Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Mixed Bag

I hope everyone enjoyed their Halloween. We had a fairly uneventful trick or treat evening. We only had one tiny little person who was quite unrecognisable as a human being until a little voice piped up "trick or treat". I thought it safest to agree with a treat. Some years we have a flurry of rings on the doorbell and other years we don't have any.

I actually managed to get my linocut finished this week. It has been on the go for quite a while. When I am not sure how to proceed with a particular piece of art I tend to leave it for a while and then go back to it and see if something springs to mind. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. I have pieces of art that I haven't been able to finish for some months. I find, on the whole, it is helpful to go back later and see the piece with fresh eyes.

The Apple Seller
This is a watercolour of a Red Kite that I drew for a friend. I have just added a digital background but the original was on white paper. Getting the feathers right was very tricky but luckily Red Kites have now become very common (whereas once they were virtually wiped out in Britain), and there is lots of reference material around.

This is the linocut I started when I had my little blog "holiday" a few weeks ago. No it didn't take that long to do. I just put it aside because I wasn't sure what to do for the background. I decided a bird on her head would look good. My art motto could be described as "when in doubt draw a bird". I quite like it but I think I may rework the stars. They look a bit clumpy.

Every so often I like to put some of my designs on greetings cards for my and my family's use. This is the latest batch.

I was searching for something in vain the other day among all my art accountrements when I found my long lost charcoal sticks. I used to use them quite a lot years ago but then they disappeared into the great black hole that is my workroom. I can see they were bought years ago because they only cost £1 for a pack of about 20 sticks. Anyway, I decided to give them a whirl and I came up with these two very sultry ladies. I like them for doing spontaneous drawing. Most of my work is very precise and considered and it is good to break the bonds now and again. Mind you I was very dirty after this little effort. Now I remember why I stopped using them - ohh and I didn't find what I was originally searching for either.

This gorgeous graphic illustration by Mikki Rain is one of my favourites. So beautifully designed and great colours.
I found these two great card designs by "Alice Palace" which is a small company producing greetings cards in Evesham in Worcestershire. It is run by two sisters Alice and Liz and the emphasis is very much on fun. The cards have little bits of text here and there and sayings to make people feel happy and lots of magical designs. They have a wonderfully crazy website here and that includes a great blog with lots going on. I shall certainly be visiting again.

Two autumn inspired pieces - the lovely ceramic plate is by Etsy seller SayYourPiece. She produces some great ceramics here...

and a wonderful piece of graphic art by Semen Kapralov entitled Riddle Of Autumn.
I visited a local town's antique shops the other day and one of them features lots of Christmas goodies like Gisela Graham. I love her wonderful figures. There is a large range now and they are all lovely. I couldn't resist this tin Rudoph with his stripey legs and scarf and upright antlers. Here he is with my brass Rudolph that I bought from a charity shop ages ago. They seem to be getting to know one another and I am sure they will soon be firm friends...

and these are two lovely Gisela Graham girls that I bought last year. I have posted this picture before but I thought you wouldn't mind seeing it again as they are so cute.

The trees are all knee deep in their autumn colours now. Lots of beautiful browns, golds, yellows and oranges. These are all views from my locality. I think walking in autumn is the best time of year, perhaps even better than spring. I would be quite content in a world of spring and autumn only. I just wish the gorgeous colours would last longer. The weather forecast tonight is for rain and gales and that will soon bring the leaves off the trees...sigh.

I love quirky - and these pieces by Jenny Southam definitely fit the bill. Jenny creates her ceramics in hand built terracotta which is then glazed. Her characters do delightfully prosaic things like drinking tea in the orchard and painting toe nails. She has a website here with lots of her ceramics on show and a view of her wonderfully busy studio.

Pew Couple With Hearts

Lovers In An Orchard

I found a lovely card whilst out shopping the other day by an artist I am not familiar with. Her name is Lisa Hooper and she is an artist/printmaker who produces beautiful images of wildlife and nature. Her curlews are a delightful linocut and so is the wonderful hare image below. Lisa was born in Hampshire but now lives and works in Dumfries and Galloway - a beautiful area of lowland Scotland which I have visited a number of times. She also creates handmade books, and paper batiks and other forms of printmaking, as well as teaching workshops. I wished I lived up there and could take one of her workshops. You can see what she does on her interesting website here, and there are lots more of her artwork displayed at the Rockcliffe Gallery here.

A Head Of Curlews

Machars Hare
The work below is by very talented artist/printmaker Guiliana Lazzerini. Her work is very varied both in media and subject matter but one theme which is recurring is her love of her homeland in Italy, although she now lives and works in Yorkshire.. The soft, bright colours of her landscapes are beautiful. She also produces monoprints and other monochromatic scenes, and birds feature a great deal in her artwork. You can find her work in lots of galleries if you enter her name into a search engine but her own website can be found here.

Young Dreamer

Birds Watcher

Southern Village

The Messenger

Forest Breeze

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Christmas Is coming...Too Soon

Well Halloween is nearly upon us. Be mindful that the veil between this world and the next is at its thinest on the 31st October. In the UK we put the clocks back one hour last night because British Summer Time has ended. The weather doesn't realise this though. Our temps this week are predicted to be around 20C which is amazingly high for this time of year. I am sure it will change soon and we will get some lovely crisp frosty mornings.

This is my third drawing in "The Woman Who Planted Trees" series. I am planning several more in the months ahead as it is a theme I am very much in tune with. It is pen and ink with digital background etc.

I have finally completed my 2009 Christmas card design. I am quite pleased with the composition. At first it looked a little bare and then I had the idea of putting in a row of trees to break up the middle distance. I think it has worked quite well. Now I only have to get all the cards made...! This is a blackbird by the way, for those of you who are not ornithologically minded. I have to put a black border around my images printed onto white otherwise I wouldn't have any idea where to cut.

The beautiful paintings below are by Suzy Fasht who is based in Devon where she works from her garden studio. She is very interested in gardens and nature with lots of gorgeous patterning detail and fantastic colour. Looking at her art is like a glimpse into another world - fabulous. Suzy has a page full of art like this at Axis here.

Meadow With Daisies

Swan With Luggage

Summer Meadow With Ghost Trees

For some time now I have wanted to get a copy of one of the Ernst Haeckel Art Forms books. I chose his Art Forms In Nature. For those not familiar with his work, Ernst Haeckel was a very eminent German biologist and artist who died in 1919. He illustrated a huge number of animal, sea creatures and nature forms in great detail in connection with scientific research. His artwork is so beautifully detailed and patterned that it has also become a valuable resource for the artist. His art provides an endless supply of patterns for those of us seeking inspiration - and that is probably just about every artist and craftsperson. (The possibility for new tree forms is endless.)

I love the distressed and decayed wood look of Margaret Keelan's ceramic sculptures. Her doll-like figurative forms I find quite fascinating. They remind me of childrens' toys discarded and left out in the garden. She admits to being fascinated by the female form and most of her work has been on this theme. There is lots more to see on her website here.

Woman With Turban
The Girl With The Rabbit
I love any greetings cards with cat pictures on. This beautiful card is by Maren Schaffner who is a German artist. She lives in a farmhouse with her eight cats and two dogs. She obviously has no problems getting kitty models to sit for her. Bottman Design Shop here has lots of her cards. The images are quite small but you can see what a great watercolourist she is. The shop I bought this card from only had a couple of others but there is a large range. (There are two other pages as well).

I thought you might like to see some moody black and white monumental angel photos I have in my archives. All have been photoshopped a bit.

This is my cat Jack who isn't an angel yet, thank goodness, but he is looking very moody and statue like in this shot so I have included him. In fact, he is looking a little bit "witches catish" here. Now I come to think of it, he does tend to disappear around Halloween time...hmmm.

I have long admired the beautiful embroidery of Rebecca Crompton who grew up in the early 1900's and became a teacher of embroidery at the Croydon School of Art. This is a Rebecca Crompton and Elizabeth Thomson booklet which I bought from the Embroiderer' Guild bookstall at the K&S Show a few years ago. It is beautifully illustrated, and unlike my old book below, it is still easy to obtain.

This is the Rebecca Crompton book I was lucky enough to find at the Knitting & Stitching Show a couple of weeks ago. It was from one of my favourite book vendors there called Felicity J Warnes, The Old Bookshop which is actually a B&M shop in Enfield. The stand at the show is very small but they have some lovely old, out of date treasures.

Below are some of the illustrations of her work in the book. It is filled with applique embroideries and lots of her sketches and drawings. The book is dated 1936 and the illustrations are mostly black and white. The embroidery below is called Magic Garden. Interestingly enough I have seen photos of this same embroidery with much paler colours and reversed. I am not sure which is the original orientation.

The images below are all etched by the Scottish artist and printmaker Catherine Grubb. She uses a variety of media to produce her beautifully delicate and detailed work including drawing, painting and etching, and her work is highly collectable. I have illustrated her etchings here, but her pen and ink drawings and paintings are equally lovely. Being a pen and ink artist myself (although nowhere near her ability) I am always interested to see how others handle the medium. Her work is extensively illustrated on The Great Atlantic Gallery site here.

All In Green Went My Love Riding

The Mysterious Garden

The Secret Lane

The Sailing Of The Sea Swallow

The Enchanted Forest