Sunday, October 26, 2008

Christmas Is Fast Approaching

This is the coloured version of my pen and ink drawing posted last week. It didn't take too long to colour either. Not sure why blogger is making it blurred. You may need to click on it for a larger version to see it better.
I love the old retro cloche hats of the 30s. I wish they were still popular today. These two are definitely over-the-top but I think the idea is ok.
This is just a quick fantasy drawing I did today. I love these colours and may use them for other pictures. This piece is entitled The Headdress.
This is another Christmas card design using the same tree I posted previously under a different guise. I am not too sure whether the gold star looks right but otherwise I think it is quite a pretty image. This is an actual London tree.
This is the finished Christmas card which I am using for my brother's cards this year. Quite minimal but wintry I hope.

Lovely contemporary image of deer by Caroline Gardner cards. Lovely modern palette.

This was a previous Christmas card from Caroline Gardner cards but far too nice to send to

This is an Oxfam Christmas 2008 card. Not sure who the designer is but it is beautifully detailed and full of inspiration for those of us who love trees and leaves. Oxfam seem to have gone over to much more contemporary cards this year and I think the designs are a great improvement. I overheard one of the elderly ladies who serve behind the counter saying she hated them though. Still you cannot please everyone.
The following images are paintings by the English artist Clare Shepherd. You can find here website here.

Christmas is getting ever closer and I have been on the lookout for new and interesting Christmas card designs. There was a time when I used to buy lots and lots of packets of cards, usually charity cards. But times is 'ard these days and now I only purchase the designs I cannot live without and leave the others on the shelves for wealthier members of the population. I find greetings cards on the whole to be extremely expensive, especially when you think that they cost mere pence to produce en masse. I don't mind if a decent amount of the profit goes to the charity concerned, but sometimes I wonder if that is the case. Why am I buying cards anyway, I can hear you thinking, when I have the means to produce my own. Don't ask. I think it is something to do with the grass being greener on the other side of the fence or perhaps other designers' images being better than mine.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I have long admired Caroline Gardner cards and I have posted a couple with deer images. One is this year's and one is from a previous year but was too nice to send...hah hah. I don't think you can beat a nice coloured deer at Christmas. You might want to check out her website. She is another person who seems to revel in lots of lovely colours.

How many sketch books do you possess? I have a few and some of them have pristine pages. Why? Because I find it very difficult to sketch in a sketch book. I tend to sketch and draw on lots of odd bits of paper and old envelopes etc and then I may stick those in the sketch book. Alternatively, I will do my first sketch on rough paper and then produce a slightly better sketch in the sketch book. I find it nearly impossible to do a completely new sketch in the right place first time. I think it has to do with not wanting to mess up lovely white pages and also worrying about filling up the book too quickly as I produce a huge amount of sketches at a time. My brother's partner, Lesley, has just given me a lovely sketchbook with beautiful quality paper but this time I am determined to draw in the right place. Hmmm.... we'll see.

My featured artist this week is Clare Shepherd who is an English artist living in Dorset. She also enjoys teaching art. She has a wonderful colour sense and her paintings are very contemporary with lots of light and colour. She uses shapes to advantage and these veer slightly toward the abstract. Her work covers a very wide spectrum and on her beautiful website here you can find a huge quantity of artwork. I especially enjoy her landscapes of Dorset and Exmoor.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Christmas Chickens and Giving A Kittie A Good Home

This is "Lady With Birds". Quite self-explanatory really. Love those colours.
Here is the lovely kittie picture and card I received from Sandy Mastroni as the winner of her blog giveaway. I am a great admirer of Sandy's wonderful artwork and I am really pleased to own these two characters. The kittie has such a sweet, appealing expression.
This gorgeous image is a greeting card of Rene Gruau. I love the simple, clean palette and the graphic quality. It loosely inspired my lady with birds image above.
I went slightly mad with flowers with this drawing. The flowers are watercoloured. Love that mad hair.
This is a drawing which will be digitally coloured when I get a spare moment. My favourite birds, of course, and I fancy they will be brightly coloured when completed. Hopefully they will be ready for next week's blogpost. These are examples of a variety of images on the flower theme made famous by the very talented Orla Kiely but in my own designs and colours. They make lovely greetings cards when mounted singly.

This work was created by Shirley Isaacs who is a fellow blogger and can be found here
She has some lovely creations on her blog so pop over and take a look.
Here are the Christmas chickens. Not looking too Christmassy at the moment but that will change soon.
This is the Christmas card that I am using for inspiration for my chickens drawing. The background of the chickens will be similar to this lovely snowy scene. This card is a linocut by Robert Gilmorr who will be one of my featured artists soon.

The following images are from Suzanne Gyseman. Her website is a delight and can be found here.

My lovely blog giveaway kittie has arrived in England and found a very welcoming home with me. He has a lovely folksy look to him and he is sitting waiting to start his tea and cupcakes. I love him to bits and thanks very much to Sandy for giving him away to a new home. I love the greeting card she also sent of the humorous lady with the lovely woolly cardi. You can see the pictures above.

Christmas is fast approaching and I recently started deciding what to draw for my 2008 Christmas card. I make these for my brother to send to his customers and have been doing so for many years now. They are always pen and ink and nearly always have an animal or bird as the central image. I love chickens so I decided this year to have a poultry theme. You can see the start of my effort above. It will eventually have a field and hedges and trees covered in snow behind the chickens and will have quite a graphic look to it rather than the naturalistic pointillism I have done in prior years. Of course snow is easy, just leave the paper

I have included, this week, a peek at the creations of a lovely blog lady called Shirley Isaacs. She is a beader and knitter and is very interested in textiles and colour and art. She has a lovely blog here with her own work and she also features the work of other artists and craftspeople (myself included). Pop over and have a look at her blog.

My featured artist this week is Suzanne Gyseman who lives in Scotland. She originally trained as a botanist and has worked in a variety of jobs before turning to full time art. I have been following her work for several years now and I find it quite enchanting. I think she could be called something of a visionary with a great interest in folklore, myths and legends. She is also very interested in nature and the natural world and this interest shows very clearly in her work. Her images are very colourful and intriguingly stylised. Her website here is definitely worth a visit as she has lots of her artwork on display.

I have been quite busy drawing and painting myself this week and I am particularly pleased with the lady with the birds and the stripey dress. I like the palette I have chosen for that one although it is quite bright. I don't think you can ever go wrong with stripes. See what you think anyway.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Blog Giveaway Winner - Me (thanks Sandy) and The Knitting and Stitching Show

This image relates to the poem called The Wandering Aenghus by William Butler Yeats. I have always liked this poem and the last few lines are very famous.

I like the graphic quality of this painting. I love stripes in any colours. Perhaps it is a bit too much but it is quite eye catching and I don't think you can ever go wrong with flowers.

I watched a DVD called An American Haunting the other night and the main character was a young lady in 1800's Minnesota called Betsy Bell. She had quite a sad tale to tell, and a scary one. I was particularly interested in her lovely blue coat and dress ensemble. This is a near approximation of it although it would look a lot better coloured.

I thought this one would make quite a nice Christmas card design. The leaf is supposed to be a holly leaf. I like the minimal colour of this one - quite unusual for me.

The following are all photos from the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London. Sorry about the lighting in some of the shots but there is very little natural light in the place and flash never looks as good as natural daylight. The pictures can be enlarged to see more detail if you click on them. If you go here you can read all about the exhibitors in the Show.

I love this subtly coloured quilt and could quite happily have taken it home with me.

This wool stand is always very popular. I think some people buy enough wool to last them until the next show.

I loved this gorgeous patchwork quilt

Brightly coloured embroidery

Detail of bird embroidery

Display of children's clothing

John Allen designs carpets for the wall and also produces etchings and other artwork. The designs he displayed at the show were all connected to Nepal and Nepalese culture and landscape. The colours are brilliant and the shapes beautifully graphic. He has a wonderful sense of colour. He actually works in collaboration with Tibetan weavers who interpret his designs. Go here for a look at his lovely website.

John Allen colourful carpet design

John Allen carpet

John Allen produces carpets for the wall and they are amazing designs like this one.

A wall display of some of Raymond Honeyman's work. His attention to detail is amazing.

Raymond Honeyman design of flowery fan for Ehrman tapestries. This is actually a painting made up of tiny dots of colour in the exact same places where you would do the stitch of the wool tapestry. He adores pattern and must take hundreds of hours to create these works of art.

This is a view of a wool stand selling cardi's and jumpers. There were lots of stands selling hand knitted woolies and they were all to die for.

Another view of the spectacular patchwork. Click on the photo to get a better look.

The Embroidery Guild stand had a wonderful patchwork quilt, only part of which is shown here. Apparently the various groups over the country were given their colours to work and when they were all completed the patchwork was assembled.

This is Sarah Boccaccini Meadows who is a young textiles graduate with a lovely smile. She had some beautiful and complex garments on her stand and was really thrilled to be at the Exhibition.

Last week I paid my yearly visit to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in London. It is a fabulous day out at a wonderful venue. Ally Pally as it is fondly known stands very high above London and a marvellous view of the capital can be had on a clear day. Inside great wonders were beheld. It is an extravaganza of all things textile, stitchy, and art and crafty and appeals to a huge audience, mostly women, as can be expected.

I travelled up to London by coach which is a service dedicated to the serious stitch enthusiast. It is so much easier and more comfortable than going by train. We had about 6 hours at the exhibition and in the time available I did not get to see all of it!

I have included quite a few shots of various stands in the exhibition and I explain each photo as I go along. There were a number of great book stands including the Embroidery Guild stand which is always worth an hour or two's perusal. All the books were art and craft and textile orientated and it is always a good place to get the newest books on the market. I must confess to buying a "couple" of books but I will tell you about those in another post. By the time I returned home I was exhausted but happy and very inspired by what I had seen. There is so much incredible talent in the world of textiles. I now have to go for a year before I can do the whole thing again.

Another lovely thing which has happened since my last post, is winning the giveaway on Sandy Mastroni's Blog. Sandy is a great artist who produces really intriguing and enchanting images of ladies and animals, particularly cats. Her giveaway was for a lovely kitty painting and if you have a look at blog post October 9th you will see my name being drawn by Jerry. I am really looking forward to receiving my kitty picture and would like to thank Sandy very much for giving me the opportunity. She also has a great Etsy shop at so I recommend you go and take a look.

This is the second giveaway I have won. The first was for a lovely woolly scarf from Phyllis which I have already put to good use as we have had some very chilly days this autumn.

Enough said for this post. I will let the photos speak for themselves.