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This year has been a brilliant one for my Hellebores which have quadrupled in size.

I’ve been wanting to paint them for some time but couldn’t bring myself to cut any when there were only one or two flowers – but this year is quite different.

I’ve been playing around painting onto darker grounds than usual and I quite like it. It really helps those whites to stand out and it adds a little drama. These were both acrylics on tissue paper; the latter bringing a lovely dappled background which shone through the paint still.

I love a new discovery!

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                                                       Muscari © Claire Leggett

The last few weeks have been very busy with HB’s 50th birthday celebrations and I had lots of kiddie classes to teach over the Easter break. However Spring flowers wait for no-one so as soon as these bloomed I made sure to grab some time to paint them. I’m glad I did – it turned out alright and was good for sanity and soul!

Yesterday I had the absolute pleasure of running an Expressive Watercolours workshop for Birmingham Carers in partnership with Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery. 

A lovely group of ladies (it turned out, although that’s not a requirement!) enjoyed sometime playing with watercolour, salt, wax and gum resists.

I always love working with people and seeing the breath and individuality of the art each person has in them.

This group was a particular privilege to be with because of the respite it offered them from the caring work they do.

BMAG offer not only monthly session but tea and cake too – if you’re a carer living in Birmingham and want to access the service then I think here is a good starting point : forwardcarers.org.uk

 Protea_© Claire_Leggett

A little painting inspired by the beautiful South African Protea via my local Marks and Spencers!

Yesterday we had such luck with the weather shining down on the Mixed Media Collage Canvas workshop at Winterbourne House and Gardens.

The Old Tool Shed where the workshop was held, is always a vintage cutie in whatever weather but the gardens looked magnificent in the blazing sunshine.

We were able to go around the grounds and draw and then use these drawings as reference in the students painting.

This is Dawn hard at work and the Beehive piece she finished.

Lots of fun was had painting and layering the collage base.

It always amazes me the breadth of artistic vision people have to create something unique given that they all had the same input.

Many chose not to reference birds but had other good ideas for their pieces.

And everyone took home a ready to hang piece of art.

 (*Shauna, you’d gone before the photo was taken – sorry)

 

Angela, this one is just for you 🙂 Thanks for asking 😉

Some more snippets from the pages of my Fish Sketchbook (see previous post) showing bits of pattern exploration, a little painting, rust dying, block printing, collage, string printing, applique and free motion embroidery.

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I’ve been Spring cleaning of late – you know all those little jobs that you put off but need resolving eventually. So I’ve cleared and filed my desktop…dating back two years! collated all my pattern designing files into one place which was a major task and I’m making inroads into clearing out iphoto.

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Which has prompted me to show you what i’ve been working away at over the last few months alongside other painting and design work.

Every 3 months I get a new group investigating textiles at MAC and I like to have a theme to demonstrate the techniques to and to show how you can develop ideas along an idea.

I was inspired by all things fishy when we were in the South of France in the summer and so that was my theme with my last group.

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Above is a demo of open screen direct dye printing – fish scale style.

It’s always good to play around in a sketch book and I generate so many samples that I find it helpful to theme them into a book.

Students seem to appreciate looking at them and getting their own ideas of what to do.

And I love looking at students sketchbooks – one of the best things about textiles is that there is always something new to try or a new way of seeing or applying a technique.

We use a wide range of approaches in Mixed Media Textiles at MAC Birmingham and so I set myself the task of including a piece of all those techniques into one final piece.

An underwater scene lent itself nicely to the many layers of textile applications.

Hope you had an enjoyable Bank Holiday weekend whatever you were doing x

I’m popping in to let you know that Winterbourne House and Gardens have booked me for a day of painting fun on July 2nd. You can view the details here if you’re interested – we will be collaging canvases, having fun mark making and using the beautiful gardens to gather and sketch ideas to paint. And if your worried about your artistic abilities – don’t! I always have reference books and tracing paper tucked away 😉

I’ve also ordered sunshine so that we can eat ice creams and enjoy the grounds!

 

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Half term has been a welcome break in the normal in and out of running classes and has afforded me a block of time to paint. It’s been a while – on day one I had zero concentration for it and had to really plug away but it always falls into place if I keep at it.

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And the slower mornings have meant a cup to tea in bed accompanied by something from my enormous post-Christmas reading pile. Inspiration abounds now.

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This week I hung an exhibition of my work at the Coach House Gallery which is at Winterbourne Botanical Gardens, Birmingham.

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Winterbourne is part of the Birmingham University campus.

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It’s an Edwardian Arts and Crafts house built for the family of John Nettlefold in 1903.

It’s last owner bequeathed it to the University where it became the Botanical Gardens in 1944.

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It’s one of those magical places that has held onto the history of the past and simultaneously successfully embraced the future.

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And my colourful work has ushered Spring in a little earlier than Mother Nature (it’s trying to snow today)

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Exhibition hanging takes patience and stamina (good step-ladder muscles!)

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One of the most fun things to do was fill the glass exhibition case.

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I have laid out sketchbooks, pattern design swatches, an old paint palette, some tubes of paint, brushes, pencils and design work that shows how I use my original paintings digitally.

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It was fun to set the scene.

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And now I’m happily heading off to a restful weekend – there’s a G & T with my name on it!

***

Exhibition is up until 12th March




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