Saturday 28 October 2023

Things to enjoy in the garden - before Storm Babet...

I took these photos a week or so ago, before Storm Babet decided to make her presence felt and flood a lot of the UK.  The watercourse levels were higher than I have ever seen them in thirty years and we lived in a state of worry for a few days.  We have been so much luckier than so many others and our house hasn't flooded this time. We did get between one and two months' worth of rain in one day.  Here's what caught my eye in the garden before all that happened.  Above and below is my cosmos plant which is at the front door.  It was grown by my sister-in-law and has given me so much pleasure.
The faintest pink colouring can just be seen on the edges of the petals.
Salvia Amistad, which has been great value. I bought six of these earlier in the year and grew them on inside initially. They were planted out in pots and have flowered all through the summer. They are showing no signs of stopping yet, but I expect the frost will kill them in time.
Hydrangea Bobo is putting out two more flowers and its leaves are starting to turn yellow.
Ever reliable Liriope Muscari doing its thing and really needing to be divided (I have been saying that for about four years).
Rose Roald Dahl - there are still buds to come.
A few raspberries from my Joan J plants in a tub.  They have been fruiting since mid August.  If Ii had more space, I would have a lot of these!
Clematis Arabella which has just decided to flower in the last few weeks.  This is a non-clinging variety and I have another of these in the North facing border, but this one has always struggled a bit, so it was lovely to see it flowering.

Thursday 19 October 2023

Patricia Janečková 1998-2023

 I was so saddened to hear of the death of a lovely soprano singer, Patricia Janeckova, who I had been following on Youtube.  Her voice had been trained extremely well and she had a lovely singing technique.  Sadly, she passed away due to breast cancer, at the age of 25.  I think she would have had a wonderful career but at least we can still enjoy her voice and her performances.  I had some singing lessons when I was at school, so have a little understanding of the technique and hers is the kind of voice I would have loved to have had.  

Photo from here 
If you enjoy classical music, please find her Youtube videos.  
I particularly like this one - Song to the Moon from Rusalka by Dvorak. and this one - Laudate Dominum by Mozart.  (I have sung this before, but not as well as Patricia does!)

RIP Patricia and thank you for sharing your gift.

Thursday 12 October 2023

Wanderlust 2023 - weeks thirty-three to forty - Pigments and Powders

 It has been a rather messy seven/eight weeks, exploring pigments and powders.  For me, these included embossing powder (where you use a sticky ink to adhere the powder, heat it and it leaves a raised glossy surface.  It comes in a multitude of types now, metallic, clear, coloured, with glitter, with large or small particles.)  There is also embossing glaze which is a translucent powder, leaving just a hint of colour.  Pigments and powders also included Infusions (dyes with walnut ink added).  I have Brushos (watersoluble pigments which came as a powder) and Pixie Powders (Dye based powders with added mica for a lovely pearly finish).  Most of these will stain if you don't wear gloves, hence the messiness. They are fun to use though!

The first week was thinking of somewhere special to you (I chose my garden) and then enhancing the photos with gold embossing powder, having created a background using the powders.
I enjoyed all the making we had to do for this page - all about lichens.  We added powders to material and to threads and created background papers as well.  I added some embossing powder in white.
This was a bit of a tribute to my parents - Dad died in 2013 and we lost Mum earlier this year. The photo of Mum and Dad is from 1960, when they were guests at a wedding.  I wore the dress she is wearing (which she made) in the photo at her celebration of life service. Her favourite colours were turquoise blue and orange, so that's what I used.  We were using the powders to colour the texture paste.  
Week thirty-six was really enjoyable to make, using embossing powders and glazes and making bold marks with the sticky ink. On the right, the purple and blue glazes allow you to see the images underneath.
This wasn't one of my favourite pages. The teacher used lots of ephemera and her piece was created on a piece of wood. I used die cut shapes to add texture on my page.
I struggled with this page. The teacher showed us lots of techniques, which I enjoyed, but left the page design to us and I took ages to decide what to do.  
This page was by a teacher called Rachel Greig, a photographer and owner of a stamp company in Australia called Darkroom Door (really good quality rubber stamps). She was going to be leading this lesson, but so sadly, she died earlier in the summer, due to cancer.  After consulting with her family, there were two lessons put in place, from 2016 and this one from 2020, where we were stamping and I used powders which were made into paints to stamp with.  Underneath the tags is some journaling about doing something you enjoy every day and making the most of your time.  Two lessons I have certainly taken to heart.  
The Artful Musings lesson was about expressive writing.  The teacher discussed journaling (where you write about something that happened) and then expressive writing (where you write about how you were feeling).  I wrote about being resilient.
The final seven/eight weeks of the course are on Monoprinting and Carving, which I am hoping will be completely up my street!

Thursday 5 October 2023

Collagraphs - a simple version

I enjoyed the Wanderlust Live weekend at the beginning of September where teachers from next year's course gave us some tasters of techniques and journal pages we may be doing.  I decided to make a little journal with an example from each teacher.  I was particularly taken with the simple collagraph with Claudette Hasenjager.    

I had made collagraphs (colla meaning glue and graph meaning draw) before, when I did my Foundation in Art and Design course.  These are plates made using collage with different textures, varnished (with shellac in my case, I remember) and then inked up and printed using a press.  As the press squashed a little more detail out of the materials with each printing, they were a limited use plate, which I liked, as it made each version more special.  I really enjoyed the process  although it was quite a time consuming one to create the plate, then varnish it, wait for the first layer to dry then varnish it again.  However, I was really impressed with the end result and the detail that was captured using simple materials, such as tin foil. (I enjoy all of the printing processes I have tried so far - lino printing, collagraph, simplified screen printing, block printing, hand carving my own stamps and printing with them, and monoprinting, using the gel plate).

Here are some photos of my collagraph from the Foundation in Art and Design course. This was the original photo I used to create my collagraph.
I then traced the image and reversed it for the plate.
This is the plate - I cut into the surface to create the dark areas, then used foil, string, paper and card to add the texture.
This was the first print, which worked really well.
This was the last print where you can see how much detail has been lost.  It was really interesting looking at these again after fourteen years since I finished the course!
However, during Wanderlust Live, we were shown a simplified version which was created on cardboard, using self adhesive foam, string and lace.  I don't have any self adhesive foam, but I did have ordinary foam, which I used instead, sticking it to the cardboard base with pva glue.
Here is the plate ready to be inked up with acrylic paint.  It is much bolder and with less detail than the collagraphs I made on my art course.
Here is the print on the left and the right hand one was coloured with watercolour.  I was really pleased with how these turned out and with  the detail from the different materials. I would like to try other designs using this technique as I think more detailed images could be created with finer cutting of the foam.