sketch book

Do it Yourself

What do you do when you run out of Gesso?

Make your own!

2 parts PVA glue
1 to 2 parts pigment. (I use either black or white acrylic paint)
2 parts talcum powder. (Baby talc works too)
1 to 2 parts water. Use enough to create the consisteny you need.

Mix everything together. Keep mixing until it’s smooth. Use a container that you don’t need to re-use for food.

Just Snaps
365 days of Colour

The (im)perfect answer

Yesterday I told you that I was  looking forward to some crafty time with my little grandson.  Well, we did have fun, and here’s a bad photograph to show you how we got started

This poor quality snap was taken without him realising, and it would have been impossible to do so later on in the session, so this is all you will get.  The page is about a quarter of the way through, and he painstakingly completed it and then two more.  Such concentration!  He learnt the important difference between firm and gentle too, and I was amazed at how he continued with that during the whole exercise.

So, he now has a new journal – and proof that he can make purple, green and orange.  He was delighted to see them transform before his eyes, and couldn’t wait to pass on the information to his little sister.  She was more interested in his wellington boots, however, but did show some interest when told they were made from blue and yellow!  (Again, apologies for the bad picture)

The comments on yesterday’s post posed an interesting point, and I’ll endeavour to throw some light on it.

Mike10613 said ‘I’m confused now. First I thought how does a television do all the colours when it relies on RGB (red-green-blue) as it’s primary colours. then I thought red and yellow make orange, but your red look pink to me. then I thought. Am I colour blind?’

Yes, television does use RGB, but we weren’t using technology.  We were using pigments, and the primary pigments are red, yellow and blue.  If you think about  the inks printer use (which are used to produce colours on paper and not on a screen) – you will see magenta, cyan and yellow, magenta is a type of red, cyan a type of blue, and yellow – well, that’s yellow!  LOL.  So these are the types of colour we used.  All these pigments can be combined to make the colours of the rainbow and more.  They can be mixed to make the secondary colours, green, blue and purple (that’s by just mixing one with one of the others) or further mixed with both in varying quantities.  Hopefully this helps with the question.  If you need further clarification, just ask.

Incidently, every monitor interprets colour differently, so the colours that you see on the screen may not exactly match the colours we used.


A fun exercise

I’m not sure if those that embarked upon it would exactly agree, but in restrospect it will seem like fun!  Ten days ago I published the first in a small series of drawing exercises.  Today the next step is published, so take a look later in the day to see it.  If you decide to join in – don’t miss the first step, it really is important, so is doing it every day.

Each step takes 10 days.  Why 10 days?  Apparently this is the ideal length of time to begin establishing a habit.  The results of the last 10 days should be fun – they can’t be good, that’s the beauty of the exercise, and if truth be told the results don’t matter – no-one is going to judge!

Work in Progress

You will think that’s a strange title as I have nothing of consequence to show you at the moment.  However, I was reminded of something earlier today and I thought I would tell you a little story.

There comes a point in most pieces of work when you are finished!  Sometimes, however, that isn’t the case, you just aren’t sure if you should add something else.  It is so easy to overwork your art at this stage, so the best thing you can do is stop….

Then what?

Well, I live with mine as it is for a while, it stays either on the design wall or desk and I keep looking at it.  Sometimes I’ll just place another element on top and walk away for a while, it can be removed and replaced with another – or will help me to decide that ‘that’s enough’.  I think everyone has their own way of handling this, and I’d love to know what you do.

However, a former tutor assured me that this was the way forward:
1 Get copies of your work (easy to scan now – then it was a case of taking it to the printers and getting expensive colour copies!)
2 Hide them in unexpected places. She suggested underwear drawer, kitchen drawer, back of the settee, on the window so that you saw it as you drew the curtains
3 I’m sure you get the idea…..

Well, first get your copies!  This was over 20 years ago, and we didn’t have a printer in town.  The only time I ever did it was really costly – fuel to get there (the nearest place to get colour copies was about 15 miles away) – car parking (it was the most expensive parking in the whole of S E England) – and the copies were £5.00 each, which at the time was extortionate.  I managed to persuade the printer to reduce the size slightly which meant that two images could be printed instead of one, but that only left me with four images – and I’d been told that ten is the perfect number.  The journey home was eventful too.  A lorry, travelling in the opposite direction, had left a rope swinging at the rear of his vehicle.  It swung just as he passed – right into my windscreen, so now I was covered with glass and stuck at the side of the road!

No mobile phones then, of course!  (Well, if there were, I didn’t have one).  It was a walk to a phone box to arrange a new screen, and of course it began to rain on the way back.  DH was not pleased when I got home, especially as I eventually decided to hide one of the prints in his sock drawer so that he could give me his verdict too!   To say that I didn’t find the exercise helpful is putting it mildly, and did I repeat it?  I’ll leave that to your imagination.  Of course, it would be easier now with scanners and appropriate software on most computers but……

So, what do you do?  I’d be interested to know.  I follow several blogs by email.  It’s lovely to be able to read them when I’m not online, and I do like to switch off the computer every now and then!  I try to go to the website to comment too, but don’t always have time for that.  One of the blogs I follow inspired this post.  It’s worth a look, so pop over here and take a peek.  Oh, and if you missed the reminder yesterday, don’t forget that I’m doing this TV thing on Thursday.  More about that here.  (Sorry to keep on about that, but if the viewing figures are good they might even ask me back, LOL)

New Tutorial

From time to time I add a new tutorial to this site.  I did so again on Sunday.  It relates to a little ‘workshop’ featured here.

It isn’t a technical workshop – well, neither is the tutorial, but both are intended to get you using bits and pieces that you have around the place, and to use a skill that you probably didn’t know you had.  I’d love to know if you do either of them, or use them in another way.

By the way, I’ve also announced a couple of new online workshops for which registration will soon open.  Details are here.

Playing around.

It’s surprising what a couple of squirts will do!

I’ve been playing around in readyness for the rest of this tutorial.  Thought you might like to have a go too, it does help to focus the mind, even if it seems as though it’s a ‘bad’ week.

Playing with colour

Scribble on paper a few times using the media of your choice (I used Shiva Paintstiks).  Scan it, then choose an area and copy and paste it a few times.  (You can even do that in ‘Paint’ if you don’t have a graphics program.

Almost instant design!

Go on, give it a try.

Oops, I’ve gone all wrinkly

I have to admit that as soon as I committed to a post a day I felt that the decision was rash.  How on earth could I find time to write something of interest every day for the next year?  Would anyone want to read it?  Were my views actually of any interest or import?  As each month has passed I’m astounded that I’m ‘still here’, but also astounded at how my feelings about that decision have changed.

Firstly, the time aspect.  It doesn’t take long to type two lines, and even less to upload a photograph or picture, so if you are thinking that you don’t have time to blog – even on a weekly basis – your argument has just been shot down!

Secondly, my readers.  They’ve arrived!  I don’t know how I’ve collected them all, but I can see from the stastistics there are are several that come on a regular basis – and more have subscribed by email, so I needn’t have worried.

Lastly, are my posts of interest?  Well, I can’t answer that.  What I can say, though, is that I’m now not writing because I think my readers’ will find it interesting.  I’m actually writing because I want to.  I’ve also found that my creativity in other areas has responded.  I’ve found that I have a new impetus to create a small piece of artwork a day.  Nothing grand – with the emphasis on ‘small’.  Here’s a recent one.

I’m enjoying it, and surely, that’s all that counts!  (But thank you very much for reading, and please come back!)


The thing about inspiration is that it comes when it will, and nothing can force it!  Sometimes things lie dormant for weeks, months or even years before the moment of ‘birth’ arrives.

When I was a child we lived in Surrey.  One of our favourite places to visit was Newlands Corner, a spot on the North Downs.  There are lovely walks here, and stunning views.

It was a favourite picnic place, and this tradition has been continued even though we no longer live in the county.  We visited with the family last year to survey the scene and enjoy each others’ company.

While wandering I noticed a particularly bright and beautiful patch of lichen.  I couldn’t resist a photograph, even though the family thought I was mad!

Today inspiration struck.  Here is the little mixed media piece that materialised.

Just a little something for my journal.