a free tutorial (Permission to Play) in five parts on making an art journal using cardboard, paint, stamps, stencils, inks and whatever other art equipment you have lying about.  I looked at the introductory video and thought it looked really interesting and fun.  It has proved to be just that.  I am nowhere near finished but I am thoroughly enjoying the whole process.  She has a encouraged me to use my supplies that I had been hoarding (I had been a bit precious about many of my supplies for most of my hobbies, only wanting to use my best stuff for the perfect project - which seldom came along, if I am honest) and apply anything I want. If something isn't quite right, she calls it an OOPS (Outstanding Opportunity Presenting Suddenly) and reminds you that you can always add more until you are happy.  
I have been working away when I can, using stamps I have never used before, or have just got and loving every minute.  The second page in the photo above was a big OOPS when I painted it at first and I didn't like it at all, but I gessoed over the offending colours and then stamped and painted and it is much better now.
 The other good thing is that it is just cardboard which would end up in the recycling bin, so it really doesn't matter if it all goes wrong anyway.  The second page from the right above has my Blockwallah tree stamps on it.  They have been sitting patiently in a drawer for ages, so it is lovely to use them.
Carolyn has also sent some colourful patterned papers to use which can be ripped, cut up, collaged as you wish.  I used them on several pages.
As you can see, there is a long way to go yet.  The pages all need some colour and then there are stencils to add on top, and whatever else takes my fancy.  There's no right or wrong and this in itself is very freeing.  If your inner critic starts nagging, you also have permission to remind it that this is play.  If you are into mixed media and have paints, stamps, stencils and other art equipment, then I would definitely recommend this workshop (did I mention that it's free?)  If you are a facebook user, there is a facebook page linked to the workshop where you can see other journals.
I am really enjoying this and will post about progress again soon.

Thursday 22 November 2018

In the garden with the hydrangeas (and a rose)

I had a quick wander round the garden with my camera on a nice sunny-ish day.  The hydrangea above (Coco) still thinks it's summer and is flowering.
Whereas the hydrangea here (Merveille Sanguine) is sure it is autumn and has turned beautiful shades of red.
 My latest hydrangea (Magical Revolution Blue) has turned green with touches of purple.  I really like this plant which is compact and pretty.
 If you part the flower heads, there are still some touches of blue.
Rosa Mundi's leaves had turned a lovely buttery yellow which is lighting up this part of the garden.  I am enjoying the autumn colour while I can as I don't know how much longer it will last.

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Rainbows and tulips

There was a beautiful rainbow the other day and I just managed to catch it.
All too soon it melted away.
I finally got round to planting my new tulips last weekend.  It took me a while as I had to empty the pots of the summer plants, redistribute the compost and then fill the pots again.  I had Queen of Night, Ronaldo, my favourite Ballerina and a new variety to me called Danceline (they are the big bulbs in the paper bag).
Here's Danceline  (photo from the W. Hyde website, which is where I bought mine from).
This is Ronaldo from my garden a few years ago (with Princess Irene).
Here's Ballerina, again from a year or two ago, because last year the bulbs didn't flower at all (I blame the really cold weather we had in late February).  I have put Ballerina and Ronaldo together this time as I think the colours work together well.  It was a lovely sunny day and I always feel that planting bulbs is a positive thing to do - to look forward to Spring.

Thursday 15 November 2018

Birthday makes

It was my colleague, Leanne's, birthday last week so I had a lovely time making her cards and gifts.  I used stencils, stamps and dies to make her card (of course, I had to make an envelope as well).
 The inside was decorated with star stencils and little star die cuts.
She has asked for some jewellery - a brown macrame bracelet - this has mookite, tiger's eye, botswana agate and coffee striped agate in it.  (Apologies for the photography as my camera does not like low light levels and in future, I must remember to  use a lamp as well as the main light). The tiger's eye has some lovely colours in it, caramels and toffee, but the photograph is not doing it justice.
 The other thing she wanted was an anklet with black stones.  I made this one using black agate beads and silver plated findings. 
All hell would have broken loose if I hadn't made the traditional 'Russian Roulette Revels Cake' (my go to chocolate cake recipe) with chocolate fudge icing and those innocent looking Revels chocolates.  Yes, I did get a coffee one again - ugh!  Leanne was really pleased with the gifts and the cake.

Thursday 1 November 2018

Painting using the gelli plate...and more cards

 I was watching a video on Youtube about 'Painterly Layers' on a gelli plate, so thought I should have a go as I really liked the effect.  I discovered a few things:
1.   You need to be quite fast (especially if your acrylic paint dries quickly) and can't take too long with each layer - don't let the paper stick to the plate either (!)
2.   Using a heavy body acrylic paint is probably the best for this technique.
3.   Use light colours working through to darker colours (which is a good thing to remember with any gelli layer prints).
4.   I like bright colours best for this technique (although more muted colours would give a different feeling so perhaps I should try them too).
The paints I used were Pebeo studio acrylics, some with iridescent or metallic sheen to them.  While these are lovely paints, they were a bit too transparent for this technique and also dried too quickly.
However, I was quite pleased with some of the results.  Even the ghost prints were interesting.
 This one was an improvement - I added a magenta to the final layer which worked better.
This one was my favourite as I had covered the plate with pattern and colour. The colours weren't quite so transparent and I do like the mix of yellow, orange, pink and blue.  I have some System Three acrylics which are heavy body paints, so I shall give them a go next. 
 I have also been making some cards - the one above was for my sister and turned out pretty much how it looked in my head.
This was for a colleague at work who kindly bought me some fleece tops for felting.  It was nice to be able to give it to her the next day.