You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2011.
Lately I am soaking up the time that summer holidays from school bring…
…discovering the wonderful world of Pinterest. See the new link on my side bar (to the left, to the left as Beyoncé would say)…
…having the terrible wanties for all of these Wedgwood china teacups…
… getting very excited about the newly decorated bedroom…
…one year after purchase, I am finally loving my new camera and it’s zoom lens especially…
…making myself see this page a month nature diary through (one month to go – hurrah)…
…loving this gorgeous pooch ( the one who jumped a wall which was three-foot on the path side but had a nine-foot drop the other side – no broken legs amazingly)…
…enjoying Birmingham at night and eating at Jamie’s Italian...
… happy to have time to start a new knitting project.
How about you?
One of the upside’s of volunteering to do a clean-up job at school is that you can save the vintage classics from the un-initiated who would have destined it for the junk pile.
I love the nostalgia that these bring and personally think they’d do well in our historical artefacts collection but not everyone values the 60′s/70′s because it’s not yet old enough!
Maybe we could use them to teach about gender – dad has a car and reads the newspaper while mum pushes the pram!
But as illustrations go these are worthy of keeping especially as there is a lot of this kind of work being produced again now.
We do a lot of child initiated learning these days and these would have fitted right in with their ‘get some paper and make a picture’ invitation.
I shall be content to have saved a little piece of history and wait until some kind of inspiration strikes on how to use them.
Unless you have any suggestions?
“Our mandate at 100 Illustrations is to
help market and get your work out in the world.
Our latest Book Project is free to all Illustrators.”
If you fancy joining in the details are here.
It’s free to join in and there are currently 77 places yet to fill so please send the word out across your blogs etc; like they say the sooner it’s filled, the sooner it gets printed and a little extra publicity can’t hurt anyone right? especially when it’s free!
Do you remember back in November when I first made some paper bird house’s ?
Well ever since then one of my friends has wanted me to make her one and since it was her birthday recently I thought I’d make her two.
I made a template of the prototypes in November so it was easy enough to cut out again and the fun part is matching (or mis-matching) the papers.
I have really enjoyed the making of this blanket, i.e. the crocheting of the squares and playing with the colours. The sewing up ended up being a case of mind over matter because it was so boring and tedious! But here it is in all it’s final finished glory. I wish you could feel it because it is a lovely heavy wool and is so snuggly to curl up under. A few weeks back I imagined it being used in October but because of our current winter conditions I have been using it each evening. I cast on some knitting this week. 18 months without two needles – it felt good to put the hook away and knit again, especially from snuggled underneath this.
I often find that when I have a dry spell and hunger for bit of inspiration, then looking to my favourite artists does the trick. I was having one of those times recently when what I really wanted was to jet off somewhere for a cultural experience or a shot of gallery viewing. Second best was an Amazon trawl of books to inspire. I searched some of my favourite contemporary artists and was delighted when this book, Adventurous Watercolours, came up.
I’ve been an admirer of Jenny Wheatley’s work since I saw her at an Art In Action eon’s ago. She was painting at her stand and was so friendly and bubbly and just enjoying herself. There was colour everywhere and when I spied the teacup paintings I started to feel that feeling, you know the one where you just have to join in somehow. It was years until that experience percolated into something tangible for me but I often look to clippings and cards of Jenny’s work for inspiration.
My feeling of Jenny, having read this book, is one of a very accomplished and well taught artist who can talk formally on composition and colour etc, but doesn’t necessarily. She is enthusiastic and energetic. She works with her sleeves rolled up lifting out colours, washing them in, sprinkling pigment directly onto the paper and rolling it in. She dabs and scratches, flicks and paints, blots and stencils.
She bends the rules and breaks a few too. This book is full of rich advice about how and why and just encourages you to have a go and not be precious. She often over-paints mistake paintings or washes the whole thing off in the bath!
Amazingly Jenny hardly ever touches white. She gets the sense of white by blotting out washes so that they glow and by putting in really dark tones around.
She builds her paintings up layer after layer; sometimes as many as twenty. But she has a clear idea before she starts what the composition should be but she does allow the paint to surprise her along the way. She is a fan of wet in wet painting (me too!) which allows unplanned for bleeding of colours.
She uses brush marks to be gestural not accurate representations of a feeling or emotional response. That said she is committed to working on sight whenever she can (even if that means sitting by a rubbish dump) and believes observation and drawing on site is vital in observing what is unobvious or comes as a personal response. Photographs are tools to aid the memory but a direct response is the highest way in her opinion.
She breaks the rules and mixes media and add collage. Although acrylics dry with a slighty shiny surface, jenny still washes over with watercolour pint to get a broken texture.
“Our response to colour is subjective and individual. We see colours differently and this, together with our character, our painting skills and other factors, influences our interpretation of colour. In my view, this response to colour is something to exploit.”
Similarly she is happy once she got a true picture of a still life or building, to play compositionally to interpret, emphasise or reorganize the elements to make the picture say something in a certain way. Layering of colour and marks to build up a mood or composition.
I love her idea of using a square frame and composing squares within squares compositionally.
She gives hints at perspective through layering and brushwork and uses negative space and pattern to communicate to the reader something of the scene.
In fact she has inspired me to get on with a little project that I have side lined for years – so I hope to steam into that later this week. Hope she’s inspired you too!
The other day, on a trip to sunny Norfolk to visit my parents, I happened to be up unusually early for me walking the dog. I love car boot sales but am not easily persuaded out of bed to get to them. However as I was already dressed I popped in and came away with some little lovelies.
These vintage thread spools which are in such yummy colours and named so evocatively. Those four colours are a very inspiring palate.
A handful of vintage cutlery for 10 pence an item. I mean when has anything ever been 10 pence! The stall holder said these were his best seller.
And these two cute cats which I can’t wait to put into a still life and capture those faces!
I came across this recently (from Dana) a really useful blog called artistshelpingartistsblog.blogspot.com. It’s full of really useful advice on a wide range of issues that concern artists trying to get along and make a living. I’ve listened to a couple. They are quite long (70 mins) and the two hosts Leslie Saeta and Dreama Tolle Perry, chat like old friends (which they are!) for quite a little while before the content gets going. But that said it was full of useful stuff.
I listened to the podcast on which are the best art books to buy and so you don’t have to listen (unless you want to) I made a little list as they went along. These are only the ones that are cheap enough to buy – there were others recommended but as they were out of print etc they were way too pricey – but if you want the whole list, have a listen.
Guide to Landscape Painting – J.F. Carlson
The Big Book of Painting Nature in Watercolour (Practical Art Books) – Ferdinand Petrie
The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life – Twyla Tharp
Powerful Watercolour Landscapes: Tools for Painting with Impact – Catherine Gill
Yesterday we took a trip over to Compton Verney to see the new Stanley Spencer and the English garden exhibition.
This exhibition focuses on garden and landscape views captured by Spencer in his beloved home of Cookham. On viewing the exhibition it is amazing to discover just how much he painted from his local environment.
He was well-known quite soon in his life and could have travelled far and wide no doubt, but the bulk of his painting was done in his home village where he became a well-known, eccentric figure.
He particularly liked to explore where nature and building or architecture meet, and would often capture plants boxed in my man-made fences or walls, trees climbing up brick work, new house builds bordering onto countryside.
- He was fascinated by people’s own private haven and what a person’s own garden might say about them and what might lie behind a manicured lawn or tidy flower display. He celebrated home as heaven, seeing beauty and value in the ordinary scenes of life which very often pass us by as mundane.
On scanning the exhibition at a glance I was struck by how dark and brown all the paintings looked. But each painting had its own amazing range of green (from blue to grey to yellows) every brown (from conker to ochre) and then flashes of red and terracotta, not so bright as to stand out but just different enough to warm and lift.
Up close his brush work is awesome (literally). He could paint photo – realistically but often he painted with noticeable brushstrokes which gave the effect of tapestry stitching up close. Some of his paintings concentrate on pattern and the interplay of representing certain fabrics so much so that you look more at what the figures are wearing, than what they are doing.
I came away trying to place why I had felt so up-lifted and why I adore Stanley Spencer’s work so much. I think a lot of it has to with his humble ordinariness; he was a quirky but talented guy who pushed a pram full of his art materials around the village.
There is something endearing about him. But more than that I think his celebration of life where he was living is inspirational. He prompted me to remember to see beauty in the ordinary and look for a wealth of painting content right under my nose.
BTW – all picture plates were found in this book which is much more worth your money than the exhibition catalogue! Just saying.