Sunday, August 31, 2008

Primavera....A Little Early

Anyone who reads this blog regularly will recognise this from the pen and ink drawing that I originally posted a couple of weeks ago. It has taken forever to colour on the computer but it is finally finished and is quite pleasing. It is called Primavera which is Italian for spring. Lots of leaves this week.
I am very pleased with this image as it turned out better than I had expected. I used my 85 year old mum as a model for the hands holding the apron. It is pen and ink with digital colouring and is called Gathering the windfalls.
I decided to go a bit mad with the hair here but I like it. A very elegant lady indeed.
Can't possibly have a blog post without a tree somewhere
Just a practice drawing of long hair
The following images are of Kirsten Glasbrook's tapestries, a page from her book and the front page of the book. I hope you enjoy looking at them.

It's been a bit of a "pickly" week, this week. Not quite sure why but lots of things seem to have gone awry for some reason. Even simple things that should have been easy had their own particular gremlins. Drawings that should have practically drawn themselves have worked out quiet ways to be awkward and not do what I wanted them to do. Sometimes I think they must have a life of their, not really but it sometimes feels that way. I often start out drawing something in a sketch book and I have a good idea of what I want it to look like but during the process of making it into a "proper" drawing, something happens and it goes off in a different and unexpected direction. Sometimes these are good and sometimes they are completely wrong and the picture ends up in the bin and I have to start again. I am sure all artists and craftspeople have much the same problems. Something to do with the creative process we are told: whatever that may be.

One incredibly useful tool, of course, is the computer. Oh the hours it saves me. I can create an image and whereas in the past I would ponder over what to do next, nowadays I just have to scan the image into photoshop and fiddle with it to my heart's content. When I have decided, I can go back to the original and know that I am not going to ruin it. Some people would say it takes away the spontaneity but who cares about that, if the end product is the best image possible, and who can spell spontaneity anyway. I can, but only because I have just checked with the computer on I was very resistant to computers for many years but once I had one the addiction started. They make life so much easier that I wonder how anyone can manage without one.

Talking of computers, I am very upset to find out that my favourite website "Statcounter" has disappeared into thin air. I love checking my blog stats to see who has been for a visit and even nicer, who keeps returning. I am statless at the moment but hopefully that will soon be sorted out by dint of Google Analytics. Hopefully Statcounter is only having a bit of a glitch and will return soon. Then I will have two websites to check my stats with....hurrah. Oh and thanks to my brother and his partner Lesley for very valuable computer assistance without which I would be in a very deep muddy hole with steep slippery sides.

My featured artist/craftsperson this week is actually someone I have met. She is a Danish tapestry weaver called Kirsten Glasbrook and she creates the most wonderful pictorial tapestries. Her style is contemporary but with a folky twist and a definite hint of myths and legends. I met her when she was exhibiting at the Waterperry Art in Action show near Oxford a few years ago. She had transported a huge upright loom into the marquee and was showing people how she creates her work. I was hooked from then and when she produced her book on tapestry weaving I was probably one of her first customers. Her website is well worth a look - Kirsten Glasbrook. I have included several of her lovely tapestries and if I came into money I would definitely buy one. I cannot weave by the way.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Birds, Carry Akroyd And More Birds...

A bird nesting in your tree hair can never be a bad thing. I like the poem but you might need to click on the image to enlarge it as the text is quite small here.
I like the idea of birds offering each other gifts as in this digital artwork

A very decorative pen and ink bird drawing
These five characters saw life originally as a pen and ink drawing which I decided to colour digitally but with a more retro palette than my normal one.
The following images are some of Carry Akroyd's beautiful paintings and prints.

A selection of greetings cards which are printed from original machine embroideries. Not sure if I can bear to part with them though.

The wooden heart is Elm and I couldn't resist it. Elm wood is becoming scarce in England now since all the elm trees were decimated in the 60s and 70s due to Dutch elm disease.

View over the Fingest valley. You can just see the church in the middle distance but you will see it more clearly if you click on the photo

Fingest Church where the cream teas will be held on Sunday
I had a lovely day out on Friday at a local craft show at a beautiful little village called Stonor. It is in a very steep and heavily wooded valley and is a wonderful place to be. I think it has a very special atmosphere and energy and apparently originally had a megalithic stone circle, the site of which is now occupied by a large mansion belonging to the Stonor family. They have occupied the house for over 800 years which must be something of a record. I took some great photos of the house but unfortunately I had the camera on the wrong setting and they were whited out. Anyway, trust me, it is a wonderful place.

The craft fair is always a joy, being very well organised and having a good variety of art and craftwork. It is held in huge marquees on the steep side of a hill, but I think they kindly make sure the cows and sheep haven't been in the field for some time prior to the fair. Could be very messy otherwise. I made some very nice (I think) purchases, two of which I am having sent to me by post so that should be something to look forward to. As usual I bought a variety of greetings cards, a few of which I have illustrated here.

On the way home I stopped off at another quintessential English village called Fingest. It is famous for having an 11th century double saddle-backed church, one of only two in the country. Unfortunately for me the chuch was locked but it is open this Sunday for cream teas in the churchyard. I have been lucky enough to sample these teas in the past and they are extremely good. People of other countries must think drinking tea and eating homemade cakes in a churchyard is a very English eccentricity and I have to agree, but it is really enjoyable. Lots of interesting gravestones to read while you are

Artwise, I have included another favourite painter and printmaker called Carry Akroyd. She lives in rural Northamptonshire and has an enduring love of nature, animals and the countryside, as you can see if you take a look at her art. She works in several media including acrylics, watercolour, linocuts and etchings. Her work is vivid and very detailed. I have seen her originals in an exhibition in London and they are gorgeous close up. Her website is a joy and can be found here. Well worth investigating.

I have also been busy with a couple of digital drawings and two pen and ink drawings. I particularly like my lady with the bird in her tree hairdo. I thought I would add a little poem which seemed to suit the picture. I have only just noticed that all my work this week contains birds. What would I do without them?

Finally thanks to the lovely lady who added me to her page on the StumbleUpon website. I got masses of hits for this blog and also my website.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Vintage Greetings Cards and Small Designs

Fantasy flowers in watercolour
A pen and ink design I did some time ago but which I really like

This is a greeting card design with watercolour and digital colour

A very stylised sun design with spiral overload

Pen and Ink mermaid with digital colours
The bright little piggy really can fly
Pen and Ink stylised heron and decorative tree
The following are a selection of vintage greetings cards from my collection. Click on the cards if you would like to see them in large format.

This was my most expensive card. It has flowers painted in watercolours on the front and extensively inside the card. This must have taken someone a long time to create.

Violets are a very popular theme for vintage cards. These are all handpainted with watercolours.

These cards are all handpainted. The two bottom ones look as if they been made at home.

I don't collect many things but one collection I have been adding to over the years is my collection of vintage greetings cards. I started it about fifteen years ago and it has grown quite large now. At one time they were very cheap to obtain but prices have gone up these days but I think they are still worth it. My oldest card is dated 1884 and I have quite a few others of the late 1800s but the majority are early 1900 and some are around about the time of the second world war. It is possible for an expert to tell the age of a card by the style but I prefer to have the date inside - much easier. It is lovely to find cards which have the magic date but the majority are just signed. I must admit I never write the date in Christmas cards and birthday cards that I send.

The recipients of most of these cards seem to have mounted them in scrap books and therefore, when you buy them, most have the remains of glue on the back. I have seen entire scrapbooks full of these cards for sale on Ebay and in antique shops. I have even bought them at car boot sales.

My favourites are the hand painted ones, and surprisingly most of them are commercially produced and are not handmade at home. I can just imagine rows of ladies (it has to be ladies) sitting at benches and painting the designs in watercolour. I suppose in a way we have come full circle these days with the enormous interest in handmade greetings cards.

I have a few with distinctly art nouveau designs and some with images which became popular in the 1920s and 1930s. One very interesting one shows an image of a swastika and the card says "good luck". Quite a surprise really until I found out that the swastika image was in use in ancient times. It was hijacked by the Nazi's in the late 1930s and its original meaning was forgotten. This is obviously a card dated prior to the 1930s.

I hope you enjoy having a look at my collection. This is only a very small selection and I am always keeping my eye open for new (old) cards. I love to look through them every so often and read the notations and imagine the senders carefully penning their names. The cards come up quite large if you click on them.

I have been drawing and painting quite a few small designs this week which I hope you like. I was digitally colouring one of my large cockerel drawings and enjoying it immensely when the computer died on me and I lost a good half of what I had done. The moral of the tale is save, save, save your artwork in case the compu

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Aint nobody here but us chickens (or cockerels in this case)

A collection of vivid watercolour cockerels

Rainbow Tree and Tiny Bird Watercolour
Sisters - pen and ink drawing. I really enjoyed drawing their hair.

Watercolour of hand tethering a cheetah.

Sketch of "Primavera" to be completed next week

The following are prints by printmaker Angie Lewin

Blog time again. Doesn't it come around quickly? I would love to blog more often than once a week but it is well nigh impossible to be that organised. I was contacted the other day by someone who has eight (yes 8) blogs. How on earth can they keep track of all those blogs and update them frequently, unless they are blogging all day and every day. Well, each to his own, but it wouldn't do for me.

Had a busy drawing and painting week as usual and I really enjoyed myself splashing a bit of colour around. My pink hand picture has been around in sketch form for a long time and I am not too sure about the border. I think a more subdued border may look better, but that is for another time. I have so many pictures inside my head that I probably won't get around to revisiting for some time.

As you probably know from my blogging, I love all manner of chickens, hens, cockerels, chicks etc. I think they are so "drawable" and cute. The four I have illustrated here are actually framed in a line and hung up in my home. I think they look really sweet. I love all the different styles of combs they have, and in fact, I could spend an inordinately long time just drawing cockerels head gear. As you can probably guess I have a lot of books featuring poultry.

The "Primavera" sketch is one that has been beetling around in my head for some time. Totally out of season of course, but who cares about that. I plan to colour this digitally over the coming week and you can expect an explosion of colour.

My featured artist this week is Angie Lewin, who is a very well know English printmaker. Her work features on a multitude of things including fabrics, prints, crockery, stationery etc. I love her contemporary printmaking style and she does some lovely alliums and umbellifers. If you would like to see more of her work, her website features lots more and can be found here.

Lastly I would like to thank my blogging friend Phyllis, spinknitandlife, for awarding me a blogging trophy as one of her favourite blogs. Many thanks for that Phyllis. Very kind of you. This is my second lovely trophy as I received one last time from the very talented Mellanie of Genxsters, which is a blog very worth visiting.

Hope you all have a good blogging week.