Sunday, 31 January 2016


I carried on with the fish collage and added a second smaller canvas and lots and lots of fish.
It's is called Big Fish Little Fish - which refers to the canvas sizes, not the fish themselves.

The fish are cut out and stripes and spots added before they are glued down...

Rule of thirds...

More inspiration from Lisa Vollrath's wonderful course, which I highly recommend.

In the rule of thirds, there should be points of interest on the intersections, there should also be a focal point and some kind of linear connection.

The picture above was my first try at applying the rule of thirds , but I think this was very unsuccessful -it is bitty, it had no true focus and the middle is full of random tat!
So I scrapped it and did the one below instead... the figure on the right is a focal point and the juggling figure connects across the spread

I completed this one above one, again using the rule of thirds - although the central figure  is a strong one , the true focus is on the right staring out and the central figure has its back to the viewer. I did a lot of sanding away of the figure, which I like, and the connection across the spread is the text in this case...

These two incorporate the maps and text in the original book into the spreads, again with sanding


The final spread is a bit cluttered but I wanted to use the Modigliani images...

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Glue Books

Oh I have not posted for such a long time :(

However, I am doing Lisa Volruth's Art Journalling course beginning with "glue books".

These are a very immediate form, using magazine images etc and glueing into cheap lined books or, as in my case, old books,  with Pritt Stick.

 I have a book about Africa's Rift Valley, which has some excellent double page spreads which I intend to keep.

There are also maps and diagrams which I shall incorporate into some of my spreads.

I used Vogue primarily, though the last one also has a Times image of a folk festival which I feel is very special.
I use Vogue and other  high quality magazines as the paper is very forgiving and you tend to get page spreads with large expanses of colour. I also use these for my collage work which I have done for many years. The latest are underwater themed.

Jellyfish is finished but I am still working on the fish eyes in the second one.

I have also found as part of another glue book spread that you can distress images which gives a whole new area to develop. I am still working on this one.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Allegorical painting

After finishing the mermaid (and the old quilts I have been restoring), I have been painting.
I took a course on Craftsy  Painting an Allegory: Concept to Canvas with Martin Wittfooth.

This covered use of symbols; then design, using the golden mean, thirds and diamond grids; using Photoshop to construct a layout and transferring this to canvas;  painting using layers and glazes.
I chose elements that are meaningful to me.

My husband and I have spent seven years photographing all the UK butterflies (59 species) and finished with the Northern Brown Argus this year. I thought we would be joyous but instead we feel a bit flat! So we are considering pursuing (only with cameras) native british orchids, moths and/or dragonflies.

The image below is my Photoshopped design for the canvas - the Swallowtail is significant for the sheer elusiveness of it, also the puffins which we finally photographed properly this year at Bempton Cliffs which has provided the basic landscape and rocks etc. I always take lots of photographs so I had a lot of pictures to choose from. Though the puffins  were incredibly hard to spot. Nev and I split up and right at the far end of the path I saw these, which put on a real performance. It was like the Kit-Kat ad where the pandas dance around behind the photographer's back. Poor Nev only really saw orange feet in a crevice in the cliffs.

(However, we went on a boat trip to the Farne Islands in June and landed amongst terns conducting bombing raids on us and saw hundreds of puffins, so we were both happy then).

The next picture shows the drawing  transferred onto the canvas, using charcoal as pencil lines can show through the paint.

Underpainting one, building up the layers using lots of thin glazes

In progress - this is about finished but all on one flat plane

so the tutor, Martin Witfooth suggested picking up some background colour to glaze the puffins to add depth, so this  is the finished version

The course was really intended for oil painters, but the tutor was really helpful and suggested using retarders to slow the drying time. I also used lots of thin, almost  transparent washes using a glazing medium to build up depth.

I am now painting an allegory with guillemots and the Northern Brown Argus.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Finished mermaid

And here she is, mortared into place - looking a bit raw at moment but she will weather

She was fired in two halves and mortared together and then mortared in place - I am disappointed with the colour of the mortar being so obtrusive but I hope it will soften in time. I made a recess in her lap and a drainage hole as I constructed her so that she could act as a planter, so I have added ivy to soften the overall effect. 

An earlier mermaid has weathered well and has a living "foam" of ivy to hide her joins!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Here she is, ready for firing (not the rabbit!) - the tail does join on OK

though it is separate. I would have liked more of a flourish to the tail but thought it would probably get broken

I am making bits of shell and seaweed to go over the join if necessary.

After this I shall make something very very small.