Friday, January 28, 2011

Animal Antics And Interesting Art And Craft

I have had a very busy week this week and therefore haven't achieved as much as I would have liked. I start the week with grand plans and 80% of them come to nothing. At the end of the week I am quite glad to have achieved 20%. How our goals change when the circumstances alter.

This is a delicate little pen and ink called Birds In A Strange Garden... and here is a detail from it

Some of you may remember me starting this scraperboard of Abby back in July here. I haven't made as much progress as I would have liked, but I am almost afraid to touch it for fear of ruining hours of work. I must get it finished though. It is a slow, painstaking process but I am sure I will get her finished...one day.


I thought I would include this photo although it is not good due to the distance but we thought it was very amusing to see these horses all with their backs to the hedge as if they are getting ready to start a race. I do have another photo where another horse joins them in the same position. I suppose they must have had some protection from the biting wind.


Below is the work of English artist/printmaker Angela Harding. Her work is immensely popular and I have several greetings cards with her images on. Needless to say I don't send them to anyone. Angela is from the Midlands and is inspired by nature, flora and fauna. Birds are a recurring theme in her work and very beautifully stylised - always the best way. There is lots to see of Angela's work on her website here and also on the Serena Hall Gallery site here.

Black Bird And Berry Print


Hare, Field And Stream


There is a local community book area near to where I live. People bring in books and magazines and volunteers sort them and shelve them and keep things tidy. It is actually housed in a covered yard area but gates are shut at night to prevent vandalism. The books and mags are dirt cheap but you can pick up some great old books sometimes. I found this early copy of Far From The Madding Crowd and was really taken by the cover. It only cost me 50p but I think it was worth it for this lovely Lola Fielding illustration. It looks like woodcut or maybe scraperboard as a lot of book illustrations are done on this medium. Anyway I have tidied it up a bit in Photoshop to take out most of the crease lines and I am quite pleased with the result.



Here are a few of the hundreds of sheep photos I have taken over the past few months. I cannot resist photographing sheep. There is just something about them that fascinates me.

Below is a rather handsome Jacob I saw recently. A spot of sunshine works wonders.

This poor little lady looks like she has been involved in an explosion in a poo factory. I think this is the sort of fleece you get if you stand too close to a tractor revving in a very muddy field...hmm.

This one is brave to stare. Mostly they turn and run when they see me approaching. I have more photos of sheeps' bottoms than anyone else in the country.


These gorgeous and cleverly detailed whimsical creatures are the creations of American jeweller and artist Robin Wade. She believes in recycling and repurposing as much as possible and uses silver, typewriter keys, buttons and all sorts to create her angels. I love their names and the titles she gives her pieces. You can find Robin's little angels, and other pieces, in her Etsy shop here and also on her website here, where she also displays her exquisitely painted little faces. A very talented lady.





This was the scene I thought would make a lovely photo on our geocache walk last week....

but who are these two and what on earth are they up to? Well we thought a cache might be hidden inside the footpath sign (they sometimes are), but the only way to get to it was double human height. Luckily no one happened to pass at the time or they may have been a bit of explaining to do. I didn't offer to look as I am not good with heights...haha and no, it was hidden in a totally different place.



My eye was caught by these amazing patterns on the inside of bark and I had to stop for a photo. At first glance they looked a bit like tooled leather but on closer inspection they turned out to be the damage created by the elm bark beetles and the fungus spread by them which wrecked such havoc on British trees from the 1960's onwards. The sad thing is that this damage is recent. The elm bark beetle is still here and still destroying elm trees. When the trees reach a certain height they fall prey to the fungus spread by the beetles. There is lots of elm in the hedgerows of the countryside and it remains as long as it doesn't grow into a tree.



Natalia Moroz is a wonderful printmaker with a well deserved international reputation. She has a fantastic sense of graphic style, line and colour. She studied graphic design and illustration in Uzbekistan but now resides in the USA. She has a lovely website here with a huge number of very varied artworks. She is married to another artist who also creates jewellery and has a young son who is a very competent linocut artist, so there are three websites in one to browse. You can find her Flickr site here and her Etsy shop here where she sells her and her son's prints and her husband's jewellery. What a creative family.

Along The Bridges And Canals


Winter Branches


Bird Catching


Eve


Scent Of Lilac

26 comments:

Old World Primitives said...

Hi Cathy,
I feel like I just took a relaxing country getaway after reading and looking through all of the beautiful photos in this post!

And I can definitely relate to your 80/20 situation - I seem to have quite a few weeks like that lately. I really like Birds In A Strange Garden, and am simply AMAZED by your scraperboard of Abby... it looks so alive! I can only imagine how painstaking that must be, but the results are amazing.

~Stephanie

Jennifer Tetlow said...

I spent time with your birds in the strange garden and have come away inspired to create my own. And Abby comes beautifully, if time allows you will do no harm in finishing.

rossichka said...

Such an interesting post again, with so many beautiful pieces of art to see and sites to explore! Thank you!
I like your "Birds In A Strange Garden" with the choice of colours that make the atmosphere so romantic and the beautiful flowers! Will there be some more of the series??
I feel so well, when I succeed in fulfiling my tasks for the week. But you are right - new circumstances can alter everything - c'est la vie!!
What a strange passion for sheep - I saw them through your eyes and I found out they are really beautiful! Our sheep differ - I'll try to take some photos for you in Summer if we go somewhere where there're sheep!:)

jamjar said...

Your scapperboard cat is wonderful,I have dabbled with scrapperboard in the past but find it very difficult to find new boards for sale now. love all your post, off to check out the links. x

I am James. said...

Great photos some coolart and iteresting ramblings, perfect blogging...sips tea...aaah hits the spot, ttfn

Cathy said...

Hi Stephanie. Thanks for your very kind words about Abby. She is a slow progression but I have renewed hope that I will get there in the end.

Cathy said...

Thanks Jennifer. Everyone has been so positive about Abby that I am now determined to carry on with her. After all, she looks silly with black ears like that! I am pleased you like my birds in a strange garden. I do so love quirky.

Cathy said...

Hello Rosschichka, I would love to see some photos of your sheep if you get the chance. I love all sheep. The birds in a strange garden was just done on a whim. I love to illustrate fine and delicately when I get the chance. I use the smallest and finest point nib there is and I also now have one with red ink, hence the colour choice. I will probably be doing similar soon as I have lots more in my sketch books.

sea-blue-sky & abstracts said...

So much lovely art to see here today Cathy - love your spacious print too and well, everything included in this post! Have a good week. x

Cathy said...

Hello Joy. Lovely to see you here. Thanks for the lovely comment on the kitty. I was having problems getting good scraperboard in the UK because the American version is just too expensive with postage charges. Someone told me GreatArt.com do a nice one called Original English Scraper Board so I am going to try some of that.

Cathy said...

Hello James. Thanks for visiting and commenting. I enjoyed visiting your blog too. Lovely illustrations and interesting chat.

Zdolność-tworzenia said...

Piękne obrazy. Kotek najładniejszy. Ciekawa biżuteria.

Cathy said...

Thanks very much Lesley. You must have got caught between my two comments..haha.

Cathy said...

Hello Zdolnosc-tworzenia. I think a rough translation of this would be:

"Beautiful pictures, pretty cat and interesting jewellery".

I hope I have got that right (online translation...lol)Thanks very much for visiting and commenting.

Crafty Green Poet said...

what a lovely selection of beautiful things! How lovely Dutch elm disease looks but so destructive and yes still damaging as many trees as ever (though Wych elm is less affected i think).

Lovely sheep photos, I too enjoy taking their photos!

I love Robin Wade's pieces,

andamento said...

Oooh, lots of lovely things this week! I love both your pieces, the detail in the scraperboard image of your cat is amazing.
I also like the blackbird and berries print very much, and the sheep photos (cows are much easier to photograph!), and the bark damaged by the elm beetle was very interesting to see and read about.

bunnits said...

Such visual delights. You always have the neatest things on your blog.

Gillian said...

Hi Cathy - I recognise myself in your 20% weekly sucess rate - I moved in '09 and still have stuff left over to do from that move! Your Abby scraperborad is beautiful as it is - I love the unfinished quality! Will have to investigate Angela Harding. Have you seen the new Angie Lewin book - its on my Amazon wishlist ;)

Cathy said...

Hi Juliet. Yes I think Wych elm is better able to withstand the onslaught. Such a shame as the British countryside was once epitomised by the elm. Now I understand the oak is having problems.

Yes, Robin's jewellery is lovely. She is very creative.

Cathy said...

Yes, I agree Anne. Cows don't run away when they see you approaching with camera in hand. I have lots of pictures of cows' faces whereas with sheep it is mostly the rear end.

Cathy said...

Thanks very much Melissa.

Cathy said...

Hi Gillian - seen it and wanted it and hopefully will get it soon. Her work is irresitible and she never fails to come up with something brilliant. No wonder she is so successful. I have read some interesting articles about her recently too.

tammykingdon said...

Love the prints that you've included in your post Cathy, especially Angela Harding's stuff. That bark is amazing- a few times I have inked up pieces of bark and put them through the printing press with fantastic results; I bet that diseased bit of bark would make a fabulous print.

Cathy said...

Hello Tammy. I never thought of doing that but I suppose it would be a bit similar to linocut. I will have to try to remember where I saw it. We walked about 7 miles that day...haha.

Caroline said...

Oops! Visited last week, but forgot to comment! Anyway, lovely post - your kitty illustration is marvellous - it positively glows - what patience you have Cathy! Those bark patterns are indeed amazing but it's a tragic disease :( I love the illustration on the book cover - one of my favourite Hardy novels! See you soon again!

Cathy said...

Hello Caroline. FFTMC is one of my favourite books too and that is definitely my favourite cover. Anything with sheep gets my vote. Have a great week.