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Who knew that painting over tinfoil could be such fun!

Beginnings

That’s what sketch book play is all about isn’t it? Those unexpected successes.

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I’m really happy with this little piece – I think it captures the feeling of a night in the Djemaa El-Fna (the main square in Marrakesh)

Djemaa El-Fna

It can be a bit of a stressful place with lots of locals out to get your money through one scam or another but it looks nice and twinkly!

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Here’s wishing you a happy Bank Holiday weekend 🙂

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Little Birds_mosaic 1

It feels like soooo long since I’ve immersed myself in a big old painting – I have been painting but more for design as opposed to this kind of ‘get lost for a few days’ type affair.

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And as always after a break in the flow, it’s hard to get back in the groove – I feel like I peck at it, or circle around and around getting a little closer each time. But I knew that was coming so I didn’t fret much about what the end result was going to be and I just got on with airing out the skills again.

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The thing I find hardest is re-building the concentration required for a painting piece – I can think of a hundred little jobs that need doing just before I start, or during, and I have to actively ignore myself so I stay put. It helps to have an audio book on so I just finished Mad About The Boy which was a fun distraction.

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I picked up an old canvas that I had collaged a hundred years ago and then left gathering dust. I didn’t really have a plan (and that shows in places) but I started layering up shapes and colours, popped some little birds in and sort of went to and fro with paper and paint until it felt finished and focussed. Not sure about it over-all but I love some little bits of it and I can feel my flabby painting muscles getting back in shape.

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Little Birds     © Claire Leggett

PS I took so many process photos that I thought I’d make a Flipagram  – come on over to @claire_leggett on Instagram and see 🙂

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It’s Moseley Arts market again tomorrow – was the last one really only four weeks ago?

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Time seems to have condensed itself recently, don’t know if the days just feel shorter because of it getting dark earlier or whether my expectations for what can be done in a day are too great!

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I have been in my painting cave this week re-stocking these hand painted notebooks. They are a labour of love, I’m not gonna lie, but the emphasis is defiantly on love.

claire leggett large notebooks

The painting of these really gets my creative juices flowing for other projects and I just love doing them. Plus I added a ‘belly wrap’ (get me) which just finishes them off nicely.

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9-3pm Alcester Road, Mosley, tomorrow 🙂

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Here’s the other mixed media piece that I began when I was having fun with fluorescent acrylics the other day.

Berry Birds © Claire Leggett

I’ve grown to love the little sparkles of gold or silver that show through once all the painting is complete. I’ve saved this tissue paper wrapping (coral with silver leaves) for years – do you do that too? have something you never want to use? But those fluorescents put me in the kind of mood to just use it anyway!

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I’m not rating this as one of my all time fave’s but you might like it 😉

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Berry Birds © Claire Leggett

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Oh dear, well today isn’t Monday is it? Sorry about that – I’ve been off ill but I am here today with some fluorescent colours to put you in the mood for summer!

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This painting all began with a desire to play around with some new fluro acrylics. I did two bases – I’ll show the other another time because there’s already a tonne of photos here.

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I did give this a bit of thought before I began collaging onto it as I knew I wanted to put birds on a tree.

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I used my Basil Ede book for some bird reference.

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Then it began to get complicated as I painted in some leaves and flowers. I quite like the spontaneity of working like this but when it doesn’t work out as expected, the reworkings can become quite time-consuming, as was the case here.

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I played around forever with the balance of light and dark and when I look back now, I kind of like where it was at here but of course if you’re using acrylic there is no going back and so in the end all the fluro colours got covered.

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Blossom Birds © Claire Leggett

Funny thing  – I can’t remember when I last used red in a painting! Overall I’m happy with these spring birdies but it must have taken a week of too-ing and fro-ing to get it just right.

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And I love these little snippets of close up painting – the shiny bright gold dots….

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The layers of textures and dainty flowers.

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And I’m always a sucker for a pink blossom flower and/or a bird – it is Spring after all.

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seemingly finished

It’s done and dusted now. What a slog though! When last seen the bird was close to being finished and I painted in the plant pot that the orchid was sitting in, sat back and thought ‘why would a potted orchid be sitting in a tree in what looks like a rainforest?’ – the narrative was all wrong. It had to go.

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after painting out parts

This hurt a bit. I had decided in my mind to do it but it was a few days before I could bring myself to. The gremlins were nagging ‘you’ll make it worse’ etc etc.

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 And then once I’d done it, I didn’t have a clear idea of what to do next. I could see the space created but wasn’t sure what to fill it with now. So I side-stepped the problem and spent a day painting foliage in my sketchbook just to see what came about. And sure enough a little leaf painted with a favourite paint brush appealed enough to create the look of ferns growing in the undergrowth.

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before ditsy flowers and butterflies

I felt like the bird needed a focal point so I added some butterflies and a white wash to knock them back a bit and here is Songbird all finished.

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Songbird © Claire Leggett

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Progress on this painting has come fast and slow – parts to hurry towards, things to slow down till they’re resolved – it’s challenging me!

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I always do this – buy a beautiful plant or bunch of flowers because it just has to be painted and then… don’t get round to it until it’s half dead. This beautiful orchid was a mere £2.50 and had to come home with me intended for another painting which just didn’t come together so there was no choice – it had to feature in this painting. But quick because it’s on it’s last legs.

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Although I couldn’t see where I was going with it I forged ahead having a lovely time painting this plant and watching all the lovely unexpected effects of painting over collaged papers. I’m learning to paint using weak mixes and layer up with thicker paint as I go. It means I can keep some of the effect of early layers showing through top painting.

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 I had been playing in my sketch book too as I went, trying out techniques and shapes before committing to the canvas. This seed head came about with a bit of printing from an old credit card and a stamp made from an eraser. I like it – it looks like fireworks in a way.

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I’ve blocked in a bird and begun painting in a tree with yellow leaves but I’m not convinced it’s quite right yet.

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It’s stood up staring at me while I tidy up and try to wrap the odd Christmas present while mulling the problem over. I think  the solution is emerging but I might have to be brave. Back with the finished article soon… I hope!

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orchid_base.

I have been following the urge to dive into a mixed media acrylic collage again. I love/hate doing these – love because it’s freer than my usual approach and much more playful and I get to stick things with glue! Hate – because it takes me ages (most of which is sparring with it – paint something, prop it up, it tells me what’s wrong, I needle over it and then concede.)

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After the first freeform, no plan, washes and collage I dance around starting the piece for proper. I feel scared of spoiling all the lovely accidents that have already happened and of continuing on by drawing on it.

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The idea that proceeding without a clear idea and trusting that it might lead itself scares me enough to eat marshmallows, faff on the computer and generally go through the A-Z of work avoidances.

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Any ways it is shaping up and this is how it’s ended thus far.

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July 2013

Inspired by my own gardening, reading The Adorable Plot and the mini painting class I took with Jenny Muncaster, I spent an afternoon capturing some of my own garden.

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sweet peas, hollyhocks, marigolds, sweet williams and nepeta

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I’m not a big fan of acrylic paints because of the waxy feel and the irreversible nature of them once dry but I am determined to to try and see why other people favour them so I keep having a go from time to time.

July 2013

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purple sprouting broccoli with lovely acid yellow flowers

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I liked Jenny’s technique based approach and so I flicked, masked and dropped water to create textured effects and used painted papers to collage. It is such a fun way to work and makes me think that my normal approach to painting a still life might be a tad serious.

July 2013

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pea canes dripping with pods

I like these for feeling I associate with the creation of them.

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