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To everyone who visits here, have a very happy food, family and faith filled time. Thank you for enjoying my blog. For those of you who comment, an extra special thank you – you keep me going and I really appreciate your support and hearing from you. If you visit and don’t comment; how about putting it on your new year resolutions list?!! I’d love to hear from all my visitors. Best wishes for 2010 everyone. Wish me luck travelling the height and width of the country in the snow! See you in the New Year. Claire x
This is my first Christmas with a blog and it’s a funny thing when you’re working away secretly on stuff but can’t post about it. You may have thought I was being lazy but no! Here is one cat that’s out of the bag now so it’s safe to show you.I’ve been making aprons for a while now (have a look here for more) but this is my first teen apron! The lovely Babooshka fabric came from Holland House Fabrics.
Another cat set free was this. I’ve shown knitted cupcakes before but these were given on a little cake stand from Laura Ashley and are great for helping to keep New Year resolutions because they are calorie free!!
Where to begin with the story of this painting…I bought these bulbs on a day when I was fed up with winter, dark mornings and nights and Christmas coming! I put them in the unheated downstairs toilet to wait for me until I was ready and able to paint them. They didn’t though. They grew hard and fast and ended up pushing themselves off the window ledge, breaking the bowl and falling into the toilet in the middle of the night!!
That prompted me to paint like there was some kind of emergency and in doing so I broke the rules and painted the blooms before the background – naughty I know but I knew they wouldn’t wait. And they didn’t as the above photo shows, the following morning I came in and found they’d grown floppy and fallen onto the painting. So to add to the colour difficulties and the background after fore ground challenge they now they weren’t in the same position as I’d drawn them – ahh!
I thought of ditching it then and there but I don’t like to be beaten. So here is the final piece – not my best, not my worst!
As my blog is not about BMX bikes or PS3 games there is no chance that my 14 yr old will ever look at it so it’s safe to show you this bit of Christmas crafting pre-Christmas without ruining any surprises!
Charlie saw one of these on display at the Sew Hip stall at The Vintage and Handmade fair and requested one for Christmas. Wow! My boy, teenager, mini man, wants his mum to make him a cute cuddly toy! I had to make that happen despite having the worst cold virus I’ve had in years – this moment may never come again. Any suggestions for a name?
Well here it is at last! Sorry for the delay – I’ve been knocked out with a really bad cold and just couldn’t get all this together until now.
There’s a tipping point in every painting where you’re more than just started but not yet nearly finished. I’ve thought I was at that point several times in the last 3 days but this painting has required perseverance and stamina!
Normally there is a system of layers to complete – the under washes, the background in detail, the front ground in detail and the final highlights is pretty much the drill. But these hydrangea’s (that I never want to see ever again!!) needed under washing (twice) deepening the colours each time and still that didn’t quite cut it. So then I decided that mixing the paint while wet on the paper and letting the tones bleed into one another, would best represent all the colour and texture of these papery leaves. And it did… almost!
After a critique with Mr L last night (well he did used to be an art teacher) he suggested another layer of detail was needed to bring the flower heads into 3D (I knew that all along but was avoiding it!) So I’ve been all over it again today deepening tones, sharpening highlights and painting in the spindly little lines of the leaves. And I’m pooped! But pooped in a good way – like when you go for a run and come back heaving but find that next time you’ve got more stamina and feel that you could go a little further. Who thought painting was easy ?!
(Final painting to follow when the light’s good enough for photography.)
Today I am distracting myself with some non-painting Christmas gift crafting! Can’t say too much about it yet. I’m giving my painting eyes a break today as I got the colour’s wrong yesterday – so the hydrangea’s are going to need some bringing around tomorrow in order to save the painting. Dramatic eh?!!
My pent-up painting energy seems to have buoyed my ambition, resulting in the creation of a killer still life. It might not look so from these photo’s but there are at least a zillion colours in those hydrangea’s.
But first how to draw them! Endless amounts of curled up shapes that you wouldn’t recognise as petals. I had to label some of them so that I could still see which drawn shape related to which part of the plant! Even so by this morning they had continued to curl and bore little resemblance to yesterday, so I’ve been free styling anyway!
My mother-in-law is a fantastic and very committed gardener so I was dead chuffed when she offered to cut some hydrangea flowers so that I could dry them and paint them. I’ve been trying to creep past them invisibly so that they would stop reminding me that I had said I would! I could see the problems ahead but I did promise…
The background is a fab piece of gift wrap that I bought in Washington DC (name dropping darling!) from a shop called Paper Source.
As for restoring my sanity with a few hours of painting…the tally so far is 10 hours and it’s not finished yet! But I’m happy as a pig in muck!
I feel like I’ve been running a cross country race meeting various deadlines of a work, birthday and lifestyle nature. Last week, in order to keep my sanity intact, I reluctantly gave up my painting to spend the time beginning to climb the mountain of paid work I had to achieve by yesterday. I hate it when the rhythm of my life gets broken like this but couldn’t put it into words until I read this from this wonderful, soul saving book.
Title; Carving Out Time For Personal Pursuits That Bring Contentment”
“It is the soul’s duty to be loyal to its own desires.” Rebecca West.
“..the house calls to us. The children call to us. The work calls to us. When, then, does the painting or the poem call to us? Space and time to nurture our creativity may be one of our authentic hungers…if we took an hour a day to paint, to plot, to throw pots we wouldn’t be in pain – physical or psychic.”
And that’s the fine balance that gets disrupted. So I’m trying with a will of iron today to not shop for groceries, hoover up the clods of fluff or go and buy Christmas presents until I have restored my body and mind with more than an hour of painting.