21 September 2018

Busy Times

Well as per usual in my world, everything is quiet, then it all happens, and comes in at the same time.

I had assumed that my local Art Trail was not happening this year, as applications are usually due in during May.  So a surprise in August to get an invite to apply with only around 10 days to deadline.

A change in organisers and the event is much smaller this year, and with short gaps between application, deadline and Trail date.  I settled for using old works.
As always never know where it will be on show until venue is allocated.  So its turn up with work and see what fits.

20th-27th September 2018
Rochford Art Trail
Venue 12 Beehive Tea Rooms
South Street

22nd/23rd September 2018
Art Exhibition and Sale
Village Hall
East Hanningfield

and others and some portfolio pieces

In another week’s time I can judge the benefits of either.  Meanwhile I’ve heard about another Art Trail, which may take a different format next year.... seems many are having a rethink.

Oh and as well as the above, my name was selected to receive and review a book.  I have to put the review on Amazon.

09 August 2018

Preparing for New Projects

So the endless hot days here are making it so anything is hard work.  We are not used to such here in the UK.  I even questioned if the radiators were on, as they felt warm to the touch.
The room where my stuff pending creativeness stash is kept is South facing, so its mega hot.
Anyway thinking the best way to get myself in a better creative thought process is to sort and tidy a cupboard not touched in years.  So here it is - boxes have been done, but all of this has to go back in its place, but way too hot to do that.  Today we've got rain predicted all day.

So I need to get ready, as I think there will be updates to the creative diary, as in new things and new deadlines.

One of these came about this past weekend.  Something which I had thought wasn't taking place this year, suddenly there's an email, a deadline 10 days away and an event a month away.
But, but but.... of course, it clashes with something else...
There must be something about certain weeks in a year, as I often find there is nothing for weeks or even months on end, and then suddenly two or more things crop up for the same date.

Its my local Embroiderers' Guild meeting this coming Saturday - I volunteered to help with any stitches people struggle with.  One which often crops up is French Knots.  I've stitched one or two....

23 July 2018

The Plain Box Society

A short while ago I answered an invitation to participate in a project based in the USA.  The idea being that each person was to decorate a 3" square kraft card box utilising two stencils from the collection of StencilGirl®
I belong to the Stencil Club (and have been chosen to be a Stencil Voice in the past)  details of the Club can be found here  - I get so much pleasure when that envelope arrives every month with goodies.

To the project...
Being in the UK it was not feasible to use the same box as everyone else
I made my own - 350gsm kraft card

Next I painted with white gesso

I knew one stencil I wanted to use and so masked off areas using sticky notes

I had delayed making, because I had so many ideas, and they were getting in the way of actually doing anything.  I settled on wanting also to use a particular paint effect
Pebeo Dyna Acrylic - it is two coloured, this means it shows up differently on white to black.
So after auditioning I settled for using a StencilClub stencil
by Julie Snidle with black paint

Mask removed

I also auditioned the Dyna paints but the one which I found to show up the colour change the best was the Violet/Blue No. 356, painted over entirety

The stencil which had been in my mind from the beginning was a circle one from the founder of StencilGirl® - Mary Beth Shaw
Used with a sparkly gritty paste - Granite Paste by Cosmic Shimmer
The lid is Gran Perla and the sides Black Pearl

And here we have the result

You can find blog posts from other participants here:

17 July 2018


I am pootling along with arty things, but not for sharing, for some considerable time to come.

However, during the course of my top secret endeavours I decided I needed to have a play with my Flower Loom.
Now it should be in a drawer I says... him indoors helps me look. Its yellow I says.  Him indoors finds it - is this it?

As you can see, not yellow - but in my defence, I think I was recalling the one I had as a child, and that was definitely yellow.
The last time I used it was to make this...

Made from wire

This is the second thing we've turned the house upsidedown looking for, last one was a RED sketchbook, which turned out to be Blue.  Ooops.
I also tried to find some part done course work - but can't, may be I decided to start over and threw it away. It will be safely in an orange folder which turns out to be green!

Back to the drawer of hidden delights from long ago.  I knew this was in it, so out it came for a play - do you know what it is/does?  No points for saying a Thunderbird.

Its an Easy Punch

This particular version is battery operated.  I was reminded of it, because I've seen brand new ones launched as a 'new tool'.  I've had this since around 1980.  Effectively it punches through the fabric and leaves little loops of thread.  From my memory, unless you are careful, they all pull out again.  Its a bit like another lethal tool I own, never to be used - Tambour Hook.
So after finding the above and watching YouTube to remember how to thread the thing - tool yes, instructions no - its obviously died of old age.  No life was to be found in it.  So I might keep the needles, as it might work by hand, if I can be bothered, and the needle threader which is about 5" long, sure I will discover why I ever needed one of those.

Now if only I could remember what the gismo was which mother bought in the 70s, like a knitting machine but only 10" long - back in the days when K-Tel and Ronko brought out all these 'must have' bits of nonsense.

14 June 2018

Late Spring Clean

A couple of days back, I came onto this blog, going through the info to be found on it, updating.  I always change the date at the top of the page when I've done any editing, so viewers can tell if there is anything new.

Today, armed with...

I've shut myself away for two plus hours and played with my website.  The majority of it is cosmetic, adding a fresh look to it.  The images etc could well do with updating and re-organising, but I've run out of tea now, so think that's a sign its enough for one day.
If you would like to, please take a look, by clicking here - and if you find any typos or obvious errors do let me know.
Thank you.

31 May 2018

Little Makes

Mhmm, I think I live in a time vortex, blink and lost days, ha weeks.

Domestically I'm not in a routine which is conducive to intentions, and there is a lot of "today I'm going to..." and it gets sidetracked, 5 minute tasks taking hours, and the wretched Data Protection stuff, not only having to answer endless emails for myself, but sorting things for organisations I belong to.

For the first time in years I'm not participating in any Art Trails.  Not all of my making.  Having done so and enjoyed the whole process, I feel a bit lost over it all.  So I've been looking around to see if there are any other opportunities.

I have come across one, which is open to me, because I've enquired, but is also an entirely new process, to me.  One of these display work for a weekend and people buy there and then. Applications aren't open yet, but its on my radar.

I am also making something for a US based project, which I hope to share on the blog later.

I have finished off a couple of little pieces made at my Embroiderers' Guild Branch meetings.

First one, we had an afternoon inspired by Lynn, using scarves found in charity shops.  Lots of variety for end results.  I picked up some pieces and a single A4 piece of Khadi paper and made this:

Tore the paper in half, joined it back together and added some scrunched fabrics to make this little sample book.

Our most recent practical workshop was led by Jo - stitching on paper.  Now that makes my heart sing!
Lots of options, this is my finished piece.

Not how it originally started.I did some stitching on the map, but didn't like so cut it off.  I then cut out the paper flowers from the printed paper and stitched those on.
I've always wanted to paper cut a map, and having seen someone else do it, I decided to do that to remainder of my map.  As luck would have it, it fitted back together with the piece I'd stitched on.  So coloured in the patterned paper and overlaid. Not much by way of stitching, but several techniques.

Most of the group stitched parabolic curves, but I've already done several of those, take a look.

03 April 2018

More Alien Hunting

Following on from last post.  This section of the Wanderlust course has been about people/portraits.  Totally alien to me as mentioned. I missed out the lesson on drawing a realistic face, I know its more about observing etc but not for me.

So watched the last lesson in the series and its a SELF PORTRAIT - not really super realistic and involved using some out of the ordinary colour.  I was hesitant, there will be an alien by the end of this one, for sure.

I don't do photos, its a very long standing almost phobia.  To say it makes me feel sick, hot, heart racing, tearful to have my photo taken is an understatement.  I usually get past this by being the one who volunteers to take the photos.  I'm trying to get better about it

I was supposed to take a pic, with eyes closed, turn the photo to black and white to show tones and then paint it.
Now even without the blotchy face from a cold, and the extra large suitcases under the eyes still looked like something from a horror film.

However, I have blue eyes, so decided needed a bit of contrast, so kept eyes open.  Also decided that as there were unusual colours in the painting exercise, using the computer and a paint programme with various effects wouldn't be too far a step away.

So my plan, get on with it, fast.  Take photo, alter it, share it, phew.  Big step but quick like ripping off a sticking plaster, walk towards the thing which scares you.  So here it is, not the painting/drawing exercise as required, but a lesson in grasping the fear, getting on with it and doing.

A n d..... I suspect this is the first ever selfie ever shared.  Not likely to be a habit either.

25 March 2018

Looking for the Alien

What a mixture has happened since last writing.   Most of it is general ups and downs of an artistic life, so not very exciting, but better in one hit.
I was due to attend another Mixed Media course.... but it was cancelled because of low turn out.
But whoops I took my refunded class fee and spent it on art goodies.

Good news I won a set of stencils by 'liking' on Facebook. I need to have a play with those, bit of monoprinting I think.

I've gotten behind with the Wanderlust course.  Its not that I've been too busy, quite the contrary, but rather I've been fighting the lessons.  Couple of them are not me, and so I was going to do something 'inspired by'.  No pressure, of course I could... but even that was proving unsettling.
So eventually I decided, what are you learning by avoiding, or doing an alternative?  Why not also learn from actually embracing the thing you find tough?  So soon back on track doing the lessons as asked, or nearly so.

bit of a spooky muzak.....
Saw some images on Facebook, of people who 'can't draw' turning out exquisite images.  Found myself yearning for the same.
The truth is I spent two years in drawing lessons, I can do enough for something to be recognisable

what I still can't do is the recognisable quick sketch. (remember it took 2 years of weekly lesson to get to this!) 

My mind sees things like a detailed photograph, pencil in hand, its like a fly with inky boots walked over the paper.

Drawing also gives me a raging headache, I concentrate so hard, its not a pleasure.  So once again thinking, but I'm an 'abstract artist' is it any wonder realistic work is a struggle.  I am the person who did the 'drawing a day' project which was popular years ago, which soon evaporated into paint splodges and textures.
This is my comfort zone.

Still on catch up, imagine my horror to watch my next Wanderlust lesson and find it involves drawing people.  Yikes.  Last time I constructed anything other than stick people was 20 years ago.  So the lesson reminded me of the 'formula' for drawing faces, a bit more reading and I had a go.

Shocked, I did this, and it doesn't look like an alien.  Now don't ask me to make a face which looks like a known person, but I've stunned myself.  No wonder its being kept and stuck in my sketchbook.  Got to keep the evidence I did it, at least once!

Back to my comfort zone I've signed up for an art project based across the pond, couple of definites as to the what and including, but otherwise free to do as I wish.

I'm going to go back to this kind of thing, but with a layered look.  Our EG Branch is making Travelling Books.  I'm not doing the 'travelling' bit, but am using the book to do my own thing.  Sorted my design inspiration, now to play.
I call these 'pretties' because they have no thinking, no design to them, just play and do.
However, I should make myself feel they have more value by describing them as "intuitive art".
There's a thought to mull over.....

19 February 2018

Essex Round Up

Gosh, I thought it was just Pinterest which snatched time, but looks like bloggyland has evaporated weeks as well!

I've been doing a lot of playing research on the likes of Pinterest.  Beginning of the year I wrote myself a list of arty things I'd like to explore this year, some of them are commitments to organisations/events, but still I've been trying to work out how to do what is needed, with what I want.
I couldn't settle, and I suspect its because the end solution wasn't the right one.

However, I've now got a good idea of directions to take, things which match my initial ideas, which ways to take them forward, and finally feel comfortable.  There's been lots of yes...oh... no.  As lots of this involves looking, reading, exploring, there isn't anything tangible to show for all this effort.
I haven't quite been lollygagging..... (hint towards my decisions)

Bandit - blogs need cat pictures

I've not been unproductive - keeping up with Wanderlust 2018. Some of the lessons have hit, right when a similar topic/technique is in my mind.  Other things are being sidestepped into a nod towards the weekly project, rather than slavishly following.

This technique appeared, but as I've already made, its not something I feel need to immediately explore.

I had a surprising afternoon, where in quick succession there was an email, ting, barely read it, when ting, a text appear, and then ting Messenger sent me something.  All of them art related, all of them unrelated, but requesting a 'can you'.  That's how it is, completely quiet, or everything hits at the same time, or ends up with deadlines for same month.  All of these 'tings' have been resolved or are in process.

So that's a little resume from the bottom of Essex, all that remains is to have another cat picture.  As they say blogs get more hits for furry friends, than legitimate content.

Spike - think he's broken!

20 January 2018

A Little January Colour

Its another dull grey January day here, so let's have some colour.

I have joined in (again) with Wanderlust 2018  for January the theme is Pathways - the first lesson is a personal pathway, road, journey.  I decided I would log the types of home I've lived in, only 7 homes, but 4 different types - this is a more unusual one.

Yes, for a year I lived in a blue caravan

At our last Embroiderers' Guild meeting, we had a guest tutor, Kirsten Yeates, who gave us all a practical afternoon in silk painting. This is what I made, I choose simple shapes.

I added the lines when I got home, with watercolour pencil
because that's the set of pencils to hand!

Having promised myself not to keep buying books, given book case collapse in middle of night, I have been good and made use of the library.  However, reading the blog of Karen Ruane, sigh, and seeing my friend Sue's posts about it, my fingers twitched and I hit the  'buy' button.

Its not a book about lots of different stitches, and if you know embroidery likely you will know all of the ones mentioned.  However, it is about construction of the stitch, and that is what appealed to me, especially as I have made my own grids etc

My promise not to buy more books isn't really working, given I have 2 more on order.  They are not creative books though, so won't go in 'my' bookcases, so don't really count, do they?
Oh.... I might just tell you about the Sketchbook I ordered too, another time!

05 January 2018

2018 Already!!

Happy New Year

Here we are already good way through first week in January.
Last year was quite full on, lots achieved and done, but not always to my personal satisfaction.  Record keeping of all sorts has gone amiss, inc in blogland.
I won't say its a Resolution to write more, but let's just say the intent to do is there.

2017 saw
The Material Girls with FOUR Exhibitions
John Harle at second venue
Essex Environment shown at two venues
and a very successful Exhibition Goodnight Children Everywhere

held a very successful Exhibition
then there was the National Day of Stitch
which was packed out all day
and I received a Certificate for being a Member for
25 years.

On a personal level
Once again had work in Rochford Art Trail

September, October and November
saw attendance at Workshops
Art Van Go
Seth Apter
Dali Graham

Phew, a lot there,
2018 may be a quieter year as lots of organisations seem
to be taking a break.
I do have plans and commitments to things, and await notifications of
any new opportunities.