Monthly Archives: October 2013

Best Moment Award

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I was happy to receive this award from Deborah at Container Chronicles. http://myriad234.wordpress.com/

In accepting the award I have to tell you 7 random things about myself and nominate 5 blogs.

7 Random Things

1. I am more of a countryside, (hills and rivers) girl than a sea-side person. Although I enjoy visiting the coast and beaches,I feel happiest and more at home in the countryside.

2. I once worked as a coach courier taking holiday makers from the UK to Austria on ski holidays.I found this a challenging job in certain respects( see fact 3)

3. I have NO directionally sense whatsoever. It is hard for people to understand that even if I have been somewhere half a dozen times I must have directions written down to find the place again. I have lost my car in numerous car parks over the years, and I am so grateful for the invention of the sat nav !

4. I am a PADI advanced diver. (I only passed the natural navigation part of the course due to the instructors understanding and leniency)

5. My favourite colour is green.

6.In 1988 I lived on a cattle station in the outback of Australia for 3 months.

7. I love watching old black and white movies. When I was a teenager I had pin ups of Montgomery Clift, James Dean and Errol Flynn on my wall, I think lots of girls my age had Donny Osmond, David Cassidy, and the Bay city rollers on theirs.

The 5 Blogs I nominate are

1.http://saidsimply.wordpress.com/
2.http://mauraartist.wordpress.com/
3.http://colourcottage.wordpress.com/
4.http://karmaquinta.wordpress.com/
5.http://sandcastlesinportugal.com/

I hope all the nominees are able to accept this award.

Making jewellery with polymer clay and wire

I have been using copper and brass wire in my polymer jewellery recently.
I had some scrap wire that I had bent wrong when learning to make wire bails, so with my recycling head on, I thought I would use it in some pendants, and brooches. I re bent the wire into organic shapes, hammered it flat and pressed it into the clay.

I have also been trying out ways of attaching pieces to each other with wire, and had another go at bail making (the piece that attaches the pendant to a cord or wire)

Like most( creative) things, the more I played, the more ideas I had, and the more I learned.
It will be interesting to see what else I come up with using wire and clay.

I’ll keep you posted !

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Learning about calligraphy

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This week I have been a bit of a creative butterfly. I have been painting , sewing, making jewellery and practising some calligraphy.
The calligraphy is a new thing.
Although I bought some pens and ink back in April, when I was in England, I have only recently started using them.
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The reason being I am finding the light in my work room quite poor for painting first thing, so I thought I would try out some calligraphy for 30 minutes every morning, and see how I get on. ( it’s tempting to stay in bed a bit longer some days, but I have to say I am enjoying the results I am getting after a weeks practice, so that’s been enough to get me out of bed !)

I love beautiful handwriting, and have always longed to be able to manage a few beautifully written words on the cards I make. My hand writing is pretty messy, so I thought I would see if I could improve it.
I know it is possible to get fonts for the computer and print out what I need, but to my mind it’s not the same

I have started with the UNCIAL(unshall) alphabet.
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WHY UNCIAL ?

1. I like how it looks
2. There is only one alphabet ( no capitals and small letters )
3. I could find a lot of information about it and several free work sheets online.
4. I can use the pens and nibs I have

WHAT I HAVE LEARNED SO FAR

1.Calligraphy is much more enjoyable than I thought it was going to be
2. It is quite a challenge.
3. You get through a lot of paper
4. After just one week of 30 minutes practise I know the basics of how to write in Uncial
5. Although I know how to form all the letters, it is hard to get them looking good
6.When I am concentrating on forming letters, my mind sometimes forgets how to spell.
7. It is hard to get the words spaced correctly on the page, and needs planning.
8. Anyone who wants to improve their handwriting and learn some calligraphy can do so. All you need is a pen, ink, and paper. It does not cost much to get started, and all you need is a small table to work at.
9. There are variations of certain letters, depending on what you read. I tried out the different variations and picked the one I thought looked best .

10. It is a fun way to start the day.

I will continue with the uncial alphabet for a bit longer, and then I want to start learning to write using one of the versions of italic, which will be more of a challenge.

If you fancy trying it, you can print out basic information on forming the letters a practise sheet, and guide lines at http://www.studioarts.net/calligraphy

Go on, grab a pen and give it a go !!

polymer clay upcycled

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I have a big jar where I put my polymer clay pieces that have been cooked. In the jar are pieces I like that are waiting to be made into jewellery, experimental bits that I keep for reference and others are bits that went wrong or did not come out as I hoped .

The jar is now overflowing, and although I was tempted to just start another jar this week , I decided to sort through and get rid of soe of the ” rubbish” instead.

WELL, I tried !

I started by making a pile of bits to throw, a pile of bits to be made into jewellery, and the rest went back in the jar to decide later.

I am a bit of a hoarder when it comes to anything I think I could use again, so it was not a quick process, and it didn’t go as planned.

Before throwing the bits away, I started cutting them up with my craft knife.

Instead of them going in the bin

I upcycled them into cards .

Having a go at a Still Life

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The last week has been a perfect week for staying indoors and painting. It has been rainy and grey, and I was determined to have a go at some still life painting.

I have been “getting round to it “for the last couple of weeks, but have put it off to do other stuff such as my Xmas cards and playing with my calligraphy pens.
Still life painting just didn’t seem to excite me the same as trees skies and water.

What is a still life anyway ?

I sort of visualize dark paintings of grapes, bread and dead hares sitting on a table; accurately painted, but not hitting me in any way emotionally. I see Still Life as the paintings I glimpse in an art gallery when I pass through the Dutch 17th century room on my way to more colourful landscapes or more contemporary work.

I had to get that idea out of my head. So I had a look at some modern still life on the internet. Hopefully I could replace the dingy images of goblets, grapes, skulls, and dead birds that lived in my head with more colourful, fun images.

There were lots I liked. I liked the colourful fruits by Cezanne, the simple calm pots by Morandi, the colourful still lifes of William Selby and I found some quirky still lifes that I loved by a new artist called Este MacLleod.
I liked a still life of a washing up bowl full of dirty dishes, and ones of sweets,and cakes.

After spending too much time looking and reading about still lifes,(was it a delay tactic? ) I needed to choose some items to paint and start.

So what should I choose ?

I picked fruit( literally )
The reasons being
I tend to like natural objects more than man-made
I am surrounded by the stuff at the moment !
I like colourful objects.
I like the idea of painting something that will not be here in a weeks time.
I also thought ( wrongly as it turned out ) that fruit wouldn’t be too complicated, and did not have too many intricate details.

So I started off with some sketches, and played around putting different fruits together on a plate, on a piece of material, and on the table. I lit them from the side to help me see the shadows, and I even played around with a view finder to help me draw the shapes and sizes.
I got rid of the viewfinder though, as I could not work out how to get it in the right position to see through and draw, and stay there without holding it. When I held it, it moved around and I got in a muddle

So after lots of drawing these are the paintings I have managed so far

WHAT I HAVE LEARNED.

1. Simple shaped fruits such as plums are not simple to paint. Getting the shadows and colour tones right is hard work !
2. That even with a light shining on the fruit, the natural light in the room affects the shadows and colours quite quickly.
3.In the 17th century still life paintings, skulls and other objects were incorporated into a painting to give a moralistic message ( often about mortality)
4. Painting from an object rather than a photo, the colours are so much clearer, although the colours changed quickly in the middle of painting, when the sky suddenly got dark .
5. Although I might not want to paint still lifes as much as trees, it is a good way to improve my observation, colour mixing, composition and shading skills.
6. I want to be able to have the skill to draw and paint objects realistically, but I am not interested in making realistic paintings. Hyper realistic is not something that “gets me going”. I find painterly paintings more full of life.
7. I need to try all sorts of painting. I need to paint objects I am scared to paint and to have disasters trying. It is the only way for me to improve.
8. An artists style is more important to me than the subject matter. I found that if I liked a style, I liked it whether it was a still life, a portrait or a landscape.
9. I can appreciate the enormous skill in painting those dark 17th century realistic still lifes, and maybe I need to study them to help me learn, but I don’t want one on my wall.