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)

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.

Inspiration comes when it will….

An unexpected message arrived this morning.  It was from a customer of one of my Etsy shops and included a link to an item that has been made using some of my hand-dyed paper.

Not only was I very pleased to see the lovely item (click the picture to find it) I was also interested to read the description.  I quote: ‘when it arrived I knew it was perfect for my ‘Winter Beauty’ aceo (truth is I was stuck for inspiration until then)’

I know this feeling so well.  Inspiration strikes in strange ways.  Sometimes the finished item is there, in you head, and all you have to do is grab the bits and pieces to put it together.  Sometimes a blank canvas is all that’s needed to allow colour and design to flow into a work of art.  Sometimes… yes, sometimes there is just nothing there…..

Suddenly, however, ‘something’ happens, it could be a thought, a word, a chance comment, maybe even a headline – or just THAT particular piece of paper or fabric.  Suddenly everything comes together and the piece is finished.  I had a similar experience recently.

Pencil and paper are always to hand, and I try to sketch every day.  I don’t manage that exactly, but I do try.  On my table is a pot which holds some ancient seedheads.  They are well past their ‘sell buy’ date, and I suppose I should dispose of them, but they have been a constant source of inspiration.

They are not beautifully arranged, in fact some of them have been removed and just ‘poked’ back in, but that is good – it gives me permission to remove something else and draw it, then replace it wherever it goes.  I never need to search for something to draw – it is always there.  I don’t get bored with the subject because they almost feel like friends, and who gets bored with friends?  I have masses of drawings of the poppy heads.  I have added colour to some, but others are detailed drawings or quick sketches, some in pencil and others in ink.  Some in books, some on scraps of paper stuck or clipped into books, and others on pieces of abaca tissue which are patiently waiting for their next destination.

There are roses too.  Small flowers that started life as a gift from a newborn grandchild.  These have not been professionally preserved – just hung upside down in the airing cupboard  and left to dry out.  I have watched them turn from pink to this beautiful caramel colour.  Who says that decay can’t be beautiful?

This teasel came from the garden of my late mother-in-law.  She died more than 10 years ago, and this was picked before that.  There are a few in the pot, and they are a constant reminder of family and how things must pass.  Don’t put off something that you can do today – you may not be able to do it tomorrow.  Our children would love to play in her garden, full of cottage flowers and very old-fashioned.  It was a delight.

What strikes me most about this collection is the wonderful colour and  texture that it holds.  Even the colour of the leaves has turned to this beautiful dark cream.  No enhancement at all, nature has done its work and continues to do so.  But where is this leading?

Every day I work with brilliant and exciting colour.  Fabrics, fibres, yarns, threads, paper, all are transformed into new colour combinations, but at the end of the day I return to my desk and the quiet calm of neutrality.  There in front of me is my pot, and my sketches continue to overflow!  Last week was no different, I had papers to make and colour, and lo and behold, one really spoke to me.  It was, of course, created by accident!  The finished design was unintentional, but as soon as I saw it I wanted to use it with some of my sketches.

The background ‘spoke’ to me of winter and bare branches.  I was able to do a small series of 4 tiny ACEO’s, but that’s it – no more paper, so the other sketches must wait for more inspiration.  Thanks for sending me the link to your lovely ACEO, SunshineShelle, it provoked this post!

Sometimes it is good to have a large piece of art on your wall, but sometimes, it is perfect to have a piece of art you can hold in your hand.

The three d’s

Well, it’s Monday morning.  It’s dreary, damp and dismal.  That’s just outside, though, inside I’m working with colour, so none of the above words apply!  (Not quite true, some parts of what I’m doing are just a little damp..)

I’m sloshing colour in a profuse manner.  It’s the best way to do it, and it’s how this was produced.

I had great fun creating the paper from which this was cut (more so as I did it at 2.30 this morning!).  Now it is dry and adorning another little book

Of course, daylight would have made a better picture, but it will have to do for now.  My next job is to pop over to Etsy to list it, then I’m back to the dyes and paints and powders.  Today is a day for having fun.  (Although as I didn’t actually go to bed until after 4.30 this morning I may just take a quick nap during the afternoon, ssshhhh)

Just a little bit of fun

I haven’t been well.  I’ve had bronchitis, and it has been painful and irritating.  However, thanks to a dose of antibiotics I am now on the road to recovery.  I should have rested during this time, but unfortunately I had to work.   Today, however, was different.  No alarm, no reason to get up, so what happened?  Well, I expected to wake at about 6 am, the time the alarm usually rings, however, I slept on – and on – and…..  It was after 9.30 when I woke.  I’m sure it has done me good.

I recently re-opened my paperpatches shop on Etsy.  That too had been lying dormant (for over a year) and have been having a little bit of fun restocking it.  As far as I am concerned it is an easy and quick way to be creative.  I love using paper, it stitches so beautifully, and it can become so many things, but I don’t have time for that at the moment.  It is so frustrating to have to quash the creative spirit, so to find a little outlet is great.  I have been using papers made during various dyeing processes to decorate some cards and books, and I have to say that they look much better in real life than they do onscreen.  However, they have started selling, so that’s good too.

This morning I started sorting some papers ready for a few more which I will make during the week.  (I need to feel stronger to punch the holes.)  In so doing I came across this little piece..

Now, here is a quiz.  Can you see the cow’s face?